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Take a Chance

 
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Take a Chance

Book Info

Authors
About the Author
Reflections by Chase Potter

Stranger than Stars by J.A. Rock

Another Story by Jamie Deacon

Howl by Kelley York

A Boy Named Khwahish by Dee Aditya

Want You Bad by Lynn Michaels

Far From Texas by Eric Gober

The Right Words by Elinor Gray

Class-A by Debbie McGowan

Lockdown by Kari Jo Spear

Dream Infected by Melissa E Costa

Cheese and Pickle by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Publisher
Publication Date
December 15, 2016
Pages
320
Content Warning
One of the stories includes light BDSM, and another includes descriptions of drug use and drug effects.
ASIN
B01MRT5FHZ
Excerpt
Just as I sat, Mr. Keno hit the lights. Everything went black. It hadn’t been so dark in my old school. The blinds over the windows must be heavy enough to be bombproof. Comforting thought. Nobody believed the worn-out phrase “it can’t happen here.” We all knew it could.

“Keep your phones put away,” Mr. Keno said. “It’s going to be OK.” Those would be the last words we’d hear until it was over.

An instant later, someone pushed in next to me, between me and the file cabinet. Just my luck. I squished over against the wall as tightly as I could. Even so, our hips touched. It was so dark I couldn’t tell anything about the person, except that he or she smelled pleasantly of some herbal shampoo. Since I’d only been in the classroom a few minutes before the lockdown started, I hadn’t gotten a chance to really look at my new classmates.

I pressed against the wall as if I might become one with it. What I really wanted to do was curl into a ball. I settled for bending low over my legs, crossed at the ankles. I had too much imagination. It did crazy things when I was afraid. I closed my eyes in the darkness and willed myself to be calm, but every nerve was so keyed up that my pounding heart refused to slow down.

First thing in the morning was the perfect time for a gunman to attack. Kids would be in their classrooms for attendance, so he could move freely in the halls without people hanging around to either jump him or run. Since the classrooms would be full, the gunman could find victims behind every door.

I focused on what I could hear. The fan in the ceiling that I hadn’t noticed before became an insistent whir, so loud I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been aware of it the moment I’d walked into the room. It covered the sounds the kids on the other side of the filing cabinet had to be making—little sounds people couldn’t help but make, like scraping a shoe across the floor when they shifted position, or a stifled cough. I listened so hard it hurt. Only the fan. Nothing in the hallway.

Surely, if this were a real situation, there would be turmoil somewhere in the building. Unless the administrators were expecting something to happen that hadn’t happened yet. I imagined a man prowling the corridors, intent on his destination. Or perhaps he hadn’t chosen his victims yet. He might be waiting for something to speak to him, like the tone of a cell phone from behind a door, or the thump of a backpack falling off a chair. It might only take some little thing like that for him to burst in here and…

Taken from Lockdown by Kari Jo Spear

A single moment can change everything.

A university student preparing to confront the adolescent crush who betrayed him. A demon embroiled in a battle against his very nature. A soldier, mentally scarred after fighting in The Great War, torn between propriety and his heart. Though separated by time and distance, culture and reality, these young men all have one thing in common: they each stand at a crossroads in their life and face a choice that will alter the course of their future.

The twelve tales in this collection of gay romantic fiction range from sweet to erotic, contemporary to historical, paranormal to grittily realistic. Whether centred around the fear associated with coming out, the thorny issue of trust, or the struggle for survival, each story explores in its own way the courage needed to overcome personal obstacles and take a chance on love.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Worth taking a chance
Overall 
 
4.0
Reflections by Chase Potter

What a great start to the anthology. I love the writing style, and this is a very sweet story. The opening caught me by surprise in a good way. There's not a whole lot of angst here, and even the mild case of mistaken identity was only an oops, not a source of huge drama. I really wanted to know more about both Ethan and Jackson. This one left me with a huge smile on my face. 5 stars.

Stranger than Stars by J.A. Rock

There aren't enough words for how much I loved this. I am not generally a reader of erotica or BDSM (even the fairly light variety). But I do like literary work, and although this story centers on a sexual encounter (with nipple clamps, even), it is definitely literature. There are complex themes about life, death, and meaning woven in expertly with the detailed description of Pete's sexual encounter with Buck. It's an absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking story. 5 stars.

Another Story by Jamie Deacon

I liked this all right, and the writing style is good. But this one felt a bit cliched. The plot didn't have anything new: kid gets outed against his will, bully turns out to be actually gay, they reconnect later on. That would all be fine if it felt like a fresh re-telling of the tropes. Unfortunately, it didn't, probably because it was too short. I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters. It's a nice story, but I want more than nice. 3 stars.

Howl by Kelley York

I'm not sure how I feel about this story. There's really good world-building for such a short story, which is difficult to accomplish with urban fantasy. The writing is very good. But for me, this all felt very tidy at the end. I was waiting for something to happen, but I couldn't figure out why Ivan blindly trusted River. I'm not sure what the message of the story is supposed to be. What I do know is that I'd like to revisit this world and find out more. 4 stars.

A Boy Named Khwahish by Dee Aditya

This is probably my favorite story in the anthology. It swept me right up into it. It's written so well that as an outsider to Indian culture, I didn't feel lost, but it also was very obviously not aimed at educating white people. That takes a lot of skill to do well. The characters themselves are wonderful. I loved Sathya's internal dialog and his fumbling. There was a nice balance between the love and support Sathya had from friends and the disapproval of his family. The romance between Sathya and Khwahish is charming and sweet. Everything about this is pitch-perfect. 5 stars.

Want You Bad by Lynn Michaels

I found this story a bit silly. I loved the story right until the Big Reveal. Honestly, this read like a stripper setup for a bachelor party. The writing style is fine, but the plot needed more support. 3 stars.

Far From Texas by Eric Gober

The writing in this story is absolutely gorgeous. I love when there's a good balance between enough detail to picture the scene and enough left to the imagination. We're taken from Texas oil fields to California, and I felt like I was seeing it all right through Tyler's eyes. Is it a bit improbable? Sure. Tyler goes from homeless to having a job and a hot boyfriend in a blink. But it's written in a way which made me believe it's possible. 4 stars.

The Right Words by Elinor Gray

I thought for sure I wouldn't like this (apologies to the author!). The first paragraph made me think I was about to fall into a Regency romance. It's not, and I ended up loving the story. I'm not typically a fan of "sex/relationships cure all ills," but it actually worked in this one because of the particular ailment Tom suffers from. I thought it was well done and swoon-worthy romantic. 5 stars.

Class-A by Debbie McGowan

This was a really tough read. It probably needs a trigger warning: it literally starts in the middle of Simon's drug-and-alcohol-induced stupor. Wandering around in his mind while he's high is enough to make one's head spin. I didn't feel particularly bothered by that, but it might be difficult for anyone who's been in Simon's shoes. Never having been on a cocaine and booze binge before myself, I have no idea how real it is, but it certainly felt achingly real while reading it. I really wanted to throttle everyone in this story by the end. That's actually not a complaint, just an observation. I can't believe I'm saying this, but the story could have been about twice as long. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it happy for now ending is perfect, though. 4.5 stars.

Lockdown by Kari Jo Spear

This story was okay, but not great. It's so over-the-top unrealistic that I'm not sure what to make of it. I've never heard of a lockdown going quite like that, and I think if someone had started non-consensually touching me in a dark classroom behind the furniture, I'd have hit them. Also, the use of outdated terms like "swing both ways" to describe bisexuality was off-putting. Mostly this one just kind of annoyed me, but it wasn't terrible. 2 stars.

Dream Infected by Melissa E Costa

This story lost me from the moment one character uses the word "retarded" as an insult toward the others. It's completely inappropriate (especially in a story not dealing with intellectual disability). It's also immature and uncreative. Unfortunately, that might be the least of the story's issues. I felt like I was reading the beginning of something or should have read something else first. The world-building is difficult to follow, and the story never really resolved anything. The main characters lacked any emotional chemistry. If I want to read part of a novel, I don't want to do it in an anthology of stand-alone short stories. 1 star.

Cheese and Pickle by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

I'll be reviewing this separately (it's included in a pair of shorts which I'll feature on my blog next month). What I'll say here is that it's sweet and funny and hot as blazes. Really well-written. 5 stars.

Overall, this is a terrific anthology. It was definitely worth taking a chance right along with all the authors and their characters. Interestingly, while I think it should appeal to most m/m readers, I think people who enjoy something outside typical genre fare will also appreciate it. That's quite an accomplishment, and well done to all those who contributed their time and effort. Final score: 4 stars.
AL
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