Worthy - Lia Black I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating:

I love slave fic set in a fantasy world. I love it, I love it, I love it.

Since I love that, I totes loved Worthy.

There’s this dystopian world where Sev lives in the dregs and is considered the lowest of the low. He’s not even worthy of being a slave. While dancing at a club, a Count, Demetrie, walks in a decides to play a game of cards to win that boy up on stage to be his slave.

Now Sev has moved up in the world and is a slave. And a good slave at that. He wants to please his master and be the best he can be in whatever his master desires from him. Gah! I love this type of character. I’m not sure what that says about me… but I don’t care. I can’t get enough of these sweet slave boys. I think I want one. On top of that? Demetrie is this overprotective, alpha, loving, master who takes good care of his slave. For me, a story doesn't get much better than that.

But, something did bother me in the back of my brain. We knew Sev for a little but before he was a slave. He didn’t act all docile and sweet. I wasn’t expecting him to be so receptive and to be such a natural slave. Then BAM! he’s a slave. And not just slave, but with his master petting his hair, him on his knees with his forehead on the floor and reveling in it. So, it just didn’t fit the character that we had met in the beginning and it threw me for a minute.

Totally worth the read. And for free? I can’t believe some of the fantastic stuff I’ve read for free from LHNB and any of the Don’t Read in the Closet events. Go read it.
Ice Cream and Kisses - Andrew Jericho, Anita Kinley What happens when you catch your lover cheating? You move on rather quickly.

Lance discovers his lover of fourteen years, Richard, in bed with another man and woman. Lance is, obviously, devastated and immediately throws Richard out and turns to his friend, DeMarco. He and DeMarco have been talking and growing closer after meeting 6 months earlier. Their relationship then turned into something very serious, very fast. Especially considering Lance's dramatic breakup with his ex.

Lance admitted that his relationship with Richard wasn't what it used to be for the past two years. So, I guess, this makes his decision to jump into a serious relationship right away acceptable. He didn't think he was perfect, but Lance was painted in more of an innocent light when I don't think he was innocent at all. Yes, his ex was physical with another couple but Lance was having an emotional affair for 6 months. Neither is better or worse than the other, just different and just as hurtful. The fact that he could be so deeply in love with someone else right away shows the depth of this other relationship he was having on the side.

I get it, Lance and Richard were on the outs and Lance was finding comfort and love elsewhere. I can understand why he was turning to someone else towards the end of his fourteen year relationship, but that doesn't make it okay.

Then we got to the bedroom and this was when everything went bad for me. There were silly pet names and even worse dialogue. Things like calling each other 'Sweet Tea' and 'White Boy' pulled me right out of a story and lessened my enjoyment considerably. Unfortunately, after their first time in the bedroom, the endearments and unbelievable dialogue continued, and it was something that I just couldn't get over.

This was an okay read and I think I could have accepted and enjoyed DeMarco and Lance's story if not for the sex scenes and dialogue.

The Romance Review
Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mystery, #1) - Josh Lanyon Adrien, Adrien, Adrien.


You might not scare yourself to death, but you just might do me in.

This was a reread (or listen) for me, I know Adrien is too curious for his own good but I didn’t remember him being so STUPID!

Anyway, I loved this. I just love Adrien to pieces and he’s one of my favorite narrators. His POV is just a pleasure to read and I don’t know if I’d get tired of it.

During this reread of the series I’m going to try my darndest not to want to impale Jake with a butter knife.

No promises.
Burn - Scarlett Parrish Austin just wanted to find a genuine, one night stand. Nothing more, nothing less. He finds one alright, in a sexy, Scottish man, James.

BURN follows Austin and James' one night together, from their meeting at the bar to the awkward goodbye the next morning. When Austin first goes out, he had no intention of doing anything date-like. James knew Austin's intentions and was outwardly okay with a one night stand. But he, being super sneaky, somehow snuck in their first date. He didn't outright call it a date, but as they went through the motions of trying to end up in a bed, James made sure they went to dinner, had coffee and some conversation. Before you know it, they're on a date, still unbeknownst to Austin.

