Tag Archives: hurt

Just my cup of tea

Rule BreakerRule Breaker by Lily Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book suited me perfectly, the right amount of banter, a British bite of sarcasm and humour, insanely hot sex, a broken man who finds his way and another who provided the port in a storm.

Gabe, tormented and broken Gabe, I’ve had my own version of you, a man afraid to let go of his heart, afraid of love because of the pain it can bring with it.

He was an utter arse at times but I understood him completely, he was frightened of his feelings for Dylan and couldn’t take the risk of being abandoned so he fought back with his whole arsenal of emotional weapons.

And there’s no one can hurt you as much as the person you’re in love with. I ached for Dylan, but he didn’t sit passively by when pushed, he hit back too, using the knowledge he’d built up to stab Gabe where it would hurt the hardest – into the fragile part of his feelings he’d slowly been letting out.

The scenes in Devon at Dylan’s parent’s farm were among my favourites. The contrast between the family’s acceptance of Gabe, his own awakened feelings which allowed him to just let go, and the explosively hot Fleshjack edging sexual encounter was perfect.
And gawd, the sexual chemistry between these two men hit volcanic status, it oozed off the pages alongside the tensions and the emotions.


His shirt is hanging off one shoulder, the arm seam ripped where Iโ€™d fisted it, and his trousers are round his ankles. Iโ€™m stark, bollock naked apart from one black sock. Weโ€™re both covered in sweat and come and breathing heavily.

I know other reviewers have described the relationship between them as toxic but I don’t think it was as straightforward as that. Gabe never hid from Dylan that he couldn’t do real, that it would only ever be sex. But Lily Morton did brilliantly to show the reader, through only Dylan’s POV, that he was fighting more than just sex, that feelings and emotions were involved whether Gabe wanted them to be there or not.

Dylan knew what he was doing when he got into bed with Gabe and he managed to run with it for quite a while, hoping there’d be a change in circumstances as anyone in love would do. It wasn’t until Gabe started shutting himself off – and the Valentine’s Day incident – that he took a stand.

I understood why he reacted as he did, it was a natural consequence of being pushed away too far. I loved how Jude and Henry, best friends of the two men, saw what was really going on and started their plotting, knowing Dylan and Gabe really did need each other.

For me, there was enough groveling and genuine expressions of remorse to enable the narrative to come together for the ending. The epilogue was all ends up awesome too.

I’d love to read more about Jude and Henry too. I would say though, that the setting itself, outside of the sarcastic banter, didn’t really have a huge British feel to it. The odd words threw me, elevator instead of lift, intern instead of apprentice or trainee (as has been my own work experience) but whisky was spelt right ๐Ÿ™‚

Also major kudos goes to Lily for including Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes as the tune which reminded Gabe of Dylan. It’s one of the most beautiful songs in the world imho.

Watch the Say Anything moment here

Make sure to grab the free short from Lily’s website of what happens next, it’s awesome.

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Gorgeous new series starter from Brooke Blaine is a second chances delight

A Little Bit Like Love (South Haven, #1)A Little Bit Like Love by Brooke Blaine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved, absolutely loved this tale of second chances, of finding your place, of going back and making something right, of getting the boy you never forgot and throwing out the damaging things which have made you unhappy.

Brooke Blaine is supremely good at this type of romance, she builds up the tensions but never throws in “plot for plot’s sake” dramady (as I like to call it). The drama in this book comes wholly from within the narrative and follows the natural progression of two men – who were each tricked into thinking the other had dismissed them as unimportant after a single night of passionate commitment – when they find out the truth nearly a decade later.

I loved Lucas and Jackson, I loved the way they eased back into their teenage experiences but with a hint of holding back just in case. Then, when everything came out in the open, how they fully embraced the fact they’d never stopped holding a torch for the other.

It made perfect sense for Lucas to react as he did, the pain he’d kept inside him for eight years had been lanced and then he saw something which he felt was taking him back to the night his heart had been broken. And Jackson, he needed to have the confrontation with his past so that he could finally make the break from a life he’d been neatly slotted into without ever having a choice.

And the setting, this is the beginning of a new series with a whole host of beautifully drawn secondary characters who will be getting their stories too and I can’t wait to find out more about Shaw and Bash and I hope we still hear from Syd as it’s such a pleasant change to have “the female rival” not be an utter witch.

This romance is sexy, it’s spicy, it’s hot and passionate but it’s also about finding and reconnecting, it’s about emotions and love and it’s about making the choice to trust even though you’ve been hurt by the person to whom you’re handing over your heart.

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Five beautiful fat Quinn and Miles stars

Tied to You (Wild Side, #2)Tied to You by Riley Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love relationships where there is just as much talking and laughing as there is time spent on the smexy encounters and this book is a starring example.

You can tell, and Riley admits it in the acknowledgements, that these two men were written with love. They jump off the page in all their wonderful glory, Quinn with his smart mouth, Miles with his unfailing honesty.

I loved every bit of this story, as I did book one in the series (and the prologue before that) because they feel real, the friendship between the four men at the heart of the setting, those who surround them, and the world they inhabit, could be just round the corner at that bar table.
It reminded me very much of St Elmo’s Fire, one of the best films of the 80s and also of my own bunch of school mates who’ve now been taking the mickey out of each other for almost 40 years.

Beautiful cover too. I loved that this was a romance focused on an inter racial relationship with a man of colour at the centre. I wish there were even more novels which focused away from the typical white guy heroes.

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Oh my word the angsty in this one is unending!

The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1)The Truth As He Knows It: by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s an awful lot of angsty in this one, it just racks up and up until you reach a point where you wonder how much more one guy can take. . . and then another tonne is dropped.

However, in spite of all the angsty, this book isn’t an uncomfortable read, it has lots of sweet romance at the heart of it alongside some smoking smexy times and it has a lovely ending which feels like a genuine start of something pure and true.

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Favourite Bluewater Bay book yet

Selfie (Bluewater Bay, #13)Selfie by Amy Lane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely my favourite one yet in this series. This book deals – most beautifully – with grief and how it can utterly cripple you to the point where you simply cease to be. You can function but you basically stop living.

For Connor that happened when the love of his life, Vinnie, was killed by a drunk driver and their 10 year relationship became a source of constant pain because – as Hollywood actors – they’d spent those 10 years hiding everything about how they were lovers, partners, friends, irreplaceable, from the world. No-one knew Connor’s overwhelming grief wasn’t just for his best friend. Until one night a drunken, but thankfully silent, video exposed all that pain.

This book so beautifully gives us Connor, in all his heart-break and grieving, his fears, his anger, his tentative steps back to the road to “normal” and it spares no punches in doing so. It’s also a story about love, about hope, about getting a second chance and not being too broken to grasp it.

I don’t think anyone writes this type of romance better than Amy Lane and this book takes all those tropes about the toxicity of having a closeted relationship and exposes them. The setting has been built up throughout this series of mostly stand alone books but they are still loosely connected through the town of Bluewater Bay and the TV show Wolf’s Landing which is filmed there.
This book sees appearances from some of the MCs from previous books and introduces its own new set of wonderful secondary characters who add flavour and I especially loved Jilly, Connor and Vinnie’s manager, who had been hiding her own pain a bit too well also.

Noah, Connor’s new love interest, is a study in contrasts. Part African-American, part Native American, he’s deferential in his role as Connor’s driver and general PA but, as their friendship develops, he becomes more than just a rock to lean against, he represents a way out of the darkness and into the light.
He’s sarcastic, witty, domineering in the bedroom and takes charge of Connor, allowing him to just switch everything off and remove the pain of loss and change it up for something else (although I’m not sure that exactly worked for me).

Not everything is doom and gloom though, there are flashes of humour, of sunlight and soft kisses as well as steamy sex and hot passionate love making. There are bike rides and brilliant acting shots, new friendships and, eventually, there is acceptance, closure and moving on.

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Not as angsty as the other two

Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back Book 3)Embrace the Fire by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a much sweeter story than the first two books and, while Brandon had suffered, it wasn’t anywhere close to Ash or Luke’s pain.

The romance between him and Tash was nicely drawn out and there wasn’t really much in the way of dramady to affect it. They communicated well and the sex was emotionally engaging.

Loved the extended epilogue and I’ve loved Esther and the other secondary characters who have been built into this world.

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Unmissable ending to this unbelievably good series

Devour
Devour by Jocelynn Drake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know that feeling you’d get, deep down in your tummy, when you woke up on Christmas Day (insert other appropriate religious festivals) and you weren’t sure what was going to be waiting for you? That feeling was me the second this book dropped on my Kindle at midnight on release day.

It’s a strange mixture of excitement, trepidation, expectation, fear, the potential for great joy or great sadness (depending on what you unwrapped). Well, let’s just say reading Devour was like unwrapping a Girl’s World on the morning of my seventh birthday.

Ian’s story has been a long time in the making. We’ve had snippets as we’ve watched Lucas fall in love with Andrei in Shatter, as Snow and Jude found each other in Shiver and as Noah gave Rowe a second chance at life in the pages of Torch. And there, in the background of each, has been Hollis Banner, cop and lover of all things chocolate.

I’m not going to use spoilers, this book works best if you don’t know what’s going to happen. But be absolutely assured, you will gasp, you will probably tear up even if you don’t full on ugly cry, you’ll definitely smile a lot, you’ll laugh out loud and, finally, you’ll sigh. A bone deep sign of contentment that all is right in the world and the Unbreakable Bonds these four men share have expanded to encompass another four equally important to all, plus a myriad of parents, cats, dogs and hangers on.

That the story ends at Christmas is perhaps fitting, not only cos it gave me my introduction paragraph for this review, but also because it’s a time for being with those with love and I do so very much love the men in these four books.

There’s a sadness that this particular series is over, but also a deep joy in knowing the world itself will continue with the Ward Security series that Rinda Elliott and Jocelynn Drake have announced is coming next (#Geoven4eva) and that we won’t be leaving them behind completely.
There’s also the final two books of short stories for Rowe and Noah, Ian and Hollis, to come out later this year too, so it’s not quite goodbye.

And, as expected with the immense talent of these two authors, they managed to pull off a stunningly unique ultimate fate for the protagonist of this series – never in a million years would that have been on my radar ladies so bravo ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you both for Lucas, for Snow, for Rowe and for Ian, and for the men they love. It’s been a thrill of a ride.

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