Friday, March 25, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Chasing Shadows by Annabelle Jacobs #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 24, 2016
Publisher:  Annabelle Jacobs
Length: 238 pages

Description: Jamie Matthews goes to Cornwall to find his missing brother. The police are convinced Michael drowned, but Jamie knows better. No way would Michael swim to his death, especially on a beach with a wicked rip tide. Finding a stranger in his brother’s cottage only deepens his misgivings.

Felix Bergstrom is recently discharged from the British Army. Unable to put the past behind him, he takes an unhealthy interest in old acquaintance and millionaire businessman Karl Weston, hoping to catch him up to no good. Michael’s disappearance adds fuel to Felix’s suspicions. Weston’s clifftop home overlooks the beach where Michael supposedly walked into the sea, but Weston has an alibi for that day.

When Jamie and Felix meet, the physical attraction is instant. Mistrust keeps them from acting on it until finally all their secrets are laid bare. But time isn’t on their side. Before they’re able to work out whether they have a future, danger catches up with them and threatens to put an end to everything.

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Chasing Shadows is the dynamic amalgamation of all the best parts of good storytelling: good writing, an interesting plot, a well-developed romance, sharp conflicts, humorous interactions,  and smoking hot sex! 

Jamie and Felix meet under auspicious circumstances. Jamie has come to Tresthelway Cottage, in Cornwall, to collect his brother's belongings and to question the police on the investigation into his disappearance. Everyone is convinced Michael is dead, drowned in the sea, but Jamie dismisses that theory. Something sinister is up. A feeling that is only reinforced when he opens the door to the cottage and comes face to face with a mysterious stranger who refuses to tell him anything.
"What an arsehole!" Jamie yelled into the silence of the kitchen, refusing to look out the window and watch Felix walk away.

Who the fuck did he think he was? Poking around as if he owned the place and then refusing to tell Jamie what it was he'd hoped to find. Michael was Jamie's brother, and Jamie had every right to know.
The initial tension between these two men is fabulous. Their attraction to each other is already making itself known, but they appear to be on opposite sides of this disappearance investigation. Or are they? As they reluctantly come to know each other, truths come out that reveal that they have more in common than either had thought.
Jamie jumped when Felix put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing once with his strong fingers before letting go. This was the second time Felix had touched him, comforted him. The warmth lingered, making Jamie wish Felix had kept his hand there. He glanced up to see Felix watching him intently.

"Jason was my best friend. He called me two days before he died. We argued. I told him he was a fucking idiot and hung up."

Felix scrubbed a hand over his face, and Jamie had the sudden urge to pull him into a hug.
Despite, or maybe because of, the situation, Jamie and Felix are drawn together. They need a release from the taut atmosphere, and soon comfort turns into much more. Now at this point, some readers may argue that no one whose close brother is missing would get involved with someone or even begin to have feelings for someone. But it is that true? Even Jamie questions his actions. What begins as a tryst, a way to turn off the sadness for a few hours, can become more when the partner is right.
They stared at each other for a couple of seconds before Jamie looked down between them and scoffed. "I don't even like you."

Despite the gravity of the conversation only minutes before, Felix was helpless to stop himself shifting his hips. The telltale hardness in Jamie's jeans made him smile. "I beg to differ."

Jamie glanced back up and shrugged. A small answering smile on his lips. "It's only a semi."

"It was only a kiss."
Humor tinges many of the interactions between Jamie and Felix, lightening the considerably dark mood. Also a lot of fun are Felix's army buddies Adam and Nick, who come to visit Felix while they are on furlough. Adam and Nick immediately see what is going on between Jamie and Felix and miss no occasion to take the piss out of the two men (love that expression!). 

The suspense aspects of this story are not overly developed or complex. However, although some parts are very tense and the overall scenario is dark (missing, possibly murdered, brother), Chasing Shadows is billed as a contemporary romance and not a romantic suspense. As such, our rating is based on this being a contemporary romance with romantic suspense elements.

All in all, I really enjoyed Chasing Shadows and will certainly be reading more of Annabelle Jacobs' m/m romances!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!


Monday, March 21, 2016

ARC #REVIEW Then Sawyer Happened by Hurri Cosmo #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher:  Dark Hollows Press, LLC
Length: 183 pages

Description: Trace has had a run of bad luck. He lost his job, his boyfriend of two years was cheating on him, and his apartment building burned right to the ground with all his worldly possessions.

So Trace heads for the ranch owned by his aunt Lois. But before he arrives, Lois is in a terrible car accident that nearly takes her life, and Trace finds himself in charge of the ranch kitchen. Sounds simple enough and it's the least he can do for his recuperating aunt.

Then Sawyer happens.

Sawyer is his aunt's sexy straight ranch manager. Meeting the man should have been okay, except it was in the middle of his aunt's kitchen at five in the morning and Trace was nearly naked. Then the next day Trace proceeded to set his aunt's house on fire and the brooding Sawyer comes to the rescue.

Not to mention Aunt Lois’s “accident” was actually attempted murder and it seems those same people want Trace dead, too.

Looks like Trace’s luck followed him.

How can Trace figure out who's trying to kill him AND keep Sawyer from finding out he's hot for the cowboy?

He probably can’t. But he’s going to try.

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Down and out Trace no job and no place to live, with no prospects in sight, he returns home, which is his Aunt Lois' ranch in a small town. But when he gets there, Aunt Lois is in the hospital. Someone has tried to kill her. Within hours, Trace has his first encounter with Sawyer, the man who actually runs the ranch. 

Sawyer is a hot cowboy, every gay man's fantasy, except that he's straight. And come to think of it, this isn't the best environment for Trace to make his own orientation clear. Nevertheless, sexual sparks are flying, at least on Trace's side, but so are the sparks of confrontation. Their first meeting does not bode well. But Aunt Lois is wise to Trace's real issue. 
Her sharp eyes once again focused in on him. "So tell me. What do you think of the foreman?"


She snorted. "Yes. Sawyer. You know perfectly well who I mean."

"Um...oh, yeah, he...I...he's fine...I guess. I mean..."

"Yes, I know. He's a handful."

Instantly, the image of a "hand full" transformed into Sawyer's warm balls rolling around in Trace's palm and every drop of blood in his body chose one of only two places to go.
Trace's attraction to the sexy foreman is so strong that it turns him into a complete klutz who can't put two words together or take two steps without falling. Many of these situations are quite funny and put Sawyer in the role of hero. Trace falls a little harder for him each time.

But when a series of mysterious accidents befall Trace, it's much too easy for everyone to think he's simply being his usual clumsy self. What is going on? Is the person who tried to kill his aunt now after Trace? And why is Sawyer acting so strange? Why does he keep wanting to take Trace's pants off?
Trace felt like a failure. "Sorry I... damn it."

"Are you in a lot of pain?"

"No. I'm fine."

"You're not fine. You can't even stand."

Suddenly Sawyer was on his knees in front of Trace reaching for his pants button. He undid the button and was working on lowering the zipper when Trace finally stopped him.

"What the hell are you trying to do again? Why are you always trying to take my pants off?" 
This little gem is filled with romance, mystery, and a full heaping of humor, and just the right amount of hot sex. The side characters add to the fun with their different personalities and quirkiness. But under it all, there's a real thread of danger that involves both greed and homophobia. The bad guys in Then Sawyer Happened are cruel and vicious. 

While we enjoyed the story a great deal, we did feel that Trace, who is a very capable, strong man in his own right played the role of victim to Sawyer's hero a little too often for the story to be truly believable. Our rating reflects this.

OUR RATING: 4 stars!


Friday, March 18, 2016

ARC #REVIEW: Marking Kane (Werewolves of Manhattan 4) by A.C. Katt #mmromance #paranormal #romhero

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance, part of the Werewolves of Manhattan Series
Release Date: March 5, 2016
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Length: unknown

Description: Returning from his territory in Atlanta, Gabriel Martin stumbles across a man in an alleyway who has been gang raped - his mate.

Gabriel Martin has hope. Three of the Alphas on the council have found mates in the past few years. Returning to New York from Atlanta, he comes across a human who has been raped in an alleyway. The human is his mate, Kane Brady.

Kane has been teaching at the local high school and refuses to rubberstamp the education of their star basketball players' almost paying the price with his life. He's unusual as he's a Human Omega but he can't be intimate with Gabriel because of his horrific experience.

