Friday, March 26, 2010

Marked by Whitlock-Masen






Edward Masen is a self-sufficient, independently wealthy man with a PhD in Social Anthropology. When he meets a man named Jasper, he is shaken by the disappointment he feels when Jasper is apparently an impossibility. ExJ, Slash, OOC


I'll admit it: I gloat about getting to read chapters of Marked before anyone else. A lot. But really, can anyone blame me? Whatever you want to call them - the Markedboys, Tattward and Inksper, Princess and Cuddles (snicker) - they're hot, they're sweet, they're funny, and they have tattoos and piercings. Yum.

Actually, I read the original Marked one-shot when everyone else did, back when it was an entry for the Tattward and Inkella contest. I had only just opened my canon-pairing-snob eyes to the world of fandom boysecks, largely because of the enthusiasm SorceressCirce and Naelany showed for certain fics (All I Ever Knew, in particular) on the thread for SC's Just One of the Guys. I wasn't particularly vocal about having ventured out of my canon bubble, so when Naelany pinged me on gchat early one morning to ask me a question, she didn't know what answer she'd get.

"Hey," she asked me, "do you read slash?"

I told her I did, but with the caveat that I only read E/J slash. (I won't go into how these two ladies have since gotten me to break that rule, but booze and sexual favors might have been involved.) Nae assured me that what they wanted me to beta/pre-read was E/J, so I readily agreed and eagerly lapped up the chapters I was sent.

Marked is your typical boy-meets-boy story, and yet it's not. The quality of the writing and the lush character development elevate this fic from mundane to must-read, and one of the most frequent comments I make on the chapters I'm sent is how real it is. Though the story drips with sexual tension - both unresolved and *cough* not - make no mistake: this is not porn without plot. Edward and Jasper are two guys trying to handle the very normal challenges of life, love, and coping with the scars left by previous romances. We've all been there, so it's incredibly easy to relate to their struggles even if, as women, we can't put ourselves in the exact shoes of their relationship dynamic.

Since I am a "blind" pre-reader, I don't know what's coming in the story, although I have some guesses. What I do know is the way in which I fell in love with these guys right at the beginning, and that my water bill has progressively grown with each new chapter as a direct result of the increasing number of cold showers I need to take. I know that I agonized with both of them as they each wondered if the other was interested, that I cheered when first kisses were exchanged, that my heart melts with every whispered endearment, and that my pulse races when they can't keep their hands to themselves. Which is often...and can you blame them?

Yeah, I can't. They're inked up and worked up...a recipe for explosive lemons. There have been times when I've literally had to stop in my comment-making duties and go take a walk to get my brain working again. What I love, though, is that the sexytimes aren't contrived or superfluous, but rather the normal developments of a couple growing closer physically as they do so emotionally.

And the emotional story is a huge part of Marked. It's a good thing they're both young, strong, virile men, given the baggage each of them is - very justifiably - carrying around. It's not overdone, or unrealistic - this is a portrayal of two guys who are affected by their pasts, as we all are, and who are slowly but surely learning to open up. In another display of stark realism, however, this progression is happening at a different speed for each of them, and despite how much of a wuss I am, I'm glad that not all of the answers easily.

There may be obstacles ahead for our lovebirds, and definitely some highly-anticipated revelations, but it's a mark of the skill of these authors and the quality of the story that I am as eager for those as I am for Edward to flick Jasper's nipple ring with his tongue again. Whitlock-Masen can bring it on...and everyone else can hate me because I'll get to see it first.

5 out of 5 from me. :)

What could be better than one hot guy with a nice peen? Well, two hot guys and double the peen, of course!! If you don't get turned on by hot dudes rubbing all up on each other and slash isn't your thing, then this rec isn't for you. If, however, you like a little guy lovin' once in a while, then Marked might be right up your alley.

I read the original one-shot when it was submitted for the Tattward & Inkella one-shot contest and enjoyed it then, though it did feel like a first chapter instead of one little story tied up together, so I was always sort of wondering if/when it would be continued. When this got suggested for a rec, I was able to read and find out.

The authors do something fairly unique in that they don't continue on straight from the one-shot (and you don't need to read that to read this story, as they fill in all the gaps), but instead they take us back to when it started and fill up the missing gaps with more information on the characters.

