My Brother’s Keeper by M. Corvidae
Source: Review by Request
Copy provided by the Author
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Foster brothers Josh and Morgan aren’t related by blood, but they are each others only family. When sharp-tongued Morgan gets thrown out of their latest foster home, protective ‘big brother’ Josh runs after him. At eighteen, they’re utterly alone, penniless and hungry. Morgan is quick to turn to sex work, and despite his hesitation, Josh agrees to act as his bodyguard. Lusty and shameless, Morgan revels in getting paid to do what he likes best – having as much sex as possible with as many men as possible. Meanwhile, Josh is tortured with jealousy, because he’s been secretly in love with Morgan for years.
It’s not long before the two find trouble with the law. They flee across the country, Morgan plying his trade and Josh struggling with his complicated feelings, until they find work at an expensive sex club. As security, Josh has to use all his strength to protect Morgan from the people who want to use and abuse him – but when a wealthy and sadistic client takes a special liking to Morgan, Josh will be forced to admit his true feelings are anything but brotherly.
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Dirty, Beautiful, and Emotional…
It didn’t matter that they weren’t kids anymore. Yes, here they were, grown-ass adults, but the world was still as uncertain and threatening as ever. Out there, Josh could put up a front and deal with it, but in moments like these, all he really needed was to reach out and know that he wasn’t alone…
This book was a little bit taboo, a little bit dark, and a whole-lot filthy.
It wrecked me emotionally in parts and actually had me tearing up a bit. I didn’t expect to find this level of awesomeness in the pages of this book. It takes talent to get me sucked into a story, and this one had me hooked immediately. I went into it expecting some deliciously taboo brotherly love from two down-on-their-luck guys, and wound up blown away by all that and more…
Shall we clear up the big question real quick?
Josh and Morgan have the same last name, but they are NOT related.
Morgan is only about a month younger than Josh.
They’re brothers because they chose to be. They made the decision to come together when the rest of the world seemed content to turn its back on them.
The Prologue started us out when the two MCs met as children. At the age of eleven, the boys are brought together at a foster home.
There was an instant and believable connection between the two and it kept the rest of the story feeling honest. Nothing felt contrived or forced, even as Josh and Morgan began facing huge obstacles. This book clocks in at a meagre 175ish pages, but it is dense. Not a word was wasted, and the pacing was fucking astounding.
“Sometimes he didn’t know if Morgan was the best thing to ever happen to him or the worst. This wasn’t the first time they’d been kicked out of a home because of Morgan’s behaviour.
Josh realized none of that really mattered to him. As long as he had Morgan, he never felt lost. He was right where he belonged.
This book was told through Josh’s POV and he handled that responsibility with a wonderful delicacy. These characters are fairly young, but life in the foster care system matured them quite bit. There was no overly-emotional angst or posturing. They might be eighteen years old, but this is not NA fiction.
Josh has been looking out for his little brother for years. He can’t even imagine a life without the mouthy kid at his side. They were shuffled from foster family to foster family. Kicked out, left behind, moved around, and forgotten…
When Morgan gets caught fucking the son of their most recent foster family, they’re suddenly homeless. At the age of eighteen, they are legally adults, but have no resources.
They have no real skill-set, job experience, or even much education – neither boy had finished earning his diploma while being moved from family to family. There’s no safety net to catch them when they begin falling through the cracks.
Josh might not have everything figured out, but Morgan has a plan to earn some quick cash.
“I’m not selling my soul, Josh. And really, honestly… I’m only doing what I love. I’ve been doing it for free long enough. Maybe it’s time I got paid.”
I’m hard pressed to pin-down my opinion of Morgan. He’s a sexual hedonist of the highest order. His mouth gets him into trouble only his brother can manage to save him from. Morgan honestly believes that sex is the only thing he’s good at, and since he enjoys it so much, it seems quite logical to him to sell himself.
Since we view Morgan’s character through Josh’s eyes, it’s as though Morgan can do no wrong. Or, he’s at least justified in all of his decisions. As a reader, it was difficult to see past Josh’s feelings to determine if Morgan was a user, completely flippant, or simply set in his opinions and tied to his brother…
That’s an opinion you’ll have to form for yourself…As you can see, I’m still trying to figure that out, even after finishing the story…
Anyway…. Morgan starts out whoring himself in back-alleys, but when one john gets rough with him, big brother steps in and plays hero. The resulting brawl leaves one man dead, and Morgan and Josh are on the run… Again…
No matter how desperate the circumstances, they always have each other.
They move from city to city, with Morgan fucking drivers in order to hitch rides. All the while, Josh is watching his brother work, protecting him, and some very un-brotherly feelings are developing.
Eventually, opportunity knocks…
In the form of an exclusive sex club…
“Why do you worry so much about me all the time?”
“Because you’re small and pretty and everyone wants to fuck you.”
The club seems like salvation for the brothers. Morgan is an immediate top earner, and Josh gets hired to work security. It’s a much better situation than working out of back alleys and truck stops…
Unfortunately, the clientele at the club are considerably more connected and conniving than the anonymous men Morgan used to fuck, and some of them have sadistic leanings. Out of the frying pan, into the fire for the brothers…
Josh can’t convince Morgan to quit the club, despite the obvious dangers, and they’ve come too far to split up now. The brothers can make it through anything together… But when Josh’s growing feelings start to show on the surface, he worries that he won’t be able to keep Morgan by his side.
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This isn’t a light-hearted romp. You won’t be coming down with a case of the warm-fuzzies. Life for Josh and Morgan is not sunshine and rainbows – it’s bottling your feelings to you don’t alienate the only person you’ve ever counted on… It’s hoping to god the condom doesn’t break… It’s making it through one more day so you can feed yourself.
If you have the balls to read this one, you will be richly rewarded. This book is absolutely amazing.
Clouds were rolling in above them, glowing sickly phosphorescent orange. Fat raindrops started to fall, and they got thick pretty fast. Josh didn’t mind walking in the rain, but if their duffle bags got soaked they’d weigh a ton.
“Come on,” Josh grabbed Morgan’s duffle bag, hefted both bags over his shoulders, and started running towards an underpass not far ahead.
They made it just before the skies opened up and started pouring. Josh made a low whistle.
When the rain showed no signs of letting up, they climbed the embankment to sit behind one of the huge concrete pillars supporting the highway above, where they were hidden from the sight of passing cars. Josh didn’t want to be picked up for vagrancy, and luckily this far from civilisation there weren’t any other vagrants to compete with.
Josh set the duffle bags down against the pillars and sat down, leaning back against the cool concrete, taking a load off his aching feet.
Morgan refused to rest. He stood glaring at the rain as though spoiling for a fight.
“Goddammit, this is shitty. This is so shitty.” Scowling, Morgan wrapped his arms around himself. Josh could see him start to shiver.
“You’re all wet, and it’s getting cold. Come and change,” Josh told him.
When Morgan finally turned and came back, Josh pretended not to notice the angry tears brimming in his eyes. The day was finally catching up to him. It would catch up to Josh too, but not yet. Josh was always better at holding things in.
They both opened their bags and picked out the first dry shirts they could find. Changing quickly, Josh tried not to let his eyes linger too long on Morgan’s bare torso, lithe and damp from the rain, nipples pert as he towelled himself off with a spare undershirt. The sweater Morgan pulled on was Josh’s, but Josh didn’t mind. Morgan looked cute in Josh’s too-big clothes, especially when he pulled the sleeves down to cover his hands – not that Josh would ever, ever tell him that.
Morgan sat down on the second duffle bag at arm’s length from Josh.
“So, on a scale from one to violently, how pissed off are you?”
Josh shrugged. “I don’t know. Not very.”
Morgan shook his head. “Then you’re either lying or stupid.”
That was meant to hurt, and it did. Josh was still kind of quiet sometimes, and people often took that to mean he was dumb. He’d thrown a few punches over it, and Morgan knew he was still a bit sensitive.
Josh swallowed the hurt and shrugged again. “Maybe a little pissed off.” It seemed to him that Morgan was trying to provoke him, but he wasn’t even close to violently upset. If Morgan wanted someone to beat him up over this, it wouldn’t be Josh.
“Had you and Dave been, y’know, seeing each other for long?” If nothing else, Josh wanted an explanation for that – wanted to know if they’d been sneaking around behind his back, and if so, why.
Morgan bowed his head. “No. We never dated or anything. It was just a quick lay. Just a stupid lay. God, so stupid!” He rifled his fingers quickly back and forth through his hair, likely pulling more than a few tangles up by the roots. It seemed that if no one else volunteered, he was perfectly willing to beat himself up.
Josh reached over and put a hand on Morgan’s shoulder. “Hey. We’ll be all right. We would’ve had to leave soon anyways; we’re not little kids anymore. We’ll be fine. Between the two of us, we’ll figure it out.”
Morgan stilled for a while, then turned to look at him. He wasn’t crying, but Josh could tell he was close.
“Come here,” Josh told him.
Morgan got up and settled down in front of Josh, leaning back against his chest while Josh leaned back against the pillar. Josh put his arms around Morgan. He could smell his hair and feel his heartbeat.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” said Josh.
Slowly, Morgan’s breath evened out. “I’ll make it up to you someday, I swear,” he told his brother.
Josh knew that was as close to an apology as he was going to get, but he didn’t mind. It was close enough.
Sometimes he didn’t know if Morgan was the best thing to ever happen to him or the worst. This wasn’t the first time they’d been kicked out of a home because of Morgan’s behaviour.
Josh realized none of that really mattered to him. As long as he had Morgan, he never felt lost. He was right where he belonged.
An Interview with M. Corvidae
What was the spark of inspiration which led to this book?
I really like the idea of ‘chosen family’ – I wanted to write about a relationship between two people who aren’t related, but who chose to be there for each other as if they were family. Their connection is strong, but it can be complicated too.
How did you come up with the character, Josh West?
I really like the ‘strong, protective’ type – who doesn’t? But I wanted to create a character who could be strong without being domineering. So Josh’s journey involves a lot of situations where he has to sit back and let Morgan make his own mistakes, and Josh has to find the inner strength to do that.
What about his “little brother” Morgan?
Whereas Josh, because of his size, has had learned to restrain himself, Morgan compensates for being small by having an oversized personality – like a small dog with a big bark. I think they contrast each other well that way. Morgan might be half Josh’s size, but he definitely wears the pants in the relationship. And though Josh can be almost overly caring sometimes, Morgan tends to be selfish. It’s not a perfect relationship, but they’re both operating with a lot of hurt in their past, and part of their journey is learning to help each other through it.
What kind of research did you do to prepare for writing this book?
Lots of googling! I was always after pictures of real-life places and things that I wasn’t familiar with. For instance, I’ve never held a real gun (minor spoiler?), or been inside a semi-truck cab, so I searched for images to give me a clear picture in my head that I could translate onto the page.
Is there a song which you feel perfectly complements your story?
I’d have to say FX by Junior Boys. My friend and uncredited editor Tallycola also made an 8tracks playlist that I listened to a lot when I wrote this.
If you were offered the chance to turn this book into a Hollywood movie, would you take that opportunity?
How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Since the first time someone asked me if they could translate one of my shorts (online, no long available I’m afraid) into another language.
How long did it take for you to write this book?
It took about six months to write, and another six months to edit and polish.
Who did the design for your book cover?
Fiona Jayde, of Fiona Jayde Media. She was amazing to work with!
What additional projects are you working on?
I’m editing a book I wrote for nanowrimo, which is a gay erotica story set in medieval Byzantium. Still very smutty, but a bit of a change of pace from my contemporary book.
What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, by Kay Barrisford. Lovely book!
What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
I think that would probably be The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. That’s some solid sci-fi. I’m really fond of that entire series, but the first one will always be my favourite.
Is there a book you keep meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to it? Don’t worry, we all have ridiculously long TBRs!
Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch. I loved the first book in the Gentleman Bastard series (I kinda ship Locke and Jean, big surprise!), but I just haven’t had time to tackle the huge tome that is the second one.
Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
I didn’t read published erotica until relatively recently. The first piece of erotica I ever read was fanfiction. I do not remember the title or the author, but as I recall it featured a grown-up Sailor Moon orgy. This I read in at the computer in my high school library, true story.
When you’re not hard at work writing, what do you do with your time?
Besides my day job, cooking, cleaning, and daydreaming. I also dabble in woodworking. 🙂
What’s the first thing on your Bucket List?
Building a house, even if it’s one of those cute little microhomes. But I have to say that’s probably be the last thing on my bucket list!
Do you have any pets?
One spoiled kitty cat!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
They have these new theatres here where you can sip wine or beer while you watch the movie. I think it’s terribly decadent, and I love it!
Favorite Swear Word?
Good ol’ F-bomb.
Three lucky Smutsonian Readers will be getting eBook copies of this amazing book! Click here to enter:
About the Author:
Mina resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She survives the harsh winters by reading and writing hot m/m erotica. Proud cat owner, coffee lover, and craft beer enthusiast.