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Marking Kane is rather a twist on most romances, especially paranormal ones. Gabriel a powerful alpha werewolf whereas his Alpha Mate is a young Human Omega. But they are even more mismatched because when Gabriel finally finds him, Kane has just been gang raped by five males he suspects are basketball players at the school where he teaches.
Kane shivered in the cold. The walk home seemed more difficult tonight, feet dragging through the snow piles with the wind gusts almost picking him up off the ground. He kept on looking over his shoulder. Kane was sure someone was following him. Every time he glanced backward he saw shadows in doorways.

He looked around again and watched five boys in ski masks come out of an alley. they were walking quickly toward him, with seeming purpose. As they got closer, he realized that they were following him. He began to walk faster. They also picked up speed. Kane started to run.
The odds are clearly not in their favor for a typical romance. What follows is the story of how Gabriel helps Kane to heal from his ordeal, both physically and mentally.
Kane woke up cradled to Gabriel's chest. Gabriel had him pinned down with his arm. He started to have trouble breathing. He tried taking deep breaths. Kane began to gasp and shake. This is my Gabriel, not them. I have to push through this. Soon he was wheezing loudly. Gabriel moved.

"Baby, what's wrong?" Gabriel sat up.

Kane was crying silent tears. "Your arm, it held me down. I couldn't breathe." then he progressed to deep gasping sobs. "Ask the gods to change your Mate. If they are merciful, they will. I love you and I can't even let you hold me." Kane sat up, ready to run out of the room.
It is also the story of how Gabriel draws Kane into his werewolf world, a world where Kane finally finds the one thing he's been missing--a family. Among these wolves and their human mates, he is not only accepted for who he is, but loved for it as well.
"Can we go to Macy's? I know I can afford stuff there. I went before dawn and got space on the sidewalk to watch the Thanksgiving Parade this year. It was wonderful." Kane smiled at the memory.

"Macy's it is. Do you want Sean, Ian, and Colin to come?"

"Oh no, I want to buy them presents and they'd snoop. Can you help me figure out what kind of gifts to get for Armand, Rémy, and Marc?"

"You don't have to get them anything."

"Yes, I do. They encouraged Sean, Ian, and Colin to befriend me. I'm so happy to have friends in New York, friends who are gay like me. I have to thank them."
But how can someone who has recently been gang raped ever hope to have a loving physical relationship with a lusty werewolf, a relationship that is required to complete the mating bond? This is where there is some potential for disagreement by some readers. If you enjoy paranormal stories where the gods play a role in helping their people, then this is the story for you. Other readers, who prefer a more "realistic" approach may not like how Kane's healing is handled in the story.

For my part, I'm more than willing to suspend disbelief if the resolution makes sense within the world of the story. In this case, I believe it does. The Human Omega is an important member of the pack, and based on some foreshadowing about the series arc, it seems that the wolves sense an upcoming battle in which all the Alpha Mates will play an important role. Kane is potentially essential to the North American pack's survival.

OUR RATING: 4 stars


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARC #REVIEW: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon #1) by Dusk Peterson #mmromance #gayfiction #romhero

Genre: M/M Historical Fantasy, Gay Fiction, part of The Eternal Dungeon series
Release Date: February 21, 2016
Publisher:  Love in Dark Settings Press
Length: unknown

Description: "'This prisoner deserves special treatment.' The hooded man looked over at the young man again."

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of love and adventure can be read on its own or as the first volume in The Eternal Dungeon, a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

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Rebirth is the dark, fascinating tale of two very different men who come to know and love each other under almost impossible conditions. The writing is detailed and powerful, the story fresh and unpredictable. But this is not a romance in the traditional sense. If anything, I would categorize this story as gay fiction because the Eternal Dungeon, in my opinion, is the main character, comprised of the setting and the myriad people who live and work in the dungeon.
Metal jingled nearby, then scraped. He heard the screech of another pair of door-hinges. Without waiting to be pushed, he walked into the destiny that awaited him. The room was small. He was not sure how he knew this, for his eyes were still shut. Perhaps it had to do with the way his footsteps sounded upon the floor.

