Elle Reads, Of Monsters & Men

OF MONSTERS & MEN // introduction

So here at the end of 2021 I find myself in a deep reading slump. It is what it is; no reason to examine it, considering everything going on. But I’ve had this idea brewing to 1) do some kind of themed review series, because I genuinely enjoy writing reviews for the reading mindfulness and craft examination, and 2) read more damn gay monster books.

It’s not that there’s a horrible lack of monster books—and I’ll get to my criteria in a minute—but I’ve been writing a lot of monsterfucking lately (can’t goddamn get enough of it) so I’ve wanted to read more monsterfucking; but I also write m/m, and so I specifically wanted to read more m/m monsterfucking, and writing reviews is my way of holding myself accountable to that.

Thus, OF MONSTERS & MEN was conceived.

Wait, so what qualifies as a “monster romance”?

The good news is: it’s all up to interpretation. The bad news is: it’s all up to interpretation. There’s a huge overlap with fantasy and paranormal and even some sci-fi when it comes to monster romance and we could debate what does or doesn’t qualify for weeks, but I’d rather just read books and talk about them instead.

I can guarantee what I will not be covering for this series—A/B/O and mpreg are big ones, as well as anything super grimdark. I’ll also probably skip more common fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi creatures for now (your vampires, werewolves, aliens, etc) because there is, quite simply, a lot out there already that’s not too difficult to find and sort through. I’m pretty much going for niche3 at this point.

What I do hope I can promise: Engaging stories! Full heat! Queer representation! And obviously, MONSTERS!

Reviews will cover story length, content tags, and a brief review including a spoiler-free synopsis. I’ll also include a few notes on the steam, because as much as I’m interested in moving stories, I want that smut, too. That said, I’d like to try and avoid reducing any of the reviews to “good job, A+ monster dick, NEXT” but if you feel like hollerin’ at me on Twitter, I’ll be more than happy to confirm a story’s heat level and any details that aren’t covered in the review or the book’s content warnings.

Some minor housekeeping notes: I’m not committing to any sort of update frequency. Some of these books might have been reviewed hundreds of times already, but this series is more about cataloging what’s already out there that falls within the theme (though, perhaps if I keep it up long enough, I’ll have new books to review in the future!). Also the current format I have in mind will group similar books together (either by type of monsters or story similarities, etc), but that may change in the future as I work through the backlist I’ve assembled.

That’s pretty much it! I’m really excited for this project. 😀


Kinktober, Monster Edition (Oct 23-24) – DEMON

The prompt for October 23-24 is DEMON and I chose exhibitionism + casting couch as the kinks. (prompt credit: Tia Liet)

(cw: dubcon)

The office of the architectural firm is posh and modern, so much so that Cade feels underdressed even in a freshly dry-cleaned suit and tie. The secretary smiles at him, white teeth between red lips, and says, “He’s ready for you.” She stands and gestures down a hallway to her right. “Right this way.”

Cade can’t stifle a gasp as the secretary leads him through a heavy, frost-glass door into a corner office. There are windows, but the mid-morning sunlight is blocked by black drapes that reach the floor. The overhead lights are sickeningly white, drawing unease in Cade’s stomach.

But the gasp comes more from the man—no, the demon—sitting behind the desk, his presence roiling with bureaucratic intimidation. Black horns curl against a head of white hair, his eyes two abyssal spheres in their sockets. His dull maroon skin is dulled beneath the bright lights, but stands out against the beige of his ergonomic office chair.

Cade hadn’t expected his interview would be conducted by a demon. Demons hardly work outside of Hyral, but it’s not completely unheard of. And despite this demon’s youthful appearance, he’d obviously risen the ranks with little issue.

The secretary directs Cade to sit on a black leather sofa aligned with the desk, then shuts the office door behind her.

Cade speaks first, bowing his head slightly. “Thank you for taking the time to interview me, sir.”

“Call me Lex,” the demon says with a smile. He rises from his chair and rounds his desk, sit-leaning on the front edge. Cade takes in the demon’s revealed outfit—gray tailored suit that re-sculpts his body; recently shined shoes, because of course the head of the city’s most prominent architecture firm can afford a regular shoe-shine. Gold accessories sparkle at his cuffs, his tie, and his breast pocket.

“I’m impressed with your resume,” Lex says. “I don’t find it prudent to rehash details we both already know, so why don’t you tell me what’s between the lines?” He tilts his head, the fluorescent light catching his horns like a noon glare off a pool of ink.

Cade had come prepared for all the standard interview questions, but this one threw him off-kilter. Was he supposed to start with his strengths? His flaws? What he did for fun?

After a few seconds of pinging thoughts, his brain clicks into place and he speaks. “At previous positions I worked with external and internal clients. I found I preferred working with internal clients the most; supporting those within the company. I’m not bothered to work late when necessary, or weekends if the job demands it.”

“I believe in a healthy work-life balance,” Lex says smoothly. “But during office hours, I require my assistant to be fully dedicated.”

“I throw myself into my work, sir,” Cade says. “I care to see tasks through correctly, even if it takes a little longer. I know my performance reflects upon myself as well as my superiors, and the company.” He swallows, waiting for Lex’s response.

“Mind if we test that?” Lex asks.

Cade realizes how much his posture has slouched when he sits up straighter. “Not at all, sir.”

Lex taps a long, clawed finger on his elbow, cheek bulging as if nudged by his tongue.


Cade flinches. “I—I’m sorry?”

The demon raises a brow as the corner of his mouth ticks up. “You heard me.” Then he tosses his head. “The door’s there, if you’re not up to it.”

Fight or flight time. Cade swallows a lump, weighing his pros and cons, but all he can think is that he really, really needs this fucking job.

His hands tremble as he stands and reaches for his throat, tugging his tie right and left until it loosens. He lays it on the leather sofa next to him, then removes his suit jacket. He folds it with care, even though it’s just a lucky thrift store find, and lays it on the back of the sofa.

He raises his eyes to his demon spectator as he unbuttons his shirt, trying to keep the fear from his face. He wants to look confident without arrogance; competent without ignorance. He can’t know how many others interviewed for this position, only revel in the fact that he’s in this room now, with the heavy, lustful eyes of a demon watching him.

With his shirt unbuttoned, Cade drops it from his shoulders, laying it next to the suit jacket. His undershirt follows, then his binder. He drops his eyes before the last one, but curiosity brings them back up. Nothing indicating displeasure crosses the demon’s face.

Cade realizes he must have hesitated, because Lex crosses his arms and says. “Are you finished?”

“No, sir,” Cade says automatically, reaching for the fly of his suit pants. He unclasps, then pushes them to his ankles along with his briefs. He pauses again when he realizes he hadn’t even thought to take his shoes off.

“That’s enough,” Lex says. “Take a seat.”

Cade’s cheeks heat up as he teeters back, legs spreading automatically when he lands. There’s slick built up between his legs and without thinking, he scoots his ass to the edge of the couch, legs opening wider as he half-reclines.

Lex doesn’t move, but a smile curls his lips when he orders, “Play with yourself.”

Cade inhales sharply, blushing. He’d never masturbated with an audience. His cock throbs at the impending exposure, both in the present and the future.

He reaches for his nipples, rolling his fingers over them lightly. He doesn’t usually do this when he jerks off, but knowing there’s an expectation that he’s putting on a show, that he needs to impress—the thought makes him moan softly, and he pinches his nipples tighter.

He leaves one hand on his chest as the other slides between his legs. He knows he’s wet, but he finds evidence of his arousal clinging to the pubic hair along his cunt. He slides a finger between the folds, dragging the moisture up to his cock.

“That’s it,” Lex says. “How does it feel?”

“It’s good, sir,” Cade says, teasing himself to draw it out. He’s never been this turned on with any partner, never had eyes boring into him, hungry and clinical, while he chases his own pleasure. His shoes are still on, for fuck’s sake, his cunt drooling shamelessly on the leather beneath his ass. With his fingers split around his cock, stroking with wet, slurping noises, he could get off easily—another shock. Interviews are supposed to be about someone finding out about you, not discovering new things about yourself.

Cade’s head falls back against the couch, coolness seeping through his hair. “Sir, may I—is it okay if…” He trails off, stilling his fingers until he hears an answer to his half question. 

“I’m so glad you asked,” Lex purrs. “Knowing the performance is on you, but seeking approval for the finished product, is always best practice.”

“Ah—thank you, sir.” Cade squeezes his eyes shut as he paces himself. He’s so close, but he senses that coming without permission means he might as well have walked out before he took his clothes off.

“And so well-mannered,” Lex continues. “Go ahead. You’ve earned it.”

Cade’s fingers speed up, tensing around his cock as he bucks helplessly into his own hand. He squeezes a nipple hard as he comes, teeth baring down on his bottom lip as a quick burst of breaths flares his nostrils. He usually curses like a sailor when he comes, but he keeps it relegated to a terse, whispered, “Fuck.”

Lex hears him, of course, and chuckles as he returns to his seat. “You’re free to get dressed.”

Cade’s never left a job interview without having a decent idea of how it went, but he goes numb as he drags his clothes back on. He starts to stuff his tie in his pocket, not even wanting to deal with it, but Lex taps the edge of his desk.

“Let me get that for you.”

“Oh.” Cade squeezes the tie in hand and approaches the desk. He wraps the tie around the back of his neck, holds his breath as Lex reaches up and knots it for him.

“Discretion is key,” he says softly. “Wouldn’t want anyone asking questions, would we?”

“No, sir,” Cade says. “Thank you.”

Lex smiles as he drops his hands and sits back in his chair. Cade catches a glimpse of what he thinks is an erection through Lex’s pants, but his eyes snap up when Lex says, “Speak to my secretary on the way out. She’ll schedule your second interview.”

Cade’s cheeks go numb with the rest of him. “Second interview, sir?”

“Standard protocol,” Lex says. “Before I extend you an official offer, there are more aspects of your performance I’d like to evaluate.”

A thrill seeps down Cade’s spine before it rests between his legs. He’s ready to drop to his knees right there if it gets him the job, but he just nods. “Of course,” he says, licking his lips. “Whatever it takes, sir.”

Lex leans back in his chair, his clawed hands curling around the ends of his armrests. “That’s what I like to hear.”


Kinktober, Monster Edition (Oct 21-22) – YETI

The prompt for October 21-22 is YETI and I chose size difference + WAM as the kinks. (prompt credit: Tia Liet)

(cw: distention)

The visitor had come in from the cold, initially terrified that it wasn’t a human who answered the groundskeeper’s cottage door, but a yeti, dressed in fleece-lined blue coveralls. The visitor pushed through his fear and begged to be let inside, because he’d lost his coat and his phone was dead.

Gerard would have let him in without the backstory, but he felt bad for the poor, furless human. He pulled throw blankets off couch backs and wrapped the man up, leading him close to the fire. Then he made tea and waited quietly in his favorite armchair until the color once again bloomed on the man’s cheeks.

Now, after hot tea turned into hotter whiskey and a little bit of weed, that same man—whose name Gerard had discovered was Alex—knelt between Gerard’s furry legs, trying to work his lips down Gerard’s pale, fat cock.

“There’s no one here to impress,” Gerard rumbled. He’d shed his coveralls somewhere between the kitchen and the couch, and was relaxed against the worn-in cushions. 

The comment buffed frustration from Alex’s features. Gerard thought of him as pretty, with his wavy brown hair pulled back into a ponytail that brushed his neck; his eyelashes were long, his lips full and swollen. Gerard couldn’t help but steal glances at Alex’s cock dangling between his legs, hard and currently dripping onto Gerard’s shag rug.

Maybe he liked pretty men because he was the opposite—bulky, too big to feel comfortable in most rooms; getting through doorways was a struggle only yoga might improve. He’d seen the looks people gave him all his life; he knew he was intimidating.

But Alex didn’t seem to care about what Gerard looked like, and as much as Alex was failing to fit Gerard’s cock comfortably into his mouth, Gerard had to give him an A for effort.

“We can try something else,” Gerard offered, trying not to sound too amused.

“Probably a good call,” Alex said, wiping spit from his lips. He smiled up at Gerard. “If you’ve got lube, I’m sure we can make something else work.”

Gerard shimmied down the couch and hurried to his kitchen. The lube that humans tended to use made his own junk sore, so he’d found some organic coconut oil online that he’d read could be used as lubricant.

Gerard lay one of his throw blankets on top of the forest green shag rug, then bent Alex over in front of the fire. He slicked his cock up with the oil, then spread it down Alex’s crack. When Gerard noticed Alex’s hole was clenched like a small fist, he chuckled. “You’re definitely going to need to relax more.”

“Is it flattery if I say I’m too excited?” Alex asked.

Gerard ginned before he bent down and ran his tongue over Alex’s hole. He felt the man shudder beneath him, then moan softly. He reached for Alex’s cock, meager in his large hands, and smeared it with leftover oil still clinging to his fingers.

He didn’t hide the sounds he made, lapping at Alex’s tight hole as his fingers squelched around his cock. The way Alex twitched, as if fighting the urge to jerk away, had Gerard rock hard.

Gerard sat back, circling Alex’s asshole with his thumb before he dipped it in. The man’s breath rattled in his throat as he inhaled, then exhaled.

“That’s it,” Gerard murmured approvingly. He exchanged his thumb for one finger, then two until Alex was groaning pathetically, face pressed against the plush rug as Gerard stretched him and worked his prostate. Gerard added more lube, enjoying how it caught firelight as it slowly dripped down the inside of Alex’s thigh.

He mounted up, gripping his dick as he spread one half of Alex’s ass open. He rubbed his cock along the trail of stretched skin, creating more delicious, wet noises that sang in his ears.

He paused when Alex mumbled something he didn’t catch. “You doing okay down there?”

“Please go slow,” Alex repeated, his eyes pleading when they darted in Gerard’s direction.

Gerard patted the small of Alex’s back reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’m plenty patient,” he said. “I want you to enjoy it as much as I do.”

Alex nodded. “Okay.”

Gerard lined himself up against Alex’s hole and nudged his way through the resistance. “Deep breaths,” he reminded the human, whose breathing had kicked up out of anticipation. He eased in until his crown was engulfed, but he pulled out gently at the sound of Alex’s whimper.

“Talk to me,” Gerard said, cupping and rubbing Alex’s ass again.

“I’m fine,” Alex said quickly. “Just getting used to it.”

Gerard made another pass, and this time the head of his cock slipped in easier. He took it a millimeter at a time, pausing whenever Alex hissed or groaned to caress the globes of his ass. He added drops of lube as he went, enjoying the sight of the wet spot forming below them on the throw.

“Almost there,” Gerard said as he rubbed the back of Alex’s thigh. “You’re doing so good.”

Fuck,” Alex moaned. “It’s so big—shit.”

Gerard’s brows rose when his balls finally pressed against Alex’s taint. He glanced down, impressed at how much the human had taken. The poor thing would be wrecked for days, and for a few seconds Gerard fantasized about Alex spending that resting period in his cabin, but he nudged the thought aside as he attempted a shallow thrust.

“Ooh, fuck,” Alex groaned. “Oh god—oh god.”

“Talk to me,” Gerard soothed. “Good? Bad?”

“Good, so fucking good, just—fuck, it’s so much.”

“We’ve got all night,” Gerard said.

“I can’t do this all night,” Alex said with a sudden laugh; it died in a hiss when Gerard thrust into him again.

Gerard pushed little by little, walking himself back if Alex’s face crumpled. But before he knew it, he had a steady rhythm going. It was, to borrow Alex’s phrasing, fucking good, and Gerard felt like the entirety of Alex’s insides might squeeze his dick off and he would die happy.

Alex’s moans came to a crescendo, and Gerard grabbed his hips as he rocked into him. He wasn’t overly-sensitive by nature, but he could already feel his orgasm closing in. For Alex’s sake, he didn’t need to prolong it.

“Here,” Gerard said, sitting back on his heels as he eased Alex with him. Alex was left bent on his knees, his ass in Gerard’s lap. “Ride me.”

Alex nodded and braced his hands on his thighs. He bobbed his ass up and down, mouth drawn wide open as he fucked himself on Gerard’s cock.

Gerard reached around and found Alex’s weeping dick, rubbing it more than stroking it. He rolled Alex’s balls between two thick fingers, then swept them along the underside of his cock.

“Fuck—fuck—I’m gonna come,” Alex moaned.

“Make it loud for me,” Gerard murmured, so close himself that hearing Alex climax would surely drag him along. “Like you want all those fancy guests at the lodge to hear you.”

“Oh f—” Alex didn’t finish the word, suddenly bouncing on Gerard’s cock like it was hardly a problem, screaming in ecstasy as his cum painted Gerard’s fingers.

Gerard took over, hands nearly circling Alex’s waist as he moved him on his cock. His fingers tented together over Alex’s stomach and when he felt the bulge of himself pressing against Alex’s stomach, his head fell back in a near roar, balls iron tight as he came.

Their labored breathing was the only sound against the crackling of the fire. Gerard released Alex, and the human caught himself on his hands, easing off Gerard’s cock with an extended whimper. His face hit the shag rug and he went still, chest expanding as he caught his breath.

If the throw blanket was ruined, Gerard wasn’t apt to care—he gathered a dry edge and gently blotted the slick mix of cum and lube from Alex’s body. The human made small sounds of gratitude, and eventually rolled onto his side.

“Borrow your couch?” Alex asked weakly, with a blissful, fucked out smile on his face.

Gerard laughed as he tugged the blanket out from under Alex and balled it up. “You’re welcome to my bed,” he said, turning to the fire to add another log.

“I’d imagine it’s like sleeping with a giant stuffed animal.”

“If giant stuffed animals had equally giant cocks, then yes.” Gerard winked. “It’s exactly like that.”

Even as he rolled onto his back and winced, Alex laughed; a sweet sound in Gerard’s ears, one that he knew he’d miss long after morning.


Kinktober, Monster Edition (Oct 19-20) – HARPY

The prompt for October 19-20 is HARPY and I chose facesitting as the kink. (prompt credit: Tia Liet)

Orien, king of harpies, watches the sun rise over a system of nested trees in the valley below. Raven black feathers frame his face, elongating into a cape down his back. Shorter feathers fluff his waist like regal vestments, spanning down his thighs to his calves before thinning out above his taloned feet. His chest is a smooth, open plane, skin inlaid with a bruisy hue. Shards of amethyst border his eyes like bejeweled face paint, an inherited feature of his lineage.

On quiet mornings he takes his time to brush sleep from his feathers. If the day ahead has a full schedule, which it often does, he spends the early hours pacing the balcony outside his bedchamber, mentally preparing for endless council meetings, public addresses of his subjects’ concerns, and his least favorite—sentencing duty.

Orien flexes his claws as the sunrise peaks, then heads inside through a whisper of gauzy drapes. Today is a special anniversary, so his schedule has been cleared—as he’d decreed to both the council and his closest advisors.

The king’s bedchamber isn’t grandiose in size and contains exactly what he needs; though not without a dash of superficial finery. A raised stone fountain babbles endlessly, occupying a square corner. Gold and jewels glimmer from dangling mobiles to statuettes to engraved urns that hold tropical flowers.

A domed cage takes up the center of the room, protecting the king’s most valuable treasure. Layered across the cage floor are scraps of silk, wisps of cotton, and tufts of yarn, cradling a human man wrapped in woven blankets against the chilly air.

Orien crosses the cage’s threshold, crouching on his talons over the human. The king had learned firsthand how delicate humans are, without flight and nothing but easily torn skin to shield their bones. He despises them as a whole, but this one is his worthy exception.

Most humans looked upon him with equal parts fear and disgust; this one rarely viewed him with anything but wonder and reverence. There had been fear at first, when the human had stumbled into the harpies’ valley by accident. Orien’s guardsmen had captured the human and brought him in for questioning, under the assumption he was a spy. Orien had been a prince and the king’s inquisitor at the time, and he’d extracted the truth: the human had been on a forest hike, intending to camp and study the local wildlife.

Since then a year had passed with the urgency of a war cry—Orien had been crowned king and had declared the human his mate, much to the council’s initial chagrin. So long as he ruled with benevolence like his father, the rest of the kingdom would eventually come around.

Orien brushes a bit of the human’s dark, curly head fur aside, revealing a relaxed face that he regrets he’ll have to disturb. The human has a name—Cole, the same sound as the thick black seams that ribbon the harpy’s valley—but the king calls him something else when they’re alone together.

“Wake up, beloved.”

The human blinks sleepily before he smiles. “Good morning, my king.” He rolls onto his back and stretches, the blanket sliding to his waist. His belly is soft and round, scattered with the same color of fur that matches his head. “How may I service you?”

“Obedient pet,” Orien says, lightly running a claw down Cole’s chest. “It’s a special occasion, so I’ll let you decide.”

Cole giggles at Orien’s teasing; due to his vulnerable body, the human chooses their activities more often than the king. Cole folds his arms over his head. “Perhaps you should use my mouth as you see fit, your Majesty.”

It’s one of the human’s favorite positions, and Orien isn’t inclined to tire of it—he could get rough with parts of his avian body that wouldn’t harm Cole, assert some dominance despite the human’s proven loyalty.

Orien shifts forward on his knees, taking his time to arrange himself around Cole’s shoulders. His legs split wide so his talons are clear of flesh ripping distance. He lightly rests his ass on Cole’s chest, enough to situate his front half. Between his legs, he sweeps aside a tuft of gray powder down, exposing his small, half-hard cock, its flared base furling around his cloaca.

The king of harpies lowers himself onto the human’s face, his skin meeting eager lips. Cole drags his tongue through Orien’s folds, tastes him as he rubs his nose against Orien’s cock.

Cole’s hands encase Orien’s thighs as he initiates rhythm, stroking the soft barbs of the king’s dark feathers. He curls his fingers to tell Orien he’s ready for more, that he’s ready to be used as requested.

Orien widens his legs, pressing his crotch tighter against the human’s face. “That’s it, pet,” he coos, rocking his hips to get a full pass of Cole’s tongue, cock tapping his nose before he swivels back. “Show me how good you can be.”

Cole’s response is a muffled, choked sound that rumbles from his chest. His lips seek Orien’s cock, sucking him hard with each pass. Orien changes his movements, opting for shallow thrusts into his human’s mouth. He needles his claws through Cole’s head fur, squeezing in a brief show of possession rather than control.

Then Orien straightens his posture, peering down his long, feathered torso, past the bare, purpled skin of his belly. Cole’s face is flushed, his eyes closed in focus.

“Eyes on me, pet,” Orien commands.

Cole’s eyes flip up with a soft grunt and his grip on Orien’s thighs loosens. Orien takes Cole’s head fur in hand again, this time with intentional purchase as he rides Cole’s face. Every part of Cole’s body except his mouth goes lax, opening himself up for his king to take what he wants. He flicks his tongue stiffly against the slick skin grinding against him.

“That’s it,” Orien pants as Cole hums against him. “Make your king come.”

Cole presses his tongue flat as Orien thrusts into his face. When he comes, the king of harpies lets out a bloodcurdling shriek, digging his claws into the feathers lining his thighs. He feels the human flinch beneath him, but only from the sound—his face remains buried in Orien’s sex, catching the gush of cum on his lips.

Knocked into dizziness by his climax, Orien shakily eases himself off Cole. He rests his cheek on Cole’s soft belly and smiles at the sounds rattling Cole’s insides. “You are hungry.”

“Oh, I already ate,” Cole says, chuckling at his joke. He strokes matted tufts of down across Orien’s scalp. “Yes, my king. I’m hungry.”

Orien dangles his face close to Cole’s, knowing that without Cole’s lenses, he’s a blur of black and purple from the human’s perspective. “I don’t want to always be your king in here,” he says.

Cole licks his lips as he preens. “But I like calling you my king after you’ve come on my face.” Orien scrapes his teeth over Cole’s chin, catching a hint of his own cum. He kisses Cole on the mouth, tasting more of himself as his tongue parts Cole’s lips. “Get dressed, beloved,” he says, patting Cole’s cheek. “And after breakfast, I think I’ll have you for dessert.”


Fabulous Prizes – a speculative erotic short

A man starts a new job at a strange carnival that never leaves town, where he runs into someone he recognizes from high school.

This 5.5k-word story is intended for readers 18+. It contains an m+m pairing featuring a transmasc MC. Content tags/warnings include sexual encounters involving teratophilia/tentacles.

Read in Browser


In Frustrate – a speculative erotic short

Desperate to break up the monotony of his life, a man ventures into demon territory to spice up his routine.

This 4.8k-word story is intended for readers 18+. It contains an m+m pairing featuring a transmasc MC. Content tags/warnings include rough demon intercourse, references to transphobia via dating apps, and interactions that some readers may interpret as dubcon.

The title of this story comes from the song, “In Frustrate” by Narco Debut.

Read in Browser


Corporal Requisition – a m+m erotic kink short

Corporal Ezra Grant had completely forgotten about the requisition he sent off weeks ago, until he strolls into his quarters one Friday evening and finds Private First Class Aden Bastille waiting for him.

This 4k-word story is intended for readers 18+. It contains an m+m pairing featuring a transmasc MC. Content tags/warnings include militaristic fantasy themes, age gap, D/s, light S&M, & orgasm control.

Read in Browser or Download: MOBI | PDF | EPUB

Elle Reads

Elle Reads (1/23/21)

I’ve been in a huge funk since the holidays ended. Like, I’m past hanging in there. I’m a pinched nerve. And this week the heavy weariness of everything culminated into me happening upon some dark romance/erotica: a two-part-so-far novella series and a yaoi comic.

Stigma by Marloong – available on TappyToon

Stigma is the story of Sehyun and his chance encounter with Boris, a young man with a troubled past who lives with his older sister Elena and her daughter, Anya. Boris rescues Sehyun from a group of assailants in a dive bar bathroom, and the story progresses as their lives continue to overlap.

I don’t want to give too heavy of a synopsis because a LOT happens in this series. I realized after reading this I might have a thing for sad, broken boys finding happiness with each other, so this hit a lot of my interests. There’s a fantastic found family with diverse characters, and the way the story gets into each of the main characters’ pasts was a welcome distraction from the darker overtones. The dialogue is spot on and rarely cringeworthy (which in my experience is typical for yaoi titles).

And then there’s the art – it’s absolutely breathtaking and stylish, with a raw edge that lends to each character’s personality. There are several moments of quiet scene-building that never feel forced or tiresome, creating an intense atmosphere around the action.

You can read the first few chapters for free on TappyToon, or the entire scan on Mangago, though I strongly suggest supporting the artist if you are able. Major trigger warnings, too, so please be mindful!

A Taste of Ink (and its sequel, Lost in the Linework) is available on Amazon, B&N, and Apple Books.

A Taste of Ink follows Trinket, who lives with his architect boyfriend, Zee. Trinket makes a last minute decision to get a tattoo to commemorate his and Zee’s 2-year anniversary. At the tattoo shop, Trinket meets Mini, an irresistibly brash tattoo artist, whose salacious small talk gets under Trinket’s skin as easily as his needle and ink.

I basically mainlined this story and its sequel, Lost in the Linework, over the course of a day. This is the sort of storytelling (and heat) that rewrites my coding and typically requires me to sit and ruminate for a few days. But I’m not, because if I don’t get this review out, I may combust.

I have a skimming problem when I read. My eyes dart down the page to catch a line up ahead, and I have to force myself back, often re-reading paragraphs. I get lost. Half impatience, half short attention span. But for this book, I hung on every fucking word. Every sentence pushes this story forward, charged with tension or sex or well-narrated exposition that gets in, does its job, and gets you moving again. There’s few words out of place, if any. The prose carries you, effortless. The details are exquisite – the poetry Trinket gets tattooed on his body (which I also want to read now), the concepts of possession and permanence, feeling trapped and provided for all at once. A single sentence starts poetic and ends in shivers.

Wouldn’t have thought I was interested in anything with cheating–it’s always been something I skip when I go on TBR adding sprees–but now I’ve seen the light. And the light is really fucking beautiful and forbidden and hot. The dirty talk in this story has flavors — Mini’s is raunchier, pushing the envelope, while there’s a sweet, yearning intensity to the exchanges between Trinket and Zee.

I don’t think I’m supposed to be rooting for Trinket to make a choice one way or the other, and that’s fine. I’m perfectly content to sit back and watch as opposite edges of Trinket’s life escalate, curving toward one another, like waiting for a comet to strike the earth. If you’re at all interested in dark romance/erotica/kink, please give this a purchase!