5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie, Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford’s “Tequila Mockingbird” Shoots Straight For The Heart


“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde


Title: Tequila Mockingbird (Sinners Series: Book Three)

Author: Rhys Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Lieutenant Connor Morgan of SFPD’s SWAT division wasn’t looking for love. Especially not in a man. His life plan didn’t include one Forest Ackerman, a brown-eyed, blond drummer who’s as sexy as he is trouble. His family depends on him to be like his father, a solid pillar of strength who’ll one day lead the Morgan clan.
Continue reading

Standard
4.5 Stars, Carina Press, Reviewed by Lana, Vanessa North

A Man Is Done Keeping Secrets In Vanessa North’s “High and Tight”


“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.” ― Rachel Maddow


Title: High and Tight

Author: Vanessa North

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 81 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Pilot Adam Walker has had one great love in his life: Harris Kingston. But twelve years ago, when he accepted a scholarship and joined the Navy, he chose duty to his country over love. Their on-again off-again relationship was never more than private joy, a frustrating fact of military life.
Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, EM Lynley, Reviewed by Lynn

The Race To Love Holds Secrets and Choices In EM Lynley’s “Out of the Gate” – Reviewed by Lynn


“There are two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don’t dare to let out.” ― Ally Carter


Title: Out of the Gate

Author: EM Lynley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: British actor Wesley Tremayne thinks he’s close to hitting the big time—a film career—with his role as a hunky explorer on a popular American TV show. Success should be just around the corner, as long as he keeps his sexual orientation a secret. Wes’s best friend and beard, Julia Compton, forms the other half of a glamorous Hollywood couple that’s merely a façade.
Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Hatchette Books, Nyrae Dawn, Reviewed by Traci

Two Men Fight For Love In Nyrae Dawn’s “Rush” – Reviewed by Traci


“There is no one that can make me look into their eyes and see the rest of my life. Only you.” ― Airicka Phoenix


Title: Rush

Author: Nyrae Dawn

Publisher: Hatchette Book Group

Pages/Word Count: 273 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: For the love of the game.

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he’s desperately tried to put behind him.
Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Jackie

A Man Must Accept A Few Truths On The Way To Love In Renae Kaye’s “Loving Jay” – Reviewed by Jackie


“The thing about denial is that it doesn’t feel like denial when it’s going on.” ― Georgina Kleege


Title: Loving Jay

Author: Renae Kaye

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.
Continue reading

Standard
5 Stars, B.G. Thomas, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Lynn

B.G. Thomas’s “Spring Affair” Is A Story Of New Beginnings – Reviewed by Lynn


“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.” ― Victor Hugo


Title: Spring Affair (Seasons of Love: Book One)

Author: B.G. Thomas

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 350 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Sloan McKenna is going through a tough time. His beloved mother has recently passed away, leaving him her house and beautiful garden. But should he keep the house? Sell it? To make matters worse, he’s in love with one of his best friends, Asher, a man who can’t (or won’t) love him back.
Continue reading

Standard
5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Traci

Sean Crisden’s Narration Of “Chase in Shadow” Is Pitch-Perfect And A Must Listen – Reviewed by Traci


“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” ― Chuck Palahniuk


Title: Chase In Shadow (Johnnies #1)

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator:: Sean Crisden

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 hours, 39 minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.
Continue reading

Standard
3.5 Stars, Khloe Knight, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Khloe Knight’s “Always” Is A Sweet Coming Out Story


“You can’t stay in the closet forever, Damon. Someday secret little meetings and stolen kisses won’t be enough for either of us.” – Khloe Knight


Title: Always (Always #1)

Author: Khloe Knight

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 40 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Jason has had a crush on Damon Nixon ever since he figured out he liked boys. After one fateful day at summer camp Jason’s dream finally comes true as he and Damon begin meeting in secret. But the waters of this new relationship are tested when school comes around and the weight of this secret becomes heavier than either boys expects.
Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson’s “Sweet Tooth” Is A Sweet And Funny Memoir – Reviewed by Tina


“Besides, it’s my God-given right as an American to speak my mind and fill others’ ears with my thoughts, my opinions, my innermost feelings, and my repressed childhood memories.” ― Tim Anderson


Title: Sweet Tooth

Author: Tim Anderson

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 333 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: What’s a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in North Carolina in the eighties supposed to think when he’s diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? That God is punishing him, naturally.
Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Tina, Tia Fielding

Tia Fielding’s “Mirage” Made This Reader Stand Up And Cheer – Reviewed by Tina


“And lastly, I want to thank Harrison Ford. Because I can. And let’s face it, he shaped as much of my world and imagination as anyone else I can think of. I owe him a hell of a lot.” – Rhys Ford


Title: Mirage

Author: Tia Fielding

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: When forty-six-year-old washed-up country musician Jasper “Red” Blue looks at the past, all he sees is a series of failures. His one treasured success is six years battling alcoholism without the help of AA. To secure his children’s future, Jasper desperately wants to produce a new album, but he can’t write alone. And he won’t work with just anyone.
Continue reading

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Jackie

Jay Northcote’s “Not Just Friends” Is A Wonderful Coming-Of-Age Story – Reviewed by Jackie


“His lips ever so gently touched mine, and suddenly I felt everything stirring inside me grow wings, let loose, and fly.” ― Heather Anastasiu


Title: Not Just Friends

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.
Continue reading

Standard
Dawn Kimberly Johnson, Dreamspinner Press

Dawn Kimberly Johnson’s “Button Down” Is A Story About Opening Up


“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.” ― Laozi



Title: Button Down

Author: Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: When he finds himself captivated by a movie-star handsome stranger he meets in a bar, lawyer Ford Reilly watches a simple one-night stand develop into a taste of what living honestly might bring him.
Continue reading

Standard
A.M. Arthur, Dreamspinner Press

“What You Own” Offers Hope In Second Chances


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― e.e. cummings



Title: What You Own

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: For Ryan Sanders, the Paige Community Center is more than a place where he teaches at-risk teens about musical theater. He found a sense of belonging there during one of the hardest times of his life. With the center facing a financial crisis, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the doors open—even soliciting fundraiser donations from Langley-Quartermaine Financial.
Continue reading

Standard
Riley Hart, Self-Published

Riley Hart’s “Collide” Is A Book You’ll Be Glad You Ran Into


“Even the best fall down sometimes, even the wrong words seem to rhyme, out of the doubt that fills my mind, I somehow find you and I collide.” – Howie Day



Title: Collide (Blackcreek #1)

Author: Riley Hart

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 332

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: At ten years old, Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided mid-air when they dove for the same football. For three years, they were inseparable…until one day when Noah and his parents disappeared in the middle of the night.
Continue reading

Standard
Dreamspinner Press

In Which Falling In Love Is “A Package Deal”



“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu


BLURB: Robby Dalton is the perfect all-American boy. He played the sports his father chose for him in high school, attended the college his father selected, and has worked hard to conform to his father’s macho views. But emotionally he doesn’t fit anywhere, and he can’t connect with a woman beyond a few uninspired dates. Robby’s not in the closet, because he’s never guessed he’s gay. Now he owns a small commercial construction company, and one night after work he runs into Savannah Meyers. He finds her fascinating and agrees to a date, thinking maybe this woman would be different.

But Savannah has her own agenda. She is looking for a love match for her roommate, Tristan Chartrand, whom she rescued from the streets years ago. He’s like a brother, and her only family, so she wants him safe and happy. Her plan seems to begin well, because when Robby meets Tristan, he’s surprised to find it’s Tristan he wants, not Savannah. But some people in Robby’s life don’t approve of Tristan’s lowly station in life, and some don’t approve of Robby being gay. Some people are full of hate and violence, and Robby and Tristan will need courage and strength if a loving future is to be part of the deal.