The room was warm as well, warmer than the dungeon's entry hall had been and light danced against his eyelids. He tried not to think what the purpose of the fire might be.
I must give kudos to the author for creating such a rich world, filled with detail, and structure. It is easy to believe that the Eternal Dungeon is a real place in the shadows of a relatively modern world.

We learn about our two heroes, Elsdon and Layle, in relation to the the Eternal Dungeon--when and how they arrived there, how their lives were changed by the dungeon, and how they came to know each other through it.
The sound of a step next to him caused him to jerk his head up and open his eyes. The Seeker was only an arm's span from him now, and his hand was still empty of any whip or binding or other instrument. His body looked as relaxed as that of a man in bed with his beloved.
The romance between Elsdon and Layle is not to be underestimated either. Elsdon is the victim of years of abuse, accused of killing his father, while Layle is the sadist assigned to be his Seeker (i.e. torturer). How could two such men ever become friends much less lovers? How can one who is trying to recover from abuse surrender himself to one whose every sexual fantasy revolves around the torture of his partner? 
Eldson sighed. "Layle, what are you going to do, stop thinking about sex for the rest of your life? Whether you're with me the next time you think of sex or whether you're alone by yourself, I know what image is going to come into your mind. I know that what I suffered under Master Aeden will give you pleasure."
Over the course of Rebirthas the truths about the heroes lives prior to their arrival at dungeon are revealed, we see this relationship go through many ups and downs. Can it survive? Can love overcome such incredible psychological hurdles? Read Rebirth and find out!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

ARC #REVIEW: For Never and Always by Ana J. Phoenix #mm #paranormal #romhero

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2016
Publisher:  Ana J. Phoenix
Length: 170 pages

Description: Seth finds himself alone at an abandoned train station, with no idea what happened, or how he got there. He boards a train, only to discover it's a special express transporting the recently deceased to their final destination. The conductor tells him he's having a near-death experience. Seth wonders if it has something to do with his violent boyfriend, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is getting the hell off the train before he actually dies. But when he spots his best friend and secret crush among the traveling dead, the urge to leave fades...

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For Never and Always is an amazing story of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. The entire novel is eye-opening and beautifully written. The way the author weaves the world of the in-between is rich in detail, original, and, even more importantly, believable. The characters, including the secondary ones, all have poignant pasts that move the story forward. Nothing is gratuitous. I found myself spellbound, flipping (virtual) pages, and wondering how this romance would end. 

Seth stared at the other passenger, a heavy feeling in his stomach, like he'd swallowed a bar of iron. It couldn't be... But it was. He'd never mistake that voice for anyone else's. Sometimes, he spent whole weeks looking forward to hearing it. The other man had grown his chestnut hair out a little, but that was definitely... "Carter?"
Rest assured, For Never and Always does contain a true romance between Seth and his best friend. As their secrets and their true feelings for each other are revealed and the two men take their love to completion, we route for them. At the same time, we feel their struggle and their despair. Where can this love take them? Is it too late? 
Carter dug his fingers in a little harder, betraying his frustration. "I can't even begin to tell you how much I want to get off this train with you so I could love you the way you deserve."

Seth closed his eyes and leaned back, focusing on the warmth of Carter's body, the way he smelled. "You could love me right now," he said.

"I want more than now."
And that's where the author's skill comes in. All too often in stories of the "other side," the not-quite-dead character gives up his life for his true love or some supernatural being comes in to save the day. I was hoping for something different, and in For Never and Always, I got it. 

I won't tell you how this was resolved so as not to spoil the reading experience for others, but I will say that what was done is what had to be done for both characters to evolve to their full potential, to be the strongest, best people they could be. See, neither had yet learned what he needed to learn in order to fully enjoy his eternal reward. 

If you enjoy beautifully written, thought-provoking stories of the "other side," you'll love For Never and Always

OUR RATING: 5 stars!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#REVIEW Fire of the Heart by Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil #RomHero #mm #romance

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance, part of the Hearts of Parkerburg Series
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Publisher:  Appleton Publishing Avenue
Length: unknown

Description: Craig Gilchrist is the oldest of five siblings, the captain of the Parkerburg Fire Department, and all around buddy his friends run to when they have a problem. Unfortunately, he’s keeping a secret not only from the whole town, but his family as well. Living in the shadows works for him until one fateful night when a hot stranger walks across a smoky barroom, forcing Craig to make a move that could rock the foundation of his existence…and fill the void in his heart he doesn’t realize he has.

