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☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Tag Team by S.J.D. Peterson

The Guards of Folsom series

Tag Team (Guards of Folsom, #2)Tag Team by S.J.D. Peterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.

Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face fear and loss head on before they can all truly live again.

So what did I think?

This book was unexpected in many ways – such a powerful portrayal of grief and the effect loss has on someone not prepared to go out into the world.

From the very beginning the grief is palpable as Mason faces the trauma of losing both his Doms in one horrifying accident. Alone and suffering, Mason finally decides he can’t face the future until fate intervenes.

Mason appeared much younger than his thirties, perhaps due to the circumstances of his anxiety disorder, and he is certainly in need of care. Bobby and Rig stumble on Mason while they are on holidays and are immediately drawn to him with a strong desire to protect the fragile man.
“What were the chances these men would show up in his life when they did? What were the chances that he’d respond to them the way he had? What were the chances that he’d feel calm and safe within the presence of these men, when his entire life he’d been so afraid of strangers?”

The building of the relationship was handled beautifully with a couple of key strengths that provided a sense of realism and permanence to the bond between the three men. Firstly, the sexual elements were not rushed and secondly even Mason himself questions the reason he can move on seemingly so quickly “Was he grasping on to something that wasn’t real? Hoping to replace the irreplaceable?” There is a sense of trust and deep caring that gradually becomes more…“A connection born out of pain and loss was solidified while standing under the spray of the cascading shower, or maybe he just hadn’t realized that it had been growing stronger and more complete each day they spent together and only now comprehended the significance of their relationship.”

This book treats the Mason’s mental and emotional problems with seriousness, both Bobby and Rig insisting that Mason needs both adequate supervision (to ensure he doesn’t do anything silly) and also proper professional assistance. This is not a quick fix situation but a long term plan to ensure his full health, addressing the grief but just as importantly finally addressing the long term anxiety suffered by Mason.

The Doms were both gorgeous, fussing over Mason and being so loving. Both Bobby and Rig are just big softies at heart! I loved the way Bobby was described as being “the nurturing type, the one who cooked, fussed over dusty baseboards, and the one to tend a red ass or put salve on a flogged back.”

This is not so much a book about dominance and submission but more a story of overcoming grief and learning to love again.

It was also very special to read the author’s note. My heart broke a little as SJD (Jo) Peterson shared a little of her life with us. I do hope her experience and words of advise are able to help anyone who is suffering such loss and heartbreak.

4 Stars

To find out more about S.J.D. Peterson and her books visit her website.

Buy Tag Team from Amazon

Buy Tag Team from Dreamspinner Press.

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Sub-Culture by Sage Marlowe

The Sub-Mission Series reading order:

Sub-CultureSub-Culture by Sage Marlowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When life gets on top, delving into a sub-culture may be just what it takes to keep a sinking relationship afloat

Five years after the bumpy start to their relationship, Noah and Pierce have settled well into their lives as a happy couple. The arrival of a new child should have made their matrimonial bliss complete, but the strain of raising a baby and a teenager, combined with a lot of pressure in their jobs, is beginning to take its toll.

In the midst of what already is a potentially explosive situation, Noah’s younger brother Jonah comes to stay with them, forcing Noah to face the issues he still has regarding his homophobic parents and adding to the emotional pressure he is under.

When Noah starts behaving oddly and Pierce just can’t seem to put his jealousy to rest, the cracks in their relationship become too severe to ignore any longer. They struggle to keep their sinking love afloat but as Noah craves the comfort a certain sub-culture can offer, Pierce finds himself wondering just how far he is willing to step out of his own comfort zone to save their love.

So what did I think?

I enjoy to read a story that revisits a couple and allows us to see how the relationship has developed over time. And this book is no exception. It was great to see Noah and Pierce after five years.

I was a bit doubtful when the story started with so much domesticity but I needn’t have worried – pretty quickly sex in the kitchen was on the agenda! Although I must admit surprise that they were up for kitchen sex with a teenage daughter in the house as I haven’t heard to too many kitchens with locks!

Noah and Pierce reach a turning point in their relationship. Doubts and insecurities creep in. There are secrets and lack of communication.

Once again I was surprised at Pierce’s brother Francis’ involvement and the information he keeps from his brother. “Of course he knew. It all made perfect sense. Noah could have relied on Francis to keep his secret. Pierce had never figured out whether it was the Dom or the psychologist in Francis who protected what was confided to him so fiercely. Whichever part of him it was, he would never betray the trust put into him. Not ever for the sake of saving a failing relationship.” And when it came to Noah’s submission, I wanted Francis to back right off and let Pierce take the reins!

