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
*Click the covers to be taken to the story/purchase info. Further info at the bottom of the post.
**”On the Stoop”, the DSP Halloween Howl story, is currently unavailable.
When I decided to review Kate McMurray’s backlist, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget any shorts. And while there aren’t many, when I did start making my list of the books I needed to read and to re-read, I decided that I’d go ahead and just do all of them. There are a very short list of short stories, most of them free. So, at the very least this is a good place for someone unfamiliar with this author to decide if they like her style and writing.
Also, I find it interesting to read short stories written by this author, who is definitely more well known for her novels. Both Kindling Fire for Snow and her newest, Save the Date, are shorter than most (the first at around 20k and the latter at around 33k words), but they aren’t really short stories either, which is a completely different style of writing in some ways. Some authors are terrible at writing shorts but write completely incredible novels, and vice versa. Of course, that’s mostly in the literary genre because short stories are much more valued there, but I always find it interesting to see how an m/m author I like transitions to writing shorts. And even though I’d read quite a few of Kate’s books, I had surprisingly read none of her short stories.
I started with the two that I already had: A Walk in the Dark (part of the 2011 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar) and Lead Us Not (one of the M/M Romance Group’s 2012 Love is Always Write stories). And… I can’t believe it but I loved them both. In fact, I think that this might be where Kate’s background in literature and literary fiction (mostly as a reader, as she said in her interview with me two days ago).
A Walk in the Dark tells the story of Jared’s unrequited love for his best friend and roommate’s boyfriend Brandon. Rex, Jared’s roommate, is a bit of a player, but in the way only best friends can still loves him and sees his good qualities no matter how much he hates seeing the guy he loves being dicked around and very possibly cheated on. I thought that the story did what it really needed to without giving us too much more, which is one of my biggest problems with short stories — when they try to be novels in disguise. The characters came through for me in a real way because of the awkward position they’re in and the story is good for the season, a sweet HEA for Christmas. I give it a Pretty Good.
Lead Us Not was really the surprise for me. I remember seeing the prompt that Kate chose and looking forward to reading the story, but somewhere in there I missed it and haven’t thought much about it since then. The prompt asks for a story about two actors and boyfriends who’ve moved to NYC to pursue their dreams and the temptations they face in order to get to their HEA. The story Kate gave us was simply beautiful, in emotion and in craft. Written in alternating first person between Sam and Jess, they each tell us about their own lives in NYC and how they’ve grown and moved from the naive boyfriends who moved there several years ago, two of them against the world. They recount how their lives have started to diverge and how no matter how much each still loves the other, how much doubt can harm a relationship. The temptations offered are in the form of two other guys, catalysts who seem to be a sounding board for all of their doubts about themselves, each other and their careers, which for both are going in directions they never really expected. The beauty of the story is how Kate shows us such a sweet love story without pulling punches. It’s a much more true to real life story than many sugarcoated fantasies in the romance genre and that gave it a real ring of authenticity that makes their hard-won HEA really worth it. I’ve only given Kate one 5-star review in the past, for Out in the Field, but this is my second. I Loved It. And it’s free!
The remaining two stories are both free stories. “In December My Heart’s Full of Spring” is currently available for download and read here, on Kate’s website. “On the Stoop”, the story that was released in October as part of the Dreamspinner Halloween Howls, is currently unavailable from their website, but is also up for download at Kate’s website.
Both stories are much shorter than the previous two. “On the Stoop” is the story of a recent transplant to NYC from St. Louis, a man who seeing the differences between Halloween celebrations in New York are different from his childhood in the suburbs in the midwest feels that they only reflect how out of place he feels. When he meets a cute guy sitting on his stoop in his neighborhood handing out candy to passing kids, he sits and talks and finally feels like he’s made a friend, or something more that could give him hope that he could call the city home. This was a cute, no-sex story. It’s quite short and doesn’t have a whole lot going on, but I still felt like Adrian was developed well for a story of this length. Because there isn’t a whole lot going on, I couldn’t really love it, though it was a nice read. So this one gets a cute So So 😉
And lastly, “In December My Heart’s Full of Spring” is the story of two men who meet at the top of the Empire State building on a lonely Christmas Eve. Both are at low points in their lives and seeing an old friend who they hadn’t seen in years gives them the energy to get through the night together when they thought they’d have to spend it alone and depressed. That night leads to a bonding between the two of them and eventually, more… I felt similarly about this story as I felt about “On the Stoop”, though where that story had less actual plot, I felt like this story actually had quite a bit going on. If Goodreads is right and this was made available (in whatever form) in 2009, that makes this one of Kate’s first public stories. I could see some of that in the writing. Perhaps the meeting atop the Empire State Building is a bit cliché, but the story quickly moves on and developed two really good characters, which showed me that Kate has a natural talent for writing realistic characters, even if her writing might have improved some over the intervening years. This one gets a So So as well.
For anyone interested, Dreamspinner recently published a free sequel short about Four Corner characters Jake and Adam’s anniversary on the DSP Blog, called “Shortstop.” I talked a bit about it (it’s cute!) in my review of Four Corners the other day. Here’s the link for anyone interested in read it.
Well, sadly that ends Kate McMurray Week 😦 I hope all of you enjoyed taking a tour through her books with me and also enjoyed our interview on Thursday. Remember, comment on the interview before Midnight, Tuesday June 11th for a chance to win a copy of her book, Save the Date!
Next Up: I do the same with Lou Harper the last week of June. I’ll be reviewing her entire backlist and interviewing her as well as talking about her upcoming book, Dead Man and the Restless Spirits, about Denton from Spirit Sanguine, available on June 25th. I hope you’ll join me for that!
Posted by Cole in 3 So So, 4 Pretty Good, 6 LOVE IT!, Authors M-O, Contemporary, Heat 1 - Sweet/None, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Romance, Sex Freq 1 - None, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between, up to 15k Tags: 2012 - Love is Always Write, Actor, Best Friends, Christmas, Dreamspinner Press, DSP Halloween Howl, Existing Relationship, Free Reads, Grief, Halloween, Kate McMurray, Kate McMurray Week!, M/M GoodReads Group, Models, NYC, Previously Online Fic, Self Published, Short Story, Unrequited Love
Title: Still Life
Author: Jaime Samms
Length: 26,292 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild & Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Friends to Lovers, Artist, Model, Bisexual, X-Dress, Family Issues, Christmas, HIV, Second Chances, HFN(?)
Rating: Really Liked It!
Reviewed by Sadonna
When Allan Song’s ex, Mac, shows up to model for the life drawing class Allan teaches, he turns everything upside-down. Mac is still as infuriatingly attractive as when Allan first met him—and still trying to figure out where he fits on the gender spectrum. He’s more than a little out of control, and he’s taken some stupid risks that have come back to haunt him. If they’re going to get back together, Allan wants a real relationship—but for that, he and Mac will need to look below the surface.
When I read the blurb for this book, I really didn’t know what to expect from the story, but I knew it would be good. I’ve read a number of books by this author and I’ve liked them all. Even when I didn’t love the story, I liked the writing if that makes sense. The blurb was intriguing, so I signed on.
The prologue to the story sets the stage by showing us how Mac and Allan got together in the first place. They are roommates and Allan has assumed for a couple of years that Mac is straight. He’s dated girls and not once has Allan seen him show interest in another man. Until one night when Allan is studying for an exam and writing a paper and Mac is doing everything in his power to distract him. And boy does he!
In chapter one, Allan is now an art teacher and the model he has been sent by the agency for his life study class is none other than Mac. It is apparent that they are no longer a couple – haven’t been for some time. Allan doesn’t let on to anyone that he knows Mac other than as the model he’s been sent. On this particular night, just before the Christmas break, Mac stays after the class leaves and tries to talk to Allan. It isn’t comfortable and we discover that they have been apart for a couple of years. Allan stays to paint for a while and Mac comes back to retrieve his phone that he’s left behind and they get into a serious discussion about their past. Mac doesn’t have a car and Allan agrees to give him a ride since it’s cold and snowy, but they get into a huge fight about why they broke up in on the way. There is an accident and whether out of guilt or regret or intrigue, Allan ends up taking Mac back to his apartment. While it looks like they might be on the way to reconciling – at least as friends – there are a lot of obstacles to overcome and a lot of past issues that will have to be overcome.
