The Romance Reviews

Friday, April 26, 2019

Luke took the kiss without returning it. He waited to find out how he felt with a man’s mouth on his own. #FirstChapterFriday #gayromance #MMromance The Romantic @elodieparkes @eXtasybooks

#FirstChapterFriday from The Romantic
an eXtasy books editor's pick

Chapter One

Two months after the funeral, Luke Kirby stood in the garden of his apartment and cried. Huge tears ran down his face. They dripped from his chin onto the leaves of a shrub. Martin, his oldest friend, had persuaded him to go out to their favorite bar that night. Luke didn’t think he could face it, and then as he lifted his hand to wipe the tears from his face, a huge dragonfly whirred close to his head and landed on the shrub. Its iridescent wings shone blue and purple in the sunlight. The colors reflected off his fallen teardrops. The strangest feeling trickled over Luke. It put a shiver up his spine, and he whispered, “Take my pain with you when you fly away. I can’t go on like this. It’s no good always wishing I’d said more—done more.”

As if it heard him, the dragonfly took off from the leaf in a shimmer of flight. Luke watched it whirl away over the wattle fence. He glanced at the leaf where the insect had landed. His teardrops were inexplicably gone. The sight lifted his spirits.

That evening, Luke took more care with his appearance than he had in a long time. He used the cologne that sat gathering dust on his bathroom shelf. He dressed in his dark-gray Italian suit that he’d always thought was so cool with a black t-shirt. When his doorbell rang, he went to answer it without the sodden feeling of unshed tears that had dogged him for months.

Martin grinned at him from the doorstep. “You look, well—better. I’m double-parked, so let’s go.”

Luke’s friend inched his sleek sedan into a tight parking spot two streets away from the bar. He grinned at Luke as he shut off the engine and took his keys from the ignition. “This will do you good. It’s time you went out—time to kiss another guy, at least. Don’t you think?”

Luke smiled on hearing the affection and hope in Martin’s voice. “I don’t know about that, but thanks for making me go out tonight.” He followed his friend into the bar, worrying if he could cope with being among crowds. Work was one thing because he loved his job, but socializing, well…

The music alone cheered him. The crowd of guys, some with their heads together talking, some openly kissing, brought a smile back onto his face. His friend only ever drank orange juice, but Luke ordered a beer when Martin insisted on buying. The chilled bottle with its starred label felt familiar. Luke relaxed.

Just before midnight, when Luke was leaning on the far end of the bar nursing his second beer, a guy approached him. He came out of nowhere and stood so close, Luke laughed.

“You’re gorgeous. I’m Chris. How about dancing with me?”

Luke gazed at the man. Handsome, clean-shaven, sexy, dark eyes. “Okay.” He put his beer on the counter. A smile sprang on his face as the guy took his hand and brought him onto the dance floor. Chris must have timed his approach because the song was slow and the dancers held each other close. Luke let the guy pull him into his arms.

Chris rested his forehead on Luke’s. He whispered, “What’s your name?”

Luke enjoyed the closeness. He soaked up the pleasure of being in a man’s arms. “Luke.”

Chris drifted his hands down Luke’s back and rested his palms on Luke’s ass.

Luke smiled to himself at the move. He swayed with Chris to the melody flowing from the speakers fixed high on the bar walls.

Slowly, Chris brought his lips to Luke’s and kissed him.

Luke took the kiss without returning it. He waited to find out how he felt with a man’s mouth on his own. It’s good but… Instead of eliciting a sexual response, the soft merge of lips only soothed him. As the song ended and changed to a thumping dance beat, he allowed Chris to walk him to the wall and push him against it.

Chris pressed the length of his body close. He kissed Luke hard.

The shape of Chris’s erection evident on his lower body, Luke stopped enjoying the kiss, and drew his face away. With as much gentleness as he could gather, he moved back from Chris. “Thanks for the dance and the kiss.” He wove through the crowd to the bar, and seeing Martin talking with a couple of guys he, too, knew, he joined them.

On the drive home, Martin quizzed him. “I saw you dancing with a guy. He was cute. How was it?”

Luke heaved a sigh. “Okay, weird, we kissed. It was good, comforting and then I, I just didn’t want it anymore.”

Martin had stopped at a red light. He glanced at Luke. “You’ll be fine. I know it. A few more kisses and dances, and you’ll be okay. You’ll want sex again.” Martin drove on.

Luke stared out of the window at the Saturday night revelers teaming out of clubs and bars. I want to find love. To be loved.

