Title: Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love
Author: Dale Cameron Lowry
Publisher: Terrestrial Press
Release Date: 11th February, 2017
Genre(s): (Mixed anthology of short stories) Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 254 pages
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: A selection from 1-5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book.
Part 1: Falling Fast
Warm up with whirlwind romances that last.
- Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?
- Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
- Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.
Part 2: Falling Fantastically
Because reality is overrated, these stories have elements of the fantastical.
- Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process.
- Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
- Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite.
- Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.
Part 3: Falling Deep
The deeper the love, the hotter the intimacy.
- Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
- Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?
I recently enjoyed the writing in Pacific Rimming and was eager for more of Dale’s work, so when the chance to review this collection of stories came up I volunteered immediately. And I wasn’t disappointed.
This is a superb collection of short stories set around the theme of men falling in love. Previously published separately, they are now grouped together and available in one money-saving volume. I particularly liked the diverse range of stories, from contemporary to fantasy, from sci-fi to menage. There’s something for all tastes here and the heat ratings span from fade to black to medium steam to smoking hot and explicit. The introduction to the book helpfully allocates heat ratings to the blurb for each story, so if necessary you can pick and choose the story you wish to read, although I read from start to finish without jumping around.
The stories within this anthology demonstrate Dale’s talent as a writer. Each storyline is different, yet poignant and beautifully written. A host of diverse and wonderfully portrayed characters have been created and, even though the stories are relatively short, the personalities are accessible and relatable. Some of the stories are sweet and romantic, some will make you smile, some will pull on your heartstrings, and many will heat you up! All of them tell the tale of two (or more) men falling in love. Sometimes fast, sometimes hard, and sometimes fantastically. I’m hard-pressed to choose a favourite one. Highly recommended.
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