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CH_AdvMaskedRaid1_cvr2Title: The Erotic Adventures of the Masked Raider – Part One
Author: Ewan Creed
Publisher: Wilde City
Length: 31k words
Genre: m/m Comedy, Paranormal Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 5 – Over and Over
Keywords/Tags: Charlie Harding Presents, Wilde City Press Erotica Week, Superheroes, Humor, Villains, m/m/m scenes, m/m/m+, a bit of BDSM, Kink, Voyeurism, Public Sex, Dirty/Raunch, Multiple Partners
Rating: Pretty Good

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The Masked Raider is strong, earnest, virile, and determined to combat corruption and wrong-doing in the peaceful community of Harpersville. The lycra-clad crusader has been fighting crime and foiling diabolical plans for years. However, the underworld forces in the area, led by nefarious mastermind Tumescent Edison, have had enough of his do-gooding.

Determined to undermine the strapping superhero, the villain’s plot to obtain a sample of the Masked Raider’s semen to clone the super stud, program the replicants for evil, and have the superhero do battle with himself. Edison and his henchmen, Lumberjacker and Snake Charmer, will use every ploy and fetish at their disposal to get the super juice.

Will they succeed in seducing a load out of the unsuspecting crime fighter? Has the Masked Raider finally met his match? Read the first erection-packed installment of the kinky new series The Erotic Adventures of the Masked Raider and find out.

REVIEW

I have been really excited to read this novella ever since I saw it last month at Wilde City Press. I mean, erotica, not just a short story but an actual novella. That’s great itself, because it means we’re going to get at least an ongoing plot. Then… superheroes! Superhero sex!

Ewan Creed visited The Armchair Reader on Monday and had a really interesting comment about this book. He said, “that whole genre is oftentimes so homoerotic – the sexually charged cockfighting that always seems to be going on with superheroes and their enemies and the closeness superheroes often have with their sidekicks and the secret identities and bondage and domination and all the other kinky stuff is all but inherent in the genre.. That’s what made me want to read the book. The cover drew me to first look at it, because it really delivered this message. Plus, knowing it was erotica helped. I knew that it was going to be somewhat absurd, having a bit of fun and poking the whole comic idea a bit. That sounded really appealing.

And I ended up really enjoying it. The sex in the story is really heavy. There’s hardly a scene where they aren’t having sex of some kind, though the sexless scenes are mostly early in the book. I admit that so much sex for so long was at times taxing, but I actually felt like Ewan delivered the message he talked about while making the book really funny and really sexy. So I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The story is based on the idea that the perfect superhero is totally constricted. He must be perfect and meet everyone’s expectations. In a way, the public owns him. So having his own identity is hard for him. The superhero in this story is The Masked Raider, or “Raider”. He gets his power through sex and in living that constricted life the only way he’s found to expand his power (or “recharge his batteries” heh) is through denying himself orgasm. And because of that, he’s developed an inhuman power of restraint. The public putting Raider on a pedestal for so long has him believing it himself. He is better than everyone else.

That makes the villains in this story more human and more likable. We get to know them quite well and their diabolical plans, while they might have a more selfish endgame, are all about knocking Raider off that pedestal and showing him that sex is good and that he wants it just as much as everyone else. And if they can get his sperm and make him a bottom who begs for it, then it’s all the better. And to do this, Tumescent Edison has the greatest idea! He’ll have his other villain friend, Snake Charmer, who is the sexiest and most charming villain ever, to seduce Raider’s boyfriend to find out all about how to get to Raider.

I’m really looking forward to the sequel to this story. I liked that the story was kindof fun but still was really hot. And I’m actually really interested in seeing where the plot will go. I definitely recommend this one. If you’ve read and liked other longer erotica books, like The Perils of Praline by Marshall Thornton, for example, then you might like this. The subject is entirely different, but the over the top sexual humor and longer erotica format makes them similar in ways, and the best way for me to describe to you if you might like this book. I definitely did 🙂


CH_LeatherbarMural_cvr-2Title: The Leather Bar Mural
Author: Ewan Creed
Publisher: Wilde City
Length: 12k words
Genre: m/m Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 5 – Over and Over
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Charlie Harding Presents, Wilde City Press Erotica Week, a bit of BDSM, m/m/m scenes, m/m/m+, Voyeurism, Public Sex, Kink, Dirty/Pig/Raunch, 1970s, Recent Historical, Magical Realism, Paranormal Twist, Anonymous Sex, Erotic Art, Cops, Sailors, Multiple Partners
Rating: So So