The best part about BURN? Everything felt real to me. From their introductions, their getting to know you conversations and to their fumbling awkwardness in the bedroom. All felt real and believable. These guys just met and they enjoyed their time together. That's all this was, with the hope for something more. I am not a fan of insta-love, so I appreciated the genuine ending the author left us with.

The second best part about BURN? The dialogue. Austin and James' banter was fun, witty and they had great chemistry. I was smiling and laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Like I said, I love where the story ended, but I would also love to read more about James and Austin. They were just that good together.

Not to mention there's a nerd fetish. C'mon, you can't have something as awesome as a nerd fetish and not give me more! This might be the third best part about BURN.

There was a Scottish accent, plenty of witty humor and nerds. You really can't go wrong.

The Romance Review
Beautiful Boys - Anne Cain I don't really have much to say about this book. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't good.

Each chapter focused on a new couple (all couples were somehow loosely related to another) so by the time I was somewhat invested it was a new chapter and new-ish characters.

The Walls Have Ears  - Erica Pike This series continues to get better and better!

Harley had been listening in on the moaning and groaning that was happening on the other side of his wall. One night, he decided to join in and then his neighbor heard him. They began a nightly routine of getting off together with the wall between them. Harley guessed that his nightly partner was Devon, one of his neighbors. He was devastated when Devon starts to date Harley's roommate, Ryan.

Harley had all my favorite qualities in a leading man. He's insecure, pessimistic, grumpy and a seriously huge drama queen. He's never had a boyfriend, so he was completely heartbroken when he was rejected by Devon. When Tasha, the other neighbor, saw this, he tried to befriend Harley. Harley was very standoffish and, really, wanted nothing to do with him. Luckily, Tasha was persistent and saw through Harley's prickly exterior.

Tasha was just a great guy all around and was a pleasure to read about. He didn't let Harley get away with his snide comments and would even rephrase sentences for Harley to repeat in a nicer way. It was great! I love when a grumpy guy is forced to have fun and be happy. They so don't want to but just can't help themselves when the right guy comes along. This is what Tasha did for Harley. He didn't let Harley get all mopey, even though he was obviously hurt at seeing Harley upset over someone else.

Then there was the third character. The Wall. The scenes with that wall in between were insanely hot and it was all the more erotic as these boys were caught mid-action. I thought it wasn't going to get much better than that but, oh, was I wrong. Because then we have Tasha and Harley together, and their chemistry was off the charts.

What a mess this situation was, but so much fun. This book is the perfect choice for something short, light and super hot. You can jump right in and don't need to read the others in the series to enjoy this little gem of a sexy book.

The Romance Review
You Get Full Credit For Being Alive - Cari Z. 4.5 stars

I love me some good, sloooowww burn.

And what slow burn this was! The tension just about killed me!

Justin finds a dead guy at his house. Well, what seems to be a dead guy until taking a closer look and he realizes the man is alive and a police officer. Justin rushes him to the hospital, but being a retired hit man, he rushes right back out of the hospital after making sure his mystery guy is going to be okay. Justin couldn’t seem to forget his guy, Shawn, and sets up a series of different aliases in order to check on him throughout his recovery. Which was so completely adorbs!

So, setting up listening devices in the hospital room and going to visit in disguise every day is a tad stalker-ish. And by a tad, I mean majorly. But I loved it! Someone had to worry about who tried to kill Shawn. And his stupid ass boyfriend sure wasn’t, so Justin took immediate interest in Shawn’s welfare. Good thing because they were awesome together. Like I said, this is a slow burn romance, but their chemistry was off the charts. I love when the badass guy turns to mush when meeting the right man. This so happened to Justin. He was sweet and caring when taking care of Shawn but was still his crazy, hit man self when he needed to be.

And that scene at the end? The one on the lawn? *sigh*
Nor Iron Bars a Cage - Kaje Harper 3.5 stars

This was especially hard for me to rate - and to review, I might add. I adored Lyon and Tobin. They were wonderful together, so sweet and loving. While I loved them, I was just so bored through parts of this book.

Lyon , who is a hermit, barely speaks to anyone and can’t bear to be touched, is contacted by the King to do some translating for him. The man sent to find Lyon is his childhood friend, Tobin. Tobin, not knowing that Lyon was even alive still, was ecstatic to see his old friend again. He wishes to reestablish their friendship and maybe something more. Obviously, Lyon’s hermit-like tendencies get in the way of this.

Lyon is a hot mess, but with good reason. He was severely abused by his mentor who was possessed by a wraith. His many hang ups were portrayed very realistically and I could feel his internal struggles. I loved that he didn’t do the king’s bidding willingly. He fought Tobin at every turn. Who is the king to take Lyon away from his comfy little home and life? But being forced out of that was the best thing that could have happened to him. So, likewise, Tobin didn’t give up either and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was determined to see Lyon through this. Tobin was awesome. He knew what his friend needed in order to survive leaving his secure home and he delivered. He totally delivered. He waited (and waited and waited) for Lyon and was willing to take whatever Lyon was ready to give. I think my lovely friend, Heather K, said this about another book, I loved that there wasn’t a magical dick that solved all of the PTSD. Lyon made progress but not everything was solved, especially not sexually. No matter how much he grew, he still struggled and had his freak-out moments. Which Tobin was there every second for, caring for him. So, basically, they were perfect for each other and I loved every moment they were together.

This is where my issues arose. The whole translate for the king, let’s summon a ghost and go to war plot? I didn’t care. At all. Not even a little. Every time there was a scene with some of my favorite guys with the king and sorcerers? I dozed into skimsville. Which is why, no matter how much I wanted to love this, I can’t rate it a solid four stars.
Blue Skye - Viki Lyn A romance with a truly heartbreaking and tough road, as two men struggle to give each other a second chance.

Drew lives in a small town and is happy enough with his job and his marriage. His best friend from high school, Skye, is coming into town to have an art show. Drew should be excited to see his old friend, right? Well, the last time they saw each other was a night filled with love and unfulfilled promises. Drew doesn't know how he can face the man who sees past his barriers and knows how to break through them.

Skye comes to town, hoping to reunite with Drew. He knows that Drew is deeply seated in his secure closet, but he also knows that Drew wanted him. And maybe, just maybe, they can reignite what they had that one night.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. On one hand, I couldn't put it down until I finished. There was so much angst and it was heartbreaking how miserable both men were. On the other, it was really difficult to like Drew. Drew was scared to come out; his family is very conservative and very hard on him. I get that. But he's married! I did not like how he dealt with his marriage and the fact that he's gay. I'm sure this happens all the time in real life, and I'm also sure there's a better way to deal with it. Luckily, he realized his mistakes and ended up (mostly) winning me over in the end.

I really liked Skye and felt for him, he so wanted to be with his lifelong friend and to make him happy. He knew he could, if Drew would only let him. He definitely didn't give up, but he kept going back after being kicked to the curb. He wasn't treated well and I wanted for him to just say, "Enough!" and get on with his life. It would have been nice for him to have had a little more of a backbone. It was heartbreaking seeing him so hurt, so many times, by the man he loved.

Their relationship was a series of too much push and pull. Skye would push and push until Drew finally gave in to his desire. Then Drew, realizing what he just did, would run scared, leaving Skye sad and alone. I couldn't feel the love between them. Even though they said how they felt, it wasn't shown through their treatment of each other. There weren't many tender moments between the two and I think they both needed some tenderness.

That said, this was an enjoyable story. I was rooting for Drew and Skye and was satisfied with their happy ending. I just would have appreciated a more loving road getting there.

The Romance Review
Acrobat - Mary Calmes I knew going in that there would be a perfectly, perfect MC. I knew that he would be so beautiful and thoughtful that men and women alike fall all over him. I knew that he would be in danger and would ignore the warnings. I knew this. Even with the knowing it was kind of hard to get through.

There were so many unnecessary characters and scenes. All the scenes with his colleagues? Why? Why was there the semi-romance with Sean (I think that's his name...) for half the book? Because of all this fluff - which, really, only served the purpose of proving Nate’s perfectness - nothing really happened for most of the story. Yeah, Nate and Dreo were neighbors, Nate took care of Dreo's nephew, so they knew each other, but any sort of semblance of a relationship didn’t happen until almost halfway. Then once they started they moved way fast. Waaaaayyyy fast.

The whole “mob” plot was unrealistic. Not that I’m a mob expert or anything, but it was all hard to believe.

This would have been 2 stars if not for Dreo. He gets his own star. One thing I like about Mary Calmes is her sexy, alpha males. She can write ‘em. They’re always hot and possessive and uber-sexy.

Nate must have super big forehead muscles from all his eyebrow waggles.
A Solid Core of Alpha - Amy Lane That blurb? It, in no way, serves this book justice.

So, I’m gonna redo the blurb while I tell you about all my feels.

Anderson has just witnessed his entire planet being destroyed. He’s watching from the spaceship his sister shoved him on in order to save him from the same fate. The spaceship is en route to a planet that is ten years away. Anderson is just as young boy at this time and is completely and utterly alone. He uses the ships technology to create holograms of a school, friends, teachers, he basically recreates a life for himself. His holograms, which are an extension of their creator, eventually grow to have their own desires and feelings. Over the course of the ten years, they become a family. Right along with Anderson, I grew to love these characters as well. Of course I did. It’s Amy Lane. And if she wills it, it happens. So, I love Anderson and feel - oh, how I feel - for him, because I know him being attached to these holograms, which are an extension of their creator, cannot be a good thing.

When they land Anderson knows his family are holograms and he knows that he loves them. He also knows that they are all a part of him and he’s been, basically, talking to himself for ten years. How’s that for a realization? He’s greeted on the planet with curiosity. This boy, who was devastated by the loss of his family, worked some amazing science all by his lonesome. So, they all want to know how he survived without going crazy. Well.... yeah. One of those curious onlookers is C.J. He’s part of a team that will try to gather all the data from the ship. He also helps Anderson off his ship and gets him acquainted and comfortable with the planet. We know where this is going, right?

Amy Lane has such a way with creating characters. She makes you fall so utterly in love with them that it rips you apart when they suffer. This book was no different. Anderson’s suffering was so devastating and real. It was amazing how he survived, but equally amazing having to let go of the safety of that survival. He adapted to his loss and had to, again, adapt to his new life on planet. And at the same time, stayed true to his character. He was brave, sweet, flirty, immature, scared, alone and in need. He needed to know what was real and what wasn’t.

Luckily, he found this in C.J. I loved how C.J. wasn’t the magical fix to all of Anderson’s crazy. Because he was so in love with Anderson, he felt all of his pain right along with him. He also knew he’d have to wait. Anderson had way too much cray in his brain for anything real. He waited until Anderson knew they were real and what they had was real. That wait was gut wrenching.

Don't worry, there were some very real physical moments during the wait. Oh my, these two were effing hot together. And on audio? Sheesh. I was glad nobody could see my face while I was driving.

It was heartbreaking, beautiful, devastating, sweet, sexy and just everything, all at the same time.
Grade-A-Sex Deal  - Erica Pike 3.5 stars

What a great little follow up to the first in the Hot Hands series.

