by N. Wood
Genre: M/M Erotica Romance
Length: 250 pages
When you sit down to read your copy of My Bittersweet, let me suggest you have a few supplies at the ready such as tissues and waterproof pants. I guarantee your emotional state will run the course with this one! Also, I should probably point out that the author is British and therefore there are some points where British terms make their way into the story; not that it was a deterrent for me. I've made several friends over the pond and the terms are second nature to me now, not to mention that while the story is set in Seattle, everyone knows that America is a melting pot and you'll find all kinds of people wherever you go. I will also warn that although this book is not listed as such, it should be labeled an erotica by publishing standards as there are definitely more than four sex scenes (and let me tell ya, they're HOT!)
Wood sucks you in with a passionate and intense prologue that leaves no question as to the depth of feeling felt between her main characters: Archer Callahan and Nicholas Walker.
On the bed lay a man still of youth, his brown hair a mass of tangled loose curls, splayed on the pillow. His jaw was speckled with day old stubble, the rest of his skin smooth and pale in the street light. As he breathed, his toned bare chest lightly rose and fell peacefully. The blanket gathered around his stomach, but his thin frame outlined the sheets.
He was watched for perhaps a minute, before the sound of a running zipper spoiled the silence of the room. A heavy, black leather jacket was draped quietly over a desk chair in the corner. Another run of a zip, the kicking of boots and the footsteps began again, quieter now; only sock clad. A weight dipped the bottom of the bed before evening out as it moved closer toward the sleeping form.
Oblivious to the approach, his chest continued to rise and fall steadily. As a baggy t-shirt brushed faintly over his body, he didn't even stir and the weight increased as the person gained proximity on him.
Warm lips began their descent, before finding their target on the mouth of the sleeper. A larger breath was inhaled and he turned his head just a little. Retreating momentarily, the lips then pressed to the soft flesh beneath the stubble clad jaw.
A moan escaped the young man as he tilted back on the pillow. His hazel eyes slowly fluttered open, glazed with sleep. As consciousness returned to him, he registered the warm breath on his throat and reflexively swallowed.
"Archer?" His voice sounded groggy even to himself.
The day had been long and sleep had only found him an hour before. The kiss to his neck increased a little, then disappeared. With a blink to clear his vision, the tired man lowered his head, his gaze finding the crystalline blue eyes he'd become so accustomed to seeing. Below was a cute little nose and a dimpled smile.
"Hello, Nicholas. Did you miss me, sleepy head?"
. . .
Smiling to himself, Archer leaned back down and ghosted a kiss over the bare chest beneath him. A strained breath filled the lungs under his lips, making him smirk against the skin. Slowly, he trailed kisses up the toned pectoral muscle and over the collarbone. With the inhales growing shallower, he was winning.
"Are you mad at me, Nick?" Without leaving time for an answer, he pressed his lips to the neck beneath him, strangling any response.
Hollowing his cheeks, he sucked at the soft skin, drawing a choked whimper from the man below. When he withdrew, a small red mark remained on Nicholas's throat. The hazel eyes were open and boring right into his own, no longer tired, but lust-filled. With fingers snagging the blanket separating them, a quick flick of a wrist cast it aside and Archer was off the hook. He smiled and reached for the hem of his t-shirt. As he began to lift the fabric and raise it over his head, a dip in the mattress made him aware Nicholas was moving. A warm breath fanned against his skin, seconds before soft lips assaulted his chest, kissing and nipping their way north. With the t-shirt removed and tossed to the floor, he peered down to discover Nicholas now in a sitting position, supporting himself back on one arm; the other hand hooked into Archer's jeans.
The intensity continues when your mind is left reeling by the closing line of the prologue and you move onto the first chapter where Nicholas, with all his quirks, is introduced in full.
I can sympathize with this character who is so sensitive he tends to come off whiny at times because I've had gay friends who are similar. They're products of their environment. Nicholas represents the portion of the gay community who are judged and cast out by their own families. To make matters worse, his step-father has taken his homophobia to an abusive level. Nicholas endures this in silence in an attempt to keep his mother in his life only to eventually be rejected by her as well. It's no wonder Nicholas is guarded and questions the true intentions of those around him along with lacking any self-confidence to better himself or his situation. He simply accepts and survives.
Meeting Archer Callahan is the catalyst for Nick's metamorphosis. Of course change is never easy and we often find that things have to get worse before they get better. Archer sees the potential in Nicholas and is more than willingly to look past the defensive exterior to find the tender soul residing inside Nick. Through patient persistence Archer nurtures and coddles Nicholas, slowly bringing him out of his shell, and we, the readers, get to follow that journey – with no shortage of well-penned, hot man-loving!
When tragedy befalls our fragile Nicholas (Tissue Warning) you'd have to have a cold heart not to feel pride when the story comes to an end knowing that a better life for Nicholas is finally beginning; much like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it!
*DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC of My Bittersweet in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. The only thing that kept me from giving this a 5 star rating is that as a writer and beta there were a few technical errors that distracted me from the experience, and as a reader there was just a tad too much "recapping" for my liking.
About the Author:
N. Wood is a budding young author living in Cornwall, United Kingdom. She first gained an interest in writing when she became a published poet at the age of nine. Since then she's moved onto both short and novel length fiction with a M/M romance baseline.
Find her here: