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Andy Zeffer is the author of Going Down in La-la Land, a novel that, aside for being turned into the movie by the same name, is deeply connected with the gay-themed movie The Fluffer. In all these past experiences, the author was deeply involved with the social environment of Los Angeles, with all the implications: Los Angeles is big and disconnected, but is also sun and beaches. With the Barbizon, Andy Zeffer moves from Los Angeles to New York City, a move that also happened in Zeffer's real life, a move that is reflected in the story: while New York City is a metropoli like Los Angeles, the feeling is less disconnected and more of close environment; even when the characters aren't inside a bedroom, the feeling was of a "closed" setting. Also the mood of the story is less "sun and beaches" and more "dark and cloudy weather", it was like Annika, the main character, was living in the dark and just before the end, she has the chance to get a glimpse of the sun. Very nice and quick short story from an author you don't have to miss.

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Amazon Kindle: "The Barbizon" A Short Story

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Without doubt Top Mark is a story with a twist, so unexpected that it turned almost in a thriller from the sweet romance the author was lulling us at first.

The story of stylish Mark who meets new-hippy Mark, 6 years of difference and a whole world of experience between them, they become the Marks, Top Mark and Marx; but Marx is like a bloodsucker, eating Top Mark’s life. Does he realize it? I don’t think so, the old Marx seems really smitten by Top Mark, I liked him. Not so much now, reliving their story from Top Mark’s perspective, reading how he is basically mistreating a man in love, not giving him neither the decency of a farewell.

This is not a happily ever after romance, but it’s for sure good literature.

Publisher: 20Ten Books (May 21, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Top Mark

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This was a short story, but very moving. A very much believable story too, about two long-term partners: Adam and Mike are simple men with a very ordinary life; both widower with young sons, 3 boys Adam, 2 girls Mike, they found each other and raised their kids together. Just like that, not fancy ceremonies or legal fight, they were both daddies to their five children and shared a good life together.

But love cannot do anything against old age and death, and Adam preceded Mike; that was just few days ago, and now Mike is simply waiting for the time when he will be able to reach Adam in whatever paradise they are allowed to share. It can be sad to think, especially for your children, but actually Mike is old, and frail, and Adam was his shield against old age; now that Adam is gone, what is the reason for Mike to stay? Sure his children love him, even Adam’s children love him like if they were his own, but in a way, it’s right, and better, for Mike to be forever with Adam again.

Publisher: MLR Press,LLC (June 21, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Cooper's Hawk

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This was a new author for me, and sincerely I didn’t know what to expect, and as usually, when you take a chance, good surprises can be right there for you to grab. The Nine-Inch Cure for the Blues is pure p**n, but the best one, that is, with an happily ever after, or at least, an happily for now. The Nine-Inch cure is not a metaphor, it’s actually what the title suggest, the “tool” of country boy Beau and the one he will use to let Jeremy completely forget the other smaller, and less skillful, tool of Scott. Jeremy is still very young, in college, and still much in love with his high school buddy. Both of them in the closet, Scott decided to take the easy way of finding a dumb fiancé and probably get soon married with 2.5 kids, while Jeremy is still bringing a torch for him, hoping he will see the light. But one night, it will be Jeremy that will see the light, in a deserted highway, with the only gas station open that of Beau.

The story is crude, sometime even vulgar, and full of licks, man pussies, big tools, stretchings, and co… sound not my cup of tea, right? Right, if not that the author chose to give a spark of hope, a possible relationship to these two strangers meeting on a dark night, and to the reader the hope that Jeremy will finally have his love story. And if it will not be Beau, at least Beau has proven him what a jerk Scott is, and that it’s time for Jeremy to move over, that better tools are waiting him!

Amazon Kindle: The Nine-Inch Cure for the Blues
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A bittersweet tale that is more the story of a father/son relationship that of two lovers, even if Dean and Taylor are indeed lovers, partners and everything for each other.

Dean’s father has dementia, and while having lunch with him, Dean not only reconsiders his relationship with his father, but tries to imagine what will happen to his own relationship with Taylor if the same thing happening to his father will affect also him in the future. Dean’s father’s dementia moreover brings him back in the past, and Dean can, unwillingly, reliving some epic moments that when he was only a teenager he was not able to understand. At the end of the lunch, Dean is able to appreciate how lucky he is to have Taylor in his life and how important it’s to preserve that love, forever and ever.

Amazon Kindle: Shadow Memory
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This is a really nice, cute short story. Derrick and Rory are both college students, Derrick a first year engineering student, Rory a second year nurse student. Both of them believe in commitment, they don’t want to play the field, they want a serious relationship and boyfriend and stuffs. Problem is that Derrick is painfully shy, and Rory isn’t able to read him: Rory is the twink, cute and pretty, smaller in body than Derrick and he is used to be approached not viceversa. He likes Derrick, but he is mistakenly waiting for Derrick to do the first move, a move that Derrick will never do, since he is a complete “virgin” to relationship, his only experience a quick fumbling with a school friend when they were still in high school.

Wishful Thinking tells their first night, when basically Rory decides to go over to what he is used to, and ask Derrick out; of course it will be basically a disaster, until they will manage to kiss, and from that moment on everything will be perfect. Doesn’t matter this is Derrick’s first experience, I can easily see these two being together for the rest of their life: they want the same things, they really like each other, they will easily fall in love forever and ever.

Amazon Kindle: Wishful Thinking
Publisher: Pender Mackie; 2 edition (January 7, 2013)

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A quickie, an hot dream about a forbidden fantasy unveiling to being even more forbidden than expected. Like in that old television fiction where people are gathering in an enchanted island where they dream will become true, here the host is played by Native American Tavish Black and the dreams he makes true are sexual fantasies. Mitch came to Tavish expecting his forbidden desire of a ménages a trois to come true, what he is not expecting is for his twin brother to be part of it. Even if, what Mitch declared wasn’t really his true desire and Tavish knew it.

This is a quick read, just a night in the life of the men involved in each fantasy, so you haven’t to expect full development, or characters’s life turning events. Nevertheless, the author gave a little of background to them and an hint of a possible future development. Other than that, this is simply to enjoy an hot, short story, to be savored when in the mood and quickly consumed.

Amazon Kindle: Whisper (A Tavish Black Fantasy #1)
Publisher: Hot Corner Press (January 6, 2013)

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Sweet and also funny little piece about two high school friends, Liz and the narrative voice (probably another woman), who go from friendship to relationship without even considering the step. One day they are gossiping about futile things, the day after they are sharing every free moment together, sleeping together, not yet living together but almost. Problem is that Liz is not considering this to be a “final” relationship, she is still seeing herself in a white dress going down the aisle and settling in the suburbs with 2.5 kids.

What I liked of the story is that I was envisioning tragedy and instead I got an uplifting ending. True, it’s not simple, and I’m sure it will be not the last time they will clash, but like the narrative voice, I had the feeling I was going up and no more down, in this story.

Not an easy writing style, mostly inside the mind of the narrative voice, nevertheless it conveyed with efficacy the meaning of the story, and also the light mood of both main characters, still very young, probably college students or so.

Amazon Kindle: 4 Stories Down, 4 Stories Up
Publisher: Untreed Reads (July 2, 2010)

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Maybe this time I’m not very “concerned” about this Bittersweet Dreams title (they are usually romance without an happily ever after), because, well, I don’t really believe it. Meaning that, I don’t believe there is not a some sort of happily ever after for 35 years old Kyle and his 18 years old hustler Jesse, even if the author wants to surprise the reader.

I will not disclose the “surprise” enough to say that there are various reasons why I think Kyle will not proceed with his intended purposes, also since I believe it’s not really legal, and to Jesse would be enough to have a medium experience lawyer to not only going out from this situation but maybe having Kyle in trouble too. True I’m not really a specialist of immigration law, and Jesse is an illegal immigrant, so maybe for him his different, but again, I really hope Kyle will change his mind.

This is a short story, less than 30 pages, but they are enough to give a background story to both Kyle than Jesse, that is maybe the reason why I hope for both of them to have an happily ever after. Despite the age difference, I think they would be good to each other, and there is really nothing against them, on the contrary, I think Jesse has a good heart, and he has already fallen a little for Kyle.

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A bittersweet tale about a summer’s fling: it’s 1891, Queen Victoria’s India, and Mair, a 18 years old young man soon to be leaving for England and his college future, meets Captain Charles Blackthorne, 35 years old and embittered by his current life. Charles sees in Mair his lost hopes, the innocent and young romance he didn’t have the chance to fully experiment, the lightness and carelessness to love and be love by another man. Charles is tired, more than tired he is weary of the clandestine affair he can have with other fellow soldiers, there is no romance in it, there is sex without passion, it’s only a mechanism, and to that, he can renounce. But with Mair he will have the night of his dreams, a night that will remain a lapse in time, nothing more, but everything he wants.

This is only a short story, and it would be interesting to know what it will be of Mair and his adventures in England and of Charles and his life in India; will they be able to fulfil their desires? Will they meet again? We don’t know, but for now, they had they summer’s lease.

Amazon Kindle: Summer's Lease
Publisher: Bristlecone Pine Press (September 20, 2011)

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This is only a short story, but it’s sweet and romantic, and, well, real. The two guys are not romance hero, but your everyday guys with their simple but big dream of being a family, an happily ever after story.

Rory is a construction worker, Jamie is in-live partner; I didn’t really catch if Jamie has a steady job, what I for sure understood is that Jamie is very good in taking care of Rory, he is the perfect househusband. Rory comes home tired and a little stressed, and Jamie is ready to relax him; Rory is late for their anniversary, and instead of finding a complaining Jamie, he finds an hot bath and dinner ready. Of course he would be crazy to let this perfect dream man gone, and indeed Rory has a plan to make their relationship very, very permanent.

There is reality waiting outside their perfect little home waiting for Rory and Jamie, but this night, this perfect planned night, is all for them, and reality can wait, the hate, the prejudices have not space, and even if they are an ordinary couple, they will have a movie-like happy ending.

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This is only a short story but I think it has, not only a good plot, but also a good characters development, or at least as much as you could achieve in 25 pages.

Devon is a young “modern” boy in West Hollywood. 22 years old and without a steady job, he is not actually worried, since he knows that, sooner or later he will find his real path in life. Devon is also gay, and like for his lack of career prospective, also being gay is not an issue; he is not living in a gay bubble, meaning that he has friends in and out the LGBT community, but when you see him, you can tell Devon is gay, it’s who he is, and he is not ashamed of that. So when the hot star of the indie movie for which Devon is doing temp work as technician asks him to be his teacher for gay “kissing” (since the straight star has to kiss a man on the screen), Devon is more than willing; no thoughts of “this is a closet gay man I should out him”, or “poor me I’m so in love with this man and nothing could happen”, is passing his mind. Devon likes Stephen and Stephen is a good guy, and he is treating Devon with respect and like a true gentlemen… of course Devon will let Stephen know that he can be a little less gentlemanly and having his wicked ways with him, Devon is again, more than willing.

I like the approach of the author to the situation; Stephen is probably gay, but he is working in a field where it’s risky for him to come out, at least at this moment in his career when he is average famous but he is still not a 20 million star. Stephen is not presented like a negative character, or weak or without courage, and I also like that Devon understands the situation and is not behaving like if Stephen is betraying him since he doesn’t want to gamble on his own career.

Amazon Kindle: Lights, Camera...
Publisher: Phaze Books (August 29, 2011)

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Leatherman and Sexy Boy by J.M. Snyder

This is nothing than a very short, very sexy sex scene between Vic & Matt, two favourite of mine and long-time serial characters by J.M. Snyder.

