Archive for February, 2011

Title: Marking Property
Author: Jamie Lowe
Length: 3,300 words (13 pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating: C


Possessive werewolf Zevi Sahar is worried that his human mate, Conner, is cheating on him with the pack alpha. His fears reach a peak when Zevi confronts Conner about his supposed affair and decides to use sex to show his dominance and remind Conner just which werewolf he belongs to.


This paranormal starts by leaping right into Zevi and Connor’s relationship. Zevi is the beta of their pack and Connor is his human mate. Zevi is possessive to say the least, and while he trusts his alpha as a leader, is becoming more and more certain that the alpha is trying to lure his mate away and stake his claim. Despite Connor’s denial, he can’t get past it and when the alpha calls Connor away and he refuses to tell Zevi why, he works himself up into a fine fit, eventually wringing the truth out of Connor.

I felt a bit as if I’d been dropped into a world that existed somewhere and was a bit disoriented, but I couldn’t find anything with these two characters on-line. I was curious how they met and wanted to know more about their society as only glimpses were given. Zevi is the classic alpha to the Max. He’s big, strong, jealous and prone to paranoia about his mate. I was quite impressed with how calmly Connor dealt with it all. He didn’t get overly put-out about Zevi’s accusation of infidelity, he just stated why he wasn’t cheating. I was left wondering if Connor had always been so accepting of Zevi’s behaviour, or if he had to adjust to his, what I considered, over the top behaviour.

If you like your sex growly and aggressive and on the dominant side, this is a good choice. It’s well written and seeing Zevi’s paranoia about what Connor is doing, why his alpha is calling on him and keeping it a secret from Zevi is interesting to watch, even if you want to slap him upside the head and tell him to get a grip. There appears to be a set-up with the alpha finding a love interest and I’d be interested to see this develop into a more complete story with an explanation of the werewolf society and more background.

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Title: With Benefits
Author: Jenny Urban
Length: 33 pages, 8600 words.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M, contemporary, erotica
Rating: B+

Blurb: Ryan takes care of his friend Trevor’s house while he’s out of town, meeting Trevor’s friends and settling into his life. Then Trevor comes home to find Ryan and their friend Ethan in his bed. Ryan only has to watch Trevor and Ethan together to know they’ve been more than friends for a while. But will the three of them be willing to explore the possibilities of being friends with benefits together?

Review: This was a very hot, very explicit and highly enjoyable story. Sex with the lights on, I’d describe it! but also with underlying emotional connection.

It’s essentially a protracted sex scene, albeit over a few days. Initially, I struggled to work out the relationships between the three men involved – I should have read the blurb more carefully 🙂 – but otherwise the story was well-written enough to avoid the usual pronoun confusion when all the sexual protagonists are “he”!

Ryan and Ethan are having fun in Trevor’s absence, when Trevor arrives home unexpectedly and catches them in bed. From there, it develops into a sexual free-for-all, though within reason. There are no recriminations when Trevor finds the others having sex, it’s not that kind of a situation. This was a very refreshing approach!  The three, highly-sexual and uninhibited men are just having fun together and as a group. No one’s condoning infidelity or seeking lifetime love, just accepting of a consensual, shared physical relationship.

The sex is very hot, the positions and reactions described very vividly and visually. The author skilfully involves all the reader’s senses, increasing the stimulation. There are occasional moments of tension, usually broken by the men themselves and their open honesty about it all. But there’s plenty of humour and banter as well. The characters demonstrate the full-on frankness of sexually-active young men, but I found them all very attractive and engaging.

The story is told mostly from Ryan’s POV, in his individual, inimitable language. He’s an adventurer as much as the next man, but his commentary on the situation lends amusement and character. For example, when he’s been out drinking with his friends: He thought maybe he should quit while he was ahead. Or at least not behind. He tried to stand the empty bottle next to another on the table and couldn’t make it stay up straight. Definitely should quit. He’s a very willing participant in it all but remains rather charmingly surprised at his good luck at being included in the sex games with two such hot men.

