Recent Reads: Second Wind, Embers of Bridges and Hedonist 2

What I love about this genre is the wide scope of stories and sub-genres, and I think this week’s three Recent Reads really encompass that breadth.

I’ll kick off with Second Wind by A.L. Lester, another of their charming one-off romances set around the Theatr Fach in the small fictional Welsh town of Llanbaruc. Ally gives us such a solid sense of place and a close-knit community, where everyone knows each other’s business and gossip is rife. In Second Wind, there’s that lovely sense of almost claustrophobic caring that’s put across with wisdom and humour, as Gethin, slowly recovering after a devastating marriage break-up, is pushed into joining the truly awful community orchestra by his well-meaning but overbearing sister. He’s befriended by Martin, a trans man and single parents, and these two lovely people begin a tentative romance.

This is such a gentle, life-affirming story about healing and mending and finding your feet with the right person. I hope we get another visit soon to Llanbaruc and the Theatr Fach for a fresh romance.

Recently, I was lucky enough to get an ARC for Embers of Bridges by Tess Makovesky. This is the crime noir author name for Fiona Glass who writes MM romance, and so the author explained to me that this particular story didn’t quite fit in the romance genre. I thoroughly enjoy crime or detective stories so I was more than happy to approach this story with an open mind. I’m so glad I did as it’s an absolute cracker!

Mickey, the thoroughly likeable main character, is stuck in a rut in a low-paid dead-end job and living with his widowed mum in Birmingham. To add a little colour and excitement to his life he goes on the odd burglary job with his best friend from school, Gary. If Mickey is honest, it’s Gary rather than the thrill of petty criminality that’s the main pull. But Mickey draws the line at admitting to himself that he’s hopelessly in love with his best mate.

Whether she writes as Tess or herself, Fiona is fantastic at building an atmosphere, one of the gripping elements of this contemporary compelling gay noir story. There’s such a sense of tension that develops as the reader realises Mickey’s idolisation of Gary is ultimately his Achilles’ heel. Beautifully written and quietly compelling, this is a gem of a story. So if you like to read beyond romance, Embers of Bridges is definitely a must-read!

It’s out of the closet and into the midst of steamy MM erotica for my third Recent Read. I’ve loved all of Roe Horvat’s Hedonist fantasy books that take place in the court of the omega King Sebastian. In these stories, Roe’s created a unique take on MM Omegaverse in a sumptuous, sensual, breathlessly erotic atmosphere redolent of an alternative harem.

In the second collection of bonus novellas of this series, Hedonist: Stories of Love and Lust 2, Roe tells the story of two couples that were supporting characters in the original Hedonist series, Thomas and Orin and Ursus and Stephen. The scope of imagination in the world-building of this series is breathtaking and I do hope Roe revisits King Sebastian’s court for further thrilling hedonism.


3 thoughts on “Recent Reads: Second Wind, Embers of Bridges and Hedonist 2

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