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August 15th, 2010

After more or less 5 of these stories in the Games People Play maybe I have finally understood the leitmotiv of this series: ordinary men who want to play in the safety of their relationship… yes, I know, I’m slow sometime.

Like in this story, Hunter and Kyle are in a long-term relationship, living together and being pretty much happy and lucky; high-executive job for Hunter, personal shopper for the wealthy and rich Kyle, their life is almost perfect if not for the long weeks Hunter has to spend out of town.

Hunter knows that he has something special with Kyle, the man is doting on him like the most perfect of the househusband, always ready to understand and cuddle him when he comes home tired and moody. But when he is out of time, Hunter is all alone with himself, and basically he is not able to take care of himself like Kyle does. For how much big independent boy Hunter is, when he is alone he seems to loose his balance, and his balance is Kyle.

So one night, with the agreement of Kyle, more with his suggestion to do that, Hunter is online browsing for porn to unwind and instead he enters a BDSM chat room. Hunter is pretty much a vanilla man, sex for him is two men, a bed and nothing else, but in the chat room Hunter understands that he likes to be ordered around. Nothing really odd, just “do this, do that” stuff; it’s classic with this high-power business men, when they are finally out of the office they don’t really want to continue being the one in charge.

And basically, even if Kyle was not really topping him at home, he was in any other meaning of the word taking the charge of their relationship: Hunter was letting him taking all the decisions; he was obeying his orders even if Kyle was not saying them aloud.

I like the turn the story took since I love Hunter and Kyle as a couple; they are the perfect example of how a couple can find the solution to their little trouble inside the safe wall of their home, without letting anything from outside interfere. Straight as an Arrow is at the same time sweet and naughty, and if you want an enjoyable and light novella, this one is a good example.

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2653

Amazon Kindle: Straight as an Arrow

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

11. Belinda McBride - An Uncommon Whore (Loose Id)
Loose Id, Gay, Sci-Fic / Futuristic

“As a general rule, you won’t find the love of your life while you’re on your knees under a table.” -- Helios Dayspring. Pasha is a slave, whoring for travelers at the most dangerous bar on Warlan. He has no memory, no future of his own, yet deep inside Pasha knows that that he is meant for better things. The day that Pasha spots the dangerous pirate in the bar, he knows that he mustn't let the stranger slip away, regardless of what he must do to attract his attention. Captain Griffin Hawke spent the greater part of a decade searching for his lost king, only to find Helios Dayspring crouched between his knees, swathed in the robes and shackles of a whore. Though he is appalled by the downfall of his king, the hardened officer finds himself falling for the allure of the sensual creature who has taken his place. Returning Helios to his position on the throne is the only right thing to do, yet Griffin knows that in doing so, he risks losing his lover forever. “A whore is a whore is a whore, unless he’s something else completely. I guess I must be an uncommon whore.” -- Helios Dayspring

12. Ava Rose Johnson - Coming Home (Samhain Publishing)
Samhain Publishing, Bisexual / Transgender, Erotica Contemporary

Bound by grief, branded by need too intense to ignore… After an accident kills Brett Miller’s parents, the reins of Steeplecrest Ranch fall to him. The arrival of rightful half-owner Cade Armstrong, who lost his parents in the same accident, only kicks up the tension. Brett would rather buy out Cade’s share and send the man back to New York, but his hands are tied. After seven years leading a hedonistic life in the big city, Cade returns to face his loss. Once he’s got acres of rolling ranch land back under his feet he discovers he wants to keep them planted on home ground—and show the man he’s lusted after since puberty just how good they’d be together. Then Cade’s friend, Jessica, arrives from the city and the sexual tension rockets from simmer to full boil. Brett finds himself incredibly turned on—and incredibly confused. Cade is through waiting for Brett’s mind to open wide enough to let love in. It’s time for the proper application of an emotional crowbar. Even if it means he could lose Brett forever.

13. Sandra McDonald - Diana Comet and Other Improbable Tales (Lethe Press)
Lethe Press, Bisexual / Transgender, Fantasy

A writer of whimsy and passion, Sandra McDonald has collected her most evocative short fiction to offer readers in Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories. A beautiful adventuress from the ancient city of New Dalli sets off to reclaim her missing lover. What secrets does she hide beneath her silk skirts? A gay cowboy flees the Great War in search of true love and the elusive undead poet Whit Waltman, but at what cost? A talking statue sends an abused boy spinning through a great metropolis, dodging pirates and search for a home. On these quests, you will meet macho firefighters, tiny fairies, collapsible musicians, lady devils and vengeful sea witches. These are stories to stir the heart and imagination. McDonald's stories have appeared in many national, small press and online magazines and anthologies including Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy and Best New Paranormal Romance. She is the author of a series of novels—The Outback Stars, The Stars Down Under, and The Stars Blue Yonder—about an Australian military lieutenant, her handsome sergeant, and their adventures in deep space.

14. A.B. Gayle, Jude Mason, Kate Cotoner & Aleksandr Voinov - Echoes of the Future (Noble Romance Publishing)
Noble Romance Publishing, Gay, Sci-Fic / Futuristic

Burn by Aleksandr Voinov. Flight Lieutenant Chris Waters is the pilot of a cutting-edge unmanned SAD fighter drone that is used for secret government missions. Chris is cutting-edge technology himself: his neural network is upgraded with cyber-technology and software that makes him the interface of his combat drone. Then, something goes wrong as he connects to his drone. Haunted by strange, disorientating impressions, a so-called 'ghost', he hooks up on leave with fellow pilot Cyril for a night. But Cyril is not the man Chris thought he is, and Chris soon finds out what the 'ghost' in his body really is, as well as the truth about his missions.

Conduit by Kate Cotoner. Ismail and his ex-husband Toki are divided by class and circumstance. Toki is a cybernetic upgrade human and part of the city elite, while Ismail is a baseline human and a cop. Their brief marriage failed when Toki walked out, but now he's back, asking for Ismail's help against Hanuman, a malicious cyber-intelligence who plans to poison the water supply of all baseline humans in the city. Now Ismail and Toki must find the underground reservoir targeted by Hanuman before time runs out for them both.

Rescue Me by Jude Mason. Assigned to guard Leetchi Ambassador Dar and his family, Lieutenant Thomas Patch finds himself inexplicably drawn to Jad, the diplomat’s son. The tall, slender Leetchi turns out to be as gay as Patch and steals his heart. When Jad is kidnapped, Patch goes undercover to find and rescue him. The rescue takes him to the underbelly of the space port city and a whore house where slaves are bought and sold at will. Finding Jad proves easier than he’d hoped, but the rescue takes an insane twist when their escape attempt is thwarted by the one person they knew was on their side. Will Jad’s enslavement tear the lovers apart? Will Patch be torn from the love of his life? Find out, in Rescue Me.

Reversal by A. B. Gayle. Sebastian is bored. He has another five years of lone duty supervising his family's robots on their space station. The last thing he wants to do is the housework. For Christmas, his mother sends him a Domestic Darling cyborg. True to form, she purchases a factory second and sends one that doesn't quite fit the bill. Instead of being a pert blond with big tits and a cute ass like in the advertisement, this one is six foot tall and built like a Greek god, a very virile Greek God. In an attempt to improve its functioning, Sebastian uses some of his brilliant programming skills. The resulting changes ensure Sebastian will never be bored again.

15. Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon - The Gentleman and the Rogue (Loose Id)
Loose Id, Gay, Historical

A lad from the streets meets a lord of the manor... When war veteran Sir Alan Watleigh goes searching for sex, he never imagines the street rat he brings home for one last bit of pleasure in his darkest hour will be the man who hauls him back from the edge of the grave. A night of meaningless sex turns into an offer of permanent employment. As Sir Alan Watleigh’s valet, Jem offers much more than polished boots and starched cravats. He makes Sir Alan Watleigh smile and warms his bed. Just as the men are adjusting to their new living arrangement, news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Alan Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger. The journey brings them closer together as they travel from lust toward love. But is Sir Alan Watleigh's love strong enough to risk society discovering the truth about him?

16. Alan Chin - The Lonely War (Zumaya Publications)
Zumaya Publications, Gay, Historical

Seaman Andrew Waters joined the navy because his father wished it. He didn't expect to fall in love. Captured by the Japanese and sent to the infamous Changi prison camp, If he is to save the life of not just the man he loves but his shipmates, Andrew must make a choice that could brand him a traitor. The key issue keeping the US armed forces from going beyond Don't Ask Don't Tell to give gay servicemen equal rights is a blind fear of love relationships forming, not between enlisted soldiers but between officers and soldiers, which would undermine the chain of command. In his second novel, Alan Chin tackles this topic head on.

17. P.A. Brown - L.A. Boneyard (MLR Press)
MLR Press, Gay, Mystery / Thriller

From a shallow grave in Griffith Park, to the bucolic streets of West Hollywood into the dark heart of the gang-infested streets of East L.A, evil is pursued in this dark story of passion and redemption. Detective David Eric Laine is no stranger to violence and brutality, but even he is taken aback at the sheer viciousness of the murder of two pregnant Ukrainian women. This is just the beginning of a baffling case which leads from their shallow grave to a bungalow community in West Hollywood, tree-lined and tranquil, on to the heart of the gang-infested streets of East Los Angeles, and points in between. And what of Jairo Hernandez, David's new, young partner? The attraction between them was immediate and intense and growing by the day. Would this be a threat to David's settled life?

18. Anne Brooke - The Hit List (Amber Quill Press)
Amber Quill Press, Gay, Contemporary

Jamie Chadwick is straight. Determinedly straight. Or so he keeps telling himself. His small conference business is doing okay and, even though he looks after his ailing father, he loves living in the countryside and life is good. Sort of. But the arrival of old college friend, David Fenchurch, who’s just come out on the distinctly camp side of camp, together with Lucy Reid, his father’s sexy new physiotherapist, sets Jamie on a path he’d never dreamed of taking. On top of all that, the unexpected return of long-lost family friend, Robert Trevelyan, himself openly gay, means that Jamie can no longer ignore the past he’s kept hidden for six years. When Robert and David get together, Jamie’s feelings begin to surface in surprising ways. Who, amongst the crowd of people set to blow his life apart, will make it onto his fantasy hit list? And in the midst of Jamie’s own emotional battlefield, how can he keep things together at all?

19. P.A. Brown - Memory of Darkness (Amber Quill Press)
Amber Quill Press, Gay, Mystery / Thriller

Johnny Wager has been a loser all his life and proud of it. But when a West Hollywood twink ends up dead in a hotel room with Wager literally holding the bag, he knows his life is going to change for the worse. Pursued by the West Hollywood sheriffs for a murder he knows he didn't commit, Wager has to stay one step ahead of them and prove his innocence. It doesn't help matters any that his own son, Mark Wager, is a deputy sheriff who has joined the manhunt and has more reason than anyone to find the father who failed him all his life and bring him to justice. Add Hyacinth, a six-foot-five drag queen from New Orleans, Taz, her Puerto Rican boyfriend, an ex-Marine porno filmmaker and his incontinent Basset Hound Columbo, and the Armenian mob chasing them all through the streets of Los Angeles and the art walks and canals of Venice Beach. Wager pursues his own answers to the question of who is trying to kill him in the sleazy bars and back alleys of Hollywood all the way to Cathedral City. Can Wager stop the killers and reconcile with his son or will he end up being the next victim? Betrayed by friends, beset by his own conscience that has come back late in life with a vengeance, and the need to redeem himself, he battles the ruthless mob in the only way he knows how: with cunning and a total disrespect for the law.

20. P.A. Brown - Lynx Woods (Amber Quill Press)
Amber Quill Press, Gay, Contemporary

Charlie Reid is a world-class wildlife artist who captures the heart of his subjects, revealing them to the world. But he is also desperate to keep his deeply hidden sexual desires secret from everyone, including himself. He never counts on meeting a man like Tyler McKay, however, an environmental engineer who transforms wastelands into viable bio communities that are not only beautiful but functional. Tyler is also the only man who might be able to penetrate Charlie’s solid wall of denial and make him admit to yearnings to which he has never surrendered. Can the men build a bond strong enough to withstand everything the world throws at them? But how far, and to what lengths, will Tyler push Charlie to make him admit who he truly is? When two stubborn alpha males put their desires and needs to the test, will they discover that “surrender” isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that, in the game of love, there are sometimes no losers, but only winners?

One Small Step by Stevie Woods

Friends with Benefits and Gay for You are probably among my favourites subgenre, and this little short story has both, so basically it starts with a good advantage in my “like” level. So nice are the premises, that I would have not minded to read also the preamble, how Gary and Stephen, one straight, the other gay, best friends and job colleagues, arrive to understand that they are in love with each other. We know that Stephen was in love with Gary since forever, but how Gary realized that the feeling was mutual? How a 40 years old man could reconcile in his mind that he was in love with his best friend?

Instead the story starts with a kiss, the first kiss between Gary and Stephen, and Gary is scared: scared of what he feels, of what this means for him and for all people around him. He is ready to come out to Stephen, but he is not ready to have an outing with the entire world around. And so he steps back, and Stephen, bless him, understand that they have to take this new adventure one small step per time.

Instead of giving up on Gary, Stephen decides to “woo” him; but he doesn’t play fair, and instead of letting Gary arrives to the target, slowly but surely, he starts to tease the man with glimpses of what he could have. And his play would have probably last a lot longer if not for an accident that put a sprint on Gary’s decision: he understands that there is nothing more important to him than Stephen and that is stupid to wait for something that he could immediately have.

In a short story it’s difficult to say more; Gary and Stephen’s relationship with the outside world is barely hinted but not developed. What will happen when they will come out also to their co-workers? Will they have problem? Or will they simply continue to play the role of best friends, like in an old ’50 comedy?

Stevie Woods is not new in writing very romantic short little story, and One Small Step is one of them.

http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/product=One+Small+Step/exact_match=exact

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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