Image

DSP Daily Dose MENDED Anthology – Part 1

These books are part of the DSP Daily Dose Mended Anthology which is a themed story released every day in June.

Mended

This year it is all about…..”Each story Life comes with a bit of hurt, but luckily for these men, it also comes with the right amount of comfort to mend their breaks, both of the body and the heart. From facing deranged exes to economic trials, the men in these tales have faced trial by fire–or in some cases water–for the right to love and live. Step into their shoes as they rebuild their family after a gutting betrayal or traverse the stars with an unexpected partner. The Mended Daily Dose package delivers stories about all kinds of second chances built on love.”

❤❤❤❤❤

Cleary Palit

Cleary Palit

by Zahra Owens

The blurb…

Edward “Ted” Cleary and Cazimir Palit have shared everything for eight years. Well, almost everything. They own a successful business together, share a house in West Hollywood, and never travel anywhere without each other, but they’ve never slept in the same bed.

There’s one more thing Ted hasn’t shared with Caz. Ted has a mother, sister, and brother in Atlanta Caz has never met. With good reason. They threw Ted out when he wouldn’t “change his ways,” and he’s never looked back. When Ted is rejected all over again, Caz steps up and proves he isn’t the superficial man Ted always took him for, and Ted’s long-hidden feelings might finally be returned.

So what did I think?

Cleary Palit is the first story of the package and made a nice start to the collection. I enjoyed the story of long-time business partners Ted and Caz. The men have worked and lived together for years and Ted has pinned for the unattainable Caz. He doesn’t think he’s in Caz’s league or Caz’s type. It takes a family situation where Ted needs support for both men to finally start facing their feelings.

This story provided a bitch of a sister (award winning on the bitch-stakes really), lots of family confrontation and an all-the-way happy ending. It was an interesting romance– not hugely hearts-and-flowers– it’s more about showing feeling with actions. Our hero Ted isn’t totally gorgeous, his body isn’t fabulous, he’s a nerd and can’t see a thing without his glasses. I wanted to shake him to stand up for himself at the beginning of the story but he’d endeared himself by the end.

3.5 stars

The Way Things Turn Out

The Way Things Turn Out

by MA Ford

The blurb…

After a serious crash during testing, sports car driver Alan accompanies his injured teammate, Nathan, to the hospital, promising his boss he’ll stay until Nathan’s next of kin can be reached.

Former F1 test driver Nathan was a recent addition to the team, and he and Alan were not on the best of terms. Waiting for Nathan to regain consciousness gives Alan time to think back over the recent races and the ups and downs of their relationship.

Even when Nathan wakes up, Alan remains by his side at the hospital. Nathan is still keeping secrets and needs help more than he’s willing to admit. If they can trust each other, it might open the door to an attraction both assumed was one-sided.

So what did I think?

I’ve got a real soft spot for the books by this author. I think I must be a closet motor sports fan!

It took a little while to settle into reading this comfortably– getting into the flow of the first person present narration, the flashbacks and Alan providing his back story– but once things got going, I really liked it.

It is not surprising that the author has a background in the racing scene due to the level of detail provided. She provides a sense of the lifestyle and does provide information on how the sport works, mentions various tracks and famous drivers but this serves to give the book a realistic setting.

This is a coming-out combined with sort-to-enemies-to-lovers theme – there’s nothing like an accident to bring true feelings to the surface.

3.5 stars

Branded

Branded

by Bru Baker

The Blurb…

When a would-be assassin sneaks into the citadel disguised as a servant, the king requires that all servants who work in the castle be branded with the royal crest for easy identification. Prince Coren is powerless to fight the edict, but he refuses to allow his personal advisor and secret lover Brannir to suffer alone. Coren shows his devotion by wielding the brand to mark Brannir himself, even though he fears it will change their relationship. He’s prepared for resentment, hurt, and anger–every outcome but the one he receives: unconditional love.

So what did I think?

This is the third story in the DSP Daily Dose Mended anthology. It was short but surprisingly enjoyable. I say ‘surprisingly’ because I’m not usually a big fan of fantasy/historical worlds but this one really worked for me.

The story takes place over one night as Corin needs to brand his servant/lover. I could feel Corin’s pain at having to perform the task and admired Bran’s courage due to his love for the other man. I also liked Finnick, the guard, who was so understanding of their situation and amusing.

4 stars

Deep Water

Deep Water

by Coral Moore

The blurb…

Mario Guzman is trying out for the swim team, his ticket to paying his way through college. When he meets Jordan Lewis, an outspoken writer for the school’s paper, he considers coming out even though he’s been very private about his sexuality all his life.

Violence intended for Jordan takes Mario out of consideration for the team and threatens his best hope for an education. He lashes out when Jordan tries to help him in his time of need. Eventually Mario regrets driving Jordan away, and his need to apologize takes him to the scene of the attack, where he confronts his pain and terror. This time Jordan is there to help him face the biggest obstacle in his path.

So what did I think?

I liked this story despite not being entirely sold on the attraction between Mario and Jordan which result pretty much in insta-love. But it was still a nice short and sweet story.

3 stars

Total Immersion

Total Immersion

by Ellis Carrington

The blurb…

Evan Stanton is in over his head. Injured from a fall on campus, he’s let his boyfriend talk him into a senior year total immersion trip—two weeks abroad—only his boyfriend ends up dumping him shortly before takeoff. Evan gets on the plane anyway, but he’s lost his hope and added to his pain.

Chris Bale decided to spend his senior year of college clearing his head after breaking up with the girl he’s dated since high school. He finds himself on a flight to Istanbul next to a surly kid with piercings and guyliner who couldn’t be more his opposite. They strike up a friendship anyway, and as they make their way across a foreign land, Bale realizes he’s too immersed in Evan to let go.

So what did I think?

This short story was lots of fun. I think it might be the first romance I’ve read set in Istanbul so a plus there for originality!

This is the story of poor Evan who starts a tour to Turkey feeling pretty down. He’s just been dumped by his boyfriend plus he has chronic pain from an injury months before. Enter, Bale, the perfect guy to befriend him and become is room-mate. Bale has broken up with is girlfriend and takes Evan under his wing.

It was a sweet story with moments of humour and some little surprises from straight-boy Bale who’s not afraid to jump into a sexual relationship with Evan.

3.5 stars

❤❤❤❤❤

Buy from Dreamspinner Press

 DSP Buy Now

 

 

 

Advertisements
Image

❤❤ Valentine’s Day short stories ❤❤

Heart and flowers, love and romance…..here are a few short stories for Valentine’s Day!

❤❤❤❤❤

Louis Hates Valentine's DayLouis Hates Valentine’s Day by Sue Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Louis hates Valentine’s Day. He hates it with a passion he reserves for Marmite and footballers’ wives. Louis is also a florist and Valentine’s Day is his nemesis, turning his fingers into pin-cushions to make bouquets for men who give red roses to their wives and then ignore them for the rest of year.

Louis hates Valentine’s Day. No one gives him flowers. The only customer he likes is Arnie who buys a new bouquet every week. Arnie gives Louis a chance to explore his love of floriography; the language of flowers. It never occurs to Louis that maybe he isn’t listening to what Arnie is trying to say.

So what did I think?

Wow – Louis really does hate Valentine’s Day and without even knowing the true reasons behind his feelings, you can understand why – the people who visit his florist shop are awful!

This isn’t all hearts and flowers – although there are flowers aplenty – this is a glimpse at one very sad man. The last few years have been tough on Louis and he doesn’t look like he’s making any progress to changing his life. He’s cynical and unhappy and overlooks what’s right in front of him.

Thank goodness his eyes are finally opened because what’s a story about Valentine’s Day without a happy ending!

❤❤❤❤❤

Love and an (Orange) Lamborghini (A Valentine Rainbow)Love and an (Orange) Lamborghini by M.A. Ford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Freelance journalist Will Turner is struggling both financially and emotionally since being dumped by his boyfriend. While his sports car obsessed roommate, Niki, is busy leaving notes for the female owner of a Lamborghini Gallardo parked in their area, Will takes a last-minute assignment to interview a sportsman. The attraction between Will and racing driver Tim Johnson is instant, but Tim is unwilling to risk his career by coming out. Niki has big plans for Valentine’s Day, but it will take a near miracle for any of them to find happiness.

So what did I think?

This was a nice short story and a little bit different. I loved the author’s debut novel  Track Limits (click here for my review) so was really keen to read this one.

It was short and sweet and had a nice Valentine’s Day happy ending. It was a quickie read so I wasn’t expecting too much. I liked the pairing of the very non-sporty journalist and the racing car driver and I enjoyed Will’s flatmate Niki’s attempts to woo the owner of the orange Lamborghini.

What I would have liked to see was some racing action (maybe my expectation from the previous book I read) but this was more a cute story focusing on emotion. The resolution was too rushed for me, with Tim making some decisions which seemed too early in the relationship – but it’s Valentine’s so it had to be bit romantic, didn’t it!

❤❤❤❤❤

Valentine Shower (A Valentine Rainbow)Valentine Shower by John C. Houser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb...

For Reuben, numbers are everything people are not: rational, predictable, and soothing. Outside of this family, his boss, Terry, is the one person he feels connected with. In the years they’ve worked together, listening to Terry’s jokes and stories over coffee has become a reliable part of his routine. But he’s missed having family nearby since his parents retired to Florida, and figures he’ll need a woman to correct the problem. He’s hurt and confused when Terry not only refuses to help, but announces he won’t be coming around much anymore. It’s up to Reuben’s no-nonsense sister Yaffa and his therapist, Dr. Greenberg, to help him understand Terry’s feelings—and his own.

So what did I think?

Reuben is one of the most unique characters I have read in a long time! It was such a joy to watch him try to understand his feelings for his best friend and boss, Terry.

As a data obsessed genius with an inability to ‘read’ people, it takes him a while to realise what he wants but once he does, his attempts at making Terry his Valentine are gorgeous.

I think if it been a longer book the charm of Reuben would have worn off but as a short it was perfect!

❤❤❤❤❤

 Buy from Amazon.

Image

★★★★ Track Limits by M.A. Ford ★★★★

Track LimitsTrack Limits by M.A. Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Is motorsport ready for a gay driver?

As the opening race in the Global GT Challenge approaches, lead driver Mark Hunter struggles to regain his confidence after Randolph Racing’s last disastrous season. Mark hesitates when owner Randy says he’s found the perfect replacement for their arrogant previous teammate, Brad Wilkins. Former single-seater star Jordan Matthews is excited to join the crew and ready to put past troubles behind him.

Trust builds as Mark and Jordan become a fine-tuned team for the number 17 Saleen, earning a podium in Abu Dhabi at the season opener. Their friendship develops into more as they continue to earn prestige for Randolph Racing. But their success sparks jealousy, and people from their pasts threaten vengeance. Jordan is reluctant to ruin his fresh start in racing by exposing the secrets that almost cost him his career ten years ago. If he can’t take the risk, he’ll never realize his dream of kissing Mark on the winner’s podium.

So What Did I Think?

When I read MA Ford’s bio, I wasn’t surprised to see she has a background in the world of motorsport. It sure comes across in her writing. There is a real sense of the life in the sport and what being part of GT racing is all about. At first I was very nervous, the story stating with a glossary of motorsport terminology – and there was a lot! – and then a brief history of GT racing in Europe. I almost lost my desire to read the book before it has really even started. Luckily I kept going!

After the glossary and the history, the story starts and it starts in a quite unique way. First a press release and then a internal note to the teams and drivers, welcoming them to the season and issuing instructions. Different but interesting.

This is the story of the team leader Mark and his new co-driver Jordan. Mark made a choice, many years ago, to deny his true sexuality and choose a path which includes girlfriend Sally. Jordan is closeted and had a Formula 1 career cut short by a sexual relationship with another driver that went wrong.

A strong friendship develops between the men. For Jordan it is instant attraction and even more, for Mark it takes a little longer to admit it is more than friendship.

Lots of drama with race scenes, and rage on the track, as the budding relationship between Jordan and Mark is tested. This is a story of facing the truth about a relationship and taking steps to not live in fear or allow others to dictate how you live your life.

I liked the way Sally wasn’t written to be a complete bitch, I liked the fulfillment of Jordan’s podium dream (although I wanted the big reveal to have more drama and thought there was a bit of lost opportunity due to where/how it happened  – yes, I’m a softy for big, elaborate public declarations of love and coming out scenes) and I liked the characters of both Jordan and Matt. They are just all round nice guys.

The main down side of the story was the lack of on page sex.
“Come on.” Jordan muttered as they quickly removed their clothes. It was all so new, so unfamiliar, and yet seemed so absolutely right.
Afterward, Mark stretched out on one of the narrow beds…….”

The guys sort of started and then there was fade to black. I definitely wanted more on-page action! It felt like a real tease!

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Buy Track Limits from Amazon.

Buy Track Limits from DSP.