Gabbi Reviews: Do You Trust Me? By BG Thomas


Title: Do You Trust Me?
Author: BG Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 191
Characters: Neil Baxter, Cole Thompson
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Western, Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

2nd Edition

The path to happiness starts with acceptance, and sometimes the chance for a bright, loving future means letting go of the past.

All his life, Neil Baxter has buried a large part of himself—the part that’s attracted to other men. He married a woman and denied that side of him existed. And he plans to keep right on pretending to be straight after his beloved wife has passed away.

To help him deal with his grief, Neil’s sister-in-law convinces him to vacation at a dude ranch. There, Neil meets Cole Thompson, a young, gorgeous, unabashedly gay wrangler—who is unabashedly attracted to Neil. And try as he might, Neil cannot deny he feels the same way. But desire soon becomes something more profound as the two men get to know each other. Cole is much more than a sexy cowboy: he’s kind, spiritual, and intelligent. In fact, he’s perfect for Neil… except he’s a man, and Neil isn’t ready to let go of a lifetime of denial. If he cannot find the courage to be true to himself, he might let something wonderful slip through his fingers.

First Edition published as Trust Me by Amber Quill Press, 2011.

Review:

I’ve read several books by this author and I’ve enjoyed them all. Mr. Thomas has a real knack at writing sweet and endearing characters that are easy to like.

It’s been two years since Neil’s wife has passed. Though he has a good job and a daughter that he loves to pieces, in some ways, he’s an unhappy man. When his best friend-who is also his wife’s sister- asks him to go to a dude ranch with the family, he’s not sure about going. Neil isn’t the outdoorsy type and really doesn’t think he’d enjoy it much. But since his sister-in-law is recently widowed herself he reluctantly agrees to go.

When he does a little research about the ranch he is immediately captivated by a picture of one of the ranch hands and is more than a little disturbed by his intense attraction he has for the man. Shrugging it off, when he and the family arrive there weeks later, Neil is even more disturbed when he meets the ranch hand, Cole, in person and worried when he finds out that Cole will be their guide/host for the week.

As the two men begin to know one another it becomes very apparent to Neil that Cole is attracted to him and even worse *to him* Neil is also attracted to the younger man. As the week progresses, Neil must face the sexual side he is denied all of his life, as well as, push aside some of his own prejudices and fears if he wants to take a chance a finding love again.

Do you trust me? is a sweet story about being true to oneself and to others. Since it is told in first person through Neil’s eyes, we get the full perspective of how he thinks and feels. This is good in some ways because Neil is like an onion…there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. He is known to be somewhat of a homophobe at first, but as the story continues it is revealed as to why he acted this way and why he has denied being his true self for all of his life. I admit there were times I wanted to shake some sense into Neil, but all in all he is a good man who finally faces his fears so he can be open to new possibilities and love.

Cole is a really sexy man. He’s strong and noble and you can’t help but like him. I know I did. But, because the story is in first person we don’t know as much about him as I would have liked. His persistence to get Neil to notice him and to take a chance on him was a romantic gesture within itself. I liked him and I liked Neil so they were a good couple together.

I had a few niggles with this story. I thought the last couple of chapters was rushed and not as fleshed out as it could have been. There is little to no angst when it comes to Neil being out to his family…they all seemed to know he was gay before he allowed himself to believe it. Also, this might be a tad bit petty but I hate it when one hero calls another one Daddy. I’m sorry it’s always made me cringe…I wish I didn’t feel that way, but I do. I know this won’t bother most people, but it did me.

Do you trust me? is a solid read with plenty of sizzling moments and romance to satisfy the pickiest of readers. I enjoyed the story and I hope Sloane gets his own story one day. If you like May/December stories with sexy characters and sweet romance, then this is definitely the book for you!

Recommended

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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A note from Michele about A More Perfect Union’s authors.

Dear, J. Scott Coatsworth,

I’m writing this letter to you to thank you for being persistent. If you hadn’t of taken the time out to find me, I would have missed out on the stories within that anthology. In that, I would have missed out on some amazing characters and I wouldn’t have  read your story, or felt the hurts and the joys, or seen the happenings, none of it. I would have missed talent and true love all rolled up in one book.

Remember when you first contacted me about reading the anthology? I think I said that I didn’t review any more and that Gabbi would find a reviewer and let it go…then you found me again…(Let me say that I’m shocked you know who I am to start with. LOL!) And you asked if anyone had reviewed the anthology yet. I honestly didn’t know because Gabbi takes care of that stuff but I contacted her anyway to see if anyone had selected this book. I had a feeling no one had, we’re very thin right now with reviewers, and when she told me that we are swamped (not shocked.) with a bunch of books and very few reviewers I felt bad. I could feel that excitement by you via FB messenger…So, I took a step I stopped taking some time ago.

