Pony by SJD Peterson

Title: Guards of Folsom, Book Three: Pony

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Author: SJD Peterson

Pages: 200

Kisses: 4


Grant Maxwell, aka Max, wakes to find his coffeepot has died in the night. Not one who can start his day without his favourite brew, he heads to the local coffee shop. Max finds something even more appealing than caffeine in the form of twenty-six year old hottie Aiden James. For the first time in his life, well-established, confident and respected Dom Max finds himself spluttering and unsure in the face of Aiden’s charms.

Aiden lives with three roommates, works a dead-end job, and isn’t sure where his life is heading. That is until he meets Max. Max introduces him to a foreign yet intriguing lifestyle, and they soon discover they have something more than mutual attraction in common.

A shared kink is one thing, but Aiden’s past vanilla sexual experiences as well as his fear of losing himself in Max may keep Aiden from experiencing his fantasy. Max has an obstacle of his own to overcome. He must somehow figure out how to help Aiden explore his submissive side when, for the first time in his life, he’s head over heels in love.


As with the other books in SJD Peterson’s Guards of Folsom series, this book is all about the BDSM lifestyle of a Dom and his Sub. Grant Maxwell is an experienced Dominant who hasn’t had a long term Submissive since he found he didn’t love his boy the way his boy loved him. Aiden James is a young man with no real knowledge of the Dom/Sub lifestyle but does find Grant Maxwell incredibly sexy and seductive.

At this point the story reminded me Fifty Shades of Grey but rather than being horrified by the demands of the lifestyle as Anatasia Steele is, Aiden James is intrigued and more than willing to try whatever Max wants.

Everything I know about the D/S lifestyle comes from what I have read in books and I’ve always struggled to understand the desire to discipline and punish a sub in a loving relationship. As Aiden is a new submissive Max tries to explain the concept and I have to admit I still didn’t get it. What I did get and like was Aiden’s thoughts on the subject. That morning discipline allowed him to still feel close to Max when they were apart, due to the sting and heat his morning spanking left in his buttocks.

Whilst Aiden takes to the life of a full time submissive easily he still has concerns about losing himself in his desire to please Max. His concerns and the concern of one of his work colleagues and close friend do lead to the only real bump in the road of their relationship. Peterson does deal with his bump, but I didn’t get the feeling that these concerns were really explored beyond a sentence in a contract that Aiden should continue to work and spend Sunday mornings with his roommates.

I was heartened at the end of the book that Max and Aiden both agree that they don’t want the 24/7 life of Dom and Sub but want the life of lovers who enjoy a shared kink and ultimately want to get married.

This book is the third in the Guards of Folsom series and I’d like to reassure prospective readers that you don’t have to read the previous books to fully appreciate this one. SJD Peterson does a wonderful job of making each book stand alone and cover a different theme whilst still linking events and characters in each story.

Given SJD Peterson’s talent for having each book in the Guards of Folsom series explore a different theme I can’t wait to read book 4. The other books in the series are Pup and Tag Team.

Reviewed by Smidgeson


The Healing Power of Eggnog by Jamie Fessenden

Book Title: The Healing Power of Eggnog
Author: Jamie Fessenden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 80
Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay.

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them?


Firstly let me be clear, based on the blurb this is not a book I would usually choose to read, but I was feeling sentimental in the run up to Christmas. That said, I enjoyed this novella much more than I expected, it was full of first love, jealousy, heartbreak and finally forgiveness.

Will Sutherland is gay and returning home for the Christmas holidays for the first time since he left for college after coming out to his parents. To say his parents didn’t take the fact he is gay well is an understatement and there is an undercurrent of animosity between parents and son when he does return. Unbeknown to Will while he’s been away, his parents have given a home to a young gay boy Ryan Bennett who they openly love and acknowledge is homosexual.

There is an instant attraction between Will and Ryan which is full of firsts for Ryan who is a virgin in pretty much all areas of gay love. Whilst away from home Will published an erotic m/m romance novel and he gives a copy of the book to Ryan who reads and devours it. When things are really bad between Will and his parents Ryan brings up the subject of the book and tells them they should be proud of their son.

It is at that point we discover that his parents have not only read the novel multiple times but marked passages significant to themselves and Will. I realized that whatever the story of the novel, it mirrored Will experiences and his parents had recognized themselves and have done what they could to make amends. With Ryan they were behaving as they now knew they should have done with Will, and that really tugged on the heartstrings. So much so that I was in tears reading that whole scene.