I really enjoy the Edward and Jasper the authors have created. I'm intrigued by their back stories and am interested to see how it all plays out. The UST that they write is yummy and there is a LOT of build up before we really get to see some solid interaction (besides teasing) between these two.

I'll be honest and say that looking at the number of words this story is, and in only 14 chapters at that, is a little daunting. If you enjoy large chapters (some as large as 20k+ words), then you'll be right at home with this fic. If, however, you're like me and enjoy much smaller chapters - somewhere around 5k words - you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of these chapters. I found myself wanting more time with the guys and seeing them evolve and instead felt like I got lost in - what I thought were largely unnecessary - details. I wished they had left a little more to the imagination and focused more on the relationship with the two boys and progressing that further, while getting over their individual hang-ups, rather than other inconsequential things.

I will say that the sexin' in this fic is hot and sensual at the same time. I love a little dirty talk and both these boys know just when to use it, and just how much to say. Of course, we get to enjoy a lot of play first - of the hand and mouth variety *wiggles eyebrows* - and when these two finally do the deed, it's sweet and hot all at the same time.

I give this 3 out of 5 tattoos

I think like my other birds, I read and loved the one-shot these dirty gals wrote for the tatt comp. :) So I was beyond thrilled when it was continued. MIND you - I almost went out of my mind with UST - as these two teased and tantalised one another (AND US!)..
If you haven't read this story before, yes there is a lot of words to catch up on. But I think it is well worth it. I love how completely we are immersed in the worlds of Edward and Jasper. Their alternate chapters reveal so much about their characters, their fears, their hopes and their past. Its intense characterisation that really adds to the UST and the general build up that you want these 2 hot tatted boys as happy lovers and proper partners to one another.

How much do I melt when they give in to their physical desires for each other? Whether it just be an intense snog inside of Edwards house? Or crazy frantic making out in front of sport on the settee? Or the dry humping, or the hands or the ........ GAH! Yeah its delish and very intense. I think what is also interesting about this story - is that Edward is the one with less issues.. He is just biding his time, waiting for Jasper to resolve his. Its Jasper that has the real baggage and is dictating the pace of their relationship, that makes a nice change from it always being Edward the complicated one.

I really enjoy Marked, every chapter seems to be getting hotter and hotter. The couch shag in the last chapter? Rarrrrr! Plus boy on boy cuteness, tenderness and sweetness, and proper characterization, with interesting side characters like Emily, Kate & Mike. Oh & hot tatts, piercings and photographs... I am desperate for Edward to introduce that camera into their sexing...

4.5 tatts out of 5 from me....

is all kinds of fail this week. I've not yet finished reading this story, so I don't feel right leaving a full review...yet. I'll come back later and fill this in properly (twhs). I can tell you that what I've read, I've enjoyed. The UST between these two is fan-fucking-tastic. I'm a sucker for good UST.

I love slash, but lately I’ve been getting tired of a specific (popular) slash ship. Yes, it’s true. Jasper/Edward fic has been kind of sucking my will. There are some classic fics for this pairing (some written by my fellow h00rs) that I love, but a lot of the fics that I’ve seen post lately aren’t doing it for me. I thought that maybe I was getting burned out on Ed and Jaz.

That is until I read Marked.

Oh HOLY FUCK! I sat down to read this story and about two paragraphs in I feel in love, head over heels in love. The level of writing in this story is on par (and at times above) what you would find in publish fiction. Every sentence is crafted with such care and thoughtfulness that I felt like I was peeking into someone’s real life.

SorceressCirce and Naelany take their time introducing us to the characters, in a meet-cute (google it) that doesn’t seem trite or staged at all. They use everything from the tattoo shop where Edward and Jasper first meet to the supporting cast of friends to helps us better understand these beautiful complicated men. Complicated…that’s a loaded word, but it works in reference to Edward and Jasper.

These men have pasts that have left a mark on them. We see traces of these old wounds in their inner monologues and their realistic reactions to the sudden intensity of their attraction upon first meeting each other. Both fear, doubt and question themselves in a way that I think we all can relate to and empathize with. All of this is done in long, detailed scenes that feel like you’re watching it happen in real time.

This felt like watch a movie or documentary, because Edward and Jasper feel so real to me. I feel for them, ache for them and am embarrassingly turned on by their sexual interactions. There is a vibrancy to characterization over of both these men that gives this story a sense of authenticity that most fiction (fan or published) lacks. This story is spellbinding, and it has captured my heart.