Continue reading

Standard
Kensington Press, Tom Mendicino

Tom Mendicino’s “Probation” Is A Book That Captures The Heart



“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” ― Clive Barker


Summary:

When his secret life becomes exposed, Andy Nocera is forced to pick up the pieces whilst trying to accept his lot after losing his wife, his job, his house and his self respect. Found on his knees with a strange man in a rest room was damning enough, but having to autopsy your own psyche in the presence of a man of god, as well as try and burst out of the closet is no small feat. Nocera’s life was a constant battle, but the battle was nothing compared to the war as his new life brings fresh scars, dating faux pas a-plenty and the damning effects of the loss of a family member in a bittersweet tale of finding yourself on a road that, for all intents and purposes, seemed to lead to nowhere.
Continue reading

Standard
All Romance Ebooks, Kate Aaron

The Ball Is In Love’s Court In Kate Aaron’s “Ace”



“Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest.” – Andre Agassi


Brian Scagill is Britain’s number one tennis player, groomed and driven hard not to settle for anything less than becoming the number one player in the world. Lexi Horvat is a Croatian expat who no one would’ve guessed would advance as far as he did in the tournament during which they met. Neither of the men are technically out players, but neither of them has ever denied who he is to protect himself from the scrutiny of being a gay athlete either, and Ace is their story, from their first meeting, through the wins and losses and on to a relationship that quickly becomes public after an on-court kiss makes it pretty obvious to the world that Brian and Lexi are more than competitors and so much more than friends.
Continue reading

Standard
Chelle Dugan, Dreamspinner Press

This “Hat Trick” Scores



“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ― Benjamin Franklin


Hat Trick is a sweet little story about finding love and staying true to who you truly are. Antoine Cote is a closeted hockey player. He has issues with his sexuality mainly because he thinks he can’t be out and be a hockey player. Nearing he end of his career, he thinks that maybe coming out is a possibility. His love life isn’t great. He doesn’t have long term relationships because he can’t give all of himself to his partners.
Continue reading

Standard
Harmony Ink Press, Sam Kadence

Sam Kadence Is Here To Put You “On the Right Track”



“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” ― Leopold Stokowski



Ryunoski Nakimura, or Ru to his friends has had a rough time of it recently. At the ripe old age of seventeen Ru has already been at the top of the music industry. He has also been knocked down by the people that should have had his back. Ru was a member of a boy band for years, but a vengeful ex-boyfriend outs Ru and he loses everything. He lost his band, his music contract and all but one of his close friends. Luckily Tommy, a fellow member of his former boy band, stuck with Ru and has been his one point of solace in the nightmare his life has become. After being hounded by the press and finding out that his ex had been cheating on him, Ru decides he needs a change of scenery, so he moves into Tommy’s condo in Minnesota. For more than a month Ru keeps to himself, but finally he decides to step out of his comfort zone and that trip to the library changes his life.

Adam Corbin is a very simple sixteen year old. He goes to school, he plays football and he likes to run. This is all most of the people in his life know about him. On the inside Adam is scared. He hates being on the football team, he has one friend, and he is the only “out” student in the school. Adam has known for a while that he is gay, but he hasn’t found anyone worth coming out for. After all, he saw what happened to his friend Sebastian when he came out. A beating and a serious head injury is not something Adam is looking forward to. He figures if he can just skate through his last two years of high school he can get out of his small town and get on with his life. His plan seems to be working until the day he goes to the library to research a paper and he sees the most beautiful young man in the world, well, in Adam’s world at least. Adam has no idea that Ru is a celebrity and when he finds a note with Ru’s name and phone number on it in his folder, he is both elated and scared to death.

Ru and Adam have a very sweet first date, which happens to not only be Adam’s first date, but his first kiss also. The two young men start spending all of their free time together. Ru’s mother has decided that she is going to travel and just live off Ru’s money, and his father dumped Ru at age eleven when he found out that Ru is gay. When Adam realizes that Ru has no family aside from Tommy, he decides that he will share his family with him. Between school for Adam and recordings for Ru, which Adam still doesn’t know about, the boys don’t get as much time together as they would like, but they make it work. Of course, as soon as things start going well for them the other shoe drops. Someone that wants Adam for himself outs Ru as a celebrity and infers that he is cheating on Adam. Then Adam comes out and he has to deal with harassment and some violence. Ru and Adam work through the drama and grow closer than they ever thought was possible.

This book is a must read for any LGBTQ youth you know. I would recommend this book for many reasons. There is a theme throughout the story of acceptance. I believe that Sebastian is one of the strongest characters in the book. This boy has his stuff TOGETHER. He is out and proud and he won’t let anyone scare him back into the closet. Near the end of the book, Sebastian gives a speech at the school that made me bawl like a baby. As much as Adam thought he was invisible, he was at least one person’s hero. The thing I really loved was the simple idea that just being nice to someone that everyone else shuns could save a life. Accepting someone for who they are, no strings attached, can make you shine and can make someone else feel like a million bucks. It can pull them back from the edge you didn’t know they were teetering on.

Sam Kadence has written a wonderful story with a message of acceptance for any LGBTQ youth, both from the outside and from within themselves.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy On the Right Track here:

Standard
Anne Dudley, Dreamspinner Press

“Ride the Wind” Is A Story Of Firsts



“If someone’s life is not enriched by their time with you, then you’re not doing something right.” ― Osayi Osar-Emokpae



Alex Durant was a seventeen year old runaway when he was taken in by Augie, his not so wonderful boss. He has spent six years now working in Augie’s motorcycle shop and has become an exceptional mechanic and detail guy. When he finally takes his first vacation, he decides to head up to Sturgis for the annual motorcycle rally. The first night he arrives, he notices a nice looking biker while checking out Mt. Rushmore. Alex has never acted on his attraction to men, and his only real experience in sex was with a prostitute on his twenty-first birthday. He doesn’t know if this man is just being nice to him or if he is making a move on him, and this flusters Alex.

Jordan Baker is basically the polar opposite of Alex. Jordan travels all over the country racing motorcycles and is very outgoing and lives like there is no tomorrow. When he bumps into Alex at Mt. Rushmore, it seems he is instantly smitten. Jordan has a bright smile and a devil may care attitude that draws Alex to him like a moth to a flame. He realizes that Alex is inexperienced so he takes things slow and for lack of a better word, he courts Alex.

The two men strike up a quick friendship, and Jordan shows Alex things he has never seen before. Whether it was just stopping to look at the stars or motocross races or open field concerts, Jordan shares a lot of firsts with Alex. The most important first may have been their first kiss. After that first kiss, the two men spend an entire week exploring out of the way places in the Black Hills, motorcycles and each other.

Jordan is a man that has been around the block a time or two and is comfortable in his own skin, but Alex has hidden himself away all of his twenty-three years. Alex is scared down to his bones of anyone finding out that he likes men. This fear causes some major bumps in the road for he and Jordan. It seems both men have found exactly what they didn’t know they were looking for. The only thing standing in their way is Alex.

Alex has never stood on his own two feet. He has never had a place of his own to live and he has never had backbone enough to stand up for himself. Jordan wants Alex with him all the time. He tries to convince Alex to move from Springfield and come on the road with him. Jordan has a permanent place in Texas for the off-season and he does his best to convince Alex to join him. Alex however, feels he needs to be on his own two feet for a while before he settles into a relationship. Jordan does the hardest thing he has ever had to do: he sets Alex free and takes his word that they will get together in the future.

When Alex returns to Springfield, it seems Jordan taught him more than he thought he did. Alex opens up to his only friend at work, Zeke, and finds out they have more in common then he ever knew. Zeke helps Alex to start his new life. Alex opens a checking account, rents an apartment and stands up to his overbearing boss. At the same time, he explores is sexuality and realizes that maybe it isn’t the end of the world to be gay. It takes time to get all of this done, and he realizes it has been four months since he last spoke to Jordan. He doesn’t know if the man will still want him after all this time, but he has to take a chance. Alex has finally realized that no matter how many one night stands he may have, none of them pull at his heart strings like Jordan did. When he finally contacts Jordan will he still want him, or did Alex wait too long to contact him? Well, I am not going to ruin the ending. lol.

I can’t say how much I liked this book. It reminded me of a YA story, but with hot smexy sex scenes. Alex may have been twenty-three years old, but he had a lot of growing up to do. This book basically tells the story of Alex finding out exactly who he is and watching him become the man he wants to be. I respected the fact that he didn’t just jump into a serious relationship with Jordan. It takes a strong person to realize they have to take care of themselves before they can add someone else to the mix.

Alex and Jordan had some super hot scenes together, but there were also some very tender moments that just melted my heart. These two men certainly had their moments with temper tantrums and some pretty serious arguments, but they grew closer in one week than some people do in years. The author did a wonderful job of showing Alex’s transformation and it was realistically portrayed. There wasn’t any quick fix and Alex didn’t just “get over” his fear. He eventually learned to control his fear enough to live a happy life.

I highly recommend this book and I dare you not to cry in the last ¼ of the book. I double dare you!!!! :)

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Ride the Wind here:

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Sue Brown

Sue Brown Has Created An “Isle of Wishes”



“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” ― Libba Bray



This sequel was wonderfully written and kept my attention from the start. We are first introduced to Paul Owens. Paul is Sam Owens’ brother. If you read the first book in the series then you will remember Sam and Liam from The Isle of…Where? Paul is the youngest brother of the Owens clan and it seems he is the most promiscuous. Paul is an equal opportunity lover of both women and men; however, he never invites them for an encore performance. He has never had, nor does he want a ::shudder:: relationship.

At the beginning of the book Sam makes a reappearance and we find out that Liam, Sam’s fiance, has gone missing. Since Liam is a family member, whether the wedding has officially happened yet or not, Paul is instantly in “cop mode” and arranging for he and Sam to fly to the states to find Liam.

When Paul and Sam find out that Liam’s rental car has been found and the police are assuming Liam stole it, they head out to the sheriff station to let them know that Liam is in fact missing. At this point they meet Detective Olaf Skandik, who Paul realizes, is a walking wet dream. Unfortunately for Paul Olaf is so deep in the closet Narnia would be a beach vacation.

Detective Olaf Skandik is an ex-military man with an ultra-conservative family that keeps him from being himself out in the open. What Olaf wants more than anything is a man that loves him and him alone. Someone he can build a life with. He just isn’t sure if he is willing to give up his family to live the dream. His parents have made it clear that they will not accept his homosexuality and his boss has made it clear that he does not want to employ any homosexuals. Then lightning strikes the moment Olaf lays eyes on Paul Owens.

It seemed to me as a reader that these two men were perfect for one another. I believe the fact that they are both police officers makes them even closer. Paul understands when Olaf has to rush out to work, and he understands when Olaf can’t discuss the details of Liam’s case. Luckily, or not, Paul is a great police officer himself and he helps find some details that eventually lead to solving the case.

After spending a few days getting to know one another both in and out of bed, the two men begin to fall in love. Paul is very conflicted with this turn of events, he doesn’t believe he and Olaf can make a relationship work like Sam and Liam did. He also isn’t sure if that is what he wants. So, when he has to return to England he does it with no expectations of making his time with Olaf more than a fun fling.

After two months without contact, everyone around Paul is tired of watching him pine away for someone he claims was just a “one off”. After his work partner has a talk with him about the change in his attitude since he got back from America, Paul decides to call Olaf and they both admit to having deeper feelings than they let on. Paul also gets a huge surprise when he finds out that Olaf was not only invited to Sam and Liam’s wedding, but he is planning on attending.

When Olaf gets to England, he and Paul find that the connection was deeper than they both thought. They just have a few barriers they have to get past before there can be a happily ever after. A few of these barriers are Paul’s family, Olaf’s family and Olaf’s coming out or not. The two men get up to some very smexy shenanigans and also have some very tender moments together. I loved watching them face down Rose, Mattie and the rest of the Owens clan. Olaf has reached sainthood with them all and he doesn’t understand the way this very close family operates.

I sincerely hope that there is another book in this series because I was left with some questions that weren’t answered before the dreaded words “The End” appeared on my Kindle. I highly recommend this book and the first book of the series also. So head on over and pick up your copy and take a trip to the Isle of Wishes. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2) here:

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Rob Colton

“The Ranch Foreman” Leaves A Lot Unsaid

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky



When we first meet Matt, Madison Ward. He is meeting his cousin Brian, who has gotten him a job at the Gates cattle ranch. Matt has been taking care of his aunt, Brian’s mother, but she has become ill and has been moved into an assisted living facility. Her house had to be sold to pay for her care so Matt is homeless without this job. He has never worked a ranch before, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Upon his arrival Matt meets Baxter Hollingsworth, the ranch foreman. Matt recognizes the attraction in Baxter’s eyes, but it seems Baxter is not just in the closet, but he is so far in there he may never come out.

Baxter Hollingsworth is a forty-plus-year-old ranch foreman who has lived his life in the closet and has no intention of coming out anytime soon. He is completely enthralled by Matt when he first meets him, and that scares him to death. The only solution Baxter can see is to stay professional and keep as much distance between them as possible. This seemed to work for him until he gets drunk. Each time he has a few drinks, he finds Matt and has his way with him, but as soon as he is sober, he is back to putting distance between them.

Matt is pretty much at his breaking point and decides that he has to stop letting Baxter use him whenever he feels like it. Right about this time, Matt meets the local vet and finds out that not all the gay men in town are in the closet. The two men go out on a date and it gets pretty hot and heavy, but Matt can’t get Baxter out of his head and he lets the vet down easy. Baxter is enraged that Matt went out with the vet and it leads to a confrontation where Matt finally tells Baxter that he isn’t going to stand for anymore drunk fumblings, and he wants to live and love out and proud. Baxter won’t do that so they are done, or so Matt thinks.

Soon after this confrontation, there is a freak accident that leaves Matt injured and has Baxter questioning his decision to stay in the closet and away from Matt. This is where the author lost me. It seemed to me that all of a sudden the two men are proclaiming their undying love for one another, and it just felt false. The author did write a wonderful story, I just feel so much was left unsaid that needed to be verbalized. There was a situation of sexual assault against Matt, and it seemed he just “got over it”. He never discussed it with anyone, and that just didn’t ring true with me. The owners of the ranch seem to adore Matt, yet there is very little history shown between them, and maybe three total conversations.

This book was a good read, I just felt it could be so much more. I didn’t have any emotional ties to the MCs, and I truly didn’t like Baxter. I just got the impression that the whole storyline was rushed, and I didn’t get all the backstory that would have made the book that much better.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy The Ranch Foreman here:

Standard
Draven St. James, Loose Id

“Grey’s Hidden Fire” Isn’t So Hidden Anymore

“Is it possible not to ever know your type—not to even know you have a type—until quite suddenly you do?” ― Jennifer E. Smith “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight”



Greyson Hayes and Mica Cruz are the hot and hunky firefighters who star in Draven St. James’ Grey’s Hidden Fire, a sweet and sexy and lightly angsty story about a couple of men learning what it means to be brothers-in-arms and insanely in lust with each other at the same time.

Mica is the new guy in the firehouse, but the rumors of his sexuality had already preceded him, spurred on by the station’s resident homophobe and all-around git. Mica doesn’t look gay, Mica doesn’t act gay, but he’s been labeled regardless, though it appears Jeffries, the git in question, is the only one of the guys who really cares. The moment Mica and Grey meet, their attraction to each other is a bit like gas thrown on an open flame. The feelings are combustible, mutual, and entirely confusing to the very straight Grey, who may not be so very straight after all.

