Title: Cairo Curse (Vampire’s Lair #2)
Author: Geoffrey Knight
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Length: 14k words
Genre: m/m/m Fantasy/Paranormal Horror Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often (including the sexual tension)
Keywords/Tags: Series, Short Story, Charlie Harding Presents, Mythology, Egypt, Suspense, Models, Vampires, Cats, Orgy, Public Sex, Rent Boys, Sexy to the 999s
Rating: Pretty Good
Love is dangerous. Life is fleeting. And the choices we make can last an Eternity.
On a photo shoot in Cairo, lovelorn American model Nash Sommers harbors a secret lust for his handsome and confident colleague Ryan Thomas. When a drunken evening leads them to Cairo’s coolest nightclub, the two young men decide to explore the undiscovered pleasures of their relationship with the inclusion of a third party-a handsome, mysterious young Egyptian who lures them away from the nightclub…
…and into the dark realms of the City of the Dead. There, deep within a secret tomb, Nash’s languishing lust for Ryan will be put to the ultimate test in the presence of a dark and ancient Egyptian vampire, the evil Ramseth.
Will the young Americans be seduced by sin? Will passion and pride lead to eternal punishment? Will the one thing Nash desires most be his doom?
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this story, especially when after I reviewed the first book in this series, Miami Moon, Geoff told me that the second story in the series was quite different. Well, in the sense of hot hot hot sex, it wasn’t at all! But, I found this story to be much more mysterious and with tinges of horror, where the first story seemed more exciting than suspenseful. This story was actually better, in my opinion, though I think they can definitely be read as standalone stories and if I’m not mistaken, don’t have a whole lot to do with one another besides theme and style of writing.
In Cairo Curse we’re taken to a more exotic locale, where our two main characters are excited about the somewhat dangerous possibilities of the city. Nash is an ex- rent boy turned model who is in love with co-model Ryan. The two are often photographed together because of their chemistry and beauty as a pair. But Nash is in love with Ryan, and Ryan just seems to be a playboy — hot, single and ready to fuck the next guy — and the life of the party. Nash, on the other hand, is somewhat of a shy guy. His singular beauty makes him stand out, but away from the camera Nash always seems to be in Ryan’s shadow, allowing himself to follow Ryan just for the chance to be near him.
After their shoot in Cairo, where Ryan seems to be much more sexually forward with Nash than usual, he decides that tonight might be the night. Ryan drags Nash to a club and convinces him to have fun with an exotic Egyptian beauty who has caught their eye. It’s a chance to be with the man he’s wanted for so long. And… the other guy is pretty hot. Nash decides to go for it.
But when the unknown man takes them through a dark labyrinth of the city, where their journey seems to take them back through time in the amazing secret history of the city, Nash starts to have doubts. Ryan keeps him going, blinded by the thought of what will happen when they reach their destination, they have no idea that they’re being led into a trap.
I actually specifically marked Horror in the genre and tagged this book with Suspense, because I found the story to be really done well in this regard. I wouldn’t say specifically that this was scary, so those of you who don’t like Horror at all can be comforted. But, the intention of the story is what I would call Horror, the darker side of vampires as prey instead of emo teenagers 😉 In some ways this story reminded me of many of Rick Reed’s paranormal horror stories. They have ambiguous endings that lend to the suspense in the story. I quite like this style of story and I always really like when we see vampires and such as ruthless hunters because the vampire genre is lately so tipped in the other direction towards tame creatures. Seeing a more historical understanding of a demonic creature of the night is satisfying to me. And Ramseth was definitely a horrific creature of the night.
In that regard, I really loved the sex in this story! Storm Moon Press recently published an anthology of horror sex, called Queer Fear, about the heightening of sex through fear, and this story would have gone perfectly in that collection, where many of the stories focus on the paranormal. I mention this because the suspense in the story starts right from the beginning. The strange and beautiful Egyptian man hovers over them throughout the story as the sexual tension builds between them. Fear and Heat go hand in hand and it works really, really well to heighten the sexual satisfaction from the story. I mean… if you’re into that kind of thing 😉
So I’m quite satisfied from this sequel to Miami Moon, which I also really enjoyed. I just didn’t quite expect the difference in the stories and I didn’t expect that there seemed to be little cohesion between the stories. That was the only thing that I wasn’t quite sure of. I don’t know the direction this series is going in; or, even if there is a next book or if it’s coming soon. Both stories Recommended.
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, Authors J-L, Erotica, Fantasy, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, Horror, m/m/m Polyamorous, Paranormal, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often, up to 15k Tags: Cats, Charlie Harding Presents, Egyptian, Geoffrey Knight, Models, Mythology, Orgy, Public Sex, Rent Boy, Series, Sexy to the 999's, Short Story, Suspense, Vampire, Vampire's Lair, Wilde City Press
Title: Subject 19
Author: Todd Young
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 119,112 words
Genre: m/m & m/m/m (and more) Contemporary Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often (actual sex), Over and Over (or sexual situations)
Keywords/Tags: First Times, Twinks, Slave/Captive, Kink, Medical Kink, Dub-Con (may be considered Non-Con*), Machiavellian Madmen, an Inappropriate Use of Billiard Balls, this book is like being stuck inside of an Escher painting.
Rating: Um… Pretty Good, I think…
**Beware — there are a few small spoilers in this review**
Joel is young and lonely and a little oversexed. When a thief leaves him naked at the beach, he turns to Sean, a striking, dark-haired stranger for help.
Sean offers Joel a towel, and once they get talking, he tells him all about the Umberto Institute, a medical facility where they’re testing a new aphrodisiac. Sean is signed up for a three week, live-in trial.
A new aphrodisiac? It’s not something Joel really needs. But when Sean tells him they’re paying $4,500, he starts to think.
$4,500 and three weeks with Sean? That’s not an offer he can refuse. But once Joel is in the institute, will he ever get out?
I have read one book by this author before, Corrupted, and to be honest it wasn’t my favorite. It’s erotica, as is this, but it was pretty messed up. I mean, I like to read some messed up, but that one I just couldn’t get into. I didn’t even realize it was the same author until after I bought this, but the intriguing blurb and reviews that I read on Goodreads made this seem like a book that just could not be described or categorized. Well, I’m going to try. It was….. *5 minutes later* oh yeah, sorry, can’t do it.
I’ll just tell you what I think, why don’t I? I loved it! I can’t give this that highest rating, because it isn’t perfect and I didn’t love it, love it. But my reading experience was so unexpected and interesting that I can’t help but recommend this to readers interested in something different and not afraid to take the plunge into one acid trip of a book.
The story starts with our narrator Joel at the beach. He’s 19 and finishing up his first year at college. He’s from a small hometown, raised by his aunt after his parents died in a very religious household. Though she’s very loving (almost too loving), Joel is still having a difficult time separating himself from that ultra-religious upbringing and settling into his new life in a city and at college. But, Joel is pretty strange. Though he’s nice and frankly beautiful, he’s oddly inept at making friends. One year of college down, Joel doesn’t really have any friends at all. They all seem to be attracted to him, like bees to honey for his soft beauty, but none of them stick and Joel wonders if he has nothing inside of him, no reason for anyone to stay. His solitude has fed some of his odd idiosyncrasies. Combined with his abnormally large sexual appetite (he’s even hornier than a typical 19 year old man), these have become secret games that Joel plays — jerking off in public places and casually revealing borderline nudity in public — all of them sexual.
It is during one of these games that Joel meets Sean. Wearing nothing but a skimpy white pair of shorts, Joel decides to take a swim in the ocean at a crowded beach. After beating off in the water, he’s a bit embarrassed that his horniness got him into a situation where he now has to walk in front of all the other beach-goers with a hard on in a see through pair or short shorts. The only thing worse than trying to ignore the stares is finding all of his belongings gone — his money, his phone and his extra clothes. Fleeing to the showers, he meets and has an encounter with a beautiful, curly haired guy named Sean, who then offers him the use of his home, phone and shower. While there, Sean tells Joel about a medical study he’s going to participate in. It is only three weeks long, pays $4,500 and is for young men who are abnormally horny. Even better, Joel is excited at the chance to maybe get to know Sean better, and a three week period stuck in the same situation sounds wonderful to him. The other alternative is his return to live with his aunt for the summer.
Joel quickly makes the decision to participate in the study and goes for the requisite tests. A lot happens during this time. He has his first sexual experience with a strange man down the hall from his dorm, he gets blown off by Sean when he wants to see him again, and he finds that though the tests were a little strange, the contact for the study seems on the up and up. Still, he has a strange feeling about it. But getting another chance to see Sean easily sways his decision, and Joel finds himself showing up for the first day of the study to find Sean and the strange man who he was intimate with in his dorm just a few days earlier.
The subjects in the study soon find that what they expected is nothing like reality in the institute. They’re being given medicine that is supposed to increase their sex drives, but it has a stronger effect than expected, and a laundry list of side effects. Really, really severe side effects. Are all of them even being given the drug? While they get to know one another and the conditions of their drug trial seem to affect their behavior, among other things, they soon become like pawns in a game, for a mysterious man’s amusement. Or is that the case at all? And whom is really on whose side? Does Sean return Joel’s feelings?
First of all, though this is erotica and at times I was worried because it started to get kinda dark, it does have a happy ending. It’s really hard to review this book, because it’s so strangely weird I just want to tell you all what happens. I can’t do that (unless you want me to and in that case email me, I’ll spill!), but I can tell you that this went to places I never expected. And there is a relationship here, several of them in fact with all of the different characters who are subjects in the study, they just aren’t the main focus of the story. So while there are parts that are…. somewhat romantic, it isn’t really a romance. In the same vein, though, it isn’t the typical erotica that you’d expect. For most of the book, there isn’t really penetrative sex, and most of the times that it does happen on screen, it isn’t with Joel, our narrator. Most of all it’s just highly sexual and with a lot of sexual tension.
In the end I was really glad that I read this. It was a trip, for sure, and it was a nice change from the status quo of reading romance books. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure, but if you are at all interested then I say go for it. I couldn’t put it down, mostly just because I couldn’t wait to find out how more outrageous it could get!
*Note: I added the dub-con/non-con/rape tag because there are instances in the book where people have sex with drugged up people, and some people who are out of it. Usually they’re under some kind of influence themselves, if not mind-altering then behavioral. It didn’t really bother me and I found the situation (one specific one I’m thinking of for this tag) to be more in line with dub-con. But that’s semantics, really.
Posted by Cole in 101-125k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors V-Z, Contemporary, Erotica, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, m/m/m Polyamorous, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often, Sex Freq 5 - Over and Over Again! Tags: Captive/Slave, Dub/Non-Con, First Times, Kink, Machiavellian Bad Guy, Medical Kink, Self Published, Todd Young, Twinks
Title: Private Dicks: Undercovers
Editors: Samantha M Derr
Authors: Siobhan Crosslin, K-Lee Klein, Holly Rinna-White, Alison Bailey, Megan Derr, EE Ottoman, Isabella Carter & Sasha L Miller
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 135k words
Genre: m/m + m/m/m Mystery Romance
Keywords/Tags: Anthology, Short Stories, Private Investigators, Undercover
Rating: Pretty Good
Temper by Siobhan Crosslin—Reese hates deception, but that’s all his life has been since he was sent to investigate a wolf pack on clashing sets of orders. Keeping his lies separated is all that’s keeping him alive, and it’s a job that grows harder by the day—especially with the unexpected complications of the alpha he’s investigating.
The PI and the Rockstar by K-lee Klein—Mason is a detective. He’s not flashy or hip and he doesn’t have an office conducive to entertaining wealthy clients. But when made-of-money Durango and his gum-snapping daughter hire him to do surveillance on a popular rockstar named Jade Jonathan Lee, Mason’s business world collides with his personal life, and the result is a mystery that must be solved.
Glamour by Holly Rinna-White—When his little brother is kidnapped, Jason hires Eric, PI and long-time crush, to find him, terrified of what will happen if people learn his brother is unregistered psychic. But when Jason is kidnapped as well, he learns he and his brother are not the only ones keeping secrets.
The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey—When the Virginia Gentleman rides into town, it’s a sure bet that trouble ain’t far behind. He’s quick on the draw, feared by all, and one sad little group of train robbers is about to find out why it’s never wise to bet on trouble.
The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr—Esmour is one the best Inquisitors in the kingdom, but the penance bracelets on his wrists serve as constant reminder that once he was not a master of deception, but a victim. To solve his latest case, he must work alongside the liar who changed his life, and the love he learned too late was never real.
Regarding the Detective’s Companion by E.E. Ottoman—Jamie is desperate: he has no money, rent is coming due, and if he doesn’t do something soon he’ll be forced back into a life of charity and pity. So when he is brought a case, Jamie takes it—even if it will mean lying to his client, manipulating the suspect and propelling himself into the middle of a plot involving murder and political intrigue.
The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter—One dead body left at the door is more than enough, but after three are left on the stoop of his father’s agency and no one else is willing to investigate, Quinton decides he’ll just have to solve the mystery himself.
Too Dangerous by Sasha L. Miller—Shi is good at what he does, no matter what his stupid ex thought. Danger comes with the territory, especially when that territory includes a special license to do select work for the government. But when the government needs him to fix something that defeated even their most elite, Shi learns that some situations are too much even for him.
