“Because brothers don’t let each other wander in the dark alone.” ― Jolene Perry
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages/Word Count: 186
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: 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 ofDepression, 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.
Review: I was really interested in reading this anthology in which all the stories have an incestuous theme. This isn’t going to be for everyone, but I’m all for reading about forbidden, taboo relationships. I guess in a way these kind of stories satisfy my inner kink.
War and Peace and Brotherhood by DK Jernigan
This story is set in a world where some people are infected with a virus that causes them to change and gain special powers. Two brothers, Keith and Riley, are on opposite sides of this conflict. Riley, who is infected and left home years ago, is part of a group trying to save as many people from those who are hunting them. Keith is part of the militia hunting those with the virus. Unforeseen circumstances bring them back together.
This story didn’t really delve into the relationship between the two brothers, past or present. We do see the affection and love they have for each other when they finally find each other again, but the romantic element was lost to me. I loved the world building. For such a short story I believe the author does a great job in bringing the reader into this alternative universe. I will definitely be reading more by the author.
Analgesia by Alisha Steele
Ethan and Brandon shared a little more than what most brothers usually do. Ethan took off for a year and a half to tour with his band, leaving Brandon at home pining away for his older brother. They both have to deal with their emotions when Ethan finally comes back home to help get the house ready for their mother to sell after her divorce from their father.
I really liked how the author showed these two brothers being, well, brothers. The roughhousing, teasing and bickering they did with one another was like what all siblings do. The story is told through Brandon’s POV, so we know he’s still longing for his brother and is really torn with what to do about it. Ethan comes across like such a jerk, and it was frustrating not to know what was going on in his head. The story progressed nicely after Ethan stops acting like a boob, and I enjoyed seeing another side to Ethan we didn’t see in the beginning. His true feelings for his brother do come out, and he’s just as in love with Brandon as Brandon is with him. There’s a few annoying parts in the dialogue where Ethan has some nicknames for Brandon; I could have done without that. Overall, it was a sweet read.
Depression, Love and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder
Years ago, Cale and Derrick’s father committed suicide in the family swimming pool. Cale went away to college leaving his older brother Derrick at home with their mother. Both are still haunted by the death of their father and dealt with it in very different ways: Cale by leaving home and going off to college, and Derrick, by pills and therapy.
Cale is home for spring break from college, where he is now a professor. Seeing Derrick is off his meds, he immediately envisions Derrick ending up like their father and does anything he can to help him. While reading this I got the impression it was Derrick who needed the most help and is the mentally unstable one. But, in fact, it’s the both of them who are at risk of losing themselves. Both of them realize they function better together and while it works for them, it’s sad that two individuals are so dependent on the other to just live. They are both afraid the depression that plagued their father will come to the surface and consume them.
On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone
Jeremy has been lusting after his brother Matt since he was in High School. Years later, Matt is engaged to a girl he barely knows and Jeremy is not happy. He wants Matt all to himself.
I have never really disliked a character as much as I did Matt. All the while reading, I was looking for something about Matt to make me understand why Jeremy would want him. Since their childhood, Matt has been mean and cruel and now even in adulthood he is totally disrespectful towards Jeremy. The story itself is well written, but I never really connected to the characters at all. The ending was totally baffling and Matt’s actions were out of character from the way he was in the rest of the story. I say good luck to them both. They’re going to need it.
On the Edge by SL Armstrong and K Piet
Andrew and Ben are twins who have been living together as a couple for over a decade. Andrew has a bit of a problem feeling guilty about his relationship with his twin brother and deals with it by getting drunk and taking drugs.
Told in Andrew’s POV we know he does love Ben, but he never could deal with and accept that he’s in love with him. I’m really glad this story was in Andrew’s head; otherwise, I would have really disliked him. Ben pays for everything they have, including his brothers drugs. I wasn’t thrilled with how Andrew chose to cope with his feelings for Ben. I do believe it was a more realistic way in which this type of relationship would go and how a person could be so consumed with guilt, self-loathing and shame for loving his brother. I was heartbroken for Ben, always picking up after the mess Andrew made. I was also glad he didn’t give up on his brother, knowing they couldn’t live without each other. He gives an ultimatum to Andrew in the end and there is hope that these two will find peace and contentment at last.
Overall, I enjoyed each story, some more than others but each story was different and fresh. I was introduced to some authors I haven’t read before which was a bonus as I’m always looking for new authors to read.
Each story is also available for individual purchase at Storm Moon Press, so go get your kink on.