Blooming Marvellous and collected stories by Josephine Myles

Why I read it:  The author sent me a copy her latest anthology of short stories, for review.  I think it takes special talent to write short (not a skill of mine really!) and sometimes, a story of only a few pages is just the ticket when I am pressed for time, having trouble deciding what to read next or I’m just feeling flighty.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What do a graffiti artist, a nerdy virgin, a lunar cop, a handsome devil, a sexy boater, a disgraced aristocrat and a misbehaving valet all have in common? Bestselling gay romance author Josephine Myles, of course! In this collection of nine short stories you’ll find all these characters coming together (quite literally sometimes).

The collection mingles contemporary erotica with a hint of a happy future with historical, paranormal and futuristic kinky romance. There are even a couple of stories that are sweet romance. One thing you can be sure of, though: the blokes in these stories will always get their man!

Buckle up for Jo’s British sense of humour and fun, and don’t be surprised if there’s sex in the potting shed, because with Jo, anything can happen.

NB: all these stories have been previously published in anthologies or on the author’s website.

Blooming Marvellous This delightful story is about graffiti artist, Ky, completing community service who meets up with newcomer, James, a clean cut professional type who had an embarrassing incident with a policeman while under the influence and thus finds himself planting flowers in the middle of a roundabout. On the surface the pair have little in common but looks can be deceiving.  It has an appropriately hopeful ending for the story length and I liked it quite a bit. And Ky could totally be the guy on the cover.

July Round Up

On Paper/eBook
Mad About the Boys by JL Merrow and Jo Myles – B  This anthology is a collection of 1 new and 4 previously published short stories featuring m/m/f romance (which is my favourite kind of menage story).   Dinner for Three (Merrow) is a wonderful start to the anthology, a contemporary about two happily coupled guys who are interested in expanding their relationship to include their oblivious housemate Claire – I could happily have read a full length novel about this trio.  Because of the very short word count, the characterisations are necessarily very thin and the story doesn’t take us beyond one day of encounters.  What there was however was so very engaging, I was sad when the story ended – I really wanted more.
In the Greenwood (Myles) is a paranormal fairy tale of a wood sprite who brings two men together and then manages to become real – again, this story suffered a bit from the short length but it’s fairy tale quality meant that a certain air of unreality was to be expected and made the story work better than it would have otherwise.The Antithesis of Magic (Merrow) is about a man with no magic in a world full of magic users, who finds he is the perfect third for a fairy and a werewolf who need him.  I wasn’t clear exactly on why Gus was needed and there wasn’t really any relationship between the three so it was the least satisfying in terms of romance.  If it had been expanded to a longer story so I could see a courtship/developing relationship, I would have enjoyed this much more because the set up and the tone of the story was great.   

June Round Up

on Paper/eBook
Like the Taste of Summer by Kaje Harper  – B+  This free online short is a little gem.  Jack thinks back to the summer he met Sean, some 28 years earlier and recounts how they got together. I actually enjoyed it all the more knowing that they’d made it and were still in love.

Taken by Him (Billionaire’s Club #2) by Red Garnier – C  This erotic romance is very short (just over 80 pages) and at page 1 the couple have never before met, so it was always going to be a big ask for me to buy into the HEA.  I had the impression that the book doesn’t take itself to seriously and the tone of the hero’s OTT arrogance was, I thought, intended to be funny rather than insulting (as it may have been in a serious book or if a reader is in a serious mood perhaps).  The sex was very hot and Luke certainly had a massive turnaround from being a total manwhore to being a “you’re-the-only-one-for-me-for-the-rest-of-my-life” guy.  I liked it, but there was something lacking in it for me. And I can even tell you where it was.  It was in Chapter 1, here:

Two hours later they were both a little too…merry.

Luke had seemed hesitant to drink first, but then he’d downed a whole beer within minutes and soon ordered more. They’d flowed into conversation like they’d met years ago, teasing back and forth.

Almost their entire getting to know each other is contained in that two hour period which occurs off page.  For me to really root for them, I needed to see their connection rather than just be told it existed.

As a fun, sexy, erotic short, it works well, as a romance, I could have used a bit more.

May Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Play With Me by Alisha Rai – B+ Fun and super sexy short (about 100 pages) about Tatiana and Wyatt.  They dated in high school and college and were each other’s first lovers.  They discovered kink with each other.  But things fell apart.  Now, 10 years later, they meet up again.  After they meet, their chemistry is still so strong, they agree to spend one night together.

“I met you when you were chubby and had frizzy hair and acne.”

A gasp escaped her lips. So she’d had a bit of an awkward phase. Bringing it up now was hardly gentlemanly. “Shut up, Caine.” 

“My point is, I wanted you then. I still want you now. When I walked away from you all those years ago, I knew that wanting would never stop.” He tucked a strand of hair—sleek, not-frizzy hair, thank you very much—behind her ear. “Prettiness helps, Tatiana, but you and me? It’s always been more.”

I loved that there was more to Wyatt’s attraction than just the physical.  And it was the same for Tatiana.  Their connection was far more complicated than lust.

April Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley – B/B+  I have recently discovered the reading crack* that is Kristen Ashley.  Her writing is not for everyone.  There are very long run-on sentences (some of which don’t make sense), some abuse of tenses and apostrophes… but.  But.  The stories are strong and if you like the alpha protector type who likes dirty talk and laugh out loud funny heroines (and heroes for that matter), an authentic girl posse who drinks cosmopolitans and eat cookie dough and other fattening things, this might be for you.
Mystery Man is the first book in the Dream Man series (but I started with book 4, Motorcycle Man because I’d heard that is the “gateway drug” – I’d heard right by the way).
Gwendolyn Kidd has been having the strangest relationship – 18 months earlier she met a hot sexy guy in a bar and with very (and I mean very) few words, found herself having the best sex of her life with him. They don’t exchange names or conversation.  And he keeps turning up, every few days for more hot sex, in the middle of the night, then he says “Later, babe” and leaves.  Matters come to a head when Gwen’s sister Ginger gets in a lot of trouble with a lot of bad people.  Her Mystery Man, Cabe “Hawk” Delgado is a commando type and rides to the rescue.

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the author(s) via NetGalley.  Plus I enjoyed the first book, Beyond Shame.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  She refuses to be owned.Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.He’ll settle for nothing less.Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Following on about 4 weeks after the events of Beyond Shame, Dallas finally makes his move on Lex.  Or, possibly, Lex makes her move on Dallas.  That part wasn’t quite clear to me.  But either way, moves are made and the pair are soon scorching up the sheets.
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