And that’s where an emotional impact creates something more than porn-games-with-plot. The author differentiates well between the three characters, showing unique personalities, dialogue and wit, hinting at friendships and relationships already established. Ryan is our main pair of eyes and he’s not privy to everything between Trevor and Ethan, but he allows us to see there’s more going on behind the scenes than the bedroom action. When he comes home and finds Trevor and Ethan together as a couple: Ryan was frozen, unable to move, unable to shake the feeling that he’d intruded on something unbearably private; at the same time, he was desperate to join in.

The story was fun and exciting to read, hot and sweet. The author’s style delivered something far more interesting and lasting than a quickie romp, and the story has stayed in my memory since first reading – and in the smile on my face :). I rate it B+.

by pettyprose…my opinion alone.

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Title: Firecracker
Author: Jaye Valentine
Length: 10, 000 words
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B+

Isaac Lang is deeply in love with his live-in life-partner, Baltimore City police officer Jeff Clark, and has a serious kink for risky role-play sex with strangers. Jeff finds Isaac’s wild ways incredibly hot, and he’s more than willing to help facilitate Isaac’s lustful cravings.

Jeff trusts Isaac to be emotionally faithful despite the sexual experimentation, and Isaac trusts Jeff to watch his back and keep him safe from harm. Not a lifestyle everyone might aspire to or could successfully manage, but Isaac and Jeff make their quest for kink work to keep the sparks flying in their relationship.

I bought this naughty little story because it was recommended to me on my post about cross dressing heroes. It follows the adventures of Isaac who gets off on slightly dangerous role play sex with his boyfriend Jeff. The cross dressing part of the story wasn’t a big deal, more of an aspect of a game the two men play but in this case I didn’t mind that too much because I was having too much fun with the story.

Let’s face it this story is seriously hot. I get a thrill out of reading stories where the characters do things that I would never do in a million years and here the story taps straight into that for me. There’s public sex, voyeurism, dangerous situations and multiple partners. The opening scene was enough to have me fanning my face, and the rest followed on in a similar vein.

However, the story was more than about sex. The character of Isaac was quite delightful in his enthusiasm for kinky play, but underpinning that is the knowledge that he loves Jeff and knows that Jeff will keep him safe and look after him, no matter what games they play with others. This meant that the romance was strong through the story too. Jeff is a little overshadowed by Isaac, but plays beautifully the role of steady and safe boyfriend, one who indulges Isaac but is also secure in their relationship.  I also liked that they had a little fun with Jeff’s job as a cop.

I don’t really want to give any more of the plot away, but I liked that the end of the story left Isaac a little wiser, and perhaps more mature in his attitude, whilst still retaining his enthusiasm for life, as long as Jeff is with him. Great stuff and highly recommended for those who like a bit of kink in their stories and are looking for a hot but romantic read.

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Title: Tabled Discussions: Inches of Trust #8
Author: AR Moler
Length: 4,800 words (21 pages)
Publisher: Torquere Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+


Brian Townsend is looking forward to the weekend. He and his lover, Tristan Blake, are finally going to use the weekend reservations at a popular B&B that Tristan had given Brian for Christmas. It’s not quite Valentine’s Day, but Brian has packed a few extras to make their weekend special. The timing is excellent because Tristan’s job as a homicide detective has made it difficult for the two men to spend time together lately. Sometimes though, old baggage can interpose itself despite the best intentions of everyone concerned. Some wounds just take longer than a day or two to heal–even with a large dose of love and patience. Brian isn’t going to let go, but how far will Tristan let him in this time?


Brian and Tristan have hardly seen each other for the last month, managing maybe once a week due to conflicting work schedules and Tristan’s work as a cop. Finally they are getting away for a pre-Valentine’s weekend at a B&B. Just as they arrive, Brian asks to top and Tristan kind of freaks out. He only did it once with his asshole ex and it was very painful. He shares that with Brian, who with some probing, discover that the ex probably meant it to be that way as he was angry with Tristan at the time.Tristan is willing to just “take it” but Brian refuses and distracts him with some other outdoor activities.

