4 Stars, Anyta Sunday, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Short Story, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Hearts by Anyta Sunday

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Title: Hearts

Author: Anyta Sunday

Publisher: Wayward Ink

Pages/Word Count: 29 Pages

At a Glance: Another beautifully poignant short story from this master storyteller – bittersweet, hopeful and satisfying.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: What if your fate is to lose the one you love and be doomed to live in a city of lost hearts?

Is it possible two dead hearts can see life again?

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Review: I feel like each time I pick up an Anyta Sunday story I get something fresh and beautiful and moving. Once again, this story is no exception.

This is the story of Daniel, who is living with a broken heart since his lover of a decade, Sam, left him. He can barely keep on living, and he continues to torture himself with trying to figure out what he did wrong and how he wasn’t enough for Sam.

Then, Toby and Kyle move into the house next door. They avoid Daniel after he warns them away. He tells them they live in a city of broken hearts and that they should move on now to save themselves from the coming heartache. Soon enough, the inevitable happens and Toby is left alone and brokenhearted.

Then something changes. Toby and Daniel begin spending time together. They still miss Sam and Kyle, but they seem to be making some adjustments with each other at least. They tentatively begin helping one another with some of the things that have been left to slide – the garden, cooking, spending time outside with yard and house upkeep. Toby is still a bit hostile about Kyle’s leaving, and he still can’t figure out why he’s been left alone, which leads to some tough moments for Daniel as well.

As time passes, and Toby and Daniel begin to do more outside of their homes, they begin to explore the city and see things through new eyes. Maybe the city is not the problem after all, and the hearts are not really so dead here.

I really recommend this lovely story of love and loss, second chances and perhaps new beginnings – very touching and at times melancholy, but ultimately hopeful as well.






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3.5 Stars, Anyta Sunday, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Short Story, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: It Could Be You by Anyta Sunday

Title: It Could be You

Author: Anyta Sunday

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 19 Pages

At a Glance: Another well-written short story from an author who is quickly becoming a favorite.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Ted has just won 15 million quid. Or at least, he would have won 15 million quid if he could find his bloody lotto ticket…

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Review: Anyta Sunday is really a master at telling a good story in a very short word count. Originally part of an anthology, this story is now available as a standalone.

This is a short story that begins with Ted seeing his numbers called for the lottery – so, of course, he cannot find the winning ticket. He’s been out to dinner with his best mate Jenson, and this could be the answer to all his problems—if he can find the damn ticket! As Ted retraces his steps, Jenson tries to get his attention to share some big news. Ted doesn’t want to hear it, though, and does his best to cut Jenson off at every turn. He’s very worried that what Jenson wants to share means their relationship will change, and he will get left behind. Turns out Jenson’s news isn’t exactly what he expected. ;)

I am a big fan of this author’s writing style. She manages to write authentic dialog, and she can very succinctly tell a compelling story. Well done again, in nineteen short pages. Recommended for short story lovers, especially.






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Giveaways, Jennifer Cie, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Down on the Other Street Blog Tour With Jennifer Cie

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Today we welcome Jennifer Cie on the Down on the Other Street (Volume Two) blog tour. I asked Jennifer a couple of questions about short story writing, which she kindly answered, and she’s also offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of the book. You can enter by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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Q: Jennifer, there’s definitely an art to writing an effective short story. What do you love about short storytelling?

A: With short stories you can jump right into the thick of it without answering any questions. I absolutely love that. When you’re reading a short story you take that reality without having the expectation of a background explanation that you’d normally get in a novel or novella. There is so much freedom in having that kind of mystery. I think, for me, that’s greatest part about writing short stories.

Q: Of all the short stories you’ve written, do you have a favorite? If so, which is it and what makes it your favorite?

A: Ah, you know, I honestly can’t answer that. I haven’t really thought about it—how about I tell you about my favorite from this volume.
While I love all of the stories, I had some of the most fun working on “Thirty-Two Degrees Fahrenheit and Below”. Using to use the Occupy Movement as a backdrop, we get to follow the protagonist’s journey of self-discovery; which is a testament to how hard it can be to peel back the layers that can keep you from embracing your identity, and how taking on that new beginning isn’t always easy. Also, I love the fact that the major characters are women—which is probably why it may or may not be my favorite.

