Michael Joseph

Biography

Bangkok-based travel writer who occasionally makes a foray into fiction.

Where to find Michael Joseph online

Series

David & Gun
Holding On
Price: $2.99 USD.
Five At Table
Price: $2.99 USD.
Letting Go
Price: $1.99 USD.
Journeys
Journey to Angkor
Price: $2.99 USD.
Journey to Rai-Lay
Price: $2.99 USD.
Journey's End
Price: $1.99 USD.
Journeys Omnibus Edition
Price: $4.99 USD.

Books

Worlds Apart
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 46,380. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Up-and-coming corporate analyst Jim Li couldn’t be more different than shy genius Jon Franklin, yet when the two meet there’s definitely a connection. But when Jon disappears in an explosion, Jim is left alone with his guilt and grief. Five years later, Jim is still trying to move on, but then news comes of a foreign object entering Earth’s solar system. Could it be that Jon has really returned?
Letting Go
Series: David & Gun, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 32,540. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
In the third and final book about David and Gun, we follow the couple and the two young men they brought into their lives in “Five At Table”, Tom and Chang. “Letting Go” weaves together a series of stories in which David and Gun help the two young men discover the paths that will take them out into the world. Along the way David must confront some of his own fears as well as a ghost from the past.
Journeys Omnibus Edition
Series: Journeys. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 132,490. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
This 'omnibus' edition of the Journeys series combines all three books of the series - Journey to Angkor, Journey to Rai-Lay and Journey’s End – into a single volume.
Five At Table
Series: David & Gun, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 45,040. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
David and Gun have been together for nearly two years, and married, at least in their own eyes, for one. They are happy and secure in their lives. But a chance encounter with one of the university interns working in Gun’s office gets David thinking: Maybe their lives are too perfect. Maybe they should be giving back. In the sequel to Holding On, Tom joins the family, followed soon after by Chang.
Journey's End
Series: Journeys, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 34,940. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
The third and final book in the Journeys series reunites Piero from “Journey to Angkor” and Henry, whose story was told in “Journey to Rai-Lay” for one last joint adventure as they track down the man responsible for sending them on their travels: Professor Challenger. Their search takes them to forgotten palaces and ancient temples in Central Java.
Holding On
Series: David & Gun, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,360. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
(5.00 from 1 review)
David is facing a bit of a mid-life crisis. He's come to realize he wants to be a submissive. But where to find a dom who will take him on at his age, in Thailand? To David, the younger, confident Gun seems like a godsend. Gun initiates David into the ways of a D/s relationship, and makes him feel like he truly belongs. But can David hold on to this dream, or will his own fears doom it?
The Naga's Treasure
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 31,330. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Prince Suriya never expected to become king. His older brothers were definitely more suited to the throne. Whoever became king had to make nightly visits to the chamber of Lord Naga, to please the protector of Angkor, who legend says appears to the ruler as a woman, and Suriya had always preferred the pleasures of men.
Journey to Rai-Lay
Series: Journeys, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,400. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
Deeply depressed over an affair that resulted in Piero's departure, and under the thumb of his tyrannical uncle, Henry jumps at the opportunity offered by a chance encounter with James Brooke to escape England. Learning the ropes as a sailor, and finding his way into Brooke's bed, is just the start of Henry's adventure, one that ends in a place most men only dream about.
Journey to Angkor
Series: Journeys, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,240. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Sent away from Victorian England after becoming too familiar with his employer's nephew, Piero finds himself on a journey through Southeast Asia, where, with his Siamese translator Plai, he discovers the wonders of old Siam and Cambodia, including the as yet unknown splendors of ancient Angkor.

Michael Joseph's favorite authors on Smashwords

Smashwords book reviews by Michael Joseph

  • Despoiling David on Aug. 08, 2011

    Interesting story, of three men fighting to control a third - a ripe young man who is heir to a substantial estate. I thought the book would have benefited from a bit more character development. All four men come off as a bit one-dimensional, especially the title character, who seems to be little more than a sex-crazed teenager. This actually helps to make the abrupt ending even more disappointing, as time suddenly jumps 18 years into the future. I also think the author may have made a mistake trying to tell the story from three different points of view. It makes for some abrupt jumps in the story.
  • Gentle Persuasion X on Oct. 17, 2011
    (no rating)
    This collection of one-handed reads didn't really do it for me. I was expecting some BDSM stories but the collection focuses mostly on 'straights' being seduced, or in some cases doing the seduction. There's sometimes a little bit of force involved, but not at all what I was looking for.
  • Hell's Pawn on Oct. 23, 2011

    This book was a really pleasant surprise. It was a really nice change from what I have been reading lately, and reminded me how much I like a good sci-fi/alternate universe story. It was my first reading love, before puberty got me interested in sex and smut. Bell has crafted a very believable vision of the afterlife, where the various belief systems of humanity – Christian, Hindu, Celt, ancient Egyptian, etc. – all have their concepts of the afterlife realized. There’s Heaven, Hell, Asgard, Olympus and all the other ideals, along with their respective gods, such as Thor, Zeus, Set and so on. But things are not exactly as they should be in the afterlife. Something has gone wrong, and it becomes our hero John Grey’s task to help set it right. John is a new arrival in what turns out to be Purgatory, why some kind of cosmic game is being played, like a twisted version of Farmville. John befriends a couple of other lost souls, and together they try to escape from Purgatory, only to find out just how far out of hand the place has become. They do eventually make their escape, but John ends up riding Dante’s sins straight to Hell, which turns out to be a rather nicer place than expected. But then, Hell is trying to enlist John’s help in their war against Heaven, which they believe is responsible for the mess the afterlife is in. They use a sexy incubus to seduce John and guide him through the various realms of the afterlife in his quest to raise an army to free the souls from Purgatory. It’s quite a roller-coaster ride that takes you to the halls of Asgard, Mount Olympus, the tomb of a Chinese emperor and more. Along the way, John manages to learn the secret of why he was uniquely qualified to take on this quest. Despite this, and some misgivings about being “Hell’s Pawn”, he continues his quest. The final ending is a bit of an anti-climax, and for that I’d give the book 4½ stars rather than five. A few things are left unexplained, but by the end it really doesn’t matter, as it’s been such a good ride. The story is told in rich detail, but without being pedantic or boring. There’s a bit of a message near the ending, but it’s delivered rather subtly and I’ll let you figure out what it is.
  • Spoils of War on Oct. 23, 2011

