5 Stars, L.M. Brown, Reviewed by Lisa, Short Story, Small Gems, Totally Bound

Review: One Perfect Wish by L.M. Brown

Small Gems

Title: One Perfect Wish

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

At a Glance: Brown threw in just the right twist to elevate this tale from another insta-love story to something so much more.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Playing the part of another man’s husband to fulfill a wish is easy, but what happens at midnight when the magical day is over?

Scott Baxter is a workaholic with no time for love, until a djinn pulls him out of his life and deposits him into the bed of Cameron Kirk. Cut off from his life, Scott isn’t happy about the idea of being forced to help the djinn grant an unspecified wish, but he soon finds he has no real choice in the matter. The djinn, who has turned his life upside down, has powers that prevent Scott from leaving and ensure he does nothing to ruin Cameron’s day with his ‘husband’.

Reluctant at first, Scott finds that as the day progresses he starts to enjoy playing the role of Cameron’s husband. He connects with his unexpected lover in a way he never has with other men.

Scott searches for clues to help him track down Cameron after the day is over and he returns to his own life. He doesn’t want the day to end, but the wish is out of his control and when the magic is finished, his time with Cameron may be over too.

Dividers

Review: Talk about unexpected surprises! L.M. Brown’s One Perfect Wish is an absolutely delightful fairy tale of a story. While this novella is on the short side, nothing feels sacrificed in its limited word count. The characters are well fleshed out within the limits of the storyline, and the chemistry is so evident between Scott and Cameron that in its sixty-one pages, it’s impossible not to feel as if you’ve been given all the romance and heartbreak you can bear before the author weaves her magic to bring the story to a sweet and satisfying finish.

The story’s blurb details everything you need to know about the two men and the circumstances that bring them together, so I won’t bother rehashing it all here. Suffice it to say the author’s storytelling style is as enchanting and breathtaking as a first kiss, every bit as magical as first love, and as hope-filled as a second chance to make a dream come true. I loved that just when One Perfect Wish seemed as though it would be a fun but not particularly extraordinary read, Brown threw in just the right twist to elevate this tale from another insta-love story to something so much more.

When you’re in the mood for a quick read filled with a passion that will warm your heart and make you believe in destiny and true love, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend One Perfect Wish to satisfy that mood.






You can buy One Perfect Wish here:

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Helena Stone, Jaycee Edward, Reviewed by Sammy, Small Gems

Review: Strangers in the Night by Jaycee Edward and Helena Stone

Small Gems

Title: Strangers in the Night

Author: Jaycee Edward and Helena Stone

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 52 Pages

At a Glance: Wow. Just that—wow. I really was blown away by this story.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: When Army veteran Slade stumbles upon an isolated cottage on a cold, dark night, the young man finds more than just the shelter he’s seeking. Former club Dominant Callum is surprised to find a handsome stranger knocking at his door but invites him in despite his reservations. A nightmare reveals Slade’s deep-seated emotional issues, and Callum knows he needs to get creative if he’s going to help Slade leave the past behind.

Neither man is prepared for the feelings Slade’s introduction into the world of BDSM will unleash, and thirty-six hours will either be enough to bind them, or they will remain forever strangers in the night.

Dividers

Review: Short. Terribly erotic in the best of ways. Too short. Intelligent and wounded characters. Way too short. Give me more, please. Brilliant collaboration!

These are all so relevant to describing the short novella Strangers In The Night by the dynamic writing team of Jaycee Edward and Helena Stone. What appears to be an insta-love trope that includes some very sensual BDSM elements quickly morphs into a beginning exploration of a potentially permanent D/s relationship. Callum, a retired Dom who once trained subs for others, is now a bit of a recluse in his cottage off the beaten trail. The lifestyle and in particular, his propensity for becoming attached to those subs he trained, convinced Callum that solitude was vastly more comfortable than living in the scene.

Slade is running from a past that haunts him daily. His time in the military was both exactly what he needed and the undoing of him, simultaneously. Craving the fulfillment he finds in giving over control, Slade is lost without the rigid life of the soldier. But, the battlefield which brought death and one loss in particular has left Slade torn and deeply wounded.