See, I stopped reviewing sometime ago. It’s not to say I quit reading because I haven’t, but I don’t read anything sent to us at T2B anymore. I retired to be honest. However, I didn’t think you knew that. And guess what? I’m glad you didn’t. I’m thrilled you stayed on top of it and basically pinned me in the corner over a review….Truly I am.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into here…I didn’t pay attention at the beginning…Remember when I said, “Okay, I’ll see if I can get Roxy to do it?” Well, she’s swamped and couldn’t do it…I sorta put a “time” limit on this one  because I didn’t want to let you down.  I hate to let anyone down actually and that’s part of the reason why I decided to stop reviewing.  So, moving on…Yes, I had Gabbi send me the file and read all of the stories.

Boy oh boy. Here’s what I didn’t know. I had NO idea this was an anthology! I’m serious I didn’t. I didn’t because I didn’t read the blurb or the email. I just downloaded the file and opened it and HELLO…

I don’t want to say I came out of “retirement,” to start reviewing again but I did for you and I’m glad I did. These stories are so much more than stories. They are true words written by each of you and those words came from your hearts, from your very lives. While they are fiction, there is truth behind them, all of ’em. All of you-the authors-are so very talented, incredibly gifted, right out  amazing guys. Humble, each of you. It’s hard to find guys like that in this day and age. I see so many people stuck on themselves they can’t see beyond the tips of their noses, that includes women too. But you all, you all have it going on and I’m thrilled to have gotten the chance to help you all out, even if it’s just by a review.

So, without further blabbering on my part, here you go, Mr. J. Scott Coatsworth, because you asked me for it. I don’t do this type of thing for just anyone anymore….And B.G. Thomas, Jamie Fessenden, and Michael Murphy, this includes you all too…Stand tall, be proud, smile, and remember, we may not know one another, we may never meet in person either(I have met you, Jamie) but you have my respect. I love you without knowing you, the real you’s because you’re truly super sweet men. You are all truly wonderful people and I’m thankful to J. Scott for standing up and bugging me to read this. If he hadn’t, I would have missed out and who knows…maybe we wouldn’t have had a moment to do this review up.

OH! And I want to say: CONGRATS! on your marriages! All is as it should be….I hope that one day I can find the true love each of you have found.

 

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The Boy Who Came in From the Cold by BG Thomas


Title: The Boy Who Came in From the Cold
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Pages: 284
Characters: Todd Burton and Gabe Richards
Sub-Genre: Romance
Kisses: 4.5




Blurb:

Todd Burton has had enough of small-town Buckman. His abusive stepfather calls him a fag; his friend Austin makes him realize he may be gay, but Todd doesn’t want to admit his stepfather is right; and he dreams of being a chef. Three good reasons to flee his hometown and pursue greener pastures. But when Todd reaches the big city, his luck runs dry. Soon he can’t pay his rent and gets evicted. In the middle of a snowstorm.
Gabe Richards is a wealthy businessman with enough wounds of his own to make him afraid of ever being intimate again. But when he sees Todd outside his building, freezing to death, he takes pity on him and takes him in from the cold.
To their mutual surprise, Todd and Gabe find themselves drawn to each other. “One night” turns into a week. Maybe letting a man in from the cold can melt the ice around Gabe’s heart—and maybe getting evicted will turn Todd’s luck around.

Review:

The Boy Who Came in From the Cold by BG Thomas is a wonderful story of two men with so much baggage they hardly know what to do with it, yet somehow find each other and make it work.

Todd Burton has had enough pain in his short life. He moves to the big city looking for a dream and to search for a brighter future. But it quickly turns out to be much harder than he thought. When he finds himself homeless in the middle of a blizzard he is totally unsure what to do with himself.

Gabe has had horrible luck with men. When he found his partner in bed with his friend, he has stayed away from love ever since. But when he sees the young man in front of his building, he cannot help but to try to help the guy. What starts as “paying it forward” turns into looking forward to the future, and what it can do for both men.

The Boy Who Came in From the Cold is easy to read with very strong characters. I liked how these two characters found love and the journey they had to get there.

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Jerry

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Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf by BG Thomas


Title: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 95
Characters: Nick St. George, Kit Jefferies
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Holiday, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 5+


Blurb:

Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle.

Review:

At first I was taken aback by Nick’s swearing and harsh inner thoughts. But I think that was the point because of, not only his horrible original destination, but the tremendous change he undergoes during his trip through the snowy highway with a chatty Kit. Nick’s not an easy person to like, but Kit is the most positive character I’ve read about lately, so no surprise he breaks through the blocks of ice and stone that form Nick’s shell.

This was an absolutely beautiful, life-affirming story. Kit’s in dire straits, giving Nick the chance to show he can be more than the desperate, resigned man he depicts. Characterization and dialogue shine here, so realistic and captivating you can’t help but continue reading. I do wish we had been inside Kit’s head a bit more, but this is more Nick’s story.

The writing, the pace, the plot. All show remarkable depth, hidden in plain sight, effortless and bittersweet. There’s not much sex here, but a slow-burning sensuality and erotic tension that fills the void. It is all too easy to recommend this to everyone who loves the M/M genre in general. When Nick starts to enjoy Kit’s company, the gloomy mood lifts so easily that you’ll be swept away by this love story, I guarantee it.

Reviewed By: Susan

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Anything Could Happen by BG Thomas


Book title: Anything Could Happen
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 240
Kisses: 4.5




Blurb:

Moving to Kansas City could be the best thing Austin Shelbourne has ever done. For a start, he can stop living a lie and finally come out of the closet. And there’s a chance, though slim, that he might be able to locate the love of his life, Todd Burton. It had seemed like a good idea when he seduced his friend, but Todd freaked out and vanished. Austin hopes to find Todd, make things right between them, and win his love. But when he meets actor Guy Campbell, things get even more confusing.

The moment Guy sets eyes on Austin, he knows Austin is The One. But Austin makes it clear he feels a responsibility to Todd, and Guy has some dark secrets of his own. He’s found redemption in acting and directing, but worries that if Austin learns the truth, he might not be able bear it. And what if Todd accepts Austin’s apology and the love Austin offers? Guy wants Austin desperately, but he also wants him to be happy. In the play of life, with the happiness of good men in the balance, anything could happen.

Review:

There is something so exquisitely inviting about the way in which B.G Thomas writes. From the first sentence to the last you are engaged, invested and involved with all of his characters both major and minor alike. The connection is tangible and is grounded in a sense of familiarity as we are reintroduced to old friends from his previous body of work.

Anything Could Happen is about discovering through those around you exactly who you are.

Growing up in a small town and struggling to silent the increasingly incessant cries of his true self Austin risks it and only to lose it all in one night when all he fights to hide explodes in a moment of passion. He courageously puts it all on the line and when his best friend makes a rapid exit from the events of the night only to return to witness Austin making yet another mistake he is left alone. His best friend flees and cuts off all contact.

Desperate to find his friend Austin moves in with his Uncle Bodied in Kansas City. Although things don’t progress as he plans what Austin finds are comrades, friends who are just like him, and a future independent of his past. Finding support, love and acceptance in those he thought would turn away allows Austin to not only find these in himself but to pass them on to those around him.
I loved getting to know not only Austin but also Guy and especially Uncle Bodie and Lucille. B.G Thomas doesn’t just focus on Austin and Guy but brings great life to all his characters from those just passing through to those bonus few whom give the story extra heart, extra soul and such depth that you feel their life as surely and as fully as you feel Austin’s.

Austin’s story is a follow up to The Boy Who Came In From The Cold and stands up strongly alongside its prequel. As a stand-alone read or as a must read from a favorite author Anything Could Happen is a powerful and moving story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

Reviewed by: Jacks

Bianca’s Plan by BG Thomas


Title: Bianca’s Plan
Author: BG Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 91
Characters: Gavin, Curtis
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Holiday Romance
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Bianca worries that her daddy, Gavin, is lonely and decides he needs a boyfriend for Christmas. So she enlists her father’s best friend, the straight and unattached Curtis. Gavin has a Christmas wish, too, and Curtis setting him up on disastrous dates isn’t part of it! Meanwhile, Curtis finds life becoming complicated as he tries to please Bianca, make Gavin happy, and fend off his own unexpected mixed feelings. Will anyone’s wish come true?

Review:

I’ve read a couple books by Mr. Thomas and I must say I really like his voice when it comes to writing romances. There is something very sweet and sexy about his stories that really resonate with me as a reader. In his holiday story, Bianca’s Plan, Mr. Thomas really tells a story that brings all of the things I love when it comes to a warm and fuzzy seasonal romance.

Gavin and Curtis are best friends. Gavin has secretly been in love with his best friends for years, but because Curtis is heterosexual, he believes that his love will always be an unrequited one. Both men are extremely close, and Curtis has always been a strong supporter of Gavin and his ten year old daughter, Bianca. They do many things together and basically have a very stable family unit.

Bianca is tired of seeing her father pine over his best friend, Curtis. She wants both men to be happy and is determined to make all of them happy, and hopes through a Christmas miracle that these two men will somehow see what she’s always known all along…that they are in love with each other. Will some inventive matchmaking and a Christmas wish give all three of them what they want most of all?

I loved this short story! It has a sweetness that I really appreciated without being over-the-top and the relationship between the three main characters really was a pleasure to read. I loved the emotional connection and friendship between Calvin and Gavin and couldn’t help but hope that they would somehow be able to work through their fears and work things out between them. I also loved Bianca, and thought their relationship with her was just as strong and I enjoyed how much they really appreciated and loved one another.

Bianca’s Plan is filled with plenty of warm and sweet moments that lived with me long after I finished the book. I loved these characters and thought Mr. Thomas did an excellent job at capturing the spirit of the holiday season with his story. I’m looking forward to reading more books written by Mr. Thomas and hope one day he’ll revisit these amazing characters in the future. Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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All Alone in a Sea of Romance by BG Thomas

Title: All Alone in a Sea of Romance
Author: BG Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 312
Characters: Jude Parks, Tommy Smith
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.25



Blurb:

I’m Jude Parks, writer of gay romances. Even though I’m good at what I do, the irony is that I haven’t exactly been lucky in love. My friend Jeannie says it’s because I settle for Mr. Right Now instead of holding out for Mr. Forever. I say I’d rather regret what I have done than what I haven’t.

I only came to Romantic Voyages, the biggest romance convention in the country, for business. Yet in no time I got mixed up with a gorgeous cover model, weeping artists, drag queens, and crazy housewives—and became the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Well, they say any press is good press.

Maybe I should’ve stayed home. But then I never would’ve met Tommy Smith, the craziest, most outrageous, silly, sexy man I’ve ever known—a man who makes me wonder if it may be worth holding out for Mr. Forever. A man who might turn my rotten luck around. But only if we survive the weekend and I clear my name….

Review:

All Alone in a Sea of Romance is filled with snappy dialog and rip-roaring fun. I enjoyed watching the antics the main character, Jude, goes through. The author has a quick wit and easy style of writing that I enjoyed and I’m looking forward to reading more books written by him.

Although, Jude Parks has had many one night stands and hasn’t had a relationship last longer than nine months, he is basically a romantic at heart. As a forty-one year old man, he’s starting to realize that he’s not the studly young man he once was and is starting to feel and look his age. As a semi-popular romance author he’s attending a romance convention for several days hoping that he’ll actually find someone to hook up with and forget about his sorrows for a few days. While there he runs into a nice looking, funny and flamboyant man named Tommy, who immediately intrigues Jude. Jude is confused by his attraction to Tommy because although he finds him attractive, he’s not really his type. He’s troubled by Tommy’s part time job as a drag queen at the local bar and is determined not to be with someone who is willing to dress up as a girl…even if it is for entertainment.

But things don’t always go as we plan. When Jude ends up hooking up with a gorgeous cover model for the night and the model ends up being stabbed soon after Jude left his hotel room, Jude finds himself in the midst of an investigation. Soon, one victim becomes two and both have one thing in common…Jude was with them prior to the attacks. But with the help of Jude’s best friend and Tommy, Jude tries to clear his name and in the process begins to see Tommy for what he really is. Tommy is a sexy, nice guy who Jude quickly likes and even can fall in love with. But will Jude allow himself to take a chance on love?

I really liked this story a lot. It’s told in first person through Jude’s point of view. This is not my favorite type of POV, but I think the author does a great job at really getting to the heart of Jude’s character and seeing the world through his eyes definitely was a fun experience to be had.

Another reason I liked this book was: I appreciated that both Jude and Tommy were not perfect heroes. They are getting older and starting to show some signs of aging, but they are still sexy in their own right. They are comfortable in their skins like anyone who is forty or approaching forty usually are. I liked their flaws and loved that the author did not wash over the fact they are considered ‘bears’ by gay man’s standards. They were extremely likeable men who lived and breathed off of the written page…flaws and all.

I also thought the chemistry between Jude and Tommy was pretty intense. I liked the slow buildup of attraction, feelings and desire as the story continues and truly enjoyed watching them get to know each other before they fell in love. I thought they were very suited for each other and could easily see them both getting the happy ending they wanted so much, together.

The story itself is pretty smooth and fast paced. I will say it took me a few pages to get into it, but by the time Jude met Tommy, it really picked up and kept my interest until I finished the book. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to reading more books by him and recommend this book if you’re looking for a slow-building romance with some mystery, action and well-written heroes.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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