Starting Over

Title & Link: Starting Over
Author: Ethan Stone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Short Story (34 PDF pages; word count unlisted)
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

A guest review by Buda

Summary Review: This beautifully written short story packs an emotional punch right. A must-read for Ethan Stone fans.

The Blurb:

After a killer shift at work, all Eddie wants is a quick meal before heading home to shower and fall into bed. Then he meets Nate at a late-night diner. Eddie’s self-confidence is gone along with his ex-boyfriend, and the last thing he’s looking for is a one-night stand – especially not with a married man. But Nate doesn’t just have sex with Eddie, he makes love to him—and even after Eddie lets Nate walk away, he can’t go back to his old, empty life.

The Review:

Eddie is a man who works with his hands. He’s just finished a punishing 16-hour shift at work fixing a dump truck. All he wants is a hot meal and a chance to unwind before crawling into his lonely bed for a night’s sleep. He winds up at his usual all-night bar-and-grill, reading a book while he waits for his food. While he waits, he is distracted by the arrival of an attractive man whom the bartender calls Nate.

Eddie has been single for seven months, ever since his selfish prick of a boyfriend left him for a younger model. Eddie prefers making love to just having sex. But he’s been alone and lonely for a while and this newcomer is ridiculously sexy. Then Eddie notices the band of gold on Nate’s left hand and mentally backs down.

Nate, however, has other plans. After giving Nate a quick blow job in a room upstairs from the dining room, Eddie asks what Nate wants. The answer is just one night together. And, dear god, what a night it is. Those of you who read Being Taught (reviewed here) know that Ethan Stone can beautifully write amazing sex between strangers. This book proves he can also beautifully write amazing lovemaking between strangers. He delves into the depths of Eddie’s psyche without and tells of the emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his exboyfriend, all while making the sex between Nate and Eddie so much more meaningful and hot. Honestly, I was reading through a thin film of water at one point.

After their one night together, Nate goes back to his life and Eddie decides to get one of his own. In the seven months since his ex left him, he had only been existing. Meeting Nate changed Eddie, made him determined to claim his life and be happy instead of just going through the motions.

Even though this has all the hallmarks of a Bittersweet Dreams title, Ethan manages to pull off a reunion and a happy ending full of promise.

I am not a fan of reading about extra-relationship sex, but I trusted Ethan Stone enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. And, of course, he pulled through just as I knew he would. Nate is not a low-down dirty cheater–not the way it sounds in the blurb. Trust Ethan.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the scene between Eddie and his ex. It was fun to see Eddie come fully into his own and reject Gil (the skank!) in no uncertain terms. The only thing that kept this from being a 5-star read for me was that the build-up to Eddie and Nate’s reunion almost wasn’t there. I would have liked some more tension, but I can’t reveal details without spoiling the book. So…that means you should read it for yourself and tell me if you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Starting Over releases tomorrow, March 9, from Dreamspinner Press. Highly recommended.



  • The story opens with “sometimes sex is just sex and nothing more.” Well, this story is more.
    Excellent job Ethan, thank:)

    • Yay, Janet! I’m glad you enjoyed the book! It really is “more,” isn’t it? Dang, I might have to re-read it again now. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  • I agree with Buda, great story, great writer, I describe Ethan’s writing as a mixture of rawness and realness. The love(sex)scenes, WOW! Great Review Buda, great job Ethan. :bravo:

    • Thanks, Laura (love the avatar, btw). He’s great, isn’t he? Ethan is quickly becoming one of those authors whose latest work I am eager to explore.

      Wave made me give up Wolf Moon just so she could get her grubby little hands on some more Ethan Stone. (Or maybe it’s that I don’t know enough about supernaturals to write a decent review so I gave it up voluntarily. Nah. Couldn’t be that!) But Flesh & Blood is all mine. Mine, I say! :strike:

  • Buda-Thank you for this incredible review. I appreciate the trust you have in me and hope that when I do write a clunker you aren’t too hard on me. (Hard on me…that brings up so many interesting images.)

    • Ethan, thanks for such a great book. I just wish I could review as well as you write. 🙂 I kept bugging Wave about the book every couple of weeks until she practically threw it at me to get me to shut up.

      Hmm…you’re making a clunker sound promising! :flirt:

    • Ethan and Buda

      (Hard on me…that brings up so many interesting images.)

      This site is not for pickups until I say so. 😯 Shame on you two for such titillating conversations on a site that reviews books. :nuts:

      I will be the one to review your ‘clunker’ Ethan – it was a tough negotiation. lol

  • I did read this story Buda and at first I wondered where it was going because I knew that a lot of “romance” fans hate cheating. I was very pleased with the way this was handled by Ethan Stone and how the story was resolved. Great review.

    Now you can’t be mad when I send you that book “that should never have been published.” 😯

    • Uhm, love, haven’t you already sent me that book at least twice? :p

      When I read the blurb, I was a bit concerned about how Ethan would be able to create a HEA with a married character. But after Being Taught and In the Flesh, I had faith and confidence in him. I didn’t think he’d let me down; and he definitely didn’t. But let’s talk about the sex. Is it not just scorching hot? I love getting into Eddie’s mind during the lovemaking. I could feel the emotions he felt. Loved it.

      • I didn’t want to be crass and mention the slow, sensuous, mind blowing, slow (did I repeat myself?)S-E-X?? Oh that sex. 😯

        Did I already send you that book? I thought you were due for 😮 another one.

        • Aw, c’mon. How is it crass to say the man writes mind-blowing sex?

          No more SNHBP books, please. I think the newbs still need some of those. 😆

  • Oh, this sounds lovely. Plus, it’s always satisfying when skanks get what they deserve. XD Thank you, Buda!


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