My only slight criticism (and it is minor) was the repeated use of “nn-nn” in conversation. For some reason it annoyed me. Maybe because I’ve never actually seen it written before?

This was an excellent addition to the series.

To find out more about Sage Marlowe and his books visit his website.

Buy Re-SubMission from Amazon.

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Re-Submission by Sage Marlowe

The Sub-Mission Series reading order:

  • Sub-Mission (Book #1) – click here for review
  • Re-Submission (Book #2) – in this review
  • Sub-Culture (Book #3)

Re-SubmissionRe-Submission by Sage Marlowe

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Rubbing a toppy sub, a submissive Top and a Dom with attitude together is guaranteed to send sparks flying – but what will they ignite?

Meet Tyler Kane. Ballsy and headstrong, he’s far from being the submissive type. Francis Hollister, Dom and proud owner of a BDSM club, couldn’t agree more – and yet, as Tyler carelessly suggests a bet, Francis sees an opportunity arise and decides to take him up on it.
Soon Tyler finds himself in Francis’ club and about to be trained as a sub. When Shae, the gorgeous Top Francis has assigned to teach him, doesn’t appear to be quite as dominant as his role would lead to believe and Francis turns out to be a rather versatile Dom, Tyler sees a perfect match just waiting to be made happen. Too bad though that he’s the only one who sees it. Or maybe he isn’t?

Curious to find out what happens when you rub a submissive Top, a toppy sub and a Dom with attitude together and what exactly the sparks from that explosive combination ignite, Tyler enlists the help of Pierce, Francis’ brother, and his partner Noah, and sets out on a mission.
While Tyler’s plan seems to work out astonishingly well, it seems that there’s more than one man in the club who is pursuing a hidden agenda..

So what did I think?

This story starts interestingly as Tyler enters into an agreement to train as a sub for a month, purely as a bet. Frances is a Dom who owns a club but it is Shae, a Service Top, who will be undertaking Tyler’s training. And Tyler is in for an eye opening journey! “He’d been so enthusiastic about his idea of getting an introduction to BDSM that he had completely forgotten to discuss the details.”

And the story sure does keep you on your toes! Toppy sub? Submissive Top? Plans are hatched, but who is manipulating whom?

Sometimes the story seemed a bit textbook like, providing explanations of the psychology of the submissive nature including the desire for things like flogging. Yes Tyler was being educated but sometimes I felt it would have been better to show rather than tell, or maybe just have a bit less telling. However, overall it was enjoyable tale with great characters, an interesting plot and an opportunity to visit Pierce and Noah, the characters from the first book.

I really enjoyed Sub-Mission the first book in the series, so read this without reading the blurb. This meant that I wasn’t expecting the book to take the direction it did and was a bit surprised that the story didn’t involve Tyler, the main character introduced at the beginning, falling in love. I really wanted to see Tyler find his happy ever after ending too. He does meet Connor but I was left wanting to see and know more of the two of them together.

And one last thing that seemed a bit of an unbelievable coincidence…Shae leaves London to visit San Antonio, Texas….of all the cities, in all the world….it’s the one city Tyler is from and he just happens to be there visiting too…really? (unless I missed something?)

3.5 stars

To find out more about Sage Marlowe and his books visit his website.

Buy Re-SubMission from Amazon.

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Meet Me In The Middle by L.A. Witt

The Distance Between Us series

Meet Me in the Middle (Distance Between Us, #3)Meet Me in the Middle by L.A. Witt

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Fool me three times…

Dale Ramsey is looking forward to his twenty-year high school reunion except for one small problem. Adam O’Connor, his old friend—and old flame.

Twice before, Adam has disappeared from Dale’s life. Once after a graduation night fling, and again after a hot reunion years later. When Adam resurfaces this time, single and on the verge of retiring from the Navy, Dale wonders if he’ll want to mend fences…and maybe tear up some sheets.

The spark between them is alive and well, but Dale resists. After all, Adam only seems to come around when his life is in flux, and Dale is through being a placeholder until something better comes along. He wants his friend back, but not if he’ll be deserted a third time.

Inevitably, though, their attempts to rekindle their friendship wind up igniting something much hotter, and stirring up emotions too strong to ignore. Making Dale wonder if he should put his heart on the line…or if this time he should be the one to walk away.

Warning: Let’s face it, Dale’s been sitting quietly (well, kind of) on the sidelines since The Distance Between Us, and he waited patiently through The Closer You Get. Dude is seriously ready for some scorching-hot action, so keep a fire extinguisher and some ice handy. These boys are gonna need it…

So what did I think?

“For God’s sake, Dale, do you think I just wanted to use you?” “I don’t know if that’s what you wanted or not,” I said. “But it’s what you did. Twice.”

Dale and Adam were best friends in school but parted immediately after their first sexual encounter which happened at graduation. They met again at their 10 year school reunion but once again, Adam leaves Dale after making him promises which he doesn’t keep. Finally 20 years after their first encounter, they meet again at the school reunion.

I enjoyed this book but not the level of the previous two in the series. I found it difficult to warm to Adam, or to forgive his treatment of Dale. I found it difficult to accept his reasons for leaving Dale each time and I found it really difficult to understand how Dale maintained his desire for Adam after so many years and so much heartache.

All that aside, it is a nicely told tale with some sizzling sex and some romantic moments, definitely redeemed by the grand romantic gesture – I LOVE big, public romantic gestures!

3.5 stars

To find out more about L.A. Witt and her books visit her website or check out my other reviews.

Buy The Distance Between Us from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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☊☊ The Go-Between by A.B. Gayle ☊☊

This is a review of the Audible audio book narrated by Jim Bowie.

The Go Between The Go Between by A.B. Gayle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jake and Sam share an apartment. Highly intelligent but socially awkward, Jake keeps to his room and concentrates on his studies. Sam is the strong and silent type, very much in awe of the younger man’s brain and attracted by his beauty. When Sam’s Aussie friend, Zack, arrives to stay for the Christmas holiday break, can he break the stalemate between them?

So what did I think?

Mixed thoughts on this one, partly because I ‘read’ by listening to the audio version (narrated by Jim Bowie).

As far as the story goes, it is short. Sam and Jake are flatmates who secretly desire each other but have never moved their relationship forward. Jake is a brainiac and a bit shy, keeping pretty much to himself. Sam is strong and doesn’t say much. Unfortunately he doesn’t say much in this story either and I would have loved to hear more from him!

Zack is Sam’s Aussie guest who brings them together by initiating a quick three-way. The romantic in me says ‘not ideal’ as the interaction with Zach is purely physical and I just wanted to see Sam and Jake together. However Zack’s actions worked a treat, he was happy being the third wheel and Sam and Jake were totally focused on each other so all good.

I listened to the audio version. It was about 30 minutes in total so I listened during one commute trip. I actually discovered that I prefer shorter audio books like this one. I think it’s because I only like listening to them in the car and then reading in between so the longer ones get broken up too much with other books in between (unless I whispersync). Anyway, my thoughts on the narration with this one were that I liked the pace but wasn’t overly fond of the narrator. I felt his voice sounded too ‘old’ or mature for the story and I wasn’t overly keen on the Australian accent. In some instances it sounds ok but in others not so good.

I would probably recommend reading over listening in this case.

3 Stars

Do make sure you check out the Opposites Attract series by this author – it’s fabulous!

To find out more about A.B. Gayle and her books, visit her website.

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★★★★ The Distance Between Us by L.A. Witt

The Distance Between Us series

  • The Distance Between Us (book #1) – in this review
  • The Closer You Get (book #2)
  • Meet Me In The Middle (book #3) – Expected: 20 August 2013 by Samhain Publishing

The Distance Between Us (Distance Between Us, #1)The Distance Between Us by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

From money pit to windfall…or is it a pitfall?

After ten years together, Ethan Mallory and Rhett Solomon are calling it quits. They’re more than ready to dump their heavy emotional baggage. The only thing they can’t seem to unload is the house. They’re stuck living as roommates with a hefty mortgage hanging over their heads…at least until they can bring in some extra money to pay it down. Solution: rent out a room.

Enter Kieran Frost. Suddenly, the only thing Ethan and Rhett both want more than getting away from each other is getting close to their single, young, hot roommate. Complicating things is the fact that Kieran doesn’t mind the attention from both, and he certainly doesn’t mind sharing.

Their combined chemistry ignites something else that Ethan and Rhett had thought was long dead—the mutual attraction that drew them together in the first place. Except bitter jealousy over Kieran could only push them even farther apart…

So what did I think?

Rhett and Ethan have grown apart over the last ten years are separating. Unfortunately circumstances mean they must continue to share the house they own and take in a roommate to speed up the house repayments. The sooner they can gain more equity in the house, the sooner they can sell and get on with their lives.

Despite Ethan’s declaration that he couldn’t stand the sight of Ethan, and both of them agreeing that the sooner they were able to get out of each’s way the better, it is obvious there is something unresolved.

An interesting scenario develops with new housemate Keiran. Both Ethan and Rhett become involved with the man, first separately but then together. And through this, Ethan and Rhett discover new found passion for each other. But although he can’t deny the attraction to Ethan and how well they work together in bed (and the sex IS hot and passionate!), Rhett realises that ‘ex-sex’ may not be the answer….
“That brief taste of something good made the cold colder, the quiet quieter, and the bitterness bitterer. And I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to end this arrangement with Ethan. No matter how hot it was, it couldn’t go on because I couldn’t stand the cold.”

In many ways Keiran becomes the trigger that leads the men to finally starting to communicate. They start to understand why their relationship started to fail and exposed their true feelings towards one another.
[“I never stopped loving you.”
I smiled and kissed him again, then whispered, “I never stopped loving you, either.” I thought I had. there were times I thought I hated him.
Never in my life had I been so glad to be wrong.”

(hide spoiler)]

Some of the story puzzled me. There was emotional fall-out from one of the sexual encounters between the three men (“It was a mistake because it happened for all the wrong reasons”). Kieran seemed to be the one getting the raw deal. I couldn’t fully understand why Kieran would be receptive to the offer to participate again or why Rhett and Ethan would want to continue involving Kieran. “This is probably one of the most unorthodox solutions to one of the most unorthodox situations I’ve ever heard of.”

What I really wanted was for Kieran to also find happiness and not be the outsider. So this is what I am hoping for in book 2, The Closer You Get.

4 Stars

To find out more about L.A. Witt and her books visit her website or check out my other reviews.

Buy The Distance Between Us from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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By Any Other Name by Tia Fielding

By Any Other Name (By Any Other Name #1)By Any Other Name by Tia Fielding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Dru and Thom have been together for three years, and despite Thom’s occasional bouts of insecurity and Dru’s fear of rejection, their relationship is rock solid. Then Dru’s long-lost friend, Skye, suddenly reappears, shocking them both. Skye suffered years of inconceivable abuse before escaping it, and while he’s back on track, he has nowhere else to go as he begins to rebuild his life.

Dru, Thom, and Skye each want to belong somewhere, to belong with someone—or someones—with no fear of being hurt, set aside, or left behind. It’s a challenge with daunting odds, especially for Skye, who’s never loved before. He’s determined not to come between his two friends who so clearly belong together, and it will be up to Dru and Thom to conquer their fears and convince Skye to stay.

So what did I think?

I really enjoyed this story of three men – Dru, Thom and Skye – who come to mean so much to each other. Unlike some menage books, this story has less focus on the sexual elements of the relationship and a huge focus on the emotional side.

One of the characters has been severely traumatised, spending years under the control of an abusive man, followed by two years in therapy. The way the story presents the character of Skye, who still has issues, seems very realistic and it is good to see that he is still undergoing therapy. He is a man who is aware of his problems and making a conscious effort to move forward and escape his past. I appreciated that, although Skye had never properly lived alone in the world, his character was still presented as a competent, strong man.

The situation means that Skye has to reluctantly move in with Dru and his lover of three years, Thom. Skye does not try to come between the two men and they both handle him beautifully, offering the right level of comfort and support to him.

Once again the development of the situation seemed realistic and not forced, as both Dru and Thom come to have feelings for Skye and he starts to mean something very special to both men. I think it was easier to understand Dru’s initial feelings for Skye because he had never had proper closure from his initial boyhood feelings for his friend but the reasons for Thom’s evolving emotions were also clear.

Although Dru knew Skye first, the relationship appeared balanced as each character shared something special with another, for example Thom and Skye shared their love of books.

Although I hugely appreciated the emotional journey of this book, getting the men to the point where they acknowledged their feelings for each other, it pretty much ended there. I would have liked to see more time with them actually starting the relationship and maybe just a bit more sex as I think they would be gorgeous together!

4 Stars

To find out more about Tia Fielding and her books visit her website.

Buy “By Any Other Name” at Amazon.

View all my reviews