by Xavier Axelson
Spooky love from Xavier Axelson, done with real characters that pull at your heart. This is creepy done right.
Title: Just Like Cats and Dogs
Author: BA Tortuga
Publisher: Torquere Press
Characters: Samuel (Sam) Finn, Augustus (Gus) Fieri
POV: 3rd person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance
If there’s one thing Sam knows for sure it’s that you can never go home again. As a feline shifter who grew up in a family of wolves, he’s used to being a freak. He stays in the city and tries to get his family to visit him, but when a loved one passes away, Sam has to go back to the New Mexico desert for a last goodbye.
Gus only comes back to the pack at gathering time, once in a blue moon. He’s usually a wanderer, but he’s with the pack when Sam comes home. Gus and Sam have never gotten along, but this time around Gus is surprised by the attraction he feels for this new, slinky version of his high school nemesis.
Sam and Gus may not be able to resist each other, but finding time to be together and overcome their differences might be too much for them, especially when danger lurks just around the corner, and all around the world. Can cats and dogs live to learn together, or are Gus and Sam destined to fail?
Sam Finn is a panther-shifter, who was raised by a family of werewolves. He’s not the only misfit in his adoptive family, but because he not a wolf and for him to stay safe, he must keep himself separate from the other members of the pack. While other shifters are allowed to hunt and play together during a full moon, Sam has to shift and run and play inside…alone. Out of his adopted family, he’s closest with this brother Pete. Unfortunately for Sam, Pete’s best friend, Gus, lives to make Sam miserable by picking on him and teasing him throughout most of their childhood. So, as soon as Sam is an adult, he leaves his family and becomes a successful dancer, and after a few years, an even more prolific chorographer.
One day Sam gets an unexpected phone call telling him that his adoptive father has passed away. He immediately drops everything and goes home to mourn with his family. Once Sam returns he quickly runs into his childhood adversary, Gus. Although he still has hard feelings toward him, Sam is confused by his attraction and the seemingly invisible pull they have toward one another.
Ever since they were children, Gus Fieri has been fighting his attraction for Sam. Instinctively, he’s known that Sam is his mate, but since it’s pretty unheard of that a werewolf and werecat to be bound together. For years he has fought it by picking on Sam to keep the younger man away from him. But now that he’s around the older Sam, Gus finds harder to stay away from the sexy cat-shifter. Unfortunately for him, Sam has a very good memory and isn’t receptive to Gus’ charms. But the pull of their mating bond is stronger than ever, and even though both men fight against it, fate will not be denied.
I loved this book! Both Sam and Gus are very well written characters and very likeable heroes. I enjoyed the fast paced storyline and as it continued to play out, it turned out to be a refreshing, creatively interesting read. I liked the world building and politics within the different shifters and packs. I admit that once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. I was immediately captivated with both Sam and Gus and couldn’t wait to see how things turned out between them.
Another thing I appreciated about this book was the variety of emotions I felt as I read the story. There were some very funny and thought provoking moments between them as well as bittersweet moments too. Plus, the sexual chemistry between Sam and Gus practically smoked up my computer screen it was so hot! Just like Cats and Dogs is a perfect read for those who love a well written shifter story with a twist. I highly recommend it, and hated to see it come to an end.
Reviewed By: Gabbi
Title: Saving Tate
Author: Will Banks
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Characters: Deck and Tate
POV: Third Person
Sub-Genre: mm romance
You’d think that Sheriff John Decker would finally get tired of answering the domestic dispute calls at Tate and Henry’s farmhouse but it seems the only thing that Deck’s tired of is that Tate is in Henry’s bed instead of his own. He’s not happy that Henry keeps using Tate as a punching bag and seeing Tate battered and bruised proves to be more than Deck is willing to handle. Coming out is never easy, but for this Sheriff, it could mean saving more than just Tate.