While I still find these guys likable and I want them to be happy, I found this extremely frustrating. There was no real progress made on the would he or wouldn’t he bottom and enjoy it question, and even though it passed through Tristan’s mind that maybe he should invite Brian to live with him so at least they’d see each other more, none of that was resolved except more proof that Brian is a great guy who loves Tristan and would never push him. I just felt that there wasn’t much progression of them as a couple beyond Tristan sharing his one time with his ex and some other family stories, and thus found the story less than rewarding. I think if Brian had been able to show Tristan that being on the bottom can be pleasant with someone who cares about you, or they had even discussed moving in together I would have felt there was some movement forward.

I’m not sure how many inches this is going to, but I hope that the next inch is a rather large one because this felt more like a centimetre despite the strong writing and appealing characters.

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Title: December Promise
Author: KC Kendricks
Length: 17, 000 words
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+

Paul Macy moved heaven and earth to get a reluctant Lee Kendall for his college roommate. Giving up his free-and-easy lifestyle for the sexy new guy on campus had been the easiest decision Paul had ever made. Walking away from Lee, however, had been the hardest.

Now, years later, Lee Kendall’s made it to the top of his field by working hard, and playing harder in the right circles. Yet he has also come to realize that success is empty when you have no one with whom to celebrate it. But as luck would have it, an invitation to visit his alma mater brings Lee face-to-face with his first lover, and a chance for the reconciliation he never thought possible.

The sparks fly when Paul and Lee reunite, fulfilling long-denied dreams for both men. But passion isn’t a pledge, and it takes more than promises made in the dark to forge a shared future between two lonely hearts…

This second chance at love story begins well. Paul has been invited back to his old College to take part in the opening of a new building. He’s hoping that an ex-lover, Lee, will also be there. Lee was the one that got away for Paul and he’s looking forward to meeting Lee again and seeing if the years have changed him. Paul bumps into Lee almost straight away and it’s obvious that the connection between them is still strong. However, there are still barriers to them rekindling their love.

As I said, the story begins well with a nice anticipation built up over how Paul and Lee will react when they meet again. It doesn’t take long before our heroes bump into each other and after that point things take a bit of a turn for the predictable and they pretty much spend the rest of the story in bed. The sex was well written and hot, and I liked the way that the author mingled the past and present during the sex scenes, especially in the way the men compared what had been with the now. However, I was left feeling that the story was a bit of a wasted opportunity with a very convenient solution to their problems at the end.

One final niggle, the men had been invited to their old College to take part in what was a bit of an important ceremony, and yet they chose to have sex instead. This bugged me a little and I was annoyed that they cast off their responsibilities so lightly. I know that there wasn’t much time for them to be together, but this showed a character weakness in both men that I didn’t really care for.

Those looking for a hot, sex-filled story with a small amount of plot and who like stories where old lovers get another chance will probably like this story and I urge you to give it a go. I liked it on the whole, but the disappointing aspects I’ve highlighted in this review made it an average read for me.

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Title: Four Stroke
Author: Connie Bailey
Length: 7,000 words (28 pdf pages)
Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary erotica
Rating: B


When roommates Shandy and Trey gear up for a trip to Midnight Garden—the hottest gay nightclub in Savannah—on New Year’s Eve, it’s not to watch the ball drop in Times Square, it’s to round up a couple of studs to help them celebrate. Hobie and Mitch fit the bill, but will they think the come on is terribly sleazy? Or will they accept that the party is just what they need to get the new year off to a great start?


Although Shandy and Trey fool around a bit, Shandy knows there’ll never be anything more between them than friends, however he’s optimistic that they can find someone, for at least the night, when they head out New Year’s Eve to a local club. As soon as they arrive they see two hot guys in leather and start playing it up in front of them and are quickly invited for drinks. Before Mitch even gets back to the table with drinks, they decide to head back to Trey and Shandy’s place for some private time. The icing on the cake is these two leather guys drive Harley’s.

Back at the apartment Shandy and Hobie waste no time in getting together. Trey and Mitch are a bit slower off the mark, but before long both couples are going at it. Shandy who comes across as more aggressive and cocky finds his match in Hobie who manages to keep him satisfied on all front with some very hot smexin’ on the dining room table.

