Title: Under the Waterfall (Have Body, Will Guard #5)
Author: Neil Plakcy
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 80,618 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Mystery Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Action/Adventure, Bodyguards, Existing Relationship, ex-Military, Teachers, Coming Out/Closeted, Abduction/Kidnapping, France, Corsica, Family/Kids, Multiple Romances, Expat
Rating: Pretty Good
As soon as they’re settled in their new home on the French Riviera, bodyguards Aidan and Liam are sent to the island of Corsica to protect a mining executive and his family. Though they’re still in love, and having lots of sex, the disruption, and the discovery that the client’s son is gay and in a touchy relationship, causes both bodyguards to question their skills and their commitment to each other. Can they engineer a happy ending for Michel and his boyfriend, while protecting the family from deadly adversaries?
What a wonderful surprise for me to find another Aidan and Liam book out! For some reason, I thought that after book four, Olives for the Stranger that the series was finished, so getting a new book and the possibility of even more after this (it sure seems like it) makes me so happy! Liam and Aidan are a couple that I’ve kept with since I read their first book Three Wrong Turns in the Desert several years ago. Each book is heavy on action/adventure and a serious dose of hot and heavy macho action. How could I not fall in love? Besides, I’ve always been drawn to Mr. Plakcy’s work. I really enjoy his style.
The fifth installment in this series diverges from the rest right at the start. Though we know Liam and Aiden well in Tunisia where they met and have previously worked as bodyguards, they moved at the end of the fourth book to France and are now living in Nice. Both of them think that they moved to primarily make the other happy, but the truth is that having less freedom is somewhat constricting to them both, because Liam doesn’t always like being told what to do and because Aidan usually does what he can to defer to his more senior partner and lover and because he generally ends up trying to please him anyway. This results in it’s own set of complications and when Liam and Aidan take on a new case in Corsica protecting a mine owner’s family from threats by Corsican nationalists to preserve the island from drilling, they both spend much of their time there working through their own issues about their relationship. Aidan wonders if he’s doomed to play the doormat when once again Liam takes the active role in their operation and Aidan feels that he’s undervalued. Liam is forced to confront his past when they find that the son in the family they’re protecting, Michel, is in the closet and secretly in love with his father’s biggest adversary’s son. It might be a classic star-crossed lovers tale with a bent twist, but the interactions between scared, closeted and teenaged Michel and his blithely criticizing father force him to confront his own feelings about his past and his development into his only real relationship — with Aidan. Liam has never considered himself as any kind of commodity, until recently mostly avoiding his sexuality except in the basest of situations, but their friend Louis makes a comment that shows him he just might be attractive to other men. That leads him to consider his relationship with Aidan and his feelings about sleeping with other men.
Their main issue in Corsica, nonetheless, is keeping their client’s safe, not angsting about the issues in their relationship.
This book (like the last one) was both an enjoyment to read and a bit of a disappointment. The pure adventure and excitement that I’m used to from the earlier plots in this series seem to have gone away. On the other hand, I think that Plakcy, better than most writers in the m/m romance genre anyway, seem to have a real knack for writing about the issues that crop up in long lasting relationships. They’re the everyday issues — communication, self-esteem in relationship to your partner, jealousy — and they’re handled responsibly. Sure they might cause a bit of angst, but I like the format of this series because the external adventure/mystery plot takes some of the focus away. The plot doesn’t need to be built on those internal relationship issues to carry the story, so those real-to-life relationship issues seem to carry the modest weight that is natural. Of course they’re important but they aren’t life or death issues that need to much focus. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy a classic relationship-centric contemporary romance, but Aidan and Liam feel more real to me because while I might have to occasionally suspend disbelief at their gun-toting, crime-solving antics, the relationship at the center is down to earth and totally believable.
I remain a fan of this series. I probably always will be. But, I think I might need to shift my expectation of the future books. From here on, I’m going to look forward more to the relationship than the external plot. It might bring me some enjoyment, but so far the last few just haven’t been nearly as satisfying as the first ones. I will say that I found Liam and Aidan’s physical relationship in this book somewhat disappointing. I’m not sure why the author didn’t include much sex (hardly any!). One of the draws to this series for me has been the hot and heavy sex between these two men. Maybe the author is trying to shift the overall arc in another direction? Or, perhaps, the plot in this book just didn’t fit with the two getting hot and heavy. But I sure hope that when these two come back for book six that they’ll be getting it on in all kinds of weird places like they used to!
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, 76-100k, Authors P-R, Contemporary, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Mystery, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Action/Adventure, Bodyguards, Closeted, Coming Out, Corsica, Ex-Military, Existing Relationship, Expat, Family, France, Have Body Will Guard, Kidnapping/Abduction, Kids, Loose Id, Multiple Romances, Neil Plakcy, Series, Teachers
Title: Soul Magic (Triad #3)
Author: Poppy Dennison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 220 pages, approx. 64,750 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty (I really felt the connection between Cormac & Liam!)
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Series Finale (new tag), Multiple Romances (carried over from previous books), Magic, Vampires, Shifters (Wolves & Cats), Kids, Alpha Men
Rating: LOVED It!!!
**Spoilers for the first two books, but none for this one!**
Blood runs soul-deep. Cormac hasn’t been the same since the night the High Moon Pack was attacked. With his magic weakened, he’s consumed by a bloodlust he hasn’t felt since he first became a vampire. His need to replenish his power makes him a danger to his last remaining family member, and his hunger makes him careless. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Feeding from pack beta Liam Benson was supposed to slake his appetite, not leave him craving more.
Simon Osborne and Gray Townsend are trying to fight a being history says shouldn’t exist—one with all three types of magic. The pack must use all of their resources to combat the mysterious triad, even turning to the shady Council of Mages for help. While Cormac struggles to reconcile his past failures with his current desires, Simon must attempt the impossible: an alliance between mind, body, and soul.
Okay, straight up… let’s get this first thing out of the way. Don’t expect this review to be necessarily eloquent or far-thinking or in any way an analysis of the book or series. I just don’t have that in me at this point. What this review IS… is an immediate reaction to reading this third and final book of the series; a book which I’ve been eagerly awaiting for quite a while now. In fact, I’ve been thinking about this last book ever since reading the first, Mind Magic, back in 2012. Normally that doesn’t happen for me, I’m not sure where the story is going. But, and maybe some of you who have read the books can understand me in this, but I felt like (in reading that first book) that the series had a clearly outlined direction, firmly delineated by the names of the books and the separate romances, which mirror the way that magic is first described to us in this world, in a triangle and points of three — three kinds of magic, three different romances, and three different books. The harmony of all of those things are what the series is working towards and Poppy did a wonderful job in satisfying my need for those things to come full circle.
We start this third book with most of the essentials already firmly in hand, with the base of the story firmly established so that the threads immediately start to come together for the final picture the moment the story starts. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to me to become absorbed in a fantasy (or paranormal, but these series tend to be fantasy) series where I’m pulling the threads together on my own as I’m reading, putting the pieces together, only to have them be swept out of the way in the final confrontation or ending by a deus ex machina or even a plausible ending that is somewhat foretold but doesn’t take those threads I pulled together into account. In this series, I felt the planning throughout and that it was important to this book, which I appreciated.
Spoilers for first two books start here:
Now, back to what I was saying after that tangent. We start this book with two soild romances under our belt and a pretty firm idea that this book will concentrate on another — Cormac and Liam — the very much alive ancestor and vampire to Simon and Gray’s beta of the High Moon Pack. We know that Simon started this story by rescuing a group of wolf cubs from a demon that was working with his own mage teacher who was stealing his magic, and that by rescuing the cubs he made himself friend to the wolf pack and mate to their alpha, Gray. In the second book, Body Magic, we go further and learn that there is a man with unimaginable power who was directing both those people (for lack of a better word) and that they’re in even more dire straits than before. In this book, you’ll learn exactly who that person is and what threat they possess. The clues are all there are the start of the book and I bet some of you have already guessed the direction this book is going, in fact may have already guessed who that person is who attacked the pack during the mating ceremony in the second book (hint: you’ll get there eventually, knowing that Cormac is the focus of this last book).
But really, even though we get to know Cade and Rocky better in Body Magic and Cormac and Liam better in this book, the main star of this series is Simon, and beside him Gray and their family and pack. But Simon’s magic and his exploration of his powers remains the main thread of this story that draws all the others together. I want to mention, at this point, that the setup of this series really pleased me and is something that I’m not sure I’ve seen very much in the past. I was originally a bit upset at the start of the second book, thinking that we were leaving Simon and Gray behind and moving to a new couple when their story wasn’t really finished. But, what Poppy has done with the series is make Simon and Gray the main couple, and even though she introduces new characters and their romances in each book (including their own chapters) she never abandoned that first couple. I really loved that, not only because Simon and Gray and even Gray’s son and the alpha-heir Garon were why I originally fell in love with the story, but because Simon’s importance to the series means that he can’t be abandoned. He’s the star.
