Quick Review: Standby by Kim Fielding

Standby by Kim Fielding

After an awful job interview, Tom has to fly back home to Iowa, only to have his flights grounded or delayed. He’s on standby for the first flight out in the morning, so it looks like he’s stuck, an uncomfortable airport chair his bed for the night.

In the deserted terminal, a handsome man strikes up a conversation with him. Rafael likes watching the planes. It reminds him of a time before he was grounded. The attraction between them is electric (literally) and Rafael Takes Tom to an out of the way storage room. He shows Tom the scars on his back, convincing Tom that Rafael is much more than he seems. After sex than can only be described as transcendent, Tom opens up about what he really wants – a simple life and someone special to share it with.

Tom awakens in the terminal. As he waits for his flight, he strikes up a conversation with a handsome guy. Rafael is headed to Iowa too, moving there for a new job. Things Tom are starting to look a whole lot brighter.

This short about Tom and his tryst with a uniquely appealing stranger is really charming. I especially enjoyed the banter between the two character (I’m a sucker for snappy dialog). I also liked the idea that even in an undeniably awful situation (airports, amirite?) a little bit of magic can be found.

Standby is a quick and engaging read that offers a little bit of heat and a lot of hope.

Quick Review: Dante by Stella Shaw

Dante by Stella Shaw

A dilapidated London hotel, The Haven, is home to Dante and several other of his rent boy pals. Rick, the new owner, and his best friend/accountant Blake, want to try and keep the place going. Everyone chips in to make it habitable again and Dante even pulls in a few favors from his previous life (he was an accountant too) to get Rick a business loan to pay for some of the larger repairs.

Blake comes by on an evening when Dante has no other clients – giving them a chance to the explore the undeniable attraction that they have for each other. Their chemistry is electric, and the sex is something they both desperately want and need.

As Dante helps Rick go over some of the books, he is annoyed that he can’t seem to stop thinking about that night with Blake who likes Dante just as much.

When they end up in bed again, Dante is feeling vulnerable after such a loving and vigorously satisfying fuck. He tells Blake about his life and how he’s found himself in this particular profession. It’s more than just sex for Blake, he wants more.

But unexpected news means Blake must move back to Scotland to handle things at his family’s firm. He asks Dante to join him, but he doesn’t see it working out between them and says no.

Rick and some of the other guys give Dante a stern talking to, and he explains that he’s been burned by love and too trusting of men in the past. But the thing is, he cares for Blake than he willing to admit.

He makes a mad dash to King’s Cross station where, amongst the bedlam of holiday travelers, they confess what it is they really want – each other.

In Edinburgh, Dante spends Christmas with Blake and his family. They also make plans for the New Year… and for many years to come.

Romances about escorts can be kinda tricky. How exactly does the author craft a convincing love story when the character’s profession means sleeping with someone other than their intended love interest? It’s a difficult tightrope to walk and I think Stella Shaw does a wonderful job with this story. While exploring Dante and Blake’s sexual chemistry, she not only delves into the physical connection that they share, but the emotional one as well. Falling in love is something completely new for these two men and watching them achieve their HEA is lot of fun to read.

Dante is the novella length introduction to the series, Love at the Haven. Each book focuses on a different member of the found family that call this unique place home.

Quick Review: Blind Spot by Jessie Pinkham

Blind Spot by Jessie Pinkham

Ben has an unusual matchmaking hobby. He has a sixth sense about who will be someone’s perfect match, and enjoys bringing people together, the only problem is that he has a blind spot when it comes to finding love for himself.

Isaiah is Ben’s longtime friend with benefits. After a brake-up, Isaiah needs some comforting, so Ben brings over pizza, they have some great sex, and finish the evening with cuddles and Netflix.

The next morning, Isaiah’s sister shows up on Ben’s doorstep telling him that Isaiah is head-over-heels for him and if Ben doesn’t feel the same way, then he needs to cut her brother loose. Ben would like there to be more, if only he could be certain like he is with his other love matches.

When they sit down for “the talk”, Ben tries to explain his reticence, but Isaiah isn’t having it. Normal people take a chance on love every day. Just because they don’t have the Ben’s mystical matchmaking seal of approval, doesn’t mean that they can’t have a future together.

If ever there was someone worth taking a chance on, it’s Isaiah. Ben sees the light and they tumble into bed, now boyfriends – with all the benefits and love that the title implies.

Even as they plan their wedding, Ben can’t help his matchmaking tendencies, seeing a bright romantic future for Isaiah’s brother and the wedding florist.

I really enjoyed this sexy/romantic short from Jessie Pinkham. Blind Spot was an interesting twist on the classic friends-to-lovers trope. Isaiah was right, there are no guarantees in life, and I was happy to see Ben finally get out of his own way to find his true love with the man who was right there all along.

Quick Review: Realization (Delaney Duo Book 2) by Alie Nolan

Realization (Delaney Duo Book 2) by Alie Nolan

Alone in New York and with no date for Valentine’s Day, Dylan signs up for a new app that sets you up on a blind date, presumably with someone who is you perfect match. Up until this point he’d only dated women, so he is surprised to find that he has been matched with Russell, his father’s best friend and business partner, who is in New York meeting with clients. They decide to go through with the date and end up having a wonderful evening together. When they say goodnight, Dylan hugs him and kisses him on the cheek. Only Russell turns at that exact moment and they accidentally kiss on the lips – not that either of them minds.

Back in San Diego, Russell gives Dylan a call to discuss what happened. Russ liked it. Dylan liked it. What’s the harm in having a little bit of fun? So, Dylan takes charge (which Russ really likes) and instigates some incredibly intense phone sex. They end up talking over the next few weeks, Dylan eventually confiding that he hates it in New York, his job sucks, and the only bright spot in his day is talking with Russell. Dylan’s really starting to like this guy. Maybe he’s more bisexual that he originally thought.

As a surprise for Dylan’s 23rd birthday, Russell flies to the east coast. Upon arrival at his Brooklyn apartment, Dylan leaps into his arms and they’re finally able to do in person what they’ve, so far, only be able to do over facetime.

In their post-coital bliss, they discuss where their relationship is going. They formalize their status as boyfriends who’ll somehow find a way to make their long-distance situation work.

The guilt is starting to get to Russ. He wants to tell Devon (Dylan’s dad) all about the great new relationship he’s in, but how do you even start that kind of conversation?

One day, Dylan decides he’s had enough of New York. He packs is meager belongings and flies home to San Diego. When he arrives on Russell’s doorstep, they reunite with a passionate kiss.

Now an official cohabitating couple, the only thing left to do is tell Dylan’s dad. Devon is shocked when they make their announcement, but Russ is able to explain how much Dylan truly means to him. Understandably, it’s all a little awkward at first, but the at the end of the day it’s happiness that counts.

Several months later, everyone gathers for a celebration of love and friendship on New Year’s Eve. There may even be wedding bells in the future for one of our happy couples.

This novella is the second part of a duology that began with Resolution. Devon found love with Dylan’s best friend Sebastion in that story. I loved that book, and I loved Realization just as much. It was wonderful watching Dylan and Russell navigate their complicated family dynamics on the way to their very sexy happily ever after. Author Alie Nolan really knows how to craft a compelling read that really delivers on some beloved and time-honored romance tropes – age-gap, father’s best friend, bisexual awakening. I enjoyed both books in the Delaney Duo and think you will too.

Quick Review: Resolution (Delaney Duo book 1) by Alie Nolan

Resolution (Delaney Duo book 1) by Alie Nolan

Sebastion (no, I didn’t misspell it) is excited to be spending the new year with his best friend at Dylan’s family cabin in the snowy Colorado mountains. But Dylan’s flight is delayed. When Sebastion arrives at the cabin, he is surprised to find it occupied by Dylan’s incredibly hot father, Devon.

Despite some initial awkwardness, Sebastion finds he enjoys talking to, and spending time with Devon. One night, with a few glasses of wine to loosen their inhibitions, Sebastion gives into his desires and kisses his best friend’s father.

Though neither of them wants to jeopardize their relationship with Dylan, they also don’t regret that amazing kiss. On New Year’s Eve, they have a picnic on the floor of the cabin in front of the fire. They end up talking for hours and, as the clock is about to strike midnight, Devon asks what Sebastion’s resolution is. Begrudgingly, he admits that his resolution for the past few years has been to lose his virginity. Devon takes him to bed, and they blissfully ring in the new year in each other’s arms.

With days spent building snowmen and snowball fights, and nights filled with kisses, cuddles, and plenty of orgasms, Devon realizes that he just might be falling for Sebastion.

After a week of uninterrupted bliss, Dylan finally arrives. While finding his dad and best friend in a romantic relationship certainly wasn’t what he expected, at the end of the day he just wants them both to be happy.

Their relationship with Dylan intact, it’s time for Devon and Sebastion to decide if this is just a vacation fling, or something more. They definitely both want more, and Devon takes his newly designated boyfriend upstairs to celebrate.

A few months later, we find our happy heroes living together. Dylan will be joining them for dinner, but when he arrives, he has his own surprise announcement about his brand-new relationship.

I am powerless to resist any romance that features two nice guy heroes and I was on board with this story from the moment these two met. Devon and Sebastion have a genuinely warm and adorable chemistry together. They were so kind and thoughtful. Once they acknowledged their mutual attraction, they moved cautiously, considering how their relationship might affect Dylan, someone they both deeply care for.

When Devon learns that he’ll be Sebastion’s first, he does everything in his power to ensure that Sebastion’s experience is unforgettable. Like I said… so kind, so thoughtful, and so damn sexy.

If age gap and first times are your go-to romance tropes of choice, then I think Resolution just might be the story for you. This novella is the first part of a duology. Dylan’s story continues in book two, Realization.

Quick Review: My Merman Boyfriend by Elizabeth Monvey

My Merman Boyfriend by Elizabeth Monvey

Rian awakens in the hospital, unable to remember a thing. Not the accident that brought him there, not even the smokin’ hot boyfriend at his bedside. Jarred takes him back to a gloomy gothic mansion that overlooks the sea, Jarred’s ancestral estate on the coast of Maine.

Rian spends the next few days trying to remember anything about his previous life. The attraction to his mysterious lover is hard to deny as they spend more and more time together. One early morning, he follows Jarred down a mysterious passage that runs underneath the house to a sea cave laden with treasure.

His boyfriend is a merman! No spoilers there, it is the title of the story after all.

Rian also remembers the cause of his amnesia. It was no accident. Someone in the house wants him dead!

The villain makes one last attempt to do away with Rian. But a cliffside scuffle sends the murderer over the edge, leaving our heroes to happily swim off into the proverbial sunset.

My Merman Boyfriend packs a lot of gothic punch in its short page count. I really enjoyed the spooky atmosphere, the sense of foreboding, which is so important when comes to a gothic romance like this. Rian is a likeable hero who works hard to solve the puzzle of his connection to this place, and its enigmatic owner. And let’s not forget Jarred, Rian’s handsome, slightly broody, mysterious lover. Talk about a hero worth pinning over. *swoon*

I loved Elizabeths Monvey’s modern take on these classic gothic romance tropes.