Coming Soon! THE TATTERED GLOVES Book Blast & Excerpt

Hi there! I’m really excited to share an excerpt of a new contemporary YA novel coming soon from JL Berg. THE TATTERED GLOVES features an abuse survivor starting over.

ttg-amazonAbout the book:
Head down.
Don’t look up.
Never make eye contact.

Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.
Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.
But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.
And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.
Am I brave? Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?

How about a little taste?

Head down.

Don’t look up.

Never make eye contact.

These were the rules I’d learned to live by while growing up in a house where men frequented but did not stay. When I was very little, I’d always assumed my mother had a lot of friends. Big, strong, manly friends who protected us since I didn’t have a daddy.

How naive I had been.

The men who had visited only wanted one thing, and my mother was happy to give it — for a price.

She’d never made any desperate attempts to shadow this particular part of her life or protect me from it.

The most I’d gotten was a flippant warning when I started showing signs of puberty.

“Willow, you might want to keep out of sight more now,” she’d said.

Thanks, Mom.

And then, when I’d garnered more than a glance or two, she’d say, “Stay in your room at night. Don’t come out.”

But, even with all the rules and warnings, I couldn’t keep them all away.

I couldn’t keep him away.

He’d managed to snuff out every bit of me in a matter of minutes.

Whatever remnants of innocence I’d had from my childhood was gone like a puff of smoke.

But, in our darkest hours, sometimes, even the weak could find the light.

I did, and this… this was my story.

Interested? Find out more about THE TATTERED GLOVES on Goodreads, and pre-order it in advance of its January 24th release on iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Author:
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Connect with J.L. Berg on her website, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads or on her newsletter.
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TBR Thursday: NOTHING SPECIAL A Review

tbr-graphicHi there! I’m back again with a book off my TBR List/Mountain. Today I’m featuring a sexy M/M police romance that’s a hit bestseller from A. E. Via. NOTHING SPECIAL is the first book in a five (so far) book series that features two Atlanta vice detectives, partners on the force, and how they fall in love.

nothing-specialAbout the book:
Detective Cashel ‘Cash’ Godfrey is big, tattooed and angry so people typically keep their distance. He’s fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn’t expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis ‘Leo’ Day.

Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out and one bad-ass detective.

Together Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks.

When Cash saves Leo’s life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he’ll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash’s heart.

Nothing Special takes the reader through various emotions throughout the richly fulfilling plot that’s full of erotic gay romance, heartache, passion, trials and tribulations, police action scenes, and an intriguing twist that comes to an amazing ending that’s impossible to see coming.

My Review:
Despite reading widely in the M/M genre, I do miss books. And, when I was given the opportunity to read the FIFTH book in this series, I knew I had to go back and read the others, first. So, I did.

I really liked this one, because I really liked the characters. They felt very real to me, even making decisions that I felt were poor–out of a misguided sense for love or honor.

Cashel Godfrey and Leonidis Day are detectives in the Atlanta PD, and they mostly work to hunt down drug lords. They’ve been partners for four years, and get along really, really well. Day is out and proud, and “God” doesn’t mind. He’s a closet bisexual and has developed intense feelings for Day, while Day harbors what he believes is an unrequited crush. They work side-by-side and often spend evenings together. God’s been hiding his really, horribly-dysfunctional family history from Day (and everyone) for years, and believes he’s unlovable as a result. When God gets leveled by the flu, Day’s his at-home nursemaid. And, Day contacts Genesis, God’s younger half-brother which ends up being a catastrophic mess, and leads to God and Day having a falling out.

I’m really not stating it all as strongly as it happens in the book, because that was some messed up crap, and I might have gotten a little vicarious-PTSD in the reading. What remained, however, was the heartache, and neither God nor Day could cope in that fractured state. God made his move, and Day was completely bowled over. And there was lots and lots of sex. And some cop stuff. And fixing the lives of fellow cops who had separately bordered on harassment-status, to that point. And more sex, and a huge drug bust that went every-which-way instead of simply sideways, and Day was nearly killed and protocol was completely absent, and I still liked the book, because God and Day are really fun to ride along with.

Also, things got kinky, and new “friends” arrive on the sexy scene, and that might make some readers mad, but I was all “if it feels good, boys” and they went for it, and I liked it all the more.

The book is a pleasure read, with some really harrowing moments that only reinforced how special both these guys are to each other. The resolution with God’s family seemed way too fast, but it happened near enough to the end that I could imagine a happy ending was necessary, and would be revisited in later books.

Interested? You can find NOTHING SPECIAL on Goodreads and Amazon.
About the Author:
A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.

Visit her site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next. You can also check out her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and don’t forget to tell me if there are books I should add to my TBR mountain!

Experiencing Life as THE NEW WOLF–Review & Giveaway!

the-new-wolf-fbHi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a newly revised M/M paranormal romance from RJ Scott. THE NEW WOLF kicks off the Building the Pack series, and it’s super yummy!

Catch the excerpt and get in on the $10 Amazon GC giveaway below!
new-wolf-coverAbout the book:
A dangerous lone wolf is intent on destroying the beginnings of a pack and when Connor is attacked and near death, there is only one thing that can save him. A wolf shifter’s bite.

After a hate crime leaves one of them near dead, Veterinarian Josh Nolan and Cop Connor Vincent are starting a new life in Black Creek, a remote town on the edge of the Green Mountains range, Vermont. Josh is taking over his grandfather’s practice, and Connor starts a new position with the local sheriff’s office. When Connor becomes curious about unsolved crimes going back fifty years he can’t know the kind of secrets he begins to unearth. Or the danger that he puts himself and Josh in.

How about a little taste?

The smell of coffee woke him and he reached across the bed to check for Josh. When he felt empty sheets, he assumed Josh was the one making coffee. His feet hitting the floor sent a sensation of pain up his legs and he cursed under his breath. He had issued a check with Josh that his body couldn’t cash. Either that or he was getting old. Padding into the kitchen, he blearily rubbed his eyes. It seemed they’d slept through the day and it was after nine in the evening. Josh was wearing sweats that hung from his hipbones and in the soft light from the hall, the dark kitchen was casting weird shadows around his lover. Connor had never seen anything so beautiful as Josh leaning against the counter, waiting for the coffee machine to do its thing.

He yawned widely behind a hand and crossed to Josh, cuddling him from behind. Josh tensed in his arms momentarily in surprise. Evidently, he hadn’t expected Connor out of bed yet. Then he relaxed back into Connor’s hold and finally turned in his arms and pulled Connor closer for a hug.

“How you doing?” he asked gently.

“Aching a bit,” Connor answered truthfully. After five years together, Josh could see through Connor like his mom used to be able to do. According to Josh, he could tell when Connor was lying, joking, or any other ing Connor attempted to pull on him.

“You should probably take some more pain meds.” Josh punctuated that with a kiss and, for a second, they stood close and kissed gentle close-mouthed kisses and simply held each other.

“It’s weird,” Connor started. “My thigh is fine, my chest, fine, but I feel like every muscle in me aches, and my joints, my knees, even my damn elbows. Like I’ve pushed too many weights, or run three marathons back to back.”

Josh tugged back a little and, even without being able to see into Josh’s eyes, Connor knew his other half was probably going to mention the unnecessary sex in the hallway. He wasn’t wrong.

“We shouldn’t have done that this morning,” Josh admonished. “You’re not well enough.”

“I was fine. You weren’t complaining.”

Josh huffed a laugh, then turned back to the coffee. Carrying two mugs into the front room, they sat next to each other on the old wide sofa that had come as part of the house.

“I’ll be complaining tomorrow,” Josh deadpanned. “I’m not saying it wasn’t hot, but jeez, look at this.” He wriggled a little and pushed down his sweats to expose his left hipbone and five perfect crescent dents that were red and sore.

“Shit, babe,” Connor snapped immediately. He placed the coffee down, then touched the marks on Josh’s beautiful unblemished skin. “Did I do that?” He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the marks, then sat back up, not knowing what to say. Should he say sorry? Is that what Josh wanted. Why was it so difficult to read Josh’s expression? Normally he could read Josh as easily as he, himself could be read.

“You just don’t know your own strength,” Josh said without accusation. Then he straddled Connor’s lap and buried his face in Connor’s neck. “I fucking loved it,” Josh mumbled.

Connor held him tight and relished the feel of Josh’s skin against his own. “I love you,” he said gently.

“I love you, too,” Josh murmured. “Don’t ever get attacked in the forest again. Okay?”

Connor moved so that more of Josh’s weight rested on him. The feeling of him was exquisite. Then he cuddled hard and made a mental promise never to go into the trees again.

My Review:

Josh and Connor are a married couple starting over in Black Creek, Vermont. Connor’s a detective who’d been attacked one night while they were returning from a movie date–and Josh nearly lost him. They thought Josh buying out his late grandfather’s rural veterinary practice would be the beginning of a quiet peaceful life for them, but Black Creek is shadier than either of them could have imagined.

Soon, Connor’s partner is dead, and Josh’s been attacked, and the howls at night surely signal the return of wolves to the woods after nearly one hundred years absence. Only these aren’t ordinary wolves.

As a beginning to a shifter series, this book works, because it gives us a good sense of mystery, and the onset of shifter powers when Connor’s attacked by a rogue and saved by the local Alpha. Connor and Josh have a tender and loving relationship that’s upset by Connor’s new aggressiveness. I like dhow this all played out, and how this pack tried to take care of it’s own. The nemesis hasn’t been defeated, but the main conflict of this book was Connor’s development into a shifter–and that’s resolved.

Interested? You can find THE NEW WOLF on Goodreads and Amazon (US or UK).

****GIVEAWAY****
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

Catch RJ on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter and LibraryThing.

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Multiples of Love and Danger: CLAIMED BY THE MATE–Release Day Review

claimed-by-the-mate-vol-3-bannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for the third volume of CLAIMED BY THE MATE featuring paranormal romances by Kate Douglas and AC Arthur. DANGEROUS PASSIONS is third book of the Feral Passions series, and should be read after FERAL PASSIONS and WILD PASSIONS. BOUND TO THE WOLF is the third book in its series and should be read after HER PERFECT MATES.

claimed-by-the-mate-vol-3-coverAbout the book:
Kate Douglas and A.C. Arthur return with another scorching volume in their Claimed by the Mate series featuring two delicious, unforgettable novels in one!

In Dangerous Passions, Feral Passions Resort is the place for women to find romance and seduction with a hot, hard werewolf alpha mate. Traker Jakes and Evan Dark of the Trinity Alps pack have yet to find a strong, sexy BBW woman to consume with heady pleasure. But a special woman has arrived at Feral Passions Resort. The one who will burn with passion between these two sexy werewolf shifters. Desire will reach its peak…and the best these three can do is hold on to the sensations that erupt between them.

In Bound to the Wolf, Phelan Sava is a lycan werewolf shifter with a dark side to his soul. He lives for pleasure and revels in pain. But what burns for more than anything is a woman to dominate with his unbridled passion and desperate lust for good. Marena Panos is an attorney with a dark secret that follows her into the mountains and into the bed of a Phelan Sava. And when she is hunted by the feral beast that ravishes her body and claims her soul, Marena has no choice but to give in with no intention of ever looking back.

How about a little taste of DANGEROUS PASSIONS?

She entered the cabin and waited while Trak set her clothes on a chair in the main room. Naked and wanting, transfixed by her beauty, he watched her change. She paused by the chair, glanced his way, and then focused on the floor between her front paws. Her body rippled and shimmered beneath the overhead light, flowing like molten metal. Coppery gold and rust red fur gave way to silky honey-toned skin. Her muzzle flattened, her ears lost their points, her bone structure changed, as she gracefully morphed from wolf to woman.

Her long dark hair fell loosely over one shoulder, pooling on the hardwood floor.

Her shift wasn’t as fast as his, but she was still faster than some of the guys in his pack, denoting her alpha status. Oddly, Chelo seemed totally unaware of her own power. He wondered how much she even knew about what she was. Had anyone told her anything at all?

Her shift complete, she stayed on her hands and knees for a moment, blinking into the light. He recognized that momentary disorientation when the body’s senses shifted from the ultrasensitive wolf to their more mundane human abilities. He’d worked at overcoming that, and with a bit of training he imagined Chelo would learn to work through it as seamlessly as she’d shifted her body.

He was doing his best to ignore his erection when he walked over and held out his hand. She raised her head, blinking as if coming out of a sound sleep. Then she smiled, realized what she was looking at, and her pupils flared. She took his hand and he pulled her to her feet.

She was a truly remarkable woman, her body curved in all the right places, full breasts standing proud, broad hips flaring from a narrow waist, her bottom more than a handful but perfectly formed. With her thick, dark hair falling to her waist, she was the epitome of an ancient fertility goddess, an open invitation calling for his touch.

He released her hand, crossed his traitorous arms across his chest, locked his fingers around his elbows. Literally holding himself back from touching her. “Thank you for the run tonight, Chelo.” He kept his voice level, the cadence smooth. At least his alpha strength was good for some things. Staying calm when everything told him to act was an alpha ability he’d rarely had to call on. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to shift and run for the pure joy of it.”

My Review:
DANGEROUS PASSIONS picks up where the other books have left off: with members of the Trinity Alps pack needing mates. Alpha Traker Jakes and Evan Dark are the final two unmated members of this pack–and the vacation season has come to an end. It’s frustrating to not have mates, but with all the rest of the pack now bound to women they love, Trak thinks maybe it’s time to close down the Feral Passions resort for single women–and maybe restructure it into a destination wedding spot. They already have one wedding booked, and that’s the last of their expected guests until spring.

Unexpected guests turn up, however. Darnell is a Hollywood make-up artist who never forgot the steamy nights she spent kissing Evan Dark–and cuddling with a wolf from the reserve. It’s been months, but she has to know if Evan’s still single–or interested. On an impulse she drives up from LA, and Evan’s all-too-happy to rescue her when she takes a wrong turn near the resort. He’d really liked the spunky gal who’d struck a chord with him at the beginning of the summer, and has high hopes that she might join him as a mate.

Meanwhile, pack members notice Chelo, a rogue wolf running a new flower shop in nearby Weaverville. Chelo has finally managed to escape the bonds of her abusive mate, now dead. She’s been on the run for years to escape his brother, Rube, who plans to continue where Jorge left off–raping and abusing Chelo for eternity. Meeting the Trinity Alps pack is such a big change, and Trak is definitely attracted to this powerful shifter who could be his perfect mate–if they can manage to get rid of Rube and his stooges.

The romances are pretty straight-forward, and have a nice amount of heat. The main stories involve Chelo’s pursuers and how the pack decides to deal with it. Expect battles to the death and hot nights in the wolf reserve. While all the love stories are wrapped tight, I can imagine further books with new problems and wolf pups in the future.

In BOUND TO THE WOLF, Phelan Sava is a lycan werewolf shifter who’s been cursed to never find a mate by on of the Furies. He’d turned his back on this female when it became clear she was spying on Phelan to gain access to his Alpha, Blaez. See, Blaez and his Devoted pack are being hunted by Hunters and emissaries of Olympus. Zeus wants the lycans dead–and he won’t stop until this happens. Previous books brought mates to Phelan’s pack, but he’s not on the lookout for his own. He notices the scent of a newly-turned shifter while out for some pleasure and he stops. Because newly-turned wolves need constant physical attention, and she’s clearly alone.

Marena Panos is an attorney who’d been bitten by a partner in her San Francisco firm. This dude wanted a piece of Marena however he could get her, and she fled the area when it seemed she was under investigation for his disappearance. Fair point, as she shot him in order to prevent being raped, but his body was never recovered, and the police thinks she’s a killer. Driving non-stop, she rolls into Montana overcome with pain as her body struggles to assimilate the new shifter DNA. Phelan’s touch and proximity is the only saving grace from her round-the-clock pain and nausea. It’s not long before Phelan’s touch becomes more than a balm–and their coupling seems to make all things right in Marena’s new stark world.

Add to this, Marena hears her attacker’s voice in her head, and Phelan’s sure it’s all tied to a plot to capture Blaez and destroy their pack. Phelan’s not happy about his growing attraction to Marena, and the realization that she’s his true mate isn’t a happy one; Phelan’s been abandoned by everyone he ever loved. His history is a little too bleak, I thought, but Marena’s advent gives him more hope than he’s ever held before.

Expect kidnapping, randy werewolves, Olympic maneuvering and dramatic rescues. This book also feels like it might end the series, but there’s a window or two still open to revisit our favorite black ops wolf pack in the future.

Interested? You can find CLAIMED BY THE MATE Vol 3 on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Authors:
KATE DOUGLAS loves to write and she especially loves those ‘happily ever after’ endings, which makes writing romances the perfect career choice. A life-long Californian, Kate and her husband of over forty years live in the Sonoma County wine country within walking distance of three of their six grandchildren. She is the author of Wild, Intimate, and Awakened.

Find Kate on her website, Facebook and twitter.

