Madeleine Ribbon, Self-Published

Finding Love In A Surfers Paradise In “Shooting the Curl”



“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.” – Mark Batterson


Summary:

As a single parent, Caleb is trying his hardest to instil responsibility and values into his “Little Dude”, his adopted four year old son, Leo. Set in the rippling waves of a surfers paradise, Caleb and Leo are building their life together, forging Team One into something that will guide Leo into his formative years a kind and aspiring man. When Caleb’s neighbour, Trevor appears in the picture, their world collide as both men, straight in their proclivities, search for meaning in their burning attraction. As their courtship finds them Shooting the Curl, they find out that love can happen where you least expect it, adding an extra heart to Team One.
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Eli Easton, Self-Published

“The Lion and the Crow” Is A Light In The Darkest Hours



“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda


Summary:

In Medieval England, fearless knight, Sir William Corbit, the Lion, hears news of his sister’s abuse at the hand of her treacherous husband, a union facilitated by the cold scheming of their heartless father. In a desperate bid to liberate his sister from her husband’s tyrannical regime, William visits the castle Brandon to plea with the Lord of the house for assistance. Unwilling to spare the men for the mission, Lord Brandon entrusts his youngest son, Christian, a prized archer, to accompany the knight on his mission. As Christian escapes the abuse of his six half-brothers, he follows William across the land on a mission to save the endangered lady, but what transpires is not what either men expected. As their passion builds to a fever pitch, the Lion and the Crow come to realize that the salvation of the dame is not the only thing at stake. Can their love possibly save the men as well? Honour and valour will take the men to the edges of their darkest hours, and love and trust will light the way for the Lion and the Crow.
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Sammy Goode, Self-Published

It Takes Courage And Love To “Bring Him Home”



“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ― G.K. Chesterton


Summary:

Set against the backdrop of a war in progress, army medic Captain Michael Bradshaw is crushing on the cute and cocky Private Finn McCullan. Unsure if his subordinate feels the same, the two men set about their training, spending increasing time together socially as they await their future assignments. To both men’s surprise, they are deployed to the same destination together, a war-torn area of Iraq where the snipers are plentiful and the danger is high. Their love story unfolds as they fight the dangers of war in a desperate effort to being each other home, safe and sound. But when Finn’s reckless behaviour reaches a fever pitch, even Michael can’t promise their safe passage through the treacherous trials of war.
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Freebie, T.A. Webb

It Won’t Take A Wing Or A Prayer To Find The Love In T.A. Webb’s “Love On a Wing and a Prayer”



“In his eyes I saw all the other possibilities … the seemingly impossible possibilities.” ― Tiffanie DeBartolo



True romance is alive and well and living within the pages of T.A. Webb’s FREE “Love Has No Boundaries” contribution, Love on a Wing and a Prayer, the story of US Navy Aviator Lieutenant David Perkins, a man who serves his country in the post-DADT days but is still not rushing to reveal his sexuality to his fellow servicemen, not even to the ones he considers his brothers.

One of the many things I loved about this story, apart from the emotional connection Mr. Webb so deftly weaves in the first-person narrative, is the relevance of the story and its visual recalling of so many of the images we’ve seen recently: the proposals on bended knee, the wedding ceremonies that have happened in front of a global audience in celebration of the steps we’ve taken to define marriage as a union between two loving souls rather than between sexualities.

David finds his other half in a man named Chuck Wilder, a fellow aviator who is transferred to David’s squadron. The eye contact, the subtle brushing of a shoulder, the want on David’s part to be more to Chuck but not knowing whether Chuck is even gay are all palpable moments that make the reader do little more than anticipate the moment these men will share their first kiss.

The love and acceptance from their fellow brothers-in-service is nothing less than a feel good moment as David discovers his secret was one of the worst kept of his life. And the end… Well, the end is nothing less than smile-inducing as David and Chuck prepare for a future filled with possibilities.

If you want to read a short story that will warm your heart, leave you smiling and will make you believe in love and romance and happily ever after, then I can’t recommend Love on a Wing and a Prayer highly enough.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can download Love on a Wing and a Prayer here:

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Madison Parker

Jocks May Be Cool But Nerds Rule In Madison Parker’s “Deep in the Count”

Nerd: One whose unbridled passion for something, or things, defines who they are as a person, without fear of other people’s judgment. – Zachary Levi



Madison Parker has offered her talents to the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” summer event, and, in the process, has managed to give the jock/nerd trope a decidedly welcome makeover.

Brandon is the openly gay jock in this particular story. He’s the pitcher on the university baseball team, who breaks form as the stereotypical cocky athlete we’ve all come to expect where those guys are concerned. Brandon is actually kind of shy and is entirely unassuming that just because he plays baseball he’s got any sort of automatic cachet as a stud. The only thing that may be considered usual about Brandon is that he needs help in math. He’s failing Statistics, which puts his scholarship in jeopardy, and that’s where his best friend Jack’s nerdy roommate comes into play.

Corey is an unapologetic nerd. He outright owns his nerdiness in the best possible way: by being confident in himself and his awesomeness, and not caring what other people think of him. He’s happy with who he is and is fulfilled by the academic life, so when Brandon comes to him for tutoring, there is no playing the role of the timid geek. Corey grabs the athlete by the jockstrap (or whatever. Bad analogy but “takes the bull by the horns” is so cliché), and sets out to help Brandon understand mathematical statistics, eventually resorting to some pretty manipulative teaching methods, and I’m definitely not spoiling the fun of discovering that little manipulation for yourselves. Read the book.