Vic and Matt have a past of ordinary extraordinary adventures (during sex Matt exchanges bodily fluid with Vic and Vic acquires superpowers from them, each time a different power), but in this case, the author wanted to show us only an intimate and private scene between the two of them. It’s Vic’s birthday and he is coming home to his lover. Matt prepared a surprise but it went a little wrong: the leather harness he wore trapped him and Vic has to free his lover… well, in a way he is opening his gift! Of course once Matt is free, the scene can continue as planned, and between leather and two men in love, it will be a very sexy scene.

Nice short break for a quick ensured pleasure.

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Amazon Kindle: Leatherman and Sexy Boy
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 3, 2010)

Foot Fetish by J.M. Snyder

The second short story about Vic & Matt is even more kink than the previous one, but in a way also more romantic.

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Matt wants to give a special gift to Vic, who has a foot fetish, if the foot belongs to Matt… the play between them will involve only Matt’s feet and Vic’s genitalia, and having Vic letting go only with that is plenty of proof that is madly, deeply in love with Matt, and that he is putty in Matt’s hands… and well also feet!

Again very short, very sexy scene, for a quick, but plenty satisfying pleasure.

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Amazon Kindle: Foot Fetish
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 3, 2010)

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Todd is a pretty ordinary guy, an electrician working for tv shows and enjoying every minute of it. He is a big fan of America’s Next Top Dancer and in particular of Nathaniel, one of the dancer; when he has the chance to sub for one of the electrician working for that show, he would have never guessed that was also the chance to meet Nate. Even if working for a real show, Nate is as much ordinary as Todd, and when the two guys meet, a sweet and romantic love story will start.

I liked the contraposition of their bodies, Todd strong and big, bear-like, and Nate small and lithe, a real dancer, with the pretty much similarity of their attitude; Todd and Nate like the simple things of life, they have common interests and it’s clear their love story will be a lasting one.

There are no obstacles to their love, and while Todd has no a public life like Nate, nevertheless they don’t clash together; both Todd and Nate are on the shy side, but Nate will kindly lead Todd a little out of his shell, just enough to allow them to start a good thing together.

The Dancer & Sexy Big Man is only a short story, but it didn’t feel like that; the story was well plotted and the characters were nice and good together. I wouldn’t mind to see more of them together, seeing how they will manage their life together, I have the feel that Todd would be a good supporter to Nate’s beginning career in the show business.

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At the end of the nineteen century, two lovers have to face the worst of separation, death. They are both men, but this is not the story of how difficult it was for them to be together, when the story starts they are a couple and they would be happy if not that Philip is deathly ill, consumption, and day after day he is fading away. Jonathan, who is also the wealthier of the two, decides to bring Philip in a big mansion just outside New Orleans, not in the hope to see him better, but to alleviate his last months; in the isolated place, with only the servants as witnesses, Jonathan and Philip are building memories that will serve to Jonathan to survive losing his lover.

There is a bit of paranormal element in the story, but it’s basically an historical short story. The author devoted enough words to describing the setting, the disposition of the mansion where the lovers are living, with the highlight of the “modern” comforts wealth allow them, like an in-house bathroom.

I like also the shift in power between the two men, something that explain Jonathan’s desperation in losing Philip and his apparently incapacity to go on alone: when the story starts Philip is so ill, that Jonathan seems, and is, the strongest of the two; it’s him who takes care of Philip, like a mother with a son, even if there is always the underlying spark of desire. But before Philip’s illness, it was Philip the master in the couple, Jonathan was his pet; without Philip, Jonathan has no balance, no reason to survive his master.

Of Death and Desire is a nice short story, with enough development to give the reader enough material to imagine what in the short story itself there is no time to tell.

Amazon Kindle: Of Death and Desire
Publisher: BWLPP (March 20, 2011)

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This is only a short story, less than 20 pages, but it has definitely a plot being at the same time wickedly naughty; Gabriel and Sebastian are both chasing after Alejandro on the street of Madrid during the Carnival. They both arrived that day, summoned by Alejandro’s letter, brief but clear: “I'll be in Plaza Mayor. Catch me if you can. Get here first and I'm yours”. What Gabriel didn’t know accepting the invite is that Alejandro did the same with Sebastian.

Even if they are chasing the same man, I didn’t feel in Gabriel a real dislike for Sebastian, on the contrary, he seems almost fascinated by the other man, so much that sometime I had the feeling Gabriel would have liked to catch Sebastian as much as Alejandro. And so when Gabriel and Sebastian unite the strengths to become real hunters and not only toys in the hand of that little tart that is Alejandro, it was not a surprise.

When they will finally catch Alejandro, the young man win the lottery: two hot men all focused on him, with only one purpose in their mind, having their pleasure while at the same time bringing it to him as well. True, in the hand of lesser men, Alejandro would have been only an object of desire, but he has still an ace to play that will overturn the plates on the favour of all of them.

Good teaser that enticed me to search more from this author to test if she is able to make me smile as well with a long story as she did with this short one.

Amazon Kindle: The Game in Spain
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC (November 6, 2010)

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Dharma in Eight Lessons is another little jewel by Sarah Black; you don’t expect much from these short stories, if not a brief break between other more important things, and so I’m always surprised when I realized that I have probably just finished to read something very important, something that is probably too big for the small space that is a short story.

Mike is searching the meaning of life; Annan, a Buddhist from Thailand told him he can reach a Dharma, a righteous duty, in eight lessons, for the modicum price of 25 dollars each lesson. But more than the meaning of life Mike is probably searching for a friend and why not, a lover, and Annan has still not learned himself to renounce to the flesh in due of the spirit. Annan tells Mike that desire leads to suffering, but more than to Mike he is telling it to himself.

Lesson after lesson is more Annan who is learning how to cope with his desire for mortal things and Mike is a perennial temptation; in the end, to reach lesson 8, Annan will have to make a choice, let Mike go discovering his own lesson while Annan himself will conclude his path, to then meet again when they are really ready for something more.

This short story is at the same time warm and sad; it’s like a sad glance on the world, but with the warm of love. Even if it was not obvious the right time for Mike and Annan, I knew that there was a chance of happiness for them, even if it was not immediate and easy. Strange thing was that, even if it was a short story, the pace was slow, and quiet, like a more longer novel.

