Reviews

Quick Review: One Good Lord Deserves Another by Eden Blake

One Good Lord Deserves Another by Eden Blake

Edmund is tasked with turning the newly christened Lord Alec into a respectable gentleman. Keeping the devastatingly handsome and flirtatious Lord in check may be a bigger task than he first imagined.

Alec cannot believe that Edmund has found his way back into his life. Years earlier, when he was a child, Edmund payed him a kindness, one that Alec has never forgotten, and ever since that time he has been smitten with the older gentleman.

Their days are spent doing the things gentlemen do during the season – making calls, taking a promenade in the park. One afternoon, the two of them are sharing an eel pie from a street vendor (don’t get grossed out, it’s apparently really good) when Alec saves Edmund from a pint-sized pickpocket. The compassion Edmund shows the little street urchin, despite the attempted theft, makes Alec love him all the more.

At a ball Alec insists he only has eyes for Edmund but does his prescribed duty and dances with several eligible young ladies… and a few gentlemen, which raises Edmunds ire. Could he possibly be jealous?

Alec finds Edmunds possessiveness a turn on. They go outside to take some air. In a dark corner of the rose garden Alec is finally able to steal the kiss that he has wanted for so long. He explains their meeting from years ago and then whispers all the wicked ways he intends to explore his irresistible lover.

They both share the same intense attraction but falling for Alec is the last thing Edmund should be doing. Alec’s uncle is heavily invested in Alec finding a good match and producing an heir.

Both of their futures are at stake.

They carry on through the season, and Edmund goes to great lengths to show Alec there is only one responsible choice to be made. But He is having none of it and soon has his beloved naked in bed, proving he knows exactly what he wants, and that is Edmund. They start slowly, but Alec is soon worked into a frenzy. If this is truly the only moment that they’ll have, then he is going to take all that Edmund is willing to give.

Afterward, Alec comes up with a scheme. With the help of a friend who has a reputation as a rogue, Alec pretends to be “ruined” so that the only honorable way out of the scandal is to marry Edmund, who is penniless, but titled, nonetheless.

They open a shop where Alec will ply his trade as a barber for the upper-class. They will make their own way, beholden to no one. A perfectly adorable HEA for a perfectly adorable couple.

Okay, where do I begin with how much I LOVED this novella? One Good Lord Deserves Another was historical age-gap perfection. Alec’s passion for Edmund practically leapt off the page. And can we please talk about how amazing it was to see an older, thicker hero, coming into his own and finding his one true love? Alec, who is a traditionally irresistible handsome hero, simply cannot get enough of Edmunds roundness which is described as plump and sturdy. His bulk is heavy and full. At one point, Alec even describes his lover a “perfect armful”. It’s all very sweet, and very, very sexy. I’d love to see more husky heroes just like this.

I also liked how in Eden Blake’s historical world, Alec and Edmund were able to marry. The only objection wasn’t to the fact that they were two men, but to the question of an heir to Alec’s title. If the rest of the stories in Eden Blake’s world are this openly accepting, and unrelentingly sexy, then sign me up! I definitely want some more.

Quick Review: Colder Than Fiction by Amanda Meuwissen

Colder Than Fiction by Amanda Meuwissen

Ezra is a man with a deadline. Add to that the stress of the holidays, plus the mother of all hangovers from a recent Christmas party, and needs an escape if he’d going to finish his latest manuscript on time. Some quiet time alone at the family cabin should be just the thing.

He awakens in the morning to find an extremely handsome stranger in his bed, one that bears an uncanny resemblance to Jon Havoc, the roguish thief who tempts the hero in his latest thriller.

Ezra doesn’t know if he’s lost his mind, but with Havoc as his sexy inspiration, he’s finally able to make headway on his book. Havoc inspires Ezra on the page and in the bedroom, his fictional creation encouraging him in ways no other man has.

With the book finally finished, Ezra’s editor praises the new direction his work has taken. While leaving the office, Ezra runs into a man whose bluer-than-blue eyes remind him of a certain flirtations anti-hero. Is it a matter of fiction made real, or is real life stranger than fiction?

