After running from a past destined to kill him, Snow has been hiding on the streets.
Tell nobody your name.
Tell nobody your secrets.
These are the rules of the streets.
His entire life changes when he saves an eight-year-old boy from a violent end. Christopher Manos is one of the most powerful crime bosses in the country.
Don’t ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
Secrets can get you killed.
These are the rules he lives by.
When his eight-year-old nephew disappears, he never expects the boy’s savior to end up being his own. A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow’s life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher’s best be enough to prevent Snow Falling.
When I saw that Davidson King was going her debut novel I was really, really hoping that it would all work out for the best, after all not everyone can go from reviewer to author, and vice versa, but if anyone could I knew King could.
I wasn’t wrong. I was, however, wrong about the impression I got from the cover until I read the story and went ‘yup, I get it now’. The model is gorgeous, breathtakingly so, and I see now how it works with the story. Read on, you won’t be disappointed.
I never loved that nickname, but that was the thing about a nickname—you rarely get to pick your own. The second I hit the streets five years ago with my white blond hair, ice blue eyes, and fair skin, people said I blended in with the snow. And no way would I give anyone my real name. That was never a safe thing to do on the streets. Especially, not for me.
When we came to the stone steps and I looked up, I came face to face with not only the most dangerous man in this city, but the most gorgeous. He was broad, and I could see the muscles in his arms and legs even through his expensive suit. He had midnight black hair and obsidian eyes.
And here’s where I was surprised. To say surprised is mild. This is a really good story! I mean, I haven’t really seen this particular mafioso trope before, although you can definitely say it is ‘the bad guy as hero’ trope and man, does it ever work for Ms. King.
Christopher Manos is the heir, and don, of House Manos, a leading crime family/syndicate in town. Christopher Manos is also the guardian of his deceased sister’s son, Simon, and while out with his bodyguard driver Simon decides he’s going to leave the SUV and go out for a stroll whilst the ill-fated bodyguard gets him ice cream. During his wandering, he’s corralled by some nefarious characters who are out to no good.
Snow has been living in the mean streets since running away from home, and his no good father who has been using him for less than honest pursuits, when he comes upon Simon as he’s being cornered by some sinister characters obviously up to no good. He manages to get Simon out of the clutches of these characters, promising to come back and stand in Simon’s stead with the leader of the gang that is trying to take advantage of Simon.
Since I don’t do spoilers, here is where the real action begins, and action it is. This is a thoroughly good story and an excellent start for a debuting author. I am thinking of at least one spin off possibility off of this story, should the author wish to go that route. Regardless, I think she’s definitely found a good style.
The writing was solidly good and enjoyable. There was a good flow to the story, no hiccups and WTFs; crisp and clean throughout. This author pays a good amount of attention to detail in her story lines, without inconsistencies, and I must say excellent editing. Some of the best I’ve seen.
There is definitely a good style to this debut author’s writing, an enjoyable cadence that made the story a pleasure to read.
Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.
When she’s not writing you can find her blogging away on Diverse Reader, her review and promotional site. She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.
If you were to ask her what gave her the courage to finally publish, she’d tell you it was her amazing family and friends. Support is vital in all things and when you’re afraid of your dreams, it will be your cheering section that will lift you up.
I would like to thank Davidson King for providing OJ He Say! with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
INTERVIEW: Mike Merisi from Dancing Men – Hunt&Cam4Ever Series.
OJ: Hi Mike, welcome to OJ He Say! Thanks for stopping by for a bit.
Mike: That’s okay. Beats proofreading an operations manual. OJ: I’m so happy for you about Little Favor. It’s awesome when someone finds ‘the other’. Tell me, what first drew you to Cal. I mean, obviously his looks and personality, but did you see something special that rang your bells?
Mike: Dane said these could get personal. … Uh … I guess it was how he handled it all. Those construction guys are big. Tough. But they all respect Cal. Cal is the most together dude I ever met. I guess smart and practical are sexy to me. OJ: Have you heard from your ex, Kenneth? It sounds as if he could have been a problem.
Mike: Nah. He hooked up with another kid. Metro State freshman, if I remember. He turns 30 this year. I’m expecting a breakdown. OJ: In Little Favor we find out how you came to get your appointment to the Denver Police and that you’d wanted this all your life. Care to tell us why police?
Mike: The challenge. Always changing, never know what you’re going to do at work. Same kind of call, way different actions. To be good at it, it demands everything, all the time.
You get to fuck with bullies and you’re supposed to. Make cases work in court. Screw over defense attorneys. I miss the street already and it’s only been a month. But working with Dane and everybody… amazing. I learned so much, already. Jesus, Camden goddamned Snow? You don’t get to see him ski, here, do you? Never watched him own a whole mountain. Smart son of a bitch, sweet as cajeta. [shrugs] I don’t know if they’ll even keep the unit together for long. OJ: So, where did you learn your Spanish?
Mike: At home, like most people. We’re Spanish, Basque, on my mom’s side. Jasone de Arraioz. They came with Juan de Oñate in the 1500s. My ancestors traded all up and down the Front Range with the Navajo, Zuni. [grins] Tried to make ‘em all Catholic. Mom met my dad in high school; it was like Tony and Maria the way Papa tells it. The Sharks and the Jets, only nobody died. OJ: I must admit, after reading Little Favor I really enjoyed your ‘moments’ with Cal, so incredibly hot! Tell us, what is it that he brings out in you? What’s that ‘spark’?
Mike: You should talk to Cal. The only way I let August write about it is that no one would read it where we live. The whole story is about the spark. OJ: You know, you were his first, ever. Did it worry you, or…?
Mike: At the time, I thought about it. Like that day after I left, I mean. You know, it was my first time, too, in a way. Cal always knew exactly what he wanted, he just never thought he’d get it. I found out what I wanted right there. With him.
I kinda shocked myself. And then I promised … well… you know, you read the story. I was a kid last time I did that and it was only a couple times and, you know how there’s all the awkward slipping around and … Anyway … I had to … not get so carried away, so he’d be okay. So, yeah, I thought about it. But after that night—man, he was amazing—I never worried at all. OJ: Sounds like he always wanted to have what you always wanted give.
Mike: I guess. For me, Cal was yes in a world of no. OJ: Well, thanks so much for stopping by. I must admit that I’ve wanted to meet the young, quiet, sharp Mike Merisi ever since I met him in Dancing Men. And now, on to Little Favor.
Featuring a character from the
Hunter Dane Investigation novels Matchstick Men and Dancing Men.
“How is it when I say ‘Go away and don’t come back,’ you hear ‘Come on over and shove your dick up my ass’?”
Mike Merisi buttoned his top button and watched himself tie his tie in the dresser mirror. He needed a haircut. Maybe if he got out of here in a few minutes …
“There’s no reason to be hostile, I simply said we could try again.” The voice came from the cell Mike had set on the dresser top.
“And why,” Mike muttered as he slid the knot home, “Did I put my phone on speaker instead of mute?”
“I can hear you.”
“It was a good run. Almost two years. It’s over. Let go,” Mike told his former lover, loading his pockets from the dresser top. “We can remain … pleasant to each other.”
“I have feelings, Michael. I’m not ready to let go.”
Mike shrugged into his coat. Car keys. Breath mints. Check.
“It’s Monday morning. You cruised around all weekend and couldn’t connect. You’re horny as an old man’s bunion so you called me looking for a convenient hole to fall into.”
“Michael! How can you be so crass?” Wounded outrage. A Kenneth Special.
MICHAEL ANGELO MERISI had been an inexperienced nineteen when he met Kenneth. The tall blond, twenty-five, seemed urbane and sophisticated. He took what remained of Mike’s virginity and coached him in the finer aspects of sucking cock, choosing wine and knowing what to wear, and where to wear it.
But Mike was always the thrustee, never allowed to satisfy his growing need to push inside Kenneth’s admittedly fine ass. Mike’s vague dissatisfaction turned to resentment that hardened into an ultimatum: take it by turns or give me back my door key.
“You can’t understand, Michael, I’m a natural Dominant. I simply couldn’t.” Kenneth started the Keurig and selected a flavor enhancer.
“Manipulative, self-centered and anal-retentive do not a Dominant make,” Mike had informed him, arms crossed over his chest.
Watching Kenneth measure a precise amount of hazelnut-mocha into his cup, Mike knew he did not want Kenneth to give a huge sigh and say “fine.” In fact, Mike didn’t want Kenneth at all.
It wasn’t that Mike believed himself such a catch; he was the most average guy he knew. His northern Italian heritage didn’t leave him with the smoldering dark coloring of his southern cousins. His hair was a warm brown, his eyes a lighter shade of same. Medium-toned skin, his face more round than long—he did not stand out in a crowd.
Five feet, nine and a half inches of average build. Though he’d begun working out and his shoulders had begun to stretch his shirt. He was almost six inches when serviceably erect. Not sausage fat or pencil-dicked, just a penis that worked well. Average.
High-cheekboned Kenneth was seven inches. Six feet as well as six-packed.
Pretentious, long-suffering fussbudget.
“Leave your key on the counter,” Mike had told him, and gone to shower.
THREE WEEKS LATER, Kenneth still couldn’t seem to lose his number.
“I have to go to work,” Mike told him, grabbing his cell off the dresser. “I’m hanging up, don’t make a drama out if it.”
He dropped the cell into his inside breast pocket, grabbed his laptop case from a chair and was out the door.
Today, he had important things to do.
MIKE TOSSED HIS laptop case into the passenger seat wondering again if he was heartless. He hadn’t felt a second of hesitation hanging up on Kenneth. In fact, he felt … buoyant.
Maybe it was the working out. In the last weeks he’d had to move up a shirt size. His suit pants tightened around his thighs when he strode along. He just felt damned good.
His cell chimed as he put the key into the ignition. Mike steeled himself, but it wasn’t Kenneth.
“Nora. Let me guess, tower two collapsed and he’s running late.”
“Almost,” the lilting soprano of Cal Derricksen’s assistant came back. “Electrical inspectors. I have to push you back an hour.”
“It’s all good. I’ll grab coffee, get a haircut, and be bright-eyed and well-groomed when he’s ready for me.”
“You can be half-asleep and shaggy-haired as long as you have the competitive bid analysis for parking lots and landscaping.”
“Hang on,” Mike said. “I thought ventilation and water systems was today.”
“What! Are you shitting me?” Absolute panic.
“Yes, I am,” he said pulling out of the lot. “Gotta go, no cell allowed while driving.” He clicked off, grinning.
He really liked Nora. In her late forties, she combined the best qualities of supermom and meth-head piranha. She took care of her boss by tearing strips of flesh from anyone who failed, disappointed or opposed him.
Calvin W. Derricksen was all sharp intelligence and total control. He was a human dynamo in tan side-pocket chinos and a light blue denim work shirt. His navy tie always loosened, a brushed silver tie clip held the end out of his way. A black poplin jacket hung on the back of his executive desk chair.
He wore brown leather slip-ons with white socks. A pair of scarred work boots waited near his desk. In under two minutes, he could be in them, jacket on, tie up, and out the door. His sudden exits from his office to the big construction site were common.
Cal dressed the same way every day. He said it saved time not thinking about irrelevant crap when he had so many critical things to keep track of. Like making sure a building he built didn’t fall down with the occupants inside.
But as demanding as Cal was as a site manager, as focused and no-nonsense, he ran out without bothering with boots or coat when one of his crew was injured. Cal laughed and lifted heavy loads and sometimes drank beer with his guys. That’s what he called them: “My guys.”
Once, after one of Cal’s dashes from the office, Mike spotted him a half-hour later through the window wall, leaning against an upright. He was laughing with one of the workers while standing on a girder, ten stories up.
It was hot. So was Cal’s wavy black hair, warm hazel eyes, dusky rose slash of a mouth and tight round buttcheeks. The soft fabric of his pants stretching over his ass as he reached across his drafting table’s wide, slanted top didn’t hurt, either.
Mike Merisi had a hell of a crush.
TAKING HIS COFFEE into Cut Lass, Mike relaxed in the salon’s waiting area and thumbed through a style book.
Ten minutes later, Valeria settled him at her station. Val was a blue-streaked, caramel-skinned, seriously ambitious Guatemalan import. Most of her family worked in her shop. Mike understood the struggle starting a family business. His father and Uncle Leo launched Construction Accounting Consultants from Leo’s garage. Mike did Val’s books for free and in return, she cut his hair. He was a generous tipper.
“Saw you lookin’ through the book,” she said. “Now you grinnin’ like my nephew with a fistful of wiggle worms. You get some news?”
Mike fished a business envelope from his pocket. The letter had come yesterday; the paper already softened from many rereads.
“Greetings from the City and County of Denver. Dear Mister Merisi,” she read out. “We are pleased to offer you an appointment to the position of police officer …”
Val whooped and threw her arms around his neck. “About time, man, you been after this for like, a year!”
“I start at the academy in a few weeks,” he said, unable to suppress the grin that split his face.
After civil service testing, background checking and psychological evaluationing, he’d been found fit to hold people’s lives in his hands. To be trusted with a deadly weapon and the decision to use that weapon. He and thirty others had emerged from the pack of almost two thousand who’d sat the Civil Service exam. Mike Merisi was one month from realizing his dream.
“New life, Val. I need new hair.”
“How ‘bout a low taper fade,” she asked, running her fingers through his medium length locks. “This is good. Thick. Not too big a change, but sharp.”
“Let’s go wild. How about a mid?” He took his letter back and put it safely in his breast pocket.
“You got it. You gonna be edgy. Hot. You gonna be the Man, you know? Officer Muh-ree-see.”
She helped him off with his suit coat and shook out the cutting cape.
LAPTOP CASE OVER his shoulder, Mike grabbed the clear document tube of parking lot schematics from the trunk. He took the six steps to the 12-story building’s entrance in two long strides. Cool air met warm skin where his hair was newly shorn. It felt pleasantly sensual.
Pausing in front of the doors, he yanked off his tie and shoved it into his pocket. Opened the top two buttons of his shirt.
Mike made his way through the building’s unfinished lobby, heel sounds dulled on the exposed concrete. Hammer strikes, power saw teeth on metal and men’s shouts echoed off unfinished walls.
One car was in service in the six-car elevator bay. Inside, the walls hung with protective canvas, Mike pushed twelve. The powerful upward surge of the car triggered a familiar flow of warmth, like electric pinpoints. His pants tightened at the crotch. He smiled at himself. Anticipation makes you horny.
Mike had caught subtle glances of interest across the desk from Cal Derricksen during several of their meetings. He was sure there’d been some hand on crotch dick-shifting under the desk. But he’d waited for Cal to make the first move; he was the client and a very important one. To Mike’s disappointment, Derricksen had never given him any encouragement.
Maybe he had his own Kenneth at home. But Cal’s hesitation could have to do with his stature. As much of a powerhouse as Cal Derrickson was, he couldn’t be more than 5’5.” At most. A really hot guy who probably bought his shirts in the boy’s department. That was okay with Mike.
What he intended doing with Cal, did not require height. Or a shirt.
Mike had already decided to ask him out when the job was over. But since the letter, today was the day. For the next few weeks his brother Andrew would come with him so Mike could orient him to the work and Cal. And Nora. Then Mike would be off to the police academy and Drew would take over.
If Mike was going to make a move, it had to be today. And today, he was primed for it.
CALVIN WILCOX DERRICKSEN held the phone to his ear with his right hand and the top of his head on with his left, clutching a handful of wavy dark hair. He paced in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, listening to nonsense.
Outside, a construction crane set an enormous I-beam delicately in place on the twelfth story of the building next to this one. A twin of the one he stood in.
“You can’t just drop two more stories on top, Denkler, you know how that changes the dead load? … Tell you what, call a civil engineer and get him to explain it to you. … Yeah, well, he’ll be polite.”
He tossed the phone onto his desk.
Mike Merisi was leaning against the door jamb, grinning at him. Oh, man, what’s the kid done to himself? He looked older. Harder, somehow. Hotter.
Thankfully, Cal was behind his desk, the top level with his waist. Cal Derricksen’s pants never tightened. They just rubbed the end of his willy. Irritating.
Merisi came off the door and took a couple steps toward him, eyes locked, grin fading. Willy wept.
Cal felt the old familiar tensions—of his stomach, where the anger lay. His throat, where the sadness hid.
“You want to put your shit down over there and bring me the plans?” Cal asked. Terse. He pointed to a conversation area, complete with sofa and chairs. His office was the only finished space in the building. It served as a showpiece for prospective tenants.
Merisi paused and cocked his head, as if considering Cal’s directions. Cal’s heart pounded in his ears. What if he doesn’t do it? What if he … says something?
The accounting consultant Cal called “kid” in his mind, seemed not at all kidlike standing tall and strong and calm. Mike nodded and turned away.
Hurrying out from behind his desk to the drafting table, Cal pulled himself into place on the tall chair. He always did it like this, before a visitor came in or while they were distracted. He hated anyone seeing him clamber up, like a child at the grown-ups table.
Once settled, glasses in place and willy subsided, Cal was ready. At thirty, he was one of the youngest high rise construction managers around. This was his domain. His world, his expertise. And if the crushing responsibility sometimes seemed like it would do just that, no one around him could tell.
He cleared papers from the slanted top of the drafting table. “Let’s go,”—he glanced over his shoulder—“I…”
Mike Merisi closed the office door and walked toward him.
He wasn’t carrying the tube.
GET SET …
Michael! What are you doing?
Whatever the hell I want, for once.
Cal had licked his lips when he saw Mike in the doorway. His face flushed; his eyes got big. He’d shifted his hips behind the desk.
I should have gotten this haircut a long time ago. Mike Merisi might only be twenty-one, but he knew when a guy responded to him. He’d turned his back to close the door, knowing Cal would escape to his drafting table. On the tall chair, he was close to Mike’s height.
No escape, today. Determined, Mike had started across the room and Cal had looked back. Mike fixed his gaze on Cal’s. Held him.
Jesus, I’m making him look at me. He looks turned on and … scared? Oh, man, that’s hot.
Cal’s lips parted; a pulse throbbed at the side of his neck. Every one of his responses made Mike feel taller. Denser, somehow. His cock wasn’t tingling; he was hard and hot and tight. Mike stopped thinking about what he was doing and went with it.
He halted two steps from Cal, seemingly mesmerized by Mike’s hand pushing under his own waistband. Cal’s eyes followed as Mike adjusted himself, lingering a second for one hard squeeze.
“Oh, God,” Cal breathed. He didn’t look away until Mike took his hand out and placed it flat on the tilted top of the drafting table. He put the other hand on the back of Cal’s chair.
Cal’s eyes darted around, from Mike’s hands, to the door, to the window. Back to the almost vertical ridgeline next to Mike’s zipper. Anywhere but on Mike’s face.
“Look at me, Cal.”
The little man made a high sound in his throat and Mike’s gut clenched and heated. He swivelled the chair Cal perched on, so the site manager faced him.
Cal looked up. And Mike Merisi knew then what Cal wanted. His obedience wouldn’t surprise Mike again. “Are you with anyone?” His voice was hoarse.
Cal shook his head. He wriggled slightly in the chair.
“Hold still.” Mike only had to lean forward to be between Cal’s knees. He stared pointedly at Cal’s crotch.
A small dark spot. “You’re wet for me,” he said. It was what straight guys said to girls, but he knew, somehow, it would excite Cal, who choked on an intake of breath. Yes.
“Nor- Nora might come in,” Cal said.
Mike smirked, still looking between Cal’s legs. “She might. Probably will.” Oddly, he didn’t see a bulge. But the spot was unmistakable. He caught Cal’s eyes again. “I don’t think she’ll stay long.”
“Goddammit it,” Cal said softly, shifting in the chair. Mike’s cock jerked. He reached out to cover Cal’s erection with his palm, to squeeze and knead and-
“No!” Cal shoved back from the table, twisting, and almost toppled over. “Stop it, leave me a—”
Mike’s tongue obliterated the rest of the word. He held Cal by a fist in his hair, tilting his head back. A light dusting of stubble grazed his fingertips, digging in above Cal’s jaw, keeping his mouth open.
But Mike didn’t ravage him; he probed. Tasting, feeling. Finally.
A small hot tongue, tentative, stroked back along Mike’s. He held Cal’s face between his hands, thumbs sliding along lips, tips dipping into the dark, wet warmth.
Cal trembled and moaned and clutched at Mike’s sleeve, pulling instead of pushing away. For a few seconds. Then he put two hands flat on Mike’s chest and pushed. Hard.
“Time out,” he said. It wasn’t a request.
Mike pulled back, but not away. “Nora went to the printer’s and then to lunch. The door’s locked.” He smiled. “I had planned to say – something – you know. But … you are so goddamned sexy.”
Cal shook his head and blew out a breath. He had his hands over his crotch.
“It can’t just …. happen,” Cal said. “There’re things to discuss.”
“I know. I have stuff in my bag. Condoms.” He didn’t mention the lube or the wipes. “But I couldn’t wait to touch you.” He slid a palm over Cal’s upper arm, well-muscled from years of working around construction sites.
“Conversation,” Cal said firmly, pushing Mike’s hand back toward him. “A lot of conversation. There are things for you to know.”
What would he have to know that took so much talking? Mike considered. Cal was small for a man, but well-proportioned. He couldn’t be …
“Cal, are you trans?”
Cal shook his head, turning the chair away. He moved to his desk, motioning Mike toward the visitor’s chair. “Please,” he said.
Mike complied as thoughts of HIV and genital warts flashed through his mind.
Cal sat with his elbows on the desktop, hands clasped. It felt for all the world like Mike was in front of the teacher’s desk about to be lectured on getting his homework in on time.
“In terms of … endowment,” Cal began. “Nature has shown me little favor.”
Endowment. Little favor?
….. Oh. “Okay. Is there more or is that what I had to know?
Cal blew out a breath. “I don’t think you understand how … unfavored I am.”
“I’ll find out for myself, shortly,” Mike smirked. He cocked his head. “What’s your position on anal?”
Cal started. “I haven’t—I haven’t had much experience.”
“I’ll change that.” Mike’s wilted cock perked up when the flush revisited Cal’s cheeks and his eyes widened. “I was thinking I’d top. You good with that?”
Cal licked his lips. He was good with it. “Now?” His voice was thick. Yes.
Mike stood up. “We’ll see. First”—he moved around the desk behind Cal, hands flat on the desktop next to his elbows, lips brushing Cal’s ear—“I’m going to touch you.”
He was rewarded with a low moan. “Stand up, you’re in my seat.”
Mike grabbed the arms of the chair and pulled it slowly back from the desk. Looking down, he saw the tiny wet spot on Cal’s pants had been joined by a short streak. Not a larger spot. A streak. As if his leaking slit was dragged across the inside of his pants.
Very little favor, then.
Cal didn’t stand up. But he didn’t refuse.
THIS WON’T WORK, you know that.
Cal Derricksen fought to regain his equilibrium. His few forays into sexual congress had not ended well. While Cal hadn’t experienced deliberate cruelty since high school, the looks, the embarrassed for him but polite excuses, were somehow worse.
Pity was worse.
And he really liked Mike Merisi. Sweet, smart, shrewd. A hell of a work ethic. He smelled good. He dressed professionally, he usually unbuttoned his collar. It was the notch, the shadow, the faint sprinkle of hair that promised more. His fine hands and dry humor.
“What’s your position on anal?”
Cal wanted to chuckle at the wordplay, but his pain was too acute, knowing it would never happen. And he’d never suspected the streak of dominance. It undid him. Toppled his wall of sensible reserve.
Damn it. Godfuckingdammit all to hell.
His father says he’s leaving. That’s why he’s doing this. It’s the last time. Get it over with. Make sure you get the schematics and figures before he walks out.
Cal Derricksen stood up.
He felt Mike slide into the seat behind him. His chair was set at maximum height, of course. When Mike spread his legs and rolled the chair up to the back of Cal’s legs, his knees pressed firmly into Cal’s hips on either side.
Strong arms wrapped around his shoulders, warm breath moved over his ear. “Shoes off.” Cal shivered and his insides clenched.
He toed off his loafers, kicking them further into the well of the desk. Mike leaned into him and he felt the expansion of Mike’s chest against his back with every intake of breath.
He feels wonderful. Tears pricked at his eyes at the imminent loss of the strength and comfort of another man’s body against his own.
“Jesus you feel good,” Mike breathed, hands gliding over Cal’s chest and abdomen. He opened Cal’s belt and pants, pulling him closer. Mike’s right hand slid down, over Cal’s plain white jockeys. His left, flat on Cal’s stomach, kept him close, a sweet restraint.
Cal felt a tear track down his face. Mike’s fingers found his three-and-a-quarter inches poking out a stretched leg hole. Felt him, seeking the rest. There was no “rest.” The fingers tightened around him. His willy felt like it would split open. His chest felt empty. Dead.
“Jesus, Cal,” Mike said, a bit of wonder in his low, tight voice.
Here it comes …
“You could etch glass with this thing. Or melt it.”
Then there were only Mike’s hands, sliding under, tearing his pants off, lifting turning. Mike stood and laid Cal on his back on the desk, pushing his thighs apart, staring down between his legs.
MOVING HIS PALMS over Cal’s strong thighs and onto his abdomen, Mike kept his eyes on the small, succulent prize. The shiny red glans sat on a solid stalk of turgid flesh, a narrow vein snaking along briefly to dive underneath. Cal’s sac was compact and dark red, the mounds of his balls offset. It was all in proportion, framed by a halo of dark curls.
“Perfect,” Mike said again, hands moving to each side, and down, he laid his thumbs on each side of the thickened root. Dear God, what I could do.
Reaching down, he lifted Cal’s legs. “Feet on the edge of the desk.” Cal complied; Mike opened his knees. “Give me your wrists.”
Mike extended his hands along the outsides of Cal’s thighs and manacled each wrist with his fingers. He pulled Cal toward him, shins pressing into Mike’s biceps, his perfect package inches from Mike’s mouth.
“I’m going to suck you off. Right here. Now.” Mike tried to sound controlled, but his urgent need to ravage this man tightened his throat and the words came out a growl.
Cal’s deep brown eyes grew larger. “Why?”
Mike surged up and over, hands over hands, holding them down next to Cal’s head. Body over body, driving him into the surface of the desk. He loomed over the man beneath him and glared fiercely into his face.
“Because I want you more than I ever wanted anyone. Because I’m going to make you feel so good you’ll fight to get away from the pleasure and need to come so bad you’ll feel like you’ll lose your mind if you don’t. And I’ll love the way you’ll struggle and plead. And because you want me to, little man. You want me to, don’t you?”
Cal’s head moved in a bare nod of acquiescence.
“Say it,” Mike snapped.
Cal shuddered and moaned. “I want you to,” Cal whispered, eyes bright with humiliation and need.
For a nanosecond Mike wondered at himself. But he knew with more certainty every second, at every response. Like coming home to a place he hadn’t known he missed. He was the one who gave and withheld, drove and shattered.
He was the one who owned.
Mike undid himself and brought his aching length out into the air. He wrapped both hands around, the head disappearing and squeezed. Wait. Wait until you’re in his mouth. Precum gushed through his fingers at the thought.
Mike knew he could come in a couple strokes at the sight of Cal laid out before him. Legs still drawn up, knees open, shaft tight back in the thatch of hair. Stomach fluttering with each ragged breath in anticipation of Mike’s touch.
And just above the desk edge, a tight pink star beckoned.
“Oh, fuck yeah,” he whispered. He tucked himself inside his boxers, finding a dry spot.
Taking Cal’s wrists firmly in hand, Mike Merisi lowered his head.
Cal’s three-and-a-quarter inches of stiff, searing flesh fit completely inside Mike Merisi’s mouth. It startled him and thrilled him—oh, what he would be able to do with his tongue to this straining, fiery stalk.
Mike pressed upward with the rougher back of his tongue and stroked the frenulum and delta, over and over. The cock in his mouth leaked and Cal cried out some garbled version of “Oh my God.”
Jesus, I might come on myself. Sucking off Call was the most incredibly exciting thing Mike had ever done to a man. He’d never had a whole dick in his mouth at once, ever. Kenneth was a log he’d taught himself not to choke on. And while his lover getting off in his mouth was something of a turn-on, there wasn’t much in it for Mike but an aching jaw.
But this … He backed off before he made Cal shoot. Slipping his tongue over the top, he lodged Cal in the soft underflesh.
Cal squirmed, struggling to thrust, but Mike gripped him hard, keeping his legs folded. By changing the angle of his body, Mike completely controlled how much Cal could move hips. And right now, that amount was zero.
Mike scraped the short stalk with his teeth and polished the burning head against the silky, softness under his tongue. Mike tasted the precum that welled up. With a feral cry, Cal’s head jerked back, but Mike’s hold kept his back flat and he shook with the effort to escape the very thing he sought.
Cal Derricksen was a strong man, but Mike Merisi had him locked down.
“Oh. Fuck. Oh. Fuck.” Cal panted so hard Mike feared he’d hyperventilate. He pulled up, keeping the suction on until the head of Cal’s dick slipped out and rested on his lower lip. He teased the slit with the tip of his tongue. Cal’s every breath a harsh rasp.
“You need to get a grip on yourself, little dude. I’m just getting started.”
“Mike, oh God, Mike, I’m – I’ll come if you do keep doing that.”
“You always come this fast?” He ran his nose along the sides of Cal’s swollen prick, again hidden in the thatch of pubic hair. He inhaled Cal’s musky scent, felt his hips flex, as if seeking Mike’s mouth, again.
“Well?” Mike asked, the word muffled by flesh and hair and skin and lust.
“No one ever did this to me before. I mean … oh, fu- uh – they…”
“Tell me,” Mike ordered, running his chin up and down Cal’s length, knowing he’d be prickly by now, an erotic rasp.
“Uh … uh … oh God … start … they’d start and … Jesus, please … stop—they’d stop when they saw me.”
That made Mike stop. He’s a fucking virgin. He rested his forehead on Cal’s abdomen, the muscles tight with arousal, rising and falling with each breath. No one’s touched him? Entered him? … The next thought was immediate, primal … mine.
Mike Merisi raked his eyes over the panting, suffering, needing man. A savage need to torment, delight, invade, imprint himself on every one of Cal Derricksen’s raw nerve endings possessed him.
He lifted enough to catch Cal’s eyes, glimmering with his arousal. “Then you’d better think about ice storms, because you don’t come until I let you and I’m about to make up for lost time.”
Cal’s eyes widened with uncertainty and anticipation.
Mike moved down further and sucked lightly on Cal’s ballsack, also smaller than normal, hot and tight.
He stroked the short raphe with the tip of his tongue. Pressing hard, following the seam up and into Cal’s sac, teasing his nuts apart, he sucked each in turn, between his teeth. Trapped, Mike teased his prize with his tongue while Releasing. Repeating.
Cal Derricksen struggled and keened, wept and finally howled. Mike’s cock jerked hard, flash fire raced along a web of nerves to his hole, to his spine. His fucking toes tingled.
He revelled in the ease with which he could access every bit of Cal’s most closely-guarded shame. Hardening the tip of his tongue, he traveled the short distance down and probed the center of Cal’s hole.
“No – no – that – ah – not – oh … fuck … oh … God …”
With every cry and increasingly frantic movement, Mike gloried in his power to make Cal insane with need and desperate for release. This was his domain.
Moving up, he sucked the purple head and rubbed it back and forth between the slick silken inside his lips and the washboard of his front teeth.
Mike dropped his jaw as Kenneth had taught him and took all of Cal into his mouth, cock and balls and a flood of precum.
Mike’s tongue was folded against the curves and ridges in his mouth and he could only move it slightly, but with every press and slide Cal writhed against him, seeming torn between driving deeper or escaping the unbearable pleasure. His whole body trembled and the table vibrated and swirled his tongue underneath Cal’s balls and felt the vibrations of his cries through his lips.
The totality of Mike’s control over the movements and feelings of the man under him, drove him to the pinnacle of excitement and depths of lust. He flashed on restraints and spreader bars and his fingers in Cal’s ass as he lay over the desk, clawing at plans and papers …
And with a cry of “Oh, my God,” that sounded more like a sob, Cal went suddenly limp. “Please,” he begged in a whisper. “Oh, please. Mike, I have to, please …”
Mike came abruptly back from what felt like an altered state. Jesus, it’s his first time.
He repositioned Cal against the roof of his mouth and stroked with his tongue, as he had at the beginning. Relaxing his grip slightly, moving a little, encouraging Cal to pump.
He let go of one wrist and moved Cal’s hand until fingers clutched at his hair, allowing Cal more control.
Freeing his own throbbing cock, Mike jacked himself while Cal rocked and wept, chasing his orgasm. Mike held him tightly in his mouth, relishing Cal’s deepest thrusts. He felt every one in his own body, as if Cal’s straining dick plunged into the spreading mass of heat and need behind Mike’s balls.
He tightened his grip on himself in the sticky-slickness of precum, riding the rush to his own orgasm. With a rasping groan, Cal pumped cum down Mike’s welcoming throat. Once .. twice … three spurts of warm salty fluid. A surprisingly large amount for so small a package. That triggered Mike and all went dim and silent for a few moments as his orgasm overwhelmed him. Hard, so hard. Like the cum was a solid thing rammed through his dick, and his balls would float away from the relief.
He released Cal and sat back, catching his breath. How did he not think to put a wad of tissues in his suit coat pocket?
CAL LAY BONELESS, arms thrown wide, legs over the edge of the desk, his feet on Mike Merisi’s knees. You still have your shirt and tie on. And your socks. One of his hands was lying on the keyboard of his open laptop. He Ready for a porn video.
His willy was cold, after the warm wet, in the office air. Balls, too. Fuck, what he’d done with my balls … Instinctively he wanted to close his legs, cover himself with his hands. He didn’t have the strength. And Mike might not approve.
Cal couldn’t manage to process what had just happened. Feelings he’d never imagined existed. Exhilarating, torturous arousal. Wondrous humiliation. A joyous sense of utter powerlessness. Worked into mindless frenzy and total surrender—to his accounting consultant.
It was all perfect.
Almost. You almost couldn’t come. He’d been so worried he’d come too fast. But when Mike took pity on him, helped him, it was like chasing a ball bearing inside a water balloon. It kept slipping away. This is what you get after a lifetime of wanking willy.
It was when he heard Mike panting, jerking his own shaft, doing only inches away what Cal had imagined watching him do so many times, that Cal found his release.
As if in answer, two warm hands ran over his thighs. Used him to push on, to stand up. Mike’s face came into view. “Hang on,” he said.
He retrieved Cal’s pants, shook them out and laid them on the table top. Mike leaned over and cocked an eyebrow.
“Glad you liked it, but you have to stand up, now. I have my own pants to deal with.” He grinned.
After Mike got his briefs off and folded up in his pocket and his pants back on—after Cal made himself neat and slipped into his shoes—Mike perched on the edge of the chair.
“I was going to invite you to dinner,” he said.
“That was my big bold plan. Last day just us together. I was going to say let’s have dinner.” He pulled Cal close and draped his forearms over Cal’s shoulders. “But then you gave me that superheated eye-laser thing when I came in and shit, I just had to-” He shook his head.
Cal’s face had gone still. “And what about now? What do you want, now?”
Mike searched Cal’s face. “I want you to tell me you’re okay. You made me crazy. I – maybe got a little carried away.”
Cal felt his face heat. “You were – it was …”
Mike grinned. “Good?” Cal nodded. “Dinner later?”
That’s it? Now we have dinner? “It doesn’t bother you?”
“It’s killing me, I want to fuck you over the desk right now. But we need to have our meeting because Sandusky recommends a parking garage. Fact is, the numbers are in his favor.”
What? “Nonono. We never even considered another structure,” Cal said, looking around. “The numbers say yes? Where’re the figures?”
Mike crossed his arms pulling Cal close and kissed him. Mouth and tongue and shoulders and whiskers. Cal let go again, his arms went around Mike, and he kissed him back. It was every kiss he’d ever dreamed of, hot and romantic, slow and strong. It was the kiss he thought he’d never receive, never give.
Mike disengaged, and smiled. “I’ll get the plans. Meet you back here in a sec—your chair.” He slid off to retrieve the plastic tube.
“Wait!” Cal said.
“I meant my willy. The way it is. It doesn’t bother you?” Cal’s breath caught as Mike’s eyes went immediately dark. He reached between Cal’s legs and cupped him with firm authority.
Cal whimpered, stretching and filling. Again.
Mike took him between his thumb and two fingers, rolling and stroking him through the fabric. “Bother me? Yes, it most certainly bothers me.”
Mike’s voice, again suffused with lust, seemed to stroke Cal along with his fingers.
“It will bother me through the meeting and for the rest of my the day and every minute of our dinner. After which, we’ll come back here. Because the very thought of this”—he gave willy a hard squeeze—“will be bothering me so very much.
“I’ll bend you over that desk in the dark and you can watch the city lights while I open you and stretch you and slick this very bothersome little dick with lube. I’ll tease little willy until you beg me to fuck you and I swear Calvin Derricksen, when I finally let you come, you will scream.”
Cal felt the pulse pounding in neck. “Oh.”
“Nature,” Mike told him, “Did me a hell of a little favor.”
Falling Hard features nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book. Meet a sign language interpreter who finds unexpected love at middle-age, college students in their first relationships, a vampire who would rather be a vegan, and a proudly gay ex-Mormon atheist who sells Bibles for a living. From sweet to erotic, this collection exhibits the quirkiness, fun, and diversity Dale’s writing is known for.
Falling Hard – The Anthology:
Reading and doing a review of Falling Hard was an easy yes for me as, fortunately, I had previously sampled some of Dale Cameron Lowry’s work and had really enjoyed it, so… being that there were new, as yet unread, stories in this anthology it was an easy, logical decision.
The stories are all excellent in their own right, each fully developed and highly enjoyable in their short story format. The stories ramp up in from mild to scorching hot as they go on in the book which makes for a really nice progression. The emotional and romantic quotient is there and the heat factor is definitely there.
