Tag Archives: historical

TWO 5 stars for The Tin Box by Kim Fielding @KFieldingWrites {AUDIOBOOK} #MM #Romance #Historical @Dreamspinners

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Title: The Tin Box
Author Name & Publisher: Kim Fielding (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 20, 2013 — 210 Pages

Synopsis

William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

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Review

FiveStars

This review is for the audiobook read by K.C. Kelly.

It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered such a beautiful and inspiring book. I wish there were more stars to give. I’ve read Kim Fielding before and enjoyed it, but this gives me a whole new appreciation for her writing.

This story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. It’s a story of injustice and cruelty, but it’s also about personal growth, identity, compassion, and love.

The story is immediately engaging. The characters are very real and relatable. It was such a pleasure getting to know William, Colby and Bill. The reading by K.C. Kelly is great, and the voices suit the characters perfectly.

All in all I highly recommend this book, especially for those with an interest in LGBTQ social and historical issues. And don’t forget the tissues!

~Amanda

FiveStars

If I wasn’t already a fan of Kim Fielding, this book would do it for me. This is by far my favorite of her novels. What a beautiful and hopeful story, centered on an important piece of gay history. I knew some of the things described here, but I hadn’t realized they were such recent history (other than more recent methods of “curing” gay people).

The juxtaposition of the two eras was the best part of the novel. Had it centered only on the terrible and sad story of Bill–told through the letters–it would have become another in a long line of gay tragedies which marked earlier genre lit. Had it excluded the history and only centered on William and Colby’s present-day relationship it would have been nothing more than a standard romance. It’s the pairing of the two, and William’s own emerging from his painful past, which makes this story truly great.

This would be a tough read for anyone who has been through “ex-gay” therapy of any type or who is old enough to remember the days when gay novels were largely doomed romance. It will also hit a nerve for people who have been involuntarily admitted to mental health facilities. However, there’s a lot of hope here, including the way in which William and his friends choose to preserve the history he’s unearthed in the old hospital.

I don’t see it as being played for drama or as making light of serious crimes against humanity in mental health treatment. The author touches on a variety of sensitive subjects, and I see this more as a way of ensuring we don’t repeat the past. This is not really a story about the horrors of how the mentally ill have been dehumanized; it’s about a specific and brutal homophobic system. By comparing it with William’s present-day experiences, it’s made starkly clear that while we’re no longer carving people up as treatment, we haven’t gotten entirely past the idea gay people need to be fixed. The story should be read with that in mind.

In the end, this is far less about William’s romance with Colby and much more about bigger and more complicated themes. If I have any complaint at all it’s that I think this could have worked just as well as a much longer story. Regardless, it’s a well-written novel containing important documentation of a dark era.

~Amy

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5 stars for Acceptable Lies by C. M. Corett #MM #Historical @Dreamspinners

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Title: Acceptable Lies
Author Name & Publisher: C. M. Corett (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 3, 2016 — 103 pages

Synopsis

William’s task is clear: catch the blackmailer. William Richmond is an earl, a father, a country gentleman… and a former spy. Catching the blackmailer should be simple, but when William finds a beautiful, injured young man on the beach, unfamiliar desires surge. He is determined to focus on the task and resist temptation—resist Daniel, or his carefully constructed illusions will crumble, exposing his lies to the world… and himself.

Daniel’s question is simple: Should he trust William? Daniel has secrets: his identity, his past, how and why he washed up on the shore… and more. With revelations of espionage, blackmail, and the arrival of William’s colleagues, the danger of exposure grows. Daniel’s instincts tell him that William is a decent man, a man of honor, but his instincts have been wrong before. As the attraction grows, so does Daniel’s desire to confess, but if he’s wrong, he risks everything—his secrets, his freedom, and his heart.

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Review

FiveStars

 So I have always loved historical books and the way this author wrote this story was perfect!

So this being such a short book I really do not want to go to much into the story and what happens because I do not want to give away any spoilers. I will say this was such a sweet story and the steamy scenes between William and Daniel were so damn hot!

The way this author wrote this time period and the characters “which I really loved both William and Daniel” was amazing!

So I will leave this review with…I really loved this story and would definitely recommend it!

~Kara

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3 stars for Because You Despise Me by J. S. Cook #MM #Historical @Dreamspinners

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Title: Because You Despise Me
Author Name & Publisher: J. S. Cook (DSP Publications)
Publication Date & Length: January 26, 2016 — 200 pages

Synopsis

2nd Edition

When Feldwebel Horst Stussel is murdered in Jake Plenty’s Moroccan brothel, local police chief Nicolas Renard suspects Jake’s involvement in the crime. Renard has loved Jake since their service in the Legion Etrangère during the Great War, but in this era of concentration camps, gas chambers, and the infamous pink triangle, his love for the American dare not speak its name.

When sadistic Nazi officer Major Danzig, a fanatic who excels at the arts of torture and interrogation, comes to Maarif, it isn’t because of the Feldwebel. He is in search of Christophe Picard, Resistance leader and Jake’s former lover. Danzig will stop at nothing to uncover Picard’s whereabouts, to find him and destroy him, and in so doing, strike a fatal blow against everything Picard stands for.

With an Allied invasion of North Africa mere days away, Jake and Renard must combine their wits, cunning, and courage to help Picard escape to America and freedom. In the midst of war and struggle, the two men are drawn into the fight of the century—and each other’s arms.

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Review

ThreeStar

Okay so I want to start of this review by saying while I really like the premise of this story and I am huge fan of historical books, this book I honestly am unsure of how I feel about it at this point..

I had the hardest time getting into this story because there were so many parts that really just dragged for me. While there was some very good parts to this story too it just seemed like there were honestly more parts that were hard for me to get into. Now I really liked Jake and Renard’s characters and I did like them together too very much! With this book you will get steam and action too!

Really liked the premise of this story and the characters but I am on the fence on what I feel about the story overall because of the parts that did drag a little for me overweighing that parts I loved..

~Kara

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3 stars for Rooks and Romanticide by J. I. Radke #MM #Fantasy #Historical @Dreamspinners

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Title: Rooks and Romanticide
Author Name & Publisher: J. I. Radke (DSP Publications)
Publication Date & Length: July 28, 2015 — 250 Pages

Synopsis

In an alternate world, Romeo and Juliet are gunslingers. Verona gives way to a steampunk Victorian London. The victims of turf wars are dumped in an alley they call Lovers’ Lane, and the moment the son of his family’s enemy touches his face, Cain’s revenge is poisoned by love. Fate would have it no other way.

Levi Ruslaniv is the heir to the Ruslaniv family gang, but ridiculous ancient feuds do not interest him. Cain Dietrich’s vengeful hatred for the Ruslaniv family is rooted deep, since he believes the Ruslanivs arranged for the murder of his parents. But his encounter with Levi pierces him deeper than hatred ever could.

With bullets and blazes of glory, schemes, spies, and pack mentalities, loyalty runs as deep in the veins as passion or revenge, and there is only one way to end the fighting. From the start it was inevitable—a bloodstained fate for children with bloodstained hands, and the streets of New London will never be the same.

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Review

ThreeStar

Rooks and Romanticide is a moody, gay retelling of Romeo and Juliet in atmospheric old London. Despite knowing the premise (and the ending) I really enjoyed the ride JI Radke provided.
Cain is a tortured soul bent on revenge. Levi comes only for fun but is compelled by his lover’s pain. There’s a lot of violence and a lot of darkness. I felt for the characters.
I appreciated the flowery language that was a tribute to Shakespeare, not a repetition. It added to the otherworldliness and romanticism of the story. I would have liked Radke to show me new things and go more into the unknown, rather than to rehash ancient woes. Hopefully there’s more from this author soon.
– C. E. Case

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5 stars for The Dreamlands Bundle by Felicitas Ivey #MM #Fantasy #Historical @Dreamspinners

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Title: The Dreamlands Bundle
Author Name & Publisher: Felicitas Ivey (DSP Publications)
Publication Date & Length: January 19th , 2016 — 1003 Pages

Synopsis

The Trust and its battle-hardened recruits are fighting a horrific war, a war between the humans of this world and the demons of the Dreamlands, an alternate world harboring dangerous monsters from children’s nightmares, unbelievable sorcery, and more power than any one man, demon, or institution should possess. In this shadowy battle, Keno Inuzaka is merely a pawn: first an innocent bystander imprisoned and abused by the Trust, then a captive of a demon oni when taken to the Dreamlands. Accompany Keno on his mystical journey of growth, adventure, love, family, and belonging.

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Review

FiveStars

So to start of this review I have to say this world the author created in this book was really amazing!

This book will take you back to ancient Japan and you will get so much action while reading this along with all the many monsters from this world you will meet. I loved the way this author wrote these characters and this story! The way you actually feel like you are there while reading this and the way you are pulled in from the start of this book!

Now Keno one of the main characters there was just honestly something about him that made me love his character so much! You really can’t help but feel bad for him for what he has been through in his life but then through all of these books his character gets so much stronger. Then there was Aboshi and Keno together, which I loved how they interacted together.

There really was so much about this book I loved from the amazing world this author created to all the vivid details, characters and action that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

So all together I really loved this book! I would recommend this series!

~Kara

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New Release: 4 stars for Dead Camp (Dead Camp #1) by Sean Kerr (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #Horror @SGK69

 deadcamp300Title: Dead Camp (Dead Camp #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Sean Kerr (Extasy Books)
Publication Date & Length: January 1, 2016 – 260 pgs

Synopsis

Eli is an ancient vampire with an ego the size of a planet and a sex drive to match, but his tumultuous past left him broken, so he hides from humanity and cowers from love, left to endure the crushing guilt that haunts his every waking moment. Even his best friend Malachi, a ghost who is hopelessly in love with Eli, remains unaware of all that transpired in London. Malachi can never know the truth.

When the Angel Daniyyel pays an unwelcome visit, Eli must face his secrets, secrets that he has tried so long to hide. To make matters worse, a chance encounter with the most beautiful man he has ever seen shatters his beloved isolation, pushing him into the world of the living once more. Something about this strange man seems so familiar, but Eli can’t even remember who he was before he became a vampire, never mind explain the unwanted emotions the enigmatic stranger ignites in his dead heart. So Eli has a choice—return to the world that ruined him, or continue his self-imposed exile with no hope of salvation.

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Review

FourStars

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The title is the worst thing about this book. I mean, I get it, it’s about an effeminate gay ghost who’s “campy.” And Dead. But the book is so much more.
Brooding, broken Eli is a sarcastic but lovable homosexual vampire obsessed with sex and afraid of his own capacity for violence. His best friend is Malachi the ghost. They are both hiding from their past, quite literally in a castle in the middle of the woods.
Surrounded by Nazis.
Seriously, this book is the best. It’s a great pleasure to read. There’s a lot of sex, obviously. And a lot of gore. Eli is not a sparkly vampire, he is an ancient evil. And I’m obsessed with him.
~C. E. Case

Excerpt

Three prisoners had died in my block that night, two elderly and one young man not old enough to grow pubes. It sickened me. Never, in all my years, had I witnessed such a callous waste of human life. And then to see my fellow prisoners undressing the dead, striping their cold stiff bodies before my unbelieving eyes horrified me even more, and I clung onto Jakob’s broken body for dear life. All around me the clunk of bodies against wood and concrete. My eyes tried not to see and my ears tried not to hear.

A cold clammy hand gently caressed my arm and I nearly shot off my shelf in shock. I didn’t scream. I refused to scream.

“My friend, I’m sorry, my friend, but you must undress him. The rubbish men will be here soon and you must strip him of all clothing before they take him. Please, you must do this for him—they will be less kind than you. Do you understand?”

“Why? Why must we do this?”

“His clothes are of value, my friend. They will be re-used for the next intake.”

“And what of his body, what will become of Jakob?”

“You don’t want to know, my friend.” His whispered words made every hair on my body stand on end. A sound outside caused him to return to his unsavoury task with renewed urgency. “Quickly, they are here.”

