Review: Away by Jeremy E. Elwell

An escape from today, uncovers the past.

When work and life in the city become too much to bear any longer, Jeremy decides it is time to escape to the forest. After convincing his partner to join in, the two self-proclaimed city boys are sucked into a world of survival of the fittest in some of the most remote wilderness in America. Confronting nature is only half the battle as Jeremy recalls, from memories that are deeply repressed, an adventure he once took as a young teen.
 



I have to admit the cover was what attracted me to this story. I know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I totally did...

This book was mostly enjoyable. At times - huge chunks of it TBH -  I was really caught up in the story, particularly as I was discovering Jeremy's earlier memories, the mystery that was there that he couldn't quite capture. In fact, it would be fair to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the actual adventure parts of this story, particularly younger Jeremy, it reminded me of some of the native American stories of teens sent out on their own as they learn to become men. His battles and interactions with the forest and its inhabitants were so real - it is obvious the author has experience in this area. The descriptions were fabulous, I could feel every heartbeat of the boy's struggle and journey through the forest. 

I also loved Brian, and how Jeremy and Brian's relationship developed through the story. I have to admit that, at the start, I thought this was going to go in a totally different way. Jeremy...I thought that he was going to abandon Brian, escape alone from the constricting city life they had. As it was, their relationship was written beautifully. It was real, not perfect, but full of love and I enjoyed the re-tracing of Jeremy's footsteps through the forest, learning Jeremy's earlier adventure together.  I could feel Jeremy especially growing through the story, becoming comfortable with who he was - and more importantly who he now.

This book is written in a very unique way. At the start I was drawn into this bleak life of Jeremy's and his overwhelming need to escape. I followed him on his metaphorical and physical journey - but there came a point where I really was unsure if this was actually a fictional story or if it was auto-biographical. I went on a search for details from the author...and I still wasn't sure. The author and character share the same name; many, many of the hobbies character Jeremy had were the same as author Jeremy...it kinda left me confused. I think my conclusion is that the author has drawn strongly on actual experiences and used them in a fictional story. Write what you know and all that. It worked, to a certain extent, because, as I said, there was a truth to what the characters did and how they did it.

I have to say that, for me, the ending didn't quite work. Not the ending, ending, but the explanation of the past. It just took a story that felt so real and settled, even the teen's adventure, into something fantastical. And that is where, if this story is entirely auto-biographical I'll feel like a right bitch, because...wow. That's awful. It wasn't the ending so much but the fact I didn't feel it felt that it truly fitted with all that had come before - even though the story was needing a conclusion, the mystery needed solving. The memories needed recovering. it just felt...a bit off.

The ending only knocked a little bit of a heart/star off for me though, the biggest thing that did it was the numerous grammar and editing errors. I hate saying that, but it did pull me from the story as I took seconds to work out what was being said. One in particular got right on my nerves (and I'm really far from being a grammar Nazi, but I actually had to google this to check it wasn't a UK/USA difference) - if you drag something, you have dragged it, not drug it. 
Drug:
Pharmacology. 
a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, 
prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to 
otherwise  enhance physical or mental well-being.

Drag:
verb: drags, dragging, dragged
to pull or be pulled with force, esp along the ground 
or other surface
This was so frequent (and among other errors) that I had to mention it because it really did pull me from the story and I'm pretty good at ignoring grammatical issues, I'm far from perfect myself. It's a shame, because with a good edit this has the chance to be great. It's quite unique and I can feel the author's passion for the story and the setting as I read. I still think this is worth reading - just go in warned. Okay? 


Find out more at Goodreads

A copy of this boook was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review: True Brit by Con Riley

Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ex-soldier Ed Britten has a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.



 #TrueBrit5Ever #TrueLove

Pasha and Ed are both contestants in a British singing competition/reality show. Ya know, where it's not actually based on reality, but instead on what the producers want the public to think. Ed and Pasha haven't spoken much and are nearing the end of the competition, when they overhear the producers plans for them, and it doesn't involve winning. 

Pasha's solution to get them on top is perfect! Mostly because it involves them kissing.  

They think their "relationship" is all for show. That they're just doing it for the cameras and to get the votes in order to make it to the end. But the chemistry. OMG, the chemistry. Yeah, they weren't fooling anyone, except maybe each other. 
"Straight guys don't melt like I do when other men whisper in their ear. You did it to me so often, I thought you were doing it on purpose."
Gah! *dies*

They had me melting into a puddle of gooey goodness. 

But, it all started just for show. Pasha wanted the votes and he got them. They were shipped and hashtagged and Pasha's set-up worked. Up until they became closer then they had originally planned. 

I loved the whole fandom surrounding these guys and #TrueBrit. And it made me think... is my favorite ship all for show? *hyperventilates* No! No way. No, they are not. They are in love just like Ed and Pasha! 

This story was easy and cute, different from what I've read from Con Riley in the past. The writing is still the same superb quality, just without the angst. There were some serious issues and underlying themes, but the story as a whole was had a lighter feel. There was an abundance of happy sighs and swoons from my corner. Their chemistry was crazy and they were seriously cute. Also, they were totally sexy. Quiet and reserved Ed isn't so quiet and reserved. Heh. 

True Brit is Con Riley's first self-pub and the first (that I've read) that's on the fluffier side. Not completely fluff, but you'll be smiling the entire time. I dare you not to.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads!

Review: Slave Eternal (In His Arena #1) by Nasia Maksima

When novice gladiator Lucan is stolen from his patron house and enslaved by the wicked Stratos to be a pawn in a dark scheme, he finds himself fighting for his life in the cruel Spectacles of the arena. His only hope is to undertake training under Hektor Actaeon, the arena’s greatest champion. 

From the moment he meets Hektor, Lucan’s life is changed. He expected to be trained. He expected to win glory in the arena. He never expected to fall in love. With every challenge, Lucan rises in power and glory, and what begins as a desperate bid for survival quickly spirals into a whirlwind of lust and love as he fights--both for his life and for an impossible future with Hektor.

But Hektor is harboring his own dark secret--one that could very well keep him from loving Lucan in return. Even worse, the menace of Stratos’s plan looms over them, sending them into the arena in a final battle to the death. Against each other. 

Can Lucan and Hektor overcome Stratos's dark designs and the cruelties of the arena, or will their secrets drive them to ruin in the final battle against each other?





It's Gay Spartacus!!!


Hella raunchy smutterific Spartacus, but still. It's filled with crude language and filthy hot sex.

There's enough plowing and seeding going on in here to rival the entirety of the American breadbasket. 






There are poles and rods and loads and wads, drippy cum and needy holes and even an anal star thrown in for good measure. The essence of Slave Eternal is fucking and fighting, sex and blood. It's total brain candy. There is a weak plot that leaks like a sieve. I'm not even going to go into that for two reasons:  (1) it would be spoilery and (2) it really doesn't make any sense even if I were to try… 



Don't even worry about the plot. Plot schmot. Did I mention it's brimming with gladiator cocks who fight, fuck, fuck in public occasionally, have angry, slightly kinky sex and the biggest gladiator of them all wants to bottom? 

Still not sold?


Now?

Oh alright. Lucan is a novice gladiator for House Vulpinius. Hektor is primus palus of House Actaeon and he's charged with training Lucan to be ready for The Grand Melee (big gladiator event) that's in two months. How Stratos scores Hektor as mentor for Lucan is beyond me. There are seven houses and each house has its own "top" gladiator but, I guess, Hektor is the crème de la crème. There is decent world building with the houses and the Empress, but the fighting and fucking are the centerpiece.  

Lucan has a crush on Hektor from the start and Hektor isn't truly over his last gladiator boyfriend, Leander, who was killed under dubious circumstances and, oddly enough, looked a whole lot like Lucan. Alas, they fall in love. It wasn't instalove but it was circling the instalove block. However, there is dark magic afoot that precludes Hektor's declarations of love which, naturally, leaves Lucan bereft. 

The "I love him but I can't tell him because reasons" was the only thing that got tiresome for me. The sex and gladiating are crazy, stupid hot and rife with some of the cheesiest, most awesome verbiage ever. The arena fighting can end one of two ways-fucking or death. If the Empress decides to show mercy on the defeated then he is sent to The Claim to be chained and pounded by the victor the following morning. I really would've liked for the pounding to happen in the arena, though. I think that's only fair. If you can get killed in the arena cheered on by the bloodthirsty masses then you can get plowed in the arena.




I am just saying.

Recommend to gladiator enthusiasts and fans of copious plowing.

p.s. I will totes be reading the next installment for reasons.


A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Passing Through by Jay Northcote

Don’t waste a chance at happiness…

Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.

Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.

On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.

Review:
This book was everything I've come to expect from Jay Northcote - characters I relate to, a great storyline and real love. The Cornwall setting of this book is beautiful and sets a great tone for the story. Like the beautiful Cornish coast, there is real beauty but also hidden treachery. 

Leo didn't expect to learn about love from his beloved Uncle Edwin. He doesn't expect the secrets he learns and he certainly did not expect to feel those stirrings of love himself with his uncle's gardener. The trouble is he's left with a choice to make - the life and job that he has worked so hard for, or to risk it all for the possibility of love. How do you know the difference between love and just sex? Is it worth taking the risk for?

I loved watching Leo and Tris and see how their relationship develops, but I have to admit Edwin was also a very key character and possibly my favourite. In learning his story I have to admit my heart ached a little. Not just for a man who is dying, but for a man who lived his life without the option of choosing the life he wanted. There was such a truth in this story, of the then and now, of society forcing people to make choices it has no right to, of making judgements based on nothing but a love they deem incorrect. I'm not going down that road as it will make my blood boil. 

What Jay Northcote does beautifully is draw the attention to then and now and how much things have changed. It doesn't make the now right, it doesn't make it better that things were worse before, but it does help Leo realise that he has a true chance at happiness, a chance that many, many before him would have given anything to have.

I'm making this sound quite political, and it really isn't, it is just a lesson Edwin teaches Leo, one we could all learn from - don't throw away those opportunities because of fear. Remember to live.

A really, really enjoyable story.

Excerpt:
On the beach they crunched along the shingle to the edge of the rocks, then turned to look out over the sea. It was almost completely dark now, and the moon was rising, casting streaks of bright silver on the oil-black water.

They stood in silence, watching and listening to the crash of the waves. Leo’s heart felt suddenly too large for his chest. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, a place that had barely changed since his childhood. The sea came and went with the tides, the sands shifted, but the rocks were constant. Yet here Leo was, an adult now rather than a boy, and his uncle reduced to an echo of the man Leo remembered—physically, at least. Unexpected tears prickled the backs of Leo’s eyes as a rush of emotion so strong that it made him draw in a sharp breath assaulted him. He swallowed hard, forcing the feelings back down.

Out of his peripheral vision, he saw Tris turn towards him, but Leo carried on gazing out at the gentle, rolling movement of the sea. Tris shifted his feet in the sand, bringing him closer. The warm skin of his arm brushed Leo’s, and Leo ached for more contact. He needed human warmth and touch to chase away the cold emptiness in his heart.It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.

Title: Passing Through
Author: Jay Northcote
Genre: contemporary m/m romance
Length: 43,000 words approx
Release date: Friday 20th Feb 2015
Publisher: Jay Northcote

Author Bio:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.



Fangirl Moment: Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.


God, where do I even begin? Of course I loved this book. I adored this book. I want to marry this book and have its babies. Why, you ask?

BECAUSE IT’S MARY FREAKIN’ CALMES, THAT’S WHY!



You either love her or you don’t. Me? I’m a lover of all things Mary Calmes. I can always count on Mary for my fix of perfect MC’s and the alpha males who love them. She’s reliable; she never strays from her formula. Except this time she did.

And it was awesome!

She took two, count ‘em, TWO alpha males and threw them together. You’ve got Aaron “I’m Better Than Everyone Else” Sutter and Duncan “Like I Give a Fuck” Stiel. And it worked. It worked so well that I’m absolutely blown away! Don’t worry, there was still plenty of classic Mary in the story. There were the eye squints and the topcoats and the easy dialogues. But then she threw in all the extras and the new stuff. It was fantastic!

