Dahlia Donovan

Books: Mystery | Romance | LGBT


Grasmere Cottage Mystery: Dead in the Garden (2018), Dead in the Pond (2018), Dead in the Shop (2018)

Motts Cold Case: Poisoned Primrose (2020), Pierced Peony (2021), Pickled Petunia (2021), Purloined Poinsettia (2022)

London Podcast Mystery: Cosplay Killer (2020), Ghost Light Killer (2021), Crown Court Killer (2022)


Sin Bin: After the Scrum (2014), The Wanderer (2017), The Caretaker (2017), The Botanist (2017), The Royal Marine (2017), The Unexpected Santa (2017), The Lion Tamer (2018), Sin Bin Series: Box Set (2020)


Not Even a Mouse (2015)


Grasmere Cottage Mystery

Dead in the Garden (2018)

Dead in the GardenThis is a cozy mystery, set in England, and is both adorable and has an amazingly diverse cast of characters.

Valor and Bishan are shocked and distressed to discover a dead body in their yard.

But it becomes even more distressing when Bishan is arrested for the murder.

Bishan is autistic, and that is a major issue in the story, because jail is even harder for Bish to handle than for someone who isn’t neruodiverse. But to be clear, Bishan’s autism is why Valor is willing to take matters into his own hands to get him out of jail, but it is not how Bishan is defined in the story. It’s a trait, not a personality.

Valor, is estranged from his family, and has made his way on his own since he was disinherited.

It seemed being gay and dating an Anglo-Indian had been one step too far for the son of an earl. Valor Tarquin Scott had been struck from the family; his father, mother, and elder brother hadn’t spoken to him in over a decade, not since a year after his graduation from Harrow.

By contrast, the Tambolis had embraced both their son and his boyfriend. Valor had been relieved. He didn’t honestly know how they would’ve gotten through without their support.

It’s a very sweet story (despite the murder) and although it was short and not particularly deep, it was a cute escape from the real world.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10

Dead in the Pond (2018)

Dead in the PondThe first book ended with Valor and Bishan learning their beloved housemaster from Harrow–and a note that book twowas going to end on a cliffhanger.

So I bought book two AND book three, because I wasn’t going to be messing around when cliff hangers are involved.

At one point towards the end of this book, my husband walked over to me and I just put my hand up, palm out, and ignored whatever it was he wanted, because HOLY CATS. CLIFFHANGER.

This book is told mostly from Bishan’s point of view, which is really very interesting, since Bishan doesn’t see things the way most of us do.

Spurling held the bag up for the second time. “Do you know what my nan will do to me if I don’t deliver this to you?”

“No. What?” Bishan asked seriously.

Spurling stared at him.

“Oh, a joke.” Bishan kicked himself mentally for not catching it.


The trouble with the subtle approach was Bishan didn’t read tone or body language at all. He couldn’t. Sunesh had dedicated almost an entire year to try to teach him— and it ended with him finally dumping a tub of yoghurt over his brother’s head in frustration.

Although this is a cozy, there is a good deal of murder in this series, and what Valor has to deal with from his family is pretty rough, although much of it is him telling us how unpleasant his discussions are, rather than having to read racist, homophobic rants.

There’s an interesting bit that goes through all three books, about how Val and Bish feel about marriage.

“You hate marriage.”

“I dislike my parents’ idea of it.” Valor lifted one of the rings between two of his fingers. “Hate is such a strong word.”

“You said you did.” Bishan remembered the conversation perfectly. “Why’ve you changed your mind?”

“I love you.”

“Did you not love me before?” Bishan frowned at their clasped fingers.

It’s odd to me, how different people view marriage.

I am offended by people who get married and divorced and married and divorced rather than by people who prefer a committed relationship without marriage. But the story also clearly makes the point of the problems that can arise when partners don’t have some kind of legal documents.

One of the scenes I really loved was when Bish and Val argued.

That is a genius method of argument.

And as supposed, I finished the second book and IMMEDIATELY started the third. And then stayed up entirely too late just to make sure that things were going to at least be mostly alright. But I really do hate cliffhanger endings.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10

Dead in the Shop (2018)

Dead in the ShopValor and Bishan are struggling after the events of the last book. Someone is trying to kill them–has killed people around them–and they don’t understand why.