A microeconomics professor, Danny, is in a little bit of a mid-life crisis. He was kicked out of his home and, basically, disowned by his ex-wife and two kids when coming out. He's now working at this low-paying job he has no passion for and living in a tiny dorm apartment. He has had a semester-long deal with a cute, young student, Troy. The deal is exactly what the title implies, a grade-A-sex deal.

Troy offers up his cute self for a passing grade in his microeconomics class. Danny's weekly meeting with Troy is the only bright spot in his life, but now the semester is ending and their time is almost up.

This is a fun and sexy read, despite the glaring moral issue of trading sex for grades. It was kind of easy to look past though since Danny is just so stuck in his mediocre life, you can't help but root for him. So, in this romance, it worked for me. They are a fun couple to read about and balance each other perfectly.

Troy's a flirty thing and knows just how to get just what he wants from his hot professor. He's also very sweet. Even though their deal was ending, it didn't stop him from caring and worrying about Danny. Danny, who is borderline depressed, is in desperate need of someone to care about him, so Troy had perfect timing when he strutted his hot self into his professor's office.

Just like the first in the series, I wanted more. It felt somewhat unfinished to me and just a tiny smidgen more would have sufficed. I would have liked more of a solid resolution between Danny and Troy as well as between Danny and his family.

GRADE-A-SEX DEAL is a quick and easy read, something to escape in for a little while. Danny and Troy's progression from 'just a deal' to more was definitely worth reading about.

The Romance Review
The Ghost on My Couch - L.A. Gilbert This review will most likely make zero sense as my thoughts are still rattled from all the adorableness. Just sayin.

So we have Alex, he’s a male nurse and a bit on the shallow side when it comes to his taste in men. Oh, he was one likeable character. His reactions to things were so completely, freaking hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing. Could. Not. Stop. (This happened to me a lot in this book) He has his own brand of crazy and I am totally buying it! I mean, he eats his food in alphabetical order! How loveable is that?

Oh, and he has a ghost on his couch, Sid. OMG, I love Sid. He has this whole gentle giant, I’m shy but in a really sexy kind of way with my turtle shell glasses thing, down. He was so damn endearing. Sid had a very lonely life and was just pleased to find someone he could be happy with, regardless of the nature of their relationship. The way he fell so completely in love with Alex was just...just... I mean the book wasn’t even from his POV for shit’s sake and I could feel all the feels he was having.

Obviously, I loved them separately for their own reason. But together? LAWWWWD. Favorite couple award goes toooooo..... SID & ALEX! The natural progression of their relationship felt so natural and real, considering the fact that one of them is a ghost. It takes some fantastic writing for this to feel realistic. I loved how much Alex grew during the course of their relationship considering his horrible taste in men in the beginning to the amazingness that is Sid. He ended up loving Sid for the cute, shy guy that he was. Which, in turn, turned Sid into one sexy hunk of man to Alex. Not to mention the sexual tension! And they couldn’t even touch! There was no sex (on or off page) throughout their story and I was on the edge waiting for them to combust with hotness.

There were also some pretty awesome secondary characters. The fun bestie, Andy. Andy was great. He was 100% insulting towards Alex but always in a loving way. He was totally loyal and there for Alex whenever he needed him. He was also damn hilarious. I think he made me laugh the most. His dialogue and banter with Alex was priceless. There was a fix-it-female, Jackie. Of course, there is one of these. But I really liked her. She was just as snarky as the rest of them, but was there for Alex, too.

We have some quirky characters, a wonderful little meet-cute, and some silly happenings. All this mashed up together makes for a seriously perfect story.

Yeah. So.
This is me, gushing.
The Division - C.C. Bridges 100% fun. Fun, fun, fun.

Valor and Socket have been besties since high school. They've also been superheroes. Earth is being attacked by drones that come from these mysterious portals that randomly open up all over the world. What's a hero to do? Form an allegiance of superhero friends, of course! And thus, The Division is born!

The Division is still trying to work out the kinks of their super group when a mysterious man, Peter, came through one of the portals. Peter, as well as these drones, are coming from another dimension. One that has vast similarities to the Earth Socket and Valor live in, just without the superheroes. But Peter has his own agenda, one that doesn't involve stopping the portals and drones.

I'm usually one to care about the romance more than the suspense in this type of story. But I found myself really enjoying the heroes' fight against the drones, their attempts at keeping their identities secret and their dealings with Peter. Of course, there was also some cheesiness. What's a superhero story without some cheese? With names like Mistress Liberty, Dash and Socket, it's to be expected. But it didn't make this story any less enjoyable. In fact, I found myself smiling more often because of it.

Now, to The Couple. Valor and Socket are the leaders of The Division. I seriously loved Socket. He's snarky, grumpy, nerdy, antisocial, socially awkward and just a total dreamboat. He's also been out and proud since the day he realized he was gay. He's always been in love with his straight best friend but could never voice his feelings, for obvious reasons.

Then there's Valor, ever good and true, Valor. Keeper of the peace and all that stereotypical hero stuff. He's been hiding his attraction to men since one of his longtime mentors made the genius decision to tell him the public would turn on him if he outed himself. So, he's been suffering in silence and not even telling Socket about his secret.

This would have had 5 stars written all over it if I had felt a little bit more chemistry and tension between our couple. What I love most about friends-to-lovers stories is the sexual tension that is constantly simmering under the surface until it explodes all over the place. There was some definite exploding going on, but I didn't feel the buildup. It was just as surprising to me as it was to Socket when it finally happened.

What to expect: snark, snark between Valor and Socket that extends to the bedroom, superhero dialogue full of cheesy goodness, super villains in disguise, nosy reporters, fast-paced action, and just a super good time.

The Romance Review
Heartstrings - Eressë 3.75 stars

Heartstrings is aptly named because this one tugs. Hard.

Ashrian and Eiren had a long road to their HEA. In the beginning of their relationship they were long time lovers without any solid commitment. Ashrian has problems staying faithful to Eiren and in the end made an unforgivable mistake.

I love me some angsty romance. So, when Ashrian was being an idiot I was shouting and crying all over the place but at the same time soaking up all the drama that I love. What happens when you’re an idiot? You suffer. And suffer Ashrian did. Eiren (who is a healer) left to another town for work after Ashrian’s infidelity. When Eiren returned, Ash realized it was too late for them, as Eiren didn’t return alone. I was hating on Ash. But after this scene? I was totally on his side.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Ash, Eiren & Firyon. It was interesting how Fir reunited Ash and Eiren and they were able to have a platonic relationship again. Fir was completely accepting of Ash’s friendship and was basically perfect. Almost too perfect. (I’m having Tim, Ben and Jace flashbacks here) But he was completely necessary for Ash and Eiren to be able to pick up the pieces of their shattered relationship. Ashrian had a lot of growing to do before he was ready to be committed to Eiren again, and he did. He so did. His mistakes were never forgotten and swept under the rug, he worked through them. Instead of just apologizing and moving on he worked to find why he was so determined to be such an idiot in the beginning.

So much happened that I don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers. I have very much enjoyed this entire series so far, this one dragged a little at times and is why I didn’t give a solid 4 stars. But it’s one of those where you look back at a couples’ journey and are struck by how far they’ve come since the beginning of their story.
Hot Hands (College Fun and Gays, # 1) - Erica Pike 3.5 stars

Super fun, sexy little read. It was a tad too unrealistic for me to bump it up to 4 stars. But I did like the mystery surrounding who Casper's elusive "Hot Hands" was that kept groping him in the dark.

I loved the ending. Who knew? There can be some twists mixed in with some good smut. But, of course, I would have liked a little bit more. And by a little bit I mean a lot. There was barely a HFN but, still, a cute HFN.

Definitely worth the read for a freebie and only 24 pages.

Currently reading

Unhinge the Universe
Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt