In order to lower the pile of unread m/m books I have, I've decided to "attack" some shot stories. They don't have any connection, they're simply small in page count and that was why I picked five. I'll try to do this again in the future and I'll keep the comments short, just a few notes about my impressions on each one.
When his master is defeated in battle, the concubine Tamet volunteers to take his place as a royal hostage. But when betrayal leaves Tamet trapped in an unfamiliar land, with a prince who both attracts and repels him, what fate will the future hold for him?
Comment: This is a sort of slave/master story. Tamet seemed good character, his actions revealed loyalty and I expected him to learn to trust again where he went but...It has interesting elements and I liked Tamet's character but the whole conception of the fantasy world didn't win me over and I would have preferred a different society instead. It made the romance, if one can call it that, rather pointless if the feelings between them won't ever be exclusive because the master has other slaves and wives.
Ricky has it all, and that's part of the problem. Countless personal assistants and managers organize his celebrity life for him, so that he barely needs to lift a finger. It's not until he hires Jim as a bodyguard that he realizes he can't pay everyone to kiss his ass. Jim's quiet manner and integrity makes him a challenge. However, the more Ricky gets to know the no nonsense body guard, the more he realizes what's missing in his life. And when Ricky's life is in danger, sparks begin to fly.
Comment: This would have been an interesting take on the bodyguard romance if only they had known each other for longer to make it more believable! I know this is a short story but there are ways to make it credible without the usual clichés. However, Ricky seems too needy, and I guess that would always put him in a less than desirable position for the romance to be strong in my POV.
Kasumi is an elite warrior, trained in skills that very little of the world even knows exists. The price for his skills is high, and they are not sold lightly. Given into the service of a famous scholar, Kasumi travels the world at his side, a secretive, deadly shadow, his only defining trait a mask that no one can remember in detail the very moment they have looked away...
When Kasumi and his Master board a ship, Kasumi is certain he will be facing nothing more than a very long, very boring trip. But the companion his Master is travelling with proves to be the most idiotic, most infuriating man that Kasumi has ever met, and the trip proves to be frustrating rather than boring. Then everything goes wrong...
Comment: The proof short stories can have development! This is believably divided into parts and each has interest and real development! I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it. No sex but amazing details and subtle sexual chemistry and a truly magnificent end! I loved the main couple and the things they went through to defend something they believe in and how special it was to finally see them together and admit their feelings. It was also amazing to learn about the mask, why it was important and how it worked as a means to keep the couple together until they found what they were looking for. It didn't feel such a short story at all!
After a seven-year absence, only a catastrophic event could bring Trace Tilton home to Farley Gulch-like his father having a heart attack. Once Bud's on the mend, Trace plans to leave the Triple T Ranch again. He's certain his gruff father will never accept his...lifestyle. Triple T foreman Nash Stokes thinks Farley Gulch is the ideal place for a man to live a simple life-and keep his sexual preference a secret. A hot roll in the hay with his boss's gorgeous son is the last thing he expected. Before long, scorching passion and small-town rumor find both men taking a hard ride home.
Comment: This is a contemporary, interesting but again, the too much sex, not as much development is the issue, in my opinion. Nash is the character I felt more interested in but too bad he wasn't developed more than just superficially. Trace has an appeal to his personality but I feel this was a short story made him look less certain of himself. The end was positive and hopeful but totally sugary and unlikely.
Thom is down on love, having walked in on his lover with "a friend" and caught them doing the nasty. After he kicks said lover out, he writes off men for good. Then Bradley moves in next door, so flaming he’s practically on fire, and Thom can’t help but notice. Especially when Bradley seems to be quite the exhibitionist, having sex with his boyfriend in front of the bedroom windows, and getting frisky with another guy out back in his pool.
Suddenly Thom finds himself in the precarious position of voyeur, and he knows Bradley knows he’s watching. He even suspects Bradley might be deliberately flaunting his sexuality for Thom’s benefit. He doesn’t need another cheating lover, but how long can he resist Bradley’s advances?
Comment: The idea is not appealing and I thought this would go on a different route. The first person narrator didn't make me feel sympathetic and Bradley's character was annoying and had an attitude I disliked. I'm also not a fan of the "twink" persona and had a hard time finding will to read this, even more because it's short.
The end was not believable, the romance development focused too much on uninteresting things and not enough on personality and feelings, something I expected. I won't cherish this fondly.
->I hope my next short reads won't be as average low but good ones like the third story, which had all the elements necessary to make it wonderful.