Break Down

He knows his place on the pitch, but in life, it’s a whole other game.
All his life, Liam Donnelly looked and wondered. Could he? Would he? And then, finally, he did. But when he sampled a taste of that forbidden fruit, his whole world came crashing down, his position with Dublin Rugby right along with it. When the chance to ply his trade in Edinburgh comes along, Liam jumps at the offer, knowing it could be his best opportunity to start fresh and get back to the man he once was. But one look at Chef Lachlan MacLeod-his knowing, whisky-colored eyes, the abrasive scruff dotting his jaw, and the colorful ink lining his forearms-and Liam’s wondering all over again. Can he? Will he? His heart says no, but his body says yes. Too bad love is never that simple.

He’s conquered his own demons; can he help another man do the same?
Out and proud Chef Lachlan MacLeod has no problem with who he is, except he has a history of hooking up with bi-curious straight men. He’s vowed never to go down that path again, but when Liam Donnelly shows up in his restaurant, his eyes filled with heat and secret longing, Lachlan can’t help himself. He knows the closeted rugby player is a terrible idea, but the man calls to him in a way no one ever has before. What started as a safe way for Liam to explore his sexuality quickly morphs into something much deeper, and now Lachlan wants more. But can his heart reconcile what his head already knows-that loving the gorgeous, broken athlete might actually mean letting him go?

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 Reviewed by Cupcake

 

3.5 Stars

The blurb tapped into my inner sports nut even though I know fuckall about rugby aside from that Friends episode when Ross thought he was going to impress his Brit girlfriend then squealed. Doesn’t matter though, sports romances are my kryptonite. Add in a chef and…

DONE!

This is the fourth book in what up to now has been a MF series but can be read as a standalone. Liam is a pro rugby player and is coming to terms with being bisexual. He had a drunken encounter then the guy turned around and blackmailed him. First manlove and the guy turns out to be a blackmailing dicknozzle! So when an offer to play for Edinburgh comes along it seems like a good time for a change of scenery thus he takes it and gets the hell out of Dodge, or in this case Dublin.

He soon meets acclaimed chef Lachlan and sparks fly. Liam has vowed to keep his head down and just play rugby but all the flirting and dancing around each other chips away at his resolve.

Lachlan is out and the notion of returning to the closet is something he vowed never to do. He also swore off “straight” dudes too but he’s never been this drawn to another person, so he compromises himself to be with Liam on the DL. Naturally this causes conflict over time because who wants to be someone’s dirty little secret?

Every book I read I try to identify with the characters and something I’ve come to realize about myself with coming out books is I tend to need angst to really identify with the closeted character. Without it I find it’s just words on a page that rarely get my emotions involved. That was my biggest problem with Liam. His closetedness seemed like the standard cookie cutter athletes/pro sports aren’t LGBTQ friendly plot device without teeth. He tells himself once he’s hung up his cleats he’ll live life on his own terms but he soon realizes that’s not really fair to Lachlan. Expect lots of push/pull between them. Liam is a decent communicator though usually after he’s stuck his foot in it, but still. My other problem with him is he’s kind of an anger ball. I get that he’s supposed to be a badass on the pitch but don’t be a douche off the pitch. No one likes a douche.

Lachlan, on the other hand.. I liked being inside his head because he’s a good person. Plain and simple. I liked him. It didn’t hurt that he’s a chef and tattooed lumbersexual…

Their character development was mediocre with both never making it past 2D for me, but there are some sweet moments and the relationship development was good which is what ultimately won me over.

 

I needed him to touch me everywhere, and to keep on touching me and never stop.

The sex is kind of same same. They do have chemistry, are clearly into each other and Liam is a virgin so this should appeal to many. I’m probably jaded because at this point I’ve pretty much read everything on the sex spectrum so an author has to dig deeper than a little dirty talk, face fucking and rimming to blow my doors off. To be fair, as a frequent MM reader I’m probably more critical of verbiage and sex stuff than maybe others would be, though I will say, I had this reaction a few times…

But I believe this is the author’s first foray into MM and I’m excited by the fact that several traditionally MF writers are trying their hand at MM; makes me happy in my face. The MF bleeds through periodically but nothing too egregious. The narrative is somewhat clunky and would benefit from some polishing especially with regard to some of the crass language that got to be a little much at times. Maybe it tried too hard to convince me of their connection but the HEA is heartfelt, so I do hope she continues to write MM because I liked this more than I didn’t.

Lastly, there were an inordinate amount of editing issues that pulled me out of the story including continuity errors, extraneous words, the wrong name being used and repeated phrases. I don’t normally mention this kind of stuff so for me to mention it… I hope she finds a new editor or proofer soon.

Trigger for drug usage.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.

To Seek and To Find

2.5 Stars

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Kyle is a Sub looking for a long term Dom. He has his sights set on a Dom that is new to the club. Taking the initiative, Kyle creates Project: Notice Me where he sets up scenes with other Doms in hopes of catching Aiden’s attention. He does. They decide on a trial period before a full commitment, contact, and eventual collar come into play.