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DOTOSv2Blurb: Scars dripping over broken skin and whispers silenced, there can be no point of return. Wrapped in the ripples of warm waters, staring down at unkempt mountains, Stefanie can feel the thrum of the old world’s song. The first conversation, stained into ceramic cups and shadows in the night, gave birth to the last confession. Before metal bars clanged shut or chanting grew quiet, there was the woman with the violet smile. Somewhere in the gaggle of exposed bodies, worn cassettes and children’s fairy tales, he is waiting for the red coat. Woven together through trials of sexuality, political dissonance, and self-discovery, this heady collection of six short stories examines who we become after finding love.

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult, Romance

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Author BioAbout the Author: Jennifer Cie is a Tennessee native who loves taking aimless road trips and diving into social issues through her writing. A fan of poorly playing tennis, using snail mail, and longing for the return of Brach’s Red Twist, when she is not indulging her guilty pleasure of taste testing whiskey and low grade tequila—for science, you can find her rambling about poor life decisions, book formatting, and everything in between on her blog journeytopaperback

You can also find Jennifer at: Twitter: @JenniferCie1 | Pinterest | Goodreads Author Page

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, MLR Press, Neil Plakcy, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Storming Love (Blizzard): Kimo & Mike by Neil Plakcy

Title: Storming Love: Kimo & Mike

Author: Neil Plakcy

Publisher: MLR Press

Pages/Word Count: 11000 Words

At a Glance: I loved it but it’s just too damn short.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Former competitive surfer and Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka is in his element in his home state of Hawaii. But a ski trip with his partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, knocks him off balance. As a bitter storm rages outside the condo where they’re staying, one of Mike’s college buddies is feuding with his wife and the other is making sexy overtures to Kimo. Will these tensions ruin the vacation and perhaps even drive a wedge between Kimo and Mike?

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Review: Kimo and Mike are back, and this time they’ve traded Hawaiian surf for Colorado snow! They are one of my favorite couples, and it was great catching up with them, but this is a way too short story and is really more of an interlude in their lives. If you’re a fan, you will love this one anyway.

After a hot night of sex, Mike talks Kimo into a ski vacation with his friends from college. What can possibly go wrong??? LOL. They meet up with two other couples: a hetero couple who are having major marriage problems, which plays out in ugly detail. The other couple is two guys who want to play with Kimo and Mike.

That’s it to the story It’s short and sweet, and don’t forget HOT! Kimo and Mike make me all warm inside. Just when the story got going, it ended, and that’s the only negative. I loved it but it’s just too damn short.






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4 Stars, Alicia Dyal, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Kindred Spirits by Alicia Dyal

Title: Kindred Spirits

Author: Alicia Dyal

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 49 Pages

At a Glance: This is just a sweet short story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Casey’s a hotshot bartender in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean he’s not sensitive. Though uncharacteristic, Casey lets a big, charismatic Tennessee bear named Mike seduce him. Who can explain the laws of attraction? No matter, Casey’s hooked, and he knows what he wants. Unfortunately, Mike’s only in town for the weekend. But then, Casey and Mike’s shot at something more is interrupted by Casey’s brother’s death.

Casey sets out to accomplish making his brother’s dream come true, but that means quitting his job and moving to Tennessee. Months later, while still trying to cope with his loss, he runs into Mike, who’s running a bar he’s inherited from his father, and he happens to be looking for a new bartender. Casey and Mike reconnect, but the ghosts of their loved ones might ruin their chance for love.

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Review: Casey Jorden is a flashy bartender, working at the RedPurple club in Chicago. Casey spies a man at the bar he very much wants to hook up with. He gets into small talk with the man and finds out he’s not going to be in town long. Casey considers a one-night-stand with the man, and asks where he’s staying. The man tells Casey and gives him his room number. He offers to buy Casey dinner and then tells him his name is Mike.

Casey asks a co-worker to cover part of his shift so he can go meet Mike, but Casey starts to doubt himself, thinking maybe he should meet Mike in a public place just to play it safe. He feels meeting up with Mike is going to be something special, though as he gets to the hotel, tragedy strikes and he never gets to meet with him.

Casey becomes somewhat of a lost soul. He has left Chicago, and his dream job, and is now in Tennessee. He’s dealing with so many emotions: the house, family, and finding a job. He also thinks of Mike and the connection he felt with him, but never really got to make. As he’s pressured, he makes the decision to look for a job in Tennessee. He gets an interview at a local bar called the Lucky 8, and life gives him another surprise.

This was a first read from Alicia Dyal. The story flowed well and the characters were well written. This is just a sweet short story.






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2.5 Stars, Genre Romance, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sam Singer, Short Story

Review: Unspoken by Sam Singer

Title: Unspoken

Author:  Sam Singer

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 10 Pages

At a Glance: Super short story that felt a bit forced.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Kenneth and David from the best-selling stories Broken and Envy are back for another sensual glimpse into their D/s relationship.

Kenneth prides himself on being the best trained sub he can for his Dom. David returns home after a hard day of work and lavishes Kenneth with attention but does not allow Kenneth to serve him. Honored to receive his Dom’s attentions, he longs to speak the words of love overflowing within him, but without permission to speak, Kenneth must instead rely on a soundtrack of power ballads to say what he cannot as David brings him to the peak of sexual satisfaction.

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Review: I feel like I say this a lot, but full disclosure, I didn’t read the first two book with these characters, and while I think it may have been good to see the progression of Kenneth and David’s relationship, I understood what was happening just fine. Kenneth is a likeable sub, though he hardly talks during the story, and David seems like a good Dom. But given how short the story is—it’s pretty much a step above flash fiction—there isn’t too much development.

The story is told in the present tense, which for some readers might be jarring. I felt like I was in the scene with Kenneth and David, and it worked well enough for what the author was trying to portray. I’m not the biggest fan of third person present, but that’s just me.

That said, I did have one major issue with the story, aside from the perspective. Since it is so short, every single word should count, and it should be edited neatly for continuity. In longer novels, a change of clothing mid-scene might be missed by some readers, but when you’re only playing with 2,000 words, pointing out that David is wearing leather pants, and he only wears leather when he and Kenneth are about the play, sets the reader up. Then, in the next paragraph Kenneth fixates on how soft the denim feels against his bare skin…Well, it takes the reader out of the scene. I had to go back and check to see if he really had been wearing leather or not, and when I saw that he had been, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I would see a heavier BDSM scene, but that wasn’t the case.

While the story wasn’t bad, these are characters I will not likely visit again.

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

Review: One Perfect Wish by L.M. Brown

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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.

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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.






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3 Stars, Jaidon Wells, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story

Review: Everyone’s a Casualty by Jaidon Wells

Title: Everyone’s a Casualty 

Author: Jaidon Wells

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 41 Pages

At a Glance: Short story with interesting characters but is difficult to follow.

Blurb: Joel is more in love with a fantasy world, and one of his own characters, than he is with his own life. He spends his days slipping between reality and the world on the other side of his bedroom door, drifting from day to day with no sense of direction.

But something is haunting the world he’s created, and when it slips out into the real world Joel must choose: surrender the world he loves, or tear it down.

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Review: Sometimes it’s difficult to describe something you’ve read. This is one of those times. Everyone’s a Casualty is a short story with a character who lives for his fantasy world. He struggles with adjusting to reality, and throughout the story it’s hard to tell exactly what reality is.

Joel is a writer and he has created this circus-like world, with characters who are part machine and have two heads, shapeshift, etc. But something he hasn’t created gets into his world and starts to take it down. Joel has to solve the mystery and discover what it is, or risk losing the world he loves so much.

While the idea of the story was interesting, it was so fast paced I had a difficult time understanding what was happening. Often my reaction fell along the lines of, “What the hell did I just read?” I did like Joel and I felt for him, though, because sometimes fantasy is better than reality, and I’d like to be there, too.

