A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Get a Grip (Bluewater Bay #19) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When a storm drops a tree through a soundstage at the Wolf’s Landing TV show site, it’s grip Shane Andrews who has to check for damages once the scene is cleared for safety by local volunteer firefighters.  He nearly swallows his tongue when he first spots firefighter Aaron Tucker.  In his mid-forties, he’s got the necessary touch of gray to make him a borderline silver fox, but it’s the rest of his package that makes Shane’s mouth water.  And when Shane takes that as a signal that it’s time to have some fun in his life, he’s shocked when it’s Aaron who first responds to his profile on Grindr. 

Twice divorced—once from a woman and most recently from a man, Shane has three children and their welfare has always come first.  But he’s determined to live a little for himself now that he’s made his decision.  His daughter is old enough to babysit and his ex-husband is happy to take the kids anytime he needs help, so why not?

By the second “date” with Aaron, he commits a faux pas when he tells Aaron he doesn’t think he can do a friends-with-benefits, no-strings-attached relationship, but when Aaron states unequivocally that he will only do hookups, Shane reconsiders and starts to enjoy his flings with the sexy man.  But then after several months, when Aaron decides he wants more, Shane is ill-prepared to handle the thought of having a man get involved with his family and possibly disappoint the kids again.  Who knows what will happen with these two stubborn men?  The fun is in reading this story!

I am really enjoying the recent influx of stories involving men over forty, second chances at love, silver foxes, and more, and this was no exception.  I picked it up because it was Bluewater Bay—a series I’m totally enjoying—and I was no more than one chapter in when I realized I was reading LA Witt.  Yes, I didn’t check first, and yes, her style is unique and a fan like me an easily identify it. And yes, it’s hot and heavy sex, two men who can’t get enough of each other, and finally, the long-awaited emotional attachment when they realize it’s not just sex anymore.  So in a way, it follows a formula this author has been highly successful pulling off. But honestly? I don’t care.  LA Witt does it best and came through with this one.  It’s hot and steamy, older guys who take their time and fall in love.  What’s not to like?  I highly recommend this one to lovers of MM romance, Bluewater Bay, LA Witt, older MCs, men with pets, men with children, firemen, etc.  I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, it’s a winner.

Cover art by LC Chase depicts two handsome men, one in firefighter uniform, the other simply a stunningly handsome man, set against the backdrop of the rural area of Washington state.  It’s not only very attractive but also true to the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published July 24th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleGet a Grip
ISBN139781626496071
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBluewater Bay #19

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Slave Hunt (The Subs Club #5) by J.A. Rock

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Review:  CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS

slave-huntThirty people. Two hours. Only the strong will survive.


When Riddle decides to put on a slave hunt, the Subs Club is on board. Tops hunting bottoms in the woods with paintball guns? Yes. Captives strung up on whipping posts, at the mercy of their captors? Hell yes. But on the morning of the hunt, nothing’s going according to plan. Miles and Drix are at odds over Miles’s reluctance to move in together. Dave is determined to show up D, who thinks Dave won’t last two minutes in the woods. Gould finds himself torn between obeying his master’s orders and living out a longtime fantasy. And Kamen inadvertently becomes a double agent when he aligns himself with two different parties.

By the end of the hunt, alliances will be forged and broken, loyalties will be tested, relationships will be strengthened…and someone will barrel roll. Narrated by ten different characters, Slave Hunt tells the story of two hours in the woods that will change everyone forever. Or at least, remind them that love is the greatest victory of all.

In the last two years, I’ve read quite a few stories written to “tie up” the loose ends in a series, and this is by far one of the very best. In fact, it’s so good that I actually rated it higher than most of the other stories in the series.  Highly enjoyable and extremely clever in its execution, J.A. Rock wrapped up the series and left me with a memory of the guys of The Subs Club that I’ll treasure for a long time.

After thinking about it for a day or two, I realized what I loved most about the story was the inclusion of the POV of the Doms of the four principal subs. There’s actually ten POV’s in this story, and at first I thought that would be bizarre, but it worked well because we got to see the boys through the eyes of their Doms and their friends. And although we saw some of the Dom’s introspection through interactions with their subs in the other stories, actually getting inside their POV in this one gave me a whole new appreciation of just how perfect each Dom is for his or her sub. 

