Tag Archives: Gay

Illegal Contact (The Barons # 1)

By Santino Hassell

Synopsis

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love. 

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

I’ve not read a book from Santino Hassell before, but you can bet your ass I’m going to be reading more from him in the future, because ILLEGAL CONTACT was amazing.  It has everything you want in a romance: a great story, likable main and secondary characters, amazing chemistry, hot sex, a believable conflict and a sweet resolution.  I have to say that while I enjoyed the whole story, I really loved the final chapter.

I loved Gavin and Noah as a couple because they just fit.  Noah is sweet, loyal and kind—but assertive when he needs to be—while Gavin is an asshole, so they balance each other out nicely.  I say Gavin’s an asshole, but once you get to know him, he’s really not so bad, and Noah does a great job in smoothing out his rough edges.  He’s definitely standoffish and he doesn’t have a filter, but if he considers a person to be family, he’ll protect them fiercely.

ILLEGAL CONTACT is told in dual POVs and comes with a beautiful ending for Gavin and Noah.  The second book in the series, DOWN BY CONTACT, comes out in January 2018 and will be about Gavin’s teammate and friend, Simeon, and I cannot wait to read it.

Illegal Contact (The Barons # 1)

My Rating:  

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The Barons Series

Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye # 2)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

A basketball game changed both their lives.

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.



Review

My review for HELLO FOREVER is going to be short and sweet, because I’m in the middle of moving and I just don’t have the time to write my usual lengthy review.

I loved this story and I loved it’s two main characters, Cax and Axel.  They are both so kind and sweet, and they really were perfect for each other.  I also loved Axel’s co-worker, Boz, who was hilarious.  He wasn’t really in the story much, but when he was, he was definitely memorable.

One thing I thought was interesting is that, from memory, there are only two female characters in this story: Axel’s mother; and Cax’s best friend, Amy.  Every other character was male.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it was certainly something that really stood out to me.

HELLO FOREVER is told in dual POVs and, while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The previous couple, Josh and Caleb, make an appearance, and it was good to see them again.  Will there be more books in this series?  I’m not sure, but I really hope so.

Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye # 2)

My Rating:  

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Hello Goodbye Series

The Game (The Game Series # 1-7)

By LP Lovell & Stevie J. Cole

Synopsis

What would you do for one million dollars? Or rather, what wouldn’t you do? Would you play a game?

One contract. Two Guys. Three players. Four Strikes. Five rules. Six zeros. Seven days.

No safe words. No questions. Complete submission. Are you game?

Review

Judging by the synopsis, I thought THE GAME would be one hell of a kinky read; one with a little bit of a dark edge.  In the end, what I got with THE GAME was nothing like I was expecting⎯or hoping⎯for.  It was kinky, no doubt about that, but it wasn’t just a little bit dark; it was very dark and, in my opinion, sick and twisted.  I found the entire “game” to be bizarre and I just couldn’t make much sense of it.

THE GAME was originally released as a series of seven novellas, but it’s now been combined and released as a single book.  Even though it’s now a full story, it still has that novella feel to it because of its fast pace.  My Advance Reader Copy was in desperate need of a proofreader, as I lost count of all the spelling mistakes and missing words.  I can only hope that these mistakes have been fixed in the final published version.

THE GAME is told mostly in Ella’s POV, with the final chapter for each day being told in Tobias’ POV.  I will say this for THE GAME though: the M/F/M and M/M/F sex scenes between Ella, Tobias and Preston were so very, very hot.  That being said, the amount of anal sex without lube or preparation was, for lack of better words, butt-clenching and wince-inducing.  In the end, I would have just rated this story 1❤️, but I added another ❤️ because those sex scenes were fabulous and truly panty-melting.

The Game (The Game Series # 1-7)

My Rating:  

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The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles # 1)

By River Jaymes

Synopsis

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn’t have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex’s company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec’s new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

But Dylan’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real…

Review

I read THE BACKUP BOYFRIEND a few years ago and it was one of those stories that would pop into my head from time to time, even though I couldn’t remember the title or the author.  I was finally able to find it and re-read it to see if it was as good as I remembered.  It was.  I didn’t take a lot of notes, and it is slow moving with not a lot of action, but it was an enjoyable read.

