Gabbi Reviews: Glitterland: Aftermath by Alexis Hall


Title: Glitterland: Aftermath
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 28
Characters: Ash Winters, Darian Taylor
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

A moment of homecoming for Ash and Darian . . .

Immediately after the events of Glitterland, Ash and Darian return to Ash’s flat and explore everything that’s changed . . . and everything that’s stayed the same.

Review:

Glitterland: The Aftermath is a quick and sexy short story that begins where the first book, Glitterland ended. I absolutely loved catching up with Ash and Darian and was thrilled to read their very happy ending.

If you loved Glitterland, I highly recommend checking out this free read and see exactly what happened once Ash and Darian has reconciled.

I absolutely cannot get enough of these two heroes and hope one day the author will continue writing more about them.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to read Glitterland: Aftermath

Gabbi Reviews: Glitterland by Alexis Hall


Title: Glitterland
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 251
Characters: Ash Winters, Darian Taylor
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

Review:

Glitterland by Alexis Hall is a beautifully written romance that will leave you highly satisfied and longing for more. As I read this book, I was immediately gripped within the fresh and fast-paced story-line with realistically written characters that live and breathe off of the pages of this amazing book.

I admit to becoming quickly captivated by both heroes. Although the story is told through Ash’s point of view, Ash, himself is such a great narrator I felt like I knew Darian as well.

Both characters are very different people. Ash comes from an educated background. Although he’s achieved much success as a writer and has a few good friends, Ash is very much of a loner. He lives with bi-polar disorder and each and every day is a struggle to cope and even survive.

When he meets, Darian, Ash isn’t looking for anything more than a hook-up. But, Darian’s zest for life, sweet disposition and determination to plant himself firmly into Ash’s life. It’s because of Darian that Ash begins to live again and it’s because of Darian that Ash once more believes in hope. Hope for the future, hope for love and hope for happiness.

I truly loved this book. Though Ash can be quite surly at times, I found him to be a very likeable, and sympathetic character. There were times that Ash makes some foolish choices, but I truly enjoyed watching him learn from his mistakes and in the end, strive to be a worthy person of Darian’s love.

If you are looking for a well-written story that will live in your heart long after you finish reading the book, then Glitterland is the novel for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Glitterland

Gabbi Reviews: For Real by Alexis Hall


Title: For Real
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 437
Characters: Laurence Dalziel, Toby Finch
POV: Alternating First Person
Sub-Genre: BDSM, May-December, Romance
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Review:

For Real is the first book I’ve read by Alexis Hall and it won’t be my last. I really liked how the author was able to write sexy, flawed characters that lived and breathed off of the written page.

I like BDSM themed romances, but they can be tricky for me. There are times I feel the D/s couple doesn’t connect on an emotional level or I just don’t believe the couple is well written. Sometimes these seem a little one dimensional to me. It’s because of these reasons that brings me out of the story, so I admit I wondered how much I would enjoy reading this book, but since it was also a May/December romance, I knew I had to get it a try. I’m so glad I did! Not only was For Real a cover to cover without stopping read for me *trust me, give yourself plenty of time to read this book otherwise you’ll be losing a lot of sleep and you’ll be dragging around the next day* I was immediately swept up into these characters lives and the story they had to tell.

Laurence is a middle aged sub who is worn down by life. Because of his experience, it’s not easy to find a Dom who will truly take care of his needs both inside and outside of the bedroom. When Laurence spots a much younger man at the club, he instinctively knows the man is inexperienced and he finds himself approaching the younger man to both ease his curiosity about him and to warn him away from those who will not take the younger man seriously. As soon as he meets Toby, Laurence’s submissive nature kicks in. Before he knows it, Laurence is on his knees in front of Toby, giving the younger man the respect and submission he’s always craved.

Toby’s dream is to have an older submissive who will not only teach him the ways to be a good Dom; he wants someone who will connect with him on an emotional level. When Laurence goes to his knees in front of him, Toby is amazed that somehow he was able to get the older man’s attention at all. As the two men begin to form something special between them, their road to love and trust is not an easy one. Both Toby and Laurence must do a lot of soul searching and self-growth before they can truly become the amazing D/s couple they want to be.

I loved every minute I spent reading For Real. I enjoyed the slow buildup and watching these two men truly try to get this relationship to work. It’s not an easy task. Between their age difference and their trust issues, they had several bumps along the way. I loved the journey they took this reader on and I thought their relationship became a strong force to be reckoned with.