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In this short story by Jack Greene I had two confirmation: he likes pretty boys and romance. By the plot, and some of his previous story, I was sure on the first, but the romance was more a surprise.

In less than 25 pages, if you want to fit into it a good sex scene, usually the romance is a bit neglected. And so, as soon as the two met, I was there waiting to see when they would move on the dirty part of the story. Since they met in a gym, I thought the showers was a good place; but the shower scene arrived and passed without them doing nothing. Then they planned a dinner, and the two of them inside the same car was another good place, but they arrived to the restaurant and nothing happened. Then the dance club and still nothing. I finally realized the author was writing a full romantic story, with an old style courtship, and sincerely the sex was not his main target. Now don’t get me wrong, there is sex, and it’s good, but it’s the icing on the cake, not the main course.

Of the two men, the pretty boy, Kieran, yoga instructor, in all his oddity made by eyeliner and lipstick, was in a way the most classical character for a M/M romance; who instead was more original was Zach, personal trainer: usually this type of character is not famous for being smart or courteous. Zach not only is smart enough to avoid unneccessary involvement with people he works with (both customers than colleagues), but also to understand when someone important crossed his path so to do an exception. Plus Zach is sure of himself so much that he has no problem to admit that he can be attract by a man, and when he is, to act upon that attraction.

Amazon Kindle: Bending The Rules

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This was only a short story, and I had the feeling it was almost a drive test, like the author wanted to prove her hand on a possible longer novel and in the meantime she realized a teasing.

Steerl is the youngest son of the Emperor and he is supposed to be the chaperon for his sister who is going to meet her mate, the prince of Vampires. But when they are in the same room with the handsome prince, they discover there was a mistaken identity. Given that Steerl is gay and that Graven is really handsome, Steerl doesn’t object much.

The story is less than 20 pages, so other than boy meets boy and boy loves boy, nothing more happens, but Steerl is the perfect top from the bottom, all impertinence and a bit of spoiled brattiness in him; Graven is the perfect example of bored aristocrat who is only waiting for another game to start, and mating with his soulmate is the ultimate adventure.

It can be interesting to see if Amber Kell will continue or expand this one, the premise was quite good.

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This is a very short, very sweet, very romantic story. And despite being short it tells you 12 years of the life of Jad and Luke, who met in first grade and kissed at 18 years old.

On the classic path of the prince and the poor, Luke is the only son of a wealthy business man who lives in a mansion in the suburbs; Jad is the half white, half Aborigine son of a pear diver and a nurse. Luke apparently has everything, Jad has nothing, but that first day it’s Jad who shares his sandwich with Luke: the boy is orphaned by mother and his father doesn’t care much about him. In Jad Luke finds not only a friend but probably also the family he is missing.

Even if they are always together, at school and out of it, until 18 years old, they are only friends; no one of them thinks to search love outside their friendship, since their friendship is everything they need. Luke spends all his free time in the quest of the perfect pearl, something that symbolize his perfect love for Jad. When he finally finds it, then it’s the moment to declare his love to Jad, and for Jad to accept it.

But they are only 18 years old, Luke only dream was to find the pearl, and he reached it, Jad instead wants to become a doctor; the story doesn’t end like that, the author explains that this is only part of their life he has told, and more has to come.

If you are familiar with Geoffrey Knight’s works (also as A.J. Ryan) you will be probably surprised by this short story; it’s mostly sweet, not sad but neither light, it’s so full of love that I wondered if there is not something of truth in it, maybe some good remembrances of the author himself.

Amazon Kindle: The Pearl (The Pearl Trilogy)

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A mix of old legends, history and fantasy, Flame is barely 15 pages long, but it’s also very sweet. When the story starts Kai and Rayken are spending their last night together before a very dangerous battle; at first they are introduced to us as the legendary pairs of the Sacred Band of Thebe, but soon it’s clear that Kai is not at all a warrior, but more the protégé of Rayken. Again Eden Winters mixes a bit of old fashioned romance rules in an otherwise innovative story: Rayken and Kai are like guardian and pupil, and obviously the duty of the guardian is to find the right match for his pupil, but in the end the only possible right match is with himself.

Kai has not the core of a warrior, he is too gentle and innocent, and for this reason the evolution of the story is right for him: he has a nurturing soul, and he is the lifeblood of Rayken; Rayken is the strength and the wisdom, but Kai is his soul, and the strategic key who will allow Rayken to win. Kai doesn’t need to be on the battlefield, he has a more important task on his own.

If you want to read a short, fast but good story, like a sip of good coffee during a break, a concentrate of goodies, Flame is a right choice.

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There is a whole story behind this book, but the author chose to tell us only a little bit. Inside Tamotsu’s mind, who is half daydreaming and half remembering, we learn that he is in love with Aki, the rock singer he is the manager of, the same Aki who he met when they were 16 years old, 20 years before, and to whom he is in love since then. The same Aki he has never had the courage to approach in any different way if not as a friend, preferring to see him with other women and men, loving and leaving them, to always, in the end, coming back to him, Tamotsu.

But while Tamotsu is thinking all of that, Aki is changing, Aki is now really in love, and he will d everything to have the one he loves. Will this new event in Aki’s life be the end of his long-lasting friendship with Tamotsu?

As I said this is only a part of their story, the telling of the fatal night, when everything will change. But it’s not really this night that is the main event of the story; it’s more the brainstorming that happens before. In those thoughts we read all the love of Tamotsu for Aki, but also all his proud behaviour, typical of eastern men; for Tamotsu, family, real family and the one you choose as an adult, is first of everything, and so, when his real family needed him, he renounced to his dream, and when he had a second chance in life, he swore that he would have been always there for Aki, and if Aki needs a friend, Tamotsu will be a friend. Tamotsu knows that Aki will probably leave a lover, but he will never leave a friend. Choosing the role of a friend, Tamotsu is choosing the surest way to always be in Aki’s life.

It’s not up to Tamotsu to change this, he would never dare, but again, if Aki asks, Tamotsu is there to promptly answer and to do everything to please his little precious jewel, his Aki.