I’ve been sitting on this anthology for a while, but if there’s anything that I know about anthologies from Less Than Three Press, it’s that they’re usually some of my favorites, it not my overall favorites from a specific publisher. So I was excited to read it and I found several stories within that I really liked.
Once again, as with the LT3 anthology I reviewed earlier this week (Something Happened on the Way to Heaven — reviewed here), I was delighted with the diversity in the stories presented. Each story deals with a Private Investigator and a mystery, but the stories cross all genres, from Paranormal to Steampunk to Science Fiction, Contemporary and Western. I really enjoyed the steampunk story, “Regarding the Detective’s Companion” by EE Ottoman. Even though it isn’t the best story in the anthology, I really liked the characters, the mystery and the world. Having a steampunk world was also nice because there are so few m/m steampunk stories. The first story is one of my favorites. With a very distinctive style, Siobhan Crosslin takes us into an extreme werewolf society with some really fine writing.
So, look below and I’ll give you a bit about each story. The reviews will be shorter than usual, because this was a longer anthology, but the tags and info about each story will give you quite a bit about what each one has to offer 🙂
Temper by Siobhan Crosslin (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Shifters (Wolves & Dragons), Mate Bonding, Enforcer/Thug, Violence, Undercover
Siobhan Crosslin takes us into a highly segregated world of the different paranormal races. Werewolves form highly structured packs, and Reese has been sent by his alpha to investigate an alpha of a different pack. He infiltrates them easily. Reese was raised and groomed into a killing machine and his loyalties are clouded by his feelings for each alpha — his fear of the old one and his shifting loyalty to the new one, the one he’s lying to, and the one he’s falling in love with.
This one ended up being on the high end of Pretty Good for me, almost Really Liked It. In fact, for most of the story I really, really liked it. Most of all, I loved the writing style. The story thrusts you into the lies and deception from a point of view that is compromised, confused and unable to accurately bring the reader up to speed about what is actually going on and who is who. I admired that and fell into the story, excited by the challenging point of view. It soon grew to be tedious, however, and I ended the story upset that I never really learned much about the world or the people. I had hoped that the writing I loved so much was just being choosy about how to impart information to the reader, but what was held back never came to light.
I’ve since read the sequel to this story (Weld), or rather another story by this author, not a direct serial but also in this world. I ended up liking that one even less, because it carried on with this same writing style, but at an even higher degree, which made for an unpleasant read, unfortunately.
The PI and the Rockstar by K-Lee Klein (So So)
Genre: m/m Contemporary Mystery Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Rockers, Private Investigators, Piercings!, Sexy to the 999s, Closeted
Mason is a private investigator with a rather famous boyfriend. Though that’s all on the hush hush. Of course, that secret means that when a teenage client and her father come into his office asking him to find a musician that got the girl pregnant and then ditched her, he can’t tell them that the man they’re trying to frame is, in fact his boyfriend, the lead singer of a popular rock group. So what is the girl really up to? And how will the added level of duplicity affect Mason’s relationship with Jade?
This was an okay story for me. I was a bit sad that there weren’t any surprises for me — as soon as the girl came in with her father and explained “what happened” with the rockstar, I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen. Sadly, I was right. Add to that the fact that I never really felt like I got to know the characters well, made this story just a So So read for me.
Glamour by Holly Rinna-White (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Brothers, Undercover, Private Investigator, Psychic, Aliens, Kidnapping
Most of my enjoyment of this story came from the world, which I found rather interesting. Jason and his brother are both unregistered psychics, in a world where those with abilities have to come forward to be assessed by the government. While Jason has mild precognition, his little brother is a different case, with a powerful precognitive sight that puts them all in danger. When Jason’s little brother is psychic, he must go to the man he’s had a crush on for months. Eric is a private investigator with secrets of his own, the least of which is that he’s as interested in Jason as Jason is in him. Searching for the men who kidnapped Jason’s brother, and then trying to rescue Jason himself when the fool rushes in to save his brother, brings both of them closer together.
The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey (So So)
Genre: m/m Western Historical Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Undercover, Cowboys, Thieves, Kidnapping, Private Investigator
I admit, I had a little trouble with this one. I read half of it, finished the anthology then came back and re-read this story. I enjoy westerns, but most westerns in m/m romance are simply contemporary cowboy stories, and this story harkens to a much more authentic historical Old West. The story moved a little too slow for me, but that is all personal preference — the pace suits the plot and sub-genre.