Melrose escaped the end of a bad relationship to start over in Parkerburg. With the support of his cousin and a job waiting tables at a great restaurant, he thinks his life is finally going pretty smoothly. That’s when his path crosses that of Craig Gilchrist, local fire captain. The big, beefy firefighter is definitely not his type. So why does he suddenly star in all of Melrose’s fantasies?

With Melrose at his side, Craig finally has the motivation to step out of the shadows and let Parkerburg see the real him…until trouble arises and the truth comes to light that perhaps he doesn’t know the real Melrose.

Lies and fears play havoc with their newly acquired relationship. Luckily, once ignited, the hearts of Parkerburg don’t burn out so easily.

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Craig Gilchrist, the rough and tumble captain of the Parkerburg Fire Department, is everything you'd expect of a small-town fire chief. Except that he's gay, and no one knows--not his friends, not his family, or most of all, not his colleagues. What would the residents of this small town think of him if he ever came out? Would he lose his job? These are all important questions and the very reasons that Craig has not only shut the closet door but chained it up tight.

On the other hand, while not flamboyant by any stretch, recent transplant to Parkerburg, Melrose, is quite obviously gay, and when these two guys meet, lust ignites. Unfortunately for Craig, lust ties his tongue in front of the hot city boy.
Craig's eyes were wide as saucers, and he radiated a heat that Melrose could feel through his suit and everything. Up this close, flecks of green were visible in his hazel eyes. Pretty...

Realizing he still held his hand out like a derp and Shawna exuded waves of disapproval, Melrose dropped it to his lap.

"This is Craig. He's with the fire department." There was a muffled thunk under the table, and Melrose bit his lip and sipped his beer. Someone had just been soundly kicked. "He doesn't mean to be rude. He's just not allowed out all that often."

"I'm allowed out," Craig protested. He cast a glance under his lashes at Melrose that he could have sworn he felt instead of saw.

Melrose is a man who knows what he wants, and a year of celibacy is more than enough. So when he sets his sights on Craig in his usual forthright manner, poor Craig can only cry, "Uncle!"
"Coffee?" Melrose cocked his head to the side, eyes flickering from the still raised cup to Craig's face. The grin that had faded a little came back full wattage. "Okay, coffee... that's a nice medium between blue balls and black eyes."

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was cute, funny at times, and the sex was hot (although, warning, there is some inventive language used to describe the act and various body parts). In terms of the plot, I felt that while Melrose has a secret that he's afraid to share, it's more something he walked into than intentionally planned. It's also something that could be resolved fairly simply. So for these reasons, this story is a 3.5 stars for me.

OUR RATING: 3.5 stars!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

#REVIEW: Alien Visitor by Max Walker #mm #lgbt #scifi #romhero

Genre: M/M Science Fiction Romance
Release Date: February 28, 2016
Publisher:  Max Walker
Length: 81 pages

Description: Recent college graduate, Jacob Levy, is bringing his cousin home from college when they both witness a sudden flash of light in the sky. After dropping his cousin off, Jacob finds himself in a terrifying situation as he stumbles upon the source of the bright white light.

That source? Bena-drez, an alien known as a Traveler who had been scouting Earth from above its atmosphere. After a mechanical failure, Bena-drez found himself stranded on the planet he was sent to study. The light-purple skinned Adonis was now stuck and could find no one to turn to for help.

Their ensuing connection is immediate and powerful. Ben awakens a new side of Jacob, a side he never dreamed he had. Can Jacob come to terms with the new but startlingly powerful feelings? Can Bena-drez find some help, and possibly something more, with Jacob or is their meeting just destined for a galactic catastrophe?

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I must say that when I started this book, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Lucky for me, Alien Visitor is a cute, well thought out story! Although it is only 81 pages, I didn't feel that it was rushed. That may be because the author uses the "mated" technique used in many shifter stories to justify the insta-love that is often a fixture of such books. I didn't mind it. In fact, I thought it made sense. A novella has to move and this one does!

