Of Love – Sean Michael

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“It’s okay, I don’t think you tried to trap me into something by getting your friend pregnant.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I was expecting a bit more angst when I started this, but it really is mostly just pure fluff. Sunshine and rainbows everywhere, truly. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s apparently not really my thing. I did like this book, but a lot of it was a bit too sweet for my liking. It’s a good feel-good story, if you’re looking for a fluff read. The first half of the story is mostly our two leads, Kent and Dex, meeting and getting to know each other and having a lot of sex. The first half of the book is mostly sex, which I found frustrating because it felt like it was just padding while waiting for the plot proper to start. Don’t get me wrong, Dex and Kent together are sweet and funny, and it’s fun to read, but it did all feel like filler. Then when Dex found out about the babies, when there would’ve been a chance for some angst and conflict, the tone didn’t change. If no-angst fluff is your thing, you’re gonna love this book. I, personally, prefer my reading with a bit less fluff but I still did enjoy reading this. Kent and Dex are a good match, and they really do love each other. Kent’s family is also pretty great, and Dex’s interactions with them are cute. The babies are also cute. Pretty much everything about this is cute, even the sex scenes sometimes. Summed up in one word: cute.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Free-spirited computer programmer Kent McMann loves life, candy, his family, and his job designing apps. With his go-getter attitude, he succeeds at anything he tackles. So having a child with a surrogate mother is the perfect start to the family he’s always wanted, even though he still hasn’t found his longed-for Mr. Right.

Then, into Kent’s life comes triathlete Dex Lochland, who also happens to be a successful app designer, and the two of them hit it off. They soon begin a relationship full of fun, sex, laughter, and love. But when Kent learns his attempt at fatherhood with the surrogate has succeeded, Dex is shocked. Unknown to Kent until that moment, Dex has never wanted children.

Kent’s decision before he met Dex might cost him the man of his dreams.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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An Intrepid Trip to Love (A Little Bite of Love #1) – Charlie Cochet

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“I wouldn’t want you any other way. The fact that you wear my shirts for comfort is the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard, and it just reminds me of how lucky I am to be in love with someone so amazing.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This story had a bit more fantasy and in-world mythos than I was expecting (the prologue really took me by surprise), though the main part of the story seems to take place in a contemporary setting. Trip and Boone are the two leads, a husky-shifter and a husky/wolf-shifter respectably (from what I understand). The two of them know that they are actually a pair of rare true mates, but Trip is part of the Alpha bloodline (basically clan royalty) and Boone is a member of the guard (essentially) so clan law forbids them to be bonded together (also the people in power of the clan also seem to be very homophobic, which is another reason they can’t be together). Trip and Boone have known that they were meant for each other ever since they were teenagers, and the two of them have had to jump through a lot of hoops to get to where they are currently, but their relationship is secret to most people, and they still aren’t able to be together the way they want. Having to keep their true relationship hidden causes them both a lot of pain and frustration, but they do have some very close friends and family to lean on to help keep their spirits up. While Trip, Boone, and their close circle are just trying to mind their own business and get by (it’s implied that they’re being sort of shunned by a lot of the clan higher-ups), there seems to be some worrying stuff going on behind the scenes. The clan leader has allied himself with another clan for seemingly unknown reasons, and it also looks like there are some attempted forced-marriages going on (kind of like what happened to Trip when he was younger). The story only starts getting really into clan politics and shadyness nearer to the end of the story, most of the beginning is dedicated to Trip and Boone’s tragic circumstances and their interactions with their close friends. There are a lot of lighthearted moments in the beginning, even if Trip and Boone’s circumstances throw a bit of a shadow over everything. This seems like a solid lead-in to what could be a serious and action-packed series, for all the fluff and humour that’s also here. (Note: this story has shifter characters and mates, but there’s no mpreg.)

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Tristan ‘Trip’ Hagan is a Husky shifter who was born to be the Hagan Clan’s next Alpha, a position of honor and nobility, a position he never wanted and was all too happy to pass onto his younger brother. But when they discovered his brother couldn’t have pups, the responsibility of continuing the Hagan Alpha line fell back to Trip. Under the weight of the Hagan Council’s demand to fulfill his duty, Trip settled down and produced an heir, but after years of struggling to uphold his family’s traditions, Trip found the courage to do what no other Hagan Alpha had done in the history of the clan: he came out.

Five years later, and Trip is living a happy life with his cheeky pup and their own little makeshift family. True mates within canine shifter clans are very rare, but Trip has had one since he can remember. Despite losing his heart to Boone twenty years ago, Trip holds little hope of ever getting to bond with the sexy Enforcer, as it’s against clan laws for pure-bloods to bond with half-breeds. With the call from their feral halves to seal the bond growing stronger by the day, can Trip and Boone find a way to be together without losing everything?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event. 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.

 

[available for free from M/M Romance Group]

 

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One Small Thing (One Thing #1) – Piper Vaughn & M. J. O’Shea

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“I wanted him to have that part of me, the part no one else had ever touched and no one else ever would. The last of my firsts. And it belonged to him.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I will admit that things started getting a little slow for me at one point, and I thought that some of the main couple’s behaviours re: possible breakups were a bit worrying, but overall I did like this book and it’s worth a read. Rue initially approaches Erik looking for a nanny for his newborn daughter, and then they somehow tumble headfirst into a friendship and then a romance. The start is a bit rough, but things get better as the story goes on. Rue and Erik tell the story in two distinct voices, baby Alice is adorable (when she’s actually there), and the main cast is well rounded out with Rue’s best friend Dusty, who is just begging for a romance of his own. It’s a great story of first loves and found families and, when it wasn’t dragging, a great read. First person POV is something I can usually take or leave, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I greatly enjoyed it here in Erik’s voice. That man is such a romantic and I loved reading his narration when he was thinking about Rue. I’d recommend this for that alone.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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The Forgotten Man – Ryan Loveless

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“As he wrapped his arm around Will’s chest, that sense of connection came back, the one that made him feel like his emptiness was filled.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one is a pretty interesting story about two men finding love during the Great Depression, while also dealing with a homophobic society. Joshua is an ex-army Captain; escalating money problems have seen him move back into his childhood-home-cum-boarding-house with his mother, brother, and various tenants. Will is a widowed, homeless, single father, playing his guitar on a street corner for small change to survive. It’s not love at first sight when they meet, but there is a connection of some sort between them by the time Joshua rescues a sick Will and brings him and his infant daughter home. Their romance is not destined to be in any way easy. They both live and love in a time where being gay is a crime and just generally unsafe. It’s clear that Joshua and Will are very much into each other, but they’re terrified (and rightfully so) about what could happen to them and their families if they decide to act on their feelings. It’s not exactly a downer, but the fact that Joshua and Will have to live with these secrets that might have their loved ones turn on them at a moment’s notice doesn’t exactly make for a fluff fest. The story isn’t as dark as it could’ve been but at the same time it doesn’t really sugar-coat anything.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Two Cowboys and a Baby – BA Tortuga

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“How had this happened? How had they gone from fishing buddies to lovers to fathers in the matter of two weeks?”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This was actually a lot funnier than I was expecting. Not so much in the story’s events, but in the narration. I laughed a lot reading this. It’s also written in Texan slang, so that took a bit of getting used to (though not so much because it was the same when I read Trial By Fire, another Dreamspun Desires book by the same author). The story picks up immediately when rodeo cowboy Hoss McMasters discovers that someone has left an infant on his front porch. Unable to find the baby’s mother, and not wanting to get the baby lost in the foster care system, it’s decided that Hoss will care for the baby until the authorities can figure out what to do in the long term. Hoss knows nothing about caring for human babies, more used to livestock, so it takes some help from family and friends to keep everything from going to shit. Hoss’ best friend Bradley is the one who helps out the most, so it’s no surprise when long-held secret feelings get revealed and the two of them fall hard for each other. It’s also no surprise that they both get really attached to the baby. So much so that it doesn’t matter whose baby it turns out to be, Hoss and Bradley want to raise her together as a family.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Guardian – Sierra Riley

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“They sparked every time they touched. Alex wasn’t mistaken there. That wasn’t an illusion, it wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t wishful thinking. Hell no. It was chemistry.”

 

In a word:  Read the thing. This is a cute, sweet, low-angst, low-drama romance between a family law attorney and an ex-soldier mechanic. This is mostly pure fluff, it’s great. Alex is a lawyer and Titus is a mechanic, theirs is a chance meeting. Alex is in need of a mechanic one day and Ty happens to be the closest. Alex is instantly into Ty when he first sees him (Ty pushes all of his buttons), but since Ty seems straight, Alex isn’t overly hopeful that anything will come of it. Alex doesn’t really expect to see Ty again, but he gets a pleasant surprise when Ty shows up at his office one day, needing his services. Alex still finds Ty beyond attractive, and Ty is shocked to realize that he’s also having feeling for his – very male – attorney. They can’t act on their feelings while they’re still technically working together, but that doesn’t stop the sexual tension from ramping up every time they’re alone together. The first half of the book is mostly Alex and Ty trying to keep their hands off each other while they try to win a custody battle, while the second half is them getting together and having a fairly drama-free relationship (it’s technically a GFY, but Ty doesn’t have much of a reaction to suddenly being attracted to a guy for the first time in his life). There is very minimal drama going on, and it mostly resolves itself. Most of this story is just schmoop and pretty low-stress to read.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Poppy’s Secret – Andrew Grey

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“Pat tried not to think of what he’d lost and how his heart had shattered when Edge left, because if he did, he’d lose it even further, and he’d be damned if he was going to do that.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This book isn’t particularly short, but I got through it really fast because I just could not put it down. I read the whole thing in two sittings and was a bit sad that it was over, though it ended in a good place. I was a bit apprehensive going into this one because the only other Andrew Grey book I read was A Present in Swaddling Clothes and I didn’t like that one all that much. Poppy’s Secret was a major improvement story and writing wise. This is the story of Pat and Edge trying to navigate a second chance romance after years of hurt and silence. Edge left Pat nine years ago and Pat has never really gotten over it, and Edge’s reappearance initially only causes further pain. It also causes some fear because Pat has a secret that involves him, Edge, and Pat’s daughter Emma. A secret that, in a worst-case scenario, could break up the entire family for good. I will say that Pat’s secret was a bit obvious to me from the beginning, but even knowing it didn’t take away anything from the story because I still wanted to know what the reactions would be to it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Another thing I like about the book was that Pat didn’t take Edge back right away. The story does take place over a fairly short amount of time (a few weeks, maybe a couple of months at the most), but Pat’s warming up to Edge came off like it happened in a natural unforced way that made it easier to get invested in. Pat and Edge both made some mistakes, and they’re mistakes that can’t just be swept under the rug, and they both have to make peace with them if they can realistically be together romantically.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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