Saving Tate is a well-written story about a very important, though often unnoticed, topic. Tate is a sensitive, self-effacing, taciturn, and rather sweet submissive gay man. His partner Henry is very dominant, but his dominance is misguided and becomes abusive. Rather than provide Tate with the loving guidance and control the sub needs, he bullies him and physically assaults him. Henry’s treatment of Tate worsens as his love of power increases, and he becomes obsessed with controlling his weaker partner. He beats him and then apologizes so they can have make-up sex. He plays mind games with the vulnerable sub, and he takes things so far that he even rapes the boy.
The hero of the story is Deck, who’s the county sheriff. Deck has been attracted to Tate for a long time but has found it difficult to come out of the closet in the small community. Now middle-aged, he regrets not having embraced his identity when he was younger. Had he done so, Tate may never have become involved with the abusive Henry.
Several incidents of domestic violence result in calls where Deck has to go out to Tate and Henry’s home. He realizes that Tate is being abused but is limited in what he can do because Tate will not even acknowledge that Henry is abusing him. Eventually, things go so far that Tate’s life is in jeopardy, and it is Deck who has to try to save him.
I was very moved by this powerful story. A story doesn’t always have to make you feel good to be a great story. I’m very glad I read it and will not hesitate to recommend it to others.
Reviewed By: Jeff
King Perry by Edmond Manning
In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.
Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?
Whistle Pass by KevaD
On the battlefields of WWII Europe, Charlie Harris fell in love, and after the war, Roger marched home without a glance back. Ten years later, Charlie receives a cryptic summons and quickly departs for his former lover’s hometown of Whistle Pass.
But Roger Black isn’t the lover of Charlie’s dreams anymore. He’s a married, hard-bitten political schemer who wants to secure his future by destroying evidence of his indiscreet past. Open homosexuality is practically a death sentence, and that photo would ruin Roger and all his wife’s nefarious plans.
Caught up in foggy, tangled events, Charlie turns to hotel manager Gabe Kasper for help, and Gabe is intrigued by the haunted soldier who so desperately desires peace. When helping his new lover places Gabe in danger, the old warrior in Charlie will have to take drastic action to protect him… or condemn them both.
The Snow Vampire by Michael G. Cornelius
In 1914 Hungary, Hendrik and Ferenc hide their love amidst the deserted ruins in the hills above their tiny, sheltered town. Hendrik is engaged to Ferenc’s younger sister, and a place to escape the rigid strictures of their families is worth braving the legend of the snagov vrolok—the snow vampire—who is said will claim the blood and flesh of anyone foolish enough to wander near.
Yet sometimes dark tales are based on truth, and something wicked does lurk in the abandoned monastery. Suddenly the lovers find themselves faced with a heartbreaking choice: brave a world in which their love is impossible or face the evil that lives in the snowy heart of a cold Carpathian mountain.
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Genre: Bittersweet Dreams, Fantasy/Paranormal, Historical—Europe
Stroke! by M.J. O’Shea
For Owen Peters, rowing is life–college classes are just an afterthought. So when Elijah Lukas, a hotshot sophomore, tries to take Owen’s rightful place on the varsity boat, he’s threatened, enraged, and needs a place to let off steam. The only person Owen can turn to is his online friend Davis, who he was randomly matched with on a game nearly a year before.
Davis is friendly, nonthreatening, and best of all he’s on the other side of the country and far removed from the politics of the crew team. Soon, though, Owen starts to feel more for his flirtatious online pal than simple friendship. Between the battle on the water and an impossible new crush, Owen is starting to wonder how he’ll make it through the school year.
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Length: Short story
More Than Chemistry by Kate Sherwood
Jack Lawson grew up poor and can’t forget it. He’s a huge success in the business world, but it won’t be enough until the image of “poor little Jack” is completely wiped away. When Jack runs into his old friend, Noah Mercier, he decides that Noah’s sister, an up-and-coming movie star, would be the perfect evidence of glamorous success. If Jack can win Hayley, it will be clear to everyone, including himself, that he has truly arrived.
The problem with Jack’s grand plan is that he’s more attracted to Noah. Jack’s never worried about the gender of his conquests, but Noah just isn’t flashy enough for Jack’s scheme to set the world on fire… unless Jack realizes he has practically no control over deciding who he wants—and even less choice in who he needs.
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Fangs Over America by Wynn Wagner
Mårten Larsson is one of the richest bloodsuckers ever, but his unlife isn’t exactly a flight in the park. There are some things money can’t buy—like an instruction manual on what to do when the vampire queen quits and leaves you in charge of Europe. Suddenly Mårten has to juggle politics, his royal wardrobe, and this newfangled thing called “e-mail.” And his German still sucks.
But hey, Mårten can handle it. After all, he (sort of) survived World War I, being married to two voraciously horny vampires (at the same time), and life as a sniper taking out the most dangerous vamps in history. A little responsibility should be no problem… right?
Title: Zach’s Secret
Author: Matthew Grant
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Characters: Zach and Key
POV: First Person
Sub-Genre: Young Adult
Senior Zach Denham, the editor of the high school newspaper in a small New England town, struggles to act like a “normal” guy by dating Meghan, his religious friend. Key, the school’s newly arrived attractive jock, forces Zach to confront the truth about his sexual identity. Still unsure of himself, Zach is reluctant to help start a support group for gay students at the high school.
Friends will become enemies when the explosive issue divides the school community. Opposition to the group mounts from the school administration, other students, Zach’s friends, and even his own mother.
As Mrs. Trevott, Zach’s trusted and sharp-tongued English teacher, advises, some of them will stand up for what they believe in even if they are standing alone. Some will face the darkest parts of themselves when they witness first-hand how destructive their own prejudice can be.
I loved this coming out story. It is about an eighteen year old high school senior named Zach who is chief editor of his school newspaper. Zach is gay but has kept his sexual orientation a secret all through high school. When he meets Key, the new kid in school, they develop a friendship which turns into a romance. This does not sit well with Zach’s friends, and the homophobia and prejudice begin to rear their ugly heads.
When Key and an outspoken activist friend named Gwen decide to form a Gay-Straight Alliance in the school, it draws the attention of the ultra-conservative high school principal. She quickly squashes their efforts. A riot ensues and everything eventually ends up in a court battle.
Ultimately Zach must make a decision about whether or not he will be true to himself or continue to hide in his closet.
This would have easily been a five-star read for me if not for two issues. First among them is the lack of romance. The relationship of Zach and Key was glazed over. There was absolutely no intimacy, and it seemed the author actually went out of his way NOT to portray any of their physical relationship. In fact, for much of the book it was hard to tell if they even had a relationship…physical or otherwise. This being said, I would definitely not categorize this as a romance.
The other issue that I had was that the story was in the first person narrative in the voice of Zach, which was fine. It was very odd, though, because about halfway through the story, the author seemed to slip into third person. In two of his chapters, he began by describing scenes where the narrator was not even present. That just made absolutely no sense to me and I could not for the life of me figure out why this would not have been fixed during the editing process.
The story itself is very touching and has a powerful message. I loved all the characters, especially the main character Zach. I’d have liked to see him find a way to bridge the differences he had with his mother, but I don’t think that particular relationship was necessarily unrealistic. The ending of the story was absolutely beautiful. Overall, I found it to be a worthwhile read which I will quickly recommend.
