When I decided to do a recommendation post every month, I thought it would be easy. I read, at least a little 😊 I’ve read M/M books for years, not as many as some, of course. I didn’t take the route through slash or yaoi as many do. I studied queer theory at the university, so Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and E.M. Forster’s Maurice and other books led me to lgbtq+ romance, and I soon found myself knee-deep in M/M. In the beginning, it was a relief to get away from TSTL heroines and set gender roles, after a while, I realised M/M books have set roles and TSTL heros, they’re just a little different from the M/F romance books.
I never planned to write M/M books. By the time I started my first story (a snatched prompt), I had a few paranormal romance M/F manuscripts laying around that I’d written in Swedish, but when Goodreads M/M Romance Group arranged the Don’t Read in the Closet event, I thought why not? Just for the fun of it, you know… And see how that turned out.
Anyway, back to books. I’ve read many, many M/M stories, it’s coming up with the theme for these posts that’s the problem, and sadly also that I feel that I’m recommending the same books over and over – favourites are favourites, but I fear you’ll get bored LOL
Later this month, it’s National Love Your Pet Day, so I thought I’d do a Men with Pets recommendation today. I could fill a post with books I’ve written. I have many pets, so my characters tend to have pets – not all of them, but if I write contemporary, there’s often a pet. My werewolves and vampires normally aren’t pet people 😆
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Every time I recommend this book, I start by saying I don’t normally read YA/NA, so I do that this time too LOL BUT, this is one of my absolute favourites, and it had me crying buckets when I first read it.
It’s is awesome, beautiful, poetic, funny, heartbreaking, and if you haven’t read it, you should!
First love – coming of age – family – acceptance
When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he’s known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now – finally – the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.
Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie’s science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.
But things are changing.
Families are important, and complex. Charlie’s mum hasn’t been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.
Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?
The Wrong Man by Lane Hayes
This is the second book in the Right and Wrong series. I read them in order, but I don’t think you have to. Brandon in this book is a secondary character in the first. A cute second chance story where Jake’s dog plays a big role.
Successful owner of an upscale boutique in fabulous West Hollywood, Brandon Good swears by his personal edict to “live in the present.” After a bad breakup, he agrees to dog-sit to keep his mind off his ex. Never did he expect the dog to belong to a man from his past, the only man to ever truly break his heart.
When Jake Westley relocates to join the WeHo fire department, the last thing he anticipates is reuniting with his secret high school love. Thrilled with the prospect of reconnecting with Bran, Jake feels no guilt in using his charming old dog as an unwitting matchmaker. As he and Bran rekindle their friendship, it becomes clear the intense attraction they once felt is stronger than ever. But as hard as they try to leave the past behind, painful memories resurface. Bran will have to confront his fears and consider the possibility that the man he swore was absolutely the wrong one might be perfect after all.
All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes
I’m in the mood for some Calmes today, I think maybe I’ll grab one of her books later if I have the time. This isn’t my favourite Calmes book, but we’re after pets today, and as always, you know what you get. I have this… It can go a long time between me reading anything by Mary Calmes, then I get a yearning. I grab one of her books, and I don’t have to think. The characters are pretty much the same, the plots are pretty much the same. The books are often clichéd. And I know that it sounds like a bad thing, but she’s my go-to when I don’t have the energy to think. And that is not a bad thing!
Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they’ve gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.
As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn’t working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn’t work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t being tied down at all.
Dead Man and the Restless Spirits by Lou Harper
It’s been a long time since I read this, but I remember liking it a lot – ghosts and cats, what else can you wish for??
Dying sucks hairy monkey balls, even when you’re not the stiff.
Denton Mills has a secret: he can see dead people. Or rather, how they died. It’s quite a drag in a city like Chicago, teeming with the echoes of the no-longer living. Rather than whine about it, Denton has learned to live with his troublesome talent. His adaptability comes in handy when he meets his enigmatic new neighbor.
Bran Maurell catches Denton’s eye right away, but unfortunately Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious is as standoffish as he is alluring. However, after an unexpected introduction from Bran’s cat brings the two men together, Denton discovers they have a mutual interest in the spirit world. Herbalist by day, Bran moonlights as a witch, performing house cleansings for a fee.
From Bran, Denton learns that his knack for interacting with the dead qualifies him as a necromancer. It makes good business sense for them to team up and rid Chicago of its pesky spirits one grateful client at a time. Amongst ghostly adventures the attraction between the men is impossible to ignore. They seem like perfect partners—unless Bran’s not-so-little secret comes between them.
Warning: men loving men, ghosts with attitudes, and a portly feline with hidden talents.
Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox
I wrote about this not too long ago – for Halloween, I think. It’s great! Spooky and with a lovely dog.
Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.
But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.
Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.
Billy’s Bones by Jamie Fessenden
Another story with a loyal canine companion. This is not light fluff, it’s not a carefree romance story you pick up for a quick reality escape. I enjoyed it a lot, but it deals with attempted suicide, sexual abuse, and murder. Read it! It’s good. But know what you’re getting into.
Kevin Derocher was thirty-two when he walked into Tom’s office, newly married, a baby on the way, and the collar of his red flannel shirt pulled up to hide the bruises around his throat from when he hanged himself in his garage. After his initial consult, therapist Tom Langois believes he’ll never see Kevin again—but Kevin turns up three years later to make repairs on Tom’s new house.
Kevin and Tom become fast friends, and Tom begins to suspect Kevin may be interested in more than friendship. However, Kevin remains haunted by something from his childhood—something so terrible he blocked it from his mind. These suppressed memories make it impossible for Kevin to get close to anyone without panicking and lashing out, sometimes violently. But as his past begins to surface, it becomes apparent that Kevin may hold the key to a twenty-five-year-old mystery: what happened to Billy?
You Get Full Credit for Being Alive by Cari Z.
I do like me some Cari Z. now and then. This is a free read and worth every minute of your time! It’s a little bloody – graphic violence as trigger warning, only so you know 🙂
I was never one of the good guys. Never got along with people and never felt the need to. I did a lot for money. Even killed, especially killed, but never without a good reason. After years in this violent business I retired to a quiet life in the woods because I was sick of all the blood. No one knows me here and everything was fine until that night…
First I didn’t see the body through all the rain and darkness but when I drew near I saw him. Thought he was dead with all the blood. But he wasn’t and I considered for a moment to end the job because really… it would have been a mercy kill. He wouldn’t survive those injuries and even if he did he would be a vegetable. I mean… look at that head wound!
But something in the way he was dumped on the back of my property in his ripped police uniform and the word FAG scrawled on his chest made me help him.
So now I’m here. His guardian angel, kind of ironic considering what I did in the past. I watch over his recovery, standing in the shadows where no one can see me.
Pressure Head by J.L. Merrow
Tom *dreamy sigh* I love Tom so I had to include it. I miss the old cover, though.
If you like J.L. Merrow, Hard Tail has a lovely cat named Wolverine LOL
Some things are better left hidden….
Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.
Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.
The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.
Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
I feel like I’m recommending this every month, but we can’t have a post about pets and not include Dolly. She’s a lovely dog and Jamie wouldn’t survive without her.
Levi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing. Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.
Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.
Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.
Driftwood by Harper Fox
I’m adding a second Harper Fox story because it’s my blog post and I can do what I want to LOL Belle, Dr. Tom’s beautiful wolfhound, stole my heart. One day, I want to have one. It’s a story of PTSD, abuse, and the struggles of life, and it all takes place on the Cornish coast. Awesome.
Thomas Penrose is a village doctor in rural Cornwall. Popular with patients and friends alike, and handsome into the bargain, he lives in a romantic clifftop tower by the sea. It’s a wonderful life – if only Dr Tom could enjoy it. He’s a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, fighting a lonely battle against alcoholism and PTSD.
Determined not to inflict his troubles on anyone else, Tom keeps himself to himself. But fate has other ideas, and brings a handsome surfer crashing to his feet after a dreadful wipe-out on Porth Beach. Just another crazy surf bunny? Not a bit of it – Flynn Summers is one of Cornwall’s heroes, a fearless search-and-rescue helicopter man. Why is he risking his beautiful neck in the stormy off-season waves?
Despite the rocky beginning, Tom and Flynn become friends. Both are concealing sorrows behind a tough facade, and for once in his life Tom thinks he’s met someone who can handle him, shadow-side and all. But Flynn isn’t a free man. He’s unhappily locked into a bond of obligations and bad memories with formidable pilot Rob Tremaine – and Rob has no intention of letting Flynn go.
As Tom and Flynn begin their high-risk, high-reward romance, will the tides of the past sweep in to destroy their new love?
The Ego Part
As I wrote up top, I have several stories where pets are dear to my main characters, so I made a selection of my favourite pets.
Jules Rose leads a quiet life working as a librarian. He’s happy to spend his spare time reading books and talking to his homicidal cat. What more could he wish for? But when his cozy Friday night is shattered by a friend request on his book community app, politeness gives him little choice but to accept. Jules doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but he can’t be rude. Besides, if he had to talk about something, books is the topic he’d pick.
Phoenix Ford is dyslexic and avoids everything that has to do with the written word, but when the colleague he’s trying to impress calls him stupid, he decides to convince the other man, he’s mistaken. All he needs is the right book to make him look smart, a perfect balance between intelligent and short. And who better to ask for help than a guy who loves books so much, he labeled one boner-worthy on a book app?
When Jules finds out Phoenix never has read a book from start to finish, he’s on a mission. He will find the right book, the book that will make Phoenix fall in love — with reading. Phoenix’s plan might have been to listen to the book Jules picked for him to impress his colleague, but that was before he got to know him. Talking about books is a sure way to Jules’ heart, but is it enough for him to agree to go on a date?
The only thing worse than having a hot neighbor you’re too intimidated to talk to is accidentally hitting his cat with your car.
Felix Lane was perfectly content to spend the rest of his days with Sunny, his canary life companion, in their quiet little corner of the suburbs. But then Kirk Shoo with his unusual eyes moved in across the street, and Felix’s carefully constructed life is starting to unravel.
When your every bad-boy fantasy lingers at the mailbox, stands too close and smells too damn good, what’s an under-appreciated administrative assistant to do? Besides sneak out the backdoor to go to work? But when Kirk’s cat runs out in front of Felix on his way home, he has no choice but to face the music and his dream man. Unless …
What starts as a tragic accident turns into something far more bizarre. And when Felix’s backyard begins to look like a pet cemetery, he has no choice but to come clean. That is, if he can manage to find his sexy neighbor at all.
Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden Evans has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find that at his mother’s place, but it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.
Tristan Gardner is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.
Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?
Contains the stories “Once in a Snowstorm,” “The Empty Egg,” “Happy Endings,” and “Just Words.”