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Amazon Kindle: Aki's Love Song

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Cover Art by Les Byerley
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This is really only a scene, less than 20 pages, but it manages to be above the average of the short stories not being “light”. Even if apparently the only purpose is to tell us the “naughty” meeting of a Scribe with a slave out of the boundaries of society, there are a lot of details that make it something more.

There is Neal’s past, the slave, that is only hinted but that gives you the idea that a lot happened. Neal is not young, as usually slaves in a “naughty” meeting are, he is 38 years old and more or less, weary of life. When he stops at a natural pool, and decides to take a bath, it’s not only the day dirty that he would like to let it go, but also the burden of his past. When Saul, the Scribe, enters the scene, at first I think Neal sees him like a nuisance, someone who is trying to remember to Neal that he is only a slave and that he has no right to find relief. But then Saul “allows” Neal to be the man, the one in control, and doing so, he gifts Neal with the lightness he is searching, even if it’s a lightness that will last only a night.

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This is a nice short story, so nice that probably it would have been better a little more long.

Mike is coming back home after 6 years of absence: his father is dead but he was the same father that kicked him out when he was 20 years old and gay. Mike has found his path in life without his father’s money and he is not to change it.

I like that, when Mike discovers that to inherit his father’s money, 26,5 million, he has to marry, he never for a moment thinks to do a fake marriage. As 6 years before, Mike is too proud of being gay, and too comfortable with it, to even consider the idea. And then, coming back home, Mike has also found again Jess, his old best friend, the same boy he had a crush on but never did something since Jess is 2 years younger than Mike and at 18 years old he was too young for something serious.

But now Jess is grown up, and how much!, and so nothing is preventing Mike to find happiness with him, neither the possibility to be a millionaire. And truth be told, it’s not that the alternative is so much bad, his father’s winery, that he has inherited nevertheless, is some millions worth.

Mike and Jess’s relationship is quite easy and simple, maybe even too simple: when everything seems perfect, Jess’s past comes alive, and it threats to tear them apart. That is probably the point when I realized that having some pages more wouldn’t do bad: there was a moment when everything happened in a blur, so many events and so little explanation for it. But if you consider that, indeed, it’s a short story, it’s almost surprising to realize that so much happened other than the sex that usually is the only thing you manage to enjoy in short stories.

Reading List:
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Kim Dare is an expert in telling stories of young boys about to become adults; college boys whose life is changing, but they are still so young that any change will be faced with an open mind and a whole lot of prospects for the future.

Tyler is in love with James, but James is straight, or so he thinks. When a friend of him runs telling that he has seen James in their local gay bar and that he is alone, Tyler rushes there to not having the man snatched away from someone else. But sincerely James is there all alone, right waiting for him to come save him from a life in the closet.

That is probably the nicest side of the novel: Tyler is a submissive, or at least he likes to play the role during sex, and he pinpointed James as a Dominant, but truth be told, James is a novice to all gay things and Tyler has to play training ship with him. And sincerely, I didn’t have the feeling that James was really a Dominant, but to me it seemed he didn’t want to disappoint Tyler, a guy he was mooning over for months; if Tyler wants a Dominant, then James will do everything to please him.

James and Tyler are really young and cute, and their D/s relationship is fresh and light; nothing really serious, James and Tyler are playing at being Dom and sub, like they would with a new toy, with all the thoughtlessness of their college years, without really thinking to a future (not that I don’t see a future for them, on the contrary, I can imagine them 10 years from now remembering how happy they were in college together).

There is neither drama, James’s coming out is done wih an easiness that is not so common, but that probably it would be the best way to approach things; James is not exactly the “gay” type, he is more the boy next door, the man every girl would like, and by the way also any guy. Maybe the little fact that he was way more of a gentleman with the girls had to ring a bell in someone mind, but one way or the other, when Tyler put his hand on him, James is prime for the taste and eager to learn more on the gay life. And of course Tyler is more than willing to teach; Tyler is also willing to play according James’s rules, and to follow his pace: if James wants time to come out, Tyler will give it to him. But once James had a taste of Tyler, there is no way back in the closet.

Amazon Kindle: Gay Since Today (G-A-Y)
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (February 1, 2010)

Series: G-A-Y
1) Gaydar:
2) Gay Like You:
3) Gay Until Graduation:
4) Gay for Pay:
5) Gay Divorcee:
6) Gay Since Today

Reading List:
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When you buy a season short story, for sure you are expecting to read a all around good feelings type of story and Kelsey’s Present delivers it.

Des is a small town gay doctor who devoted himself to his niece Kelsey 10 years before, when the then 6 years girl lost her parents in a car accident. Now Kelsey wants to give something back to her dear uncle, and what is better than cute young fiction actor Victor, in town to shoot some scene in the local high school?

As I said before the mood of the story is all sweet and sugar, there is no drama, no sadness, and the main characters are almost too good to be true: Des, nice doctor, good step-father, just the right dose of handsomeness to have a bit of self-esteem, but paired with a bit of shyness that makes him even more cute. And what about Victor? An actor who has not lost the allure or the small town boy of before, and who is more interested in having an home made dinner than to live under the lights of success.

If someone is wondering how is it possible for a big star to be happy in small town contest, truth be told, Victor is a “low-profile” star, for a tv fiction show and not for movies, and I had also the feeling that, all in all, he is neither so much interested in remaining low-profile: Victor has no desire for being a famous movie star, he has not the attitude of the big movie star, and a small town doctor as boyfriend is his perfect choice.

In according with the seasonal mood of the story, even if there is sex, it’s more romantic than sexy, more nice than naughty, something not usual for this author.

Amazon Kindle: Kelsey's Present

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Take two young pretty boys who know each other since forever and so, in a way, bring with them all the innocence of youth, add my personal kinks of the difference in body structure of the two guys and the long hair of one of them, and you have the recipe of a very nice short story.

Apparently Malcolm is an high maintenance lover, small and pretty but not so independent, he seems perfectly paired with Jordan, wealthy macho latino man, police officer and 12 years older. And if sometime Jordan has that superior attitude that makes you cringe, well, Malcolm seems happy so the reader, and best friend Dustin, can’t really deny him the perfect boyfriend. But when Jordan comes out like a totally cheating man, to only person to whom Malcolm can turn is his best friend Dustin, the same best friend who is pining after him. Malcolm doesn’t know, and Dustin didn’t tell, but now having the man in the close quarter of his one bedroom apartment is like torture.

What I liked of this story is that, even if Jordan was a cheating man, he wasn’t a totally negative character. In a way, he was right for Malcolm, if Malcolm wasn’t already “booked” by Dustin, romance rules speaking. Jordan has his idea on love, and being faithful is not one of them, but he is not treating badly Malcolm; he is attentive and careful, and even when they went separate way, he still has some attention for him. But when I said that Malcolm was booked by Dustin, I mean that they are predestined lovers; they met when they were teenagers, they fell in love even if no one of them had the courage to admit that, probably since they were too young. They need only the time to realize that, and their happily ever after is ready right there, for them to reach it. So, in a way, Jordan did a favour to Malcolm cheating on him, he gave to Malcolm a reason to reach for Dustin and their happiness together.

Both Dustin than Malcolm are still so young, and life for them is still something they will have to discover; no one of them is stronger than the other, they are both at the beginning of their path; the sweetness of this story is that they have the change to walk that path together, forever and ever, one of the few chance for your first love to be also the last one.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is the retelling of an old fairy tale with the added spicy that the poor girl who is able to spin gold from draw is a boy. There is a bit of magic in this story, obviously, but not the reason why Freawyne lives in the clothes of a girl: when he was born there was the war and his mother didn’t want to lose her son to the army, and so she dressed him as a girl, and for everyone else he was a girl. Now the mother of the boy is dead, and he is living, not quite happily, with a drunken father. The war is ended, and also the prince is back home, handsome and young, and without wife.

During one of the drunken stupor of his father, the man boasts that his daughter can spin gold, and the prince dares him; now Freawyne is on an isolated room in a tower with a lot of draw and no idea how to convert it into gold. Plus there is the little problem of his real identity.

This is only a short story, less than 25 pages, and obviously it can’t be so much developed, but nevertheless it’s a nice tale. Here obviously it can’t be arisen the old question of the chick in boy dress, since it’s clear that Freawyine is a boy who behaves like a girl: he was raised in that way, he is aware to be a boy, he is even well aware of his body desires, and not at all ashamed to satisfy them all alone in his bed, but for all the other side of his personality he is a girl. He likes boys, he thinks and behaves as a girl, he is not daring or strong, and he is fragile and delicate.

Another interesting thing is the prince’s character. There is a secret in his past, something that, in only 23 pages, it’s not fully explained, but that would make him an interesting character for a longer story.

If I had to choose one particular thing of this short story would be the “naughty” behaviour of Freawyne when he is alone. It’s quite funny to see how he worries night after night, how he is absolutely unable to find a solution by himself for his troubles, but nevertheless, how he is almost depending from his body. Even when he is presented with a safe and nice solution, something he should grab without asking, he let it go for the passing relief of sex. It’s a combination of innocence and naughtiness that is irresistible.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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A sweet and tender love story about two young guys in love. This is basically all the plot and Gil and Dustin are also two representative of the usual crowd of a college dorm, the geek and the jock, and when these two types meet, usually the result is always nice.

The main difference in this story is that, where Gil is obviously shy, also Dustin is not exactly daring, and so they are dancing around each other, both of them trying to draw attention without being too obvious. Then during an hot summer night, Dustin finally has the courage to admit that, if he is always around Gil, asking stupid question and basically trying to steal time with him, it’s since he is interested in him more than as a simple roommate.

This is only a short story, barely a night in their life, and so obviously there is no time to further develop the relationship, but it was nice to read how both Gil and Dustin are shy but tentative in bed, how both of them want to please the other more than themselves. They are so sweet that I felt for them, wondering how two sweet and kind guys like them will survive once they will go out the safe shelter of Gil’s bedroom. But this is probably another story.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is another twincest story and so probably no up for everyone out there. I actually don't mind read them, as I said, probably due to the simple fact that, being both men, there is no chance of an unwilling pregnancy that could be quite risky. And so, for me, a twincest has a reason to be if the two men involved are in love, and I don't believe it's so hard that it happens between identical twins, as one of the two men in this story thinks in his mind, it's like loving yourself, a modern version of Narcissus.

Plus Dominic e Mason, the two twins, have one reason more to be in love of each other, they have been always two alone against the world: abandoned by their mother when they were still children, abused by their father, Dom and Mason went away to find their path as soon as possible, always together, always relying on each other. They have also one another thing in common, other than the physical appearance, they are both gay, and they live in a small town USA where it's not so easy to find a partner. Or at least so they tell to themself, maybe to hide another truth: they are in love with each other but that love is forbidden.

Of the two, Mason was the first to realize the truth; the shyest and smaller of the two, he was also the one for whom was always easy find a boyfriend. But Mason is hiding behind his "easiness": he is in love with Dom and he knows that, and he is searching to replace his brother in his heart with other men. When that doesn't happen, Mason finds a way to have at least something from Dom: anonymous sex in a bathroom, with Dom that doesn't know who is on the other side of an hole in the wall. But when Dom finds out the true, it's time also for him to finally recognize that truth: why he has never had a steady relationship? Why does he always compare other men to his brother?

This is only a short story, barely a night in the life of the two brother, but it's a very intensive and changing life experience. I like that the author tried to give an explanation to the two brothers' love for each other other than a sex thing. The story has a bit of background, but due to the length, it has not a future evolution: the twins and the reader know that it will be not simple for them, but we don't know, or read, what will happen. It's left to the reader's imagination.