The positives:

~I really liked the premise of a Sub getting creative to catch a Dom’s attention. Project: Notice Me had me requesting this story and looking forward to how it would play out.

~The characters. I liked the potential they had for a “relationship” together. Kyle was desperately wanting to find the one– a long term Dom and partner to share his life with in and out of scenes.

What didn’t work for me:

~The writing style. *smh* The third person/present tense made me want to bang my head at times. It took a good long while to get in a groove and get past it. Another thing that drove me crazy was the pronoun/proper noun usage. Sometimes they were used well and others, I was BEGGING for an editor.

Example:

”Kyle stares up at Richard and lets him see the flush in Kyle’s cheeks”

WHYYYYyyyYYyyy? Kyle, Kyle, Kyle!!!  NO MORE KYLE!!!! *deep breath*

~Minutiae: The fat needs to be cut from this story. A lot of unnecessary information was included that didn’t serve a purpose. Instead of character development, I read a lot about folding clothes, washing dishes, how many pieces of tomatoes or avocados were cut and saved for later, folding his clothes again, etc…

~If I pretend that this isn’t a romance, how everything played out would make more sense: IMO this doesn’t read like a romance. It reads like a Sub wanting to find a Dom. 99% of their “relationship” took place in scenes. I know their kink preferences, how they role play, the aftercare steps, and their expectations for D/s. What I don’t know is much about them. With barely any backstory or personal information beyond sex, I wasn’t able to connect with either character. Kyle’s relationship with Aiden wasn’t any different than the ones he had with other Doms he did demonstrations with. There was heat and chemistry in the scenes but nothing substantial that made me think they would go beyond the D/s scenes that he wanted. It read like clinical negotiations which is what it was with the HFN.

Warning: This next isn’t a positive or negative. Kyle is bisexual and although this is shelved as a M/M romance, there are *explicit* M/F scenes with Kyle and a female Domme. Kyle being a switch Sub worked in the context of the story but I thought it was worth noting for those that are interested in a switch or those that want only M/M.

If you can get past the writing style, the content reads like BDSM 101. It’s very explanatory and could be an ok starting point for those that wanna dip their toe into the D/s kink pool. I liked the premise but the execution was a little lacking.

Copy provided by publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.

 

Broken Sun

4 Stars

I think I came close to overdosing on antacids while reading this book. The angssssssst, Holy Hell. I’ll go ahead and warn you now that there is also angst by separation. I’m not a fan of separation periods in books that I read because if they didn’t stay in relational mourning long enough you get the whole…

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Not a fun situation. But, the gritty, harsh reality in this book prevented it from blowing up and becoming an issue.

So, now that I’m coming down off the Tums high, we can talk about Luc Sinclair and James Morgan. Both men are in the Bastard Legion Motorcycle Club but haven’t had many interactions. The club is ruthless, heavy handed, with higher ups all the way to new recruits that operate with the M.O. of violence first; except Luc and Morgan. This environment doesn’t provide a safe landing for a gay and bisexual man to be open with their identities. In fact, it could be a death sentence and forces them to hide who they are. Both men grew up in the life but Luc has never been cut out for the violent world of a motorcycle club.

Luc and Morgan haven’t really been in close proximity until they meet up in a pub. The heat-filled exchange they have provided some valuable information about their preferences. It’s right after this exchange that trouble follows. Luc gets cornered and Morgan steps in to manage the situation. Morgan is a higher ranking member and diffuses the fight and saves Luc’s life. From here on, Morgan and Luc slowly and secretly explore their relationship. It’s full of heat, angst, fear, pain, and ultimately love. Trouble follows Morgan and Luc without provocation. Morgan is forced to make decisions that will save Luc but have the potential to wreck Morgan’s sanity and break their hearts.

Now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t get their connection at first. Hell, I didn’t even understand what was so heated and epic about the exchange in the pub. The pub scene was such a profound moment for both men that set up the course of the plot and yet, it went over my head. Luckily they grew on me. Morgan and Luc’s connection made much more sense to me the second half. They worked well together and I appreciated how far they had come when they FINALLY got their HEA.

The ending. Hmmm… IMO it was anti-climactic. I get why, I understand the events leading up it.But we I mean they went through hell to get there and I wanted a little more lethal-swoony-Motorcycle Club badass- tattooed knight in shining armor action. *shrug*

This is the second in a series but can definitely be read as a standalone. I never felt like I was missing pieces, events or characters from a story that already took place. It’s a decent length and read lonnnng. But, I enjoyed reading this angsty AF morsel. Recommended.

P.S. I wouldn’t complain if Kade got a story. *wink* He has his own brand of yummy badassery that I could definitely get on board with.

P.P.S. There needs to be a trigger warning for cutting.

Copy provided  by author for honest review.