Tag Archives: series: dreamspun desires

A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna

A Matchless Man

A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna

Series: Lexington Lovers, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on October 1, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

After several years of school and work to become a medical doctor, Navashen Bhattathiri is finally returning to his hometown of Lexington to start the next chapter in his life. He connects with high school classmate Brent Carpenter, who is now a realtor and helps Navashen to find the perfect house to settle into when he moves to town. Brent also considers himself to be a bit of a matchmaker, so he also offers to help fix Navashen up with the perfect guy. While Navashen appreciates Brent’s efforts, his busy schedule and responsibilities make it difficult for him to initiate or sustain a relationship with any of the guys Brent comes up with. But Brent is a constant for Navashen, and he sees Navashen’s busy schedule and his work as a sign of dedication and commitment–something to be admired. If Navashen were to be honest with himself, he would love for Brent to offer himself up as a potential date. But could Brent really feel the same way?

I associate Ariel Tachna with well-written and developed characters, and this story provides no exception. I found it easy to get a real sense of Navashen, what motivates him, where he’s come from, and what he wants from life. The characters around him were just as easy to follow, even those that only popped up once or twice during the course of the book. I took away a strong message that we need to be prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and our own happiness. There will always be things that we see as standing in our way–career, family, confidence–but if we’re not willing to confront them or try to get past them, then we really don’t have much standing to complain about not getting what we want…

Taylor Maid by Tara Lain

Taylor Maid

Taylor Maid by Tara Lain

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on March 1, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Taylor Fitzgerald is almost ready to cut his father out of his life completely. Taylor turns twenty-five tomorrow and will inherit the $50 million his grandfather left him in his will. And then he’ll never have to speak to his father ever again. But when he overhears his father reference a condition of the inheritance, Taylor can’t believe it. He needs to marry a woman or the money revers to his father.

There are a few problems with Taylor’s situation. One major one? He’s gay. But he’s already made plans for the money–not for himself, but to help children–so he can’t lose that inheritance. With what he knows is a crazy plan, he sets off to Las Vegas to convince an escort to marry him.

Of course that crazy plan isn’t going to work. But when Taylor meets a hotel maid named Ally May, he makes one last play. They’re strangers, but he’s in a bind. And when Ally agrees, he’s not sure if he should be more grateful or suspicious. As it turns out, Ally needs to get out of Vegas. She’s running from someone, and Taylor’s offer might be just what she needs. But there is more to Ally than meets the eye. And she has more in common with Taylor than he could ever imagine…

The must-get-married-to-inherit trope is not an unfamiliar one. I feel like this is maybe the third or fourth book I’ve read in the past year that used it. But there are some twists here that do make this particular approach stand out. And it’s difficult not to empathize with Taylor’s predicament.

While I enjoyed this book, I did find a few things that just didn’t hit the mark for me. The way the relationship develops just didn’t ring true. Especially after Taylor learns the truth about Ally. And the quick resolution of major issues at the end just seemed to be a bit fast and simplistic to me.

But this is an entertaining read, and I’d recommend picking it up if the story looks appealing.

The Lone Rancher by Andrew Grey

The Lone Rancher

The Lone Rancher by Andrew Grey

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on February 15, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Aubrey Klein cam home to help his family when they were in trouble. His parents haven’t been the best at managing their money. As a result, they are in danger of losing the ranch. He can’t let that happen. And he would do whatever it takes. Which is how he ended up dancing at a club in Dallas on the weekends. And he figures he’s safe. It’s far enough away that people shouldn’t recognize him. And his moniker, The Lone Rancher, allows him to wear a mask that makes that even less likely. But when Aubrey sees his old friend, Garrett Lamson, at one of the shows, he’s in trouble. He doesn’t think Garrett recognized him, but he’d be lying if he told himself Garrett wasn’t attractive. The two end up running into each other after the show, and their friendship rekindles. And it doesn’t take long for them to both realize they want something more. Something that might inspire both of them to come out to their families and be open about who they are.

But Aubrey still hasn’t told Garrett about his weekend activities. Would Garrett mind, though? After all, he was at one of the shows. He must have some appreciation for what Aubrey is doing. But it’s one thing to watch someone up on the stage and another to have that person be your boyfriend, right? And it’s not like Aubrey is proud of it. That’s why he’s kept it a secret. But he plans to stop as soon as the ranch is safe. So maybe he can just stick it out until then and Garrett will never have to know. If he can live with the guilt…

This is something different from Andrew Grey and I enjoyed every moment of it. A unique story with interesting characters placed in situations that are both tense and entertaining. I’ve been trying to think of another book with a similar storyline, and I can’t think of one. Yes, there are some similar themes, but nothing with this type of story. Which is quite a feat when it comes to new M/M these days.

Needless to say, I recommend this one. It’s sweet, fun, and a bit frustrating at times. The hallmarks of a great romance novel, for sure.

The Lone Rancher at the Dreamspinner Press website

The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton

The Stolen Suitor

The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on February 1, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Most people might wonder if Mabe Crassen is serious about her scheme. But her son Jeremy knows better, even though he’s surprised about one aspect of it. Chris Ramsey is set to marry Trix Stubben, a widowed single mother. Trix also just happens to live on the most successful ranch in the area. Mabe has her sights on that ranch, so she’s set her sons to work. Eric, Jeremy’s older brother, is to use his charms on Trix. It shouldn’t be too hard; Eric’s great with the ladies. And Jeremy’s assignment is to seduce Chris. If they can get Chris in a compromising position, there will be no engagement. There are two problems with that: Chris isn’t gay (is he?), and Jeremy’s never come out to his mother. There’s no way she could know, right?

Jeremy isn’t keen on being a part of the scheme. But he wants nothing more than to get out of Clyde’s Corner and go to college. That’s not going to happen as long as he’s needed to contribute to the family finances. His mother’s plan seems like his ticket out. So he’s willing to play along. But will he be able to go through with the plan when he gets to know Chris better? And if he develops feels for Chris, will he be able to leave him behind when he finally gets out of town?

The plot of this one seems like it might be straightforward. But one thing’s for certain: it’s not. There are some major twists here that throw the story for a loop. And the relationships that build here do so in a believable and understandable way. The character development is well done too. The strong writing here brings Clyde’s Corner to life and it’s almost like they all jump right off the page. I had a hard time putting this one down.

The Stolen Suitor on the Dreamspinner Press website

First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

First Comes Marriage

Book Info

Title: First Comes Marriage
Author: Shira Anthony
Published: January 15, 2016
Pages: 262
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Chris Valentine is a struggling writer who has experienced some success but is still looking for that break. He’s trying to juggle working as a barista with finding the time he needs to write, and he would love to find a publisher willing to take on his new series. At a reading, he ends up with two leads, one of whom is Jesse Donovan, an attractive business mogul who expresses a keen interest in helping Chris get published. The two meet to discuss the prospect, and Chris finds that he enjoys spending time with Jesse (but they’ll only be friends since Jesse is quite obviously straight). Eventually Jesse reveals that he’s in a bind, and he hopes Chris can help him. Jesse needs to get married–and stay married for at least a year–to retain control of his company. He offers Chris a business proposal: Chris gets all the time he needs to write for the next year and will receive a million dollars for his trouble. Chris knows it’s strictly a business arrangement, and he could certainly use both the time and the money. But can he really spend a year pretending to be married to one of the most attractive men he’s ever met?

This is the second book released in the new Dreamspun Desires subscription line. Each is a stand-alone book that (for the most part) follows the basic romance formula. And I’m glad to see some of the authors they have already set for this line.

In some ways, I’m not at all surprised that I enjoyed a Shira Anthony title. She has a way of creating and writing characters who are complex and realistic. And the background characters always seem to get that same attention. The worlds in which her stories take place aren’t just the tiny bubble in which the main characters exist, but we also don’t get pages and pages of unnecessary information that doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. The balance is always just the right mix.

I know we’re not very far into 2016 yet, but I have a feeling this is going to be one of my favorite books of this year.

The Millionaire Upstairs by M.J. O’Shea

Millionaire Upstairs

Book Info

Title: The Millionaire Upstairs
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Published: January 1, 2016
Pages: 198
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Sasha Sobieski has landed a job of his dreams: he’ll be working for Harrison Kingsley, one of the hottest fashion houses on the scene. And even meeting Harrison–rude, condescending Harrison–on his way out of the interview can’t bring him down from his high. After all, he’ll never have to work directly for the man, right? When Sasha’s boss (and Harrison’s sister), Joanne, goes on maternity leave, Sasha is sent out to spend the summer working directly for Harrison. He quickly finds his initial assessment of Harrison to be true, even though there are moments when he feels like he can see past the wall that Harrison has built around himself. Sasha finds himself drawn to Harrison, even though he knows better. Can he be the one to bring Harrison around? Or is he just setting himself up for extreme disappointment?

This is the first book in the Dreamspun Desires line, Dreamspinner’s new two-books-a-month subscription service. It isn’t the strongest way to kick off the line, but I still found it entertaining and a relatively quick read. As far as romances go, this one is up there on the list of defining slow burn. And there are many points in the book where I found myself going “really??” Harrison is a straight-up ass, whatever his reasons may be, and it became very difficult for me to understand and believe Sasha’s choices at several points in the book. And the ending didn’t exactly satisfy me that anything was changing.

That said, this one barely squeaks out a three star review and recommendation from me, simply because I did find it enjoyable overall and there’s enough conflict here to keep a reader interested for days.