by Anne Brooke
Published by Untreed Reads Publishing
When an artist becomes obsessed with her married lover, she finds herself having to choose between the woman she loves and her artistic career.
Another tiny, perfectly formed piece of lesbian literary romantic fiction. Lovely.
by Josephine Myles
Published by Torquere Press, Inc.
When ugly socks attract.
Surly artist Jez just can't help staring at the brightly colored socks of the businessman who sits opposite him on the train every day. He weaves a whole history for the mysterious stranger in a vain attempt to stave off his attraction, but it only ends up feeding his bizarre obsession. Then one hot morning, Jez finally snaps and starts sketching...
The sock descriptions were what grabbed me first about this story. Jez makes an engaging narrator, and the follow-up to his sketching goes somewhat unexpectedly too. Fun.
Stroke to His Cox">
by JL Merrow
Published by Dreamspinner Press
As coxswain of a Cambridge college rowing team, pint-sized Dave Tanaka has eight strapping athletes hanging on his every word, their strength at his command. Leading his crew to win their oars might be easier if Dave didn’t have to hide his crush on Archie, the stroke rower – but as they prepare for their final race, Dave doesn’t suspect that Archie is in the same boat as him in more ways than one!
This one was sweet and funny, even for one who managed a year in Cambridge without having much to do with boaties. Does pretty much what the blurb implies.
How The Other Half Lives
by Clare London
Published by Amber Quill Press, LLC
Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his flat as neat as a new pin. His friends want him to loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in Martin’s mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building. He’ll look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s traveling for his work as an antiques dealer.
A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. His best friend Don persuades him to join the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighborly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.
For a while, the very dissimilar men never actually meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’ flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way. Gradually, the changes extend beyond interior decoration and into the habits of the men themselves.
Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last...
I read this one in my office, and had a lot of trouble with not giggling (or at some points laughing) too loudly. A classic 'opposites attract' story, with some excellent twists along the way. Plus the chapter headings are priceless.
The Ninth Language
by Jordan Taylor
in the Last Gasp anthology
Published by Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Thousands of outsiders descend on Canada's Yukon Territory during the 1898 gold rush, wreaking havoc on the landscape and the indigenous people who live there. Amid the backdrop of this once pristine land, a man struggling against the destruction of his home and culture finds himself indebted to one of the men causing it. These two strangers discover solace and wholeness where they least expect it: each other.
The fourth story in the anthology, and I finally got around to reading it! Although I still haven't added the print version to my shelves, that will have to happen very soon. I liked this one almost as much as the others, but was a little disconcerted by one or two scenes that seemed slightly out of keeping with the characters and their era. Also there were a couple of jumps between scenes where I felt as if we were missing an important piece of the action (for reasons of word count?). Overall, this is still a muchly recommended anthology.
Novels will follow soonish.