Bena-drez, Ben for short, crash lands in a field near Jacob's house. Jacob goes to investigate the bright light and he finds a light-purple skinned man who turns his world upside now. When Ben reacts badly to the sudden cold Earth temperature, Jason reaches out to steady him and gets his first dose of alien pheromones.  
The skin to skin contact was.. electric? Jacob had no other word to describe it. As soon as his hand made contact with the alien's muscular back, the flame in Jacob's gut exploded into a full on inferno. 
The path to loving same-sex bliss isn't so straightforward though. Jacob isn't gay. He isn't into men, especially not purple-skinned aliens. Jacob determines to not be Ben's experiment. He wants nothing to do with this craziness. Unfortunately, the attraction is undeniable and his concern for the alien soon brings him back to the forest and the damaged spaceship. 

There were a lot of fun moments in this story as both males explore their new-found enjoyment of each other, talk about their worlds, deal with Jacob's coming out, and learn to accept the inevitable.
"Because I'm gay. There, are you fucking happy I said it?! I love this man and it's not like anything else I've ever felt. Not with you, not with Erica or Julie or Raquel. Not with any other girl that used to be in my life. When I'm with Ben, it's like my world is on fucking fire. Everything feels incredible. New. Fresh. And most of all? I genuinely feel like I can trust him with my life. That's something no one else has been able to give me."
Wow! Now isn't that something we'd all want our lover to say about us? 

The sexy scenes are super steamy and the suspense scenes are well done. Overall, Alien Visitor is well-worth the read, and at Outrageous Heroes of Romance, we're looking forward to the next book in the Travelers series which, we're told, will be a little longer and an m-preg book. Let's see if it's as well done!

OUR RATING: 4 stars!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

ARC REVIEW: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick #MM #LGBT #Romance

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Publisher:  CoolDudes Publishing PTY Ltd
Length: 181 pages

Description: Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross, drapes his massive body over Jason, sheltering him from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. Added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

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This story opens with a very gripping account of a mass-shooting in a college theater where one of the heroes, Jason Tripp, is in fear for his life. The reader shares every one of his emotions.

Life-sucking and blood-spattering and gurgle-inducing, evenly spaced sets of three that are becoming so horribly predictable. I brace myself for the impact because I know the next pop is going to come with excruciating pain that explodes in my head or my back or, if I'm lucky, my ass. Or, if I'm not so lucky, in all three places, one after another.

This can't be happening. It can't be happening.

Is nineteen too old to want my mommy?
Lucky for Jason, who is paralyzed with terror, another student from the same college, Liam Norcross, is there for him. In fact, Liam protects Jason with his own body and leads him to safety.

Be it heightened emotions, a knowledge that life is short, or awakened latent desires, Liam and Jason, both formerly straight men begin to fall for each other. What starts out as a comforting hug to ward off nightmares, turns into so much more.
I wake up crying.
Okay... if I'm going to be real, I'll admit that I'm sobbing. In these strong arms--no, sprawled on top of the chest of a man I hardly know--I sob in a way that I never have before. And hopefully, I'll never have occasion to cry this bitterly again.
Liam is bound and determined to protect the life that he saved, and Jason is all too happy to let him. Until reality hits. Until they are faced with what it means to be gay around their friends and their families. Until Jason's survivor's guilt and Liam's guilt over the one he couldn't save in his past come to the forefront.

Personally, I found the progression of the romance to be very plausible. The author lets the feelings these men have for each other evolve over time. They are both scared, frightened by this new desire for another man. Is it real? Or is it just a by-product of the traumatic event they survived together? These are real questions. Important questions. And the author doesn't shy away from them.

But it's not all doom and gloom. There are some definite lighter moments that made me smile between these two brave men. Take this excerpt from the scene where they first fully consummate their attraction to each other.
"Oh, God... you're in me." Not the most intelligent of observations, but my remark seems to work for him.

His eyes are wet, but it's with the intensity of his pleasure, not sadness. "Yeah... please say it's good for you."
The author's treatment of the characters' symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder as well as their confusion regarding their change in sexual orientation was extremely well handled.

The Art of Hero Worship is a heartwarming story of love found amidst the debris of tragedy.

OUR RATING:  4.5 stars!