I read so many outstanding books this year. It was hard to narrow them all down to just a few, but here are my top five (well…six) books of 2017. I hope you pick them up because I believe they’re all enjoyable reads.
1: The John Inman Double Shot
Ashley and Tucker have been best friends for years. They both want more, but with the exception of a drunken night in Tijuana, they have kept it to themselves. For their vacation this year, they decide to take a 300 mile hike from San Diego to Big Bear Lake. Rather than take the common trail, they are going to go the less traveled route. So, Ash and Tuck, along with their dogs Cho and Hannah, set out on what’s surely to be the trip of a lifetime. Along the road, they discover their true feelings for each other and begin to explore their relationship. Everything is wonderful…until they realize the local wildlife (and the dogs) are acting a little off.
I love John Inman’s books, and The Hike was no different. It was a sexy, sweet, and satisfying walk through the wilderness on Southern California. Ash and Tuck’s love story was romantic, and the ordeal they went through strengthened their love for one another. The Hike combined two of my favorite genres, romance and horror, and it was written to perfection.
My Dragon, My Knight
Danny is a young man trapped in terrible circumstances. He’s a student, but he hates his major, and his boyfriend Joshua abuses him (and hates his dog). The abuse is escalating, but Danny can’t seem to leave. Several afternoons a week, Danny goes to a gay bar to have a beer and clear his head. It’s there he meets Jay, the bar’s owner.
Jay notices Danny’s bruises and feels instantly protective. Sure, he finds the younger man cute, but he’s nervous about the age difference…and Danny’s mental and emotional state. At first, Jay is willing to be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, but his feelings continue to grow stronger.
One night, the straw that broke the camel’s back occurs when Joshua becomes completely out of control, beating Danny mercilessly and kicking Danny’s beloved Jingles the terrier. Danny leaves Joshua, and after wandering San Diego’s Balboa Park, he calls the only person he knows who could possibly help him…Jay.
Jay is thrilled to know Danny has left Joshua, and he’s eager to help. He brings Danny to his home and gets him settled in. The two men begin a tentative friendship that eventually leads to more, and things are finally good in Danny’s life…until Joshua returns to take his revenge.
It’s difficult to describe this book in a few sentences. I’ll tell you My Dragon, My Knight is full of romance, sex, humor, and action. Danny and Jay are wonderful lead characters, and they are a perfect fit for each other. They have to fight for their happiness, and it only made them stronger. This book is amazing, and you should definitely get this one.
PS…When you read the scene where the title comes from, you will melt into a happy puddle.
2: Fierce by Rob Rosen
Lucas is your typical college freshman. He’s got a job at a coffee shop, a sexy roommate, and classes he’s trying to keep up with. Oh…and he’s a superhero called Fierce who was raised by wolves for the first seven years of his life.
Lucas has always wondered where he came from and how he ended up in the forest. One day, while searching for clues, he stumbles upon a secret lab in a cave…and a far reaching governmental cover up. Now, in order to find out what happened when he was a baby, and also who his birth parents are, Lucas needs to gather up his boss, a professor (who is dating his boss), his boyfriend, and his ex (and former superhero partner)…his Fierce Force…to learn the answers once and for all.
Oh my goodness! This book was an unexpected gem. The blurb intrigued me, and I dove in. I was not disappointed. From the first page, I laughed…and laughed…and laughed some more. The story was character driven, fun, interesting, and sexy. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and hey…Superheroes. Get this book!
3: The Billionaire’s Boyfriend by Geoffrey Knight
Matthew is a romance writer who delivers flowers to make ends meet. He lives in an apartment building above the flower shop where the other residents make up an unusual sort of family. He’s having a little problem, though. Matthew has a bit of writer’s block. In fact, the only thing he’s written lately has been the words “Chapter One.“
One day, on his way to make an important delivery, fate steps in and has Matthew rescue a man from being run over by a garbage truck. Calvin “Cal” Croft is that man. Cal is a billionaire investment banker. He’s devastatingly handsome and the paparazzi love him. After he’s rescued by Matthew, Cal is whisked away in a limo without learning his hero’s name. However, before the limo takes off, he finds the card from the spilled flowers on the ground and learns where he can find Matthew.
Can these two men find their way to each other (with a little help from their friends)? Cal has a secret, and a misunderstanding throws a wrench into their budding relationship. Will their love story end before it really begins?
Honestly, I picked this one up because it sounded like the perfect comfort read. I’m a sucker for billionaires, and I envisioned a bit of fluff that would entertain me for an hour or two. Well, I was entertained, but The Billionaire’s Boyfriend was a lot more than that. It was romantic, sexy, and hilarious. It also showed how wonderful it is to surround yourself with your chosen family…friends who are nosy but well meaning, who welcome you with open arms.
4: Trinkets by Kayleigh Sky
Alex is on the run from his wealthy, abusive ex. He took a few hundred dollars and a special teddy bear, but not much else. As he’s driving through the desert, Alex gets into an accident and is hurt. In a bizarre series of events, in his delirious state, he winds up following a mysterious crow until he collapses.
Lars is a mechanic who takes care of his five-year-old niece, Holly. Before he settles in for the night, he hears his Crow (he refuses to call Crow his pet) cawing in the distance. It sounds urgent, so he heads out to see what the fuss is. He finds Alex lying on the ground, hurt and dehydrated, with Crow on guard over him. Lars picks Alex up and takes him to his house.
Alex’s car is more messed up than Lars thought, and it’s going to take a few weeks to get all the parts. He offers Alex a place to stay in exchange for helping around the house and with Holly. Alex wants to decline, but other than walking through the desert trying to hitch a ride, he doesn’t have too many options. The men slowly begin to fall for each other, but Alex’s past has caught up to him, and the question is whether they can overcome it and make a family.
I loved this story. It gave me such a warm feeling as I read. Alex and Lars were pitch perfect. I wrote in my original review how Trinkets dripped with atmosphere. I stand by that. The romance was hot. The sex was even hotter. The plot is unique, and it shows how family is what you make of it.
5: Do You Trust Me by B.G. Thomas
Neil’s wife passed away some time ago. He continues to grieve…and pretend he’s straight. Neil has hidden his sexuality since his youth, feeling fear and shame. Recently, his sister-in-law’s husband has passed away, and she’s decided to take her children, and Neil’s daughter, away to a dude ranch where they vacationed as a family for years. She’s also invited Neil and convinces him to come along.
Cole is a wrangler at the ranch. He’s half Neil’s age, but when he meets Neil, he’s instantly attracted and flirts unmercifully. Neil is mortified because, well, he’s not gay. Right?
This might be one of the most perfect books I’ve read in a long time. It had everything: characters who made you love them, a setting that puts one of them out of their comfort zone, unresolved and guilty feelings from the past, romance that is achingly sweet, and sex that was so hot it nearly melted my Kindle. I simply cannot tell you everything about Do You Trust Me. It’s one of those books you need to read on your own so you can fully experience it.