One night brings these two men together, each fragile in his own way, but both needing the strength submission brings. The only questions that remain are, can Callum once again be the Dom to a sub who he thinks will most assuredly be moving on, and will Slade find all he needs in the man who can help him tear apart the grief that holds him prisoner?

Wow. Just that—wow. I really was blown away by this story. I love when a short story can reel me in and make me hunger for more. In short shrift, the authors introduced two men and plumbed the surface of all that makes them tick. Rapidly building two amazing BDSM scenes that were emotionally packed and sexually charged, Edward and Stone also drenched these moments in a story that was both revealing and literally flew off the page. These men were fascinating and written with such depth for so few pages of text. I finished this novella in one setting and nearly cried, for I wanted more, so much more of this duo.

Strangers In The Night was an incredibly well written story that introduced us to compelling characters and a fascinating storyline. I sincerely hope this is not the last time we will read about Callum and Slade, or hear from their gifted authors Jaycee Edward and Helena Stone.






You can buy Strangers in the Night here:

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5 Stars, Beaten Track Publishing, Debbie McGowan, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Small Gems

Review: A Midnight Clear by Debbie McGowan

Small Gems

Title: A Midnight Clear (Boughs of Evergreen Anthology)

Author: Debbie McGowan

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 84 Pages

At a Glance: This was a fantastic holiday read

Blurb: It’s a cold, desperate December when a young girl flees home, in search of food, shelter and the real Santa Claus. Stranded in George and Josh’s hometown, she discovers that the spirit of Christmas can be found in the most unexpected of places. Includes the story of The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen.

Dividers

Review: What a beautiful Christmas story. Everything about A Midnight Clear speaks to the spirit of the season. It’s a story of giving and sharing, of strength and hardship, and maybe most of all, of hope.

Libby is a runaway who, after spending the better part of a month living on the streets, finally benefits from a stroke of good luck (or is it kismet?) and meets a wonderful couple, George and Josh, who offer her some desperately needed help and shelter.

The details, both in story and setting, were amazing. I love stories that are set in England, and completely enjoyed the British culture aspects. In fact, the characters were so well-developed, and the world so richly created, I was compelled to do a bit of research on the author and her stories and was thrilled to find that there is an entire series based in this universe. A Midnight Clear is based on Debbie McGowan’s Hiding Behind the Couch series, which brought George and Josh to life.

This was a fantastic holiday read. I loved the flow of the story, and the chapter titles, and the fabulous way the author swirled it all together. One of my faves of the season, for sure.








You can buy A Midnight Clear here:

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4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Nikki Woolfolk, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Small Gems, Word Nerd Press

Small Gems Sunday: “The Men of Summerly” by Nikki Woolfolk

“You were supposed to go to the Ball for a few hours and have some fun, not find a husband!” – Nikki Woolfolk


Title: The Men of Summerly (Sweet and Steamy Series: Book Two)

Author: Nikki Woolfolk

Publisher: Word Nerd Press

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Tradition is as quaint tradition does.

So thinks British trade envoy Simon Leatherby as he settles into his temporary home in the mountains of Stubborn, West Virginia, to negotiate an equitable export trade agreement. As the guest of honor at the annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Costume Ball, Simon is charmed by the beauty of this rugged country and matchmaking townsfolk, but only business is on his mind. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Hayden Thorne, Historical Romance, Queerteen Press, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Small Gems, Young Adult

Small Gems Sunday: “Grave’s End” by Hayden Thorne

“He now knew what that ache was: empathy. And it wasn’t just any kind of empathy, but one involving loneliness.” – Hayden Thorne


Title: Grave’s End

Author: Hayden Thorne

Publisher: Queerteen Press

Pages/Word Count: 66 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: It isn’t business as usual for Maelwine when a new family moves into Grave’s End House. With the old, great house standing untenanted for quite some time, being a house shade attached to it has turned the hours dull for Maelwine. He has no family to entertain him, no variations in his daily duty, which involves the rousing of shadows in every room when the sun goes down. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Freebie, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published, Small Gems

Small Gems Sunday: “Three Strikes” by Piper Vaughn

“Temptation like Jeremy Saitou was the very last thing a newly appointed floor manager needed.” – Piper Vaughn