The ending lost me, though. I thought I had some things figured out, but then it twisted and I really don’t know. I guess this is just one of those stories I didn’t get. Is Joel mentally unstable? Has his world completely consumed him? Has he finally stepped back into reality? Was it all just a story he wrote? I would love to hear what other readers think!

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Kol Anderson, Reviewed by Lynn, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Control by Kol Anderson

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Title: Control

Author: Kol Anderson

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 37 Pages

At a Glance: Don’t let this one pass you by.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: Justin loves Daniel Madsen but Daniel wants nothing more to do with him than use him as a booty call. Daniel is always the one with control of whatever form of relationship they have. But when Justin finds out a dark secret about Daniel’s life, Daniel might have to give up control and see what Justin’s all about.

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Review: Here we have another great read from Kol Anderson. I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of reading his stories. That being said, I know his books aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. But I gotta say, you’re missing out on some really great stuff.

This story is told by Justin, a man obsessed with Daniel, a controlling Dom who merely uses Justin to shell out his brand of pleasure and pain. Daniel is cold and emotionally shut down during their casual sexual encounters (essentially, a booty call), but Justin thrives on it, and he wants more. He needs more. He goes out and he gets what he wants.

I find that I am strangely fascinated by these two fantastically unique characters. I wanted Justin to run for his life, especially after he knows what Daniel truly is. But, as the story moves along and we really see them together as a couple, I came to the conclusion that these two men actually belong to one another. It’s a bizarre love story, but a love story all the same.

I give credit to the author for taking Justin and Daniel and the reader to the limit, especially the sex scenes. I found myself cringing at times, some of the pain given out was pretty intense. But I also felt the tenderness and connection. I’m telling you, in spite of what these two are all about, I was really wanting a happy ending. Was I going to get it? I didn’t think so.

For being such a short read, this story feels complete. You get all the information you need here in thirty-seven pages. I like the fact there’s an epilogue that wraps everything up. Of course, it’s with a punch to the gut and a holy shit moment, but then, it’s Kol Anderson. I didn’t expect anything less. With Control, he’s at his finest, giving us a twisted tale along with an unconventional storyline.

I love the darker reads and this author definitely delivers. For those of you who are already fans, and to those who want to take a plunge into his world, don’t let this one pass you by.






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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Reviewed by Kim, Short Story, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Standby by Kim Fielding

Title: Standby

Author: Kim Fielding

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 30 Pages

At a Glance: Kim Fielding has a flair for throwing the unexpected into her stories.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Who’d have thought being stranded at the airport could possibly have some long term benefits?

Certainly not Tom.

But then, he hadn’t bargained on meeting Rafael…

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Review: I didn’t know this at the time I started reading, but Standby is part of the Stranded anthology, produced by Wayward Ink Publishing.

Due to a delay on his previous flight, Tom missed his connecting flight by 10 minutes! Stranded in Minneapolis, and dealing with a rude ticket agent, he finds he’s in “standby” hell, waiting for the next available seat on an airplane that will take him home to Iowa. With very little money for a motel, Tom finds himself wandering the airport. Weary, he sits down and dozes…until he notices someone sitting down next to him. For various reasons, Rafael comes to the airport to watch the planes fly, and as the two strike up a conversation, it doesn’t take long to realize they’re attracted to each other.

I rather enjoyed Standby. Kim Fielding has a flair for throwing the unexpected into her stories and since the blurb doesn’t give much information about what you’re going to read, I will say she didn’t pull any punches with this short story. I would love to read more about Tom and Raphael. It seems to me their story isn’t quite finished. Yet! Thirty pages is just a warm-up to a pretty interesting introduction of characters.

So, Ms. Fielding, is there a longer version of Standby in the making?






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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Feral Sephrian, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: The Silk Dungeon by Feral Sephrian

Title: The Silk Dungeon

Author: Feral Sephrian

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: Short story with fun characters, silly dialogue, and hot sex.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: With the exception of a few wild nights at the club, Nick Loredon’s life is nothing but one boring day after another. When his friends finally convince him to try speed-dating to shake things up, he meets Victor, a film critic who brings some much-needed action into the mix.
However, as their relationship grows stronger, Victor reveals a secret hidden in the basement Nick didn’t even know was there: a BDSM sex dungeon. On top of that, the dungeon is where Victor used to host all-male orgies with his friends. At first Nick is horrified, then curious, then hooked as Victor shows him all the opportunities waiting down in the dungeon.

