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Brief Encounters Reviews Hiatus

So, all good things must come to an end. Or at least an end for now.

When we started this blog, we saw it as a place to highlight the short stories we both loved to read. It was great fun to find some real gems, and to see people reading more of them and discovering new authors thanks to our work.

We made a very difficult decision to put the blog into hiatus. It’s certainly not because we think shorts are getting the love they deserve now and we’re not needed, but this blog is something we do in our “spare” time. And lately, that spare time has been getting more and more sparse. I (Tam) did not carry my weight during the strike I was heavily involved in, and now it looks like other life events are going to take over my life for awhile and Jen’s life is changing as her family grows and her work changes as well.

So for now, we are saying farewell. We both have a few books that we promised to finish off, but we will not be accepting more submissions at this point. Who knows in a year or so, maybe we’ll start up again, and along the way we may even post a review or two, but for the most part, we’ll be taking an extended break.

The URL has been changed slightly. It now as the .wordpress added, but you can still find all of our reviews that have been done over 3 wonderful crazy years. Thank you to all of our followers, readers and authors for supporting our efforts. Keep up the great work on those short stories and we look forward to reading many more, purely for our own pleasure.

Tam & Jen

reading

lightsout185Title: The Haunted Halloween of Barnaby Sloan
Author: Jenna Jones
Length: 7,600 words (28 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating: C+

Blurb: 

It’s Halloween, and Barnaby and his friends plan to do their usual Halloween ghost walk at a local park that is rumored to be haunted. Barnaby worries his new boyfriend Liam will find their plans ridiculous, and he doesn’t even believe in ghosts, but he invites Liam to join them on the ghost walk anyway.

While their friends scare each other at the park, Barnaby confides in Liam about why he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. Then Barnaby hears a familiar voice whispering his name — and of course, he must investigate…

Review:

This is a sequel to The Wishing Book of Barnaby Sloan which was reviewed on the site last October, but which I confess I have not read. It’s not essential you read it, but it would probably be worthwhile. This story takes place only a short time after the last book. Barnaby has been seeing his older boyfriend Liam for a bit, although they’ve not really been dating, more falling into bed. This Halloween, Barnaby worked at a wedding that Liam attended and despite their relationship, Barnaby is not really sure they are “dating”. He can’t figure out why a great guy like Liam would be into him.

Liam asked him out after the wedding, but Barnaby declined as he had plans to go ghost hunting with his friends, and he’s sure a guy like Liam wouldn’t want to do that. His friends give him a bit of a hassle, and when Liam shows up unexpectedly, they push Barnaby to invite him, and to Barnaby’s surprise he’s more than happy to go along.

The event takes place in a local park, supposedly built on a grave-yard. After wandering around in the dark and taking some time to share some personal info, Barnaby hears something odd nearby and of course, like a victim in a horror movie, sneaks off on his own to check it out, getting attacked by some thugs while doing so.

There’s not much to the story. A hint of the paranormal, but I think for fans of the first book they’ll enjoy seeing the couple move forward and share some more intimate details about themselves. It’s more about Barnaby and his desire to believe in the paranormal for personal reasons, rather than a romantic story. If you enjoyed the first story, you will enjoy this one as well.

Phantom Touch by Delilah Storm

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Title: Phantom Touch
Author: Delilah Storm
Length: 7,300 words (25 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m/m (?) erotica contemporary paranormal
Rating: C+

Blurb:

Coerced by his friends, Chris enters the old Weyburn mansion on Halloween night.  The most haunted housed in Ashville, Weyburn mansion is supposed to be possessed by the spirits of Mrs. Weyburn and her many lovers. From the moment Chris enters, he’s plagued by touches which quickly turn into caresses and then more. How can Chris possibly escape all the pleasure those touches bring, and does he really want to?

Review:

This is weak on the romance side, but if you are interested in some hot paranormal erotica, this might be the choice for you. Chris is bullied by his friends into participating in a haunted house challenge. He’s terrified of all things horror-related, but after one bad experience, he tends to go along with things rather than risk the ridicule. He has to enter the house, go to the attic, ring a bell and come down. He finally makes it out of the basement, only to have his flashlight go out, and before long, he’s being molested by ghostly touches, however, that’s not such a bad thing.

The next period of time is the ghostly encounter with one (or more since there are more hands than two, or maybe that’s a ghost trick), and Chris is getting it from all sides and angles, and before long has even run out of spunk. Once it’s over, he finds the door and gets out, only to be criticized by his friends for making them wait.

Chris accuses their gay jock friend of being behind it. He denies it, however promises to give a better blow job, having learned from the best. He smirks at the house and given his comment about last year’s experience there, I’m presuming he had a run-in with the ghost as well.

To be honest, I didn’t much like Chris’s friends or the love interest. The friends, especially his friend Karen who was a real bully, were not very supportive.  Not liking scary movies or horror myself, I could relate to Chris, and was angry on his behalf for the pressure his friends exerted. I also thought Heath, the love interest was very smug and arrogant. Besides being a hot jock, he didn’t come across as very appealing.

I thought the author did a great job with Chris’s fear and anxiety during the story, and even his confusion over what was happening, but his inability to stop it during the sex. Or perhaps his desire NOT to stop it. I just found the characters surrounding that even rather obnoxious and off-putting. But that is my interpretation and others may not find them so. But if you enjoy some paranormal sex, you will probably enjoy this short spooky story.

brianonthbottomTitle: Brian on the Bottom
Author: Dawn South
Length: 5,000 words
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: m/m contemporary erotica
Rating: C+

Blurb:
Brian Yates is a quarterback in the SexFL. Teams in this football league go wild after the final play, with the winners picking a member of the losing team to help them take full advantage of their victory.

Brian’s been bored with life in the SexFL, but everything changes when an unexpected twist lends Brian on the bottom. Getting touched and teased by his teammates, with his favorite receiver calling the shots, leaves Brian feeling desire – and pleasure – that he never expected.

Review:
This short piece of erotica centres around a fictional American Football league called the seXFL. The football games are normal, but once the games are over the teams strip off and have sex with one of the losing opposing team. Brian is the quarterback for his team and is so good that his team often win. He’s not too bothered about the sex until the tables are turned and it’s his turn to be on the bottom.

If this all sounds a bit like a porn film, well that would be a fairly accurate description! To be honest, I rather enjoyed it in all its porny glory and the fact that it’s well written added to my enjoyment. Brian seems like a decent bloke and I liked that we get to see some of the things he likes about being in the league – such as getting to play football – and some of the things he doesn’t – like his smug teammates. The build up to the sex was nicely done and the sex scene itself was fairly inventive, if a little difficult to picture at times. Given that it’s erotica the sex is pretty tame (or as tame as group sex can get!) but again that suited me as I’m not a huge fan of dirty erotica.

The story is only short and so, aside from Brian, the characters are a little flat but given that they are there mostly to facilitate the sex then that wasn’t so surprising. The story is based around one sex scene and the ending only hints at a possible romance between Brian and another character which I felt wasn’t necessary to the story. Having said that, I liked the lighthearted tone and the cheeky humour in the narrative. If you’re looking for a very short and naughty quickie then this could be one for you.

ReturnToDestiny_cvr-2-210x330Title: Return to Destiny
Author: Vona Logan
Length: 16,000 words
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Genre: m/m time travel romance
Rating: B-

Blurb:
Wade Summers is a decent guy… who happens to have a ghost taking advantage of his body at will. His attempts to escape it have failed, not that Wade is complaining. But while his body is teased, tantalized and taken to new heights of pleasure, his soul longs to know more about this enigmatic lover.

In 2022, erotic dreams and déjà vu of a gorgeous man are driving Michael Turner insane. When a strange old man convinces him he’s let Mr. Right slip through his fingers, Michael desperately tries to figure out at what point he missed getting the man of his dreams and will stop at nothing to return to his destiny.