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2018 eXtasy Books
The Romantic
Handsome Luke Kirby loves books, so when he finds boxes of old and beautiful tomes in a dusty shop, he can’t resist buying them. To his delight one of them contains what he hopes will bring an end to his loneliness and heartache. As he prepares to cast an ancient prayer spell to the god of love, across town Ethan Goss decides that moving to a new apartment will ease his broken heart.
With the help of an eccentric real estate agent, gorgeous Ethan goes to a viewing in the block where Luke lives.
When Luke meets Ethan in the lobby, it’s the start of a passionate love affair. 
Fate hasn’t finished with the two handsome men—will true happiness evade them both?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Love is on Show in #FirstChapterFriday #MMromance #gayromance @evernightpub @parr_books

From E.D. Parr

I loved writing this story. I'd had the idea in my head for nearly a year, but life got in the way of my writing for a while there. When I finally wrote the story, it flowed onto the computer because I knew Caer and Justin so well. 
Their love story is hot and heart wrenching. There are places in the story I wanted to shock because life throws wildcards at everyone now and then. I also wanted the guys to love each other deeply.
Justin hides a fun-loving trait until the end of the story when I hope readers will see how much he loves Caer in the epic actions he takes to prove it.

Love on Show

Dishy Justin Harper plays gay bad boy, Brandon in a TV show that’s fast becoming a cult classic, but Justin hides the fact he’s gay in real life. When a new actor is cast to play his TV show love interest, Justin can’t deny the raging attraction he feels for gorgeous Caer Rossi.
Caer Rossi makes it clear he thinks Justin is smoking hot. He can’t wait for the kissing scenes, and they sizzle, but underneath the performance for the TV show, a deep, loving passion builds between the two men. Something has to give, but what and who will it be when a journalist threatens to ruin Justin’s perfectly crafted public persona?

Chapter One

“You know I asked specifically for an actual gay guy to play Stephen. I believe Tripp promised me this season I wouldn’t have someone whose face registered distaste every time we kissed. Hell, Petra, surely you understand. It got so bad we could only shoot a kissing scene with the last actor’s back to the camera.”

“We like this guy. He’s hot. He’ll have the audience drooling. We liked his audition. You’ll like him.”

“Is he gay?”

“Not as far as we know. People don’t know you’re gay—not the public. I mean, who asks these days? I mean, who cares?”

I fucking care. I’d be out, but for the PR spin, but for Tripp anyways.”

“Yeah, I know, but don’t tell me you haven’t bought into it. You hide your preference very well. Look, this guy did okay kissing a man in his audition. Give him a go. He’ll be here tomorrow.”

“Give him a go? His character, Stephen, is supposed to be the love of my character’s life. We can’t simply ask the writers to dispense with him in some freak accident again. It’s time my character showed some fidelity and integrity. The bad boy is settling down this season.”

“The fact is he’s hired. You’d have met him already, except you went off touring Italy for the entire break. Please tell me you’ll at least be kind to the guy.”

“I will. Yeah, I’ll be kind if you let me pick him up from the hotel. I’ll be the runner. It’ll give me a sense of his personality to see him in ‘everyday life’.” Justin Harper raised his hands and put commas in the air around his last words.

The AD pursed her lips. “He might know who you really are. Okay. Take a decent car, Justin. I don’t want you rocking up in that tricked out old Wrangler.”

Justin grinned and a mischievous glint appeared in his eloquent blue-gray eyes.

“It’s just a sound system and a customized soft top—tricked out, that’s hilarious, and I bet he’s never even watched the show so he’ll have no idea who I am.”

“Take the BMW. Pick him up tomorrow at 10:00 AM.” Petra McIntyre snatched keys from a wicker basket on her desk and threw them to him.

Justin swiped them from their trajectory, spun around in a fancy dance move, and stalked out of her office.

“His name’s Caer Rossi, he’ll be at the Regent.” Petra called after him.

“The usual place, then.” Justin gave her a wave over his shoulder to show he’d heard.


Caer Rossi looked out of the hotel window at the rain falling in sheets to the gloomy streets below. The wind blew the rain at an acute angle so it appeared to hang outside the raindrop-dappled glass like some bizarre work of art. He couldn’t see anything, let alone what might be a studio car standing by the sidewalk.

So much for spring. Caer snatched up his duffle bag and tablet computer in its sleeve. I should have watched at least one episode of this series. The driver should be here. I’ll be late. He caught sight of his face in the ornate mirror hung in the center of the oatmeal-colored wall. A frown creased between his eyes. He rubbed at it. I need to calm down or I’ll screw up. He took a deep breath.

His agent told him he’d got the part, but Caer had yet to meet the actor he would play opposite, and his nerves jangled. It wasn’t completely unknown for offers to be withdrawn. He’d not received a contract so far. Auditions were grueling and done with other hopefuls rather than any actual cast of the show. The whole process had been what Caer considered odd.

The evening before, the assistant director had called and told him they’d send a runner to drive him to the studios at ten. The designated time arrived and ten minutes later Caer decided he’d continue to wait in the hotel foyer.

He was about to leave the room when the pale gondola-shaped telephone on the small desk in the corner rang with a bird-like trill. Caer picked up the handset.

“Caer Rossi.”

“Your car is at the front, Mr. Rossi, if you’re ready.”

“Thank you, I’ll come down.”

Caer had dressed in character. He figured the producer would ask him to read with the guy playing the lead this time. Dress always helped him feel his character, so he’d bought a business suit that was so sharp he felt not so much elegant as deadly. His wingtips glowed with two coats of self-shine Kiwi. This work would bring him back to England from Toronto for at least a year, and more importantly, away from Tom Holden, the man who’d broken his heart. The salary was double what his last part earned him, not something to discount either. The only thing he didn’t like was that he considered the show a soap opera. His agent called him an artistic snob and told him the show was on its way to being a cult classic. Caer read the new season’s script twice. The dialogue made him smile in places with its inanity. All the same, he wanted the part.

Caer clicked his room door locked behind him. He took the elevator to the lobby and walked out of the car doors as they slid silently open. He gazed around. The hotel foyer was darkly opulent. Clean-cut people in business attire, some carrying ultra slim laptop cases, stood in a group by the door to the bar conversing in subdued voices.

A guy standing next to the huge revolving front doors stood out like a beacon against the scene. The man offered his back view to the lobby as he stared out of the embossed glass doors. Tall, with a battered black leather jacket that stretched across broad muscled shoulders, his bottom half in ripped faded Levis showed off a delicious hard ass. Long legs culminated in a pair of pointed black suede boots.

Smokin’ hot. Caer tore away his gaze and went to the reception desk. “Caer Rossi, you called about my car having arrived.”

The desk clerk smiled, and nodded her head toward the doors of the hotel. “Yes, Mr. Rossi, the driver is waiting over there for you.”

Caer glanced toward the doors and the jean-clad hunk. He looked back at the hopeful face of the clerk. “Him?”

The clerk nodded.

Caer approached the guy, and walked around him. “I’m Caer Rossi, you’re waiting for me.”

A couple of inches shorter than the man, he looked up into the driver’s face as he spoke. A shock of attraction almost took the ‘me’ of his statement from him in an intake of breath. The man was truly gorgeous. His dark hair tousled around his ears. He had the sexiest eyes Caer had ever seen, blue-gray and fringed with the kind of long black eyelashes seen in mascara commercials, though lengthening fibers clearly didn’t enhance these. Caer gazed at him. Hell, he’s amazing. Bet he’s straight.

Caer tried to suppress a sigh of appreciation. It had been a hard six months trying to heal his broken heart after Tom ended their relationship. He’d gone on a blind date because a friend said it would take the edge off his sorrow, but although the man was handsome and interesting, Caer couldn’t put much into the evening. The sigh escaped him. He missed sex and companionship, but at the time, he couldn’t summon the belief he’d meet anyone who’d replace Tom in his heart. Now he wanted to move on with his life.

The runner didn’t appear to hear the sigh. He held the rim of a pale colored, rain splattered Fedora in both hands, and dipped his head to Caer politely with a smile.

“Good morning … sir.” He stuffed the hat under one arm and held out a hand aimed to take Caer’s bag and tablet. Sexy little lines appeared by the sides of his sparkling eyes as he smiled.

Caer stared, hypnotized by his beauty for a few seconds, and then dragged himself into professional mode. “I can manage my stuff, but I’d appreciate you holding an umbrella over me as we walk to the car. The rain is pounding down and arriving bedraggled to a meeting is never a good idea.”

The runner nodded solemnly. “Yes, sir.” He turned to the wall and picked up a large black umbrella previously hidden by his sexy bulk. “I’ll get out there and have this up for you in a jiffy.”

Caer watched him move through the revolving doors and unfurl the umbrella, which he must have brought for Caer since his Fedora was dappled with raindrops.

He took the hat from under his arm, pushed it onto his head, and stood waiting.

With a smile of thanks, Caer went through the doors.

The guy walked next to him holding the umbrella. He opened the car door and Caer jumped in. He leaned back in the soft leather seat as the driver got into the front of the car and tossed the half-open wet umbrella onto the passenger side.

Copyright E.D. Parr, Evernight Publishing 2018