Well, needless to say, Brandon is hooked and Corey is not. Corey isn’t looking for a boyfriend, let alone one with whom he has absolutely nothing at all in common. And that’s when Brandon decides to pull out all the stops and decides to appeal right to Corey’s love of cryptology, and that’s when Madison Parker also gives a great new meaning to the epistolary method of storytelling.

Deep in the Count is such a fun and fresh little story. Brandon and Corey were a case of “love at first sight” for me, even if it didn’t happen quite that way for Corey.

I definitely recommend checking this one out.

You can download it for FREE here:

Reviewed by: Lisa

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Ellen Holiday

Ellen Holiday’s Vietnam War-Era “Brandon’s Laughter” Is Another Great FREE Summer Read

“Love is a friendship set to music.” – Joseph Campbell



Richie Wilkins and Brandon Burns were friends. And then they weren’t. That happens sometimes when you outgrow a person, or find that suddenly the little things a person does begin to grate on your nerves until you either rip your own ears off or cut that person from your life. Thankfully for Richie’s ears, he chose the latter and pushed Brandon away, severing their friendship. But that doesn’t mean Brandon disappeared from Richie’s life.

Being next door neighbors in a small town, with moms who happen to be friends, makes avoiding each other nearly impossible, but Richie does his best. And he succeeds, mostly, until the day Brandon is lured over the fence that divides them, called by Richie’s music and the allure of Richie himself.

Set in the Vietnam era, Brandon’s Laughter is the tale of two young boys who become men all too quickly. The story takes place during a time in which the fear and denial of being queer outweighed and overwhelmed the love the boys grew to share. As Brandon leaves for Vietnam with Richie’s rejection like a fresh wound on his heart, Richie starts college but soon decides he has to take Brandon’s words to heart, and leaves for Nashville to take a shot at a music career.

Through years of separation, a time during which Richie finally accepts that he’s gay, carries on both relationships and one-night-stands, and ultimately comes to terms with the fact that he’s still deeply and irrevocably in love with Brandon, the tension in this story emerges and grows. Brandon and Richie’s relationship is like a tune that begins in sour notes, all flats and sharps, then slowly unfolds into a gorgeous refrain that I didn’t want to end. But it did, and all too soon.

Exactly three years ago, I read a novella called One More Soldier, a story also set in the 1960s, a story in which one of the characters leaves to fight the war in Vietnam, a story I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Marie Sexton succeeded in pulling my guts out through my tear ducts, and I was afraid that Ellen Holiday was going to do the same with Brandon’s Laughter, but I was spared at the eleventh hour, thank goodness, though that’s not to say I didn’t shed a few tears along the way.

I absolutely loved this story, even if I do think it’s too short. That’s not a slight on the author but a compliment to her. I just didn’t want to let these characters go.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can download Brandon’s Laughter here as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” summer anthology:

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B. Snow, Free Download

B. Snow Hits The Right Notes With “Idiots’ Tango”

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche



The M/M Goodreads Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” stories are hitting the web, and if I use my first story choice to judge what’s in store, I’d say it’s going to be a great summer of free reading.

I’ve read only one other B. Snow story, that one offered in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Cross Bones. “From a Simmer to a Burn” is the gorgeous and compelling tale of an escaped slave who becomes steward aboard pirate captain William Shaughnessy’s ship, and is forced to confront his general deep loathing of the Dutch who’d captured and forced him into servitude within a single man named Olaf, who is kind and gentle and to whom Sule is unwillingly attracted. I went back and read the story again before digging into Idiots’ Tango, remembering now exactly why it was one of my favorite stories in the collection.

Idiots’ Tango is a very different enemies-to-lovers story than “Simmer” but is no less wonderful for it. B. Snow’s talent seems to be weaving together characters whose lives I want to meddle in—both main and supporting—into plots that I want to get lost in for hours straight until I’m done and left with wanting more.

This novella is a contemporary tale that begins when Josh Dimitriou and Stu Edelstein are just teenagers, then stretches over more than a decade of acrimonious encounters at various family gatherings that anyone who’s not an idiot can see is simply their way of dancing around the fact they’re incredibly attracted to each other. It’s been said there’s a razor thin line between love and hate, and that the opposite of hate isn’t love, nor is the opposite of love hate—the opposite of both is apathy, and let me tell you, Josh and Stu are anything but apathetic toward each other, which makes the waiting and wondering when they’re finally going to get around to realizing that no matter what they call it—gay, bi, Josh-sexual, whatever—all it boils down to is that they’ve got a lot of making up for lost time to do, and that makes it all the more fun.

Are Josh and Stu frustrating? Yes. Yes, they are. They’re idiots after all, right? And just like the love/hate thing, apparently there’s also a razor thin line between unwitting idiocy and willful stupidity. Is all that frustration worth it? I thought so. What’s not to love about a little delayed gratification? Especially when you get to be all smug and I-told-you-so in the end.

Reviewed by: Lisa

Get your FREE download of Idiots’ Tango here:

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