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In 1975 both gay and sexual liberation were in full swing. Alex loved the sexually charged atmosphere of the leather bar where decadence was in full swing. Anything might happen there and something usually did. One night something happened which he hadn’t quite bargained for and Alex was transported beyond the walls of the bar and into a dark carnal wonderland of sexual abandon. In this shadowed world the men of his fantasies prowled the shifting maze of alleyways seeking sexual gratification in whatever form it appeared. Follow Alex on his journey into the mural and into a world of perpetual desire and fulfillment, a world that can trap a man for all eternity as surely as a spider’s web can trap its prey.

REVIEW

Alex feels the sexual liberation in the air and he’s always been happy with casual hookups. Why conform to heterosexual sexual dynamics like monogamy when he’s so happy having sex with who he pleases and then moving on? That is, until he meets Bill. They have a wonderful time together and to Alex’s surprise, outside of bed as well as in it. Then, after two weeks, Alex finds himself back in the same place, single and alone, but with his perspective completely changed about relationships.

So in a move to cheer himself up and step back into his old life of sexual debauchery and freedom, he heads to his favorite leather bar. While there, he considers the mural in the bar in a way he hasn’t before. The sexy sailor, leatherman and farm boy seem almost real…

This rather surreal story didn’t give me any clues as to it’s final destination. In retrospect, the first part of the story is a setup for what will come later, but as I read it I assumed that this would be a regular gay romp, albeit full of leather, darkroom orgies and well-maintained mustaches. That’s what it seemed like at first, until Alex starts to talk about Bill and work through his own issues with sexual liberation and his — perhaps shamefully buried — desire for companionship and monogamy. The failure of that ideal, when it seemed so impossible in the first place, makes Alex want to feel utterly fulfilled with casual sex, especially in the face of Bill’s post-Alex activities. It seemed to me anyway, that in such a moment of seeming isolation among the crowd, Alex finds his own fantasy in the mural. And his investigation of that shows him pleasure in what he could never feel in the real world.

Okay, seriously though, all analysis aside, this is a pretty hot story as long as you’re into some real raunch and dirty sex and multiple, multiple partners. This is pure erotica, which makes the setting all the more appropriate because besides the magical realism/fantasy aspect of the story, the best place for pure, dirty, animalistic, sex is this time period and setting (though it’s not ever specifically mentioned, the feeling of the story made me imagine the 70s Chelsea Piers in NYC, or somewhere else known for large congregations of public gay sex). Also, though he has a few encounters himself, I found it interesting that Alex has a pretty large voyeuristic streak. Most of the sex in the story doesn’t involve him, except as an active observer.

I like to read an erotica story like this every now and again. Quite a lot of the gay erotica you’ll find online seems to feel that the raunchier the better, but I appreciated that while this story didn’t skimp on the dirty sex it did provide an interesting plot. But yes, the plot does follow the sex, not the other way around 😉


KC_When_I_See_You_SmileTitle: When I See You Smile
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: MLR
Length: 16k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, MLR Mixtapes, Rockers/Musicians, Music, Famous, a bit of BDSM, Coming Out, Light & Sweet
Rating: Pretty Good

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Rocker Kieran West is ready to go public about his relationship with his lover–and submissive–Deacon Shea.

Although rocker Kieran West is openly gay, only a handful of people know about his relationship with his lover–and submissive–Deacon Shea. Although he knows the BDSM part of their relationship must remain a secret, Kieran wants the world to know that he and Deke are in love, and he wants to make Deke a permanent part of his life.

REVIEW

It has been a while since I read and reviewed one of Karenna Colcroft’s short stories — that last one being Chance Met, which I gave a So So rating — but I was excited to read this one because of the rocker theme. And I’m glad that I did, because this story did what a short romance does well. It doesn’t try to pack a whole romance into a short format but it gives us a glimpse into the life of the characters and their romance.

Kieran is a forceful presence, a musical star combining country and rock with a solid fan base, and publicly gay after coming out over a year before this story starts. But he also has a secret life that he’s held in check, mostly at the urging of his manager and boyfriend, who just wants to support his career and not jeopardize it. Kieran is a forceful presence, yes. He knows what he wants and he takes it, which makes him successful. But he also likes to carry that power into the bedroom, and he has a permanent partner there who likes to submit to him. Secretly, Kieran has been dating the man who works at his right hand, doing much of the behind-the-scenes work for his music and on his tours. Deacon is known to most as his best friend, but they’ve been lovers in a part-time BDSM relationship for a year now.

But Kieran is tired of hiding. He finally made the leap and convinced his management and studio that he should come out. But so far they’ve convinced him not to admit to his relationship with Deke, hoping to continue to play on Kieran’s heartthrob status and unsure if the same people who supported him coming out as gay would feel similarly about him as a gay man in a relationship. For Kieran, however, it is past time. When a man from the studio tells him to record a cover on his next album of the song “When I See You Smile” from the 80s, it serves as a catalyst for Kieran to stick it to the man. Kieran West doesn’t do covers, and he sure as hell isn’t going to keep Deke a secret any longer. But will Deke agree?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, this story works as a glimpse into the lives of our characters at an important moment in their relationship, without using conflict to drive the plot. Of course, there is a little bit of conflict. The people around Kieran are pretty adamantly against his decision to go public about Deke, but there’s no real conflict because Kieran has already made up his mind, and like I said, he’s a strong personality. His resolve only serves to make us closer to him because we always respect people/characters who are steadfast and self-aware, especially in defense of their partner. And Kiernan’s decision to go public is really about honoring Deke, who deserves to stand up as his boyfriend as much as Kiernan wants to stand by his side. The BDSM flows outwardly from that, in the sense that it’s an extension of their personalities, but also that their sexual lives take a backseat to their romantic lives and their public lives. There is a touch of BDSM in the story, but it isn’t the focus.

The removal of real conflict works here if you’re looking for a light and sweet story, and it isn’t really needed to push the plot forward at 16k words. The story is short enough to keep a steady pace just from getting to know Kiernan and Deke, and the little bit of conflict that propels the story in the beginning as we start to see the dynamic in their relationship and how it changes when they move out of bed and return as equal partners. Deke remained a bit of a mystery for me, and to rate this story higher I would have liked to get to know more about him. The story reads well as it stands, however, and is definitely good for you if you’re in the mood for something sweet and heartwarming. And of course, rocker characters always draw attention and Kiernan does well playing the bad boy with a heart of gold.


TooStupidToLive_600x900Title: Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1 / Whitetail Rock #3)
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 80,500 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance, Rom Com
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Series, Alpha Men, Coming Out, College, a bit of BDSM (small bondage scene), Firemen
Rating: Really Liked It!

BLURB

It isn’t true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

REVIEW

I’ve been excited to read this one for a while now 😉 Okay, not only because I love Anne and her books, or because I really liked Whitetail Rock and The Fix, but mostly because I loved Sam so much in those stories and couldn’t wait to see him get his own HEA. And come on, a character who is admittedly secretly in love with romance novels having his own book called “Too Stupid to Live”? That’s gotta be awesome!

We first met Sam in Whitetail Rock with his best friend Nik. Compared to Nik, Sam is always seen as the tall, gangly, awkward one. Too skinny. Too underweight. When Nik finds Jurgen, Sam despairs of ever finding someone for himself, and adamantly refuses to believe that anyone as hot or as in demand as Jurgen would give him the time of day. He’s enamored of Ian when he meets him playing rugby with a bunch of other hot shirtless men. He thinks he looks like his very own Highlander and for the first time risks the chance and asks him out — only to be thoroughly shot down. Ian wonders about Sam too, and not only feels kinda bad about how he shot him down but also can’t stop thinking about him, wondering if he made a mistake. Ian has been trying to change recently, after a horrible accident while fighting a fire and then later getting out from under the thumb of the chief, his conservative father. He’s a renowned rake of the modern sort, and even though Sam might swoon at the thought of reforming him, the real-life possibility of a rather sensitive and vulnerable Sam not getting thoroughly heartbroken looks impossible.

When the two realize just what a small world it is (Ian is Jurgen’s cousin, FYI) and are thrown together at a party thrown by Nik, Sam decides to take his chances under Ian’s forceful seduction. He just promises himself he’ll try to remember that Ian isn’t anyone’s idea of a perfect husband.

In many ways this is a classic contemporary romance, albeit approached from a unique angle. While we often seem to have a romance writer as a main character, here we’re presented with a story that at least half of the time is told by Sam, an admitted romance reader and a writer himself. He’s in a unique position to critique “The Romance Novel”, and that experience in how a story is put together comes across in his critique of his own life.