    Nice short story about Ares' (the Greek god of war) attempt to take Achillius (more commonly spelled Achilles) into his house and make him a god after the warrior's death during the Trojan war.
  • Fun with Dick and Shane: Memoirs of a Houseboy on Oct. 30, 2011

    This is the biggest surprise I've had for quite some time. I was expecting a bit of light fluff, and while there's lots of humor in the author's breezy first-person account of the 'adventures' of a 24 year-old houseboy/partner of two older men, the book still manages to tackle some very serious subjects. Gillibran Brown, called Gilli by his friends, is the hero of the book, as well as in his own mind. He's domestically partnered with two older men, both of whom he calls Daddy. The emphasis here is on the 'domestic' partnership, since Gilli is responsible for the upkeep of the home while his two daddies are off working. The book is written as part daily journal of Gilli's life, interspersed with slightly longer stories of specific events. The writing style is very light, and while I don't have a lot of exposure to 20-something English lads, I'd say the author nailed the language and attitudes quite accurately. While the subtitle of the book may be "The Memoirs Of A Submissive Houseboy", Gilli is a submissive only when it comes to sex - and even then it seems he can be rather demanding. The rest of the time he's a headstrong and temperamental young man, and that's usually what gets him in trouble. At times he has the emotional maturity of a two-year old. He gets jealous of the time his two daddies spend with each other, or with friends he doesn't like. He is bullheaded about doing what his daddies tell him to do, even (perhaps especially) when it's for his own good. When Gilli gets out of line, which is often, he gets spanked. There's a lot of spanking in this book, more than is to my taste, to be honest. But there were times when even I wanted to give Gilli a smack. He seems to go out of his way to piss off the alpha daddy Shane. While there is a lot of spanking, and allusions to a bit of bondage, I didn't classify this as a BDSM book since there's very little actual sex described. This is not erotica, although there's a lot of discussion of sex, it's left mostly to the imagination. The nature of discipline and the role it plays in their relationship is one of the more serious topics tackled in the book. It's all done in the same light-hearted style of life-according-to-Gilli and isn't the least bit heavy-handed. Other serious topics addressed include the challenges of cross-generation relationships, the stigma of epilepsy and even the impermanence of life. The light writing style hooks you and reels you in while the author conveys some very useful lessons. I was very impressed by what the writer managed to pull off, and I'll be reading the sequels for sure.
  • In The Dark on Nov. 05, 2011

    In broad strokes, this is a pretty disturbing story, effectively involving kidnap and rape. You'll need to be able to get past that to read this novella - hey, it's fiction, right? We never learn the name of the kidnapper. The kidnapped is Duncan, a 19 year old straight-identified young man. Personally, I don't really get the fixation some of my gay brothers have for straight guys. I have hard enough a time getting a second look from gay guys, I don't need the added rejection of pursuing straights. Not to mention that it feeds homophobic fears about trying to 'convert' people. Anyhoo, the whole story recounts one night in a pitch black room where a restrained Duncan is alternatively coerced with pain and seduced with sexual stimulation until he begs to be penetrated. It's all recounted in great detail, as Duncan slowly convinces himself to give in to the pleasure the kidnapper gives him. Once you get past the improbability of the setup - how did the kidnapper manage to get into Duncan's room and transport him without being seen? - the story unfolds realistically. I didn't put this on my BDSM shelf because it's not consensual. The text was very badly proofed and had a lot of typos.
  • Kei's Gift (Darshian Tales #1) on Dec. 02, 2011

    The best word I can think of to describe Kei’s Gift is "epic" – in the very classical sense of the word. This is a broad tale of the clash of two cultures, set in an alternate world not far removed from Earth’s ancient antiquity. The ‘clash’ is actually an all out war, and against this background our two heroes struggle to find peace, and each other. On the one side, we have Arman, a general in the Prij army. The Prij seemed to be loosely based on the ancient romans, a militaristic society with a thirst for expansion by conquest, ruled by a capricious young monarch advised by a senate of decrepit old men. The Prij believe they are the only civilized society, and that the peoples they conquer are all barbarians. Arman is an intelligent and honorable man, whose life, especially his evil bitch of a wife, brings him no happiness. Kei is a gentle healer in a small village in Darshian. He has what the Darshianese call a ‘gift’, the ability to see into people’s souls and know what they’re feeling. People with gifts are rare and highly respected, but the gifts are not always a blessing to the person that has them. The two men are enemies, on opposite sides of a very unjust war, yet it seems like they are somehow destined to be together. But circumstances, their differences, and their honor, seems to be constantly pulling them apart. At times, it really looks like they will never find happiness. This is what I would call a very ‘dense’ book, and by that I don’t mean it’s difficult to read. It’s actually quite readable. But unlike many other books of such length, there’s no fluff of unnecessary prose, no lengthy tirades. There are plenty of tirades, against war and stupidity for the most part, but they’re short and to the point. Every word on every page is important and adds to the story. It’s a very rich tale, with sadness, humor, and some real tear-jerking moments near the end.
  • Aquamarine on April 05, 2012

    Russell Grant is a scientist, a geneticist in fact, and the son of a geneticist who helped create the ‘Aquarians’, a new human subspecies able to live in the water, almost like a fish. That’s important because the polar ice caps have melted and the world is almost completely covered in water. Russell’s lover of many years is Eric Devlin, one of the first Aquarians. Eric can ‘breath’ under water and has skin that will protect him from some of the problems normal humans experience from being in the water for long periods. Eric and Russell are devoted to each other, sharing their lives on the tiny artificial island of Pacifica. Russell and Eric are pretty happy, living and working on the tiny little artificial island of Pacifica, the brainchild of billionaire Gerald Duquesne. But trouble comes looking for the pair one day, in the form of two strangers who want to hire Russell, his submersible, and especially Eric for a little salvage job. Russell is suspicious, especially when the men won’t discuss the details of what they’re salvaging or what the conditions are, and so he turns down the job. A few days later, Eric goes missing, and Russell is pretty sure the two men are behind it. Thus the adventure begins. The resourceful Russell tracks down Eric and rides to the rescue. But getting his lover away from the bad guys is just the start of the adventure for these two, as the tiny remnants of humanity seem to be teetering on the edge of a new global conflict. It’s been a while since I read any of Mel Keegan’s work, but Aquamarine is everything I expect from him. There are two likable guys in love, action, adventure, a little sex, mystery and intrigue. This isn’t great literature, it’s more like classic pulp fiction, but Keegan is a good example of why that style of writing remains so popular. Aquamarine is quite a nice little read, despite a number typos. The only real issue I had with the story were the unanswered questions regarding the technology. The genetic alterations to make the Aquarians I just had to take a leap of faith on. The author goes into a lot of details about other technical aspects of how people are surviving – hydroponic vegetables, chickens, rabbit and fish for protein, etc. – but he leaves out things like where the fuel is coming from, or the rare earth minerals needed to keep producing computer chips. These are minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things, and some readers might not even notice them. As with most science fiction, it’s easy to poke holes in it if you try.
  • Games & Consequences (Remastering Jerna #2) on April 14, 2012