This book ends on a theme of reconciliation and hope; perfect for reading around Christmas time. Jamie Fessenden is an author I will certainly look out for in the future.

Reviewed by Smidgeson


Change of Fortune by A. Morell

Title: Change of Fortune
Author: A. Morell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 75
Characters: Tomoki, Alex
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Tomoki Yonemura, vocalist with popular British rock band Traction Yen, is celebrating New Year’s Eve in Japan during their tenth anniversary tour when he pulls a fortune at a temple. He thinks nothing of its promises for love in the new year—until back home in London, he meets Alex MacKinzey, a gruff auto mechanic who helps him out of a tight spot.

Neither expects the strength of love that develops throughout the year, but it will be put to the test as Tomoki’s fame clashes with Alex’s insecurities. Fortune brought them together, but will it also tear them apart?


This novella is an unusual book in that it is set in real time. It starts on New Year’s Eve in Japan and finishes on the following New Year’s Eve again in Japan, though the intervening story takes place in England.

Each chapter is titled with the number of a day in that year which gives the reader a clear idea of the passage of time, something that I loved. Too often the time line in romances feels unrealistically rushed and whilst Tomoki and Alex’ attraction is strong and their love grows rapidly, the story also feels realistic in that there are large periods of time when nothing special happens which helps make the story development feel very natural.

Tomoki is a world famous rock star who falls for Alex, a simple garage owner and mechanic. Tomoki loves that their relationship is based in normal everyday life doing ordinary everyday things, like trying to fit dinner at home together into their busy schedules.

From the very beginning Tomoki fears Alex will eventually leave him because of pressures of his fame and the paparazzi papers do nearly destroy the relationship before it’s even had chance to get started, but Alex proves to be more resilient than Tomoki expects.

Inevitably Tomoki’s fame does have an adverse effect on their relationship with Alex feeling increasingly inadequate when he compares his love for Tomoki to the love and devotion heaped on Tomoki by his fans. These feelings and Tomoki’s fear of the consequences are at the heart of this heartwarming story.

If you’re looking for a book filled with raunchy sex scenes then this is not the story for you. If however, you want to read about two men getting to know each other and learning to live their lives together, when one of them has an extraordinary job, all set in a realistic time frame then this is a story and author I highly recommend.

Reviewed By: Smidgeson


Taken by MA Church

Title: The Harvest, Book One: Taken
Author: MA Church
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 165 (anthology of 5 stories)
Genre: Science Fiction
Kisses: 3


In the year 2050, humanity finds out they are indeed not alone.
Massive space ships appear without warning above the capital cities of all major nations. The planet Tah’Nar is dying. Chemical warfare has reduced the once-intersexed warrior race to sterility. They need fresh DNA in order to reproduce and have an idea for a harvesting program…and so they turn to Earth.

Earth governments negotiate a lottery, and Dale Michael assumes he’s safe since he’s under the Harvest age limit. How wrong he is. He’s illegally harvested and claimed by Tah’Narian starship captain Keyno Shou. From the Keyno sees Dale, he knows he must claim the spirited human male for his own. What he doesn’t expect is a spitfire with a mind of his own – and a deadly disease that will require a risky procedure to cure.


This is a page turning book that kept my interest from start to finish. The story revolves around Dale Michaels who is 17 years old when Earth finds out that Aliens exist. In the face of overwhelming force Earth doesn’t fight but capitulates to the Aliens request to harvest mates. Mates taken from the male population aged between 23 and 28 by way of a lottery for a period of 5 years.

Told entirely from Dale’s point of view the story begins one week before Dale’s 23rd birthday when he is illegally Harvested by the Tah’Narian starship captain Keyno Shou. We follow him through the initial medical procedures and into his new life with Keyno which doesn’t run entirely smoothly but there were few real surprises.

This is first story I’ve read by M A Church and sadly I found myself dropped out of the story disappointingly often as descriptions and references left me recalling famous films and TV shows I have watched. This led to the world building being less convincing as I have read elsewhere and the characters a little too predictable. However the introduction of Keyno’s hair and tail to the sex scenes was refreshing, well done and probably my favourite idea in the book.

This is an anthology of five stories which are seamlessly linked together to make one long story but even so it lacked enough highs and lows to make this a really memorable story hence only 3 kisses.

