Webs by M. Raiya


Title: Webs
Author: M. Raiya
Publisher: Changeling Press
Pages: 58
Characters: Jared, Lore, Stramorden alien
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Erotic Romance, Novella, Science Fiction, Futuristic, Menage, BDSM, Gay
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

He wakes nameless, without memory, and in chains. He expects death. Instead, he falls in love. Not once, but twice. The passion that binds the three men will not only change their lives, but change the whole galaxy. That is, if they escape the webs they’re caught in.

Review:

OMG, I loved this and whilst it may have been the first story I’ve read by M. Raiya, it will most definitely not be the last.

Being written in the first person, as Jared, the main character learns about the world he is trapped in so do we. We learn that he has no memory, that although he injures himself early on, he heals quickly with the help of alien technology and drugs. Despite his early confusion we learn along with him that deep down he enjoys the freedom of no memory and no choice. We feel his connection to his captor followed by his fierce loyalty to the man he is partnered with. As he experiences his first alien enhanced orgasm my knees went weak right along with his and just as he craved more, I too wanted more.

When Jared finally regains his memories I wanted to hit him for being a jerk, but also hug him for his instinctive forethought that ensured he spoke with his alien captor before it was too late. And when we were left with a satisfying ending I wanted to hug the writer too and say ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’

It had everything I love all rolled into one short brilliant read: predicament bondage, alien technology designed to enhance the sexual experience, space ships, a rescue mission, respected main characters who despite being badasses show compassion and care for the people under their command. Most importantly it had scorching hot, kinky sex and a happy ending.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank M. Raiya and Changeling Press for brightening my morning with this little tale of hotness.

As you can perhaps tell, I really loved this little story and will happily tell the world to go read it right now. Personally I’m off for a cold shower and then I’ll probably head back to page one and devour it all again!

Reviewed By: Smidgeson.

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Night of Ceremony by M. Raiya


Title: Night of Ceremony
Author M. Raiya
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 81
Characters: Josh, Varian
Sub-Genre: Fantasy
Stars: 4


Blurb:

Night of danger.
Night of choices.
Night when everything will change.
That is, if Varian and Josh survive the Night of Ceremony.
Varian and Josh first appeared in the novel Notice.

Review:

Night of Ceremony by M. Raiya is a very good story with strong characters and a great plot. I really liked Varian’s character. He was such a strong leader and had so much love for his family, you could feel it when you read about him.

Josh was fun to learn about, he is still learning about his powers and what they mean to his life. But he is sure about his place beside Varian, and the fact that they adopted a wonderful child and are raising her together makes everything so much better.

The night they were to officially bring her into the clan of dragons a terrible accident happens and the men are pulled away to help their friends the humans in the town nearby. Even faced with terrible hardships and an eternity they cannot full predict they are so strong with each other that nothing can stop them.

Reviewed By: Jerry

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Torquere Author: M. Raiya

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, M. Raiya.

You’re very welcome. Thank you for asking them.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’ve always lived in Vermont. I grew up in a house my father built next to a farm that has been in my family for six generations, near the shore of Lake Champlain. My father is a naturalist and my mother is a poet, so nature and writing just soaked into my soul from the beginning. I majored in writing in college and then got my master’s in English, and I work as a writing tutor in the special education department in the same high school I graduated from. I’m married, with a daughter in college and another in high school.

What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?

Well, I wrote my first book in fifth grade, and it’s not published yet. It was part of a long fantasy saga in the vein of Tolkien, and it’s still going in a weird, vine-like way, growing and weaving in and out of all my projects in some shape or other.

When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?

I started writing m/m twenty years ago when the main character in my massive saga fell in love with a stranger who happened to be male, too. I had no idea he was going to do that, but he was very insistent, and when I took a hard look back at his past, I finally understood why he’d not been interested in any of the ladies I’d been putting in his path. He came out first, and dragged me somewhat reluctantly in his wake.

How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?

