Title: The Man I Know
Author: Dale Chase
Publisher: Wilde City
Length: 12k words
Genre: m/m Historical Western Erotica
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Wilde City Press Erotica Week, Old West, On the Lam, Secrets & Lies, Closeted, Cops/Deputy, Established Relationship, Train Robbery, Multiple Partners, Cowboys
Rating: So So
Gene Hardy’s lover, deputy Bud Silvey, is a good man. An honest man. A man of the law. Or is he?
When a detective rides into town claiming that Bud is in fact the wanted outlaw Trace Warren, Gene begins to look at his lover in a new light and question the man he thought he knew. Because for an outlaw, where better to hide than behind a badge?
What secrets is Bud keeping? Is he the courageous deputy he claims to be, or a train robber on the run? And is his love for Gene real… or just another lie?
I was surprised that when I got into this story there was maybe a little less sex than I expected and a lot more plot. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of sex! And Gene has sex with a few different guys. But sex is also used as a tool in the book, yet still as the main attraction that I expected from an erotica short. I enjoy that because erotica is all about the sex, but having a coherent plot to string it all together and to manipulate the sex into certain scenes and setting with an actual reason for it spices up the story a bit. It makes it sexier, I think, because your brain is involved a little with the action as well 😉
Gene is a rancher in this Old West type setting, which is reminiscent of sometime in the 19th century, though not explicit. He’s been seeing the Deputy in the town for going on two years now. Bud is a good guy, sexy, and known around town as an honest man with a good heart and a strong body always around to help the town and it’s people. Gene and Bud first meet when Bud moves to town and quickly grow to be good friends. What Gene first started to feel as only lustful attraction to his friend grew during their first year as friends to be more of a general interest and like in Bud. Yet, it isn’t until a year into their friendship that they both finally admit that they’ve been keeping secret their feelings for one another and turn their friendship into something more.
But they’re both men in a small town and while some might look the other way at a little play, it’s still expected that two men not take up together permanently. So they, like the several other men in the town that they know like to play around with each other, go about seeing each other and living separate. They allow themselves to see other people, like when Bud is out of town on his Deputy business. That’s how Gene gets to know John Bullard. It starts with looks and a subtle cruising and ends with them going at each other several times while Bud is out of town. But John seems overly interested in his relationship with Bud, and it isn’t until Gene fucks the information out of him that he learns that John is a lawman himself, on the search for an elusive outlaw named Trace Warren. John seems certain that he’s found his man — Bud Silvey. And no matter how much Gene wants to deny it, certain things add up. He even looks like him. And if it is him, does Gene care? And will he help him out if he finds out that Bud has lied about his past?
I’d definitely recommend this short story if you’re looking for an erotica story with cowboys (of the old type!). The sex is really hot and I enjoyed the little mystery and plotting that Gene goes through. Having Gene have real feelings for Bud made this more interesting to me, even though I wouldn’t quite consider it a romance, there is a love story in there between the two. It’s really hard for me to give erotica stories higher than a So So rating because the only real thing for me to judge on is the sex. It’s a different rating system than romance stories, but I sometimes have a hard time judging them differently. Still, I enjoyed this one and I liked the little bit of plot there that moved the story along. It’s worth a Pretty Good rating and worth a read if you’re looking for something hot with lots of sex 🙂
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, Authors A-C, Erotica, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Historical, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often, up to 15k, Western Tags: Closeted, Cops, Cowboys, Dale Chase, Existing Relationship, Multiple/Other Partners, Old West, On the Lam, Secrets & Lies, Short Story, Wilde City Press, Wilde City Press Erotica Week
Title: Blood Bathory: Like the Night
Author: Ari McKay
Length: 123,500 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Co-Authored, Vampires, Shifters, On the Lam, Past Trauma/Abuse, Cops (FBI), Friends to Lovers, Best Friends, NYC, Paris, Artists (Photographer), Grief, Second Chances, Sexy to the 999s, Machiavellian Bad Guy, Villain, Mythology
Rating: Really Liked It
Evan St. John, a young fashion photographer running from the pain caused by the death of his younger sister, is thrilled when he is offered a job with House of Nadasdy, a leading fashion house in Paris. What he doesn’t know is that Elizabeth Nadasdy, the elegant and powerful owner, is a centuries-old vampire with a penchant for collecting beautiful people. To Evan’s horror, he is turned into one of her “children”.
Unable to bear what he has become, Evan flees to New York and to his best friend, police officer Will Trask. For years, Evan has nursed an unrequited love for Will, but he also knows Will is the one person who might be able to help him. As Evan and Will try to deal with Evan’s condition, they are drawn into the world of the theriomorphs: shape-shifters who are guardians of life and the sworn enemies of vampires. Caught in an ancient war between two powerful supernatural forces, Evan and Will find they must choose sides — because if they are to have any chance of a future together, they must destroy Elizabeth Nadasdy before she destroys them.
These two authors have been one of my favorite writing teams for a while now, and I knew that I wanted to review this book before I’d even heard of it or read the blurb. So when I finally did read the blurb I was even more exited, especially for such a long book. And finishing it took me a couple of days, mostly just because I wanted to enjoy it, so I spent my time reading it totally for pleasure and enjoying every twist and turn.
Evan St. John and Will Trask have a tumultuous past. Roommates their Freshman year of college at Columbia, they soon grow to be friends. Evan is openly gay and an art photography student, always carrying around his camera, while Will is a manly jock through and through. For reasons that Evan never understands, Will sticks by him and the bullying he was experiencing dwindles when people start to realize that Will will aways have his back. As they grow closer Evan starts to understand Will better, including Will’s White Knight Complex, his need to protect and care for those he loves, to an almost fanatical, save-the-day to-the-rescue level.
Their dynamic changes when Evan’s sister is dying of cancer and their relationship grows during the emotional period — Evan is distraught and barely keeping himself afloat while trying to understand and come to terms with her turn for the worse. And Will picks up the slack, in more ways than expected. But the grief sends Evan running to Paris and three years go by, where Evan becomes a famous fashion photographer taken on by The House of Nadasdy, run by famous and infamous Elizabeth Nadasdy, and Will becomes an agent with the FBI.
We’re first introduced to Evan in Like the Night as he escapes Paris during the day to fly to New York City and seek help from Will. He’s a newly made vampire under the gruesome and tyrannical rule of Elizabeth Nadasdy, a modern day remnant of her famous human days as Elizabeth of Bathory. Above all (except herself), she loves beauty and hoards a collection of “children” all turned by her for their extraordinary beauty, which she believes deserves to be preserved for eternity. Evan was a prize for her, and his rejection of her extraordinary “gift” is tantamount to the ultimate betrayal, something she relishes punishing him for. But Elizabeth doesn’t expect the trouble it will take to find and deal with Evan. With him, someone whose beauty hides his intelligence and cunning, are a group of allies who seek one common goal: the eradication of Elizabeth Nadasdy. And of course Evan has Will, his White Knight, ready to stand in front of any threat to his best friend.
I really just loved this book. I took a while to read it because it is long, but it is also totally packed with plot and, just about everything under the sun, making the book seem even longer than it is. There’s an economy to the writing which gives you SO much story for just the first book of a series that it gave me the time and the opportunity to really sink into the story. What came through in this story most strongly for me was the pervasive mood of fear and impending doom. This is all because of the fact that Elizabeth is built up to such supervillain status that she’s made to be almost omniscient, with unlimited power. Add to this a connection between vampires and their sire, or maker, and the fact that Elizabeth could peek in on Evan at any moment and even make him do things or spy on his relationship with Will, or their planned resistance of her make the story suffused with tension.
I found the villainous characters in this novel to be quite interesting. We have Elizabeth who is the typical diabolical character. She relishes in the pain of others and not only causes death and despair because it gets her something (money, fame, power, etc.) but also because she enjoys the suffering of others. She firmly believes that she’s more worthy than anyone else to have the status that she does because of her beauty and the vision she has for the future. But, sometimes diabolical is boring. No matter how outrageously cruel Elizabeth can be, she’s still a character that doesn’t take too much effort to understand. My favorite villainous character is her daughter Anna, who I suspect will become a crucial and central character to the future books. Anna is raised in the shadow of her diabolical mother. She’s always second best, but raised to revel in the same cruelties as her mother. She’s made a vampire both because of her beauty which is similar to her mother’s, but also as a gift from her. But hundreds of years of oppression make Anna rather different from her mother. Though I suspect that they both have similar depth of cruel possibility inherently in them, Anna’s choices are governed by her hate of her mother and her acceptance that her only meaning to her mother is what she can do for her. That makes her cruel, but much more interesting than her mother. And of course, it’s going to be great when the two really turn on one another 😉
Anyway, I’m super excited for the second book. I hope it isn’t too far away. But honestly, I can’t really be sad because this is the first book in a while (that is the first book of a series) that actually gives us enough story to satisfy us for the first installment. 123k words is pretty long, yes, but it allows the book to give full and adequate world-building while also giving us a real story that will be carried on in the second part. We have a full and self-standing plot with only a few loose ends to pick up in the next book. If this is the case for the next books as well, then I can only imagine where this story will go before it ends!
Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Blood Bathory: Like the Night by Ari McKay. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Tuesday, July 16. 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 the author so the winner 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!
Posted by Cole in 101-125k, 5 Really Like It, Authors M-O, Contemporary, Giveaways, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Ari McKay, Artists, Best Friends, Blood Bathory, Co-Authored, Cops, Friends to Lovers, Grief, Machiavellian Bad Guy, Mythology, NYC, On the Lam, Paris, Past Abuse, Past Trauma, Second Chances, Series, Sexy to the 999's, Shifters, Torquere, Vampire, Villain
Title: Sky Runners (Skybound #2)
Author: Fae Sutherland
Length: 51k words
Genre: m/m Sci Fi Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Series, Space Opera, Middle Book, Captive/Kidnapped, Slave, Rent Boy (forced), Dramatic Rescues, Drugs (forced), On the Lam, Bisexual
Rating: Pretty Good
Crux Ansata second-in-command Killian O’Neal has a plan. The governor’s son, Neith, has been enslaved in a high-end brothel. Killian’s going to break him out, take him home and collect a reward. It’s a daring mercenary rescue. What could go wrong?