What begins as a shock quickly becomes routine, albeit one more exciting than Nick ever had. There is a frontier he has yet to cross, though, and asks Victor if his friends would come over for another orgy. Will their relationship survive the hedonistic afternoon, or will Nick discover he isn’t quite ready to be tied down?

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Review: Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised. While some of the initial dialogue felt forced, the story quickly found its pace, and I was thoroughly engaged. Nick and Victor are fun. They’ve been dating for a few months and read one of those love articles in a magazine for their relationship. One of the suggestions was to reveal desires to keep things interesting. Nick wants to be “interrogated” like in an action movie, and Victor…well, he has all the equipment for that in his hidden “dungeon.”

The book is divided into distinct parts. The first half of the story deals with Nick learning about Victor’s secret dungeon and coming to terms with what it means, and then exploring all of the possibilities it contains for the two of them. My favorite line occurs during this section, actually, and I laughed pretty hard. It’s right after Victor brings Nick down to the dungeon, and Nick is getting his first good look: “He had been looking for fun and excitement, but this was like wanting to curl up by a warm fire and accidentally falling into the sun.”

After time passes and they’ve tried just about everything, Nick wants to take it to the next level. He wants to experience an orgy like the ones Victor used to have in the dungeon. I wasn’t sure what to think about that part, but I ended up really enjoying it. The author made all of the characters distinct enough with their own personalities, and no one blended together. I really liked Peter and William the most, I think. And despite how sexy the scene was, there were funny moments, great dialogue, and some minor insecurities that briefly rose up, but are pushed away as their feelings are revealed. My second favorite line of the story came from Mike, after Victor and Nick declare their love for each other. They’re in the middle of this massive bed with all the other guys, and Mike says, “Victor, if you’re not kissing him right now, you’re doing it wrong.” Maybe it was just the situation, but it struck me as hysterical.

Overall, this was a good short story with some funny and sweet moments. There is BDSM in it; however, it’s fairly light compared to other stories I have read. If you’re looking for a short story to test the BDSM waters for the first time, like Nick, I don’t think you’d go wrong with this one!

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4 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Rena, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story, T.A. Creech

Review: Slither by T.A. Creech

Title: Slither

Author: T.A. Creech

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 17 Pages

At a Glance: A pretty classic sci-fi plot that can be traced back all the way to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Blurb: War awaits on Ilmare, between the humans and the constructs they created. Considered flawed designs by their creators, Selati and his other sentient comrades live the life of refugees on the run, hiding and fighting in Ilmare’s vast jungles. They want only the freedom to pursue their newly awakened sentience away from human interference.

Aleledai taught Selati all he knows of a life without chains and suffering. Neither can know what tomorrow will bring, rather all too well what it could take from them both. On the cusp of war, Selati returns to his lover to spend one last night in the peaceful world that only exists in Aleledai’s arms.

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Review: “Slither”, at a little over 5,000 words, is a short story that effectively makes use of two events – one very public and overarching, the other, an intimate moment between a married couple – in order to provide us with a story that’s not quite complete on the surface but leaves an emotional resonance at the end. By and large, it’s not much more than a vignette, and short stories can easily be botched up when an author attempts to cram too much into such a small word count. What works in this case is the fact that T.A. Creech has chosen to highlight the backstory as well as the sex scene as a way of establishing the emotional context of Selati and Aleledai’s night together before a great battle. And rather than spoonfeed readers one scene following another, we’re encouraged to connect the dots, stretch our imaginations further, and emotionally connect with not just the couple, but also their race.