Reviewed By: Jeff
Title: The New Deal
Author: H.J. Raine and Kelly Wyre
Publisher: Torquere Press
Characters: Clark and Daniel
Sub-Genre: BDSM/ Contemporary
It’s been a year since Clark and Daniel found one another in Hearts Under Fire, and the bartender and the professor have found harmony. However, Clark’s work for Lucian Gray, the New Amsterdam Mayor’s son and leader of an underground vigilante network, still continues, and it’s not without danger. Clark knows it’s only a matter of time before the risks become too great for Daniel to bear, and his prediction comes true when a BDSM scene turns into a captive discussion. Find out what happens when the men must balance life’s passion with true love
Sadly I hadn’t read Hearts Under Fire when the request came in for this story so I went at it with no knowledge of the main characters, their past or what they did for a living. However, in saying that, I did fine with following along in this story and so I’ll say it does fine as a standalone, but now I want to read the first book due to this one. I’d say the writers have done their job in that alone.
The opening scene to the last page is nothing but hot action. Clark is the submissive in the story, his Dom is Daniel, and Clarks job working for the Mayor’s son is a dangerous job and he knows that his Dom will only tolerate so much by way of his sub’s safety. Now, Lucian actually phoned Daniel to thank him for allowing Clark to continue to work for him, and not only that, there’s talk of Daniel working with them? Interesting.
I thought the short was well written, great build up, awesome BDSM scene, I love the love between the two characters and the plot. There’s no reason for me not to seek out the first title and look for more from this duo of writers.
Reviewed By: Michele
Title: No Greater Love (Sons of Aphrodite #1)
Author: Andi Anderson
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Characters: Eros and Keith
When it comes to love, Eros is tired of getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. An icon of love and romance, it’s ironic that Cupid is lonely. Now it’s only a matter of finding his soul mate and keeping him.
Eros thinks it’s pretty ironic that ‘Cupid’ wants nothing more than to find his own true love. Desperate, he enlists his mother, Aphrodite’s, help and she agrees to allow Eros thirty days off from his duties to possibly find the man of his dreams.
Keith Seeley is having the birthday from hell. He’s not only just turned forty, he’s had one mishap after another all day. When his friends insist on taking Keith to the club, being surrounded by younger men just makes him feel worse. But, when he meets the mysterious and sexy Eros, he immediately knows his life has changed forever. As time rolls by, Eros continues to be secretive about his past, putting a wall between them.
When Eros comes clean about his true identity, will Keith be able to accept him for whom he really is?
Andi Anderson has written one of the sweetest stories I’ve read in sometime. Eros, who is a son of Aphrodite’s and also Cupid is lonely and desperately wants to find his own love, his own soul-mate and his mother gives into his request, giving him only thirty days to accomplish this mission. She hands over the cross bow and arrow to one of his brothers and sends Eros to find the man of his dreams.
Eros is every bit as lovely as his mother is, he’s petite, he has long blond hair, beautiful captivating eyes, if you’ve seen the cover to this story, I think it’s dead on how Andi see’s Eros in her head. He’s a happy go lucky guy, and when he spots Keith in a bar, he knew immediately the man was more than just a man, Keith was his soul-mate.
Keith is an accountant he’s out celebrating his fortieth birthday with his friends, at their insistence at a local gay bar. However, all he sees are young attractive guys and none of them interested in him, the older man. He thinks himself average, he wears glasses, and those are just two of the things that attract Eros to him.
Eros has just thirty days to find his soul-mate, he found Keith and their story is sweet and very cute. I loved when Eros’ brothers dropped in on them. Looking forward to reading the other books coming. OH, and Aphrodite’s, she’s not as bad as all that. She does love her boys.
Oh, let me not forget the sex scenes…hellishly hot!!
Reviewed By: Michele
Author: Saloni Quinby
Publisher: Razor’s Edge
Characters: TK and Jackson
Sub-Genre: mm erotica
Pro wrestling rivals TK and Jackson have a secret that fans and colleagues wouldn’t believe. After their latest fight, they meet for a private, no holds barred match, but who will submit first?
Fun sexy romp with no plot to speak of. TK and Jackson are professional wrestlers, rivals of each other, who like to have their own private matches at home after the public show. This eighteen-page short story is a series of sexual acts in various places. Fun and lighthearted…basically it’s just literary porn.
Reviewed By: Jeff