I’m very excited to be able to witter on about Stitch Me by the fabulous K. C. Carmine. This story in the multi-author Bears-4-U series is already available in paperback and the Kindle edition will be released tomorrow. Congratulations in advance, K. C. Carmine!
I was lucky enough to be one of the beta readers for this story, so I could follow feisty Caleb and gentle giant Rod from the very beginning as their romance developed. I really enjoyed the way the Bears-4-U app (similar to the Blindfold Dating app in the linked story The Blindfold Date) brought Caleb and Rod together after a chance encounter at a pub in Bristol.
Both MCs are so lovingly drawn, and there’s so much depth of characterisation and backstory to these men which makes them entirely loveable. Caleb is a twenty-something American from Chicago, not overly tall, scrappy and full of attitude whose outward show of attitude and courage in moving to a different country for a sense of family heritage hides a lost soul.
Rod (who we met briefly as E’s student roommate in The Lonely Date) is a native Bristolian and an experienced Dom whose online username CuddlySadist is completely apt. Now in his early thirties, Rod is drifting through life. He has lost his sense of professional calling and also yearns for someone special to cherish. These two meet when at a low ebb, and the spark between them, their capacity to love and a shared interest in kink reveal the lasting potential of their relationship.
As K. C. Carmine says this is not only a love story between two wonderful characters but a love letter to two cities, Bristol and Chicago. I really loved the vivid tour around both cities as a backdrop to these men falling in love. It was wonderful to follow them through the familiar streets of Bristol and then to be led through the entirely new sights of Chicago so engagingly. There is so much to love, empathise with, thrill at and enjoy in this story.
Along with Stitch Me, I also thoroughly enjoyed two short stories on my TBR list by lovely Eule Grey, a fellow JMS Books author. Miss Havisham Says Yes is a sweet Sapphic story with a fairytale feel. Redhead Cindi lacks confidence and is overly conscious of her weight which burdens her dreary, penny-pinching and over-responsible existence. As a student with a part-time job as a cleaner at an activity centre, responsible for her grandmother’s care, despite her good heart and positive nature, Cindi can’t see her lot improving.
Her life’s transformation has a touch of twinkly feel-good magic, together with the love of a good woman, privileged but down-to-earth Tara. Miss Havisham Says Yes is a delightful and uplifting story with really lovable characters. Such a pleasure to read!
In contrast, Bite Club by the same author is set in a dystopian world dominated by a dividing wall. All the inhabitants on one side, including Lenni, live a sterile, medicated, automated existence, rarely encountering another human being. This sense of isolation and dissonance spurs him to explore the other side of the wall, during a weekly so-called Bite Club experience, where life is dangerously communal and unregulated.
I really enjoyed Lenni’s surprising encounter with Mino, the genuine connection between them and Lenni’s gradual realisations which led to a life-changing decision. I found Bite Club a very intriguing imaginative short story with oodles of emotional depth. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories and will eagerly anticipate Eule Grey’s next release.