New Love in FAVORITE TOY–Review and Giveaway!

FT-BannerTemplateHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for Louise Lyons’ FAVORITE TOY, a contemporary New Adult M/M romance released today. This one’s heart-tugger, due to injury and loss, but the love shines through.

Favorite Toy coverAbout the book:
Determined to stay single, Dean Simpson and his best friend Ryan have been playing a game, where each man chooses a potential hook-up for the other, usually someone nothing like their usual type. But with Ryan now off the market, Dean agrees to one final round of the game and allows his friend to choose his toy for the evening.

Casper Mancuso is about as far from Dean’s type as he can get. Casper is pretty, flamboyant, and attention-seeking, but sexy with it. Dean decides one night can’t hurt, but when Casper makes it clear his aim is the same as Dean’s – to have one bit of fun and then move on – Dean finds himself surprisingly disappointed.

With both men keen to avoid a relationship at all costs, it seems there can be no chance for anything between them. And yet the pair are drawn to each other and despite some hurtful comments and a very public argument, they just can’t stay away from each other. Eventually Dean is forced to admit that the very antithesis of what he usually likes is exactly what he’s been waiting for.

How about a little taste?

My heart sank as one of the other trainers from the gym caught up to me. “Wait up, Dean. I’ll go with you.”

I glanced at Mark and nodded. “Okay.”

“Where are you headed?”

“Not sure yet. I just wanted some fresh air. Maybe Subway.” It was the first thing that came into my head, although I really didn’t fancy a sandwich.

“I could go for that. Meatball marinara. Mmm.”

“I like the tuna.”

“I always have cheese and slather it in ranch dressing, and get a cookie.” Casper’s words made me smile and I wondered if he’d be having Subway today. Shit.

“Are we eating in, or taking it back to work?” Mark pushed open the door and walked inside.

“Um, maybe sit outside here?” I followed him to the counter, lining up behind a family ordering an early lunch. Most of the tables both inside and outside were empty and I stared up at the menu board as I waited, even though I knew I’d order tuna. Mark bought a foot-long meatball marinara with cheese and salad and I requested a six inch with cheese, salad, and ranch dressing. As we sat down at a table outside the window, I looked around and caught sight of Casper, just yards away and heading right for us. Automatically I ducked my head and unwrapped my sandwich, hoping he wouldn’t see me. My heart thumped wildly and my dry mouth made me wish I’d ordered a drink.

“Are you okay?” Mark raised his eyebrows.


Casper entered Subway, apparently not having noticed me. I’d kick myself if I didn’t speak to him. I might not get another chance. The fact that he’d happened to turn up at this exact moment, when he could have gone anywhere, or not even taken a break at this time, was too much of a coincidence for me to throw away. Hesitating, I debated going into the shop to speak to him, or waiting for him to come out where Mark might hear. While I thought about it, Casper got his sandwich and came out again and then I had no choice. I jumped up quickly, scraping my chair noisily on the pavement, and his eyes immediately met mine. He halted, half in and half out of the door, then shuffled forward to get out of the way of someone trying to enter.

Mark looked up at me and frowned. “Dean?”

“I’ll be back in a minute.” I moved away from the table toward Casper, aware that only about six feet separated us from Mark. “Can I speak to you for a minute?”

“What about?” His eyes narrowed.

“I wanted to say sorry. I─”

“Don’t bother. Like we both said, it was a hook up.” His voice was much too clear and I glanced anxiously at Mark, who stared back at me with wide eyes.

“Casper…shh. Can we just…?”

“Don’t shush me!” Clutching his wrapped sandwich fiercely in one hand, he planted the other hand on his hip and glared. “I don’t know why you even bothered speaking to me! You slept with me for a bet, and we all know what your real type is. Don’t think I didn’t see you with that blond guy on Friday.”

“Fuck.” Grabbing his arm, I tugged him a few steps along the street until he wrenched free. “Thanks a fucking bunch. You just outed me to one of my workmates.”

“Oh!” His scowl vanished and his cheeks flushed. “Shit. I didn’t know. I’m sorry, Dean.”

“Forget it. Like you said, I shouldn’t have bothered.” Mortified, I turned away and went back to the table. Mark’s expression said it all. I didn’t need to hear anything he might have to say, but I listened anyway. Casper had already disappeared.

My Review:
Dean is a messed up dude. He’s out to his family and close friends, but still a bit self-loathing and closeted at work. His parents, particularly his father, are really angry about his sexuality, and he’s had rocky relations with them for the past decade though his younger brother David is supportive. Dean is King of the One Nighter, often giving hook-ups the wrong personal details so they can’t track him down, and he hasn’t taken a guy to his own apartment since his uni boyfriend broke his heart five years ago.

As a bet, he and his roommate Ryan pick out guys for the other to “pick up” on the first Friday of every month, though Ryan’s getting serious with his new boyfriend, so he simply picks out lithe and femme Casper for Dean. Casper is as far from the tall, broad, muscle-bound men he usually picks up as one can get, but that doesn’t mean Casper’s eye shadow, mascara and pink tank top don’t turn him on. They do. And Dean’s also aroused by Casper’s backbone–and strangely–not turned off by Casper’s non-stop prattle. It’s as if Dean sees the mirror image of his insecure self in Casper. Not only do they go to Dean’s, Casper spends the night.

Morning after is total shite, however. Thanks Dean! Guy can barely say three words in a sentence and unwittingly makes a fool of himself trying to wave off the uncommon tenderness he felt with Casper. He’s haunted by those coarse words, however, and does what he’s always feared one of his hook-ups would do: tracks Casper down.

I really liked how Dean owned up for his BS. And, Casper’s a strong guy. He doesn’t swoon for Dean, at first. They have some further conversation, and sexytimes, and work out the kinks. Thing is, neither of these guys has ever had a relationship before. Dean was his first BF’s dirty secret, and Casper admits most guys get tired of his chatty personality rather quickly. Together, though, they are good.

Not going to sugar coat it: there’s dark days ahead. Just when it looks like Dean and Casper are set for a smooth course we have a freak accident that brings Dean’s homophobic family into the mix. It’s not pleasant, but it is true. And a bit sad. Dean and Casper weather this storm, and become stronger as a couple, but readers should expect some grief.

Interested? You can find FAVORITE TOY on Goodreads, Amazon (US or UK), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and AllRomance.


Click this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from Louise.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of 8, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late 20s.

Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

You can find Louise online on her website, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.


FLIP THE BIRD Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m hosting a cover reveal for a “flighty” contemporary YA romance from Kym Brunner. FLIP THE BIRD pits a young falconer against a fledgling animal rights activist–and the feathers are sure to fly! (Okay, okay. I’ll stop with the puns already!)

Catch the blurb and get in on the $25 Amazon gc giveaway below.

Without feather, erm, further ado:


About the book:
Mercer Buddie wants two things in this world: a girlfriend and the chance to prove to his master falconer father that he’s not a flake. With hunting season fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Mercer has only a short time to work with Flip, a red-tailed hawk he irreverently named to show his dad that falconers don’t have to be so serious all the time.

When Mercer meets Lucy, he falls hard for her gorgeous looks and bubbly personality. He thinks his love life is about to take flight, until he discovers that Lucy and her family belong to a fanatical animal-rights organization called HALT—a group that believes imposing any sort of restrictions on animals is a form of cruelty. Mercer soon realizes that if he wants to keep seeing Lucy, he’ll need to keep his love of falconry and his family’s raptor rehabilitation center a secret from her, and Lucy’s involvement with HALT from his family.

With humor and honesty, Mercer’s story shows how growing up means making difficult choices…and sometimes, being rewarded in unexpected ways.

This one sounds so great! I’ve already reviewed two of Kym’s previous titles: WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE, a contemporary Bonnie and Clyde paranormal romance and ONE SMART COOKIE, a fun ethnic YA Romance. Now, I’m eager to read all about Mercer’s travails. It releases November 1st, and I’ll be first in line to get a review out!

Interested? You can find out more about FLIP THE BIRD on Goodreads, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.


Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Kym Brunner dreams entire novels in her head, but needs about a year to write it all down.  She wishes there was an app for this. She’s addicted to chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she’s not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. Her article, Cracking Down on Multiple POVs:  Surrender and Nobody Gets Hurt, appeared in Writer’s Digest online (July, 2014). She is the author of two traditionally published novels: a YA suspense-thriller, Wanted: Dead or In Love (Merit Press, 2014) and a YA humorous romance, One Smart Cookie (Omnific Publishing, 2014). She lives in the Chicago area with her family and her two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua.

You can find Kym online on her website, twitter, Facebook, or subscribe to her newsletter.

Cephalopod Coffeehouse January 2016–THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE–A Review

Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m sharing a review for a newly-released “non-fiction novel” to use the term coined by the book’s subject, Truman Capote. Melanie Benjamin‘s THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE is a knock-down drag-out story of true love and utter betrayal that’s all the more poignant for being based in reality. These people existed. And I felt a bit grotesque peeking into the murk of their shady relationships.

The Swans of Fifth AvenueAbout the book:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote’s scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York’s society “swans” of the 1950s.

Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.

My Review:
I’ll be truthful, I don’t usually read biographical fiction. It’s not my thing, but I have long heard the name “Truman Capote” whispered about and while I don’t believe I have read any of his work, I recognized his stature in American literature. So, I was hooked into the read for that. I love historical fiction, and the blurb indicated this book to be rife with the sort of dark plot turns only Diana Gabaldon could have wrought.

As I am wont to do, I read a bit. Let it sit. If I’m still curious I go back for more. In this case I could see the blood-spattered writing on the wall. I even took half a day looking into a quick-and-dirty history of Capote. His life seemed both tragic and charmed, and the tatters of his career and friendships were the stuff of quite a lot of public and private banter. I let it sit a week and came back. And I finished it with the ill-ease of someone who’s binge-watched a “Real Housewives” marathon. (I can only suspect this as I’ve never managed to make it past the intros to those shows before turning on something…better? Or, simply turning the tube off…)

What we know: Capote was an out homosexual in a time when such a person was normally killed or jailed. He charmed everyone, men and women alike. His wild, flamboyant ways captivated the cultured ladies of the Manhattan’s elite. His waifish looks and witty repartee got him meals and lodgings and vacations and fame. They may have even gotten him love from one of the most beautiful women of the era, Babe Paley. The book relates a special, intimate, though platonic, relationship between Capote and Babe that was well-known at the time and amongst their peers.

I was young when Capote died–of drink and drug excess, it seems, and the pages of the novel fairly sang with love between these mismatched, hopelessly lonely people. Babe’s husband, the powerful and wealthy Bill S. Paley–CBS magnate, was a known philanderer, and this took a toll on her emotionally. The exquisite Babe could never be seen out of make-up, not even by her husband, and she doted on him completely, as she was well-trained to do by her mother, to the exclusion of really raising her own children.

The story meanders in time between first-meetings with the “swans”: society dames Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Pam Churchill, Marella Agnelli, C.Z. Guest, and Gloria Guinness, and the infamous article Capote penned in 1975 for Vanity Fair, which was a gauche caricature of the beautiful society people that Capote had insinuated himself within. It marked a permanent break in his life, one that many attribute to his ultimate downward spiral into addiction and death. The article, La Cote Basque 1965 was a tell-all of sorts that throttled the society mavens. Ann Woodward, mentioned under a pseudonym, actually killed herself following reading of the article–which recounted the spectacle of her husband’s “accidental” death by her own gunshot.

Truman Capote is definitely portrayed as a bounder in this book. He was a social climber with the aim of being the best, and surrounded by the best. And yet, he is made sympathetic. He long struggled to find love–first from his neglectful mother, and then everyone, including Babe. Their relationship may have indeed been a love story for them, but Truman’s needs were too great. He had a long-time companion, Jack Dunphy, who urged him not to publish his scathing article, but Truman didn’t heed that advice. Or maybe he could not afford to. It was known for some time that he’d been losing control of his addictions, and was years overdue on a novel that he’d been advanced money against. “La Cote” was meant to be one of seven chapters in that book, and only three were ever recovered and printed as “Answered Prayers”.

Swans is a beautifully-woven multiple POV story that is without question a melancholy read, with a train wreck-type plot that is only more harrowing for its veracity. Capote’s real-life self-destruction was rather spectacular, and fairly well-documented. I left the book feeling sad for such waste, and such sadness. The rarefied world of the New York’s social elite is certainly not the stuff that ever filled my dreams, but it was a bit shattering to have all it’s unsavory bits on display. On the flipside, it was a meticulous introspection into the ills of high society in general–what power brokers in this world do we not see living to excess, in different aspects of their lives? What morality exists for those who place themselves above others by means of wealth? These were issues that seemed to trouble Capote, and his “justice” was that of the pen. It was a brutal weapon.

Interested? You can find THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Expect to find it in bookstores and libraries now. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

And, now! Take a hop over to the websites of my fellow Coffeehouse pals to see what their fave books were for January. As always, thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Growing Love: FARM FRESH–Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new release from Posy Roberts. FARM FRESH is a M/M, poly, romance that features a commune of organic growers and the young man who finds love in their midst.

FarmFresh-f-1About the book:
Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture.

And one particular farmer.

Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.

Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however, his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.

How about a little taste?

