Diehl’s return to Wyoming from six years of service to his country – including combat in Iraq – is colored with a dark intent to even the score with his father. But before he can once again embrace his adopted family, including Tony, a ranch hand with a military history of his own, Diehl’s single-minded purpose of revenge against his father precipitates events that turn his life in a direction never envisioned. His comfort through it all, is Jack, a Border Collie who Diehl rescues from certain death; a dog who, perhaps, rescues Diehl from himself.
Given all the activity and travel over the months of July and August I’m quite surprised that I managed any reading at all. Not much actually, but certainly more than originally anticipated. Reviewing was another matter altogether as I found it extremely difficult to sit still long enough, especially on the many glorious sunny days, to actually write reviews for all the books read over the course of both months.
In all, I managed to read five books of which I reviewed three. Two books read were from new to me authors, Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy and Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia, the latter of which I reviewed for Rainbow Reviews. I also read the first book in a new series by two of my favourite authors Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine entitled, Let Them Try, which I reviewed for Three Dollar Bill Reviews. All of the books read over these two months range within the good to very good categories and some are excellent.
With autumn just around the corner (although you wouldn’t know it with the 40° Celsius sweltering heat of this past week) and the cooler weather setting in soon I hope to fall back into my natural state of reading and reviewing more.
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy (Dreamspinner Press)
Stuck On You by Selena Kitt (eXcessica Publishing)
Twenty-six years of dedicated duty as one of Baltimore’s finest should earn a man some reward. One autumn night in a dark cemetery, Officer Rick Baker is forced to reflect on his lonely, closeted life when he meets a strange young man under peculiar circumstances.
Diego is unlike anyone Rick has ever met, and Rick has to face a new reality he’d never imagined in his wildest dreams. Couple Rick’s deeply rooted need for love and companionship with Diego’s remarkable gifts, and even the threat of hell might be too tempting to resist.
A creature moves through the darkest night, lit only by the full moon, taking them, one by one, from the rain city’s gay gathering areas.
Someone – or something – is falling in love with Thad Matthews.
Against a backdrop of horror and fear, young Thad finds his first true love in the most unlikely of places – a new Italian restaurant called The Blue Moon Café. Sam is everything Thad has ever dreamed of in a man: compassionate, giving, handsome, and with brown eyes Thad feels he could sink into. And Sam can cook! But as the pair’s love begins to grow, so do the questions and uncertainties, the main one being, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?
When Liam makes a scene in the middle of a restaurant after his boyfriend, Brandon, dumps him, he knows Brandon’s cousins, the Delaney twins, will be after him. The Delaneys head up the local gangster scene and are not to be messed with. Liam knows their retribution is imminent, especially since, in the heat of the moment, he threatened to take what he knows (and, really, he doesn’t know much) to the police.
It’s a recipe for disaster.
But when the Delaneys confront Liam, they give him a choice between being shot, or having sex with both of them and Liam senses that his evening might turn out to be rather more interesting than originally expected.
The Delaneys and Me by Anne Brooke is an entertaining and witty ménage short story that provides a good mix of suspense and humour for a relatively angst free read. The story is written in the first person through the central character of Liam, who is quite cheeky and possesses a sarcastic disposition providing for a tongue-in-cheek narrative.
Anne Brooke builds the suspense from the beginning of the story well-capturing Liam’s fear as he continuously looks over his shoulder, awaiting the moment when the Delaney twins, Johnny and Mark, will show up to take their retribution. And show up they do to give Liam an ultimatum as to his choice of punishment – bodily harm or sex with the twins all night long, for as long as they want, in any way they want, until Liam doesn’t know who he is and is “as sore as a cold razor on a winter morning.” Of course Liam chooses sex.
The menacing twins put Liam through his paces, some of which are humiliating, all the while holding a gun on him thereby prolonging his fear and anticipation as he awaits his fate. For his part, Liam accepts their bidding like a trooper, growing progressively more daring in goading Johnny and Mark into bed.
