Tag Archives: novella

New Release: Redesigning Max by Pat Henshaw #MM #Novella @phenshaw @dreamspinners


Title: Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Pat Henshaw (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 29, 2015 – 73 pgs


Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.

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That night in bed, thinking of the delicious Max, I understood a little more why he wanted the forest in his house. I could understand how soothing the wide open-spaces could be to someone who spent his formative years as an outcast. Now I felt even more driven to give Max the vision he sought.

Three days later, exhausted from a couple of all-nighters but ready to show Max the portfolio of drawings and plans for his renovated cabin, I put on my other designer jeans, orange sailor shirt, green high tops, and lavender scarf. I was ready to knock Max’s socks off.

Max drove us to the Rock Bottom again for lunch. The grungy foothills cafe was just as tacky as it had been before and smelled just as delicious. The tables of surly-looking he-men in their Levis and wife-beaters or beat-up Western-cut shirts still stared and then whispered to themselves as I slid into a booth, the artist sketchbook tucked safely in my bag.

“So we’re ready to make some changes.” Max eyed the sketchbook as I took it out and laid it on the table.

“Whoa, not so fast.” I put my hand over the top of the book to keep it closed. “We’re a few steps away from starting. Let’s just take a look at the sketches and then talk money, and then if you’re still happy in a day or two, we can sign a contract. Remodeling isn’t anything to jump right into.”

The excitement brimming from Max’s face said Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Open the damned notebook.

I sighed. I always hated this part of the job. Clients either loved the sketches and wanted the work done yesterday or they wanted to haggle every nut and bolt to the ground, changing the floor plan, the color palette, or complete idea on an almost minute-to-minute basis. It was exhausting either way.

“Okay, first, what you need to do is look at these drawings and imagine yourself living in these rooms, not just looking at pretty pictures. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable here. At this point, everything is changeable, but it won’t be the case when we start tearing down and making the plan concrete. So take your time. Be sure you’ve fallen in love before you begin.”

I waited until Max lifted his eyes from the sketchbook, looked at me, and nodded before I opened the book.

I went through the pages one by one quickly, not asking Max for a response and not watching him. This was the private, internal part, and I let him have his space. Max wasn’t my first client who kind of knew what he wanted but couldn’t articulate it.

The first glimpse tainted the vision the client originally had going into the project. I could steamroll clients into taking what I’d given them, but in the long run, they had to live with the new reality and I wanted them to be happy. I really wanted Max to be happy.

“It’s perfect,” Max whispered just as the waitress brought our food. “Let’s do it.”

“Let’s eat first, before we break ground.”

I didn’t talk during lunch even though Max wanted to get me to sign him up and start moving.

After we finished the cherry-apple pie, I said, “Now I’m going to go through and point out some pricey details. Think about if you really want them because they add time and money to the design. We can easily discard them.”

“No, I want it just like you’ve got it in here.” Max tapped the sketchbook with his elegant fingers. “Just exactly what you’ve got here.”

I sighed. “Let’s try it my way, okay? Will you just listen?” I was holding an edge of the sketchbook closed and looking into Max’s eyes. I didn’t want Max to be an ultimately unhappy impulse buyer.

Max tentatively touched my hand. “I trust you.” He rubbed his fingers over mine.

I was surprised by the touch of his fingers, which had immediately made my body tingle. I’d read about people being attracted and feeling a zap of electricity, but I’d never experienced it before. As far as my past liaisons with men went, we’d both showed up, which was enough for gratifying sex.

“Just a few minutes of listening.” I could hear a shaky quality in my voice.

“Okay,” Max agreed, sitting back and putting his hands together on the table.

I took a deep breath to steady myself. I looked around the cafe, hypersensitive to the quiet scrutiny of the other diners. Were they leaning out of their chairs to listen to our conversation? Why did they make me feel uncomfortable?

I looked back at Max, who seemed oblivious to their attention. His eyes went from the sketchbook to me. He seemed to lean toward me, and his eager look seemed to be trying to hurry me along. His impatience made me smile.

I took a deep breath and started my spiel. “There are some carvings in the pictures you should think about. Atop and along the sides of the windows in the living room, master bedroom, and the kitchen, and on the headboard and bedposts in the master bedroom. You said you wanted to bring the outdoors in, so I thought these carvings would be perfect.”

I turned to the pictures. I’d drawn animals like squirrels, foxes, and badgers carved into the wood.

In the master bedroom, the four bedposts looked like geese landing at the head of the bed and taking off toward the windows from the foot of it. Across the headboard and footboard, I’d drawn pussy willows swaying with frogs, butterflies, and small birds among the reeds, all carved from one piece of hardwood.

Having worked with a wonderful carver so many times in the past, I knew he would take my ideas and flesh them out, probably change them as he saw fit, and leave Max with stunning pieces of art—if Max could afford them and, more importantly, if Max liked this idea as much as I did.

“Beautiful.” Max traced the birds taking off in flight.

“Yes, it is. You’ll notice the wood on the floor, around the windows, and making up the furniture is the only brown. The rest of the room is blue.” Actually the blues ran the scale of hues from Alice blue to ultramarine, but I made it a policy to use only the most basic names for colors since many of my less artistic clients got lost in the fancy color names.

“I like other colors, not just brown,” Max protested.

I nodded, not about to remind him that he’d only wanted brown and green. Except for the touch of Max’s fingers on my hand, my spiel had been pretty standard. As far as I was concerned, no surprises were good surprises.

“In the living room and kitchen”—I found those pages—“you’ll notice that the predominant colors are yellow.” Well, from canary yellow to goldenrod, but who was counting? “Also, I added more rustic carvings to the decks. Animals between the posts of the back deck and birds on the bedroom deck,” I said, flipping to the relevant sketches and pointing them out.

On each page, Max ran his finger over the details I mentioned. It was distracting, so much so I had trouble keeping to the script. Max might not be an artist, but he definitely had an artist’s soul. His fingers were gently stroking my soul as well as the pages.

The diners at the other tables seemed to be trying to see what had Max so enthralled. I wanted to stand up and announce, “This is a private showing. Go back to your meals.” I didn’t, but still, sweat had started to drip from my pits.

Finally I closed the book and passed it to Max. It was hard to stay on task with Max so focused on the drawings and the diners seemingly intent on us.

“I want you to take this book and really study the pages. Take notes in the margins. Circle things you don’t like or have questions about. Go to the cabin with the book and try to imagine every room looking like the sketch. What would you change to make the sketch more you?”

When I peered up at Max, I was surprised to see glistening eyes looking back at me. Was Max crying? Oh hell no. God, I hoped not. I don’t do crying people. Ever.


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4 and 3 Stars for Rock Rod Studios Presents: Alex Undone by Emory Vargas #MM #Erotica


Title: Rock Rod Studios Presents: Alex Undone
Author Name & Publisher: Emory Vargas
Publication Date & Length: June 28, 2015 – 21 pgs


Alex’s first ‘gay for pay’ porn job results in much more than a paycheck. After having his mind (and more) blown by a professional performer, he shacks up with the studio’s hot, tattooed administrative assistant.

Peter is flirtatious and edgier than anyone Alex has ever met, and he’s deep in a lifestyle Alex has never imagined. His habit of bringing inexperienced boys home for a rough tumble grinds to a halt when Alex wants more than a meaningless lay.

Once Alex has a taste of sexual freedom, he might be gay to stay.

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Emory Vargas certainly packs a punch….and hot scenes, with this hot little bite, that you might end up reading one-handed… hehe
In case you hadn’t realised, this is a quick, dirty read and lots of fun! Not everything needs to be hundreds of pages long to leave an impression. I enjoyed this author’s writing, dirty and clean!
I will look for more by her.
Reviewer: Kimberley
I really wanted to love this story. I think it had a lot of promise there, but I felt like everything was SOOOO rushed that we didn’t have a chance to connect to the characters and why they were doing what they were doing or the situations they were in.
Sure there was some hot exchanges, but I’d to have had a bit more meat to the story even though it was smoothly written and easy to follow, I felt like it really didn’t give enough to hook the reader into the beginning of what I assume is Alex‘s porn career.
However, I would be willing to pick up the next part of the series since it was quite hot and easy to read.


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TWO 4 Stars and One 3.5 Star Reviews for Charlie’s Hero (Heroes #1) by Nic Starr #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners @nicstarooo @dreamspinner


Title: Charlie’s Hero (Heroes #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Nic Starr (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 17, 2015 – 200 pgs


Schoolteacher Charlie Matthews returns to his hometown, looking to regain a sense of community, reconnect with friends, and settle down. It looks like his dreams have come true when paramedic Josh Campbell attends an accident at the school. It’s love at first sight, and a romance begins.

