Mini-Reviews: The Hot Floor - Josephine Myles + Promises - Marie Sexton

While these are both reviews of adult m/m romance, I have attempted to keep them as safe-for-work as possible.

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles is possibly the hottest romance I have ever read, and has good character building, good dialogue, good flow... It's only flaw may not even be a flaw, in that the plot is mostly about the boys getting together. But, and correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't that mean the story is character driven? Forgive my enthusiasm on this, but it seems to be an awesome step to have a book filled, practically, to the brim with sex, and still be a dynamic read.

Okay, on with this: It's menage à trois, or a poly-amorous triad, if you prefer. When the lonely Josh Carpenter, living in the upstairs apartment, becomes infatuated with Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman, the sexy couple downstairs, he begins a tentative friendship with them, and the hot summer heat drives Josh down into their apartment almost every evening. Almost unbearably tempted to turn their friendship into something more, Josh consoles himself with the fact that this is the best relationship he's ever had. Beyond his wildest dreams, Evan and Rai invite him into their bedroom and begin to bend the rules for him. But will it go beyond these hot summer nights? Josh isn't sure, but he's going to make the most of it while it lasts.

Josephine Myles's wrote about her motivations in writing The Hot Floor over on Goodreads. She's done a fantastic job with something that's hard to make work in real life, never mind on the printed page, and won a new fan in me. I wish I had a more balanced review to give you, but I suppose... there is a lot of sex in this, so maybe it's not for you? If it is, you will have a hard time putting it down, and may pick it up again and again. Fair warning!

228pp. Samhain Publishing. Aug. 6th, 2013

In Promises by Marie Sexton, Jared Thomas is a recently certified physics teacher who has returned to his hometown of Coda Colorado to... well, he didn't return to work at the family hardware store, even if it's what he's ended up doing. But seeing as he's the only gay guy under sixty in the whole town, he's trying his best to make it work. Until of course, Matt Richards walks into the store to inquire about the jeep for sale out front. Their friendship starts out with Jared's slightest bare minimum of curiosity about the new cop of the Coda police force is nudged forward by his sister-in-law until he subtly asks and is told that, no, Matt is not gay. But then there are these mixed signals, and some ridiculously hot chemistry!

Not everything is peaches-and-cream though, Matt isn't gay after all, and when he outright denies the sparks flying between them and begins dating a woman that Jared went to High School with, even their easy-going friendship begins to wear thin. Between Matt's need to make sure everyone knows that hanging out a gay man doesn't mean he is gay as well, homophobic parents and a murderer on the loose, things could be going better. There's also mountain-biking.

Promises was definitely a light-weight and does not land high on my list of recommendations. Between the hilarious sister-in-law and the waitress whom Matt is dating, the calibre of female characters is too variable, a weighted check on my how-good-was-this-romance? list. The murder was just a plot point, and ultimately wasn't as big a deal as it should have been. What Marie Sexton really nailed was the sensuality. The attraction between male leads is something that is built upon from Matt's first entrance, and his mixed signals toward the openly-gay Jared read extremely well. While I maintain that this isn't a great romance novel, the romance in it is fantastic, and you will not be able to put this one down either. By the by, and a slight spoiler, this book is not GFY.

Read Josephine Myles's review of Promises on Goodreads.

216pp. Dreamspinner Press. Jan. 8th, 2010