Rather than decorate my tree, I'm doing this. Lazy lazy me. Later we're going to the Princess and the Frog. Sigh. The tree will be here tomorrow I suppose. It looks like I was in an ML Rhodes binge but I kept forgetting to say I read Wanting and thanks to Chris some of these were just too cheap to pass up. :-P
A Time for Charity by A. Willingham (16 pages)
Mitch is not in the holiday spirit but runs to the store to buy his sister some perfume for her birthday. The clerk is just his type and he totally loses it and is a total klutz making a poor impression but he figures he'll never see him again. That night his friend convinces him to come to a charity event at the gay club and who does he meet? Sam, the same clerk he just made a fool of himself in front of and it doesn't go much better at the club although when Sam gets ditched by his ride Mitch pulls up his socks and offers him a ride home. It's just a little story about two guys with chemistry meeting and MAYBE it will be more as both are looking for a relationship. For 16 pages it was okay. You obviously don't get to know much about them in that long.
If I Must by Amy Lane (66 pages)
This is a longer DSP one so the unique cover, speaking of which, is that not the cutest cover ever? Ian is an Australian math genius (in the US) who is totally useless, loses 5 phones in 4 months, destroys the kitchen table doing experiments, forgets to eat, show up for meetings, just totally into the math stuff in his head. Joel is new in town and looking for a place to live when he meets Ian at the gym and he offers him his spare room. They hit it off and Joel takes over keeping Ian fed and organized but is straight so they are just friends. Joel goes home for Thanksgiving and Ian calls him saying their cat "Manky Bastard" has to be put down so he rushes back after a frank talk with his Mom and sister about whether he is gay, which never occurred to him but he loves Ian. It was told interestingly with Joel telling his sister stories about Ian and his spaciness so almost like flashbacks that emphasized Ian's personality. He may be spacey but he had a huge heart. I really liked this story. I thought it was really sweet but not overly sugary and I enjoyed that they had a relationship as friends before they hit the romance so I didn't have to deal with "It's Christmas, let's ram in a HEA". I loved Ian but I could never live with him, I'd go around the bend living with someone like that, but it seemed to work for Joel. I really liked this one. After the last few questionable ones I was starting to worry but this gave me hope for the future. LOL Well done Amy.
The Professor's Secret Passion by M.L. Rhodes
Nathan (27) decides he's going to as his advisor if he feels the same way as him. Aiden is 9 years older and super paranoid about the teacher/student thing so denies any feelings. Nathan decides not to take no for an answer and they end up getting it on on the desk. When the head of the Department stops by, the mood is broken and Aiden freaks and runs. He won't answer Nathan's calls and isn't home. Nathan refuses to give up and decides it's worth pursuing and waits out Aiden. I liked that Nathan didn't just give up, that he figured what they had was worth figuring out WHY Aiden was so adamant about not being in a relationship. In general I like the way ML Rhodes writes, I like her characters and the smexin' is hot although there isn't that much as the story takes place from a Friday evening to a Monday evening with them actually only together at the beginning and end. Still a great little story.
Wanting by M.L. Rhodes (92 pages)
Jeremy is straight but the night of one of his room mates birthday he has sex with his best friend (and roommate) Ben. Then totally freaks. He breaks up with his girlfriend although he'd been avoiding her for months, he starts studying until 3 in the morning to avoid Ben because he's sure he'll hate him, Ben things Jeremy hates him, the girlfriend is a PITA and won't take "I don't want to see you anymore" as a good enough reason and wants to know WHY. Honey, when a guy has refused to have sex with you for 4 months, you don't turn his crank, that IS the reason. Get a clue. Anyway, she figures out his fascination with Ben and he's more or less forced to deal with the issue. He admits he wasn't drunk and had wanted it and Ben's been lusting after Jeremy for years. Everything is hunky dory until Jeremy's homophobic racist (Ben is black) father bursts into the bedroom. Ooops. There is a nice show-down where the true meaning of friends being your family, not blood is raised. All in all a good story, and I could relate to Jeremy's avoidance technique because that tends to be my first reaction to issues. LOL One thing though there were some glaring editorial errors. Apparently the book was written in a couple of days but at one point he was trying to breath and "he dragged air into his legs". Ummm. Really? I told my daughter and she goes "Maybe he's alien?" I don't think so. There were one or two others that were not just little misses but major words wrong. Not a big deal but the breathing through his legs stuck out obviously.
Christmas in Killarney by Cash Cole (62 pages)
I'm sure whoever wrote that song never dreamed it would be used in this context. LOL Colin is an Irish writer who lives in Australia but is home for the holidays. He goes back to the church to get his sister's Tupperware (fuck Tupperware, you can replace it) and ends up falling in some water and passed out naked in the church. Someone takes his clothes and as he chases them down in the snow he gets hypothermia as it is now a blizzard. Harry takes him home to his partner Morgan. They own the local pub. They get Colin warmed up and decide they might be willing to take him on for a threesome but Colin shies away. The next days he helps them prepare for a big party at the pub and when some money goes missing he offers to lend it to them but the town pulls together instead. That night they have wild monkey sex (body shots baby) in the bar after everyone leaves and they decide that they might like to have Colin permanently in their lives. It seems that everyone was pretty okay in small town Catholic Ireland with two gay guys seeming to take on a third as they kissed him in front of everyone and no one even blinked. Uh huh. Problem for me, after 24 hours they decided they wanted to be a threesome. I know Colin was only there 2 weeks, it was Christmas so we needed a HEA, but I'm having more and more issues with this theme as I read more. No insta-love please, an agreement to see if they can make it work, even just saying "maybe I'd like to see if we can make this might work" is fine, declarations of undying love are not required. So I liked the characters, liked the setting, just had my usual issue.