Ugh. I've been such a slacker. Well, to be honest I was kind of busy with the other blog all week and our VERY successful Petit Morts week. I hope everyone had fun. Seemed like it. I'll be contacting the chocolate winners tomorrow for addresses.
I have also been in a reading slump. I've flicked through my TBR and it's like, no, no, meh, maybe?, no, not interested, too long, too ... I have skimmed/reread almost my entire Lynn Lorenz collection and seem to be starting on James Buchanan. Sigh. Not that either is a BAD thing, but it's like I just don't want to tackle having to "meet" new people. I don't have to concentrate if I go back to old books, I know who everyone is, how they'll act, what they'll do. Double ugh. Maybe today? I hope.
Well, the only think I seem to have read lately is the anthology below. So maybe talking about his book will get me started again.
Pour Some Sugar On It edited by M. Rhode (172 pages)
What's our recipe for something sweet? Just take a group of Torquere authors, add hot men, throw on the sugar, and shake. Pour Some Sugar On It does just that, bringing you sweet tales of lust and love, all with a dash of sugar. From werewolves with sweet tooths to candymakers and their confectionery assistants, we've got chocolate lovers and honey abusers, berry farmers and ice cream aficionados, and they've all got one thing in common -- they're hot and they're sweet.
That is the blurb so you can see the point. There are 10 stories ranging in length from about 10 pages to 31, so a bit of a range. I'll just quickly go through a few and may spend time on my favourites.
Sweet Tooth by Julia Talbot - This is a continuation of You Don't Need a Doctor from the Healing Hearts anthology. It shows Andy and Shiloh a year later preparing for their anniversary and Andy's decision to have some fun with chocolate and strawberries in bed rather than go out. There's a lot of humour in these stories and it was fun to see the guys after further down the road.
Going to Eleven by Lee Benoit - Chip sees a cute berry farmer at the farmer's market but is in a relationship, boyfriend #9. But not for long. He runs into Bartholomew again when he's with boyfriend #10. When that goes bust he finally tries to convince Bartholomew to be his next boyfriend. But he's not interested in being a number. It takes Chip a while to catch on and Bartholomew has never even had a #1, but they were a cute couple.
One Foxy Man by Misa Izanaki - This is the story of how Aoi and Itzuki met in the Body Shop world. It likely won't mean as much who are not already familiar with the couple (who are actually in a menage at this point - this is going back in time). I love these stories though.
A Prince Among Princes by G.R. Richards - At the annual convention of the Association of Gay Princes, Julian usually ends up with a waiter or two but when he meets a Prince he never saw before, he's fascinated and decides to spend time with Chase instead, later finding out how far Chase went to have a chance with him. I could just imagine all these gay princes, dressed like out of Disney swishing around the convention. A cute concept.
Drink Deep From the Cup of Victory by Gabriel West - I read this one last because a) it's kind of historical fantasy and b) it was the longest. I wasn't sure at first but as I got into it I was totally hooked. It's set in an ancient time of warriors (think the Trojans, or ancient Rome, it's not really clear) and Leandros has led his men to a successful victory and has retired to his tent with his chariot driver Aeton who is also his lover. This short covers so much and I think so well, Aeton was rescued by Leandros after being raped and he still deals with the fall-out of that event and what he can and can't do in bed and how Leandros deals with it so sensitively, it deals with their necessity to have wives/heirs and how much they hate even thinking about each other with a woman and what they have to do to perform. It's very lyrical and romantic and the love between the two is just immense and comes through. Oh honey is involved as well. :-) This one really touched me, even now thinking about it after I get a bit teary. (sap that I am) I'd say the anthology is worth it for this story alone.
Best Birthday Ever by Heidi Champa - Marcus agreed to let his friend have a birthday party for him even though he's mourning his break-up of 3 months. However when he sees David the caterer he's intrigued. And David promises the birthday cake called "Better than Sex". Later Marcus makes David prove it. A cute little story and hey, a man who can bake a chocolate cake is all kinds of win in my books.
Favorite Dish by Cari Z - Alex is a chef whose lover James is out of town for business for three weeks. To kill time and distract himself Alex cooks/bakes up a storm for everyone around him. Lots of descriptions of wonderful pies and wonderful food. James then manages to sneak home a couple of days early where they have a wonderful reunion. I'm not sure if this is an existing couple but I'd love to know how older lawyer James and younger chef Alex got together.
The Candyman Can by Rob Rosen - Chad's driving down to his nephew's bithday and stops impulsively at a candy store on the way to pick up some treats. When he meets candy shop owner Glenn, all thoughts of kids' candy fly out the window. He hangs around until the shop closes and he and Glenn use candy in ways that would make Willy Wonka cringe. Just a hot steamy little piece with a suggestion of more in the future.
Banana Ice Cream by Emily Moreton - Mal and Owen are long-time lovers who run a surf school and Mal is a surfer. Mal was away for a competition and Owen is stressed about work stuff and Mal "forces" him to get in the car to go for banana ice-cream. Really he has booked them a cottage on the beach for a few days to completely relax and unwind and there is ice-cream in the hot tub, although it's not banana. :-) A nice story of Mal recognizing Owen's stress and making and effort to see that his man gets a break. You could tell they had been together a long time and knew each other well.
Chocolate Dreams by Kiernan Kelly - Alexander is a chocolatier extraordinaire and he knows it. He prefers to run a small shop where he can do what he wants but he has hissy fits on a regular basis and burns through apprentices. Thomas is a mechanic, but he's desperate for a job even though he knows nothing about chocolate. Turns out he's the only one not freaked out by Alexander's tantrums which annoys Alexander to no end. Eventually kinky things with chocolate happen in the kitchen early one morning with a bit of a battle over who is the alpha male.
Brownies: A Hammer Story by Sean Michael - I don't follow the Hammer stories as a rule so this will be of more interest to those who know the characters. Subs Tanny and Jim spend the day making brownies and a mess. When their masters come home, Tanny pushes his until he's taken to the bathroom for a little punishment. Jim is freaked out and thinks Marcus is angry at him. I don't know the story here but Jim and Marcus are not obviously into the hard-core stuff which freaks Jim out and there is a very romantic/sexy time on the couch as Marcus convinces Jim he's not angry with him. As I said, those who know these characters will enjoy it more.
So on the whole all of the stories are cute and sweet in different ways. I did notice some editing errors, a few more spelling mistakes than I usually find, but not excessively so as to detract from the overall reading. But as I said, I think it is worth it alone for Gabriel West's story and for those who follow series like The Body Shop or the Hammer books it's nice to visit old characters we enjoy.