on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Tag Archives: Karenna Colcroft

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.


KC_ChanceMetTitle: Chance Met
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 21k words
Genre: m/m Comtemporary Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Wolf Shifters, Magic, Psychics, Kids, Boston, Secrets & Lies, Valentine’s Day
Rating: So So

**This review contains some spoilers**

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With secrets to hide and people to protect, can Trey Damone and Jeremiah Crawford trust each other and the relationship developing between them?

Who would think that a child’s wish for hot chocolate would change lives? Jeremiah Crawford didn’t expect anything but coffee when he walked into Dunkin Donuts one morning. But a little boy catches his attention–along with the boy’s father. When he realizes the boy, Mikey, has psychic abilities like him, Crawford wants to learn more about him. And more than that, he wants to learn more about Trey Damone, Mikey’s father.

Trey has kept secrets of his own. Mikey’s mother’s family is looking for Mikey to make use of his abilities, which Trey has forbidden his son to speak about in public. And Trey himself is a werewolf, changed only a month earlier. But he’s tired of carrying the secrets alone. Can he trust Crawford enough to let the man into his life?

REVIEW

It has been a while since I’ve read anything by this author and I seem to remember that I enjoyed her work. Though, ultimately, this story was only So So for me, there were still some parts that I liked and many other readers will probably disagree with me and really like the story, which was light, sweet, and a nice Valentine’s Day read.

Jeremiah works for a sorcerer and is himself a psychic. When he makes a detour on his way to work at Dunkin Donuts, he meets Trey and his little boy Mikey, who has a similar ability. Mikey immediately recognizes him and his powers as well, and Jeremiah finds himself taken with both the boy and his father. Not wanting to creep Trey out by showing an interest in his little boy, Jeremiah frets over how to find Trey again, to ask him out. But besides seeing glimpses of the future, Jeremiah has one highly developed skill — sometimes when he wants to find a person, he does. Like following a trail, thinking of Trey leads them to bump into each other on their commute home from work nearly a week later. After talking, both find that they really like each other and would like to see each other again. But Trey has secrets that he’s bound not to share, even with Jeremiah. Trey and Mikey are new to the city, running from a mysterious threat. One month ago, Trey was attacked by wolves and bitten, now new to the local pack and the life of a werewolf.

Part of my feelings about this short novella come from thinking that this was a different type of story than it turned out to be. While there is a background of magic and shifters, that paranormal world doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with the story, other than as a backdrop and as history for the characters. I expected, especially with the threat looming over Trey, that it would be more fundamental to the story. That wouldn’t have been a problem in and of itself, if I had really felt a connection between Trey and Jeremiah and could get behind their relationship, reading it like a shorter contemporary piece, but I just couldn’t. The paranormal pieces of the story are so ingrained into the characters and the setting, but because they come into play so little in the plot, I could never really see their relationship and the story as whole or finished.

What bothered me most was that the story is set up for a confrontation that never happened. It depends on how you read the story and what you expect from it. You can either read it like I did, that the enemies Trey has will eventually crop up, or that it’s just a backdrop to create tension in the relationship between Trey and Jeremiah. One way, the story feels like it ends in the middle and feels unfinished, and in the other, there was never meant to be another sub-plot and the end of the story was intended to be the start of a new relationship between the two men. I feel like I couldn’t quite help, however, feeling as if the story was leading to that absent climax, but then that’s my perspective which could be quite different from your own.

In any way, I still felt like this story had some problems, but ultimately my enjoyment of the story came down to the relationship between the two characters. Maybe, if there had been more time, I could have settled into it, but I finished the story without feeling the connection. There were parts that I liked — in particular, the little boy Mikey. He speaks at times quite a lot older than he is, but that makes sense with his psychic perception of the world around him, and his presence lightened the story and the scenes he was in and added an interesting element that I enjoyed. Fans of this author might want to read this, but since I don’t know her work that well, I can’t say if this one is in line with the others or similar in any way.


KC_A_Little_Christmas_CheerTitle: A Little Christmas Cheer (A Little #3)
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 11,000 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild & Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Series, Closeted, Mechanic, Small Towns, First Loves, Established Couples, Blue Collar, HFN
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

**Might contain some spoilers**

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Will Braden Porter give his lover Vince Gutierrez the gift of moving in together?

