Closet Capers

ClosetCapersTitle: Closet Capers

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press April 2013

Rating: B List: Cher B List

Blurb: A dash of intrigue keeps any relationship fresh: laughing breathlessly over a little thrill, feeling clingy after a shiver of suspense, mucking through a minor mystery. This anthology offers a dozen light and humorous romantic short stories in which a quickly solved caper may be just the ticket to spice up any romance.

Stories included are:

Kitsch Me by Mari Donne

Leveling Up by Jude Dunn

Philip Collyer vs. the Cola Thief by Amy Rae Durreson

A Kiss in the Dark by Eli Easton

Calberg’s House Specialty Blend by Skylar Jaye

Small Change by Danni Keane

Lawrence Frightengale Investigates by Aidee Ladnier & Debussy Ladnier

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle by Ari McKay

Le Beau Soleil by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Joie de Vivre by Pinkie Rae Parker

Made Good Under Pressure by Maja Rose

Tempest for a Teacup by Andrea Speed

Reviews: With a dozen little stories we decided to review this together and say a little bit about each story.

A Kiss in the Dark by Eli Easton

Beans – Haven’t we all had fantasies about a secret kiss in the dark. A stranger? A friend? This novella gives us that fantasy and allows us to move with Lane through the mystery of the man who made him feel completely desired and lost. I enjoyed the mystery, even if I totally guessed the secret kisser, because I liked the self reflection of Lane and his priorities.

Nina – I really liked this one. I thought it was cute and fun and had some good lines. There were a couple that had me chuckling. I too was able to guess who it was going to be early on but it was still fun to get there and when we finally do, it gets hot!

Calberg’s House Specialty Blend by Skylar Jaye

Beans – This story was great. You have this clean cut professional who comes undone when his favorite coffee shop closes down. I loved Johnathan’s obsession that leads him to meet Derik, the former owner of the little coffee shop that fed his soul.

Nina – This one was adorable. This poor man losing his favorite coffee shop, which for those who share his addiction know is very understandably upsetting. I was impressed that he actually tried to do something about it, instead of just complaining. His pursuit of his morning mouth orgasm leads him to much more than just coffee.

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle by Ari McKay

Beans – I enjoyed the glimpse into the life of Henry/Kitten and Grey. I loved how Grey pursued Henry and realized that he was going to have to prove his affection to an unbelieving Henry. I was intrigued by the premise of this novella and it moved me. Grey is an amazing character, I fell in love with his open heart as well.

Nina – The one point that we both had when we talked about the stories was “I loved that this anthology has two drag stories. There need to be more of them!” This is the love story of a man who has a fabulous alter ego, and the man who realizes that he needs to woo them both if he is going to have a future with his dream man.

Le Beau Soleil by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Beans – Historical m/m is rare, so I went into this incredibly excited. This was probably my least favorite story of the bunch. I could see the potential for an amazing cast of characters that were just starting to get off the ground. My favorite was the investigator Michael Murphy who is the sort of love interest with Frankie. I could have read more about Michael and been content.

Nina – This one felt too short to me. I think that Frankie was supposed to be with Michael, but it read more like a hook up to me. Or maybe a convenient friends with benefits. I don’t feel that they had enough time to develop the characters enough to satisfy me. So while I enjoyed the story I felt like it was unfinished, as if I had only read the excerpt. Can we please have the rest of the book?

Leveling Up by Jude Dunn

Beans – Adam and Ben are a couple on the upswing of success. They have fought the odds and are happy both with each other and the life they are building. Both are ambitious and determined to make it. I was drawn into the surprise that Adam is pulled into bringing both of their goals to the next level.

Nina – This one had me guessing and almost as confused as poor Adam was through most of this short story. It was a fun ride and the sweetness ratio was perfect. What would you do to help the one you love succeed?

Kitsch Me by Mari Donne

Beans – Brian wants nothing more than Craig, and to one day go to Hawaii. But Craig is acting weird and Brian doesn’t know what to do. Is he losing Craig? Craig is very mysterious in this novella. We see a man who is very internal and focused, but also you get a hint that he sees way more than he lets on. Loved this novella so much. I wanted to dig more into these men.

Nina – This story is adorable. The boys are so sweet and in love. It can be hard to be in love with someone who tends to be oblivious to what goes on around them, especially when they don’t express their feelings well. I loved the ending of this one.

Made Good Under Pressure by Maja Rose

Beans – This is an interesting story about pre-depression era life and two men of different social classes coming together. I enjoyed the scene when they danced chest to chest and then they danced again, but this time on whether or not they could make a life together. It was sweet but with a slight amount of grit.

Nina – An interesting voice. What at first seems like an impossible situation resolves itself nicely into a lovely little couple that I really hope is able to make it. There is a certain romantic fantasy to this story that is a pleasure to read.

Tempest for a Teacup by Andrea Speed

Beans – I laughed several times during this novella. It was a contemporary noir with a funny twist. Although short and sweet it was great fun seeing both Kyle and Jake work together to solve a funny, but nicely paid mystery. The two are opposites but have two things in common. They love a good mystery and they love each other.

Nina – This was a perfect anniversary date for a hardboiled detective and an honest cop to solve, a safe and fun investigation that had them working together to unravel the silly mystery. With time left over for a little private celebration. Andrea Speed delivered her trademark snark and hopeful cynicism. A very enjoyable read.

Small Change by Danni Keane

Beans – Dom and Riley are completely different men. They have nothing in common, but attraction and the miniature town they work at. Dom is enchanting and lovable as a shy man, crushing on his peer. Riley is working on his degree, his job is not just fun but with the cute boy and potential for fun photographs he is drawn in. Loved the quirk and flirting. Cute story.

Nina – It is such a wonderful thing when you find your place in the world, especially if you can manage to find a way to get payed for it. Dom is a sweet, quiet and introverted artist who has a huge crush on brash, fun and extroverted Riley, who he believes to be out of his league. This is a delightful little story of how people who seem very different can have a lot more in common than they think.

Lawrence Frightengale Investigates by Aidee and Debussy Ladnier

Beans – We rarely get to see a couple that is already committed to each other live their life in the pages of a story, without there being crazy drama. I loved the way these partners interacted with each other completely confident and moved to action by the crisis of a theft. If you don’t get swept away in the world building, the overall trust and partnership makes for great read. But I did adore the fun sideline of the pride parade and horror show.

Nina – I enjoyed this story so much. It had so many good elements and kept a fast pace with a mystery that has to be solved in a very short time period. Many times it looked like they wouldn’t be able to make it but the teamwork and flair that they show is fantastic. I loved Larry/Lawrence and Nicholas/Myrna. They have so much fun together as they try to save Larry’s job and solve the mystery. Myrna’s explanation to Justin on how to address her was very gentle, clear and to the point. The ending is perfect for this fun ride of a story.

Joie de Vivre by Pinkie Rae Parker

Beans – We are in France looking around at an old farmhouse that is falling apart and Jules is mourning the death of his Aunt. All he wants is to remember her well and go back to his restaurant. But there is a hitch in his plan. Enter hitch, namely Henri, Jules old childhood nemesis and now would be rescuer in the leaking house. This was a very cute story of two men who are living different lives with goals that might not mesh, but who are willing to take a chance. It was a fun little read and in the end you are so glad that Henri was persistent and Jules kind. They both sing in the kitchen and with each other.

Nina – This is the story for those of you who love the enemies to lovers trope, especially when it involves one of them being mean when they were kids because he was attracted to our cute main. Thrown together now that they are adults when Jules comes to his aunt’s home after her death, they find that they are attracted to the men each has become. Now they have to find a way to be together with Jules life and career so far away.

Phillip Collyer vs the Cola Thief by Amy Rae Durreson

Beans – This was my favorite story in the anthology. I adored Phil and his quirky idiosyncrasies with his deep and abiding love of caffeine. His routine and the way he cares for everyone under him is endearing. Then we meet Kester who is infatuated with Phil and slowly eased him into a relationship. Kester is gentle and loving with Phil, who can be fragile. This story was captivating and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Nina – What a fun story! I adored the crush aspect in this one. I think most of us have a thing. Something that we love and look forward to. It breaks up our day and is a simple pleasure that we indulge in that makes us happy and costs little. For Phil it is his icy-cold cola at lunch. When someone starts messing with his lunchtime ritual things get serious. At the same time the beautifully unique IT guy that Phil can’t help but watch wants to hang out. I love this couple, both of them are fun, silly, smart and sexy and are meant for each other.

Conclusion:

Overall we think this was a good, strong anthology. It had a nice variety of stories to keep you drawn in. A fun and easy read that will have you smiling and feeling happy with the world and the lovers who inhabit it.

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Posted on May 4, 2013, in Beans, Nina and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It is on my TBR list. I appreciate the way you covered each story too. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the great review! I’m currently reading my copy and enjoying it immensely.

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