In this episode full of reviews, Jeff looks at the first two books in the Vino & Veritas series, Featherbed by Annabeth Albert and Heartscape by Garrett Leigh. He also talks about the romantic comedy Revenge of the Brobot by JC Calciano. I have two terrific historical novellas to review, Ava March’s Object of His Desire (and it’s sexy short story follow-up, Pleasures of Somerville Park) plus Eden Blake’s One Good Lord Deserves Another.
Remember, you can listen and follow the podcast anytime at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.
Baker’s Dozen by AJ Lange
Goaded by his brother, Ellis finally gets up the nerve to talk to the handsome regular who’s been coming into their bakery/café every afternoon. Patrick is sitting with his coffee and book when Ellis shoves a sandwich his direction as an icebreaker.
Awkward first impressions aside, they get to talking over the next couple of days, until a pie related emergency on Thanksgiving brings Patrick to Ellis’ shop just as he’s closing. The very last pie leads to their very first kiss.
As it turns out, his brothers meddling may have given Ellis a holiday that he is truly thankful for.
Baker’s Dozen is a sweet short about the initial steps of a budding romance. Ellis and Patrick have a ton of adorably awkward romantic charm.
Believe Me (Love in New York Book 2) by Avery Ford
The last thing big, surly, and mostly straight bar-owner Drew Bryant wants to do is take part in a charity bachelor auction. But Alex, Drew’s brother, who is in charge of the event, reminds him that it’s all for a good cause. The auction will raise much needed funds for the LGBT center.
Nice guy Shane is looking forward to the charity event (his best friend is organizing it after all) and Alex asks Shane to bid on his brother, explaining how skittish Drew already is, and it would be just too damn awkward if Drew got up onstage and there were no takers.
The night of the big event, Shane gets in a bidding war for Drew and ends up winning the auction.
They make plans to go on their date the following night. Drew feels a little strange making plans with a guy, even if it is just a “fake” date. But Shane seems nice, and is awfully handsome, so what could go wrong?
As it turns out, absolutely nothing. The dinner date goes perfectly, and Drew finds that he is really into Shane, like really into him. So much so that he even kisses Shane goodnight.
After dropping Shane off at home, Drew decides that one kiss isn’t going to be enough, and texts if he can come over.
Shane says yes. They’re not sure what the chemistry between them means, but it’s not something that they want to deny.
Afterward they make plans for a real date, which goes even better than the first, Drew later spending the night with Shane and intimately exploring the crazy hot attraction that they have.
Alex calls up Shane to see how the date went. Unable to lie to his best friend, Shane ends up telling him just how well things have gone with Alex’s “straight” brother. This prompts Alex to have a serious conversation with his big bro. Alex is fine with whatever their relationship ends up being, he just wants to make sure that neither his brother or best friend gets hurt.
A relationship is exactly what Drew wants, just before Shane decides to call things off. Well, if they’re gonna break-up, then Drew wants to hear it from Shane, face to face. Explaining that it was just the fear of getting hurt, Shane admits that he is really into Drew. And since Drew is really into Shane, everything works out for the best. A short epilogue shows our two heroes a few months into their new relationship. Their first date may have been “fake”, but the love that they share now is most definitely real.
Believe Me is a terrific blend of sweet and sexy romance tropes, featuring two heroes who are likeable and relatable. Though they fall for one another pretty quickly, but Drew and Shane’s chemistry is undeniable, and their HEA is sweetly satisfying.
Trust Me (Love in New York Book 1) by Avery Ford
Nice guy Milo, who’s busy climbing the corporate ladder of a large-scale forestry conglomerate, is tasked with convincing a recluse in upstate New York to sell his land. Though this guy has rejected every offer, Milo drives into the mountains, confident he can close the deal. Milo’s trip takes an unexpected turn when an incoming storm causes an accident. Milo hits a burly mountain man trudging through the snow.
Jax is a little battered and bruised from his experience but is okay once he’s able to rest in the cabin he calls home. It quickly becomes apparent that Milo, the cute city boy who hit him, works for the company that wants to buy his land.
It’s not an ideal situation, but since the storm has trapped them together in the cabin for the foreseeable future, Jax makes the effort to get to know the guy. Milo’s pretty great, despite who he works for.
They spend the night cuddled in the same bed, for warmth of course, and our heroes definitely heat things up. The next morning, neither of them has any regrets. As they talk, Jax realizes that Milo has no idea how the company he works for is destroying the forest. He shows Milo the nearby logging camp and the devastation they’ve left behind.
With the weather cleared, the road down the mountain should be safe enough for Milo to return to the city. If this is going to be their last night together, then Milo and Jax are going to make the most of every last second. And boy, do they.
In the morning, Jax wants to ask Milo to stay. But they have such different lives, wanting more is unrealistic.
Back in the city, Milo goes into work to tell his boss that the deal wasn’t made, and that he knows what’s going on up on the mountain.
Milo now has to decide what he really wants. A job in the big city, or a life with a sexy mountain man by his side.
Since this is a romance, his decision shouldn’t come as a great shock. It’s a happily ever after for Milo and Jax.
I really loved this novella. Stranded in a mountain cabin is one of my all-time favorite tropes and Avery Ford uses it to great effect in this story. I also enjoyed the chemistry between Milo and Jax. They find something in each other that they didn’t know was missing, a theme that I always enjoy reading – it’s all about that special kind of romantic awakening.
If I were in the habit of swooning, I would definitely do it over these two and their irresistibly sexy/sweet love story.
Trust Me is a terrific short read, the first in the Love in New York series by Avery Ford.
Jeff and I discuss two recent series on HBO Max that we’ve enjoyed: the AIDS drama It’s a Sin and the high school dramedy Generation.
Jeff reviews Layla Reyne’s latest romantic suspense title Queen’s Ransom as well as Eden Finley & Saxon James’s jock/nerd romance Power Plays & Straight A’s. I review the wonderfully sexy, friends-to-lovers novella Caught Looking by Adriana Herrera and the delightful second chance romance Deja Vu by Lawrence I. Hill.
Remember, you can listen and follow the podcast anytime at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.
John has had a year’s long legal battle with a neighboring Lord over a piece of land between their adjoining estates. When the neighbor dies and leaves everything to his youngest son, John proposes a unique solution to the dispute – he’ll give up the land, if the new Lord agrees to marry him.
John has been pinning for Harrison for years and, as it so happens, Harrison has craved that attention from his older neighbor. He formally agrees to the deal but doesn’t want to wait for their wedding night. He wants his first experience with John immediately and they spend an amazing night together exploring the desires they’ve each held for so long.
Over the next month they grow even closer. Their wedding day is beautiful and romantic. Their wedding night is filled with more passion and declarations of devotion. What started as a business transaction, proves to be an ideal love match for Harrison and John. They undoubtedly have many happy years to look forward to.
A Lord to Love is an unquestionably sexy historical short, and the author does a terrific job of bringing that passion to life on the page. But it’s not just about the sexual chemistry between the characters (there is definitely plenty of that), it’s about the way they love each other and how they express it with small acts of kindness, or how they are each invested in being equal partners who lift each other up.
It’s wonderful how, in just a few pages, we are able to understand how John and Harrison are completely devoted to each other’s happiness.