A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Sleeping ’til Sunrise (Mangrove Stories #5) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleeping Til SunriseNumber five in the Mangrove series, this story features sexy fire chief, Essien Dodd. Essien moved to Mangrove when he took the chief position so that his precocious daughter, fourteen-year-old Ivy, would have a safe environment in which to grow up. His ex-wife passed away from cancer during the past year, and he stayed with her and Ivy to care for them until the end. Now he has full custody, and he wants to provide the best home life possible for his little girl.

Essien is a caretaker—from his job, to his family responsibilities, to his friends and neighbors— if someone needs to be taken care of, it’s a sure bet Essien will find out and be there to help. He had divorced his wife when he knew he was gay and needed to come out, and he’s enjoyed his freedom as a gay man since then, but now that Ivy lives with him full time, he doesn’t pursue relationships or one-night-stands because he wants to be available for Ivy 24/7. Ivy, on the other hand, seems to want him to find someone, so much so, that she actively seeks gay men her dad might like. After the match with the school counselor fell through because he was much too young for Essien and because he refused to let his daughter set him up, he finally told her that if he ever finds a man it will be a man, not a young boy, and he’ll find him all by himself.

What he didn’t tell her is that he has his eye on the gorgeous Dr. Roark Hammond. And Roark seems attracted to him as well, but Roark has a secret, and it’s one that Roark feels will put any hope of a long-term relationship into the impossible-to-have category. Will Essien settle for being put off? Will Roark be able to allow Essien to be his caretaker? Will they sleep together ’til sunrise and wake to greet each new day with hope?

I really enjoy this series, and this one has one of the author’s trademark heroes in Essien—the nice guy who doesn’t realize how much others admire and like him and care about his happiness. Essien deserves to find his man, and the man in this story equally deserves a guy like Essien. There’s nothing about this story to dislike. It’s fairly short, a very light read, and a very sweet romance. Another great bedtime story for the holidays.

Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a gorgeous black man, sans shirt, standing against a picturesque sunrise coming up over the Atlantic. It’s perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 90 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627984712 (ISBN13: 9781627984713)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Mangrove Stories with links to Barb the Zany Old Lady’s reviews:

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Easy Evenings (Mangrove Stories #4) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

easy evenings coverContinuing in the Mangrove series, Mary Calmes brings us the story of Lazlo Maguire, part time rent boy, part time Mangrove Florida business owner, and his lost love, Attorney Britton Lassiter.

Readers of the series may recall that Laz’s best friend, Mia, had decided to expand her law practice by bringing on a new attorney—an attorney whose name happens to be the same as the man Laz once loved but refused to give up his escort career for. Well, Laz’s worst fears are realized when it turns out that Britton is one and the same, and he no longer wants Laz. In fact, he’s put out a restraining order against him.

Lazlo Maguire works as an escort in NYC for six months of every year then heads to Mangrove, Florida for the rest of the year where he hones his metalworking craft and sells his unique sculptures to townsfolk, and collectors. He’d love to do this work full time, but he’s supporting his mother and sister, ungrateful though they may be, and he can’t afford to do that without the money he makes as a rent boy.

The only time he’d ever let his guard down was with Britton Lassiter, a gorgeous work-driven attorney who found that Laz was the only person who could meet his needs and get him to relax. Laz never acted as his escort; they met on an even playing field and fell in love. Unfortunately, Laz felt he couldn’t put himself first due to his need to support his family, and he broke Britton’s heart when he left town. No wonder Britton is hurt when he sees Laz again—he thinks Laz followed him to Florida but is going to run off again.

Enter one sweet three-year-old girl and the attorney escorting her who informs Laz that he is not only a father, but he now has custody of his child since her mother passed away. After the initial chaotic feelings run rampant through his system, he wholeheartedly embraces being a father. First stop is to his friend Mia’s law office so that he can get an ironclad agreement that once Kitty is his, she can’t be taken away. And who happens to be working that day instead of Mia? Britton, of course. Despite his antipathy toward Laz, Britton helps him with Kitty, and that action proves to be the first step toward getting back together with his lover.

The two men find themselves revealing their hurts, their past misunderstandings, and their innermost feelings, and they very quickly realize that the only way forward for either of them is together.

This is a fairly short story, no more than a novella length, but it’s typical Mary Calmes in that there’s hot, hot sex scenes, heartwarming love declarations, and a touch of alpha action in the bedroom—this time from the physically smaller man. There were some instances and experiences in the story that I felt required a stretch of my imagination, and I would have loved to have had the time to explore more about their past and to have allowed more time for Britton and Laz to get back together, but that wouldn’t have been possible with the length of this book.

Overall, I found this MM romance very satisfying and sweet. It would be an excellent beach read or the book you’d want to curl up with on a cold winter day.

Cover Art by Resse Dante is very bright and colorful, depicting a young man smoking a cigarette while leaning on his deck which overlooks dense Florida greenery. Though attractive, I don’t feel the cover represents the character as portrayed in the story. It looks more like what Laz may have been before the story started, but nothing like the Laz depicted as a young father in this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 77 pages
Expected publication: November 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634765915 (ISBN13: 9781634765916)
edition languageEnglish

Series Mangrove Stories with links to our reviews:

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Quiet Nights coverThis sequel to “Blue Nights” is as much a romance as the first. It’s not really more than that—not an action/adventure, or a mystery, or an angst-filled drama—just romance in the inimitable way that only Mary Calmes delivers. In this case, Kelly Seaton is the guy everyone loves, the family member who’s not really a family member at all but is so much a focus of the family that he appears to be one of them. Coz, or Cosimo Renaldi is the family member—the son who returned from Afghanistan with only one arm, the very reason Kelly is now a part of their family. It was Kelly who pulled him from the burning Humvee under enemy fire.

Kelly has loved Coz forever and, of course, has never told him. We don’t learn until the end of the story that the feelings are reciprocated. Though most people seem to be focused on the fact that he only has one arm, Kelly never does. In fact, Kelly treats him normally and is one of the only people in his life who does so. Kelly yearns for Coz but is afraid he’ll lose everything—Coz, his mother, and the only safe and loving environment he’s ever known—if he reveals his true feelings to Coz.

The fun in the story is in watching the two dance around each other and fumble opportunities to be honest. In typical Mary Calmes fashion, Coz’s sister Mia plays a pivotal role as Kelly’s BFF. And Momma Renaldi is a hoot. One of the best scenes in the story is when she is explaining the presence of her new beau in the home. She tells Kelly, Coz, and Mia that they met when she enrolled in tantric sex education classes, thinking that even though she’s a widow she should still explore her sexuality. As she goes on to describe the sex in detail, the trio gets more and more sloshed on wine, eventually moving on to hard liquor. The whole scene was priceless!

If you like a Mary Calmes story that’s not complex or heavy at all, is fairly short, and will bring a smile to your face, then don’t miss this one. If you are looking for a story with a lot of meat, this one isn’t for you. Personally, I love this author, so this one was the perfect no-brainer, bring-a-smile-to-my-face, rainy day story for me.

Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts the gorgeous Kelly in his three-piece white suit as he heads out for a night on the town. No wonder Coz couldn’t resist him!

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook   All Romance (ARe)   Amazon     Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 80 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.marycalmesauthor.com/mangrove.php
Books in the series Mangrove Stories: