Quick Review: Rear Admiral by Nathan Burgoine

Rear Admiral by Nathan Burgoine

Russ is intrigued when his friends tell him they know a former porn star and that he’ll be attending their next wine tasting get together. Curious, Russ looks up Dom Masters online and is blown away by the size of the man, so much so that he impulsively orders the Rear Admiral, a dildo molded from the star himself.

Frustrated, Russ is unable to achieve the full Dom Masters experience before the big night (though it’s not for a lack of trying).

Needless to say, the ruggedly handsome star (call me Matt) is a big hit at the party. He strikes up a conversation with Russ, the only other single guy there, and they chat about life and how Matt is in town to help his invalid mother. Russ happens to work in an assisted living facility and gives Matt a referral for a caregiver who might help.

Later at home, Russ is finally able to successfully take the full rubber replica of the man he hit it off with earlier in the evening.

Matt wants to thank Russ for the help with his mom, so he brings over some pizza and they curl up on the couch to watch a scary movie. There is definitely a spark between them, and the night is finished off with a kiss.

They make plans for another evening together, but maybe one not so chaste. Their chemistry is electric, and Russ finds himself in Matt’s bed where he rises to the challenge of Matt’s prodigious talent. It’s far better than any fantasy because the two of them together are the real deal. A happy ending indeed.

For an erotic tale about huge dildos and well-hung porn stars, I found this short story surprisingly sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s crazy sexy, but the way Russ and Matt meet, and converse, and hang out, is completely charming and totally down-to-earth. I liked watching these characters fall for each another, and if one of them just so happens to have an enormous dick, well… all the better.

Rear Admiral is a terrific short featuring two nice guys, a little bit of humor, and a lot of romantic heat.

Quick Review: Always You by KM Neuhold

Always You by KM Neuhold

A group of young friends, fresh out of college, decide to take part in one last tradition before going their separate ways and beginning their adult lives. Nico is nervous because he’s using the weekend trip to the lake house to finally come out to his friends. He’s especially worried how his best friend Dante will react.

A few beers and a round of poker later, Nico makes his big announcement, which his friends are all fine with. It takes a moment for Dante to wrap his head around the news, but a good talk and a near-miss kiss later, they’re able to straighten things out.

A summer storm and a leaky roof forces Dante into Nico’s bed for the night, where they admit their feelings for each other, share their first kiss, and sleep together (though there’s very little rest.)

The next morning, their friends applaud that they’ve finally done the deed and taken the leap from besties to boyfriends. Nico and Dante’s one special night has shown them what’s possible and they happily make plans for their future together.

I definitely have a soft spot for ‘nice guy’ characters and I really enjoyed the low-angst way these guys were able to be open with each other and explore new possibilities in their relationship.

This sweet/sexy new adult gay romance short is filled with feels, first times, and long held desires made real. If nice guys are your kink (like mine), you should check out Always You.

Quick Review: Chew Toy by LE Franks

Chew Toy by LE Franks

When college guy Morgan inadvertently becomes the main course at a vampire orgy, he’s saved by a hunky two-thousand-year-old vamp named Marc. But to save him, Marc had to turn him.

In a remote upscale cabin, deep in the woods, Marc tries to educate his sire on his new way of life, which Morgan isn’t so sure he wants. The two of them spar verbally as he struggles through the traditional stages of grief, eventually coming to terms with his new “life”.

With acceptance comes the need for blood to complete his transformation. His desire for Marc eventually leads to a very bitey roll in the hay that makes Morgan realize an eternity spent with his sexy vampire daddy won’t be such a hardship after all.

My light-hearted recap aside, this short story does a wonderful job of mixing humor with genuine depth, primarily the emotional journey that Morgan goes through as he realizes the reality of the unique situation he finds himself in.

Chew Toy is the intruging introduction to Fang Club, LE Frank’s gay vampire romance series.

Quick Review: Ipso Facto ILU by Hudson Lin

Ipso Facto ILU by Hudson Lin

Handsome political pundit and podcaster Jonny Lim is a total Rockstar as far as Brandon is concerned. When Jonny arrives on campus to give a talk, Brandon makes sure to snag the perfect seat, so he can quietly swoon over his celebrity crush.

The next day, Jonny is delighted to find that Brandon has been assigned to give him a tour of the campus. A smart but awkward guy with a passion for political science? Talk about hitting the jackpot. Their day together is amazing, but they must eventually part ways as Jonny’s flight leaves early in the morning.

Or is it?

A storm grounds all air travel and Jonny has no place to stay. Brandon offers up his place for the night. A warm meal and some cuddles and kisses on the couch soon leads to them succumbing to their attraction, Brandon definitely keeping Jonny warm on a frigid Toronto night.

It’s only been a weekend, but both of them have fallen hard. They say their goodbyes (again) with the hope that they might find some way of making this thing between them work.

A few weeks later Jonny makes a big announcement on his podcast, one that that’ll bring them together for a life filled with love, laughs and heated political discourse (which is so not my thing, but for these two it’s a perfect happily ever after.)

I really loved this sweet/sexy contemporary gay romance short story. I particularly enjoyed how Jonny was charmed by nice guy Brandon, whose awkwardness and encyclopedic knowledge of obscure political theory only made him more appealing in Jonny’s eyes.

Ipso Facto ILU by Hudson Lin was originally part of the Rouge Ever After Anthology, but is now available separately as a stand-alone short.

Quick Review: Gifts for the Season – Winter & Christmas M/M Charity Anthology

Gifts for the Season: Winter & Christmas M/M Charity Anthology

While I haven’t gotten to every story in the anthology, below are some of my thoughts on my favorites that I’ve read so far.

Single Dad Christmas by RJ Scott

Austin is the successful single dad of the title, and two years ago he hired a handsome and capable manny named Paul. Time is now up, and young Paul is ready to travel the world. Can Austin finally ask Paul to be a permanent part of his rambunctious family? Maybe an eggnog fueled kiss will work, or a trip with the triplets to visit Santa will finally give these two the courage to confess their feelings and grant each other their one true Christmas wish.

Must Be Santa by Annabeth Albert

Features Teddy and Nick from Albert’s full-length Christmas novel ‘Better Not Pout’, which I reviewed (and heartily endorsed) in the last podcast episode of 2018 (episode number 169 to be exact). If you like audio I also recommend that you check the excellent narration of that book by Sean Crisden. Must Be Santa finds our heroes living out their happily ever after and expanding their family with two foster kids. I don’t need to tell you that parenting during the holidays has its ups and downs, but by the time Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolls around, they’re one big happy family.

Five Gold Blings by Clare London

Is about flashy and fabulous Alec who’s trying to make a go of it as a fashion influencer. One day he gets caught with his pants down (literally) by hunky delivery guy, Grey. They flirt as the packages keep arriving, and Alec even wrangles Gray into participating in live fashion shows for his online followers. Gray eventually encourages Alec to ditch the cut-rate clothes of his sponsor and show off his own creations, all while falling in love in the process. This story perfectly combines ridiculous comedic situations with sweet/sexy romance, which as far as I’m concerned, are the cornerstones of any Clare London story.

Twelve Days of UPS by Eli Easton

Is another story featuring a deliveryman hero, this time it’s Dan who brings a steady supply of packages to Paul, a writer who has a secret admirer that’s sending daily gifts inspired by the Twelve Days of Christmas. Paul enjoys his daily interactions with big, hunky Dan, and finally gets the courage to ask him on a date… on his back patio, sharing some wine and fancy cheese (the gift corresponding with the eight maids a-milking). Eventually they figure out who has been sending the gifts and have fallen for each other in the process.

It should be said that I never, in a million years, wanted to read a ‘love in the time of covid’ story, but Eli Easton has managed to pull off something that is so sweet and charming, she’s made me a believer that romance can in fact happen in a year as fucked up as 2020. Dan and Paul wear masks and practice responsible social distancing throughout the story. Paul’s growing attraction to Dan, despite the fact that he doesn’t know what is underneath Dan’s face mask, is an important part of what makes these characters so genuine and real and kind. When they finally do kiss (after they firmly establish that there’s no threat of possible transmission) it’s sweet and satisfying.

These are just a few of the stories in this amazing anthology which also features AE Via, Lane Hayes, Joanna Chambers, Posy Roberts, Suki Fleet, Garrett Leigh, Felice Stevens, VL Locey, Annabelle Jacobs, Amber Kell, and Alex Jane.

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to The Trevor Project.

This review originally appeared as part of the Big GayFiction Podcast.