Of course, I have my favorites as I’m sure you will too. Let me know which ones you favor.
Sit back and enjoy!
• Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. • Loggerhead – Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process. • Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly. • Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process. • Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length? • Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite. • Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins. • Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over? • Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?
Dale Cameron Lowry lives in the Upper Midwest with a partner and three cats, one of whom enjoys eating dish towels, quilts, and wool socks. It’s up to you to guess whether the fabric eater is one of the cats or the partner. When not busy mending items destroyed by the aforementioned fabric eater, Dale is a writer and editor who enjoys wasting time on Tumblr, listening to podcasts, studying anatomy, getting annoyed at Duolingo, and reading fairy tales. Previous careers include sign language linguist, grocery store clerk, journalist, gardener, and camp counselor.
Dale began writing for fun at the age of eight and has been making up stories ever since, from overly workshopped literary fiction to off-the-cuff fanfic. Queer Mormons have a way of popping up in Dale’s work, whether it’s romance or erotica, sci fi or fairy tales, slice-of-life contemporary fiction or spine-tingling horror. So do immigrants and emigrants, people with disabilities, multilingual folks, and others who live their lives navigating multiple cultures.
Otto Digmore is a 26-year-old gay guy with dreams of being a successful actor, and he’s finally getting some attention as a result of his supporting role on a struggling sitcom. But he’s also a burn survivor with scars on half his face, and all indications are that he’s just too different to ever find real Hollywood success.
Now he’s up for an amazing new role that could change everything. Problem is, he and his best friend Russel Middlebrook have to drive all the way across the country in order to get to the audition on time.
It’s hard to say which is worse: the fact that so many things go wrong, or that Russel, an aspiring screenwriter, keeps comparing their experiences to some kind of road trip movie.
There’s also the fact that Otto and Russel were once boyfriends, and Otto is starting to realize that he might still have romantic feelings for his best friend.
Just how far will Otto go to get the role, and maybe the guy, of his dreams?
The Otto Digmore Difference
When Mr. Hartinger offered me the ARC of the first book in a new series I was first totally dumbfounded and then completely flattered. I mean, Brent Freakin’ Hartinger?! Hell, yes I was accepting his ARC! Of course, I thought it was a Young Adult book, but hey Brent Hartinger! Boy, was I wrong. What I got was nothing short of true Gay Literature. An engrossing, excellently written, at times poignant and at times funny story of a very important time in gay men’s lives.
As a gay man there comes a time in our lives, usually in our 20’s, when our lives become defined. We are old enough and mature enough at this phase in our lives to form those first bonds of our extended families – the family we create for ourselves, not the inherited family that doesn’t necessarily get what our lives are. It is at this crucial juncture that the lifetime bonds are created with friends, oftentimes ex-boyfriends and their new mates and sometimes with completely new acquaintances. That is what this book is about. Oh, and yes, there is romance. The romance and love of a longtime friend that continues to love deeply, and that unexpected romance that comes out of the blue, like a bolt of lightning, that smacks us silly.
I turn and look out the window, but the lights are still on inside the plane, so all I see is the reflection of the First Class cabin in the clear plastic. I also see my face — the whole right side. It’s covered with scars. In some places, it looks a little bit like my face is melting. This is the other reason the businessman was staring at me. The good news is that I still have both my eyebrows. I have more scars too. They run down onto my shoulder and chest, hidden by my clothes, and also up under my hairline. Most of my hair is real, but one small part of it isn’t — it’s a hairpiece that’s woven into my actual hair. It was really expensive, and it has to be adjusted every three weeks, but it looks real. Not even my friend Russel knows about it.
When Russel opens the door to his apartment, I’m about to tell him what a great time I had at his wedding. But before I can speak, he says, “What is it? What’s wrong?” Russel has dark red hair and the lightest smattering of freckles on his nose, but right now his brow is wrinkled with concern. He sees something on my face. I go inside and take a seat. Russel and Kevin aren’t rich — Russel’s a screenwriter, a really good one, but hasn’t sold anything yet, so he makes his living as a barista. Kevin is an editor at IMDb.com. And so their apartment is pretty modest compared to mine: a saggy couch, cluttered shelves. I can’t help but notice that it smells lived in, unlike mine. It’s nice, musky, a little lemony — like two handsome men.
Greg – Fiona’s assistant:
Inside her waiting room, I find Greg, her assistant, sitting at his desk. He’s this Native guy, big and tall, with a ponytail and a Los Angeles Rams jersey. Greg is another way Fiona isn’t like most other agents, because most of their assistants all look exactly the same, in pressed white shirts flashing creepy robot smiles. “You’re here!” he says, beaming. For some reason, it doesn’t seem like a big guy like Greg should be giddy, but he usually is — today maybe even more than usual.
This was such an engrossing story that I literally couldn’t put it down. I was eager to get back to it as soon as I could whenever I had to put it down. Otto’s story, in and of itself, isn’t quite as unique as it may seem. Yes, he has a physical disfigurement due to a childhood accident when he was playing super hero and ended up burning himself, but this just means that his scars are visible on the outside instead of inside, mostly.
At an early age, Otto discovers his love for acting, for becoming that special character, wholly and completely, and bringing it to life, so he pursues his dream even with his physical scars. He ends up going to Hollywood and meeting Fiona, his agent who totally believed in him and his potential and she gets him a role in a television series, Hammered, unfortunately the series is cancelled.
As he zeroes in on a new role, a part in a major studio film, the story becomes the quintessential road trip story with Otto surrounded my those that love him, truly love him: Russel and Greg and Kevin. Can Otto look beyond his own self-centeredness, a condition that afflicts us all, and see love for what it truly is? And can he give the one man who falls in love with him that one chance? I think you’ll be really taken by this story, and a masterful story it is.
The writing is impeccable. Clean, crisp, witty, the story rolls out smoothly with no hiccups and double takes. Mr. Hartinger has a clear style that is not florid or overdone, instead it is refreshing, crisp and enticing. In a tongue in cheek manner Mr. Hartinger takes on the famous road trip story with its bits of comedy and emotion coming through at the end with the inevitable realization. Bravo.
Brent Hartinger is an author and screenwriter. He wrote the YA classic, Geography Club (2003), which was adapted as a 2013 feature film co-starring Scott Bakula, and is now being developed as a television series. He’s since published twelve more novels and had eight of his screenplays optioned by producers. He has won both the Lambda and GLAAD Media Award, and been nominated for the Edgar Award. Visit him at brenthartinger.com.
I would like to thank Mr. Brent Hartinger for providing OJ He Say! with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Lance Bartner loved working with his hands, made his living refinishing furniture. Nights out were for fun with friends and the occasional hook-up. Though the L word had never been spoken, he would have enjoyed a relationship had the right man crossed his path. But who would want a laborer like Lance? He wasn’t college educated, didn’t live in a fancy loft condo, didn’t drive a Lexus, and didn’t even own a suit. Forrest Dentren, was an architect and city planner who had become a local name when his design for the Monroe City Center was chosen as one of the top three contenders. Well educated, extremely well built, and as both men and women put it, just plain hot. Some said he was married to his job, others said he was too picky, many said he didn’t want to share the spotlight.
One hot, uninhibited sex-filled night
When Forrest broke his routine and went clubbing on a weeknight, he spotted Lance. The attraction was immediate from both sides of the dance floor. They both felt it. A few drinks later, still feeling it, they left for Lance’s apartment.
It was never supposed to turn into anything more than one hot fuck
Two people from opposite ends of the world, no roadmap, not directions, no ideas how to make it work.
Architect of Love
You know, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Architect of Love as I’d never read a John Charles book, however the blurb called out to me, so what the heck. Right? What I got was a really hot and enjoyable book that caught be flat footed.
Lance and Forrest’s story is truly a gay romance novel of two disparate men that find each other and that I found myself cheering for. Well worth it and just in time for the holidays.
“The tall blond kicked the door closed with his foot as he pinned the shorter, more muscular man against the wall. One hand held the shorter man’s hands above his head, the other a handful of his shirt.
“Lance is a pretty name for such a muscular guy. Why’d your mother name you that?” His face was mere inches from Lance’s. They breathed the same air as they stared into the other man’s eyes.”
Forrest Dentren, is a successful architect that’s starting to make a name and reputation for himself and his company. A dedicated workaholic, he only allows himself two nights a week for his fun: Friday and Saturday nights, as he can stay out late and not have his fun interfere with his work. On a whim, he goes out on a weeknight and meets Forrest Dentren.
“Suddenly as if on attack, Lance twisted in the taller man’s arms. He forced Forrest around and pressed him against the wall where his back had lain seconds prior. “How does it feel now?” he whispered unable to voice anything louder. “You want more? Can you handle it or are the trees too big, Forrest?”
Forrest could feel Lance’s long, calloused fingers holding his wrists. Short, muscular legs stood outside his encasing him. The hand pushing against his chest caused his heartbeat to sound and feel harder and louder. It was his turn to hyperventilate. “I can take anything you throw at me. Care to try something else or is this all you’ve got?””
Hot, sexy, muscular, furry Lance Bartner is a blue-collar guy, a successful furniture restorer and refinisher. A man that’s used to working with his hands. When he meets Forrest at the local watering hole an unexpected spark is ignited. Unexpected because Forrest is not his usual type. At all.
This is truly a gay MM Romance book. It’s a love story of two men, completely different characters, different physically and in social standing, that have a magnetic attraction for each other. It’s on how they handle these differences, and accept each other that forms this very enjoyable read.