For Real is a Spires story and the first one I’ve read in this series. I can’t wait to read the rest. I’ve read that all of these are definitely a stand-alone in the series and I’m anxious to read more from this author.

If you are looking for a BDSM romance with characters that truly connect with one another, then For Real is definitely the book for you. I loved it and I know I’ll read it again when I’m in the mood for a well-written romance.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase For Real

Cross and Crown by Abigail Roux


Title: Cross and Crown ( A SidewinderStory)
Author: Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 521
Genre: M/M romance/ Contemporary/ Mystery
Kisses: 4




Blurb:

When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.

Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.

Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

Review:

I am a huge fan of the Cut and Run Series, this book is a SideWinder Story which is tied to the Cut and Run Series.

Nick and Kelly make a wonderful couple and you can tell they just belong to together. The blurb tells you some of the adventures they get into while Kelly is on vacation visiting his lover Nick.

Once they decide to guard a man who has amnesia who, may or may not be the bad guy, things get hairy and the bullets start to fly.

It is great to see Nick and Kelly as lovers and as partners in solving a crime together and it was a joy to also have Julian and Cameron (from the Warriors Cross series) as part of this story.

The Sidewinders Series is a very well written and has a nice plot to dig into, but I am a little biased by the Cut and Run series and always want to see more of Ty and Zane.

It is always great to see characters from previous books, so I recommend this book. I hope you will look up the other books I have mentioned by Abigail Roux you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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It’s All Geek to Me by JL Merrow


Title: It’s All Geek to Me
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 57
Characters: Jez, Rhys
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humor
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon . . . and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?

Review:

I’ve read several of JL Merrow’s books and I’ve loved them all. Ms. Merrow has a way of writing humor mixed in with a lot of romance and it keeps me coming back for more every time!

The blurb does a great job at describing the story, so I won’t rehash a lot of it. Instead, I thought I’d talk about why I liked this book and why I’d recommend it.

All of the characters in this book bring something interesting to the story. Not only are they likeable people, they seem to live and breathe off of the written page. Also, the attraction between Jez and Rhys was a very strong one. I liked how Jez really tried to like and understand the lure of comic books to impress Rhys. I also appreciated that even though he does try to enjoy them, he just doesn’t get it and decides he need to come clean with Rhys, so their budding relationship can move forward positively.

Since the book is told through Jez’s eyes, he’s an easy character to love. He seems to be a real stand-up guy when it comes to being there for his friends. I liked the chemistry between him and his best friend, Tel, and loved how, even though he felt awkward and a little out of his league with Rhys, he was determined to get to know him. Jez doesn’t always take himself seriously and because of it, he doesn’t realize what an attractive and good person he really is.

Ms. Merrow has a wicked sense of humor that really shows in her work. Her stories are very British, but also very funny. As an American, I really enjoy the different slang and the English culture that really resonates off of the pages. Because of this, there were some moments when I found myself laughing out loud at some of the actions Jez either say or goes through. All in all this is a very sweet, sexy and lighthearted story that is very easy to recommend.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Good Boy by Anne Tenino


Title: Good Boy
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 83
Characters: Brad Fuller, Sebastian DeWitt
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, BDSM Light, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

Review:

I loved Frat Boy and Toppy, the first book in the TAG series. Good Boy is excellent quality but the shortness takes something away from the best kind of immersion I’ve come to expect from someone as skilled as Ms. Tenino.

Sebastian is jealous because he didn’t get all of Brad’s firsts, and Collin—the frat guy who got Brad’s first blowjob—is staying at their house due to a fire in the TAG frat house (to find out about Collin’s story, read Sweet Young Thang). As a result of his jealousies running amok, Sebastian has a fight with Brad. The end of their relationship looms a step or two closer. But Brad has almost indefinite patience, and Sebastian has a couple of epiphanies himself along the way.

The plot here consists of a relationship in trouble. There’s a fight, a discussion, makeup sex, and resolution to the state of their continuing affair. The characterization was wonderful in FBaT, and this continues here too, though on a smaller scale. Brad wears his heart on his sleeve, always giving, so full of love. Sebastian is more reserved, expecting too much, seemingly selfish (his thesis takes up all of his time), and he has difficulties understanding love, trying and because of that failing to feel sometimes. The dialogue is great, as usual, though somewhat lacking in depth, again due to the length of the story. The sex is filled with BDSM scenes, but the emotional level is always present, which I appreciated.

In short, a good addition to the TAG series, but not as good as the others. Nonetheless, even at this level Ms. TeninoRip’s work stands apart because the woman can write! I for one am looking forward to more stories in the series—and more crazy TAG frat meetings.

Reviewed By: Susan

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Bump in the Night by Heidi Belleau, Ally Blue, Kari Gregg, Peter Hansen, Laylah Huner, Brien Michaels and Sam Schooler


Title: Bump in the Night
Author: Heidi Belleau, Ally Blue, Kari Gregg, Peter Hansen, Laylah Huner, Brien Michaels, Sam Schooler
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Words: 55300
Characters: Multiple
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal M/M
Kisses: 4




Blurb:

Turn off the lights . . . and turn on your darkest fantasies.
Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.

Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.

By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.

Review:

I enjoyed this book as the stories reminded me of the spooky anthologies I used to read, at a totally inappropriate age, but these have sizzling sex to go with the terrifying tale.
These stories are as sexily hot as they are chillingly creepy.

Creatures raised from the dead, a cephalopod seeking a mate, demons, these are just some of the beings our heroes face.

If you’re looking for rescues or HEAs, you won’t find them here. But if you want something dark and erotic, you’ll found the place to look…if you dare.

Reviewed By: Pammyla

Please give a hearty welcome to….Brien Michaels

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My name is Brien Michaels and this is the Bump in the Night blog tour. Thanks for dropping by today! I’m in the company of some fantastic authors in this anthology including Laylah Hunter, Kari Gregg, Ally Blue, Peter Hansen, Heidi Belleau, and Sam Schooler. None of the ladies (or gentlemen) involved here are strangers to the editing process. And a couple of them have even been through Riptide’s arduous editing process before (some repeatedly).  It was definitely a first for me, though.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been edited before. This is my seventh publication, after all. And I tend to find that the more you work with an editor, the easier (for lack of a better term) the edits become, because you and your editor start to get a better feel for each other. You aren’t holding so closely to your story, terrified that something is going to go wrong if you put it into someone else’s hands. What I love so much about my two current editors (Serena Stokes at Loose Id and Rachel Haimowitz at Riptide) is that they truly get not only my writing but also the story I’m trying to tell, sometimes even better than I do. They’ll kick my ass if necessary, but never let me put out sub-par work. Even if the story doesn’t garner the best response, it’s still going to be the best that we can possibly make it because they care just as much as I do. And I am forever indebted to both of them for that.

 

I’d heard legends—or perhaps a more accurate term would be horror-stories—about the Riptide editing process before I set out to be part of this anthology. And they weren’t lying. Let me tell you, when I turned this book back in after the first round of developmentals, it looked like I’d slaughtered a small baby-cow all over my poor manuscript. I was halfway tempted to tell Rachel that I didn’t know we were ritualistically sacrificing creatures for the sake of erotic horror. But I could already see the new form it was taking, and it excited me.

 

I don’t think I ever worked so hard on a piece before. Not only because I wanted to prove to Rachel that I was good enough to be a part of this, but also because I wanted to prove it to myself. As authors, we’re not strangers to identity crises when it comes to our writing, and let’s just say I had a fairly severe one just before going into this one.

 

I’ve also never changed as much as I did in this story. We changed titles, plot points, even cut an entire scene (which was definitely another first for me) but always because it served the story, and this is by far my favorite story I’ve put out to date. In fact, I love it (and all my readers) so much, I’m going to share with you all right now the scene we cut. I think it adds a whole new layer to the story and to Fromunder’s character. But be warned, it is fairly spoilery. It doesn’t give away the ending, or anything, but it does give away something that happens around the middle. So if you prefer not to read on, I totally understand. But for the rest of you…here’s the blurb, first:

 

When Brant’s lover is killed, he’s left with no choice but to complete one last task for his demon master Fromunder. The prize? His lover alive again. The alternative? Eternal servitude. But the stakes of this mission are higher than Brant realizes, and now he might now survive the night.

 

Fair warning before I continue, though, this scene is seriously dark and could possibly be offensive to some readers, so proceed with caution.

 

Deleted scene:

 

“What happened between you two?” I couldn’t help but ask. “How did he break your heart? And what sister?” Too many questions, I knew, but I’d almost died. He owed me answers, at least.

Fromunder smiled sadly and touched a tentacle to my face, and suddenly, I saw through his eyes. Felt as he felt.

Noel stood across the room, naked as the day he’d hatched, but he looked different than the Noel that Fromunder had just put to death. Similar to the form I assumed was his true one, but this skin was darker, body thicker. He had piercing blue eyes that made Fromunder weak in the knees.

“I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for today.” Noel paced the room, up and down rows of corpses in varying states of decay. The sight turned my stomach, but Fromunder didn’t seem to mind it at all. “I do know I want something fresher than this, though.” He nudged the body of a young man with his toe.

“We came here because you wanted to. If you desire fresher, then we’ll get fresher. The village isn’t far from here.”

Noel’s smile melted Fromunder’s insides. “You’d ignore your hatred for overworked meat?”

Fromunder shrugged. “I would. I could stop them before they run, if it came down to it. Their bodies wouldn’t get much of a workout if they’re standing still.”

Noel stepped through a pool of blood. Came closer until their noses nearly touched. “You’re fantastic.”

The kiss made Fromunder’s lips tingle, curled his toes.

The scene dissolved and now Fromunder was stalking down a hallway. His rage peeled the paint from the walls.

The sounds of passion grew louder in his head. He bit his tongue to keep from screaming. The element of surprise would do him well.

Fromunder threw open the door to the bedroom, and there, sprawled on the bed, lay Noel. The room reeked of sex, and the mass of tangled bodies sharing the bed with Fromunder’s lover infuriated him even more. He released his tentacles, striking down man after man. A tentacle through the brain. The heart. Up the ass and out the dick.

Fromunder’s taste buds jumped. He’d never tasted a human’s semen before. He withdrew that tendril at once and retracted it. His insides tingled as he continued to end the men until the room was empty save for him and Noel, who had taken on a human form for the night’s festivities. Fromunder couldn’t remember ever seeing anything so ugly.

“You dare?” the demon spat, training all his tentacles on the creature on the bed. “I give you everything and this is how you repay me?”

“Relax,” Noel said, wiping a bit of blood away from his face before shifting back to his true form. “It’s just sex.”

Fromunder grew hot. His tentacles glowed a faint red, and I felt certain they could melt whatever Noel’s body was made of. “Just sex? There were ten of them!”

“I wanted variety. I was going to save a couple for you.”

“I didn’t want them,” Fromunder said, teeth gritted. “I . . .”

“You’re too emotional.” Noel climbed off the bed, walked toward the closet. “I bet you can’t even feel that you missed one. I’d wondered why she ran.”

She?

Fromunder’s senses tingled. He knew who it was a second before Noel pulled her from the closet. “Mel,” he whispered.

“He seduced me,” she said, crimson eyes downcast. She looked like a flower, pink with little splashes of yellow and purple here and there, with matching leaves instead of hair, and delicate features that would have made her stunning to anyone in their world. Why had she gone for what was his? The tentacles she usually let fly freely hung to the ground, a clear sign of shame.

“You brought my sister into this?” Fromunder’s entire body trembled, but I couldn’t tell whether it was from fury or betrayal.

“She wanted to know what it was like. I figured you wouldn’t want to show her together, so . . .”

“You sick bastard.”

Mel’s eyes pleaded with her brother. “Fromunder, please forgive me.”

“We’ll discuss it later. This is between me and my lover.”

“Later?” Noel asked, his expression confused. “Have you forgotten?”

For a moment, Fromunder had no idea what he was talking about. Then he remembered Noel’s curse: There was never a later. Noel had never abided the endless yearning from anyone but Fromunder. He killed the rest. “No!”

Noel threw her to the ground, crushed his heel into her back, reached down, and tore her head away. Fromunder’s scream froze in his throat. Noel’s jaws came apart, his entire face expanding to take Melora’s head inside. Fromunder retched, vomited as the rows of teeth started to grind.

“Now we can talk,” Noel said. He wiped at his mouth as though nothing was wrong.

Fromunder’s rage burned from him like fire. His tentacles all struck Noel at once. His shriek of agony ricocheted off the walls. I’d never heard a sound so terrible.

I blinked, and suddenly I was staring at Fromunder’s face again.

 

 

 

Told you it was dark. Hope you guys like it, though. Thanks for hanging out with me. I’ll be hanging around all day if anyone wants to talk about anything. Otherwise, you can find me online at: http://www.Brienmichaels.com

 

http://www.Brienmichaels.blogspot.com

 

http://www.Twitter.com/brienmichaels

 

http://www.Goodreads.com/brienmichaels

 

http://www.Facebook.com/brienmichaels

 

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Contest:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing gift certificate! Entries close at midnight, EST, on November 2nd, and one grand prize winner will be announced or contacted on November 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide.

Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino


Title: Sweet Young Thang
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 419
Characters: Collin Montes, Eric Dixon
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

When Plan A fails, turn to Man A.

Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual students. Persuading his Uncle Monty, president of the TAG Alumni Association, that the open approach won’t adversely affect TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step toward coming out. As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by graduation.

Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.

Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.

Review:

The TAG series by Ms. Tenino just keeps on improving. I’ve been waiting for Collin’s story, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The blurb pretty much covers the main plot. The TAG house has introduced a new GLBT-accepting policy, and it’s rubbing people the wrong way. It seems like everyone is just waiting for an epic fail. But a house fire and a bombing? These are the events that bring Collin the frat boy and Eric the paramedic into direct contact, and the attraction is strong. But troubles lay ahead, and someone is clearly targeting TAG—and maybe Collin too.

Now while I love the subtlety of all the romances born between Ms. Tenino’s heroes—in this story too—I do confess that I read the TAG series because of the TAG frat meetings. Every. Single. Time. Hilarity! I laugh out loud when these boys come together to discuss things. Be it Brad’s coming out (in Frat Boy and Toppy, TAG #1—best scene ever!) or the frat’s new housing situation (no more keggers?! Logic of frat brothers!), I simply adore these scenes. They flow so naturally, they’re funny and realistic and super-uplifting. When you read them, you’ll see. The best parts of the series!

In this story the romance is May-December. Collin is young and Eric is older. Collin has had meaningless sex and Eric has had a relationship with a cheater. Together, Collin and Eric form a wonderful couple. Do not mistake Collin’s youth for lack of experience, smarts or strength of will. Though we get to know a lot about Eric too, I felt that Collin was the more developed character. I liked him a lot, the loneliness he feels, the fears and doubts, and then growing to become his own man. Collin’s a hero, an idol in many ways, but he’s also such a down-to-earth kind of guy one can’t help but love him.

The plot offers a few twists, though some are easier to figure out than others. Pretty much my only complaint about this book is that some parts could have been condensed a bit because there are a few parts that read somewhat unnecessary and they slow the story down. Still, Ms. Tenino’s engaging manner of writing makes it impossible to skip even a word, so this is a minor issue.

So, overall, another great addition to the TAG series, well worth the read. Though these are standalones, I recommend people start with the first TAG book, a classic, just to get the feel of this series and the funny, smart, compelling writing.

TAG series in order:
Frat Boy and Toppy
Love, Hypothetically
Sweet Young Thang
Good Boy

Reviewed By: Susan

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Love Hypothetically by Anne Tenino


Title: Love, Hypothetically
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 120
Characters: Paul, Trevor Gardiner
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

Hypothetical love can be a real pain in the ass.

Paul’s been called many things—graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke—but “forgiving” isn’t one of them. When the new women’s softball coach at Calapooya College specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul’s forced to put aside his strict “no athletes” policy for the sake of his paycheck.

Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul’s high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one—the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor’s come out and retired from baseball, and now he’s looking for forgiveness and a second chance.

There’s no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn’t sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.

Review:

Ms. Tenino writes well, as usual, but this time I was left wanting a bit more. The resolution here came a bit too fast for me.

In high school, Paul and Trevor were secret lovers. Well, friends with benefits, really. Then to save his own skin, Trevor outed Paul, making his last month there pure hell. Now, nine years later, Trevor has just started working at the same college where Paul works—and he’s looking for a second chance. Paul decides to exact some scores. Perhaps a bout of revenge sex would make him feel better. But… their unresolved issues are more matters of the heart than anything else.

In the first TAG series book, Paul was a total dickhead. Now we find out why he hates jocks so much. Paul is a cynical man who can’t help but annoy people with his sharp tongue. Trevor is shy but determined to win Paul back, and he’s a mix of nervous balls of energy and shy sensuality. The strong attraction between them is still there after nearly a decade, and it complicates matters.

The pace is quick, and the dialogue is where this story shines, realistic and engaging. The plot, however, moves so fast that I was left wanting more, a deeper, more detailed background and current state of affairs. The forgiveness from both sides came really quickly, which I personally found somewhat annoying. But then again, a person who can forgive easily is by definition good. In fact, Paul’s learning curve into the intricacies of apologizing makes for some of the best scenes in the book.

All in all, another good book in the series, but IMHO it doesn’t compare with the first, Frat Boy and Toppy, which is a classic. Still, well worth the read. Recommended.

Reviewed By: Susan

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