Title: Three Strikes

Author: Piper Vaughn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 9 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Jeremy Saitou is on his third and final strike. His manager, Shawn, would love nothing more than to send him packing. Shawn hates everything about the guy, especially Jeremy’s insolent mouth. Sure, Jeremy is exactly Shawn’s type—hot, pierced, and tattooed—but no one else has ever annoyed Shawn more. So when Jeremy offers Shawn the use of his body in exchange for one last chance to save his job, Shawn immediately shuts him down, even as everything in him screams for him to say yes and finally put Jeremy in his place. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Eden Winters, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Rocky Ridge Books, Small Gems

Small Gems Sunday: Eden Winters’ “Highway Man”

“He didn’t sing. No, he cut his heart open and bled his soul onto the stage.” – Eden Winters


Title: Highway Man (2nd Edition)

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Pages/Word Count: 45 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Killian Desmond’s dreams died in a flash of pain and the scream of twisted metal. He lost it all the night a tour bus sailed off a mountainside, sending his band—with his brother—to their deaths.

Killian is dead too, if the papers are to be believed, and living a half-life of odd jobs, rodeo rides and pick up gigs. The road that once meant freedom is now Killy’s exile. No strings, no ties, no names for the one-night stands. Continue reading

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4 Stars, P.D. Singer, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Rocky Ridge Books, Small Gems

Small Gem Sunday: P.D. Singer’s “Tail Slide”

Title: Tail Slide

Author: P.D. Singer

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Pages/Word Count: 37 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Fresh powder snow and running water in the Colorado back country call Lon like the moon calls the wolves. Belly-sliding to a good time on the weekends makes up for a workweek at a desk, and meeting Corey adds a whole new level of fun to snowboarding.

It’s easy to slip away for time alone in the woods without raising suspicion, but how’s Lon to entertain himself when bad snow and a worse spill force them off the mountain too early?

Never give an otter a box of Cheerios. Continue reading

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All Romance Ebooks, Garrett Leigh, Self-Published, Small Gems

Garrett Leigh Takes Readers On A Sweet Stroll Through The “Gypsy Rain”

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” ― Aristotle



Seb works as a fudge maker in a coastal community of England. Dex is a wanderer who kindly returns Seb’s wallet one late night. Seb befriends Dex and they slowly become friends over the course of a summer.

This short story by Leigh is sweet, and I am always amazed when an author in a short space of 40 pages is able to make characters and their story come to life. I found myself liking both characters and was happy that they were mutually attracted to one another. The story has a great pace and readily draws the reader into the story. I was invested in the story from the get go and am hopeful that these characters reappear from this talented author. My only problem with this story is that it did leave me wanting more, but all in all it was a nice story albeit it short and well worth the time it takes to read.

Reviewed by: Bruce

You can buy Gypsy Rain here:

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J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

In Which There’s A Difference Between Magic And Illusion – The Magician’s Apprentice by J.M. Snyder

Magic is the only honest profession. A magician promises to deceive you and he does. – Karl Germain

Ah, what a tangled knot we twist when magic practiced does exist, when illusion is not a simple guise, and to mock its existence proves most unwise…

Sorry. I’m pretty sure I’d make the absolute worst poet ever. Or rapper. ::word::

At any rate, what I’m trying to get at is that Damon Taylor is a man who takes magic very seriously. He is, after all, a practitioner of the arcane art, so who better to recognize a fellow aficionado than he? Who better to discover the man, Harry Marvel, a rather run down street performer who trades sleight of hand for loose change? Who better to feel that spark of energy, that current of lust that flows between them? And who better than Damon to transform Harry Marvel into Harry Marvelous, a man of extraordinary magical talent and showmanship?

And who better to turn back the hands of time and to manipulate reality than a man who is himself the living, breathing difference between what is true magic and what is mere illusion?

Damon borrows a little bit of trouble and brings a whole lot of the wrong sort of attention to Harry’s show when he decides to take it upon himself to teach a young and very verbal skeptic in the audience a lesson, a lesson I’m sure the boy won’t soon forget.

The Magician’s Apprentice is one of those short stories that did nothing but whet my appetite for a little something more, and it left me arguing with myself (I always win, BTW) over whether I’d have liked the story even better if J.M. Snyder had offered a little more backstory for Harry and Damon. Possibly. Probably? But then again, a good magician never reveals his secrets, so maybe this is the way I’m supposed to feel—fascinated by what I could see and left mildly off balance by what I couldn’t.

You can see what I mean for yourself if you buy The Magician’s Apprentice here:

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Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing, Small Gems

In Which I’m Pretty Sure My Brain Checked Out Somewhere Around The Lap Dance – Take It Off by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire. – George Bernard Shaw

Oooh. My. Bwaaah… Yes, that’s me being rather speechless in a very complimentary way, because there’s just not much room for words in my head at the moment. Why? Because I can’t seem to erase the mental picture that L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov left there with this sexy-heavy little episode of the life and times of Tristan and Jared, two of the Market Garden rentboys who are professionals at more than simply pleasing their clients—as well as each other. It would seem they’re also fairly talented at making me want more of them. They’re really good that way.

Some people like to watch other people get down to the business of sex, while some people would rather read about it, then let their imaginations drift to all sorts of places that reality can neither attend nor compare to. If you’re one of the latter, believe me when I tell you to go have a look at Jared getting his sexy on for Tristan and Rolex this time around, then come back and tell me I’m lying about the sex and seduction business. Yes, that’s a triple dog dare. I’m forgoing etiquette and going right for the throat.

Take It Off brings two of my now favorite rentboys together with their wealthy American client again, who seems to love to watch these guys work for it, if the large sums of money he’s willing to lay down for the pleasure of their company is any indication.

I can also say that Take It Off brings together a now favorite writing duo with these two authors, who have penned these two short stories so synchronously that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to detect the seams of each one’s distinct influence. To me, that’s a pretty good indicator that the remainder of the books in the series, even though the next book won’t be focused on Tristan and Jared, will be on my list of absolute must-reads.

You can buy Take It Off here:

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All Romance Ebooks, Piper Vaughn, Self-Published, Small Gems

In Which One Reading Just Wasn’t Enough – Asylum by Piper Vaughn

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself. – Oscar Wilde

Johnny Cairo knows a thing or two about temptation. He’s been attracted to his best friend’s little brother for a while now, after all, though he’s resisted the urge to do anything about it because risking a years’ long friendship on what’s at best an unsure thing, and at worst, a resounding disaster waiting to happen, isn’t a chance Johnny’s been willing to take.

Too bad Brennan didn’t get the memo about his brother’s best friend being off limits, because Bren damn sure isn’t going to let a little thing like that stand in the way of him getting what, or rather, who he wants. And once Brennan sets his sights on Johnny, well, there’s nowhere the man can try and hide but behind his own fears. But Brennan isn’t known as one of Fear Asylum’s best Infiltrators for nothing.

Asylum is Johnny’s story, the story of his family legacy—a traveling haunted house called Fear Asylum, though this isn’t your average, small-time, one man sideshow operation. No, they don’t call Johnny the Scaremaster for nothing. This is a full-on production, and it showcases the man’s reputation and talent for putting the fear of the things that go bump in the night into its patrons. It’s also, in a lovely turn of the tables, a story that shows how sometimes those nighttime bumps can put a fear like no other into the heart of a man with a reputation for being the master of fright.

Asylum is a full-on erotic and romantic—it’s sexmantic, even—short story that illustrates how a man learns very quickly that just because his head says there are no-strings-attached it doesn’t mean his heart is bound to listen, especially when he’s faced with the possibility of losing the one to whom he realizes he wants nothing more than to be tied.

I’ve read this story more than once, and really, really would love a sequel. You can use that as an indicator of how much I loved it.

Buy Asylum here:

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Jennifer Cierra, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

In Which Things Ain’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be – Valentino’s Valentine by Jennifer Cierra

Opportunity is a favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment. – Ambrose Bierce

William Pastor learns a very valuable lesson about celebrity worship: sometimes the actor is only as interesting as the words that others have put into his mouth, and only as sure of himself as the directions he’s been given by a script. Sometimes celebrities are far more the image that’s been constructed for them on screen than the reality you’ve spent years of your life cultivating in your imagination. It’s amazing how pretty some people are to look at until they open their mouths and shatter the illusion.

Vincent Valentino’s lips are numero uno on William’s list of people he has carte blanch to kiss outside of his relationship with Ethan Anderson. I mean, come on, don’t we all have someone in mind like that? I do. The difference between William and me, however, is that the likelihood of my ever catching, say, Chris Hemsworth in a liplock is about as good as my odds of getting caught with, say, Robert Downey Jr. in a game of tonsil hockey. In other words, William got pretty damn lucky when he was selected as the winner of a Valentine’s Day date with Mr. Valentino. Unfortunately for William, however, his dream date with destiny turns out to be more like a lesson in being very careful what you wish for. Fantasy. Fail.

But thankfully it’s not all a one-sided schooling and by the end of their “date”, William has taught Vincent a thing or two about himself, especially when it comes to being honest about who he is.

Valentino’s Valentine is a sweet little story about a fan who adds a nice dent to the sleek Teflon coating of a man whose art it is to pretend to be someone he’s not. I’ll confess I was nearly to ready to honor William with the “Worst Boyfriend Ever” award, but then he ends up learning that the grass isn’t always greener, and he did it just in time to redeem himself to me. It was a close call, though.

You can by Valentino’s Valentine here:

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JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Small Gems – Light the Fire by JL Merrow

Happiness is a warm puppy. – Charles M. Schulz

Though for Kurt, that puppy is about as welcome as a raging case of jock itch when Matt, an overly enthusiastic guy at the gym—who can’t seem to take the hint that Kurt is intensely(!) uninterested in the attention—comes along and makes Kurt begin to think thoughts he hadn’t allowed himself to think in even his wildest thoughts in a very long time.

Light the Fire is the seamless combination of a touching struggle to survive the loss of a lover, and the charming story of a man whose unadulterated and infectious joy becomes a light that draws Kurt out of the darkness of his grief. It’s the story of a man who learns that strength isn’t always measured by the bulk of the physique but in the intent of the heart and the size of the will. It is a story that reawakens the love of home and hearth, and I smiled a smile of deep affection for it. I may have sighed a little too.

In the usual (for me) JL Merrow fashion, Light the Fire left me wishing for much, much more of the story. Matt was delightful, Kurt was in need, and Matt quickly became the sun Kurt needed to rekindle a love for life. This one is quite short but I thought well worth the read.

Buy Light the Fire here:

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J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Quintessential by J.M. Snyder

A computer is like an Old Testament god, with lots of rules and no mercy. – Joseph Campbell

Jerry is an old dog, and Quin is the guy who’s going to try to teach him some new tricks in J.M. Snyder’s Quintessential, a story in which the porn’s the thing that will capture the conscience of a man who has no interest whatsoever in learning how to use a new operating system, especially when the one he’s always used is just fine, thank you very much.

Quin is the quintessential IT geek who responds to Jerry’s call for help, but that help ends up turning into some sizzling sex and a little true confession between the two men—it seems that sneaky little Quin had some ulterior motives where Jerry was concerned, and it’s Jerry who’s reaping the benefits.

It was an apple Eve used to tempt Adam in the Garden of Eden. It’s an Apple that Quin uses to tempt Jerry, too, just not that of the fruity variety. You don’t bite this Apple; no, this Apple has bytes and Quin uses it to his fullest advantage.

If you’re in the mood for a little titillation and flirty banter, for a quick taste of some system software seduction and don’t mind when your men getting it on quickly, then this short and erotic story ought to fit the bill.

Buy Quintessential here:

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All Romance Ebooks, Casey K. Cox, Small Gems

Small Gems – Be My Boy – A Free Story by Casey K. Cox

Those who unlock your compassion are those to whom you’ve been assigned.”
― Mike Murdock

Casey K. Cox’s FREE short story, Be My Boy, isn’t at all what I was expecting it would be. For one thing, with the Master/Slave dynamic as the entire premise of the book, I was expecting quite a lot of BDSM, which is most likely owed entirely to my misunderstanding of the context of that type of relationship. In fact, there was none whatsoever. And I guess, going hand-in-hand with the BDSM, I was also expecting some pretty heavy erotica, which, again, was not the case.

In the end, this is what Be My Boy boiled down to for me; this story has all the makings of a deeply romantic relationship and of an urgent bond that grows between a man who is emotionally crippled by the death of his Master, and the young man who comes along to redeem this broken soul. What I’d have loved is if there’d been just a bit more to it, but there was something so gentle and sentimental about the relationship between Owen and Mitchell that I’m eager to forgive that it left me with some questions I’ll just have to guess at myself. Honestly, they’re more a curiosity than they are relevant, anyway.

There was a bittersweet sense of yearning to Owen’s lost and tattered life, a life he’d spent in servitude to Cole for more than twenty years, a life that was cruelly snatched from him not only by Cole’s death but by the greed and spite of a woman who couldn’t bear to see Owen get what she believed herself to be entitled to. Owen was a man who was ripe to be taken advantage of, and he very much was until Mitchell took him home and made Owen his own.

I loved the twist on the Dom/sub relationship in this story, Owen being the older man and Mitchell being the “boy”, though only in the chronological sense. And although there’s a sense of tentativeness involved on Mitchell’s part, being rather new to his role as a Dom, there is no doubt at all which man is the Master and which is the Slave within this pact, and for lack of a more original conclusion, I can only say that I’d love to see more of these two, mostly to get a better feel for Mitchell and his family ties, but also to see more of the growth between him and Owen.

Though the story begins with Owen in a perfectly horrid situation, of which I don’t want to give too much away, I’d definitely say this story is worth reading.

You can download it here:

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Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing, Small Gems

Small Gems – Quid Pro Quo by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

Please, God, don’t let me be reading too much into this. – L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

I probably am. Reading too much into this, that is. How can I not, though, when there’s so very much there to want? Sometimes I wish there was a magicky button I could push to bend authors to my will, to make them write faster and not tease me with these little morsels of salacious goodness and then make me wait for interminable periods of time for more. But since there isn’t, I guess I’ll just have to take what I can get and shut up about it.

Quid Pro Quo is a lot of sex in a little package and it may well be some of the hottest erotica I’ve ever read. It’s definitely some of the hottest erotica I’ve read so far this year, hands down. This is the first short set in the Market Garden universe, where the rentboys cater to the moneyed clientele and the question arises, at least in this installment, of who really holds all the power in this provocative exchange: Tristan, the prostitute, or the nameless john who is an eager and willing pawn in this bid for control over Jared’s orgasm.

It’s not very often that I’ve considered recommending a book for a single sex scene alone, but for this one I might make an exception. L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov have created the perfect atmosphere of want and need, of dominance and submission, and of temptation and voyeurism and a hunger that may only ever be able to be satisfied within the framework of the job.

All I know is that I’m anxious for the next installment. I don’t know whether it will continue with more Tristan and Jared, or if there’ll be other Market Garden boys introduced. Whichever direction these authors decide to go with the series, though, I’ll definitely be along for the ride.

Buy Quid Pro Quo here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Small Gems

Small Gems – We’re Both Straight, Right? by Jamie Fessenden

Friendship is love minus sex and plus reason. Love is friendship plus sex and minus reason. – Mason Cooley

Money makes the world go around. Or at least that’s how the song goes. But as poor, struggling college students, money is something Zack and Larry aren’t intimately acquainted with, though Larry’s got a get-rich-quick scheme that’ll earn him some cold, hard cash. And all he has to do to rake it in is be gay-for-pay in front of a camera. And all Zack has to do is agree to be Larry’s partner-in-porn. But they’re both straight, right? Of course they are.

Until gay-for-pay turns into gay-for-you in this best-friend-turned-lovers story of two guys who’ve known each other since junior high but didn’t really know each other, or rather didn’t know they could know each other any better until they started rehearsing for their roles as straight guys having sex together in the porn biz. Well, Larry’s completely comfortable letting his freak flag fly. Zack, not so much because, seriously, how’s a guy supposed to reconcile his lifelong heterosexuality when he’s gobsmacked by his lust for the guy he’d never before seen as anything more than a friend? But then he truly sees Larry, not with his eyes—or not only with his eyes, at least—but with is heart and with his hands, and suddenly Larry is the only one Zack sees.