Reviewed by Smidgeson

Roughing It by Holden Wells

Title: Roughing It
Author: Holden Wells
Publisher: Hela Press
Pages: 34,000 words, Novella Length
Characters: Scott, Dwayne, Zete, Johnny Lee
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Tags: abduction, bdsm, bondage, dubcon, kidnapping, mm erotica, mmm menage, pain
Kisses: 1.5


Scott Thompson, guitarist for multi-platinum-selling metal band Flesh Hook, has always been addicted to the adrenaline rush: drag racing, motocross, big game hunts in the African floodplains. He’s broken bones, nearly died of exposure, and seared half his leg in a wreck. Nearing forty, he’s finding it harder to feed the thrill. Enter The Company, an organization specializing in custom adventure rides—the kind where you sign a waiver absolving them of everything short of death before you get on.

Company redneck Johnny Lee loves his job, and he’s damned good at it. He’s run rides for politicians, celebrities, CEOs and trust-fund kids and never broken character or had a complaint. He expects the Thompson ride to be more of the same—another rock star, this one so full of himself he’s signed up for 48 hours, an unprecedented amount of time on the Deliverance set. Rock stars break easily, though, especially the full-of-themselves kind.

Everyone breaks more easily than they expect.

Even Johnny Lee.


When I first read the blurb and the warning tags for this book, I was intrigued the two were so different. Perhaps I should have paid better attention to both before asking to read this book. Let it be noted that I came to this book with no previous knowledge of what the film ‘Deliverance’ was about but I do now know I never ever want to watch it.

In all honesty I find it almost impossible to say anything nice about this book, it isn’t that’s it’s badly written though there are a few missing words / typos that should have been picked up before it was published. But my real problem was the content. I found nothing sexy or alluring in the storyline. What happens to the main character Scott is just plain torture in my opinion and I struggled to keep reading. I appreciated that Scott had paid for and requested the fantasy deliverance scenario but as a reader I just found his treatment repulsive and difficult to stomach.

In the blurb Scott is portrayed as an adrenaline junkie in need of his next higher / harder fix, but this does not come across in the story. All that back story is missing, the only justification we are given for his crazy request is that he has survivors guilt after surviving a car accident that his friend or maybe his lover was killed in. (Sadly I can’t recall which the driver was, nor do I care.)

The writer failed to make me sympathize with Scott but he did manage to make me hate Dwayne and Zete. As for Johnny Lee who was supposed to be the redeeming character, I don’t think we ever got to know him well enough to judge him. There was no lust at first sight from Scott towards Johnny Lee and Johnny Lee’s reluctance to participate in Scott’s treatment just meant he was not in the story enough for me to learn to love or hate him. So his appearance at the end as Scott’s new love interest just felt contrived and doomed to be a disaster.

If you like really hardcore virtually non-con sex, violence and pain then this might be the book for you, but I’m sorry Holden Wells in all good conscience I can’t recommend this book to the vast majority of people.

Reviewed By: Smidgeson.


Bone Rider by J. Fally

Book Title: Bone Rider
Author: J. Fally
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 310
Genre: Science Fiction, Western.
Kisses: 5


Riley and McClane are on the run when they partner up. They’re on a road trip from hell, with the military and the mob on their trail.
Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason – he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful – and personal – than either of them could have imagined.
Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.


I loved this book and was hooked before I’d finished the first chapter but then as a science fiction and action fan what was not to like? It starts with an intelligent alien armor and weapons systems that hates its symbiotic host and is scared to death of being declared a failure and being killed. Naturally it sabotages its own space ship rather than face death. Where does it crash land? On Earth of course. How does Earth react? By sending in the military of course. As the author puts it things then went to ‘hell in a handbasket’.

The story becomes a chase across Texas and New Mexico with Riley Cooper becoming the initially unwilling host to the alien System Six later known as McClane. When the story starts Riley is already on the run from his ex-lover, assassin and Russian mob heir Misha, but soon finds the military hot on his tail too.

Initially I found J Fally’s style of writing each chapter from a different character’s point of view irritating. After all, I was already head over heels with McClane and his cheeky personality and just wanted to follow his story as he inhabited Riley. By half way through the book, when all the characters had come together, I was glad I’d been made to learn about how each one ticked because it made their interactions so much more believable.

I loved the conversations between Riley and McClane whether they were about food, films or the merits of kill or be killed as J Fally managed to keep them light hearted. McClane develops into a strong emotional character all of his own by the end of the book and I never wanted his conversations with Riley to end.

Whilst love scenes in this book are minimal, they are scorching hot since McClane enjoys it as much as Riley and thinks nothing of stimulating Riley from inside and out whilst including Misha in his ministrations where possible.

I would definitely recommend this book and will be looking out for more books by J Fally in the future.

Reviewed by Smidgeson

Dragon Tamer by Skye Dragen

Title: Dragon Tamer
Author: Skye Dragen
Publisher: UnScripted INC
Pages: 34
Characters: Aden Canicus, Tjaden Moore
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: M/M, Fantasy, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4


Challenged by a puny human to a round of three-way chess, the dragon of Blackwater Falls, Aden Canicus, desires nothing more than for the games to be done so he can enslave the arrogant human who dared to make his way up the mountain to disturb his solitude.

Tjaden Moore has crossed an ocean in order to meet the dragon who lives on his uncle’s magical game preserve. If he wins their game, he will have Aden for twenty-four hours in human form, and he doesn’t entertain any other possibility.

A win might gain the treasure hunter the night of debauchery he wants but being with someone as magical as a dragon could form bonds between them that he can’t begin to comprehend, let alone resist.


Aden Canicus is the very private and solitary dragon living in the magical reserve of Blackwater Falls. When Tjaden Moore travels up the mountain to challenge him to three simultaneous games of chess it begins a series of bargaining sessions. Those bargains lead in some of the hottest, kinkiest sex I’ve read outside of fanfiction and I loved it.

The blurb says that Tjaden sought out Aden in the hope of winning a night of debauchery, but I never really felt that was the original reason he was there. He said it was because a witch had sent him there as a way to break a ‘wanderlust’ curse. Deep down I think Tjaden was just plain curious and wanted to meet the dragon he’s heard so much about. It was Aden’s ability to think beyond the exact meaning of the words of each bargain and his use of magical objects that leads to Tjaden night of debauchery which is the core of the story.

In lots of ways I wanted to give this story more kisses but too many moments of thinking ‘what?’ ‘why?’ or ‘I wish you’d made more of that’ turned it from a fantastic book to a good book. Sometime I was confused by poor clarification of which character I was reading about or by trying to keep track of the details of each bargain other times I was frustrated, wanting the author to make more of Aden’s magical abilities .

Otherwise this is a short story that really tickled my fancy and didn’t fail to keep my interest. The fact that this story is listed as Book 1 of The Legends of Avalon series gives me hope that I may get my wish to read more of Aden and Tjaden sexual adventures.

Reviewed By: Smidgeson

Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth

Title: Easy Ryder
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 238
Characters: Snake/Ryder
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Coming of Age, Historical Americas, Mystery/Suspense
Kisses: 4.5 out of 5


On the ride across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just the physical.

It’s July 3, 1976, the beginning of America’s bicentennial weekend, and everyone seems to be celebrating their freedoms except eighteen year old runaway Michael Ryder. Fresh from rural Pennsylvania, Michael is doing whatever and whoever it takes to get to San Francisco, where he hopes to find a new life with the freedom to love without fear.

While hitchhiking, a mysterious, tattooed biker names Snake offers him a ride west – on the back of customized Harley chopper. During their journey across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just a physical relationship. But a violent encounter with a cruel biker gang and a harrowing secret from Snake’s military past might destroy their unlikely relationship long before they reach the end of the road.


This is the first book I have read by Deanna Wadsworth and I doubt it will be the last. Easy Ryder is a well written story set on the American Bicentennial weekend in 1976 following Snake and Michael Ryder on their journey across American on Snake’s Harley Chopper. It is also an examination of their relationship and other people’s attitudes to homosexuality.

Whilst I am not American I was a teenager in 1976 and I’m not even sure I knew what a homosexual relationship was, they were so far in the closet and it was certainly not polite conversation in my family home. So the way the main characters were looked down on by the general public struck me as scarily accurate. Something else that hit home was the difference in attitudes towards unprotected sex before the advent of HIV.

At the start of the story Michael Ryder comes across as a painfully innocent almost ignorant child chasing an impossible dream. A dream of finding a community in San Francisco where he would be accepted for himself as a gay man. Desperate to escape his abusive family he is hitching rides across the country using sex as payment when he meets Snake, a tattoo covered tough guy who rides a Harley.

Snake is a man of few words and lets his body do the talking. Some of the early times they spend together on the bike are the sexiest most erotic non penetrative silent sex scenes I’ve come across anywhere. Hot, hot, hot.

As their journey progresses it becomes obviously that Snake isn’t the completely confident man he portrays himself as. We begin to realize that he’s actually less at easy being gay than young Ryder is and it is Ryder that teaches Snake to be proud of who and what he is.

There were enough frantic action driven moments in the story to keep the angst in balance. I found myself cheering Ryder on when he defended Snake both verbally and physically. Then at the end when Snake outted both of them in public I was grinning from ear to ear unlike joe public who witnessed their kiss. They were horrified and disgusted, a perfect reaction for the time the story was set in.

