Title : Blooming Marvellous
Author : Josephine Myles
Publisher : Self Published
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 43,591 words (e-book)
Published : July 3, 2013
What do a graffiti artist, a nerdy virgin, a lunar cop, a handsome devil, a sexy boater, a disgraced aristocrat and a misbehaving valet all have in common? Bestselling gay romance author Josephine Myles, of course! In this collection of nine short stories you’ll find all these characters coming together (quite literally sometimes).
The collection mingles contemporary erotica with a hint of a happy future with historical, paranormal and futuristic kinky romance. There are even a couple of stories that are sweet romance. One thing you can be sure of, though: the blokes in these stories will always get their man!
Buckle up for Jo’s British sense of humour and fun, and don’t be surprised if there’s sex in the potting shed, because with Jo, anything can happen.
NB: all these stories have been previously published in anthologies or on the author’s website.
Blooming Marvellous – Ky Baptiste is a graffiti artist working community service as a result of his art. Again. This particular day he is paired with James, a proper business man there for…well you will have to read it to find out. Ky catches James checking him out and the dialogue that ensues between the men is wonderful. The story has everything from tales of drunken parties, cops, tulips, Jesus sandals and *grin* garden sheds. The story is told from Ky’s perspective, he is charming and I adored his sense of humor. James is reserved but sweet and sexy. The chemistry between them is just right. There is so much packed into this short story, it was fluid and vivid but never felt rushed.~ 5 stars
Demon du Jour – In the introduction to this anthology Ms Myles describes Demon du Jour as a paranormal erotica piece that was an exercise in writing comic erotica while indulging her geeky side with plenty of Star Trek references. Gavin is a virgin, not for lack of trying. He believes there is something wrong with him as, in his last attempt,the girl told him she was not about to let that monster in her. In his desperation he seeks out Magickal help and summons a succubus. Gavin does not exactly get the succubus he envisioned and is,at first, determined that this is a mistake and there is no way he is going to explore this side of his sexuality. The demon is a bit snarky, a lot sexy, has reddish-bronze skin, a very talented tail and is definitely not a woman.
This is pure erotica with a lot of fun pop culture references and steamy sex. I was giggling when the demon commented “And they say that chivalry is dead!” in response to something Gavin says. Definitely a fun story and interesting take on demons. ~ 4 stars
Three Wishes – Eddie is a sculptor; living in the country, alone, after his boyfriend Philip has dumped him. His friend Tyler shows up to visit and brings him a box of special chocolates and invites Eddie out for a day of fun at the local Cheese festival. Tyler tells Eddie that as each piece of chocolate melts, he is supposed to make a wish. Instead of being happy, Eddie laments that Tyler has been duped and makes excuses to not go to the festival with him. At this point in the story I wanted to shake Eddie. Tyler is exuberant, sweet and one of Eddie’s only friends willing to drive out to the country to see him. Tyler leaves upset and goes to the festival alone. Even with his grumbling Eddie cannot resist the lure of the chocolates…
I loved the way the hope of wishes granted is threaded into the story and how sometimes we can’t see what is right in front of us without a little nudge. This is a very sweet story that left me with a sappy smile on my face. ~ 4 stars
River Rat – This is a very steamy erotic short with a touch of kink. Ryan walks along the canal everyday on his way to and from college. He watches for a particular boat, the River Rat and its owner, a sexy, ginger haired man, who Ryan has a slight obsession with. The man makes knotted rope fenders and sells them from his boat. The story takes us a bit into Ryan’s past, his awakening to his sexuality and why he is drawn to this man. As the time passes, Ryan grows increasingly frustrated thinking that the man has no interest in him until they bump into to one another (literally) outside a bar. This only makes it worse for Ryan as the man is leaving with someone else. We eventually learn the man’s name is Kev or Ratty (due to the name of the boat). I had a chuckle at the response Ryan has to calling him Ratty. This is not really a romance, this is steamy, erotic sex with a satisfying ending that had me wanting to see just what Kev could do with his knot tying skills. ~ 4 stars
The Devil Went Down To Swindon – Darren Lock is a nineteen year old junior hairdresser with visions of a singing career in his head. His band seems to be going nowhere and he wants the chance to escape his boring life. He makes an off the cuff remark stating he would sell his soul to have the courage and chance to audition for Pop Idol. No sooner than the words leave his lips he hears a voice speak to him. Nick is described as sexy wearing a trench coat, fedora and looking like Mickey Rourke from Angel Heart. Darren believes Nick is some lunatic with his proposition for his soul, and then as the bargaining turns to just his body, fora chance to audition. Although he cannot guarantee Darren will win, he tells him that he will be so captivating that Darren will conquer at least one heart when he sings. Darren contemplates the offer and Nick entices him with promises of things that Darren has never shared with anyone. Nick can see into Darren’s mind and knows all of the kinky things that Darren longs to try.
The story progresses with Nick and Darren exploring all of Darren’s fantasies over the next week leading up to the audition. I am not saying any more. No Spoilers! This is a steamy, kinky, paranormal erotic short story exploring the fantasy of a young man and his paranormal lover and discovering things about themselves along the way. While it took me a while to warm up to Darren, over all it is a fun romp. ~ 3.5 stars
Passive Resistance – Gerryn and Sarkan are policemen in Lunar Colony Two. They have just finished a chase and recovered a set of Mirthrianni Circlets. Unbeknownst to Sarkan these circlets can be used for either torture or great pleasure. Gerryn and Sarkan are in a relationship of sorts. Sarkan is handsome and has a roving eye and Gerryn is angry with himself for always being available whenever Sarkan chooses. After finding the circlets, Gerryn comes up with a plan to try and turn the tide in the relationship.
Passive Resistance is Ms Myles foray into SciFi. The setting has a gritty off world feel to it. The Mirthrianni Circlets are a pretty neat creation. In this particular story, I had a harder time relating to the characters because I felt like I came in during a time of transition for them, especially Gerryn. Even though the characters did not resonate with me, I thought it was an interesting story and I enjoyed it. ~ 3.5 stars
The Frog Prince – Simon is a book store owner that has trouble keeping his house plants alive. Which is why he is wondering what possessed him to volunteer for the Henley’s new organic allotment project. The reason is Jasper Fitzroy. Jasper is handsome, charismatic and the project coordinator. Simon’s friend Lizzie convinced him to volunteer to help and has been playing matchmaker ever since. The next project for the group is gathering and transporting frogs and toads across the road to the allotment area. Simon has no interest in handling the frogs but when Jasper comes into his bookstore to personally ask him if he will be there to help, he can’t say no.
This story was fun with its frog theme and equally charming main characters. I liked the way the characters gradually come together without it feeling rushed. A sweet romance. ~ 4 stars
Tea for Two – Tea for two is a historical piece set in a time where not only loving another man would be frowned upon, but also loving someone who was not considered your equal. Oscar and Richard are one such couple. One is the Master of the house and the other the valet. Their time together is limited and precious. There is also a Dominant/submissive role to their relationship. Oscar loves to be dominated and Richard willingly provides what Oscar needs. The story had an interesting take on the D/s theme and it had a delightful twist in the story that made me smile. One of those “gotcha” moments. This is an enjoyable, interesting story that, while erotic, felt like we were getting a glimpse into something very personal between these two men. ~ 4 stars
Dragon Dance – The Year of the Dragon is approaching and Gan and Archie’s mums are preparing a dragon for the festival. Gan and Archie are best mates and have known each other since they were toddlers. Archie has come to the realization that he is gay and also in love with his best friend. He fears coming out not knowing what his family, the people of the small village where they live in or Gan will think. Gan has a girlfriend and Archie is afraid of what it would mean to their friendship if Gan knew how he felt.
While preparing for the dragon dance, Archie becomes fascinated with the dragon lore and begins to think of himself as a dragon companion. He imagines his dragon as his good luck charm and even hears whispers from his dragon. Archie and Gan also practice martial arts together and members of the class are the ones performing in the dragon dance. Because Archie is tall he is chosen to carry the dragon head. Gan is carrying the pearl that the dragon chases. During the course of martial arts practices and dragon dance practices, something changes for both of them.
The story leads us through this lovely coming of age romance with beautiful analogies of the relationship between Gan and Archie to the dragon dance they are performing. I thought that Archie’s dragon gave the story a magical quality. The supporting characters and their storylines were fun and I could easily see this story in a longer format. This is a delightful story and I loved the ending. ~ 5 stars
This anthology is my first exposure to Josephine Myles work. I found that I love her writing style and the voice she gives her characters. The stories are vivid and full even while being limited in length. The only time I had any complaint was strictly me loving the story and wanting more, as in the case of “The Dragon Dance” I enjoyed reading the Introduction and getting some background on where these stories came from. I am fascinated by her garden sheds. Mine have never been so interesting. I am looking forward to reading more by Ms Myles. I definitely recommend this anthology.
Rated 4.5 stars by Deb