Tricky Times TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m reviewing a sexy new historical romance just released from Sorcha Mowbray. I know I just shared the deets on its release yesterday, but this is how it goes in schedule-land. TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS is the second book in her Lustful Lords series and it’s chock full of both the lust and the lords. I loved HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS and I’m happy to say this was no let-down.

About the book:
A duty bound earl and a jewel thief might find forever if he can steal her heart…
Robert Cooper, the Earl of Brougham must marry in order to fulfill his duty to the title. He’s decided on a rather mild mannered, biddable woman who most considered firmly on the shelf. But, her family is on solid financial ground and has no scandals attached to their name.

Lady Emily Winterburn, sister of the Earl of Dunmere, is not what she seems. With a heart as big as her wild streak she finds herself prepared to protect her brother from his bad choices, even if it means stealing from the Ton. But marrying their way out of trouble is simply out of the question. What woman in her right mind would shackle herself to a man, let alone one of the notorious Lustful Lords?

Cooper’s carefully laid plans are ruined once he must decide between courting his unwilling bride-to-be and taming the wild woman he caught stealing–until he discovers they are one and the same. And when love sinks it’s relentless talons into his heart? He’ll do anything to possess the wanton who fires his blood and touches his soul.

My Review:
The series is titles “Lustful Lords” for a reason y’all.

Robert Cooper, aka Lord Brougham, isn’t specifically needing a wife, but he must produce an heir. Seeing his best friend, the earl of Stonemere from the first book in this series, so happily settled with a loving wife has put Cooper’s mind to thought. While he never plans to give up his lustful ways with his mates and the willing wenches of The Market, and upscale brothel, he could find a biddable woman who’d bear his children, run his household and not mind if he disappears on the regular for some debauched revelry. It’s therefore crucial to find he right lady of the ton.

Emily Winterburn is a spinster, and not going to trouble herself over it. She has a disastrous first season thanks to a rake who besmirched her, and she’s been “on the shelf,” considered unmarriageable, in the years since then. Accustomed to the wallflower role, Emily uses it to her advantage when she discovers the disastrous state of her elder brother’s accounts. He owes thousands in gaming debts and keeping ahead of his creditors requires some creativity. All right, it’s downright theft. But, Emily only steals from the wealthy who can afford it, and those who humiliated her way back when. What’s a few baubles or a ruby necklace compared to impoverishment?

Cooper has decided Lady Winterburn is attractive enough, and her family isn’t destitute or racked by scandal. Her parents died in a fire, and her brother seems respectable. He plans to get to know her better, in the hope that she will suit as his wife. No one’s planning a love match, after all. She ought to be thankful anyone would have her, truly. Yet, he see her, the true Emily, as a spitfire and independent thinker the more time he spends with her. Cooper isn’t prepared to be intrigued, but his forays into more bring him even more unexpected new: she’s the Waltzing Thief! While the hunt is on for the dastardly criminal stealing at each big houseparty, Cooper had not entertained the idea that a lady could be the culprit. And this revelation brings Emily and Cooper together in unexpected ways. He immediately offers for her hand–and she…well, it doesn’t go to Cooper’s original plan.

Turns out Emily is more hellion than biddable lass, and that’s even more intriguing. If she’s eager to seek thrills.. Cooper’s got thrills baby. Emily, let down by men her whole life is not eager to tie herself to one in marriage. Sex, however? That she’s has some curiosity regarding. If Cooper’s willing to lavish his no-doubt well-schooled experience on her that would be delightful. Perhaps. But she won’t fall for his charms, and she absolutely will pay her brother’s debts.

I liked this one a lot. Cooper’s got some issues to work through, mostly his notions regarding marriage. It’s good that he has an example of a truly happy, lustful, marriage to observe: Theodora and Stone are borderline lascivious and head-over-heels two years into their nuptials. Theo serves as a confidante and friend to Emily, which helps to smooth over some rough patches as Emily and Cooper navigate their unconventional relations. The sexytimes are yummy, with Cooper being a man prone to feast on Emily…until she’s delirious with pleasure. They play some bondage games, and Emily learns to submit to his domination, which is more than Cooper could have dreamed in his wildest fantasies. To find a love match was beyond his expectations, yet, getting there is not smooth sailing, buy any stretch. Emily is a hellion, headstrong and determined to never need a man, even if one happens to want her around. It takes some creativity, but Cooper wins her heart, and he never has to lament leaving his mates to The Market’s filthy pleasures. Not that Cooper tames his hellion…because she’s just as freaky as he is.

Interested? You can find TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, and AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

You can also find HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS on Amazon (US, UK, CA and AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and GooglePlay.

About the Author:
Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!

For more information about Sorcha, please visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads. Join Sorcha’s newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming releases. She’s loves hearing from her readers.

Out Today! FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING–Release Day Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING is the first book in her Warrior Fight Club series. It features a PTSD-plagued wounded vet, and the best friend of his life that he’s fallen hard for. I’ve loved RIDE HARD, and her veteran-centered HARD INK books too.

About the book:
Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…
Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

How about a little taste?

“Noah, are you down here?” Kristina called from the top of the basement steps.

Despite the lack of response, she continued down and crossed the room to the mostly closed door in the back corner–Noah’s bedroom since he’d returned just before last Christmas. God, Kristina had thought she’d received the best Christmas present ever–Noah, home from Iraq, safe and sound.

Well, mostly sound, anyway. An IED blast had taken the hearing and most of his vision on his left side, and he’d struggled with bad migraines and equilibrium problems when he’d first returned. But he was home and he was alive, and having him back again had made it feel like she could finally breathe after years of knowing he was in danger every second of every day.

She knocked softly. “Hey Noah, it’s me.”

All she heard was a long exhale of breath, but it was enough.

Why hadn’t he answered her? Her stomach clenched as she pushed open the door far enough to see Noah standing in the dark doorway to his bathroom, his back against the door jamb, his arms crossed, and his head hanging on his big shoulders.

She didn’t need to ask if he was okay, because he was radiating not okay loud and clear. Kristina walked right up to him. “What’s going on?” she asked. Dim light from the rec room filtered over him, allowing her to just make out the tight clench of his square jaw, the narrowed cast of his dark brown eyes, the harsh set of his beautiful mouth.

Wait. What? Where had that little observation come from?

Noah shook his head, forcing Kristina to drop the ridiculous line of thought.

She stepped closer so that she could look more directly into his eyes. “Come on, Noah. It’s me.” She ached for him to open up, but what she noticed even more was the low buzz rushing through her body. From how close she stood to all his taut hardness. It wasn’t like she was just noticing that Noah was hot, like, dayum hot, but nearly five years in the Marines had matured him and built hard muscle that hadn’t been there before. And clearly her body was just noticing, probably because they hadn’t had the chance to spend much time together since he’d gotten back.

“Kristina,” he said, his voice so low it was nearly a whisper, or a plea. He leaned his forehead against hers. It was such a sweet, needful gesture that Kristina’s chest seized.

“First, I’m hugging you. Then we’re talking, buddy,” she said, wrapping her arms around his big shoulders and planting her cheek against his chest. The embrace wasn’t unusual-they’d always been affectionate with each other. She’d lay against him while they watched a movie or he’d sling an arm over her shoulders while they were out together. When things were bad with her dad, he’d hold her when she finally gave into her grief about it and cried. That’s how they’d always been.

He embraced her right back and leaned his face against her hair.

After a long moment, Kristina pulled away–

Noah wouldn’t let her go. His grip on her tightened, and he held her fast against him. Was he breathing faster? Was he trembling?

Against her belly, he hardened.

Kristina’s breath caught in her throat. Noah was aroused…by her? Or just, like, in her general vicinity? Or…? She swallowed hard as her thoughts flew.