What followed felt like a dream. I had undressed many a man under many circumstances, but that was a first. Already poor Jakob stiffened, and it pained me to hear and feel his bones crack as I gently prised his pale thin body from the clothes. I whispered my apologies into his unhearing ears and I hated my eyes for glancing across his pale dead flesh.

I had to free them, all of them. That place, that death camp, it had to end.

I lifted his dead naked body into my arms. Emotion, so alien to me, invaded the shrivelled blackness that was my soul, and I knew my eyes betrayed my grief.

Emotions made you weak. Emotions made you vulnerable, emotions hurt. And I was hurting. The passing of that human, that mortal man I had known for less than a day, had brought back that affliction from which I had been running from for so very long.

I had only opened my heart to the world again but for the briefest of moments.

And already I felt pain.

Gideon hurt me. He made me feel unloved, unwanted, he made me feel ugly.

How I would crave for his touch, how desperate I was for his love, to feel the thrill of his fingers upon my bare flesh, to feel his attraction to me, to feel wanted. But all he ever did was refuse me. Every time I tried to touch him, he turned me away. He was not in the mood, he told me to come back later.

Come back later.

But later never came.

I carried that pale body into the grey wet misery of morning. The sun was trying desperately to penetrate the thick layers of brooding clouds that clung stubbornly over the camp, but the sun was losing. Rain dripped incessantly from the skies, melting the remaining snow into a muddy slush. Grey skies, grey ground, grey people. The camp drained the colour out of everything. Welwelsburg was like me, a vampire, sucking the life out of everything it encountered, sucking away hope and dignity, leaving nothing but pale grey husks clinging to the brink of existence.

Two men stood next to a large flatbed trolley. Dead, naked bodies lay crumpled in a pile on top of the trolley, legs and arms sticking out at all angles like some grotesque starfish. I saw children amongst the corpses.

Pale white flickering figures surrounded the trolley. Insubstantial wisps of lives spent before their time. The rubbish men looked at me expectantly but I could not move for the sight of those spectral beings and I clutched Jakob’s dead body tightly to my chest, unwilling to relinquish my charge. If I put him on that trolley then he would be dead, another lump of cold meat on the pile. He deserved more than that.

The ghostly figures turned to look at me, each one knowing me, seeing me, seeing me see them. And they smiled at me. Cold shivering prickles erupted across my skin as their eyes took me in and they were such kind eyes, such trusting eyes. A figure pushed its way between them, its shadowy form brushing gently against the others as it came to stand before me.

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3 stars for Blood of the Land by Adrik Kemp @shadowadrik #MM #Historical #Paranormal

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Title: Blood of the Land
Author Name & Publisher: Adrik Kemp (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: February 2, 2016 — 87 Pages

Synopsis

When an ancient Italian vampire travels to the pioneering Australian outback, what he finds there triggers a decades-long love triangle from which there is no escape.

Mack, a young Australian cattle farmer, makes his living on his father’s cattle station. The work is hard and the days are long but he is content with the life he has been born into. Unfortunately for his family, he is awakened to forbidden desires of the flesh by intriguing visitors from far-off Italy. When these visitors reveal themselves as lustful creatures of the night, Mack bites off more than he can chew and finds himself in a predicament he is ill-equipped to handle. Lost and seemingly alone, he spirals into a deadly path toward a decades-long love triangle between himself, the monster who made him and the love of his undead life.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and death.

Publisher’s Note: This book is the prequel to Blood of the City by Adrik Kemp.

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Review

ThreeStar

This story has potential, with some interesting elements, but it’s disappointing in many respects. The vampire mythos is unique and intriguing. The characters have potential and the overall story is interesting but not fleshed out enough.
In general, this is written in a way that is not very engaging. There isn’t a lot of depth to the characters. The writing is stilted at times, and the sex scenes tend to be a bit awkward.
If you’re looking for a story with a different take on vampires, and you’re not overly concerned about character development, then you might enjoy this.
~Amanda

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5 stars for The Shining Ones (The Eternal Dungeon – Side Story) by Dusk Peterson #AlternateUniverse #Historical @DuskPeterson

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Title: The Shining Ones (The Eternal Dungeon – Side Story to Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Dusk Peterson
Publication Date & Length: January 17, 2016 – 72 pgs

Synopsis

“He was skilled by now at making innocuous remarks in the presence of the Shining Ones. Nobody had even guessed that he knew what they were.”

The Eternal Dungeon is filled with prisoners who shine like the sun.

No one knows this except Barrett Boyd, a guard notorious for having survived a disciplinary punishment that should have killed him. He is also notorious for his rebellion against the authorities of the royal prison. At a pivotal time in the Eternal Dungeon’s history, when abusive practices of the past may finally be abolished, Barrett finds himself drawn to the mystery of a younger guard, Clifford Crofford, who claims that he and Barrett are love-mates.

Barrett has no memory of this. He has no memory of anything before his punishment. What does the past matter, compared to Barrett’s determination to protect the prisoners? But Barrett cannot ignore his bond with Clifford, and the closer that Barrett comes to Clifford, the more the danger arises that Clifford will question Barrett’s sanity. . . .

This novelette (miniature novel) of disability and love can be read on its own or as a side story in The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Dark Light, Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael’s House, and The Eternal Dungeon) about disreputable men on the margins of society, and the men and women who care for them. Set between the 1880s and the 1910s, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. One of the series in the cycle, Waterman, combines elements of the 1910s with retrofuturistic imagery from the 1960s.

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Review

FiveStars

Everything Dusk Peterson writes is ridiculously deep, rich, and satisfying. The Shining Ones is no exception. It was strikingly beautiful. The prose lingers and swirls. I’ve read many of the Life Prison / Eternal Dungeon stories and this one is my favorite.
The criticisms are fair. Dusk writes beginnings, sometimes middles, but never endings. There’s no sex in this. It’s short. Past the end of this short story are tantalizing previews of other stories—also beginnings without endings.
Dusk absolutely murders world-building. I want it to all come together in some crashing one million word epic fantasy cycle. But right now I have The Shining Ones, and I am drunk on living the experiences of imprisoned men.
If you love the series, you’ll probably be okay. If you haven’t read anything by Dusk, this is a great place to start.
– C. E. Case

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4 Star Review for American Flyboy by N.D. Clark (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #Historical @NDClark13

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Title: American Flyboy
Author Name: N.D. Clark
Publication Date & Length: December 5, 2015 – 163 pgs

Synopsis

American Flyboy is a highly readable, erotic M/M romance set amidst the backdrop of World War II.

The story is fast-paced and characterized by the believability of its characters, notably the protagonist, Lt. Kenneth Hellman, and the romance that develops between Kenneth and Colonel Wilhelm Braun. The erotic reader in search of well-nuanced, sexy love/lovemaking scenes will not be disappointed; the author is gifted with an affinity toward creating realistic, absorbing sex scenes.

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Review

FourStars

This is a story about Lt. Kenneth Hellman, who is a fighter pilot for the U.S. The time is set during the war with Germany when Hitler wanted to practically wipe out everyone. For those who love to read a good MM story set in that time period, this is an epic story for you. Even if you don’t know much about history, you’ll like this book.
The story was engaging, with Kenneth leading the way as he is captured by the enemy. In the camp where they take him and other prisoners, he meets a German soldier who he falls for and vise versa. I love reading about soldiers finding their HEA and Clark did a great job with descriptions and emotions of the two MCs, making the story believable. Kenneth’s journey wasn’t a walk in the park and you’re left cheering for him. Even though the romance was surprisingly quick, it just made the story more likable for a time period set in one of the darkest histories of humankind.
Cookie

Excerpt

Wilhelm whispered in soft breaths, “Raise your hands above your head, Kenneth.” Standing behind him, he pulled the grimy POW uniform top over his head and inhaled deeply. “I find your scent intoxicating.” It was unexpected, Wilhelm’s warm breath gently caressing the nape of his neck; Kenneth’s breath quickened. Loosening the silk blindfold, Wilhelm allowed the soft, smooth fabric to glide over Kenneth’s massive, broad shoulders tapering to a V-shaped torso and down his naked back.

Shuddering at the sleek sensations, Kenneth asked, “Are you trying to seduce me Wilhelm?”

In response, Wilhelm stepped closer and pressed his body into Kenneth’s. Wrapping his arms around his waist, Wilhelm kissed him innocently. “I’ve wanted to do that from the first day we met.”

Kenneth kissed him back softly, lingering. He felt safe and whole.

Coaxing Kenneth’s lips apart, Wilhelm’s tongue entered his mouth, tickling the sensitive palate with light flicks. Their lips crushed together with bruising kisses. Wilhelm broke away, gazing longingly into Kenneth’s eyes. “To answer your question, Kenneth, I am guilty of feeding a wounded POW a wonderful meal, relieving his pain with fine brandy, delighting him with romantic music and drawing him a hot relaxing bath of chamomile salts to soak away the stress of a bad day. Your glass is empty. Why don’t you finish undressing and ease into your bath while I get you another drink.” Wilhelm’s voice trailed off as he left the bathroom. “It’s baffling how you arrived at such an audacious conclusion as seduction.”

“My mistake,” Kenneth called after him, laughing to himself. He kicked off his dilapidated work shoes and pushed his boxers and grungy work pants down his long, muscular legs. Raking his strong fingers through the water, heightened the aroma of chamomile, and he inhaled the relaxing scent before slipping into the warm, liquid heaven. His tired muscles released their tension as he submerged his body to the neck. Kenneth held his breath and slipped his head under. As he closed his eyes, his exhaustion seemed to float to the surface, and his thoughts drifted to Wilhelm, charming, handsome, tall and strong. His cock swelled to a full erection as he surfaced and rested his head against the back edge of the tub. Wiping the water from his eyes, he inhaled deeply and faded into sleep.

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New Release: 4 Star and 3 Star Reviews for The Turning Point by Amy Paine #Historical #FF @NineStarPress

CoverTitle: The Turning Point
Author Name & Publisher: Amy Paine (NineStar Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 7, 2015 – Novelette

Synopsis

1920s aristocratic feminist, Benita, dreams of heading her own magazine in a male dominated world but needs her lover Terence to help her reach her goals. Millie, a rich socialite and heiress to the Hemsby fortune, is about to be married to James, thus fulfilling her family’s dream of assuring their line.

A chance encounter on a train journey to London throws both women together, and a sensual trap is spun by their mutual desires. By the time they alight on the platform at Waterloo, both are changed and neither wants to say goodbye.

Is Benita strong enough to risk jeopardising her dreams and goals for a woman who captivates her? Can Millie break with tradition to follow her heart? When confronted by opposition and heartbreak Benita and Millie must find a way to be together, yet the world seems set to oppose them.

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Review

FourStars

Benita is a woman with a mission – to be a great magazine editor in a time when women weren’t supposed to have such dreams. On a train to Waterloo she meets Millie, a young woman about to get married but with desires that have nothing to do with her fiancé. Millie goes about seducing Benita in the most amazingly delicious way, with little thought for social convention or being caught! This is a seriously hot and steamy tale of a brief encounter in a train carriage that seems at first to be nothing but a quick thrill. The story has more depth to it though and it transpires the ladies have more than passion between them. It was a great short novel, a thrilling, sexy and ultimately fulfilling read.

Kitty Kat

ThreeStar

A story about a forbidden attraction in the 1920’s, The Turning Point is a short novelette introducing Benita and Millie. The two meet on a train headed to Waterloo and after they are left alone in their cabin, the sparks continue to fly and the two give in to their desires and experience a high unlike any other.

When they arrive at the Waterloo station they are not the same women they were when they boarded the train; however, with one due to be married and the other in a relationship of convenience, the question on the reader’s mind is will this day just be a memory they think on from time-to-time or will they give up everything to be together?

This was an interesting little read and I found myself enjoying the story, even if I thought it was a little much so soon. I’m personally not huge fan of all the persuading that Millie did in order for Benita to kiss and touch her; I felt that it was bordering on forcing Benita. And the speed at which they were in love partially cheapened things for me. I do believe in love at first sight; however, declaring one’s love after such a high to me is a bit too cliché.

That being said, Benita seemed to enjoy giving into Millie and didn’t regret it in the slightest.

I find historical romances with women very interesting because it was more taboo and even illegal in that time. How can you express yourself and not be punished? Paine does a great job of capturing that in this work. I do hate that the story stops just as the larger story is beginning; so much is up in the air for these two women and despite their rocky start, I am rooting for them. I will likely try the next in the set to see how they are.

Tori

Excerpt

Benita stood with her hand on the handle of the carriage door, peering through the glass and experiencing a mild pang of annoyance on seeing she’d have to share a carriage with two men. She hated sharing and being constantly observed.

Travelling second class was not her thing, not her thing at all, any journey normally being undertaken in the civilised surroundings of first, where she was cosseted and able to spread out on a comfortable seat. She was fiercely territorial, practically a tiger about it. She hated any infringement of her space. She even hated Terence, her lover, invading that space—if lover was what you could call him. Benita rather thought of him as her escort, a necessary peon who assisted her in her elevation towards becoming the first woman editor of her own magazine. This notion filled her with an almost unbearable sense of egotistical satisfaction. Satisfaction that she was ahead of her time, forging through barriers whereas most women of her age stood still, surrounded by children and a home. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but she’d always possessed determination and a masculine thrust to her personality.

Oh well, since I’m writing an article about the joys of economy travel I must grin and bear it. She entered, clicked the door shut, sat down, and instantly fell under the scrutiny of the men, one who stared at her with ravenous intent and the other furtively from behind his newspaper.

Benita was far too modest and grounded to face up to her attributes despite the fact Terence evidently revered her. Her mother was Jamaican and had married a lord. It was utterly taboo, Henry having enjoyed a scandalous relationship with her mother, who was deliciously beautiful, strong and wilful, and yet suffused by a benevolence that had meant she was loved by everyone who met her. Benita was the reflection of the best parts of both her parents. She had hair the colour of burnished mahogany and her darkly interesting eyes—capable of an army of emotions—were emphasised with the en vogue smoky shadow, a perfect foil for her café au lait skin and plump, seductive lips. Lips which Terence said couldn’t help themselves, they were so downright sinful. She self-consciously smoothed a hand down the front of her crisp ivory blouse while the newspaper man’s gaze followed her elegant fingers as they hovered over a minor adjustment to her cameo.

She congratulated herself that she could smile directly into his eyes before looking away, through the window at the empty platform. She would not be invaded. You needn’t think of changing places, either, she thought triumphantly as she swung her large paisley holdall onto the seat beside her.

As the steam train moved out of the station, the bolder of the two men extended his leg and, using the toe of his expensive shoe, tried to engage her in mildly predictable flirtation by brushing her ankles again and again. Benita suffered an unconscionable urge to kick him where it hurt, but she was used to such behaviour.

She reached instead into her purse, taking out the small black notebook she’d become famous for using, and with the stub of her pencil began to make notes in her scratchy, masculine handwriting. Whenever she looked up, which she did from time to time, it was to see she was still under scrutiny. The man’s expression seemed to say ‘address me, seduce me’.

A shiver of distaste eased down Benita’s spine. She did not invite the attention of men, but she was not oblivious to the game of attraction. She enjoyed it somewhat, but not quite as much as she enjoyed the notion of the warm, smooth places and ineffable charms of woman.

The train belched and jerked as it clicked across the points, and Benita, not wanting to unbutton her coat too much, stood up. Inching down the window, she let in the breeze. The train rolled smoothly along, leaving the town and heading through a pastel-hued countryside beneath crystal blue skies and scudding clouds. Benita continued to scribble as her astute mind absorbed things and criticised them. She was a voracious shrew regarding small details.

Once, she glanced up and saw a rather pale and haunting face observing her through the door of the compartment. Then, like a ghost, it vanished, and Benita speculated that she must have imagined it.

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