Forrest is starting to hit the big time with his career and his company, coming in a close second in the city’s contest for a new city center. He’s just starting to hit the limelight when he meets Lance. Lance isn’t used to the limelight, he’s more used to his regular blue-collar friends and life, so it is his angst towards a future with Forrest the forms the dynamic for the story, and what a fun to read story this is.
This is solid, well executed writing that’s been very well edited. The sex scenes in this book are off the scale, intensely hot and the character development is spot on. The writing flows smoothly. The reader doesn’t experience any WTF double takes and the characters deliver at the precisely correct time. Well done. I look forward to the next book by this author.
I would like to thank John Charles with providing an Advance Review Copy to OJ He Say! in exchange for an honest review.
As a youngster, I not only had trouble reading, I couldn’t string two sentences together. Reading was a chore, but I had to read for school and work. In my sophomore year of college, with the help of my aunt and several courses I learned to get past my, until then undiagnosed, dyslexia. After that, reading actually started to become fun. Now I read constantly.
My desire to become an author developed through the years as my own children grew. We read books every night. When they were little I read to them. As they grew, and learned how to read, they read to me.
We congregated on the couch, or on one of their beds, and read stories together. It was fun, crazy, and sometimes frustrating. There were times when schedules made group reading difficult, but individual sessions were managed most nights.
During those years of family growth, I developed the desire to write my own books. Initially I thought about writing children’s books – and developed outlines for a couple of them. As my children grew and began reading different genres, my desires changed, too.
Then I discovered the gay themed mystery – I couldn’t get enough.
I started writing gay (male/male) themed novels, using my pen name John Charles and never looked back. I find developing a character that is passionate about his life and the life of his lover is a turn on to many readers as well as to me. So I try to develop that passion in my books and endeavor to make each character special.
The plots in my novels come from real life situations. I have always believed that real life is more interesting than anything a person could make up. I listen, keep my eyes open, and let the world give me the ideas that make my stories believable and interesting.
I find myself enjoying writing more than anything I’ve ever done in my life.
M/M Contemporary Romance
Book one of LoLLA series, but each are standalones
High heat level
When Quinn nearly dies in a skydiving incident, his life flashes before his eyes…and it’s pretty boring. Though he’s moved to Las Vegas to rebel against his strict Mormon upbringing, he still hasn’t done much to liven up his life. He’s far too comfortable with his boring routine. After the accident, however, he vows to change this. He draws up a bucket list with all the best intentions, yet somehow nothing changes. Quinn worries that he really is a dud, until a gorgeous man walks up to him and suggests an indecent proposal.
Gabriel has had a lot of sex. He’s fantastic at it and he’s good-looking, so he never lacks for people willing to jump into bed with him. But after a rough break-up, he’s determined to make hooking up a secondary priority. It’s too bad that when he first sees Quinn and his heart goes pitter-patter, Gabriel’s first instinct is to make a bet with Quinn involving sex.
With one spin of the roulette wheel, Gabriel and Quinn embark on a series of sexually adventurous dares, each more exciting than the last. But what happens when one of them pushes for something more? LoLLA books are standalone novellas with lots of love/sex, low angst, and a Happily Ever After ending for a quick dose of happiness.
“What’s the big deal, Quinn?” Gabriel was watching him intently, in a way no one had ever watched him. Like a wolf would, maybe. “There are thirty-eight numbers. What’s the chance you’ll hit mine? Live a little.”
Quinn didn’t like that Gabriel had automatically assumed he was gay. Quinn played it pretty straight out of a lifelong habit of concealing himself. It bothered him that this stranger had read him with ease.
But that’s just smoke and mirrors. What you’re really afraid of is finally doing something to spice up your life. When did you become such a chickenshit? When did you decide that this was the best your life could be?
“It wouldn’t be so bad to lose,” Gabriel continued. The corner of his mouth curled. “You’ve been staring at me since I walked up. I know it’s not me you have a problem with.”
Quinn felt heat in his cheeks, but told himself he was flushed from anger. Gabriel might be the most attractive man that Quinn had ever seen, but that didn’t mean he would automatically fall all over the guy. Quinn had too much practice controlling and suppressing his urges.
And that’s the problem, genius.
“You’re not afraid you’ll lose, are you?” Gabriel pressed, as insistent as a terrier. Quinn recognized that under different circumstances his persistence would have been sexy, but at the moment, Quinn only found Gabriel annoying.
He thought furiously. Thirty-eight to one were bad odds, especially when Quinn had the ability to pick and choose which number he did—or didn’t—hit. He relaxed slightly as he realized he could choose how this story ended.
But isn’t this about living a little? Isn’t this about having a story to recall the next time you’re falling out of the sky?
He reached into the wheel well for the ball.
“Agree to the bet before you spin it.”
Quinn didn’t bother hiding his glare at the order. Gabriel merely continued smiling. “Be a good sport, Quinn. You’ve got nothing to lose.”
Nothing to lose but the status quo which was safe. Which would have kept him away from a failing parachute.
After another glance at his supervisor, Quinn finally said, “Fine. It’s a bet.”
Tricia writes m/m romance, ménage, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. An avid traveler, she has visited over 80 countries and now makes her home in Las Vegas. Bucket List page on author’s website: The Bucket List Facebook Website Twitter
When Evan Carlson hears that a member of the elusive Sanders family is visiting his bank to have the most valuable diamond in Colorado appraised, he assumes that he won’t be allowed anywhere near the jewel. But when Jacob Sanders arrives, he specifically requests that Evan be present for the secretive meeting, and Evan tries his best to keep his composure around the strikingly handsome man. Jacob comes across as a friendly, assertive guy who is unaffected by his wealth, and Evan feels an immediate attraction.
Invited to visit the Sanders Ranch, Evan discovers a family who cares deeply for each other despite their attempts to keep some of their darker secrets hidden. When one of those unwanted secrets appears out of the blue, Evan and Jacob are thrown together and forced to deal with the chaos. As the two men begin to explore their feelings, they must deal with the realization that the precious jewel has gone missing.
Trying his best to comfort Jacob, Evan agrees to help search for the missing stone or the person who might have stolen it. With fingers being pointed in all directions, Evan tries to keep himself off the list of suspects as he moves forward cautiously. Hoping to save their relationship, Evan joins in the hunt for Colorado’s most infamous jewel.
The Jewel of Colorado
This book called out to me as soon as I read the blurb for it. I mean, cowboys, jewels, Colorado and hot men? What’s not to like!
What I found was a great, fun, interesting whodunit that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Great reading here.
“Just tell me this, Evan: are you looking forward to coming back tonight?”
Evan paused before answering, as he wanted to make Jacob sweat it out a little. He had never really played hard to get before, but something about being pursued was making him excited. He liked knowing that someone was genuinely interested in him, and he wanted to milk the feeling for all it was worth.
“Evan?” Jacob asked again.
Evan sighed with a smile as he finally replied, “You know I am.””
Evan Carlson has been working at Telluride’s First National Bank for years now, under the thumb of his oppressive boss, Mr. Phillips, and he has been wanting and working towards a promotion with the bank when he meets the handsome Jacob Sanders, heir to the Sanders fortune and the famous Blue Moon diamond that is kept at First National’s safe.
“Jacob was one of the most handsome men he had seen in ages. He was tall with dark brown hair, and a classic look that seemed effortless. He was dressed conservatively in jeans and boots, and he looked as though he had just spent a carefree day at the ranch.”
Jacob Sanders, a banker in his own right, returns home to Telluride to take care of his grandfather, the patriarch of the Sanders fortune and 5,000 acre ranch at the foothills of the Rockies when he goes to Telluride’s First National Bank to have the famous Blue Moon diamond re-appraised. He decides to take the diamond home for his grandfather, hoping to lift his spirits up, when he meets the alluring Evan Carlson. Unbeknownst to Jacob, this would trigger a maddening series of events.
The Jewel of Colorado is a fun, creative, and entertaining contemporary cowboy whodunit.
Evan’s been working at First National for years when he meets the handsome Jacob who takes him to his grandfather’s ranch at the foothills of the Rockies. Jacob also takes the Blue Moon diamond with him to cheer his grandfather up while he is recuperating from a broken arm.
While Evan and Jacob are getting to know each other Jacob’s estranged step mother, Lucy, comes back home. Jacob’s grandfather, James, has been trying to divorce Lucy for years to no avail and now Lucy decides to come home. Not only is Lucy back home, but Jacob’s sister, Ella, has come home as well to be with Jacob and her grandfather. That same night the Blue Moon goes missing. The result is a fun whodunit that keeps you on your toes throughout.
Jason Collins puts forth a good, solid story, albeit a little slow at the very beginning but then the story picks up a good steady, interesting pace. The characters seem well developed for the story, not overdone. The one thing I would have loved to see is where are Jacob’s and Ella’s parents? It seems as if that piece of information is never given. Did they perish in a horrible airplane accident whilst traveling in Nepal? Hmmm… Otherwise this is a really enjoyable book.
I would like to thank Jason Collins with providing OJ He Say! with an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hello everyone, I’m Jason Collins. I’m a writer from the South, but I’ve been living in New York for quite a while, so I’ve started calling myself a “southern New Yorker”. There’s nothing I love more than a hot cup of coffee and a good story, so I try to do most of my writing when I have a fresh pot available. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
When Jeremy, a tall, hunky, ladies man begins to explore his bisexual attractions, he realizes he loves his best friend and college roommate Roger.
Roger secretly loves Jeremy back but is holding on to a secret of his own. A terrible one.
On Halloween night both men are invited to a party where the truth of each other will be revealed in a horrific way. Will they survive a night of terror? Or will it rip them apart forever?
One of my partners in crime, Lisa Arbitrary, recommended this novella to me and man do I owe her one back.
What a wonderfully fun, delicious piece of Halloween candy this morsel turned out to be. A great, sweet Halloween treat.
“Jeremy watched as his five-foot-eight, one-hundred-and-ninety-pound best friend got up off the couch and put the Xbox controller back on the stand, and he felt a twinge in his heart.”
Hot, hunky Roger has been best friends with Jeremy since they were kids. Inseparable then and now, they’ve stayed best friends on into college. Except there’s one secret his never told Jeremy. No, not that he’s gay – Jeremy’s known that all along, it’s the fact that Roger’s a medium, a fact here discovered early on that his mother helped him deal with.
“Unlike Roger, Jeremy was tall. At least six-three and had about fifty pounds on him. Roger was muscular, but Jeremy was no slouch either. They were night and day. Where Roger’s hair was light brown and short, Jeremy’s was pitch black and long. Where Roger was darker skinned and tan, Jeremy was pale. Where Jeremy was boisterous and the life of the party, Roger was more reserved and quiet.”
Jeremy has been Roger’s best friend through thick and thin and he was the first person that Roger told he was gay. No secrets between them, except one: Jeremy’s never told Roger he’s bisexual and that he’s fallen in love with his best friend.
What a fun, deliciously sweet story with just the right amount of angst. Gotta love some angst in my books, it’s like a fine spice.
Roger and Jeremy have been best friends their whole lives, sharing everything with each other. Well, almost everything. Roger’s never told Jeremy he’s a medium as he was taught to suppress this part of himself, and Jeremy’s never told Roger that he’s bisexual, much less that he’s fallen in love with his hunky best friend.
Now in college the two of them are roommates and come Halloween Jeremy’s ready to party. Halloween has always been a nightmare for Roger as the spirits are at their peak during Halloween, making for not such a fun time. To top it all off this is the time Jeremy picks to tell Roger that he’s bisexual and interested in dating Roger.
For 48 pages, this short novella delivers a great read just in time for Halloween!
This is really good writing. In order to deliver the way this story did in 48 pages, you know it’s good writing. Every character is adequately and effectively developed for the story. The backstory of Roger and his mom is well done and the douchey frat boys are just right, not overdone, which could easily have happened, and the story ends just right.
I think I’ve found a new writer to follow!
F. E. Feeley, Jr. is bringing you some Halloween treats – a chance to WIN 2 ebook copies from his backlist!
F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.
As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.
Don’t forget to check out the giveaway package JLT has put together for a very lucky winner at the end of this down and dirty interview.
The Debauched Denial Interview – Part 2
Thanks so much for the privilege of this interview. I’ve been dying to ask you some questions about Wes’ Denial.
OK, here goes: As a Dom, I’ve focused more on Wes than Grif, even though I love Grif for reasons we’ll get into…
OJ – How did you get into a Dom’s head space so well. It was pretty darn much on point. You pretty much got it. How?
JLT – Wow! No, I’m serious, WOW! Thank you so much for that compliment, OJ. As I was saying to Lisa, one of the most challenging things about writing Wes’ Denial was trying to ensure I got the ‘feeling’ of being a Dom down. I’m a sub – something I find great fulfillment in – and I have no desire to dominate another person sexually, so this particular aspect of the book was concerning for me. To be honest, it took me a little bit to find an angle I felt comfortable writing from. What I came up with was this: What do I, as a submissive, ‘hope’ a Dom is feeling when he’s with a sub – when he’s with me? I found that if I wrote that, that if I tapped into what I truly hoped a Dom was experiencing on an emotional level – the exhilaration of hurting, or humiliating, or controlling his sub – I could give voice to that. The following passage from Grif’s Toy finds Wes and Grif deep in a sexual scene and picks up with Wes asking Grif a question:
“And if it’s pain I decide I’d like to offer your meager prick? If it’s seeing you hurt that makes me hard, that gives me pleasure?”
And there it was, the key combination. Sure, I enjoyed the submission, the pain, and the denigration. But it was the combination—the indubitable knowledge—that he enjoyed my submission, inflicting the pain, and delivering the denigration, as much as I enjoyed receiving it. That’s where the complete bliss lay.
The above succinctly conveys my personal feelings about being a sub. Sure, I enjoy much of what trips Grif’s trigger but, like Grif, I wouldn’t enjoy having any of it done if I weren’t absolutely certain my Dom were deriving just as much pleasure and fulfillment out of doing those things to me. Knowing, without question, that he is enjoying hurting me, degrading me, using me for his desires… I have known no greater pleasure! With those basic truths and tenets in mind, I set about writing Wes’ character.
OJ – Grif is phenomenal. Again, how did you get into that headspace. He’s a complete person, tell me about that – getting into that subspace.
JLT – *blushes* Again, thank you. I admit, writing Grif – both his character, and from his perspective – was relatively easy. As I mentioned, we share very similar sexual tastes. So, once I overcame my initial hesitation of putting into writing some of the most private aspects of my life (Grif and I share not only congruent sexual kinks, but also certain anatomy characteristics) I found writing him – and his story – both easy and surprisingly liberating.
OJ – Henrik and Paul. Wow. OK. The two scenes with them. How did you develop those? I’m really curious here. They’re off the scale. Really?
JLT – Those two characters not only profoundly impact how Wes sees himself, but they are also pivotal to the overall arc of Wes’ Denial. Without delving too deeply into the scenes themselves, I will say they had to be hard-hitting. Indeed, each were defining moments in Wes’ life and colored many of his future decisions. Thus, the challenge in writing them was twofold: one, their significance would need to be unquestionable, and two, they had to be written in a way that was truthful to Wes’ character. I believe within each of us lies the ability to do something heinous, something tragic, something unforgivable, if the right circumstances present themselves. The key, I believe, when writing a story is finding the exact circumstances that both fit the character and, when presented with them, will subsequently push that character over the edge…cause him to (justifiably?) do something he’d never otherwise do. And, not coincidentally, both of the future-shaping events/scenes you mentioned, OJ, are motivated by love and compassion. Wes feels deeply and with his entire being.
OJ – Grif’s Toy and Wes’ Denial was not a quick project. How did you plot these two out, or did one come naturally out of the other?
JLT – LOL! I laugh because these books were a VERY lengthy process. The first draft of Grif’s Toy was written in just under 4 weeks. That’s about six chapters a week, or slightly under a chapter a day. Needless to say, when I started writing, things just…flowed. But, that was just the first draft – countless others would follow. Wes’ Denial was written directly after that. In fact, some rather small parts were penned while I was writing Grif’s Toy. Both books were written in the spring/summer of 2013. Grif’s Toy wouldn’t be published until the fall of 2014, and Wes’ Denial was just released last week. To describe the process of shaping Grif’s Toy from ‘first draft’ to ‘publication ready’ as a learning experience would be a huge understatement. I wrote both books without any prior writing experience at all. (I don’t consider the mandatory writing I did while in college worthy of the designation ‘experience’.)
It’s generally accepted that there are two types of writing: 1) Plotting – meaning the entire book is plotted out prior to writing the first word, and 2) Pantsing – meaning nothing is plotted out and one simply sits down and starts writing. With the exception of the beginning and the ending of both books, I Pantsed the entire thing. I knew where each would start, and where each would end, but nothing more. Aside from that, what’s on the page is the result of placing my fingers on a keyboard and letting the story take me where it would. As you might imagine, there can be some significant drawbacks to this method of writing. Pictured below are the chapters in Wes’ Denial. One night, rather than rip my hair out yet again, I took the rather drastic step of ripping the book apart, spreading it on the table, and rearranging the entire thing. Once that was done, I went about rewriting the affected parts. I now consider myself a reformed Pantser and a firm Plotter.
OJ – Thomas. I love Thomas. Might we see more of Thomas’ life in the future?
JLT – Thanks so much! I’m so glad you like him, because I simply adore him. Thomas is a much harsher Dom than Wes will ever be, but I found it nice to explore a less outwardly jovial character. Where Wes mostly derives pleasure from the psychological Thomas’ kink is much more physical. His love, his rush, his euphoria is causing physical pain. Thomas asks the question below of his sub and Wes, who were having a whispered conversation while Thomas was preparing his next implement of pain inflection:
“Are we about done with the chit-chat, ladies?” He rolled his shoulders and stretched his neck side-to-side before snipping, “My dick is hard and I want to hit someone.”
One of the things I find most attractive about Thomas, and Wes, is how they own their kinks. Neither apologizes for what turns them on – they embrace who they are, and what they like, wholly.
OJ – Quinn and Gage. What an amazing, and complimentary to Wes and Grif, couple they are. That beach scene, as a Dom, was one of the single most erotic things I’ve ever read. Creating a reward for your sub and kicking back with your fellow Dom to enjoy the results, like a fine glass of Scotch served neat. Yeah! That so works. Care to tell us more about that and perhaps there’s more to Quinn and Gage? A rich story there.
JLT – As an erotica author, I can’t easily convey how much that means to me, OJ. I write about sex, sure. And, without a doubt, I sincerely hope it titillates. However, I honestly believe their appeal is directly related to how much the reader has become invested in the story and with the characters. In fact, in addition to titillation, and of equal importance with these scenes, is conveying feelings, motivations, and forwarding the arc of the story. That difference – using sex as a vehicle – is what I feel defines and sets erotica authors aside from our non-erotica counterparts. It’s funny, I was talking about this very thing the other day with my friend Katie. Well, more specifically, we were discussing how much dialogue my sex scenes tend to contain. Again, the primary reason for that IS to further the story through sex. And why do I choose sex? Well, for one, it’s just downright fun to write about. But beyond that, it’s been my personal experience that people are either very emotionally closed, or very emotionally accessible during sex. Often times people are most real when they’re flayed open and vulnerable. And what better way to illustrate that vulnerability than to toss a submissive into an unfamiliar, perhaps even uncomfortable situation? Again, I’m so glad you found that scene enjoyable.
I also can’t easily put into words the joy writing about another D/s couple gave me. Quinn and Gage intrigue me tremendously! Of course I know most of their story; how they arrived where they are when we meet them in Wes’ Denial, what challenges they faced in the past, and some of the hurdles that face them in the future. Will their stories ever make it onto the page? I honestly have no plans to do so. But, again, never say never, right?
Thanks for stopping by and getting down and dirty with us. We sincerely cannot wait to see what other phenomenal stories you have up your sleeve, or caged up waiting for release.
Wes has spent his life looking for that one special guy who will understand and love him—all of him. From his tender vanilla side, to his darker debauched side.
Throughout high school, his successful career in the Marines, and as a BDSM Dom, he’s remained confident his partner is out there waiting to be found.
However, several events shake his normally unflappable self–assurance.
And, even after he finds Grif, will his past catch up with him and possibly drive his soul mate away?
Check out JLT’s Rafflecopter Giveaway! You won’t regret it:
JOSEPH LANCE TONLET is a born and raised Southern Californian—with a twenty-year stint of living in the Midwest. He loves the laid-back lifestyle of San Diego and considers himself lucky to live where people dream of vacationing. A lifelong reader of m/m fiction, he began his writing career one night sitting at his MacBook and has never looked back. He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life. #PleasureThroughDenial
I was a beta reader for this book and worked closely with the author. My review, however, is my true and honest experience of my feelings and thoughts regarding this story and this author’s writing style. I will always strive to give an honest depiction of my reading experience.
This book is a work of fiction that contains explicit erotic content (heavy verbal denigration, orgasm control/denial, forced chastity, etc.), between adult men, and it is intended for mature readers.
Wes has spent his life looking for that one special guy who will understand and love him—all of him. From his tender vanilla side, to his darker debauched side.
Throughout high school, his successful career in the Marines, and as a BDSM Dom, he’s remained confident his partner is out there waiting to be found.
However, several events shake his normally unflappable self–assurance.
And, even after he finds Grif, will his past catch up with him and possibly drive his soul mate away?
When I first read Grif’s Toy, the precursor to Wes’ Denial, I was totally blown away and suffered a severe case of book hangover! I needed more. I craved to know what Wes was all about. See, no one is as perfect as Wes was in Grif’s Toy. His incredible self-control and spot on determination bespoke of something deeper, more profound, and ominously dark. I waited patiently, biding my time. Good things come to those of us who wait!
Wes’ Denial is nothing short of a tour de force reading experience. Right from the opening scene the tone is set for one heck of ride.
Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times. The emotional roller coaster is about to begin, and this ride’s a doozy!
**Full Disclosure –I was a beta reader for this book and worked closely with the author. My review is certainly colored by that experience. However these are my true thoughts and impressions.
I’ll assume you’ve read Grif’s Toy and, like me, couldn’t wait for Wes’ story. After all, Wes is strong, honorable, and generous. But you knew, didn’t you? Didn’t you? That there was something else there? Something dark. Something…wrong. This book isn’t Grif’s Toy. That was a sweet, tender love story. This is something entirely different. Be warned, JLT will try to lull you into a sense that everything is perfect, so enjoy that tease because he’s setting you up for gut wrenching denial. Wes’ Denial.
And there will be tears.
Weston ‘Wes’ De Luca:
Wes. What a complex, and yet sincerely honest, man. Since his early adolescence, when he discovered his penchant for being a Dom and, yes, a sadist, he’s been searching for his one, true soul mate.
Wes doesn’t just enjoy, he doesn’t just get off on, he absolutely craves seeing the tears in his sex partners. He loves to inflict that just right amount of pain that will take his sub to that marvelous place where time stands still and you float on nothing but the pure rush of endorphins and the ebb and flow of pain/pleasure, experiencing a continuous orgasm of ever increasing intensity. As a Dom’s Dom he lives for this. And something else. See, Wes has a thing for impact play – his one craving that he’s terrified of.
Wes’ Denial is his story. His efforts to control his craving and his undying love for the soul mate he’s found. Can he keep him? Does he deserve Grif?
Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times.
Marcus ‘Grif’ Griffin:
“You’re always saying how you don’t like the characterizations of a broken sub who is magically fixed by an omnipotent Dom.”
Grif is the epitome of an intelligent, well rounded, well-adjusted man who happens to be a sub. In everyday life Grif is a successful businessman, in the bedroom Grif needs Wes. Not just any man, Grif needs Wes. However, Grif never cuts himself short even though he’s submissive and wants to be taken to those deep, dark, exciting places that Wes can take him to. Grif is a realist that can cut through the BS and hone in on a problem with razor sharp accuracy and then dissect it until he can ascertain a solution. He’s no one’s fool, least of all Wes’.
Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times.
Weston “Wes” De Luca – The solid rock of a man. Pure strength, loyalty, and committed love. Wes isn’t afraid of anything…except showing his fractures.
Marcus “Grif” Griffin – I know you love Grif, but you haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m willing to bet you’ll be wildly surprised by his strength of character.
Additional Characters –
Henrik – stunning
Paul Eaks – scary
Thomas – Dom of Doms
Grif Two – Heh, yeah. You’ll see.
“Because that’s the point. We allow things to happen to us. We allow ourselves to do things to other people. And we allow ourselves to be happy or sad about those things. You’ve allowed the past eight weeks—allowed yourself to do things you never thought possible— just like you’ve allowed this thing with Paul and Henrik…”
Paul and Henrik. Yeah. Paul and Henrik. Two pivotal individuals in Wes’ life experience that I cannot get enough of, intense as they may be, and intense they are. I need to warn you right now, these are two incredibly for mature audiences only story lines, the likes of which only an author such as Mr. Tonlet would be able to pull off. Here’s what’s real: I can so relate. Perhaps that’s what I love – they’re so close to reality it frightens me, to a degree.
Wes’ undying love and devotion to Grif is palpable throughout the story, as well his not being this perfect, flawless character. No one is, and that’s the beauty of this story. We get to see it all, warts as well as soaring, euphoric moments. Grif’s individuality and wholeness always remain intact, such an integral part of this love story, and a love story it is. Kudos to you, Mr. Tonlet!
The Epilogue. I love you. I hate you. Thank you for that epilogue. How dare you give us that epilogue! You deserve a flogging for that epilogue. Oh, wait. Never mind. Damn you, man!
Spanning some fifty-five years this is an epic look at not only the full relationship between Wes and Grif, but also of Wes as a young man just discovering what makes him tick. He learns pretty early on that he ticks differently than the other boys, but his natural curiosity and openness allows him to explore and develop relationships fully.
There are three distinct periods in Wes’ life prior to Grif. His pre-military school days. His early military career. And a term of self-education and discovery. Each of these periods are vivid, striking and eye-opening.
As the reader learns about who Wes is, who Wes really is, we also see and understand what is so very special about his most important relationship, Grif. They are the perfect couple, with the perfect life both publically and personally. But something dark is lurking just beneath the surface that could destroy that perfection. Grif feels it. But Wes is in denial.
I honestly must say that Mr. Tonlet is a master storyteller extraordinaire. To be able to take this subject matter through two books and tell each man’s story distinctly, through each one’s specific experience flawlessly? Yeah, good stuff here. Both Wes and Grif come alive, through Mr. Tonlet’s craft, as completely whole, different, individuals with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. This is no small feat.
The cast of supporting characters: Paul, Henrik, Thomas (oh, so wonderful Thomas!), Matthew, Quinn and Gage. I need to fess up: I’m in love with Quinn and Gage! So, so much there that I want to know about.
I seriously cannot recommend Mr. Tonlet’s writing more than what I already have. Every single one of his works I have devoured and desired more of. Go ahead, give yourself a treat, you deserve it.
If you read my review of Grif’s Toy, here, you’ll see that I held back a bit on my praise. The reason for that is because I knew JLT had this book in him. A book that would come from his core. A book that would shatter boundaries.
As I said earlier, JLT begins by lulling you into a sweet, tender romantic view of Grif and Wes’ early relationship, but right from the start there is a thread of darkness. An undercurrent of trouble. He keeps the reader on edge by applying just the right amount of tension, by degrees, at just the right moment.
I think this may be JLT’s signature attribute. Even in his other writing he builds a story in a way that keeps you so connected that you don’t even see the intensity building around you. Bravo, Joseph.
THE FOUR QUESTIONS FOR LISA
1) As a Straight Girl, I need to know your thoughts, feelings, experience regarding Paul and Henrik’s story line? What did you honestly think? It’s gritty and that’s what I want to know about. Too much? Are you OK with this? Feelz!
2) Are there any further writings along this story line you’d like to see? I have my own thoughts about this, FYI.
3) Did Wes deserve Grif’s final decision? Curious here.
4) I don’t want to divulge anything, or give any spoilers, but I’d like to know: Which one was your favorite scene and/or scenes.
THE FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OJ
1) Without giving anything away what was your favorite scene?
2) I want to deny it, but do “Eaks'” exist?
3) Again, without giving anything away what did you think of Grif’s resolution?
4) Bonus. Tears?
I would like to thank Joseph Lance Tonlet with providing OJ He Say! with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
JOSEPH LANCE TONLET is a born and raised Southern Californian—with a twenty-year stint of living in the Midwest. He loves the laid-back lifestyle of San Diego and considers himself lucky to live where people dream of vacationing. A lifelong reader of m/m fiction, he began his writing career one night sitting at his MacBook and has never looked back. He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life.