And that’s one of the interesting things about this story–that there isn’t really a good why. Don’t get me wrong, the killer is caught and explains why things happened, but inveterate mystery readers are used to complicated reasons as to why the killer acts as they do (with lots of monologing) but here we know the reason, but it’s … unsatisfactory. NOT in a bad story kind of way, but in a real life kind of way, which meant that was unsatisfactory as it was, it was also very good. (In the same way that some of the good police procedurals I read end with the bad guy getting off on a technicality, or because of who they know. That’s the way life works sometimes, and as hard of an ending that is, it’s also quite often how life goes.


More terrible things happen, but the killer is finally discovered and caught, and our two heroes finally get to live happy ever after, even if it takes them awahile and a lot of work and therapy.

And Valor also works on his relationship with his sister.

“I am sorry I insulted your cottage.”

Valor hopped off the counter and turned slightly to face her. “You didn’t. The cottage doesn’t have feelings. You insulted my choices. I know you’re trying, Penny, but luxury has gifted you a twisted view of the rest of the world.”

Also, I want friends with whom I can go on a pudding crawl with.

Pudding crawls had become one of their traditions after one of their many Olivers had given up drinking. They’d supported him through Alcoholics Anonymous, and decided to create a way to celebrate without alcohol. Instead of reunions spent in one pub after the other, they gorged on sweets instead.

So the story ends well, but not without work on the part of the characters. And each book was better than the previous, although really this could / should have been a single book of novel length rather than three novellas. But I get why they were published and marketed that way. So I’m not too angry.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Motts Cold Case

Poisoned Primrose (2020)

Poisoned PrimroseMotts is a 39 year-old asexual, biromantic autistic who is living on her own for the first time in a house left to her by her aunt.

Unfortunately, when digging up the untended garden, remains are discovered, which causes no end of problems for her.

Luckily, she has family and friends to help her learn to cope with both being on her own and being an unwanted center of attention.

“You’ll be fine, Motts.” He reached out to straighten her jacket. “You can always imagine them naked.”

“Why on earth would I do that?” Motts frowned at him in confusion.

It helps you feel less afraid.”

“How?” She thought it would make things worse, if anything. “Nudity tends to amp up the awkward to a maximum.”

I loved so very much about all of this, I mean, a middle-aged ace main character. That’s something I have never ever read before–at least stated as such–an openly talking about her issues.

How is sex motivating? It’s moist. And the sounds are awful. And it takes effort.

She wanted to say no— but saying no was hard. “Okay.”


“I brought povitica. My mother’s version, with dark chocolate.” He held up a paper-wrapped package and a carrier with two cups. “And coffee.”


“A sweet yeast bread with swirls from my native Croatia.

How did she get so many bits that struck home for me?

“I know you can reach the latch with your unnaturally long arms.”

“I’d look rather strange if I had T-rex limbs.”

I immediately bought the second book and and having trouble holding off reading it.

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Pierced Peony (2021)

Pierced PeonyWhen an inspector from London comes to visit Motts about a cold case from her childhood, the two unexpectedly discover another body–opening another cold case.

“You’ll never guess what I’ve learned.”

“Marnie.” Motts was amused at how everyone around her, aside from the policemen in her life, seemed determined to turn her into an amateur detective.

Although this is not going to be for everyone, I am really enjoying this series.

Motts is an autistic asexual, and these traits are part of her, not a plot point played for laughs (in fact, it’s sometimes sad to consider ow difficult things can be for her).

Am I curious enough to chat with a complete stranger?

“Hello. Please go away.”

“I brought a sack of chips and a chocolate bar.”

“Well, fine. Come in.”

I love how her family and made-family care for her and help her and love her.

Since the story is from Motts’ point of view, we see things she doesn’t, but she picks up on things we don’t see, which is very interesting from a mystery perspective.

I eagerly await the next book in the series.

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Pickled Petunia (2021)

Pickled PetuniaThe third Motts mystery finds a young woman at Motts’ door, asking for help in finding her mother.

It also find the London detective in charge of the cold case from Motts’ childhood worried that the person who killed her best friend as a child has actually be targeting everyone in her class–which makes Motts a probably intended victim.

Because Motts is autistic, she has a great deal of trouble with social cues. Her being ace, exacerbates this.

“Is this a sex thing? I don’t do that.” Motts wrinkled her nose. She shuddered. “Gross. I mean, not you. You’re brilliant, I’m sure. I’ll shut up now. Bugger.”

Dempsey snorted in amusement and laughed for almost two minutes. “No, nothing to do with sex. Why would you even think that?”

“Experience with not understanding neurotypicals. Nine times out of ten, it’s sex.”

What I find fascinating about this series is that you can see things happening around Motts, but she is utterly oblivious to them–and doesn’t seem to care one way or another.

One can guess that the reason the detectives are spending so much time around her is because of the pretty serious threat to her life. But although Motts finds it odd they keep spending so much time in town, it’s more in passing, as if it doesn’t truly have anything to do with her.

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing

Rating: 7.5/10

Purloined Poinsettia (2022)

Purloined PoinsettiaMotts has been fascinated by cold cases since her childhood best friend was murdered and no one every caught. Recently, she’s discovered that the majority of girls she went to school with have been killed in the interim.

Now, as they are slowly closing in on the identity of the killer, it seems the killer is quickly closing in on Motts. She is supposed to be safe back in London with her family, but things don’t seem to be turning out that way.

No holiday was complete without her mum’s casual passive-aggressive comments.

One of the things I particularly liked was how Motts friends support her, from leaving her in silence when she needs it, and getting her away from the house when her mother is making her crazy.

We also finally have the solution to the cold case that has been bothering Motts her entire adult life.

As far as the resolution to that case, I’ll admit the ending seemed weirdly rushed. I’m not saying it needed to be drawn out, only that the final bits felt almost pancaked together.

Also, she pulled in the characters from her other ongoing series, the London Podcast series. The nice thing was that the characters were allowed to be supportive–for Motts, in a way that her friends weren’t necessarily able to be. It was odd, but not bad.

My assumption is that with the killer caught, this is the end of Motts series. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ll miss it if it’s done, but this is a natural stopping place.

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

London Podcast Mystery 

Cosplay Killer (2020)

Cosplay KillerOsian Garey used to be a paramedic but now has a podcast. His partner and best friend from childhood, Dannel Ortea, is a fireman. Unfortunately, Dannel is being forced to accept that he probably cannot go on being a firefighter.

It wasn’t the work itself. Or not only the daily grind of potentially life-threatening situations. The constant racket at the station between sirens, co-workers, and engine noises combined with dealing with people non-stop made life hell. He wondered how many years had been knocked off his life from the damage of the high-stress environment.

And Osian is still struggling with an accident a worked the year before, where a young woman they tried to save ended up dying.

No matter how many times his counsellor told him that he’d done his best and circumstances had been out of his control, Osian knew it hadn’t been enough. A young woman had died in his care.

This is similar in some ways to the Grasmere Cottage Mystery, in that one of the leads is autistic, although one better able to function in “normal” society, even if trying to do so is slowly destroying him.

Both characters are unabashed geeks, and love cosplay, even if it’s hard for Danny, it’s not quite as difficult as it could be.

The best thing about a convention was being able to put a helmet on— and have people ignore him. He got fist bumps and high fives.

The characters were really lovely, and I do love all the rep in this story–especially how neither sexuality or skin color is one of the “issues” that has to be overcome. It’s just who they are, and the mystery is the focus of the story. (Let me be completely clear–I love that this world is accepting of them as they are, and they don’t have to battle society while trying to solve a murder. If only real society were like this.)

There is another book coming in this series, and I think I’d like to read it.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Ghost Light Killer (2021)

Ghost LIght KillerI’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Dahlia Donovan, but especially her mysteries.

Unfortunately, the mystery was off in this book for me.

The characters and their interactions I still enjoyed very much.

Dannel had a habit of never leaving or having Osian go without saying “I love you.”What if one of us dies? What if our last words to each other are something absolutely stupid.

However, the mystery didn’t work for me. I kept wondering why people were acting as they did, and the motivations of the killer–and their actions–didn’t make any sense to me.

And I felt like the police were being ridiculously lenient with Osian & Dannel (especially Osian) and their interference in the case.

Yet, I loved the interactions between the characters and will definitely read the next book–hoping the mystery will be a little better.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10

Crown Court Killer (2022)

Crown Court KillerDannel and Osian are once again pulled into a murder mystery, when their friend (and defense soliciter) Wayne is accused of murder.

“Barristers tend to specialise in certain areas of the law. They’re often brought in on complicated cases to handle matters in court.” Bradley spoke up from where he’d been quietly enjoying his pizza. “Solicitors are usually the ones to bring them into a case if it’s going to trial. Laws are changing, though. Clients can now hire barristers directly.”

All the while their mothers are pressuring them about wedding plans…

“You’ve got to meet up with your mum and Olivia. Wedding plans?” Dannel reminded him. They’d played six rounds of rock, paper, scissors before Osian finally lost.

…and Dannel’s father continues to push himself into Dannel’s life.

He didn’t understand how non-autistics seemed to easily forgive and forget.

His mind kept throwing out tasks to accomplish. Dannel closed his eyes, trying to slow himself down. It occasionally felt as though his brain were a carousel careening into warp speed.

It was fine.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 6/10


Sin Bin

After the Scrum (2014)

Caddock Stanford lost his brother, lost his place on the national rugby team, and became the parent to his young nephew. So he wants a place to start over, to make a new life for himself and Devlin.

“Looe’s a brilliant place for starting fresh. Oh, and Ruth makes the best custard tarts. Don’t eat them on Fridays.”


“Her husband, Stevie, makes them and he’s rubbish at it.”

Francis Keen came back to Looe.

A few drunks outside of a gay club in Vauxhall had taught him a rather bitter lesson about the dangers of alcohol and being out of the closet. They’d cornered him in an alley and beaten him rather badly.

He’s actually quite happy being back in Looe, where he has an interior design business, friends, and grandmother who loved and needs him (even if she can be a bit overbearing).

This story set set before theSin Bin series, and we get to meet several of the characters from that series.

It’s sweet and enjoyable and Devlin is adorable–as well as the perfect reason for Caddock to move to a now town to rebuild himself and be in a good place for his nephew.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

The Wanderer (2017)

The WandererThis is a romance. With cancer.

Graham languished in his bungalow on the water for two days. He never got sick, which made him the worst patient in the world.

One of the things that makes this story so good is that it is unflinching in looking at what cancer and surgery in chemo do to a body.

Aside from losing his hair, Graham’s body suffered from other side effects. His skin grew paler, and his nails were brittle. They’d gotten lotion to help with his dry and irritated skin.

As well as to a relationship.

Nothing anyone could do would make it better. His dad had always claimed one couldn’t move beyond something awful without getting all the sorrows and emotions out first. It hurt to not be able to do anything more than sit quietly while Graham vented his fears and frustrations.

And also with family relationships.

Rupert’s last visit had ended in angry tears from both twins; the older ginger hadn’t been back since the fight.

But it is brutal about the long term physical effects.

They’d all warned him about fatigue continuing to be a problem for what could be a potentially prolonged period up to several years post-surgery.

Including issues with sex.

The story is blunt about all those things, which is why I wanted to reread it.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8.5/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 8/10

The Caretaker (2017)

The CaretakerFreddie Whittle is a cancer nurse. It’s an incredibly hard job, and he puts too much of himself into it, but he doesn’t want to do anything else.

Taine stood silent while the nurse gathered himself. He squared his shoulders, took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly before striding purposefully into the room, shifting from worried young man to confident medical professional in the blink of an eye.

Taine Afoa is a half Scottish half-Maori retired rugby player who had an extremely unusual beginning, having been raised by the priest upon whose step he had been abandoned as an infant.

“Are you sure you’re a Catholic priest?” “God judges, son, not I. He gave you to me to cherish and love. What sort of father doesn’t love his son, whatever his choices in life?””

I really love all the characters in this story: Tain, Father Wilson, his adopted father, Freddie and his fathers. They’re all complex and complicated individuals.

Freddie had simply balked at all the constant coddling. They loved him. He knew it, but wished they’d occasionally not try to drown him in it.

I will admit that I am often aggravated by The Big Misunderstanding in romance, but I can appreciate an Issue that is well done, and I think this one was. Taine IS older than Freddie. Freddie’s fathers are ridiculously over-protective.

But mostly Freddie is delightful.

“There’s a shed that’s mine on the edge of the property.”


“Because when I was learning to play the bagpipes, my dads almost lost their minds. They built me a little clubhouse to practice.”

Also: cheese.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 8/10

The Botanist (2017)

the botanistThis story takes place over the course of about two years, and opens with Aled being rescued by Wyatt. (The damage to Aded all occurs off the page, by Wyatt is there for the immediate aftermath.)

Although it is a romance, most of the story is about Wyatt helping Aled through his PTSD.

One of the most important parts of the story is Aled working through his trauma, and just how hard that was and how long it took.

“It’s been a year.”

“And?” Wyatt knew several veterans with post-traumatic stress who five years out of the military continued to struggle every day, some more than others. “I don’t think pain comes with a specific expiration date.”

While unable to give him any specifics, she recommended he go at Aled’s speed. She also warned him it might be months or years before he was comfortable with anything more than a kiss.

As I said, although the story has two people falling in love and getting married, the heart of the story is Aled rebuilding his life, and Wyatt patiently supporting him through that time.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 7.5/10

The Royal Marine (2017)

The Royal MarineAkash Robinson moved to Cardiff to open his own bakery after working at his parents for years. Unfortunately, running his own bakery means he has no time for the social life he had hoped to develop with the move.

(H)e’d never brought a date home once. They knew he’d dated. He assumed they thought his “boyfriends” were girlfriends.

Hamish Ross and Wyatt Hardy run a military consulting company, and although Wyatt has settled down, Hamish hadn’t met the right person–until he is set up with Aled.

Unfortunately, Scottie (teammate of Caddock, BC, and Tens of the previous stories) also wanted to ask Aled out, and this goes rather badly.

Over the years, Akash’s sisters had often complained about men refusing to gracefully accept rejection. He’d always wondered if they exaggerated. Scottie clearly proved their point.

This story is mostly filler–a HEA for characters from earlier stories but mainly a vehicle to watch Scottie spiral further out of control.

The persistence concerned him; he had no interest in having his life turned upside down by a stalker.

Making a mental note to apologise to his sisters for not taking their complaints about similar behaviour from other men more seriously.

I mean, I like Akash and his sister and family. I like Hamish. I like the twins that work for Akash. But neither Akash or Hamish is as interesting as the characters in the previous books.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 7.5/10

The Unexpected Santa (2017)

The Unexpected SantaThis story is is a glimpse of the start of the relationship between Scottie and Gray.

Scottie is a mess.

He’d never possessed the tools to deal with the chaos of emotions in his life. It always funnelled into anger. The rage burned in him.

Seriously, he is a disaster who doesn’t know how to be a decent human.

He wanted nothing more than to brawl with Gray. A few punches might make him feel better, or at least rid him of the sudden chaotic nature of his own thoughts.

He definitely doesn’t have a clue how to be an adult.

He poked his fork into one of the bricks of cereal. Where the fuck are my spoons? He mashed up the Weetabix, trying to soak up as much of the milk as possible before eating.

Mostly, this story exists to give us a glimpse into why Scottie is such a terrible person, before we jump into his story with both feet.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 6/10

The Lion Tamer (2018)

The Lion TamerAs noted throughout the series, Scottie us a wreck, who is incapable of being a functioning adult.

Scottie sat up slowly and glanced around to find the scenery had changed quite significantly. “Why the fuck am I in a hospital bed?”

Taine placed a hand on his shoulder to keep him seated. “You passed out. I couldn’t wake you up. How much did you drink?”

Scottie ran his fingers vigorously across his head. “Not a clue. It’s all a blur. I honestly can’t remember. What happened?”

“You almost drank yourself into the grave, ” Taine remarked bluntly.

Gray is a dom who recognizes that Scottie is a sub, but requires Scottie to come to him, despite the fact that he thinks that he can break Scottie to pieces and rebuild him into an adult. (Of a sort.)

But first, Scottie has to deal with his drinking.

“I also know you have to make the decision on your own and do it for yourself, or it won’t change anything.”

Then we discover that Scottie has family. Obviously he has family, but he has a half-brother who he actually cares about.

“Heard you graduated from the Imperial College with top honours.”

“You’d know since you sent Mum the money for it, ” Silus teased.

Gray is part of this story, and has his moments.

Gray: Landed safely. Met your contact. Heading out. Wyatt: You do know text messaging isn’t morse code. You can use complete sentences. Gray: Fuck. Off.

But basically the story is Scottie’s journey to learning how to deal with his past, and accepting that being a sub doesn’t make him lesser. Which is a lot for anyone, really.

One of the things I like very much about this series is that it faces hard subjects unflinchingly. Scottie has a drinking problem, and he has to deal with all the issues that led to that before he can move past it.

The BDSM parts are really not for me, but Scottie’s arc from complete asshole to almost decent human being is what makes the story good.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8.5/10

Reread: July 2022 | Rating: 7.5/10

Sin Bin Series: Box Set (2020)

Sin Bin SeriesThis is seven stories (and three short stories) around a group of former rugby players and friends and the men they fall in love with.