Miles, with his need for pain and his difficulty in sharing his feelings was never a particularly lovable character, and he’s still not in this story, however he does finally open up to a few people. The turmoil now is that, three years after meeting Drix, Miles still can’t vocalize a request for Drix to move in with him. Reflecting on how he should answer his son when the boy asks how many fathers he has, Miles thinks about responding that he has one father and “one charming guardian whom your father loves deeply” but isn’t in your life “because your adoptive father is fear’s own ward.” Even though I loved his recognition of his own weaknesses, it was Drix’s perspective on their coupledom and on his sub’s needs and desires that made me want to go back and reread their story, Pain Slut, once more. 

Kamen’s story, Manties in a Twist, was originally one of my favorites, and though I enjoyed him in this book, it was RYAN who took the blue ribbon for best character.  The little man wrote each of his POV chapters in CAPS. According to Kamen, “Ryan is the kind of guy, you see him, and you want to hold him with your whole soul…” I pretty much agree with Kamen after this story. It’s hard to recall my favorite scene between the two, but I certainly enjoyed the time spent at the post after Ryan “captured” Kamen and Ryan’s inner dialogue, “no shit, I loved calling this fucking giant my boy.” By the end of the book it was quite evident that these two were made for each other. 

Gould and his Master, Kel, and alternate Dom, Greg, had a much more enjoyable dynamic in this book than in their first story, 24/7.  That’s really attributable to the time that has passed, and how much Gould has worked on his issues, both with a psychologist and with Kel over the past few years.  But he’s so much happier and well-adjusted now that it was easy to see how much he’s changed for the better. As his story ended he was right where he needed to be—content with his two lovers and ready to be made to “beg and mean it”.

Of all the couples in this series, it was really hard to pick the one I liked best, but I have to admit it turned out to be Dave and D, principally because of how well I got to know them during this hunt. If you had asked me before I started the book, I would have definitely said “No way!”

Within their POV’s and through observation in scenes told from the perspective of Drix and Kamen, I learned what really makes these men tick and was taken on a journey to the heart and soul of their relationship. David is a gregarious character, always willing to talk and joke and be sociable, while D is quiet and reserved and has a difficult time expressing his love out loud. One would think they wouldn’t mesh, but they certainly do.

Dave was one of the most well-prepared subs on this hunt. Despite wearing the most skintight camo pants ever invented—“my pants made balloon animals out of my intestines”—he and D had practiced being in the woods, with D showing him how to track and to evade capture. Thinking back about his practice times in the woods before the event, he gave quite a good summary of his and D’s personalities—“I’d killed a squirrel with the slingshot. Mostly by accident. I’d cried for twenty minutes over its body, while D eyed the carcass like he wanted to take it home and cook it.  I made him help me hold a funeral instead.” I included that quote here because it really sums up how diverse/opposite their two characters seem to be, but as with many introverted, soft-spoken men, there’s more to D than appears on the surface. And in D’s final reflection, he reveals much of the depth of his love for David as he thinks about being given “the love of a man who gives me all of himself, even when I’m not sure what to do with it.” 

If you’ve followed the Subs Club, this is a must read.  If you haven’t, definitely pick up the first book.  Each sub has a particular kink reflected in the title of their story and because the time frame is spread out over several years, we get to enjoy each sub as he meets his new Dom, or Master and Dom as in Gould’s case, and we also get to revisit the others and appreciate how much they’ve matured. But this finale is the epitome of that. It’s just too terrific for words, and I obviously highly recommend it.

Cover art by Kanaxa is typical of the series.  Its simplicity is not only its hallmark but its finest feature.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

6f71e-all2bromance2bbutton Other sales links coming soon

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Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 166 pages
Expected publication: October 17th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Slave Hunt
ISBN139781626494275
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://riptidepublishing.com/titles/slave-hunt
Series The Subs Club

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Endings and Beginnings (Collars and Cuffs #8) by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Endings and BeginningsI’m struggling with writing this review because I was so emotional by the end I had to wait a few days to allow my heart to calm enough to let my brain take over. I really loved this series. Each of the stories, from the beginning through this last, has featured amazing characters. Sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking, each of the books featuring the many couples who populate Collars & Cuffs, an exclusive BDSM club for gay men, have felt realistic and genuine.

In this one, an ending of sorts for a few of the couples, I appreciated the way the authors focused on a new couple while weaving vignettes throughout the book, featuring the other Doms and subs we have come to love. Principally, this story is about Darren, the salon owner we met when Thomas was helping Peter overcome the emotional ravages of the time of his enslavement (Trusting Thomas). He never forgot how affected he was while observing that intimate moment with them. This story is also about JJ, the new bartender who came to the job in the hopes he’d be able to expose the lies Peter told about Curtis Rogers, the Dom who had abused him. Instead, JJ found that Curtis, the man who JJ recently found out was his father, was worse than the press painted him to be, and when he glimpses Peter’s back for the first time, he breaks down and admits his parentage and his reasons for being there.

Darren had been attracted to JJ from the time Darren first walked in the door to see what the club was like so he could decide if he dared to cultivate his dominant side. And though they had already started to date when the revelation occurred, Darren feels an overwhelming protectiveness toward the young man and vows to take care of him. Poor JJ is so emotionally broken and adrift, feeling he’s been lied to and abandoned by those who should have cared for him that he finds it difficult to trust in Darren, and trust is the foundation most needed for couples to survive together.

As their story unfolds, we see glimpses of most of the Doms and subs from the past, and there’s a focus on Scott and Ben (Someone to Keep Me) as their long postponed wedding day finally arrives. There’s also a secondary story about Eli and Jarod (Dom of Ages), now back from their Hawaiian vacation. Eli finds himself restless and without a purpose since he quit his job with the trucking company. Thomas offers a solution, one that Jarod can well afford, but if he and Eli take the offer, it will take Jarod from the family he has come to love. The other subs are such a part of his life now, he’s not sure if he can abandon them. There’s also a story about Pietro and Miles, back from their vacation as well, but still not living together, and Pietro is pretty upset about that. How can Miles love him and yet go home to his own place at night? And… there’s a glimpse into the future for Alex and Leo as Alex takes an opportunity he once thought was out of his reach.

As I started the book, I was very worried the authors were going to give someone a major illness or other life threatening issue, but I’m happy to say that’s not a concern here. Yes there are endings, but there are also beginnings, and I hope and pray that one of those beginnings is the beginning of a new series because I can’t get enough of these guys. I find it difficult to decide which couple in this series is my favorite but it’s definitely either Thomas and Peter or Eli and Jarod, and if my hopes are realistic, we may all get to see more of them in the future.

My gosh, I hate to see this series end! Most of the books don’t contain “hard core” BSDM. Some, including this one, are quite mild so that shouldn’t be of concern to readers who haven’t read any with a BDSM theme previously. And, for those who have, if you haven’t read this series, don’t hesitate to start.

Cover art by Paul Richmond features a beautiful black-and-white photo of a naked man bound with rope, kneeling in submission. Perfect!

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634774086 (ISBN13: 9781634774086)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesCollars and Cuffs #8

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Kind of RomanceThis is the best of Lane Hayes! I loved this story. Actually, I loved the storyline, the main characters, the secondary characters, including Zeke’s father, the sweet romance, and the very, very sexy times between these two men who should have been oil and water, but blended beautifully.

Zeke Gulden is a ruthless stockbroker, self-assured, wealthy and driven to succeed. He’s totally obsessed with revenge over real and perceived injustices done to him in the past, presently mainly centered on his cheating ex-boyfriend and the guy who he cheated with—a married man who works in Zeke’s office. But secondary to that, or in addition to it, he’s got a huge resentment toward his father, who made Zeke’s life hell when he was a teen and first came out. Even now, though his father is loved by friends, family, and the customers at the family-owned bagel shop, Zeke refuses to spend any more time with him than necessary. He’s just not interested in the old man.

Benny Ruggieri is currently holding down two jobs while trying to break into the fashion industry. He works at the bagel shop, and for his own family at their Italian restaurant. He’s bright, funny, and very, very flamboyantly gay. He’s exactly the type of guy Zeke avoids at all costs. But Zeke’s dad is determined that he and Benny are perfect for each other so they agree to one date, and one date only. The problem is that after that date Zeke can’t forget Benny, and when Benny needs a fake boyfriend to take to a family wedding, Zeke volunteers. From that point on they agree that they will be boyfriends for the sake of their families, but privately, they’ll just be friends with benefits, with no acknowledgment of any attraction—physical or emotional.

That’s, of course, not going to happen—not in this romantic romp. Let me just extend a caution here that the scene in the limo when they first get together may require use of a personal fan. I know I needed one. Just sayin’. There are also some scenes requiring tissues, especially those that involve visits between Zeke and his mother, who has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t recognize him at all anymore.

This is the story of the romance between Zeke and Benny, one that is not simple and straightforward because Zeke can’t seem to speak what’s in his heart. Nine times out of ten, what comes out of his mouth is such bull that Benny feels the need to pull away before his heart is broken. However, the story is so much more than the love of one man for another. The author explores the relationships between family members, both one on one and collectively as a clan. And then there’s the relationship between Zeke and his sweet mother, and finally, the very necessary healing of the relationship between Zeke and his father.

I highly recommend this one. If I could give it more than five stars, I would. Contemporary, humorous, opposites attract, and family drama, all rolled into a wonderful package.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is perfect.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Published June 6th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773233 (ISBN13: 9781634773232)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: A Kind of Stories #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: All the Wrong Places (Bluewater Bay #14) by Ann Gallagher

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

All The Wrong PlacesBrennan Cross can’t get past his girlfriend’s parting remarks. He caught her cheating with another guy and she blamed him. Him—because he failed to meet her sexual needs. And what’s worse is that she’s the third girlfriend in a row who had the same problem. He decides he needs professional help, so he goes where he expects to find someone who knows about sex—the Bluewater Bay sex store—Red Hot Bluewater. There he meets Zafir, a young Lebanese man, with long, dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, and an obvious desire to be helpful. After some conversation, Zafir poses the idea that Brennan might not be a bad lover; he might be asexual like Zafir.

After Zafir explains, Brennan finds himself more confused than ever and sets out to learn as much as he can about being asexual. Even though there’s an abundance of information, and misinformation, on the web, he finds that Zafir might indeed be right.

The two become friends, and Zafir allows himself to hope that there might be a place in Brennan’s heart for a Muslim single father with only a GED and no hope of a future career. Zafir took custody of his infant son when he was seventeen years old, and so far, the nine-year-old boy seems happy and well-adjusted. Zafir protects Tariq as much as he can, but he can’t protect him from a broken heart if this closeness he feels with Brennan falls through because Brennan has slowly become a part of Tariq’s life as well.

The biggest issue is Brennan’s doubt about his sexuality, especially when he realizes he loves Zafir but has no sexual desire for him. Advice from his ex-girlfriend seems to spin him around, and he’s headed for a collision with a broken heart and a broken relationship if he can’t come to accept Zafir’s love for him.

I loved this story. It was sweet and romantic, very informative, fun, humorous, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. When I find myself taking time between chapters to go back to savor the goodness of what has gone before, I know I have a winner in my hands, and that definitely happened here. The storytelling is superb, the pace perfect, and the romance just the thing to make my romantic heart swoon. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

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Cover art by LC Chase depicts the two MCs: Brennan with his constant companion—a skateboard—and Zafir gazing off into the distance overlooking Bluewater Bay. This book is a part of the Bluewater Bay series but most certainly can be read as a standalone.

Sales Links:  Riptide  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 13th 2016 by Riptide (first published June 12th 2016)
Original TitleAll the Wrong Places
ISBN 1626494193 (ISBN13: 9781626494190)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:Bluewater Bay