Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Final Stories

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads hosts a Don't Read in the Closet event each year where they invite members to submit a photo with a story prompt.  Interested authors then volunteer to write the requested stories, which are published for free for everyone to read.  It's a fun/exciting/stressful process, and a great opportunity to read stories from favorite authors.  And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a backlist of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love's Landscapes and they started releasing the completed stories on June first. Here at BMBR, we've been following along on comment threads, anticipating the stories from our favorite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

You can read about some of our favorite stories from earlier weeks of the event here.  And as mentioned in earlier posts about this event, the interwebz couldn't handle it if mysterious and magically rare unicorns showed up in our reviews, so we'll just say this week we LOVED Until the Bitter End by L.L. Bucknor, before moving on to some of our other favorites from the final stories of the event, September 7-19.

Before we share those stories, though, we'd like to say thank you to the fabulous crew at M/M Romance Group who volunteer so many hours of their time and talent to host this event.  From coordinating everything to editing and proofreading to publishing the stories, they have their work cut out for them and the results are incredible.  Thank you for all the hard work!

And now Lorix will share her favourite story of the final week.

Lorix: In Your Veins by S.J. Eller

*Happy dance* - this was my prompt story!!

Thank you SJ for the perfect story to my prompt. I loved it. 

Warning, this review may contain spoilers.

I have been eagerly awaiting this story. I fell in love with the prompt picture, whipped up a prompt and have been wondering what story 'my boys' were going to get. It couldn't have been more perfect (well the only improvement would have been for it to be longer, I wasn't ready to finish reading it yet!!).

Where to start. Okay, the writing. SJ Eller writes beautiful prose, she has sentence structure of which I am entirely jealous. I like sentences that evoke amazing imagery and SJ writes these, seemingly with ease. Yet she kept it beautifully balanced - I wasn't weighed down with descriptions, they complemented the story rather than overwhelmed it. I've never been to Portland or Cleveland I have no idea about either of these places, yet I feel as though I know them (Cleveland especially) really well now. Even though the story wasn't laden with long, overdrawn details of the place, the author was so clever with her words, I really gained a sense of the city.

Kyle and Dalton, the MC's. The story is told from Kyles POV - yet I understood both characters perfectly. Kyle has just moved to Cleveland and is in an accounting job, that he thinks is perfect for him. On a night out with workmates he meets Dalton and they get on like a house on fire. The scene from the photo is included perfectly in this section of the story. It made me sigh - the writing was a s beautiful as the photo.

Dalton is actually the brother of Kyles co-worker, Billy, and through things Billy doesn't say Kyle works out that there is something in Dalton's past. Kyle is eager to find out what because he is already starting to fall for Dalton.

Dalton - SIGH - I really loved Dalton. I want more of him. Dalton is a man with a secret, with a burden. He has a history of drug abuse. Of addiction. He has been clean for three months though. He shares this with Kyle and promises to do his best to stay clean. He doesn't promise he will - just that he will try. I loved Kyle and Dalton's relationship. I could see them falling in love through the little things they did. Though it was yet to be admitted.

Unfortunately circumstances overwhelm Dalton and he suffers a relapse - at a time when Kyle is away. But Kyle is the one who finds him. And this is where I loved this story the most. It was realistic. Even in the epilogue, we hear there was no insta-fix. Love didn't solve all the problems. Love just helped Dalton work towards solving his problems. 

I love you, too, Dalton,” he said, watching the light come to Dalton’s eyes, “but you can’t do this for me. You have to do it for you. No one else is going to be able to save you from yourself, Dalton. If you go to rehab, you need to do it because it’s what you want, not because of me, or your mom, or anyone else. 

I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful story. As I said at the beginning, I wish it could have been longer, if I had a complaint it would be this. The story definitely would have worked as a full length novel, however I understand fully the time-constraints of the event (and the author!) and think she has done a wonderful job. I've just got to stop being greedy. As soon as this story is downloadable I will re-read it and savour it.

Thank you SJ, it is perfect.

Review: Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey

Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find. 

Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion. 

Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes. 

Warning: Contains mild BDSM elements.

The book that held me hostage.

This is one of those books that "happened" for me. It reeled me in from the beginning. I tried to resist, tried to read something else, but even when we separated I couldn't stop thinking about it. I guess you could say I became a little obsessed.

Hidden Gem has two story lines-the post-apocalyptic/dystopian world in which these characters live with all its political machinations and the serial killer case. The romance between Shane and Aki is interwoven between the two and provides respite from the frenetic pace, but if you're looking for oodles of romance, look elsewhere.

Aki fascinated me from the start. I knew he had to be the link between these two story lines. Damned if I could figure out how, but I do like a challenge. I also like puzzles and there are a million pieces to be put together in this story. Loads of information is thrown out and at times I felt a little overwhelmed. Even up until the very end my head was still spinning. I like when a book can surprise me again and again. Who wants dull?

Aki is a companion at the Hidden Gem. He's the most sought out companion owing, ostensibly, to his great beauty. His psi abilities preclude him from touching someone due to his clairvoyance, so no sex. Lots of gloves-both kinds. Aki has been feminized by the club to increase his desirability which means… yup! You guessed it. MANTIES!!!!!!!!!!! He also has a shoe fetish. More bonus points there.

Shane has been working missing persons for so long he has attained legendary status. He's been called in to track down a serial killer targeting wealthy kids. Shane has been utilizing Aki's services for two years. They've grown fond of each other, though Aki is wary of Shane. Aki is also submissive. The BDSM elements are mild D/s, nothing that'll send anyone screaming for the hills, but a large component of Aki's reluctance to get closer to Shane is his uncertainty that Shane will be able to provide the structure, dominance and discipline he needs.

They live in the North in City M. All cities are only designated by letters now. The North and South are in discord. The governments have launched countless projects over the years which have resulted in numerous mutations. Layer upon layer is added to the world building, each more astounding. The story is woven together so intricately. I picked up threads here, there and yon all of which had meaning, but I failed to put it together completely.

Paris was the standout secondary character for me. I'd love to know more about him. I'd also love to know what went down at his country home between him and Shane. Kinda fussy that all went down off the page. Candy has his charms and adds to the tension. I love that he's not what he appears at first glance.

Why not give it 5 Hearts then? I still have questions. I'm not sure if that's purposeful or an oversight. Plus, the overarching message conveyed in this book is 'the government knows everything' which seems to be contradicted. I have trouble believing an omnipotent entity would've lost track of something so unique and potentially lethal. Nevertheless, I cannot in good faith go lower than 4.5 Hearts because of the journey that Ms. Kasey took me on, the world she showed me and how much it captivated me or held me hostage. Tomato. Tomahto.

