Man’s Best Friend by PA Brown

Man’s Best Friend by PA Brown 


New Mexico, the land of enchantment weaves a spell of love around Todd Richards and Dr. Keith Anderson as they struggle to make their love work amid terrible loss, betrayal and rustlers and make their dream of a bed & breakfast in Santa Fe a reality.





There are so many problems with this book I’m not sure where to begin. Perhaps with the truly hideous cover art that preschoolers put together with picture cut outs. For a press that prides themselves on their quality, I’ve yet to see these dominating displays unfortunately and the cover art is just one area. This book is actually a DNF. I got about halfway and realized this book was not worth my time as it was that bad. Also by that point, I simply couldn’t have cared any less about the characters so I wasn’t going to spend anymore time to finish their ridiculous story. What is most surprising is that this is by an established author – who I liked! What happened to her?

Anyway, the book is about a new to town vet, Kevin that meets with Dobie owner Todd. The two hit it off immediately and engage in rampant, raunchy sex before falling in love. Tragedy strikes Kevin and the two end up moving to New Mexico to start a bed and breakfast inn together. I stopped here so what happens in the last 100 pages at the Inn, I couldn’t say.

The plot is weak and the characterization is non-existent. The story is told from Todd’s point of view but neither man is well developed and the author surprisingly chooses to spend the majority of the first half depicting sex scenes in cringe inducing language. The story has some tense problems and the initial part jumps between present and past tense, some of which is exacerbated by the use of the first person narrator. The biggest problems that detract are the language choices. Many of the descriptions are awkward with unattractive prose and the first person point of view, in this case, is too intimate. Examples of prose that is not attractive or enticing and often forget the condom they have on:

I pulled away as he arched his entire body in release. I watched as his cock spewed out gobs of thick, hot cum. I smeared it all over his washboard stomach and abs. Leaning down I licked a path up to his turgid nipples, while he continued to pump out thick, gluey fluid. Five, six times his cock spasmed and poured juice all over himself and me. I released his softening cock and slid up his body, smearing it even more, coating us both in hot, salty cum. I captured his mouth in a kiss that left us both breathless. I rolled him over and pressed my hard cock against the soft skin of his ass.


The bed undulated wildly under us, and I clamped my legs around his waist, pumping with my ass as my own pleasure mounted. Then it broke out into a starburst of pleasure, and exquisite pain, as wave after wave of release slammed through me. My cock twitched and jerked as I came, pumping what felt like gallons of cum onto my chest, face, and hair.


I arched away from him, ripping open the condom pack and unrolling it over my bulging cock. Slathering my fingers with lube, I explored Keith’s damp hole, then lathered my cock with more lube. I eased the cock head in, past the ring of muscle, pausing long enough to let his body adjust to me. Then I sank into him and began to pump.


He used the copious amounts of precum off my cock to coat his hand, and slid it between my ass cheeks. He shoved two coated fingers up my hole.

I threw back my head and rode his hand, bucking and twisting, as he worked me harder and deeper. He had never been so relentlessly aggressive in his possession of me. When he replaced his hand with the head of his cock, I growled. He shoved it into me.


His tongue worked into me, digging and probing, sending wave after wave of raw lust singing along my nerve endings.


Ropey cum shot out of his straining cock all over my stomach and chest, and the sudden tightening of his ass sent me over the edge. I shouted his name and slammed into him, holding his straining legs high over his thrashing head as I poured my liquid seed into his hot, wet hole. We collapsed on the bed, our bodies glued together. I made no move to extricate myself from him.


There are also several continuity errors in the book. The time line of days seems fluid and without much structure, causing some confusion and I was left wondering if I’d missed part of the book, until the men meet up at a dog event on a beautiful Sunday. They go immediately to have sex and spend the night together, yet the next morning after about a page of detail about the eggs, bacon, toast, and brimming cups of coffee, there is a comment “Nine,” he said, glancing at the wall clock. It was eight-fifteen on a Friday morning.

So it was Sunday night last night and the next morning it’s Friday morning. All of this occurred within the first thirty pages and the sheer volume of examples that could have been included is staggering. For an author I have previously enjoyed quite a bit, I’m shocked at the lack of solid writing and tight editing. There are obvious errors (such as the continuity problem) that should have been caught on reading let alone the writing and editing process.

Moving on with the story, the two men admit the day after their first night together (mere days from their first meeting), that although neither is experienced, they’re both convinced the connection between them is love. Here, Kevin is a thirty something vet who is a virgin, never giving or receiving in gay sex, which leaves much to be wondered about his previous experiences. He then immediately tells his parents about Todd after they’ve declared their love, which prompts Kevin’s parents to call and grill Todd about his job prospects and ambition. This entire scene is unbelievable, beyond reality and cemented the lack of depth to the men and the story.

The lack of weight to the various details included is shown over and over in the minute and frankly unimportant bits of information that litter the story. Frequently the men are seen eating and there are extended descriptions of the food which just serve to give the story a boring and superficial layer of information. Repeated descriptions of food without action or conversation are superfluous when adding nothing to the story as is the case here.

These are some very brief excerpts from longer examples:

We dug in, and I found I had a developed a hearty appetite, which necessitated a full helping of omelet, tomatoes, and bacon, several butter-slathered pieces of sourdough toast, and two brimming mugs of coffee.

Keith proved to be an excellent cook. He grilled the salmon steaks on my barbecue, tossed the watercress with a light vinaigrette dressing he whipped up in my blender, and boiled the new potatoes. He served them with butter and chives.

Tonight it was stuffed manicotti shells with herbed spinach and cheese filling. I’d made up a fresh pitcher of ice tea—we made it a habit not to drink at every meal. Everything in moderation, you know. Well, except for sex. We hadn’t gotten around to moderating that yet. 

“So, did you have a busy day?” I asked, spooning some extra sauce onto my pasta, along with a generous sprinkling of Parmigiana Reggiano—until Keith, I’d never realized there were top-shelf cheeses right up there with premier wines.


At this point, ~page 60, the emotional upheaval of the book is in full swing with the death of Kevin’s parents right before their big visit. However, the parents still had time to rewrite their will and include the barely known boyfriend of their son.  

He cleared his throat. “Er, yes. At any rate, they had me draw up another will. I can go over the details later today in myoffice, but the crux of the document is simple. The entire estate is deeded to you, Keith, as their sole heir, with the exception of this property.” Bartlett’s washed out blue eyes scanned the cozy living room, with its infusion of southwest artifacts and decor. “This, and the ten acres surrounding it, are deeded to Mr. Todd Richards and you, sir. Your parents gave it to both of you equally.”

At this point, Kevin freaks out and kicks Todd out, back to San Francisco. However, not to worry Kevin comes back with a ring and a blowjob and all is wonderful again for the two as they plan to open up a bed and breakfast. This is about halfway through the book and I question do I really care what happens with the bed and breakfast and can I really stand more horrific writing? The answers are no and no.

Ultimately, the plot is utterly ridiculous and the writing is horrible. I have read other books by PA Brown, even a stunning BDSM themed mystery, and yet this book almost points to an entirely new author. I’m shocked this is under the same name as books I really enjoyed. The raunchy and cringe inducing sex descriptions filled the first 50 pages of the book, to the exclusion of any plot development or characterizations. In between the sex, mundane details and inane conversations filled the pages.

I could go on but you get the point. I can’t recommend this book and this is likely to color my opinion of the author (it was that bad). Why did no one catch this? 


9 thoughts on “Man’s Best Friend by PA Brown

    • Kris Jacen, who I believe is the only editor at MLR. I could *absolutely* be wrong about that but she/he/they is the predominant name I see repeatedly.
      I’m not blaming the editor because frankly given the number of books this person’s name is linked to, there is no way they can give the thorough time, energy, and attention the editing process (no doubt for pennies) needed.

        • This is FAR from being the first horrendous train wreck from Kris/MLR. Nor do I expect it to be the last. But at the same time, things like the anthology are good and previously published elsewhere tend to be good, sometimes very good, as well from MLR. Mixed bag.

          • Good to know! People kept telling me how great MLR Press is, based on their editing. I like to get the balanced view, so I end up balanced (journalist training….)

            • In my reading experience, I still buy from MLR despite their editing. They are FAR from a gold standard publisher but I’m not sure who I would label such to be honest. I like the MLR authors but the work from MLR is often bad. Sometimes it’s flippin’ fabulous like Angels of the Deep, Geography of A Murder or Drag Queen in the Court of Death. Other times it’s like the trash in this post – too many examples to list.
              It’s a really mixed bag for me as a reader that tends to miss significantly more than it hits. Which is just… odd.

              • … makes me wonder who their editor in chief is and how they run the business. (Demnit, this finance jhournalism perspective never leaves me, not even in writing…)

  1. Whoa, I see what you mean about those excerpts, Kassa. A bit more preoccupation than I would prefer with body fluids … ick, I tend to get easily queasy over that sort of thing!

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