Author: Rob Rosen
Title: The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 3/9/16
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Humor
A photography student gets more than he bargains for when he photographs a blond Polish butcher, who he has sex with in the back of the butcher shop; a ginger-haired Irish baker, who he has sex with in the back of the bakery; and a brunette British candlestick maker, who he has sex with in the back of the candle shop. All of the men photographed are in period costume and all have tricks up their sleeves—and, of course, down their pants. In the end, a budding romance evolves between the student and the butcher.
I’d always enjoyed photography. Even as a kid, I’d borrow my dad’s Polaroid and take off to shoot the neighborhood. Now in art school, nothing had changed much. If anything, the passion burned brighter. And so it wasn’t by chance that I enrolled in the photography class that semester, but perhaps fate did play a role in what eventually transpired.
My homework assignment that particular day was called, very simply, “trios.” We could use our fertile imaginations to interpret this any way we wanted to. Me, I wanted to go all out—balls to the wall, as it were. In other words, I wanted an A. And so over the weekend, I biked around town, looking for anything that stood out, anything iconic but unusual just the same.
A pizza parlor, perhaps? Mushroom, pepperoni, and anchovy? Too easy, I figured. Street lights, maybe? Red lights, green lights, yellow lights? Too, uh, pedestrian. How about kids, parents, and grandparents, I thought? Well, they said never to work with children or animals. I couldn’t have agreed more. In other words, nix on that idea, as well. Besides, approaching children and asking to take their picture was never a wise idea.
No, I had to dig deeper, find something unexpected but fun to photograph, something no one else in my class was going to come up with. And so I ended up at Old Times, a local mall dedicated to days gone by. Which, to be quite frank, was generally just another way for the stores to charge extra for crap no one needed. Still, I reasoned, my inevitable photographs would be out of the ordinary.
I looked around, my high-end digital camera at the ready. Luckily, I spotted my prey right off the bat, their storefronts side by side by side. The butcher was on the left, the candlestick maker on the right, the baker in the middle.
Iconic—check. Trio—check. It seemed like I was good to go.
“Whoa,” I whispered as I entered the butcher shop, mainly because the butcher was one mighty fine slab of meat. Grade A prime, in fact—and with one hell of a rump roast to boot. He was dressed in 1930s garb, the uniform tight and white, hugging him in all the right places¬. Then again, by the looks of him, he had no wrong ones to begin with. He had on a fancy straw hat, a white bow tie, a white apron, and heavy black shoes. The sleeves of his white button-down were rolled up to reveal meaty forearms covered in a thick blond down.
In truth, we couldn’t have looked more different. He had three inches and a good thirty pounds on me. He was blond to my brunette, blue eyes to my brown. Plus, he was easily seven or eight years older. Still, in my randy imagination, we made a picture-perfect couple. And since I took perfect pictures, I knew of what I spoke. Cart before horse? Fine, so sue me.
Anyway, he smiled when I approached, his teeth as white as his clothes, gleaming and perfect, eyes a dazzling blue. And when he spoke, “Welcome,” it was with a beautiful, trilling Eastern European accent of some kind. Polish, maybe? Slovakian? Fuck if I cared; it was sexy either way. “Can I help you?” he asked, the smile so bright I very nearly put my sunglasses on.
Hell yeah, I thought, but told him instead the reason for my visit: that I wished to film him for my class. He smiled when I was done and said I could take some pictures when the shop closed at six. Then we wouldn’t be interrupted. I gulped when he said it, mainly because those stunning orbs of blue were locked in on me like a meat hook to a side of beef. I thanked him and told him I’d be back at six.
All the above I repeated at shop number two—the same spiel, the inner monologue only slightly different.
The baker was thin and dreamy, with a white chef’s hat and a white button-down shirt, which was opened at the collar to reveal just the slightest hint of ginger chest hair. Over this, he wore a pristine white apron. His eyes sparkled like green emeralds as he nodded my way, his crisp white uniform showing off his physique as he dexterously stocked the shelves with a beautiful array of fresh pastries and cookies. When he spoke, it was with a lilting Irish brogue that made my cock throb in my jeans. In the end, he invited me back first thing in the morning, before he started baking.
All the above I then repeated at shop number three. By then I had my story down pat.
The candlestick maker’s outfit was the most unusual of the three. He wore not a stitch of white. His shirt was a blousy blue, his vest a clover green, his slacks a muddy brown, and his shoes, heels and all, were a midnight black. His smock, which was covered in wax, was also black, to perfectly match his beret. He wasn’t stocky like the butcher nor thin like the baker, but dreamily average in both height and weight. He had brown hair and brown eyes, and spoke—be still my heart, and hard-on—in a posh British accent. I was thankful that he immediately locked up shop, agreeing to pose for me once he finished his work in the back, leaving me in the front to ponder my good fortune.
Rob Rosen (www.therobrosen.com), award-winning author of the novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort and Fate, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015 and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, has had short stories featured in more than 200 anthologies.
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Synopsis: The unrelenting seduction of Oleander's cool, flawless skin—and deep, captivating eyes. The concern in his voice—the touch of his hand. The exhilaration and pride elicited by the sight of Oleander waiting for him after the visit with his family had left him feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.
Unfulfilled …pointless, insignificant—until Oleander.
Amidst the chaos of his sexual reckoning, Timothy is compelled to uphold an intimate pact struck between himself and Oleander, and chooses to follow him north to Drakkar Castle—the threat of war upon them. Grimmr Coven is advancing deep into Drakkar Coven territory, and only Oleander may know the reason why. He had lived amongst the coven Grimmr for many decades with his human lover, Torkel and fears that a far greater threat is coming, forcing Grimmr Coven south into Drakkar Coven territory.
Left behind while Oleander goes in search of answers, Timothy's inner turmoil becomes unbearable. His only company enroute to Drakkar Castle, Alexis, a vivacious, blue-eyed seductress with a secret, intent on stealing him away for reasons that would launch the already fractured family of Drakkar at each other's throats.
Review: So, the series continues in the bizarre Drakkar Coven, this time with Oleander, the pretty one who is apparently a lot more lethal than he appears. He has a thing for Timothy, Laramie's friend from the first book, and gets his brother Callum to give Timothy to him. Unlike Callum, his immediate intent is for a mate, someone to share his life with. Oleander has secrets, issues with his brothers, issues with his parentage, and a lot more power than he let on. He is a great deal kinder that Callum but he is still monstrous in his own right. Unlike Callum, he doesn't flaunt it in front of Timothy. He doesn't want Timothy through fear, but by choice. There's some secrets here, one which gets let out but it seems like there are more to be uncovered in the next book. I'm interested enough to keep reading
Synopsis: Laramie had grown up listening to stories regaling Lord Callum's strength and beauty, but also warning of his ferocity and blood lust. But was it true? Were Lord Callum and his brothers really vampires? Laramie's first glimpse of Lord Callum set his heart racing, partially out of fear, but mostly out of fascination, and Lord Callum took note of that, pleased to have found his next plaything.
Review: So this one was a bit different than I expected. Normally, we romanticize vampires. We like to think they're not monsters but just misunderstood mutations of humans. Well, Callum is not that. He is indeed a bloodthirsty monster with seemingly no conscience and one would think no redeeming qualities. In fact, his one redeeming quality is his attraction to Laramie, though he does hurt Laramie as well. It's unintentional, as vampires have no concept of sickness or disease that apparently repeated bites cause. I can't say that I like Callum, more like he interests me because of his admitted brutality and callousness. He is the leader of his brothers, supposedly the strongest and he keeps his brothers just weak enough to be unable to usurp his position. He decides when they get food, which is of course human blood, and when they don't. One would almost think that Laramie suffers from Stockholm syndrome, but it's a little different and weirder. Callum has a back story that perhaps explains why he is the way he is. All in all, I like this story for the difference in the vampires.
Synopsis: Lee exchanges skyline for swampland in the next book of her male/male romance series, Roadmap to Your Heart.
Rugged and conventional Callum Montgomery enjoys running Shady Pines hunting preserve, except for the secret that’s eating him alive. When his sister brings a date for a family wedding, he can’t stand the arrogant city slicker with the stick up his perfectly fine ass. He doesn’t understand his draw to Dean, who pushes his buttons at every turn, but he’d never dream of betraying his sibling over some lust fueled fantasy.
Handsome and conscientious Dean Abbott is a research assistant in his university’s biology lab. When his roommate, Cassie, begs him to be her pretend date in front of her meddling family, he begrudgingly agrees to help. He doesn’t anticipate being enchanted by the countryside, the colorful cast of characters, or her sexy and brooding straight brother.
When contempt turns to passion and leads to stolen moments in a sugar cane field, Callum can’t help longing for the kind of connection he believes he can never have. But not even the world’s most heart-melting kiss can bridge the vast philosophical differences between the men.
Dean’s return to his urban lifestyle leaves him restless, his mind continually wandering to the charming setting that spoke to something missing deep inside him. Because you can take the city boy out of the country but you can’t make him forget the intriguing man he left behind.
Review: Here we have another story of opposites attract. City boy meets country boy. Out and proud meets closeted. Dean gets sucked into the situation by doing a favor for his roommate, and butts heads instantly with her brother. It's not easy going putting them together. Even once they're able to admit they're attracted to each other, once it's out in the open that Callum isn't heterosexual and Dean is definitely not with Cassie, the two aren't in an easy relationship. There's plenty of chemistry, but their differences easily become apparent. Callum is a country boy after all and doesn't like being talked down to. The story itself is great, and the ending works, though personally I say one character gave more than the other to get to the happy ending, but that's a matter of opinion and doesn't take away from the story at all.
Synopsis: When college student Jake is left for dead on the side of the road, he has one thing on his mind: Learn to defend himself against the men that gay bashed him.
And fight back or die trying.
At his sister’s suggestion, he tries self-defense courses. Little does he know when he asks the man to teach him, he'll be guarding more than his body, he'll be guarding his heart.
Aspiring MMA trainer Benjamin is on his last leg, literally. As a wounded warrior, he's scarred from a broken heart that has nearly broken his spirit.
So when Jake approaches him for lessons and tells him his story, it touches his heart.
The more time Jake and Benjamin spend together, the more they realize they’re becoming best friends.
The more time they spend together, the more they realize they can't live without each other.
The more time they spend together, the more they realize they’re falling in love.
But Jake has a secret, one that could change everything....
Review: So, I'm glad I found this one for free today. We come into the story with a bit of tragedy. Gay bashing is a real thing and the situation with Jake and his friend Alberto is an ongoing issue in the story, and kind of at the center of it. They're surrounded by bible thumpers and homophobes. Then there's Benjamin. He's confident and sometimes borders on cocky. But it's a good thing. He's not the most overly emotional guy. He's blunt, and borders on being a jerk but at least it's not hard to figure out where he stands on any particular issue. I was a little wary of the step brothers thing, but it's not like they grew up together. Besides, they're not related by blood and their relationship is interesting. Actually, it's funny in several places. The way they talk is realistic but hilarious to me personally. The sex scenes tickle me because of the dirty talk but i love the story overall, and I especially love the ending. People getting their just desserts always wraps up a story nicely.
Synopsis: The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.
8,994 P.E.-The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and The Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem becomes the king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and daring, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but quickly finds his loyal council members brutally murdered by an assassin loosed within the city.
As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.
Review: I'm a big fantasy fan and as such I find it's rare to see a world of elves that's new and refreshing. That is what I found in this story. I find it very different for there to be such a militant style in elves, and there's plenty of intrigue throughout the story. Here we have a novel that develops both characters and the plot and holds interest throughout. This is another story where I actually wish I could read all of the books together in order. Not sure how long this one will be but I can't wait to read the next installment
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J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.
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AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING is the tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. The intertwined worlds of Oceanlight and Earth are no longer hidden from view of each other. In one realm, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her family and she encounters a deadly blue haze at sea. Escaping the poison makes her realize that her world, Oceanlight, is experiencing sudden and catastrophic environmental change. Meanwhile, in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth with haemophilia, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit who intentionally shoves him off a cliff. If Yalara and Einion don't uncover the connections between their worlds and near-deaths, it will have dire consequences for the worlds they live in. Book one of the OCEANLIGHT series.
Review: This one takes some focus to get into. You really have to pay attention or you'll miss what's going on. The start seems innocent, but soon enough you realize the seriousness of the situation, the mission Yalara is sent on isn't a run of the mill situation. It becomes clear that there are different worlds, and ours is possibly the least aware of all of them. There are some interesting concepts here, with some form of pollution entering the other worlds and causing a chain reaction. A thinning between worlds allows passage between them, something the more aware species tend to fear. In order to explain the story accurately, there would be spoilers, and i'm not much for spoilers, but i do love the story. I would love to read the next installment, and at the same time, I want all of them released so I can read in order, the mark of a good story.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.
He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.
His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.
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Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.
Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.
I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.
I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M romance. I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.
Visit my WEBSITE.
Or my FACEBOOK author page.
You can also find me on TWITTER.
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Synopsis: Julie Sparks thinks life as a teen is difficult, but she didn't realize just how bizarre life would be once three men in Armani suits storm into the museum where she works and try to steal Michael, a famous, winged statue. When one of the men starts to hurt Julie, the statue breaks apart, revealing a beautiful, pale teen. He rips them apart.
Despite how terrified Julie was with how easily Michael killed those men, she falls for his charm and beauty. More men come for Michael. The mystery turns into conspiracy. Julie is in too deep now. She must do everything in her power to not only save her friends and family, but the whole world.
Review: So, it's a bit hard to do a type of a vampire that hasn't been done. Well, this author has done it. Michael is a vampire, one with wings which is interesting. Not only that, he's a prince, and vampires aren't from this world. They're a different species, more advanced, and of course feed on blood. Get weird when the vamps decide to come to high school all in an elaborate and twisted plan to take over and save the world. And Julie has her place in it all, which became obvious once certain things were mentioned but still it works. Doesn't seem like the story is done, but it's not exactly a cliffhanger ending either. It's different and I like it. It's a book that fits more in the new adult category as while sex is mentioned or hinted at, there aren't any graphic scenes which makes sense being that Julie is only seventeen, as are most of her friends. Nonetheless, an interesting take on an old concept
Drako is an author and blogger, writing paranormal romance and LGBT fiction and reading almost any genre to review