Review:
I have a fondness for time travel romance and this one had an unusual twist. It tells of Wade who is suffering from an unusual condition. Every so often a ghostly visitor caresses him to orgasm. On one hand, Wade finds the erotic interludes very satisfying but on the other, they happen at the most embarrassing and inconvenient moments. Nine years in the future, Michael is having erotic dreams about a stranger. He visits a New Age type shop to try and find some answers to these dreams and instead discovers a way to find his mystery lover.

The story begins well with a light humourous touch in the narrative as Wade abandons his family dinner when his ghostly visitor arrives. It was a an amusing start and I liked that the lighthearted tone remained for the rest of the story. There’s a bittersweetness to the story when we move to Michael and he is considering the missed opportunities in his life. Wishing he could turn back the clock and his reevaluation of some of the bad decisions he has made is something we can all identify with, and I felt a good deal of sympathy for Michael.

The time travel aspect blended a certain amount of far eastern mysticism with a gruesome procedure, along with an interesting secondary character in the man who offers Michael the key to happiness. Once Michael has gone back nine years, we are teased a little as the lead up to the men meeting is delayed and built. Once they meet the story is sweet and satisfying and the story left me feeling happy for both of them.

If I have any niggles, it’s that out of the couple, Wade isn’t as well rounded as Michael and I would have liked to have seen a bit more of him. Aside from that very minor niggle, this was a nicely written and engaging story that I would be happy to recommend to those who like the time travel theme.

Change of Site Name

As from tomorrow the URL for this site is going to change to:

http://briefencountersreviews.wordpress.com

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Jen & Tam

BodyLanguageTitle: Body Language
Author: Katrina Strauss
Length: 15,013 words
Publisher: Self Published – Amazon, Smashwords
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
Seth Winters has a dirty little secret: he likes to be watched. When he discovers online playground Body Language, he finds a world of anonymous men eager to watch him perform naughty deeds on cam. Anything goes, so long as viewers only see him from the neck down. If only he could broach the topic of his taboo fetish with offline love interest Logan…

Logan Chase blogs food reviews by day, and gets off to online exhibitionists at night. He repeatedly deletes his profile at Body Language, vowing to focus on real-life pursuits like his sexy new friend Seth, only to return to his guilty pastime again and again. When the voyeur gets up enough nerve to reveal his true identity to his favorite cam performer, will it be a match made in heaven? Or the biggest mistake of Logan’s life?

Review:
It’s been a while since this author released a new m/m romance story so I was pleased to see this self published short. I was even more pleased when I got a sneaky peek of one of my favourite D/s couples – Blue and Derek from the Blue Ruin series – whetting my appetite for their new book coming soon :).

This book isn’t about Blue and Derek, but rather Seth who works in his aunt’s cafe. When a sexy guy, Logan, comes to the cafe, it sets off a curious chain of events which leads to Seth discovering that he’s a closet exhibitionist.

Body Language has all the hallmarks of this author’s books. The writing is crisp and the characters are well rounded enough to suit the word length, especially Seth. I liked the way he begins to explore his new-found exhibitionism – the slight worry and shame about posting explicit pictures of himself, coupled with excitement, bravado and pleasure at the response he gets from those viewing the pictures. The explicitness of the act, alongside the thoughts and emotions of the characters made the story a sexy but also satisfying read for me.

I also enjoyed the tentative relationship between Seth and Logan and the way their dating ran alongside their online interaction for a while. When the inevitable happens and they discover the truth about each other, I was a little irritated by Logan’s response and the fact that he makes Seth seem like the bad guy when they were both to blame. However, this was only a brief part of the book and so I forgave him his temper tantrum. Seth seems the more emotionally secure of the two, despite being younger and new to voyeurism, and it gave me hope that they would be able to last the course when he was able to own up to fault.

Overall, this was a nicely constructed short with two decent characters who have great chemistry and some hot scenes of voyeurism. It made me think a little about the thought process behind the kink as well as giving me a happy feeling about the romance. If you like stories based around voyeurism or are looking for something from this author to tide you over until the next book then this will be the story for you.

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