It wasn’t an easy-breezy change of course for this friendship, far from it with all the anxiety and all the questioning Zack does, but it was a sweet and erotic little romp that was a quick and sexy and fun read.

Buy We’re Both Straight, Right? here:

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Dreamspinner Press, JL Merrow, Small Gems

Small Gems – Dulce et Decorum Est – JL Merrow-thon Book Five

Healing is impossible in loneliness. – Wendell Berry

George Johnson is a man whose soul bears a heavy burden, weighted by the yoke of shame and self-recrimination, so deeply scarred by an event in his youth that even years later its aftermath leaves George running frightened from the man he once was, the man he was born as, a man who no longer exists. A man who was branded a coward.

Meeting Matthew Connaught was synchronicity and irony and destiny all rolled up into a single monumental turning-point for George. Matthew is a veteran of World War I, and a part of him was left behind on the battlefield as a permanent reminder of his sacrifice, but his scars don’t serve only as proof of how much Matthew gave. They serve as proof of how much he has survived.

Dulce et Decorum Est is indeed a terribly sweet and touching historical romance that first appeared in the 2010 Dreamspinner Advent Anthology Naughty or Nice. It is a story of a forbidden love and of a family’s affirmation, and is a story of courage, even when that courage is born in fear. It is a story of truth and of the wisdom in knowing when to run away and when to stand still and just be with the one who makes you feel whole again. Matthew was the light in George’s darkness, and I just couldn’t help but to embrace them.

Buy Dulce et Decorum Est here:

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Amber Allure, JL Merrow, Small Gems

Small Gems – Permanently Legless – Book Two In My JL Merrow-thon

The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. – Meg Cabot

You know how sometimes you read a short story and the first thing you wish, when it ends, is that it’d been much, much longer? Yeah, me too. Odd, then, that finishing Permanently Legless didn’t leave me feeling that way, when, if there’s a story that ought to have made me feel that way, this one would be it. Not that I wouldn’t have taken more, but here’s the thing: there was so much there in so few words that it surely must mean the words JL Merrow used to tell the story couldn’t have been in a more perfect order.

It really doesn’t take much in the way of imagination for me to love who Chris and Josh are. Chris is a veteran who was disabled in the war in Afghanistan, and though the Taliban rearranged his life in ways he never would have asked for, Chris managed to make a new life around the miracle of his having survived at all. Josh is the young man Chris had a one-off with just before he’d shipped out on his tour of duty with little more than a name, phone number, and memories of a few hours spent together. Josh is the man who never forgot those hours that changed both of the men in profound ways, time that has remained a connection between them, the past, and the present.

Theirs is a story of throwing caution to the wind, of taking a leap of faith and finding that to love is the ultimate act of courage. In case you’re still wondering how much I loved this story… I’ve already read it three times. That’s how much.

Buy Permanently Legless here:

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Jeff Adams, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Small Gems – Adventures of Jake #1 by Jeff Adams

There is no certainty; there is only adventure. – Roberto Assagioli

There was only one thing I wanted to know when I finished reading about Jake’s adventure with Michael Hammond in this teasing little morsel of a story: when is the next adventure coming?

Jake is a bit of an adorable geek who works at a park and dresses as a Fire Force character in the E-Force attraction. He also works at a comic book store, but that’s not where he first met Michael. No, Michael has been an unattainable fantasy ever since they were in Freshman Lit together. Or at least he thought Michael was out of his league until Michael comes into the store looking for the perfect gift for his little brother’s birthday.

Sometimes serendipity works a little magic into life and gives you all the chances you need to make an adventure out of something entirely unexpected. Sometimes that adventure leads you to someone who thinks you’re pretty amazing just the way you are. That’s the way it worked for Jake and Michael, and it worked for me too.

Jake reminded me just a wee bit of Michael Novotny of Queer as Folk fame, which made me love him all the more, and just like Michael once said, ”The thing you need to know is it’s all about sex,” which this story is, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you might not enjoy this one as much as I did.