This is just an erotic little short with a hint of more. It’s not m/m/m/m, although all four are in the same room while having sex, they are definitely paired up with only some brief interactions between Shandy and Trey. The sex is very hot and well written and the relationship between Trey and Shandy comes through well, a strong deep friendship which Mitch respects. So if you are in the mood for a very sexy read with a hint of possibility, this is an excellent choice.

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Title: A Game of Chance
Author: Kate Roman
Length: 3,300 words (14 pages)
Torquere Books
Genre: m/m historical erotica
Rating: B-


When the young Duke of Avon takes a back exit at a masquerade ball, expecting to find like-minded players to share a high-stakes game of cards or dice, nothing can prepare him for what he finds. But in the arms of mysterious Lord Donahue, Sebastian finds this new game is more pleasurable than anything he anticipated…


Sebastian is bored at the ball and looking for some illicit excitement he’s heard about that takes place behind the scenes. However there is no card game, he quickly finds himself swept up in sex with a stranger. It’s difficult to say if Sebastian has ever considered an attraction to men, however he takes to this first experience with gusto and is quite happy to go along with it. Afterward he’s slightly freaked out and by chance runs into his temporary lover who appears to know who he is.

The entire story takes place over a couple of hours, from Sebastian’s interlude with the stranger to a further interlude in the carriage after he leaves the ball. You don’t know much about Sebastian except that he finds the whole ball and the games people play there a bit of a bore. You know even less about Adam, the stranger, except that he has more experience than Sebastian.

I did find the “coincidence” of how they met outside the ball a bit mystifying, but I suppose it’s one of those plot devices to give the two men further opportunity for a dalliance. The descriptions of the ball and the machinations of a young lady who uses the anonymity of a masked ball to push the limits was well described, and the irony was not lost on Sebastian who intends the same.

When you are in the mood for an erotic piece set in another time with solid writing it’s a fast rewarding read. The sex is hot between the two men and seeing Sebastian go from a bit stunned about what’s happening to an eager participant is enjoyable.

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Title: Forces of Nature
Author: Lily Grace
Length: 6,900 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B

Drew and Evan have been best friends since college, but Drew has been pining for Evan ever since they met. Physicist Drew and actor Evan are complete opposites in almost everything, but somehow they fit together in a way that makes perfect sense. When a terrible thunderstorm hits, they end up at Drew’s place completely soaked and freezing. While they wait out the storm, can some reminiscing about the past and a little help from Mother Nature be all it takes for true feelings to be revealed and for these friends to become lovers?

This little short picked up on two of my ‘like very much’ themes: That of friends to lovers and opposites attract. It tells the story of Drew who is trying to write up his physics Phd thesis in a coffee shop. Distracted by remembering how he and his best friend Evan met each other, Drew realises that he’s late to meet with Evan and that a storm is on its way. By the time he gets to his apartment block both he and Evan are soaked through but this provides the setting for the men to share some truths about their relationship.

Both the friends to lovers and the opposites attract themes were handled with a light touch in this story. I really liked the third person narrator, Drew, and the scene where he describes first laying eyes on Evan was just delightful in showing the sort of man he is – self effacing, a bit shy and bumbling – and the yearning he feels for such a lively and beautiful man. I found him totally endearing, just I as liked how Evan could reduce him to monosyllables by the force of his personality. Evan is gregarious and self-confident, almost completely opposite to Drew. Despite their differences they work as friends and later, when things become more than just friends, their feelings naturally deepen and I felt the relationship worked well as a result.

If I have any niggles it was that I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t acted sooner than they did. The implication is that they have both fancied the pants off each other for the 8 years they have been friends. Eight years is a long time to keep those feelings hidden and that provided the only false note for me in the story.

Despite that niggle, this was still a very well written friends to lovers story. The author’s prose is clean and the characterisation empathetic. I enjoyed reading this story a great deal and would recommend it to those who like these themes or who is just looking for a good read.

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Author: A Scary Package
Title: Mara Ismine
Length: 7,400 pages (27 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torequere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B


Asa and Tan from “Persistence Pays” are back in this Valentine story. Who would send them a pink package? In February? Asa puts two and two together and comes up with one scary answer – his mom. What does ever supportive Mom think would be a good Valentine present? Asa and Tan aren’t sure they want to find out!


