Title: Breaking the Devil
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary, Western
Length: Novella / 70 pages
Rating: 2 out of 5
A guest review by Kassa
Mack and Justin grew up together and were best friends for years, until one day that friendship turned into something hotter and more powerful than either man had ever experienced before. A passionate coupling that branded each man forever—or so Mack thought, until the dreaded day after. That’s when Justin told Mack the whole thing didn’t mean anything to him, and walked away from Mack’s promises of forever.
Mack has never been able to get past that one traumatic event in his life. A dozen years have passed without a word from Justin. But when that red-haired devil reappears, Mack finds out that he can’t resist giving in to his body’s needs—no matter what his head tells him.
Two stubborn, determined alpha males—one nursing a twelve-year fury and the other with a redhead’s temper—who have been denied what they want most for so many years, come together in an explosion of heat and passion that overrides everything else in their lives. Now, if only Mack and Justin can keep their hands, and other body parts, off each other long enough to talk, they might be able to get to the truth behind what happened twelve years ago…and while they’re doing it, they might just have some luck breaking the devil.
This short novella has lots of sex, sex, and more sex. Oh there is a thin plot somewhere between the lube, spit, sex, blowjobs, and tears but it’s rather weak and almost non-existent. There is however, lots of sweaty, rough, cowboy sex. Now, I’m always up for a good porn without plot staring cowboys (ok I have a weakness for hot cowboy on cowboy action), but unfortunately there are several editing errors and writing quirks that ultimately took away my enjoyment of this ranch porn. So if you can overlook some of the problems I mention and you are looking for a complete sex based piece of fluff – this might fulfill that craving.
The blurb summarizes the so-called plot more than the actual story does. The book opens with Mack moping about his long lost love, Justin. Lo and behold though Justin happens to be right there and the two engage in some sweaty hand jobs right out there on the ranch in broad daylight within minutes of their first hellos in twelve years. Thank god no one is actually working to see their bit of exhibitionism. The two then stumble into the ranch house and proceed to have more sex while a word or two is exchanged about the prolonged absence. Repeat this several times, throw in an unnecessary and predictable villain, and that is the book.
The characters are very weak and not explored at all. There is very little depth or interest to either as they have sex for the majority of their interaction and yet the sex scenes do not advance the characters at all. The two act as though no time has past and Julian especially is overbearing and possessive, as if Mack had no right to ever even look at another man in the years they were apart. Additionally neither Mack nor Julian actually questions their future, their past, or how the two immediately started having sex without addressing the problem of their long separation and the changes in their lives. Fortunately for Julian, Mack has been suspended in time for twelve years, waiting for Julian to return. Once Julian is back, Mack waffles between anger at the long separation and just being happy Julian is back in his bed.
Neither man really exists outside of the sexual component of the book. Julian never seems to work on his ranch but instead just happens to always pop up on Mack’s ranch at the exact moment Mack is having an argument or well, Julian never seems to leave Mack’s ranch to run his own. Furthermore there is the evil, predictable plot to keep the two young men apart that forces Julian to break Mack’s heart against his will. Of course there is a villain close to home and one Julian can vanquish to save Mack’s tender feelings. Unfortunately this plot point felt so weak and tired, over used, unoriginal and just boring that even the numerous sex scenes couldn’t save this at that point.
The prose is basic without a lot of complexity or nuance, which fits well with the repeated and numerous sex scenes. Unfortunately there are several quirks to the writing that threw me off and made the story difficult to enjoy and get into – beyond the obvious problems with the weak plot and wooden characters. Mack says “Jayzus” over twenty times in the short novella. Perhaps this is meant to be an affectation but the repeated use of the single word became incredibly annoying instead of charming. Some of the descriptions were unattractive such as the use of “shit-eating grin” close to a scene when one man is rimming the other. The reminder is just, not good. Additionally the writing tended to have rhetorical questions within the story, which could have been stronger if the writing addressed the questions. There are numerous editing errors with internal thoughts not italicized, misspelled words, and similar smaller mistakes.
Although I didn’t realize the book is meant as pure titillation, I was willing be carried along for the ride of hot sex. Unfortunately it didn’t deliver for many reasons but other readers may actually quite enjoy the sex scenes and not be bothered by the problems and quirks I’ve mentioned. As a classic PWP (porn without plot), I can easily see how the erotica will appeal to some readers and only wish I could have enjoyed the offering as well. Sadly, I wanted a brain scrub.