Now I’m going to go back on my word 🙂
I think some analysis of the series as a whole is due here. I want to describe why I think I fell in love with this series at the first book and just why it has remained with me. In past, I’ve equated my intense connection and love of a story with it’s length. The more time I spend with the characters, the more I get to know them and the bigger the world is, the more detailed, the more I’m drawn into it and the less I want to leave. That didn’t happen here. I was immediately drawn into this world — three books, which in the fantasy world are rather short novels. And I think, now that I’ve finished all of them, I know why. There is a clarity of purpose in the writing and a lack of verbosity to get the author’s point across. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s in planning. But the world is brought through the characters and their love of it. There’s very little detail, compared to those others I’m so used to becoming engrossed in, of the world. And there is also, I must point out, what I felt to be perfect pacing. That is what really brought the story through for me. You can’t say that it is necessarily action-packed, but you can say that there aren’t any needless words. The story is succinct, to the point, and there is a somewhat heavy emphasis on the non-romance plot as opposed to the romance-centered plot, which nevertheless felt quite balanced to me because those characters and their relationships came across to me so clearly.
I hope that come across in the way I intended, and I’d absolutely LOVE to hear from those of you who are fans of this series and how you feel about it, now and after you’ve read the third book.
Now, I’ve rambled enough. But I do want to take one last minute to urge those of you who are new to this author or series to take a chance on these books. I can’t tell you that you’ll love them the way I do, but I do think you’ll enjoy them.
Soul Magic will be released from Dreamspinner Press on May 6
Posted by Cole in 41-75k, 6 LOVE IT!, Authors D-F, Fantasy, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Alpha Men, Dreamspinner Press, Kids, Magic, Multiple Romances, Poppy Dennison, Series, Series Finale, Shifters, Triad, Vampire, Wolf Shifters
Title: Black Magic
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 90k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Multiple Romances, Magic, Royalty
Rating: LOVE it!
When High Paladin Sorin discovers the brutally dismembered body of his cousin Alfrey, a much loved priest in the royal palace, he is left baffled as to who would do so terrible a thing to so good a man. But to find the answer to that question, he must cooperate with one of the highly despised necromancers, men who practice black magic, sleep in graveyards and feed upon souls…
The necromancer Koray, however, is far from what he expected. He is beautiful, stubborn, and possessed of a tongue sharp enough to cut down even the High Paladin himself. Koray is also possessed of a strength like nothing Sorin has ever encountered, and the power of the Goddess herself.
It does not take them long to realize that solving a murder is the easiest challenge they must face, and in order to save a kingdom they must first unravel centuries of lies and misunderstandings.
I get so excited when a novel by Megan Derr is released, and even though I love when it is part of a series that I already enjoy, every now and then there is one like this, that is part of a new series or a standalone. I love those the most because the part of Megan Derr’s novels that are so exciting to me are the world building, and this novel doesn’t disappoint on that count. I can only hope that she’ll continue in this world too, but then if she doesn’t, I know there will be other books to enjoy 🙂
The key to the first part of this story is in the last paragraph in the blurb — and pay attention — “solving a murder is the easiest challenge they face.” Readers who aren’t as familiar with Megan Derr’s work as some might not expect the format and romance in this novel and it might come as a surprise. So in order that you won’t be surprised and maybe turned off, not only is this a novel in three parts, but it is also a novel with three romances (though only two of the romances are narrated, the third are other characters, which while important to the story, are less present than the others). The first third of the story is what the blurb talks about and the murder mystery. So I think, in this case, it’s pretty important that you pay attention to that line in the blurb that says they find it pretty easy to figure out the culprit (because it is) and that the rest of the book is what is difficult for them.
That mystery is really the setup to the big story, and in a way this works like a series all in one novel. I liked that we were able to read it all together though, and it really brings out the world to be able to see different aspects of it all at once. The different parts introduce new types of magical users to us, all of which bring the world to the place it should be.
The basis of the story is a court of equal parts royalty, warriors and priests. The warriors are called paladins (led by High Paladin Sorin) and use a type of Goddess magic that allows them to fight demons — once people who used dark magic and turned into thoughtless, remorseless killers intent on draining the souls from people. Then there are the priests, who commune with the Goddess and use healing magic. In the first part of the novel, Sorin finds the brutally dismembered body of his best friend and cousin Alfrey (a priest) in his locked room in the royal palace. The answers are few and in consultation with the high priest, Sorin receives a message from the Goddess that he will need the help of another practitioner of magic, something that the High Priest felt might be some kind of dark magic. Sorin has to continually change his worldview when he meets Koray, a necromancer, because even though he knows that they’re evil and one step away from becoming demons, the Goddess tells him that Koray is the one he’s meant to deal with. Only the things that he knows about necromancers don’t seem to be true. Not only will they have a difficult time finding the culprit and dealing with them, but they’ll have an even bigger trouble convincing the rest of the people to open their minds, not just about necromancers, but maybe the way they’ve been dealing with demons as well.
This is right in line with all of the other books by Derr that I’ve loved so much. They’re such easy reads, easy to get into and I always enjoy the characters. Derr fans will really like this one, and of course like always, I always want other readers who aren’t familiar with her work to read it. Definitely Recommended!
Posted by Cole in 6 LOVE IT!, 76-100k, Authors D-F, Fantasy, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Less Than Three Press, Magic, Megan Derr, Multiple Romances, Royalty
Title: Chaos (The Lost Gods #5)
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 100k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Multiple Romances, Magic, Gods
Rating: LOVE It!
Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.
Sealed off from the world for nine hundred years, Schatten is a country of darkness and mystery. The power of Teufel, Shadow of the Lost Licht, keeps the rest of the world out, and his deadly Sentinels keep the people of Schatten in. Their only hope for salvation lies in a single line of ancient prophecy.
Sasha wakes up with no memory of where he is, how he got there—or who he is. All he remembers is his name, and falling to a terrible beast with burning violet eyes. All he possesses are the clothes he wears, the weapons he carries, and a strange ring. All he can do is venture deeper into the land of snow and ice in which he is lost, hoping that eventually he will find answers.
This is the final book in the Lost Gods series, and it is worth reading the whole series to get to this book, although several books in the series rival it in strength. Chaos has something that the rest do not, however, which is the culmination and reveal of how exactly the gods were lost in the first place, over 900 years previous. We got a little bit more with each book, but this last one, about Schatten, Lost Licht and Teufel, is perfectly placed. So in a way, this review is about the series as a whole as well as this book.
The author once again returns to a format we’ve gotten to know well from the past books. It is told from multiple points of view from more than one central romance in alternating chapters. There are a lot of threads to pull together, from this book itself and the series, but the cast is big enough and the book long enough that we really get time to dig into the story and the characters. This is a series that really benefits from multiple reads and reading the stories back to back, because of those threads and especially for the books earlier in the series, where we still know very little about the world at large and the history that is slowly revealed over the past five books. But, over time, I’ve felt like I’ve gotten into the groove of the stories. In the first book, I was lost a lot of the time and, from the writer’s perspective might have proven to be the most difficult to write, but though the stories are so different (by geography, by characters, and by the belief systems of the people) they all follow a common theme and purpose. This book would be nothing without the ones that came before it and because of them, this book really shines. It is the time when the author really gets to pull out all the stops and finally piece the ends together. And I absolutely loved how it all wrapped up. I don’t even want to go into what I liked about it for fear of giving something away.
The beauty of this last story is in the characters and the setting. Of the five lands, Schatten was left for last in this series. Separated from the other four by the Sun god Licht and his shadow Teufel, it has become a land locked in time and fate after Licht was lost and Teufel took control. The past books have shown us that the people of the lands consistently pay for the mistakes of the gods, who are fallible to the extreme, like humans with unmeasurable power. Of all the lands, Schatten has paid for the loss of the gods the most. Left in the hands of Teufel, obsessed with fate and the eradication of chaos, the people of Schatten have spent the last 900 years without choice. Like the most creative of dictators, Teufel has subjugated the people, chooses their fates for them, and they love him for it. The thought of chaos is blasphemous.
We meet three characters in this story that stand alone against him. First there is Sasha, who wakens in a snowy cave, cursed and without his memories. He believes he is from another country and he knows that he has entered Schatten (when it should be impossible) to bring choice to the people. He soon meets David, a village boy who has been shunned by his parents blasphemy and and subjected to the cruelty of Schatten’s enforcers, the violet eyed scorchers. Lastly, there is Friedrich, the High Seer, who spends his days locked in Teufel’s holy temple of Unheilvol casting his visions across the land and seeing the fates of those sent before their 20th year to learn what Teufel has decreed for their life. He’s cursed with a voice in his head named Drache, whom he has fallen in love with, and waiting for the day when he’ll go mad from the visions.
Like I said before, this book is wonderful because it is the culmination of the series, but also because when you see the series as a whole, it is really interesting to see how the author plays with the idea of the hero and how that intersects with the gods. I know that these were written previously and are only now being re-edited and published, but they really show how strong this authors writing is and how much talent she has. I’ll continue to be a rabid fan of her work — I can never seem to get enough — and will look forward to reading this series over and over again. This is one of those that I finish and then think…and I get to read them all again! Funny how you don’t realize those things until you find one you love. I’m also looking forward to being able to read the series in a new light, and to be able to catch all the little things I know I missed the first time around.
Posted by Cole in 6 LOVE IT!, 76-100k, Authors D-F, Fantasy, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: gods, Less Than Three Press, Magic, Megan Derr, Multiple Romances, Series, The Lost Gods
Title: Breaking the Shackles (Dragon’s Hoard #2)
Author: Mell Eight
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 27k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Shifters (Wolf & Dragon), Magic, Multiple Romances, Twin Brothers (not Twincest), Mate Bonding, Alphas
Rating: So So
Separated and abused by the magi, twins Laine and Baine each swore to do whatever it took to break free and save the other. But when Baine arrives at the werewolf village prepared to rescue Laine and return home triumphant, he soon learns that any plan involving a dragon and a werewolf is bound to go awry.
This is definitely a light, comfort read, even more than the first book which introduced more of the world as the first book. Also, this short novella was split between two romantic couples as each pair of a twin falls in love with one of the shifters, wolf and dragon of the new alliance. So overall, I found the story rather superficial, without time to form any sort of plot or get into the characters, since the story relied heavily on the mating bond trope.
After the end of the first book the human castle is left in shambles from the fight with the Magi. When the last Magi was killed the dragons and wolves found a young human man whose scent immediately caught the attention of the Alpha wolf, Reese. Breaking the Shackles is his story, and his twin brother’s, Baine. Born as Maji, not to be confused with Magi, the race of creatures that tried to subjugate the humans in the first book, the Maji are the receptacles of magic that shared a symbiotic relationship with the Magi. Once up on a time the Maji offered their magic to the Magi (who had no magic of their own) in order for their protection. In recent years, however, the Magi enslaved the race of the Maji to forcibly steal their magic.
Laine and Baine were taken from each other in their teen years. They’ve spent a few years apart, Laine waking up in a new type of slavery (or so he thinks) among the wolves, and Baine freed a couple years before and searching all this time for his brother. Their parents are waiting for him to return with his brother; now that the Magi have been killed, there is a vacuum of power where the Maji’s society is, and their family and others are clamoring to become the leaders of the people. When Baine finds his brother, he isn’t too happy to see that Laine might be falling for the wolf who has claimed him, and equally upset by the green-haired dragon that keeps following around calling him pretty and shiny.
I laid out my main difficulties with this story above and for the most part they are the same ones I had with the first book, only compounded by the extra relationship and less time for the story. All the problems I had with it ultimately relate to that. The way that it manifested was mostly in two ways. First, there just wasn’t time for the relationships to get off the ground. Basically, they meet, they bond, and the story is over. For Baine and Dean (the dragon) there is a little more between the steps, concerning Baine’s jealousy of Laine’s relationship with another man when he just got him back and his feelings of duty to return to his family. Mostly, however, what bothered me was there wasn’t time to set up the proper background of Laine and Baine’s family, which directly relates to the end of the story and the perceived threat the werewolves feel. The ending and the issues with their family seemed to come completely out of the blue. Previously in the story we only hear that they both feel some varying level of responsibility to return to their family, but very little about the family themselves, or even more than just a couple paragraphs about the structure of magical slavery the Maji were subjected to. It gave the ending very little impact.
If you’re looking for a short and sweet dragon- and wolf-shifter series then this book and it’s prequel will suffice, but it isn’t the best. I was a little disappointed by this book even though I knew, roughly, what to expect, so I’m not entirely sure I’ll read the next book and I probably wouldn’t recommend them unless you want something cute and mindless.
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 3 So So, Authors D-F, Fantasy, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Dragon Shifters, Less Than Three Press, Magic, Mate Bonding, Mell Eight, Multiple Romances, Series, Shifters, The Dragon's Hoard, Wolf Shifters
Title: Hoarse Play (The Briar Rose #1)
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 31,100 words, 126 pages
Genre: m/m Contemporary BDSM Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 5 – Over and Over
Keywords/Tags: Series, Fisting, Multiple Romances, HEA
Rating: Not Feelin’ It
Having moved out east, Matt and Adam have renovated the big old house they bought, turning it into The Briar Rose, a BDSM B&B. With Adam’s experience as a professional sub and Matt’s patience and knowledge, they hope to help other couples find their way in the BDSM lifestyle.
Their first guests are Jackson and Burger, a well-known singer and his manager. The couple are not exactly what Adam and Matt expect, but they do what they can to help the other men learn to communicate and find trust.
Singer Jackson has just had an operation on his vocal chords and has been ordered not to speak for at least two weeks, something he’s having a hard time doing. Burger brings Jackson to the Briar Rose in the hopes of not only keeping the singer resting and quiet, but in rekindling their on-again-off-again love affair and making it on-again, permanently. Can they find what they need at The Briar Rose?
Matt and Adam first appeared in Sold, a Hammer novel, and are the foundation for the new Briar Rose series by Sean Michael.
I’m very hit and miss with Sean Michael’s books. I suppose it depends on my mood, but then I do find that this author, though in general heavy on sex, has a few different styles. This book is in probably the typical style that people expect from this author and I think I’ve read enough by now that I’m just over it. I don’t mind sex heavy books. But without intimacy, which is based with information and getting to know the characters individually and together, then the sex is boring and flat. When the whole book is full of that kind of sex, I just about had to make myself read instead of skim.
This book is the first of a spinoff series of the couple (Matt and Adam) from Sold, in the Hammer series. I haven’t read all of those books, including Sold, because I couldn’t really get into them, but I was intrigued by the setup of this series. Matt and Adam have bought, built up and renovated an old house and made it into a BDSM Bed and Breakfast. They’re nervous, but solid in their relationship and hoping to help other couples learn, discover or offer a safe space to explore their desires and relationships.
Their first couple is Burger and Jackson. Jackson is a superstar musician who has developed nodes on his vocal cords. He needs to preserve the voice that he’s damaged by a hedonistic lifestyle. That lifestyle has grown out of control lately, seems to grow out of control cyclically in coordination with his on and off again relationship with Burger, his manager. They’ve known each other forever and fight like crazy. But, Burger has had enough and decides that Jackson really needs him this time, and they needs to find a way to create a permanent balance.
All of the problems I had with this book and in the relationship between Jackson and Burger in particular stem from the fact that we never get to know either one of them. What we do know is what I’ve written in summary above. Further than that, only a few things. We don’t know why Burger is called Burger, which surprised me. We know very little about the history of their relationship. We don’t know much about the situation Burger is rescuing Jackson from. More than that, they rarely communicate. I say communicate specifically because I don’t want to confuse the issue with talking. The basis of the story is that Jackson can’t talk, because of his damaged vocal cords. He does it anyway, I think probably as a way of pushing Burger’s buttons, but the level of actual communication, the sharing of feelings, ideas or building a new way of understanding each other is almost nil. Because of that I had a hard time sensing any chemistry between them. I think this is important because it only has to do with the level of sex in the sense that the sex keeps them from those things. That is frustrating for me as a reader because true intimacy, which breeds the sexual chemistry that is so important in a romance, comes from some form of communication. It falls flat for me when the sex works against intimacy, and therefore feels forced and fake.
So I couldn’t get into this. The other problem for me was the established relationship, but I suspect that comes mostly from the fact that I didn’t read their original book. If I had, I might have made it through their scenes (which are roughly 50% of the book) happy to see them again. I didn’t know them, so the fact that they didn’t have any conflict or progression of plot other than the day to day runnings of a new B&B (which we don’t see much about either), made me completely uninterested in them.
Aside from that, there isn’t much to tell. There are two fisting scenes, one for each relationship. One of these is fine, but one squicked me out just a little because it was on the fly with little preparation. I hate to sound crass, or really mention this at all since it … well ugh, but there was no cleaning involved prior and I could not stop thinking about gross things better left unsaid… *shudder*
So I think it is safe to say that I couldn’t get into this at all. I’m still a fan of this author but I think for the most part I’ll avoid her BDSM titles, at least for a while. I never seem to learn my lesson!
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 2 Not Feelin' It, Authors M-O, BDSM / Kink, Contemporary, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Romance, Sex Freq 5 - Over and Over Again! Tags: Fisting, HEA, Multiple Romances, Sean Michael, Series, The Briar Rose, Torquere