The story has a pretty classic sci-fi plot that can be traced back all the way to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Here we have instead humans who defy Nature and create a race meant for nothing else but hard labor. Moral issues arise when the constructs slowly evolve and develop sentience, and like Frankenstein’s monster, they rebel against their creators and abusers. A lot of books and movies have been done along those lines. For “Slither”, things are scaled down further (no pun intended on the “scale” reference), and we’re shown something more like a microcosm that focuses strictly on Selati and Aleledai’s lives together as a married pair of “unnaturals”.

The backstory is told in a somewhat lengthy summary at the start, and it provides a backdrop against which the couple enjoy a night together before the battle. It’s a sharp and somewhat harsh contrast, and it’s because of that we’re made to see just how unfair it all is. The story doesn’t give us any answers, but with the melancholy fatalism that pervades every scene, it’s really not necessary in the end. We only need to see how awful it is for the constructs to live the way they do, and for the story to end the way it does allows us not only to feel deeply for them, but also hold on to the hope that good fortune can still go their way.






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3.5 Stars, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Short Story

Review: Trick or Treat by JL Merrow

Title: Trick or Treat

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 22 Pages

At a Glance: A good read if your into quickies (no pun intended)

Blurb: The memory of this party could haunt him forever …

Dragged along to a haunted house by his mates, Sam’s at the Halloween party from hell — the guy he fancied has turned out to be a bigot, and Sam has just outed himself to his whole football team.

Escaping to the garden, he meets James, an enigmatic stranger with a mischievous smile, and the evening soon takes a turn for the better. The night may be chilly but the heat between Sam and James is hotter than Hades.

But James has a role to play in the evening’s ghostly entertainment, and it’s a story with a deadly ending. Unless Sam can change the script and stop history repeating itself, “till death do us part” will come sooner than he thinks.

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Review: JL Merrow’s Trick or Treat starts off, interestingly enough, with Sam talking to a certain body part as he’s outside watering the vegetation. As Sam is zipping up his pants, an unexpected voice speaks to him from out of nowhere and scares the bejeezus out of him. Turns out it’s another young man, James, who’s out and about before the big ghostly show that’s suppose to happen at this particular haunted house.

Sam and James get to talking as they share a bottle of vodka, and before you know it… they’re bumping against each other. After they’ve finished having their fun, Sam is about to ask James if he’d care to see him again, when James suddenly turns to run off into the trees…

Now, at this point, Trick or Treat starts to pick up when Sam goes back into the house to meet up with the friends he showed up with, hoping that James is among the group of people that have gathered to watch the spook show. And… I have to stop right here so as to not spoil Trick or Treat’s surprising ending.

It’s a very short story, about 22 pages, and it did hold my interest throughout the reading, but I really would have liked to have found out more about Sam and James. Especially James and the situation he found himself in!

It’s a good read if your into quickies (no pun intended). Not particularly scary, but still a good Halloween read, or any other time, for that matter, when one feels in the mood for a paranormal story. Would I reread it again? That would depend on if JL Merrow wrote a sequel, because the ending was interesting.






You can buy Trick or Treat here:

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5 Stars, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Rick R. Reed, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Matches by Rick R. Reed

Title: Matches

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 17 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago’s frigid chill, it’s a fight for survival. Whether he’s sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm: memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most. Continue reading

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4 Stars, A.J. Ridges, Erotica, Reviewed by Taz, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Just a Game by A.J. Ridges

Title: Just a Game

Author: A. J. Ridges

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 34 pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: When Bryan reluctantly agrees to let his new neighbor, Ben come over to watch the hockey game, he has no idea that his gay roommate, Tim is home or that Tim has company – male company. While Ben and Bryan are forced to endure the telltale sounds of sex coming from Tim’s bedroom, desires they never knew existed come to the surface. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Beaten Track Publishing, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Lynn, Shayla Mist, Short Story

Review: Christmas Commitment by Shayla Mist – From the Boughs of Evergreen Anthology

Title: Christmas Commitment

Anthology: Boughs of Evergreen

Author: Shayla Mist

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 26 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Dick hates Christmas. This year more than ever because he’s been dumped by his boyfriend. There’s only one way to prove to Zack he’s serious about their future together: coming out to his family. Dick might be willing to do that, but what if it’s already too late?