But Josh’s reluctance to come out to the brother who raised him, puts pressure on their fledgling relationship. While Charlie understands Josh’s concerns, he can’t help growing impatient. After all, Charlie came out years ago.

It’s not until Charlie confronts his own parents and realizes he hasn’t come to terms with their rejection that he fully understands what Josh has to lose. But Josh is Charlie’s hero, and Josh will do anything to prove to Charlie that to be part of a family, he doesn’t need his parents.

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Charlie has a great life.  He’s created a family for himself.  I love that about his character.  That, no matter what happened in his life, he was able to make it.

He has a shyness about him that I found very likable.  Sometimes, when a character is written shy, they come off so shy that you do not truly get to know them, however, Charlie is written beautifully.

Josh- now he is a totally different story.  Confident, smart, family man, loving brother, devoted friend and hot EMT.  What more could a guy ask for?  The connection that Tanner feels with Charlie is great!  I was a little put off by how he viewed his brother – how he let his brother dictate so much of how he felt.

While I did love how devoted Tanner was to his family – despite how misguided it was, I truly loved, loved his EMT family.  Those people were always there for him and I really liked how both characters were able to show themselves with them.

The melding of their lives was seamless and I really enjoyed this story.  I can’t wait for the next one!


 FourStarsHandsome second grade teacher meets a sexy paramedic? It’s almost too perfect. But beneath the surface both Josh and Charlie are troubled men with complicated pasts.This is a sweet, simple story, but it is beautifully constructed. I fell in love with Josh and  Charlie and I really loved their friends and co-workers. Little quirks bring characters to life.  Starr makes both men’s relationships with their families complicated and difficult without  creating villains.I really enjoyed the tiny details that made both men’s jobs believable and interesting. At times the plot rambles slowly without much direction, but the characters were compelling enough to keep my interest.I liked the contrast between the slow-burn romance and the steamy sex scenes between Josh and Charlie. It was great to see the two dependable professionals let loose with each other in private.

I was really excited to read this book, I dove right on in and ended up being kind of bored at times. Charlie and Josh both instantly liked each other but I didn’t feel the spark. It was there at times, but most times it wasn’t for me.  Charlie has been out for years but Josh, ummm no. I did feel really bad for Charlie when he saw his parents at the mall and then again at the grocery store. That scene at the grocery store made me love Josh. I will say the book got better towards the end and I was not surprised by the ending. I was expecting it to come sooner. I think the chemistry and spark could have burned hotter between Charlie and Josh but then again it was a sweet story. I actually am excited to read the next story in the series.


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4 Stars for Delicious Mistake by Vicktor Alexander – #MM #Novella @VVeeB @Totally_Bound


TitleDelicious Mistake
Author Name: Vicktor Alexander
Publication Date & Length: December 19, 2014 – 18865 Words


Miguel Rodriguez believes that love makes the strongest of men weak and wants no part of it, but when he meets Julian Canton, he makes one delicious mistake that will change both of their lives forever.

Miguel Rodriguez stood by his friend Xavier’s side when evidence of his affair with another man came out. He also stuck by Xavier when he disappeared from Atlanta and moved to the mountains of Wyoming. But he will not stand by Xavier when he decides to marry his young lover and still run for the Senate. Hopping on a plane to fly to Wyoming, Miguel finds himself meeting Julian Canton, a young man who has no political ambitions and doesn’t even vote, and yet Miguel finds himself fascinated.

Miguel makes the mistake of upgrading Julian’s ticket so they can get to know each other better and somehow finds himself in Riverton, WY, holding Julian’s hand as he says goodbye to his brother. Giving in to his attraction to the young man, Miguel struggles not only with his physical attraction, but his emotional one as well. When he compounds his mistake by inviting Julian along with him to talk to Xavier, he soon finds himself feeling something he has never felt before. Will he join his friend Xavier in listening to his heart or will he walk away?

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This book had a good story to it.  This was about being in the right place at the right time and meeting that special someone. It was about coming out and not being afraid of who you are, but finding unexpected happiness and letting yourself go and being free.  The characters struggled with loss and finding themselves by moving forward.

I found that I liked Miguel, even though he hadn’t told anyone he was gay. He was a contradiction of everything he was trying to talk to his friend about, until he met Julian.  Miguel was very arrogant, but caring. I felt sad for Julian for all losses so far in his short life.

I enjoyed reading this lighthearted romance, though I found it extremely short, left me wanting a little more of their story.



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Vicktor Alexander “Vic” wrote his first story at the age of 10 about his youngest sister and her destruction of the world…with her breath.  Much to his youngest sister’s dismay the story was a hit and became the first story of a series all dealing with the planets that were destroyed by his siblings and their strange quirks and body odors. Vic now enjoys writing about shifters, humanoids, cowboys, firemen, rent boys, fairies, elves, dancers, doctors, Doms, Subs, and anything else that catches his fancy, all sexy men falling in love with each other and having lots of naughty, dirty, man-on-man sex.  Author of the best-selling series, The Tate Pack, Vic is a huge fan of the “happily-ever-after” ending. But while his characters all ride off into the proverbial sunset, all sexually satisfied and in love, they all bear the scars of fighting for that love, just like in real life. Out and proud, Vic does not believe that love only comes in one form, one race, one gender and that not only is gender fluid, by sexuality as well.  Vic loves to make people laugh and when he’s not writing, or rather, procrastinating in writing, he’s reading, playing the Sims 3, hanging out with his very supportive adopted family, talking to his adopted daughter, whom he affectionately calls “Chipmunk”, seeking the man or men who can handle his crazy, stressful, soap opera-esque life and being distracted from his writing by drooling over pictures of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, Charlie David and Shemar Moore.


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3.5 Stars for Sweet Spot by Lucy Felthouse #F/F #LBGT

Sweet Spot

Title: Sweet Spot
Author Name: Lucy Felthouse
Publication Date & Length: June 18, 2014 – 70 pgs


Virginia Miller is an up-and-coming tennis star. She’s gone from a ratty tennis court in a park in south London, England, to the world’s top training facility—Los Carlos Tennis Academy in California. In awe of the talent around her, Virginia is all the more determined to make the most of the opportunity and show that she’s worthy of her place there. Her mentor, Nadia Gorlando, has every faith in her.

But Virginia finds herself distracted—Nadia, as well as being a top-notch tennis player, is seriously sexy, and Virginia’s mind keeps wandering where it shouldn’t. Will her crush get in the way of her career, or can she find a way to push the other woman out of her mind before it’s too late?

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This novella had very good pacing in it, and I was able to get into the mind of the MC very quickly. What I loved was being able to hear V’s voice in my own head as I read through the novella. The plot line is quick, but it still allows for anticipation of the romance aspect to be built. I was definitely rooting for V to get over her fears and do something about it.

The twist in the middle of the book was an interesting one, and one that I saw coming. It was not unexpected, and I’m glad it wasn’t. My only issue is the resolve from the twist seems to have happened far too quickly to be 100% believable to me. I felt the resolve had to come about more quickly in order to get enough sex into an erotica romance novella, which I can understand, but at the same time, with the twists subject, it didn’t seem like it flowed together well.

The erotic aspects of this novella were very hot and tantalizing. It fit with the two characters and kept the story moving. Overall this is a very well-written erotic romance novella. I wish there had been more erotic scenes throughout it, but alas, can’t always please a young woman’s heart!

3.5 stars – AJ


This is a short, sweet, sexy romance. It was a quick and fun read

I tend to prefer a lot of plot, even in romance and erotica. Sweet Spot delivers a pleasantly surprising amount of interesting storyline for such a short work. Another thing I enjoyed was that although there is good, steamy sex, it doesn’t overbalance the rest of the story.

There were only two disappointments with this work. First, the women in the story fit what I call the “acceptable lesbian” stereotype–feminine-but-not-girly, athletic, and attractive even by men’s standards. I prefer to see a bit more diversity in both body type and along the gender-expression spectrum. Second, the sex had a few too many erotic cliches, such as “tongues battling” and a whole lot of female ejaculation. Again, some diversity in sexual experience would be nice.

Even so, the characters are likeable and the story is cute. I definitely appreciated the side of social justice delivered in the second half of the novella. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to checking out other works by Ms. Felthouse.

3.5 Stars – Amy


Amazon: http://amzn.to/XqdsAo
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Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati.


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cw1985
Author’s Website: http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk/

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3 & 3.5 Stars for A Perfect Dream by Raven J. Spencer #F/F #Erotic Novella


Title: A Perfect Dream
Author Name: Raven J. Spencer
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2014 – 48 pgs


Sex and politics can be an explosive combination. Beatrice, wife to a conservative lobbyist, can’t imagine being out in the open about her preferences and orientation, but lucky for her, there’s A Perfect Dream. Secret parties that only the privileged have access to fulfill every fantasy and need she can think of. Beatrice didn’t count in meeting Sage, a woman who not only satisfies her in every way, but challenges everything Beatrice has believed about herself so far.



