Getting Real in A CASUAL THING–My Review for Joyfully Jay

Hi there! Today I’m back with a book I recently reviewed for Joyfully Jay. It’s a New Adult M/M romance that’s a lot sweet and a bit spicy. This is the first book I’ve read from Annabelle Jacobs, but it won’t be my last.

A Casual ThingAbout the book:
Patrick Mason travels to Bristol to spend the summer with his brother, Ben. He’s cat sitting for the first two weeks while Ben goes on holiday. But Ben neglected to tell him he wouldn’t be doing it alone. Will Adams—Ben’s mate and Patrick’s long-time crush—is staying in Ben’s guest room while he waits to move into his new house after a breakup.

Against his better judgment, Patrick convinces Will that a little no-strings fun is just what they need. Patrick doesn’t want to get involved with a guy on the rebound, and Will isn’t interested in starting something serious with a student. But Patrick’s never been good at separating sex from feelings, and this time is no exception. As their weeks together draw to a close, they need to decide if they have something worth pursuing or if it’s really just a casual thing.

I really enjoyed this novel. It’s short and sweet, perfect for an empty afternoon. And that cover is really perfect, as the entire romance kicks off with a simple dropped towel… 😉

Expect some steam, some regret, and some break up to make up–HEA style.

You can check out my complete review over on Joyfully Jay. Pick up the book on Amazon, All Romance or Amazon UK.

About the Author:

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her husband, three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

You can find Annabelle online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Love Following THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a book released today!! A new contemporary romance from Amy E Reichert. THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a love story of food, Milwaukee, and two mismatched souls. As a Chicagoan, I was skeptical, but yeah, it made me curious about that quirky city two hours north…

The Coincidence of Coconut CakeAbout the book:

YOU’VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

My Review:

Lou is a chef with her own restaurant, Louella’s, eeking out a living in Milwaukee. She works hard and loves her work, something her fiancé Devlin, a high-powered attorney, doesn’t understand. She’s somewhat content with life, until she finds Devlin in a compromising position with a paralegal–it throws off Lou’s entire day and she has a wreck of a night at her restaurant–serving a botched meal to an undercover food critic.

Al Waters is a London transplant whose scathing food reviews have earned him some fan mail, but few friends. His experience at Louella’s is positively sickening, and he’s not willing to give the chef another chance to poison him. His review is the beginning of the end for Louella’s, and rightly so!–in his opinion. Serving undercooked fish is a health hazard….

Al meets Lou at a bar where she’s gone to cry out her sorrows–and they hit it off. Neither of them want to talk about work, but Al’s complaints of the city Lou loves earns him a bona fide tour guide–she wants him to love Milwaukee before he leaves it. Thing is, Al starts falling for Lou, and she for him. Neither is really ready to commit to anything–Lou has a restaurant falling apart and Al wishes for bigger cities/writing markets, but their bond is developing. Until Al realizes who Lou is, and how his article killed her restaurant and dreams–and he’s sick over it. He tries to make amends, but can’t. He tries to walk away, and can’t.

So he does the only thing he can do–support Lou through it. And fall in love. It’s not a one-sided affection.

Well, until Lou learns who wrote her restaurant’s review, that is….

This was a really sweet story with plenty of heart and well-rounded characters. Lou is a beloved person and chef who had a really really bad day–and she triumphed within her loss. Al was an uptight jerk who melted in Lou’s capable hands. He secondary characters are very well-drawn and add a good deal of seasoning to the story. Plus, the love of Milwaukee just pours off the page. I’m a Chicagoan, and this book made ME start to love Milwaukee–a true feat! I really enjoyed the tour throughout the city, and the fun cooking bits and pieces. I honestly would have loved it more had there been any physical heat on the page, but the book is cleaner than my empty dishwasher. Alas.

Still, it’s a quick read with emotional depth and a few quick twists that kept the story moving. Lots of great tension regarding how and when Lou would find out Al’s deception. I wasn’t shocked by the bearer of this bad news, and really liked that Lou didn’t ever give up or cow to the whims of people who didn’t keep her best interests at heart. She’s a great character, and the coconut cake recipe at the end made for a sweet finale.

Interested? You can find THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

Amy E. ReichertAbout the Author:

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

Find Amy online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

The World Between INK AND SHADOWS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m featuring a new urban fantasy–which I’m sure will become a series–from Rhys Ford. INK AND SHADOWS is my first book from Rhys Ford, and I’m glad to saw it was a stellar read. This is a M/M book, but there is little romance and no sex. It really only has gay characters, some of whom want relationships and others who do not…but the STORY is about the Veil and what lies in wait behind it.