A.C. ARTHUR was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently lives with her husband and three children. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since. Her debut novel Object of His Desire was written when a picture of an Italian villa sparked the idea of an African-American/Italian hero. Determined to bring a new edge to romance, she continues to develop intriguing plots, sensual love scenes, racy characters, and fresh dialogue—thus keeping the readers on their toes!

Find AC on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Spies Like Them-REVOLUTIONARY TEMPTATION–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for an historical M/M romance out today from Sylvia Violet. REVOLUTIONARY TEMPTATION (hopefully!) kicks off a clandestine romances series between a Continental officer and the dandy who risks his life for freedom. As a standalone it’s a good one, but I hope we get future adventures with these men…

Don’t forget to drop down and enter the $15 Amazon GC giveaway below!
revolutionary-temptation-400About the book:
1777 New York City
The American colonists are fighting for their independence, but the battlefield is not the only place to wage war. When General Washington’s head of intelligence asks Captain Jack West to spy on the British in New York, Jack agrees, despite reservations about this ungentlemanly pursuit.

Jack’s contact in the city recruits bookshop owner Elias Ashfield, an impeccably dressed sensualist who flaunts his desire for both men and women and seeks a place in high society. Jack longs for a simple life guided by clear principles. Eli is a risk-taker who knows how to get what he wants. And he wants Jack in his bed.

Events in Jack’s past have made him fearful of acting on his secret craving for a man’s touch, but Eli intrigues Jack as much as he infuriates him. As Jack and Eli search for the information the rebel army needs, they realize there’s more between them than mere lust. But finding a way to be together may prove more difficult than defeating the British Empire.

My Review:
This is an historical M/M romance set in 1777 New York.

Continental Army Captain Jack West has survived a musket ball to the leg, but he’s still nursing the injury and not completely fit for campaign duty. He’s been sent to New York to work as a spy, as shameful and undignified position. He stays with the widow of a wealthy Loyalist, Mrs. Constance Stephens who has no love for England, or her dead husband. She quarters many British troops in her mansion, and hosts many parties for the Redcoats, with the objective of gleaning information she can pass to General Washington’s troops. While she knows Jack objects to this unseemly work, she trains him splendidly–and that’s for everyone’s benefit.

Building a network of spies is Constance’s main objective, and she recruits hidden patriot and broadsheet writer Eli Ashfield to her cause, as well. Eli’s the nephew of a prominent Loyalist, and runs one of the few bookshops still operating in British-occupied New York. Eli’s allegiance is to himself first, and he’s a practiced seducer, as well as having cobbled together a side-business in smuggling tea, sugar and whatever sundries can’t be legally imported through the blockade. Mercenary to the core, Eli needs to build his fortune now so he will be well-off when the war ends, whatever side wins. There is no way he’ll trust his scheming uncle to provide for him ever again. Falling for Jack is a glitch he wasn’t expecting.

As this trio work the parlour parties, they gain information necessary to help thwart British success–and Jack and Eli fall hard for each other. Jack’s afraid, understandably, because he’s seen the carnage discovery brings. He won’t risk Eli being killed, and yet, they still find time for trysts over the weeks and months they spend in this clandestine endeavor. The peril mounts when Jack is called back to the army, and Eli’s frustration over Jack leaving makes him particularly careless.

This book is written as a standalone, but it’s clearly able to be spun into more volumes, which I do hope happens. I really enjoy historical romance, and this is the first Revolutionary-era M/M book I’ve read; so that was refreshing. I liked how the lovestory developed, with Jack being so resolute in his protection of Eli that he ends up hurting him, deeply. There’s a big skirmish and dramatic rescue in the offing, with Eli and Jack being more committed to their efforts at ending the war as fast as possible–so they might find peace and happiness together one find day. An admirable aim for these two lonely, lovely, men. I’m intrigued by Constance, and how she’s going to keep her information-stream flowing, now that she’s unmasked a bit of her operation to the enemy. Strong women are always faves for me, and I love how she wound these gallant men right around her fingers.

Interested? You can find REVOLUTIONARY TEMPTATION on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Catch up with Sylvia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or sign up for her Newsletter.
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Recognizing Truth ONE LIFE TO LOSE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M/M menage thriller romance from Kris Ripper. ONE LIFE TO LOSE is the fourth book in the author’s Queers of La Vista series, and brings the murder mystery introduced in GAYS OF OUR LIVES, THE BUTCH AND THE BEAUTIFUL and really discussed in THE QUEER AND THE RESTLESS to it’s ultimate conclusion. The featured characters are a shy, antisocial movie house owner and the committed younger couple who want him as a partner.

one-life-to-loseAbout the book:
Cameron Rheingold is the kind of guy who takes a book to a bar. He’s a loner by nature, but he has to engage with the community to keep his movie theater business afloat. When two young men stay after a Cary Grant film showing to chat, Cameron thinks he might have made some new friends—but their interest is more than friendly.

Josh is charismatic, and every smile is a little bit seductive. Keith is sweet and kind, with a core of steel Cameron can sense even when Keith’s on his knees. Cameron is willing to be the couple’s kinky third, but that’s it. He refuses to risk complicating things with his growing devotion, even if being with Josh and Keith feels more right than anything else ever has.

When the three of them are attacked by the killer roaming La Vista, Cameron must decide what’s more important: pretending the assault never happened and he’s the same loner he used to be, or coming clean to Josh and Keith about how much he loves them, even if they can never return his feelings.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in a series and best enjoyed when read in order due to continuing characters and a murder-mystery plotline.

Cameron Rheingold is a single gay man operating his family legacy, the Rhein Theater, one of those lovely throw-back moviehouses of yore. He grew up in the theater, helping at the ticket booth, and concessions, and being a part of the mix. His parents and grandparents are long gone, and he’s not about to let their theater fade away; it’s his touchstone. As a way to build interest, he decides to offer a series of Cary Grant showings on Saturday evenings–which feature the movie, a brief lecture and refreshments.

This is where he meets Josh and Keith. These young men are opening an LGBT drop-in center, to help the queer youth of La Vista find shelter from life’s problems. They have starry eyes and big hearted dreams, and well, they want Cameron to become involved. It’s not what Cam thinks, however. They are attracted to him, and in their D/s life together, they want a third–to help discipline Josh the way he desires.

It throws staid Cam into a bit of shock. He doesn’t consider himself to be a sexy man, and his nature is to walk away rather than charge forward, but there’s something so magnetic about Josh and Keith–and they are so loving to both each other and himself, that Cam finds their offer to be irresistible. Unfortunately, this draws the attention of the La Vista Killer–for reasons I don’t want to spoil. This serial killer has been murdering outre members for the queer community for the past eight months, and there are no leads. One of Cam’s few friends has recently been murdered, and it’s not long before Cam finds himself in the killer’s path.

Thing is, this experience–surviving the attack–should bond Cam, Josh and Keith together. And, it doesn’t. Not at first. The investigation is rough, and it seems both Cam or Josh might be under suspicion due to Keith’s BDSM “injuries,” and Cam can’t find any peace at night away from his lovers. He feels especially guilty that they got drawn into the attack, and won’t go to Josh and Keith’s home for fear of leading another predator in their path. His isolation is complete, and heartbreaking. But, love does find a way. Cam figured he was just the “side bit” to their love–until Josh and Keith make it very clear that he’s a part of them, one they are unwilling to live without.

I really dug the full-circle nature of this one, how the killer is brought out, how he stalks his victims, how Cam suffers PTSD in the wake of the attack. It’s very thorough as a thriller. Cam and his boys, Josh and Keith, are a loving trio, yet I got how Cam was so afraid of loving and losing that he always kept his emotional distance. I can imagine being the third to enter a menage would incur that level of self-scrutiny. The sexytimes aren’t terribly steamy, and the BDSM is brief, more discussion than page-time activity, but there’s a sweetness to this trio that’s really engaging. I always love when a loner finds love; that’s one of my big thrills. The way the Cary Grant movies were part of the drama was also cool, and having a movie house in my town, I loved that retro-made-hip aspect, too.

As a series, we’ve been through a lot of variations of the queer community, and I’ve found it sensitive and interesting. The killer isn’t someone I’d have expected, and his viewpoint is one I’ve not encountered much, but I do get glimpses of it now and again in the media. It startled me, but that’s okay; I like being surprised. Good thing Cam, Josh and Keith made it through, because I was fearing a complete melt-down tragedy for a few moments there…

That said, this ends with a satisfying happy ending, and I look forward to the next book.

Interested? You can find ONE LIFE TO LOSE on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and has no pronoun preference, but the z-based pronouns are freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Catch up with Kris on zir website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Lonely Hearts Longing: WANTED, A GENTLEMAN–Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-released historical M/M romance from KJ Charles. You know I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these other historical paranormal M/M romances RAG AND BONE, and THE SECRET CASEBOOK OF SIMON FEXIMAL, so I couldn’t wait to get into a new series. WANTED, A GENTLEMAN kicks off a whole new non-paranormal storyline, and I really got into it.

Check out the $25 GC giveaway below, too!

wanted-a-gentlemanAbout the book:
WANTED, A GENTLEMAN
Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

Act the First:
the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second:
a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)

featuring:
a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns
a private Bed-chamber

***

In the course of which are presented

Romance, Revenge, and Redemption
Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires

the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

My Review:
This story is set in 1805 London, and is a historical M/M romance with no paranormal elements.

Theo Swann is a writer who runs a weekly marriage paper wherein he posts the ads of lonely people seeking affection, companionship, or marriage for better or worse. He also writes what we’d consider Regency romance under the pseudonym of Dorothea Swann. Theo’s barely eeking out a living in his humble printshop-slash-living quarters and is none-too-pleased when Martin St. Vincent, a free black man of some wealth raps upon his door to demand the identity of one of the lonely hearts featured in Theo’s paper.

Theo may find Martin attractive, but what does he care if coded messages from clandestine lovers are part of his paper. THey paid their money, and he ran their ad. Simple.

Martin makes it clear that this is in fact very complicated. He is an agent of a wealthy family–the family which owned him until his 18th birthday as it turns out–and the only daughter of this family seems to be planning an illegal elopement–as the messages indicate. Martin has been pressed, a bit, into helping if he can. And Theo’s not really interested in helping, unless he can profit from it. So, Martin offers him money, and Theo discovers the day of their departure from London. For a grand sum, Theo agrees to join Martin on the chase to Scotland, to save this underage silly chit from her ultimate ruination.

While Martin and Theo share a mutual interest–they both like men–Martin’s not keen on Theo much at first. Still, his intellect surprises him and the long, arduous journey is endearing. For about a day. That’s about how long it takes for Theo to blow this who caper sky-high and send Martin into fits trying to cajole his childhood friend from making the greatest mistake of her young life.

I’ll tell you right now, there’s a huge curveball to this plot. It seems like a romance, but it isn’t a traditional one. Nor is Theo who he portrays himself to be. While that threw me for a loop, I wasn’t averse to the plot shenanigan. It allowed to re-investigate Theo, who–to that point–seemed rather lackluster, in comparison to Martin’s stately and intriguing character. Martin is a thriving merchant, set up with an education and some seed money to begin his business from the very family that held his enslaved for fourteen years. The very people he’s crossing England at breakneck speed to assist in their domestic dilemma. Theo has trouble fathoming why Martin would lift a finger to help, and can’t see the profit in it. Martin is a man of honor, but even honor doesn’t bind him to help–and it’s an interesting situation for Martin to be in.

Theo, for his part, makes a lot of trouble, but also makes a lot of good. He’s a man in the worst sort of binds, and has no qualms trying to help himself out of them by any means necessary. He has neither time nor patience for a willful girl snookered by an obvious con-man; not when he’s being financially enslaved by his own flesh-and-blood. His assistance to Martin was always going to be mercenary, but falling for Martin wasn’t part of the plan. I really found the thematic juxtaposition between Martin’s enslavement, Theo’s financial situation and the girl’s elopement to be fascinating. In the time and place described, a girl’s only worth lay in her marriage prospects and this situation–a wretched elopement–would have damaged all hope for her family to ascend higher socially; so her position as property to be granted by her father’s whim rendered her into a theoretical “kind” of slave. As a fan of historical romance the whole elopement issue has always struck a chord with me, maybe it was because I’ve come from women who did elope–and their families didn’t approve.

There’s a little bit of sexytimes, a lot a bit of empathy, and a heroic ending that would outdo Mrs. Dorothea Swann’s imagination everyday and twice on Sunday. I really did like how this ended, with Martin and Theo finding an accord that is mutually satisfying with neither of them bound by duty, honor or poverty. They can simply be two men who admire each other, and figure out a way to build a future together.

Interested? You can find WANTED, A GENTLEMAN on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.
wantedagentleman_tourbanner_1
If you want to get in on the $25 GC #Giveaway happening the blog tour, comment on the cool post over at PRISM BOOK ALLIANCE.

About the Author:
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on twitter, Facebook, join her Facebook group, or contact her here. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.