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Cold Series Book 1 Prison is a brutal heartless and demeaning environment No one knows this better than a man sentenced to life in prison for murder Lem Porter is a high profile prisoner who had a solid career ahead of him in a field he loved until he killed his brother He has spent almost eighteen years behind bars and doesn’t have much hope leftAnderson Passero had it all He built a career a name and a relationship with a man he thought he loved Only after he very publicly landed in prison did he realize how ignorant he’d been He has eight months left on his sentence and he is eager to go home and put prison life behind him He doesn’t know it yet but he will always carry these eight months with him and they may just help him to understand what love really means

10 thoughts on “Cold Cold #1

  1. says:

    “Sometimes you have to love the unlovable so they can see how it's done”Brandon Shire 45 starsReview completed May 19 2013A master at work I adore Brandon's subtlety and his writing provides ample food for thoughtLem is a gorgeous male specimen and he is so much than meets the eye My GR friends know that I'm a sucker for older sexy heroes I can't deny it Lem is right up my alley and I will shamelessly admit that I was drooling something fierce whilst reading Cold But underneath his gorgeous physic lies a pretty intellectual mind Besides Lem is a nature lover and since childhood my love for flora and fauna and especially the forests and Alps has been strongly rooted due to my family and upbringing In conseuence my fondness for Lem is not all about his incredible physiue it's something that goes deeper; he brought back plenty of happy but also a few sad memories He is the reason I took a trip down memory lane and ended up feeling a tiny bit sentimental So you see it's very obvious that my review is somewhat focused on Lem Plus there is BrandonBrandon who? Well honor to whom honor is due and all that Let's get startedMeet Lem Porter who has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his brother He has already spent eighteen years behind bars when Ms Whitfield ordered him to come to her office She tells Lem that an investigator is coming from the parole board to interrogate him Lem is surprised because he is not due for a hearing for another eighteen months Besides Lem is not keen on leaving prison since he has nowhere to go This ain't a day care ma'am Violence isn't an option you can always turn away fromShe looked at him curiously and cocked her head to the side You sound like you're trying to make me angry on purpose Mr Porter Is that your intention?Your anger is something which you control not me Lem replied his face blank Anderson Passero is walking into his new prison dorm Only eight months left and he'll be released from prison That's all he can think of right now And then he sees a huge man built like a steadfast tower Six foot six of solid and scary muscle steel blue eyes gray at the temples and scarred forearms The man is intimidating as all get out It's Lem Porter And their paths will inevitably cross againLem loves his work detail at the prison 'greenhouse' It's his little sanctuary Though it's not a 'real' greenhouse In fact it's a rather shabby elongated cinderblock shed with sheets of hard clear plastic for a roof Nothing fancy at all What I loved most about Cold was Lem's excellent characterization Before Lem had been put behind bars he worked with the forest service The man loves to dig in the dirt to raise nurture and cherish bonsai trees He's got green fingers for sure Even though Lem's prison record denotes violence he came across as a rather uiet remote and reserved human being That's the reason I think Mother Nature with all its flora and fauna accommodates Lem's personality immensely Besides Lem is an austere character he doesn't need much to be happy He is incredibly gentle and careful with his plants and he prefers the nature's stillness over noisy and boisterous people He stared at the bonsai on the table lost in his thoughts He missed that kind of space the thousands of acres he had to roam because he was charged to watch over it There were weeks when he wouldn't see a single soul It was just him and the forest There was one spot he particularly liked when he was out west He'd camp out by Stillwater River and watch the wildlife come in for a drink while he held himself steady in a tree a hundred feet above their head in awe of their beauty and grace I believe that we should appreciate Lem's deformity to love him in his simplicity and with all his flaws I love the connotations of this proverb it reflects Lem's character perfectly I find it intriguing that everything from his personality to his life is brought together by a short proverb Brandon that's so damn smart  You got invested in that fcking tree than you do in your own self That's the difference between a man and an inmate A man values himself and the people around him than he does the things he has One day you're going to wake up to that fact Also what I found very interesting are the main protagonists' physical contrasts While Lem is a huge and intimidating man Anderson is short and a lightweight At five seven and one hundred thirty pounds he was the polar opposite of Lem I could go on and list other opposites ie Anderson being a city slicker who loved clubbing while Lem prefers solitude and the vastness of land and forestLem is sporting a huge and very profound tattoo on his back I won't tell you what it is but it's SO Brandon and I'll give away its meaning Because when I looked out at a forest from the top of a ridge I saw the cycle and beauty of life It was something I used to believe inAnd you don't now?That's a hard uestion to answer Lem saidAnderson remained silent hoping he would fill in the gapIt's a cycle I'm not a part of any Lem finally replied It's all around us outside of this place but not in here with usWhat about us right here and now? Anderson asked feeling slightly wounded by his wordsLem cupped the side of his head and ran his fingers through his hair A false spring Lem answered a sincere sadness in his eyes Lem and Anderson hardly interact or spend time together during the first half of the story If anything the first half primarily depicts the MCs' life in prison The author tells us why they have been convicted well I'm still waiting to be enlightened why Lem killed his brother though it's about prison life in general and a few secondary characters will be introduced I'm not an expert by any means however I think that Brandon did his homework and has written a realistic environment Also prison is a cold place to be and violence is pretty high on the agenda  On this account it's not surprising that an act of violence will bring these two together eventually In a way the pent up need want and longing needed a valve Hence you can expect to savor some steamy and sexy men lovin' and I don't need to tell you that Brandon knows how to write hot sex scenesThough I must say that violence is not the focus of Cold Not at all If anything the plot is very character driven and Brandon will really let you into Lem and Anderson's minds In this context I think their inner dialogue was very well done and absolutely compelling Plus he conveyed their feelings and thoughts very clearly and yet there is always room for your own perceptions I like to read between the lines for sure because it serves as a real eye opener  A solid build up and excellent pacing complemented Brandon's fabulous writing Brandon used the term he's short several times and I believe he wasn't only referring to Anderson's physiue It is probably also about chronology or the timing of their impending relationship In fact there wasn't much time left before Anderson would be released from prison; precious and little time that needed to be savored before Anderson had to leave Lem behind They made the most of itThe writing is different from Afflicted It's not lyrical there is no real poetry either and yet I loved it nonetheless because it accommodated the storyline and its setting It's beautiful in its sobriety straightforward and very engaging Cold is not a dark or gritty read; it is however a touching love story sad and painful in parts and romantic in others Lem offering Anderson view spoilerthe blossoming bonsai tree hide spoiler

  2. says:

    45 stars Brandon Shire has completely WOWED me with his excellent prose and masterful storytelling Cold by Brandon Shire is not only the first book of a new series but it is also the first book I have had the pleasure to read from this author This book is an excellent example of great storytelling and I was totally enthralled from the start there is no flowery prose nor is this a raw and gritty tale It is not a roller coaster ride and you will not find any angst or gratuitous sex thrown in for the sake of it and for the most part we don’t even get to see the romance So by now you are probably wondering why I would even read this book Simple the WOW factor for me was the writing just amazing and at times beautiful especially watching the relationship grow between these two their character development had me captivated and swept along on this journey with two men I just fell in love with  In Cold Brandon Shire paces the book perfectly and drip feeds the information allowing us to absorb and digest running the ramifications through our minds before the next piece is slipped into place helping us build a detailed and vivid picture of Lem the gentle giant with a secretive past and Anderson the fallen media darling and nightclub owner neither of which had the perfect upbringing and both of them have been damaged by the cruelties life has dealt them Not all the secrets are revealed in this first book and I still have many uestions unanswered the impatient side of me wants it all NOW but alas we will have to wait PRISON IS A HEARTLESS PLACE Even so if you are a renowned gay man and  five feet seven inches of scrawny Anderson has spent eight years in prison for a crime that although he was culpable he was not the instigator he was betrayed by his lover and lost everything but most of all he lost his freedom Now prison is a ticking clock counting down the months to his release He has one objective stay out of trouble and get out of prison  Anderson is an open book and his thoughts fly freely enabling us as readers to understand him and we learn some of his secrets and the events that led up to  his convictionLem is not uite so forthcoming he has spent eighteen years incarcerated and has created a necessary persona to survive to others his size was immediately intimidating and follow that up with his steely gaze and stoical manner and Lem was to be avoided at all costs At this point in the series Lem is still an enigma his mind like the man is stoically guarded internalizing and even hiding from himself We see the dangerous side to Lem and have yet to find out why but in my opinion this belies his true disposition he is an intelligent gentle and caring man who wanted nothing than to be left alone in his self inflicted isolation maintaining his sanity with his passion for nature working with plants and happy to while away his spare time reading magazines with his thoughts drifting to his one love and passion the forest but to him it is an empty dream as Lem has nothing and no one and that’s the way he likes it until Anderson Now Lem is confused by his own behaviour for the first time since the death of his brother he wants someone to see past all the bravado and see the real him He stared at the bonsai on the table lost in his thoughts He missed that kind of space the thousands of acres he had to roam because he was charged to watch over it There were weeks when he wouldn’t see a single soul It was just him and the forest There was one spot he particularly liked when he was out west He’d camp out by Stillwater River and watch the wildlife come in for a drink while he held himself steady in a tree a hundred feet above their head in awe of their beauty and grace Anderson fears Lem the murderer yet lusts for Lem the man who uttered the words “I would never hurt you” and battling with his conscience is only exasperating his longing for Lem and ramping up the fear factor But when he looks into Lem’s eyes he knows he is safe with his gentle giant and after eight years of living in fear and anxiety – in that moment he feels free and the connection although silent was palpable and he felt safe to just let go He took another step back and looked at Lem fully studying him; something which he had been terrified to do since he saw Lem the first time He had a rugged angled face weathered by pain and something he guessed was an internal misery He saw emotion and a deep hurt etched around Lem’s eyes What I loved about the emotional and physical connection between these two men was the hope I felt it was profound and my heart was full reading it and to be honest personally I can’t say I felt it was hot sex I almost felt like a voyeur it was intimate and beautiful the passion was intense they were just grabbing a moment in time and it had to be perfect and Brandon Shire truly made me feel that emotion with his words with an ending that made me both smile and cry yep that would be me again with the ugly tears I think I love you Anderson whispered as he heard his footsteps fade away I can only guess as to why Brandon chose the title for this series my own impression would be the Cold that had for so long rendered Lem numb to anything but existing and Anderson was the warmth that was slowly melting the ice within the man and fanning the flames of desire that had long ago been forgotten that would be the romantic in me but I am sure Mr Shire will enlighten me at some point I also wish that Anderson could have a nickname or something shortened as Anderson seems so formal unfortunately our two MC’s barely had time to get to know one another let alone for them to develop endearments  something that I am hoping will change with the coming books in the series I know I mentioned before that Brandon Shire blew me away with his writing and believe me he did I am all kinds of wowed by his literary skills however my only gripe would be some repetition which in this case became noticeable a couple of times I had to look back thinking I was reading the same page again plus the use of the word short referring to his stature and time to serve I think Anderson was obsessing about the two and understandably because his main focus was to get out and repeating it was becoming a mantra and his size he was than aware of because he lived in fear This is an excellent book and I am suitably impressed with this start to the Cold series we are also introduced to a few well developed secondary characters that I would like to see of I was pulling a high five for Anderson’s Mum at one point and his sister although she seems innocent and naive I can see the fierce protector in her and Officer Jefferson he has already won a place in my heartAlso check out this song from ZZ Ward it's from the soundtrack to the book Loved it so much I and bought the whole album Very atmospheric and I will listen whilst I readhttpwwwyoutubecomwatch?vTiPL2S This book was provided by the Author in exchange for a fair and honest review

  3. says:

    You know when a character just gets yougrabs your heart doesn’t let gosnakes under your skin and weaves into your mindand you just won’t don’t can’t forget him? Meet Lem Porter He’s a convicted murderer He’s a lifer He’s a loner He’s a mystery And I love himWhen you get this affected by a character it’s hard to review the book as a whole Much of Cold is about Lem and his life in prison his refusal to hope his secrets his resignation to his fateMuch is about Anderson just months away from being released trying to look forward keep to himself and rebuild his life on the outside Some of this book is about the two of them and their unlikely relationship their attraction and the brutality AND beauty of their short time together And some secrets just remain untoldYesthere is some repetition some suspension of what I assume to be prison reality is reuired and some holes to the story BUTthe characters are just so well written and impossible to forget Lemstop invading my dreams some people have asked if this is dark or violent like other prison books I would say there are some dark parts and some suggestions of violence but it's not in your face or uncomfortably so Hope that helps

  4. says:

    Brandon Shire donates 10% of the proceeds from the sale of any of his books toLost n Found YouthInc andGLBT Advocacy Youth ServicesInc About the only thing of beauty he had seen within these walls in a long long time was Anderson and like most others in his life Anderson had looked at Lem like he was someone to fear When Brandon Shire said he wanted to write a character based prison story he was serious I couldn’t believe how caught up I got in Lem and Anderson The prison is there no doubt and at least for Lem it’s not going anywhere But the focus is on the internal dialog these two men have The emphasis on who they are their fears their passions their regrets and that’s what makes this book workIf you’ve ever read Brandon Shire you know he connects you to the characters This book proves his mastery of this skill THE CHARACTERS All these new faces he would forget when he hit the door in eight months every single one of them He was sure of it Eight months It was the only thing that ran through his brain Eight months Anderson Passero Although we only get to see Anderson in the last eight months of his incarceration you are able to see how he changes Always wary of others because of his smaller size he’s been living a nightmare where he trusts no one keeps to himself and analyzes everything “You’ve spent almost twenty years behind bars don’t you think it’s time you forgave yourself?” Lem Porter I don’t think I have ever wanted to reach out to a character than I do with Lem Days weeks later I’m still thinking about him A beautiful uniue human who lets his guilt rule him How Mr Shire created a murderer that I would trust with my children I don’t knowHe’s a smart tender gentle man who is one with the natural world Locked within cement walls he has given up on beauty Lem’s nature will speak to you and reach you in ways only very memorable characters do He truly touched me THE STORY You need to know this isn’t about prison brutality or guard dominance this is a beautiful love story in a prison setting While there is a brutal act it isn’t the focus While there is heart ache that had me crying for a full chapter you shouldn’t be afraid to read this because of the setting I’ve said it before I have a true fear of prison This book made me want to stay inside THE WRITING Brandon Shire uses this techniue which counts down the time until Anderson is released It is extremely effective in causing a certain tension It plays with your head because you want Anderson out but there’s not enough time he's short I know that doesn’t make sense but that’s why its brilliantShire’s writing feels perfectly paced I didn’t find any lag He weaves in enough uestions to have us demanding another book while completing everything he set out to accomplish I think this author has found his stride here There’s less poetry than in his previous books but solid story telling He drove this with perfect pacing stellar characters and gripping emotions ”It’s the god of vegetation and plant life the Green Man He symbolizes life and rebirth after the long hard winter and predates many religions” Lem offered “So why do you have him on your back?” Anderson pressed himLem held him for a moment before he answered “Because when I looked out at a forest from the top of a ridge I saw the cycle and beauty of life It was something I used to believe in”“And you don’t now?”“It’s a cycle I’m not a part of any” Lem finally repliedWhat about us right here and now?” Anderson asked Lem cupped the side of his head and ran his fingers through his hair “A false spring” Lem answered a sincere sadness in his eyes I sincerely thank Brandon Shire for allowing me to beta read this book and providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review Take a look at my MaleMale Romance Book Blog

  5. says:

    false springa fragile romance by turns brutal and tenderunfolds gracefully with hypnotic passages and wild surges of vivid imagery gorgeous in other wordsthe pain you know is coming is no less beautiful or savage for being forewarned; it ends the way it is supposed to and we are better off for itrecommended

  6. says:

    There better be a book #2 currently in the works involving the same characters or I'm gonna beat someone's ASSSPOILERSHave you ever wanted to cry for all of eternity? I have It began moments ago when I finished this book and now I'm sad that Anderson and Lem aren't together and have so much unresolved business I need It's not even an option I'm so sadWARNING This is not what I'd call a HEA It's a GREAT ending but not your typical HEA I want to cry In the rainEdited review to add awesome appropriate gifAwesome book awesome characters and I was totally engaged the entire time Love it

  7. says:

    I loved this story has a nice build up to the flaming romance that perfectly suited the characters Even if the attraction was present at the start it wasn’t insta love But Cold is a little different from other romance is not a typical one we have a lot of surprises the story is set within the confines of a prison it´s a harsh world so to see a love story built in such a environment is a pleasure to read I loved Lem He was so strong yet tender and vulnerable inside What a delightful combination And them together HmmmmSo If you're looking to get lost in a Man romance with a bittersweet ending and characters that just grab you then I would definitely recommend that you read this book

  8. says:

    Pounding passion Premium page turner Compelling con’sI was awed with the electrifying vibrations pulsating from the story I felt their struggles their fears and their passion With the focus on two unlikely souls drawn together by a magnetic force the big house was merely the condition that brought them together not the essence of the story The story was Lem The story was Anderson The story was forgiveness courage and unforeseen love Per usual the writing was pristine; woven with a complexity that was astounding As if each letter had been carefully placed words strung together creating a harmony of emotions I am always captivated by Shire’s inclusive visions LemA manslayer who is than meets the eye A Redwood whose roots may have been cut but his strength prevails Determined to keep his nose clean and just ‘be’ he is mystified by continued efforts from all directions for his release back into society Convinced his course has been set he is startled when a brown eyed beauty causes him second thought AndersonHigh society luxuries allowed him to sail through life Naïve mistakes snowballed into sticky trouble he couldn’t shake off Wrapping up his time he is pacing the calendar away until a terrifying incident flips his remaining days from tedious to fleeting I was petrified I was saddened I was hopeful Even secondary characters shone brightly and made a lasting impression I did not see any holes in the story only meticulously carved room for interpretation I have hopes for their future; and if I could be granted a single wish this year it would be for a sliver of seclusion and the freedom for a passionate reunion under the canopy of the forest Everyone deserves a second chance most importantly from yourself 45 vicious vibrant veiled stars on a personal note I was apprehensive to give this story a shot because of the environment and panic of non con While there was a dose of terror it was manageable and crucial to their coming together I am delighted I went out on a limb with this story Thanks to my girls the gentle encouragement that I needed for I am forever touched by Lem He leapt from the pages straight into my heart I understand his desires to wander in the splendor of nature I studied Forestry at Michigan State University and I have a deep appreciation for his longing for a blanket of peace and content only the forest can provide And he’s right; I’ve yet to see beauty that compares to the Upper Peninsula I very rarely reread I'm still playing catch up with my ever growing tbr list But this was just what I needed Still good maybe better the second time around

  9. says:

    45 stars I was totally glued to the pages of this story to the point where several hours passed before I even looked up from the book It's the gripping story of two prisoners one due for freedom in 8 months and the other resolutely determined to stay on the inside They are both at the end of their tether when a dangerous incident puts them at risk The chapter headings counting down Anderson's last few months are really effective When I got to Two Months I could feel my heart sinking to my boots and when I got to Last Days I could feel the anxiety kick in The ending is a cliffhanger but I don't even care because this story was so interesting and involving Can't wait till book 2 and I might go back and take a second look at this author's other books I DNF'd one of them a year or so ago due to the over flowery writing but here it's pared down and a pleasure to readOh and who knew prison sex could be so shatteringly perfect

  10. says:

    I love this story the only negative is having it split between two books I need an HEA for Lem and Anderson After re reading in anticipation of the seuel Heart of Timber here is an actual review I struggled with this review because my love for the story is all emotional and difficult to put into words My favorite MC Lem was serving a life sentence for killing his brother Determined to stay in prison he sabotaged his parole interview Why? There are hints of self punishment and maybe lack of hope but no clear reason why The other MC Anderson was eager to get out and determined to keep his head down and stay out of trouble for the remaining eight months of his termThe two men distinct opposites in terms of appearance personality and circumstances came together in an ill fated romance I loved their initial observations of and reactions to each other and when they finally got together? Yikes time out for a cool downMixed in with the hotness though was a sweet vulnerability that drew me in So gentle and hesitant with some hope and even awe overlaid with the bittersweet truth of reality Reality because with prison as a background they hardly had a chance The small details that showed the lack of privacy the lack of autonomy in prison life had me cringing in sympathy Other details weren't so small One violent scene had me flinching but even though it wasn't airbrushed it wasn't overpowering eitherAs the final weeks of Anderson's term wind down there is a sense of imminent loss and sadness Every moment is dear but overshadowed by the reality of their situation As expected the ending was sad but knowing a seuel was on the way I was hopefulSide notes I loved getting to know Lem through his love of nature work in the nursery and memories of his of old job The scene with Anderson and the bonsai was especially touchingNigglesThe short business tripped me up pulled me out of the story as I had to think about the unfamiliar meaning and it's used a lotUnless I missed something Anderson didn't know old Lem was when he went to prison how did he figure Lem's age from time served? There were a few other niggles but I set them aside to better enjoy the story and to wait for answers in the seuelPreviously published on