Let me be clear that these are not seven short stories, but five books and two novellas, so the whole thing comes in at 974 pages.

The book opens with The Wanderer (2017), which is the story of BC–the retired rugby player–and Graham, a travel photographer. Graham has spent his entire adult life avoiding serious relationships, wanting only to be free to travel and go where he pleases. He enjoys his time with BC, but doesn’t expect anything more–until life unexpectedly changes everything.

Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. There is no easy way from earth to the stars.

The Caretaker (2017) features Taine, the Samoan-Scottish rugby player, and Freddy, the oncology Nurse Practitioner with an almost disturbing fondness for cheese.

After tooling around the various stalls, Freddie dragged him to the Cheese Museum.Who has a museum dedicated to cheese? And who visits it? Apparently me.

This was one of my favorite stories, because I adored both Freddy and Taine, and I also liked that the story never went where I was expecting it too. And that Taine was able to figure out what Freddy needed to help him cope with the stress and strain of his job.

Also, I adored Taine’s adopted father.

“Are you travelling somewhere? Off to Scotland to see your priest?”

“Amsterdam, actually. Though I’m not sure how to feel about Father Wilson sounding like a tawdry port of call.”

Freddy and Taine are just lovely together.

The Botanist (2017) is a shorter novella, about Wyatt, an American SEAL, and the botanist his helps to rescue.

This story takes place over (I think) seven years, starting with the rescue of Aled, through Hamish and Wyatt trying to draw the young man out after he closes himself off from the world in fear, to the long very slow courtship between Wyatt and Aled and Wyatt’s retirement from the Navy and starting his security business with Hamish.

I was also amused the number of Britishisms the American used. It’s fascinating the terms that we think of as being just English but that are in fact distinctly British or American.

The Royal Marine (2017) is the story of Hamish and Akash. Hamish is Wyatt’s partner in the security business, and Akash is a baker in Cardiff who is friends with Francis and Freddy and Graham. We’re also introduced to the twins, who work in Akash’s bakery and become a part of the extended family. (They appear prominently in the next two stories as well.)

Hamish tried to assure them if their stepdad had been responsible, then he would be punished for it. The look they sent him spoke of a lengthy history of similar assurances eventually coming to nothing.

Like the previous two stories, I enjoyed that the story took unexpected turns.

We also see Scottie, BC and Taine’s teammate starting toreally go off the rails.

The Unexpected Santa (2017) is a short story that features Gray, a retired drill sergeant, Scottie (who is well off the rails now), and the twins.

For all that he is intimidating and brusque, it’s clear Gray is actually a good human, even if he refuses to take shit from anyone.

“You two doing all right?” Gray crouched down by their table to avoid towering over them. He saved intimidation by looming for those who deserved it.

The Lion Tamer (2018) is finally Scottie’s story, and you come into it wondering precisely how Scottie is going to be redeemed–and if you even care if he is.

Gray’s involvement with the Sin Bin’s new restaurant had been kept a secret to ensure maximum amusement for all of them when Scottie found out.

Let me be clear: This is a BDSM story. But it’s not BDSM that “fixes” Scottie. It is, however, a way he learns to deal with some of his anger and his rage.

In some ways, it feels like this story is what the previous stories were building towards–slowly watching Scottie come apart, and then now watching him rebuild himself.

And it’s not easy. There is back-sliding and continued problems, but you eventually see why his friends put up with him for so long.

Haka Ever After (2018) is the final story, and it’s Taine and Freddy’s wedding. It’s quite sweet (all things considered) and a satisfying conclusion to the series (although there are some additional outtakes in this collection).

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8.5/10


Not Even a Mouse (2015)

Not Even a MouseKat is a shifter.

(T)he feathertail glider shifter— not a mouse, thank you very much.

She has also been in love with her older brother’s best friend for years. Not that she’d ever tell him.

Declan has spent his adult life studying genetics, trying to determine the genetics behind shifting.

One of the many reasons Declan had chosen to study zoology and genetics was an attempt to determine on what level shifter DNA differed from humans.

I utterly adore that he is a scientist trying to find a genetic component to shifting.

His lack of success in the past had led to threats of a loss of funding for his research. The department would likely decide to shut him down temporarily— which in the Zoology department at Cambridge meant forever.

Plus dealing with all the usual being a scientist things.

This is a cute short story.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 7/10