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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 February 2014
...books, which make up one single tale.

This author was unknown to me til around 90 mins ago, when I read the freebie that is book 1, which ended on a cliffhanger, forcing me to find book 2, which ended on an incredibly painful moment, forcing me to find and read book 3, where the characters begin their HEA.

So, what's great about the series: the non-typical tale in that the stripper/dancers are all gay men, whose love for each other is more than that of brothers, but less than that of a lover and his beloved; there's a true sense of family between them. The guys all care for each other, even though that caring sometimes crosses boundaries that felt a little unclear. There is a lot of loyalty, caring and love in this tale, showing that you can find family as well as being born into one.

What's not that great and so loses the tale a *: there's no character development. We're told Abel is an angel, and almost everyone repeats this, but we find out nothing about what makes him so angelic to everyone. Yes, he has the body of a sexy twink and dances like a (wet) dream, and he has incredible love and loyalty for his sister, and in fact, she's his every driving force, but it still doesn't explain why he's an angel. We get told Devlin is Dr Grant, but this doesn't become apparent immediately, and makes for some confusing reading (I was wondering whether Cole was Devlin Cole or whether Gabe was Devlin Gabe, but eventually the author clarified things). We get told that Devlin has fallen irrevocably in love with Abel, and it is apparent that there's an attraction between them, but it felt more like initial lust, as they did not know each other and didn't get to know each other - though they found out about the connection between them - even really by the end of the tale. We found out nothing about Abel, other than his past, his motivation and his selflessness and love for his sister. We found out nothing about Devlin other than that he had a brother called Craig. Shockingly and stupidly, there is no safe sex whatsoever practiced in this tale, and, yes, I went back and checked....

OK, so Abel, Gabe and Cole are lap dancers and pole dancers, and yes, they offer private dances that supposedly stop around 80%. Of what I'm not sure, as that's all we get. It stops at 80%. But, Gabe and Cole are f-buds only, yet don't use any protection. They have what is a very healing menage with Abel and none of them uses condoms, and yes, there's 3-way penetrative sex. Abel doesn't use a condom with Devlin, and he, supposed doctor that he is, should not have been thinking only with his little head. Abel also goes on to be saved by someone he has unprotected sex with, and this guy is a sophisticated man of the world, so author, please tell me, why no-one had safe sex? And, why lube only appeared in one scene as a stimulant, not as an aide to MM sex?

I couldn't make out if the author was male or female, as though the sex scenes felt right, the lack of condoms and lube, especially between people who weren't monogamous, and who were strippers/lap dancers +, didn't ring true. Perhaps if this tale was set in the 70s, before HIV and AIDS became prevalent, yes, but not in this contemp tale, and especially not as Abel's sister was found to be HIV positive, and possibly on the verge of developing AIDS...

The author did create a tale of an unloved, abused boy who found love, lost/rejected said love and then found it again, so yes, I liked that. But, there was no explanation for this love as there was no character development. We were just told that they saw each other, fell in love with each other immediately, without knowing anything about each other - and that was that. I'd have liked to have seen the romance between the side characters develop over the tales, or for the author to have revealed this in a short freebie read. I liked the fact that the sugar daddy/saviour had loved and lost, and wondered who his lost love might be, which was revealed at the very end, but I felt a bit disappointed that there's not even a suggestion that these guys would find their way back to each other. I think at the very least they need a short side tale of their own, which hopefully would show Abel and Devlin living their HEA, with Abel's sister winning her battle against HIV.

Overall, this had great potential and simply needs an editor to go over it, fill it out a little and polish it up. I will go back and re-read the tale a some point, and hope that once the author has seen how many people have read the series, an updated version of each instalment gets uploaded (which then updates directly on a purchaser's Kindle) to turn this into a 5* read.
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on 15 June 2014
I liked this, it had a lot of good things going for it...but...there were a few things that bothered me.

I liked the characters, apart from the flashbacks of Craig obviously. I liked how Abel was so caring of his younger sister and hated himself for what had happened to her under his watch. I liked the camaraderie between all the club staff. I liked Devlin's insistence with his feelings for Abel.

However, I didn't really like the threesome--I knew it was done for a good reason but I can't say I enjoyed reading about Abel hooking up with someone who wasn't Devlin. I didn't like the use of no condoms--Okay, they're likely to be tested regularly working at a gay club but really? I also didn't really like how all the main characters used "babe" when talking to each other, it made them all sound alike and I couldn't really see Devlin using it.

I'll admit I'm intrigued where this is going to go next as I can't see Devlin quitting his pursuit of Abel after the club night and I really liked their relationships progression. I'll keep my eye out for it.
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on 4 May 2015
What can I say? I'm hooked after book one. The characters are REAL. The pain Abel has suffered is told so well that you instantly understand and empathize with him. He does what he can to protect his sister.
They stumbled across their saviour in the form of Max, the owner of The Phoenix Club where the boys are family. They look out for each other without delving into each other's pasts.
Enter Devlin, the doctor who treats Abel when he's injured at work and is also on shift when Abel's sister is ill.
Could he be Abel's future or his downfall?
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on 5 March 2014
I made the mistake of reading the second book first but wished I hadn't because I'd have enjoyed it a lot better but I'll read again in the correct order this time.
I'll tell everyone who likes a good romance to read both of these books but in the right order.
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on 14 August 2014
Enjoyed reading this book was a sad story of life and what it throws at you sometimes and just when you think it gets better the book ends.... Hence I'm download the next 2 can't wait to read
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on 20 July 2014
I don't get all these enthusiastic reviews. I came across this by chance and slowly realised the christian subtext. The mentions of God and belief slipped in and the description of the author at the end confirmed she is a Christian. Nothing wrong with that but to anyone young and vulnerable the whole tale revolves around how sad and lonely gay men must inevitably be. Nothing but sex to look forward to, Maybe the next books in the series will do something to correct that, but i have read much better books than this. The author has little knowledge of how men think and react. She should read the Song of Achilles by Madelene Miller if she wants to see how a good female author understands the male character. It might help her grammar and spelling mistakes too as her proof reading is not good enough.
Thorough waste of time and material
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on 4 May 2014
Abel is the first in a fantastic trilogy - I read all three books almost in one go and I am now onto the Caleb trilogy!! Abel is the story of popular stripper/dancer Abel Sims who despite his confidence at the club where he works has dark secrets in his past which have left him nervous of those outside the cocoon of the club and his friends. When he is hurt by a client and then when his sister becomes ill he comes into contact with handsome doctor Devlin and there is an immediate mutual attraction between the two. However while Devlin is open about his feelings and quickly becomes obsessed with Abel, Abel resists for reasons that become clear as we read the story. When Devlin finally does succeed in breaking down Abel's barriers and the two go on their first official date Abel makes a shocking discovery which will have a devestating impact on his relationship and future happiness with Devlin.

This was a beautiful and heart wrenching story and I could really sense the characters love for eachother - it was intense and achingly sad in places and I purchased the next two books straight away. So why only four stars? Like many kindle books there were constant spelling and grammatical errors on nearly every other page and this detracted somewhat from my enjoyment. When reading I get so engrossed its like I am inside the world of the story but when there is a spelling or grammar mistake I am jarred out of that world which is a shame as this is an otherwise amazing book. Beautiful story but someone please update and correct all the errors.
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on 11 March 2014
Oh my, have tissues to hand when reading Abel. My heart just broke over and over reading this brilliant story, I just want to hug Abel and never let go.

Abel is so broke and damaged after years of abuse within the care system at the hands of a sadistic abuser, we learn in his flashbacks and nightmares of the horror he suffered after stopping the man from almost raping Savannah his younger Sister, so the man abused him instead. After a rough life of living on the streets with Savannah after running away, Abel is now working as a stripper in a gay club, that does surprisingly seem to offer him some security and safety, till a punter gets out of line and life seems to start apiralling out of control again for them both. You get the gist that they are running from something, they are hiding their identities and whereabouts, keeping secrets between them and it can only be bad for the truth to come out.

Abel meets a handsome doctor Devlin Grant at the hospital on a couple of occasions and there does seem to be some mutual attraction but Abel being so broken he doesn't let anyine close and hasn't had an adult relationship. The doctor puts this down to the fact that he just seems to be giving Abel bad news but soon realises that Abel has deeper issues.

Abel has two wonderful friends from the club Cole and Gabe, they all seem to have a mutual love for each other that is born from being co workers but is much more, the two friends seem to have a casual relationship, but there is a family loyalty between them all and they are there for Abel through a really rough time. Cole and Gabe learn of Abel's past and help him to explore what loving consensual sex can be like when they learn he hasn't had an adult relationship and Abel asks for their help.

Abel is in a really difficult situation, his Sister is gravely ill and needs life long care and medication which they cannot afford. As all this is playing out Abel's boss approaches him about a punter that has offered a deal for Abel to enter into an agreement to be a companion to the man and Abel feels he has no choice but to agree when a ridiculous amount of money is offered that will pay for the treatment and care. Poor Abel my heart was breaking for him to get a break.

Cole and Savannah have both noticed the attraction between Abel and Devlin and do their own things in pushing the two to aknowledge and act on the attraction. The more Abel resists the more Devlin becomes attracted until he takes a huge step in visiting Abel's workplace even though Abel had lied about where he worked. Cole sets the ball rolling and the two come together passionately but once again Abel is pulling back as soon as things are over but Devlin pushes for a date and on this date shocking truths come to a head and Abel once again runs.

The cliffhanger was such a OMG moment that I had to go straight to Amazon to get the next book in the series to start stright away. Brilliant book, that I have already recommended to my book friends that enjoy M/M romance and weepies.
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on 13 March 2014
I got this one as a freebie and avidly paid for the next 2 which were devoured in short order. There wasn't a character that was not well drawn or who I wouldn't mind getting to know better. As a straight older woman, I found the sex, as it was intrinsic to the plot development, by turns touching, exiting, tender or exuberant. Beautiful writing exploring very convincingly the impact of some horrific circumstances on the lives of all it touches within these pages. I will be looking out for more from this gifted author.
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on 2 October 2016
I had this book for a couple of months before reading it.But once i read the first in this series i just had to buy the 2nd and 3rd books.I became so addicted to the life of a gay stripper and his friends i just had to buy the complete box set.I enjoy reading books with a terrific storyline and Abel is such a book. The story of a gay male stripper, the awful life he and his sister endured before joining the Phoenix Club and becoming good friends with the other strippers there ( all gorgeous men with their own stories of life and love )

The author has a wonderful way of bringing Abel to life.You get to understand why Abel is the way he is, what he had suffered as a teen and what he has had to cope with both mentally and physically. Some parts of the book are way too real and its heartbreaking to read.But CJ has written a very good story which will leave you wanting more.

There is a lot of sexual content but it actually fits in with the books and isnt out of place.

I would definitely recommend this series. The Phoenix Chronicles and The Gangster series ( in that order ) if you want sexy men and a terrific story.I guarantee youll fall in love with all the strippers at the club.Hot doesnt even begin to cover it ;)
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