After being betrayed and abused by an ex-lover, Sean trusts no one–but he can’t help wishing he could trust gentle-hearted tattoo artist Riordan. When these two vulnerable men, scarred inside and out, find each other, neither is willing or able to walk away.
Both starved for touch and lonely in his self-imposed exile, Sean can’t help wanting Riordan both body and soul and in his bed, and Riordan is captivated by the sweet nature and the beauty he can still see beneath Sean’s scars. Yet despite his hunger for affection, Sean can’t break free of a cycle of shame and despair, not even as Riordan’s falling in love with his beautiful disaster.
Will Sean be able to break through the barriers he’s built around himself and let Riordan in–and will Riordan find the key to unlock Sean’s frozen heart?
We see Sean desperately trying to escape his boyfriend, Leo. He is betrayed and run down by Leo. We next go to Riordan and his friend Jae. They see Sean at a bus stop. This is the first that Riordan and Sean see each other and they think the last but fate has another plan.
This story has LOTS of potential. I think the plot wasn’t as good as it could have been. Sean is so wounded in body and spirit. The biggest snag for me was Sean. Sean would have been believed more by police and the system. I’m not saying the boyfriend wouldn’t have gotten off still but he would have been believed. He would have received counseling I’m sure. I doubt how damaged he still was would have been missed by the professionals. Considering that he supposedly didn’t have counseling he seemed like he was more open than I expected. I also have a hard time with the amount of abuse he went through. I’m sorry but he tried to escape and had those marks on his back they would have figured out what was happening and helped him more. I almost wished the author wouldn’t have put in the running over item. I think the story would have been more believable for me and may have made an even better one. Sean would still be scarred so it would have fit with the direction of the story. He would have also still been scared and ready to run which makes even more sense than the way it was portrayed in the storyline.
Riordan was a much more believable character. That he wasn’t hardened by his work too much isn’t even a stretch. I think the story was just a little too shallow. We just don’t get much background details on the two men and so it leaves a lot of emotional detail lacking for the reader. I wanted to like this story so much more than I did but in the end it failed to live up to the promise in the storyline.
Shifting Sands by Jet Mykles, Willa Okati, Ally Blue, J.L. Langley, Kimberly Gardner, and Brenda Bryce
Witches, shifters and ancient curses, such is life on the Shifting Sands.
A woman’s wrath is bad, but a witch’s wrath is hell on earth. No one knows this better than the six men of Shifting Sands Ranch. When the owner’s Chinese witch of a wife abandons him and the ranch, she takes one of the cowboys and leaves behind a curse that dooms the remaining inhabitants to a life that is anything but normal. Now, every month when the moon comes full, each man takes on the form of an animal. Witches, shifters and ancient curses, such is life on the Shifting Sands.
Unlike most anthologies I have read this one begins with a story that will tie all the others together. The men on Shifting Sands Ranch in Texas have been cursed by their boss’s wife because they are gay. She is a witch and so the curse comes true. Each cowboy turns into an animal from the Chinese zodiac. Daniel, the boss, is the only mythical creature, a dragon.
“Snake Charmer” by Kimberly Gardner
Cy turns into a snake. Bobby Lee is his lover and love. Problem, Bobby Lee is afraid of snakes. Cy knows he needs to tell his Bobby but is so afraid. This is such a short story segment that it is hard to get a real “feel” for the characters. I thought the writing was good but the story just didn’t quite catch me.
“All the Moon Long” by Ally Blue
Judson turns into a rat. He has had a crush on Woody for a long time. Woody is difficult to figure out. He loves animals and collects injured ones. Judson is usually a fairly level headed guy but just can’t help himself around Woody. Well written but just like the first one I couldn’t connect to the story or the characters. It is sweet and cute but missing something.
“Cock of the Wall” by Willa Okati
Michael turns into a rooster. Zan is an excitable little guy. They meet at a dance and Zan won’t give up on have Michael. Michael fights hard. I liked Zan’s character, he was a fun guy. This one was a little better than the first two. I was laughing and having a good time. Yes, the story is still shallow but it is well written and the characters are fun.
“Hare of the Bull” by Brenda Bryce
Gordy turns into an ox. Tristan is a new addition to the ranch. He cleans the house and bunkhouse. He has been abused by his last boyfriend and is scared of all the large men on the ranch. Gordy can’t help liking the man and of course that means he goes after him. Like the other stories in this anthology it’s shallow and not real detailed. I loved the characters. The writing was well done too but still too short.
“Lost and Found” by J.L. Langley
Ben turns into a horse. Shay is a witch. Shay has been discovered by the cowboys he works with of being a witch and they have decided to do something with him. Shay escaped but is injured and falls into a stock pond at Shifting Sands Ranch. Ben and Gordy save him from drowning. I thought this particular story was very good. Well written and entertaining. It was interesting to see if Ben could handle being with a witch. In my opinion this would have made an excellent longer story.
“Pulling the Dragon’s Tail” by Jet Mykles
Daniel turns into a dragon. Russell is the cowboy who betrayed the ranch by sleeping and leaving with Daniel’s wife, the one that cursed them all. Russell didn’t though, he was spelled into it. This was a cute story. Once again not much depth but good overall writing and characterizations. I loved the little detail about the dragon, like the vision and how Daniel learned how to control his size.
The ending of the book is a wrapping up of loose ties for the whole of the story. It’s a cute little anthology but due to the lengths of each individual story very shallow. I think it would have made a nice series but a so-so for a book.