What I #AmReading ~ 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance at JMS Books (1st Five Stories)

Walking: Sun., 1-Jan. > Fri., 6-Jan.

Here’s a screen shot of my Apple watch workouts that were recorded while walking. My goal is to walk for at least one solid 30-minute stretch per day. That’s Bonnie keeping an eye on me as I walk by! I spent a bit more time than this reading since I covered 5 novelette-length stories in this stretch.

What I #AmReading…

2022 Top Ten Gay Romance ~ JMS Books Annual Collection

GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance Anthology
LENGTH: 119,567 Words / 438 Pages

2022 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.

From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.

With stories by Sarah Hadley Brook, Holly Day, Ofelia Gränd, Nell Iris, Hannah Morse, K.S. Murphy, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Ellie Thomas, and Tinnean, this head-over-heels collection goes beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!

Contains the stories: 

Found in the Storm by Sarah Hadley Brook
The Wingman by Holly Day
The Ruby Tooth by Ofelia Gränd
Secrets on a Train by Nell Iris
Hatch by Hannah Morse
Trust with Glittering Eyes by K.S. Murphy
The Snails of Dun Nas by K.L. Noone
How to Cheat at Dirty Santa by Amy Spector
The Thrill of the Chase by Ellie Thomas
Twelve Desserts by Tinnean

The 1st Five Stories

Found in the Storm by Sarah Hadley Brook

I love the delicious awkwardness in this! The blurb sets the scene for this story of two-directional unrequited love between Mason and Boone. Mason’s best friend, Bennett, is Boone’s older brother. Bennett, at different times in their lives, and with the best of intentions, warned each of them off the other. 

Boone shows up on Mason’s doorstep one stormy night with a couples game, ostensibly to give to his engaged brother who rooms with Mason. They end up going through the suggestive game cards themselves.

Super fun story!


GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 11,617 Words / 41 Pages
HEAT RATING:  3 Flames

It’s Friday night and Mason is content to stay home with his dog instead of going out in a raging thunderstorm. He wasn’t in the mood for the bars, anyway. Not when he was pining for his best friend’s brother, Boone. Who was off-limits — no matter what his heart wanted.

When the doorbell rings, he’s shocked to find the man of his dreams on his front porch. Boone’s had a rotten day and is looking to have fun, but will he be able to convince Mason he wants to be more than a friend?


For reference, Boone is trying to convince Mason to play the game, mentioned above. From Mason’t 3rd-person POV:

Boone faced me, tucking his foot under his knee like before and heaving a deep sigh. “Yes, Mason,” he began, in his best let-me-explain-like-you’re-a-child voice, “but it could still be fun. Anna said the game is kind of based on a study that helped people get to know each other. I mean, unless you have some deep dark secret you don’t want me to know about,” Boone added and raised his eyebrows in challenge.

Secret? Oh, you know, just one that would destroy my friendship with Bennett and send my carefully planned life careening into a brick wall. How the hell was I supposed to handle this? My whole body felt off kilter and I didn’t like it one bit. All these years, I thought I had a handle on my reactions to him, but this wasn’t the Boone I was used to. It was almost—almost—like Boone was flirting with me. I had no idea how to act. I felt like a virgin with a first crush. What did I do with my hands when he was this close to me? Touching me?

For fuck’s sake, I was acting like a teen again. This night was messing with my head. It was all I could do to remember to breathe when he looked at me with those big beautiful hazel eyes. Memories of those awkward months after I’d first fallen for him rushed back to me and I felt a little panicky.

Boone watched me, waiting for an answer, but I knew saying no wasn’t an option. As if I could say no to him. Not when he looked so hopeful and adorable. I blew out a breath and shook my head in defeat. I glared at him when he laughed. Bastard.


The Wingman by Holly Day

This is a lovely story of childhood friends to lovers (*happy sigh*) Cole and Gavin. Cole is still quite skittish a year after escaping an abusive relationship, and rough-around-the-edges Gavin has had an unrequited love for Cole since they were kids, but never let on.

Thinking Cole wouldn’t be into him, Gavin sets himself up as Cole’s wingman, trying to get him laid and/or otherwise back into circulation after his last disastrous relationship. But Cole isn’t interested in hookups.

I loved following along as these two opposites stumbled their way to love!


GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 11,424 Words / 48 Pages

A year ago, Cole Hudson got out of an abusive relationship. Since then, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery, avoiding people best he can. He prefers it there, but his best friend Gavin has other ideas.

Gavin is set on finding him a boyfriend, but Cole doesn’t like hanging around bars, and it’s precisely what Gavin has in mind. As Cole’s self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin is on the hunt for a worthy partner, but it isn’t an easy find.

Cole doesn’t want to date; he only wants to spend time with Gavin. Gavin only wants Cole to be happy. How many men flocking around Cole will he have to chase away before the right one shows up?


Cole’s description of Gavin (aka the wingman). Cole’s 3rd-person POV:

“See you later.” He stood, grabbed his tray, and handed it to Hailey without a smile. As Gavin headed out the door, her gaze jumped from his back to Cole.

