Rating: 3 stars out of 5
From the blurb: Stoic men, who believe they’re happy alone, find the world turned upside down when their perfect someone stumbles across their path. The Lonely Hearts chat room is a place where men support men on their way to finding true love.
There are five main members: Hugo, Luther, Marc, Andrew, and William. Their philosophy is, “Figure out how you keep screwing up your happily ever after. Once you know, you’re more likely to find the true thing.” This novella bundle includes: Bent Arrow, Stroke of Luck, Momo, and Love on a Battlefield.
As the book begins, we drop into the chat room to see the conversation among the Lonely Hearts Club members. Good-natured banter abounds, and shows that the guys are okay with where they are and pretty much accept that they are single and have each other to commiserate with.
The first story is about Luther, who works the oil rigs in North Dakota. Deep in the closet, not only do the roughnecks he works with not know he’s gay, neither does his family—especially his mother. When the water in his trailer goes on the fritz, he meets Erik, a plumber, and from the hint given by the arrow tattoo Luther spots, he’s also interested in men. When he inherits a small home from his grandmother, he asks Erik to come along to help him fix it up. I enjoyed this story very much. It’s amazing how much background information and current events and activities the author was able to cover in one novella. Most definitely ending on a HEA, Luther had to face his fears to win the man of his dreams. 4 stars
Stroke of Luck
Marc meets the love of his life when he least expects it, but it takes both men some time to realize each is what the other has been looking for. Having a bad year, Marc’s apartment fire is the last straw. He’s lost everything and now he’s at Goodwill trying to buy a few dishes and clothing items when he spots a very hot man trying on red spandex pants. Oh yes, he’s hooked. But it’s immediately apparent the man is taken. Or is he? This is a sweet story about a man whose life is still entwined with his best friend, former girlfriend, roommate, and apparently codependent partner. After a major misunderstanding and a fun costume party, Marc and Cas find their way to their own HEA. 3 stars
I liked this story but something felt off from the beginning and I finally realized it’s because a long period of time is covered in this short novella and most was filled with narrative, rather than dialogue, so we were “told” the story, rather than “experience” it as the men met and fell in love. Plus, William wasn’t a good character for me. His nature is private and reserved, and I struggled to understand him from the beginning. His childhood and back story didn’t grab me, so faced with an adult who wears a mask—a persona—to hide who he really is from his coworkers, his hookups, and even his family made it difficult to root for him.
Nate works as a geisha at a tea room. Momo is a role he loves since it allows him to exercise his acting skills and to allow his feminine side free reign a few hours a week. He seems to be a really great character, always smiling, happy-go-lucky, enjoying life. I wish we could have had some of the story from his POV. All we get is some dialogue with William and narrative about Nate’s life so, although I liked him more than William, I didn’t get to fully enjoy him either.
William loves Nate’s Momo persona and it’s his love of the carefree man that finally allows him to let his guard down and let his own personality shine through. They do get their HEA but I can’t rate this higher than 2 stars.
Love on a Battlefield
Two teens meet and fall in love on a Civil War reenactment battlefield. They didn’t get much time together but years later, after writing to each other through the years, the two are still friends. Shep went to college, then toured Europe, and Andrew joined the military and was deployed, then injured. He now works part time and tutors adults with dyslexia. Shep is coming for a visit soon, and after all this time, Andrew is still hoping that the spark they felt years ago might still be alive. When they meet again, they pick up where they left off, and within a few days of shared experiences, declare their love. Of course, they have an HEA. Unfortunately, the premise, the interactions, and the reunion didn’t ring believable to me, so this one is also 2 stars.
The cover by Sloan J Designs has a muted background featuring a young dark-skinned man, wearing only jeans, in the foreground. Somewhat bland, it didn’t grab my attention.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published October 19th 2018 by Labyrinth Bound Press
Original Title Bent Arrow / Stroke of Luck / Momo: My Everything / Love on a Battlefield.
Edition Language English