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

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. Repair My Heart by Zeoanne
  2. Guarding Lucas by Mitchell E. Sanford
  3. Ass over Teacup by Jackie Nacht

Repair My HeartRepair My Heart by Zeoanne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Chad is a mechanic, a lonely man forced to hide his sexuality from the intolerant people in his town. Takoda is a satellite repairman still troubled by a past abusive relationship. When Chad called to get his satellite fixed, he never expected someone as beautiful as Takoda to show up. Can Chad fix Takoda’s broken heart? Can Takoda repair more than just Chad’s satellite?

So what did I think?

This was a super short but nice story.

Although it was a short story, it felt a little rushed, trying to get too much into a short space. The issues were only touched on and the story just skimmed the surface of the relationship. However the characters were really likable and I was so pleased to see them get their happy ending.

The ending did feel a little like the neat summary from a children’s fairy tale (view spoiler)

So 3 stars for this quick and sweet read and well done to Zeoanne for her first published story!

3 Stars

Guarding LucasGuarding Lucas by Mitchell E. Sanford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

When I see this picture, I think of somebody wanting to be loved more than anything. He’s never received the love he seeks, not truly. Other than the angel that guides him. This angel has been there his entire life, watching and guarding against the things that will harm his destiny. When the day finally comes that he loses his ability to hide from his charge, he is given the chance to love.

So what did I think?

This is such a hard story to review. It’s a story that has a very emotional feel but those emotions aren’t necessarily pleasant. There are so many sad elements to this story – illness, neglect, rejection, suicide and self harm – that I found myself feeling quite down. And with all this sadness, it was almost uncomfortable to see the sexual elements play out.

I think the author did a wonderful job in creating a story that conveys sorrow and pain. However, although the ending touches on Lucas being in a better place, about to start his ‘true life’, I still felt quite unsettled at the ending – there’s a sense that happiness will come but it didn’t translate to the story ending on a positive note in terms of my own emotions. But sometimes that can be a good thing and it certainly had me pondering a number of issues.

So my advise for readers…it’s only a short story but be prepared for some serious issues to be raised. This is not your traditional romance so don’t expect hearts and flowers.

3 Stars

Ass Over TeacupAss Over Teacup by Jackie Nacht

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

My friend Ulysses has always been a bit of a klutz but he seemed to be getting his act together better recently. Burdened by that name, he’s always allowed himself to be bullied and take a back seat to everyone else. Added to that, he trips over his own feet or stutters when he meets a hot guy. This spectacular fall is just one more thing to make the poor guy think he’s doomed. He was getting ready to go on a blind date tonight and now I just had to call the paramedics instead. What’s a guy to do when he just can’t stay grounded?

So what did I think?

This was really sweet story and a nice way to spend my lunch hour today!

Ulysses is clumsy and always seems to attract bad luck “Add stepping into the pothole filled with muddy water, and Ulysses wished he could chalk it up to a bad day. However, this was pretty damn typical for him.”. He also has feelings for his room mate Luke.

As the story starts, Ulysses has a really bad day at work. Starting with a broken down car, his day goes from bad to worse. He also comes to the conclusion that he should stop pining over Luke and go on a blind date.

However, later that night his clumsiness acts as the trigger that brings him and Luke together.

Short and sweet. 3.5 stars

3 Stars

 

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

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. That Good Earth by S.A. Meade
  2. Playing the Field by Penny Brandon
  3. The Song by Eric Alan Westfall
  4. A Fragile Love by Les Joseph

That Good EarthThat Good Earth by S.A. Meade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story prompt…

I would love to read a sweet, kisses-only story about two British young men serving together during WW1. Surviving in the trenches, sitting out a long night under fire, etc. I also have a weakness for WW1 pilots, if you decide to go that route. 🙂

So what did I think?

This was a truly lovely story. I was totally transported to the trenches as Arthur and William meet during the heat of battle. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be in such a situation but the author did a wonderful job of bringing these two men together in such circumstances.

Theirs is a gentle love, starting from a brief meeting and continuing via letter and postcard until after the war. They both experience tragedy so it is wonderful so see the happy ending.

Playing The FieldPlaying The Field by Penny Brandon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

He was the one that finally broke through the walls of one of the most successful young soccer coaches, who was secretive with his personal life. The coach was seen a few times with women in public, but no one really knew about the coach’s secret true desires… until he came along and there was no denying the sexual tension between them.

So what did I think?

Absolutely perfect sports themed contemporary romance – loved it! Just what I was in the mood for so 5 stars!

For me the elements in this story were perfect – the characters, the setting, the plot. It’s only a short story but it packed in quite a bit – the sexual tension, the final giving in to temptation and the perfect happy ending.

Rick is the coach. He is closeted and doesn’t do casual. Danny is out and proud, with a reputation as a bit of player. I am sure you can guess the rest….:)

There is heaps of sexual tension but the relationship between these two men is more emotional and I loved their coming together.

Only a quick story but I was invested in the characters and I ended with a smile on my face (I’m always a sucker for public declarations!).

I will definitely be checking out more books from this author and have bought one already!

The SongThe Song by Eric Alan Westfall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

Here I was: thirty-six, closeted, virgin, in Berlin for a conference. In what moment of craziness I had booked into the hippest hetero-friendly hotel (as opposed to gay-friendly) I don’t know… but here I was, surrounded by hot men, from the concierge to the hotel guests. But none tempted me as much as this couple: From Paris, they were on a week’s vacation as well, and I would run into them almost every night, at the hotel’s health club. One was shy and spoke little English. The other was a hunky doctor with a deliciously hairy chest and piercing eyes that wouldn’t let you go. Watching them cuddle, nuzzle, exchange loving glances all the time drove me to voyeuristic distraction. His husky voice and flirtatious banter would make me harder than I would have thought possible. And he knew it! His young lover seemed bemused by it all. And then on my last-but-one night, after a frustratingly erotic display of foreplay at the rooftop jacuzzi (all apparently for my benefit) the Hunk beckoned me over and invited me up to their room…

So what did I think?

I think I liked this book. I say ‘think’ because at times I wasn’t really too sure. I spent most of it thinking things like ‘what’s going on?’, ‘what does that mean?’, ‘how does that fit in?’. I kept trying to work out what was going on and pre-empt the paranormal twists, instead of just relaxing into the story. That being said, sometimes it’s good to read something that keeps you on your toes!

The story jumps between POVs, sometimes for only a very short period of time and sometimes longer. There are little hints and clues of the bigger picture but never enough for me to fully understand how everything fit together. And the ending – what just happened?

It’s an interesting story with hints and glimpses of strange things without fully providing the back ground. It is quite unique in what is shown but perhaps not the book for someone who likes a full world building with a clear cut happy ending.

A Fragile LoveA Fragile Love by Les Joseph

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

I’m so glad we’re finally at this point in our relationship where we are comfortable with each other like this in public; I was an idiot for so long, trying to hide what we had. But after what happened, I’ll never take him for granted again. I’m through hiding. I’m going to make sure that he knows every day just how much I love him.

So what did I think?

This story had an interesting approach. The story started by letting us know there was a big, in the public eye, coming out. However it is not until the end that the details are revealed.

This is a story about a relationship that had the potential to end but tragic circumstances act as the wake up call, making Peter and Adam realise how much they mean to each other and cementing the relationship.

I loved the emotional side to the story slightly more than the sex side as I found the sex talk between the two men felt slightly unnatural – not 100% sure why but this stood out for me. However it is still a 4 star read!

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

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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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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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