Ink and Shadows (Ink and Shadows, #1)About the book:

Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

My Review:

The Four Horsemen, Death, War, Pestilence and Famine are immortals who live on earth, hidden behind the Veil which shrouds the Fae, Darkfae and other immortals, like the Vitues: Faith Charity, Peace and Hope (among others like Gluttony, Lust and Luck…) from the sight of mortals. Except crazies and seers can sometimes see them. Kismet is likely crazy, but he’s had the “gift” of sight since childhood. He is terrorized by his constant observations of wraiths and ghosts, including that of his younger brother who was inadvertently poisoned by their addict mother. Kismet is crippled by his visions, and self-medicates with heroin to keep the wraiths from attacking his mind.

Kismet sits at the center of an intricate plot to remove some immortals from their Calling. See, if people need help crossing planes, Death can be summoned. If someone is in need of Hope, she must appear–and this is a tiring existence for an immortal. Some want to settle down, have a “normal” life, perhaps even fall in love, and Kismet’s ability to see through the Veil may hint at deeper abilities. Spiking his heroin dose with an agent of magical origin kicks off the action.

Pestilence, known as Mal to his Horsemen, is lonely. He wants a partner outside of his group, and he’s too inexperienced as a Horseman to properly wield the Veil. War (Ari) yearns for more than kinship with Death, the eldest and most powerful of the Horseman. Ari is indefatigable in his pursuit, and Death welcomes his closeness, but keeps it platonic, fearing the loss of his soul if he should lose Ari, his best friend and confidante, for any reason.

Ari and Mal encounter Kismet while on patrol, and he’s in serious trouble–a powerful wraith has been summoned and is nearly finished killing him…except, Kismet survives the attack in the same fashion that an immortal might. It freaks both Mal and Ari out, and Mal insists on bringing him to Death for advice. Pretty much things get bad right after that.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a romance, though the background is set for advancement of romance in a later book. Also, this book fully resolves, while still leaving plot arcs available for a sequel, or series. Through it all we have good guys acting badly, “bad” guys behaving with honor, new friendships (Kismet and Mal) and deepening ties (Ari and Death). I really enjoyed the back-and-forth banter between the Horsemen, and also how committed they are to holding each other up. This book is almost exclusively told from behind the Veil, with the immortals carrying most of the POV. I did have some issue with the rapid POV shifts–this is a particular peeve of mine. I like to stay in one character’s head for a scene, but the POV jumped constantly. It was less jarring than other books I’ve read, but still detracted from my enjoyment.

On the plus side, the prose is stellar, really wrapping the reader in this world within a world. The emotional landscape is rich and I had a great experience feeling Death’s pain, Ari’s deep love, Mal’s isolation and Kismet’s fear. The action is fast and fierce, with copious attacks, rescues and near-death experiences for far too many immortals. Looking forward to the next installment! (Fingers crossed for a some love scenes!!!!)

Interested? You can find INK AND SHADOWS on Goodreads, DSP Publications, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

Find Rhys online here:  website, Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

 

 

Life After the Apocalypse–STRAIN, A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for STRAIN, the first book in the Strain series by Amelia C. Gormley. This is a fantastic sci-fi, dystopian M/M romance, though the romance is slow to build.

Strain (Strain, #1)About the book:

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might confer immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself.

But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved. Which means that soon Darius might have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.

My Review:
The story is set on Earth, more than a century from now. After more than 100years of constant aggression to settle interests in the world, the US military struggled to recruit new soldiers. So, it’s scientists created a virus with which to infect its soldiers to generate supersoldiers, and a poison pill to its enemies at the same time. The effect was devastating, leaving an airborne virus that caused Rot, degeneration of the skin and brain and yielding revenants: hungry, carnivorous uncontrollable humans who are for all intents and purposes zombies.

Rhys has lived in a sheltered community, an abandoned monastery in rural Oregon, for the past 7 years– since age 12. His mother died two years ago and the only remaining adults were Father Maurice and his son, Jacob. They despised Rhys–having suspected him of being a homosexual from his youth–and routinely beat and starved him. Jacob was given Rhys’s younger sister as a bride, in accordance with Father Maurice’s demands, and the book opens with Rhys positioned as bait for marauding revenants while the good Father, Jacob, Rhys’s sister and nephew all escape. Only, it doesn’t go down like that. Rhys fights back–still trying to distract the “revs” and is nearly overcome when the cavalry arrives. And, by cavalry, I mean the original infected supersoldiers.

The soldiers of Project Juggernaut are super in every way: strength, stamina, accuracy. They take down the revs, but not before Rhys’ sister, nephew and the Father are killed. Jacob, that miserable abusive gobshite survived because he ran, leaving his “wife,” toddler son, and father to be attacked.