While a man is searching for a boy that was taken years ago as a child, the Virginia Gentleman is looking for some helping hands for a train robbery. Finding the boy and his ogre of a keeper, as well as a man looking to score money to settle with his fiancee, the Virginia Gentlemen leads them across the west to a planned heist of a princess’ carriage. Along the way the VG gets to know the young boy, now a young man but shy and quiet and scared, all while holding some rather big secrets of his own.
The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Alternate World Historical Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Royalty, Thieves, Second Chances, Undercover, The Big Mis
I really, really enjoyed this story. You all know how much I love Megan Derr’s writing, and I really got into this story. Sadly, I felt like the tension was created by a misunderstanding, and while it isn’t classic Big Mis type situation, having to do with some duplicity from other nefarious characters, it was still a little disappointing to me that the hurt Esmour feels in this story is because of pride and miscommunication. Still, that was only a shadow on the ending for me, and for the most part I really liked this one.
Esmour wears bracelets that show his penance toward the crown. Unknowingly involved in a sting operation in the past, he came down on the wrong side of the axe when all was said and done, only spared from the noose by his connection and faux-relationship with the undercover prince. Now, the prince has need of him to solve a mystery slave trade in a city in the kingdom, and Esmour, despite his bracelets, is still the best investigator working for the crown. The case will force the two back together into a situation that for all the hurt it may cause might ultimately lead to a reconciliation that Esmour could never have envisioned.
Regarding the Detective’s Companion by EE Ottoman (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Historical, Steampunk Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Disability, Injured Character, Nerds/Geeks, Politics, Science, Awesome Female Characters, Present Tense
**Spoiler Alert! The review of this story in the anthology has some spoilers**
Jamie was rescued from certain death by a priest. With no working legs, he hobbles on crutches, but manages to get around a steampunk Victorian England trying to solve enough cases to make a name for himself as a private investigator. If he does, he might finally be able to make rent, but as it is he’s facing another week of near starvation and one step closer to being back on the streets… or worse, falling up on the Father’s mercy. In his desperation, Jamie takes a case from a man who he’s certain is aiming to frame an innocent man for murder. So what if he didn’t explicitly agree to finding the man guilty? If he investigates, he can find the real murderer and bring real justice. The case could make his career. Plus, they’re paying him up front.
I really liked this story, mostly because of the characters. Jamie is great, but the really great characters are the friends he makes during his time undercover, as well as the sweet romance that develops with his employer and the man he’s meant to frame. I think what I really liked was that this story diverted from the norm. What I expect when I read a story with the lie/undercover plot device is that the deception will go on until the characters are in love and then the secret coming out destroys the trust and is the climax of the story. Instead, when the truth of Jamie’s deception is revealed, the characters band together, almost making their relationship stronger with the real truth. It brings down the barriers that previously existed as boss/assistant and teacher/student and put the characters on an equal footing. Plus, that allows the two to continue the investigation, but now together. And I really liked that, because the best parts of this story are the interactions between these two characters. It’s sweet, awkward, funny, and totally nerdy. And I loved it 🙂
The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter (Not Feelin’ It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Serial Killer, Demons
For some reason, I really just could not get into this story. I think it was the fact that both the romance and the mystery felt a bit incomplete to me. And even more, I didn’t really understand any of the characters, and to a smaller extent, what was really going on in the end. This could obviously be in my own mis-reading of the story, but I still never really latched on to this story like the others, no matter how little I understood about the end. Plus, I didn’t ever feel like this was really an m/m/m story.
Quinton has now found several bodies lying at the door of his father’s detective agency. No matter how many times he brings the subject of what to do about it up to his father, his father refuses to give him any information about it, despite the fact that Quinton feels he deserves to know, not only because he’s now older and wants to investigate the mystery himself, but also because he’s found the bodies, and he knew them. But when the third body is left of the stoop and Quinton finds a letter addressed to him, he decides he must investigate.
Too Dangerous by Sasha L Miller (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Action/Adventure, Second Chances, Military, Futuristic, Secrets & Lies, Kidnapping/Hostage
Ending this anthology with a Science Fiction story was a nice change of pace from the previous ones. And I really like Sasha MIller’s work, so this story, which was more of an action/adventure story was very nice to end the book with.
