Title: Fraternal Devotion (Multi-Authored Anthology)
Author: DK Jernigan, Alisha Steele, Leigh Wilder, Azalea Moone, SL Armstrong, K Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
POV: 3rd, 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Incest between brothers
When you pit knowledge against emotions, there’s the no-man’s land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love–in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.
Keith is a Humanist Corpsman, sworn to protect society from the mutated ranks of the Infected. When his own team betrays him, however, it’s his long lost brother, Riley, who takes him in and makes him choose between War and Peace and Brotherhood. After nineteen months apart, Brandon Patrell, of Analgesia, is convinced it will take more than a home renovation to keep his playboy brother, Ethan, from running away again. But as Ethan resumes his old mind-games, Brandon is determined to tease back for once, even if it means risking everything in a game of all or nothing. A dozen years after discovering his father’s suicide, Cale returns home and finds his older brother Derrick showing the same signs of melancholy. But as much as he wants to help his brother, he fears being sucked back into that world of Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools.
Jeremy has been On Clouds of Obsession since long ago glimpsing his brother, Matt, naked in the locker room. Years later, with Matt due to be married in a week, Jeremy takes a chance after Matt’s bachelor’s party that could jeopardize their relationship, not to mention the impending wedding. Songwriter Andrew lives life On the Edge, using drugs to quiet his uncertainties about his ongoing relationship with his twin, Ben. Disheartened by Andrew’s empty promises, Ben begins to pull away, forcing Andrew to choose between letting go and finally finding the strength to stop running.
Fraternal Devotion is a multi-authored anthology in which all stories have the brothercest theme. I know this subgenre will not be for everyone, but since I’m a fan of reading these types of forbidden/ taboo romances (it is fiction AND romance, what’s not to love?) I was anxious to read this book, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least! Every story in the book brought something to the table. This can be rare because Anthologies can be tricky sometimes. Most of the time, the stories in an anthology are not that good and it can cause me to have less enjoyment of the book in general. This was not so with Fraternal Devotion! Every single story captivated my interest and were memorable in their own way. All participating authors in this anthology have a very unique voice as well as addictive storytelling ability. I highly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book, and I’m anxious to read more!
War and Peace and Brotherhood by DK Jernigan
Things are not always what they seem in this short story. Keith has been fighting an infected group of people, who most think are mutants. When he is betrayed by his own team, he finds his long-lost brother Riley and both men must confront the forbidden love they have between them. But, to truly have something special together, both brothers must trust in each other and see which side of the spectrum is the right one. Will they be able to truly be able to discover the truth behind the infected and work together or will fear of the unknown pull them apart forever?
I loved this short. I wish it had been a full length novel, because it was that good. Between the freshly told tale about those who people who are ‘infected’, and Keith and Riley’s love for each other, it made this short a fast and interesting read. I liked how Keith was extremely conflicted between what he’d been told about the infected and versus what was true. I also appreciated the strong bond the brothers had for one another, as well as their obvious love and affection they felt for each other. Also, the sexual tension between them was smokin’ hot! Whew! I loved watching them work things out while they allowed themselves to finally give into the strong attraction and love between them. The author has a creative, unique voice in which I found very addictive to read. I’m looking forward to reading more books by her.
Analgesia by Alisha Steele
It’s been nineteen months since Ethan has been home. Ever since Brandon tried to kiss him, which ended up in disastrous results, Brandon hasn’t heard from his musician older brother. Since their parents are not getting a divorce and the family house is getting prepped to be sold, Ethan has returned to help out. Will Brandon be able to keep his attraction for Ethan at bay, or will he be surprised by how Ethan really feels?
I loved the strong chemistry and sexual tension between Ethan and Brandon. Both characters are likeable men and I enjoyed their story a lot. I also adored the witty banter and horseplay the two had together. I could easily see that these two brothers both loved and were in love with each other. Out of all of the other stories in this anthology, this one was the most fun and sexy to read. I also liked the easy style of writing the author has and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her.
Depression, Love and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder
Cale has just returned home from Spring Break. Ever since his father’s suicide years before, Cale has done everything possible to avoid coming home. To make matters worse for him, his older brother Derrick has steadily been sinking into a depression and has done nothing but float around in the pool his father drowned himself in. Even though their mother means well, Cale has always had to help his older brother Derrick, and he soon realizes once again, he’ll have to be the one try to pull his brother out of the deep water of depression that Derrick seems to be determined to drown in. As Cale slowly starts getting Derrick to open up to him, he slowly comes to realize his older brother has always been in love with him, and in many ways he, himself feels the same way about Derrick. Will they be able to work though all of the guilt and fear of allowing themselves to love on another, or will Cale continue to do his best to push his brother away?
I really liked this book, but it’s been a hard one to rate. I admit I’ve hovered between 3.5 kisses to 4.5 kisses, so I’ve decided to rate it in the middle. In some ways it’s more emotionally driven than the two previous stories, but I think there are many unresolved issues between the two brothers and in the end, I wish it had been a longer story. There is a definite connection between them that I really liked, and I could see how much they needed each other, kind of like two halves of one whole, but the story still left me wanting more. It’s the first story I’ve read by Ms. Wilder and it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to the next journey her books will send me.
On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone
Matt and Jeremy are your typical brothers. When they were younger, older brother Matt pushed Jeremy around and they argued and fought like cats and dogs. Even though they were like this, they still were close. But Jeremy has been hiding a secret from Matt. He’s been in love with him since high school, and now years later, Matt is engaged to a woman he hardly knows, much less love, and it’s driving Jeremy crazy. When Matt insists that Jeremy attend his bachelor party, he reluctantly goes because he loves Matt, even though he knows he’s going to hate ever second of it. After the party, Matt passes out on the couch and Jeremy can’t resist touching him, but when he gets caught in the act, what will Matt do?
I really enjoyed this story a lot. Watch Matt and Jeremy dance around the attraction they had for each other made this a fun and very sexy read. I admit, there were times I wanted Jeremy to tell Matt to take a hike, but eventually I did warm up to Matt because of his determination to be with Jeremy in the end. I liked the sizzling chemistry between Matt and Jeremy and thought the story itself was very smoothly written. I’m looking forward to reading more by Ms. Moore in the future.
On the Edge by SL Armstrong and K. Piet
Ben and Andrew are fraternal twins who have kept their on again off again relationship secret for the past ten years. The possibility to have a real romantic relationship between them has cause both of them to move far away from home where no one knows they’re brothers. Unfortunately for Andrew, he lives with the guilt and shame of being in love with his brother, causing him to keep his twin at arm’s length. After a night of drinking and drugging Andrew will make love with Drew and then typically push Ben away. Ben decides he can’t be hurt by Andrew’s cold behavior anymore and give his twin an ultimatum. Will Andrew be able to get past the shame and guilt he feels so he can have a change of having a real loving relationship with the love of his life?
I loved this story. I thought the fear and shame that Andrew felt for loving his twin was very realistically written and well told. Andrew’s life is starting to spiral out of control and he knows he must do something about it, or he’ll not only lose his twin, but he’ll lose his reason for living. I enjoyed the dynamics between Andrew and Ben and found myself really hoping that they’d be able to love one another in peace. I have to admit, that I’ve never read a book by Ms. Armstrong and Ms. Piet that I haven’t loved. They seem to be able to really dig deep into the heart and soul of their characters. Both Andrew and Ben really lived and breathed off of the written page and the story itself was very smoothly written and well thought out. With the perfect mix of angst, hope and romance, On the Edge was one of my favorite stories out of the entire anthology.
Reviewed By: Gabbi