Friction is a multi-authored homoerotic anthology. I was happily surprised that I really liked all of the stories in it. Many times in the past, I’ve read other anthologies where there are usually at least two or more stories that I either disliked or it lost my interest. Admittedly, there are some stories I liked better than others, but all of them were interesting and very entertaining short stories.
Cruising by J.P. Bowie
At thirty-one, Adam Brenner is giving himself a fresh start. Since his relationship with his ex-boyfriend has gotten sour, he’s ready for a positive change in his life. When he takes a job to run the casino on a luxury cruise ship, he’s pretty excited about the new job; even if he knows it’s going to take some effort to keep the casino running in ship-shape. Unfortunately for Adam, the night before the ship leaves, his crew has too much fun and misses an important meet and greet with the other crew members and the ship’s captain. To Adam’s chagrin, the captain of the ship is not only the father of the man he just had a hot one nighter with, AND it’s obvious that he’s not impressed with Adam and his lazy “American” casino employees.
Adam soon realizes he’s made a mistake with the captain’s son as soon as he meets a handsome and talented young guitarist named Brett. Brett is sweet and thoughtful and everything that Adam wants in a man. As Adam and Brett start forming an emotional bond together, Brett finds out about Adam’s one night stand the night before they met, and wonders if Adam is just playing him for a fool.
Will Adam be able to convince Brett of his feelings of affection toward him?
Cruising is told in first person with Adam’s point of view. I admit I’m not a fan of first person romance. I like to know what the other main character is thinking, but I thought that Mr. Bowie did an excellent job at portraying at what the other characters were feeling. Adam has to put up with a lot of drama and backstabbing from other characters that work on the cruise ship. I though this made the short story interesting as well. Most importantly, the physical and emotional chemistry between Adam and Brett was delightful, and even though I wasn’t pleased with Adam and his one nighter at the beginning of the book, I ended up liking him and I was glad to see he got the happy ending he deserved.
Maximum Exposure by Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason
Rob Jenkins has decided to take a chance at something naughty. He and his boyfriend, Max has been together for six years. Even though they are in love, their relationship has been suffering because of Rob’s fear of giving into a sexual fetish that Max has. Rob is determined to keep his relationship with Max healthy and happy…even if that means trying to be open about Max’s fetish of fooling around in public.
When Max is out of town for business, Rob decides that this opportunity to play out some of Max’s fantasies. He surprises Max, and sets out to seduce him and make his fantasies come true.
I thought Rob deciding to give into his more adventurous side of sexual play with Max, even though he felt initially out of his element, rang true to me. Sexual compatibly is important in all relationships, and Rob is smart enough to see that if something didn’t change between he and Max, their relationship would end up being doomed. Both Rob and Max were interesting characters and likeable people. Both men are forced to look at their relationship and make the decision if it is worth fighting for. For a short story, I thought both characters were pretty well rounded and I really enjoyed the love and intense physical chemistry between them.
Yes! By Kim Dare
When he’s offered a good time in bed by a handsome and sexy man, twenty-six year old Andrew Holt, definitely has a hard time saying NO. Andrew’s gained quite a reputation from his promiscuous behavior. He finds out that some men are not impressed by this slutty behavior when he meets the interesting nineteen year old Stephen Phillips. Even though Stephen is younger than Andrew, he has a strong and dominatingly assertive personality that Andrew finds very attractive.
The two men start a discussion/argument over Andrew’s lack of self control. Stephen bets Andrew that he won’t be able to say no to anything Stephen sets out to do to him. Thinking that this is an easy win, Andrew takes that bet and soon realizes his mistake when the more he’s around Stephen the more he desires him and connects with him on a more emotional level. But, when Andrew finally submits to Stephen’s dominate nature will it be enough for them to start a beautiful and loving relationship together?
I really liked the chemistry between Andrew and Stephen. Once again for a short story I really found it easy to like both heroes and root for them to somehow work through their differences of opinion and get together. The cat and mouse game the men played with each other was both very sexy and fun to read! (Stephen feeding Andrew that chocolate cake was just H-O-T!) One of the great things about Ms. Dare’s writing is her snappy dialog and the intense emotional pull the heroes have with one another. This makes her stories both addictive and very enjoyable to read.
Sorry Charlie by Ashley Ladd
Charlie Lang has had an estranged relationship with his father ever since Charlie came out of the closet to him seventeen years ago. Now, suddenly his father wants to mend the broken bridge between them and Charlie is confused but hopefully optimistic. But, Charlie’s partner of fifteen years, Jonathan, does not feel the same way. He’s afraid that Charlie is just setting himself up for a world of hurt again and he doesn’t know what he can do to prevent it.
On top of the stress that Charlie being reunited with is father, they also have to deal with the reality of our failing economy. Jonathan has a bookstore, and it hasn’t been doing so good, so the couple is experiencing some financial problems that is putting a slight strain on their relationship too. Will they be able to work through all the obstacles in their relationship and find the happiness they once had together?
This story was more angsty than I thought it would be. The conflict between Charlie and his family as well as the conflicts between him and Jonathan was very realistically written. I admit that Charlie’s father surprised me, but the rest of the family was horrible. My little gripe about this story is I thought the ending was too abrupt and suddenly way too cozy because of the heavy angst in the story itself. I also had some issues with Charlie, but I did like him. I thought he overlooked Jonathan and his needs and worries a lot. In some ways I thought their relationship was a little one sided, but I did like them and I enjoyed the story.
Heat of the Night by SL Majors
Stephan Powell is used to living life in the fast lane. He’s spoiled and used to living a very wealthy way of life. He’s also a womanizer that has a habit of getting himself into trouble. His Aunt and guardian commands him to spend two weeks in Wyoming with her friend Dakota Youngblood. Not wanting to disappoint his beloved Aunt anymore, he agrees to put up with living in the middle of nowhere so he can pacify her and then get back to living on the edge like he has done in the past.
He wasn’t expecting Dakota Youngblood to be as fascinatingly handsome as he is. Tough, strong, gruff and surprisingly patient, Dakota immediately attracts the younger Stephan. This is surprising to Stephan because he’s never desired being with a man before, but being around Dakota and being touched by Dakota is bringing out hidden desires and strong feelings for another that Stephan has never felt before. Stephan realizes that he wants to be a better man for himself and hopefully for Dakota.
But, will the differences in their ages and ways of life breach a wall between them?
WHEW! The chemistry that Stephan and Dakota had together was amazing! I had to turn on my ceiling fan when I read the “lasso” scene and the scene by the lake. *Fans Self* Just thinking about how sexy those two men are together makes me break out in a sweat! Both Stephan and Dakota were interesting characters, and even with the story being a short one, both of their characters evolve into better men.
I love this story and I hated for it to end! I really wish it had been longer. I would have loved to read a full story about them and more of the life they now have together. This is the first book I’ve read by SL Majors and it won’t be the last!
One Night Stand by Cassandra Gold
When Tom Garner’s friends insisted he get out into the dating scene again, Tom wasn’t so sure he was doing the right thing. Since his partner’s death two years ago, Tom knows he’s become somewhat of a hermit by staying at home and running his photography studio. When his well meaning friends take him to a bar, Tom thinks his average looks won’t get him many offers. He’s surprised when a pretty, blonde man approaches him and starts up a conversation.
Ian Abernathy is not looking for love. Scorned by cheating lover months ago, Ian swears he’ll never be hurt or vulnerable to another again. He’s told himself that his love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude has been working for him so far. When he meets the older and handsome Tom at a bar, he hoped to have a night of pleasure with the bigger man. To his delight he and Tom spend a night of unbelievable tenderness and passion. This scares Ian, who can’t leave Tom’s house fast enough; even when he sees the sorrow in Tom’s eyes when he does it.
