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  • Stray
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on 11 December 2011
From the very first page I absolutely loved this book and had to race home from work to finish reading it - it's that good!

Terry has been in love with his best mate Marc for years, so when Marc brings home a young and beautiful homeless boy Dan, Terry (being the selfish and jealous man that he is) does whatever he can to ruin their 'relationship' and get Dan out of the house so he can have Marc all to himself. Terry hates Dan's angelic virgin act, and believes he has exposed him as the manipulative slut he really is when he sees how eagerly Dan allows Terry to 'seduce' him. Soon Terry and Dan are at it like rabbits behind Marc's back but Terry realises (too late) that he can't expose Dan's motives without also landing himself in it pretty deep with Marc.

The story is written in the first person, through Terry's eyes and this works extremely well, with Terry's incredibly self centred character coming across perfectly. Although Terry starts off as quite an unpleasant character, as you get to know him you start to see him in a different light. He becomes more lovable as you get to hear all those sarcastic comments that we all think but we don't say out loud. Because of this, the book is quite often laugh out loud funny.

Dan is a fantastic character too, I absolutely adored him. At first he comes across as a manipulative little rich boy, but as you get to know him you realise there is more depth to him and also how vulnerable and needy he really is. Incidentally I think the cover of the book is excellent, the portrayal of Dan is (in my mind) absolutely spot on.

This is not a sweet, sugar coated romance. The sex (and there's lots of it) is squelchy, messy and downright dirty, and because of this it's great! The whole book has a very British feel to it, there is nothing soft focus, no perfect people, and no sex that doesn't involve cleaning up the wet patch afterwards!

If you are a bit put off by the love triangle aspect of this story, don't be, without giving too much away it's not quite what it seems and we end up with a satisfying happy ending.

A brilliant book, recommended to anyone who likes their romance to be 'real', funny and dirty!
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on 21 April 2013
I read this in a couple of hours and didn't get involved with the characters. I was vaguely irritated by Dan; Marc didn't feature enough to be anything more than a cartoon figure and Terry was too pantomimic a villain for the bulk of the story to ring true. Fleeting moments of plot intruded on the many, too good to be true, sex scenes.

If you've got a quiet afternoon with little better to do, and enjoy Tom of Finland type perfect sex descriptions, go for it. If you want a read which is a bit more involved, maybe it's not for you.
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on 25 August 2012
This book reminded me why I fell in love with m/m romance. It's fresh, snarky' sarcastic and full of snappy dialogue. The blurb to the book more or less covers the basic premise but when you get into it - and I defy anybody to be able to put it down once started - its so much more than that!

There are three main characters in this book and each one in his own way has attributes that wouldn't normally belong to the normal male leads in a gay romance. Terry is vindictive, sarcastic, down right nasty at times and manipulative in his quest to drive Dan away from Marc and resorts to crude seduction and sex to do it, Dan is gauche and naive but is just as manipulative in his own way and isn't averse to using Terry's sexual advances to turn things his way and Marc, the catalyst of their 'feuding' is sort of wallowing in his own self pity having lost his brother and his relationship with his last boyfriend ( sabotaged by Terry in his ' if I can't have you, then nobody else will' MO ) therefore straining his friendship with Terry and adding more fuel to Terrys instant dislike and jealousy of Dan. BUT........ and here's the really clever part... the way that Ash Penn writes them, despite all the negative attributes they are still endearing, multifaceted and very likeable!! By the time I'd read the first page I was totally hooked and fell in love with everything and everybody involved in it.
The interplay and dialogue between Terry and Dan is priceless , the scene outside a club when Terry has to fetch Dan back because he's gone off in a huff, is classic, and its only one of many!

There is lots of down n' dirty sex that ain't hearts and flowers but its relevant to the plot and fits the situations perfectly. Still hot and sexy though!

This is not your typical romance but underneath all the snark and sarcasm there is one of the best love stories I've read in LGBT literature - ever and as well as the humour there are some quite poignant moments concerning Dans back story that involves his family and also ties in with Marcs sadness. There's a lot more to the book than meets the eye. Like I said, clever stuff!

I've gone on to order her next book ' passing time ' and there's also another due out soon called ' Loathing Leo '. Please please, please give this a try, this is British and showcases a wonderful author who in my opinion has managed to put a fresh new slant on a genre that I and many others love but, in many cases, churns out a lot of stale, formulaic plots that lack story and rely on repetitive sex to engage its readers! It needs new authors like this to turn the tide.
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on 21 January 2011
Ash's prose is smooth, her dialogue authentic, and she has a gift for bringing her characters to life from the moment they enter the stage. If you like angst, this is not the book for you. I like the fact Terry is a bit of a cad and unapologetic, and Dan goes after what he wants without guilt.

Stray is M/M erotic romance, and unlike some I've read recently, the sex is, shall we say, definitely not boring. As a matter of fact, if I didn't know better, I might think Ash was short for Ashton.
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