Truth be told, I'm still thinking about it. I'd really like to re-read it and see what I missed things or if things make more sense now that I "know". I bet thhis would make for an excellent discussion/buddy read book.

Post-apocalyptic, dystopian and thriller fans get ready to sink your teeth into this one.

A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Read more on Goodreads
*Artwork by Heise.

Book Blast, Giveaway AND a Short Story: Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey

We're so pleased to help blast Hidden Gem, Ms. Kasey's latest book which is stunning.
AND to help she's included a tasty little short of Aki and McNaughton called First Glimpse to whet your appetite.

Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.

Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.

Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.

Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

First Glimpse by Lissa Kasey

   Aki swept up a bottle of McNaughton’s favorite scotch and headed toward the broad Irishman. The man’s shoulders were arched forward, back tense, hair a sexy mess, and face covered with a couple days’ growth. Obviously the cop was on a difficult case. The detective hadn’t yet asked for him, just for his usual meal—almost bloody steak with a baked potato.
     “You look like you could use a drink,” Aki told him as he slid into the chair beside him. He turned an empty glass over and poured three fingers of the golden liquid.
     McNaughton sighed, his dark eyes roaming over Aki’s small body, platinum blond hair pulled up and styled with sparkling pins, see-thru knit top, and super-short skirt, then over his bare legs down to the gleaming heels. The shoes were a silver mesh of crystals that slid up just past his ankles. A gift from McNaughton. The cop sucked in a deep breath and slid his hand over the covered part of Aki’s thigh. He knew better than to touch bare flesh to bare flesh. Aki was a cognitive psi, could see entire lives of horrors with a single touch, and he was sure McNaughton’s past was filled with a lot of nasty memories.
     “Wish you had time for me tonight. But I’ve got a feeling you’re booked up tight.” He glanced back at the room bustling with companions and potential customers. Aki was the only psi in the room, his pale-pupiled blue eyes telling the world that he was different.
“I’m sure Bart can fit you in.” Aki’s eyes scanned the room until he found his boss, who was engaged with negotiations with another client. “Looks like you need some trouble eased tonight.” He leaned in close enough his breath ran across McNaughton’s cheek.
     McNaughton turned his head, lips nearly close enough to touch. “Would love a bit of time with your shine.”
     “Words like honey, McNaughton.”
     The cop flashed him one of his rare, heart-stopping smiles then nodded as Bart appeared beside them. “Table seven is ready, Aki. Number one.” Bart told him.
     Aki grabbed Bart’s wrist with a gloved hand. “The cop needs some time tonight. You can make that happen, right?”
     “Of course.” Bart nodded to them and took Aki’s vacated seat and Aki made his way to his next client of the evening. There were only two services Aki performed. A hand job and a blow job, one and two. This client wanted number one—which meant he was cheap since rarely did anyone ask for a hand job from him. But his prices were astronomical anyway.
     “Hello,” Aki smiled at the man as he slid into the chair opposite him. The client was dressed nice, button down shirt, pressed pants, but he was bald and a little heavier around the waist. A politician probably. “If you’re ready we can head upstairs.”
     The man barely spoke, but he leered, eyes tracing over Aki’s form more like he was cattle than a night of entertainment. Even in his worst moments McNaughton had never done that. It wasn’t appreciation, but something darker. Aki sighed internally and hoped this would be fast. He knew a thousand ways to get a man off in minutes. Something about him just set off Aki’s creep radar.
     “I hear some wait months for the pleasure of your time,” the man said with slightly accented speech.
     Not usually. The only ones who waited weeks were because their schedule and Aki’s conflicted or because they’d done something to upset him or Bart. Most clients got in within a few days if not the same day of requesting Aki’s time. And regulars were always given precedence over someone not yet vetted like this client. “If I don’t please you I can see if Preston or Royce is available.”
     “I was hoping for Candy originally.”
     Was always good to be told he was second choice. Aki gritted his teeth.  “Candy only serves a special kind of client. And he does have a wait list.” Mostly because he took clients who wanted a little more kink than any of the other male companions preferred. Aki was going to recommend this client be removed from the premises after the service was over.
     “I guess you’ll have to do then. Won’t you?” He gave Aki a chilling smile.
     Bastard. Aki got up from his seat and offered his gloved hand to the man who followed closely. They’d reached the stairs when the man grabbed him, yanked Aki against him and shoved his hand up Aki’s skirt, groping him and sending him into a spiral of nightmares.
     A dark room. The metallic stink of blood. Screams. The sound of knives being sharpened. Metal bars clanking. Crying. Pain. The music of an ice cream truck. How odd. It was all ripped away a moment later, but Aki’s stomach was already heaving. The small plate of fruit and yogurt he’d had for dinner was not going to stay down.
     Someone carried him unceremoniously to the private companion bathroom near the kitchen and set him in front of the toilet just as the mash of fruits and dairy came up. Aki heaved a couple of minutes, his brain swirling with the images that thankfully began to fade just as quickly as they’d come. With any luck he’d be able to brush his teeth, wash his face and go about his work day.
     He glanced up to find Manny, the head of security standing at the door. McNaughton knelt beside Aki. Had held his hair back and even used his jacket to cover Aki’s bottom. The skirts really were too short.
     “Bart is already having the guy removed. He should never have touched you like that. Sorry I didn’t get to you quicker,” Manny told Aki. “Grateful to you, Detective, for responding so quickly.”
     McNaughton stroked Aki’s back, using the soft material of the sweater to run circles over his spine. “Want to talk about it?”
     Aki sighed. “Same crap. Just weird. Darkness, crying, smelled blood. Heard knives.” He shook his head. “The guy could work at a butcher for all I know. The memories get so jumbled.” Often with his own horrific past. “Thought I heard a kid. And bars rattling like in a jail. And the music from an ice cream truck.”
     McNaughton nodded like it made perfect sense to him and helped Aki get up and make his way to the sink where there were spare toothbrushes and endless varieties of paste. The cop leaned over and kissed Aki’s hair. “Gotta go. I’ll have Bart reschedule me sometime this week though. Love that you wore my shoes.” He was gone a moment later.
     Aki cleaned up and made his way back to work. At least the night was almost over. He was sad that McNaughton hadn’t stayed. Would have liked to see that smile another time or two. At least the rest of the night flew by without incident, even if the detective didn’t return.
     “Sleeping with me tonight?” Candy asked as he stripped out of their work clothes, leaving just a pair of bright pink underwear and crawled into bed. His purple hair was already brushed and eyes heavy with sleep.
     “Please,” Aki whispered. He stripped off everything but his underwear too. After putting his shoes and pins away, he washed his face.
     “Heard that guy touched you. What a jerk.”
     “He wanted you to begin with.” Aki curled up beside his best friend.
     Candy flicked off the light. “I would have brought him down a few pegs.”
     Aki smiled, but he didn’t want to think of the horrible man at all. Those memories just needed to go away. He had enough of his own to battle with each day. He fell asleep hoping to wake up with less nasty memories each day.
     The next afternoon Aki was up early and at Artie’s for breakfast—best 24/7 diner in the area—when McNaughton arrived. The man sat down at his table without asking and pushed a pair of slim, jeweled, yellow flat sandals into Aki’s hands. “What’s this for?” Aki asked.
     He just shook his head. He threw a stack of cash on the table and motioned to the waitress. “Anything he wants is on me.” He then got up from the table and headed for the door.
     “Well that was weird,” Aki said to LuAnn, the waitress.
     She pointed at the Vid screen. “He had a rough night. Caught the guy who was killing kids.” The Vidscreen was turned to the news. Something about a man named the “Ice Cream Killer” had been captured. Apparently he used an ice cream truck to lure kids in, kidnapped them, raped them and killed them. Real monster.
     A picture popped up of the guy. It was the client from the Gem. Maybe that’s why McNaughton was at the Gem. No matter what he hoped the detective visited him tonight. The new yellow shoes would need a new skirt to match…

Author Bio:  Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats that enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she's not writing about boy romance. 

Hidden Gem is available today at Dreamspinner Press.

Also look for these titles from Dreamspinner Press:

Available from Lissa Kasey:
Dominion Shorts (compilation)

Available from Lissa Kasey/Xara X. Xanakas:
Sink or Swim

Author Links:
Twitter: @parisbvamp
Website: www.lissakasey.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lissa.kasey

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Good Luck and Enjoy this hidden gem.

A special thanks to Will at Pride Promotions for providing the Rafflecopter used during this tour.

Review: Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham

Bad choices. We all make them, some more than others. Dusty’s choices have left him unemployed, broke and practically homeless. Despite the major issues he has with his family, his only rational choice is to sell everything and move into his parents’ basement. At thirty. Looking for a ride west, he answers a phone ad. The voice at the other end of the line flows like dark, rich honey. Finally something to look forward to—listening to Joe’s voice all the way from Illinois to Idaho.

Rather than the hip crooner of Dusty’s fantasies, Joe turns out to look more like a panhandler. Is that because Joe dresses down, or are Dusty’s preconceptions about Native Americans clouding his vision? Joe is silent more often than not. He has a complicated past and still has amends to make. But he is ready to move on. Dusty feels trapped. Two damaged men, one small car driving two thousand miles into the sun—sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed.

Dusty has to go back home. Back to the family that doesn't accept him. He has to go back because of the mistakes he's made. He's lost everything and has nowhere else to go. 

He's lost so much that he has to hitch a ride with a (hot, sexy, brooding) stranger, Joe, back to the other side of the country. Poor Dusty. 

The story is told from Dusty's POV and he was a really likeable, regular guy. He made some bad, bad choices. I think I may have been yelling at my kindle a few times. What made him even more relatable was his reaction after his bad choices. He wasn't all tough guy... he was scared. Shitless! And I just really liked that about him. He didn't have to be all macho about it, he was scared and called for help. I liked a guy who can admit that.

Their relationship was slow and thoughtful. As in, the author was thoughtful of how things progressed and it showed. Joe's feelings toward Dusty were obvious from the outside, but not to Dusty right away. He needed a few nudges to see what was in front of him. They were sweet, and again, very relatable. Well, as much as I can relate to two gay men, at least.

They really had no choice but to get to know each other better during their long trip across country, but even in their silences there was camaraderie building between them. I really can't stress enough how just... real and human these guys were. I like me some likeable guys. 
"'I'm over cowboys. I'm into Native Americans now.'
Joe raised one eyebrow, 'Native Americans, plural?'
'Not yet. It's a new phase.'"
They didn't have in your face & we're so funny, kind of banter. But natural & that made me chuckle and grin, kind of banter.

Through their journey they stopped at both their families homes. I liked that they did this together and the complete support they gave each other, since their visits were not easy ones.

I really enjoyed Joe and Dusty, they're characters and a great couple. There were a couple things that drew me out of the story over and over. One, the continued references to race. I felt like there were quite a few and it didn't seem necessary to me and would throw me for a second. Also, Dusty's inner-thoughts during the sex scenes or when he was thinking about sex, always went back to his ex. I get that his ex made him worrisome about his emotions, but it was brought up a lot. I get it, your ex gave you a complex, please stop thinking about it and let me enjoy your sex, thank you very much.

Overall, an enjoyable, low angst, slow burn romance. Just two very real guys, building a very real romance.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out for info on Goodreads and BookLikes

Review: Looking After Joey by David Pratt

From the author of Bob the Book comes a funny, fast-paced, touching tale of love, laughter, family of choice and fabulousness! Wouldn't it be great if a character from a porn movie stepped right out of your TV, into your life? Well, be careful what you wish for. Because that's how Calvin and Peachy end up looking after Joey. Then Peachy decides to make Joey the center of in a social-climbing scheme that will take them all from Chelsea to Park Avenue to Fire Island and will entangle a rogues' gallery of eccentric Manhattanites, including portly, perspiring publicist Bunce van den Troell; theatrical investor Sir Desmond Norma; studly thespian Clive Tidwell-Smidgin; and evil lubricant king Fred Pflester and his mysterious nephew, Jeffrey. Tender, wise, witty and utterly deranged, Looking After Joey will make you wish you, too, had a porn character sitting at your kitchen table, pointing at the toast and asking, "What's this called again?"

I had to cogitate on this one once I finished. There were so many things I liked and appreciated, but just enough things that felt extraneous that diluted the story. It’s a really interesting premise and reading between the lines makes you think about relationships of all forms, self-awareness, self-doubt and perceptions of those around us. I was expecting a light hearted misadventure and really got so much more. There were definitely funny moments, as well as some of the most memorable characters I’ve read. But, there is an underlying sense of despair from Calvin that runs throughout the book.

Calvin is not as young as he once was and he is lonely. Very, very lonely. He has his best friend Peachy, as mentioned above, one of the most memorable characters, but that isn’t the same as having someone to love and to love you through life. Honestly, I’m still not sure how I feel about Calvin. I think I liked him, he definitely frustrated me. I think he’s very much a “real” person rather than a character and I have to respect the fact that he isn’t a stereotype, he’s a real man.