Now, Ian can’t get Tom off of his mind and unfortunately for both men they keep running into one another. Ian knows he’s made a mistake by allowing his fears take over and pushing Tom away. Will he overcome his fears by taking a chance on Tom and find the true love he’s always secretly wanted? Will Tom be able to forgive Ian and give him and true love a second chance?
Cassandra Gold is one of my favorite authors. I love the fast-paced and easy style of writing that she has. Her heroes are always sexy and intriguing men and there is a sense of realism about them that I really like. They are also people that make mistakes and are very far from perfect. I love them!
I really wish this story had been longer, too! I really loved Ian and Tom’s story. Even though this was a short story, it packed a lot of punch. I appreciated how both Ian and Tom was able to work through their fears and make efforts to change and become not only happier with themselves, but with one another.
Friction was a great anthology and I highly recommend it!
Cruising by JP Bowie
Adam Brenner is looking for a life change...
Adam Brenner is looking for a life change when a long-time friend and associate, Tom Hathaway, offers him a position as casino manager aboard The Maid of the Seas, a luxury cruise ship out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
Trying to leave behind haunting memories of an alcoholic boyfriend on a path to destruction, Adam succumbs to the Latin charm of Vittorio Borghese, the ship's architect. After a night of hot sex, Adam thinks he might have found the one to help him forget the misery of the past, but Adam soon discovers that life on board a floating resort has its drawbacks to go hand-in-hand with the perks.
Maximum Exposure by Jenna Byrnes & Jude Mason
A secret pleasure denied could be the end for long time lovers Rob and Max, or will mistrust do it first?
Rob Jenkins is worried. The relationship he's been in for six years has become a little stale and not very intimate. He loves Max more than anything, but the man's sexual fetish of 'doing things' in public never interested him.
While Max is away at a two-week business conference, Rob concludes that in order to save their relationship, he needs to make some choices. He surprises Max with a weekend visit and the offer to play a 'game'. Will the sexy scenarios be enough, or will they merely expose the flaws in their relationship?
Yes! by Kim Dare
Can Andrew really spend twelve hours saying no to everything Stephen offers him? It's not going to be easy, when all he wants to say is - Yes!
Andrew likes sex. If someone he's attracted to wants to have sex with him, he's not going to say no to them. That's not a character flaw, it's just common sense.
Stephen seems to think otherwise. He's sure Andrew is incapable of saying no to a cheap thrill. But, at the same time, he's more than happy to provide Andrew with the prefect opportunity to prove him wrong.
Sorry Charlie by Ashley Ladd
Charlie's dad wants to make up after a seventeen-year family feud...
He's overjoyed, excited, and nervous as hell that his father is finally accepting his sexual orientation and speaking to him after a seventeen-year family feud but Charlie can't understand why his long-term partner Jonathan is acting jealous and clingy, when he should be happy for him or at least supportive.
Jon's afraid Charlie's family will hurt him again and he doesn't know if he can mend Charlie's heart if it shatters a second time or stand by and watch while Charlie sets himself up for more heartbreak.
Heat of the Night by SL Majors
Bad boy Stephen Powell has finally met his match in Dakota Youngblood, a sexy Alpha and older man who shows Stephen a thing or two in the heat of a hot summer night.
It was supposed to be punishment...
Last week he'd been living the high life in Monte Carlo, and now, after yet another brush with trouble, ultimate bad boy Stephen Powell has been banished to Wyoming, which might as well be the middle of nowhere.
Stephen wasn't expecting to fall in love with the wild land or with its untamed rancher, Dakota Youngblood, a man as rugged as the mountains he calls home. Youngblood sizzles with intensity and teaches the brash younger man a thing or two about life, about passion, about commitment...
One Night Stand by Cassandra Gold
Can a one-night stand lead to lasting love?
Photographer Tom Garner is finally ready to date again after the death of his partner. On his first night out, he meets sexy Ian. Unfortunately for Tom, Ian isn't looking for a relationship.
Ian Abernathy has been burned by love one too many times. His new rule, one-night stands only, seems to be working well—until he meets Tom.