One clumsy and catastrophic experiment when he was a teenager ended Grey’s belief he could be attracted to guys, and he’s dated women only ever since. It’s been pretty simple for him, all things considered, since he’s never been sexually attracted to another man. Until, that is, Mica shows up and Grey discovers that Mica will cause him to break all the rules and change who he’s always believed himself to be.

The term Gay-For-You is apparently rather fifteen minutes ago. Are we calling it Out-For-You now? Whatever name we’re giving it these days, Grey’s Hidden Fire is that. It’s the story of a man who didn’t know he could fall in love with another man until the perfect guy came along and made him face that truth.

There’s only a wee bit of angst in this one, and a side story involving a hate crime that was perpetrated and solved fairly quickly. This is a novella best read with the right expectations going into it: a bit of insta-love, a couple of loveable MCs, some unconditionally accepting friends, and even a few who may know a little more about Grey and Mica’s feelings for each other—from firsthand experience.

If you’re looking for a quick and steamy late-summer read, this one might be just what you’re looking for.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Grey’s Hidden Fire here:

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, John Goode

Taking A Chance On John Goode’s “Taking Chances” Is A Sure Bet

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” – Denis Waitley



Tyler Parker knows very well what it’s like growing up gay in Foster, Texas, the town where Brad Greymark and Kyle Stilleno have begun to redefine what it means to be out and proud in the one place where being different means being an outcast.

Being the handsome All American Boy and a star athlete in high school came with certain expectations for Ty, and with those expectations came the fear that the secrets he kept would mean the end of him. The closet he’s hidden in is a difficult and lonely place to live, but he doesn’t know any other way to be after all those years of hiding. Though thanks to Brad and Kyle, Ty has cracked the door open, only now beginning to wonder what might be waiting for him on the other side.

Matt Wallace is the youngest of the three Wallace boys, all football players, all larger than life in high school, where they were idolized. Matt spent his teenage years working at doing little more than fitting in, laughing in all the right places, dating girls, hiding his true feelings and wants as best he could in spite of the fact his feelings and wants led him past Ty’s house nearly every day just to try and catch a glimpse of the Golden Boy Matt had fallen in love with from a distance.

Matt’s secret crush on Ty wasn’t a fleeting high school love affair. No, Matt’s feelings for Ty as a teenager have shaped who Matt has become as an adult, comparing every guy he meets to the image of the boy he’d spied on as Ty leaned against his back door and read, barefoot and beautiful and unattainable.

Matt’s life in San Francisco is empty and, truth be told, he’s a little bitter. He’s got the money and the career, but that’s hollow compensation for the fact that he doesn’t fit in there any better than he did in Foster. He’s got a best friend named Sophia, a shrewish harpy who seems happy to see Matt stay just as miserable as she is, and he’s got his memories of Ty that he uses as the measuring stick against which he compares every man he dates, finding that they all fall short.

John Goode has handed the world of Foster, Texas over to the grownups in Taking Chances, proving that adults don’t have all the right answers and falling in love is not an instant fix for a lifetime of denial.

This is a story of second chances. And third chances. And fourth. It’s a story of love and of fear and of things from the past that can never be forgotten. It’s a story of revisiting the past and making huge mistakes, and is a story that shows sometimes wisdom has nothing to do with the years a person has lived and everything to do with perspective gained over the amount of life lived in those years. Taking Chances is a story of finding the courage to love yourself so you can finally love someone else.

There’s a reason this series is a favorite of mine, which has everything to do with the fact that the people who populate this town are people that I know, people that I could know, people that I might not want to know but who could be neighbors just the same. John Goode writes with humor and heart and with a realism that touches something beyond entertainment and becomes a story that I want to read again and again.

This book crosses over into End of the Innocence, so if you haven’t read that book in the “Tales From Foster High” series do that first to avoid spoilers. But make sure to have plenty of tissues handy, because not only does Mr. Goode know how to tell a great story, he also knows how to tug at the heartstrings.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Taking Chances (A Tales From Foster High Story) here:

Standard