This conversation between Calvin and Peachy summed them up quite well:

“Peachy, why are we single?”

“Because,” Peachy said, “you are pessimistic and self-loathing and I am a cunt.”

“You’re not a cunt, Peachy.” Calvin said. “You’re too hard on yourself. You’re just a major league bitch.”

“Are you sure?”

“But not a cunt. What happened to the ‘fetching’ one from a few weeks ago?”

“He fetched someone else. There was a little dalliance which you were away. He was the one who thought I was, well, ‘overbearing’ was the word he used.”

“You’re a lot of woman,” said Calvin. “Some men can’t handle it.”

“You’re not just saying that?"

So, basically these two are feeling their expiration dates fast approaching on their marketability and the looming specter of loneliness is throughout the book.

When Joey enters their world, through a truly magical porn portal, they have a lot to deal with. Joey becomes more than just a project and a ticket to give an old nemesis a come-uppance as time goes on. Granted, the majority of the book is preparing Joey for his debut at the party of the year, but slowly priorities shift and the two who are supposed to know the most, Calvin and Peachy, learn from the one who knows the least, poor confuzzled Joey. I liked Joey once he started to acclimate to the “real world” and once he got to know some more people. Mainly Doug of course, Doug ran a close second to my Peachy for favorite characters. These guys may not have been a traditional family, but they became a family of sorts and that part I liked very much.

But, there were so many other things going on it pulled my focus away from where this little dysfunctional group was going and growing. The obsession with the party was too much. I get that it was what Calvin considered his “last stand” but a LOT of time and energy went into trying to make a point to a man who probably wouldn’t care. Secondly, the endless streams of cultural references, pop, gay and otherwise. I understand these things are important to them, but, it was a case of, and pardon me while a quote a little Syndrome to you “when everyone is super, no one will be”. Again, it was just too much, the impact was lost in the flood of name dropping. The references I didn’t get I wasn’t even interested in looking up at that point. And finally, Calvin’s trip to Spain, it was a side trip that didn’t give Calvin enough of an epiphany of any sort to justify being away from the other characters for that long.

Overall, I liked the meat and potatoes of the story, the characters and where they ended up. The other stuff just diluted the important points and people for me. I loved the unique plotline and appreciated reading something unique, the book is definitely that and definitely worth reading. Personally, I’m a “less is more” person so a little more focus would have made it even better to me as the characters had great depth and didn’t need the extras to make them memorable.

For more info on this book, check it out on Goodreads!

*** a copy of this book was provided for an honest review ***

Author of the Month Interview - Vaughn R. Demont

Today we welcome September's Author of the Month, Vaughn R. Demont, to the clubhouse!  After reading his stories this month, we had some questions, so we invited him in for a chat.  Please join us as we learn more about Vaughn and his writing :)

Oh, but first, can I just say how much I like how Vaughn signs his emails?
Vaughn R. Demont. Writer, gamer, waffle addict.  
Yes, I think Vaughn will fit in nicely here at the clubhouse.
*passses plate of waffles to Vaughn*
*begins asking all kinds of questions*

BMBR: House of Stone has such an intricate plot, where did the inspiration come from and how long did it take you to write it?

Vaughn: House of Stone was initially born from a writing prompt I was given by a reader that involved a porn star and a grand piano. The grand piano was worked into the background of one of the characters, but I thought it would be interesting to consider a modern noble whose fealty was pretty much a slum, and how he'd be able to keep up on the cost of running it. After talking with a few authors and researching articles on the realities of the porn industry, particularly the "endurance, endurance, endurance" line, I thought it'd be an interesting challenge for a Fae noble to keep his manor solvent by paying for it by doing gay porn. It gave me the opportunity to explore an aspect of the City I hadn't previously considered, namely the Fae, and it established a lot of events that have been referenced in the Broken Mirrors series. The plotline of Breaking Ties, the upcoming book in the series, is directly effected by the events of House of Stone.
Writing it was a lot of stop and start at first, and it sat on a shelf until I found a fan who was willing to give me real-time feedback on the story as I wrote it. I posted the story to her one paragraph at a time in an IM window, and knowing someone was waiting to find out what happened next was what kept me writing. She ended up getting the dedication for the book because I likely wouldn't have finished it without her.

BMBR: Which of your characters are you most like in real life and which one would you want most to be your BF/partner/whatever word?

Vaughn: I would have to say that James and Spencer from the Broken Mirrors series best reflect how I am in real life, James being what I was like in my 20s, while Spencer, surprisingly, represents me now that I've grown up a bit. Spence is a bit of a jester, sure, but at his core, under all the jokes and jibes and acres of pop culture savviness, he knows what needs to be done when everything's on the line. I'm trying to be more like that.
Well, I've already got a BF RL, we've been together 2 years now, but if I had to pick someone, it'd be a tie between Daniel from The Vampire Fred, and probably Ozzie, as he's one of the more down to earth characters I've written. Still, with most of the characters I'd love to hang out with them, or have a burger at the K Street Diner so long as AC/DC's not playing that day. :)

BMBR: I really enjoy how you constantly break through the fourth wall in your writing.  A lot of authors try but they just can't seem to get it right.  But you have a real mastery of the technique.  What inspired you to use the technique and is it something that always came easy to you or did it take a lot of practice?

Vaughn: To be honest I love genre-savvy characters, which is why Spence is so fun to write. I think the key to writing them is knowing a key point about readers: they don't just read. They watch TV shows, movies, procedurals, read comics and countless genres, and there are definite rules that we all know must be followed, you know? Having a character point things like that out to the reader without breaking it, it's like winking at the camera, and as long as you establish that it's okay to do that in your story, you should be able to get away with it. But again, it's all about knowing who your audience is, and respecting them even as you're getting in your little digs, letting them know it's okay to laugh. I think that's the difference between sly, organic, working references in movies like Scream vs. outright name-dropping in fare like, say, Epic Movie. The former tells the audiences they're smart enough to get the reference and crack a smile, the latter hits the audience over the head with it because they think the audience is stupid. Guess which one's going to fly better? :)

BMBR:  What is your favorite genre to read?  Favorite author/books?

Vaughn: I got my start reading traditional fantasy like a lot of writers in this genre, then branched out into cyberpunk, crime fiction, and finally urban fantasy. I have a lot of favorite authors, particularly William Gibson, because I love how his cyberpunk modernized noir writing as well as providing neologisms we all use today. Elmore Leonard just writes amazing crime fiction, and I think anyone who wants to learn how to write dialogue should have him on their reading list. Jim Butcher, well, he's one of the luminaries of urban fantasy, and he was actually the subject of my masters studies in grad school. I just love the way urban fantasy explores morality in fiction, in the endless shades of gray, but still provides so many opportunities for humor, romance, and the blending of so many other genres.

BMBR:  How did you get into writing?

Vaughn: I'm one of those guys that's been writing since 5th grade. An author, Bruce Coville, came to our elementary school to do a reading from one of his books, and he signed a story I'd been working on at the time, I think it was fanfiction for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but he signed it with "Keep writing!" And I did. During high school I used to buy one subject notebooks and just filled them with this long, meandering cliche-ridden fantasy novel. When I got into SUNY Oswego (Go Lakers!) I majored in Creative Writing and played a lot of White Wolf RPGs on the side, particularly Mage: the Ascension. James was initially a Hollow One, kind of a Goth mage, rolled/created for that game, that I gave a huge backstory too. He ended up getting desanctioned because he got involved with another character and they weren't too happy about that, so I said screw it, and wrote a book to further that relationship, writing a paranormal romance between a human and a satyr in modern times. It's since been cannibalized and disavowed, but it was the forerunner of the City setting that all of my urban fantasy works are based in. 
BMBR:  Any new projects we should look out for?

Vaughn: Book 4 of Broken Mirrors is due out in April 2015, and I'm currently working on Book 5, as well as a couple standalone side projects set in the City.

Thanks again for being our Author of the Month!

Thanks for having me!

As Author of the Month, Vaughn is an honorary unicorn here in the BMBR clubhouse. Please welcome his unicornian alter ego, Chestnut Charming Reins!
Chestnut is a prankster who loves to have fun. 
He is charming and cheerful, and he casts mischievous spells.

Review: The Last Paladin series (Books #1-3) by Vaughn Demont

I'm doing something a little different for my Author of the Month read. If you follow me on GR, you know I love freebies. So imagine my delight when I discovered Vaughn R. Demont has a series of short stories out for all to read. For. FREE!

You can download a copy for yourself HERE

The Last Paladin freebie is the entire series, books #1-4: A Squire's Vow, Courage and Faith, Devotion and Grace, and The Rites of Spring. I am reviewing the first three stories but adding the blurb of #4 as a bonus. (Trust me I am reading #4 very soon)

A Squire's Vow: Closeted pagan and self-proclaimed prude Lennox Kingsley is the last person anyone would expect to be a follower of Pan, the god of lust and revelry. When he meets Karden, a handsome satyr, during a jog in the park, Lennox begins a journey he could have never imagined. Karden is about to show Lennox a world he's never imagined, but first he has to be initiated. Will this sacred knight-to-be learn to put his prudish ways aside? 

Review: 4 Hearts  -- Virgin college student Lennox has offered himself to be the last paladin (knight) for the god of lust, Pan. But how can a squire of the legendary lust machine be a virgin? This all gets fixed on an altar. The back story is sweet, the characters are engaging and it feels like there is a history/story to be told. It's just the tip of the iceberg. Be prepared for major insta-love from the main character. This story is setting the groundwork for the future. Reading the paranormal world through Lennox's eyes was fun. Satyrs, rutters and drinkers, oh my!

Courage and Faith: Only a week into his training to become the next Paladin of Pan, Lennox is already well-versed in the reveling lifestyle thanks to the efforts of his satyr mentor Karden. When a vampyr threatens his liege, though, Lennox is forced to take the next step in his training far sooner than expected. Can Lennox survive the ordeal armed with little more than courage and faith?

Review: 4 Hearts-- Lennox is still a squire of Pan in training. He's becoming more lusty, a fan of wine and appreciative of the male physique. He is getting his cock trained by satyr, Karden to fight battles of evil. One thing I am noticing with this series is a love of all things man, especially the penis. Sucking, groping, fucking, cumming, heavy balls filled with seed being worshiped, meaty staffs getting on the Pan divine side of happy. The deity Pan and his satyrs help Lennox with his first major battle against his vampire Economics professor. The writing is still great as the first story and we get to learn more of the paranormal/ urban fantasy world created. Plus, there's menage. ;D

Devotion and Grace: With a succubus under his protection and his two satyr lovers in tow, Lennox returns to Elmwood to spend Thanksgiving with his father, who has been blissfully unaware of his son's new career as a paladin. When a demon follows Lennox home though, his two worlds collide, and Lennox will be forced to make the hardest of choices. Between his lovers, his father, and his vows to his liege, where will a paladin's devotion lie?

Review: 4.25 Hearts -- This series is getting more interesting as it progresses. While this series definitely loves the penis, the characters are beginning to take shape. Lennox is learning how to be a paladin with the help of his satyr lovers, Karden and Darren. As Lennox grows closer and in love with his satyr lovers/trainers, he gets sucked into protecting a succubus. The mythological world the author created just got bigger for the college student. It's Thanksgiving and guess who's coming over to dinner with Lennox? The story is hilarious, filled with a little more action than the last and a hint of suspense. The lord Pan is an enigma and he's dropped the biggest hint about his past. I wonder what will happen next for him? There is a little love triangle action going on, which I never turn down. I am totally rooting for parties involved. Lennox is finally getting into his groove as paladin. I really like it.

The Rites of Spring: Facing the weakening of his liege, Lennox embarks on a quest to find Persephone, the goddess of spring, but quickly finds there is more at stake than simply ending the long winter that has gripped the City. When Lennox is ordered to call off his search, he must face a difficult choice. He can break his vows and save the damsel in distress, or remain a paladin and let a goddess die. The Rites of Spring is the sequel to the Last Paladin Chaser series.

This freebie? Definitely recommended. Who knew human/satyr loving could be hot?

I enjoy the sense of humor in the writing, the mythology and the magic. And underneath all of this, Lennox was still relatable. I hope all ends well for him because he surely is one brave human. Urban Fantasy lovers should definitely give this freebie a shot!

Our thanks to our September author of the month, Vaughn Demont, once more.  Stay tuned for his interview and unicorning later today!

Group Review: Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities (Claimings, #2) by Lyn Gala

Ondry and Liam have settled into a good life, but their trading is still tied up with humans, and humans are always messy. When political changes at the human base lead Ondry to attempt a difficult trade, the pair find themselves entangled in human affairs. Liam wants to help the people he left and the worlds being torn apart. He also wants to serve Ondry with not only the pleasures of the nest but also by bringing human profits.

Ondry has no hope of understanding human psychology in general, he only knows that he will hold onto his palteia with the last breath in his body, and he'd like to keep his status and his wealth too. Unfortunately, new humans bring new conflicts and he is not sure how to protect Liam. He does know one thing that humans seem to constantly forget—that the peaceful Rownt are predators and when their families are threatened, Rownt become deadly killers. Liam is his family, and Ondry will protect him with his last breath… assuming that he can recognize the dangers in time to do so.

Ann - 5 Freakin' Hearts my Friends!

What an amazing book.

I honestly could not put it down once I started. I thought I loved Liam and Ondry after reading Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts, but reading about them as an established pair in Claimings #2 was an experience that was so much more than just loving a couple of characters. Their dynamic has matured and everything I “pretty much understood” in Claimings became crystal clear in Assimilations. Their dialogs were such a pleasure to read and they have a depth now that has grown since the first book.

While the closest human definition of Liam’s status would be that of a submissive, the Rownt definition of palteia just makes so much sense! I totally get it. I can intellectually understand what I’m told about a D/s relationship. But, a chilta and pelteia relationship is so logically and completely explained I couldn’t help but be fascinated by it. Ondry and Liam revered one another so much in every action, I could feel that they were equals and one truly complemented the other.

The world building is some of the best I’ve ever read. There was so much detail, but it was never overwhelming as sci-fi and fantasy can sometimes be. I didn’t need a flow chart, a dictionary and search party to follow along. The focus stayed on point making the information flow organically so that I was able to get complete caught up in the story instead of spending time figuring out who a character was or where they came from.

My favorite thing though, was the exchanges between Ondry and Liam when they were alone. They both became fully multi-dimensional characters to me. Ondry has a real sense of humor and Liam can be such a smart ass, I just fell in love with them both all over again, just harder this time.

I highlighted the bejeezus out of this book. Like, a book length of highlighting. Ondry’s dry observations were usually my favorite. Simple, brilliant and above all logical, I need an Ondry in my life to keep me on track. I may have used this on conversation today and will most definitely use it again:

“That fact is so true it does not require stating.”

So, according to Ondry, I can't really gush about how much I loved this book - see above.

Jenni Lea - 5 Hearts

You've all heard the term 'Death by Chocolate', right? Well, this was 'Death by Ondry'.

I cannot express how much I love Ondry. He may be my #1 most loved character out of any book I have read, ever. He is pretty much the most perfect specimen of male and he's not even human! I'm seriously thinking of having T-shirts made that say 'I ♥ Ondry' on them. I love him that much.

Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities is not your standard romance. Sure, there are romantic elements and you get to see how much the love Liam and Ondry have for each other progresses but the story doesn't have the romance at the forefront. Don't get me wrong, this story is romantic as hell but it's done in such a subtle way as to make the reader not even notice until they are suddenly hit with a shot directly to the feels.

The characters and world building are absolutely brilliant. Brilliant! Lyn Gala knows subtlety and she wields her mighty pen well. The plot is intricate, the characters multi-dimensional. It was fascinating! Ms. Gala uses her words so well that she was able to get me to feel disdain for humans - my own species! I sympathized more with the Rownt than I did my own kind. Now that's writing!

I would love to see more from this world, even if it doesn't have Liam and my Ondry as the main characters. I am fascinated by everything about Prarownt and its people. I want more!

Oh, and because I cannot say it enough here it is one more time.

I ♥ Ondry

Optimist King's Wench - 5 Hearts

I've been struggling with what to say about this book for several days now. Gone through several revisions, some were downright terse. In short, I loved it. Adored it, really, but I don't think it will resonate with everyone. There are romantic moments between Liam and Ondry that are divine especially when Ondry was drawing love symbols on Liam's neck with his fingers. *sigh*

However, I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as a romance novel. It's tagged science fiction and space opera, both of which are befitting.

I'm not sure what the time lapse is between the two Claimings novels, but during that time Liam and Ondry have surpassed established; they're a unit. They act in one another's best interests, beyond altruism. Liam has incorporated the ethos of the Rownt, carries Ondry's status and safeguards it as steadfastly as Ondry. I was delighted by the progression of their relationship as well as the elevated status of the palteia. It's thought to be a great honor to have a palteia, Ondry has no qualms with PDAs and relishes showing Liam off. Actually, they've achieved a bit of a celebrity status. Just how close they've become is palpable. They tease each other, the tail sex is still amazing as is the pillow nest and the ilsil. I loved them. I really did. Then again I loved them in the first book, so this is not news.

As much as I loved Liam and Ondry's relationship, it took a backseat to the world building. This is the most intricately detailed world building of Ms. Gala's I've read and Turbulence was no slouch. Ms. Gala made Prarownt a living breathing canvas upon which everything else plays out. It's almost a character in and of itself. Prarownt is a utopian society wherein females rule. There is no prejudice, no crime, there is an inherent trust within the Rownt, emphasis is placed on status and earning that status through intelligent and cunning trades rather than it being commercialized. The needs of the community supersede the needs of the individual, and children are precious and valuable. Basically, I'd like to apply for citizenship. Where can I do this? Is there some sort of Prarownt embassy? And I'm not even mentioning the features, personalities, and abilities of the Rownt!

Everything was exceptional. Everything.

The storyline unfolds gradually and with deliberation. I enjoyed it because we got to experience more of Prarownt, but the humans… not so much. Humans are full of suck. Major suckage. 

This book "happened" for me in a completely different way than the first. And to think all this time I've been deluding myself into believing that I didn't like sci-fi! HA! Joke's on me. Touché, Lyn Gala.

I would recommend it to people who love Lyn Gala, sci-fi, exemplary world building and tails.

I've got my fingers crossed that this isn't the end for Liam and Ondry, but if it is I'm happy I got to tag along in their journey for as long as it lasted.

SheReadsALot - 5 Hearts

This story will not work for everyone. Warning, this story is not for everyone! You want gushy, mushy love scenes and copious amounts of tail sex? You need heart pacing action and high suspense? You want Ondry to magically grow a human penis to finally give Liam the business?

This is not that story. This novel would work best for fans of Ondry and Liam.

Going back to the preface of book #1, the author created this idea based on a perfect Dom. This came into the form of Rownt alien, Ondry, a perfect specimen of a caretaker Dom. Thank fuck for him because I love caretaker Doms. In a market that can be overloaded with Dom alpha-holes, I enjoy this author's Dominants. They think before they act, they think of their partners needs and consider the scene in its entirety. But Ondry is not just any Dom, he is chilta. Liam his partner, is his palteia. What is a palteia? What is a chilta? "Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities " is a novel that explains to the reader what exactly they are.

I am not going to fangirl on you. I will however try to get across my joy that the sequel is a fitting continuation of the novella, "Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts". Instead of being jammed packed full of unnecessary crazy plot twists or action sequences, this is filled with tighter world building, wars fought with intelligence and words instead of weapons (okay there was one scene but it was needed. Trust me) and a love of science fiction. Liam and Ondry are tested but prove how strong the bonds between a palteia and chilta truly are. Instead of overt machinations, subtle, smart and cool tactics are used.

For the smut lovers, there is more tail sex. Don't worry. You should read "Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts" before this book. The world building in book #1 are seedlings and book #2 is the sapling that shot out of there. There is some political/societal arguments in between the Rownt/human struggle. They are sound arguments. Is this a romance novel? I wouldn't call it a traditional one. Then again, a human and Rownt alien interspecies couple that can't have penetrative sex isn't your average storybook pairing, now are they?

To sum up this book in a word, beautiful.

Sunny - 5  Hearts


I actually skipped the ARC and waited for the book to be released before I read it, so I haven't had time to organize my thoughts in a coherent way.  I apologize for the haphazard notes that I'm sharing in my haste to be included in this post :)

As in the first book, the world building/cultural study was fascinating, and we learned even more about the differences between humans and the Rownt. I loved watching Ondry process human interactions; it was interesting to see what another species thought of human behavior. I do wish it had been balanced with more romance, though. What we got was wonderful, but I wanted more. I'm greedy like that ;)

I highlighted so much and want to share all the things. Instead, here are a few of my favorite bits:

Ondry's pride in his palteia.

How a simple statement like Ondry showed Craig his predator’s fangs showed so much...Ondry's vigilance, his quickness to react, and his determination to protect Liam, all while displaying a calm demeanor.

Sweet moments like when Ondry traced love symbols on Liam's neck.  I also liked when Ondry wrapped his tail around Liam's leg for reassurance or comfort.

Ondry's reaction to Liam's fixation on bathing and how his hair looked.

Quotes like “I like the smell of your genetic material." 

Ondry's concern for Liam's well-being and happiness. His need to take care of Liam...
Ondry needed to know that his palteia was well.
and Liam's need to please Ondry...
Liam smiled, thrilled at having delivered the right compliment at the right time. Finding ways to please Ondry was quickly becoming a bit of an obsession with him.
They were both so focused on each other, each the priority of the other.

How language/speech was used to indicate status. How there were so many more variations of pronouns for the Rownt, all which had very specific meanings that provided a lot more information than the simple ones used by humans.

How things like skin color changes, tightening cheeks, the showing of teeth, tail movement, etc., all conveyed emotions of the Rownt.

Ondry's enjoyment over controlling/pleasing Liam sexually.

How the cultural differences provided opportunities for humor. Lol...that scene with the grandmother in Ondry's yard? Huge grin on my face over Ondry's pleasure at how old she was and Liam's brain needing to do a little rewiring. And then Ondry's delight over the added surprise...that whole scene was wonderful.

Ondry's efforts to prove he deserved the ka status, to show his control and not act like a youngling with egg on his backside. His pride when his worth was acknowledged by others.

How Ondry was both adorable and fierce. Adorable in his affection for Liam and his pleasure over their status, and fierce in his determination/need to protect Liam.
“Explain!” Ondry roared, all his teeth showing. Liam jumped, but Diallo just pressed her lips together again. Ondry made a low hissing noise, and his nostrils were fully clamped shut.
*nods* Fierce.

Oh, and...tail sex ;)

So, yeah...I kinda liked it :)

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Group Review: How to Train Your Dom in 5 Easy Steps by Josephine Myles

Sometimes the little head really does know best.

Jeff White’s needs are simple. All he wants is a submissive to help him explore the dominant side that his ex-girlfriend couldn’t handle. Problem is, inexperience in both dating and domming has resulted in a string of rejections.

What he needs is an experienced sub willing to show him the ins and outs of controlling a scene. Unfortunately, the only one willing to take him on is male, and Jeff is straight. One hundred percent, never-gonna-happen straight.

Easygoing painslut Eddie Powell doesn’t care that Jeff is younger, working class, and shorter. Eddie likes a bit of rough, and Jeff fits the bill perfectly. The trick will be convincing him to follow Eddie’s five-step training programme—which would be easy if Eddie wasn’t starting to have feelings for the rough-around-the-edges landscaper.

Once Jeff lays his hands on Eddie, things definitely get out of hand. But it’ll take more than hot, sweaty, kinky sex to persuade him to come out of the closet—especially to himself.

Warning: Contains a happy sub, a confused Dom, a high ratio of sex to plot, misuse of root ginger, and a suitcase of kink. Written in Jo’s usual exceedingly “English” English.

There are some authors who ask for reviews and we end up with a stand off in the stable, Josephine Myles is one of those authors. Now Unicorns are, on the whole, quite a peace-loving bunch so instead of Uni-Horns at dawn and a UN peace keeping brigade being sent to the stable, we decided a group review was the way to go. And, do you know what? It was soooo much fun buddy-reading this story!

Anywho... here's what the unicorns thought:

Whip Wielding Wench


I felt a great disturbance while reading this. Isn't this a sign of the Armageddon?

The first couple of chapters I kept thinking, 'You shouldn't be liking this guy. He's kind of douche-y'. But I did. I always did. Jeff's a working class dude (sorry, bloke) who's blunt, crass, unpolished and exceedingly preoccupied with society's view of him. He's socially awkward and, I admit, I felt sorry for him. Poor thing. Realizing he's attracted to another bloke blows his worldview out of the water. What will the blokes down the pub think? (Look how English I sound!) But Eddie is a force to be reckoned with.

"Was it possible for your dick to be gay, even if the rest of you wasn't?"

Ordinarily, I'm not a fan of topping from the bottom but this is for training purposes, so Eddie gets a bye. Eddie, in contrast to Jeff, is completely comfortable in his skin. He knows who and what he is and isn't ashamed. He slowly shifts Jeff's perceptions sensibly and with humor. Actually, they both made me chuckle frequently.

The kink to relationship ratio was perfect, in my opinion. Woof! I could read about them ALL DAY, BABY! Eddie's masochism and Jeff's sadism are a beautiful (and oftentimes awkwardly humorous) sight to behold. Jeff has sadistic compulsions but lacks confidence and his previous attempts at being "Sir Bastard" have… not gone well. He's gruff, a bit standoffish and doesn't take criticism well which has not endeared him within the local kink community. Still, I was a bit disappointed that his dominant friends didn't volunteer to mentor him. I was also fussy that neither of these two kinksters were into chastity. I think Jeff in particular would like this sort of control.

*inappropriate and enthusiastic eyebrow waggle*

There was a minor continuity error early on and possible spelling errors. Do the Brits spell judgment with two 'E's? Hell, I don't know. It's like their English is a foreign language with their extra 'U's, H-erbs, posh birds and pork scratchings. I like the usage of 'bird', by the way. I should probably be insulted, but it's kinda cute at the same time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and would rec this to fans of GFY and romantic kink. I'm swimming in the 4-4.5 Hearts range. Looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Smacktastic-Spankerific Sunny
Jeff was a complete wanker. Rude, arrogant, so concerned about being "manly" that I could barely stand him on page.
But, then...then Jeff started getting feelings.
Sexy feelings. He started thinking about Eddie and the things he'd like to do to Eddie or make Eddie do to him.


Oh, yeah. *nods*

Hot. Hot. Hot. *fans self*

Yes, Jeff took to kinky bed play with Eddie like a duck takes to water and the more into he got, the more I liked him. It was like he found his place and didn't want to leave it. Ever. He gave Eddie exactly what he needed, and loved every minute of it. His awe at having a partner who matched him so well, and who trusted him so much, was sweet. He knew how special that was. He wasn't perfect by any means, and there were a few stumbles on the way, but that made it even better.

That said, humiliation isn't for me, so this was an uncomfortable read at times, but there was no denying how much Eddie got off on it. His reactions definitely got me going.

I heart Eddie.
So much.

Lots of pervy deliciousness in this one. I was happy :)

Anal-Bead Annie
So, Jeff knows what he knows and that’s all that he knows. Poor guy can’t help that the only real exposure into the world of kink that he loves is via the internet. I mean really, what kind of reality is that? I’d love to believe that all the beautiful scenes I see in porn are all real, but when you take off the rainbow glasses it has very little resemblance to reality. 

Jeff’s pride may keep him from admitting he needs guidance out loud, but he knows. He may be uneducated and prideful, but he isn’t stupid. And that’s what I really liked about him. He’s really a pretty simple guy who says what he feels. It may end up awkward and not come out quite right (I could totally see why he had trouble talking to women) but, regardless of his kink, he wouldn’t hurt someone on purpose. You know what I mean. 

It’s a good thing Jeff’s friends know what he needs and they know he needs Eddie. Eddie knows Jeff needs Eddie. He just has to convince Jeff. Eddie is a complete charmer and a total sweetheart so it doesn’t take him long to convince Jeff to literally take a crack at him, which Jeff enjoys very much. His dick especially enjoys it and as their lessons continue, his dick gets more and more enthused and then WHAM -------> feeeeeeeeelings. I really couldn’t blame either of them for speaking up about said feelings sooner, they basically had a pinkie swear agreement about the lessons and who wants to be the guy to broach the subject of busting up a pinkie swear?

So, this book has two unique and likable (in their own evolving way) MC’s. It also has some of the most delicious filth I’ve read. Damn, the lessons are steaming hot and they got hotter as the story progressed. You know why? Feeeeeeeeeeelings. Feelings always make the sex better. Not that I don’t enjoy a good PWP, but when an author can bring the dirty and marry it with a great story and memorable characters, you’ve got yourself an excellent read with LOTS of highlighting.Jeff’s inner musings and bargaining amused me greatly.

“No, touching another man’s arse was definitely gay. No two ways about it. Unless he was just experimenting. Yeah. Experimenting was okay. That didn’t mean anything, did it? Lots of people experimented with stuff. Jeff had once had a guitar lesson, but that didn’t make him a musician, did it?”
Oh Jeff. In this case, yes it does. But, what can I say I’m a sucker for an enlightened everyman and the beautiful man who enlightens him. 

Told with wit and style, this is a highly recommended sweet and dirty read.

Dominatrix Downton 
Where do I start? Well actually I'm going to dive right in and tell you what I loved most about this story and that was Jeff. Jeff our Dom who needs to be trained. I loved him.

This man is a blokey bloke. He's a manual worker who calls a spade a spade (yep, right up my street) and freshly out of a (straight, vanilla) relationship and wanting to explore his dominant side. Unfortunately for Jeff he has a bit to learn in the ways of being a dom - manners and etiquette anyone? - and he's having a hard time finding a sub to practice with. The females he knows, even from the fetish club, just aren't digging him. And that's where Eddie comes in (and I'll talk about him more in a minute), he offers to be Jeff's sub and teach Jeff how to be a dom.

Of course there is a catch, Jeff isn't gay. A mantra he says repeatedly for a good portion of the book - and this is why I loved him so much. No, not because of the claiming not to be gay, but because his actions didn't always follow what he was saying. He fell for Eddie hook, line and sinker (or cane, rope and dildo) and we got to watch him ....ssshhh....fall in love. Be still my beating heart. This man, dominant and gruff was actually as soft as marshmallow on the inside. He cared about Eddie. He listened to what Eddie was telling him - be it him needing a hug, spank, cloth or food. He LISTENED. *Swooning* Even when it went against his ...well, not his instincts, but what he thought he wanted, he still listened.

The bit that really got me about Jeff? When he realised he was miserable without Eddie, he didn't try to second guess, he didn't try and deny, he admitted his feelings and went with it. I absolutely loved this man.

That's not too say that Eddie wasn't an equally wonderful character. He was, he really, really was. Patient, funny, and absolutely adorable. He was also hot and submissive and so damn yum. Eddie was the perfect sub to Jeff's dom. The perfect teacher. The perfect partner.

Josephine Myles is an amazing author. There is nothing stereo-typical about her characters and for that I am supremely grateful. Jeff is a bear of a man, who likes to dominate in his sex life. That didn't mean he was a leather-daddy blah, blah, blah. He was a normal bloke who liked a certain type of spice in the bedroom. The same goes for Eddie. He could easily have been a stereotypical gay twink submissive - yet he was anything but. Cheeky and endearing, he was the kind of chap you'd meet up the pub and want as your mate. I loved all the characters in this book...not a stereotype in sight (thank you muchly Ms Myles).

I'm sure every other review of this book has told you how hot the hotness was. Well guess what - it was HOT! Caning, kilts, humiliation, pin-wheels, ropes, cock-rings and dildos...they're all there. But they're all there with feels and though this book is about a sub and his dom - it is about so much more than a sub and a dom.

My advice to you is to read it. READ IT NOW PEEPS. And guess what - you can, because today is release day!! Whoo hoo!!!

Find out more on Goodreads.

A copy of this arc was given to us in exchange for an honest review.