Saturday, 2 November 2013

Fall Fires~Reviews from Bee, Heather, NJ, and Sally

***The Hive was given a copy of Fall Fires in return for honest reviews. Each review and rating reflects the opinion of the reviewer for that story.***

Winter's Love by N.L. Leeks

A past relationship has left Jared Winter broken. When Eric Healey runs into him, Jared finds a reason to learn to trust again. The two men begin to fall for one another, but the prejudice around them threatens to tear them apart. Can their love survive in the real world?


“Hey! Jared! Yoo-hoo!”

I cringed once more and turned to my sister, forcing a smile. “Hey, Rose-Anne.”

“What are you doing here?” She giggled.

“Well, Rose-Anne, in general one attends Asda, or any other supermarket, when they’re doing their
food shopping,” I sniggered.

Rose-Anne rolled her eyes and glowered at me. I knew what she meant and was trying to be subtle
while avoiding her questions.

“Jared, stop playing dumb with me. You know what I mean. Curry powder, two types of meat, and
prawns? You only cook this fancy when . . . Oh! You have a date tonight, don’t you?” she squealed.

Behind me, the cashier told me the check came to twenty-three pounds and some change. I handed
her a twenty and a five and waited for her to hand me the difference. As she placed it in my hand, I took it and grabbed my already bagged shopping, thankful that it had been done while Rose-Anne had been interrogating me. Trouble was, she was still at it while I made my way back to the car.

“Rose-Anne! For the love of all alive, will you please drop the subject? I love you to pieces, but for just once, can I enjoy something without having to be interrogated by you?” I yelled.

I saw tears pool in her eyes and felt the guilt in an instant. Finding my car, I placed the shopping in
the back and pulled her into a hug.

I sighed. “I’m sorry, sissy, but sometimes you are just too much.”

“Sorry, Jed.” I cringed at the nickname, “I know I’m too nosy for my own good. But it’s been so long
since we’ve seen you with someone. We were beginning to think you had taken a life of celibacy, all
because of . . .”

“No! I don’t want to hear his name, sissy! Yes, I’m having someone over for dinner tonight. It’ll only
be the second time I have seen him, so yeah I’m playing my cards close to my chest. And yes, I’m a little dubious about where this will go, but I won’t allow . . . him . . . to ruin everything good in my life, okay?

My friend’s name is Eric, seeing as you’re dancing around I’m sure that’s what you wanted to ask me.

Now that you’ve achieved your mission, you may return to our beloved parents and tell them anything you want, but no phone calls tonight!”

Review by Bee:

A winter’s love is a lovely read about Eric and Jared. You wouldn’t put these two characters together based on their personal appearances—Eric being a muscle hunk with confidence, while Jared is more lean and insecure from his past—but when they run into each other in a shopping centre, there is instant attraction. Jared is more annoyed by Eric’s cockiness, but you can sense a sexual tension between them straight away.

I enjoyed watching these two characters fall for each other. Eric is a very strong character and is exactly what Jared needs to heal from his past.

Eric gives Jared the confidence to make the biggest sacrifice of his life at the end of the story, and I was reading with bated breath until the end.

If you enjoy a story about two people finding love in the most unlikely of places, I recommend this one.


About the Author:

N.L. Leeks lives in England with her fiancĂ©, whom she has been with since the age of eighteen. She first began writing when she was a child. Her friends, Matt and Lou, helped her reignite that passion as an adult, and her journey into writing began once more.

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Wonderland by Jude Ouvrard


Lucas Colton is far too young to go through all this pain but meeting poetry teacher, Preston Davidson, changed everything. His life went from heartbreak to joyful and then, from friendship to love. The impact Preston had on Lucas’ life was mesmerising. What would you do if you knew you may not have a tomorrow?


When I arrived at Central Park, Preston was sitting by the statue of Alice in Wonderland with two
steaming cups of coffee in hand. He wore a canary yellow sweatshirt with a pair of dark blue jeans and black leather converse.

“You’re on time,” I teased, taking one of the cups from him.

“I figure I shouldn’t waste any more time.” Preston took a sip of his coffee. “Life is too important right now. I don’t want to miss anything.”

“I can see that you’ve thought about my situation thoroughly.” I couldn’t help but be flattered. It was
obvious now that he cared about me, even if just as a friend.

“I have a few questions for you. If you don’t mind, of course.”

Curious, I wanted to know what was going on inside his brain. Looking through his glasses, I saw
how tired his eyes were, how the rims were red. He hadn’t slept all night, I would bet. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer all of them, but I’m willing to try.”

Preston made me nervous, and I hoped he wasn’t going to ask for a medical explanation. I had
asked to be told what was necessary. The details weren’t important to me. All I knew was that I had
kidney cancer, and that it had started to spread to my other organs. My lungs were affected, but they
were giving me enough medication to keep me out of pain.

“I want you to name three things you can’t live without,” he said. That seemed pretty simple, nothing
to be worried about.

“Coffee, a good movie, and cheesecake.” I laughed. “You took me off guard. I don’t know, but those
are things that I enjoy, I guess.”

“It’s perfect. Now tell me: what would you do if bacteria were killing all the coffee beans in the world, and you foresaw that thirty days from now, you wouldn’t be able to find a single coffee bean in the world?”

Was Preston serious? What kind of question was that? I shook my head and smiled. “I’d drink as
much as I could, and I’d try to freeze some to keep for special occasions.”

“Good answer. Now tell me: what would you do if the film industry decided that it was no longer
profit-earning to produce movies and that thirty days from now, there wouldn’t be any movies anywhere for sale or rent?”

“I would buy as many movies as I could afford, and go to the movie theater one last time.”

“Another great answer. Last, but not least: what would you do if the Cheesecake Factory was going
bankrupt, and thirty days from now, you couldn’t find a single piece of cheesecake in the entire world?”

“I would eat cheesecake for every meal, gain weight, and die of heart failure,” I joked.

Preston laughed. “I’m asking you all these questions because I’ve come up with a plan. You said you
might have weeks to live. Let’s hope you have a month. You have to make the most out of it. You have to enjoy and do everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing. Are you ready to have the best time of your life?”

A smile spread over my lips. “Okay, I see where you’re going with this.”

“I’ll spend that month with you. I want to be with you every time you smile or cry, when you feel good, or when you’re in pain. You can’t do this alone, Lucas. So tell me: what is it that you’ve always dreamed of doing?”

“I’m a pretty simple guy; don’t need much to be happy, so forgive me if we aren’t going to Australia. I think we’ll stay here in New York.”

“Sounds good to me — and my wallet.” Preston looked at me, waiting for me to tell him everything I
wanted to do before the end came.

Review by Bee:

Where do I start with this story? It had my emotions all over the place.

Lucas thinks his life is over when he is diagnosed with cancer. When Preston walks into his life, Lucas begins to see the beauty in the last few months he has left.

This story is so moving, it was difficult to read some parts as the tears were stinging my eyes. It is beautifully told. Jude did an amazing job pulling you right inside the story.

I’d recommend this story to anyone, but remember to have some tissues handy while you are reading. 


About the Author:

Jude was born and raised in a small village named Lacolle. She now lives in Montreal, Canada. She is
the proud mother of a beautiful four year old son, and has spent the last twelve years with her partner,
French is her native language, but she prefers to write in her second language, English.
Besides working full time for a Title Insurance Company and being a mother, Jude has a passion for
books, both reading and writing them.

She is currently working on a novel called Body, Ink, and Soul. Coming soon!

Also by Jude Ouvrard:

Under the Sun, Heat Wave: Volume Two

Author Links:

Website/Blog     |     Twitter     |     Twitter (Author account)     |     Facebook  
Goodreads     |     Pinterest     |     About Me     |     Amazon     |     Barnes&Noble

If This Is Wrong by K.L. Platt

As children, Thomas and Caleb formed an unlikely friendship, which has continued through tragedies and celebrations and into manhood. They have grown together over the years, but now their relationship is changing into something more. Can their bond survive the challenges that life will bring them? Is it wrong to risk everything for the chance of something more?


“Why would you say that? I’m here ‘cause you’re my friend. It’s not like you did it on purpose.”

Thomas couldn’t look at his friend. What would he think if he knew he had kind of done it on
purpose? All he had wanted to do was get muddy so he could change his stupid clothes; now he
had spoiled everything.

“Tommy?” Caleb enquired.

“I’m sorry, it’s all my fault; I just didn’t want you to see me like this.” He winced, pulling
on his now dusty clothes.

Caleb didn’t understand what Thomas was saying. See him like what? “Tommy?”

“Look at me, Caleb, I’m dressed like I’m going to church, not a picnic. I want to be in jean shorts, like you, and baseball shirts,” he whispered, so his father couldn’t hear him. “I don’t want this stupid Brylcreem in my hair...I want it messy.” Thomas slammed his good hand onto the car seat, sending a shockwave through his injured one.

“Tommy, I don’t care what you wear. I’m not your friend for your dress sense; I’m your friend because you're funny and smart.” Caleb looked towards Benjamin and he swore he saw his mouth turn up at the corner.

Two hours later, they arrived at the park, with Thomas sporting a very smart blue cast on his arm. His father hadn’t argued when he was asked whether he wanted a plain one or a coloured one. Polly fussed over her son, saying she wished they had indeed used a plain one. Benjamin winked at his son and they laughed.

Review by Sally:

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started this story, but it definitely wasn’t anything like what I read. I chose to read the novella without reading the summary; the only thing I knew about the book was that it was M/M.

If This Is Wrong is a story about two boys forming a lifelong friendship as kids and discovering true feelings through that friendship. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, making me laugh at times, making me cry, and making me truly understand the bond between best friends.

Caleb was a city boy who was moving to the country and had to adjust. Thomas was a small kid that all the bullies liked to pick on. From the first day they met, Caleb stood up for Thomas, and they quickly became best friends.

This is a story that made me believe in the possibility of best friends becoming more. And despite the trials Caleb and Thomas faced, they were always there for each other.

It was well written, with only a few minor issues that didn’t impede the reading or flow too much. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a little male on male action, just remember to have a box of tissues handy. You’re gonna need them.


About the Author:

K. L. Platt lives with her family in the Devonshire countryside in the UK. She is a nanny, but her dream is to be a full time author. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a pencil, pen, or book in her hand. It was, however, the likes of J K Rowling and Stephenie Meyer that gave her the fire to drive herself to where she is today.
Always encouraged to follow her dream as a child by her own parents and grandparents, her grandma
told her, “If you believe you can do it, then you can.” Her uncle was also a writer but sadly never got to have any of his stories published. 

Author Links:

Webpage     |     Facebook

Our Walk to Remember by M.C. Rayne

For the Robinson-Shae family, an annual charity walk means more to them than any expensive holiday abroad. After all, it’s where Elisha’s fathers met, and this year it’s even more important to her. Sammy couldn't make it this time, so she asks Charlie to share memories of how they met, and fell in love.


Elisha looks back at me and pulls on our adjoined arms, giggling happily to herself while dancing her
knee-length, yellow summer dress around her body so it moves with the warm breeze. I forget how
much she loves this annual event. We’ve always done it together. She gets excited to see all the people she’s grown up around. I hope she never grows tired of this venture, never loses herself to the world of television and computer games when she could make a difference doing something small, yet huge.

Such thoughts make me shudder, thinking someone as delicate as little Elisha could ever be a slave
to the mediocre. Not our baby, no way!

“Tell me again, Dad,” she interjects, turning towards me and smiling with joy. “Tell me about when
you met Daddy?”

Her brown eyes sparkle when she looks up at me, lighting her porcelain face. Can a father ever
refuse his daughter? How do you say ‘no’ to the product of your love, the person who found a home in your heart without trying and looks to you to lead them along the right paths?

“Again?” I tease. “You know this story so well, you can probably tell it better than me.”

Warmth fills my cheeks, bringing colour back into this aging man’s face while he toys with the light
of his life, the only other person he loves without question. So many times Sammy and I have sat before a roaring fire while Elisha recounted our history like she’s reading a book. Her voice is always filled with such passion that we hang on her every word. One would be forgiven for thinking it’s her past she is detailing, but I guess my husband and I never get bored with sharing how we came to be the lovers we are today.

“I like it better when you tell it, Dad. Don’t worry; I will fill in any parts you miss,” she chimes in an
assertive manner, and I know without a doubt she will.

“Okay, baby,” I commence, drawing her in close so I don’t have to shout too loud.

I don’t need unwanted ears to hear something that will forever remain unwritten, a story that’s
stamped into my heart and is ours alone. Sammy has his own version of the life we share, but this is all from the very soul of Charlie Shae — this is how I found my love.

This shouldn’t be so hard to recollect, but I’ve never had to share our story without my counterpart
sitting next to me, relishing my retelling. While the warm breeze runs through my free fingers again, I
try to grab onto the emptiness and envision that Sammy isn’t very far away. Sadly, my mind isn’t that

Swallowing the pain, I lose myself to the words flowing from me and find myself on auto pilot.

“It was the summer of 1996. I had just finished college. . .”

Review by Heather:

I found this novella of the compilation to be bittersweet, emotional, but so full of love and passion between the main couple, Charlie Shae and Sammy Robinson. Starting in 1996, when Charlie meets Sammy at a charity walk to raise money for HIV awareness and research that his older sister, Elizabeth, forced him to go to. Little did he know when he woke up that morning that his life would forever be changed for the good and all just from one walk. We learn their love affair during the same walk sixteen years later that Charlie is taking with their daughter, Elisha, while Sammy waits at the finish line with the mens’ sisters. It’s the first walk in their sixteen years together that Sammy was unable to make the walk. This story grabbed a hold of my heart and didn’t let go till the last page, all the while bursting with so much love in every word.


About the Author:

M. C. Rayne got into writing after the passing of his mother, and used it as an outlet to get through the difficult time. He never really thought about becoming an author, but since putting pen to paper he has never looked back.

Currently he lives in Leeds with his two best friends Dae and Pete, and his guinea pig, Bean. He
spends a lot of time reading and writing, and far too much time procrastination online.

Author Links:

Blog     |     Facebook     |     Goodreads     |     Twitter

Love, Unexpected by C.W. Stevens

As Michael and Chuck's loving union comes to pass, two, gay members of the wedding party discover the sweet bonds of a comfortable companionship. Attraction becomes more as they recognize their true soul mate in each other, which fills the romantic void in their solitary lives. It seems only one, small obstacle stands in their way.


Chuck slapped me on the back and pulled me into a tight hug, giving me a peck on the cheek. “Evan! It’s so good to see you again. What’s it been… four months?” I smiled while looking at my friend.

“You were up in Oak Harbor helping some friend work on his boat the last time I was here for a visit, if I remember correctly,” I reminded him. “You returned the day after I left!”

He got me into a headlock and playfully poked me in the ribs. “Yeah, you just couldn’t manage to stay one more day until I got back, could you, punk?”

With both of us laughing, he released me. When he did, my attention was drawn away; I became enraptured by a handsome stranger whose face had the power to make me forget how to breathe. My palms became sweaty, and my breath caught in my throat while I took in his features.

There he stood, long and lean, and looking very toned. I guessed he was around six foot two, his dark wash jeans tight enough to accentuate his ass, hugging it in all the right places.

He had on a deep red, button-down shirt, which seemed created to be worn only by him, the top three buttons undone. His hair was long, dark, and pushed behind his ears; it was straight and shiny, and the overhead lights sparkled off each strand. Eyes, which were a brilliant shade of blue, seemed depthless as they pierced through my soul. Fuck! My jaw had fallen to the floor, and I snapped it closed before he could see. Chuck noticed though, smirked at me, and then made the introduction.

“Evan, I don’t think you’ve ever met my cousin, Jon Schubert. Jon, this is Evan Thomas, Michael’s cousin and best friend. He’ll be serving as Mike’s best man.”

The stranger captivated me, but I managed to find my voice. “Very pleased to make your acquaintance,” I stuttered with a smile while our eyes remained locked together. I was hoping he hadn’t noticed my tongue hanging out when he raised his hand to shake mine. It wasn’t much of a shake; more like a lingering touch.

“Likewise, Evan. Always a pleasure to meet one of Chuck’s boys.” His voice was as smooth as satin when he spoke in a low, rich tone, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention.

His eyes sparkled, a smile emerged, and dimples blossomed within his cheeks, his lips full and pink. I didn’t miss the fact he was still holding my hand, his eyes never leaving mine while I hesitated to pull away. He was beautiful, the darkness of his hair highlighting his pale skin.

Review by NJ:

I was given a copy of Love Unexpected by C.W. Stevens in exchange for an honest review. It was a short tale, but boy was it hot. There was only one true lemon (one fantasy), but it was enough to make this story sizzle.

I found the relationship between the main characters, Evan and Jon, to be believable and hot. The setting was unique, being the wedding of another gay couple. Throughout the matrimonial events, Stevens also gives us a glimpse into the relationships of several other couples I’d love to read more about. In fact, I think that there could be a collection of short stories relating around this group of gay men that could make an anthology of its own.

As much of a fan of slash I am, I don’t care for it without romance, and this tale definitely has it. We were given time to get to know the characters long before they found their way into the bedroom. The ending was a bit rushed, but after reading so many stories where the ending was dragged out, it seemed to go well with this short story.

The only parts that bothered me were the open public display of affection at the wedding reception, which included palming and rubbing of cocks on the dance floor, and when he “savored the flavor” after an ass rimming.

Those two small things aside, I enjoyed this afternoon read and would recommend it to lovers of slash.

I give this tale four and a half very lubricated thumbs up.

- NJ Cole


About the Author:

C.W. Stevens lives in the United States, in the Midwest, where the winters are cold and icy, and the
summers are disgustingly hot and humid. Spring and fall are her favorite times of the year.
Reading is one of her favorite pastimes.

She enjoys writing and loves meeting new people along the way. Music and Abstract are a couple of
her favorite Arts. She enjoys the challenge of trying to unlock the meaning of what the artist is trying to express. She enjoys solitude and hates crowds.

C. W. has two, grown sons, and loves spending time with her three grandchildren. Life is good!

Author Links:

Twitter     |     Facebook     |     Blog     |     Goodreads

Woodshed Wishes by N. Wood

Ben, a young gay romance author, loses his way in the forest one stormy evening and is found by a
ranger. When Ben pitches in to help his new friend Peter in the woodshed, he discovers that he may have met his match. Will Peter make Ben's woodshed wishes come true?


“Come on, Petey,” I whined, teasing him with my personal rendition of his name. I only used it when
I was desperate to get my own way. The slight narrowing of his eyes betrayed how little he thought of my chosen pet name for him, but I took the opportunity to argue my point with a pout. “It’s still summer. We won’t need a fire for months with this heat. There's plenty of time to do the work.”

On any other day, my brown puppy eyes could make him crumble and agree to whatever I suggested, but on that day in particular, he appeared to somehow have the strength to refuse.

“You should take a leaf out of your own book — literally,” he jested back, adding a little more
pressure to my breast bone to deter my attempt to edge nearer to him. “What was it that Blake said to
Trent in Ballboys? ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’?”

I rolled my eyes when he quoted one of my many characters. Trust him to know my stories word for
word, not that I could complain. Some scenes from my books gained their inspiration from things Peter and I had experienced together.

“Yes, but you forget that Blake was encouraging Trent to get down on his knees and suck his cock
today instead of putting it off until tomorrow,” I corrected him. “So how about we re-enact that scene?”

My hinting words distracted him long enough that I was able to take the last step towards him.  Reaching down, I snagged my fingers under the belt that was looped through the waistband of his jeans and started to unbuckle it. Though his eyes contained a slight glaze of lust from the thoughts I’d instilled in him, he snapped out of his distraction and caught a hold of my wrists, prying my hands away from him and holding them there.

“Tut tut, naughty boy,” he scolded with a teasing tone. “I have plans for tonight once all this work is
done, but you want to jump the gun and get the party started early? You can’t disrupt my plans like that. You ought to be punished.”

Review by Heather:

This novella in the compilation is told thru the eyes of Ben, a writer of gay romance novels. A story of romance, passion, and testing new boundaries with a bit of a twist that I’ll freely admit I didn’t see coming. It’s a harder novella to review without giving away too much. But it definitely is fitting for this compilation of love, passion, and romance. I believe it’s a bit shorter, page-wise, than the rest of the stories but it’s not lacking in detail, passion, or keeping your interest piqued.


About the Author:

N. Wood is a budding young author living in Cornwall, United Kingdom. She developed an interest in writing when her poetry was first published at the age of nine. Since then, she has moved onto writing both short stories and novels focusing on gay romantic themes.

Also by N. Wood:

La Cala

Waves Of Healing

Coming Soon from Renaissance Romance Publishing:

Take A Gamble, Second Edition, on November 12, 2013

Author Links: 

Blog     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Amazon     |     Goodreads

Together, these six stories make up:
Fall Fires

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