    Games & Consequences is essentially a mystery, largely told by Ria. While the reasons and people behind the frame-up are a little more obvious to the reader than they are to Ria and Sila, the police investigator on the case, there’s still enough of a mystery here to keep you reading. Even once Ria figures out that Darr is behind the plot, he still has to prove it. Along the way, as his private life gets exposed, he has to try and convince people that the BDSM sex he enjoys with Jerna is not the same as the abusive relationship that Darr had with Pavine. While it is a good read, this sequel isn’t quite as good as the first book. It didn’t really tug at me emotionally the way Remastering Jerna. A big part of that is probably that you just know that Ria is going to work it out eventually and rescue Jerna, who isn’t quite as isolated this time, like he was in the first book. Still, it is a very good mystery, so I’m giving it four stars out of five.
  • More Fun with Dick and Shane on April 24, 2012

    The houseboy is back, and he’s still in good form. Like the first book, there’s no real plot to this ‘memoir’. It’s mostly in the form of a diary with a few longer stories interspersed in. ‘Gilli’ is a 25 year-old houseboy and submissive ‘boy’ lover to two older ‘daddy’ doms, Dick and Shane. It isn’t always easy for the impulsive and headstrong young man to live up to the expectations his daddies place on him. Gilli has a hard time controlling his emotions, and sometimes jealously or resentment gets the best of him. However, in this sequel, it seems to me that Dick and Shane have mellowed a bit and are somewhat more understanding of Gilli’s feelings of insecurity, although they still don’t stand for any bad behavior and are quick with the spankings when he gets out of line. What I loved about the first book was the light-hearted style in which much of the story is delivered. In this second volume, there are again many laugh-out-loud and face-palming moments as Gilli gets into all sorts of new situations that get him into trouble. But there are also serious moments, and that’s what makes both of the books more than just a bit of fluff. In this book, Gilli has to deal with his mother’s terminal cancer, and all the pent-up resentment he has harbored towards her. The one fault I have with this sequel, and why I’m not rating it as high as the first, is that it gets a bit too introspective and pedantic at times. The author seems to feel he needs to explain the complexities of Gilli’s relationship with his daddies, and while I can certainly believe that most people have trouble understanding D/s power exchanges, not to mention menage relationships, I thought the passages of reflection and explanation were a bit too numerous and long this time around. The reflection seems to show a young man maturing, which is a good thing, but for me it was a tad over-done. Towards the end, it came off as being more defensive than anything else. Still, on the whole this is a very enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the next one, which is due out soon.
  • Needful (Remastering Jerna #3) on May 03, 2012

    Another year or so has passed since the events of the last book, Games & Consequences, and things are not going well for Jerna and his family. His youngest daughter is fighting cancer while the older one is facing bullying at school. Love and honor compel Jerna to spend more time with his wife and children, and less time with his lover Ria. Ria feels lonely, and although he tries to understand Jerna’s situation, he can’t help but wonder if he can ever be really happy sharing Jerna with his wife and family. It doesn’t help that Ria’s old flame Orlan has reappeared to create mischief in both Ria and Jerna’s life. For much of the first half of this book, it seems that Needful is going to be the story of the end of a relationship, as conflicting demands tear Ria and Jerna apart, but then this author excels at painting her characters into a corner from which it seems they can’t escape without giving up something dear to them. Orlan has also involved himself with Sila, the inspector who helped clear Jerna’s name in the previous book of the series. When Orlan is accused of a series of murders, as well as an attack on Sila, she, Ria and Jerna must work together to figure out what’s really going on. Like Games & Consequence this is essentially a mystery. However, it lacks some of the urgency of the previous book. Although the relationship between Ria and Jerna is strained, neither of them is under threat this time. The only one in clear physical danger is Sila. Needful is still a good story, about the extent that greed and lust can push people, as well as the importance of communication in any relationship. While Jerna and Ria have been very open and honest with each other and their loved ones, there were still some things left un-said that very nearly put an end to things. While on the whole I enjoyed this book as much as other works by the author, it did have a couple of issues that made me consider giving it three stars instead of four. The first issue is rather subjective, I admit, but for me there were too many characters. It’s a fine line in murder mysteries – you want lots of suspects, but the reader has to be able to keep track of them. In this case, there were a lot of characters involved in the murder plot, including victims, some of whom we never actually meet. I sometimes had to stop and try to remember who a particular person was when they were last mentioned several chapters ago. It became really tricky towards the end, when two men who turn out to be at the center of the plot had very similar names. The other key issue with this book is simply editing. There were a large number of typographical errors. It was mainly incorrect words or word order, the kind of mistake that’s easy to make when you’re writing and hard to catch if you try to self-proof. There were enough errors to be really noticeable, but not enough to make reading overly frustrating, as has happened to me before.
  • The Rabelais Alliance on June 19, 2012

    Curtis Marin is a hit man, although he would object strongly to that term. He would probably prefer something more along the lines of ‘avenging angel’. In the almost lawless fringes of the human colonies among the stars, where money and power lets you get away with murder (in other words, not much changes in 700 years), Marin works for a secret organization that, for a price, allows bereaved families to get justice. Marin does a lot of research, including hacking into computer systems, to ensure that the selected victim is guilty of their crime before he carries out a commission. He’s judge, jury and executioner. We first meet Marin while he’s on assignment, taking out a particularly nasty gun-runner who murdered a dozen people just because they discovered what he was doing, or might have seen something they shouldn’t have. By the time Marin pulls the trigger, the reader is convinced the man is getting exactly what’s coming to him. Neil Travers is a Sergeant aboard the Intrepid, a huge deep space carrier currently assigned to an unstable area of space commonly known as Hellgate. The ‘Fleet’, as the military is called, enforces Earth’s ever more tenuous hold over its colonies. In an entirely self-defeating manner, Fleet relies on massive numbers of conscripts from the colonies to support its mission. New inductees are put through a training program that tests them to their limits, and some of them don’t live through it. On the Intrepid, things are even worse. A sadistic training officer called Neville takes special pleasure in torturing recruits with his simulated battle scenarios. The simulations are very real, and some recruits are killed during them. Some simply screw up, and are then flogged to teach them a lesson. One of these whippings results in the death of a young man, whose rich and powerful father wants justice. The first half of the book weaves the stories of Marin and Travers together until they finally meet aboard the Intrepid. It was Travers who smuggled out the information about the true cause of the young man’s death to his father, and of course Marin is the man hired to obtain justice. When they meet, the sparks fly. In this version of the future, sexual preference is a non-issue, so the only thing standing in the way for Travers and Marin is the job Marin has been hired to do. Travers has very little compunction about helping Marin complete his assignment. He and the entire ship have been through hell at the hands of Neville, and the unseen commander Colonel Falk. But things don’t go exactly to plan, and soon the two men are struggling to save their own skins, and the lives of their friends aboard the Intrepid. Of course, this being Mel Keegan, the story isn’t really over once the bad guy is put out of the way and the boys are safe. No, that’s just the beginning. There’s still another mystery or two to unravel before we get to the conclusion. The Rabelais Alliance is classic Mel Keegan, in space. You have two hot and perfect for each other heroes, a rich supporting cast, action, adventure and mystery. It’s no wonder that the book has spawned at least four sequels. Marin and Travers both have older mentors who were also sometime-lovers. Mark Sherratt is Marin’s boss, the head of the secret organization Marin works for, and a member of an alien race thought long extinct. Traver’s friend and mentor is Richard Vaurien, the roguish captain of a band of privateers. Both of these men are interesting in their own right, and I assume they continue to play key rolls in the later books.
  • Unnatural Selection Collection on Oct. 08, 2012

    “Unnatural Selection” is told in the first person by Nick himself. It’s clear he’s made some hard, and unpopular, choices in his life, that make him doubt if he will ever find someone to accept him for who he is, policeman, vee, and all. But he’s not one to cry over having a hard life. The mystery of the serial murders is engrossing, and the revelation of the real culprit near the end is truly a surprise. Despite the tension created by the stalker, “Every Move You Make” is largely a sweet, even mushy story about two men realizing how much they mean to each other. Like the first book, this story is told in the first person by Nick. Although Nick’s status as a ‘vee’ plays a small role in this mystery, it’s much less about that and more about the relationship between he and Anton. Unlike the first two books, which were told by Nick, this last volume is all about Anton, told in the first person by him, as he marshals his friends and family to help in the search for Nick. The real reasons behind Nick’s disappearance are very sinister, but I for one figured them out long before Anton did. Still, guessing what happened doesn’t spoil the story of following Anton as he attempts to find and rescue his husband. All three novellas in this series are quite good. They lack the depth and drama I’ve come to expect from this author, which is why I’ve only given the collection three stars, but they’re quite good reads. I didn’t get as emotionally involved in the characters as I might have hoped, but the books are still entertaining. Like any speculative or science fiction, you have to suspend belief just a little, but the idea of a virus like ISH is really no more fanciful than faster-than-light travel, when you get right down to it.
  • Achilles and the Houseboy on June 02, 2013

    This further adventure of my favorite houseboy in a domestic menage with two older Doms is actually an outtake from his previous book, More Fun With Dick and Shane. With fewer digressions that the first two books, this volume squarely tackles an issue only briefly touched on in previous books, and one of the most sensitive aspects of a menage relationship: jealously. After an hilarious introduction in which the reasoning – which only this author could conjure up – behind the title is explained, the book gets pretty serious. Gili is reminded, in very graphic fashion, that his daddies Dick and Shane share a history that he will never be a part of. They were together ten years before the stroppy young houseboy came into their lives, and their bed. Jealously rears its ugly head, and can’t be easily dismissed. Dick and Shane know something is bothering their moody young pup, but they have no idea what’s causing it, since the immature Gili can’t simply open up about his feelings, which he knows, somewhere in that thick head of his, are wrong. Unfortunately, the two Doms just make things worse, giving their not-so-submissive houseboy even more cause to think he is surplus to requirements in the relationship. Of course, it all blows up eventually, and at the worst possible time for the two daddies. Of course, there’s no reason to worry, since there are at least two more books in the series, so all is not lost for our hero. While delivered in the author’s inimitable style, this is a much more somber story than the two previous books in the series, and it’s easy to see why it has been set aside as a separate work. It’s easy to identify with Gili’s feelings, and while he takes full responsibility for his immature thoughts, I think he lets his daddies off lightly. They’re a little insensitive, and their approach to things they think might upset Gili is to exclude him from any involvement in the decision, which of course only fuels his insecurity. It’s all well and good to argue for openness in such a complex relationship, but the heart isn't very logical. Taken in context with the previous book, it’s now easier to understand the previous work, and why there were such lengthy passages on the nature of Gili's complicated relationship with his two daddies. The events described in this book happened in the midst of the previous story, so if you read this soon after “More Fun With Dick and Shane” you’ll get a much better picture of what is happening.
  • Revelations on Jan. 06, 2022

    This long-time-coming sequel to Christmas at Leo's sees the repercussions from the events of that book come to fruition. Things continue to be tense between Gili and the two men he shares a relationship with, Dick and “Daddy” Shane. The young man begins to seriously question whether or not there's a future for him in the household that's become the closest thing to a home he's had. This sixth book of the series (not counting the many shorts also released) seems to be the culmination of the core story arc. It recounts events that are now more than ten years in the past, seven years since the last full book was published, and we sense a new maturity in the writer's voice, although the houseboy retains much of the cheeky attitude that has marked the books. As in the previous volume, much of the drama stems from Gili's failure to share his concerns with Shane as well as Dick. I had a bit of an epiphany about this towards the middle of this book: While the houseboy needs to bear a lot of the blame for the issues his behavior creates, it does demonstrate a lack of trust in his “Daddy” Shane, and for that, the Dom needs to shoulder at least some responsibility. I won't spoil the book by revealing whether or not Shane eventually redeems himself by the end. One of the big questions of this series has been the degree to which the story is autobiographical. It's generally been my view that, while some events may have been exaggerated for effect, there's an element of truth to the stories and characters. This idea is further enforced by the voice of the narration in this book. Gili comes across as a very authentic character. In daddy kink terms, he is definitely a “brat” but while most brats in D/s stories are just attention-seekers, there are much deeper nuances to Gili. Sure, his actions get him lots of attention, but that's not primarily why he's doing it, and there are some deep psychological reasons behind his behavior. In a similar way, Shane is far from your typical Daddy from kinky stories. He isn't all-knowing, and while he is well-to-do, he still has to work for a living running his own business. In short, he's very human, and he makes mistakes. This makes him a much more sympathetic character than he may have been in the first books.
  • Cherish on Jan. 30, 2022

