Off The Beaten Path by Katrina Strauss

Travis Bell is openly gay to family and friends, but as a college athlete, he chooses not to define himself by his sexuality. When he covers for a friend’s misdeed, he’s forced to renegotiate his future. Carefully. Or he’s going to lose his coveted lacrosse scholarship. The last thing Travis plans on, however, is a “volunteer vacation” in the remote wilderness with members of Omega Beta Pi, a.k.a., Off the Beaten Path, a fraternity devoted to gay rights and environmental causes. To make matters worse, he must share a tent with Kyle Schafer, an opinionated activist who also happens to be the hottest guy Travis has ever met.

Kyle Schafer is a proud activist who disapproves of Travis’s ignorance on issues affecting the environment and the gay community. To his even greater annoyance, Kyle finds himself attracted to his shallow tent mate on a purely physical level. Travis goes against everything Kyle believes in, but that doesn’t dampen the chemistry that sparks between them. Pretty soon, it looks like Travis isn’t the only one who’ll be going off the beaten path.

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Cheek To Cheek by Chris Owen

John “Mal” Mallory is a beleaguered fireman who’s fought one too many fires. The most recent blaze killed two fellow firemen and sent his colleague Drew Smyth to intensive care with his life hanging in the balance. He feels tired and old and knows that he’s just going through the motions in his relationship. He loves Trish, and always will, but he is no longer in love with her.

Two weeks after they amicably split, Mal has a new apartment and finds himself at a local gay bar in his new neighbourhood. Although Mal has lived his life loving both women and men, he hasn’t been with a man in almost eight years. He’s about to order a second drink when the most beautiful man by the name of Will Justason asks Mal to dance. Over the course of the evening they dance and later end up in Mal’s bed having incredible sex. Although they arrange to see each other again, Mal warns Will that while he doesn’t do casual pick-ups he’s also not looking for anything serious at this time. But when Mal shows up to work only to find that the man he slept with the night before is now one of two new replacement firemen at his station, Mal’s plans for a quiet, easy, no-pressure physical relationship go up in smoke and both Mal and Will are put to the test working together, with ex-partners and family further complicating matters.

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Talons of The Condor by John Simpson

David J. Windsor, the first openly gay president of the United States, has his hands full. After surviving an assassination attempt, he’s now dealing with the fallout: finding all of the culprits is at the top of his list. Will his enemies give up trying to bring down the administration, or will they try again? In the meantime, he has to deal with fractious allies, hidden foes, the vice president’s kidnapped son, and secrets that tear at his heart – including his relationship with his lover, Shane Thompson, who is also his Secret Service agent.

While they want to live a more open life, it’s impossible while David is in office; the demands of the job and the constant spotlight would tear even the most devoted couple apart. Throw in David’s attempts to help gay teens and they’re living in a pressure cooker that threatens to boil over. Will David be able to get a handle on the intrigue and danger of his job and find a way to keep his lover as well? Or will Shane become a casualty of Condor One’s political decisions?

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Condor One by John Simpson

The Democratic Party’s 2012 nominee for President, David J. Windsor, and America are equally shocked when he is outted by his opponent just six weeks before the Fall election. Following his heart, David chooses honesty over media spin and overcomes the obstacle to win the election.

Despite that success, dark forces around the world begin to plot against him, and President Windsor’s security is a must. Inside and outside the White House, Secret Service Agent Shane Thompson becomes the President’s shadow, always present and silent, ever vigilant.

As the two men grow closer, Shane does far more than just his duty – he becomes as vital to David’s happiness as he is to the President’s health. Together they realize they must find a way to balance the President and the Agent against David and Shane before stress and responsibility tear them apart.

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Reckless Seduction by Amanda Young

Nineteen year old Cody Bradbury is tired of being a virgin so when he gets his hands on an invitation to the hottest party in town at The Casbah, an exclusive gay men’s club owned by his uncle, he has no intention of letting the opportunity of getting his cherry popped go by. With some fake ID and a quickly put together costume as a disguise Cody sneaks into the club during its annual Halloween party with exactly this intention in mind.

He can’t believe his luck when Dante Santiago, his uncle’s long time friend and Casbah employee, comes on to him. Cody’s been in lust with Dante for a while, but up until now Dante hasn’t given him the time of day. Dante has no clue who Cody is, but he’s definitely interested and doesn’t hesitate to have the hot encounter that this “Pretty Boy” is offering.

But when Dante finds out Cody’s true identity he leaves him high and dry. Not only is he conflicted about having sex with the nephew of his long time friend and employer, he also doesn’t do relationships and is certain that Cody can’t possibly be the bottom he wants. Cody knows that Dante wants his body but realises that after their one hot encounter, Cody wants Dante’s heart. Is there any chance the older man might want more than just hot sex? Cody’s not sure but he won’t take no for an answer. And if he can’t have Dante the way he wants him, then Cody plans on giving Dante a night neither of them will ever forget.

Reckless Seduction is a short novella and my first book by author Amanda Young. With some good writing and interesting characters I wasn’t disappointed.

What I enjoyed most about this story was the cat and mouse pursuit between Cody and Dante. Although inexperienced, Cody is no pushover and is quite capable of standing up for what he wants and going after it. For his part, Dante’s conflict over doing the right thing versus doing what he really wants provides for just the right amount angst. The push me pull you chemistry between the characters and the twist of just who is the cat and who is the mouse make the story interesting and keep the reader in anticipation of what will happen next. Add to this some altogether hot sex between the two and this short novella hit the spot.

Reckless Seduction provides just the right amount of angst and lust factor to make this story a good pick for a lazy hazy summer escape read.

Reckless Seduction by Amanda Young is available at Loose Id.

The One That Got Away by TC Blue

Michael is head over heels in love with Alex, the guy he’s been dating for six months. Michael thinks that Alex is perfection and still can’t believe that Alex is his seeing as Michael’s an average guy on a good day and less than that the rest of the time. Michael’s planning a rooftop romantic dinner to tell Alex how he feels and that he’s ready to take their relationship to the next level – to move in together. But when Alex doesn’t show up for dinner and then unceremoniously dumps him by telephone and via voice mail it sends Michael into a tailspin.

Jim is Michael’s best friend and roommate. He wants to hunt down Alex like the dog that he is and break every bone in his body for hurting his Michael. Jim tries his best to cheer up his devastated friend but with no luck until one fateful night while he’s comforting Michael they become more than friends. The last thing Jim expected was to fall in love with Michael, after all they’re just very good friends with benefits right? Why did Michael take-off without as much as a goodbye? And why is Jim so damn hurt by it? Could Michael be the one that got away?

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