Alec and Dylan are both very nice guys who have mutual friends, yet have never met.  Alec is the sweet one who has known he was gay since he was a teen and loves being in a relationship.  He comes across as the more sensitive and insecure of the two, but at the same time he loves topping Dylan.  Dylan is the complete opposite of Alec.  He’s straight, avoids commitment and is more rough around the edges than what Alec is used to.  He’s surprised by his feelings for Alec, but I liked how he wasn’t afraid to embrace them—for the most part.  I liked watching him grow and learn to accept the things he always thought he didn’t want.

THE BACKUP BOYFRIEND is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, each book can be read as a stand-alone.  It comes with a sweet epilogue and a HFN ending for Dylan and Alec.

The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles # 1)

My Rating:  

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The Boyfriend Chronicles Series

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Hello Goodbye Series

Wound Tight (Made In Jersey # 4)

By Tessa Bailey

br-wound-tight

Synopsis

When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended. As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.

Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit. Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.

Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction…

Review

WOUND TIGHT is the first book I’ve read from Tessa Bailey and I quite enjoyed it.  The story flowed well and chemistry between Renner and Milo was hot.  Really hot.

I liked Renner, despite him spending most of the book being an emotionally closed-off hard arse.  He comes across as uncaring but, thanks to his POV, we quickly learn that it’s just a front to keep people at arms length.  Milo is tough, being ex-military and working in security, but he’s also very fun loving and sweet, a complete opposite to Renner’s alpha personality.  I really liked Milo because despite only having sexual experience with women, when he started having feelings for another man, he embraced them instead of hiding from them.

WOUND TIGHT is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  There are references made to past couples and past events, but you don’t need to read the other books in the series to follow and enjoy this story.

Wound Tight (Made In Jersey # 4)

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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Made In Jersey Series

The Ghost In The Mirror (Samuel Dexter # 1)

By Faith Gibson

br-the-ghost-in-the-mirror

Synopsis

What do you do when you have no memories of your life except the one moment that took everything away? 

My name is Dex and I’m a Marine. Somewhere in the horrors of the sand overseas, an explosion took out not only most of my unit but also my memories of everything that happened before that day. When my memories don’t return, the explosion also ends my career in the military. That one moment costs me everything. 

Starting from scratch sucks. I don’t even know what foods I like or what types of music I listen to. Am I a boxer or briefs man? Do I like women or men? I also have to figure out what I’m going to do with my life from this point on. 

While adjusting to my new life, I start seeing things — things that no one else can see. I think that maybe my head injury caused more than amnesia. When one of my “visions” won’t leave me alone, I have no choice but to believe in ghosts. 

Along with the ghosts during the day, at night I dream vividly of two men. But are these two men merely dreams, or are they memories? When one man steps through the door of my hospital room, I have the answer. This man literally tries to lead me down memory lane, culminating in a searing kiss. Too bad my brain isn’t cooperating, because this man is breathtaking. 

With the help of my sassy grandmother, I begin to rebuild my life. 

I am Samuel Dexter, and these are my stories.

Review

I loved THE GHOST IN THE MIRROR and ended up reading it in one sitting.  We have an ex-Marine and his detective ex-boyfriend.  We have romance.  We have ghosts.  We have PI cases to close and a crime to solve.  We also have one hell of a sassy grandmother.

Sammy Lou?  Oh, hell no.  My name was…was…Oh shit.  I was pretty sure at that point if Sammy Lou was my real name, I never wanted to recover my memories.  Fuck me.

I loved the characters in this story, from Dex to Orlando to Gram to Cindy to Zayden.  There are a few more, but I won’t mention them all here.  Dex is a nice guy who is fairly easy going considering he lost his entire life history.  You’d expect someone in that situation to be filled with anger and frustration, but he’s not.  When he realises he’s not hallucinating and is in fact seeing a real ghost, he makes it his mission to help her.  This mission has him moving on from the military and becoming a Private Investigator.  Orlando is also a good guy that, judging by how he is with his nephew, will make a wonderful father some day.  I also respected the hell out of him when he acknowledged the break-up with Dex all those years ago was completely his fault.  Dex’s grandmother is hilarious and you can tell that’s where he gets a lot of his personality from.  I loved that she was sassy but would always tell Dex off for his sass.  The kids, Cindy and Zayden, are both adorable and sweet, with both of their stories breaking my heart.

How unfair was it that I had known the love of not one but two men in my life and couldn’t remember either one.

Don’t be like me and think that the ghosts mentioned in the blurb are metaphors, because they’re not.  After his head injury, Dex can see real ghosts.  That didn’t phase me though because even though I wasn’t aware it was going to be a paranormal, I just went with the flow.  My only issue with the story is that almost everyone believes Dex immediately when he says he sees ghosts.  No-one thought he was crazy or blamed his head injury, which I thought was odd.

THE GHOST IN THE MIRROR is told mostly in Dex’s POV, but Orlando does get some one-on-one time with the reader as well.  It’s the first book in the series and I for one am looking forward to reading more in the future.  I’m not sure if the future books will focus on Dex’s relationship with Orlando, or if they’ll focus on his PI work.  In this book, one case gets closed, but another two remain open: the cheating spouse and the ghosts living in his boss’s house.  I would like more closure in regards to the missing girls and their families, especially Cindy’s, and maybe we’ll see that in a future book.

The Ghost In The Mirror (Samuel Dexter # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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On The Brink (In The Zone # 0)

By Kate Willoughby

BR On The Brink

Synopsis

Due to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton’s origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love… 

Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won’t let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He’s the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick. 

A night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches Hart on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down. 

Review

If you’ve been keeping up-to-date with this series, you’ll know that in ACROSS THE LINE, Hart revealed to the world that he was gay and in a relationship with his roommate, Jeremy.  ON THE BRINK is a prequel novella that shows how the two met and became a couple.

While we’ve seen a bit of Hart throughout the series, Jeremy has remained mostly in the background, but that’s not the case with this book.  Here we see that Jeremy is an out and proud gay man in college, where his vehicle is targeted with vandalism and his body is targeted with physical assault.  Despite the threats to himself and his property, he never hides who he is.  He’s funny and easygoing, and nothing gets him down for long.  The best word I can think of to describe Jeremy is ‘cute’; even his crush on Hart was cute.

Jeremy had never actually met him in person.  He’d only ogled him from afar, but judging from appearances, he was flawless.

While Jeremy is out and proud, Hart is struggling with his sexuality.  I don’t think he ever really questioned it until he saw Jeremy and felt a spark.  But he dreams of playing in the NHL and he believes that being gay will ruin that dream, so he spends quite a lot of the story denying his feelings and hurting Jeremy in the process.

ON THE BRINK is told in dual POVs and while it’s a prequel novella, I’d recommend reading it after ACROSS THE LINE.  As with most novellas, the story is very rushed and I wish it had been fleshed out a bit more as it was hard to feel their connection when they hadn’t really spent much time together.  I should mention that this is set in 2003 and there were a couple of instances where I believe the technology mentioned was more advanced than what it was for that time period.  But overall, I enjoyed learning how Hart and Jeremy came to be a couple and thought this was a very nice addition to the series.

On The Brink (In The Zone # 0)

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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In The Zone Series

His Heart’s Revenge (49th Floor # 4)

By Jenny Holiday

BR His Heart's Revenge

Synopsis

Twenty years ago, I was too smart and too poor to be cool. Now I’m laughing my way to the bank–the bank I’m CEO of. Nothing can touch me.
Except maybe him.
We met at summer camp. We made out under the stars. Then he stabbed me in the back.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But I’m gonna go with hot.

Alexander Evangelista is a millionaire with all the trappings: houses all over the world and hot guys lined up whenever he’s in need of some no-strings-attached company. He’s on his way to world domination.

A CEO in his own right, Cary Bell is competing for a major client with his boyhood crush. He’s never forgiven himself for betraying Alex. But with his professional reputation on the line, he’s going to have to find his inner cutthroat if he wants his new company to succeed.

Alex isn’t about to let his nemesis steal a client out from under him. It’s time to break Cary’s company–and his heart.