And that’s when it hit Sam. If Ian was a TGH [Tortured, Gothic Hero], that made Sam…

Too Stupid to Live.

Sam closed his eyes in resignation. He was TSTL. Stupid enough to investigate the locked fourth story of the manor house, where the human screams originated; stupid enough to run out onto the moors at night to find the howling wolves. Stupid enough to want to suck Ian’s cock again. And the whole time, he’d be thinking he could somehow further the plot via his stupidity.

and…

The thing was, whatever had happened between him and Ian was certainly fraught with internal conflict, because all romances — okay, romance novels — had some kind of conflict, and if it wasn’t external it had to be internal. Since Ian wasn’t saving Sam from international drug-smuggling terrorists, and he wasn’t the captain of an enemy starship that had captured Sam in battle (ugh, revenge sex), their plotting — his and Ian’s — had to center on internal conflict.

AKA emotional conflict.

Obviously, if an outside observer had to guess which of them had the more serious emotional conflict, they’d pick Ian. Sam wasn’t the one who didn’t even know what constituted a relationship. By default, that made Ian the screwed-up one, right?

Aside from his own charm, that connection to the reader makes the story immediately engaging. We can understand and empathize with Sam with his life because of the language he uses to explore it. He’s the first person to admit that he’s become TSTL and his fantasies are ones that we have as well, or at least know of — “Reformed rakes make the best husbands.” (I love that one).

While it might be unfair for me to compare this (as a novel) to the first two stories because of the length and time to explore this relationship, I did like it more than those. Nik and Jurgen make an appropriate presence in the story without relying on them to carry the story. And Too Stupid to Live carries on in a similar vein as those stories in similar plot, characters, style and tone. The first two stories were incredibly hot, and this novel was as well. Much of the relationship between Sam and Ian is physical (at least up front, and for the first half of the novel). They’ve created a carefully constructed fabrication over their true relationship to continue the lie that it isn’t a real relationship at all, and to do that they rely heavily on sex. For me, it carried the story and I didn’t feel the need for more, because it is actually there. The sex scenes are constructed with a careful eye to move the plot forward and subsequently, the relationship.

Fans of Anne Tenino will definitely like this story. Ian is every bit the roguish character he’s made out to be and is sometimes difficult to warm to (so are Sam’s decisions regarding him). But, those choices are balanced well with real feeling and the lens through which the story is structured (The Romance Novel) bridges the gap between them.

Definitely recommended! And I look forward to the next 🙂


Title: Fifteen Shades of Gay (For Pay)
Author: T Baggins
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press
Length: 70k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Rent Boy, Politics, Coming Out, Bi, GFY/OFY, Multiple Partners, Cancer, NYC, a bit of BDSM, Kink (Spanking, Breath Play/Edge Play), First Times
Rating: Really Like It!

BLURB

MONEY…

Andrew Reynolds is determined to stay in New York City as long as his sister Marie, a cancer patient, needs him. But despite his good looks and talent, Andrew hasn’t managed to find work as an actor. With his bank account empty and his credit cards maxed, Andrew needs money fast. Gay escorts make a nice living, but there’s one problem—Andrew isn’t gay.

SEX…

Ever since his early teens, when Andrew’s father shocked everyone by coming out, Andrew has been uncomfortable around gay men. Pretending to be gay will be the role of a lifetime. From male/male dates to erotic toys, spankings and more extreme play, Andrew must satisfy his clients without revealing his usual tastes.

… AND ROMANCE

Andrew’s first date with closeted politician Cormac Donovan ends in disaster. Yet with each successive booking, the attraction between them grows. As Andrew struggles with unexpected new feelings, Cormac puts his senatorial career in danger. And what began as a way for Andrew to earn money becomes a one-way ticket to heartbreak—or lasting love.

REVIEW

I have to tell you… I did not expect the story I got when I started reading this. I’m not even sure what I expected really — something funny/facetious?. To be honest, I tend to not expect much when I read a first time author, or at least an author I haven’t heard of and I took a chance to review this when the author contacted me for review. Well, I’m really glad I did, because this turned out to be another book I loved that I hadn’t heard anything about before reading that I’ve gotten this fall for review (the first was JC Lillis’ awesome YA novel, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart).

