Category Archives: Loose Id

Review: Making Home by Dev Bentham

Title: Making Home by Dev Bentham
Bay Valley U Series Book One
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Gay, Romance
Length: Novella/Word Count: 30,000 (approx)
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author


In his real life, Manu Contrares makes a decent living as a videographer in New York. But when his mother goes into hospice, he heads home to Bay Valley to help take care of her and ends up back at his first job on the janitorial staff of the local college. It feels like a long step down for a proud Hispanic man.

Chris Hall loves teaching but hates research. That’s becoming a big problem because his third-year faculty review is coming up and if he doesn’t make something happen soon, he’ll be out. He’s spending his nights working in the lab on a Hail Mary attempt to save his job.

When the two men meet, it’s explosive. And complicated. Chris is lily-white and culturally tone-deaf and Manu’s only in town for a short stay. It’s a recipe for heartbreak. Still, the pull between them is too strong for either to ignore. Can they overcome their different backgrounds and somehow surmount the geographical problems, or is this a fling that will leave them both more exhausted and lonely than before?


With a poignant storyline, an appealing cast of characters and sizzling hot love scenes, Making Home by Dev Bentham is a captivating romance between two unlikely partners.

Manu Contrares is back in Bay Valley for a heartbreaking reason and he has enough on his plate without a romantic entanglement complicating his life. He is also not a relationship kind of guy so he is disconcerted by his strong attraction to Professor Chris Hall whose cultural insensitivity is particularly irritating. So why is Manu suddenly eager to catch a glimpse of the biology professor during his nightly rounds cleaning the college?

Chris loves teaching but he is struggling to produce the research he needs for tenure. Despite his efforts to concentrate on his current project, he finds himself too easily distracted as he waits for the nightly appearance of too sexy for words Manu.  With his professional future riding on making significant progress on his research project, the last thing Chris needs is to give in to his unexpected attraction to Manu.

While their initial meetings get off on the wrong foot, Manu and Chris cannot deny the sexual chemistry that simmers beneath the surface every time they see one another. Both men have compelling reasons to ignore their mutual attraction, but they find it surprisingly easy to eventually agree to a no strings fling.  After indulging in several explosive encounters, neither Manu nor Chris can deny their feelings go deeper than casual sex. But with Manu planning to return to New York and Chris chasing tenure at Bay Valley U, will they find  way to overcome the obstacles that are preventing them making their relationship permanent?

Making Home by Dev Bentham is a scorching hot romance that fans of the genre are sure to love. Manu and Chris are endearing characters with all too realistic flaws and imperfections. The storyline is quite emotional and both protagonists undergo significant growth.  An absolutely outstanding beginning to the Bay Valley U series that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.

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Filed under Bay Valley U Series, Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Erotic, Loose Id, M/M, Making Home, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham

driving sunTitle: Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: Novel
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


Bad choices. We all make them, some more than others. Dusty’s choices have left him unemployed, broke and practically homeless. Despite the major issues he has with his family, his only rational choice is to sell everything and move into his parents’ basement. At thirty. Looking for a ride west, he answers a phone ad. The voice at the other end of the line flows like dark, rich honey. Finally something to look forward to—listening to Joe’s voice all the way from Illinois to Idaho.

Rather than the hip crooner of Dusty’s fantasies, Joe turns out to look more like a panhandler. Is that because Joe dresses down, or are Dusty’s preconceptions about Native Americans clouding his vision? Joe is silent more often than not. He has a complicated past and still has amends to make. But he is ready to move on. Dusty feels trapped. Two damaged men, one small car driving two thousand miles into the sun—sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed.

The Review:

Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham is a beautiful romance of healing and new beginnings for two men who have finally begun to triumph over their disastrous pasts. This incredibly engaging story is an interesting study in contrasts between the men, their backgrounds, and their careers but the one thing they share in common is how much their personal choices have cost them both professionally and personally. It is also very fascinating that although their issues are completely different, the emotional impact is very similar.