As they stood there, suspended in the dark, stolen moment, the air around them flashed hot and closed in, narrowing the world to all the places their bodies touched. His erection grew, pressing against her with more insistence. Heat bloomed over her skin everywhere and she held herself perfectly still. Because this was different. This was not friendly. This was more.

A strange tension wrapped around them, and it scared and attracted Kristina in equal measure. She shuddered out a breath as her body came to life against his. Her breathing quickened, her nipples peaked, her core clenched.

Noah made a noise in the back of his throat like a moan, and his arms tightened around her, pulling their bodies totally flush.

Kristina’s breath caught at the hard press of his body and at the shocking arousal it unleashed in her.

This is Noah. This is Noah. This is Noah.

But it didn’t seem to matter to her body. The soft cotton of her dress became heavy and irritating against her skin, and all she wanted was for it to be off. So he could be all over her. This sudden, intoxicating need was brand new to her-in general and certainly with Noah. She wasn’t a virgin, but she’d never felt with another man the kind of desire rocketing through her just then. And all they’d done was touch.

Why was this happening?

Her hips shifted without her meaning to do it, and it made her belly grind against all that hardness.

Noah hissed in her ear. His fingertips dug into her back…and then wandered, one hand pressing low against her hip, one skimming up her neck into her hair. Holding her tight. Bringing her closer.

She was half sure she was imagining that they were locked inside this raging bubble of attraction, except that his heart thundered beneath where her head rested, his breathing had gone rough, and his skin felt every bit as feverish as hers.

She had to stop this…whatever this was.

Tilting her head back, the words were on the tip of her tongue. Her eyes locked with his, and even in the dimness she could see that they were blazing hot and almost predatory in their directness. It stole her capacity to speak, because she was unequivocally sure he’d never looked at her like that. Need roared off of him and through her, making her heart beat like a bass drum.

Kristina swallowed hard. What would she do if he kissed her? One kissing experiment aside, she’d never had to ask that in regard to him. Another question followed close behind: what would she do if he didn’t?

My Review:

Noah Cortez is seven months stateside after a disability discharge from the Marines. He’d been in the service five years, but a landmine stole his comrades, hearing and vision on the left side of his head. Besides the visible scars, Noah’s battling some pretty intense emotional shrapnel–which is why he’s tried to stay away form his childhood best-friend Kristina Moore.

Kristina knows something is seriously wrong with Noah; his lackluster attitude, hollowed eyes and fading body are big clues, but being present at one of his flashbacks is a wake-up call. FOr both of them. Noah’s depression and PTSD have been eating him alive, and he doesn’t want it to ruin his relationships, so he pulls away from everyone, especially when they tell him he’s not the nothing, damaged man he sees in his mirror, and feels in his mind.

Kristina, having lived with a parent with mental illness, wants to be Noah’s rock, but a new complication arises: their mutual attraction. They’d never been anything but platonic before, and now? They get steamy–for the moment. Noah’s sure that Kristina deserves better than a broken down, disabled vet, but she knows he’s her everything, and desperately wants to build a life together. Unfortunately, she learns he can’t return her love, not when he doesn’t love himself.

This is a great first book in a new series. The friends-to-lovers aspect was handled really well, with all the confusion that it can entail. Noah finds help in unexpected places–art therapy which leads him to fight therapy designed only for military enlisted and veterans. This Warrior Fight Club provides a safe space for Noah to work out his aggression and regain his balance, both emotionally and physically. He knows he probably doesn’t deserve another chance at loving Kristina, but he’s determined to be a better friend than he’d been when he returned home.  I loved Kristina, and respected her struggles, and frustration, with Noah’s hot-and-cold attitude. It was great seeing Noah turn his life around, though I wished for a little more insight into his challenges once he started seeking treatment. That said, it’s got an upbeat ending and sets up new characters to carry the series forward.

Interested? You can find FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of 3 $10 Amazon or B & N gift cards.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

LauraKayeAbout the Author:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Catch up with Laura on her website, Facebook, twitter, or sign-up for her newsletter.
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Happy Book Birthday to TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS!

Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a sexy new historical romance out today from Sorcha Mowbray. TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS is the second book in her Lustful Lords series. I adored HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS so I jumped at the chance to read this one.

About the book:
A duty bound earl and a jewel thief might find forever if he can steal her heart…
Robert Cooper, the Earl of Brougham must marry in order to fulfill his duty to the title. He’s decided on a rather mild mannered, biddable woman who most considered firmly on the shelf. But, her family is on solid financial ground and has no scandals attached to their name.

Lady Emily Winterburn, sister of the Earl of Dunmere, is not what she seems. With a heart as big as her wild streak she finds herself prepared to protect her brother from his bad choices, even if it means stealing from the Ton. But marrying their way out of trouble is simply out of the question. What woman in her right mind would shackle herself to a man, let alone one of the notorious Lustful Lords?

Cooper’s carefully laid plans are ruined once he must decide between courting his unwilling bride-to-be and taming the wild woman he caught stealing–until he discovers they are one and the same. And when love sinks it’s relentless talons into his heart? He’ll do anything to possess the wanton who fires his blood and touches his soul.

This looks like another sexy-fun one! Look for a review from me SOON!

Interested? You can find TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, and AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

You can also find HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS on Amazon (US, UK, CA and AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and GooglePlay.

About the Author:
Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!

For more information about Sorcha, please visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads. Join Sorcha’s newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming releases. She’s loves hearing from her readers.

More Than a WASH OUT–Military Monday Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new M/M military romance from L.A. Witt. WASH OUT is the seventh book in her Anchor Point navy series. I’ve loved JUST DRIVE, AFRAID TO FLY, CHIEF’S MESS, and RANK & FILE. WASH OUT features a main character that appeared in AFRAID TO FLY, but they can all be read as standalones.

About the book:
Casey Olson has always known he was destined to be a Navy SEAL, and the best day of his life was when he was accepted into training. The worst day was when a snapping bone ended his dream.

After three combat tours in five years, Logan Carter left the Marines and self-destructed. Now he’s sober and, thanks to a forgiving ex with friends in high places, has a promising job as a civilian contractor. All he has to do is stay on the rails and out of a bottle, even when his demons won’t leave him alone.

Logan likes his job, and he really likes the gorgeous man at the next desk. Casey tries not to check Logan out, but who is he kidding? From the start, despite their best efforts, neither man can resist the other. Sizzling chemistry leads to sex so hot they can both almost forget why they’re stuck in this office to begin with.

It would be perfect, except Logan can’t stop reliving wars he’ll never forget and Casey can’t stop grieving the SEAL he’ll never be. And they’ll never have a future together until they can make peace with their pasts.

My Review:
Logan Carter is a combat veteran and former Marine who is piecing his life back together. Surviving three combat tours didn’t prepare him for life as a civilian. We met Logan briefly in AFRAID TO FLY as Travis’ drunk boyfriend who embarrassed him at the Navy Ball. He’s been a Navy contractor before, and lost those jobs due to alcoholism–but he’s 6 months sober and in therapy to deal with his PTSD for the first time since he didn’t re-up seven years ago. Travis, good guy that he is, has pulled some strings to get Logan a last-chance job working in the training department, setting up schedules and teaching classes to enlisted sailors.

On his first day, Logan meets Gunner’s Mate 2 Casey Olson, a man grieving the loss of his lifelong dream of being a SEAL. He’d passed the many fit tests and even made it past Hell Week in BUD/S training, but a snapped lower leg in a training run on the loose beach sand brought his career to a swift halt. While he’s recuperating now, it’s highly unlikely that Casey will qualify for SEAL training due to this injury, and he’s having a hard time coming to terms with it. Still, working in the training division on light duty has it’s benefits. His co-workers are cool, and Logan? Logan is HAWT.

