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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Never Say Goodbye by Jenna Byrnes

Never Say Goodbye by Jenna Byrnes
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Other: M/M, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Zinnia

Damien Hall has never done an honest day's work in his life. On his own from a young age, his street wiles got him by until he ended up in Corcoran State Prison for theft. Five years later, he's moved in with a man who only wants him for one thing, nightly hot sex. But he's off the streets, and Damien thinks the trade-off is worth it.

Travis Slater wrangles horses for a living, and wants to wrangle Damien in his off hours. He sees potential in the man who suffers from extremely low self esteem, and quickly falls in love with him. He hopes to take Damien and leave, knowing they can make their own way in the world.

Damien isn't so sure, and is terrified at the thought of being homeless again. When his employer admits the real reason Damien was hired, it's decision time. Do what's easy or do what's right? Only Damien can decide.

Damien Hall’s naiveté in trusting Charles, a man who uses him as a sex toy, is the mark of a desperately seeking soul. Damien’s first goal in life seems to be having a roof over his head and food to eat. If he pays for it with sex, hey, it’s not like he doesn’t excel at work he enjoys.

As tough as the protagonist tries to be, the street kid who just wants to be loved keeps popping through—and that’s what makes this short read, by Jenna Byrnes, work. On his own from a young age, all of Damien’s street wiles have gotten him nothing but a stretch in Corcoran State Prison for theft. Five years later, out of jail, with the stigma of being an ex-con, he believes that he has only one sellable skill—and the reader is definitely convinced that he excels in this area as Damien gives and receives rough, satisfying sex.

Author Jenna Byrnes has taken 55 pages and created a memorable story that leaves one pondering the inequities of life, the harsh trade-offs one might embrace to survive, and why it is that male on male sex is totally arousing.

If the story has any weakness, it would be the bothersome dialogue between Damien and his new lover. The conversations were cliché; discussions between Damien and Travis Slater seemed more like two awkward teens first meeting, than lusty adult males. But, the robust sexual content was definitely enough to forgive the forgettable chit-chat.

Jenna Byrnes has written a short story with a hot, tightly constructed plot, clean editing and an easy to read style. Never Say Goodbye, will tease all of your senses, not just your libido. All things considered, it is a very satisfying read and this reviewer anticipates enjoying future books by Ms. Byrnes.

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