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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Owen’

Title: Succulents
Author: Chris Owen
Length: 5,600 words
Publisher:Torquere Press
Genre: m/m Contemporary Twincest Romance
Rating: B-

Blurb:
Twins Gil and Wayne seldom get to work together in the field even though they share their landscape company. It’s a hot morning when Gil starts a yard for Wayne, but it’s Wayne who gets hot and bothered at the sight of his brother. Questions of privacy are at the front of Gil’s mind — right up until he falls in the pool. After that, it seems that anything can happen behind suburban fences!

Previously published in Toy Box: Twins

Review:
This short twincest story tells of twins Gil and Wayne. Together they run a landscape gardening company with Wayne providing the knowledge of plants and the creativity, and Gil providing the business knowledge. However, today Gil is out of the office and filling in for Wayne’s second in command. Shovelling dirt isn’t really Gil’s thing, but when Wayne comes to help, he finds that honest dirt and man sweat is something that leads to an extended lunch break in the shady part of the garden.

Chris Owen always writes a good story and here I felt she had got the balance right between showing the men as siblings and lovers. Like brothers everywhere, these guys get along one minute and the other minute are sniping, fighting and wrestling for top position. I liked how Wayne knew his brother so well that he was aware of all his moods, and how to get Gil round to his way of thinking. The pair might be identical, but their personalities are very different. Gil is moody and prefers buildings and noise whilst Wayne has a lighter, sunnier disposition and loves the peace and quiet of the garden. Yet both men love each other and that comes across strongly in the story.

At such a short word length, this was never going to be anything too detailed but it worked as a slice of life between this unconventional established couple. I would have liked to know more about how they cope with the wider world and whether anyone other than themselves knows that they are lovers as well as brothers and business partners. As it is, aside from a certain amount of cautiousness about being out in the open, the twins exist in a bubble of their own within the story.

Those who enjoy twincest stories will find a lot to like here, especially if you’re looking for a realistic pair of brothers and a hot sex scene. Those who need more in terms of the implications of such a relationship may be more disappointed. As for me, it passed the time nicely and I enjoyed the story.

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Title: Day and Night: Turquoise
Author: Chris Owen
Length: 10,800 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
Steve Hughes and Luke Jones know they like each other, but they’re not too sure if their cosplay characters will get along at all. At EscapeCon Steve becomes Captain Emerson Langdon-Hughes, a military inspired Steampunk captain. Luke Jones becomes Lucas Pickett, an authority-hating shopkeeper who will only deal with customers of rank because he wants their money. For most customers that means a few teasing comments, but for Steve’s Captain there might be something special in store.

When Steve finds a particularly wonderful treasure among Luke’s items he’s eager to pay top dollar. Luke, however, won’t even discuss the matter, taking the turquoise cufflinks out of sight and all but kicking Steve out of the storefront. What’s so special about them? And if Captain Langdon-Hughes can’t get along with Lucas Pickett, what does that mean for Steve and Luke?

Review:
After enjoying the previous book in this series: Night and Day: Jasmine, reviewed here, I was looking forward to reading more about these characters, especially the convention and the showdown between Luke and Steve’s cos-play characters. The story begins well with a good intro to the slightly bizarre world of science fiction conventions. The setting and costumes are given some room in the descriptions and the whole thing gave me fond memories of my trip to Yaiocon. The tone of the descriptions were not condescending but rather a mix of deadly serious and amusing. My favourite part was right at the beginning when Steve and Ashyln meet an Ewok in the elevator! Another plus point was Steve’s co-worker and friend, Ashlyn, who had accompanied him to the convention. Her valentine ball gown made me smile, as did the wholeheated way she throws herself into the convention.

Luke and Steve’s relationship is getting stronger and it was nice to see them at that stage where even a few days away from each other is too long. I was really anticipating their showdown in the dealers’ room where Luke’s shopkeeper Lucas would spar verbally with Steve’s character of a Steampunk captain. Rather disappointingly this didn’t happen, despite a certain amount of build-up in the previous story and in this one. I felt a bit cheated by the way the lukewarm way the issue of the turquoise cuff-links was dealt with in the shop.

Despite my slight disappointment with the Lucas/Langdon-Hughes showdown, this was still a nicely written and very romantic story. Luke and Steve work well as a couple and I liked seeing them a bit further on in their relationship. If you’re a fan of conventions and are interested in seeing exactly how Steve constructs his Langdon-Hughes costume, then this would be a great story to read.

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Title: Night and Day: Jasmine
Author: Chris Owen
Length:10,700 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B

Blurb:
Steve Hughes is relatively new to California and in search of connections. A life-long geek and nerd into science fiction, Steampunk costumes, and role play, he takes a shopping suggestion for some items he needs and walks into “This and That”. The store blows him away, but not nearly as much as the owner.

Luke Jones makes a living selling oddities, dry goods, and vintage clothing. His shop is full of treasures, so he knows a treasure seeker when he sees one. Before long he finds himself sharing more than just what’s in his shop. High on a rooftop, surrounded by night blooming flowers, Luke shares more than mere merchandise with his customer. Will Steve and Luke forge the connection they need, or is it all just role-play?

Review:
This is a story for the science-fiction and fantasy geeks out there. As a repressed geek myself (I love looking at the cosplayers but would never be brave enough to do it myself), I really enjoyed this story which was packed with a gentle humour which never mocked.

Steve has recently started work in California and is just finding his feet. He loves science fiction/fantasy and is pleased when a book shop owner brings his attention to a small con taking place locally. Steve is looking for some accessories for his costume and is pointed in the direction of Luke’s oddities shop. The pair hit it off straight away and arrange to meet later that weekend when Luke promises to show Steve something unique.

I like Chris Owen’s stories and this one left me feeling happy and hopeful. It works as a stand-a-lone but there also promises to be a sequel in a couple of months. As I said earlier there’s a lot of gentle humour in the writing, some of it at the expense of those who aren’t into the SF/Fantasy lifestyle and some of it self-deprecatory at the expense of Steve and Luke who freely admit to spending far too much money on their hobby. The reactions of Steve to Luke’s shop and the descriptions of some of the objects he finds were enthusiastic enough to draw me in and I got a genuine feel for the worth he put on objects others would discard.

The romance between Luke and Steve is a tentative beginning and I particularly liked the way they spent time talking and getting to know each other before the clothes came off! The scene in the greenhouse was wildly romantic without even a kiss between them at that stage. It was all rather lovely.

As I said there’s a sequel coming up which is to take place at the con I mentioned in the description. It sounds like it’s going to be great fun to see Luke and Steve dressed and acting in character and I shall look forward to reading it.

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Title: Added Money
Author: Chris Owen
Length: 10,200 words (37 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre:
m/m contemporary
Rating: B+

Blurb:

Gideon Smith is a man with a secret. He’s a rodeo cowboy competing at the Calgary Stampede and should have his mind on the ride, but instead he’s got his mind and his hands all over Nick DeShane. That would be fine if Gideon wasn’t in the closet, and wasn’t sharing a tiny trailer with his big brother, Justice. Things get complicated fast when Justice narrowly misses interrupting a date and Nick starts putting things together. Find out if Gideon can win the added money or if he’s going to lose it all.

Originally published in the Cowboy Up! Anthology.

Review:

The story begins with Gideon trying to avoid telling his brother who he’s going out with that night. It’s not a hot buckle bunny as his brother assumes, but one of the other cowboys he met on the rodeo circuit. It’s unusual for Nick as well, as he doesn’t usually “date” but depends on quickies, despite the fact that he is out on the circuit. However both men find the experience worth prolonging, so they go to a club where Nick runs into Justice, unaware that he’s Gideon’s brother.

After a great night, they happen to run into Nick at the rodeo grounds, where Justice starts teasing Nick, who tries to defend his mystery man (Gideon), when Gideon finally can’t take it and bolts. When he gets back to his trailer Justice is waiting and wants some answers.

I really liked this one. While Gideon was in the closet, his brother wasn’t a nasty homophobe, he had wandered into the gay bar with some friends and wasn’t freaked out, but Gideon still feared his reaction. His brother was great though when it came down to it, and while the cowboys were not all out waving the rainbow flag, they weren’t kicking Nick’s ass every other day either. I think Gideon’s struggles to face up to who he was contrasted nicely with Nick who lived his life quietly, but with no hiding.

The build-up to, and the sex itself, was hot and yet tender as both men wonder if this is just a one-off, or if it could be the start to something more. It was also nice that they talked, on their date and later, including talking about Gideon’s brother’s possible reaction to him being gay. On the whole, while there was a bit of angst about being gay on the rodeo circuit and family reaction, it was more or less a story about two guys meeting who think it could lead to more. Definitely a HFN ending but one that I quite enjoyed.

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Title: Walking Spencer
Author: Chris Owen
Length: 3,100 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m  Contemporary
Rating: B-

Blurb:
When the next door neighbors ask Dean to walk their dog while they’re away Dean is happy to help out. Spencer is equally happy when Dean’s playful game with a dog leash leads to something far more intense than Spencer had bargained for.

Review:
There’s not much to this tiny short which takes an established relationship which has reached a turning point but I still rather enjoyed it. Dean and Spencer have recently moved in together which has the downside that Spencer has to take up jogging to lose the weight that Dean’s delicious home made bread makes him gain. When returning from a jog one morning he finds Dean getting ready to take the neighbour’s dog for a walk and when, through a bit of horseplay, Dean discovers that Spencer likes the dog lead, it gives him an idea for later in the day.

The pleasure that I got from the story was seeing a slice of life between two men who are obviously in love. Added to that is the slight kink with the dog lead, which somehow manages to be humourous and hot at the same time, and I had a very enjoyable fifteen minutes or so reading the story. The best part was really Spencer’s reaction to the dog lead, especially as the book is written in his third person narrative, and the way that Dean uses that to his advantage.

Overall this was a fun story with a light witty tone to the writing and a premise which manage to combine hot sensuality with an amusing situation. I’d recommend this to those looking for something light-hearted and quick to read.

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