Captive Prince by S.U. Pacat: Welcome to the book that sex forgot. The reason it’s on here is because good writing did not forget. The fact that there’s altogether two sex scenes in the two book (so far) run of the series is the only reason it even qualifies for the last place on this list. There are some patches that a professional editor would probably have been able to shape, but this is at least as good as half the books I read in college, despite being self-published (although the title has recently been acquired by Penguin).
Violence, secrets, political intrigue and an absolutely maddening amount of mystery, as well as manly anticipation boiling at the very edge of control make this book a joy to read. I honestly wish it weren’t stuck in the romance section because, while there is a love story at the heart of it all, there’s so much more than that.
Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux: I actually feel kind of bad making this book my number four, especially after Phil. This is when we get into the Kindle books, and to be honest, they are miles behind the top three. There’s a lot of writing problems that a publishing house will weed out. But this book is $5.79 on Kindle and you don’t have to wait for shipping. So, you get what you pay for.
Cut and Run is only the first in a series that is currently six books into a planned nine book run, and they do get better. They also lose co-author Madeleine Urban at some point, and the passive-aggressive dedication page to that regard is pretty much worth the price of admission. In fact, Roux’s enigmatic dedication pages have become integral to my book reading experience at this point. As much as character development isn’t a strong suit in this series, Roux does action extremely well; both the sexy kind and the gun-shootey kind in a steady supply. And after six books, I really love the protagonist rivals turned secret lovers Ty and Zane. They may not have been drawn with a steady hand, but they’ve got heart and I just can’t say no to that.
The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: This is a comic book in the Japanese bara style, which means that the dudes are huge in all the best and most fun ways. As cuddly as these tall, chunk, and handsome bears are, this shit is not for the faint of heart. Those of you who do not have an appreciation for creative uses for BBQ skewers may want to check out another bara master, Seizoh Ebisubashi, who has similarly shaped guys but, as far as I can tell, no violence.
The Back Passage by James Lear: I came across James Lear through Rupert Smith’s A Man’s World, a funny and fast-paced romance set in WWII and modern-day London showing the intersecting lives and loves of two men; one a pre-stonewall soldier and the other an a-political party boy. Its not erotica, but you should pick it up. I liked its snappy Britishness paired with a heavy dose of accurately depicted super-bad old times. But it’s not erotica, which is why I’m not reviewing it.
Rupert Smith and James Lear are the same person, Smith uses the pen name of Lear for his racier stuff, for example: The Back Passage, which is the first in a series that follows amateur detective Mitch Mitchell on his debauched adventures where just about every available dude is completely DTF. Although it’s set in 1925, this is definitely not the bad old days. The story takes place in a fantasy world where the threat of anti-gay legislation is mostly lip service because all the dudes in this mother be fucking. The thing that makes The Back Passage number one is that the story is actually fun and interesting beyond the rampant sex. Mitch is totally somebody I want to be my friend. He’s just the right amount of noble and immoral that makes the best partner in crime.
This book is more of a romance. It seemed like trite college drama at first, but I really liked the fierce and femmy main character Danny Marshal. Anybody who is into costuming will appreciate descriptions of his elaborate make-up and wardrobe magic. As far as plot or character development of anybody other than Danny is concerned, it’s not what I would call amazing, but whatever. Danny is the shining star. There are some hot sex scenes, even if they are rather few and far between.