Author: D.K. Jernigan; Alisha Steele; Leigh Wilder; Azalea Moone; S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet
Reviewed by: Valentina
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: M/M Anthology
ISBN 13: 9781937058562
When you pit knowledge against emotions, there’s the no-man’s land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love–in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.
Keith is a Humanist Corpsman, sworn to protect society from the mutated ranks of the Infected. When his own team betrays him, however, it’s his long lost brother, Riley, who takes him in and makes him choose between War and Peace and Brotherhood. After nineteen months apart, Brandon Patrell, of Analgesia, is convinced it will take more than a home renovation to keep his playboy brother, Ethan, from running away again. But as Ethan resumes his old mind-games, Brandon is determined to tease back for once, even if it means risking everything in a game of all or nothing. A dozen years after discovering his father’s suicide, Cale returns home and finds his older brother Derrick showing the same signs of melancholy. But as much as he wants to help his brother, he fears being sucked back into that world of Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools.
Jeremy has been On Clouds of Obsession since long ago glimpsing his brother, Matt, naked in the locker room. Years later, with Matt due to be married in a week, Jeremy takes a chance after Matt’s bachelor’s party that could jeopardize their relationship, not to mention the impending wedding. Songwriter Andrew lives life On the Edge, using drugs to quiet his uncertainties about his ongoing relationship with his twin, Ben. Disheartened by Andrew’s empty promises, Ben begins to pull away, forcing Andrew to choose between letting go and finally finding the strength to stop running
Getting into this anthology came from the desire to enjoy my kink. Finally something for the likes of me who loves brothers getting it on and doesn’t mind large quantities of the material. The stories are quite different, ranging from two stars to almost five forming an average collection of brotherly love.
War and Peace and Brotherhood by D.K. Jernigan– 3 hearts
This was the only paranormal story in the bunch, bringing us the world plagued by a sexually transmitted virus which turns people into the Transformed. I would call them superheroes since their powers are truly extraordinary, but the Corps hunt them and their titles are anything but flattering. Keith is with the Corps, but is soon betrayed and left wounded at the mercy of the elements. It is a bit convenient that his long lost brother is the one to find him, and he is one of the hunted Transformed.
I did like the story, especially the world which definitely deserves a full length novel. But the relationship between the brothers way just too rushed. There was little when it came to emotions and the story twists took more away for the closeness I wanted to feel between the two. Still I was rather satisfied with the introduction into the anthology and am curious to see what this author has to offer when it comes to a lengthier book.
Analgesia by Alisha Steele – 4.5 hearts
My favorite by far of all the offered stories, Analgesia showed the relationship between two brothers to the fullest. From their relationship as siblings to the attraction shared by lovers. They went through it all and the author made it hot and steamy with taking her time to let us enjoy it.
Ethan is the brother who ran away and was touring with his band, while Brandon stayed at home and held on to the torch he carried for his brother. But once Ethan is back, the passion is still there and chemistry between them heats up the pages.
I loved the fabulous writing and took the whole story in without a pause. This was the reason why I read the Fraternal Devotion anthology.
Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder – 2.5 hearts
This long titled story is about two brothers who’ve been living apart for some time, ever since Cole left for school and Derrick was left with their mother to write and hang out around the pool.
I actually loved the whole concept around this story. It’s heavily enveloped in depression and notions of suicide but it also shows the codependence of the two brothers. At first Derrick is the one who seems more vulnerable, unstable and just close to snapping, but as we get to know Cole more I had to start wondering about him as well. I did like the way they didn’t seem to function without the other, but the overall flow of the story and interactions between the brothers just didn’t work for me.
On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone – 2.5 hearts
In this story one brother, Jeremy, is very interested and has been for years. He’d been in love with his brother for years and once Matt announces his wedding Jeremy figures he’s out of time. What follows is rather confusing and abrupt on many levels, but while I understood Jeremy, Matt remained a mystery to me to the very end.
Matt was one of those who blow hot and cold and he really got on my nerves. Especially because his explanations left a lot to be desired and his actions really just made me want to smack him. The resolution was rather quick as well and by the end of the story I wasn’t really happy about any of it.
On the Edge by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet – 3.5 hearts
Getting into this story I expected a lot more based on the other reviews. Really, I expected to be blown away, but while the writing was excellent, one of the brothers simply rubbed me the wrong way.
Andrew and Ben are twins who have been sharing a bed in a sexual sense for over ten years. It’s written in Andrew’s point of view, but that man is even cruel in certain moments and his actions almost made me cry a couple of times. He’s in love with his brother Ben, a wonderful man who I swear looks at Andrew with something close to awe, but he can’t deal with it and it results in terrible situations leaving Ben in nothing but pain.
I couldn’t imagine being in such a relationship for so long and my heart broke for Ben. I know I was supposed to want them to end up together, and I admit, it was written so well I wanted that happy ending but Andrew… Yes, it was a great thing to tell everything from his perspective, because it does show us he cares and despite all his failures, he is the right person for Ben. I liked this story, but their happy ending wasn’t all that happy for me. I kept thinking of the missed chances and all that lost time filled with pain. A great plus was Ben showing a backbone and I think this story does bring out the turmoil of such a relationship to the fullest and is a great choice for ending the anthology.