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Love Has No Boundaries – Fabulous & FREE m/m short stories – PART I

LHNB

What Is Love Has No Boundaries?

The Goodreads M/M Romance group have run a number of events where we are lucky enough to get to read a collection of free m/m short stories, novellas and novels written by the group’s authors. Previous collections include Don’t Read In The Closet, Hot Summer Days (2011) and Love is Always Write (2012). This year’s collection is Love Has No Boundaries.

Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Stories covered in this review are:

  1. Playing for Keeps by Lexi Ander
  2. The Idiots’ Tango by B. Snow
  3. Lost Time by Parker Williams

Playing for KeepsPlaying for Keeps by Lexi Ander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

College running back, Trent Harte, has been living with his lovers, AJ Barnes and Brock Everett, for two years. Caught in a compromising position, rumors abound. It’s hard enough to be an openly gay football player, but gossip and snide comments only adds to his stress. Threats against his partners causes Trent wonder if he should step back from the relationship.

AJ and Brock knows there is something wrong when Trent begins to pull away. A call from Trent’s father only adds to the distress. AJ and Brock refuse to let him shoulder the responsibility alone and they call for help. Will Trent find the strength to withstand the pressure and hold on to those he loves? Or will AJ and Brock be too late to convince Trent that they are playing for keeps?

So what did I think?

The thing I like most about this story was the focus on the depth of love in the menage relationship, not the sex. The three men – Trent, Brock and AJ – obviously care so much about each other, willing to sacrifice their individual dreams, if necessary, to be together.

These are strong men but they are not afraid to express their emotions and take a stand – all for one and one for all!

The story is engaging, the emotions strong, the sex hot and the ending happy.

The only minor niggle I had was the repetitive reference to Trent as ‘their running back’ or ‘the running back’. I got it – he was a running back! Well, maybe I didn’t really get it because I don’t actually know what a running back is but I am sure you know what I mean! The same with AJ who kept being referred to a ‘the former marine’, ‘their Marine’. To me it just doesn’t seem natural to be referring to people by their occupation or former occupation.

Overall, I feel very spoilt, being provided with a long and quality short story for free. Thanks Lexi!

4 Stars

The Idiots' TangoThe Idiots’ Tango by B. Snow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story prompt…

Dear Author,
My two men can’t STAND each other. It’s not a general dislike and it’s not a case where they can avoid each other.  Unfortunately, they share a circle of friends and family.
They met when they were in high school and there seemed to be a bit of attraction despite their vast differences, but something happened and they are at each other’s throats. Verbal throw-downs, the occasional thrown punch has happened at more than a few shared get togethers.
Dear Author, how can two men who can’t stand each other come to realize that the other man is the one person they can’t and don’t want to live without?

So what did I think?

I loved this story! It was a wonderful journey, spanning many years, from Josh and Stu’s first meeting and kiss that triggers it all.

Josh and Stu don’t see a lot of each other during this time but when they do, sparks fly – usually as they are annoying each other or fighting. Things never end well!

We follow Josh through his career as a professional rugby player and experience all the joys and sorrows of his family life from funerals to weddings, all of which seem to be intertwined with Stu’s family as Josh and Stu’s sisters are best friends.

The final scenes are brilliant – Josh and Stu finally get it together and (view spoiler)[first Josh’s Dad and then Stu’s Mum, walk in on them – hilarious! (hide spoiler)]. There’s tension and stupidity, some sadness and finally happiness plus the story has some genuinely funny moments.

Best line? Josh meeting an older gay couple at a wedding… “Why, when I was young, I had to walk five miles in the snow to get to the nearest glory hole.”

Once again I feel blessed to get such a great story for free!

5 Stars

Lost TimeLost Time by Parker Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Story Prompt:

I was hoping you could tell me the story of these two beautiful men?
They have known each other for many years. They were close friends for a long time, but life just got in the way and their competitive careers and busy lives meant they somehow fell out of touch. They never forgot about each other, and they have both been waiting for this moment for years.
I’d like to see an emotional reunion, maybe a hint of hurt/comfort in there somewhere if you can fit it in, but most of all just a whole lot of love (I’m a hopeless romantic!)

So what did I think?

This was sweet and cute and romantic and basically pretty wonderful. Two boys who loved each other (unknown to the other, of course) and drifted apart. Sure, I didn’t understand why two people who felt so strongly about each other could let that happen but didn’t worry too much about that.

What follows is lots of romance as Kurt looks to win Alex’s heart by letting him know how much he cares and explaining some of the events in their past. Notes, picnics, romantic dinners, dancing gorillas with banana messages and radio dedications…perfect.

4 Stars

I hadn’t heard of the dedication song so here it is….

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★★★★ Forever Promised by Amy Lane ★★★★

The Promises series:

  • Keeping Promise Rock (book #1) – 5 stars
  • Making Promises (book #2) – 5 stars
  • Living Promises (book #3) – 5 stars
  • Forever Promised (book #4) – in this review

Forever Promised (Promises, #4)Forever Promised by Amy Lane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.

When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him—she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.

Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them—everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.

So what did I think?

Reading this book was like visiting with old friends. I felt like I was attending a family reunion and finding out what everyone had been up to and what directions their lives were heading in. And as with any family gathering, there were family members I wanted to spend lots of time with and others less so. Every now and then I would read a passage and remember an event from an earlier book in the series, a bit like a real memory, reminding me of the characters histories – and the characters do feel very real.

What I did find with reading this book was, although there was happiness, there was also a real sense of melancholy – not sure if that is actually the right word I want to use but it wasn’t one of those all warm-and-fuzzy books. There were moments of worry and sadness as much like life, things don’t always go smoothly and we don’t always get what we want. There is loss, pain, sadness and death together with moments of tenderness and joy.

The specialness of this series lies in the reminder it provides about the value of friendship and love.

“And again, and again. Breath after heartbeat, summer, fall, winter, spring – and it all came back to this, this place, this moment. It came to beginnnings and endings, of promises you made and promises you kept and promises that got broken in spite of your best intentions. It came to fixing what shattered, making do with what wouldn’t fix, and building again and hoping, hoping for this moment, when everything was as shiny and perfect as a baby’s first cry.
It’s why they all gathered here, weddings, funerals, the introduction of their son – it was the promise and the heartbreak of the place Deacon’s family called home. It was the legacy of a community, a simple swimming hole, a place made sacred by love.
Promise Rock.”

4 Stars

For more information about Amy Lane and her books, visit her website.

Buy Forever Promised from Amazon.

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