Shi is a successful private investigator, but he’s thinking about letting his military consultant status (at the highest clearance) lapse. Working a case for the military was how he met his ex-boyfriend in the first place and Shi is still trying to get over their breakup several months previously. So when he arrives at his office to find an unmarked hovercraft, he knows that the military has come to call once again. He fully expects to turn the offer down. After all, he made sure that provision was put into his contract. But when he finds out that he’s the only man for the job — to infiltrate the operate of a space crime syndicate to rescue the remaining member of the special ops team being held captive on the man’s ship — he knows he has to consider. Especially when he finds out that the man held captive is… his ex-boyfriend. No matter the hard feelings, he can’t leave him there. So despite the fact that he’s in way over his head, he’ll do what he has to to get the man out of there, and hopefully get some answers in the process.
Posted by Cole in 126k+, 2 Not Feelin' It, 3 So So, 4 Pretty Good, 5 Really Like It, Alternate World, Authors A-C, Authors D-F, Authors J-L, Authors M-O, Authors P-R, Contemporary, Fantasy, Heat 1 - Sweet/None, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Historical, m/m/m Polyamorous, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, SciFi, Sex Freq 1 - None, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, Steampunk, Western Tags: Action/Adventure, Aliens, Alison Bailey, Anthology, Awesome Female Characters, Brothers, Closeted, Cowboys, Demons, Dragon Shifters, EE Ottoman, Enforcer, Futuristic, Holly Rinna-White, Injured Character, Isabella Carter, K-Lee Klein, Kidnapping/Abduction, Less Than Three Press, Mate Bonding, Megan Derr, Military, Musicians, Nerds/Geeks, Physical Disabilities/Trauma, Piercings, Politics, Present Tense, Private Investigators, Psychic, Royalty, Samantha Derr, Sasha L Miller, Science, Second Chances, Secrets & Lies, Serial Killer, Sexy to the 999's, Short Story, Siobhan Crosslin, The Big Mis, Thieves, Undercover, Violence, Wolf Shifters
Title: The Flesh Cartel #3: Choices
Author: Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz
Length: 18,800 words
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, BDSM/Kink, Erotica, Poly, Horror
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Angst, Captive/Slave, Cliffhanger, Dark, Dub/Non-Con, Emotionally/Physically Damaged, Family, Humiliation, Non-Romance, Physical Abuse, Serial, Sexual Abuse/Assault, Short Story, Watersports
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
**This review contains possibly major spoilers so read at your own risk!**
The Flesh Cartel returns for a compelling second season with “Choices.” Brothers Mat and Dougie Carmichael thought nothing could be worse than being snatched from their home and brutally dehumanized in preparation for sale as sex slaves. But they learn their suffering has only just begun when they’re shipped to their new master’s home.
Professional trainer Nikolai Petrovic is a master of his trade. His ultra-rich clientele pay him to create perfectly tailored playthings, and Mat and Dougie are the latest in a long line of men who have walked into his remote mountain home as terrified victims and left it permanently altered: subdued and obedient, ready and even eager for a life of service.
To achieve this, Nikolai must take a drastically different tack with each brother. Dougie, manipulated with affection and denial. Mat, controlled by pain and fear. The one thread in common for both men is choice. Nikolai prides himself on never forcing, but will Mat and Dougie submit willingly to his vision, or will they first need to learn the price of disobedience?
Choices, the start of season two of The Flesh Cartel, starts off right where Auction left off. Mat and Dougie have been bought and are being moved to their new master. First, Dougie is stripped of almost all his senses, forced into sensory deprivation, he slowly starts to go mad, fearing he’ll lose his mind and they’ll break him. Mat is now the only one subjected to constant torture, abuse and rape while Mat and Dougie wait days before they can finally leave the Madame’s facility. Unfortunately for Mat, their new master, Nikolai, is almost as bad when he forces Mat to endure endless pain throughout his body brought on by drugs. Dougie is given a reprieve when Nikolai treats him like a precious toy. Treating each brother differently – Mat with pain and Dougie with care – he’s training them by giving them choices. But they must remember, choices come with consequences and it’s up to the brothers to decide what type of consequence they’ll receive.
One thing can be said about these authors, they sure know how to weave a captivating tale! Whereas the previous two stories were gruesome and intense, this story was not as bad. It still provided some moments of cruelty and abuse but most of the damage is told rather than shown and all of it through Mat’s perspective and only briefly. It seemed like most of the story is told from Nikolai’s POV and his reactions to the brothers. Whereas he must train Mat for his client, he wants Dougie, covets him it seems like. He’s under the impression when he’s done training the brothers, he’ll sell them and give them a life of contentment, something that they’ll be eager to embrace and take great pleasure in. The brothers obviously disagree but Nikolai is firm in his opinion.
Nikolai is actually a creepy person. He’s adamant he’s not a sadist or even enjoys the work he does, yet he does take great pleasure in seeing the brothers submit, especially Dougie. I find him worse than the Madame, which I didn’t realize was possible until Dougie and Mat arrived at Nikolai’s home, where Nikolai’s true colors are shown and the brothers must make their choices on how they’ll proceed. Mat fights as much as he can, as is his nature, but he’s not very successful. Dougie grows a bit of a spine but then realizes he’s in for pain and quickly reevaluates his situation.
One thing that sucks about this serial is that they literally pick up right where the last one left off. Unfortunately, because of the weeks/months in between each reading and the lack of a recap before the story starts, I was pretty much confused on what was happening in the beginning and why because I couldn’t really remember how it ended. There’s a brief mention of the auction but that didn’t help in reminding me or what exactly Dougie had done to Mat. It took a bit before I was able to recall at least the major pieces (I do have a horrible memory though lol). I won’t deny it’s still a captivating story. I was drawn into it and no matter how much I wanted to stop, I had this compulsion to keep reading. Unfortunately, that compulsion was quickly followed by disappointed when the story actually ended leaving me extremely dissatisfied. I didn’t feel like there was much progress with this segment as there possibly should have been. Considering how much weight episode one and two held, I was expecting something a bit more.
Overall, I liked the story. It’s an alluring read, well-written to the point I didn’t want to stop reading. However, with the way each story is ending, and with this one not feeling like it progressed much, I feel like I’m left with more questions and a slow sense of frustration. With that said, for those who are brave enough and have liked the first season, they’ll enjoy this one as well.
Posted by Nikyta in 16-40k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors A-C, Authors G-I, BDSM / Kink, Contemporary, Erotica, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Horror, m/m/m Polyamorous, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often Tags: Angst-alicious, Captive/Slave, Cliff-hanger, dark, Dub/Non-Con, Emotionally/Physically Damaged, Family, Heidi Belleau, Humiliation, Non-Romance, Physical Abuse, Rachel Haimowitz, Riptide Publishing, Serial, Sexual Abuse/Assault, Short Story, The Flesh Cartel, Watersports
Title: Quid Pro Quo (Market Garden #1)
Author: Aleksandr Voinov & LA Witt
Length: 10k words
Genre: m/m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often (Short story, so… most of the story)
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Series, Rent Boys
Rating: Really Liked It
For the past six months, Jared’s been selling sex at Market Garden, a London club that caters to the better-off. But business is slow in the run-up to Christmas, when businessmen and bankers are too busy bickering over bonuses to rent themselves a little high-class action.
Though Jared’s wallet finds the downtime unnerving, the rest of him rather enjoys the opportunity it gives him to admire Tristan, an old hand in the club whose reputation usually sees him well-booked. Jared has been crushing on Tristan for months—he’s no more immune to Tristan’s cockiness and confidence than the johns, and those are just Tristan’s inner qualities.
Just as Jared’s about to chat Tristan up, a businessman asks for something a little different: he wants to book them both. They agree—and Jared finds himself going from crush to mind-bending lust as he’s made the pawn in a sexual power game. Tristan shows him how a pro handles a john while delivering the top-shelf sex for which the Market Garden is so rightly renowned.
HOLY FRIGGIN HELL.
Jeez, I don’t know if I can write a proper review. Honestly, I’ll try. But mostly I just want to sit, my fingers still on the keys and my mouth hanging open like…. guhhh. That was the hottest little scene I’ve read in a quite a while.
Reading this first foray into the new series (serialized chapter releases?), I have to say that I am very excited about what is to come in this series. The blurb definitely intrigued me and it’s got pretty much everything I love. Rent Boys. Check! Threesomes and maybe more in the future? Check. Love among the dirty deeds? Oh yeah, I think it’s coming because these two authors singed my Kindle with the chemistry between Tristan and Jared.
So, here’s the summary: Jared works at the Market Garden, an exclusive club where he is available for rent. He’s sort of half in love/lust/true-fucking-admiration with Tristan, a favorite among the men. Tristan is gorgeous and unattainable to Jared, at least he thinks. They’re in a bit of a lull at the club as the story opens. It’s just before Christmas and johns are maxxed out on other things. Jared isn’t making the kind of money that he’s used to and this will be his first holiday season working at the club. Tristan reassures him that it’s all part of the season and business will pick up. In the meantime, Jared is surprised to find that Tristan seems to have an interest in him… and well, they’re not getting any business at the moment. When a john asks if they work together, Jared wants to scream yes just to get the chance to be with Tristan, in whatever fashion. But the john has demands of his own, which include wanting to watch the two together, and he’s willing to negotiate with Tristan, who is quite forward with manipulating Jared and showing him off to get more money. But, the real question that Jared has is how much is for show and how much is real? Because for him, it’s all real.
I think that for such a short foray into what is obviously a much larger story to come, this first installment into the Market Garden series was very well done. These two authors work very well together, and I’m not surprised, being a fan of both. In a way, this works as a teaser, because we don’t learn much about the characters, but I was immediately pulled into their connection anyway. I could see that they had forged something special, unique in their line of business, and that they had much to build upon. That came through in the writing very strongly. Still, it’s little into the real story. I suppose it is really up to you if you’d rather read it now or wait until more has come. This story acted like a hook for me, and I really wished that I could immediately read more about these two characters. So, I’m a fan already and looking forward to where these two authors will take the story.
However, I will say this. This is some hot shit. Sorry, my brain is totally zoned out and I can’t even make coherent sentences anymore. So, if you really want the relationship business, you might have to wait for more installments into the series. But, if you just want a really hot short and don’t mind waiting for the rest, then definitely pick this up. I don’t think you’ll regret it. Like I said — HOT shit. Yep. 😉
I think that was the most inelegant review I’ve ever written, I love it!
Posted by Cole in 5 Really Like It, Authors V-Z, Contemporary, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, m/m/m Polyamorous, Romance, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often, up to 15k Tags: Aleksandr Voinov, LA Witt, Market Garden, Rent Boy, Riptide Publishing, Series, Short Story
Title: Wicked Gift
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 30k words
Genre: m/m/m Contemporary BDSM Romance
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 5 – Over and Over
Keywords/Tags: Christmas, Established Relationship, Friends to Lovers, Kink
Rating: So So
Alec has the perfect gift for his lover Kono this year — his best friend Swan.
Kono has a lot of fantasies about being a submissive, while Alec likes to watch and Swan is the best Dom he knows, so a week together fulfilling Kono’s fantasies seems like just the ticket.
Of course, he hasn’t taken into account that maybe there are stronger feelings at play here between all of them. Will these three men turn out to be exactly what they each need for Christmas this year?
I think, like a lot of people, I have a love/hate relationship with Sean Michael’s work. But she must be doing something right, because I keep getting the books! This one follows the typical style of Sean Michael for a short(er) book, almost all sex and lots of irritable dialogue, but I can’t deny that once again I found it sexy as hell.
Alec has the idea for the best present ever for his partner Kono — a week with his best friend and Dom, Swan. Only, Alec doesn’t know Swans true feelings about him. While they messed around in college as roommates often do (yeah, in my high school dreams), they’ve remained only friends while Alec fell in love with sweet and incredibly sub-alicious Kono. So when Alec asks Swan to be his lover’s Christmas present and satisfy his desires at the same time (he loves to watch), he readily agree’s to Swans stipulation that Alec sub as well. After all, he’ll just be watching, right? Nope, and Swan and a quickly agreeable Kono take the week to teach him the benefits of the sub-life, as well as hopefully fulfill Swans dreams of being a part of their relationship.
I always start reading Sean Michael’s books (with the exception of a rare few) and I get really into them, they’re super sexy, and then it seems like the minute I really start to like them, they start speaking in that strange language I hate. One word sentences — Need… Want… and using those words as verbs, which grates on my last nerve, maybe more than any other pet peeve of mine in this genre. See how he needs to prettily? Barf. I’m sorry, it’s just one of those things that drives me batshit. That happened more and more as the story went on, which really, really lessened my enjoyment.
However, I knew what I was getting into. I can’t cry fowl, I understand that overtime Sean Michael releases a new books, I line up deciding that I’ll take the sexy over the annoying and look past it. And somehow, I end up getting upset. Still, I’m either a masochist or have a short-term memory (probably both, knowing me), and I’m right there excited about the next book.
So, depending on how you feel about this author, you’ll probably know if you’ll like it before you ever buy it. To those readers who like the brand of m/m Sean Michael writes, this goes right along with that and I recommend it to you. She’s doing something really right, that’s for sure. And I already know that I’ll be reading another of her books, Mannies Incorporated, in just a few days. Though, her manny stories seem to be the exception to the rule and I often wonder if they’re written by different people the writing is so strangely different.
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 3 So So, Authors M-O, Contemporary, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, m/m/m Polyamorous, Romance, Sex Freq 5 - Over and Over Again! Tags: Christmas, Existing Relationship, Friends to Lovers, Kink, Sean Michael, Torquere