Winners of the Pulp Friction 2013 Contest

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Congratulations to our Pulp Friction 2013 Series Contest.  The Winners are:

  1. Bluesmokey  richards851(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
  2. Helen helenj@odont.uio.no
  3. Kerry books2read69@hotmail(dot)com
  4. Bobbie Walker Bobbie022@sky.com

Please double check that I have your email addresses correct and let me know if there are any corrections.  The authors will be sending our copies of their series to the winners.  Happy reading everyone and Happy Holidays!

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Review of Odd Man Out, the Pulp Friction combined series finale story.

Pulp Friction 4 covers

A Wintery Mix, Favorite Childhood Books, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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We are expecting a wintery mix here in Maryland, rain, sleet, ice and snow all mixing together to create an equal mixture of beauty and angst.  Trees with limbs that glisten like diamonds to go along with downed power lines and people lost in the cold.  Joy mixed in with a little quiet reflection, softened by the grey skies of winter and clouds laden with snow.

Days like this bring back memories of winters past and winter stories I loved reading to my daughter and the children later at the nature The Winter Bear book Covercenter.  Stories like  The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft and Robert Frost’s Stopping Through The Woods On A Snowy Evening were a perfect way to convey the feelings and emotions brought on by the first snow or a cold, blustery day in winter.

The Winter Bear especially is still so close to my heart.  It’s simple story and the illustrations that hark back to the style of the original Winnie the Pooh never fail to move me.  A lost stuff bear is tangled up in a shrub looking worn , a little dirty and so very alone.  Its winter and the landscape is cold and barren.  Then a small group of children, siblings, finds the bear, gets him down and takes him home where they clean him up, Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snow Eveningdress in warmly and give that little bear a home with them.  It’s a spare, elegant and concise little story and yet it is so moving that it can still bring tears to my eyes as that last page as the children and little bear are snug  and warm in a little living room with the fire blazing and snow falling outside.  It was first published in 1976 and is hard to find.  But once found and added to your bookshelf, it will become a family treasure to bring out generation after generation no matter your religion or location.  Much like the other book that I love so well, Robert Frost’s Stopping Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The illustrations are in black and white, with a splash of red in places, just glorious and perfect for this poem.  Children and adults alike love looking at them, watching the sleigh travel through town and into the woods with a surprise for the animals that live there.  And then there are those words….such memorable, wonderful words.  The last stanza is the best known..”.The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.”  I have the entire short poem  at the end of the post today.  But those words and those illustrations together paint a memory portrait that draws adults and children into those woods time and again, a magic that is never lost.  Pick those books up and add them to your holiday collection.

Now I have a very special week ahead starting with a book that made my Best of 2013 within the first ten pages.  That’s when I started sobbing copious tears, a phrase perfect for the floodgate that opened upon reading Amy Lane’s latest book, Christmas Kitsch. Never have I been so moved by a character that quickly had me forgetting he wasn’t real.  Rusty, a wounded, glorious man child, whose open heart and mind is so transcendent that his story pulled me in not to release me until 3am, red eyed, snotty, and happy beyond belief that I had met him.  Amy Lane is running a contest and her author spotlight is Monday with my review of Christmas Kitsch is on Tuesday.  Thursday is a 4 book, 4 author Boys In the Band Blog Tour (and contest).  And Friday and Saturday…well if you have been reading the Pulp Friction authors and their combined series (City Knight, Triple Threat, Wicked’s Ways and Chances Are) then you are in for another treat.  The last book in all their series is a combined effort.  Odd Man Out wraps up all the stories of all the characters and is written by all 4 authors.  They have written a guest blog for Friday to talk about the last book and what’s coming in 2014 for Pulp Friction.  My review of Odd Man Out follows on Saturday.  And there is an amazing giveaway associated with this Pulp Friction Season Finale as well.  What a week ahead!!!!  Don’t miss out on a day of it!

Monday, Dec. 9:    Amy Lane’s Christmas Kitsch Blog Tour, Contest and Author Spotlight

Tuesday, Dec. 10:  Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Wed., Dec. 11:          Tag Team: Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga

Thurs., Dec. 12:       Boys In The Band Blog Tour and Contest, Authors  L.A. Witt, Paula Coots, Rowan Speedwell, and Cecilia Tan

Friday, Dec. 13:       Pulp Friction Author Blog, Contest and Odd Man Out release

Sat., Dec. 14:             Odd Man Out by Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, TE Webb, and Laura Harner, a Pulp Friction 2013 finale!

Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Review: Starry Knight (City Knight #3) by TA Webb

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

“What happens when two broken men collide?”

Starry KnightWhen Marcus Prater has found his Ben, several things happened at once, including an ambush by the very men who had raped Ben in the past.  The aftermath of that battle sees Marcus in the intensive care unit, surrounded by those who love him, his friends Wick, Zachary, Chance and of course Ben Danvers, the young prostitute that brought Marcus emotionally back to life after the death of his partner.

But Marcus needs to recover in more ways than just physically.  He needs to let go of his past if there is going to be room in his life for Ben and a future together.  It will take all his friends and more for Marcus and Ben to make the transition from a HFN to HEA.

Starry Knight is more about an internal investigation and exploration than an external one.  The past two stories have focused on the beginnings and rough path to romance for Marcus and Ben.  Marcus  withdrew from everyone around him who loved him in his grief over the death of Jeremy, his long term lover. Now with the arrival of Ben and the numerous setbacks their romance entailed, those friends have reappeared in Marcus’ life and its time for Marcus to ask for forgiveness and support.  And it is also time for those friends to let go of their anger and pain and give Ben their forgiveness as well.

I loved that this story turned inward and dealt with all the emotions and ramifications of Marcus’ past that had never been dealt with.  By bringing together all those people in the formerly close-knit group of friends, brothers in arms actually, the reader is given a clearer picture not only of their relationships but their past as well.  These passages are emotional punches to the gut not physical ones and many of them are long overdue.

T.A. Webb does a spectacular job of bringing the reader intimately into this group of strong individuals who consider themselves a family by choice instead of blood.   Or in their case, the blood may be that shed on each others behalf, a most singular blood tie that continues no matter how much rejection they might face from each other at any given time.  We have been bonding with all of these men through the various Pulp Friction series, and bringing them together gives a real feeling of totality that will satisfy the reader and in sure that we are hungry for more stories involving each of them.

But the most important element of this story is Marcus’ letting go of Jeremy and the love that meant everything to him.  It’s necessary in order for us (and Ben) to believe that there is a future available for this couple and the author  accomplishes this mission in a heartfelt and totally realistic series of emotional exchanges.  Starry Knight ends up being about emotional growth and acceptance, forgiveness and love.

However, this is also in keeping with the previous installments, so there is the rough talk, hot sex, and heart stopping moment of …..well, you will just have to get the book to read about the rest.  I love this series, and this couple,  Each additional story brings a new dimension and depth to their relationship and the dynamic group of men that supports them.   I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Consider this story and series highly recommended.

Stories in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events to follow:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published June 13th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301484867

Review: Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Knightmare coverEx cop Marcus Prater spent that last several years devastated from the loss of his lover to a street crime.  Then Marcus met Ben Danvers, college student, prostitute and damaged soul and a fragile relationship was born.  But the men who raped Ben are out of jail and Ben disappears.  Now Marcus must call on all his old friends and contacts to help him find Ben and fast.

Ben’s worst nightmare is happening all over again, can Marcus and friends save him in time?

With Knightmare, T.A. Webb weaves the City Knight series into the full tapestry of the Pulp Friction universe, and the result is a marvelous concoction of mulit dimensional characters, convoluted plots and combustible romances to knock your socks off.

In the first installment, we meet two different yet equally damaged men.  Marcus who had a deep and wonderful love, Jeremy, who died in a small time robbery.  Then Webb gives us (and Marcus) Ben Danvers.  Ben had been brutally attacked, raped and left to bleed out on the college campus where he was a student.  The two men responsible were caught and jailed but emotionally, Ben has never recovered.  To make money to finish college as well as living expenses, Ben sells himself on the street.  And each transaction has further harmed his self esteem and ability to love.

Webb made us believe in these individuals and their problems. We hold our breath as they tenuously move towards a relationship because we are aware of all the obstacles still between them.  Then the author proceeds to fracture their fragile new status with the news that the men who attacked Ben have been released from prison.  Given today’s headlines and the often shortened prison sentences, this is a realistic, horrifying event to happen.  Then Ben disappears. Gone.  And Marcus is terrified that he is going to lose another love just as soon as he found him.

This is how Knightmare starts out for Marcus and  the reader as we are dumped right into the middle of Marcus’ scene at the end of City Knight:

Marcus stood in the alleyway, letting the shock he’d initially felt bleed out of his system. The blast of adrenaline that made everything speed up and slow down simultaneously had burned through his body and now he was able to focus. He took a deep breath and let his experience take over.

As he calmed and his vision cleared, he shoved away all the fear that crawled through his body like an army of fire ants and looked around the alleyway. Saw. And began to process, his mind functioning again. His cop instincts made notes and started a mental file on the crime scene. He moved slowly into the dark, pulling a flashlight from his jacket pocket and painstakingly covering every inch of the alley.

No blood that he could see. No obvious signs of struggle. No overturned garbage cans, not a goddamned thing. No sign of his Benjamin. How in the hell was that possible? Ten minutes…he had only been ten minutes away.

Marcus’ panic and disbelief are visceral in their power and believability. T.A, Webb does such a beautiful job in describing the intensity of Marcus’ feelings that the reader feels the emotional impact of the situation as deeply as Marcus does.  And as the situation escalates, so does the anxiety level of the reader.

And the people Marcus calls on for immediate assistance are those same individuals we have met in the other series.  Chance DuMont, Wick Templeton, Zachary and Archer (and Jeremiah).  All here as well as their various story lines, weaving the complicated relationships and past histories together to form a formidable conglomeration of dynamic personalities, remarkable intellects, and a diversity of talent that is not always to be found on the side of the law.   Talk about a powerful group dynamics and all focused, albeit temporarily, on finding Ben for Marcus.

As with most serialized stories, there is another cliffhanger to be found at the end of this story.  It’s shocking and guaranteed to send you running to the next story as it should.  It’s terrific story. And the series is so explosive, really quite addicting in every way.  Trust me, just go with the flow (and Scattered Thoughts) over to the next in the series.  I am running to the next one as quick as I can.  Join me.

Don’t miss out on any stories in this series but do start at the beginning.  I have listed the book below in the order they should be read. Consider them all highly recommended.

Stories in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events to follow:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)

Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301938292
series City Knight
 Book Details;

A City In Need and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Washington, DC, home of the federal government, the Smithsonian, the World Bank and all those other government agencies who names are reduced to alphabet letters, doesn’t have a shelter for LGBTQ endangered youth.  How is that possible?  We have food banks, shelters for homeless families (although not nearly enough) and shelters for battered women (House of Ruth, although again horribly more is needed here too).  We have famous this and that, shiny new, expensive condos are rising up everywhere to help shelter the masses of people, young and old, who are returning to the city to live and work.homeless youth are real sign

Where is the shelter for those thrown out of their homes for their sexuality?

Discarded like garbage, removed from family, schools, and every type of support possible, these kids are then forced to scramble to survive on the streets while lacking the skills to do so.  Fragile prey who often meet the predators just waiting for them. Others arrive thinking the city offers some hope and answers and find neither.

Who is going to answer their cries for help?

There used to be the Wanda Alston House but they went bankrupt.  Other shelters I reported on apparently (from sources working in DC close to the situation) are turning away LGBTQ youth because of their sexuality. *shakes head*  But there is a glimmer of hope at least for Homeless Youth out in the streetsthe future.

Yesterday, my Metro M/M group (authors, bloggers, publishers and readers)  met to talk books, conferences, and other things at the  wonderful Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City VA.   A friend mentioned that the Wanda Alston House is being revived as The Alston Project and she is working with the organizers.  That is wonderful and much needed news.  We need this shelter, the LGBTQ youth need this shelter and I want to help.  And hopefully you do too.

So I will keep you all posted.  Watch for a blog on The Alston Project.  I have ideas percolating to launch a Homeless youth 40 percent picdonation drive when it is ready for one.  Maybe even auctioning off/giving away ebooks and t-shirts for money to go into this project.  Let me know if you all have any ideas!  Lets pool our thoughts, our resources, our energies and make a shelter for LGBTQ homeless youth a reality.

We read books about them, romances and fictional stories by authors whose extraordinary talents make us weep over the plight and reality of gay youth so lets channel those emotions and help them in other ways too.  Keep tuned in for more information and ways to help our LGBTQ endangered kids!

Here are links to LGBTQ shelters in other  cities that need help and donations too:

www.aliforneycenter.org (New York City)

U CAN – LGBTQ Host Home Program (Chicago, IL)

Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

Article on House Bill – New House bill seeks to aid LGBT homeless youth

And now for the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Sept. 23:  Heroes and Villains by Harper Kingsley

Tuesday, Sept 24:   Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon

Wed., Sept 25:          Summer Lovin’ Anthology

Thurs., Sept. 26:       City Knight by T.A. Webb

Friday, Sept. 27:       Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga

Sat., Sept 28:             The Case of the Missing Aha Moment – Scattered Thoughts Mini Rant on Writing

Review: Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Defiance coverAtlanta football legend Kebow Trainer is in big trouble and needs help now.  For four years Trainer has been blackmailed and has paid up. But now he is about to negotiate a huge new contract and the blackmailer’s demand has risen to outrageous proportions.  So now Trainer  wants it stopped and figures Archer and Zachary are the men to do it.  But this case brings up more than just a blackmailer filled with hate, it reminds Zachary of a part of his past that fills him with pain and regret.

It has been two months since Jeremiah was abused by a Dom with a grudge against Archer and Zachary and he has yet to heal emotionally.  So while Zachary worries about Jeremiah and his ability to move past his recent trauma, Jeremiah and Archer are overwhelmed with concern for Zachary and the future of their relationship.

For all involved, this case has enormous consequences for their relationships and their futures.  Will the triple threat of Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah be enough to solve the case and save their relationship?

Defiance is the third book in the Triple Threat series from L.E. Harner and it moves the reader into Zachary’s  past and his involvement with Wick Templeton (from Wicked’s Ways series).   I really loved this element.  Harner has been doling out bits of information about Zachary’s past like a miser does money, in tiny amounts here and there.  Now we start to understand that the loss of his sub and closeted lover was a deeper, more involved event that has had repercussions on Zachary’s life and relationships ever since.   So many layers here to peal back, such an amazing depth of characterization.  I just love Zachary.  His is a character and voice that just  resonates with a reader.  Wry, knowing, sarcastic, this person has seen it all, the best and mostly the worst humanity has to offer and is still standing.  Like Wick Templeton with whom he has a past and is close friends with, Zachary lives and works on the outskirts of what passes as normal in society.  He is both Dom and sub in his relationships, although sub to only one man…Archer.  He is brutal, funny, intelligent and physical.  Trust me when I say this complex personality will stay with you a long time.

Harner has created an emotionally explosive case for a trio of men already destabilized by recent events.  Nothing is ever simple in this series, no case without ramifications for all who become involved.  Jeremiah is still reeling from his abuse and uncertain future, Zachary is dealing with his past and Jeremiah, and Archer has to come to terms with the fact that he destabilized his own 15 year relationship with Zachary in his arrogance and the repercussions of the addition of Jeremiah.  Then you add the case of a blackmailed gay football player and watch the situation ignite.  Here is a taste:

The bottle of Don Pilar was already on the table, two glasses poured, two waters on the side. The plate of limes and salt sat in the middle of the glasses, where they would likely remain untouched. They usually did.

“Thanks.” I tossed back the first glass before I even sat down. Sliding into the black leather bench of the dark booth, I poured a second glass and tossed it back, too. It suddenly seemed like a great idea to get completely shitfaced.

“Never necessary. And you know that’s sipping tequila.” We smiled at each other. It was the look of longtime friends with hundreds of favorite lines from past conversations.

“You might have said that before. This needing each other shit is becoming a habit,” I said. It had only been a few days since I’d shown up to pick him up from jail. Wick hadn’t technically needed a ride from me—but a little bird let me know he was being released and I thought a surprise was in order. Not that he’d actually done anything wrong—it’d been part of a case he’d been working—but that got me thinking about the fed. “So, hear anything from that guy? What was his name? Fred? Ked? You know, the one you left standing there with his heart on his sleeve and a bone in his pants?”

Wick threw his head back and laughed. When he finished he took a long sip of his drink, eyeing me over the rim of his glass before responding. “You’re such an ass. His name is Ned. And no, I haven’t heard from him. I think he might’ve taken offense to the lip lock you planted on me when I got in your car. I probably should take offense too, except I love dancing with your tongue.”

I grinned. “Yeah. That one might’ve gotten a little away from me. Still, it was nice.”

“It always was.” We stared at each other for a long moment, old memories suddenly fresh.

So much is revealed by the single scene alone.  The easy, casual nature of the conversation, the lack of emotional and personal barriers between Wick and Zachary that just speaks volumes about their relationship as old friends and ex lovers.  It is terrific and a perfect example of the narrative of the entire series.

The reveal of the identity of the blackmailer is an emotionally explosive event as anything that preceded it.  It is gut wrenching and so painful in that one   secondary relationship that you have come to care about is left in tatters, the future of it and the couple involved uncertain.  It is a totally realistic and heartbreaking element in this story and  I don’t see how Harner could have handled it any other way without losing the credibility built up in the series to date.  But I would love to see a sentence or two somewhere down the line to let the readers know how it all eventually resolved for the men involved.

Defiance is an amazing read, especially considering it is only 83 pages in length.  As I have said before, this book and all the books in the series seem to have the feel and scope of  stories much longer in length because of all the emotions and story plots involved.  Great narrative, smooth writing style, compelling characters and a singular voice in the pov.  Those unfamiliar with BDSM and D/s or those who usually don’t read books with that element will still enjoy this book and series.   That aspect of this story and the m/m/m relationships are beautifully done and Harner makes it accessible to all readers, not only those who like a little kink in the sex but those who prefer their sexual relationship on the vanilla side.

I highly recommend not only this book but the entire series.  But start at the beginning.  It’s the only way to understand the characters and events that follow.  You will find yourself as hooked as I am.

Books in the Triple Threat series to date and in the order they were written and should be read are:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution  (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

 Book Details:
ebook, 83 pages
Published May 31st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252533
edition language English
series Triple Threat

A Little Something Different This Morning and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Good morning all.  Usually this is the space where I ramble on about whatever has captured by attention.  Those stray thoughts that glitter in the mind like so much pretty baubles that like a magpie I can’t help but snatch them up.  And I do.  But today they are going into a Sunday column of their own called Sunday Ramblings.

On Sunday mornings I like to nurse my coffee along, read The Washington Post as leisurely as I want without having to be too organized.  So I am going to separate these two things (the schedule and scattered thoughts) out and see what happens.  Maybe I will like it and maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Today’s ramblings will be posted in an hour or so.  What captured my thoughts and whimsey today?  Words.  I love words.  And new ones were just accepted into the dictionary.  So be on the look out for It’s All In How You Word It, my first Scattered Thoughts Sunday Ramblings.

Now, this coming week, we really will have the two book contest and author blog from Kendall McKenna. Her new book is superb and I can’t wait to give away a copy and that of the first book in the series, Strength of the Pack.  I am also continuing the L.E. Harner series, Triple Threat before moving on to the last author and series in the Pulp Friction offerings.

It’s a great day and a wonderful week ahead.  Please join me all week.  I look forward to hearing from you.

This week’s schedule:

Mon, Sept 9:         Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 1 – Start of contest
Tues., Sept.10:      Repost: Strength of the Pack review
Wed.,Sept 11        Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 2,winner of 1st book announced, start contest for 2nd book
Thurs., Sept 12:    Review : Strength of the Wolf, Winner of Strength of the Wolf announced
Friday, Sept. 13:   Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Sat., Sept. 14:        A Surprise!

Review: Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Triple Threat Retribution coverWhen Archer Wilde gave Zachary, his husband of 15 years, a submissive named Jeremiah for a year, he never anticipated the fallout that was to come.  Both Archer and Zachary are Master Doms, and only within their relationship, does Zachary take a submissive posture.  So Archer thought a  submissive of his own would make Zachary happy.  But the reality was exactly the opposite and it threatens to destroy their happy and balanced loving relationship of 15 years, one they have worked hard to achieve.

Submissive Jeremiah has a signed contract and nothing else.  He had hoped to find a loving home and a Master Dom to teach him the ways of the lifestyle he needs in order to be whole.  Instead he finds a household in discord because of his presence and the very real possibility that he will be asked to leave before he even is given a chance to prove himself.

Jeremiah’s predicament leads him to make a disastrous decision.  He calls on an abusive Dom who has a grudge against Archer and Zachary to train him. When Jeremiah disappears, Archer and Zachary race against time before the damage inflicted upon their boy is too deep to undo.  This time, their retribution is personal.