This is a story I strongly recommend. Please read it.

Reviewed By: Smidgeson


Little Boss by Shawn Bailey

Title: Little Boss
Author: Shawn Bailey
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Pages: 173
Characters: Kasey Donovan, Nagi Takamori
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Comedy, Crime (police/detectives/PI), Gay, Romance
Kisses: 3


Kasey Donovan makes a living as an exotic dancer in a prestigious host club in Tokyo. His life gets turned upside down when the son of a local Yakuza crime boss decides to make Kasey his lover.

Exotic dancer Kasey Donovan witnesses a crime and can identify one of the culprits after the guy holds a gun to Kasey’s head and uses him as a shield to escape the police. To top off the week, the man ends up becoming the new owner of Club Taurus, the host club where Kasey works.

Nagi Takamori, son of a Yakuza crime boss, runs into trouble when he tries to collect a debt for the organization. He gets out of the situation by using a blond-haired, blue-eyed stranger as his shield to escape. Nagi, also known as Little Boss, is raised to believe the best kind of witness is a dead one, but when he discovers his savior works in a newly acquired club, he comes up with a better alternative and makes Kasey his lover.


Little Boss may be 173 pages long, but it really reads more like a 60 page novella. It’s an easy to read, straight forward story that kept me turning the pages.

Unfortunately this is not as memorable story as it could be. As I write this review I’m struggling to remember the details of the storyline. The story moved along smoothly enough but it failed to get under my skin and make me live the story. I always felt as though I was surfing along the top of the story, never getting the full or deep picture. It was rather like reading a first draft that still needs fleshing out. Every situation including the sex scenes felt like it needed more depth, more description, more emotion, more everything. Something I couldn’t help being disappointed by.

I haven’t read many books aimed at young adults so can’t be sure, but I can’t help wondering whether that’s the audience that Little Boss is aimed at rather than a past middle aged reader like me.

Reviewed By: Smidgeson


Tag Team by SJD Peterson

Book title: Guards of Folsom, Book 2: Tag Team
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author: SJD Peterson
Pages: 213
Kisses: 4.5


Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.
Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face the pain of fear and loss head-on before they can all truly live again.


Tag Team is the second in the Guards of Folsom series by SJD Peterson and I was eager to read it having discovered and thoroughly enjoyed Pup the first book in the series not so long ago. First things first I would like to reassure everyone that you don’t have to have read Pup before you can enjoy Tag Team. SJD Peterson has done a really good job of ensuring that this book stands alone and no prior knowledge of the series is necessary.

Although this book has its feet firmly in the world of BDSM, the early chapters are especially sensitively written and cover the difficult themes of grief, despair and suicide with the only reference to the world of BDSM being that Mason is a submission who had two loving Doms, both of whom have recently been killed.

Given that I had tears in my eyes as early as page 35 I was concerned that this book would end up being depressing and hard to read. However as soon as Bobby, Rig and Mason came together it rapidly became a story about hope, renewal and ultimately love with the strongest BDSM element being care for the submissive’s welfare as the most important thing in a Dominant’s life.

From the outset of the book it is made clear that Bobby and Rig are both Doms and are looking for a third, a submissive to complete their unusual relationship. Bits of me did think it was highly convenient that they happen to be on vacation in Florida staying just along the beach from where Mason lived with his pair of Doms, Gregory and Charles until their recent death. That said Peterson does a good job of building the idea that their meeting is very much the work of God or fate (depending where your beliefs lie) and was always meant to be.

Unusually for a BDSM book there is very little explicit sex and given that I have quite a kink for m/m/m threesomes I should have been disappointed. In fact I love the fact that my overwhelming memory of Tag Team is the sheer amount of love and care given to Mason by Bobby and Rig and how much they realize they want to give that love and care without necessarily receiving it in return.

Mason’s severe social anxiety disorder and the panic attacks it brings on means that he has led a very isolated life avoiding contact with anyone but his Doms. Under Bobby and Rigs careful guidance and reassurance he slowly learns to deal with people and this leads to a lovely reunion with all the characters that Peterson first introduced in Pup at the end of the book when they attend a special event at the Guards of Folsom Club in New York.

I actually think I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series. I really felt Mason’s deep despair and grief over the death of his family. I also felt his confusion about whether it is right or wrong to feel love again after those deaths. In the end I also felt his happiness to be with Bobby and Rig and his sense of relief that with their help he could have friends and enjoy a social life.

Reviewed by: Smidgeson