Though the cover and title don’t suggest much in the way of good plot and writing, the reference to the much argued about “mommy porn” book actually has a place in the story. Andrew has always been straight, and he’s always been afraid of gay men. Of course, that all stems from finding his father in bed with his favorite teacher in school, and the subsequent trauma of the breakup of his family and his school life turning upside down. Bitten by the acting bug at a young age, Andrew doesn’t find many opportunities in small town Kansas, but finds himself looking for work in New York City when his sister, who moved to the city for an adventure a few years prior, is diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Now Andrew finds himself a primary caregiver and looking for difficult to find work in a difficult economy. When the bills start to pile up, Andrew admits that he needs to find work, now — and waiting for a well paying acting job just isn’t smart when he has to consider his sister’s care.

Andrew’s neighbor is the proprietor of a stable of escorts and offers him a job. Sure, he’s straight, but he’s also an actor, and what better role than this could there be to test his chops? It might even help him get over his aversion to gay men. But he doesn’t really know what he’s getting into, and even though he’s memorized the laws and isn’t being pressured into sex for pay, he knows that that’s where the extra (and big) money is. Could he do something like that? He’s forced to face up to all his preconceived notions, his fears, his family history, and the possibility that his sexuality might be a lot more fluid than he ever allowed himself to consider as he goes out on job after job. And the worst, or maybe best, is a repeat customer: Cormac Donovan, a republican congressman from California who is nothing like he ever suspected.

Don’t be mistaken, what might seem from the blurb a lighthearted tale is really quite a serious book that deals with several heavy issues. First and foremost is the extremely frank, honest and real look at what cancer does to a patient and the people around them, supporting them. I know firsthand what that is like from my mother, who cared for my grandmother as she died from cancer in our home. This book shows all sides of that, in a very frank and honest way. Very little of the details are spared, just as the bond grows stronger between the siblings and love and laughter are shown as well. But, take this as a warning for some who might be sensitive to the issue. I was very impressed with the level of dedication and emotion written about this, and it was the undercurrent that brought the rest of the story together.

Two parts of Andrew’s life as an escort are shown in this book, that rarely, if ever, meet. First, are the few men that Andrew meets first at a pool party put on by a wealthy Indian man along with several of the other escorts. Paresh takes a particular “shine”, shall we say, to Andrew who can’t help but show his green colors. No matter how good of an actor Andrew thinks he is, it is obvious to most that he’s new to his job and straight. But for Paresh, that is a turn on, and his repeat business (along with the other people and intense situations that come along with him), awaken Andrew to the sort of self-reflection that he needs the most. On the other hand is Cormac, the republican congressman who takes Andrew on dates, starts to fall in love with him and at the same time touts his party’s line views of “Family Values.” I liked that you could measure Andrew’s real feelings, maybe even subconscious feelings, by how reactions to seeing Cormac on television, going along with the republican values that he uses to stay elected and as he says, do some good from the inside. But his feelings for Cormac are confusing, and they definitely have a real and possibly lasting relationship, if you take away the impossibility the outside world represents to them and their vast differences.

But really, what brought this story to a higher level for me was Andrew. He’s a great character. He really considers himself and works through his feelings, which allows him to change. Part of that is done through writing his memoir, Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay). Though he finds it difficult to put certain things into word (like his sister’s illness and his sexual experiences, he’s still working through it in his head. So, along with the different aspects of his life that are woven into his narrative, we really get to his his reaction and thoughts with it, and they go quite deep. I felt like I got to know him really well, and even more than that, I liked him.

I definitely recommend this one. Don’t let the title fool you! But be sure check out this book and give it a chance — it is worth it.


Title: Worth the Coming Home
Author: Lisa M. Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 65,763 words, 244 pages
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Western, Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Emotionally/Physically Damaged (PTSD), Closeted, Cowboys, (ex)Military, Co-Workers, Kink, a bit of BDSM, HEA
Rating: Really, Really Liked It

Reviewed by Nikyta

BLURB

For Josh Brooks, it’s a summer of wishes come true. First he gets his dream horse from a rival trainer. Then his brother’s Army Ranger buddy, Dane Keller, comes to work on the ranch and Josh meets his dream lover too. Dane is hot, competent, and fresh out of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Everything would be perfect—except nobody knows Josh and Dane are gay.