The “Jugs” aren’t sure what to do with Rhys and Jacob. The are clearly at risk for Rot, but the medic officer argues that transmission of the original virus–via copious sexual intercourse with the Jugs–could help Rhys and Jacob develop immunity to the mutated strain causing Rot before they develop symptoms. It’s a super longshot, and the platoon commander, Darius, is reluctant. Previous Jug leaders had created mini-empires by capturing civilians and raping them into submission–creating new Jugs in the process, and Darius is loathe to taste that power. Rhys even volunteers to die, knowing that he’s likely infected, and this changes something for Darius. He’s intrigued by Rhys, who is so small and scrawny and fierce at the same time.

All of this happens in the first 50 pages, or so. It is fascinating! All those years of being punished (beaten and starved) by Father Maurice and Jacob for his “unnatural perversion,” and yet, given the choice of Rot or Jug life, Rhys remains hesitant while Jacob is only to happy to drop trow. Rhys’ scared out of his mind of developing Rot, and sure that Jacob will find some way to torment him if he shows any inclination of enjoyment of sex. As the platoon makes it’s way back to camp, Rhys and Jacob submit to the “treatment” and I don’t mean this in any porny way, at all. It is rough and brutal, and some non-consent is part of the bargain. It affects Darius, who becomes inordinately possessive of Rhys–against his own better judgement.

I absolutely loved this story. It was an intriguing look at ethics and morality in a post-apocalyptic world. And, I dug that the author flipped the script on man-on-man action–making it vital to Rhys and Jacob’s survival. Growing up in the HIV/AIDS era as I have, and being disgusted by the dismissal of it as a “gay plague” that too many smugly thought well-deserved, I could appreciate the irony and also the necessity of this device. I so wanted Rhys to come to terms with his issues–but it is truly all he can do to keep up with the fast-paced Jug patrol and also keep out of Jacob’s line of fire. Rhys doesn’t mind having a sexual partner–Darius, actually–but the treatment is to “inoculate” him with as many variants of the strain as possible, which means multiple partners daily.

The story is simply brilliant in its treatment of bullying, the balance of power, life after bioholocaust, and the need to live a good life, as good as possible, in extreme situations. I was captivated from the beginning. There are a few tender moments, and many that aren’t so tender. That said, this is a romance, and you can expect an HEA for Rhys–but only after he is pulled so far through the plot-wringer that he’s *almost* superhuman.

Many thanks to the publisher, Riptide Books, who supplied a review copy.STRAIN has two companion novels coming in the next two months, JUGGERNAUT and BANE. I have read both of these, and they are incredible.

Interested? You can find STRAIN on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout the Author:

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.

Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major ebook retailers, and be sure to check http://RiptidePublishing.com for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), and her upcoming post-apocalyptic romance, Strain.

You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

 

 

He Got PLAYED! A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a fun, contemporary M/M romance from JL Merrow. PLAYED! is a light-hearted odd couple match between a classically-trained actor and a dyslexic handyman.

Played! (The Shamwell Tales, #2)About the book:

Tristan’s in Shamwell for one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when members of the local amateur dramatics society beg him to take a role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Especially as he’ll also be giving private acting lessons to gorgeous local handyman, Con, who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Tristan’s determined to get Con in his bed—not only is the man delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan’s success after a bet made with his drama school chum Amanda.

Con’s never dared to act before. A late-diagnosed dyslexic who had a hard time at school, he’s always been convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines—but with Tristan helping him, he might just be in with a chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken, and with Tristan due to leave the country in a matter of months, Con’s determined not to give in and start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance of happiness.

Warning: contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

My Review: 4.5 stars. This book made me laugh, a lot.

Tristan is a “poncey git” in the words of Con, his erstwhile lover. It’s quite true, though. Tristan is wealthy, and well-educated and an actor in London, but his father wants him to give it all up to work in the family’s financial firm in NYC. He has a few last months of freedom while he clears out the house of Nanna Geary–his nanny and his mother’s nanny–who was a surrogate mother/grandmother and beloved to Tristan. She told all her village acquaintances about her Tristan, and all the shows he put on, so the townsfolk have a glossy image of him. She left him her house, and he’s enjoying his layabout with some menial sorting of her belongings. And, lusting after the village handyman, Con. He even gets sucked into starring in the local amateur theatre play–one last go before he gives it all up, as it were.

Con is a big man, and he’s dyslexic, though Tristan doesn’t learn this until quite a bit into the book. Con struggles with reading, but he’s still educated–mostly by audiobook. He volunteers with the local amateur theatre company making sets, and he had a rather nasty first acquaintance with priggish Tristan who was demonstrably upset by a rogue frog in his kitchen. Con was a bastard child, raised by his gran and generally neglected by his mom. His education was poor, due to his dyslexia, and he has a rather poor image of himself. He is used to being insulted, and is tender over it.

Tristan’s fits are, to me, very humorous. His turns of phrase are so over-the-top dramatic, often snatches of a bit of Shakespeare, that he seems far older than 23. Also, he’s a whirlwind of motion and mouth. He confuses poor Con, belittles him (often accidentally), and is ham-handed in his apologies–at first. Still, Con isn’t so dull as to not know when he’s being pursued, and he doesn’t want anything to do with Tristan–because Con is a one-man-guy and he knows Tristan is only temporarily in town; he doesn’t want to be heartbroken when Tristan leaves.

As fates would have it, there are issues with the new play, and Con’s friends enlist Con to take a part–a big part. Not something he can do without help–and Tristan is eager to help, if it means he gets extra time alone with his fave burly handyman. There is a wager between Tristan and a pal regarding the likelihood of bedding Con, but I felt this was an aside to the plot. In short, Tristan didn’t seem to be pursuing Con in any mercenary way–he was genuinely attracted to him.

I am an Anglophile so I adored the full-on Brit lingo, but the language was occasionally thick for me, especially delivered with Tristan’s flair. I was rooting for Con and Tristan from the outset, and was constantly thwarted by Tristan’s verbal idiocy. For such a well-educated man, he has no sense, whatsoever. He was a total flake, but I really liked him in spite of it–I think because he was not truly nasty. It’s like being angry with a puppy for not being housebroken. I’m not quite sure why Tristan has no sense, but he seems to transcend it. When he recognizes his missteps, he does try to make amends. And he does develop some very strong feelings for Con–which are reciprocated. There’s a bit of heat toward the end, but mostly, there is a lot of tenderness on the page before Con and Tristan ever become physical. Tristan goes above and beyond in his training of Con for the stage–and the mutual awe of performance was so fun to watch develop. I adored how kind both Con and Tristan are to the elderly folk in their community. And I really enjoyed the subplot regarding Con’s grandfather’s time in this town during WWII.

Interested? You can find PLAYED! on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, AllRomance and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

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 the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organizing team. Find JL Merrow online on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Discovering Love in ANYA AND THE SHY GUY

Anya Border
Hi there! Today I’m sharing in the release day festivities for ANYA AND THE SHY GUY, the fourth book in the Backstage Pass series from Entangled Crush. I’ve already enjoyed MIA AND THE BAD BOY and DAISY AND THE FRONT MAN, so I jumped at the chance to catch this one! Anya and “Will” have a difficult road to love, but they persevere!

Anya and the Shy GuyAbout the book:
It’s always the quiet ones…
Anya Anderson doesn’t just need a big break, she needs any break. Living on the streets doesn’t leave a girl many options, so when she scores a gig reporting on the Seconds to Juliet tour, she jumps at the chance to earn enough money to sleep somewhere safe. And the paycheck will get bigger—and keep her off the streets for good—if she can dig up dirt on Will Fray, the irritatingly hot “shy guy” of the band.

Problem is, Will Fray isn’t who everyone thinks he is. In fact, he’s not Will at all. Matt, Will’s identical twin, is actually the guy onstage, reluctantly covering for his brother while he’s in rehab. To make matters worse, Matt’s being shadowed by a cute reporter with troubled eyes determined to get the scoop. On him. And he’s having trouble finding the willpower to keep his distance…

But if the secret gets out, it won’t just be his head on a platter—it’ll be the whole band’s.

This Entangled Teen Crush book contains steamy make out scenes, graphic language, and a love story so hot your copy may spontaneously burst into flames. You’ve been warned.

My Review:

This is the 4th book in the Backstage Pass series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Anya is a homeless teen who has managed to bluff her way into a gig as a reporter covering a two week stint on the Seconds To Juliet tour. Her assignment is to interview Will, the “shy” one and make daily updates to her online ‘zine. Anya knows that if she uncovers a big, dark secret about the band, she can sell it and get the money to move off the Tulsa streets. She has had a few articles published, but has posed as a married woman to attain her freelance job, even though she is only 17.

Will Frey is in rehab after a pain pill addiction. In order to not be found in breach of his contract, his twin brother Matt has stepped into his shoes–only one member of the band knows Matt’s true identity, and Matt’s freaking out that Anya will discover his secret. In order to distract her, he attempts to seduce her–and ends up falling for her completely.

This is a fun one! Anya and Matt are both good people trapped in uncomfortable positions. Anya is so used to being on her own, she’s shell-shocked at the attention of the band, and the sheer number of people that are part of the tour. She makes friends with the make-up woman, and Natasha is her first confidante in probably 5 years; surely since before her schizo mother abandoned her 3 years ago. Matt is, by turns, aggressive and reticent. He’s on constant guard against letting his secret loose, but he doesn’t have all the knowledge he needs to be a complete changeling. Like, Will didn’t give him accurate lyrics. And, Will neglected to mention Natasha was his girlfriend on the down-low.

