Book Reviews

Silver Presents: Love is Love Anthology at Silver Publishing

Genre Mixed Genres / Gay Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 20-February-2013

Book Blurb



This anthology includes:

Never Too Late by Chris Quinton
Chosen by Pelaam
Smoke Break by Allison Cassatta
Watching for Love by Sara York
Far from Home by Serena Yates
Lord Godiva's Pony Training by S.A. Garcia
A Return to Normalcy by Anel Viz
Solitude Disrupted by Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde
Leap of Faith by Lexi Ander
Clean Monday by A.J. Llewellyn and DJ Manly
My Unintended by Faith Ashlin
Roadside Rescue by Nicole Dennis
Unmasked by Patricia Logan
Checkmate! by Sammy Jo Hunt

Book Review

'Never Too Late' by Chris Quinton
Stuart's long-time partner died six years ago, and he's been alone ever since. He feels he's had his chance at love, and doesn't expect to find someone else. Then he meets Tom. But Tom is twenty years his junior, and Stuart can't take that in his stride.


Their age difference is irrelevant to Tom. He knows Stuart is the one for him. All he has to do is convince Stuart to give them a chance.

No matter what season of life, it's important to keep your mind open to new possibilities. As the colloquial saying goes: “It ain't over til the fat lady sings.” After Stuart's partner died, he closed his mind to having that kind of intimacy again. He's living on autopilot, having an unvaried schedule day-in-and-day-out; that is until he meets Tom.


Getting to know Tom brings out feelings he though were put to rest long ago. Stuart finds Tom's joy and enthusiasm addictive. Even with all the excuses Stuart can come up with, particularly concerning their age difference, Tom is able to shoot down and show Stuart that some things are simply too good to pass up.  
I recommend to everyone with a romantic heart, this endearing love story about second chances and love overcoming all obstacles. Thanks, Chris, for the warm fuzzy feelings and the tremendous sense of hope your story brings.



'Chosen' by Pelaam
Powerful vampire Lord Dragomir is elated when he finds his Chosen, his one true soul mate. But Alexandru is not only human, but young and innocent.


Alexandru is surprised to receive an invitation to Prince Dragomir's ball. When they meet, an instant, almost undeniable attraction flares, but Alexandru is afraid his feelings are wrong and runs away, assisted by Petre, Dragomir's long-time friend.


But Alexandru cannot deny his desire and returns to forge a bond and become Bound with Dragomir, even after learning his true nature. Alexandru isn't ready to be turned, a decision he regrets when he's used as a pawn in a game of power to destroy Dragomir.

The idea of a soul mate, a person specifically chosen for someone as their perfect match, has been portrayed in many stories, but none quite like this one. In this dark, Gothic tale, the paramours are Lord Dragomir, a vampire, and Alexandru, a young innocent man. Alexandru feels Lord Dragomir's attraction right away and falls under his spell.


As with many love affairs, theirs is plagued with problems from an ex-lover, not just because Alexandru is taking his place in Dragomir's bed, but because of the political plans he's he has made. Petre tries to destroy Dragomir by taking Alexandru far away where his lover can't find him; his plans backfire because he has underestimated the strength of Alexandru and Dragomir's connection.


I'd recommend this story to those who like their Gothic love stories on the dark and frightening side. Thank you, Pelaam, for giving us a glimpse into Dragomir and Alexandru's special bond.



'Smoke Break' by Allison Cassatta
The daily grind is a bit of a bore for computer geek Charlie, but his job takes a more than interesting twist when he finds Daryl, the hot-bodied window washer, hanging just outside his office window.

When Charlie is at his lowest, a vision, in the form of a handsome window washer, appears just outside his office windows. This manages to cheer him up and make him uncomfortable at the same time. He can't get the man out of his head—big or little. A bit later, Charlie goes down for a cigarette break. Daryl, the window washer, is there and they have an enlightening conversation in which Charlie learns Daryl is gay. With visions of sexual sugar plums dancing in his head, Charlie rushes back up to his office to relieve some pressure. What he didn't count on was Daryl being outside of his window as he does so. He's embarrassed and excited at the same time. Daryl thinks it's hilarious.