Well, I started publishing in college, literary type stories in the college review, and then I had a fantasy story taken by a small magazine, but I wanted more than anything to publish a novel. Even though I had completed at least half a dozen, no one was interested. So one night I was surfing around on the web and ran across the blog of a woman who published m/m with Torquere (I have no idea now which author it was, but I’m forever grateful to her) and I checked out Torquere’s website. When I saw that they published novelettes, I suddenly remembered a really bizarre piece I’d written just for fun about three years before, kind of letting my imagination go wild and crazy and seeing what I could come up with. I dug around in my files, found it, fluffed it up a bit, and subbed it to Torquere. Then I went back to the serious business of trying to publish the next great American novel. About a week later, I got an email saying that Torquere had accepted it. I was shocked, stunned, elated, overwhelmed, and amazed that the last piece of writing that I’d ever thought would be published would be my first real publication — The Glass Man. To date, I’ve published nine more pieces, including a novel, and my tenth story is coming out in June.

Do you write full time?

I wish. No, I love my job working with special ed kids, too.

Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?

It chose me. I can’t ever remember not writing. My mother taught me to read before I started school, and books and pens were just always there.

On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?

Honestly? I get up at five-thirty and start work in the high school by seven-thirty. I carry a notebook around with me and scribble whenever I have a little break. I leave school at two-thirty, drive almost an hour home, sit down at my computer for a few minutes, then drive my daughter half an hour to her ballet class (yes, she dances almost every day of the week. She’s got the artistic gene, for sure), drive another half hour home, take care of my dog and cats, try to get outside a while, deal with house work stuff, make dinner, write for a little while until my husband and dancing daughter get home, then try to write for a little longer after that, until I fall asleep at the keys and my husband puts me to bed. Days when I actually have the house to myself, have an hour or two of silence, and am wide awake, are few and far between. Not the best way to write, but for right now, it’s my only way. And when I’ve carved out time to be at the computer, I certainly make good use of it.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Both. I write right through, but I belong to an on-line writer’s group, and I’m typically subbing my story to them as I go. So when I get feedback, I go back and work it in, then carry on.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I have to actually write to find out what I want to say. I write in layers. The first draft tends to be mostly dialogue with plot points interspersed. Once the plot is stable, I start laying in description, and then tweak and fuss with the language right up to the publication date, much to my editors’ frustration, I’m sure.

What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?

Very little. The only piece I had to do research for was “Origin,” in the Shifting Steam Anthology. I had to find out about the Victorian Era, and dinosaurs, and all kinds of cool stuff for that. It was interesting, but I’d rather just write.

How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?

Oh, my characters are always way cooler than I am. Maybe as cool as I wish I were. In general, I try to keep the various lives I lead separate from each other, because when they collide, it can be pretty spectacular.

How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?

I feel comfortable showing fairly rough stuff to my writer’s group because we’ve worked together a long time and they’re used to my typos (I’m a horrendous speller). How long it takes me to complete something really depends on how many projects I have going at once. Usually, I can write a novel in six months.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Never had it. I have the opposite problem — I get twitchy when life gets in the way and prevents me from writing. If I get stuck, it means I’ve created a mess and I need to hit delete for a while and start over.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?

I just hope they have fun reading it. And if it makes them think about love and tolerance and acceptance, then that’s great.

Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?

It’s more work than I ever dreamed, it’s more fun than I ever dreamed, and I can’t imagine going back to life before I was published. I’m addicted.

Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?

I always give everything a title before I write a single word because a title gives me an anchor that I can’t drift too far away from. A teacher once told me, “A novel untitled is a novel unfocused,” and I took that to heart. Though sometimes I start with the wrong title.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Me, laugh? I am the epitome of seriousness at all times, the polished, professional author rising to every occasion in complete and total command of the situation, and it would be deeply insulting for anyone to imply that I might succumb to such foolishness as an attack of the giggles at an inopportune time. (Ha.) I laugh often, usually at myself.

What is the most frequently asked M. Raiya question?

Are there really dragons disguised as humans living in Vermont? (Answer: absolutely!)

What are you working on now?

Revising a novel, revising a short story, and going through edits of a novella which will be coming out in June.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?

Don’t leave a single sentence behind until it’s the very best sentence you can write. This has forced me to slow down — I used to bound through manuscripts. I also write with an eye on my word count because I suffer from run-a-way-novels badly.

When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?

This whole internet-web presence thing makes me crazy. Computers do not come naturally to me. If anyone could have told me twenty years ago what I’d be doing today, I never would have believed it. I feel like I have control over my own blog, but every time I’m out on somebody else’s site, like hosting the Torquere LJ, with an invisible audience… As my poor family and friends can attest, I’ve been known to flee from my computer, grab a cat, and curl up on the couch sobbing hysterically when I’ve posted something that didn’t come out right. I fear embarrassment more than anything.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?

Oh, my husband’s always offering to let me… never mind. Um, I guess I always let myself be a writer first and foremost. No matter what I’m doing, I see it through my writer’s eye; even unpleasant and stressful things can be great writing experiences. And I do other things that bring me joy as often as I can. I try to swim several times a week just for the relaxation of it, and I love just grabbing my camera and heading out for a long walk to refocus. I’m addicted to bird watching. And I have a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends.

What kind of books do you like to read?

Everything, really. I read a lot of m/m now (for market research, of course!) but I’ve always enjoyed fantasy and science fiction and mysteries and contemporary and historical. A friend has decided it is high time I learned to appreciate fine comic books and Japanese graphic novels, so I’m reading whatever she gives me lately.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

A photographer. I sell note cards in a local gift shop and do some senior photos for kids at school.

Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?

My head? Everywhere? I don’t know. They’re just always there, so far.

When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?

Oh, I’ve loved all my covers so far. I’ve actually subbed one of my own photos for my next cover, and I’m waiting to see if it’ll be used. That would be pretty awesome.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Photography, bird watching, swimming, canoeing, biking. Oh, and eating.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

The next installment in my Notice series is coming out June 13. A dragon wedding. Exciting stuff.

New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?

Always remember to have fun. And never listen when people tell you what to write or what not to write. That sounds really obvious, but if you’re writing in a genre that’s not exactly mainstream, there can be a lot of pressure from unexpected places. I made that mistake in college, and I wasted a lot of time writing stuff that wasn’t coming from my heart. Trust yourself. Take a chance and go for it. And then keep going, no matter what.

What future projects do you have in the works?

The next installment in the Notice series is a novella called “A Sky Full of Wings.” I’m editing it right now. Beyond that are some things in progress, and I’ve got an idea for another story that’s just starting to form. I kind of hope it turns into another novel, but I’m not sure yet.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

http://mraiya.blogspot.com/ Feel free to drop in, leave a comment, or send me an email. I love feedback, and I’m friendly.

Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?

Sure. This is from my shape shifter novel, Notice. It’s a flashback scene where my heroes, Varian and Josh, first connect with each other. Varian is a dragon in human form, and he’s been busy denying that he feels anything toward the flamboyant art major Josh, who lives in the college dorm room next door. Their relationship deepens in my short story, “The Dragon and the Mistletoe.” My novella coming out in June, “A Sky Full of Wings,” is the adventure that their wedding turns out to be.

From Notice:

Things changed the spring of that year, on one Sunday night when I came back to school with a sprained ankle after spending the weekend at home. I’d injured it while helping to rescue a young dragon who’d managed to impale herself on a dead pine tree, ripping a hole right through her wing. She was safely underground and mending when I’d headed back to campus, tired and cold and not aware how badly I’d hurt myself when I’d fallen out of the tree in human form until I took my boot off and my ankle started to swell.

At two in the morning, I lay on the couch in the suite’s common room with my foot up on pillows, trying to do some neglected homework where my light wouldn’t bother my roommate and really wishing I had some ice for my ankle and something to drink, but not having the energy to face the pain of getting up.

When I heard the suite door open, I admit I was a little disappointed that Josh came in and not one of my friends. I really wasn’t in the mood for his foolishness as he looked down at me over the back of the couch.

“What did you do to yourself, silly boy?” he asked, bending down to fluff my pillows like a mother would.

“Oh, I fell hiking today,” I said. “It’s just sprained a little. Leave it alone.”

“It needs ice,” he said, going over to the refrigerator we all shared and groping around in the freezer section. “Is the pain bad? Have you taken anything?”

“No,” I said as he came back and put a plastic bag filled with ice cubes over my throbbing joint. “Ah, that feels good,” I added, lying back. “Thanks.”

“I can give you something that’ll make you forget you have an ankle,” he said, looking down at me again.

“Ah, no,” I said. “But if you’d grab me a soda, I’d really appreciate it.”

He brought me a cola and then unlocked his door and disappeared. When he came back, he had two reddish pills in his hand.

“Yeah, no thanks,” I said.

He grinned. “Ibuprofen. Honest.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Fine. Swell up all night if you’d like.”

I took the pills out of his hand. They looked like Ibuprofen, but I was no expert. And my ankle was really throbbing. I sighed and downed them with a swallow of soda. “Thanks, Josh.”

“You’re welcome.” To my surprise, he settled down on the end of the couch next to my foot.

“You don’t have to sit with me,” I said, gesturing to my book on Queen Elizabeth the First that I was supposed to have gotten through over the weekend.

He grinned. “Are you kidding? I want to see the great history major get high.”

“Josh, what did you give me?”

He just grinned wider.

“Damn you, if–”

“Relax. I told you — Ibuprofen.”

“Then why are you grinning like that?”

“No idea.”

Suspecting I was doomed, I made to kick him with my good foot, which just made him laugh. Within five minutes, a deliciously warm and pleasant feeling began creeping over me, dulling the aching throb. Queen Elizabeth the First couldn’t possibly compete, and I let her slide to the floor. Josh laughed again.

“God damn you,” I said, yawned, turned my face into the pillow, and slipped into a deep, peaceful, and very floaty sleep.

I didn’t wake until the suite came to life the next morning, and to my surprise, I found Josh waking up at my feet. I took a lot of ribbing from the other guys about that, but it was in fun, and I was actually kind of glad that Josh hadn’t drugged me and then abandoned me. It became a joke between us — he insisting it was really Ibuprofen, me insisting it had been Rohypnol or something — and neither giving in. It wasn’t until now that I began to suspect that he was right, and that my sudden peace and easing of pain had been because my body recognized the presence of the one whose soul was bound to mine, even if our minds and bodies didn’t know it yet.

Notice by M. Raiya

Title: Notice
Author: M. Raiya
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 176
Characters: Adrian Kendall, Josh
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Kisses: 4.5




Blurb:

High school teacher and dragonshifter Adrian Kendall is given notice in his classroom, which means someone is out to get him. He doesn’t know which student left the notice. He doesn’t know how the attack it warns of will come. All he knows is that his three very carefully separated lives are about to collide.

There’s far more at stake than Adrian’s sanity. The clan of dragons who depend on him will be left vulnerable. The teaching career he treasures will be over. And if all his secrets are spilled, then the peaceful world he’s built with his flamboyant and passionately gay human lover, Josh, will implode. As a thousand years of hatred take aim right at Kendall, all he can do is offer himself as the price of peace.

Review:

Adrian Kendall has a good job and a fantastic boyfriend, but he lives with many secrets. He knows if any of these secrets are revealed life as he knows it will be gone forever. You see, Adrian is a dragon shifter, and nobody knows it…not even his boyfriend. One day when he receives a note letting him know he is now being hunted, Adrian’s well secreted world starts to crumble around him.

For years, Josh has had an on-again-off-again relationship with Adrian. He instinctively knows that Adrian has secrets he keeps from the world, and Josh’s relationship with Adrian is one of his lover’s biggest kept secrets. Although, he’s tired of being Adrian’s dirty little secret, he loves Adrian, and hopes one day Adrian will come out of the closet and tell the world they are a couple. But, when Adrian comes home telling him his life is in danger, Josh soon learns that there are many other secrets Adrian has kept from him. Will Josh be able to forgive Adrian and accept that his lover is dragon shifter and all that entails?

I really loved this book! The world the author created was a creatively interesting and a highly addictive one to read! I was immediately wrapped up in Adrian’s life and I was enthralled watching the careful existence he’s created for himself, fall in pieces around his feet. The storyline moves very smoothly and there are many unique and likeable characters that made this story a fast-paced and creatively interesting read. I enjoyed watching Adrian’s characters evolve from a self-centered individual, to a caring and likeable man.

Josh was very well matched for Adrian. Josh is very out and proud and isn’t afraid to flaunt his creativity, nor his flamboyant nature. At first, I wasn’t sure if Josh and Adrian were really meant to be together. Adrian has pushed Josh and Josh’s feelings aside for some time. I wouldn’t have blamed Josh if he walked out of Adrian. But, once Adrian realizes he might lose Josh forever, it’s the wakeup call Adrian needed. He soon realizes he’s taken Josh for granted, and decides to do what he can to fight to keep Josh as his partner in his life. I thought Adrian and Josh made a good team together and I enjoyed watching their relationship evolve from a weak one to having a firm and loving foundation with each other.

Although this story has a very strong element of fantasy and fun in the storyline, in my opinion, the romance between Josh and Adrian isn’t the main focus of the story. The main focus is: Adrian and how his life as a dragon shifter is about to change, and what he has to do to keep the careful balance between dragon shifters, knights and keeping humans unaware of their existence. I would have liked a little more romance in the story, but I still highly enjoyed this book and recommend it to any person who loves an interesting and fun fantasy read.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Torquere Author Interviews and Reviews

I’m very excited to announce that Top2Bottom will be spotlighting authors from Torquere Press beginning with Sean Michael on the 11th of June. We will have not only reviews of their chosen stories but interviews too! This is very exciting for us and I hope you’ll come daily to see the new author we will have under the hot lights.

Shifting Steam An Anthology From Torquere Press


Title: Shifting Steam
Author: Edited by Lorna Hinson – Rowan Benjamin, Missouri Dalton, Ekaterina Morris, Lydia Nyx, M Raiya, Lynn Townsend, and Emory Vargas.
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 209
Characters: Various
POV: 1st and 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Anthology/Paranormal/Fantasy/Steampunk
Kisses: 4






Blurb:

Steampunk and shifters? Do they even go together? Of course they do. Steampunk is all about the possible, the magical and the otherworldly. Shapeshifters are all about bending the idea of humanity into new shapes. Combine them, and you get Shifting Steam.

The stories in Shifting Steam pave the way for a magical journey through space and time to alternate realities, where anything is possible. From dragons to birds, from Victorian era expositions to secret laboratories, these stories explore what happens when man meets beast in a world of airship captains and fantastic creatures. Whether it’s a Jekyll and Hyde style beast, a wolfman who would rather not be a wolf, or a man who wishes he could fly, every kind of creature gets its day in the steampunk sun. Step into the world of Shifting Steam and let it transport you to a sexy, fantastical new universe.

Shadow of Kenfig by Lynn Townsend
The Cormorant by Emory Vargas
The Shores of Loch Mor by Missouri Dalton
Origin by M. Raiya
Nine and Fifty Swans by Rowan Benjamin
Mr. Black and the Expo by Lydia Nyx
Affliction by Ekaterina Morris

Review:

Fans of paranormal and steampunk should find a lot to love in Shifting Steam, a collection of short stories, wildly imaginative, filled with all manner of shapeshifting men, from werewolves to birds to dragons to the description defying mysterious.

The infernal devices of the steampunk worlds blend seamlessly with the fantastical creatures of the authors’ imaginations, creating a collection of stories that transports the reader through the impossible and into the realms of the incredible, from sea to sky in sailing ships, to the cities where coal and steam ruled.