This is a follow-up to the short story Persistence Pays which I greatly enjoyed. Asa and Tan have been together for a while when the pink package arrives, and both are totally freaked once they figure out it’s from Asa’s mother. Given what other packages have contained they are sure this one is going to be equally embarrassing.

There is a lot of humour in this story. Asa and Tan are totally over the top in their fear of what is in the box. Although I suppose getting sex manuals from your mother with pages book marked for you to try could cause a fair amount of trauma. I don’t want to think about my parents having sex and I don’t want them thinking about me either.

It was fun to see Asa and Tan still very much in love and lust. A couple of hot sexy scenes showing their adventurous nature were sweet and sexy. However, the character haven’t changed personalities, Asa is still Asa, a bit of a grump who doesn’t like technology and his routine disrupted, except for Tan who manages to convince him of most anything he wants. Even his mother’s over the top supportive parent character is strongly on the page, even though she’s not there in person.

For those who read the first story it will be a nice revisit. You don’t have to have read it first but you may be left with questions as to how they got together as a couple. If you are in the mood for something that will leave you shaking your head a bit at the guys smiling all the while, it’s an excellent choice. And yes, I googled the gifts they got and seems the author has a good imagination because I couldn’t find them. 😀

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Title: The Puppet Master
Author: Kate Cotoner
Length: 12, 800 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m historical
Rating: C

Istanbul, 1622. Considered hotbeds of sedition, the city’s coffee houses are in constant danger of being shut down by imperial command. Haluk, who runs a cafe in an old caravanserai, is more concerned with brewing the perfect cup of coffee than inciting rebellion. While storms in coffee cups rage around him, Haluk tends his clientele and waits for the right moment to tell his friend and lodger Aydin how he really feels about him.

Aydin has been entertaining the people of the Old City for three years, but still he doesn’t fit in. He hides his courtly manners and graceful charms behind the boisterous satire of the shadow puppet plays that have made him popular. A former imperial page, Aydin escaped from the palace after his jealous rivals planted the forbidden spice sumac in his clothes. Now he fears his past is catching up with him, bringing danger to Haluk, the man he loves…

I really like this author and have enjoyed reading many of her historical stories in the past. When I saw she had a new historical at TQ, I snapped it up and looked forward to immersing myself in the Turkish setting. Unfortunately, with this short, I felt the emphasis was a little too much on the setting and not enough on the relationship.

The story involves coffee shop owner Haluk. He has feelings for his lodger, Aydin, who performs puppet shows. When a stranger appears in the shop looking for Aydin, Haluk realises that Aydin might be hiding some dangerous secrets.

Once again this author has produced a story where the setting is all encompassing. I was pulled into the male world of coffee houses where men come to plot – or in the case of Haluk’s shop, argue and fight. Everything is described in detail, from the brewing of coffee to the streets and markets of Istanbul, to the puppet shows that Aydin performs. I know very little about this time or place and that was partly why I wanted to read the book and whilst I certainly learned a lot about 1622 Istanbul, the overwhelming setting meant that I never really felt engaged in the story. I felt like an observer, rather than a participant in what was happening, and as a result found the story itself a little dull.

Part of my lack of engagement was due to the large number of characters in the story. Although we only get the narrative of Haluk and Aydin, there are at least 7 other characters who deal directly with the pair during the story and a couple more whose presence affects the lives of the men. Whilst this gave the impression of the busyness of Haluk and Aydin’s life, it also had the effect of distancing me from the characters, especially in the romance. Haluk and Aydin only get a very short time alone together in the story which wasn’t enough for me to truly believe the feelings they told me they had for one another. I needed to be shown those feelings too.

So from an intellectual point of view, this story was well written with a strong setting and lots of historical detail to enhance the realism of the time period. However, from an emotional point of view, this story left me a little cold and lacking in empathy for the characters and their situation.  Whether you will like the story depends on whether you want to learn something about this particular time and place, or whether you are interested in the romance. I would have liked more of an even balance between the two.

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