“You wanted to know where I’m from,” Hudson said. Jude nodded but remained tight-lipped. “I grew up north of Miami in a small city. I couldn’t wait to get out, so I tried to hitch a ride to Seattle. Didn’t get that far.”
“How far did you get?” Jude looked surprised as he asked, so Hudson reached out and pressed his palm to the center of Jude’s chest.
“About five miles away. I’ve been here ever since.”
“What made you run? I mean… maybe that’s too personal.”
Hudson coasted his hand over the slight swell of Jude’s pec and thumbed over his nipple, which stood at attention, pert and flushed, like his lips and cheeks. It was a good color on him.
“My parents sent me away to one of those ‘pray away the gay’ places, which obviously didn’t work, but it probably saved my life since my mom had to haul Papi off me when she told him why I needed to go there. He had so much pride, and having a gay son wasn’t something he could live with. It was as if me being gay made him gay. I was accosted by religion and hatred for who I was from that day until I left, so I became an expert at being secretive and learned to lie through my teeth while living with them. My eighteenth birthday Papi and I fought, and I ended up with another black eye. I packed a bag and snuck out of the house while they were sleeping.”
“Did they call the cops or anything?”
Hudson shook his head and knew his smile was pathetic. He still held hope he and his father could reconcile. He knew Papi would be proud of him and what he’d accomplished on the commune. “I left a note and eventually let them know my address, but in all the years, I’ve gotten one letter.”
“I’ve talked to my parents twice since I left, and both times left me feeling shredded inside.”
“I’m sorry.” Hudson scooted closer and pulled Jude into a tight embrace. The feel of Jude’s warm skin against his own had Hudson’s body responding in no time flat. He kissed Jude’s neck and the sharp line of his jaw. He thrust his fingers into Jude’s spun-gold hair and drew their mouths together.
Jude moved his lips, pressing chaste kisses to Hudson’s, and then he snaked his arm between their bodies. Jude splayed his fingers across Hudson’s chest and pushed him away. He hung his head, looking down at the mattress in what appeared to be shame.
Hudson took the sting out of the rejection by thumbing over Jude’s bottom lip, shiny with saliva. “You have a delectable mouth, like it’s made for kissing.”
Jude laughed. “So do you.” Then he bit his lip and made brief eye contact before scooting back a few inches.

Interested? You can find FARM FRESH on Goodreads and Amazon.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a book of Posy’s backlist.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.

Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep. Her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

You can find Posy on line on Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.



Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for an historical romance out to day from Bianca Blythe. HOW TO CAPTURE A DUKE is likely to appeal to fans of Tessa Dare, with a heroine who takes her fate in her own two hands…and makes a mess of it. Oh! And, finds true love along the way…

How To Capture A DukeAbout the book:
One reclusive bluestocking…
Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.

One dutiful duke…
Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.

One fallen tree…
When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…

My Review:
4.5 Stars for this fun, historical romance adventure. A perfect read for fans of Tessa Dare.

Fiona Amberly is a wallflower, a bluestocking, a woman past her prime and unwed at the ripe age of 22. She fled London two weeks after her debut several years before as she’s socially-awkward and graced with horrendous freckled skin and blood red hair. She’s unfashionable and unworried about it. Mostly. She lives with her grandmother in a castle in Yorkshire, and professes to have a fiance, “Captain Knightley” who is off fighting for England against Bonaparte. But the war has ended and all of Fiona’s family are expecting her fiance to collect his bride to be. Especially her ill Gram–who only wants to see Fiona properly settled. Meanwhile, Fiona’s content to dig Roman artifacts from the grounds of the castle and properly document her archaeological finds.

Percival is en route to London with a bag full of jewels, including an engagement ring for a woman he’s never met. He is newly settled into his title as Duke of Alfriston, which he landed because his cousin–the Duke–was killed in action at Waterloo while saving Percival. So, the title fits about as well as Percival’s wooden leg. Having no desire to be paraded out to the ton in search of a wife who would accept his deformity, Percival allows the dowager duchess, his aunt, to arrange a marriage with his dead cousin’s intended. And maybe, one day, they will grow to develop some affection toward each other.

While trying to stop a coach from running into a felled tree, Fiona is mistaken for a highwaywoman. She sees Percival is an attractive man, and well-cultured. And, if she can bring this gentleman to her home to meet her gram, once, perhaps everyone will believe that this stranger is Captain Knightley, and leave her alone in her personal life. Impetuously, she calls herself the Scarlet Demon, kidnaps the Duke, and the game is on.

This is a very cute, and a bit steamy, historical romance that starts out with hi jinks and hijacking and ends in passion. Percival is flummoxed regarding the mad woman who is taking him far from his intended target. In truth, he is uncomfortable around people, now, sensitive to his injury, and his ill-begotten title. He enjoyed being a rake, and now he has to be a nobleman, and live a life that is determined by his aunt, in the shadow of his cousin. Being around Fiona soon turns Percival’s beliefs on their ear. He sees her as a shy woman, but well educated and passionate about her desires in archaeology. True, she’s not “accomplished” by the usual measures, but Fiona’s very attractive to Percival–she’s a big gal, with soft features and red hair he’d love to lose himself in.

Fiona has no illusions regarding Percival’s interest. He makes it plain that he’s betrothed, and she doesn’t want to interfere in that. She doesn’t fend off any of his advances, however, and that’s okay for her. She never expected to marry, so having a bit of carnal pleasure with Percival is an illicit experience, one she will likely never have again. Did I mention Fiona’s impetuous?

The end of the book is far different to how I envisioned it, and I liked that! When I picked up the book I expected it would be very like Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the Knot and there are some similarities, but the differences are vast. I loved how there was enough separation for lust to settle into something more warm, like affection. The dramatic ending was rather lovely, and I enjoyed getting swept away.

Interested? You can find HOW TO CAPTURE A DUKE on Goodreads and multiple Amazon outlets (USUKCA and DE). I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Bianca BlytheAbout the Author:

Born in Texas, Wellesley graduate Bianca Blythe spent four years in England. She worked in a fifteenth century castle, though sadly that didn’t actually involve spotting dukes and earls strutting about in Hessians.
She credits British weather for forcing her into a library, where she discovered her first Julia Quinn novel. Thank goodness for blustery downpours.
Bianca now lives in Massachusetts with her boyfriend, though she will admit to craving warm scones and clotted cream. She’s not certain she can admit to reading about handsome, roguish dukes, at least in a location where her boyfriend might stumble upon the fact.
But if any readers are stumbling upon this, rest assured that she does write about rather swoon worthy heroes 🙂
You can find Bianca on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Kinky Reads! BRIT BOYS WITH TOYS–Interviews, Review & Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m happy to host the the authors of Brit Boys: With Toys. This boxed set of M/M stories is very special, sexy and fun and is the follow on from last year’s Brit Boys: On Boys.

You can catch my review of the book and enter to win a copy for yourself in the giveaway!

Brit Boys boxed sets feature British characters in British locations and are written by British based authors. Each story is unique, fun and seriously hot!

bbwt-boxAbout the book:
From coast to coast and city to country Brit boys enjoy playing with each other and their toys. Not any old toys, though; guitars, rope, plugs and Moleskine journals all prove to be enormous fun. Throw in a shop that’s wall to wall with kinky ideas, a journalist on the lookout for the next big thing, and Dominants who insist on obedience and there’s sure to be something to cater for everyone’s taste.