Review

Cary has boldly stepped away from his family’s business to start his own financial investment firm.  Things are going well enough, until he finds out he’s in direct competition with Dominion Bank and its CEO, Alex, for an account that is worth millions; an account that could really put Cary’s fledgling business on the map.  Unfortunately for Cary, Alex is the man he humiliated twenty years ago when they were both teens at camp, and he has never forgiven or forgotten what Cary did to him all those years ago.  Alex has declared war and is not afraid of playing dirty to come out as the winner.

HIS HEART’S REVENGE is told in present tense but also includes flashbacks to when Alex and Cary were at camp.  I really felt for Alex, who only came to camp every year to spend time with Cary, so it was heartbreaking when Cary turned around and humiliated him in front of everyone to save his own reputation.  That single event turned Alex into the cold and ruthless businessman he is today.  It has also haunted Cary, who wonders at what they could have had if he had the courage to stand up for Alex on that fateful day.  Now in their mid-thirties, both men are openly gay, strong, intelligent, and dominant.  The word “Alpha” suits them both to a T.

HIS HEART’S REVENGE is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  I have to admit, I liked Cary more than Alex, only because Alex was very cold, distant and hurtful throughout almost the entire story.  I also have to say that I felt more of an emotional connection between them as teens than I did as adults, which was why I struggled to understand how they fell in love in the present.  That being said, the sex was hot.  Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours and I thought the ending was sweet.

His Heart’s Revenge (49th Floor # 4)

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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49th Floor Series

Release Me (The Music Within # 2)

By Faith Gibson

BR Release Me

Synopsis

Fifteen Years…
For fifteen years, Cade Anderson, drummer for the world-famous rock band 7’s Mistress, has been in love with his best friend, the band’s lead singer. Even though it’s been years since they were lovers, Cade still wants the man. When his best friend falls in love with someone else, life as Cade knows it is over. The band breaks up and Cade has to figure out how to move on. 

Ten Years…
For ten years, Mal Wilson has hidden who he really is from the small-minded people of Arlo, Kentucky. The family farm is dwindling down to nothing, and the bar he owns is draining him dry. When it looks like he’s going to lose both, Mal has to figure out where to go from here. 

Three Months…
For three months, Cade has been drinking and f*cking his way across the country, trying to forget about his former friend and lover. When he finds himself at a redneck joint in the middle of nowhere, he is drawn to the handsome roughneck tending bar. Something in the man stirs Cade for the first time in years. 

One Night…
When Mal ends up in a hotel room with the handsome blond man who sat in his bar for hours, the man asks for one night together. When Mal wakes up, he knows that one night will never be enough, but it has to be. 

Two men…
One musician, rich and famous, out and proud of his sexuality. One cowboy, poor as the dirt under his boots, hiding who he is from the world. It’ll never work. Or will it? 

Release Me is a love story between a hard rockin’ drummer and a hard workin’ cowboy.

Review

Sometimes when I sign up to review a book, I look back and think to myself “Why did I sign up to this one again?”.  I’ll be honest, that was how I felt about RELEASE ME and I was worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong because what I found here was an absolutely amazing story.  You have Cade, a famous rockstar who’s not ashamed of his sexuality and is wealthy enough to buy anything he wants.  Then you have Mal, who is his exact opposite; a lonely cowboy who’s hiding who he is after an attack left him hospitalised and who’s so broke he’s about to lose his family’s farm.

I absolutely loved RELEASE ME and Cade and Mal make an amazing couple.  There’s no fighting for dominance and no unnecessary drama between the pair.  They meet, they like, they fall in love, they have some problems, they sort them out, they get their HEA.  The supporting characters were also enjoyable to read; they weren’t in your face, but they weren’t so deep in the background that you forgot who they were when they popped back in again.

RELEASE ME is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  It’s the first book I’ve read from Faith Gibson and I would gladly read more from her.  The only issue I have with the story is the number of times Cade makes comparisons to his previous lover, Tag.  I get that he had to realise that what he felt for Tag paled in comparison to what he was feeling for Mal, but it was just one of those things that was repeated one too many times.  Other than that, the romance was sweet, the sex was hot, the conflict was heartbreaking, and the ending was beautiful and tied things up nicely.  The story as a whole was very well written, flowed nicely and was enjoyable from beginning to end.

Release Me (The Music Within # 2)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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The Music Within Series