These stories can be any genre, but they all have main characters who are LGBTQ+ . I separate them out so they are easier for you to find. 🙂
AFTER THE FALL by L.A. Witt
This is the latest installment in the Tucker Springs series, none of which I’ve read before, but you don’t have to have read any of them to know what’s going on in this story. It is truly stand-alone—for which I am grateful.
The story is told from the point of view of Nathan and is in first person, so it’s all him. He’s a receptionist/clerk/office person for an acupuncturist. He’s also a lover of horses and manages to save enough to purchase a beauty—Tsarina. On their first trail ride, they’re galloping up a steep path when a motorcycle comes roaring out of nowhere and spooks the horse. This causes a fall where Tsarina ends up on top of Nathan. Not good for Nathan. The horse is okay. Nathan, however, ends up with a broken leg and, when he punches Ryan (the cycle rider) in the face, also a broken wrist. Nathan ends up with casts on his leg and arm and has to give up on his dream of riding his horse for several months. Interesting point: The author obviously knows her horses and lingo and uses it well to enhance the story.
Then Ryan offers to take over riding Tsarina for Nathan and the story takes off. The men form a comfortable relationship, get to know each other, and slowly but surely start a little romance.
I liked how the author gave both men relationship hang-ups, but some of Nathan’s just went a little overboard for me. Especially the first sex scene where he freaks out about not being in control but we’re not told why or what happened to make him so…insecure.
Also, there was a lot of repetition of scenes. I got to the point where wanted to read something different and skipped ahead. A lot. After a certain point, there wasn’t much going on that hadn’t happened before: Nathan gets help going up or down the stairs, they go visit Tsarina, they go to a restaurant to eat, they talk too long and leave the restaurant late. Add in some sex scenes about halfway through and go through everything again—including the sex. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just got repetitive.
There was the usual romance story dust up where it looks like they’ll never be together—though you know they will—and the story has a satisfying ending.
Ms. Witt’s writing is full of humor and snark, as well as emotions. I found myself actually laughing out loud on a few occasions. The sex scenes were well done—even if they did seem to repeat. Explicit but never clinical, and emotional and romantic, despite a couple of casts getting in the way.
Recommendation: This is a solid romance about two guys who are realistic and a gorgeous and there’s a beautiful horse to boot. A definite read for those who like light standard romances.
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
TAKE DOWN by Jess Anastasi
LGBTQ+ Romantic suspense
Caveats: contains physical violence
Danny Jones left his comfortable job in Houston to return home to the small town of Everness to help his mom who has cancer. In Houston, he was out and comfortable, but when he returns, he has to go back into the closet or risk the wrath of his abusive father. Then he meets Deputy Jake Perez, a new resident who is on the trail of a psychotic killer. They meet when Danny runs his truck into a disabled car (at a blind curve) and Jake saves his life. There is instant attraction, but Danny doesn’t dare do anything about it. Then the bodies start piling up and everything points to Danny.
This was a story that started intensely with the accident and subsequent explosion. And it didn’t let up.
The characters of Danny and Jake are three-dimensional with issues, both internal and external that makes them realistic. The secondary characters, especially the sheriff, are there as strong support rather than just background. There was a strong attraction between the two main characters and grew organically as the story moved forward. I loved Jake’s sensitivity to Danny’s wish to keep his father from finding out about them and Danny’s determination to help his mom even though all he wants to do is get away from his father.
Although it’s pretty obvious who is doing all the killing, it works for the story because this is a romantic suspense and not a solid murder mystery. The author does a good job of building the suspense and keeping you on the edge of your seat when Danny disappears. Jake is the only one who believes Danny is still alive. Danny’s father is truly nasty—but the author introduces a bit of humanity to him when he realizes Danny is gone and everyone thinks he killed him. That was an interesting scene, well thought-out and well-done.
Details: the setting is a small town in Texas near Houston. But we really don’t know any details about it other than that – oh, and that there’s one bar in town. Still, the lack of details isn’t a big problem, but a little more would have been nice.
So… romance, suspense, murder, acceptance, and more combined to make a compelling read that keeps you turning the page. I definitely recommend this book.
FOUR by Tia Fielding
LGBTQ+ romance with triggers
Caveat: There are a lot of triggers in this story… but they are handled in such a way as to make the story readable for most people. There are some who may still react to some of the issues. Be aware that there are subjects of PTSD, abuse, violence, and more – but told as in the past by characters saying what happened to them in the past, not present.
This was a difficult story to read, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good story. It really is. The characters are believable and sympathetic. The world building—a small town—is done well, giving you a brief look into the lives of the people who live there.
The story is basically about two men—Kaos and Padraig (Paddy). Kaos is a young person who is gender fluid with a past (as are all the characters in this story). An ex-con, he was in an abusive relationship. He finally got the nerve to leave and move to Acker to be with his friend (and ex-cellmate) Makai and Makai’s mate, and then he meets Paddy. Paddy is the town vet, 47 years old (a good 20 years older than Kaos) who was married for 23 years to Marcus. Marcus died and Paddy turned in on himself. Then he meets Kaos and his world is turned upside down. (Please note: the author tells the reader from the outset that Kaos is fine with the he/him designation so I am using that here).
This is a simple story about the men, their friends, their pasts, their current life, and possible futures. It’s not your standard romance. Kaos has girly days and boy days and Paddy (and others in town) have to learn to accept him as he is. Kaos has to learn how to accept that no everyone is violent and that gentle love can and does exist. This story has a lot of love, forgiveness, acceptance, and looks into the human spirit.
As noted above, there are a lot triggers in this book which needs to be noted for some readers, but they are not heavily on the page. They are triggers the characters experience due to their pasts and how they deal with them.
Still, it is a good story and has a satisfying end that shows that even the most broken people can be put back together—maybe with a few cracks here and there, but the glue of love eventually heals all.
ANHAGA by Lisa Henry
This was an interesting book. Okay, I know, that’s never a good way to start a review, but it was. I had a little trouble getting into it at first—not because of anything specific, it was just a little hard for me to get into. And that’s on me. But once I did… I didn’t stop.
I loved the character of Min. He’s so…unheroic. And yet, he’s not. He’s a thief, a liar, and more. He cares so much for his friend Harry that he’s willing to go to the last place in the world he wants to go and do something he really doesn’t want to do in order to save Harry’s life. Then he meets Kaz, and his world is turned end over end.
This is a decent fantasy with really good world building and light-hearted wittiness that keeps it from being too dark—mostly thanks to Min. From the outset, you know it’s going to be different because Min is so different from most heroes. It’s just fun—with serious undertones. Or serious with fun undertones? Whichever you decide on, it’s definitely worth the read.
This is not a romance per se, but a fantasy with romantic undertones—both between Harry and his paramour and Min and Kaz.
The author caught my interest and held it with a different kind of story, excellent world building, unique and quirky characters, and a satisfying ending that made me check out to see what else this author has to offer.
I definitely recommend this book.
KNEADING YOU by C.S. Poe
M/M short story
Wow. Just… wow. So, this morning, I thought I’d look at the dozen or so stories I have on my slate to review to see which one I wanted to read next. I do this by reading the first few paragraphs or first page of a story and rating it in my mind as to whether I want to go on.
And then I opened this one. The premise: what do you get when you mix an award-winning, shy, carpenter/baker with a broke librarian? You get a short story with a HEA ending that satisfies the soul.
And didn’t close it. Okay, it’s only a short story so it’s not like it took me forever to read (about an hour), but still… I couldn’t put it down. The characters of Miles and Christopher are so well-crafted and the premise so believable that I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to see what happened. Okay, the bad guy—Sam—really wasn’t necessary, but the rest of the story is really good. And honestly? I’d love to see this developed into a much longer story. I want to see what happens with them. With the library they’re trying to save. With the town. In these few short pages, the author made me care—and that’s what good writing is all about.
Caveat: for those who don’t like their stories hot, there is one steamy scene, but it fits the story well. So…if you like your gay (M/M) stories short, hot, and satisfying, definitely pick this one up.