Category Archives: Erotic

Review: Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford

Title: Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford
Murder and Mayhem Series Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 236 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

Murder and Mayhem: Book One

Dead women tell no tales.

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.

Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still makes his blood sing.

Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.

Review:

Murder and Mayhem is the first suspenseful installment in Rhys Ford’s new mystery series, Murder and Mayhem.

Ex-thief Rook Stevens is walking the straight and narrow now he has opened a collectible shop. So when he arrives to find the very dead body of former associate Dani Anderson in his shop, he is at a loss to understand who killed her or why.  Despite his prior walk on the crime side, Rook is a genuinely kind, caring and compassionate man who goes out of his way to help those who are less fortunate than he is.

Rook’s relationship with his newly found grandfather, Archibald, is a work in progress.  Rook and Archie take great pains to hide the fact that they care about each other and their scenes together are as funny as they are heartwarming. Archie has his grandson’s back no matter what but Rook cannot help but feel great remorse that his grandfather is smack dab in the middle of this increasingly dangerous situation. But Rook is not one to reveal his tender side, so he continues to keep everyone at arm’s length including the cop he has some personal history with, Detective Dante Montoya.

Dante and his former partner worked very hard to build a case against Rook several years earlier, and when their efforts came up empty, Rook became his personal white whale. Never imagining their paths would cross again, Dante does everything possible to ensure he and his new partner, Hank Camden, do everything by the book. However, this plan quickly falls by the wayside when his relationship with their chief suspect crosses over into very personal territory when Rock is very nearly killed.

By this point in the investigation, Dante has very strong doubts that Rook had anything to do with Dani’s death. When the body count continues to rise, he and Hank look to Rook’s past to try to figure out why Rook has been targeted and more importantly, by whom.  Rook makes no secret of the fact there was animosity between him and Dani but since he gave up his thieving ways soon after their last job together, he can think of no explanation for her being in his shop.  With Rook’s input, Dante interviews someone who gives him a possible motive for everything that has been happening, but has he discovered this information too late to save Rook?

Despite the circumstances of their unexpected reunion, there is no denying the sexual tension that underscores Rook and Dante’s interactions.  Dante is a by the book detective who is upfront with both his boss and Hank about their history and he tries to ignore his attraction for Rook.  The circumstances surrounding them giving into their mutual desire are a little unrealistic but there is no doubt there is more to their relationship than just sex. Dante is pretty much an open book with everyone and he has no reason to hide his sexuality. Rook’s default is to deflect and deny so he is not exactly onboard with admitting to himself, let alone Dante, that there might be more to their relationship than sex.  Will Dante find a way to sneak past Rook’s formidable defenses?

With an intriguing mystery, plenty of action and a colorful cast of characters, Murder and Mayhem is a fast-paced and engaging novel. Rook and Dante are wonderful protagonists and their budding romance is an absolute joy to watch unfold. Their sex scenes are definitely on the steamier side but there is little doubt there is more to their relationship than sexual chemistry.  Rhys Ford does an outstanding job with the mystery element of the storyline and the novel comes to a stunning, adrenaline-laced conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Dreamspinner Press, Erotic, Gay, Murder and Mayhem, Murder and Mayhem Series, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Rhys Ford, Romance, Suspense

Review: Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford

Title: Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford
Murder and Mayhem Series Book Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 210 pages/Word Count: 80,852
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

Murder and Mayhem: Book Two

Whoever said blood was thicker than water never stood in a pool of it.

Retiring from stealing priceless treasures seemed like a surefire way for Rook Stevens to stay on the right side of the law. The only cop in his life should have been his probably-boyfriend, Los Angeles Detective Dante Montoya, but that’s not how life—his life—is turning out. Instead, Rook ends up not only standing in a puddle of his cousin Harold’s blood but also being accused of Harold’s murder… and sleeping with Harold’s wife.

For Dante, loving the former thief means his once-normal life is now a sea of chaos, especially since Rook seems incapable of staying out of trouble—or keeping trouble from following him home. When Rook is tagged as a murder suspect by a narrow-focused West LA detective, Dante steps in to pull his lover out of the quagmire Rook’s landed in.

When the complicated investigation twists around on them, the dead begin to stack up, forcing the lovers to work together. Time isn’t on their side, and if they don’t find the killer before another murder, Dante will be visiting Rook in his prison cell—or at his grave.

Review:

Rhys Ford jumps right into the action in Tramps and Thieves, the second installment in the Murder and Mayhem series starring reformed cat burglar Rook Stevens and his cop boyfriend L.A. detective Dante Montoya.

Although Rook willingly walked away from his previous life, he cannot deny he misses a few of the thrills from his illicit past. So when the opportunity arises for him to take a brief walk on his former wild side, he is quick to agree. What he does not count on is winding up smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation after discovering his cousin Harold Martin’s corpse. Things go from bad to worse when homicide Detective Mark Vicks is convinced Rook killed Harold in order to assure his future inheritance from their wealthy grandfather, Archie. Since Dante is quick to realize Vicks is going to pin Harold’s murder on Rook, he and his partner, Detective Hank Camden get their boss’s official blessing to conduct an unofficial investigation of their own.  With the bodies piling up at an alarming rate and someone gunning for Rook, Dante and Hank are desperate for answers, but will they catch the killer(s) before it is too late?

Although they are rather comfortable in their new romance, Rook is still a work in progress as he tries to let down his defenses and completely trust Dante.  While Rook is not quite as uneasy with their emotional intimacy, he still finds it difficult to open up to Dante.  Rook is also making strides with his relationship with Archie, but his grandfather still has a habit of lashing out when he feels vulnerable. Rook’s reaction in the aftermath of Archie’s verbal assault is a testament to how much healing he has undergone since meeting Dante.

While they still avoid discussing Rook’s past, Dante has absolutely no doubt that Rook has nothing to do with Harold’s death.  He is very protective of his new boyfriend and his first instinct is to ensure Vicks does not pin Harold’s murder on him. Following a somewhat traumatic and dramatic discovery, Dante and Hank’s unofficial investigation becomes official but finding a motive for the murders remains elusive. When numerous attempts are made on Rook’s life, Dante is under even more pressure to wrap up the case sooner rather than later.

Although the investigation is fast-paced and intriguing, there are a few passages that are overly detailed and just a touch long winded. Some of the banter between the various characters (especially Hank) is irritating since it adds little to the storyline and these discussions occasionally occur at questionable times.

With scorching hot love scenes, a beguiling mystery and an eclectic cast of likable characters, Tramps and Thieves is a pulse-pounding addition to the Murder and Mayhem series.  Dante and Rook are appealing protagonists who perfectly complement one another despite the vast differences between them.  Their relationship is heartwarming yet filled with plenty of heat and sexual tension. The murder investigation keeps the novel moving at a brisk pace and Rhys Ford brilliantly obscures the perpetrator’s identity and motive for the murders until the novel’s exciting conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Dreamspinner Press, Erotic, Gay, M/M, Murder and Mayhem Series, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Rhys Ford, Romance, Suspense, Tramps and Thieves

Review: Making Home by Dev Bentham

Title: Making Home by Dev Bentham
Bay Valley U Series Book One
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Gay, Romance
Length: Novella/Word Count: 30,000 (approx)
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

In his real life, Manu Contrares makes a decent living as a videographer in New York. But when his mother goes into hospice, he heads home to Bay Valley to help take care of her and ends up back at his first job on the janitorial staff of the local college. It feels like a long step down for a proud Hispanic man.

Chris Hall loves teaching but hates research. That’s becoming a big problem because his third-year faculty review is coming up and if he doesn’t make something happen soon, he’ll be out. He’s spending his nights working in the lab on a Hail Mary attempt to save his job.

When the two men meet, it’s explosive. And complicated. Chris is lily-white and culturally tone-deaf and Manu’s only in town for a short stay. It’s a recipe for heartbreak. Still, the pull between them is too strong for either to ignore. Can they overcome their different backgrounds and somehow surmount the geographical problems, or is this a fling that will leave them both more exhausted and lonely than before?

Review:

With a poignant storyline, an appealing cast of characters and sizzling hot love scenes, Making Home by Dev Bentham is a captivating romance between two unlikely partners.

Manu Contrares is back in Bay Valley for a heartbreaking reason and he has enough on his plate without a romantic entanglement complicating his life. He is also not a relationship kind of guy so he is disconcerted by his strong attraction to Professor Chris Hall whose cultural insensitivity is particularly irritating. So why is Manu suddenly eager to catch a glimpse of the biology professor during his nightly rounds cleaning the college?

Chris loves teaching but he is struggling to produce the research he needs for tenure. Despite his efforts to concentrate on his current project, he finds himself too easily distracted as he waits for the nightly appearance of too sexy for words Manu.  With his professional future riding on making significant progress on his research project, the last thing Chris needs is to give in to his unexpected attraction to Manu.

While their initial meetings get off on the wrong foot, Manu and Chris cannot deny the sexual chemistry that simmers beneath the surface every time they see one another. Both men have compelling reasons to ignore their mutual attraction, but they find it surprisingly easy to eventually agree to a no strings fling.  After indulging in several explosive encounters, neither Manu nor Chris can deny their feelings go deeper than casual sex. But with Manu planning to return to New York and Chris chasing tenure at Bay Valley U, will they find  way to overcome the obstacles that are preventing them making their relationship permanent?

Making Home by Dev Bentham is a scorching hot romance that fans of the genre are sure to love. Manu and Chris are endearing characters with all too realistic flaws and imperfections. The storyline is quite emotional and both protagonists undergo significant growth.  An absolutely outstanding beginning to the Bay Valley U series that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.

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Filed under Bay Valley U Series, Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Erotic, Loose Id, M/M, Making Home, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Buyout-A Love Story by Dev Bentham

Title: Buyout-A Love Story by Dev Bentham
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance
Length: 69 pages/Word Count: 24,111
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Or do they? Sean and Martim fell in love at Harvard. Things broke apart when Martim fell into a downward spiral of addiction after his father died. Sean kicked him out but has regretted it ever since. He’s never gotten over losing Martim. But then, not many aspects of his life have lived up to his collegiate dreams.

When he’s sent to evaluate Martim’s family hotel for foreclosure, Sean is once again in the position to put Martim out on the street. In the time since they parted, Martim has pulled himself together, although both health and financial problems linger as a result of his years as an addict. Can the two men bridge the gap of distance and time to rekindle their relationship, or will they fall apart again under the burdens of guilt and disease?

Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this is the story of lovers reunited after more than a decade apart, and their second chance at romance.

Review:

Buyout-A Love Story by Dev Bentham is a beautifully written second chance at love romance.

Sean Williams has never quite recovered from losing Martim Sabido. Ten years after their romance came to a regrettable end, he has a successful career but no one to share his life with. When his job brings him face to face with Martim, he quickly realizes that he has never quite gotten over him and Sean dreads the task his boss has given him: begin foreclosure proceedings on Martim’s family business. Over the next days, the men reconnect and begin the process of healing the wounds from their long ago past, but can Sean destroy the business that means so much to Martim and his beloved aunt?

The timing could not be more perfect for Sean and Martim to meet again.  Martim has finally conquered his addictions and he has no problem expressing his regret for the sorrow and pain that he brought to Sean. Sean has just realized that he is still trying to atone for what he did to Martim all those years ago. Deciding to temporarily ignore the looming foreclosure, Sean and Martim’s first attempt to connect on a more personal level is fraught with tension.  However, their lingering feelings and intense attraction give them the impetus they need to try to heal the rift between them.  Will Martim’s final revelation destroy the progress they have made in repairing their fractured relationship? And will Sean follow through with his boss’s instructions to foreclose on Martim’s property?

Buyout-A Love Story by Dev Bentham is a heartwarming romance than fans of the genre do not want to miss.  The characters are endearing with true to life flaws and imperfections.  Sean and Martim’s reunion is free from angst and their attempts to resolve their issues are realistically portrayed.  A sweet yet sensual second chance at love romance that is fast-paced and engaging with an absolutely heartfelt conclusion that will melt readers’ hearts.

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Filed under Buyout-A Love Story, Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Dreamspinner Press, Erotic, M/M, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt

Title: Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt
Mary’s Boys Series Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance
Length: 105 pages/Word Count:33,908
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

A Mary’s Boys Novella

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

Review:

Nachos & Hash is an emotional yet sensual beginning to Brandon Witt’s Mary’s Boys series.  This first outing pairs up Darwin Michaels with Cody Russell and the resulting love story is guaranteed to warm readers’ hearts.

Although he is only in his mid twenties, Darwin Michaels is at the point in his life where he is ready to settle down.  His latest date is another in a long line of disappointments and he has decided to temporarily stop dating when Cody Russell catches his eye.  Darwin is rather smitten with Cody, but when Cody disappears after they spend a very hot night together, he is not quite certain what his next move should be.  Luckily for him, he has two good friends who push him out of his comfort zone just long enough for him to arrange another date with Cody.  Although their sweet romance has a bit of a rocky start, things are going well until someone from Cody’s past reappears and threatens to destroy the happy life he has begun to piece together.

Darwin is at a good place in his life.  He knows what he wants and although a relationship seems to be just beyond his reach, he is willing to wait until the right person comes along.  He has a good relationship with his parents and they are quite supportive of him.  However, Darwin has not always be as self-assured as he is now so it does not take long for him to realize that Cody is struggling with the same insecurities that once plagued him.

Cody has achieved his dream of leaving his family and small town behind and he is quite happy with the new life he is building.  While he has plenty of sexual experience,  Cody is a total stranger to emotional intimacy so he initially does not understand that Darwin wants a real relationship with him.   He has low self-esteem which leads to a few misunderstandings between him and Darwin. His low self-worth makes him particularly vulnerable to his family’s disapproval so it is not too surprising that his reaction to his father’s vitriol is so extreme.

Nachos & Hash is a novella so a lot of Cody and Darwin’s relationship takes place off scene. Readers see a nice compilation of moments from their romance including some of their sexy times, cute dates and miscommunications. The chapters alternate between the two men’s perspectives which provides an in-depth view of their thoughts, expectations and insecurities. The story moves at a fast pace and while this does not have a negative impact on Darwin and Cody’s romance, some elements late in the story do feel a little glossed over.

Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt is a quick read with lovable characters and a sweet but steamy romance.  A very enjoyable first installment in the Mary’s Boys series which will leave readers eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series.

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Filed under Brandon Witt, Contemporary, Dreamspinner Press, Erotic, M/M, Mary's Boys Series, Nachos & Hash, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Not a Game by Cardeno C.

Title: Not a Game by Cardeno C.
Friends Series Book One
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance
Word Count: 55,866
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author

Summary:

An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

Review:

Not a Game by Cardeno C. is a scorching hot, conflict-free erotic romance.

Having recently moved from OK to WA for a new job, Oliver Barnaby is determined to make some much needed changes to his life.  With plenty of insecurities and not much confidence due to some unkind remarks by his ex-boyfriend, he makes a surprising decision that he hopes will provide him the experience and confidence he needs to jump start his non-existent love life.  He also plans to make an effort to make friends but he is uncomfortable around people he does not know so he focuses on improving his sex life first.  Oliver is quite smitten with the new man in his life, Jaime Snow, but due to the circumstances in which they first meet, he finds it difficult to believe Jaime is truly interested in him.

Jaime is pretty much everything Oliver is not.  He is in great shape and he is quite self-assured.  He has been in a long term relationship and although he and his ex split up several years earlier, he has not met the right man to spend the rest of his life with.  He is instantly attracted to Oliver and he is quite patient with his new lover as he helps him overcome his self-doubts.  Jaime is quick to assure him that his interest is sincere and Jaime bides his time as he waits for the right time to clear up Oliver’s misconception about his true identity.

Initially, Jaime and Oliver’s relationship is mostly physical so there are plenty of explicit sex scenes between them.  But there is also little doubt that they genuinely like each other and there are a host of feelings simmering beneath their passionate encoutners.  Although Oliver does become much more comfortable with his appearance, he remains uncertain that Jaime’s interest in him is real.  Jaime does not help the situation by continuing to keep important information to himself even though his reasons for remaining silent are understandable.  Once Oliver finally figures out the truth, his reaction is a tiny bit unrealistic but refreshingly free of unnecessary drama.

Not a Game by Cardeno C. is a sinfully sexy erotic gay romance.  The characters are wonderfully developed, delightfully imperfect and infinitely appealing.  The storyline is engaging and provides a positive message about body image.  A fast-paced and enjoyable love story that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment in the Friends series.

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Filed under Cardeno C, Contemporary, Erotic, Friends Series, M/M, Not a Game, Rated B, Review, Romance, The Romance Authors