Erryn reviews ‘With A Kick: Collection #1’ by Clare London. This book was released by the author on August 13, 2018 and is 213 pages. The audiobook was narrated by Joel Leslie and published by Jocular Press. The audio was released June 20, 2018 and is 8 hours and 40 minutes long. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I read this book: Ice cream? Count me in.
This collection includes the charming London-based novellas of the With a Kick series – A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these titles.
A Twist and Two Balls: Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn’t gotten further than a bit part in a TV series. One ghastly day, he’s late for an audition, can’t pay his taxi fare, and is chased across Soho by the irate driver, Nuri. But maybe being caught by Nuri is exactly what Eddy needs.
Slap and Tickle: Bryan is an accountant who admires order and self-discipline. When he literally bumps into Phiz outside With a Kick, Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need. Bryan needs a lover who welcomes his secret desire, and Phiz needs a firm hand – in every way. They both agree Bryan may be just the man to provide it.
Collection number two will be released later in 2018.
A Twist and Two Balls
I’m not a drinker and I still loved these stories. That being said, if you enjoy alcohol, the creative drinks concocted to go with the ice cream will make you salivate. A Twist and Two Balls had me consider drinking alcohol.
On with the story. As someone who tried her hand at acting and failed miserably, I was very much able to relate to Eddy March – or Eduardo Mancini as he’s tried to pass himself off as. Aside from one toothpaste commercial and one episode of a popular television series, he’s a bust. On his worst day yet, he winds up in a cab, and belatedly realizes he can’t pay his fare. Instead of trying to reason the situation out, he runs. Luckily for him, he has a strong and fast cab driver who chases him down – literally.
Nuri came to England from Turkey when he was a small child. He has a massive family, all of whom have accepted that he’s gay. They also adore him and his concern for them has him driving taxi all the time. He believes in a hard day’s work and so having someone literally run out on a fare has him annoyed…and intrigued. He wants to know more about this unemployed actor who has hideous stage fright and does amazing Star Wars impressions. (Shout out to Joel Leslie the narrator for the amazing mimicry of the SW characters.) Nuri is also impressed that Eddy can recite Shakespeare while drunk. Heck, I can’t even do it while sober.
Despite their diverse backgrounds and secrets Nuri is hiding, the two men hit it off and Eddy discovers there might be an alternate use for his talents. I found the happy ending very satisfying.
The bonus story for this couple is Nice & Snow. While the first story was entirely in Eddy’s point of view, this story is told from Nuri’s. It involves snow, kids, Santa, and the belief in miracles. It was a nice revisit, especially to see the extent to which the men’s relationship has developed.
Slap and Tickle
I related to both the men in this story. Brian is an accountant who likes order. I have studied accounting and like when things are a certain way. Phiz is a hot mess. More often than not, I’m a hot mess. So what happens when ordered life meets chaotic whirlwind? Love, of course. But that’s at the end, so I’ll go back a step. The two men literally run into each other in front of the ice cream store and while picking up the flyers Phiz has dropped, Brian notices they’re for a BDSM club. After prodding, he discovers Phiz is interested. Neither has been in a Dominant/submissive relationship before and I enjoyed watching it grow organically. Both men fall into their roles, but it’s Brian who has the most doubt. He’s inflicting pain on someone he’s grown to care about and has guilt associated with that. It’s Phiz who recognizes the dilemma and he says to Brian, “Of course I wanted to do it again. I was waiting for you to feel good about it.”
Aside from the D/s relationship, there is also an imbalance within the relationship because of professions. Brian is successful and accomplished. He’s saved carefully and has significant security. Phiz has moved from job to job, his clumsiness and inability to focus always winding up as a detriment. Only when he finds his true passion is he able to settle into happiness. I loved that he found fulfillment outside of the relationship as well as within it. Too often, people see themselves only in relation to the other person. I liked Phiz’ independent streak. The two men worked together as a couple and I was happy when they got their happy ending.
Snack Happy was the follow-up story for this couple. It takes place around Valentine’s Day and Brian says to Phiz, “you’re mine…my present.” And what a present he is. A little spanking scene and some extra loving for everyone involved.
The stories were great and I loved that it was Joel Leslie who brought them to life. You just can’t go wrong when he narrates a book and combined with Ms. London’s humour, I highly recommend this collection.
9/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!