If you like flirty banter, then Amanda Meuwissen has got you covered. The banter between our two heroes is sexy and fun. I particularly enjoyed how Havoc is able to seduce Ezra as well as Graham, his fictional love interest in the thriller Ezra is writing. Speaking of which, we get to read sections of the book as Ezra is writing them. The adventures of Havoc and Graham are pretty compelling, and I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more about their exploits in the future.

Colder Than Fiction is a terrific short that sexily plays with the line between reality and fantasy.

Quick Review: Standby by Kim Fielding

Standby by Kim Fielding

After an awful job interview, Tom has to fly back home to Iowa, only to have his flights grounded or delayed. He’s on standby for the first flight out in the morning, so it looks like he’s stuck, an uncomfortable airport chair his bed for the night.

In the deserted terminal, a handsome man strikes up a conversation with him. Rafael likes watching the planes. It reminds him of a time before he was grounded. The attraction between them is electric (literally) and Rafael Takes Tom to an out of the way storage room. He shows Tom the scars on his back, convincing Tom that Rafael is much more than he seems. After sex than can only be described as transcendent, Tom opens up about what he really wants – a simple life and someone special to share it with.

Tom awakens in the terminal. As he waits for his flight, he strikes up a conversation with a handsome guy. Rafael is headed to Iowa too, moving there for a new job. Things Tom are starting to look a whole lot brighter.

This short about Tom and his tryst with a uniquely appealing stranger is really charming. I especially enjoyed the banter between the two character (I’m a sucker for snappy dialog). I also liked the idea that even in an undeniably awful situation (airports, amirite?) a little bit of magic can be found.

Standby is a quick and engaging read that offers a little bit of heat and a lot of hope.

Quick Review: Dante by Stella Shaw

Dante by Stella Shaw

A dilapidated London hotel, The Haven, is home to Dante and several other of his rent boy pals. Rick, the new owner, and his best friend/accountant Blake, want to try and keep the place going. Everyone chips in to make it habitable again and Dante even pulls in a few favors from his previous life (he was an accountant too) to get Rick a business loan to pay for some of the larger repairs.

Blake comes by on an evening when Dante has no other clients – giving them a chance to the explore the undeniable attraction that they have for each other. Their chemistry is electric, and the sex is something they both desperately want and need.

As Dante helps Rick go over some of the books, he is annoyed that he can’t seem to stop thinking about that night with Blake who likes Dante just as much.

When they end up in bed again, Dante is feeling vulnerable after such a loving and vigorously satisfying fuck. He tells Blake about his life and how he’s found himself in this particular profession. It’s more than just sex for Blake, he wants more.

But unexpected news means Blake must move back to Scotland to handle things at his family’s firm. He asks Dante to join him, but he doesn’t see it working out between them and says no.

Rick and some of the other guys give Dante a stern talking to, and he explains that he’s been burned by love and too trusting of men in the past. But the thing is, he cares for Blake than he willing to admit.

He makes a mad dash to King’s Cross station where, amongst the bedlam of holiday travelers, they confess what it is they really want – each other.

In Edinburgh, Dante spends Christmas with Blake and his family. They also make plans for the New Year… and for many years to come.

Romances about escorts can be kinda tricky. How exactly does the author craft a convincing love story when the character’s profession means sleeping with someone other than their intended love interest? It’s a difficult tightrope to walk and I think Stella Shaw does a wonderful job with this story. While exploring Dante and Blake’s sexual chemistry, she not only delves into the physical connection that they share, but the emotional one as well. Falling in love is something completely new for these two men and watching them achieve their HEA is lot of fun to read.

Dante is the novella length introduction to the series, Love at the Haven. Each book focuses on a different member of the found family that call this unique place home.

Quick Review: Blind Spot by Jessie Pinkham

Blind Spot by Jessie Pinkham

Ben has an unusual matchmaking hobby. He has a sixth sense about who will be someone’s perfect match, and enjoys bringing people together, the only problem is that he has a blind spot when it comes to finding love for himself.

