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by Sean Michael, Chris Owen, Alexa Snow
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: From single men to men in committed relationships, from Texas to New Zealand, family matters are matters of the heart and they mean more than anything else. There's not a thing these men won't do for their families, whether it's learning how to pitch in and help at a clan wedding or raise two wild runaways in Auckland. One way or another, families change a man's life, and a man in love finds he's all the better for it. In Alexa Snow's "Motion of the Planet", commitment-shy Tyler discovers his Irish lover has everything it takes to help him learn to be a parent to his niece and nephew. "Everybody Loves a Wedding" by Chris Owen leads us through Spencer's determination to pull off the biggest, best wedding party ever for his sister, with more than a little help from his new flame Dean. Kara Larson's "And a Chook Shall Lead Them" tells the story of Amiri and Graeme, New Zealand physicians torn between historical family ties and two children's needs in today's world. In Sean Michael's "Inheritance", a bullheaded cowboy and a stubborn games designer go head-to-head over what's to be done with their shared nieces and nephews and find they're falling fast for one another. Let this anthology teach you whole new definitions of family today!
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Top Shelf, 2008 http://www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: May 2008
106 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [409 KB]
Reading time: 268-375 min.
Angela Benedetti, author of A Spirit of Vengeance, writes: Alexa Snow's "Motion of the Planet" is fun and painful and sexy and poignantly realistic all at once. I grinned in some places and had to wipe away tears in others. Tyler and his newly live-in boyfriend Mason take custody of his neice and nephew, ages five and one, when Tyler's sister and her husband are killed in a house fire. Tyler's grief over his sister and his panic over having to take responsibility for the kids felt very real, and his conflicted feelings about the children reflect his difficulty in making a commitment with Mason. This isn't a romp by any means, but sometimes I get tired of the sugar-shmoop and want a story that feels like real people dealing with real life, especially when all the bad stuff just keeps piling up. When you're looking for depth of feeling, this is the perfect story to fill that need, and I'll definitely be rereading it. "Everyone Loves a Wedding" by Chris Owen conveys perfectly the dynamics of a huge family, particularly the surface evil and deep affection of siblings. Spencer's family is huge and chaotic and makes me miss my own family, which was much larger when I was a child. Necessary bits of backstory are worked in smoothly, and the sex--of which there's a good bit--is just as integral a part of the story as a whole, with a flavor of light D&S between Spencer and Dean to keep things spiced up. The boys can't seem to keep their hands off one another, which is delightful without ever slowing down the flow of the plot. I enjoyed watching Spencer take on his duties for the wedding and make sure everything was perfect, despite skepticism from some of his family and friends. Chris did a great job and I'd love to read more about Spencer and Dean. "And a Chook Shall Lead Them" by Kara Larson is another story of a neice and nephew going to live with their gay uncle, but the tone is quite different from that of Alexa's story. Set in New Zealand, it's about a Maori family and is ripe with Maori language and culture--enough to support the story and be interesting in its own right, without feeling at all pasted-on or gimmicky. Not only does the protagonist, Amiri, have issues with his family going back to his late teens, but his little niece Lani has a medical condition which has to be dealt with as well. Taking responsibility for the children isn't something to be done lightly, but Amiri discovers that family is important to him after all and that their growing family (expanded eventually by two chickens and a pony, as well as the kids) is just what he wants. I particularly liked that not everything was wrapped up in cotton candy by the end; the best available solution isn't always the best we could wish for, but Amiri works things out with his kids and his partner, and other more distant members of his family, and I was smiling when the story ended. Sean Michael's "Inheritance" reminds me of those old romances where a dead relative's will forces two people who dislike each other on sight into close contact, and fireworks ensue. Cash and Brad couldn't be any more different--Texan and New Englander, cowboy and software geek. Luckily they're both gay and they're both hot and those similarities make up for a whole pile of contrasts. The device where two guys who hate each other have a knock-down, drag-out fight and end up best buds is an old cliche, but Sean makes it work beautifully and had me grinning--the sign of a great writer, taking something old and being able to polish it up and make it sparkle. As always, his characterizations shine and just watching the guys be together, talking and arguing and flirting, dealing with kids and crises and a manipulative grandmother, makes this the kind of story you curl up with, accompanied by a big bowl of popcorn. Anthologies usually have at least one weaker story in them, but I can honestly say I enjoyed all four stories in Family Matters very much. Fun and sex and romance and family--highly recommended.
Motion of the Planet
By Alexa Snow
"Polly Pockets!" Jill was capable of squealing loudly enough to pierce eardrums, and Tyler winced, but still managed to paste a grin onto his face when his niece looked at him. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She flung herself at him, her glee overcoming her usual decorum. Tyler patted her back and grinned at his sister, Theresa, who was rocking the baby in an attempt to calm his fussing.
"You want some help with that package?" Mason offered. Jill pulled herself away and nodded eagerly.
Brian, Theresa's husband, said, "She's wired. She's never going to sleep tonight."
"It's her birthday," Theresa said. "She's allowed to be excited."
Leaning back on the couch, Tyler watched as Mason opened up the box the Polly Pocket monstrosity had come in and laid the pieces out on the table so Jill could inspect them one at a time. She was wide-eyed with delight, wisps of brown hair escaping from her loose ponytail as she paired up tiny, plastic shoes and slightly freaky rubber dresses.
"It's like fetish wear for dolls," Mason said to Tyler, sotto voce. Tyler reached out and gave his boyfriend a smack.
"Not in front of the children," he intoned.
Theresa snorted. "Since when? Besides, they can take it. It's not like they don't hear worse at home."
"Not worse," Brian said.
"Okay, the same?" Theresa was still swinging slowly back and forth even though Colin seemed to have drifted off to sleep.
"Maybe the same," Brian conceded.
"We have cake, too," Tyler said, realizing that he'd forgotten to mention it. A five-year-old's excitement at turning five being what it was, Jill had asked about presents as soon as she'd come in the door, and there hadn't been any real reason to make her wait.
"Chocolate?" Jill asked. She was forcing one of the little doll's feet into a shoe Tyler could barely see.
Tyler nodded. "Of course, chocolate. What other flavor is there?"
"Carrot," Mason said. "Lemon, strawberry, banana walnut, apple pecan." Listed in his smooth and--to Tyler, at least--incredibly sexy Irish accent, anything sounded good.
"Yuck," Jill said. "I like chocolate."
"We know," Mason told her. "That's why we made it."
"Made it?" Theresa echoed. "Please say you didn't let Tyler help."
"I'm a perfectly respectable cook," Tyler said, hurt. "Just because it took me a few years to learn..."
"A few years? More like a few decades." Theresa was six years younger than Tyler, and he'd pretty much brought her up himself; she'd never let him live down all the sub-par meals he'd made. "I've told you about the macaroni and cheese debacle, haven't I?"
"Half a dozen times," Brian told his wife. "We don't need to hear it again."
"Macaroni and cheese?" Jill looked confused. "I thought there was cake."
"There's cake," Tyler said reassuringly. "No macaroni."
"I like macaroni, too," Jill said. "But I like cake more."