All Dane wants is a quiet life in a less claustrophobic closet and a ranch job where he can earn a living. But when his best friend’s little brother, the one who wrote the letters that kept their spirits up in Afghanistan, turns out to have grown up in all the right ways, Dane can’t help wanting more despite his fear of commitment.

While Dane and Josh are busy trying—and failing—to keep their hands to themselves, someone else is watching, biding his time. Then he strikes, first at Josh and then at the prized horse. When all of their secrets and fears are exposed, Dane is determined to protect Josh, even if it means leaving him behind.

REVIEW

This is an extraordinary book. Simple but it won’t be for everyone because it deals with some discouraging (some would say) elements. In fact, it won’t be for a lot of people. It deals with the after affects of going into the war and spending a few tours there, coming home damaged emotionally and physically.

This story starts out with Josh Brooks training his newly acquired horse, Hurricane. Then Dane Keller, his brother, Jesse’s Ranger buddy, walks onto his family’s ranch looking for a place to stay. The attraction between Dane and Josh is obvious from the start but they’re both in the closet. Josh is so far in the closet he has the whole town thinking he’s going to marry his best friend, Sarah. Because of this, Dane gets mixed signals from Josh. It’s not long before Dane finally makes his moves on Josh. To Josh’s surprise, Dane is more forceful then he thought. Dane’s extremely dominant, controlling and has Josh both in fear and arousal. Josh likes it but he’s scared at the same time. Dane gives Josh everything he’s wanted but he threatens the very life he’s made for himself.

The morning after, things become too intense when Dane suffers a bout of hallucinations and ends up hurting Josh physically. What follows is both hot and cold moments from Dane. Dane will ignore Josh for days then show up at his house looking for control and sex. Dane makes it clear it’s just sex but Josh soon develops feelings for Dane even with all the problems Dane has especially when a simple injury triggers Dane’s episodes. Their life starts to unravel when they realize someone is spying on their ranch. With that spying, this mysterious person sees Dane and Josh together. From there it’s one thing after another. First Josh gets outed in a bar and gay bashed. His brother turns on him with disgust and no one will talk to him. To add insult to injury, someone is trying to either kill him or his horse and they can’t pin it on anyway. Things get even worse for Josh when Dane decides to end things, leaving Josh devastated. Josh soon realizes who his real friends are and who exactly he can count on while trying to mend his broken heart and the yearning he still has for the emotionally distant and dangerous Dane.

This might possibly be one of my favorite books this year. It has angsty elements but the way it’s handled, I wouldn’t exactly classify it as angsty. It’s intense, harsh at times but captivating. I was sucked into the story and the extreme passion Dane and Josh have for each other. Their own brand of love was so different from the sweet and light things I’ve been reading lately that I was drawn to it. Dane is very, very controlling to the point of almost being cruel. In fact, he is cruel and asks almost impossible things of Josh to endure. It’s torturous in a way because Dane is also possessive. While he doesn’t want to have a real relationship with Josh, he won’t put up with Josh being with anyone else, which Josh finds out quite fast.

I loved these characters, though. Dane is raw and the way he battles the episodes caused by PTSD is heart-wrenching. The way Josh handles it all is commendable, though. He sticks through the worst of it but still ends up loving Dane during it all. This is told in first person from Josh’s POV, which allows us to get to know Josh rather well. He’s a very well developed character. Dane is also a well developed character but he’s mysterious, too. We know things about him that made me really like him but we don’t know everything. When Dane leaves, he not only devastated Josh, he devastated me too. It ripped my heart out.

The plot has more suspense than I was expecting. A lot of little conflicts happen that all are aimed at ruining Josh’s life. It’s sad what he has to go through all because someone was jealous of his abilities. We get to see a lot of things within this story, though. Teenage crushes, trespassing, injuries, possible abuse depending on your perception of it, bigotry, heartbreak, unrequited love and more. There’s so much going on but it all comes together nicely to make a really good story. Actually, it didn’t even feel like there was a lot until I analyzed it all in the end. The only issue I had with it was the sex. While extremely hot, it was just too much for my liking. It’s all about control for Dane which is why I labeled it as a little bit of BDSM. He also makes Josh go through some few slightly kinky things. It’s, well, scorching.

All in all, this was a very well written story. It touches on topics that are intriguing and not often written correctly. It’s intense and passionate and sometimes harsh. It won’t be for everyone but I encourage those brave enough to try it. It’s a phenomenal story and most likely one I will re-read one day.