Isaiah is Ben’s longtime friend with benefits. After a brake-up, Isaiah needs some comforting, so Ben brings over pizza, they have some great sex, and finish the evening with cuddles and Netflix.

The next morning, Isaiah’s sister shows up on Ben’s doorstep telling him that Isaiah is head-over-heels for him and if Ben doesn’t feel the same way, then he needs to cut her brother loose. Ben would like there to be more, if only he could be certain like he is with his other love matches.

When they sit down for “the talk”, Ben tries to explain his reticence, but Isaiah isn’t having it. Normal people take a chance on love every day. Just because they don’t have the Ben’s mystical matchmaking seal of approval, doesn’t mean that they can’t have a future together.

If ever there was someone worth taking a chance on, it’s Isaiah. Ben sees the light and they tumble into bed, now boyfriends – with all the benefits and love that the title implies.

Even as they plan their wedding, Ben can’t help his matchmaking tendencies, seeing a bright romantic future for Isaiah’s brother and the wedding florist.

I really enjoyed this sexy/romantic short from Jessie Pinkham. Blind Spot was an interesting twist on the classic friends-to-lovers trope. Isaiah was right, there are no guarantees in life, and I was happy to see Ben finally get out of his own way to find his true love with the man who was right there all along.

Quick Review: Realization (Delaney Duo Book 2) by Alie Nolan

Realization (Delaney Duo Book 2) by Alie Nolan

Alone in New York and with no date for Valentine’s Day, Dylan signs up for a new app that sets you up on a blind date, presumably with someone who is you perfect match. Up until this point he’d only dated women, so he is surprised to find that he has been matched with Russell, his father’s best friend and business partner, who is in New York meeting with clients. They decide to go through with the date and end up having a wonderful evening together. When they say goodnight, Dylan hugs him and kisses him on the cheek. Only Russell turns at that exact moment and they accidentally kiss on the lips – not that either of them minds.

Back in San Diego, Russell gives Dylan a call to discuss what happened. Russ liked it. Dylan liked it. What’s the harm in having a little bit of fun? So, Dylan takes charge (which Russ really likes) and instigates some incredibly intense phone sex. They end up talking over the next few weeks, Dylan eventually confiding that he hates it in New York, his job sucks, and the only bright spot in his day is talking with Russell. Dylan’s really starting to like this guy. Maybe he’s more bisexual that he originally thought.

As a surprise for Dylan’s 23rd birthday, Russell flies to the east coast. Upon arrival at his Brooklyn apartment, Dylan leaps into his arms and they’re finally able to do in person what they’ve, so far, only be able to do over facetime.

In their post-coital bliss, they discuss where their relationship is going. They formalize their status as boyfriends who’ll somehow find a way to make their long-distance situation work.

The guilt is starting to get to Russ. He wants to tell Devon (Dylan’s dad) all about the great new relationship he’s in, but how do you even start that kind of conversation?

One day, Dylan decides he’s had enough of New York. He packs is meager belongings and flies home to San Diego. When he arrives on Russell’s doorstep, they reunite with a passionate kiss.

Now an official cohabitating couple, the only thing left to do is tell Dylan’s dad. Devon is shocked when they make their announcement, but Russ is able to explain how much Dylan truly means to him. Understandably, it’s all a little awkward at first, but the at the end of the day it’s happiness that counts.

Several months later, everyone gathers for a celebration of love and friendship on New Year’s Eve. There may even be wedding bells in the future for one of our happy couples.

This novella is the second part of a duology that began with Resolution. Devon found love with Dylan’s best friend Sebastion in that story. I loved that book, and I loved Realization just as much. It was wonderful watching Dylan and Russell navigate their complicated family dynamics on the way to their very sexy happily ever after. Author Alie Nolan really knows how to craft a compelling read that really delivers on some beloved and time-honored romance tropes – age-gap, father’s best friend, bisexual awakening. I enjoyed both books in the Delaney Duo and think you will too.