Title: Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1)
Author: Shira Anthony
Length: 69,784 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty**
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between**
Keywords/Tags: Series, Shifters (Merfolk), Sea/Rivers/Sail, Under the Sea, Slaves/Prisoner, Indentured (Sexual) Slavery, m/m/m scenes, Multiple/Other Partners, Spies, Civil War, Resistance, Dreams, Superpowers, Reincarnation, Sex in Shifted Form (underwater mermen sex, which is much more interesting than underwater basket weaving)
Rating: Pretty Good
Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.
Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.
Believe it or not (and I can’t), this is the first book I’ve read by Shira Anthony. I have several and there are many of her books that I’ve really wanted to read, but somehow never found the time to. So when I saw this on the Dreamspinner Coming Soon page I made sure that I made room for it in my schedule. It wouldn’t only be a chance to try out this author, but also a book about mermen! Just like unicorns, I’m really an 8 year old little girl who loves the cute and cuddly fantastical creatures. Except, you know, when they have gay sex and aren’t as cuddly anymore, except maybe in a post-coital fashion.
I’m glad that I made room for this book, it was quite fun to read. The whole book takes place over a somewhat short amount of time — about 8 weeks — but the book starts with Taren at a young age and the first few chapters traverse his teenaged years as he’s sold and stolen as a slave and passed through several masters’ hands. The journey that Taren takes in this first book of the series is pretty big. He learns quite a bit about his life and goes through many transitions of change before the end.
Taren doesn’t know anything about his parents, save that his master told him they gave him away. He longs for the open sea and though he’s just a rigger for his master’s shipyard, he hopes that one day he’ll be able to travel the seas and be a proper sailor. When he’s sold to pay off his master’s debts, Taren becomes a slave to a man who runs an inn. He’s not sure how old he is, though he thinks around 18 or 19. He’s been mostly sheltered in his life, so when a handsome captain introduces him to his sexuality in a room full of watching sailors at the inn, he finds himself excited rather than scared and violated. He’s submissive and clings to the safety he feels in a man like the captain, whom he later knows as Rider, because of the man’s kind, yet firm dominance.
Stolen by the sailors of the ship that night, he wakes to find himself the captain’s prisoner and introduced to indentured slavery of the sexual kind. But, for a young man like Taren who has always been a slave, sexual slavery aboard a ship on the open ocean is a kind of freedom that he’s never known. Taren revels in it, especially when he comes to be a loving presence in Rider and his lover’s bed and allowed to put his knowledge of sailing to use aboard the ship.
But there is so much that Taren doesn’t know or understand — why he has such vivid dreams and the extra-sensory feelings that he has in reading the water and weather at sea. When he’s knocked unconscious and lost at sea, he washes up to their rival vessel, captained by Ian Dunaidh. Ian is enamored of Taren immediately and their connection, once he wakes, pushes and pulls between them as they sail to Ian’s home island where a shadowy presence called The Council awaits to judge Taren as a spy in their war against a resistance group of their own people who live on the mainland. Living through the hell of their torture, the betrayal between Taren and Ian and the possibility that he might never be free takes everything in him. All he knows to get him through is that he is destined for a higher purpose than this, if it is true that any higher power is guiding them.
I went pretty far in summarizing the story for you, but that is because there is such a long and twisting plot in this story. Taren goes through so many changes, homes, and relationships with other people for only 70k words. It makes me curious how many books this author has planned for this series because I didn’t feel as if I started to understand the larger picture until the very end of the book. I have no doubt that that was intended for the reader, that we should pull the pieces together at the very end, but it also meant that I had to wait through the whole book to really understand what was happening. Which, ultimately, meant that I really had to enjoy the story for the present, for what was happening to Taren in the moment without understanding where the story was headed to really enjoy the book. Sometimes I felt as if I was right there with him and Ian and I was really sucked into the present of the story. But, sometimes I wasn’t and I felt as if the story lulled, perhaps because the relationship between Taren and Ian is so freaking complicated. For much of the book they’re separated, though not for any very long pieces of time. It takes the whole book for them to really reach the same page, relationship-wise, because they each needed this book to progress themselves. Taren is searching for his destiny, a shadowy purpose that we and he knows is there, somewhere, for him to understand one day, and for him to understand his race and his history. Ian is battling his own demons — regret and guilt — that stand in the way of his happiness.
So once again I say that while I really enjoyed this book, it’s as a first book of a series. I still feel as if I don’t know much about where this series is headed. In a way, I like that because it means that this author is doing a fine job of withholding information until the correct (and perhaps most artful) time to release it. On the other hand, I fear not knowing enough to keep me interested in the big picture, and that it makes my reading experience different. So, I’m excited to read the next book and hoping that the ending of this one — seeing the formation of a more solid relationship between Taren and Ian — will carry forward through the rest of the series.
**There is a pretty big imbalance in the heat level and sex frequency in this book, as far as trying to rate it goes. The first several chapters are hot and heavy, with m/m/m scenes (spitroasting, exhibitionism) that really raise the heat, and frequent sex in those chapters. The rest of the novel has little to almost no sex at all and what intimacy there is is very romantic and tame (the underwater mermen sex).
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, 41-75k, Authors A-C, Fantasy, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Captive/Slave, Civil Wars, Dreams, Dreamspinner Press, Indentured Slavery, m/m/m scenes, Merfolk, Multiple/Other Partners, Prisoner, Reincarnation, Resistance, Sea/Sail/Rivers, Series, Shifter Sex, Shifters, Shira Anthony, spies, Superpowers, Under the Sea
Title: The Lightning Struck Tower (Precog in Peril #3)
Author: Theo Fenraven
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press
Length: 35k words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Psychic, Superpowers/Talents, Sea/River/Sail, HEA
Rating: Pretty Good
**This review contains spoilers for those who haven’t read both prior books in the Precog in Peril series, Three of Swords and Knight of Wands**
Gray Vecello and Cooper Key are back in the last book in the Precog in Peril series. Snatched by PsiOps, a covert arm of the government, they’re offered training in exchange for their psionic help. Will they take the deal, and if they don’t, what will PsiOps do to them?
Gray and Cooper meet new friends and enemies in this final chapter of the trilogy. The story takes the reader from New York City to Ely, Minnesota, and back to Gray and Cooper’s marina in Red Wing, where they will face the ultimate test of their powers. Someone will live… and someone will die.
Finally reading the end of this story was a treat 🙂 As I mentioned in my other review today of the second book in this series, Knight of Wands, though this is one story in three parts each book is rather different. And while Cooper and Gray leave the houseboat and drifting on the river for most of the book (one of my favorite settings!), I really enjoyed the characters introduced in this story and the circle of friends that Cooper and Evan are able to make.
The Lightning Struck Tower starts where the second book immediately ended, with Cooper and Gray trapped in a warehouse under surveillance by their former friend and foe, whom they now know as the leader of the PsiOps, a secret branch of the government which is charged with finding, training and using those with special powers. Their search has led them here, where they’re really stuck between a rock and hard place. While they think they have a bargaining chip, the fact that they’ll hopefully soon be set for life, agreeing to work for The Man once or twice a year (albeit with some of their own limitations) seems like the lesser of two evils. After all, could they really have lasted trying to work against the government? Especially one with such a powerful reach?
This decisions leads them to Ely, Minnesota, to a remote PsiOps training camp where their powers are put to the test. They’re human guinea pigs, but they soon find a way to make their psychic boot camp worthwhile. They meet the other trainees there, a severely damaged young man and a vivacious woman who become their friends and allies. And they’ll need them — the man who tried to manipulate them into bringing his son back from the dead is still out there, looking for another way to get Gray to do what he wants.
It may be the fact that I’ll forever feel as if I’m in Harry Potter withdrawal (it’s never the same after the first read!!!), but I can’t help but love any book where there is magical training, or a magical school of any kind. Seeing the direction that this story moved in was very pleasing for me. I was really happy that we got to see such a large portion of this book dedicated to the characters exploring their powers (though it would have been nice to be shown more of Gray learning his power). That made most of this book seem as if they’d left their mystery chasing behind and left quite a lot of time for character and relationship growth. Getting to know the secondary characters well, especially Wade’s emotional childhood story of being trans and abuse was, made this a really nice read.