My very first reaction to this fic can be summed up in the email I sent to the rest of the Perv Pack right after I finished reading the first chapter:

I love this story so much that I want to write it on a blow-up doll and make sweet love to it.

As I’ve continued to read this story my feelings have not change, in fact they’ve intensified.

Whether you are a long time reader of slash fic or not, this story deserves your time and attention. Give it a chance, I dare you. Just read the first few paragraphs and try not to fall into the rabbit hole. Don’t be scared, we’re here at the bottom ready to catch you, when you fall in love with this fabulous story.

5 out of 5 tatts for me

We're sorry, but Kimpy is unable to come to the phone right now. She fell victim to spontaneous human combustion over the level of UST in the story called "Marked."

It is no secret that I love slash stories. Fem, boiz, threesomes, it's equal opportunity in my book, with one HUGE caveat--it needs to be A) Realistic (i.e., no "chicks with dicks") and B) Well written. Because of these rather significant obstacles, I don't read a lot of slash, simply because I'm picky as hell. Once again, we've already established this fact. Thus, when I found out that this week's pick was a slash fic, I got a little nervous. I hemmed and hawed, I dragged my feet, but eventually, I just dove in and read the thing, and I'm so incredibly glad I did. I LOVED Marked!

As I started reading, several things struck me immediately. First of all, Whitlock-Masen does a good job delivering cleanly written prose. No typos, no word misusage, nothing to throw off my eagle eyes. *happy, blissful sigh* Second, there was nothing involving either research or medicine that was incorrect, so again, another pleasant surprise. The final straw that broke down my reticence was a lovely awkwardness at play between Edward and Jasper that was the impetus to draw me fully into the story.

Once I was in, I fucking could not stop reading. I happened to be at home, on call, the night I started reading. I told myself I would read ONE chapter to see how I liked it, then go to bed and hope to get a little sleep. Six chapters later, at 10:30 AM the following morning, I finally had to give up and go to sleep, knowing I needed to wake up again in five hours. It has been a long time since I stayed up all night reading a fic, and I'm not going to lie, it was kind of a secret thrill to have found a story worth staying up for.

Whitlock-Masen's incarnation of Edward and Jasper are delightful. Naturally, these two boys are beautiful and fuckhot, complete with tatts and piercings. Edward sports a tongue ring, which is hot all on its own. When he decides to torture Jasper by wearing a tongue ring that says, "Cock Tease," I found myself crossing my legs a little too much, KWIM? Oh, and Edward isn't content to just wear the ring; no, he needs to snake it out of his lips and flash it at Jasper. You better believe I googled the hell out of "tongue ring with message" to find a replica. Oh, dear god, can you say UNF? Someone as beautiful as Edward flashing that signal at me? I would be toast.

Fortuntely, Jasper has more fortitude than do I, and he resists. Resists, I tell you! The uncertainly, the resistance, the awkwardness, it all blends into epic servings of UST, leaving you clenching and jumping ahead to the next chapter. Even when they finally get into things, they are still full of tension, because they haven't done all they want to do. As much as I profess to hate UST because it is just so... unresolved (!), who am I kidding? I love it, because when it finally resolves, it is so fucking worth the wait. I'm not going to spoil a minute of it by describing it, because you have to read it for yourself to appreciate the long, slow burn leading up to the *ahem* final resolution.

Aside from our boys, we have a cast of supporting characters who are well-developed in their own right. A gay Alice, a tattoed Billy Black, a straight Kate to whom Edward is a GBF, and a Bella unlike one you've ever read before. For people who have issues with Edward and Bella making joint appearances in a story but not hooking up? No problem in Marked. Because this incarnation of Bella is--wait for it, wait for it--a newborn baby! Yes, seriously! I thought it was a clever and lovely twist, something I have come to expect from Whitlock-Masen and Marked. Do yourself a favor. Give these delightful boys a chance. You just might be up all night, but it will be totally worth it!

5 out of 5 "Cum Here" tongue rings (yes, please!!)

I haven't been reading a lot of slash lately, I have no excuse other than nothing has really struck me as "YOU HAVE TO STFU AND READ THIS NOW!" Until Marked. Woof and sigh all rolled into one.

