Hot Comfort by Maura Anderson, Kimberly Gardner, Jet Mykles, and Luisa Prieto

MLR Press

Gay Anthology

ISBN:  978-1-934531-83-9

Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

“Cooking with Ergot” by Luisa Prieto  

Dominic Abernathy is a real witch.  Along with his familiar, a stuffed tiger named Blaise, he hosts a cooking show.  Unfortunately for Dominic, witches aren’t the only things that are real—so are witch hunters.  He’s horrified when his producer calls and tells him that Carter Brooks, the author of several satirical cookbooks, will be coming on his show.  Every time Brooks is in a town, witches disappear.

Carter Brooks doesn’t believe in witches or witch hunters.  He’s tired of his crazy cousin following him around, insisting he do his family duty and hunt witches.  Then his cousin tries to shoot him and he’s helped by Dominic Abernathy.  There seems to be an instant attraction between them. 

Can there be any future for a witch and a man from a family of notorious witch hunters? 

“Cooking with Ergot”is a fun, action-packed tale of magic and love.  I couldn’t help but like Dominic, whose sense of humor and caring made him a perfect match for the more serious, skeptical Carter.  The secondary characters, especially Dominic’s familiar, Blaise, and even Carter’s crazy cousin, are great.  There’s a lot of magic in the story, and some cool world-building with the witches and hunters.  I hope Luisa Prieto intends to write some more books in this world.  “Cooking with Ergot” is not a realistic story by any means, but it’s a lot of fun and well worth a read.

 

“Bittersweet” by Maura Anderson  

After a very unhappy experience being the “walk on the wild side” for a guy, Brandon Williams throws himself into his work as an erotic chocolatier.  He’s determined not to make the same mistake again.  Then he meets David Sterling, the man of honor for a wedding he is making candy for.  

David is instantly attracted to the sexy candy maker, but the man is standoffish toward him.  David’s best friend Chris, the bride, isn’t having any of that.  She’s determined to get the two together.  What will win out—Brand’s fears or Chris and David’s hopes? 

“Bittersweet”is a cute, quick read.  Brand and David are both likeable characters, despite Brand’s tendencies to judge people by their appearances.  Pushy bride Chris, and Brand’s friend and employee, Shirlee, were fun secondary characters whose meddling and advice helped the men as they fumbled their way forward.  The resolution is quick and pretty simple, but enjoyable nonetheless.  If you’re looking for a fast, fun read with an ending as sweet as Brandon’s chocolate, “Bittersweet” is a good choice. 

 

“The Shape of a Heart” by Kimberly Gardner  

Since Zach Jensen lost his lover, he’s devoted his time to his bookstore and coffee bar.  He’s trying to live his life, but he’s not over his grief.  Then his business partner—his lover’s sister—hires Keith Harte to work the coffee bar.  Zach’s instantly attracted to Keith against his will, but is determined to resist his attraction. 

Keith Harte has been living with dangerous secrets for a long time now.  He wants to keep his job at the coffee bar and be with Zach, but he’s afraid.  His past could intrude at any minute… 

“The Shape of a Heart” is a sweet story of finding love and regaining happiness.  I could sympathize with the grief-stricken Zach, even when he was being a jerk.  His guilt over feeling something for someone new was heart-wrenching.  Keith was also likeable.  He’s sweet, caring, and surprisingly strong, despite the secret that has torn his life apart.  The love scenes are hot, and the conflicts are interesting.  The only thing I didn’t like was the overuse of a certain “s” word meaning promiscuous person, but that might not bother other readers.  Overall, I really enjoyed “The Shape of a Heart.”

 

“Giving Thanks” by Maura Anderson  

EMT Troy is relieved to finish a double shift and spend a couple of days with his lover, Derek.  When he gets home, however, he finds Derek home from work at his family’s restaurant unexpectedly early.  He knows something must be wrong.  

Derek has always feared losing the love and respect of his family, so he’s hidden his relationship with Troy.  When he finally tells his father he’s gay, his father fires him from the family restaurant and disowns him.  Sad but grateful to not have to hide his love for Troy any longer, Derek plans a quiet Thanksgiving dinner for the two of them.  Things won’t turn out quite the way he planned, however… 

“Giving Thanks” is a sweet story of love, family, and what’s important in life.  Protective, caring Troy is a great character.  I couldn’t help but love Derek as well.  Their relationship is strong, sweet, and, of course, hot.  Secondary characters—Derek’s family members—are a good addition to the story.  If you like love stories about families and holidays, as I do, you’re sure to enjoy “Giving Thanks.”

 

“Devon Cream” by Jet Mykles  

Steven is a thirty-one year old cook with a penchant for helping people.  When he meets a new tenant in his building, cute twenty-two year old Devon, he can’t resist helping the younger man out.  He’s very much attracted to Devon, but since Devon’s a friend, years younger, and straight, tells himself nothing will ever come of it.  Is Devon only taking advantage of his generosity, or is something more at work? 

“Devon Cream” is a cute, hot little tale of unexpected love.  Generous, caring Steven is a very sympathetic character, and I couldn’t help but like clueless but eager-to-please Devon.  As always in Jet Mykles’s work, the love scenes are hot and there’s lots of sexual tension.  I enjoyed the storyline, and Steven’s friend Patty is a fun addition.  While “Devon Cream” isn’t a super-deep story, and I would have liked to have seen a bit of Devon’s point of view, it’s an enjoyable read.

 

Hot Comfort is an anthology that delivers exactly what it promises.  The stories in the anthology are full of steamy scenes and a lot of sweetness as well.  Readers looking for a bit of a pick-me-up will be sure to find something to love here, as all of the stories are well-written and entertaining. 

     

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