Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon

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Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, mystery, suspense
Series: Dangerous Ground #1
Published: 4/22/2008
Reviewed by Anne
89 ebook pages

Taylor and Will are special agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security.  They’ve been together for three years.  They’re great friends and are both out of the closet gay men, but not lovers.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have an attraction to each other, but they’ve never acted on it.  Still, things were thrown out of balance a few weeks ago when Taylor was shot.  He’s almost ready to come back to work, but the strain between them is an issue.  They decide that a weekend camping together will give them time to work through things.  As if working around emotional shrapnel between the two of them isn’t enough, they stumble across the remains of a plane used in a crime a few months ago.  Now there’s a lot more on the line than just their friendship and work relationship.

I’m pretty picky when it comes to mysteries.  I really enjoy some authors, but find others to be way too intense for me, especially without the balance of a romance or HEA.  I do enjoy JD Robb, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Josh Lanyon, though.  I’ve been slowly working my way through Lanyon’s backlist.  That’s what brought me to Dangerous Ground.  

Lanyon hasn’t failed me yet, and this was no exception.  Will and Taylor are interesting and distinct characters.  I liked the way they were both caught off guard by their feelings for each other and it was interesting to watch how they handled them.  They have a banter and humor together that kept me smiling.  The suspense was realistic enough to keep me wondering how in the world they would work things out.

I’m glad I read it, and now I’ve got a new series to read!  That said, it didn’t grab me and refuse to let go the way that the Adrien English series did.  Still, I look forward to the rest of Taylor and Will’s stories.  How about you?  Do you read mysteries?  If so, do you have a favorite series?

Tigerland by Sean Kennedy

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Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, sports
Series: Tigers and Devils #2)
Published: 10/15/12
Reviewed by Anne
306 pages

I first read Tigers and Devils (the book before Tigerland) in December 2012.  It was a book I instantly LOVED and is an all time favorite read of mine.  When I read it, I immediately bought its sequel, Tigerland, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it.  See, it’s not a story about another couple, it’s the same couple from Tigers and Devils, Simon and Declan.  I was so elated that Simon and Declan were finally happy together at the end of book one, that I just couldn’t bring myself to read a sequel where they would surely face more challenges. I just really needed them to be happy together in my head for a while.

So, I got around to reading book two.  I did a reread of Tigers and Devils first, and that was no chore.  Still an incredible read!  I went right on to Tigerland, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.  If you haven’t read Tigers and Devils, go read my review here: http://dirtygirlsgoodbooks.blogspot.com/2012/12/tigers-and-devils-by-sean-kennedy.html and then get the book and read it.  You must read it book one before continuing on to book two.  Honestly, Tigerland could probably stand on it’s own, but it’s so much more enjoyable having already met the characters, so don’t deprive yourself!

OK, so, if you’ve already read Tigers and Devils, read on for my Tigerland review.  

It’s few years after Tigers and Devils and Declan has retired from the AFL and is working as a commentator.  Simon is now working at a community TV station developing shows with LBGT content.  Life is good.  Then Greg Heyward, retires from the AFL and comes out of the closet.  He’s Declan’s ex, and he’s decided to write a tell all book about his time in the AFL and, knowing it will sell books and win him time in the spotlight, his time with Declan.  Simon and Declan don’t exactly agree on the best way to handle this news, but they stumble through together.

This was a non-stop read for me.  Well, ok, I had to stop, but I resented it!  I tore through it without really making any notes to write a review on, which is a good indication that it was a great read for me!  Declan and Simon are great together.  Declan is so down to earth and Simon is so dramatic.  They each need to deal with Heyward in their own way, and they support each other, but the friction it causes is stressful.

Fran and Roger are still on the scene and are now trying to become parents.  The opening scene in the book was so hilarious I made my husband read it.  Abe and Lisa are separated, and their relationship is another thread in this story.  Sean Kennedy’s humor is solid throughout the book, but there’s also the heartclenching sweetness that made me love Tigers and Devils.

I highly recommend this book – but read in order!

Let It Ride by L.C. Chase

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, cowboy
Series: Pickup Men #2
Published: 5/26/14
Reviewed by Anne
195 pages

Bridge Sullivan wakes up one day after a scorching wet dream and thinks he just might be gay.  After a hilarious talk with his penis he’s not really sure about being gay or bisexual, but he’s quite sure he’s Eric-sexual.  He’s a pretty self-accepting kind of guy.  Not much bothers him.  So, once he figures out he’s got a thing for Eric, he decides it’s time to act on it.

Eric Palmer is a paramedic on the rodeo circuit that Bridge works.  He’s openly gay and has become good friends with Bridge and his circle of buddies over the past year.  For the first time in a long time, he feels like he belongs.  He’s surprised by the signals his straight friend is sending him, and even if they mean what he thinks they mean, he’d never do anything to screw up this group of friends he has.  Eric is very attracted to Bridge, but determined not to take any risks.  Bridge only scares him more when he tells Eric he’s not looking for a one night stand – he wants a relationship. 

This was a nice story that worked best in the last quarter of the book.  The reasons behind Eric’s hesitancy to allow himself to attach to Bridge are hinted at during most of the book, but not spelled out until near the end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until those reasons were made clear that I found them believable.  So the first part of the book suffered because Eric came off as over-reacting.  I do think my own history as a foster parent makes stories including foster care a harder sell for me.  

Overall, though, it was a good read and a pretty low conflict story, which I enjoy.  I loved the rodeo setting and camaraderie between Eric, Bridge, and their friends.  The fact that Eric refused to just throw a condom on the floor, and in fact turned getting a garbage can into a pretty hot scene earned the book bonus points from me!

This story is the second in this series, but it stood alone just fine for me.  I’d recommend it for any m/m reader who has love for cowboys and rodeos!