“He’s so scary.”

“What? Gavin? No, he’s…He was raised by wolves, hence the lack of manners.” Wolves and a shitty mother. People who didn’t know him would never guess, but Gavin’s biggest fear was to be abandoned, and to prevent it, he kept people at arm’s length.

Aww, poor confused guys! Cole’s 3rd-person POV:


Gavin raised one eyebrow at him, but the normally teasing look lacked something. “I’m not the one freaking out as soon as someone touches me.”

Cole huffed. “Nah, you run away when you’re uncomfortable.”

“I do not.”

“No? How come you’re gone for weeks at a time then, months even?”


The Ruby Tooth by Ofelia Gränd

This was a fun paranormal story set around a bar named The Ruby Tooth where a veritas works the door and sends anyone deemed to be good enters the door on the left, and anyone deemed to be bad enters the door on the right.

Bounty hunter and wolf shifter Ulric Moon considers himself to be a good person, but the veritas doesn’t agree. Ilya Louis, a human is supposed to meet his best friend at the bar but can’t finder her. He was sent to the left, she to the right. Ilya manages to sneak over to the other side to meet up with his friend and there’s an instant connection between him and Ulric.

Danger in the form of the vampire Ulric is hunting awaits to add extra excitement to this lovely fated mates story.

Thoroughly enjoyable!


GENRE: Gay Paranormal Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 11,834 Words / 48 Pages

Ilya Lewis is gonna kill his best friend Vera. She not only persuaded him off his couch and into the creepiest nightclub in the city, she also didn’t show. When Ilya learns the bar is split into two halves, and he’s been let into the wrong side, it doesn’t make things any better. Once the doorman determines which half to let you into, he won’t let you into the other.

Ulric Moon hates the Ruby Tooth. But as a bounty hunter, he must go where the trails lead him, and tonight it’s landed him in the worst nightclub in the universe. All he wants is to catch the vampire he’s hunting, but despite trying to convince the veritas doorman examining his soul that he needs to be let into the good side of the club, he’s shown to the bad. As if that wasn’t enough, his destined mate somehow manages to sneak into the bad side where he doesn’t belong.

Ilya finds a way to the other side of the bar, but one look at the patrons there has him regretting ever leaving his apartment. When he tries to leave, a scary-looking man who does nothing but growl follows him.

Ulric knows he’s freaking Ilya out, but Ilya has inadvertently caught the interest of the vampire Ulric is hunting, and he has to protect him. How will Ulric keep Ilya safe when he doesn’t believe Ulric is a bounty hunter? And how do you tell someone they’re your mate when they don’t believe you’re a werewolf?


Ulric reacts upon first meeting Ilya. Ulric’s 3rd-person POV:

Ulric couldn’t move his hand. He’d placed it on Ilya’s shoulder—needing to touch him—and now he couldn’t step away.

Ilya was his. He’d known the second he’d stepped into the room. Only, how could his mate be wearing an elf suit? The universe had made a mistake. And then he’d ordered mineral water. Ulric shook his head.

He’d always believed he belonged on the good side. His methods of getting things done might not be conventional, but his purpose was good. He was a nice-ish person. Though one look at Ilya made him think he might have been wrong. He should have known. The veritas didn’t make mistakes. He’d never been shown to the left, no matter which club he went to, and yet he’d always believed he belonged there.

Vera glared at him when he didn’t move, and he forced his hand away from Ilya’s shoulder. He needed to strip him bare and bury himself in his heat, but this was not the place. He couldn’t make his eyes go back to human, his teeth buzzed with the need to change, and his claws prickled as he made his way to the bar.

“Problems?” The shifter behind the bar swept his eyes over the tables.

“Nah. Two whiskey doubles and…mineral water.”

The corner of the bartender’s mouth twitched. “Lemon?”


“For the water, do you want lemon?”

How the hell should Ulric know? “Erm…sure.”


Secrets on a Train by Nell Iris

This is a lovely meet-cute between Valentin and Runar, two commuters on a train who sit in the silent car and end up communicating through shared notes back and forth. It’s perfectly lovely and sweet as one expects from this author.


GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 9,889 Words / 38 Pages

It’s the fountain pens that capture Valentin’s attention on the morning commute, not the perfectly imperfect man who spends his train rides using them. Not his pinstriped suits, his chin-length hair, or his perpetually raised eyebrow. But one morning when the man strikes up a written conversation, Valentin gives up all pretense. It’s not just the pens. It’s the man. Runar.

The conversations continue, and the men get to know each other better, sharing secrets they’ve never told another soul. The connection is powerful, growing stronger with every encounter, every scribbled conversation, every scorching look. But can secrets shared on a train be enough to build a forever?


Valentin’s observations before first approaching Runar. Valentin’s 1st-person POV:

Like a magnet, he attracted my gaze the first time I stepped on the train, or maybe like a giant planet catching me into its orbit. My feet carried me without conscious input through the car, and I chose the seat across from him, one of the few open spaces.

It’s been the same every morning since; I look in his direction as the train rushes into the station, before I’ve even boarded, and as soon as I’m inside the doors, I find myself walking toward him, sitting across from him, the other three seats always empty, as though everyone but me keeps a wide berth of him and his harsh features.

And just like the giant planet capturing space debris without making a fuss about it, he’s made no indication that he finds my presence weird; he just looks up from his notebook, gives me the tiniest nod of acknowledgment before tightening his grip on his fountain pen and returning his focus to his writing.

His fountain pen. Another thing that fascinates me. Everyone else on the train, including me, uses phones or tablets or laptops on their morning commutes, but not my guy. He’s old-school and analog and the fountain pen fits with his overall style. His slicked-back hair and suave suits deserve nothing less; a regular boring plastic pen would ruin the appeal.


Hatch by Hannah Morse

This is a fun meet-cute between Dante, who’s moving cross country from a big city to a rural town, and Cameron, who’s part of a local search and rescue group who happens across Dante’s broken down car and comes to his rescue like a knight in shining flannel.

The story has some interesting side characters who I see get their own stories in subsequent books that I’ll be sure to check out!


GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 9,798 words /

Moving from the nonstop rush of the big city to the peaceful, minuscule tourist town of Ruidoso, New Mexico, should be easy, right? But when physician’s assistant Dante Mazza’s car breaks down, leaving him stranded in the literal middle of nowhere, he finds himself in need of rescue. What he gets is more than a hundred pounds of enormous Italian mastiff, as well as the dog’s handsome owner.

Cameron Myers, forest service ranger and part of the Demon Dogs search and rescue group, is always prepared and ready to help. Together with his dog Hatch, he watches over Lincoln National Forest near Ruidoso. When he stops to help a man waylaid on the side of the road, he discovers something he isn’t prepared for.

He and Dante go together like spicy green chile on a cheeseburger; the heat between them might be enough to start a wildfire. Dante might be out of his depth in the woods, but he might just be what Cam needs in his life.


Dante meets hatch, shortly before meeting Cameron. Dante’s 3rd-person POV:

A monster of a dog, blacker than the night, stood five feet away. Its eyes gleamed in the starlight.

“Good doggie?” he tried, his voice wavering. Did New Mexico have killer wild dogs? He’d read about bears and mountain lions but couldn’t remember anything about enormous dogs with pointed ears and heads the size of basketballs and…oh God, those were really big teeth.

Big teeth that—wait. That was a yawn. The dog sat down on its haunches and gave a booming bark before its tongue lolled out of its enormous mouth.

Clearly, Dante wasn’t about to die. He stood and brushed dirt and grass off his khakis.

A moment later the crunch of feet on dirt and dead grass came from the direction Dante had left his car.

“That’s my boy,” a warm voice said. A man of medium height, with an athletic build and brown hair, mussed as if he’d just got out of bed, stood beside the dog. He had a flashlight in hand. The dog’s butt wiggled as the man patted the monster’s head, which seemed an appropriate response because Dante might also shake his ass if this guy petted him.

“Hi,” the man with a jawline like a statue said, raising a hand. “I’m Cameron Myers but call me Cam. This is Hatch, like the chile. We passed your car and I pulled over. The engine was still warm so I figured you couldn’t be far.”

It didn’t compute. “You saw an abandoned car and you just…pulled over?”


Spreading more book love!
Here are more of my…

✓ recent reads
✓ current reads
✓ re-reads
✓ want-to-reads

(all genres included)

These three books remain at the top of my TBR, but my next read is to finish JMS Books’ 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance. Look for the next five books in this wonderful anthology in 5-7 days (contains more stories from two more of these three fabulous writers):

About My Walking / #AmReading Posts

I started out with this being a Sunday thing, but sometimes I’d rather not mash multiple books into a single post, so now, you never know when you might see one of these posts.

Rather than give a true “review,” which I’m not entirely comfortable doing as an author myself, I share snippets from books I’ve read and enjoyed, letting the authors’ words speak for themselves.

As you’ve possibly noticed, if you’ve been following along, I highlight snippets for reasons of my own which might veer from what is often seen. Sometimes my highlights have more to do with a paragraph simply impressing the heck out of me for its fabulous writerly technique, other times it has to do with the lovely way it gives subtle insight into the story/characters. Still other times simply because it made me laugh.

Anyway, I sometimes add a little commentary, but not always, which is not in any way, shape, or form, to be taken as unwritten commentary. Most likely it just means I’m short on time and/or context isn’t needed to understand what’s happening, and/or my brain doesn’t feel like putting out the effort in that particular moment.

Also, I’m going to try to spread the book love by tacking on covers of more books at the end of the post that I’ve either recently read, am currently reading, or want to read. Not seeing a full post with snippets for any of these books is not a commentary on anything other than how much time I have available in a day either to read or to create a post about what I’ve read. It might also mean I listened to the audiobook only or that it’s a reread that I’ve featured previously, or it’s not M/M so probably not a good fit for featuring on this blog.

Happy reading!

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