Hard Working Men by Victor J. Banis, J.P. Bowie, Jardonn Smith, William Maltese


MLR Press

M/M Contemporary

ISBN:  978-1-934531-80-8

Reviewed by Ley



‘If Love Were’ All by Victor J. Banis

Alone in the world Charlie is offered shelter from the rain by Tom.  Charlie soon discovers that Tom’s helping hand wasn’t charitable, in exchange for food and shelter Charlie keeps Tom’s trailer clean and his bed warm.  Charlie’s material needs are taken care but Tom neglects Charlie’s emotional and sexual physical needs.

‘If Love Were All’ is beautifully written but it has a very sad tone to it. Tom’s treatment of Charlie is cold and distant and sadly Charlie accepts it.  I read this story hoping a light bulb would go off in Tom and he realizes what he has in Charlie.  I really liked ‘If Love Were All’ but it did leave me wishing for a different outcome.

‘One Brick At A Time’ by J.P. Bowie

Dumped by his boyfriend six months earlier, things start to look up for web designer Tony Visconti when he gets caught stealing bricks from the empty lot next to his building.  Bricklayer Steve Taylor was not very upset with his would be thief, in fact he was quite taken with Tony enough to ask him to watch over his property for him.   When Tony helps Steve save his property from an even bigger theft, things begin to heat up between the two men.

Great story! I liked ‘One Brick At A Time’ the best out of the stories in this anthology.  Tony is a pretty cool character especially with how he handles his ex-boyfriend and his new boy toy that he dumped Tony for.  Steve and Tony are perfectly matched and I felt they had a good understanding of each other.  Tony’s ex boyfriend Jeremy’s boy toy Brad had some serious issues and Tony’s handling of him was very well done. ‘One Brick At A Time’ was a very enjoyable read.

‘The Thomas Coleman Full Nelson’ by Jardonn Smith

Friends all their lives Melvin and Thomas are blue-collar working class adults. Nine years ago Melvin took a risk in letting Thomas know how he felt about him but the outcome was not as he had hoped. After that night their lives each took a different path, Thomas marries and Melvin explores the gay life.  Both of their lives aren’t what they expected and as years pass they finally make their way back to each other and come together physically.

‘The Thomas Coleman Full Nelson’ is a harsh but compelling story.  It tells a story of love that’s most definitely is not wine and roses but it’s still love. Melvin and Thomas live with regrets, well mostly Thomas, he regrets not experiencing what Melvin so willing offered him nine years ago.  Luckily for them their missed opportunity found it’s way back to them again. ‘The Thomas Coleman Full Nelson’ is brutal at times and may not be for everyone, but it fits perfectly within this anthology. I was happy with how the story concluded, it fit well with the plot of the story, and a sweet fairy tale ending would not have worked.

‘Tow-Blow’ by William Maltese

William Maltese is a hustler.  After a session with clients he ends up stranded in Texas and meets a tow truck driver who does a lot more than just tow his car.  After a hot lovemaking session that was all pleasure, William can’t seem to get Denny off his mind, no matter how hard he tried and the many, many men he tried to forget him with.  Can a hustler who is very good at his job find love with a blue-collar tow truck driver?

‘Tow-Blow’ was truly entertaining.  William Maltese, the hustler is a man of words, talent and skill and Denny was no slouch either. William Maltese the author definitely had fun with this story, and that made it a fun read for me. ‘Tow-Blow’ was a great wrap up to very interesting and anthology.

Hard Working Men is an anthology that may not be for someone looking for pure romance, but it’s a great read for someone looking for people who find a connection with each other. In some cases it’s a connection that lasts and in others it’s a connection that leads to a lesson learned.  Every story in this anthology is well written and engrossing, I enjoyed reading all of them.


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