Like Bri, I enjoyed this o/s when it was in the contest. It was one of the entries that I hope would eventually be continued. Lucky us that the authors decided to listen! Thanks ladies.

The UST is really well done, and more importantly, in a very realistic way. The dirty talk is just to die for, unf, and I hope they continue it when they finally round home.

I look forward to seeing how they carry out the relationship that they're building. It's a great story and I think that if you're looking for some yummy slash, then this is your story.
3 out of 5

Tracy- I don’t read a lot of slash because of my Edward’s-Penis-Can-Only-Touch-Bella rule. But even if you’re someone who doesn’t usually read slash, you have to appreciate the relationship Whitlock-Masen has built between Edward and Jasper. The characters are believable and likable—more importantly the UST is ridiculously hot. There are simple exchanges that leave you panting:

My eyes continued upward, my tongue ring suddenly between my lips as I appreciated the sight of his toned chest and broad shoulders. I continued my appraisal all the way to his hair, which I noticed was more tamed than usual.
He must've just brushed it.
I can fix that.

When I met his gaze again, my tongue ring disappeared back into my mouth, and I gave him a crooked grin. His eyes widened, and I saw his lips part just before I heard a low, "Fuck me…"

"Maybe…" My grin widened. "If you play your cards right."

Um…yes, please?

And as a Boston girl myself, I love seeing a fic set in the area. (Go Sox!)

But like Bri, I found the length of the story a little difficult to manage. In general, I tend not to read many fics with chapters that exceed 10k, but that’s a personal preference. If you like them long (heh), Marked is for you.

3 out of 5

Marked is one of those great situations of what happens when to authors who are great on their own (SorceressCirce and Naelany) get together and collaborate. I, too, first fell in love with Marked in its one-shot form for the Tattward and Inkella contest. I would have been happy if it stayed there. I am so, SO glad they didn't leave well enough alone, because now we have fabulous.

Usually in a J/E fic, it seems to be Jasper who is always the one with his heart on his sleeve. In this case, we see Edward being the more tenderhearted of the two. Both of these men have been hurt by their last committed relationship. Edward was the victim of eventual parting of the ways because they both wanted different things from life. Jasper, unfortunately, was the victim of eventual indifference and cruelty. He learned the hard way about losing yourself in a relationship. These former affairs are the root of the problems these two suffer from. Edward not wanting to push a relationship to be more than it is, and Jasper afraid to give any of himself in fear that he will lose all of himself.

The story carries fantastic sexual tension. You find yourself hoping they push past their demons as they slowly round each base. One thing that is nice about the hesitancy, is that we get to linger with them at each turn. Lots of kissing. Eventually some over the close. Then some hands and mouths get involved. Finally, they do make love and it is so worth waiting for. It wasn't rushed. It was kind of nice that they took their time getting there. There is still some feel in manifesting their feelings into words. The L word has not dropped, but I have a feeling something soon is going to trigger that.

One of the things about this story that I think these ladies do most amazingly is their use of the "B" players. In most fics, sometimes the use of Mike, Jessica, Ben, Angela, and in this case, Bella, feels forced. Not so in this story. Bella is Ben and Angela's newborn. Emily is Jasper's sister. A mix of pack, human, and vamp cast are tossed in there as friends and family, and I will tell you that it absolutely works! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

These ladies do give us super long chapters every other week, but they are well worth setting aside the time for.

5 out of 5 tattoos.


naelany said...

OMFG! I'm a squealing, leg-kicking mess of excitement right now (yeah, take that how you will, I know what's going on :-P). Thank you guys soooo much for this awesome rec! I'm beyond thrilled!

SorceressCirce said...

I don't even have words for how excited I am right now (and I'm even more excited that you've left Nae such a mess because she's fucking adorable this way)! Thank you all SO much! We know we're wordy bitches, and we can't thank you enough for taking the time to read it and write such amazing things about it! :)

fricnfrac said...

*does a giggle happy dance* This is one of my favorite stories! Jasper, Edward, freakin tattoos....*shuddergasp*. Definitely learned from experience and put a towel down on the chair for the re-read! LMFAO!

Wonderfully written and so expressive. Is definately one for the "favorite fuck-all stories to re-read again and again" folder (and yes, I do have a folder named just that!)