Beauties and the beasts they loved told their stories and drew me in as I absorbed each tale, sometimes being left to hang, wondering whether the lovers would find a means to their happy ending but always absorbed by the way in which the authors carried me along on the journey.

Reviewed By: Lisa

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Torquere Books Charity Sips Blitz


Title: The Book of Wisdom
Author: JM Cartwright
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: contemporary
Characters: Con, Stephen, and Jesse
Pages: 33
Kisses: 3.5







Blurb:

Con Danvers is not jealous. Uh-uh. No way. The fact that his lover is helping a young college kid with life issues doesn’t mean Con has to get all growly and snarky. Does it? Stephen Rydell wants Jesse James Callender to succeed in life — and being gay in a small West Virginia town hasn’t exactly given the kid a head start.

Catch up with the boys from A Change of Scenery five years on, as they host Stephen’s protégé for the summer.

Review:

If you’re looking for a sweet short story that has all the elements of a good engaging story line, I think you should give Book of Wisdom a shot. The story is about Con and Stephen and the young Jesse who has been recently accepted at the state college and how Con deals with his jealousy over the younger man and the attention Stephen gave to the young Jesse before he left for college before the story begins. I’m thinking this occurred in the first book, A Change of Scenery, which I didn’t get to read.

Jesse comes home for a visit, as Con and Stephen are the only people he has in his life who’ve been there for him and guided him after his family turned their backs on him. However, Con must deal with his insecurities that creep up when Jesse is around Stephen. Con believes Jesse has a crush on the older man, and the fact that Stephen laughs it off doesn’t set well with him. But in saying that they do come together and work as partners to advise the younger man especially when it comes to the matter of his heart and possible love interest.

The characters are introduced in the main story as mentioned above, and I didn’t get to read that, however, I wasn’t lost at any point in this story, so I will say this is a fine standalone. The story itself is easy moving, no angst to speak of, but wonderful sex scenes where two men know one another so well that they know what makes the other tick or tock.

Title: Family Values
Author: Alexa Snow
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 17
Characters: Tim and Marvin
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

When Marvin and Tim go to Marvin’s family reunion, they’re nervous about their reception. After all, Marvin’s family has been less than accepting in the past. To their surprise, things turn out far different than they were expecting.

Review:

Imagine the intense build up you put yourself through when you know you have something coming up that you must do and it’s something you don’t care to do on any level, ever. We fear the unknown and avoid any situation we can that may present the unknown and that’s what this story is about. Due to the fact that prior family get togethers have been nothing short of kais, Marvin and Tim are what I like to call a hot mess. Expect the unexpected.

I enjoyed a glimpse into the thoughts of the character as anticipation rose and how they dealt with this in the days leading up to the actual reunion itself. Tension build up in this story was wonderfully done. And I like to compare the end as a burst of brilliant colors where everyone in the story and out can say: AHH.

Title: Fiends In Low Places
Author: Missouri Dalton
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 17
Characters: Simon and Gabriel
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Simon Murphy, psychic and former thief is trying to rekindle the romance between himself and his FBI beau, Gabriel. The two of them have gone from being on opposite sides of the law, to the same side, to fighting over cases. At each step they’ve been drawn closer together and thrown apart over their constant fighting. Can a pizza date fix this mess? Or will the vampire mobsters after Simon ruin any chance Simon has of being with the man he really loves?

Review:

The comedy value alone in this short story brought it from a 4 kiss read to a 5. It takes talent to pull of a story in the 1st person to start with, then it takes more to know when to add the comedy and not overdue it. Missouri Dalton hit this one smack dab perfect. I found the character Simon simply adorable, he’s witty, he’s intelligent, and he’s a psychic who used to be a thief. The story is told in his POV and he is in love with Gabriel, who works for the FBI. As the blurb states they used to be on opposite sides of the law, now they are on the same side, Simon just goes about things differently, especially when it comes to Vampires. See, he works for the agency who deals with the supernatural side of things and mostly Garbiel doesn’t approve of Simon’s ways.

These two men have been an on and off again item, they love and hate each other, and over a pizza date they realize it has to be one or the other, they can’t go on as it is. Simon in the meantime locates a Vampire and follows him to the bathroom where he does what he does and then tries to hide it from his partner who is waiting on him in the restaurant. The whole set up, the way Simon goes at it, the way he looks at it and tells us about it, simply awesome. I truly loved this story and would love to read more about the couple.

Title: Four Years On
Author: Nicole Wilkinson
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 22
Characters: Jason, Kale
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary/Urban
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

Jason thought he’d left it all behind when he went to college: the family who couldn’t accept him, the boyfriend he might have outgrown, the small town with even smaller minds. The past, however, catches up to him on the day of his graduation, when Jason is set to give the valedictory speech. Thanks to his new boyfriend Kale’s meddling, this might just be the closure Jason needs, for better or worse.

Review:

This is truly a cute story about a young man who basically ran away from the small minded people in the small town he grew up in, leaving his boyfriend behind with them to escape the pains and looks. However, four years later, that certain past caught up with him, and on the day of his graduation he’ll see not everyone sees or thinks with a small mind where love and family are concerned.

Title: Happy Hour
Author: Bella Leone
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 28
Characters: Bodie and Eli
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

After a light, flirtatious conversation about what makes a good beer, Bodie invites Eli back to his place to try some real brews. After a few different beers, the boys loosen up and are in confession mode. All their embarrassing tidbits come out, making for fun and silliness, like surfer Bodie coming out of the musical closet, to the ginger cowboy’s delight. Will there be more to it, or will friendship be enough

Review:

I love when a story can pull me in on the very first sentence and keep me there until the end of the journey and this little piece did that for me. It’s a cute short romp of a tale about a southern born man living in the big city and the man he meets, Bodie, who makes or creates beer for a living. Eli is from Texas and quite a ways from home, and the man he meets who changes his life forever is Bodie. Theirs is a sweet romance where respect and love go a long way.

Title: Hard Choices: Thanksgiving
Author: Winnie Jerome
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 26
Characters: Todd and Shane
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

In this sequel to “Hard Choices”, Todd brings his partner Shane over for Thanksgiving. As things go from bad to worse, poor Todd wonders if the situation will ever get better. Can he convince his family to leave well enough alone?

Review:

Sometimes the blurbs for the stories don’t match the story itself and it proves true in this case. This story is so much more than what you’re told in that blurb and if I were the type to only take the blurb into account before selecting this to read, I would have missed out on a hell of a story with some amazing characters. While the blurb does mention a bit of a struggle for Todd to bring Shane home for Thanksgiving, it does not mention how Todd, who is now a teacher, saves the life of a young boy by sharing his own past with him. Truly, a heartwarming story that should be shared and read.

Title: My Boyfriend Has a Scar
Author: M. Raiya
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 24
Characters: Gage and Kyle
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Modern Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

A gay teen’s worst nightmare is to be caught in the act by someone who disapproves. Gage snaps under his conservative father’s fury and bolts, fleeing school, the family farm, and his shy, quiet boyfriend, Kyle. Ten years later, a violent thunderstorm brings the two together again. Can weathering the storm mend the damage?

Review:

For as short as this read it, it sure does a number on you. We have two boys, who as teens in school were the best of friends and lovers, until one fateful night when they were caught fooling around in the barn which pushes Gage over the edge causing him to flee everything he knew and loved. For ten long years he stayed gone, he headed to Hollywood where he was sure he’d become famous. Things didn’t go as planned as another fateful night stole his youth and looks. He decides to head home, his pride wounded only to end up in the arms of his long ago boyfriend, who never once gave up on them or their love. Very nicely done with a touch of angst with well written dialogue and awesome scene setting made this a definite worthwhile read.

Reviewed By: Michele

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