Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story Anthology
Lots of people might say size doesn’t matter, but not the men in these stories. Take It Like A Man is a collection of short stories all featuring men with a love for big boys and big toys. There’s a doctor who writes a prescription to try the real thing instead of a toy. There’s a slave auction where the boy on the block gets more than he bargained for—with both the buyer and the scene. There’s a birthday surprise for a size queen, but the well-endowed man of his dreams might just be too good to be true. There’s a lovers reunited story where musicians at completely different points in their careers must learn to make their lives fit together as well as their bodies do. There’s a rent boy who gets far too attached to a particular client—and the client’s package. And there’s two doms having a “biggest plug” competition with their boys.
This one was really kind of up and down for me. I expected to like this a lot more than I ultimately did because this hits a lot of my favorite kinks. While there were a couple of stories in this collection that really worked for me, most of them fell flat even when considering that this being a collection centered around my favorite kink made up a lot of ground. Check out the individual reviews for more info.
Just What the Doctor Ordered by Lorne Rodman
Rating: 4 stars
Gregg’s pretty annoyed when one of the ER nurses tries to give him another patient even though he’s not the next doctor in the rotation, but she insists that this patient would be more comfortable with a male doctor—and as soon as Gregg looks at the patient’s chart he can see why. This patient came in complaining of anal soreness and some bleeding. As it turns out, Sam, the gorgeous boy on the hospital bed, was using a dildo that was cheaply made and the toy actually broke inside him, causing some minor injuries. Gregg knows it’s not exactly appropriate, or the sexiest of situations, but he can’t help feeling like he shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Sam out.
This one was super cute. The premise was a little ridiculous, but in that way that people like myself who manage to do things that other people find beyond belief find ourselves empathizing with—ridiculous in that “oh God, why me?” way, not “this is ridiculously unbelievable.” I liked both Gregg and Sam, they were both sweet if a little bland. They were hot together and I felt like they could have a future together moving forward. My only issue with this one is that it felt like a short story with a distinct lack of character development. Other than that, a nice little read.
Just A Little Bit More by Mychael Black
Rating: 3.5 stars
Dylan Mackenzie is out as a gay man, but no one in his life knows that he’s also a sub. That changes drastically when he puts himself in a slave auction at the BDSM club he frequents and his buyer turns out to be his best friend of nearly two decades, Max. Knowing that this could change their friendship forever, Max decides to give Dylan a chance to walk away. Dylan knows it’s a risk, but he can’t help but reach for the only chance he might ever get to have the one man he’s always wanted.
I liked this one okay. The author writes with a solid understanding of BDSM culture and practices, so it makes for a richer story, but I just felt like there was so much history to these characters and I wanted it. This is another one that really needed to be much longer than a short story. There were little hints and snapshots of who these characters were and they were really interesting so I would have loved to see them explored further. But as far as what was there, it’s not much beyond a pretty hot kink scene.
Too Good by T. Strange
Rating: 3.75 stars
Josh isn’t really into the bar scene, but his friend, Tony, drags him out to the hottest new club for his birthday. He’s thinking agreeing to come is probably a mistake—until he meets Roy, the gorgeous guy that’s been checking him out all night. In a moment of rare spontaneity, Josh takes Roy home with him and they share a wild night. Josh expects that to be it, since Roy’s not there when he gets up. Except Roy just ran out to get breakfast and he’s interested in seeing Josh again. Josh is on board with that plan—until he finds out that Roy only approached him at the club because of Tony’s insistence.
This one was another one that was only ho-hum for me. I actually really liked Josh in the beginning of this. He’s a guy that used to be really unhappy with his image—slightly overweight, a little nerdy, and socially awkward—so he put a lot of effort into changing the things he could. He’s in better shape, and he’s got a new wardrobe and a great job, but there’s still a lot of lingering insecurity in him and I really felt for him. I really never got a feel for Roy unfortunately because he and Josh just hop into bed together and then there’s the fight over his deception about Tony setting them up and then they’re making up, so the reader never really gets to see who he is as a character. I was mostly okay with that, but where this one really kind of fell off for me was the big fight scene. It seems completely irrational and blown entirely out of proportion and then it’s fixed instantly. It all just felt too rushed and contrived.
Monkey Suit by BA Tortuga
Rating: 5 stars
Casey has regretted letting his ex-boyfriend Derek walk away from him for years, even though he knows it was the right choice for him. It’s just really hard to see what a successful musician Derek has become and it’s hard to forget how his heart yearns for him. Casey’s just trying to make ends meet, playing the piano in a hotel bar just to pay his rent; he never expects to see Derek again and he never expects his music career to go anywhere but here. Then Derek walks into the hotel bar and tells Casey that he wants him to be a part of his music and a part of his life again.
This is a short story done exactly right. We’ve got two really engaging characters—Casey, who is the loveable guy who has no clue about how wonderful he is, and Derek, the sympathetic guy that always intended to find his way back to Casey and just got swept up by life instead. We’ve also got a really intriguing plot with so many layers of complexity for such a short narrative. There’s the raw wound of their previous relationship, there’s the hot flare of their volcanic attraction to each other, there’s Casey’s insecurity about where he could possibly fit into Derek’s superstar life, and then there’s their music careers that are currently on completely different trajectories. It’s a fascinating struggle for both these men to figure out how to make all the different parts of themselves and their lives align in a way that could actually work. I absolutely loved this one, it was short, impactful, and felt like it was missing nothing—absolutely perfect.
The Perfect Size For You by Lily G. Blunt
Rating: 4.25 stars
Ty is a pornstar nearing the age where his time on camera is becoming limited and he’s looking to transition into the escort business. When he takes on a shy, virginal client just looking to gain a little experience so he has enough confidence to attract the attention of a boy he likes, Ty expects it to just be easy money and nothing else. He couldn’t be more wrong. He slowly ends up falling for Andy, but Andy’s interested in another boy, so it’s destined to end up in heartbreak unless he can convince Andy to give him a chance.
This one was slow and sweet despite being a rent-boy story. There’s also a nice little twist that took me completely by surprise, which I won’t ruin for you. The characters felt well-rounded and were likable, and the premise was familiar but highly enjoyable. The story arc felt complete and pretty natural. All in all, I enjoyed this one and there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the story, there just wasn’t anything to make me fall in love with it either.
The Games We Play by Sean Michael
Rating: 3 stars
Marcus wants to take his sub, Jim, to a BDSM club to play with their friends Billy and Tanny. Both subs, Jim and Tanny, are feeling uncertain and unsure about their Doms’ intentions and affections and Billy and Marcus must work to reassure them—in the sexiest way possible.
This one just didn’t really work for me. The characters were okay and so was the premise, it was just the BDSM element I didn’t enjoy. I hesitate to ever say that there’s a “wrong” way to do BDSM fiction, because kink is not a one-size-fits-all deal and just because I don’t enjoy a particular dynamic or mindset doesn’t mean it’s “wrong.” That being said, I just didn’t enjoy these dynamics and since that was the entire driving force of the story it made it really hard to get into this one. You might feel differently.
On the whole, there was some really good things in this collection and a few stories that just didn’t work for me. I would recommend this one for those who like size kink, or avid fans of BA Tortuga, since that story is a gem.