It’s a really clean read, with only the barest suggestion of anything beyond kissing ending in discomfort and giggles. Matt discovers that Anya has learned his secret, and he does the very worst thing possible, but he’s redeemed in the end–in church no less. I loved how the deception was resolved and really wanted to give Will a big smooch for fixing things, along with Matt. Plus, Anya gets a family of friends who are far better than any she could have been born to.

One snag for me: I’m very familiar with Briticisms, and I wonder why Suze Winegardner didn’t write Miles’ story–as he’s the Brit in the group and her expertise in the application of the Queen’s English would have been better used there. There were several times if I wondered how a boy from Florida would use colloquialisms common to a bloke from the North End…

Otherwise, it’s a light, fun read with some tender romantic elements and two HEA’s for readers to enjoy.

Interested? You can find ANYA AND THE SHY GUY on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA) Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Googleplay.

****GIVEAWAY****

Blog swag2

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a fun AatSG swag pack!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Suze WinegardnerAbout the Author
Suze Winegardner is an ex-pat Brit who quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She thinks her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference, well, she already considers you kin.

She is represented by Laura Bradford, of the Laura Bradford Literary Agency,and writes for Entangled Publishing‘s Crush imprint. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled, for the time being, in North Carolina.

When not writing, Suze loves to travel with her military husband, and take long walks with their Lab. Catch up with Suze online on her Website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

ef137-yabounktourbutton

Out Today PLAID NIGHTS!

image

Hi there! Today I’m sharing the release day festivities for PLAID NIGHTS an anthology of M/M romance that hits the full spectrum of kilted yumminess where men in kilts are as varied as they are hot. Whether they’re caber tossers, rugby players, Highland warriors, country dancers, or time-traveling vampires, they’re up for surprises and sexy good times. Stories include Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal (As an anthology, not all categories may relate to all stories…)

imageAbout the book:

Rob Rosen starts us off with humor in “Tossing It.” Contemporary men discover love in unexpected places in “Whiskey and Want” by Megan McFerren, “Some Like It Scot” by Julia Talbot, “Perfect Working Order” by Elizabeth Coldwell, and “Off-Kilter” by Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae. We get a taste of the paranormal in “Sir WW” by Angelique Voisen, “Feumaidh Mi Ruith (I Have to Run)” by Missouri Dalton, and “Kilt in the Closet” by Logan Zachary. And we’re treated to forbidden love in historicals “Hunting for a Highlander” by Lila Mathews, “A Time to Heal” by Anna Mansel, and “As Fair Art Thou, My Bonny Lad” by McKay.

In these stories, some tartan-clad men wear their kilts in the “traditional manner,” while others are less daring. But all find love, and of course, a happy ending—especially at night, when the plaid comes off.

Excerpt: From “Tossing It” by Rob Rosen:

He took a spoonful of stew into his mouth, green eyes sparkling in the daylight. He was cute in a lanky, pale, freckled sort of way. He sighed contentedly as he set the spoon back down. “Just like mom used to make.”

“Back in the old country?”

He laughed. “Back in New Jersey. Though Newark is sort of old.”

We continued eating together, side by side. His leg brushed mine. It stayed brushed. I didn’t move mine away; he didn’t move his either. This was an odd turn of events. Was he gay? Not a clue. Still, most guys would’ve moved their legs away. Maybe he was simply oblivious. Straight guys sometimes had a habit of that. You just never knew. Then again, you could test the theory if you were so inclined. Me, I was always so inclined.

I pointed to a throng of kilted behemoths off to the side. “What’s with the skirted mountain men?”

He chuckled. “Caber tossers.”

“That some sort of Scottish slang for rednecks?”

He turned my way, eyes locking with mine. It was like staring into a field of emeralds. Guess I’d been too busy staring at his crotch before to notice. Shame on me. “Caber tossers. They toss logs. Poles. Big ones.” Well, he’d certainly know about big poles, I figured. “They’re up to twenty feet tall and almost two hundred pounds.”

“And they toss them? Why?”

“For sport.”

I ate a couple more bites of my fish. It was perfectly cooked, greasy and flaky. My stomach settled down. “Sport? Like tiddlywinks for giants?”

He nodded as he continued eating his stew. His eyes rarely left mine. I was all too glad to return the favor. I stared at his freckles, connecting the dots, constellations hidden in the patterns. “Something like that.”

Interested? You can find PLAID NIGHTS on Goodreads, Amazon and Torquere Press. 