I was given an ARC of A Perfect Dream for an honest review.

I read A Perfect Dream in a few hours, following the storyline of one character, Bea, as she discovered herself through a lot time of repressing it. I’m rating this book at three and a half stars mostly because it didn’t wow me. It’s difficult to wow with erotica in such a short space of time, but I was impressed with the writing and story line.

This novella has quite a bit of sex in it, as one can imagine, it is erotica after all. It’s an interesting premise, the “Gay for You” trope turned into “Out for You” and it definitely works in this piece. Raven takes a character who most would assume to be unlikable and gives her a story that makes her likeable.

This rating is a 3.5 because I felt the erotic scenes could have been better, more sensual, more sexy and spicy. They seemed fairly vanilla for a woman going to a sex club. Even though the character wanted to try all different sex acts when she went to the club, she did not, and it turned out, she was much more comfortable with what she knew. Most women these days, however, know what a vibrator with clit stim looks like and how to use one—so Bea not knowing where certain parts went was a bit unbelievable to me, particularly if it was not her first visit to A Perfect Dream.

The writing was great. My only issue was in the beginning when it would switch from third person to second person. I think the story would have been a lot stronger and better if the author had stayed in third person and described everything from Bea’s POV. It would have also allowed the reader to get into her head more quickly. There were only a few grammatical issues I found (and… I’m picky about grammatical issues, so this is a HUGE compliment).

This book was good for a quick read late at night. I would definitely read another from Raven.



A Perfect Dream by Raven J Spencer is a short story about Beatrice, the wife of a conservative politician who spends time at A Perfect Dream with Piper, the woman with whom she is having an affair. A Perfect Dream is exclusive, expensive, discreet, and offers almost anything Beatrice can imagine. On one of the weekend get-a-ways, she meets Sage, the woman of her dreams, who turns out to be more than meets the eye.

I was excited about reading this story because it seemed like it had a lot of potential. The premise is strong, with a lot of possibilities and room for growth and I was excited to see where Spencer took it. So, first, the good:

The writing is well done. There are a few stray commas here and there, and a few odd word choices, but overall, it’s well written. Better than a lot of things available on the market, and it’s highly readable. It’s also a quick read. This took me less than an hour to get through. Lastly, it’s a completely self-contained story. No cliff-hangers here. You get a beginning, middle, and an end where everything is wrapped up.

Second, the meh: Let’s talk about the sex. This is supposed to be an erotica. The majority of the story takes place at a resort where the whole point of going is to have sex with as many people as you want in as many ways as possible. There is actually not a ton of explicit content in this book. Some readers will prefer the softer descriptions and having things left up to the imagination. However, for me, I would have preferred to have had fewer more descriptive and explicit sex scenes than what we got. This just didn’t seem like erotica to me. It’s erotica-lite.

Also a meh is the plot. It’s an interesting plot and I’d have liked to have seen more done with it. At 48 pages, this is getting almost into novella territory and if the author had taken some time to give more development to the plot twist with Sage(which was totally out of left field, by the way. Seriously, some foreshadowing would be good) it would have felt more complete to me.

Now for the bad: The beginning is not good. I had a hard time getting past it. There is a lot of exposition in this story and it detracts from the plot and the movement of the story. It feels like Spencer gets lost in the minutia of the details in some places and in others she doesn’t give some very needed descriptions about the surroundings. Also, just a minor thing, but there are apparently a hundred bathrooms in A Perfect Dream. Character development gets lost here, too, and some of the characters feel a little one-dimensional.

The bottom line: I think it’s worth a read. I don’t feel like it was a waste of my time, but I’ve read better, and I don’t feel like this is erotica. Spencer has good writing skills and the plot had promise but it needs developing. I would be much more interested in this as a novella or a full-length novel. She’s tried to cram too much into a short-story and lost a lot of the elements I like to see in order to feel satisfied after finishing a story.

Rating: Three Stars



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Raven J. Spencer, lesbian, married, loves everything sensual and indulgent which led her to write erotic romance and fantasies. When she’s not writing, you can often find her on Pinterest in the pursuit of inspiration.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raven-Spencer-Author/155042611370427?ref=hl
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Author’s Website: http://ravenspencer.blogspot.ca/

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, AJ, F/F, Review