Above the Dungeon – SM Johnson

Author: SM Johnson
Publisher: Torquere Press
Page Count (pdf): 309
Published: 2011?
Rainbow eBooks: $5.99

When Date, a straight preppy guy runs away from his family and commitments, he goes to his gay cousin to help him explore a new path. Little did he know that included BDSM, bar tending at a gay bar and exploring his own sexuality.

When this book started, it seemed destined that the powerful Dom and owner of the bar and dungeon, was going to be the love interest for Dare – but the story doesn’t really stop there. I think that was where this book lost me, to be honest. There was some hot sex and BDSM exploration, but the undefined relationships were a bit difficult to connect with. Now don’t get me wrong, the sex was a ton of fun to read – even if it seemed at times, a bit disjointed from the overall story; the BDSM play was consistent throughout, which was also a nice change of pace.

Despite all of the available avenues for this story to take, it remained very surface level – even left me wondering how the relationships were left at the end. This is a definite hot read for people who enjoy reading about multiple partners and undefined relationships, or just want some steaming D/s scenes.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥

I would recommend this for experienced readers, and those just looking for sex, sex and sex, particularly those who are looking for steamy D/s scenes – as the consistency of each character’s role was the strength throughout.

Heart Thief – Claire Thompson

Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher: Romance Unbound Publishing
Page Count (ePub): 144
Published: 2011
Rainbow eBooks: $4.76

The heat started right from the start and was very intriguing. A very powerful, wealthy and aggressive Dom going after a hot security guard, a cowboy to boot! As they explored their relationship, their interactions started off sizzling, until their dynamic shifted. Or rather, Luke (the cowboy) finally realizes that their dynamic is not based on love, but something else.

The heat between Griffin and Luke was immediate and intense – I couldn’t put the book down. However, when things shifted for Luke, it was a bit hard to continue reading. The whole “safe, sane and consensual” mantra was, well… missing. I tend to fight it hard to relate as soon as that boundary is crossed. I struggled to continue with the story as it was not clear where it was going. But I kept on, and it was definitely worth it! When Luke figures out what he is really looking for and what a D/s relationship should be about, the results were very enticing.

For the most part, the sex was hot with a good dose of D/s – including some bondage and the somewhat less explored/written about, needle play (I could have done without that, but it was done tastefully). There was a lot of sex, so probably not for someone who likes their plots interrupted or furthered by sexual interactions, and not for the new D/s or m/m reader – there were key missing elements from their D/s play mainly the “safe, sane and consensual” part, along with missing safe words and trust.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

I’d recommend this book to those who love a good cowboy story in Texas; hot sex with a new-age feel to a D/s relationship; and most importantly, someone who is committed to reading through the rough parts to get to the goodies awaiting the other side!

Morning Report – Sue Brown

Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 70,540
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $6.99

After being in a relationship for over a decade, Luke and Simon are still very much in love and enjoy every minute of the life they’ve created together running their ranch. They had never had to hide who they are even in their small town, until one of their local merchants refused to sell to them. Bewildered with their sudden treatment from long-time friends, Luke reaches out to his mom to find that a new pastor in town has been turning  people against the “sinners.” Luke and Simon face not only the decision to stay and fight or leave, but also the first true test of their relationship. Will their relationship be able to withstand the hatred of their beloved community?

This was a very well-written story with strong characters and a well-developed loving relationship between Luke and Simon. At first it seemed a bit romanticized, but quickly the story unfolded to show a more realistic and somewhat scary tale of influence and persuasion – not to mention the stress external influences have on a relationship. Unlike many m/m reads, this book opens with the love story ten years in process – you don’t get to be there for their meeting, although you do get to hear about it, instead you join them in the struggle. You’ll fall in love with everything that Luke and Simon have to offer – including Luke’s family and some of the very people spewing the hate.

The sex was very hot and a bit surprising! Sex is where the title of the book comes from, so I hope you enjoy that puzzle before you read it. Their sexual relationship is a central part of the story and is very much based on D/s roles. Don’t expect toys or hard-core D/s, but you will definitely see the power struggle and D/s roles played very well. Throughout, there is a lot of sex, but it is also meaningful – you can see how it connects or furthers their relationship each and every time.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥

This is a great read and I highly recommend it. I can’t think of an audience that wouldn’t enjoy this – there are cowboys after all, there is a great loving relationship, and very hot (although tame for some D/s standards) D/s sex. This is definitely worth a read.

Nowhere Ranch – Heidi Cullinan

Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Loose-Id, LLC
Word Count: 68,356
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $6.99

After his family turned their back on him for being gay, Roe left his family’s farm and learned how to survive without creating strong connections or roots. That was until he arrived at the Nowhere Ranch. When Roe needed a break and needed sexual release, he drove to the nearest gay bar – three hours away, to find the owner of the ranch he’s working on, there too. Relationships are not his thing, so getting involved with his boss is a very bad idea, especially since he’s starting to fall in love with the ranch. But one night can’t hurt, right?

This was my favorite Cullinan book yet. It was a fantastic story with rich character development and a story line that was well thought out and surprising at times. The bond and relationship between Roe and the ranch owner, Travis, was realistic and deep. Their exploration together of their D/s relationship paralleled with each of them allowing themselves to open their hearts again, was powerful. There were bumps along the way, but each man found a way to come together and work things out.

The sex was HOT (or shall I saw H-A-W-T)! Several different sexual encounters, but each told a story of their blossoming relationship. Starting from strictly D/s with no strings attached – moving into a loving D/s relationship was exciting to read and engaging throughout. This is a recommended read for any cowboy fans, experienced m/m readers, or anyone who is looking for a unique love story within the D/s relationship.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥

The only thing holding back from this getting a perfect score, is the ending. The last 10 pages or so was a bit of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, it ends up fantastic (and be sure to read it through the very end), but one part of the conclusion felt rushed and slightly out of character. But it doesn’t impact the overall story – just the ending impression.

Mistletoe and Submission – Kim Dare


Author: Kim Dare
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Word Count: 56,247
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $6.13

In a completely inappropriate dare, the junior Doms challenge a fellow junior (although very experienced) dom to be tied up and blindfolded in a room until midnight. While completely against his nature, Sloan accepts the challenge to keep from his fellow “Dom” Carl, from accepting it on his behalf. During the dare, a sub makes his way into the room and Sloan is absolutely hooked – he needs to find HIS sub, but no one is sure who it can be. What he does know though, is he wants it to be Carl.

An unusual take on a club’s dynamics and dares – I’m not sure any Dom would challenge another in such a way, and it was a bit disconcerting that Sloan had never actually experienced the things he dished out to subs, but none the less, a strong story ensued. Throughout, there was an underlying tug of shame or question around what it means to be a sub. Carl continuously fought to overcome this and wanted to be treated with respect – something he never saw Sloan do with who he thought were his subs, before. Throughout, there are great internal power struggles while both men try to find out what they want and how to make it work.

The sex was hot with a lot of tame D/s play throughout.  This is a good read for people who like a Christmas themed story; or are testing the D/s waters. Don’t expect a lot of romance here – feelings were not explored as much as they were shown.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

A good and quick read for anyone who wants some hot D/s action, or is looking to get a glimpse in to the scene. I would also recommend this for people who enjoy stories that deal with the differences between Doms and subs, and the internal struggle behind each role.

Bound by Honor – SE Jakes

Author: SE Jakes
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Word Count: 63,422
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $4.50

Soldier Tanner James holds his word and shows up to deliver the dying wish of his good friend who died in combat one year earlier. He walks into the club searching for the owner and badass Dom, Damon. Tanner’s mission is simple – submit to Damon for one night exactly one year following his friend’s death. What happens when Tanner walks into the club is heartbreaking as Damon isn’t sure he’s able to uphold his end of the bargain. Will he be able to overcome his past to embrace the best thing for his future?

Soldiers fighting for power, submission and acceptance – is there anything hotter? This is a great D/s read with incredibly hot sex, but more than that, it was relatable. Each character struggled with emotions and past wrongs, to be able to fully accept their current situation. There were several points in the book that were difficult to read (yes, tears flowed) – the fear, the shame, the underlying pain was always right at the surface. There was sex, lots of sex, but never gratuitous. The subplot and characters were fantastically written and I can’t wait to see their story next! I was not aware that this was part of series when I read it, but I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment.

The sex was incredibly hot and a relatable D/s relationship, once all of the false starts were addressed. It was an emotional read and one that I could not put down – it grabbed my attention, not just because of the heat (although admittedly that helped), but the plot and characters were so well developed and clearly everything was executed seamlessly.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥

I think this is my first “perfect” score – it truly is a book, not to be missed. The plot was intriguing and had significant depth; hot soldiers; and believable D/s play and relationships. Read this if you like masculine men stories, strong erotica or D/s play.

Dark Heart – Thom Lane

Author: Thom Lane
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 48,940
Published: December 2008
Fictionwise: $5.99

Set in a time long ago (actual historical date not given), a house slave becomes intrigued by a new guild houseguest – Master Lucan. There is an immediate connection for the house slave, Tam, and he has hope for the first time in his life – hope that Master Lucan is the perfect match for him – except, he is a powerful mage with a special power. As Master Lucan uses his powers for good, he realizes he needs (and wants) his boy by his side.

This tale was a different type of read for me – and a completely different take on the Master/slave realtionship. In all honestly, I was struggling to adjust to their interactions, as there was nothing consensual about the pairing. However, the characters were drawn together and their relationship developed to one that was caring and consentual at the end. I was intrigued by both the setting and the special powers, which was a surprise for me, and both added significant value to the story.

This is a quick and enjoyable read, and is the first of a series of stories from Lane which incorporate mages, Master/slave relationships, and long-ago times. The characters were developed well, although there was more emphasis on the plot, setting, and power exchange, than on the characters. The sex was powerful and happened often – maintaining the M/s dynamic throughout. Be forewarned, that some parts may be difficult to read, especially if you are active in the lifestyle. But those moments added to the connection the reader has with the characters (yes, I even shed a few tears in this one) and were true to the story’s setting.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this book if you enjoy historical setting with a fantasy/mystical flair; enjoy the power dynamic between a Master/slave; want a quick and hot read that takes you to another land.

With Caution – J.L. Langley

With Caution

Author: J. L. Langley
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Word Count: 77,916
Published: 2007 (relaased on Fictionwise December 2010)
Fictionwise: $5.50

A life of living in fear of his father while always protecting his younger brother, main character Remington goes through a journey of overcoming his fears, understanding his desires, and becoming his own man. Through his journey, he finds his mate in Jake and a new family of friends within the pack. With Jake’s unconditional love and support, Remington keeps his word to his brother and brings justice to his father.

This was a very surprising read – I am a fan of some shapeshifter books, but I must admit I am a hard sell. This one was beautifully written with several key plots and characters, all of which you will immediately fall in love with. You get to see Remington as the ultimate protector of his brother while not being able to fully realize his worth without his true mate, Jake, by his side. This is a great read and I couldn’t put it down – a romance with a bit of a shapeshifter twist, hot men, family responsibilities and duties, and some sex!

The sex in this book comes a bit later in the story, so this is not the read for you if you want immediate gratification – well, at least gratification that doesn’t come in dream form. In addition, the sex is not the main theme here, but the realtionships and pack development are – so this is great for someone who is new to the M/M reading scene, or LOVES warewolves tales. Be warned that the story called for a D/s relationship, but the sex doesn’t really deliver on this front – more by subtle tones, so don’t expect a lot of D/s here. Well written, the characters are what will grab your attention – you love all of them instantly, and can’t wait to find out how it all ends.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this book if you are looking to get your warewolves fix along with a great romantic tale while watching the main characters work through their inner struggles. The sex is hot but spaced nicely throughout – a great newbie read.

Burn – Sean Michael


Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 51,011
Published: January 2011
Fictionwise: $5.99

An annual game brings together two childhood friends – finally. After a difficult day as a fireman, Marshall shows up to the annual gathering to say hello to his friends. When he arrives, his friend Dave can tell that something’s wrong with Marshall and finally has his opportunity to take care of his long-time crush. As soon as Dave finds his opening, he’s determined to show Marshall everything that he needs to help him deal with his high-stress job and also satisfy his sexual desires. Marshall has no idea what’s in store for him as Dave takes over as Dom and Marshall learns how to submit.

This is a surprising read from Sean Michael, particularly for the Hammer series. This book is based more on the relationship and internal struggles of the main characters, Marshall in particular, versus the D/s relationship or gratuitous sex. There is plenty of sex, and some of it is gratuitous, but there are also well-developed characters and a decent plot. The D/s relationship and roles are not as blatant in his story – while each character has a clearly defined role in the bedroom, one of the characters is unsure of the lifestyle and continuously struggles to come to terms with it.

There is sex throughout the book – vanilla and some D/s play. At times the sex scenes run too long as is typical in Sean Michael’s writing, but they are always hot! You are rooting for both characters to get what they want and what they need from each other, and you see that the sex helps them both meet that goal.

Overall this is a good read with super hot sex. This is a very beginner level D/s book and good for anyone who is looking for a glance into the lifestyle and the very “mild” end of the spectrum. In addition, it deals with issues of coming to terms with sexual need and roles in a way that is very “friendly” for a new M/M reader.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

Read this book if you’re interested in getting a glimpse into the D/s lifestyle and the Hammer series. And of course, if you’re looking for some seriously hot sex!