Title: When Love Takes Over
Author: Jacob Z Flores
Length: 88,936 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often (including sexual situations)
Keywords/Tags: P-Town, Porn Star, Sex Industry, Nerds/Geeks, Nasty Ex, Clubbing, Public Sex, Exhibitionism, Multiple/Other Partners, Writers, Cheating Ex, Bad Breakup, Dirty Talk, Pitt Munching, at the Beach, On Vacation, Gingers!, Colorful Cast of Characters, Funny Guys, Camp it Up!, Famous
Rating: Really Liked It
**Some (small) spoilers
Zach Kelly’s life is a shambles. His boyfriend of three years dumped him, and his writing career is going nowhere. On a whim, he heads to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to nurse his broken heart and figure out his next step. He’s expecting to find rest and relaxation on the sandy beaches of Cape Cod. Instead, Zach meets a hunky porn star during a chance encounter at a leather shop he mistakes as a place to buy a belt that is definitely not for whipping.
Van Pierce is smitten when shy and inexperienced Zach crashes through a shelf of fetish gear. Though Van’s got an insatiable appetite for men on and off the set, his porn persona, Hart Throb, hides a broken heart. He’s struggling to find the reality the porno set doesn’t offer, and Zach is fighting to find the fantasy that will set his writing on fire. The odd goofball and the suave beefcake may either find love amid Provincetown’s colorful pageantry where summer never seems to end—or more heartbreak than either can imagine.
No matter how much I’ve wanted to read Jacob Flores’ prior books, this is the first one that I really had the time to read. And I’m so glad that I did. More than anything, more than the fact that I found some parts of this book less to my liking than others and I didn’t think it was perfect, it intrigued me. I immediately put back all of the books I have of Jacob’s back onto my Kindle and I only hope that I have the time to read them soon.
Prepare for a LONG summary. Sorry about that, but I think it’s worth reading 😉
Zach has always done what everyone told him too. Submissive to almost an extreme in his life (though not in the bedroom), he first allowed his father to dictate his life and self-understanding and later his partner of three years, Ben. The start of When Love Takes Over sees Ben unceremoniously dumped by Ben — with no reason or explanation — simply a get out. Zach is tired of being shuffled around and taking it, doing everything he can to change himself into the man that Ben wants. So he does the most impulsive thing he’s done in his life. He takes the small bag he left with from Houston and jumps a plane to P-Town.
Zach has never been to Provincetown and the place dazzles him. There are men everywhere, half naked in the streets, holding hands and kissing. The place seems like freedom personified and there’s no better introduction to the wonders of P-Town than the owner of the condo he’s renting for the week, Gary. Gary and his partner Quinn convince Zach to take advantage of all P-Town has to offer, not to stay in his room and try to work on his novel. Zach still doesn’t understand how his life took such a strange turn, but his writing seems to have suffered in relative fashion. Perhaps a change will be good for him.
Van is also at a crossroads. He’s had a bad time in relationships and it seems like every time he gives away his heart, which always seems to easy for him to do, it gets pummeled and thrown back at him, damaged more and more every time. After his last relationship with a man named Jason who drove him into a terrible dehumanizing spiral of sex and pain, Van took it upon himself to never face that kind of damage again. That is how Hart Throb was born. Being Hart Throb on screen for thousands of horny gay men gives Van a rush and a self-esteem boost that he needs. He can do porn and still enjoy sex, even being pounded by multiple men, without the emotions that ended up crushing him before. As a power bottom that has quickly amassed a huge fan following, he has the power to call more shots and he’s the one in control, not the men on top of him.
It’s almost enough to convince him that he doesn’t need an emotional connection at all. The pain of the past and his creation of his more powerful alter-ego have slowly started to shift his two identities and Hart Throb looks to be taking over. When Van runs into a geeky, shy and pale ginger beauty named Zach in a leather store, his previous conviction falls to pieces. Something about Zach — perhaps his bumbling and sweet nature with mismatched clothes and messed up hair, or his personality which seems to be completely free of artifice in a town where looks and sex are all that matters — appeals to Van. Even though their meeting is short, he can’t get Zach out of his head and his feelings about someone that he doesn’t even know only highlight that Hart Throb can’t fully sustain him.
A makeover on the outside from an excited Gary and female friend Tara prove to Zach that he does have worth. He believe that it just might be possible to break out of his shell, leave the old, boring doormat he was behind and embrace P-Town. That’s what everyone keeps telling him to do, after all. Embrace P-Town, because it will change you. And now that he’s seeing other men, hot men checking him out and finding him very worthy of their attention, the sexually adventurous nature he always repressed starts to peek out. But no matter how much he embraces the sex in the air (with some very public and exciting naughtiness!) what he really wants is to find Van again. But will Van even recognize him? Or did P-Town get to Zach before Van could, changing him in ways that ultimately aren’t good for him?
