Author: S. B. Hadley Wilson
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Tom Wilz
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/07/2014
Length: Short Story (<15K)
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Winter Holiday
Sam Colby is looking forward to his college reunion in San Francisco and staying with Brian Jacobson, his college crush and roommate. But when Sam comes together with Jacob Jacobson, Brian’s stunning younger brother, he is shocked by how closely they resemble one another and he finds himself immediately questioning his friendship with Brian, ambushed by feelings of nostalgia–and unrequited love.
Erotic and vivid, “The Return” is a 3,000-word short story intended for mature audiences. Its sequels are “Sam Colby” and “Hayes Street.”
Oh boy. Where to begin? A blogger friend of mine insisted I read all three books in The Return series by S. B. Hadley Wilson. I’m going to review each one individually as I read through them. Before I start though, I want to touch on the cover art. For books that were sent to us as romance, the covers are distinctly unromantic. In fact, the cover for book two is downright creepy.
The Return – Book 1
The first book started out dull, with bland sentence structure that didn’t entice me to continue reading. However, I’m not one to balk at a challenge easily, so I continued on, slogging through weak writing and awkward sentence structure.
The title of this review should really be “too many commas.” There are a ton of sentences that should’ve been broken into multiple sentences. Instead, we’re left with awkward rambling that left me scratching my head. Like this:
“He watched Jacob continue to rock his hips back and forth, and, after a few seconds, when he knew Jacob was, at a minimum, most definitely inviting him to observe, his concern about Brian’s feelings started to vanish.”
This was a mouthful and difficult to read. The reader had to work to understand the author’s intent and that just made the story harder to enjoy.
Next , there were some continuity problems. In one paragraph, the protagonist’s best friend, Brian, answered the apartment buzzer to let the protagonist in. But then, a few paragraphs later, we find out Brian wasn’t actually home. So how did he answer the buzzer?
The sex scenes were a bit of an issue for me as well. For example:
“Jacob sat up, and his ass swallowed the dildo.”
This didn’t work for me because swallowing implies that the entire dildo was consumed by his ass. Those things have flare ends so your ass CANNOT swallow it.
The remainder of the sex scene made me cringe. Along with the dildo-swallowing ass, the guy was double penetrated. That was pushing it for me, but it got better (worse?). The author made it a point to say Sam’s dick disappeared into Jacob’s ass, including saying he could feel Sam’s dick in his stomach. Umm, ouch? To top it off, he begs for Sam to go deeper! How do you go deeper?!
But, sadly, there was more and a paragraph later,
“Sam pulled out his cock and the dildo. Jacob sat up and started licking and sucking Sam’s dick, flicking his wrist back and forth as he moved his hand up and down the shaft. Sam moaned. The twisting was more than Sam could bear. He moaned again and removed Jacob’s hand to avoid shooting his load. Jacob continued to tease the head of his cock with only his mouth, and then he gulped Sam’s entire dick, letting his bangs brush against Sam’s shaved pubes, letting saliva run down his chin.”
First, Ew. Second, EWWWWW. This was just not sanitary! Not only was it coated in lube, it was coated in whatever was in his ass. I’m sorry but this just did not work for me. At all.
Sam Colby – Book 2
Apparently this isn’t three separate books but rather a single novella that was chopped up in thirds.
Book two started out with the same underdeveloped writing. We’re told everything Sam sees, hears, and feels, rather than being shown any of it. We’re not in Sam’s head, viewing this world through him. Instead, it felt more like Sam was telling us this story. The more I learned about Jacob, the less I liked him. He reminded me of a guy from high school who never amounted to anything. The character seemed juvenile and I’m not quite sure why anyone would be interested in him, other than to fuck him.
Which was precisely what they did in this book. Three times in fact, all in the span of about an hour. Once in the bedroom, once in an ally on the way to get food, and then again in the bathroom in the restaurant. And that’s not including the time from the previous book, which wasn’t all that long ago.
Seriously, what kind of drugs are these two on that lets them get off that many times in, at most, a two hour period?
And that was all for act two of this chopped up story.
Hayes Street – Book 3
Let’s recap a bit. So far we’ve had the MC come to town for his college reunion, he fucked his roommate’s little brother a grand total of four times in a two hour period, and they’ve had a bit of cheesy romance talk.
Lo-and-behold, part three wasn’t rally part three. Instead of getting more of what’s going on, the author jumped ahead four months to the characters now dating. We didn’t see the relationship progress. We didn’t see Sam explaining to his best friend that he was banging the best friend’s little brother. We didn’t even see an actual relationship form. It was just two books of fucking, then bam, book three and they’re living together.
After three pages (out of six and a half pages in the entire book) of dialog, Sam ended up at a bar. He proceeded to get drunk off six Manhattans, get kicked out of the bar, and decided the best thing to do was get in his car and drive. He then proceeds to hit another guy’s car and we get this little interaction:
“Here’s the way I see it: I can call the cops, or you can let me suck your dick.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Your choice.”
Well, that certainly sounds consensual, doesn’t it?
After another extremely cringe worthy sex scene, we got to the surprise twist ending. Normally, I avoid spoilers in my reviews, but I can’t this time. If you don’t want the ending spoiled, stop reading now.
The protagonist got shot. What the ever-loving fuck did I just read? As he was walking back to his car after the less than consensual sex, he got shot. And died. This “romance” book gave us none of the build up for a relationship then straight up killed the protagonist. It’s more like bad erotica.
Unfortunately, I’ll be adding this author to my “never read again” list.
I need a drink.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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