“A cool touch on my cheek almost made me jump. When I glanced to my left, I could see Johnny had eased over the seat so he was right next to me. Somehow, I hadn’t heard him. Now he was stroking my face, his finger moving across my skin. I tried to steady my breathing and, when he touched my mouth, I opened my lips and sucked his finger inside. His breath hitched.”
The author cleverly handles Liam’s predicament which, as he puts it, is a choice between “terrible injury or rape,” and diffuses what is an uncomfortable subject-matter for many readers through Liam’s resourcefulness and tongue-in-cheek attitude. If sex with the twins is the only viable choice of punishment then he may as well enjoy it.
“If I was going to get raped—which was infinitely preferable to getting shot after all—I’d do my level best to make sure I got some kind of fun out of it.”
Another element that adds to the slight edginess of this story is the author’s characterization of enigmatic Johnny and Mark, which not only heightens the suspense and sexual tension in the story but also provides a level of unpredictability as to its outcome. There are several instances throughout the story and right up until the end when the reader is simply not sure as to what the twins will do. The build up throughout the story leads to only one road – a three way between Liam, Johnny and Mark. And while I expected a much hotter sex scene between the three, the scene itself is interesting in that it reveals the true nature of the relationship between Johnny and Mark.
The Delaneys and Me by Anne Brooke is a well written, slightly edgy and fun erotic romp that I enjoyed and believe others will as well. The manner in which the story ends leaves the door open to future possibilities for these three, and in particular in respect of the relationship between Johnny and Mark, which I’m sure will delight fans of this author should she decide to further explore their relationship.
The Delaneys and Me by Anne Brooke is available at Amber Quill (Amber Allure) Press.
NOTE: This review was originally published online at Three Dollar Bill Reviews.
The business of real life continued to interfere with my reading and reviewing during April and May. Too much work and lack of free time prevented me from reading as many books as I normally would over a two-month period.
On the positive side, virtually all of the books I did read fall into the category of very good to excellent reads. So the theme for Spring 2010 is quality over quantity. I’m starting to get through the backlog of reviews and hope to fall into a more regular pace of reading and reviewing for the month of June.
The Boy Can’t Help It: Sensual Stories of Young Bottoms by Gavin Atlas (Lethe Press) – Read Review
Tales From The Sexual Underground: Fact, Fiction and Stranger Than Fiction by Rick R. Reed (MLR Press) – Read Review
At some point, hasn’t every bottom yearned to be ravished by a powerful, inescapable top? What dominant hasn’t fantasized about a gorgeous young sub with an incredible ass, so horny he could never say no? The Boy Can’t Help It offers over a dozen such stories of beautiful young men: a gymnast, a diver, a surfer, a marine and an assortment of college boys submitting to construction workers, horny professors, butch jocks, corporate titans, insatiable miners, and even one’s own psychiatrist.
March was a relatively productive reading month with two exceptional stories, The Summer Between by Andrew Binks and The Decade of Blind Dates by Richard Alther. I also read and reviewed the latest installment of Andrew Grey’s Love Means Series, Love Means … No Boundaries and a sweet western/cowboy m/m romance by Leiland Dale entitled, When The Blue Bird Calls.
Like his attempts to swim over the dark water of the river that lies between him and the object of his affections, twelve-year-old Dougaldo Montmigny struggles against oppression, homophobia and racism to realise his love for Tomahawk Clark, a thirteen-year-old Métis boy, during a summer destined to become a painful lesson on love and desire.
Despite an extremely busy period at work I did manage to do a bit of reading over the months of January and February with a mix of books from some new and familiar authors and a reread of a beloved anthology.
Fatal Shadows and A Dangerous Thing: Adrien English Mysteries (Books 1 and 2) by Josh Lanyon (Loose Id) – Read Review
The Hell You Say: Adrien English Mysteries (Book 3) by Josh Lanyon (Loose Id) – Read Review
Death of a Pirate King: Adrien English Mysteries (Book 4) by Josh Lanyon (Loose Id) – Read Review