Poor Duncan, he’s had a rough life! I wasn’t too sure I liked him when I met him in Acrobat but I sure as hell do now! He’s big and strong and a total dick but in a loving, caring way. And Aaron! I kinda liked him by the end of Bulletproof but not really. I thought he was way too arrogant. He’s still arrogant, but in an incredibly endearing way.

These two were a match that came completely out of left field. I loved their banter. Yes, there was a lot of sweet moments but remember, these are two tough guys. Their declarations of love were more along the lines of “Oh, how fucking unromantic of you to say that,” and flipping each other off than the classic “I love you”. And don’t even get me started on the sex! Guh and unf and all those other words to describe the hotness. I am so glad that I was gifted with this tale. My only wish is that there was more. I want more. Scratch that – I NEED more.

Please Mary, please will you write a ton more books like this?


Blog Tour & Giveaway: Home Series by Cardeno C.


Cardeno C. has an awesome giveaway going on! She'd giving away the entire set of her Home series. The whole set! That's seven books of deliciously gooey, sweet, sexy romance.
 
Here's how to enter:

Win the Home collection ebook box set!

Do you want to win an ebook box set of the Home collection? Answer a question about a book in the collection and you'll be entered in a random.org drawing to win.

Question:

How many titles in the Home series have 5 words in them?

2

3

4

Visit Cardeno C.'s website to find the answer and them submit it via this form. All answers must be received by Feb. 28th, 2015. You can visit the list of blogs with questions for more chances to win here: http://www.wlkbookpromotions.com/532/


Good luck!

Review: Red Dirt Heart #3 by N.R. Walker

Life for Charlie Sutton has never been better, or busier. With Travis now a permanent fixture of Sutton Station, a permanent fixture at Charlie’s side, Charlie’s convinced he couldn’t do anything on his ever-growing to-do list without him.

He can run a multimillion dollar cattle business, finish his degree, try and further the local beef industry, deal with staff issues, Ma’s failing health, and an attention-demanding wombat.

He can even deal with an unexpected visitor and some shattering news.

He can deal with it all, as long as he has Travis.

But what happens when he doesn’t? Red Dirt Heart 3 is the story of Charlie Sutton finally realising he can be the man Travis Craig deserves, even if he doesn’t have Travis. It’s a story of love, family, holding on, letting go and coming home.

Nose nudges and foot holding.

If you know these boys you know I could really stop right here and call this review done.

These two are so good at the moments and this continuation of their story is perfect.

While Charlie is really the focus, Charlie isn’t Charlie without Travis and since I’ve been following them since the first book, I just can’t help but love the man that Charlie has become.

It’s amazing how much story can come from basically one setting, but that just shows the strength of the characters the author has created. There were some scary moments in this one with lots of potential for heartbreak. But, instead of becoming overly dramatic, the characters were polarizing and the tough times gave their personalities a chance to shine. And, when I’m reading about characters with such great personalities, I don’t care if they ever leave the station. I just want to sit here, read their interactions and become a part of their world.

As always the secondary characters added to the story really well and they are just as integral to everything at the station as Travis and Charlie. I really felt the family element in this one, like the dynamics have been evolving just like Charlie has and the closeness of the characters rang true all the way through the book. By the end I was completely enamored of Charlie’s soft heart. There was some surprises from Charlie’s past and more information and understanding about his biological family that made his chosen family even more important to him.

One thing that happens when a character grows as much as Charlie has over the course of the series, is the overwhelming potential for a broken heart. Travis holds him to full disclosure though. No bottling up of emotions allowed at Sutton Station anymore. It’s a continuous struggle and was actually quite sweet to read Charlie’s struggles with sharing his feelings. He’s a total trooper though and it made the interactions between Charlie and pretty much every other character that much better.

Because Charlie and Travis are so much more settled in Book 3 they could really be the strength for one another in this one and not just finding their way to each other throughout. Charlie wouldn’t be Charlie without some kind of Travis angst of course. It was good though and I think while the circumstances surrounding Travis having to head home were heartbreaking, in the long run it was a good thing for their relationship and for Charlie in particular. I felt awful for Travis, because it would have been so much better for him if he and Charlie could have been together, it did force Charlie to become the man he needs to be for Travis, for himself and for all of Sutton Station. It also took their relationship to a more mature level fitting for the 3rd book of the series.

Also, Nugget is beyond adorable. I don’t think there could be any more perfect critter for these guys than little Nugget. The fact that he bonded so tightly with Charlie just made him that much more of a perfect pain in the ass. And, I loved him.



For more information on Red Dirt Heart #3, check it out on Goodreads.
***a copy of this story was provided for an honest review***

Cover Reveal: Of Gods and Monsters: Hades by Wulf Francu Godgluck


I know a lot of you have been anxiously awaiting the release of Hades. Me too! Well... we have some super exciting stuff to share with you today...

If you haven't picked up the first book, Of Gods and Monsters: Monoetius from the Love Landscapes event on Goodreads, that really needs to be fixed. Stat. I'll wait here while you go download. *waits* It's one of those that really is way too good to be free. That's right. FREE. For reals, check it out. It's all kinds of dirty, alpha male, angsty goodness.

I loved the first book and I seriously can't wait for Hades. It's coming soon! Eeeeeeeeeep! We have some goodies from the upcoming Of Gods and Monsters: Hades. *rubs hands together* We have the cover to show off AND a blurb AND we have an excerpt. Double and triple eeeeeeeeeeep!

Cover & Blurb:

******WARNING*******

This is not a story about a hero, or some bad boy-badass-antihero.

This is a love story of two monstrous villains and one valiant kid, held together by their entwined heartstrings.
It won't be pretty.
It won't be pleasant.
There's no fluffy good feelings about it.
It will rip out your heart and never give it back.

Breno Hades el Oscuro was never a man that took bullshit from anyone. He ruled the crime world of the United States. But the King fell. What was left in the ashes was not the small boy that grew up without his father, not the same kid that chose a life of crime at seventeen, or for that matter the King that clawed through a river of blood to stand at the top.

When the King was dragged from his throne of bones into deep dark pit, it was only the raw flesh of a savage monster that remained and crawled out of Hell.

One that knew love, but didn't want it again.

Kemono Orochi was the one destined to inherit the legacy of his father, known as The Dragon's Tongue. He never wanted it, never desired the power that went along with the title of Dragon. Kemono ended it all by tearing off the Dragon's head and watching the serpent's remains go up in hellfire. Now tormented by the scars of his past and those inflicted by his father, he is struggling to come to terms with the Akuma he has become.
One that wants to devour everyone in his path to get the only one that matters to him.
The only person that had ever made his icy heart beat.
His heart. His love. His beautiful pride.

Rex Hunter had a dream to become the principal ballerino...all fierce like a Phoenix. But this Phoenix has lost his wings and fell into the clutched claws and callus hands of two vicious beasts with the blackest of hearts. Where he would be kept safe, cherished and be loved unconditionally. Or was Rex just destined to be the goo that would stick two shattered souls together and prevent them from forever falling to pieces.

There's going to be blood, gore and nasty shit.
There's going to be watersports, crude, angry, sometimes sensual and other times just down right dirty and dysfunctional sex.
BUT...
There will always be LOVE.
Because even villains understand the tortured scars love leaves in its wake?

Excerpt: 

Hades held out his wrists to the guard standing at the entrance, next to the warden, Knight, wearing seventies style aviators while dangling a cigarette between his grinning lips.

“You'll get some new shiners for slamming Lewinsky in the cage, el Oscuro,” Knight growled.

Hades bared his blood stained teeth in a sly smile. He flared his nostrils as the guard slapped cuffs on his wrist and bend over to shackle his ankles. Hades was tempted to send his knee into the man’s face. He seized Knight by the shirt instead, yanking the man forward. The guard at his feet jumped back, pulling out his night stick. Two more came running from his right, three from Hades’ left, Tasers ready. Hades snatched the cigarette from Knight’s lips, sucked in a deep drag, shuddering as it filled his lungs—cheap Chinese shit—and blew the smoke into his face. He killed the coal on his tongue, not minding the quick scorch, when the first set of volts rocked through him from his back. His muscles locked, forcing him forward and crashing to his knees.

Hades’ body convulsed in spasms of pain, muscles rippling and twitching as electric charges coursed through him. He felt the point of Knight’s boot bite into his side while the fucker's voice droned overhead, “Put the dog in solitary, don’t be too gentle about it either. Let it fucking starve.” Knight spat, the glob landing on Hades’s face.