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3.5 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Logan Zachary, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Taz, Short Story

Review: Dead By Dawn by Logan Zachary

Title: Dead By Dawn

Author: Logan Zachary

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 20 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Skip Helsing is on vacation celebrating his new sunscreen. Little does he know trouble is brewing with his new “Youth Forever” formula, which allows for a newly-found freedom to a dangerous race.

Dominick wants Skip’s new formula for himself, and isn’t willing to share it with the world. As Dominick searches for Skip, a few innocent people are hurt as Skip enjoys body surfing at the resort. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Historical Romance, Nico Jaye, Reviewed by Rena, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: A Time for Loving by Nico Jaye

Title: A Time for Loving

Author: Nico Jaye

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 26 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Jack and Christopher have made it through years of campaigning and the horrors of Waterloo together–side by side by day and, by night, in each other’s arms. After the war is over, however, will the love shared between this batman and his officer survive when Christopher returns to the life of a gentleman? Continue reading

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3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Lisa Clarke, Reviewed by Taz

Review: Davis’s Magic by Lisa Clarke

Title: Davis’s Magic

Author: Lisa Clarke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 45 pages

Rating: 3 stars

Blurb: When a chance encounter after a night of celebration brings Davis Anderson unexpectedly crashing into Jamie Greene’s life, Davis knows the universe has delivered the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, love is the last thing Jamie is looking for. The attraction between the two men is nothing short of magical, but for Jamie, the timing couldn’t be worse. Consumed by grief over the death of his mother, Jamie pushes Davis away, for Davis’s own good—or so Jamie insists. For Davis, walking away from Jamie isn’t an option. He must find a way to soothe Jamie’s pain and earn his trust. Even as misunderstandings threaten their tentative connection, they’re determined to hold on to each other—and hope the magic between them will be enough. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Andrea Speed, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lynn, Short Story

Review: DMZ by Andrea Speed

Title: DMZ

Author: Andrea Speed

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 28 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Carlo Langlois joined the diplomatic corps to help people, but when his helicopter is shot down in a war torn country, he’s the one who needs assistance. None other than his old secret crush from university, Ky Kinnaird, turns up. Ky may have been an athlete and still has the rugged build to prove it, but he now works undercover for MI-6, in charge of the extraction. If Ky can keep Carlo safe, an old attraction might have the chance to blossom into more. 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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Lisa Worrall, Self-Published

Lisa Worrall Delivers A Little “U.S. Male” With A Giveaway


Thank you for having me!

My latest release is a short previously seen in the Dreamspinner anthology, Uniform Appeal, called U.S. Male. As you can probably guess, the submission call was for stories about men in uniform, any kind of uniform. It piqued my interest and I thought about what kind of uniforms I liked. I mean, everyone likes a man in a crisp starched shirt and dress blues, or muscles accentuated by khaki, and, of course, let’s not leave out the firemen and their hoses—sorry, I couldn’t resist!

When I sat down to think about what to write, the one thing that kept echoing in my head was the fact that, as much as the above uniforms put a bit of a zing in my ding-a-ling, they probably rang a bell for others, too. This led me to wander down the path of least uniforms, if you’ll pardon the pun, and I thought about the everyday Joe. You know, the UPS guy with the tight buns in those brown pants. The guy who fixes your satellite dish when the signal goes screwy. The pizza man who delivers more than a pizza while keeping on that stupid baseball cap. But the one who stuck out for me was the mailman. Those tight navy shorts, close-fitting polo shirt and a big package.
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5 Stars, Lisa Worrall, Reviewed by Lisa, White Stiletto Press

Snow, Rain, Heat, Gloom Of Night – Lisa Worrall’s “U.S. Male” Swiftly Delivers


“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.” ― Tierney Gearon


Title: U.S. Male

Author: Lisa Worrall

Publisher: White Stiletto Press

Pages/Word Count: 10 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: This short was originally in the Dreamspinner Anthology, Uniform Appeal.

Uniforms didn’t do it for Rick. A firm ass in a tight pair of jeans rang all his bells. But uniforms? Not a single tingle. At least that’s what he thought.

Then he opened the door to the new mailman…
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