A lot, as it turns out. The governor doesn’t want his son back, the ship and crew are on the run from the slavers, and Neith is in withdrawal from a drug that instills in him a desperate lust.
A passionate heat flares between Killian and Neith–but is it just the effects of the drugs still in Neith’s system, or could it be something more permanent? They both need time to figure out if what they have is real–but Neith has taken a valuable item from his old masters and they’re not going to let him go easily. When the slavers catch up with the Ansata, Killian will have to choose between the safety of his ship and its crew, or life with the man he’s falling in love with.
I had a love/dislike relationship with the first book of this series, Sky Riders (reviewed here), mostly because though I liked the overall story I found myself drifting throughout the middle of the book. It just didn’t keep my concentration (that is, admittedly, hard to do!). So I went back and forth for a few days before deciding if I should accept this book for review. As you can see, I decided to review it in the end. And though I feel like I had some of the same problems with this book that I had in the first, I’m still glad I made the decision I did. Even if most of that reason is that I need to be caught up for book #3, about Jeret, the one I’m really looking forward to!
Killian, “Cookie” as he’s known to the crew of the Crux Ansata (or affectionately,”Annie”), is the second in command and has watched his captain and best friend Torin fall in love with bad boy Rain. The two are now happily settled and married, for the most part, and life has gone on as normal. Though he loves them all as family his life is still lonelier than the In Between. That all changes on their next rescue mission. Well, call it a rescue mission if you must, but they’re really out for themselves. They’re a mercenary crew and though they don’t go out of the way to hurt others they’re still criminals and happy to take what they can. When they hear of a son of an influential man has been taken hostage and is being kept as a whore on Kalliope 9, they make a plan to rescue the kid and bargain him back to his father for payment.
The plan goes off without a hitch, mostly. They do indeed rescue Neith. The first problem is that he is Rain’s ex-boyfriend and the father in question the man who Rain delivered a major fuck-you to at the end of the first book. Besides the fact that Torin doesn’t want Neith anywhere on board near Rain, Neith’s father isn’t going to pay them shit for his son — both because he hates their whole crew and because he doesn’t really give a shit about his son either. Complicating things further, Neith’s captives are fast on their heels and they’re not sure what they want. Is it Neith, or something he took from them? Neith is keeping secrets. But, it’s natural, he’s been tortured, raped and drugged to want it all with a new designer chemical called Pandora’s Cure, a drug that makes the user crave sex from whoever or wherever they can get it, simultaneously shutting down any worries or fears or ability to think for themselves. With the drug moving out of his system, Neith is dangerous to the crew and to Killian, who wants to be the one Neith wants, even though he mostly wants Rain. Do the drugs affects negate any of the real feelings between the two? Or, is a relationship between rich and beautiful Neith and a big, brawny criminal a pipe dream to Killian?
I had the same problem reading this story as the previous one, in that I just had a hard time keeping my concentration. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t sure with the last one and I’m not sure here… if it’s my problem or something to do with the books. I think the most likely case is that I need quite a bit of sci-fi plot to get me interested in a space opera type story. That’s not the case here. I mean, we do get an overall plot, with the slavers chasing them and all that. But for the most part and for the middle half of the book, this reads mostly like a contemporary romance, just with a few details added in here and there to make sure we remember that they’re in an alternate world/spaceship. The setting fades into the background and the focus was on the couple. And there’s definitely an internal conflict between Neith and Killian. Neith is mistrustful of his own feelings because of the drug in his system and Killian just wants to do everything to protect Neith, while at the same time hope he realizes that what they have is real and for the long haul. I just had a hard time keeping interest. I noticed that my concentration picked up again as the tension mounted in the chase.
But, for the most part this is a good story. I think that you should definitely read Sky Riders first. Not because you’d be completely lost if you read these out of order — I don’t think you would — but because these stories are quite similar in theme and style and if you like the first one you’ll know that you’ll like the second as well. I really want to read the third book, which is coming out pretty soon. It’s about the last of the crew, 18 year old Jeret, who is always the guy who seems to draw my attention whenever he’s in the scene. I just love him, he’s quite a unique character that I can’t describe, but you have to read to see for yourself. So even if this book was only so so for me, I’m glad that I read it so that I could read Jeret’s upcoming book 🙂
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, 41-75k, Authors S-U, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Romance, SciFi, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex Tags: Bisexual, Captive/Slave, Carina, Dramatic Rescues, Drugs, Fae Sutherland, Kidnapping/Abduction, Middle Book, Netgalley, On the Lam, Rent Boy, Series, Skybound, Space Travel