    The GyrFalconi of Aires 7 have lived in relative isolation for hundreds of years; the technology that bought them across two galaxies to their new planet largely forgotten. That leaves them totally unprepared to fight off the Terrens who invade their planet to mine the rich deposits of an high energy crystal, enslaving large numbers of the GyrFalconi to work the mines. Destin is one of the people captured early in the invasion, but unlike many he doesn't give up and die when he wakes up to find his wings removed, and he even seems to have the ability to inspire others not to give up. The humans make use of his talents and keep Destin out of the mines. The Valespian Pact worlds send help to wrest control of the planet back from the Terrens, but it takes a long time. When he is finally freed, Destin and the other survivors face new trials, as the “wingless” are shunned by the rest of society. They're left to form new bonds and find new family among other survivors and the few GyrFalconi who defy the Empress' cruel wishes. “Cherish” is a significant departure from the first three books of the series. It is in effect a prequel, taking place many years before the events of the previous stories. That means you can read this book without having read the volumes that came before. Few, if any, of the characters from this story appear in the other books. Perhaps the biggest departure of this book is its exploration of such a wide range of sexuality. The GyrFalconi effectively have three genders. The male stags traditionally live apart from the others in rookeries where they may form bonds with two or three other stags. Our main character Destin is a “batore”, essentially a non-reproductive asexual male. Batore form life bonds with a female “chantelle”. When the pair want to have a chick, the chantelle will visit a rookery for some more or less anonymous sex with one or more stags, and then return to her batore. When an egg is produced, the chantelle passes it to the batore, who will incubate it in his body until it is hatched, and then take on much of the responsibility for raising the young, who are slow to mature. The war throws tradition out the window. Destin is separated from his chantelle, and ends up forming a bond with a mated pair, as well as two other batore. When the war ends, and the survivors find themselves shunned by their former mates, the five remain together and set up an unconventional roost to support each other. They take in a young fledgling and also start incubating eggs that the Terrens experimented on. It's while taking on yet another egg that Destin meets Zenon, a stag that while not wingless, is still something of an outcast. It seems that some stags aren't that happy having no involvement in the lives of the chicks they help create. Dustin's family grows into a polyamorous collection of asexual, homosexual and bisexual individuals. While the “found family” theme runs through the the entire story, it's not necessarily the main plot line. The story is also setting up the GrayFalconi and the ancient species that the wingless become intermixed with, as the universe heads towards a galactic war that was becoming imminent in the first three books.
  • The Mystery of the Spirits on Feb. 07, 2022

    Sebastian Snow has been very good about minding his own antiques business and staying out of his husband Calvin Winter's police business. That is, until Calvin's boss comes to him with a rare object from the 1850s that was found at the scene of a murder. So, once again, Sebastian is drawn into a series of bizarre crimes. Will he solve them before he becomes a victim himself? And will his marriage survive another foray into the dangers of crime? This somewhat unexpected fifth mystery in the Snow and Winter series is a rather sweet if gruesome homage to the rest of the books. It takes place a year or two after most of the other books, and you'll want to have read at least a few of the previous stories in the series to know who all the bit players are. The couple are now in a stable relationship, so while this new case raises old issues, there isn't much to question about where the relationship is heading. The mystery this time out is another puzzler typical of the series. There are lots of red herrings to distract you. This is the type of detective story that you can't possibly solve based on the clues provided, until it becomes clear to Sebastian, once again almost too late to keep him out of danger. While this really may be the last book of the series, I can easily see it going on, with our two heroes finding themselves involved in another case. The challenge would be coming up with more weird crimes involving antiques. Researching these stores must be, um, murder.
  • The Shang Zhou Shuffle on Feb. 11, 2022

    It's time for Yaden and Ivan to go on another mission. This time, they need to go undercover to the planet of Shang Zhou where the local prince has himself changed his name and appearance to take a job as a bartender near a military base. The Lotus Knight and his Squire are assigned to protect the prince, and if possible help him investigate a terrorist organization. It all seems simple enough, but of course their missions never turn out as straightforward as they appear. In some ways, this latest book in the series harks back to the very first, The Demon of Hagermarsh. As in that story, things start off at a measured pace as we get to know the culture that the team find themselves embedded in, then all hell breaks loose when danger rears, and the volume becomes a can't-put-it-down page turner. With this book, we finally begin to see how the seemingly varied threads of many of the previous volumes could be coming together. It appears that what looked like many different threats to Yaden, and the empire as a whole, may in fact be connected. It's not spelled out clearly. This is just a guess, so we'll all have to wait for the next book, at least, to see if things are going the way they I think they are. Once again the authors have created a very believable planet extrapolated from an existing Earth culture. The world building feels almost effortless as Shang Zhou is introduced quite naturally into the far-future universe of the Virasana Empire. I can see where, if you haven't read any of the other books about the Virasana Empire, and particularly the first book of this Sir Yaden series, then this imaginary human future might seem a bit ill-defined, but all the books together form a rich and very detailed tapestry.
  • Thrown to the Lions - The Complete Series on Feb. 17, 2022