Would it be a bad idea to have some fun before he gets reassigned?

While Logan knows it’s a bad idea to mess around with a co-worker, he’s been celibate a long time. And, as they build a friendship in the office, the undercurrent of attraction grows. After a particularly hard day for Casey, Logan’s sympathy is more temptation than they can take, especially when a kiss follows the embrace. But, are they making a big mistake, or stepping into their future together?

There is a lot of awesome details in this book about combat vets and dealing with PTSD. I liked the day-to-day of it, getting into Logan’s head and seeing his issues up-close. It was also interesting how the fictional administration had made specific plans to ensure the personnel had safe spaces in which to work. I hope this is a true look at the reality of life for persons in the military, but I have to guess it’s not a complete picture. We get some deep insight into therapy, as well, and seeing Logan cope through his art was cool. Casey’s heartbreak was palpable, and his frustration at being consoled felt real. There was a moment near the end where he reached an unfortunate boiling point, but it marked the necessary turning point for communication between Casey and Logan. Because they had long passed the point of casual lovers into true boyfriends. I liked this one lots, and found the scorching sexytimes highly satisfying.

Interested? You can find WASH OUT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY***
Click on this link to comment over on Book Reviews and More by Kathy to enter for a chance to win 2 backlist e-books from L.A. Witt.
Gook luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.

New Beginnings? LOCK NUT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly released contemporary M/M mystery romance from JL Merrow. LOCK NUT is the fifth book in the Plumber’s Mate series and I hope it isn’t the last. I adored PRESSURE HEAD, RELIEF VALVE and BLOW DOWN. For those who haven’t picked up these books, they feature a plumber with a knack for finding water and lost/hidden items–including dead or missing people, and his former bully who’s now his fiance. It’s set in England, and has some absolutely awesome vernacular.

About the book:
Still waters run deadly.
Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.

My Review:
Tom Paretsky–maybe he is Polish–is a plumber with a unique knack for finding what’s hidden, including dead bodies. His fiance, Phil Morrison, is a private investigator, so it’s a handy skill to have. In this story Tom and Phil are planning their wedding, but it’s not going well, especially when Tom’s face gets put on the telly as a suspect in a murder.

Tom’s committed to finding the true killer before another death gets put on his head. And Phil’s determined to make it to the altar–with Tom intact. Though moving in together hasn’t been without issues. Tom’s a little territorial, and he’s slow to adapt to big changes. Like finding out about his paternity issues and building his familial relationships. Phil knows Tom needs nudging, even when Phil goes a bit far.

As with the other books in the series, the sexytimes are on the down-low but Tom’s raw wit keeps the pace cracking along and we know how very much he adores Phil. That’s totally reciprocated, too, even though Tom has self-esteem issues. Tom’s efforts to track down the killer are more personal this time. He’s making friends with the kooky family of the grieving widow, knowing that she’s the prime suspect. I did like all the misdirection, even if I had picked out the killer in the beginning. The harrowing bits have the appropriate amount of tension, and enough suspense to make me wonder if we’d hear those wedding bells pealing, or not. I loved how it ended, and I really hope to see more of these books in the future.

Interested? You can find LOCK NUT on Goodreads, <a href=”Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Pop on over to my pal Joyfully Jay and leave a comment to be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Matching Goals LEVEL UP–Release Week Review and Giveaway

Hi there! I’m super excited to share a release week review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Annabeth Albert. LEVEL UP is a companion story of the #gaymers series because one of the MCs is a side character we met in both CONNECTION ERROR and OFF BASE. If you liked STATUS UPDATE or BETA TEST, you’ll enjoy this one, but it’s totally a standalone, too

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter the giveaway for a $20 GC below!
About the book:
Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

How about a delicious taste?

Bailey was the type who moved a lot as he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting. His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was more than a little turned on.

“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up over the years.”

“Totally. And speaking of art, let me find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game. He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”

“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon, Bailey went to sit on the couch.

“You want a drink while I’m in here?” Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”

“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.” Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.

He really did not look at all like any photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why photography? You said you could have done game design?”

“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship to the art institute in Portland.”

“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked like he lived for weekend games of some type.

“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.

“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff on the TV screen while you have your drink?”

“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.

Landon queued up the pre-release trailer Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.

“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”

“I know, right? Now look at the in-game screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.

Somehow, as he shared more video clips, he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth video that he realized that he was aroused.

Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand, holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.

“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.

“Ow,” they said simultaneously.

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the skin?”

“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away. Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet. Arousing.

Bailey leaned in again, way slower this time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to take his time learning the lesson.

Landon was the first one to take things further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.

Not content to let Bailey be the one exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip. Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want it to ever end.

My Review:
Landon is a wunderkind physics genius we met in CONNECTION ERROR and OFF BASE, as a roommate to Pike–who crossed those series. Landon is bisexual, but he doesn’t date men bigger than himself having been raped in college by strapping athletes. He often struggles with intimacy, in fact, as a result of PTSD stemming from that experience. Still, he’s a sexy, lithe man and has agreed to pose for a “naughty” calendar for a literacy campaign. He’s been in touch with the photographer via email, and Bailey seems like a nice girl–their cyberflirting has Landon intrigued.

Unfortunately, the photographer, Bailey, well…he’s a guy. And gay. And BIG. Turns out the sweet fey-looking girl featured in Bailey’s Instagram feed is his assistant. Landon is flustered, and frustrated, but Bailey is as magnanimous and warm as he had been online. And, they still have common gaming interests. The photo shoot goes well. Well enough that Landon and his best pal agree to drinks with Bailey and his assistant. There is a mutual attraction growing between Landon and Bailey, but Landon’s afraid his anxiety will crop up if they become intimate. Plus, Bailey’s living in Portland, though he has a job prospect that will bring him back to California where Landon lives.

Landon initially shuts down Bailey romantically, but explains why. His trauma causes Bailey pain, knowing that his physical state isn’t something he can change, but Bailey’s still interested in being Landon’s friend, if nothing else. So they continue to game online, and chat over the phone, too. Over the course of another month they build a strong friendship, one that they aren’t sure they want to risk in case getting physical leads to panic attacks. I love though, how Bailey is so down for whatever, and how his mellow attitude brings Landon peace. They have some sexytimes on Skype and that really helps them build on the attraction in a non-threatening manner.

When they reconnect in Cali, it’s a far better experience than the first time they met–and Landon has been seeing a therapist to help mitigate his panic attacks. Plus, it works for him that Bailey is more than willing to let Landon be the more aggressive partner. Landon’s growth stems from a deep desire to make his friend his lover–and he crosses emotional barriers he didn’t intend to address in order to do so. There is a decent amount of steam for the situation, though the conflict is pretty low-stakes. I found it to be a feel-good sort of book, with two decent guys finding unexpected friendship and love that conquers their fears.

Interested? You can find LEVEL UP on Goodreads, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Annabeth Albert avatarAbout the Author:
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Find Annabeth online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.
IndiGo

Out Now! ALPHA HEAT–Release Deets and Book Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week giveaway for a new dystopian-Omegaverse M/M romance from Leta Blake. ALPHA HEAT is the second book in her Slow Heat series that’s set in a post-female world where only males of three genders exist. I just finished both of these books, and will post reviews in the coming weeks, but let me say: wow! I loved them.

Drop down to enter the giveaway!
About the book
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.
Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.

I seriously love this new series, and highly recommend both books. Watch for my reviews in the coming weeks.

Interested? You can find ALPHA HEAT on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of SLOW HEAT!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:
Leta Blake is the author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.