Buy at 1 Romance Ebooks

Amazon Kindle: Tempestuous Relations

The Rainbow Awards: Phase 2:
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As often in a Kim Dare’s story, this is a funny and light intake on the D/s world. Due to the gothic cover, that is a common cover for these vampire novellas by Total-e-Bound, at first I didn’t understand if it was an historical or contemporary setting: Leland has cornered his best friend Keats and collared him; in few words we understand first, that Keats is a brat and second, that Leland is a vampire. Other than being a brat, Keats is also a magnet for trouble, and he managed to volunteer for being a blood donor for a vampire secret society without knowing what he was really signing into. Of course when Leland, one of the vampires, recognizes Keats among the blood donor, his only choice is to claim him as blood slave, some sort of submissive for a vampire Master, but also the only way to avoid for Keats to be common property of all the vampires in the place.

Now you would expect that Leland’s choice was dangerous, maybe that he had to face a fight with another powerful vampire to claim the exclusive property of Keats… and instead he has to sign some “bloody” and above all boring paperwork. All of that for the pleasure to have Keats as his blood slave, at least he will have all the power upon the little brat… or so he thinks, pity he has not asked before Keats’s opinion on the matter.

Keats has no problem to be Leland’s blood slave, the discovery of Leland being gay is way more important than the one of him being a vampire; but Keats knows that if being a submissive means he has some rules to respect, also being a Master means that Leland has to properly take care of him, and if Leland doesn’t know that, well, Keats is more than happy to explain those rules.

In the end I don’t know if it’s Leland who gained a blood slave, or if instead, it’s Keats who reached his original purpose. In a way or the other, Keats for sure ends in a more than comfortable situation, one that well fit him. On the other hand, I think Leland will discover that being Keats’s Master is not an easy task, and he will have to have handful of patience, not to teach Keats how to behave, that is an impossible task, but to please him in everything… I’m not exactly sure who the Master is and who is the slave between them.

Again Kim Dare has a fresh and funny way to look into the D/s relationship, probably helped by the young age of her characters; and even when she adds the vampire factor, nevertheless the story is light, both in weight than in atmosphere, this is everything other than a dark gothic story.

Amazon Kindle: Voracious Vamps: Blood Slave
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (October 26, 2009)

Reading List:
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This is only a short story but it was so sweet that it seemed almost like a full novel, all the events were packed of sweet feelings and perfectly planned.

Mason is a former Marine and now carpenter. It was not easy for him to come out, and I have the feeling that he didn't do that until he left the Corps, and now he only chooses partners that are the epitome of "man", tall, muscular and rough. I think it's a double deal: having always the same type of partner let him believe that he is not really "so" gay, and at the same time protect him from a broken heart, those men are not really Mason's liking and so he doesn't risk to fall for them.

But then he meets Avery at an Halloween party; Avery is small, cute, pretty, he is dressed as a fairy! Avery is also a very "domestic" man, he is a baker, and after sex he brings cocoa and cookies in bed! Avery is not a man you can have sex with and forget soon after, not only he is special, he is so sweet that a good man like Mason can't possible think to hurt him in any way. And so Mason, big and sturdy, a fighter, falls into the unwilling trap of the little fairy, a trap made of ethereal bonds, like the colorful wings of his captor.

As I said, this is a short story, but in less than 30 pages, the author manage to have 3 sex scenes in 3 different places, and maybe this is not so hard, but also to actually nestle them in a story, a story that, despite the sex, is sweet and tender. A perfect mix of ingredients.

Amazon Kindle: The Carpenter and the Fairy

The Rainbow Awards: First Week results:
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J.M. Snyder could make you laugh, like in The Positions of Love series, but when she decides to make you cry, well she does a very good job!

In this short story, less then 15 pages, the two characters don't have a name. They are Lover and Cutter for me. Lover is a good boy, an head to heart boy, I could think at him like an athlete or some other All American boy. And he loves Cutter. Cutter is a shy guy, maybe with some unresolved conflicts in his life, perhaps with his family. He loves Lover, but sometime, in the long hour of night, he is so lonely and he feels a great pain, and he has to exorcize that pain. He cuts himself, hoping that the physical pain helps him to forget the mental one.

Will Lover be enough strong for both of them to save his little Cutter?

A very short story, but you have to read it, it's heartbreaking.

Buy Here

Amazon Kindle: Afflicted
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (August 12, 2009)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Dragon's Kiss was a previously released short story in a Band of Thebes theme anthology. So the main focus of the story is the relationship between fellow soldiers, on manlove relationships bring on more on an almost friendship basis than real love.

In a futuristic world, a mix of Apocalypse Now and Back to the Future, Bear is one of the survivors from a natural disaster that destroyed the Earth as we know her. People now live among the ruin of the past world, but they are back to an almost medieval era. Bear is born generations after the catastrophe, and so he has not knowledge of the world as it was before, and he lives in a closed community, lead by a Council that considers all past things evil. There is acceptance for the homosexual relationships, more, they are encouraged, but only among the members of the pack. The ostracism now is no more for who is "different", but for who is "stranger". People who dare to cross the pack borders are most likely killed and also who wants to go away.

Bear and his fellow soldier Lynx are sent by their Council leader to capture a trespasser; they find the man, Dragon, a member of a near pack who was banished from his people to be an heretic: he doesn't believe that all the past was evil, he wants to know, he wants something forbidden, the knowledge. Bear knows that, if they bring back Dragon to their pack, the man would be probably killed, and Bear fears this event since the same sin Dragon committed, is haunting his mind.

This is only a short story, so apart set the place and give the chance to the characters to meet, there is nothing much more. But the most interesting thing is how the prejudice is still present: it shifted from the people to the society, the ignorant crowd no more fear the single man, the different (race, sexuality, rank...), they know fear an entire society, past or stranger, everything is outside their community is evil. And the leaders know that, to preserve their powers, they have to maintain the crow ignorant.

Amazon Kindle: Dragon's Kiss: A Mother Earth story.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
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"Famous for the notorious witch trials of 1692, the small seaport town of Salem, Massachusetts had been trying to smudge out the horrible image of murder and injustice for centuries. In a complete turnaround, the town had begun welcoming anyone who was a self-proclaimed witch, and by the early 21st century, one in four Salem residents claimed either to be a witch or to know one."

It seems an idilliac situation, isn't it? A place where everyone would be glad to come, if he is interested on the paranormal side of life. And so it's not strange that Cash Rowan, ghost and demon hunter, chooses Salem as his final point for the Halloween night. But Cash is searching a specific demon, and maybe this time he is lucky. Jace is the owner of the Demon Tailz, a upper-class night club, and he welcomes Cash at open arms... the reader is expecting a hot night but it is not what he will have.

Cash is not searching for sex, and Jace has that side of his life covered since he is in a relationship with his twin brother Konnor. To know what it will happen, you need to read the story, since if I tell you more, I for sure will spoil it, it's only 25 pages long. But despite being so short, the story is really really nice.... well maybe nice is not exactly the right word: it's a mix of splatter and comic, love and sex, Ghost (the movie) meets "The Night of Living Dead" or something similar... I didn't know if I should feel horror or smile or be a sappy romantic.

There are at least three unexpected events: when Cash reveals his real purpose, when Jace helps him, and when Konnor comes back home. All of them gave me a feeling of surprise and a need to re-read the scene to be sure to understand well what it was happening... and since it's, as I said, a 25 pages long story, I believe it's quite an achievement. Can't wait to read the following chapters in a series that I believe will be a favorite of mine.

Amazon Kindle: StarCrossed 1: Demon Tailz

Reading List:
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Gabriel has recently moved to Hawaii; usually he doesn't regret his decision, but during Christmas season he misses the snow and the real Christmas trees, and also the cold weather! Maybe he would be less of a grudge if he had someone near him to share the Christmas joy, but Gabriel is alone, until Keoni enters his sweet shop: a beautiful Hawaiian man from an influent family, Keoni is a dream comes true, but Gabriel can't imagine that the man is interested in him. Truth be told, Keoni is alone like Gabriel, and he misses to have a partner beside him. He is also tired to travel to world for business and he would like to finally settle in a place. Maybe during this Christmas season both men will see realize their wishes.

The story is nice, Gabriel is somewhat a character full of surprises, since he starts as a shy man, almost dreamy and not very upfront with what he wants, and then suddenly he becomes almost a vixen, teasing and sexy, and seduces poor Keoni with almost the man doesn't realizing it. To be sincere, I didn't understand fully Keoni: he is a very handsome man, but also unselfish and generous, not with his money but with his feelings, that is better; I believe Keoni likes the idea of love, and he is ready to fall in love, and it's not important if his partner his a male or a female. This is why I didn't understand him, I didn't understand if it is his first gay experience with Gabriel or not... but in the end it doesn't matter.

I was also surprised by the end, not since it's not an happily ever after, but since it's almost too normal after the dream comes true scene we read before; Keoni is coming back home from a tiring business travel, he would like to spend some quality time with Gabriel, but he realizes that he is too tired... all right love is the most powerful force in the world, but if you are sleep deprived...

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is really an original short story since it's not actually a romance, but more a coming of age from two point of view, mother and son.

In 1990 Elaine is a young mother with a four kids, one of them a teen. Elaine is divorced and remarried with a nice man, but her previous husband was abusive both with her than with their kids. As a consequence, Elaine is very worried for her older son's behavior, so close and brooding. It's not the usual behavior of a teen, Elaine knows that her son wants desperately tell her something but he has no courage. Having moved in a small town probably didn't help since Danny, her son, has real few chance to mix with a variety of people to open him to the world. So when Elaine hears the gossip town about Mike and Harry, two openly gay men who live in a nearby ranch, Elaine listens carefully, eager to maybe learn something that can help her son.

Christmas is near and Elaine and Danny are driving home when they have a car accident; marooned in the snow they are rescued by Mike and bring home with him. Suddenly the point of view switch from Elaine to Danny, who is now the one eager to learn, to finally see how two gay men live together. For sure in his teen mind, they have sex each moment, they have an exciting life, they are... they are perfectly normal, to middle age men who share a quite and lovely life, trying to not listen to the gossip town.

It's a very nice tale, in both its part, when we follow Elaine's musing and worries for her son's care and when we discover along with Danny that being gay is not a so big drama, and that he probably can have the courage to talk with his mother, and his mother probably will not throw him away for not being the perfect son he thought she wants.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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In the third book in the Pawprints series, Anne Cain returns to her first couple, Adrian and Lal. Lal is a shapeshifter cat from an alien planet who arrived on Earth running away from his former Master; where he comes from, Master and pet are words to identify both the owner/pet relationship than the sexual one. Lal and his brother were raised to be sexual toy and submissive lovers for a young Master. In his human form Lal resembles a bit the cat he is, with the hair that are really his pelt, black and white, and the same hair he has on his groin; plus his tongue, as human, is a bit more rough than usual (and this could be really interesting during sex).

Anyway, Adrian and Lal are leaving for a cruise with Adrian's best friend, Marty, and his lover Jason. At the airport they find that the flight is overbooked and Lal has to shift in his cat form to be taken aboard as a pet. But during the flight, he plays the role of the little sad cat until Adrian frees him, and Lal suddenly latches himself on his favorite Adrian's body part, his lap. And here you can imagine me while reading and saying "Nooooo, the author can be dare... Oooooooooh yes she dares!"... let me say that she pushes till the very limit, but at the end, the sex scene takes a more normal trend... if having sex in an airplane could be considered normal!

The story is not very long, less than 60 pages, but it's very nice. I really like that Lal spends a lot of time in his feline form, and even when he is in human form, his behavior is more like a mischievous cat, or at least a very playful guy. For Lal, in both form, physical contact is equal to love and he "needs" that contact, even when they are not having sex. Almost all the book is about Lal and his adventures, and Adrian is only a nice supporting character... very useful when at hand, but a bit behind the scene. Also nice supporting performance of Marty and Jason, would be interesting reading about their love story.

Series: Pawprints
1) Pawprints:
2) Second Nature:
3) Giving & Taking

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain


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