For the next two days, the fires of passion burn deep in both men's loins just knowing that there will be an opportunity for a tryst while both are working on the weekend. Their coupling is off the charts as far as heat goes--carnal, passionate, and downright sizzling! It's also caring and sensual as well, with the two men making more than a physical connection.


I really enjoyed this story. Anyone who wants a short, but exciting story, about two sexy men, a lot of humor, which is hot, hot, hot, will love this story. Thanks, Allison, for the short, but arousing story.



'Watching for Love' by Sara York
Mac has spent the last month spying on Ryan, watching him disrobe in the privacy of his home. Mac fears Ryan finding out, but he wants a connection, he's just too shy to make the first move. Ryan knows Mac is watching and plans on paying him back, but first, he has to get to know the guy for his seduction to work.
Sometimes the longer you wait for something to happen, the harder it is to go for it. Mac really wants to get together with Ryan, but is afraid that Ryan is out of his league; so he settles for watching him from his window. Mac can't decide whether Ryan knows he's being observed or not, although he has to wonder sometimes. Mac just isn't brave enough to find out. He knows it's not right, but can't seem to stop. The longer he watches, the more afraid he is of getting caught, which he knows will end his chances. Ryan knows that eventually, he will have to make a move or give up on the idea altogether.


What Mac doesn't know is that Ryan wants to get to know him as well, finally gets tired of waiting, and approaches him. They have some air to clear, issues to address, but over the next few weeks, they get to know each other and develop a good level of trust. Ryan is determined to make Mac pay for his voyeurism in a most creative fashion—some harmless sensory deprivation with a little dominance thrown in for good measure. What follows is one very revealing sexual rendezvous proving to Ryan and Mac just how compatible they are.


I recommend this love story to everyone who wants a short, but sexy read about two men who find they are made for each other. Thanks, Sara, for letting us share Mac and Ryan's coming together.



'Far from Home' by Serena Yates
Luca Agostino has never been alone, until his family kicks him out for being gay. He leaves Nebraska, wanting to make his way to New York City. But then he finds an injured dog on a road in rural Pennsylvania and has to help...


Jonathan Nelson has never had a partner, preferring to live alone. When his dog gets hurt by a stranger, all he wants is to get the man arrested so he pays for his crime. Until he finds out not all is as it seems...
This is the story of two very different men who are far from home, until they figure out that life is more fun together than apart.

Luca is a sad, but brave young man; rejected by his family for being gay. Resigning himself to being alone and homeless, he picks up the pieces of his life and ventures into the unknown. The dark, snowy terrain further accentuates Luca's feelings of despair. When he finds an injured dog, he's hesitant, but, being the compassionate person he is, can't leave him there; Luca starts forming a plan to get him in the car and to a vet.


Before he can do so, Jonathan, the dog's owner, comes bursting out of the woods. Blinded by fear and anger, he totally misunderstands the situation and blames Luca for the accident. This is the last thing poor Luca needs to hear, but to his credit, he tries to keep calm. Even though Luca resents it, he's guessing that the man is upset; helping the dog is the priority. With that common mission in mind, the two men travel together to the vet's.


After the immediate crisis is over and the truth that Luca is innocent emerges, Jonathan calms down. He admits that he's been unreasonable by accusing Luca; he feels guilty about his outburst and apologizes. Luca, more or less, graciously accepts his apology and also takes Jonathan up on an offer to stay at his home, at least overnight. Jonathan had decided that living alone was what he wanted to do, not be bothered by having to cater to another person, but as he gets to know Luca, he realizes how content he is having another person around, especially someone as good as Luca. Luca's loneliness is also dispersing and he's beginning to feel like he belongs there with Jonathan and wonders if Jonathan feels the same way. Jonathan decides it's time to think of a way of making sure that Luca stays permanently and the plan he comes up with is sure to be successful, ensuring that, if they are together, neither will ever be far from home ever again.


This is a charming, romantic love story which I enjoyed very much. It reminds us that we are not meant to be solitary, we all need love and a place to call home whether that be a place or a person. I recommend this story to everyone who wants to read a touching, angsty story, full of emotion and a happy ending. Thanks, Serena, for the lovely story.



'Lord Godiva's Pony Training' by S.A. Garcia
Matt has dreamed of trying out a pony play scene. When he receives his new kit, he has a blast gearing up. He doesn't expect his flight attendant lover to return early. How far will they take their new scene?

What makes this story so hilarious is that the narrator, Matt, is also the main character. His witty, tongue-in-cheek ramblings add humor and, as improbable as it seems, education in the the art of pony play. He makes the ridiculous seem not only practical, but entertaining and therapeutic. I love his attitude of 'not sharing' and his obvious steadfast love for his partner. It would have been so easy to use young, pretty men in this story, but using a slightly older, more established couple, gave it an extra special feeling of intimacy.


Matt's delight at his partner coming home early was so endearing, that my heart began to ache. The way his partner picked right up on Matt's circumstance, i.e., his obvious enjoyment and desire to get right into the pony scene, doubled the pleasure. As odd as the topic may seem, and as uninformed as I am about it, I did comprehend these points —the couple's enduring commitment, the celebration of their love and joy together, and their playfulness and consideration of each other in all things.


If you are interested in reading an entertaining, funny, endearing and enlightening story, this may be one to make you smile, or, possibly laugh out loud. Thank you, S.A., for the amazingly humorous story.



'A Return to Normalcy' by Anel Viz  
Patrick's life is a shambles. His ex-wife wants him back, his ex- in-laws hate his guts, his lover's meds need readjusting, and his son doesn't see why they can't all just be one big happy family.

Patrick has a strange relationship with his wife. They have dinner together once a week, giving the impression of still being together. This is in one way or the other disconcerting to his ex-wife, his son, his lover, and most especially to himself. When there are children involved, it's healthier to be cooperative and civil, but it's unhealthy and confusing to still be sharing as much as Patrick and his ex-wife do and not be together.


Patrick is a good person. He's a great father, a great partner and caregiver for his bipolar boyfriend. He has a great deal of compassion, understanding, and patience, but what he doesn't have is enough consideration for himself. He's trying so hard to make things right for everyone that all he's actually doing is making a bigger mess of his relationships. When he reaches a certain point, he knows he just can't do it anymore and starts letting other people make their own mistakes, even making some of his own. Amazingly, things start to sort themselves out to an unconventional, but workable normal for them all.


I'd recommend this story to anyone who appreciates the fact that, no matter what, your feelings come first and doing otherwise will only cause more chaos. Thanks, Anel, for your story reminding us of this universal fact.



'Solitude Disrupted' by Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde
Who would have thought one day would make such a difference to a solitary life? Heath, a holidaymaker in Fiji, loses his fishing boat in a storm one evening and washes up at hermit Quinn's water villa just off a private island. Quinn's peaceful existence ends when he discovers Heath asleep on his bed. As much as Quinn tries to ignore Heath, Heath invades his privacy at every point. What's a hermit, with previously only a cat for company, to do?

Are people truly happy living alone? Is running away from your problems instead of facing them a good move? Quinn seems to think so and considering the beautiful paradise and solitude around him, it makes me wonder if it's not such a bad thing after all. Whether or not he will admit it, he is lonely and when Heath appears, he's first irritated, they fight, and he wants him to leave.


Heath is quite an unconventional and presumptuous sort. He and Quinn instantly get into a power struggle since both are bossy, uncommunicative, and both want to be on top, in all senses of the word. Quinn is too polite to turn him out and Heath is too stubborn and persistent to leave, so they continue their game in and out of bed, and both think they are winning, neither wanting to concede. What the reader gets out of their conflict is a lot of very hot sex as they try to outdo each other even between the sheets. They eventually come to what is more like a truce than anything and learn to enjoy each other's company.


If you like stories with hot men, beautiful scenery, an island paradise, controversy, and passion—lots of it, you will enjoy 'Solitude Disrupted'.



'Leap of Faith' by Lexi Ander
After building his business from scratch with his lover, Ben prepared to take the next step and marry Javier, the man he loved. How could he have known that being the surprise at Javier's bachelor party would change everything? Heartbroken and lost, a chance encounter with a kind stranger gives him a helping hand.
Dawson didn't realize giving Ben a place to stay for a couple of days would change his life or gain him a friend. He only wished Ben wanted more than friendship. A small misunderstanding makes Dawson realize he may have read Ben wrong. Does Dawson have time to correct his mistake before the past comes back and tries to take Ben from him.

It's always disillusioning to realize that you've read someone wrong and that everything you thought was true is actually a lie. That's how Ben felt when he realized that his fiancé, Javier, has been lying to him and betraying his trust with his best friend. Fortunately for him, he has a knight in shinning armor in the shape of Dawson, a leather-jacketed man on a motorcycle who literally scoops him up and carries him to safety in a time when he needs it most.


Dawson lives an entirely different life than Ben has and Ben begins to see its merit. Wanting to totally distance himself from his ex, he divests himself of everything which reminds him of Javier and of his best friend. His former associates are shocked and disgusted with the way Ben has chosen to live and try their best to get him to come back, but Ben has made up his mind. He's tired of the corporate struggle and insincerity and is ready to live a life which is more meaningful, hopefully with Dawson who has shown him just how good that can be.


I ran through many emotions reading this story riding along with Ben on his roller coaster of shock, disillusionment, sadness, pain, betrayal, and finally happiness. It was very easy to sympathize with his feelings and cheer him on in his new endeavors. I recommend this story to anyone who believes that being true to yourself is the most important thing there is, because it's the only way true happiness is ever achieved. Thanks, Lexi, for reminding us of this important principle.



'Clean Monday' by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly
Aleczander is one of the few people to ever survive a suicide attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Rejected by his family for being gay, he's desperately unhappy when he wakes up in the hospital, not only because he's in terrible pain but he must now face the future. His rescuer was an unlikely one but that's not the only surprise. He's not alone. He has a wonderful group of supporters and an emerging new relationship with Tommy Justice, a writer living in the Castro district. Aleczander learns the day he takes his first steps again is called Clean Monday in the Greek Orthodox faith. Can he find the life and the love he's always dreamed of?

When Aleczander choses to end his life, he doesn't realize that what he is actually doing is opening the door to a new one. He's always wanted to be accepted, loved, and able to live an honest life; but bullies and even his own family, have prevented him from doing so. The taunts and hateful energy that has come his way is too much for him to bear, so he unwisely decides to end the pain. Alecszander believes that since no one cares what happens to him anyway, what difference would it make?


He couldn't have been more wrong. People do care about him and, with him surviving the fall, his eyes are opened to just how much. Aleczander embraces his new life with a completely different outlook, discovering that there are people who love him, i.e., his priest, and are actually hurt that he didn't trust them enough to come for help. He learns that there are organizations and more support than he ever imagined, i.e., support groups, churches, and individuals who can be very helpful and who derive a great deal of satisfaction being able to support others in need. He even finds Tommy, a young man with whom he seemingly has a spiritual bond, and lots of empathy since Tommy was about where Aleczander is now.  All in all, Aleczander learns to appreciate his new friends and support groups and is able to set a positive course for his life.


I recommend this story to everyone. The importance of its positive, hopeful message is something that we all need to hear, particularly those who may be struggling with having a meaningful life or who know someone who is. A.J. and D.J. have presented this information in a sensitive, but direct way, not dodging the messy parts nor overemphasizing the positive ones. It's like anything else, we can learn to be supportive in a situation like this, but only the person in pain can make the necessary changes in order to have a more fulfilling life. Thanks, A.J. and D.J., for shining light on this very important topic.



'My Unintended' by Faith Ashlin
Noah and Greg are teachers and have been living together for a while. They're content in their lives and with each other. Or at least they think so. Then Noah is forced to consider his dreams for the future when his parents change their wills. He's told the family house will be left to his sister rather than him, as she has children. But does he want a wife and traditional family?


Instead of talking to Greg, as he knows he should, he runs back home. His grandmother takes him in hand and tells him a story about her own loves back before she was married.
It makes Noah think about what he really wants.

There are some things in our lives which are intended to happen, i.e., love, marriage, children, and, hopefully, happiness. Noah hasn't given the future a lot of thought until his parents change their will, giving the family house to his sister who has children. This throws Noah's feelings in to a frenzy of confusion and doubt. Suddenly, his neat little world with Greg, doesn't seem so neat anymore. He starts to question why he's with Greg and what he really wants, or doesn't want as the case may be. Never having given it much thought, Noah is unprepared to make a decision or even ask the hard questions that are so pertinent to his future.


I felt sorry for Noah and sad that he was so confused, but I felt even worse for his partner, Greg. He's the one who has the proverbial rug pulled from under him when Noah takes it upon himself to leave without discussing what he's feeling with Greg. I was actually a little angry with Noah. It's a shame that in his insecurity and indecision he was breaking Greg's heart. It's painfully clear that Greg loves Noah very much and it would have been a logical thing for him to try and interfere; but, to his credit, Greg gracefully lets him go, surely with his heart aching, praying that Noah will make the right decision and hoping that it means that they can continue their lives together.


When Noah actually gets to his parents, he realizes that he wasn't going to be able to sort things out there, too much confusion still, so he drives to his grandmother's house. Once there, he settles into all the good memories of his childhood and his mind becomes more settled. With his grandmother he's able to pour out his heart and, with his grandmother's wise words, is able to figure out where his problems lie. Noah realizes that the answers which lead to his happiness are not in things he has always thought were intended, but in those that are unintended.


This is a bittersweet, profound story about a man who realizes that he's not giving up anything to be happy; he's actually gaining a lot instead. It's brilliantly written with great characters and the kind of personal development I happen to love. If you can appreciate a story which delves a bit deeper, but which will also entertain and challenge you; then this one might be for you. Thank you, Faith, for the lovely, thought-provoking story.



'Roadside Rescue' by Nicole Dennis
Carter Faulkner ends up broken down on the road during a blizzard. A handsome deputy, Ronan Cunningham, stops and takes him home. Can a simple rescue on the road change both of their lives forever?


The story begins on an amusing note with Carter having a running dialogue with his car, Spencer, who leaves him stranded in a snow storm. It describes his frustration with the car as well as the weather. He's rescued by a local deputy, Ronan. When there are no rooms in the motel, Ronan takes him home. Things go from bad to worse, storm wise. They have no power and can't go anywhere so they are stuck there.


Ronan has been on his own for a while and has resigned himself to being that way. Carter is sad and disillusioned. His family threw him out when they found out he was gay and things haven't gone great since then. The two men talk about their lives and Ronan convinces Carter to stay, telling him how open-minded the town is. Carter begins to see a way to be saved from the unhappiness he's had in the past. Ronan realizes he's attracted to Carter and maybe doesn't want to be alone any more. That alone is surprising enough, but their night together ends in an even bigger surprise with a great conclusion.


This is a fun story which keeps you guessing for a while. Carter and Ronan are great characters, with lots of personality. I enjoyed the story's style. The atmosphere added a lot to the feeling of being isolated and having to come to terms with their feelings. The ending was a very pleasant surprise. Thanks, Nicole, for the angsty romance with the special conclusion.



'Unmasked' by Patricia Logan
Lord Byron Williams is an English aristocrat, but as a young man, he'd been forced into a life of prostitution after his father left his family destitute. On one very memorable night, Byron meets a man who will change his life forever.


Captain Anthony Charles, an American blockade runner, was an enemy of the Union Army during the War Between the States. Everything about his own dominant nature is drawn to the gorgeous, submissive Byron.
On a trip to Bermuda, Byron will learn several things about his handsome lover's past. The tales that Anthony weaves with his words and his body are so hot Byron is plunged into a world of fantasy from which he never wants to return.

This historical BDSM love story is best described as dripping with carnality. From the time Anthony and Byron meet, sparks fly as these two compatible men team up. They enter into a relationship where Anthony is the master and Byron the slave; they are very happy in their assigned roles. Byron and Anthony engage in a hot, steamy, and sometimes painful scenes laden with physical descriptions of the acts they are performing which further enhances their pleasure.


When on a trip to Bermuda, their trysts become even more heated as Anthony adds narration and demonstration to the scene by describing past sexual exploits, particularly those of his first sexual encounter, acting these memories out as they go. They are both worked into a burning frenzy; neither man wanting to let go of the intense physical and emotional sensations and continue holding onto the pleasure for as long as they possibly can. As physical as they are with one another, their pledges of love and caring are quite touching and this point more than any others caused me to become emotionally involved with the men and cheer for the success of their union.


I'd recommend this to anyone who likes steamy, sexual liaisons, seasoned with BSDM behavior, but also involving love, desire, and trust.



'Checkmate!' By SammyJo Hunt
Recently divorced and not yet out of the closet, well-known news anchor Clint Watson must keep a low profile about his alternate sexuality. He has an ex-wife and a public persona he must protect. But in the blink of an eye on one sultry, warm summer afternoon at the beach, his world is shifted on its axis. While playing a daring game of chess, Clint finds out what it's like to be a student again with a teacher almost twenty years his junior. In the capable hands of someone much younger and hotter, he finds more than just pleasure in the arms of a sexy lifeguard.

After the hectic life he has lived for the last few years, Clint really needs a vacation. Hoping for some peace and quiet, he dresses as inconspicuously as possible and heads down to the beach for a restful day, needing, but not particularly expecting, to hook up with someone. Mostly, he just wants to relax and enjoy the view. As he's soaking up the sun, he's surprised when a young life guard, Bryan, approaches him and begins a pleasant conversation. As their encounter becomes closer, they both talk about their lives and their desires. Bryan soon has to go back to work, but invites Clint to meet him later at the guard shack. Clint admires Bryan, but can't understand why such a young, vibrant man would be hitting on him. Deciding that, after all, life is a game, he decides to play.


Bryan is delighted and asks if he'd like to play chess. Clint agrees although tells Bryan that he's never learned to play. Clint figures he might as well try, but it soon becomes apparent that he's having problems keeping the board pieces and their directions of movement. Bryan asks Clint to 'continue their little game elsewhere'. Clint hesitates, but finally agrees if they can actually finish their chess game and goes home with Bryan. After a bit of chess playing, Clint still isn't getting it, so Bryan says: "I have a better idea of how I could teach you the game. And if you learn it my way, you'll never forget it.” After a few heated moments, Clint replies: "I think maybe I'd like that..." Then, the real game begins. Bryan is an excellent teacher and Clint a very fast learner in their unconventional, but very pleasurable version of learning chess, one neither of them will ever forget.


I liked this story very much. It reminds us that love can come to us anytime, anywhere, especially when we are least expecting it. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys hot men on beaches and in bed, desire, freedom to be oneself, friendship, and sensuality. Thank you, SammyJo, for the saucy, sexy, intense romantic romp where Checkmate isn't the end of the game, but the beginning.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Anthology of 14 Short Stories and Novellas, 617 pages/134619 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-February-2013
Price
Buy Link