The Brother's Dim by Kris Klein
Mark is a gay man who prefers sex with straight/experimenting men. It's been ages since he's had sex so he decided to place a, less than honest, ad in Craigslist which asks for men who want to be involved in a m/f/m ménage to get in touch but he wants to 'test drive' the man first. There is no woman, of course, but he's hoping that the ad will attract a few straight men. His ad gets lots of replies and two in particular stand out so he schedules them an hour apart and gets ready for a good night. Things don't work out quite to plan and Mark ends up with one or two surprises. Despite the fact that Mark is not the most sympathetic of narrators, I rather liked this story. It's got a sharp bite of humour to it and the fact that Mark is so unrepentant of his underhand methods to get laid was actually quite refreshing. The story does contain m/m/m ménage and brocest so may not appeal to everyone but I quite liked that this was a bit different to other erotic stories I've read recently. Although the story is basically made up of an extended sex scene, I was pleased that Mark ended up with much more than he bargained for and the story actually ended on quite a sweet note. Grade: Very Good.
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Give and Take by Anne Brooke
David is an older guy (45) whose partner of 13 years died of cancer 2 years ago. He's finally come out of the haze of grief and is determined to get himself laid that night. He goes to a gay bar and gets friendly with Jeff the bartender and they go home together. However, David finds it difficult to forget his dead lover and it's only by allowing Jeff total control that David is able to put the past behind him. This was such a great little story. I liked David, liked that he had taken the initiative to move on with his life. I also sympathised with his complete weariness at the responsibilities in his life and his longing to relinquish control. Jeff wasn't as well defined but I liked his kindness towards David and his understanding of what David needed. Unlike many stories that deal with grief, this one wasn't too heavy on the emotion - perhaps because David had done his grieving before the story began and the focus was more on making a new start. Overall a well written story with an unusual theme of the younger man being the dominant partner. Grade: Excellent.
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Bound Together by Jane Davitt
At 28, Simon seems older than his years. He works for the British library, collects classic children’s books and spends his evenings at home alone. When a young man, Chris, arrives on his doorstep wanting to sell a very familiar looking book, he becomes the catalyst for Simon to move away from the dull tedium of his life and start to experiment with sexual games in a way he has never considered before. This was a tightly written, character based story. I liked that the plot was completely focused on the two men with all the action taking place between them. They spend a lot of time talking with each other and I liked how the conversations were varied in tone from very stilted at first to something more natural as we see their relationship develop on it’s way to a HFN. The theme of control runs all the way through the story and I found this was written in a way that was interesting and highly erotic. If I have a niggle about the story is was that there was a slightly irritating misunderstanding towards the end of the story. This happens because Simon suddenly loses his control over the situation the men are in at the time and he reacts badly. However, this misunderstanding was resolved very quickly so it didn’t annoy me as much as a lengthy separation would have done. Overall this was an enjoyable story about two seemingly opposite men who end up having more in common than either of them thought at first. Grade: Very Good
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