    In a modern English town, there's a pride of werelions, all men and all gay. Human men from the town can volunteer to be literally thrown to the lions for a night sexual escapades. Some do it for money, some for the thrill, others are just curious about what goes on. Most of the men will return from their encounter and resume their lives, but for just a few their lives will be changed forever. This collection of four novella length stories tells the tale of four such men for whom their night with the lions is not what they expected. In Ryland's Sacrifice, Ryland is a young man studying for his PhD, but having a hard time coming up with the money to finish his degree, as you will these days. Having exhausted all other options and unable to ask his family for help, he is left to either try to get the money from a loan shark, or volunteer to be thrown to the lions. The idea of what the lions might do makes him nervous, but that's nothing compared to finding out that the professor he's had a crush on is actually the head of the pride. Professor Arslan is very happy that the young man who has sat in on his lectures has come to him, but things don't go the way he hopes. This first story in the series is a hot and sweet little romance. The story relies very little on the shifter aspect of the fantasy, which makes it a little more believable, within the already far-fetched concept of “being thrown to the lions” persisting to the present day. I wasn't quite convinced by Ryland's initial reluctance to start a relationship with Arslan, but as “subissive issues” in these stories go, it's not the most unbelievable. Marrick's Promise he makes to himself is to live his life to its fullest. Getting thrown to the lions is just another thrill to check off his list. It's not an experience he expects to repeat. What he doesn't count on is meeting not one, but two lions who rock his world much more than a whip-wielding leather dom could ever hope to. But is submitting to two lion masters something he can bring himself to do? This second episode of the series offers a bit more believable story line. Even before we get his full back story, it's not hard to understand why Merrick wouldn't want to have a relationship with even one man (or lion) who was so risk-adverse they wouldn't want him to do anything even slightly dangerous. We can also understand the lions Blaine and Luthur's point of view, although it becomes even clearer once we get the full details of their experiences. Many subs from the local leather club have volunteered to be thrown to the lions, and they say everything is okay, but some of the Doms aren't so sure, so it becomes Ellery's Duty to check things out by getting himself thrown to the pride. Ellery may be agreeing to submit to the lions for a night, but he still exudes a dominant vibe and most of the lions aren't interested. Kefir isn't like the other lions of the pride, or any other lion he knows. He's smaller and doesn't have the slightest urge to dominate anyone, human or lion, and he's fascinated by Ellery. But lions can't be submissive, especially to a human, can they? The first two stories of this series have driven home the “fact” that werelions are bigger and stronger than humans, and therefore it falls to the lion to protect “his” human. Kefir's suddenly clear feelings about what he wants from Ellery clash with everything he's been taught about how lions and their human mates should relate. Not only does the young lion have to battle his own inner conflicts, but he has to face the disapproving comments from the rest of the pride. The last story in this collection is Cameron's Pride. Cameron walked out on his old pride and they didn't come after him. Since then he's been on his own, and has been earning a living as an exotic dancer and rent boy. But while Cameron may be willing to sell his body and his time, he's not willing to sell his soul. People like Franklin think that everyone and everything has a price, and he wants Cameron no matter what the cost. He's about to get a hard lesson about the limits of his wealth and the control he buys with it. Franklin is the perfect personification of the spoiled rich man who thinks he can buy whatever, or whoever, he wants. Cameron's desire to stay in control of his own life is understandable even if he proves a bit stubborn about accepting help. The lion's attraction to a man he wants to hate is clear. I'm a tiny bit dubious about Franklin's turnaround under Cameron's attention. It's a bit of a stretch but works well enough within the confines of the story.
  • The Succubus on March 01, 2022

    Kohar is quite happy as the mage-in-residence at the remote Castle Rehm. It's a cold and forbidding place, but also relatively undemanding. That is, until several servants and guards turn up dead in “unusual” circumstances, apparently victims of a succubus. Together with the taciturn captain of the guards Nevek, Kohar needs to try and track down the person spreading death through magical runes, before the two of them become victims themselves. “The Succubus” is a rather sweet romantic fantasy. It's not too complicated and features a plot that is more or less a direct line. There aren't really any twists or turns in the plot, and it's not too much of a mystery who the miscreant is. You'll probably figure it out before Kohar and company do. The entire story is told from Kohar's point of view, and he's a quite an engaging character. He is something of a sarcastic brat, with quite a few smart remarks. In fact, the whole atmosphere of the castle seems rather relaxed in the relationship between the Duke, his mage Kohar and captain of the guard Nevek. But this is a fantasy, so who's to say what's appropriate. If that's what the author wants to write, it's enjoyable enough to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is the first book in a series, so while the initial mystery gets resolved, there are still larger questions yet to be answered. It felt a little odd that these issues weren't even mentioned at the end. It's a little like an elephant-in-the-room situation. Presumably, at least some of those loose threads will be picked up in the next book.
  • Returning Heroes on March 15, 2022

    Ales is back from his accidental trip to another galaxy, and it seems just in time, too. Things are afoot as the galactic powers move to quell unrest on several fronts, especially the attempt of Lord Viscamon to take over the Kyleri Empire. Osvai receives unexpected support to help him regain the throne he lost, while Ales is anxious to find Turo to make him free Ales from the cage he is trapped in. Meanwhile, Mahnoor is still imprisoned as a spy on the ship he once piloted. This sixth installment of the series brings together all of the main characters introduced in the previous books as everything seems to be coming to a head. There's lots of action, and it's told from multiple character's point of view. To be honest, it's a bit of a chore trying to remember characters who haven't appeared for two or three books, but there are a few reminders here and there to help you out. However, you will definitely need to have read all of the previous books in the series to have the vaguest clue what's going on in this latest volume. Ales remains at the center of things, although perhaps not as much as I thought he would be. He's a bit changed by his experiences from the last book, Altered Tides, and more determined than ever to free himself from Turo's control. Meeting Daeron again reminds the rebel leader that he's not as alone as he may have thought, and supporting Daeron when he faces a crisis gives him an even greater connection to his humanity. It's Daeron who seems to be at the center of things in this story. Like Ales, he is far from perfect, and that shows most in his relationship with Osvai. He's much like many of the characters, and indeed the whole plot of the series as it evolves. Initially, on the surface, this looked like a classic tale of good versus evil, with “good guys” and “bad guys” fighting to save the galaxy. However, as the books, and particularly this volume, progresses, it gets a little hard to tell who is entirely good, or even who is bad. At times, it even seems as though both sides are heading towards the same outcome. The next book will apparently be the last in the series, when we will presumably find out how things wind up.
  • After the Storm on April 10, 2022

    When the effects of climate change start getting severe, governments collapse and chaos ensues. To escape the dangers of the cities, a group of people take to the waters of Lake Michigan, where they're joined by more refugees and ultimately form a self-contained community called the “Michigan Fleet”. Rich Merrill is a child of the fleet, born to a “normal” father and a mother descended from genetically modified super-soldiers. But Rich isn't a soldier, he's a tech who can interface with the artificial intelligence of the ships in the fleet to help them out. Unfortunately, after training he got assigned to the worst ship in the fleet, where violence, intimidation and sexual exploitation is the norm, as is forcing Rich to do the work of three people. Fortunately, the fleet finally wakes up to what's going on and disbands the crew. Rich is retrained and reassigned to a new ship, but the hard-learned distrust of other people is hard to shake. Can Rich conquer his fears and learn to trust again? “After the Storm” paints a very believable picture of a possible future that isn't that far off, as climate change brings humanity to the brink. We see it all through Rich's eyes, and he is also very realistic and understandable. As we get to know Rich more through the story, it's easy to see how his view of the world has been shaped by his experiences aboard a dysfunctional ship. The story is told in very episodic fashion, with each sub-story helping to build a bigger picture of Rich and his challenges. Some of the scenes are very sexual, but even these demonstrate how the most intimate of interactions have been colored by Rich's traumatic experiences. Although the term is never used, it's clear Rich is suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) as he gets set off by even the simplest of everyday encounters. Rich manages to form several close friendships over the course of the story. The closest of these is to a colleague, Basil. The younger man is sweet and somewhat innocent, although also a child genius that Rich knew before his time on the dysfunctional boat. Then there's Liam, the brilliant and sexually voracious agricultural engineer who manages to teach Rich that sex is for pleasure, and not “payment” for favors.
  • The Castellan on April 30, 2022

    Bedros was once a high flyer at court, a favorite of the king. All that came to an end when he saved the life of a man he considered an enemy, but who was unjustly accused by the court of high crimes. As punishment he was banished to Castle Rehm, at the furthest reaches of the kingdom. Bedros has nonetheless made a life he's happy with, taking care of the people and keeping the peace. While he knows he's out of favor with the court, it's still a bit of a surprise when word reaches the castle that the king's soldiers are on their way to slaughter the villagers and the residents of the castle, and blame it on the neighboring kingdom to provoke a war. The bigger surprise is that the messenger is none other than the man who Bedros saved, causing his downfall. “The Castellan” is a fast-paced story that quickly becomes quite a page-turner. The action takes off almost from the first chapter and doesn't really let up until the end. While a lot happens over the course of the story, the drama between Bedros and the man he once considered his nemesis never really materializes. On the whole the relationship between the two men is a lot more adult than one might usually expect from these kinds of stories. Bedros was introduced in the previous book, The Succubus, but we really didn't get to know him all that well. You probably should read the previous book before this one, but if you haven't you won't be missing much. This story focuses on two different characters, Bedros and his one-time enemy Warren. We got the impression from the first story that Bedros has a rather relaxed attitude and doesn't stand on ceremony much, although he still knows how to respect the customs of the court when necessary. That view of him is very much reinforced in this book. The story is told entirely from Bedros' point of view, so we get to know Warren through him. He seems to be more like Bedros than the man might have imagined, and there's clearly been an attraction there even though Bedros had been convinced to treat Warren as an enemy. This second installment of the Castle Rehm series feels a lot better constructed that the first book. The relationship between Bedros and Warren has a little more drama to it, although not quite what the blurb promises, and there are no loose ends left at the end.
  • The Art of Boytoy Maintenance on May 22, 2022

    Rich continues to settle into life aboard the Reliant, a life far more “normal” than his time on his previous posting aboard the ship from hell. One of the little pleasures of his new existence is the occasional visit from Liam, a very much friends-with-benefits relationship. On one of these visits, Liam floats the idea of being Rich's “toy” for the day. Rich can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, with Liam, who Rich already knows has an almost insatiable sexual appetite. That day finally comes when Liam's science boat is stowed in the Reliant's hold during one of the violent storms that cross the lake. “The Art of Boytoy Maintenance” is a short sequel to After the Storm. It's almost like a deleted scene from the first book, except that it clearly takes place after the events of that story. After a short introduction, it's really just an account of Rich's day having Liam at his disposal to do whatever he wants, when-ever he wants. Liam really wants to be used, and maybe even a little abused, by Rich. If you read the other book, then you know how sensitive Rich is about using his genetically enhanced size to push people around, so while he know Liam likes it rough, he's always concerned about going to far. This makes the day more of a challenge for Rich than you might expect. He's not your typical fictional Dominant. As you can probably guess, the book is a series of connected sexual encounters between Rich and Liam, with at one point a little help from Basil. Liam is the one man Rich has met that cannot only accommodate Rich's size, he craves it. The day becomes, in part, a test of just how much Liam can really take. While it's mostly hot and steamy fun, there are some dramatic moments mostly resulting from the two men having to balance getting what they want out of the scene with respecting the issues and limitations of the other man. If you've read the previous book, then this is a fun visit with Rich and Liam. It doesn't really advance the Michigan fleet story as a whole.
  • The Monk on June 06, 2022

    Taniel feels like he has always lived his life in the shadows. Growing up with his adopted family, he seemed to be the shadow of his older brother Kohar, who also became a mage. Then, at the monastery, he became the shadow of the spectacularly beautiful monk Vosgi, whose obsession with dark magic finally forced Taniel to turn him in, and get both of them kicked out of the monastery. Now Taniel is back with his brother at Castle Rehm, where Vosgi has been wreaking havoc taking his revenge. Will Taniel be able to defeat his former lover and protect the only family he has left? The Castle Rehm trilogy comes to a conclusion in this final installment, when we finally get to meet the elusive Vosgi and get to know Kohar's younger brother. You really should have read the first two books before reading this one to get the full background on all the characters, but the focus of this story is mostly on Taniel, and there's a lot of background relayed over the course of the short book, so if you haven't read the others you could, in theory, still read this one. Like the previous book, “The Monk” sets a fast pace, with the action starting in the first few pages and never really letting up. Although Taniel appeared in the last book, we really didn't get to know much about him. Frankly, we don't get to know a whole lot more in this book, except to hear more about how he got involved with the mad monk trying to kill everyone around him. Taniel's love interest is Corsair, a member of the palace guard, but we only get the barest sketch of him as well. In fact, the whole romance between Taniel and Corsair very much takes a back seat to the action. The two only get one quick romp in bed before being interrupted. The interactions between the two are quite cute, but there just seems like too little of it. It just feels underdeveloped compared to the two previous books.
  • Fate on July 03, 2022

    Eddie's stand-up comic mother goes into labor while on the road. She ends up sharing a hospital room with another woman, who as it happens lives not far away from her. Although coming from two different social circles, the two women become good friends, as do their sons, Eddie and Brian. At seven years old, the two boys are separated when Brian's parents have to move to another state, leaving Eddie on his own. Ten or so years later, on his first day of college, Eddie meets his new roommate Curtis. The two decide to be friends-with-benefits, which suits Eddie just fine. Until, that is, Curtis introduces his new boyfriend Aaron. At the end of the sophomore year, Brian re-enters Eddie's life, and introduces him to Trevor. Eddie ends up having a relationship with all four men, often at the same time. Despite attempts to let them go, “fate” keeps bringing Eddie's lovers back to him. How is he to decide which one he loves most? As this story began to unfold, part of me hoped it might be an indictment of the tyranny of monogamy. I've always been curious about the argument that, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, we are already living outside of ‘convention’ and so shouldn't really feel like we need to adhere to conventional relationships, like marriage between just two people. However, the story never goes in that direction, although the idea isn't far off the page. The story is related entirely from Eddie's point of view. There's clearly something about him that attracts his lovers to him, although it's not clear what that is, since his telling is rather self-deprecating. What is clear is that Eddie is just as swept up in the tide of fate that keeps pulling his lovers back into his orbit. Why they keep falling into bed with Eddie, even when they are in relationships with others, is another mystery. One of the things that does seem to be clear is that Eddie wants to be loved. Seems to need to know he is loved, although we don't get many clues as to why that is. We only get to know Eddie's many lovers through him. They're each different in their own way. Of them all, Brian, Eddie's first love, is perhaps the biggest enigma. His relationship with Eddie doesn't always make sense, and like what it is that keeps all these men returning to each other, is never really explained. There's a lot left to the reader to guess at and ponder in this book. That's not a bad thing at all, although some might not like it.
  • Lost and Found: Forester Triad Act Two on July 16, 2022

    A young tree elf has gone missing after leaving the camp of a hunting party, so truth-seeker Kelnaht is called in to lead the search along with his apprentice Brem. Clues are scarce, and it takes several days, but eventually they find the boy in a place apparently meant to implicate the forester Taruif, with whom Kelnaht has been having an illicit affair. It's easy enough to clear the forester but harder to track down the real culprit. This second book of the initial trilogy of the Tales of the Forest series continues the story of Kelnaht and his problematic relationship with the forester Taruif and his old partner Ianys. Taruif is still shunned, although there's hope that may change. Until then, they have to be very discrete. There's the added complication that the mother of Ianys's daughter made him promise not to allow Kelnaht to have any role in the child's life. As should be obvious, you need to have read the first book of this series before picking up this one. Once again, the story is told entirely from Kelnaht's point of view. We get a bit more insight into the world of tree elves and cloud elves, and the village where they live together in mixed families. However, the main theme of this tale is the tightrope the truth-seeker walks by having a relationship with the shunned forester and Ianys.
  • Honey and Pepper on Aug. 13, 2022

    Nikias is a recently freed slave that's come to the big city to find work. He ends up working in a snack stall that occupies one corner of a grand old house. That's where he first spots Kallion, a man about Nikias's age who seems to work at the mansion. The two meet when Kallion is attacked outside the house, and despite some initial misunderstandings, they become friends. But Kallion harbors a dark secret about his cruel former master that prevents him from fully opening up to Nikias. When events overtake the city and force Kallion to confess his past, will Nikias still want to be with him? “Honey and Pepper” is set in the same ancient Greco-Roman-like fantasy world as the Sword Dance series. However, the characters in this story are all different, so you don't have to have read the other books before reading this one. Most of the story is related from Nikias's point of view. He seems to be a pleasant young man, although, at times, he's not sure what to make of his newfound freedom. The full details of his past as an enslaved person are revealed slowly over the course of the story and go a long way to explaining some of his early behavior. Some of the narrative is from Kallion's point of view. Like Nikias, the man was recently freed. Unlike his friend, Kallion was highly educated as a slave, learning to not only read and write but also gain the skills to work as a law clerk once he was freed. Like Nikias, the complete story of what he did for his former master only comes out in drips and drabs. If you've read any of the other books by this author set in the same world, then you'll know what to expect. There's a bit of cloak and dagger mystery and a rich set of characters which helps make this ancient fantasy world more real.
  • Full Circle: Forester Triad Act Three on Sep. 09, 2022

    Children in the village are falling ill, and it isn't just the usual summer-time fever that they usually recover from. When truth-seeker Kelnaht looks into what might be causing it, he finds links to an old crime by one of forester Taruif's predecessors. With Ianys' daughter at risk, it puts a considerable strain on the relationship between the three, as Kelnaht and Taruif race to track down the culprit and find a cure. This third book rounds out the initial trilogy of the Tales of the Forest series. Like the first two books, there's a core mystery to solve while the three main characters, Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys, attempt to navigate some very complicated issues around their relationship. Naturally, that means you need to have read those other two volumes before taking on this one. As in the first two books, the narration is entirely from Kelnaht's point of view as he juggles keeping the peace, solving a mystery, and relationship issues. This final book of the trilogy manages to resolve most of the issues around the relationship between Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys. There is lots of action, but it's an easy-to-follow short novella like the previous stories.
  • Livestock on Sep. 24, 2022

    Lucas works in a law firm where he's supposed to be IT support but has ended up as an under-appreciated general factotum. One of the company's clients is a wealthy businessman who keeps a ‘herd’ of male slaves and has been accused of murdering one of them. Lucas becomes fascinated by the idea of extreme submission, as well as the man, Master Forrest, when they finally meet. The young man is increasingly drawn into the world of kink, but can he really trust his new master with his life? The blurb for this book suggests that the story has an element of murder-mystery. In fact, the mystery of what happened to the missing submissive is cleared up within the first few chapters. However, the doubts that first introduction to Master Forrest's world plant color Lucas' thoughts for the rest of the story. The book is told entirely from Lucas' point of view. I would describe the style as more ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing,’ but given the content, it's hardly as dull as that sounds. It's very much like reading a diary or personal journal documenting a young man's process of becoming a submissive and then a slave dedicated to pleasing his master no matter what the cost. It's all quite believable. This is not your typical warm and fuzzy dominant/submissive romance that is so popular these days. This is a gritty depiction of extreme submission, warts and all. I have no doubt that it is as much a fantasy as the romantic stories, but it's going to appeal to a different audience. Lucas is tested, both mentally and physically, by his new master. He must not only prove that he can please Master Forrest with no concern for his own pleasure but also get along with the herd of other slaves the master keeps. There are a great many things in this story that may make you uncomfortable. It's not just the kinky stuff, which is highly varied, but as Lucas learns more about his master and his brothers in the herd, they reveal some stories of genuine pain and torture. While there are definitely some highly charged sex scenes, I'm not tagging this as erotica. Those scenes usually come after some equally highly charged emotional discoveries.