What an astonishing book and series!  With every new development, the characters and their relationships just get more layered with an authentically human  feel to them.  Retribution picks up exactly where Triple Threat left off.  Zachary and Archer have retired to their bedroom ostensibly to talk about Jeremiah but instead they proceed to have white hot sex. Sex that will both reassure them of their love and reestablish a connection that Archer almost broke with his unwanted gift of Jeremiah to Zachary.  That Jeremiah is not exactly welcome is now obvious to Archer’s dismay.   Harner’s characterizations are perfection.  We can see Archer Wilde making this error in judgement because he so rarely doubts his own brilliance that he thinks he knows what is best for all around him.  Plus Archer has made that all too human mistake of forgetting just who his partner is because the years together has lulled them into complacency.

As with Archer, Zachary too is a beautifully realized portrait of a man stunned by his lover’s actions.  It shakes him to his core and not just because he didn’t see it coming.  It turns out that a  past trauma involving a prior submissive of Zachary’s have left Zach scarred and unable to make that commitment again.  All of these mens flaws come to the surface with one bad decision and the one to pay is Jeremiah.

L.E. Harner certainly knows how to build the suspense into a plot.  When Jeremiah disappears, the reader immediately knows something awful has occured. But what had happened and where was Jeremiah?  The answers to those questions are guaranteed to raise the reader’s anxiety, making us despair for Jeremiah’s safety.   Harner’s narrative threatens danger at every curve and a certainty that violence is lurking near the end.  I loved every minute of Retribution.  And that includes the ending.

The characters here have issues to settle amongst themselves,  and by the end of this story, Archer, Zach and Jeremiah are on their ways to resolving some of them.  But not all.  And those unresolved issues will be carried into the following stories.   This aspect of the series continues to give these characters and their relationship a very human feel.  I have always felt that it is a human being’s flaws, not their perfections, that help to connect them with their fellow beings.  And that is as true in fiction as it is in real life.  L.E. Harner recognizes that fact and builds it into her stories and people.

So go and pick up this story and make a commitment to this remarkable series.  But make sure you start at the beginning story, Triple Threat, and work your way through as these are not stand alone tales and need to be read in the order they were written.  For those of you who hesitate when seeing that elements of bdsm (D/s relationships) and threesomes are present,  don’t let this stop you with this series.  It works, it feels real, and you will come to love the men involved just as I do.

Books in the Triple Threat series to date are:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution  (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252489
edition language English
series Triple Threat

Review: Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L. E. Harner

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Triple Threat #1Private investigators and partners of over 14 years, Zachary>>>>> and Archer Wilde have been happy together or at least Zachary thought so.  Both were well known Master Doms when they met all those years ago, and it took Archer every bit of three years to woo Zachary and get him to submit.  From there on, they were inseparable, as lovers and owners of one of the most popular and exclusive BDSM clubs.  Then they sold the club, settling into a life of semi retirement as partners of a discreet recovery business with Archer taking only those cases that interested him and leaving Zachary’s life as a Dom in the past.  But all that is about to change….

Archer is finding that their successful recover business is taking up too much of Zachary’s time, so Archer buys a personal assistant for Zachary,  the submissive Jeremiah,  thinking that will make his lover happy.  It doesn’t.   With their delicate balance upset, the men must still investigate the case of the missing insurance millions while trying to deal with each other and the addition of a third.   Can the three men pull together to become a triple threat or will Jeremiah tear Zachary and Archer apart for good?

Triple Threat and its series are a part of the Pulp Friction offerings from authors Havan Fellows, L.E. Harner, Lee Brazil and T.A. Webb that feature a loose circle of friends and acquaintances. And as with the other series, Triple Threat is turning out to be just as terrific and substantial an offering as the rest of the stories.

It also marks a sort of departure for me as m/m/m and D/s are not the normal stories I reach out for when looking for reading material.  But L.E. Harner does a remarkable job in not only creating characters one can relate to, she also makes the D/s BDSM lifestyle accessible and understandable to those unfamiliar with that life choice and sexual kink.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed the relationships that develop within the story as well as those that were already established and I think others will too. The ease with which I connected with these characters and their situation is  due primary to the wonderful writing style and character creations of L.E. Harner.

First, the characters.  The pov is that of Zachary, Master Dom and submissive lover of Archer Wilde, a wealthy, brilliant man who also happens to be a Master Dom as well.  Zachary’s voice is everything I have come to expect of the narrators in the Pulp Friction series.  It is the wry, self depreciating, older voice of a man who has seen and done it all and come out the other side surprisingly content. At least that is the man we meet at the start of the story.  A man whose continued calm, happy lifestyle is about to be upended.  I love Zachary.  As with all the characters found within, he is a man of many layers. Here is our first taste of Zachary and Archer:

“Margaret Blackwell,” I murmured as I led the impeccably clad young woman into the bright morning light of the glass ceilinged solarium. A small gasp escaped her lips as the tall, powerfully built man stood from the table where we’d been sharing a leisurely breakfast minutes before. He unfolded himself into his full height, and she sighed. I understood her sentiment completely.

“Miss Blackwell, may I present Archer Wilde.”

They met in the middle of the solarium, and Archer politely shook the limply proffered hand.

“Please, have a seat. Can Zachary bring you anything? Coffee? Hot tea?”

“No, thank you.” Margaret sat at the edge of the chair, her back ramrod straight and ankles demurely crossed. My, my. Someone attended cotillion as a teen.

“Zachary? Won’t you sit and join us?” Archer’s eyes sparkled with mischief and I couldn’t resist smiling back.

“No, thank you Archer, I think I’ll stand this morning.” We shared a look, then he turned his attention to his guest.

“How may I help you, Miss Blackwell?”

“I want you to find my husband, Mr. Wilde.”

“I see. I’m afraid there’s been some misunderstanding. I…we…”—he inclined his head to include me—“don’t take on missing persons cases. Those are best handled by the proper authorities.”

“I’m afraid that’s impossible. Nona Wilkerson says you are exactly what I need.”

“Ahh…the delightful Miss Wilkerson. You intrigue me. Is your husband in some sort of trouble?”

“My husband is dead, Mr. Wilde.”

Huh. That was a new one.

Just from that scene alone we understand not only who Zachary is but get a glimpse into their relationship as well.  Zachary is the rough to Archer’s refinement and it works perfectly for them both.  At least until now.

Just when we think we know who Zachary is, Harner surprises us with more information about his past that makes the reader reevaluate everything they thought they knew about the man and his motives. The twists and turns here are fabulous.  That Zachary is both a Master Dom and a submissive would be contradictory except that he is only submissive for Archer.  That fact is the key to understanding why Archer would upset the balance the two men have worked so hard to achieve for years.  That plus the fact that Archer’s brilliance doesn’t always means he’s correct in his assumptions.  Like every other character, Archer is full of flaws, he is human and therefore, will make more than his share of mistakes, especially in his relationship with Zachary.

Then Jeremiah arrives on the scene to Archer’s glee and Zachary’s dismay. This is a neat touch.  It upsets an established couple of 15 years.  It shows that Archer had not completely thought through his actions and makes Zachary deal with an aspect of his past he had pushed away. But of all the characters I had to work harder to understand Jeremiah.  A submissive mindset is not one that I can relate to so Jeremiah took time to connect with.   But again, Harner let’s us close to Jeremiah and his needs that it soon becomes clear that this is part of Jeremiah’s nature and he needs it to be whole.  I like that we also see that Jeremiah is also young, highly intelligent and naive in some respects.  It makes his submissive nature easier to connect with, especially as he becomes the third in an already established relationship.

The case of the missing insurance money also turned out to be more finely layered than I had anticipated.   It turned out to involve someone from both Zachary and Archer’s past.  It’s another terrific aspect of this story and the series as it has implications down the line for them all.

Are there scenes of BDSM? Yes and they are well done but not as explicit as you might think. So those of you are uncomfortable with the D/s element will still be able to enjoy the story.  Same goes for the m/m/m aspect as well.  It works here and you will come to care for all  of these men, not just Zachary and Archer.   Wick Templeton and Chance Dumont, or at least the Chances Are bar makes appearances.  You will be as happy to see them as I was.   Plus we get a few more details as to Wick’s background that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Triple Threat is the wonderful start to a great series.  It surprised me and drew me right in.  I think it will do the same for you.  All the stories in this series and the Pulp Friction group are short in length but large in characterization and plot.  Pick it up now, and settle in for a wonderful read.

Cover art by Laura E. Harner.  It’s delicious and perfect for the book and series.

Book Details:

ebook, 1
Published January 31st 2013 by Hot Corner Press (first published January 13th 2013)
ISBN13 9781937252366
edition language English
series Triple Threat

Review: Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #4) by Lee Brazil

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ghost of a Chance book coverChance Dumont thought he couldn’t survive when his first love, Cannon, left him.  It took Chances five years before he thought he could take a chance on another man and a relationship.  Then Rory, a young submissive cop came along and further complicated Chance’s already complicated life.  An attack on Rory made Chance understand that he loved Rory and could move forward again with a new relationship.  But the aftermath of that attack and the return of Cannon shattered Rory’s recovery.  If that wasn’t enough, a dead body in the men’s restroom of Chances Are bar completed the detonation of Chance’s and Rory’s fragile relationship due to trust issues.  At the time, Chance felt there was a fifty fifty chance that Rory had done the crime. So Rory left and Chance has not seen him since, though not for lack of trying.

No one has seen Rory.  The man has  vanished, taking with him all the hope and promise that Chance had just recovered.  Now  months have passed since Rory’s departure. Chance hasn’t left the sanctuary of his home, not once.  His constant companions are empty beer bottles and greasy pizza boxes and everyone is worried about him.  Chance hasn’t even been to his bar, a shocking situation that his friends and employees don’t know how to handle. If there is even a ghost of a chance of getting Rory back, Chance will take it.  But where to start?

Ghost of a Chance is the fourth book in the Chances Are series and in some ways it is a return to the emotional issues in first story in the series Chances Are.  Once again, Chance is recovering from a relationship gone wrong.  But this time, its his fault that the relationship didn’t succeed and the guilt eats at him constantly.  Chance knows that the issues he carried with him from the first failed relationship made him doubt himself and Rory from the beginning.  His ex boyfriend’s return didn’t help either.

Once again, Brazil paints a portrait of a man whose actions and self doubt triggered the events that demolished the beginnings of a new love.  It is a great on so many levels.  Chance’s inner turmoil, his guilt, and his downward spiral into pity and drunkenness is authentic and believable.   Told from Chance’s pov, we hear every inner argument and counter argument as Chance fights his way past the current events that have left him alone once more.  It’s a tough inner battle that Chance fights and the conclusions he draws are not always complimentary ones.  He knows where he failed but doesn’t know how to correct his mistakes.  How human and how understandable.

Chance must first fix himself and to help him do that are characters from the other Pulp Friction series.  From Wick Templeton to Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah from the Triple Threat series, all are present and accounted for as they help Chance recover once more and move forward with a plan to bring Rory home.   Here is a taste of Chance still hiding away in his house:

Even if I couldn’t explain what exactly I wanted, I could close my eyes and put a face to it. I wanted Rory. With us, it was not a game. It wasn’t a scene. It was how we were, and I should have fucking told him that. Maybe if I had, he wouldn’t have gotten tired of waiting and he’d have stayed and we’d be spending Friday night in the usual way, putting off gratification as long as possible while I sat in the bar and he knelt on the bed, and an invisible thread of arousal thrummed between us, ratcheting tension higher and higher until the whole bar seemed to snap with sexual tension.

Instead, I sat on my back patio watching a sexual disaster in the making cut his dad’s grass and giving one of my oldest friends the brush off while I concentrated on getting drunk as efficiently as possible in the vain hope that I’d be able to sleep tonight.

Brazil has created a wonderful character in Chance and then gave him the perfect voice for his character and personality.  I love Chance and everything about Chances Are.  In fact as Chance or his grandmother would say, chances are that everyone will find something to love about this series.  It’s short but seems so much larger in scope and characterization.  The characters and plot are terrific, the emotions realistic and its impact authentic and human. There’s more coming and i will be there for every new installment.  You will be too once you start on their adventure.  Go back to the beginning and Chances Are.  Meet Chance Dumont, Rory, Gerry and the rest.  You are going to love them as much as I do.

Note:  Series contains elements of bdsm and D/s.  It works perfectly within the series and for the characters involved.  Even though readers who prefer their sexual encounters to be on the vanilla side will enjoy the kink as explained by Lee Brazil and Chance.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Book Details:

ebook, 36 pages
Published May 1st 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English
series Chances Are