No Souvenirs by KA Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Short Story (130 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Cactus
A vacation fling. No complications. No connections. And no regrets.
Trauma surgeon Jae Sun Kim has just lost the job he wanted more than anything else in his life. Looking for a way to hit the reset button, he takes a scuba vacation. He didn’t plan on seasickness, or a dive master who is sex-on-the-beach personified.
Shane McCormack’s tendency to drift away from complicated situations has landed him a job as a dive master in Belize, which isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. But with the big three-oh looming, asking his parents to bail him out again isn’t an option. The job isn’t without its perks, though, and as soon as he figures a way to keep that hot but arrogant ass of a doctor from tossing his cookies over the side of the boat, he plans to flirt the control freak out of his brittle shell.
The close quarters on the ship generate more heat than either expects, but a vacation fling is all that’s in the plans. An unexpected adventure leaves them changed in ways that make it impossible to go back to their old lives. The risks they’ll both have to take could leave them with nothing but more scars, or the best souvenir of all.
Two men on a dive boat in shark infested waters. Jae Sun Kim, burnt out resident, is taking an impulsive vacation in Belize when his first choice fellowship falls through. Unfortunately for the prickly doctor, he’s expected to room with the sexy dive instructor with a drawl and cowboy hat. Sparks quickly fly between the two but when they’re left after a dive, they have to work together to survive. And if that isn’t enough, their relationship doesn’t end after such a harrowing experience as a stubborn Shane follows Kim home.
This may sound like the start to a B movie thriller but actually the action is pretty fast and the chemistry is hot. The story starts with the two men meeting on a dive boat and there are clear story manipulations but these shouldn’t bother anyone too much. The men have sex almost instantly so the romantic connection is initially missing as the story is slow to start. Beyond the sex and few descriptions of Kim as being prickly and abrasive, he and Shane simply banter and have sex a lot. Once they are left in the ocean – another manipulation and reminiscent of that bad movie about the couple eaten by sharks(!) – the story definitely picks up. Thankfully no one is eaten but they work together to survive and their intensity and chemistry sky rocket.
The characters are well drawn and fully three-dimensional as the various facets of both men are slowly shown. New elements of both men are being unveiled up until the very end of the book, which keeps the relationship interesting. This does leave both men somewhat unknown until the end but the intensity in the relationship makes up for this. The author knows how to write great characters and steamy sex scenes, both of which are shown well here. There are a few brief scenes with beloved characters from previous books, not too much but just enough to delight fans and throw some tension into the mix.
Overall the story is pretty successful despite the slow start. The relationship is well drawn with a solid ending and strong happy ever after. The men are pretty hot and beyond stereotypes in a lot of ways from their personalities to sex and this helps keep the story interesting and engaging. Fans of the author will likely adore this story not only for a chance to revisit favorite characters but for the great tension developed and happily resolved. While not perfect, this is definitely worth reading.