Wrangers Voir Dire by Vivien Dean (75 pages)
I was lucky enough to win this one which made me happy because I liked the first and wanted to know more. Derek proposes a weekend celebration with Sam but Sam already has plans to go to Napa Valley for his friend's wedding. He invites Derek who surprisingly accepts since Sam figures Derek is all about keeping it casual, no relationship. There are some mini-arguments as Derek seems to act out of character and they have to actually talk about their relationship. At first I was pissed off at Derek the way he acted and he seemed to be an asshole but when they actually talked maybe Sam was assuming things and not giving Derek credit but talking would have helped which they finally did. It's just a short story over the weekend away but it was nice to see their relationship move from fuck buddies to boyfriends.
Three of a Kind by Stormy Glenn (115 pages)
This is book 4 in a series but you don't need to read the others to read it. Jake is some top secret military guy who lives on a ranch with his unit. At Christmas he meets Heath (a complicated friend of a friend story line which I suppose comes from other books in the series). Heath is as fey as they come, adorable, flirty, rainbow coloured gay. Jake is instantly smitten and Heath tries to tone it down because he always gets in trouble with boyfriends when he's himself. But things are going well and they have insta-love (or almost) and then Ethane shows up, a lawyer friend of a friend. Ethane's attracted to Heath and vice versa but he would never since he loves Jake. Eventually it comes to a head and they make a threesome. Then there's some substories about gay bashing in town, and lack of communication that all works out HEA. It was okay, nothing remarkable although for a period of time in the book Ethane became Ethan then switched back.
Hearts Afire April by Emery Sanborne and Jamie Craig (113 pages)
I kind of like these Hearts Afire stories, I'm developing a thing for firemen. I've never read anything by Emery Sanborne before but I enjoyed the story. Andreas is forced to take Bobby, the new guy, under his wing. Seems Bobby is a bit of a cowboy and Andreas used to have anger issues. Of course Bobby comes on strong and Andreas resists for all of 10 min. but on their first "date" Andreas gets arrested to attacking some ass who made snotty remarks about gay guys. Not a great relationship start. Andreas kind of keeps accidentally inviting Bobby on dates that include his family and besides smokin' hot sex he's not sure what's going on. There was mention of some relationship that went bad a long time ago everyone referred to but you didn't really know the story which I would have liked to know about and there is the crisis when one of them gets hurt on the job which does seem to be a typical conflict in fire fighter stories. But on the whole a nice little story with likable characters. My only thing was they kept calling Bobby "kid" but he'd been in the marines for 14 years and then a fireman for 2 so he was at least 34 and I didn't think Andreas was that much older.
In the second story Dan is one of the fire fighters who rescues Anthony after a bad accident. Anthony always remembered Dan's voice and ended up going blind because of the accident. A year later he goes to thank Dan in person and they end up dating and Dan finds he really likes Anthony and they have a lot in common and hot sex (of course). Dan has to get past "helping" Anthony and let him be independent and again the crisis of Dan getting hurt on the job and can Anthony deal with that. It moves pretty fast, I think they agree to move in together about 3-4 weeks after they met but it seemed plausible and I like how the blindness issue was handled. A good read.
Another Fine Mess by lots of people (177 pages)
These are all little stories about people who get in trouble, everything from losing a bet and ending up as a slave for a day to getting kidnapped by the mob and needing rescued. As with most anthologies, some I liked better than other and some were installments of other books/stories so I didn't have the whole background to follow but the following were some of my faves.
Dragon Walker by Lee Benoit - Endi is a dog walker in a small town who has a boyfriend but also gives complimentary blow jobs to his customers. One day he thinks he sees wings on a dog. He meets a blind psychologist to tells him he's a dragon whisperer and it seems all dogs are really dragons. When Endi tells his boyfriend everyone thinks he's nuts and he ends up in the psych ward. Then all his dog friends go nuts in their dragon form and he has to be sprung from the hospital to save the town. The "romance" between Endi and the Chief of Police who is older was very secondary and it's all told from Endi's point of view but I liked his voice and it was funny how he dealt with finding out about dragons and his naivety that people would believe him when he told them.
Finding Trouble by Misa Izanaki - This is one of those continuing stories but I've read a few shorts set in the same world (body mods, weres, vampires) but this one took place before the others I've read. Dante works as a bartender and is getting pissed that his boss Kale keeps having the bouncers run guys off so Dante can't get a date. Finally one night he manages to hook up and Kale is furious but basically says fine, if you get in trouble I'm not helping. Well, seems Dante hooked up with a vampire, ooops and Kale does rescue him and finally confesses that he likes him and things move quickly from there. But I do like the few tastes I've had of this world.
The Alpha Bet by Cassidy Ryan - Grey and West are on vacation from their high pressure partnership. The night before at cards they placed a fun bet and since West lost he has to be Grey's servant for the day and do whatever he wants. It becomes pretty clear that Grey has done the whole Master thing before and West is incredibly turned on by it. So they have a fun day of West following orders and eventually having to get "punished". Later when West asks why he never said anything before about that kind of life Grey tells him that he knew West was the best thing in his life and he was prepared to go without that rather than lose him. They resolve to talk about it and you see some more games in their future. It was a fun story and I liked Grey's explanation, that he loved West enough to sublimate his own desires to have a relationship. How womantic. :-)
There was another on a D/s them, a couple of thieves, one who catches the other, some good old boys in a bar fight, pirates, vampires and a few others. As I said, some I liked more than others.