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win an ebook of PLAID NIGHTS.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Pride-Promotions

Intense Love, Serious Stakes in BO–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for BO, the third Retribution MC novella from Rie Warren. I’ve been keeping up with her Carolina Bad Boys series with STONE, LOVE and STEELE, and her bikers: HUNTER and KINKAID, but BO is different. He’s a recent vet, suffering PTSD, with a few friends who do him more than one solid.

imageMy Review:
This is the third book in the Retribution MC series but can be read as a standalone.

Bo is a recent veteran returned stateside following the drawdown of troops in the Middle East. His last mission went bad, resulting in capture, torture and death of his many in his unit. He suffers PTSD and nightmares as a result. His buddy in the Retribution MC, Hunter, gets him signed up for counseling with the sultry Dr. Veronica Hartley. (Pardon me while I love that name…)

Unfortunately for Bo, V is the sexiest woman he’s seen in a long, long time. How can he confess his horrors while sporting a hard-on? Clearly the only thing to do is avoid his sessions, which only draws Dr. Hartley to seek Bo in his personal training studio…. The attraction is fast and fierce, but Veronica backs off, referring Bo to a colleague. Once she feels she’s given him some time to heal, she’s back–and this time with out the conflict-of-interest. Veronica still counsels Bo, but as a friend and lover, helping him to move past his survivor’s guilt and make contact with his family.

But V has a big secret of her own, one revealed in her love of motorrcycles, her giant tattoo and her handiness with a blade. If Bo wants to spend his life loving the woman who helped him heal, he’s gonna have to get her out of a very dangerous situation.

I liked Bo. He’s a stand-up guy with a desire to work past his tragic past. V is a good match, never letting Bo get too much of the upper hand. Her lack of history and family is mystifying–at first. Both Bo and V are lonely, and find solace with each other, which is nice. I wasn’t expecting the grisly turn things took, however. It was fun to see all the Retribution guys out on rescue detail, and for Bo to get support from his few surviving Marine pals. If you are expecting a sweet story, this isn’t it–but it does have a lot of intensity and two characters that you’ll be rooting for from the first page.

Interested? You can find BO on Goodreads and Amazon. The final book in this series, COLETRANE, drops next month. Pre-order it here.

image

Rie WarrenAbout the Author:
Badass, sassafras Rie Warren is the author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series—a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command.

She lives in gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina with her small family where she basks in the sunshine during the day, and adjourns to her woman cave at night. A nocturnal creature, she stays up way too late talking to herself, her characters, and anyone who will listen. She’s all about writing with heat, heart, and a hint of the dark, and she doesn’t shy away from the impossible.

Rie’s work has been called “edgy”, “daring”, and “some of the sexiest smut around”.

You can find Rie online Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book Birthday LOVE DRUNK–Free Book & Giveaway

Love Drunk RDL Banner
Woo Hoo! I love celebrating a new read. LOVE DRUNK from Libby Rice is the third of her Second Chances series. It’s a contemporary romance that strikes on many of my interests:  sexy couples, a bit of mystery, and wine. I’ll be reviewing this next week, so stay tuned!

Check out the excerpt, free book offer and giveaway below.

LoveDrunk-1200x1800About the book:
The love that lies built?

Wine importer London Whitley dots her I’s and crosses her T’s. Her meticulous nature insulates her from fears that she might just be crazy, as in certifiably, medically nuts. When her almost ex-boyfriend winds up dead at her hands and she’s soon accused of importing counterfeit wines, London’s carefully constructed world begins to crumble. There’s help to be had, but only in the form of an imposing stranger who threatens her ruin.

Trevor Rathlen is lucky to have escaped his marriage to a murderess alive and merely indebted to men who think the exquisite London Whitley’s innocence is a façade. A computer security specialist by day and hacker by night, Trevor agrees to return the favor owed by learning London’s secrets. The task should be an easy one, except Trevor is short on trust, London is long on lies, and together they battle an infinite attraction.

How about a little taste?

Secrets and strategies swirled in London’s head, mixing with a need that had begun to pulse between them the moment his mouth had overtaken hers in the warehouse. The two of them played with a fire that flared hot, but unstable. London should play the game of Trevor safe. She should keep her cravings buried and hand over what she knew about her flailing company, including its most problematic ex-employee.

If she did, Trevor would immediately learn about the nature of her ex’s death. The move would resolve his suspicion professionally—a good outcome because he’d be out of her hair with the least amount of hassle—but also push him away personally.

A not-so-good outcome.

Maybe an intolerable, unacceptable, unspeakable outcome.

The idea of revealing facts certain to repel the intense and complex man overhead made her stomach pitch and roll, a warning that for the first time her body had ideas, too. A prickle beneath the skin, a warmth between the thighs—both said London didn’t want to be staid or level anymore.

You’re on a bed. Barely dressed. His hands are on you.

Keep them there.

Because she knew she would lose him sooner or lose him later. The question had become: How much of Trevor Rathlen could London have before he became a casualty of her gravest mistake?

******

“Trevor.”

His name sliced through the charged silence. In that way London had of saying a lot with a little, her tone struck him as subtly, meaningfully, different than her earlier apologies and then her desperate pleas for help in the warehouse.

This time it contained a request.

Her reclining position let the hospital gown fall against her skin, skimming over the bountiful curves that had blown his imagination all through her shower earlier in the night.

By then he’d known she would be all right. With the scare over, her biggest problem would be lingering headaches and dehydration, which had left plenty of bandwidth for him to be jealous of the attending nurse.

He’d cracked down on how badly he’d wanted into that sterile little bathroom because no way was he lusting after a woman in need of a crash course on the nobility of truth.

Unfortunately, his lofty, better-than-thou ideals hadn’t tempered the urge to distract the nurse with lies about buzzers and sirens in the hall so he could sneak in and go down on London in the shower. Only sturdy locks had kept his ass squarely on the couch.

Now her eyes held a dark invitation instead of her customary uncertainty. It seemed London didn’t trust him enough to tell him what she was hiding, but she did trust him enough to touch him.

To let him touch her.

Maybe his friend had had the right idea about women—sex for secrets—all along.

London, sleepy-eyed and relieved, looked perfectly willing to be plied.

Trevor shifted away and rolled his head back. When he spoke, he did it to the ceiling. “I know that look.”

The London he knew would reply with another apology, an instant and visceral retreat from her tiny step toward what she wanted.

Except she didn’t. “Really?” London whispered. “What does it mean?”

Anticipation thickened their mutual stillness, and his cock. No matter how badly he wanted them to, the overhead tiles didn’t get any more interesting upon increased inspection. Barren and white within a metal framework, they practically dared him to turn back to what mattered in the room.

To temptation. To madness.

When he risked another glance, London hadn’t budged. Green eyes met his stare evenly, as though their battle of wills, her injuries, the counterfeiting, even the remaining mysteries they both knew she guarded, all belonged somewhere far from her bed.

Freshly scrubbed, London smelled of soap and lotion. Moonlight gleamed against a natural glow that had replaced her earlier pallor. Black curls tumbled across her pillow in artful tangles. Fresh and unkempt, she looked impossible but real, a magazine spread that wasn’t.

He leaned in, caging her torso with spread arms. If she wouldn’t guard herself, Trevor didn’t have the strength to do it for her. “That look is a demand.”

“For?”

Me.”

Beneath him, her chest expanded on a slow, deep inhale.

“And, London?” he said. “Unlike you, I won’t renege once I decide to give what you’re asking for.”

Ooh! Looking forward to this one. My review will be coming next week. In the meantime, you can pick up LOVE DRUNK on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and All Romance eBooks.

And, since you’re here, why not GET A FREE BOOK!

Art-Crossed Love (Second Chances #2)Art-Crossed Love FREE (Second Chances #2):

Can love be more than a four-letter word?

When photographer Cole Rathlen and painter Lissa Blanc partner for a prestigious project that will pull them from the mountains of Colorado to the palaces of India, Lissa quickly realizes that more than diverging ideals hinder their search for success and salvation. Was Cole’s life upended by a tragic but unavoidable choice or something more sinister? While Lissa can’t delve into the mystery but not the man, Cole can’t resist a tenacious soul that refuses to leave him chained. As the truth closes in on a project finally sprouting wings, will Lissa sacrifice her chance at success to set Cole free? Or will Cole shrug the chains of lingering regrets to prove that those who love the most, love again.

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Art-Crossed Love Goodreads

Love Me Later (Second Chances, #1)Love Me Later (Second Chances #1):

Can they love right on the redo?

Scarlet Leore enjoys a glittering existence among New York society’s elite. Ethan Blake is a prizefighter knocking his way through school, counting on his winnings to bankroll the dreams that won’t fit in a boxing ring. When the two meet, neither can deny the instant attraction that wells between the hulking fighter and the heiress who is miles and millions out of his league.

Years later, Scarlet is a lawyer handling a high-stakes merger for Ethan’ company draws them together. But theirs is a world that won’t tolerate an attorney falling for her client. They’ll need more than lust and forgiveness. They must bridge the chasm of a tormented past to understand who they are today.

Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Kobo | iBooks | Love Me Later Goodreads

***GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a signed set of the Second Chances books!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

LibbyRicePhoto-WebResolution (1)About the Author:
Before becoming a writer, Libby was first a mechanical engineer in the data acquisition industry (voltmeter anyone?). Preferring writing to technical design, Libby headed to law school and eventually practiced patent law for several enterprising years (patent application covering a voltmeter anyone?). Finally realizing that technology just wasn’t her bag, she traded the voltmeters for alpha heroes and the women who love them.

Today, Libby writes contemporary romances from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she lives with her husband, a bona fide rocket scientist (he stuck with the voltmeters!). When not writing, Libby loves good food, even better wine, and traveling the world in search of the next great story.

Libby loves hearing from readers! Join the fun at Libby’s blog where you can sign up for Libby’s new-release e-newsletter, or find her on Twitter, Facebook, Author Goodreads, and Instagram.

InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Kinky Love on NOWHERE RANCH–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for Heidi Cullinan’s NOWHERE RANCH. This is a super kinky, total emotional range M/M romance. I bought it for $.99 and I could not put it down. You know I’ve loved Heidi’s other works: CARRY THE OCEAN is still one of my top reads this year, and SLEIGH RIDE was a fave Christmas book. And I was not disappointed following Roe and Mr. Loving’s story.

Nowhere RanchAbout the book:
Love will grow through the cracks you leave open.

Ranch hand Roe Davis absolutely never mixes business with pleasure—until he runs into his boss, Travis Loving, at the only gay bar within two hundred miles.

Getting involved with the ranch owner is a bad idea, but Roe’s and Travis’s bedroom kinks line up against one another like a pair of custom-cut rails. As long as they’re both clear this is sex on the side, no relationship, no interfering with the job, they could make it work.

Shut out by his family years ago, Roe survived by steadfastly refusing to settle into so much as a post office box. As his affair with Travis grows into more than just sex, Roe’s past catches up with him, threatening the thin ray of happiness he’s found, reminding him it’s well past time he went on his way.

But even a loner gets lonely, and at this point, there’s nowhere left to run. The shame and sorrow of what he’s lost will stay with Roe wherever he goes—until he’s ready to let love lead him home.

My Review:
Roe is a 25 y/o gay farmer whose family kicked him out of the house/family farm when they discovered he was gay. They wanted him to repent and “change” but he couldn’t/wouldn’t and he floundered, even getting incarcerated for a brief time. When he was released he took to ranching, working as a hand anywhere that would accept him, always on the move. Roe had dropped out of school early due to a learning disability and insensitive teaching methods. He has an incredibly low self-esteem, and doesn’t make friends. He ends up in rural Nebraska, the Nowhere Ranch, and is mortified to find the ranch owner out one night at the only gay bar within a 3 hour drive.

Travis is an older (40ish) out gay man who tried to make it as a straight man. He married, confessed, endured counseling, and divorced years ago. He’s a retired math professor running a sheep and cattle ranch because he likes the isolation. He had come out with a lover, but those days are long past. Seeing his newest ranch hand at the gay bar is a blessing in disguise, especially as Roe is compatible with Travis’ kink. Trav is a Dom and Roe loves to feel degraded sexually. The kink in this book is not the standard BDSM fare, but it is intense. I almost died when Trav asked Roe if he had a “safe word” and Roe replies “I’m partial to ‘no.’ ” (The deadpan language was just right for me.)

Roe narrates the whole book, which is written in retrospective voice, detailing how Roe found his “home;” and this home on Nowhere Ranch is truly spectacular. He is a down-to-earth guy who has few needs and fewer desires. He wants a simple life and no relationships, yet, once he and Travis dance around a bit, it becomes clear that their compatibility extends far outside the bedroom. Roe is hounded by his bad memories of home, and some contacts from his family are clearly destructive to his well-being. Trav is a compassionate man, though not outwardly. All Trav’s emotions are locked up tight, but the way he handles Roe, they way he looks after his welfare, is very sweet.

The sex is…whoa. Might be someplace on the solar flare scale. Just, yeah. Extreme at times and sweet only because it is exactly what Roe wants. The emotional landscape of this book is multi-layered, with two men who are so afraid of being hurt that they can barely acknowledge their needs. It is a relationship built almost out of convenience, if we didn’t know how incendiary their attraction really is. How their lives become intertwined was really awesome. I appreciated how Roe made solid, stable friends, how he was a significant force behind the ranch’s business, how he learned to love himself and care for himself and his future. I loved how fiercely Trav took care of Roe, and I adored Haley–Roe’s closest friend who was an amazing ally.

If this book were a food, it would have been a double chocolate lava cake; I devoured it as though it were. Yum.

Interested? You can find NOWHERE RANCH on Goodreads, Amazon, regular price on AllRomance, and Barnes & Noble.

Heidi CullinanAbout the Author:

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!