Whether it’s a quickie or a slow indulgence, Brit boys know how to hit the spot and they aim to please every time. So take a ride, fly high, come enjoy these sexy boys and their toys.

* * * *

Today the authors are answering this question… Who is your favourite British celebrity, past or present? What is it that draws you to this person?

Ashe Barker: There are several, but one of my favourites has to be Professor Brian Cox. He can reveal the mysteries of the Universe to me any day of the week. He’s so hot, and with a brain the size of a small planet. I’m always a sucker for an intelligent hero.

M K Elliott: My current favourite would be Idris Elba. I love the rough, no nonsense attitude he has about him, plus he’s ridiculously hot!

Lucy Felthouse: My favourite crushes change quite frequently, or should I say I find new ones to add to the ridiculously long list of sexy men I enjoy looking at! 😉 My muse for the doctor in this story, Blake, was Richard Armitage. I’d been dreaming about him quite a lot, and I realised I’d never based a character on him. I also thought he’d make a sexy doctor… and voila! I’m fond of Richard Armitage because he’s tall, has a glint in his eye which makes him look very naughty, and he’s epic at doing a sexy smoulder. Somehow, he even makes Thorin Oakenshield hot!

K D Grace: My favourite British celebrity has to be Sir David Attenborough. I love his enthusiasm and his passion for nature and the great outdoors. I love that even into his nineties, he is still passionate about this planet and preserving the natural world and, best of all sharing it with others. There’s nothing more attractive to me than a man with a passion.

Lily Harlem: Oh no, I have so many! Springing into my mind are Sean Bean, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson (born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland), Henry Cavill, Daniel Craig… oh dear, the list goes on…

Ashley Lister: Anthony Stewart Head. I’ve always been a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and Anthony Stewart Head played Mr Giles, a quintessential English librarian, a heroic mentor to the lead character: but a mentor with a dark past. He also played a superb Dr Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Sarah Masters: David Jason. I loved him as Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses. He’s such a cheeky bloke but at the same time, despite coming across as selfish, he has a heart of gold underneath.

Tabitha Rayne: That’s too hard. I can’t answer. Too many – rock Gods like Mick Jagger, crazy geniuses like, Beardy Man – ooo the list would be endless, honestly, give me a glass of champers and we can talk all night about awesome people who inspire and thrill.

My Review:
This is a delicious boxed set of novellas that feature British men getting their kink on.

Hard Riders By Ashe Barker
Liam meets Jackson while swooning over Jackson’s superbike. They ride together, and enjoy a bit of public sex, to boot. Liam’s a young barrister, sure his big gay secret is buried deep in his closet. He’s startled to find Jackson owns the nearby sex shop that Liam frequents, and he’s even more shocked to be pursued by sexy Jackson. Their sexual chemistry is great, but I really liked how Liam opened up–with a bit of prodding by his sharp mum–into something much more. It gets intense fast, especially when Jackson insists Liam stand up for himself and not treat his lover like a dirty secret. Yummy, kinky sexytimes for these two…

All Roped Up By M K Elliott
Alex is an investigative reporter hoping to get an insider’s look at bare knuckle boxing by interviewing the champ, Conner. Conner’s interested in more than an article–like tying up the sexy young reporter. They get it on, in a super hot frenzy, but when the passions cool, it’s still not over. As the men get more invested, Alex is nervous to scratch deeper beneath the grimy surface, but his instincts are sharp, and the story is right, even if Alex gets it out int he worst possible way. Good thing Conner’s a great guy…

Doctor’s Orders By Lucy Felthouse
Aaron and Blake have been partners for ten years now. They have a loving consensual D/s relationship with Blake being the dominating dirty doc. As Aaron’s birthday approaches Blake blows Aaron’s mind with some kinky games including a brand new toy that would torture Aaron just right on their day of exploring. I really liked how in tune with each other Blake and Aaron are. Especially in BDSM pairings, I love when there’s a strong bond.

Toys for Boys By K D Grace
This is a fun “buddy adventure” that starts off with two strangers on a walking tour across England. Will is a tech guy and ‘Doc’ is the navigator and they are supposed to test a whole bunch of gear for articles in their online magazine for men. Everything goes wrong on this trip, with lashing rains, snows and leaky tents. The one thing that works: them. They have some serious sexy fun while on the road, and often record themselves getting off with the mini cam they use to document their trip. I loved how they got the help of one sexy author to film them at a hotel! This was my fave book in the bunch.

Mile High Kink Club By Lily Harlem
Rhodri and Darius are matched by Gay Hook Ups, and it’s an interesting situation, that. Rhodri’s older and a hard-bodied construction worker, but Darius is a young and wealthy stock trader. That sort of rubs Rhodri the wrong way…but the way Darius follows his every order goes a long way to smoothing his rough edges. Their simple dinner date turns into an erotic adventure to the northernmost edge of the British Isles, and a very sexy trip it is…

Open Mike By Ashley Lister
Ken has a bittersweet task in front of him: to read poetry at a wedding. He’s still in shock over the couple, but agrees, despite having a fear of speaking publicly. He enlists the help of Mike, an experienced poet, to coach him through the process. They are a good match, and Ken thinks his luck in love may be turning…but Mike’s inability to produce any new poetry feeds Ken’s new insecurity. It’s a new chapter for both of them, when they’re confessing all their dirty secrets.

I Get You By Sarah Masters
Morton and Warren had no idea the depth of their fascination with the other until Warren makes a glib comment one day regarding Morton’s workaholic ways. Sparked into action, Morton takes Warren on a week-long trip for work, but the time is also spent in play. I liked how they were so naive with each other, and how they stumbled into something really interesting and fulfilling, almost by accident. It was sweet and sexy and lovely. Wished I could have joined them on the beach! My second fave of the bunch.

The Guitar By Tabitha Rayne
Kel is a guitarist in a punk band, and he’s pretty sure he’s ugly. The other band mates get lots of attention, but Kel’s generally overlooked. At a gig Kel notices one beautiful man staring at him from the crowd. He plays to that man, and fantasizes there is a connection, but he’s too embarrassed and occupied with his band business to pursue anything. When Damien, the beautiful guy, shows up at more gigs they get to talking…and then some. This is a quirky one, with some steam and some shame. Poor Kel’s really got his head screwed up, but Damien’s a persistent one, and he helps Kel to see the best side of himself.

Interested? You can find BRIT BOYS: WITH TOYS on Goodreads and Amazon.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of two ecopies of BRIT BOYS WITH TOYS. Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

They Are SEARCHING FOR SHELTER–Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for the newest book in the Sin City Uniforms series by Morticia Knight. SEARCHING FOR SHELTER is a standalone book that features a teen shelter worker falling for a search and rescue officer.

Catch the excerpt below, and be sure to enter the signed book and $25 Amazon GC giveaway!

searchingforshelter_800_2About the book:
Teen shelter volunteer Rich searches for love until Diego, from LVMPD Search and Rescue, finds him.

After declaring his love life officially dead, Rich wonders if maybe he should stick with his shifter book boyfriends instead. It’s not as if he has much free time to date anyway. Between working long hours at a coffee shop, guarding his sodas from his hygienically challenged roommates, and running the programming at the Vegas LGBTQ teen shelter he founded – how could there ever be space for love in his life?

Diego Espinoza enjoys taking his downtime from working Search and Rescue, at the Lucky Cup coffee shop. He can set up his laptop, peruse good sport climbing spots and observe the blond barista he’s been pining over for a while. He imagines that the pretty boy has more offers than he knows what to do with, so it takes Diego time to work up the nerve to approach him.

Rich isn’t so sure about the rough looking Diego – even if he’s always thought he was hot – but once he decides to gives Diego a chance, there’s an immediate heat and connection that takes him by surprise. As they learn more about each other and try to find the way to a future together, strange and scary things start to happen.

It isn’t until Rich is injured in a bizarre accident that it becomes clear that there’s someone out there who not only doesn’t want Rich to find love – they want him dead.

A little taste…

Diego stood next to Rich in the line at Burgers & More. He rested his hand on his waist, still perplexed as to why he felt compelled to do such a thing. But he didn’t want to stop, so he didn’t.

“I want a shake too. A strawberry one.” Rich turned to him, his eyes bright, his expression happy.

“Then you should get one.” Diego thought he’d probably give Rich whatever the hell he wanted if he could possibly manage it.

“What are you getting?”

“Double stack with cheese. Onion rings.”

“And a shake?”

Diego couldn’t help but smile. His cheeks ached from the workout of muscles that he rarely ever used. “Shake sounds good. But I’m going for chocolate.”

Rich furrowed his brow. “Hmm. Chocolate, huh? Now I don’t know which to get.”

Diego squeezed Rich’s torso. “Get the strawberry, then we can taste each other’s.”

Rich snorted a laugh. “Yeah. I’d like to taste each other’s.”

Rich ducked his head, glancing around as if checking to see whether anyone had heard. His blush was prominent and he kept his face turned away, tracking various things in the restaurant with his eyes. Diego wouldn’t take him home. Not yet. He sensed that Rich had been herded into men’s beds quite a bit over the years. It was understandable given how beautiful and sexy he was, but Diego didn’t want to be just another one of those men. He’d show Rich that he wasn’t going to treat him that way. He’d bring Rich to his bed once they’d had a chance to get closer.

They made it to the front of the line, Diego ordering for them both. There was a minor squabble over paying, but Diego convinced Rich he shouldn’t pick up the tab because Rich had insisted on buying their snacks at the theater. After their food was ready, they grabbed their trays, seeking out a more remote spot to sit.

Rich took a bite of his burger then groaned. “Oh my God. This is so evil. I’ll never be able to finish it after all that popcorn though.”

Rich set his sandwich down then licked some ketchup from his fingers before wiping his hands with a napkin. Diego’s cock twitched in interest. After the popcorn sharing incident at the movies, he’d always associate Rich’s fingers with decadent pleasure.

Wooing. Not jumping.

Diego dug into his own food to prevent himself from turning into creepy staring guy. They munched some more, Diego having to avert his gaze from Rich’s enthusiastic eating more than once. Rich’s occasional lip smacking or tongue flicking in order to catch a dollop of sauce that had dribbled had turned into a ball-aching torture session. However, he couldn’t help but appreciate that Rich was really enjoying himself. Diego had worried that Rich wouldn’t be the type to give into the occasional junk food binge – that he’d turn up his nose at the mere thought of such a thing.

More reasons to find out what we’re both all about.

Interested? You can find SEARCHING FOR SHELTER on Goodreads, Pride Publishing, Amazon (US and UK) GoogleBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.


Click this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC and a signed copy of Searching For Shelter.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Morticia KnightAbout the Author:
Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011.

Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

You can find Morticia online on her website, Goodreads, Totally Bound, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook.


Out Today! Will and Patrick FIGHT THEIR FEELINGS–Review and Giveaway!

wake-up-married-banner-4Hi there! Today I’m sharing the release day festivities for the fourth episode in the Will and Patrick series. FIGHT THEIR FEELINGS is a sweet and sexy continuation of this M/M romantic comedy. You can check out my reviews for WAKE UP MARRIED, MEET THE FAMILY, and DO THE HOLIDAYS–but let’s also get to this next books shall we?

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter to win any of the Will & Patrick serial episodes (two winners!).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]About the book:

Follow Will & Patrick in this fourth installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. Freshly free of a restrictive relationship, Will’s not ready for more than exploratory fun. And no matter how Patrick feels about Will, his own difficult past has left him wary of love.

The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial, but Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection, much less confess it. How long will they fight their feelings?

How about a tasty morsel?

Wrung out after the long night, Patrick shovels in the eggs and toast he ordered from room service. His mind drifts lazily as he eats, but when he hears the shower turn off, his stomach churns. He hates that his brain can ruin a perfectly good moment with memories that make him twitchy.

“About last night…” Will’s voice cracks slightly.

Patrick’s heart stops.

“Maybe it shouldn’t happen again?”

A sharp, deep pain lances into Patrick and he can’t breathe. It’s so unexpected, this horrible feeling, and he can’t think of anything to say. But hope and lust surge together as Will shoves away from the door. He grabs Patrick so hard it hurts and kisses him until the world shifts under their feet.

Yep, it had happened again. Had it ever. God, their second night in a row of sex had been—

Patrick jerks back to the present as the bathroom door swings open and Will strides out fully dressed in a pair of trousers and a button-up shirt. The eggs churn faster in Patrick’s stomach.

Will sits at the breakfast table. He tests, calculates, and injects his insulin before starting on his cottage cheese on toast. He looks up, fixing Patrick with a resolute gaze.

Patrick dodges the look and pokes his eggs with his fork. “Do we have to talk about it?”

Will takes another bite and chews deliberately.

“Because I don’t want to talk about it.” Patrick’s much more interested in a “don’t think, just do” policy when it comes to sex with Will. He’ll take that over revisiting the surprising pain of Will’s near-rejection the night before.

Will’s brows draw low and he chews for a long, tense moment. Patrick’s heart lurches like a skipping record until Will speaks. “Really? So you think there’s nothing to talk about?”

“Nope.” Patrick’s fork scrapes against his plate. “I don’t see why there would be.”

Will, of course, has other ideas. Like that’s anything new. “Patrick, we had sex again last night. Three times.”

“I know what we did, Will.”


“And I liked it. And I don’t regret it.”

Will pulls his lower lip between his teeth. “You really liked it?”

“Puddin’-pop, you were there. Do you doubt you’re the best lay I’ve ever had?”

“The best?”


Will grins and eats some more of his cottage cheese on toast, joy rising up like the sun on his face. “You too. I mean, you’re the best I’ve had.”

Shocking. Patrick wants an award for not saying that out loud. He reaches out and takes hold of Will’s fingers. “I like being with you. I like what we’re doing and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Will pulls his hand away and scratches his ear uncertainly. “Why?”

“Because I don’t want us to stop.” He clenches his fist on the table and summons the strength to say, “Unless you want to stop?”

Will shakes his head and studies the food. After putting some eggs on his plate and compiling another cottage cheese and whole-wheat toast sandwich, he clears his throat and tentatively meets Patrick’s eye again. “So you think it’s okay if we—”

“Screw without professing our undying love first?”

Will flushes but nods.

“We’re having sex, not committing a crime. Of course it’s okay. Why make it into something it’s not?”

Will butters his toast and carefully doesn’t meet Patrick’s gaze again. This. This is why Patrick doesn’t want to talk about things. “What did I say wrong now?”

Will shrugs and takes a bite of toast. He finishes chewing and swallows. “What would we make it into that it’s not?”

That’s what I don’t want to talk about.”

“Because you think I’ll say we can’t have sex anymore if there’s no hope of us really falling in love and making a little family together?”

Patrick breaks into a fine sweat. “Won’t you?”

He has no idea what thoughts the tiny hamsters on the wheels in Will’s mind are cranking out, but he can imagine they’re racing overtime as Will gazes at him silently. He feels like he might puke.

Will’s mouth tilts up at the corner. “No.”

“What?” Patrick chokes on his toast and has to grab a swallow of water.

“No, I won’t say we have to stop. We’ll keep on…you know.”

“Having sex.”

Will’s eyes go hot with lust. “Yeah. We’ll keep having sex.”

“I knew you liked it.” He leans forward, smirking. “Now, tell me what you liked best. In detail.”

Will adjusts his napkin in his lap. “I thought you didn’t want to talk about it.”

“I didn’t want to talk about ‘Oh, woe, it was wrong, and I’m still hurting over Ryan, and we’re getting divorced as soon as possible,’ because I know all that.”

Will finishes off his cottage cheese sandwich. “I get it.”

“Tell me all the dirty stuff. I want to hear how much you loved it.”

Will’s smile is soft. “Oh, I loved it.”

My Review:
This is the fourth episode in a serial novel, and should be read in sequence. I’ve read the first three and while the romance was slow to build–it truly began in the third episode–it is in full force now. While technically a novella, it’s over 40K words–so it’s a juicy read that’ll keep you occupied for hours.

Summary of the past three books: Will and Patrick have lived in the honeymoon suite of the Tallgrass Hotel in Healing South Dakota ever since their drunken “I Do”s in Vegas in early November. It’s now the beginning of January and they have finally consummated their marriage–twice. They cannot get a quickie divorce because doing so will cause Will to lose control of the Molinaro Trust–former mafia money that he has funneled into Good Works, a multimillion dollar humanitarian foundation. Patrick had lost his staff position in Atlanta and is now the chief neurosurgeon in the new Healing Hospital that Good Works has funded. Will had an emotionally abusive partner, Ryan, whose callous phone break-up triggered Will’s Vegas bender, and Will’s a recovering alcoholic and diabetic that Patrick has managed to keep healthy and sober for their entire marriage (barring the wedding night!).

In this episode, FIGHT THEIR FEELINGS, that’s exactly what’s going on. Will and Patrick have finally become sexually active, much to their mutual delight. Will has a lot of baggage to unload regarding sex, in part because his and Ryan’s sex life was horrendous and in other part because his family has rather peculiar ideas about sex, and homosexuality.

Will felt guilty having relations with a person whom he didn’t “love” but Patrick is someone that he does love–though he holds back from hoping/wishing/praying that they have a future together. Patrick continues to make it clear that he’s only sticking around until they can manage to get divorced. But that’s because Patrick doesn’t want to admit that he’s hopelessly in love with Will.

See, because he’s fighting his feelings

This is a real emotion-driven episode with both Will and Patrick airing their vulnerabilities and asking for absolution in the only way they can. I liked it so, so much. Also, the sexytimes. GAH! Smoking hot and not skimping on the deets. Expect a bit of kink to make an appearance. (I don’t consider that a spoiler as it’s part of the disclaimer at the front of the book.)

The connections deepen. Will and Patrick build strong bonds that both satisfy and frighten them. And, of course, just when I think these guys are FINALLY on track, well, Will’s family manages to screw it all up. Again. Perhaps.

I’m going to leave you with this song, this freaking song that always brings tears to my eyes, and pretty much sums up Patrick’s feelings for Will.

Dan Hill’s Sometimes When We Touch has QUITE SERIOUSLY been haunting me ever since I finished this episode. So, yeah, I’ve been filled to the brim with melancholy, bittersweet, sentimental, impossible love for three days now. Thanks Leta and Alice.

As the series goes, it’s just getting more and more delicious. Can’t wait for the next episode.

Interested? You can find Will and Patrick FIGHT THEIR FEELINGS on Goodreads and Amazon.


Clink on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win any of the Will and Patrick episodes. (Two winners!)
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:
Leta Blake
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.

Alice Griffiths
A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her on Twitter and Facebook.

Love Like a CHERRY BOMB–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a sweet contemporary M/M romance from Samantha Kane. CHERRY BOMB is the sequel to CHERRY PIE, and while it features a new romantic couple we still get to catch up with our old friends John and Conn.

Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising, #2)About the book:

Their spark could be too hot to handle…or bring a dying town back to life.

Officially, Turnstiles CEO Brian Curland is in Mercury to set up a new data center. Unofficially, he’s using this trip to re-evaluate his life, because for a man who has everything, he’s feeling pretty empty.

He could buy any car he wants. But no, he had to rent a piece-of-crap Chevy—which is now broken down on the side of the road. When he’s rescued by a sexy local, Brian does what he always does. Go for what he wants, even if it’s just temporary.

Evan Michaels stops to help because that’s what good guys do. He grew up in Mercury, eventually becoming minister of the local Unitarian church. Though everyone knows him, being gay and being in a gay relationship are two different things. He wants Brian, but their affair has to be secret or he can’t play.

When Evan unleashes his long-suppressed sexuality, Brian is more than up to handling the heat. Yet even though they fall hard for each other, it might take the whole town to convince them it’s a forever kind of love.

Product Warnings: Contains an inexperienced minister, gay comic-book role play, dirty dancing in antebellum mansions, and some very naughty fireworks. Protective gear recommended.

My Review:

This is the second book in the Mercury Rising series and does not have to be read in sequence–though I recommend the first book, CHERRY PIE, too.

I really enjoyed this quaint contemporary M/M romance.

Evan Michaels is an out gay Unitarian minister in Mercury North Carolina who also runs the halfway house where his childhood friend Conner stayed after he cleaned out of drugs in prison. (Brief recap of the first book:  Conn and John were the MCs of CHERRY PIE and have developed a strong relationship. John is an internet millionaire, an app creator who’s eschewed the Cali life and decided that the cozy, but dying, town of Mercury is his new home. And John’s friend, CEO of an Internet portal company, Brian Curland has committed to building a call center in Mercury to provide jobs to the poor populace.)

Well, Brian thinks John’s lost his mind to move to “the middle of nowhere” and decides to do a bit of his own reconnaissance, and talk John into working for him back in Cali. Only, Brian’s not really an adventurer. He rents a wreck of a car, breaks down in a cellular dead zone, and is rescued by a beautiful, built man who seems to have a curious eye. And soft lips that Brian, without any ado, ravages. Yep, Brian’s impetuous.  Kiss a strange, muscular man you have known for 38 seconds? He’s lucky that he didn’t become a back woods missing person.

Evan’s shocked, but pleased. He’s attracted to the man in his truck, and he’s intoxicated by the feeling of being wanted sexually. Evan’s been a minister for several years, and while he’s out regarding his sexuality, everyone in Mercury sees him as being The Reverend, not just an ordinary man with needs. Plus, there are no secrets in Mercury. If he goes out with a man, the whole town will know. Would they still accept him as the spiritual leader he feels called to be?

So, fast forward about four hours, and Evan’s in Brian’s bed at the hotel living out some of the many sexual fantasies he’s indulged in during his last SEVEN YEARS of celibacy. I really loved the playfulness of this couple. They don’t expect a lifelong romance, and so they cast their fears aside and screw with abandon. It’s charming, really. They spend a week together, and it’s no secret between them that there is more than a fling happening. But, life gets int he way. Brian’s plans for the call center aren’t exactly what John (and Evan and the good people of Mercury for that matter!) had hoped. The truth of is it is a bit of a kick in the nuts for Evan, who loves Mercury and all his parishoners. It also marks the end of “Brivan” and their “secret” romance. For a time.

Expect some serious Cupid activity on the part of Brian’s on-again-off-again Trey, a popular bisexual actor with starry-eyed dreams for reuniting Brian and Evan. And expect for jaded Brian to go through an existential crisis that is entirely the fault of falling for a selfless man of God. There is little to the reunion, which was disappointing, as their chemistry was explosive and I’d have liked a parting pairing before this one ended.  That said, there’s another book in this series, and I’m sure it will feature Brian and Evan helping Trey with his (possible) pain killer + alcohol addiction. And I have my pick for Trey’s romantic interest all lined up.

This is a quick read with a sweet romance and a compelling plot arc in guise of reinvigorating a dying town. Americana is in full display from the formica-topped greasy spoons to the local color. I gotta get myself out to Kure Beach one of these days. Check out if it is as relaxing and romantic as it sounds.

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

About the Author:

Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.


Catch up with Samantha on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Living and Loving OUTSIDE THE LINES–A Review

OTLmasterHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance series from Lisa Desrochers. OUTSIDE THE LINES is the first in the On The Run series that follows five siblings from a Chicago mafia family as they adjust to life within the Witness Protection Program. It’s a great start to the series, and I’m eager for the next book already.

OUTSIDE THE LINES final coverAbout the book:

From the author of the USA Today bestselling A Little Too Far series, the first in an edgy new contemporary romance series that follows a family on the run…

As the oldest son of a Chicago crime lord, Robert Delgado always knew how dangerous life could be. With his mother dead and his father in prison, he’s taking charge of his family’s safety—putting himself and his siblings in witness protection to hide out in a backwater Florida town.

Fourth grade teacher Adri Wilson is worried about the new boy in her class. Sherm is quiet and evasive, especially when he’s around his even cagier older brother. Adri can’t help her attraction to Rob, or the urge to help them both in whatever way she can.

But the Delgados have enemies on two sides of the mob—their father’s former crew and the rival family he helped take down. It’s only a matter of time before someone finds them. And if Rob isn’t careful, Adri could end up in the crossfire…

How about a taste of the meet-cute?

Port St. Mary Elementary is only about two miles from home. It takes a grand total of eight minutes to drive there. Technically, it’s a one-room schoolhouse. The tiny twelve-space parking lot butts up against an octagonal building, which, in fact, is just one big room inside. In the exact center of the building are the bathrooms and storage closets, and from there, folding accordion partitions section off each wedge of the octagon. Each wedge is a grade level, kinder through sixth, and a multipurpose room. To the right of the parking lot is a doublewide “portable” that houses the school offices and small staff room. Behind that, children are already gathering in the playground, which is really just a weed-infested lot with a slide and jungle gym that has been there since before I started kindergarten here.

When I walk around the octagon to the door marked with a big yellow four and step inside, it’s like deja vu all over again. Mrs. Martin (she told me to call her Pam when we talked on the phone about the lesson plan yesterday, but I can’t bring myself to) has had the same posters on the walls since the dawn of time. The presidential chart ends with Reagan. She had already been teaching fourth grade in this same classroom for, like, twenty years when I had her.

I move to her desk, to the right of the door, and set my bag on it. And that’s when I see the note from Principal Richmond.

A new student.

I brush my palms down my slacks again, a fresh jolt of nerves twisting my insides into knots. I was already going to be way over my head with a classroom full of nine-year-olds fresh off Christmas vacation and all sugared up on candy canes.

I look over the instructions. Sherman William Davidson needs his reading comprehension assessment, writing and grammar evaluation, and his math skills worksheet completed by the end of the week.

I blow a wisp of hair off my forehead and unpack my toothpaste and toothbrush, my journal, and a few of my favorite colored pens into Mrs. Martin’s desk, careful not to displace her things too much. I’m just pulling the assessments for the new kid from the file cabinet when the classroom door opens. I hear Principal Richmond’s gravel voice before I turn around. “…and his classroom is here. We just got word a few days ago that our regular fourth grade teacher is out on medical leave, but Sherman will be in good hands with Ms. Wilson. She’s a very capable substitute.”

I take a deep breath as I turn and hope he’s not lying.

I substituted five times during fall semester. For the most part, everything went great until I subbed for Mrs. Yetz’s eighth grade class the week before winter break. Somehow, what started out as a math lab on probability devolved into a liar’s dice tournament, complete with money changing hands. I wasn’t sure they’d call me back after that.

But when I see Principal Richmond waddle his round frame through the door, I straighten the scarf I tied over my favorite teal sweater and try to look as confident in what he said as he does.

“Ms. Wilson,” he says, waving me over. “This is your new student, Sherman.”

Sherman is a wiry little thing with unruly brown hair and clothes that hang off him a little. He looks as if he’d vanish into himself if given the chance.

“He goes by Sherm,” the man standing next to him says.

I look up into some of the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen. Heavy dark brows curve over irises the color of honey with burgundy flecks through them. Thick brown waves are loose around a strong face with angled cheekbones, and a square jaw covered in two-day stubble. Set in flawless olive skin are lips so firm and red they make me forget the frown that’s turning them down slightly at the corners. He’s just so…gorgeous, like something out of a magazine or a movie. And he’s tall—well over six feet of broad shoulders tapering to narrow hips under his blue button-down shirt. The tails are loose over pressed jeans that fit him just so. Everything about him is tailored and cultured and nothing like any of the year-rounders who live on this bumpkin island. But it’s not just the way he looks. A blend of confidence and something else I can’t identify but makes him feel a little intimidating wafts off him with the spicy cologne I keep catching hints of. He’s nothing like anyone I’ve ever met, even at Clemson.

I feel my jaw dangling and snap it closed, pulling myself together long enough to extend an arm. “I’m Adri.”

Principal Richmond clears his throat, and when I flick a glance his direction, I know my ogling didn’t go unnoticed. His brow is deeply furrowed and his frown curves so low it makes him look like one of those marionettes, where their chin is a whole different piece of wood than the rest of their face.

My eyes bulge and I shift my outstretched hand to Sherm. “I mean, Miss Wilson. Welcome to Port St. Mary, Sherm.”

The boy just looks at me with sad eyes the color of his…father’s?

My gaze gravitates back to the guy towering over me. Could he be Sherm’s dad? He looks way too young to have a nine-year-old. He also looks all business. There’s nothing soft or nurturing in his cold, sharp gaze as it flicks around the classroom, silently assessing.

“What’s on the other side of those partitions?” he asks Principal Richmond.

“The third and fifth grade classrooms,” he answers.

The guy’s eyes continue to scan the room. “He’ll spend all day in here?”

The principal nods. “Except when he’s on the playground.”

“Is there security on campus?”

Principal Richmond looks momentarily perplexed, rubbing his round stomach as if he’s thinking with it. “Not as such. We have yard monitors during recess and lunch, and the teachers are responsible for the children when they’re here in class.”

“What about lunch?”

“He can bring his own lunch, or buy a bag lunch from Nutritional Services for three dollars. Either way, if it’s nice weather, the children eat outside at the picnic tables. On rainy days, we open the partitions and they eat inside as a group.”

The guy reaches into his pocket, but Principal Richmond holds up his hand to stop him when he comes out with a thick wad of cash. “We don’t allow students to carry money on campus. When we’re done here, I’ll take you to the office and have you purchase a scan card for Nutritional Services.”

The guy nods, then moves to the door and jiggles the knob. “The exterior doors are left unlocked?”

“During school hours, yes.” Principal Richmond answers, moving to my desk and shuffling through the papers I pulled for Sherm.

The guy’s full lips narrow into a tight line and he scowls at the door. He spins and starts toward the door in the back of the room, leaving no stone unturned.

I wipe my hands down my slacks again and decide just to ask. “So, you’re Sherm’s father?”

His feet stall on the chipped linoleum and he seems to finally notice I exist. “Brother,” he answers, and that one word seems to carry the weight of the world with it as it falls from his mouth.

His eyes make a slow sweep of my face, and as they trail down my neck, the front of my sweater, over my hips and down my legs, I’m frozen in place, paralyzed by the intensity of his gaze.

Principal Richmond shoves some papers in my face, breaking the spell. “You still have fifteen minutes until the bell. Maybe you can get Sherman started on these.”

“Um…” I grab the papers out of his hand as Big Brother blinks, some of the thickest lashes I’ve ever seen hiding those incredible eyes. “Yeah. We’ll do that…”

Principal Richmond guides Big Brother to the door. “Let’s get out of their way and let them get started. I’m sure Sherman will have a positive experience here. Children his age tend to adjust quickly,” he’s saying as the door swings closed behind them.

My Review:

This is the first book in a new series about five siblings in the WITSEC program, escaping their crime lord family in Chicago. This first book details their new beginning in a sleepy Florida gulf coast town, and the love affair that rises between Rob–heir to a mafia empire and Adri, small town sheriff’s daughter.

Two weeks ago 25 y/o Rob Delgado killed a man who held his 9 y/o brother Sherm at gunpoint. He ran and entered witness protection, along with their sisters Lee and Ulie and brother Grant. Their father is already in Fed custody for racketeering, and Rob had managed their mafia empire until this power struggle broke out. His siblings are less than pleased with the upheaval in their lives, but it was either come along or never have contact with Rob and Sherm again. They came.

23 y/o teacher Adri’s been living at home with her father for the past six months–ever since her mom died suddenly. It’s not easy for them–there’s a lot of silence. That said, they have a good and loving bond, they’re simply wrapped in grief. Adri takes a substitute teaching job in the tiny town school, and her new student on her first day is Sherm. And she’s sure there’s a lot going on behind Sherm’s silence. Hearing that his parents are dead, well, that’s troubling. Even more troubling is Sherm later admitting that his dad’s in prison, and the timeline for his mother’s death is way off from his guardian’s (Rob’s) claims. Adri can’t pretend she’s not attracted to Rob–and Rob’s frustrated with his own attraction to Adri.

He can’t fall for a local, he tells himself. They could all be whisked away if danger follows them. Plus, Rob’s got a plan to restore the balance of power back in Chicago, and that could mean a normal life for his siblings, even at the expense of his own.

The story is interesting, though I felt the pacing was slow. I wanted there to be some resolution of any front: Rob’s interest in Adri, Adri’s interest in Rob, the plan to return to Chicago, all that–just a few chapters faster than when they came. There’s a lot of tension in the book–between Rob and his siblings, Rob and Adri, Rob and Adri’s uber-protective father and BFF, Chuck. It gets a bit draining when there’s no let up in the tension, actually. That said, the sexytimes, when they finally happened, were rather spectacular. Adri’s quite the sex kitten, which I liked. I wanted her to completely own that part of herself–especially as I wanted to throat punch her dad and Chuck for their Neanderthal-esque “gotsta protect the wimin” mentality.

Seriously, Adri’s dad’s abuse of police power was exasperating. I was five seconds from calling for an Inquiry.

That said, this is a good start to what seems to be an engaging series. I like the Delgados and I’m curious to see how all this drama plays out. I’m betting the next book will have a Romeo-and-Juliet storyline featuring Lee and a certain rival gangster…which is definitely intriguing.

Interested? You can find OUTSIDE THE LINES on Goodreads, Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

lisaauthorAbout the Author:

Lisa Desrochers is the author of the USA Today bestselling A Little Too Far series and the YA Personal Demons trilogy. She lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places and then take her by surprise.

Connect with Lisa on her website, her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

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