As the story progresses, we find out the reason they broke up and the consequences to both of them as result of the breakup. There are family estrangements as a result of the breakup as well and both Allan and Mac have suffered while they are apart. Mac is worried that Allan has lost so much weight and Allan is worried that Mac is living in a dump in a dangerous part of town. They say and do things in the heat of anger that continue to cause pain and pull them apart. While we understand that both men are hurting, it’s hard to watch them make things worse by being stubborn and unforgiving and intractable in their positions. But all hope is not lost. Sometimes the impetus for change comes from the unlikeliest sources and that is what happens in this story.
This is definitely not an “easy” or “feel good” story. It is a story that makes the reader think and feel the pain of the characters. There are serious issues that have to be dealt with in this story and these guys almost miss their opportunity. The author does not gloss over the severity of the consequences that these guys are dealing with as a result of the mistakes and risks they have taken. These men are really going to have to work to make a real relationship possible – which frankly is how real life is for most of us. The writing is realistic and gritty as befits the story. I also really liked the way the story ended – with a number of questions unanswered. If you are looking for everything to be wrapped up in a nice bow, then you will be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an engaging and realistic story about two people who are lucky enough to get a second chance and all that entails, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this story.
Posted by Sadonna in 16-40k, 5 Really Like It, Authors S-U, Contemporary, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex Tags: Artists, Bisexual, Christmas, Dreamspinner Press, Family Issues, Friends to Lovers, HFN, HIV, Jaime Samms, Models, Second Chances, X-Dress
Title: Cherry Red
Author: Jack Greene
Length: 8,400 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Erotica
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often (For a short story, that is)
Keywords/Tags: Twink, Model, HEA, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Tom works as a bouncer in a gay club, but he’s not gay.
Or so he claims, until gorgeous male model Andre needs his protection.
Tom tries to hold back but he can’t deny his desire for Andre.
I always really enjoy Jack Greene’s short stories. They’re perfect for when you want something light, uncomplicated and undoubtedly sexy. Cherry Red is no exception and tells the story of Tom, a bouncer at a gay club who is straight. Well… mostly straight.
Tom has had some queer feelings in the past, and he’s certainly not in denial about them, though he’s found it easier to just say he’s straight since for the most part he is. That all changed when he first met Andre, a regular at the club. Andre is a blonde model and made in the form of Tom’s perfect fantasy. And after they dance around each other over time, getting to know each other a little more with teases and steamy looks over the dance floor when Tom does his rounds, Tom can see that Andre is even more of a temptation to Tom’s need to rescue and protect his lovers. Now, Tom doesn’t have a problem admitting to himself that instead of being mildly curious, he’s definitely bi. But, if Andre has his way, he’ll be gay all the way and only in his bed.
Tom and Andre are pretty great when they get together. Tom is a great guy who definitely comes off as genuine in his desire to protect Andre after some lascivious attention from the unwanted men around him. I liked that he was honorable enough protect Andre from himself at first, looking out for his best interests. I get the feeling that he’s lonely, and maybe that’s simply because he doesn’t talk about his actual past relationships with women, but I definitely wanted him to get more than a night in the sack with Andre.
Of course, I would have liked to know a bit more about Andre — both his character and his past and career, which are hinted at. The beginning of the story led me to wonder if someone had slipped Andre something, which made me wonder why he was out alone and not with friends. I think later I could see that he was probably doing it to force Tom into action after trying to get him to make a move for so long.
If you’re in the mood for a no-strings, sexy short, Cherry Red fits the bill. I like having Jack Greene’s stories around for when I’m in the mood for them. Try this one out by entering the giveaway 🙂
Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Cherry Red. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Tuesday, September 4. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to Jack Greene so they can receive their book.
Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.
Thank you and good luck!