So, I can’t deny that I enjoyed this book probably… more than the first two, though also in a different way. In my review of Knight of Wands, I talked about how the earlier bits of this book explored Cooper and Gray’s relationship in an insular setting, and this book does the opposite, expanding their relationship into the outside world.
For all of that, however, I still had a few problems with the book. I really liked the ending, but it felt rushed and there seemed to be very little transition between the first part of the book and the action at the end. Though the book was coming to a close and I had a natural wariness, waiting for something big to happen, there was very little lead up to the action even, little foreshadowing in this book specifically.
Now, taking all three books as one, I really enjoyed the series and would recommend it to readers. It’s light in most ways. Though dealing with some heavy issues, especially related to abuse, gay teen throwaways and trans issues, the tone isn’t heavy and these issues are passing.
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors D-F, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: HEA, Precog in Peril, Psychic, Sea/Sail/Rivers, Series, Superpowers, Theo Fenraven, Voodoo Lily Press
Title: Knight of Wands (Precog in Peril #2)
Author: Theo Fenraven
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press
Length: 38k words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Series, Supernatural Powers/Talents, Psychic, Sea/River/Sail, Cliff
Rating: Pretty Good
**This review contains spoilers for those who haven’t read the first book in the Precog in Peril series**
Gray Vecello and Cooper Key are back in the exciting sequel to Three of Swords. Graham’s treasure is only the tip of the iceberg as a thief helps himself to a hidden stash of cash, Jolly Roger makes another appearance, and the guys finally meet others with special abilities when an emergency meeting of the group is called.
Accompanying them on this new adventure is Gray’s cousin, Harper, who’s having problems of her own. Peace and quiet will have to wait as they take another trip downriver on their houseboat, The Constant Companion, before flying to New York City to beard a lion in his den and unexpectedly meet the SOS.
In the first book, Three of Swords (my review), we meet Gray, a hair stylist from St. Paul, Minnesota who has a major gift — he’s psychic, and a very strong one. He’s similar to his grandfather in this way, but hasn’t shared anything with the man who he knew so little about in a long time. Word that his grandfather has died and left him his houseboat comes as a major surprise. It seems like kismet in a way, with his own life, job and relationship seeming so much like failure, so he quits and moves to the boat before even seeing it. He’s surprised to find once he gets there that he inherited more than a boat, but a resident that lived with his grandfather, a boy named Cooper.
Gray and Cooper learn to live together and get to know each other, gradually finding that they like one another all while trying to solve the mystery of Gray’s grandfather’s death and the mysterious clues he left behind about Gray’s powers and the community of people who have similar talents. Their travels down the river to get information lead them to meet many mysterious characters, and show them that Gray’s grandfather had more secrets than they could have expected — dangerous ones. Soon, they’re on a race between their lives and for information.
Knight of Wands starts immediately where Three of Swords left off, with Cooper and Gray about to reveal a what they’re clues led them to, something secret hidden on the boat. What they find there completely blows them away and gives them further clues as to what they need to do to find out who is really after them, as well as giving them a way to do it, a unique way that provides a link to Gray’s heritage.
I’m happy that it ended up so that I could finish this series in one sitting. I really enjoyed Three of Swords, but mostly what I wanted was to know more about what was to come in the next two books, and getting that story in one piece was very nice. Especially since this second book ends on a cliffhanger that had me squirming more than the first book’s! In many ways this novella is a typical middle book in a trilogy. It furthers the plot, characterizations, and romance, but is still holding back. The middle book can be difficult, and is usually no one’s favorite out of the bunch, because it’s all the work without the payoff. I actually appreciated that Fen played with that structure a bit in this series. While it is somewhat true for this book, it is interjected with a heavy dose of information, which brings some of the payoff into this book and leaves most of the action the characters take based on that information until the next and last book.
We’re also introduced to new characters in this book, as well as reintroduced to some from the first. Gray’s cousin, Harper is along for most of the ride in Knight of Wands. And besides the fact that I really liked her as well as appreciated a strong, funny, great female role, one of the most important roles she plays in this book is to bring the relationship that was so insular in the first book into the real world, in preparation for the third. Gray and Cooper have spent so much time by themselves, drifting on the river. They’re not totally insular, but those they interact with are all part of the somewhat transient life of river-dwellers, all people who live on boats in the marina and people they meet as they travel the river. The fact that she has little to do with the problems they’re dealing with, as well as the powers they have was quite nice. She gives perspective and a dose of real-life into the relationship that solidified it in a different way in my mind. Part of that is shadowed by the fact that her relationship with her partner is, at the moment, fallen apart. The dichotomy between the two relationships serves to give reflection and perspective with Cooper and Gray’s relationship.