Driving into the Sun opens with Dusty Walker at his lowest point as he begins preparations to leave Chicago and return to his hometown in northern Idaho. Unhappy does not even begin to express his feelings about moving back in with his parents, but he gets a bit of a pick me up when he hears the sexy voice of the man he will be riding with on his trip home. Joe Black has worked hard to repair his career and now with a clean slate, he is on his way to Seattle where he is looking forward to beginning a new job. But while Joe has made huge strides in his professional life, he is still carrying some pretty heavy emotional baggage in his personal life.

Both Dusty and Joe are fantastic characters and while both are immensely appealing, Dusty is still a frustrating mess in the beginning of the story. He has not really dealt with the fallout over the spectacular crash and burn of his career and he is continuing to make some pretty horrible decisions. Fortunately Joe is pretty unflappable and easily forgives Dusty’s questionable choices, but it is his calming presence that makes the biggest difference for Dusty as he sorts through his tumultuous emotions. But Joe’s past is not completely resolved and it is a huge shock to Dusty when his offhand suggestion leads to surprising revelations from Joe and their side trip leads to an unanticipated outcome for both men.

What makes Driving into the Sun such an refreshing read is the backdrop of the road trip as Dusty and Joe literally and figuratively travel from the past into the future. Joe knows what is ahead for him and he is eager to embrace what lies ahead. Dusty also knows what is next for him but he is dreading what is waiting for him at the end of his journey. Since Dusty has not fully reconciled his mistakes, he sees no other future for himself and this leads to a bit of anxiety regarding his relationship with Joe.

A richly developed and believable romance that resonates with strong emotion, Driving into the Sun is a superb novel that is quite captivating. Dev Bentham brings together two very complex and damaged characters who find love despite their insecurities and rather messy lives. The close confines of the car and the stops along the way provide an intimate setting for Dusty and Joe to divulge their secrets and explore their attraction. The sex scenes between them are exquisitely detailed and are a perfect blend of sweet and sexy.

Driving into the Sun is an  outstanding novel that I highly recommend to readers of contemporary gay romances.


Filed under Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Driving into the Sun, Loose Id, M/M, Rated A, Review, Romance

Review: Slow Burn by Sam B. Morgan

slowTitle: Slow Burn by Sam B. Morgan
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Erotic, Romance, M/M
Length: Novel
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Detective Douglas Brody has only ever known the life of a cop. Raised strict but fair by his police chief father, he joined the academy right out of school, climbed the ranks hard and fast, and now works homicide for the City of Charleston. The job is his entire life. For years it’s kept him happy enough to minimize the side of him that craves what he believes is wrong. An accident on the job puts him on medical leave and everything in Brody’s world changes. He has to prove himself once more to be best cop in the department, all while dealing with Zack – his persistent, sexy, and out of the closet physical therapist.

Zack is tan skin, big grins, floppy hair and tackles his job with the same full-blown enthusiasm he does everything else. When the “patient from hell” is thrown his way by another PT who can’t handle him, Zack is committed to achieving the impossible. His new patient is a head strong and hot as hell homicide detective, who oozes as much resentment as he does sex appeal. Any involvement with a patient, especially a man who is so deep in the closet he can’t see light, is something Zack swore he’d never do. But Brody slowly proves too much to resist…

The Review:

Sam B. Morgan’s Slow Burn is a delightfully angst-free romance between closeted homicide detective Douglas Brody and his laid back physical therapist Zack. With plenty of heat and not much conflict, it is a light easy to read novel that is sure to delight fans of contemporary m/m fiction.

Brody is so dedicated to his career that his personal life is pretty much non-existent. His job keeps him deep in the closet and one night stands are about as serious as his relationships ever get. One case has haunted him his entire career and Brody is obsessed with catching the serial killer before he strikes again. Unfortunately he is riding a desk during physical therapy and if he plans on getting back out in the field, Brody needs some intensive one on one therapy to get him in the best shape of his life. And he knows just the person to help him: his physical therapist, Zack.

Zack is everything Brody isn’t: easy going, cheerful and out of the closet. He takes his job seriously but he also knows how to relax and have a good time. Zack is extremely patient with Brody and he successfully gets Brody’s therapy back on track. Zack might be attracted to Brody, but he is too professional to act on it. Zack has reservations about taking Brody on as a private client but Brody easily convinces him to change his mind.

Zack and Brody settle into an easy camaraderie once they begin their private training sessions. Brody slowly begins to loosen up and Zack finally realizes that Brody is also gay. Their attraction simmers on the back burner but once it comes to a boil? These two eagerly (and frequently) give in to their desire. Their sex scenes are deliciously sexy and their lovemaking is quite steamy. There is also an emotional connection between them, but Brody has no intention of living openly as a gay man. Zack understands where Brody is coming from, but how long will Zack be content with keeping their relationship under wraps?

Slow Burn is an enjoyable romance with engaging and likable characters. The mystery aspect of the story is understated but it serves as a catalyst for Brody to make some much needed changes to his personal life. Sam B. Morgan wraps up the story with a lovely epilogue that is absolutely the perfect ending for Brody and Zack.


Filed under Contemporary, Erotic, Loose Id, M/M, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sam B Morgan, Slow Burn, Suspense

Review: Tarnished Souls 4: Bread, Salt and Wine by Dev Bentham

Title: Tarnished Souls 4: Bread, Salt & Wine by Dev Bentham
Tarnished Souls Series Book Four
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: Novel
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


Some wounds never heal. George Zajac grew up in a religious family with a father who beat “the swish” out of him. Now he’s a troubled man. At thirty-eight he moves across the country to start a new life in Los Angeles, working as the catering chef for a prestigious French Restaurant.

Kenny Marks, a writer who’s currently waiting tables, is everything George cannot be–flamboyant, proud and sexually confident. Enthralled by Kenny, and against his own better judgment, George agrees to a date. Sparks fly. The sex is better than good. But even after the two get close, George remains crippled by humiliating sexual hang-ups. Still haunted by his childhood, he lingers in the closet and can’t commit to a relationship with Kenny.

Love is the great healer, but is it enough? George’s emotional scars could drive Kenny away, and with him, George’s last chance at happiness.

The Review:

Bread, Salt & Wine, the final installment of Dev Bentham’s Tarnished Souls series, is a poignant, yet ultimately uplifting romance. Closeted, reserved George Zajac cannot fight his desire for openly gay Kenny Marks. With George unable to commit to a relationship, they embark on a friends with benefits relationship that takes place over several years and goes through many ups and downs before George can freely admit his feelings for Kenny.

George Zajac’s abusive childhood absolutely broke my heart, but watching him find the courage to face the demons of his past is worth the tears I shed for him. The shame and embarrassment he feels over his sexuality and his desires is absolutely heartbreaking. George is unable to reveal the worst of what he experienced at his overly religious father’s hands, but the effects are obvious as he struggles with his attraction and feelings for Kenny. George is a tortured protagonist with wonderful qualities and I was eager for him confront the issues that keep him from becoming the partner that Kenny deserves.

Kenny has the patience of a saint to put up with George’s reluctance to fully commit to their relationship. His love and compassion for George override his frustration over the status of their relationship until it becomes obvious that George has serious issues that need professional help to overcome. Kenny’s growing unhappiness with George becomes the catalyst George needs to change, but is it too late to salvage their floundering relationship?

As with the other novels in Tarnished Souls series, there is a spiritual aspect that provides added depth and substance to the overall story. The Jewish holiday celebrating Queen Esther, Purim, plays a pivotal role in George and Kenny’s relationship. The celebration not only demonstrates the changes in George’s life, but it also proves to be turning point for George’s personal growth as well.

Bread, Salt & Wine is a heartfelt and moving conclusion to a refreshing and innovative series. Love gives the characters the strength to make positive changes in their lives. Their journeys are often difficult and filled with strong emotion but I have enjoyed traveling with them as they triumph over adversity.

Fans will be delighted at Dev Bentham’s last heartwarming glimpse of all of the characters in the Tarnished Souls series. I loved seeing all of the men whose paths have crossed in the previous novels brought together for one last time. I am going to miss this series and I highly recommend it to all readers of male/male contemporary romances.

Read my reviews of the other stories in the Tarnished Souls series HERE.


Filed under Bread Salt and Wine, Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Erotic, Loose Id, M/M, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, Romance, Tarnished Souls

Friday’s Feature: Blog Tour Stop & Guest Blog Post by Cassandra Carr & Master Class Review

Five Reasons NOT to Make New Years Resolutions
by Cassandra Carr

It’s the time of year when you hear all over the media about making your New Years resolutions. I don’t think I’ve EVER made a New Years resolution, and yet here I am. And I have good reasons for not making them. Let’s see if you agree with mine:

1. They put undue pressure on yourself, especially if you make a huge resolution like “will join a gym and go four times a week”.
2. Do you really need to make a “resolution” to make a change in your life?
3. When you don’t make it, you feel really bad/depressed/whatever. If you don’t make an actual resolution but are still able to make a change to something, you can feel good about your accomplishment and not worry if you don’t do it as quickly or as well as you wanted to.
4. People make resolutions that are too abstract. Things like “I’ll be nicer to people” or “I’ll be too patient” are impossible to keep up all the time and again, as I mentioned above, you start feeling bad about yourself.
5. Goals usually work better when broken down into small, manageable chunks. A New Year’s resolution is just that – ONE resolution. So unless you’re going to make a dozen related resolutions, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Feel free to argue with me in the comments. I know resolutions work for some people. I’d love to hear from you about how yours work and why you make them. Conversely, if you’re like me and don’t make resolutions, why not? For the same reasons as me? Additional reasons?

Title: Master Class by Cassandra Carr
Publisher: Lose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, BDSM
Length: Novel/162 pdf pages
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Author

Ryan Tomasi feels like a failure. His marriage is officially over; the ink dried on the divorce decree. His friend Jack introduces him to BDSM and he agrees to attend a Halloween party at a club. A submissive approaches him, offering herself, and how can he refuse the kneeling beauty? They do a whirlwind scene and Ryan is addicted—both to dominance and to her.

Lisette Rinaldo is returning to the BDSM club for the first time since ending a bad relationship with her former master. She spots Ryan and is taken by the combination of self-assurance and nervousness the man displays as he takes in his surroundings. And after he gives her an incredible re-introduction to the lifestyle, she knows she needs to see the man again.

Ryan and Lisette explore each other and the lifestyle, but what started out as playtime quickly evolves into something more. The problem? Ryan isn’t ready to get serious again and Lisette doesn’t want to fall in love with a guy who can’t give all of himself to her. Both of them are going to have to break out of the bonds holding them back from happiness to pass this Master Class.

The Review:

Cassandra Carr’s Master Class is a delightfully unique and sinfully sexy romance with a whole lot of kink. New to the BDSM scene, Ryan Tomasi is a Dom who is spreading his sexual wings. He is instantly intrigued by Lisette Rinaldo, an experienced sub who is returning to the lifestyle following a bad experience with another Dom.

Ryan is definitely an Alpha male, but his newness to the BDSM world gives him a wonderful naiveté that is a refreshing change in this genre. He knows what he wants, but his uncertainty about how to proceed gives the relationship a bit more equality than most D/s relationships. Ryan takes great care in making sure that Lisette is comfortable with their explorations and his emotions are quickly engaged. His divorce has left him with some trust issues that might just derail their budding romance.

Lisette might have submissive tendencies in the bedroom, but she is pretty take charge in every other area of her life. She cautiously agrees to participate in BDSM scenes with Ryan and she is the perfect woman to guide him in his sexual journey. Lisette’s feelings for Ryan rapidly evolve from desire to love but she is reluctant to risk her heart on someone who might not be ready for than an sexual relationship.

I really liked the fact that part of the story takes place out of the BDSM club. Lisette and Ryan go out on dates and they take the time to get to know one another. A work crisis also provides them the opportunity to interact on a whole different level and it also brings them closer together.

The sex scenes between Lisette and Ryan are quite erotic and there are plenty of them. Master Class is the perfect introduction to someone who is curious about the BDSM genre. The scenes are not too hardcore and the level of caring between Lisette and Ryan adds emotional depth to the story.

Master Class is a wonderful blend of sexy and sweet. Cassandra Carr has an engaging writing style and her character development is superb. The storyline is quite original and fast paced.

Fans of contemporary erotic romances are sure to enjoy wonderfully appealing story.


Filed under BDSM, Blog Tour, Cassandra Carr, Contemporary, Erotic, Loose Id, Master Class, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Tarnished Souls 3: Sacred Hearts by Dev Bentham

Note: Edited to reflect new cover & publisher

sacred heartsTitle: Sacred Hearts by Dev Bentham
Publisher: Love is a Light; 2nd edition
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance, Erotic
Length: 137 pages
Book Rating: A+ and a Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


Life’s a gamble–and lately David Schwartz’s partner has been losing so much that David must close their restaurant, the hippest little place in Portland. He sells everything and moves back home, but at thirty-five, he’s not eager to sleep alone in his childhood bedroom or to be supported by his father for the second time in his adult life.

David’s had enough. He needs to start over, maybe with someone like the elusive man he’s been seeing in his dreams. An old friend offers him a job catering a movie set in Puerto Vallarta. It’s been years since David’s alcoholism spun out of control along the highways of Mexico. Determined to experience Mexico sober, he stuffs his few remaining possessions in a backpack and takes the next flight down.

As Mexico prepares for Christmas, David lights Hanukkah candles, celebrating the return of the sun and wishing for true love. On the first night of Hanukkah, David meets a tall, dark stranger who rocks his world in a secluded moonlit cove. Is this the mystery man of his dreams–the answer to David’s prayers? And what must David sacrifice to make his dreams come true?

The Review:

Sacred Hearts, Dev Bentham’s third installment in her Tarnished Souls series, is a beautifully written love story between two captivating and incredibly engaging protagonists. Following the loss of both his boyfriend and his business, David Schwartz is in desperate need of a new beginning. It is with much trepidation that David accepts a job in Puerto Vallarta, where years before, he found then lost his first love. His return to Mexico offers David the opportunity to make peace with his past and a chance meeting with an enigmatic stranger gives him hope for his future.

In the aftermath of his failed relationship and business, David picks up the pieces of his life, maintains his long term sobriety and discovers a great deal about himself in the process. David’s reflections on his first ill-fated relationship play a pivotal role in understanding how he ended up his last relationship and why he stayed in it. This self-awareness is crucial when he is forced to face his ex-lover as David deals with the unpleasant details involved with the closing their business.

There is an almost mystical quality to David’s meeting with the man he meets in Mexico. His new lover proves quite elusive and gives up very few details about himself. Their encounters are sexually charged and sizzling hot. There is also a charming aura of innocence as David’s new man stretches beyond his sexual comfort zone.

In Sacred Hearts, Ms. Bentham does a fabulous job of weaving together two very different faiths. The lead characters are both very spiritual and their strong beliefs add another layer to this richly detailed story. Along with hope, the rituals of David’s religion also bring him peace.

I really like the fact that the main characters in Sacred Hearts are both older. Their life experiences have molded and shaped them into the men they are and this maturity provides them with added depth. There are a few missteps and misunderstandings that advance the plot and provide insight into both protagonists. The story is realistic and delightfully angst free.

Dev Bentham brings the characters and setting vibrantly to life in this emotionally complex and compelling novel. Sacred Hearts is full of unexpected twists and turns and a romance that is so sweet it will take your breath away.

An incredible story of healing, hope and love that I highly recommend.

Read my reviews of the other stories in the Tarnished Souls series HERE.


Filed under Contemporary, Dev Bentham, Erotic, Loose Id, M/M, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, Romance, Sacred Hearts, Tarnished Souls