Pet Me (The Toye Shoppe #1), Angelique Jurd
Rating: 3 “Please Get An Editor” Stars
Publisher: Small Black Cat Media
Genre: Gay Erotic Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (25 Years), Kink, Pet (Unicorn) Play, Romance, Virgin
Length: 119 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon
There is a lot more to Bailey Richards than just being a shy, awkward man who trips over his own feet and has never been on a date. There is more to Sam Thurston than being the owner of an adult toy shop that has trouble shaking off its skeevy image. Together, they’ll find out what.
After stumbling onto an interesting form of play online, Bailey needs to know more. To explore. Unfortunately that means he needs to buy a … thing. He can’t even say the word in his head without blushing. He needs to buy a tail. Ponies need tails right?
Bailey has found the one he wants and oh how he wants it. The trouble is, not only is the glorious rainbow tail for a unicorn, it’s also been out of Bailey’s price range … until now.
After working in construction most of his life, Sam Thurston bought The Pleasure Palace six months ago with a plan to revive it as something a little more upmarket. It has, however, been more challenging than he expected. Even coming up with a better name than The Pleasure Palace has been problematic.
As if trying to get the shop to finally show a profit while finding a name that doesn’t make him cringe when he answers the phone isn’t hard enough, he keeps getting distracted. There’s a young man who comes in regularly to look at one piece of merchandise: the rainbow tail on display at the back of the store.
Having checked his ID, Sam knows the beautiful man is twenty-five and that his name is Bailey. He also knows that with his long blond hair, deep blue eyes, and fine features, he may be the most beautiful man Sam has ever seen.
Pet Me (The Toye Shoppe 1) is a contemporary MM romance featuring mild kink, a rag-tag group who discover that found family is as strong and beautiful as blood family, and an age-gap romance between two men discovering that the other is exactly the person they were looking for. Oh … and a very beautiful unicorn.
I ended this book pissed off, and not because of the story that I felt could’ve been quite good. I’m pissed because what could have been an amazing book was almost ruined because of very poor editing and formatting. Another reviewer (on Goodreads) said the book never should’ve been published. I have to agree. It shouldn’t have been published because it was nowhere near ready. I started highlighting the misspelled words, places where there were missing words, and even where the formatting was horrible, but I had to stop because it was on every single page. I only kept going because I wanted to see Bailey find his HEA.
I’ll be coming back to all that, but now to my review.
Sam, 2 months shy of 50, has recently (with one of his best friends) bought The Pleasure Palace, a sex toy shop that’s been around forever. He knows the name of the place is bad. He’s just been unable to come up with a better one. For weeks a beautiful blond man has been coming into his shop and going straight to the tail butt plugs – pony and unicorn tail butt plugs. He never buys anything. He just keeps going to the same place, stays for a few minutes, then leaves. The poor guy is so clumsy. He can’t take a step without bumping into something. You can tell the last thing he wants is to call attention to himself, yet he does every single time.
Bailey is a 25-year-old virgin. He knows he’s gay, but he’s never even been asked on a date, much less been kissed or more. He’s painfully shy. He’s a hard worker at a diner where he barely makes enough to scrape by. He rents the basement of the house of somebody who knew his late parents. He often has to choose between eating or paying his rent or phone bill. He’s miserably lonely.
Watching porn on his phone one night, he comes across pony play and it turns him on more than any of the other porn he’s seen. He somehow gets the nerve to walk into Sam’s shop where he finds the rainbow colored tail he wants to try – alone, of course, because he has no hope of finding a man. He could order the same or better online, but then he’s risking his landlord seeing what it is. With his shyness comes insecurities about himself. He’s beautiful with his shoulder-length blond hair and nice body, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even notice when somebody is checking him out. He seriously believes nobody would want him. Even so, he’s determined to buy the tail. His frequent visits to the sex shop are to make sure it’s not been sold before he has a chance to save up the money to buy it himself. Every time he’s close to having enough, another expense pops up and he’s unable to.
Bailey broke my heart. He didn’t think he was worthy of love or anything other than what little he had. He even had a friend, Jordan, who worked with him, but he didn’t see Jordan as a friend. He saw him as just a coworker but only because he wasn’t used to somebody wanting to be friends with him.
I absolutely LOVED Jordan. He was the friend Bailey never thought he’d have. I really hope Jordan has his own story someday, just as long as his man isn’t Karsyn, Sam’s business partner, best friend, and occasional fuck buddy.
Of course it’ll probably be Karsyn.
I’ll be coming back to Karsyn.
After an especially embarrassing moment in Sam’s shop, Bailey swears he’ll never step foot inside the place again. There’s being clumsy and there’s knocking down an entire display of sex toys because it was raining outside and he slipped on the water he brought into the store.
Something about the shy man got to Sam. He found himself watching for him and being concerned when he didn’t show up for a few days. By now Sam’s figured out where Bailey works and shows up asking him to go out to dinner with him the next night. Poor Bailey has no clue he’s being asked on a date.
This begins a relationship between them and they start spending more time together. Even so, and even after the relationship turns sexual, Bailey’s convinced Sam won’t want to keep him. And Sam, a good 25 years older, is convinced that now Bailey’s gotten a taste of being with a guy, he’ll be looking to be with others, maybe around his own age.
They’re both wrong. Bailey only wants Sam, and Sam definitely wants to keep Bailey. They were really sweet together, especially when the kink part of their relationship came into play. The problem there is that part didn’t come into play until the book was almost over. I get they needed to work toward it, but still.
Now to the secondary characters.
I’ve already mentioned Jordan, who I hope is a MC in a future book, but again, not as Karsyn’s love interest.
There are 3 guys who hang out in the shop who Sam affectionately refers to as the brats – Zander, Ry, and Misha. No doubt each will have their own stories someday, with Ry being with Cade, one of Sam’s employees. I think I liked them all, including Cade. Zander’s the one I’m most interested in right now.
Now to Sam’s best friends.
I’ll start with Dom, who’s one of Sam’s best friends. He wasn’t in the book enough to form an opinion, though it’s easy to see his future love interest will be Zander.
Karsyn, on the other hand…
Where do I begin with Karsyn? He’s a silent partner in the shop, another of Sam’s best friends, and I hated him. Oh, and he and Sam hook up on occasion when they want to ‘scratch the itch’. Unless the ‘scratch the itch’ thing is a big part of Karsyn’s story later, I don’t know why that was even in the book. Knowing they hooked up – and that Karsyn was still trying to hook up – just made me roll my eyes. I honestly didn’t care.
I’m just going to say now that if Karsyn has his own story – and no doubt he will – it’s unlikely I’ll be reading it. I don’t think anything could change my opinion of him. At first I thought he was just a little odd, a bit of an ass. It didn’t take long for me to start thinking that maybe he’s jealous, like he wants Sam to himself? He was hard to read. What wasn’t hard to read was something he said about Bailey to Sam – that was of course overheard by Bailey and anybody else who might happen to be in the store – that was inexcusable. It was hurtful. It was mean. And it was as far from being the truth as anything could get. Bailey was proud. He didn’t have much, but he worked hard for what he did have. He didn’t like even borrowing a jacket from Jordan, much less being given gifts, or worse (to him), charity. Karsyn implies – no, not implies. He flat out says it – that Bailey’s using Sam for his money. Other things are said but that was the gist. Sam rightfully throws him out. But then Sam is thinking later how he’ll call Karsyn and ‘offer an olive branch’. No. Sam shouldn’t be the one calling offering anything.
Then there’s the kink that took way too long to get to… It was different, but it was Bailey 100%. I’ve read a lot of age play and a little bit of pet play (most recently a kitten), but I don’t think I’ve ever read unicorn play. Well, it started out as pony play, but Bailey was a unicorn through and through. And not just a unicorn. He went from being the shy and insecure Bailey to being confident and secure when he was Minx, the name Sam gave to his ‘unicorn’.
Okay, I know all that sounds super crazy, but I swear it wasn’t. 😉 It was… charming. Seriously. And I adored Minx as much as I adored sweet and shy Bailey.
I really enjoyed Pet Me, and I’ve already said how much I love Sam and Bailey together. Age difference be damned. They were perfect for each other.
I’ve already mentioned the bad editing. No, not bad editing. There was no editing, and if I was the author I’d pull the book, fix it, then republish it. There were too many issues to simply say they missed a couple. They were literally on every single page. I don’t know how even a quick run-thru before it was published didn’t catch most of them. And the formatting… it was horrible. Lots of weird spaces where they shouldn’t be, inconsistent indentions, and spaces between quotation marks and the first letter of each sentence. At first, I thought maybe it was the font used or simply lazy editing, but it didn’t take long before I realized at least that part of it was the formatting.
I guess the editing bugs me so bad because I did like the story, though I felt like it ended way too soon. I know the others will have their own books, and the author mentioned revisiting Sam and Bailey in the future, but I wanted to see them get their HEA now, not after who knows how many books later. Bailey had just come into his own with his sexuality and his kinks. He and Sam had barely touched the surface when the book just ended.
I will be reading the others in the series, minus Karsyn’s, but I really, REALLY hope the author gets the editing and formatting under control by then. It was seriously one big mess. When one review after another goes on about it, it’s time to do something about it. I’m seriously iffy about reading anything else by the author if they don’t care enough to ensure the books are good before hitting publish. I knocked a full star off my rating because of it. Even now, at the end of this review, I’m having a hard time not knocking off another one.
Quick note: re: the visuals I used in this review… I know Bailey’s described with shoulder-length blond hair, but the only pics I could find were the ones I added. Have you ever tried to Google unicorn kink? 😉
Also note that as much as I would’ve liked to have pulled quotes from the book to use in my review, it wasn’t possible because of the above-mentioned editing issues. I refuse to add quotes with typos, and I won’t be fixing them just to look good in my review.
I do love the cover. I could totally picture the model as Bailey as I read the book.