Today is our second installment of reviews of the Dreamspinner Daily Dose stories.  They are being released one a day for the month of June for those who pre-ordered, or you can buy the set or individual stories all at once. This is our second batch of reviews (check out Daily Dose #1 and A Shot at Forgiveness for more).


Heart of the raceHeart of the Race by Mary Calmes

Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Reviewed by Jay


Ever since childhood when he was taken in by Varro Dacien’s family, Brian Christie has been drawn to Varro and the two have shared an incredible connection.  First it was a bond of friendship and brotherhood, but as Brian has gotten older, his feelings for Varro have turned to love.  Varro is an adrenaline junkie, always looking for speed and excitement.  They first met in fourth grade when young Varro tried driving his go-cart off the roof, and now Varro makes his living racing motorcycles.  Varro needs Brian as Brian tames his wilder tendencies and keeps Varro grounded.  Varro wants nothing more than to keep Brian by his side all the time, but being so close to the object of his desire is too hard on Brian.  So he pulls away, trying to find his own life away from Varro even though it is killing both of them. The men must figure out if they can find a way to be together before both of them lose what they really want, each other.

This was a lovely story and so well done by Calmes. It is told from Brian’s POV and we follow along as he recounts his relationship with Varro starting at childhood. We can feel how much he needs Varro in his life, while at the same time how painful it is to be so close but not truly with him.  And it is also clear how much Varro cares for and needs Brian, but Varro has no idea of Brian’s feelings. Instead he lives a wild life of racing bikes and sleeping with an endless stream of women.  I think Calmes captures this tension so well, this incredible need these two men have for one another.  Even though Varro doesn’t see Brian in a romantic way for most of the story, that pull is still there and he needs Brian close so badly.  And all this tension just makes it all the sweeter when the two finally find their way to each other.  Very sweet and romantic with wonderful pacing.  Definitely recommended.


the magic broomThe Magic Broom by Teegan Loy

Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Reviewed by Crissy

Cody has been assigned to write a spotlight on winter Olympic hopefuls, and in order to do it justice, he’s been tasked to try out each sport personally. His problem with this is that he hates sports. The night before his assignment is to begin, Cody has a run-in with his four new neighbors over a mixed up pizza order. That’s when he meets Shane, the most beautiful man he’s ever seen.

Cody has always been oblivious to signals and has hit on more than one straight man in the past, so he has reservations when it comes to Shane. Over the course of the next few days, Cody is beaten, battered, and bruised for the sake of his job while still finding a few moments to spend with Shane and obsess about the subtle innuendo and probably misinterpreted signals from the man. Surprise comes in the form of the local curling team. When he arrives to interview the team, he gets more that he hoped for and learns that he may have a chance to see one of his dreams come true after all.

Every four years, usually in February, I am glued to my television in fascination at the sport of curling. So it should come as no surprise that when I had the chance to read this short I jumped right on it. And I loved it. The Magic Broom is an absolutely adorable tale of finding love in the most unexpected of places. It’s about taking a chance and reaching for your dreams. It’s such a well-written piece. The story flows seamlessly at a perfect pace. There are several winter sports defined throughout this story, but I love that the focus is on such an obscure, underappreciated sport.  Cody is a wonderful character – cynical and sarcastic. And Shane is a great match – sweet and unassuming. My only complaint is that the ending seemed rushed. And also, I would have loved more of Cody and Shane. Maybe somewhere down the road. Definitely recommended.


riding the boardRiding the Board by Cate Ashwood

Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story

Reviewed by Jay

Blake Emmerich has been taking the year off from synchronized diving after his partner got badly injured. Now Blake’s coach is determined to get him back in the pool and working with a new partner. Though Blake is not sure he is ready, he agrees to give a new partner a try for a week.  But he doesn’t expect his coach to bring in Nick Freeman.  Nick is a fabulous diver but has a reputation for being a total ass.  Blake has no desire to work with Nick, but he promised his coach so he reluctantly tries making it work.  But the two clash at every turn, constantly fighting and having no chemistry together.  Finally, their coach gets fed up and decides the guys must be chained together for a week any time they are not in practice so they can get used to working together.  Although at first it looks like Blake and Noah might kill each other before the week is out, eventually they find they might be a perfect match after all.

Ok, so I think you are either going to be able to get past this super contrived setup or you are not.  I will admit to rolling my eyes a bit at the whole “chained together” aspect of the story, but decided to go with it and for the most part I found this story to work well.  Ashwood really excels where she describes the diving.  There is wonderful detail on both the diving itself, as well as the feeling these guys get when they enter the pool and execute a perfect dive.  If you are a sports fan, and especially if you are a diving fan like me, I think you will find these passages especially well done.  I guess my problem with the story sort of comes from the resolution.  These guys fight and fight and hate one another, and then suddenly through the power of sex, are able to relate to each other perfectly.  I appreciated that we see that Blake has misjudged Nick and that Nick has sort of put on mask of self protection. But it still seems like a lot of hostility is dissolved quickly under the power of the mighty hand job.  What really saves this one for me is the diving portions and for that I think it still is an enjoyable short story.


sage adviceSage Advice by Susan Laine

Rating: 3 stars
Buy Links:  Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story

Reviewed by Amy

Sage Advice is a short story about best friends Sage and Piper.  The story, which takes place over the course of an evening, is essentially about a game of Truth or Dare, and how their relationship escalates through daring questions and tentative touches.

Piper is a ballet dancer who has just found out that, due to a recent knee injury, his career is essentially over.  Feeling depressed and vulnerable, he agrees to a game of Truth or Dare with his best friend, Sage.  What starts out fairly innocently quickly escalates to something more.  The boys have been friends forever, yet they’ve never acted on long-standing feelings.  The odds on this game are high, and it could either destroy their friendship or lead to something more.

I really had a hard time with this story.  I enjoyed the premise.  There’s something intriguing about a game of Truth or Dare — exposing secrets and doing something on a dare that you otherwise would never do.  But this game just escalated a little too quickly, without a lot of background and character development.  Because of this, I just didn’t really care all that much whether or not they took their friendship to the next level.  The chemistry was there, no matter how hard Susan Laine tried to force it.

The language used to describe their relationship was so unrealistically dramatic.  For instance, this phrase:  “His whole body burst back into life just as his cock shot out ropes of come, like fireworks.”  This is pretty indicative of the tone of the book.  A bit over the top.  Fireworks?  Really?  The best way to describe my frustration is because there was very little progression when it came to anything, whether it be the game or their relationship.

This is a case of a story that started with a good idea but just fell flat.  I can’t recommend it, but if you’re looking for something short and sweet, maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

%d bloggers like this: