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Tainted Life

A Sweet and Angsty M/M Romance Novella
By: Mel Gough
Narrated by: Brian Meslar
Length: 3 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Metropolitan Police Detective Pete Tucker’s world comes crashing down when his wife sues for divorce and sole custody of their only son.

Desperate to forget his sorrows for a while, Pete seeks refuge in a Soho bar where he is approached by a sexy, funny, and clearly interested stranger. Photographer Liam Jackson is just the ticket for one oblivious night of perfect passion.

However, their attraction proves too intense for a one-night-stand. To his surprise, Pete finds that he’s game for something more - but his baggage soon gets in the way. Then Liam’s own dangerous secrets claw their way to the surface, and threaten to derail the budding romance.

Is their growing bond strong enough to weather the violent storms ahead?

©2018 Mel Gough (P)2019 Mel Gough

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

over all i enjoyed it.

i found the characters well rounded, amusing and entertaining i liked their reactions to each other. this book has drama, mystery, suspense, heat and romance. over all, i found it to be an pleasant listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not great

I got a promo code for the audiobook and now leaving my honest review.

The blurb made me want to read this book, but I was a bit hesitant to start it because I didn’t really feel like reading about violence and angst right now, and boy, there’s a lot of that in this book. Be prepared for that.

With that said, this was a good book with it’s strongest element being the writing. It was nice and easy going and easy to follow. Pete and Liam are two flawed characters, both having their own problems and secrets, which makes them human. I felt so much for both of them. All I wanted for them was to find happiness and love. The love they both really deserved. There was a lot of drama for the sake of drama and sometimes I felt like I would've needed a bit more background to know why the characters acted the way they did.

While there was a lot of angst and violence in this book (almost too much for me at time), they finally get their HFN/HEA, don’t worry.

The narration of this audiobook was... fine. It was my first one of this narrator and he did a good job. Not perfect, but good enough. I had some problems with how he did some of the secondary characters voices.
There’s was some kind of background sound in the first chapters which kind of annoyed me.

I will check out more work of this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good story

This audiobook was nice and sweet but much tamer than I prefer to listen to. The narration was fair. There was very little variation in the different characters voices. It was an okay listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

New to me author

This was the new to me author and narrator. The story was quite nice and I enjoyed it. The narration was fine but for me lacked a bit of life. There was a high hum in the background of the recording that I had to try to ignore. This detracted from the over all experience. The narrators accents were good. There just needs to be some improvement in the base narration to really make the characters come alive, less monotone and more emotion behind the words. The narrator does have some good potential.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Drama and Steam

Tainted Life is a short, sweet and angst filled gay romance novella by Mel Gough. Pete is a Metropolitan Police detective who is facing a difficult life change. He goes to a bar to drawn some sorrows and meets a sexy photographer Liam. Together they are on fire... but the secrets they hide and their pasts may not let them have a future.

Pete and Liam are interesting and entertaining characters. I liked their interactions together. Their story has drama, mystery, suspense, heat and romance. Overall, a satisfying read.

Narration of the story is done by Brian Meslar. The characters have their own voices and really stand out. The story comes to life and adds to the enjoyment of the story. Minor sound issues on recording that did not interfere with my listening experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, quick m/m dramatic romance

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The vocal inflections and accents were great. The MCs Pete and Liam hook up in a bar where Pete has gone to blow off steam after receiving bad news on the domestic front. He is a hard-working man, but frustrated in his job and personal life. Pete is a young, struggling photographer. There is instant attraction that carries the potential for more, but both men have secrets that they keep closely guarded. Liam's secrets eventually lead him to a dark place. I'll say no more about the story to avoid spoilers. I really loved the characters and especially the way Pete cared for Liam after the attack and helped nurse him back to health. Both men need to learn to share and be open if they are going to have something long-term, but this is a good start.

The narration was pretty good, and although there was some background noise/hum, it didn't really distract me from the story.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, narrator, or publisher and am voluntarily leaving this honest review


  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story and narration

This story has a little bit of angst thrown in with mystery and drama. I liked both Liam and Pete. The two definitely had some baggage, but I was rooting for them both from the very beginning.

I enjoyed the narrator himself, but there was a noise in the background that at times was noticeable. Meslar has a nice mellow voice that fit perfectly with the mood of this story. I was able to tell the characters apart.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, flawless performance

I think this story works well as an audiobook because it covers a lot of ground and angst without making you work too hard for it.

Pete and Liam are likable and both have alarming issues that work to move the plot and relationship along. We don’t get a lot of details on the why’s- that is left out. Instead, we get all of the plot lines neatly tied up and resolved by the end. Which is perfect when listening to the story while working or cooking or driving, etc.

The audiobook performance is flawless. Brian Meslar switches accents fluidly and brings the characters to life.

"I was given this free review copy at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

3.5 for me

Narration: This was my first narration by Brian Meslar, and as long as the story is based in the US, it won’t be my last. Let me explain. Brian has an amazing voice, his cadence is great, and he’s able to throw accents really well. But…that was the problem for me. The narration was in a US accent, the book is based in England, and the characters are English (and one Scottish guy). It was distracting for me. I’m an American, but I lived in Scotland for ten years, so I can say the accents were really, really good. But yeah, distracting for me. I’ll be on the look-out for more MM books narrated by him, but so far, it looks to be mostly MFM ménage.

Story: For the story, Mel Gough was another first for me. I liked the book. I had actually wished it was longer and fleshed out the backstories a bit more. The romance angle was there, which I know is the point. But the backstories of the attack and the divorce seemed rushed and just kinda hanging there. So I’ll break down the points by character.

Pete is a detective for the Metropolitan Police. He’s going through a divorce, lost his partner because of divorce, and he’s fighting to see his son. This part of the story was a good representation of the awful condition of the family courts in the UK. The guy finds out his wife wants a divorce because she’s been having an affair with his partner for six months, and he loses his shit for a minute and throws a plate. She uses that to twist things. But that was one of the things hanging there, sort of. It’s solved…she backs down. But we, as the reader, have no idea why. Then at work, there was mention of him helping with a human trafficking case, but then nothing. But the niggle was stuck in my head.

Liam is a budding photographer, but he has to turn tricks on the side to make ends meet. He has a drug addict brother, and that part of the story gets finished off and gives the reader some excitement. However, Liam has a client that he’s been with once and has a closet full of kinky stuff. In memory, we learn he agreed not to use it on Liam. Instead, he just wants to tie him up. Okay, so the next meeting happens in the book, and it’s an all-out attack as soon as he walks in the door. I’m intrigued at this point! Tell me more! I’m excited to know he gets away, but ha! He gets hit by a car trying to get to Pete. But there’s maybe a few sentences on the attacker a little further in the book, and that’s the end of it.

For the characters together, I liked them and was cheering them on. I liked the romance parts a lot, and I felt the connection even though other reviewers didn’t. I think that’s why I gave the story a 3.5 instead of more. I wanted more with everything that was going on. There wasn’t anything that could have been taken out to make it better, but I think it was too much for a short story, if that makes sense.

I’ll be checking her list for a longer book and see that goes. I think she has a lot of potential as a writer, so I’m not giving up on her yet!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I wish it was longer

Tainted life is a short mm romance. A lot happens for such a short book. Pete is a police detective, going threw a divorce. Liam is a bit of a mess. They have a intense chemistry, but after a little incident Liam ends up leaving. Liam gets seriously hurt and Pete steps In to take care of and protect him. Tainted life has a little bit of everything. A little angst, a little action, and is hot! This was the first time I’ve listened to Brian Meslar I thought he did a great job!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mama H
  • 09-30-19

Short but good

I went in “blind” to this book. I didn’t even read the blurb. I admit, I thought that a book this short can’t be good. I’m glad that I was wrong! It seems that the length doesn’t matter after all. This was actually very good story. Both MC’s are at the rock bottom of their lives when they meet. I like that the MC’s weren’t perfect and they made mistakes and bad decisions. And still, they weren’t afraid of their feelings for each other. No instalove but slow burn. This story had suspence, angst and love in perfect mix.

The narrator was new to me. Narration was ok, not perfect by any means, but ok. The occasional humming sounds in the background were a bit distracting though.

I can really recommend this book if you are looking for something shorter to listen to.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kay-Anne
  • 09-27-19

Story as expected

The story was as expected, let down by the narrator. I assume from his pronunciation of the London landmarks names that he is not UK born, but that happens. What was disappointing was his tone it was dull without inflection, with gaps to showcase his ability to voice multiple characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sorel
  • 09-18-19

A good story, but lacking something.

I did enjoy this book, but in both the story and the narration I felt it was missing something.
The narration itself was clear, but the London accents often felt forced and slipped into an almost South African twang. And a few pronunciations were wrong, the most obvious being Woolwich. It sometimes came across as a flat monotone making the pace of the book feel slower than it should.
Again with the story, it didn't have that spark I like to find in a book. Maybe it was the narration dragging it down, but nothing inspired feelings of either high or low. It wasn't awful, but it was far from the best I've heard.
In the end, it was good enough for me to listen to all the way through, but not enough to do so again.