_________________________________________

Gah! It seriously had me at WARNING, because, let's face it, books with "warnings" are the best kind. It's like an invitation with beautifully embossed writing around here. But, holy crap, that blurb? *dies* I can't wait to get my hands on this. Be on the lookout for the upcoming Of Gods and Monsters: Hades. With a cover/blurb/excerpt like that, it's bound to be a delicious treat. In the meantime, check out book 1 for free, if you haven't already.

Review: Behind Locked Doors by Nicholas Kinsley

Edward Taylor is a man torn between his honourable façade and his forbidden carnal desires. Outwardly a proper Victorian family man, Edward secretly craves pain and lusts after men. Isaac Sinclair is a struggling writer forced by poverty to supplement his income with less savory pursuits, including discreetly inflicting “professional punishments” upon wealthy gentlemen. When Edward catches Isaac in an act of petty theft, the chance meeting seems to offer an ideal opportunity for both men. Neither man, however, is prepared for the escalation of social and personal risk occasioned by falling in love. 

There is something about historical kink that just works for me. Maybe it's the language of the era. Maybe it's the outfits. I'm not sure but it's a potent cocktail when you combine a Victorian setting, kink and finessed prose that'll have me sitting at that bar for quite some time, long past closing. This era engenders that desperate sort of romance probably due to all the intrinsic repression and standardized morality. Behind Locked Doors is a true romance between Edward and Isaac that remains true to the time period wherein being deviant in any way, shape, form or fashion nearly always resulted in ostracism. 


"It's not only that I want. I want it all. I want to fall asleep and wake up with you. I want to be able to call you mine in public. I want to be able to write about my love for you because I have the words in my head but it is forbidden that I put them to paper."

Edward has married a charismatic, outgoing and feisty French girl whom he loves as a friend. Unfortunately, their marriage has robbed her of vibrancy largely due to the fact that Edward is gay and avoids her for the most part, thereby making intimacy problematic. Edward blames himself for her unhappiness, but society dictates that he maintain the ruse. Still, he has needs that supersede his sexual desires.

Edward is a bit of a masochist, has been since he was a boy in school manufacturing ways to get disciplined. Isaac is a professional dominant and a chance meeting three years ago brought them together, but they do not have a sexual relationship initially. I actually found their relationship quite refreshing. The lack of sex coupled with the repression made for a very romantic love story. Edward has constructed an image of arrogance to keep others at bay and avoid relationships that could reveal his deviance. This facade leaves him isolated and socially awkward, but serves his purposes. Isaac has learned to see the real Edward beneath the veneer. 

Edward's a complex character, one a liked and disliked in nearly equal measures. He is very forthright save for the infidelity which I respected, but I didn't respect his relationship with his 6 year old son. He's somehow gotten it into his head that Peter doesn't like or love him and has given up hope of developing a loving relationship with him. On more than one occasion I found myself muttering, "he's 6, you git! Of course he loves you. You're his father." then rolling my eyes. There was also something about his characterization that didn't sit well with me and perhaps it's just my interpretation, but there was a subtle intimation that Edward is uncomfortable in any sort of commanding role which struck me as a distorted and somewhat disingenuous view of a submissive. 

Isaac's characterization was lovely, though. I thoroughly enjoyed how bubbly and outgoing he was paired with how controlling and quietly commanding he was within the context of a scene; it was like a light switch. He's also very intuitive and relies on his instincts where Edward is concerned which propels their relationship forward from professional to personal.

Their story struck a chord with me, but I'm a sucker for these types of stories as I said initially. I know the cheating will be off-putting for many as will the fact that Behind Locked Doors is non-linear. There are flashbacks that encompass Edward and Marie's meeting as well as the 3 years of Edward's relationship with Isaac. At times I had difficulty keeping track of the time jumps, but not often. By and large, I sank into this world that Kinsley has created. Plus, there were stockings and garters, not traditional MANTIES but I'll take it.



*growls*

Recommend to fans of historical kink with an abundance of romance.



An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Forbidden Fiction & Goodreads.