“Mauka/Makai” by Shea Meier

Uptight researcher Noah is knocked off balance when he meets sexy, laid-back surfer Kawika.  Can a random meeting on the beach turn into much more for these two very different men?

I really liked “Mauka/Makai.”  It’s a simple story, yet profound at the same time.  Noah needs to feel like he belongs somewhere.  His struggles to accept his feelings and himself, and his eventual realization, make for a fascinating and satisfying journey. 

 

“King Kong vs. the Skinny Pirate” by Addison Albright

Fashionable lawyer Blaine is disappointed in the slim pickings at a bar, and not terribly interested in the huge, hairy man on the barstool next to him.  Still, he’s desperate enough to take the man, George, up on his offer to go home with him.  Blaine doesn’t think he’ll enjoy himself very much, but he’s got a surprise in store for him…

“King Kong vs. the Skinny Pirate” is a fun tale about first impressions and the error of judging based on appearances.  Both George and Blaine discover how wrong they were about the other, and it’s a lot of fun to learn it along with them. 

 

“Fairy Tale” by Rob Rosen

High in a castle in the clouds, Prince Nathan waits for his fiftieth birthday when he will return home, take a mate, and rule his kingdom.  Then a curious fairy, wanting to see the creature living in the clouds where only fairies should live, comes into the castle.  What will happen when a fairy and a human meet for the first time?

True to its name, “Fairy Tale” was written in the style of a fairy tale.  The story is cute, but I couldn’t really get into it.  The characters weren’t fleshed out, and their love seemed more like lust.      

 

“Lucky” by A. Steele

Carl Ruiz used to be a student at the prestigious Westenvale College, but after some bad luck and bad behavior he’s a janitor there.  Now he’s invisible to his former friends.  He’s astonished when one of the young men, the rich and handsome Josh Camden, speaks to him one day.  What could Josh want with him?

“Lucky” has a cool premise, but everything happened way too fast for my taste.  Carl was a sympathetic character and I rooted for him, but Josh came across as a spoiled kid acting out against his father. 

 

“Forever” by William Holden

Alex is a vampire, and he hates it.  He hates his life, and the killing he must do to sustain it.  He lives only for revenge until he meets Tony.  Will he succumb to Tony’s desire to become a vampire and stay with Alex forever?

“Forever” is a very depressing story.  It’s well-written, but the wrenching ending marred it for me.  I think it would do better in a different anthology, where readers wouldn’t be expecting a happy ending.

 

“Common Ground” by Cassidy Ryan & Tyler McKenzie

Popular computer geek Bryce Kennedy wants to work for the FBI, but in order to pass the entrance exams he has to get into shape.  He enlists shy jock Shay Gibson to help him.  Will something more come of their workouts?

I liked the way “Common Ground” reversed the usual stereotypes by making the geek popular and the jock shy and unsure.  Both characters were sweet and likeable, and I wanted to see them get together.  The ending is sweet and satisfying. 

 

“The Taming of the Bull” by Taylor Lochland

Science teacher Patrick Powers has no patience for the occult, and he thinks astrologer Gabriel Starlight ripped his mother off.  Patrick decides to protest at the man’s store to show others that astrology is nonsense, but gets a quite different result.

“The Taming of the Bull” is a hot, fun story.  I liked the use of new age terms during the sex scene, and it was nice to see the two men come to a compromise in the end. 

 

“The Hideaway” by David Wesley

Zach Bennett isn’t really happy being back in his hometown running his father’s bar, but after his dad’s long illness and death he decides to stick it out.  His unhappiness is made even worse by the unexpected arrival of Jake Matthews, an Alcohol and Beverage Commission inspector.  The man makes him uneasy in more ways than one.  When Jake returns to discuss the results, will it be good news for Zach or more bad news?

“The Hideaway” had an interesting premise, but everything happened too quickly to be entirely believable.  The love scene, especially the dialogue, didn’t ring true for me either.

 

“Against the Current” by Heidi Champa

Unlike his friend and traveling companion in Australia, Greg, Ted is a horrible surfer.  No matter how hard he tries, he fails to catch a wave, or do anything other than embarrass himself.  Then he meets sexy surfer Dan, who wants to teach him to surf…

“Against the Current” features a very likeable narrator who’s aware of his own shortcomings—maybe even too aware of them.  Laid-back surfer Dan is a dream guy: sexy, sweet, and patient.  I liked “Against the Current,” but the ending wasn’t what I hoped.

 

“Fire and Water” by V. Greene

Sir Campion is sent by the king to slay a dragon.  Will he succeed, or will he get more than he bargained for?

“Fire and Water” tells what would happen if a knight and a dragon decided not to fight after all.  It’s a cute story with kinky dragon sex.  If you don’t like human / nonhuman relationships, better skip this one.  Otherwise, it’s a fun story.

 

Like Magnets We Attract is a widely varied anthology based off the opposites attract theme.  There are a few keepers here and some that I didn’t enjoy so much, but overall it’s an interesting anthology with lots of different takes on the theme.

     

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