I thought it was some sexy fun fiction, and I’ll be watching for Jake’s continuing adventures.

Buy Adventures of Jake #1 here:

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Allen Mack, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Small Christmas Gems – Just Call Me Kris by Allen Mack

At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year. – Thomas Tusser

Oh my, but did Christmastime just get a whole lot naughtier? And did the month of December just get a whole lot hotter? I think it did for Mike and Karl, and for me too, thanks to a very special delivery from a certain very hunky man dressed in red velvet and white fur. You know, if Kris Kringle were anything at all like the Kris in Just Call Me Kris, I’m thinking every day would be Christmas, and the playing and the making of good cheer would just be a given because everyone would be naked. Everybody make with the merry!

This short story is a hot little morsel of holiday fun, when Kris comes calling with a bag full of adult toys for both the good doctor boys, and then shows them exactly how much more fun can be had when three join in on the merriment. It’s just the right prescription to kindle a flame under Mike and Karl and get the home fires burning for Christmas.

Just Call Me Kris is just plain old sexy fun. Like Kris says, ”You never know what you might enjoy until you try it.”

I tried this one and can tell you I enjoyed it very much.

Buy Just Call Me Kris here:

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Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Small Gems

Small Christmas Gems – Mending Noel by Charlie Cochet

We’re all like broken toys in the repair shop, waiting for that one person to come along and fix us. – Unknown

Tim has no idea why Noel hates him. It didn’t start out that way, but the kinder Tim was to Noel, the grinchier Noel was to Tim, until Tim was going out of his way to avoid Noel as much as he could. But when the man who apparently hates you is also your supervisor and is bigger than you, and you’re just an underling at the Abominable Administrative Department who’ll never be more because you’re only average, nothing special, and at two-hundred-forty-five years old, you have no calling, and the only reason you have your job is a little bit of nepotism… Well, there’s not much that elf can do to win Noel over, is there? Unless he uses the magic of kindness and compassion to piece together the broken parts and make them not hurt quite so much anymore.

But, oh, there’s danger afoot in North Pole City; someone’s trying to kill Tim and Noel, but Rudy, the squadron leader of Kringle’s flyboys, is there to save the day along with Jack Frost. And isn’t there a story there? Why yes, yes there is. And you’ll just have to read to find out.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what Mending Noel is made of, and it’s just as sweet as can be and purely fun, because Charlie Cochet has taken some favorite holiday images and themes and characters and woven them into a lovely and lively little tale about a couple of elves who mix like candy canes and coal lumps, but end up going together like hot cocoa and marshmallows and a cuddle in front of the fire.

You can buy Mending Noel here:

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Celia Kyle, Small Gems, Summerhouse Publishing

Small Gems – Joy & Pain by Celia Kyle

It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure. – Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade

A little light BDSM works its way into Joy & Pain, a Daddy/sub story of a twenty-two year old ex-ballet dancer, Tevin, who makes his living as a stripper, seducing an audience of men for tips. Zeke is the man, nearly twice Tevin’s age, who claims the boy as his own.

I have such a love/not love relationship with short fiction; I love the instant payoff, but sometimes it’s hard for me to take the stories for what they are and not want much more from them than the author intends for me to have. This one has made me go back and forth quite a bit over whether I really liked it or whether I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to learn more about Tev and Zeke, because what was there did nothing more than make me want more of them; I liked them that much.

Taken as it is, Joy & Pain is an erotic vignette that paints a picture of a Dom who sees the man he is determined to have, and sets about making that a reality. It’s also the story of a young man who wants to sub, who wants that Daddy play, but also is determined to establish his own rules because he’s willing to submit and because he loves that play, but it also means he has to make Zeke understand that he, Tev, has some limits on how and when and what he’s willing to submit to. It works and works well if you’re willing to go into the story knowing that the start of a brand new relationship that has no backstory happens, if my calculations are right, in less than 40 pages. Not to mention the fact that I’d also have loved to know exactly what happened that forced Tev to give up ballet.

What I got in these four short chapters, I liked, and I’ve got to say that for a FREE story, one I happened across entirely by accident, I’m pretty glad I gave it a chance.

You can download Joy & Pain here:

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