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Love Has No Boundaries – Fabulous and FREE stories – Part II

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. So Hot With Love by J.H. Knight
  2. As He Watches by Finn Marlowe
  3. Undeniable by Reece McKinley
  4. Triple Jump by Tam Ames

So Hot With LoveSo Hot With Love by J.H. Knight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

These two men are getting married this evening and are taking a last few quiet moments together. The man in the black T-shirt is remembering a day that almost ended their relationship. It started with some trouble with a thong and a fireman and the whole day just went downhill from there! Please tell us about this unbelievable day.

So what did I think?

This was a lovely story – short and simple but filled with the kind of love you just know will last!

Greg and Chris have been together for many, many years and are getting married later that day. As they reminisce about their time together you get a sense of the type of men they are and the relationship they have.

Their love is obvious, as is the attraction they have to one another but there have been moments when everything hasn’t been totally perfect. But like any good relationship they have overcome these hurdles and focused on what is important.

It also clear that they have a great rapport which is obvious in the dialogue and comments bounced back and forth between the men. It is only a short story but there are a couple of cute and funny lines. My favourite…“You’re such a girl.””My erection begs to differ.”

The story closes with Greg and Chris dancing at their wedding to the song “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields which you might like to check out. Personally I love it when authors put songs in their stories, especially if I don’t know the artist or the song!

As He WatchesAs He Watches by Finn Marlowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

“For now, you stay where I put you.”

That’s the first thing he says to me after I undress, when he presses me up against the glass and positions me just so. I’d ask him to tell me more, but he’s got a fetish for self-denial, and if I push I might not get to touch him at all. That’s the last thing I want.

The thing is, I don’t have to listen to him. What we do together, it’s completely voluntary and pretty undefined. We set up a meeting, he gives me directions, I obey. He’s not paying me, not coercing me, and he knows if he tried to do either I’d be gone. We didn’t meet in a club; it’s remarkable that we met at all, when we live in two very different worlds. He likes to look, to touch, but he almost never gets off. I like the feeling of his eyes on me, I like doing all the things he says, but I want more. How do I push the boundaries when I barely know what they are?

So what did I think?

The sense of mystery and the little bit of intrigue kept me glued to this story.

I wanted to understand Winter, to know more about him, to find out what was driving his behaviour and what was going to happen at 3 o’clock.

I wanted to find out more about Erik and loved the insight into his thought process and his feelings about his encounters with Winter and how he felt when he successfully followed each clue that resulted in them meeting. “The things that followed afterward were… wow. Scary, embarrassing, amazing, liberating and thrilling all at once.”

Mostly I would just like to see more of these two!

4 Stars

UndeniableUndeniable by Reece McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

Our sire wanted two matching pretty boys at her side forever— that’s why she turned us both into vampires. We had some really good years, the three of us. But now that she’s gone, the pain of her death is tearing both our minds apart. I know he’s been doing stupid things. Breaking the rules our sire taught us. Risking his life. What am I going to do? He’s all I have left— just like I’m all he has, but am I enough?

So what did I think?

Two vampires lose Regina, the vampire who had sired them. One of them, Liam, is lost in his grief and his actions are putting his own life at risk. Jack is also hurting, not only for the loss of Regina but for the loss of Liam.

“Now, I know you boys are messed up with her gone. But he’s out of control, Jack. You need to get a handle on him before someone else does. I don’t know much about your…situation, but I do know from what Regina told me that you aren’t supposed to be waving your freak flag like he is.”

I found this a really interesting paranormal story to read – a bit of world building and even a bit of werewolf confrontation but mainly a story about grief and feelings and love.

I did find myself at the end wishing to see a little more physical action between Jack and Liam so maybe a follow up story is needed. Oh, and I would love to see a story written about the two men once they had taken werewolf blood! Supposedly an aphrodisiac resulting in tremendous lust for a vampire and all they can focus on is achieving the next orgasm!

4 Stars

Triple JumpTriple Jump by Tam Ames

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

The 2 men kneeling knew someone was missing in their relationship. They were looking for a third to complete them.

So what did I think?

This may be menage but it’s all about love (with some steamy sex thrown in!).

Jeff and Patrick have been together for a couple of years but don’t feel complete. They feel that they are missing the person they need for the perfect relationship.

They have been searching for that elusive special someone but only meet guys after one-night stands and kinky sex.

Taylor is different. They feel drawn to him and him to them. There’s just one or two minor problems. Firstly convincing Taylor that he is wanted and secondly Jeff and Patrick accepting Taylor for who he really is.“Why would they want him? He was nothing special and there was that whole shifter thing.”

This short story really isn’t about world building, more focused on the relationship with a strong them of acceptance. I really liked the message about not judging people for things that are part of them, things they cannot change.

3.5 stars for this cute short story
4 Stars

You can check out the full list of stories and download from the M/M Romance Group website.

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The Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland

I always love a great romance with a backdrop of the rock world. There’s just something about the musicians – doesn’t matter if it is a guitarist, a drummer, a singer or keyboardist or anything else – and the lives they lead that is so appealing for a story. There’s the lifestyle and the lure of fame and all the temptation that goes along with it. So I was excited to start this series…..

The Replacement Guitarist Series

  • The Replacement Guitarist (book #1) – in this review
  • Home for the Holidays (book #2)

The Replacement Guitarist (The Replacement Guitarist, #1)The Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Blaze Shinozuka, a hot talent who auditions as a replacement guitarist for world famous pop star Cassie, is thrilled when he draws the attention of celebrity manager Jason Stockton—and not only because it could make his career. His instant attraction to Jason sends his world careening off its axis and drives him to make a move. But Jason reacts by trying to put distance between them, and Blaze finds himself thrust into the gritty world of rock ‘n’ roll while falling for a man he shouldn’t touch, let alone love.

Straight-laced Jason Stockton is always professional and never dips his pen in the company ink. But there’s something about Blaze that leaves him wanting what he shouldn’t, and the guitarist’s exotic beauty and compelling innocence turn out to be the temptation Jason can’t resist. But just one lie in the national media sets off a chain of events that pushes Jason and Blaze apart. Can they find a way to be together in the cutthroat, jealous world of rock ‘n’ roll even after the music stops?

So what did I think?

A musician,  the rock world….. I was excited to start this story, particularly as it was about an inexperienced guitarist (Blaze) and the band manager (Jason). I liked the idea that the story wasn’t involving the lead singer or another band member. I liked the idea that it wasn’t all about a relationship being conducted under the eye of the paparazzi. However the book didn’t quite live up to expectations for me.

For me the strength of the story was in the character of Blaze. He is young and inexperienced. He is a highly skilled guitarist and this is his first tour and he has been thrown straight into the deep end, touring with the latest pop sensation. He is also very inexperienced sexually. He is bisexual but has been with neither a women or a man.

Over the course of the book, Blaze needs to find the courage to push things with Jason, the man he is attracted to (we’re talking the first hard-on appearing on page 3 of the book!) and comes to have feelings for. He also needs courage to come out to his family.

I found Jason’s character to be a bit conflicted. One minute he is all tough and a business man in control, all about not playing around with employees. The next minute he can’t resist Blaze and is all over him.

The weakness of the story for me was in a couple of areas.

Firstly, the relationship between Jason and Blaze seemed very much based on sex. There was a lot of sex, good sex mind you (apart from overuse of the word cockhead), but a lot of it. I wanted them to go out on a date, maybe dinner, to talk more and build a real relationship based on more than the physical. I wanted them to get to know each other properly. They just seemed to hang out in the office and have sex. They spoke of developing feelings but it was hard to see what these feelings were based on so it made it unbelievable. Plus I was a bit annoyed that they thought it was a good idea for Blaze to have his first full sexual experience on the couch in the office just before they he had to rush back to rehearsal. “Too bad we aren’t at the hotel right now. It would be nice to just hold you right now.” Duh!

Secondly, and maybe this is a bit picky but at the start of the book there is talk of both men being bisexual. Based on Blaze’s physical reaction, Jason says “Blaze had confirmed he was definitely bisexual.” I didn’t understand how he came to this conclusion (even though it was correct) when Blaze hadn’t indicated any interest in women. Maybe I missed it?

The tension in the story is largely driven by a few doubts over why each man started the relationship and what they were looking to get out of it. Plus Blaze has some family issues relating to both his career choice and sexuality. Pop star Cassie also acts like a typical diva bitch, interfering and causing a bit of trouble. Sexual attraction to women also comes into play.
[I hated Jason propositioning Blaze with the idea of a threesome but was impressed with Blaze’s response – although he is attracted to women, as proven by his own fantasy about his friend, he knows he doesn’t want to share Jason or need anything more than him – yay! (hide spoiler)]

So, while I did find a few niggling points with this story, overall it was an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two. I haven’t read the sequel yet and hope this spends a little more time on the relationship side of the story.

3 Stars

To find out more about Lori Toland and her books visit her website.

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