Whew! First of all, if you made it through that — thank you! You deserve a chocolate or something 🙂 Second, you saw just how long that summary was. I’d say that even though I did a bit of a character introduction to you as well, that summary probably only covers the first 1/4 of the book. The pace in this story moves rather quickly. I like that this author makes decisive choices for his characters. They don’t dawdle, but the story moves along without pause. I appreciate that because no matter how you feel about those decisions, there’s nothing worse than an author refusing to make them and then the characters stall. Van and Zach go through quite a lot to get their HEA, and it’s hard-won, that’s for damn sure! You can see just from the summary I wrote that the angst is already building. Wherever both Van and Zach go in this story they always seem to be looking for one another but at the same time moving in opposite directions, like passing ships in the night 😉 When Van looks for the geeky guy he had a moment with in the leather store he finds just another shallow guy tricking. When Zach continues to look for Van, he finds what he thinks is a guy with a boyfriend. And no matter how annoying that was at the time, because I wanted to smack them both and tell them to actually communicate with each other, this author ultimately brings the story around so that their actions and thoughts make sense to the character.
I really liked both Van and Zach. Zach is someone who I felt like I could understand on a personal level:
The thought that he devoted three years of his life trying to conform to an impossible ideal for Ben haunts him, especially considering that Ben seems to have no appreciation of that fact. P-Town is important to him. His outside makeover soon starts to make him over inside and having men look at him as if they’d be lucky to have him is something that he’s never really felt. This is why this book worked for me on this level. We have a tendency in the romance genre to equate the characters and their choices with the quality of the book. But, it’s important for a character to grow and Zach needs to embrace his slutty and hedonistic side, no matter how shallow it makes him or that he becomes a bit of an asshole for a while, and he needs to fuck things up so that he can learn to be an active participant in a relationship. By definition, the end goal in romance is the HEA. The direction is important, but honestly, the journey there is the real point. This book is a good example for characters that you might not like at certain points in the book, but which (to me, at least) should have no bearing on the rating of it.
I think the real reason that I was intrigued about this author’s writing from reading this book is the tone and mood of the story. The mood is festive and reflective of the setting, but the tone of the writing often seemed just a little bit campy. The tone seemed campy, mind you, not the plot or characters (except for Gary! and Penny :D). This gives the story a lift. Right away it draws you in. No matter the subject matter there’s always a glass half-full feeling that carries through the story. It’s a hopeful tone. I felt like that little bit of campiness was so right on to how I’ve felt before in settings with lots of gay men and a party atmosphere. Sadly, I’ve yet to visit P-Town, but the setting and tone gave off a sense of inclusion and freedom and that thread ran throughout the story, the tone affecting all of the book in subtle ways.
Originally, I gave this book a Pretty Good rating. I had some trouble with the ending, specifically the part from the ending of Zach’s novel to the upstairs of the porn set setting. That conversation between the two was the culmination of the previous chapter or two where Zach starts to think in a kind of writer affectation. Everything became a bit melodramatic and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it. Seriously? Or, as a subtle importation of his writer’s mind? With an added day or two of reflection, I found those parts less important in my memory than the whole. I don’t think this book is perfect by any means, but I cared less about those trouble spots for me and more about the overall story. And that is of two characters that I felt were explored rather well and of writing by this author that I grew increasingly fond of while reading. I can’t wait until he writes something new. Or until I can get off my ass and read something off of his backlist. Recommended.
Posted by Cole in 5 Really Like It, 76-100k, Authors D-F, Contemporary, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, Romance, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often Tags: at the Beach, Bad Breakup, Camp it Up!, Cheating Ex, Colorful Cast of Characters, Dirty Talk, Dreamspinner Press, Exhibitionism, Famous, Funny Guys, Gay Bars/Clubs, Gingers!, Jacob Z Flores, Multiple/Other Partners, Nasty Exes, Nerds/Geeks, On Vacation, P-Town, Pitt Munching, Porn Stars, Public Sex, Sex Industry, Writers
Title: Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player – Part One
Author: Patrick Darcy
Publisher: Wilde City
Length: 12k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 5 – Over and Over
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Series, Charlie Harding Presents, Wilde City Press Erotica Week, Sports, Rugby, Athletes, Irish, Multiple Partners, Clubbing, (Semi) Public Sex, Diverse Partners, Dirty/Raunch Sex, Kink (Felching, Facials, Cumeating, Snowballing, Fighting/Wrestling), NYC
Rating: So So
Star Irish rugby player, Conor Murphy, lives and breathes rugby. He spends his weekends playing rugby, drinking beer, and singing songs with his teammates. There is only one thing he loves more than rugby, and that is hot rugby players. But after the final whistle sounds, the real competition begins: the hunt for the hottest men.
Conor’s muscular body and roguish good looks ensure he can have his pick of the sexiest players. But what happens when this alpha male meets his match on and off the field? Who will come out on top when he meets the horniest rugby players from the USA? Can two alpha males have the night of their lives?
I was a bit unsure about this erotica story as I started reading. I just needed to get in the right mindset. I wasn’t sure about how I felt about Conor, he’s a bit of an asshole. But after reading further into the story it started to not make much difference to me because I could see that the story was playing on the hot/asshole/macho/badboy type, the two alpha men going at each other. Once I figured that out and that it wasn’t about just one asshole guy out looking to screw over whoever, then it was fine with me 🙂
Conor is a Blind Side Flanker (I have no idea what the hell that is, but…) who is on a tour with his rugby team from Ireland at an international gay rugby championship in New York City. Much of the beginning of the story sets out to explain a bit of the game, in particular their semi-final match with the San Francisco team. The SF team are one of the best in the world, but they underestimate what a bunch of crazy fuckers the Irish guys are (which is a story-long sentiment, lol) and the game gets rough and stays that way until the very end. In the game, Conor makes an enemy and they continually one-up the other throughout the game. Tonio is on the SF team and is a kickass player. He’s latino, built and bronze-skinned and he gives it back to Conor as good as Conor gives it to him. So when the tournament is finalized and the teams are all headed to a night of sponsored clubbing (and fucking) by the tournament, Conor knows that he’s going to do whatever he can to find Tonio and see if he can make him his tournament-end conquest. And… it seems that Tonio has been looking for Conor as well.
This was a pretty solid erotica story, or what Patrick Darcy calls “full strength gay erotica” in the author bio. It’s definitely full strength. Take a quick look, if you haven’t yet, at the tags up above and that will give you some insight into the kind of stuff they get into in this story. It’s less about specific kinks and more about the dirty raunch, in both action and dialogue that they get up to. Even more, their sex is just like their competition on the field and they go quite a while trying to best one another in bed, which leads to some pretty hot naked wrestling. But, neither seems to be upset by what happened on the field. What happens during the game seems to be left in the game and the importance of the night is all about fun.
So, assuming that you understand by now that this isn’t romance at all, and you like to read some pretty heavy erotica that’s just a touch raunchy but doesn’t go too far really, then I’d recommend this one to you. It’s rather short, but definitely hot. And if you’re interested and like the first one, you can always continue on with Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player 2, Conor’s exploits in Copenhagen.
Posted by Cole in 3 So So, Authors D-F, Contemporary, Erotica, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, Sex Freq 5 - Over and Over Again!, up to 15k Tags: Athletes, Charlie Harding Presents, Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player, Dirty/Pig/Raunch, Diverse Pairing, Facials, Felching, Fighting/Wrestling Sex, Gay Bars/Clubs, Irish, Kink, Multiple/Other Partners, NYC, Patrick Darcy, Public Sex, Rugby, Series, Short Story, Sports, Wilde City Press, Wilde City Press Erotica Week
Author: Jaime Samms
Length: 10k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Trans* Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild & Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Valentine’s Day, Gay Bars/Clubs, HFN
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Sadonna
A new city, a new job, a new life based on one fundamental truth: Illusion is everything. For nearly a year, Alabaster Joy has managed to keep her true nature hidden, settling into a new life and job in a brand new city where no one knows her. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy, though. In order to pay her rent, she’s taking a chance and baring a bit of skin to garner attention, and, hopefully, tips. When that gamble leads to the revelation of her secret, she has to find the courage to trust the man who comes to her aid, or once more decide to move on.
It’s Valentine’s night and Joy is a waitress in a bar who has the idea that if she dresses the part, she’ll make better tips and make rent this month. It’s a busy night but she’s grateful to one of the bar regulars – a very popular young man named Rex – who has made it a good night for her tips wise. At last call, her rowdy table of drunk straight guys decide they aren’t in the mood too cooperate. She offers them water or coffee and while one grabs her, another one is even more bold. Then all hell breaks loose and Rex’s bodyguards/lovers as well as the bouncers and Ren, the bar owner, get into the act to get Alabaster Joy away from the maniacs who’ve discovered her secret.
Ren takes her back to his office and as he’s comforting her, he also discovers her secret. However, his reaction is much different and he kisses her. Not only does he realize her secret, he is intrigued and gives in to his desire for her. She’s worked for him for a year and he’s been attracted to her the entire time which has thrown him somewhat off-center. One of my favorite lines in the story is when Ren says to her “I only ever saw what you wanted me to see.” They clean up the bar and are the last two in the place and as she is getting ready to leave, Ren insists that he will walk her home given the fact that she was just assaulted and you can’t be too careful. They end up doing a lot more talking than walking and there may have been some physical contact involved too. The bottom line is that maybe, just maybe she’s found somebody who will love and cherish her just the way she is.
This is one of those stories that I wish had about another 5000 words to it. I felt like I was just really getting into the story and then it was over. I really liked the way both characters were written and I wanted more background on both of them. Ren especially is a wonderfully written character. His conversation with Alabaster Joy is one that everyone would like to have with the one who claims to love them. I’d really love to read more about these two someday.
Posted by Sadonna in 4 Pretty Good, Authors S-U, Contemporary, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, Trans / xDress, up to 15k Tags: Gay Bars/Clubs, HFN, Jaime Samms, MLR Press, Short Story, Valentine's Day