Braden Porter and Vince Gutierrez have been a couple for nearly a year. But because of Braden’s fear of being outed, their relationship has moved slowly. Too slowly for Vince. Braden knows that if he doesn’t take the next step and ask Vince to move in with him, he might lose Vince for good. A chance encounter during a towing job to Boston helps Braden make his decision, but will he dare to tell Vince his choice?

REVIEW

This is the third short story about Braden and Vince. The first story and the beginning of their relationship is told in a Valentine’s short called A Little Kiss. It is short and sweet as the title would indicate. The second story, A Little Road Trip is a summer story that takes place over the 4th of July and further solidifies Vince and Braden as a couple. A Little Christmas Cheer takes place during the holiday season and is a perfect addition to MLR’s Holiday releases. It can be read as a standalone, but I think it’s more meaningful if they are read in order.

Vince and Braden are getting ready for Christmas. The weather has not been too bad in their part of Maine and they are looking forward to time together –which has been difficult to manage with their jobs and keeping their relationship on the DL. Braden know he loves Vince and he knows Vince loves him, but he is afraid. He is afraid of what might happen if anybody finds out they are more than friends. As far as he knew, he was the only gay guy in town until Vince pursued him. He also feels some responsibility because Vince has never been with a guy before. Neither of them has been in a relationship though, so they are feeling their way along together.

Braden lives in his own trailer outside of town on some land. Vince lives in an apartment over a beauty shop and has a nosy landlady who is the hairdresser. But the landlady is selling and Vince needs to move. He wants Braden to decide if they are going to move in together at his place or if he needs to look for a new apartment. He understands Braden’s reluctance but he’s on a pretty tight timeline.

Braden is offered another job picking up a car once again for a client. It involves a trip to a Boston dealer that will require a full day of driving. He resolves to make up his mind about the move during the trip. On the way to Boston, he is no closer to making a decision and his mind just goes in circles. He meets the sales guy at the dealer and also his lunch date – another man. They are pretty open in their communication and it’s obvious that they are a couple and they seem so happy.

Braden picks up the car and has the drive home to think about his day and what he really wants. And what he really wants is to stop being afraid.

Once again I really enjoyed this short look into Braden and Vince’s lives and relationship. Both characters are good guys and they are young and just getting started in life and in love. The stories are sweet, but not sappy which I appreciate. I hope the author will continue to give us a peek at their lives again in the future.


KC_Hooch_and_HowlsTitle: Hooch and Howls
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: MLR
Length: 31,000 words
Genre: m/m/m Historical Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy and Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Prohibition, Shifters, Canada, Rum Running, HFN
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

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Lone werewolf Malachi doesn’t expect to bring not one, but two men into his life.

In the decade since being changed into a werewolf in 1920, Malachi has become used to being alone. But the appearance of bootleggers Jonathan and Roger on the beach below Malachi’s cottage shows Malachi what he’s been missing. He wants these men in his life, but he can’t ask them to stay. The following day, Roger returns seeking Malachi’s help in rescuing Jonathan from the rum-runners who are holding him hostage. Can Malachi help the men while protecting his own heart?

REVIEW

I seem to be reading a lot of shifter books lately. This story also has the added bonus of being a historical. Once again the time period is the depression era and prohibition. We have the additional interest of it being a cross border story with the action taking place in Canada – one of my favorite places!

The opening of the book is a quite hot scene between bootleggers Jonathan and Roger that Malachi, our very lonely werewolf, stumbles upon. He is drawn by the scent of the booze but also by the men and their conversation. It seems that Roger is intent on having his way with Jonathan as part of a bargain they’ve made but Malachi senses that Jonathan is afraid. As they continue the encounter, Malachi involves himself in the situation – for various reasons.

As the story continues, we discover that Jonathan and Roger are to deliver a shipment of bootleg whiskey to a nearby contact. Malachi helps them prepare the boat they are using to move the liquor. He feels like he should offer them his assistance after he has barged in on them but he fears drawing any attention to himself as well. He has lived an isolated existence since he was turned into a werewolf a decade earlier. But he will have to make a decision soon.

I liked this little view into the rum-running past. I didn’t know that much about bootlegging during prohibition, but I do remember reading that there was a lucrative business of cross-border black market trade. I liked the way the story evolved to reveal the personality of Roger especially since he appears to be fairly unappealing at the beginning of the story. Jonathan is a sweet character and still a bit naïve despite his choices. Malachi is still a bit of a mystery and I’d like to learn more about him. I’m not sure if the author is planning any more stories in this world, but I’d be interested to find out more about these guys.