I’ll leave the mystery up to you, as a reader to enjoy. Now that all three books are out, I really encourage you to read them all in one sitting, like one book. They’re more enjoyable that way, but they’re all also very different, so keep that in mind.
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors D-F, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex Tags: Cliff-hanger, Precog in Peril, Psychic, Sea/Sail/Rivers, Series, Superpowers, Theo Fenraven, Voodoo Lily Press
Title: Fraternal Devotion
Author: DK Jernigan, Alisha Steele, Leigh Wilder, Azalea Moone, SL Armstrong, K Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 65k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary & Paranormal Romance
Keywords/Tags: Twincest/Brothercest, Anthology, Short Stories
Rating: Pretty Good
When you pit knowledge against emotions, there’s the no-man’s land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love — in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.
Keith is a Humanist Corpsman, sworn to protect society from the mutated ranks of the Infected. When his own team betrays him, however, it’s his long lost brother, Riley, who takes him in and makes him choose between War and Peace and Brotherhood. After nineteen months apart, Brandon Patrell, of Analgesia, is convinced it will take more than a home renovation to keep his playboy brother, Ethan, from running away again. But as Ethan resumes his old mind-games, Brandon is determined to tease back for once, even if it means risking everything in a game of all or nothing. A dozen years after discovering his father’s suicide, Cale returns home and finds his older brother Derrick showing the same signs of melancholy. But as much as he wants to help his brother, he fears being sucked back into that world of Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools.
Jeremy has been On Clouds of Obsession since long ago glimpsing his brother, Matt, naked in the locker room. Years later, with Matt due to be married in a week, Jeremy takes a chance after Matt’s bachelor’s party that could jeopardize their relationship, not to mention the impending wedding. Songwriter Andrew lives life On the Edge, using drugs to quiet his uncertainties about his ongoing relationship with his twin, Ben. Disheartened by Andrew’s empty promises, Ben begins to pull away, forcing Andrew to choose between letting go and finally finding the strength to stop running.
I’ve been looking forward to this anthology for a while now, since I’m a fan of Brothercest and Twincest. These stories definitely live up to the kink, most a contemporary and realistic look at love between brothers. Individually, the stories ranged from good to better, and while none of them completely captivated me, the anthology as a whole is definitely a success. With the different variety, there’s enough here to represent both those readers looking for the kink of brother love and the realistic look at the consequences. None of them directly deal with the family, which surprised me, but then most of them also had to deal with the inherent internal struggle of guilt and shame against social norms and the possibility of forever living a fringe lifestyle.
War and Peace and Brotherhood by DK Jernigan (Pretty Good)
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Paranormal, HEA, Brothercest, Genetic Mutation, Shifters, Superpowers, Enemies to Lovers
Keith is a part of the Corps, a network of vigilantes whose mission is to protect humanity from the Transformed, those who have changed due to a sexually transmitted genetic modification resulting in different powers and changes — shifters, levitation, and other transmutations. But Keith is growing nervous. He became a leader in the Corps after the brother he fell in love with, Riley, disappeared 3 years ago. But the Corps has fundamental problems of it’s own, stemming from a hatred of all the Transformed and therefore a mass paranoia within the ranks that anyone different is a danger. Now, as the two brothers are set to reunite on opposite sides of the conflict, Keith is unsure of who is in the right anymore.
This story is rather imaginative in combining several different themes and genres — superheroes, the paranormal, and the science fiction elements of enhanced evolution. The setting is fairly dark, with much of the story told by Keith, who is having a crisis of conscience about his role in the conflict and whether his actions might have actually harmed innocents. The brothercest romance is given much of the story as the two come together fairly soon in the short story and proceed to work out their differences. It all happens a little quickly for my taste, however. And while I didn’t feel as if anything important to the plot was missing, it did feel rather rushed for such a complex world. The ending conflict moved especially fast. That left me with the feeling of wanting more, both because I did like the story and also because of the imagination of the story combined with the feeling of not getting as much as I could have, made me feel as if the second half of the story was unfinished. I would have especially liked to see Keith and Riley with more personal time together to get to know one another as new, grown adults with now very different lives from their youth together, and to learn more about Riley’s side of the conflict and the Underground Railroad organization that the Transformed use.
Analgesia by Alisha Steele (Pretty Good)
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, Musician
Brandon has been in love with his older brother for years. Now he’s almost 20 and is coming home after two years in the UK touring with his band. He’s still the infuriating older brother that seems to rub his feelings in his face with constant flirting that goes over the line — way over the line. And his nose is still crooked from where Ethan punched him before he ran away. Does Ethan have feelings for him as well? Is that why he ran away, or was it to get away from his younger brother’s misguided love until Brandon could get over him?
This story is the quintessential brothercest story because it puts the relationship, and a lot of the complications that come with it, front and center. There is a lot of history between them, and now that they’re thrown back into a house together while they try to fix it up for sale because of their parent’s divorce, it all seems to come back to the forefront of their lives. Brandon has never really gotten over his brother, he’s never taken another lover or tried to get over his brother. Ethan has done the opposite. He ran away and slept through as many men and women that he could.
This story is very heavy on sex, but the writing is simply fantastic and times. It showcases the taboo aspect because even while intimate it is still very obvious that they are brothers. They fight and argue constantly, with a little bit of brother fighting and a little bit that seems like two school yard kids with crushes on each other. They’re affections are almost a competition, first to show each other that they don’t care about each other while taunting the other (with some very public sex displays with other people), and later to show that they do care for each other.
It may be that there simply wasn’t time and really confronting the issue of incest head on would have opened a whole extra part to the story, but there is never really a confrontation where they have to “come out” as lovers. It still leaves this story with enough angst of it’s own because of their own impossible feelings. I was actually hoping that that wouldn’t happen, simply because I didn’t want the story to become that much more complicated (I shy away from too much angst!), but I can’t call it entirely realistic without them even thinking about their future and that issue not being confronted.
This story is a bit longer and is quite central to Brandon and Ethan with only a little interference from the outside world. I never could quite get a feel for the mother, who at times seemed to be a very loving mother and at times rather partial to Ethan, and at other times quite aloof. But because she is a very little part of the story, that didn’t bother me so much as made me curious. This story is still quite well written, even with my few critiques, and this is an author that I’ll be watching out for in the future.
Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder (So So)
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, Mental Health Issues, Suicide
It is Spring Break and Cale is back home for a week from his Master’s Program 400 miles away. Returning home is a reminder of everything he fled when he was old enough to go away to college, including his older brother Derrick, who does little but lie around the pool. The family legacy of depression and mental health issues has hit Derrick hard lately — well, harder than usual — and his day to day life is only a little more active than catatonic. But is Cale any better? Or are they really just the same, always running from their problems, just in different ways? Cale is forced to confront their issues when Derrick finally starts talking.
This is another story that confronts the issues of incest in a contemporary setting, though here the relationship between Cale and Derrick is shown as a remedy to already present and long insidious issues. Their father was a soap opera writer, and rather famous in his field. Though he dealt with the same issues of severe depression and finally succumbed to suicide by drowning in their family pool after his screenplay manuscript went nowhere. The mental health issues that they both have (though Derrick’s are most obvious) stem from the fear they have of their father’s downward spiral and the distance in the family. They’re rather fond of avoiding issues, including their mother, and the family almost seems like strangers.
Some of this story comes across as melodrama, though it has it’s place as a character flaw and shows through the writing. Still, some of the story I found rather poignant. There are several mentions from both brothers about their relationship as they grew up, and they’re shown to be two sides of the same coin that have only recently fallen out of their well played characters when Cale ran away to college and left Derrick to stumble about on his own. And Derrick certainly can’t take care of himself, he just isn’t equipped and has never learned how. Plus, the depression is severe enough to take away all hope that he could ever be better on his own. But their memories of acting out their father’s soap opera screenplays nightly, highlight the comparison to the roles that they play and have played throughout childhood. And while I imagine that some readers might find it hard to understand the characters and want to scream at them to get over themselves, I can understand that they’re simply playing the roles created for them from their early days — they seem like they’ve ever only had each other to rely on. The setting in the story almost seems like a ghost house — with most of the action taking place in the pool house where they’ve made a home away from the impersonality of the empty and depressing family home.
I can’t say that I have much hope for the brothers in this story, but I can certainly understand them and what the author was creating here. All of the loneliness and melodrama around them only serves to show that they both need each other to survive, even if Cale is trying to make living on his own look easy — and failing.
On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone (Not Feeling It)
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, GFY/OFY
Jeremy has been in love with his older brother since the day in high school he happened to catch the sight of his naked brother in the locker room. Before then, and after, Matt made sure he was never naked in front of his brother, especially after their father caught Jeremy trying to spy on Matt changing through the keyhole in his bedroom door. Now, Matt, the brother who used to beat Jeremy up as a child, is getting married to a woman he just met. Not only is Jeremy angry, but well, he’s jealous. He tries to talk Matt out of the wedding, but then something fateful happens on the night of Matt’s bachelor party.
I’m still not really sure what it is about this story that doesn’t work for me. A large part of it is in the characterizations of both Jeremy and Matt. I have a hard time seeing any kind of lasting feelings in Jeremy’s affection for the brother who treats him pretty cruelly. And Matt seems to change pretty quickly from that mean older brother into a caring one. For some reason, I couldn’t see the change. Some of their behavior is in their own perception of the other and that certainly accounts for some of Matt’s behavior because it is seen through Jeremy’s eyes. But there was still a disconnect for me that I can’t quite define. It isn’t a terribly written story, I don’t want to lead to that impression. I just couldn’t get on board their relationship when I didn’t feel the connection.
On the Edge by SL Armstrong & K Piet (Me Like)
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Twincest, Drug Use, Musician
Andrew and Ben are twins and have been in love and having sex for 11 years, since they were 14 and starting sneaking around. But Ben has dealt with the fact that he’s in love with his twin and Andrew hasn’t. After years of falling into temptation then pushing his brother away, Andrew resorts to a coping mechanism of heavy drug use to lull himself into distraction from the guilt and shame he feels. Andrew was always the fuckup brother of the pair, but now he’s really showing it. Ben is the one that has a job and pays for their rent and food, even Andrew’s drugs, while Andrew plays songwriter during the daytime, but lately creating very little. But Ben doesn’t know if he can take any more of Andrew pushing him away in the sober light of day, and Andrew doesn’t know if he can get over his issues, even though he knows he can’t live without his brother.
This story is another that takes a more realistic look at the issues between brothers, specifically twins, who love each other. It was a more difficult read for me than the other stories, because they’re both caught in a cycle of destructive love that showcases just how close they are to each other and how impossible it is to sever that bond, now even more complicated because of their romantic relationship. The POV is Andrew’s, and I think that we need it to be otherwise Ben’s heartbreak would be too difficult and Andrew would come off in an even more terrible light without his inner turmoil laid bare for us to see that he really does care. Though it delves into the angst, it wasn’t too much for me. I thought that this part of the story, most of it, was written incredibly well.
Because of the realistic light their relationship is shown in, I had a hard time accepting a happy ending. While I would personally give this a HFN ending, I think it is leaning towards an HEA. The authors did exactly what they needed to do to give them every chance at happiness, including the difficult catalyst to get Andrew’s ass in gear, but I still have a hard time picturing their future and that left the happy promises at the end to fall just a little flat for me. At least Andrew and Ben don’t deny that they won’t have difficult times ahead.
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, 41-75k, Authors A-C, Authors J-L, Authors M-O, Authors P-R, Authors S-U, Authors V-Z, Contemporary, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often Tags: Alisha Steele, Anthology, Azalea Moone, DK Jernigan, Drugs, Enemies to Lovers, Genetic Mutation, GFY/OFY, HEA, K Piet, Leigh Wilder, Mental Health, Musicians, Shifters, Short Story, SL Armstrong, Storm Moon Press, Suicide, Superpowers, Twincest/Brothercest