Bend or Break Twofer–LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK and HARD CANDY!

Hi there! I’m so happy to share TWO reviews for contemporary New Adult M/M romance books from Amy Jo Cousins. I’ve been a fan of the Bend or Break series, and read several of the books including OFF CAMPUS, NOTHING LIKE PARIS, and REAL WORLD. Both LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK and HARD CANDY are spin-offs from LEVEL HANDS, which I also enjoyed. These two long novellas feature a besties-with-benefits relationship that doesn’t work, and how these guys find the love that fits them just right.

Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break, #6)About LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK:

In art and in love, it’s the rough edges that make things interesting.

Having grown up with artistic implements always in hand, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except for one thing—an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

The combination of emotional and sexual frustration fuels a spark between Austin and the nude model in his drawing class. Austin isn’t used to having trouble focusing; models are merely challenging subjects to be rendered on paper. But the geology TA’s direct blue gaze is powerful enough to drag Austin’s focus away from his physique.

After a quick and very dirty post-class encounter, all the reasons that Austin has been waiting for his best friend go fuzzy in his mind. Sean is nothing like Vinnie. Sean is persistent, pays attention, and makes it clear he wants to be together.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose his friend, or his lover. Or both.

Warning: Contains rock geeks, tent sex, a dictatorial cox whose idea of a good time is drawing naked dudes, plus one naked dude who wants to be more than a good time.

My Review:
While this is part of an extended series, it can be fully enjoyed on its own.

Austin and Vinnie have been best friends, and casual sex partners, for seven years. They are juniors at college and both on the crew team, Vinnie as a rower and Austin as coxswain. Austin is an art student who longs for a serious relationship with Vinnie. It seems that Vinnie’s only interested in having a physical relationship with Austin after he’s settled all of his own issues with school–and then he gets drunk and tries to hook-up with Austin. It’s a bit demoralizing for Austin who tells this story.

While at a live drawing night Austin finds himself to be unexpectedly attracted to the nude model, Sean. Sean makes no pretense of not being interested. He’s been following Austin for while–hoping to gain his attention. Austin finds this to be remarkable, and exciting. Such a contrast to closed-off and unavailable Vinnie. While the attraction is intense, Austin is quick to let Sean know that he’s not exactly looking for anything serious. Austin has this heartbreaking-misplaced loyalty to his bestie, Vinnie. He doesn’t want to give up on their friendship, and arrangement, especially for someone new who may not stick around. As Austin and Sean spend more and more time together, however, Austin finds exactly what he’d always needed from a partner. His affection for Vinnie remains, though his interest in continuing their sexual relationship has totally waned. Mostly because he and Sean are rather insatiable for each other.

What started as a casual affair becomes the most important thing–and Austin learns to value himself more because he sees that he’s worthy of great love. I really dug this book. It’s so sweet and totally sexy and I loved how Austin and Vinnie worked things out, despite the strain of Austin’s new love. Sean is a rock, in more than one way, and he’s so lovely and passionate and compassionate. I had a couple *squee* moments on Austin’s behalf.

Hard Candy (Bend or Break, #7)About HARD CANDY:
How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

My Review:
This is the 7th book in a larger series and probably best enjoyed after reading LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK (Bend or Break #6).

Vincent Lim is a rower, worry-wort and dedicated student. He’s never had time for a boyfriend and only occasionally hooked up with his bestie, Austin, when he had a night to spare getting drunk and laid, in that order. This wasn’t enough of a commitment for Austin who found a real boyfriend in LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK. Vinnie’s now left out, naturally, and, in one of his weaker moments attempts a drunken hook-up with Bryan, a flamboyant, out-gay, femme dancer in their college. He’s a sweet and sassy mix, this Bryan, and he’s got an aloofness that intrigues Vinnie.

Vinnie has never pictured himself with anyone who wasn’t like himself, really. Sure, he liked Austin, but he truly felt Austin was a bit flaky, I think. Bryan is not a man to be set on the shelf. Vinnie doesn’t want to like him, but he is drawn to Bryan’s vulnerability, and his steadfastness. Also, they are more of a match than Austin and Vinnie ever were when it comes to sexual compatibility. Vinnie relishes the closeness and sensuality of his experiences with Bryan, which are mutually satisfying without all the “mess” of sex.

I liked how Vinnie continued to challenge himself regarding his fledgling relationship with Bryan. He knows that he has to work at it, and soon finds that it’s not actually work at all to spend time with such a compassionate man. They develop an intimacy that is comfortable with companionship. Vinnie has plenty of moments to distance himself from Bryan, and he chooses to step closer, even when it catapults him outside of his comfort zone. Introductions to friends, teammates, and family are riddled with danger, and yet, Vinnie avoids almost all the missteps he’d have made with Austin. His growth as a character was exceptional, and it was clear that Bryan neither expected nor demanded this to occur, though there is a bit of trouble over Bryan’s continued harassment at the hands of some homophobic students. Vinnie’s commitment to being a real partner to Bryan is what makes this story fantastic.

Also, I really enjoyed the inclusion of different cultures here. Bryan is black and Vincent is Korean-American–the expectations, and acceptance, of their families are very different. That was well-demonstrated here, and, while a bit heartbreaking, was also poignant and real. Great story!

Interested? You can find these books here:
LOVE ME LIKE A ROCK: Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

HARD CANDY: Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

I received a review copy of these books via NetGalley.

Amy Jo CousinsAbout the Author:
Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series. Amy Jo is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates.

Readers interested in autographed copies of Amy Jo’s paperback books can order them from Chicago’s fabulous independent bookstore, The Book Cellar. They can ship anywhere, and will email me to let me know there are books to be signed if you care to order them!

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Inconvenient Love–TALK DIRTY TO ME–Review & Giveaway!

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Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review for a new motorcycle club M/M romance from Jessie G. TALK DIRTY TO ME is the second book in the Devil’s Pride MC series and features two DEA agents, one in deep cover and the other his dedicated contact, finding love at the best and worst possible time. For Jessie G fans, there are plenty of Sizzling Miami cameos.

Catch the excerpt, my review and a twisted giveaway below!

Talk Dirty To Me - Final - 400 x 600About the book:
As a secret agent for the DEA, Snake’s gone deep into Devils Pride MC with the hope of bringing down the head of Miami’s lucrative drug trade and finds himself saddled with the club’s volatile and secretive SA instead. Unfortunately, after years as partners doing shit neither of them wanted to do for reasons neither of them felt comfortable sharing, Snake considers Trick his best friend. Now he’ll do anything to repair the damage his own necessary lies did to their friendship because, while Trick may have walked away from the MC, Snake needs someone he trusts to have his back.

Meanwhile, Snake’s contact at the DEA has him tied up in knots. The sexy voice and inappropriate comments have him walking around with a permanent set of blue balls. Life undercover is lonely and he lives for every phone call, but his own personal Deep Throat is skittish about committing to a date once Snake returns to headquarters. As far as Snake’s concerned, they only have one shot to build something together and he’s not willing to waste it.

Greg knows he’s not Snake’s type, or anyone’s for that matter. Former love interests called him plain, chubby, and boring. More comfortable in his tech cave than with people, he’s a grade A nerd who isn’t exactly GQ material. Normally he would never be brave enough to flirt with anyone—much less the very hot and very dangerous ginger who’d been starring in his nightly fantasies—but Snake needed something to keep him from getting lost undercover. What started out as a helping hand quickly became an integral part of their relationship—if one could call a five year phone conversation a relationship—and Greg is terrified that once Snake’s sees the wizard behind the curtain, he’ll lose the only man he’s ever loved.

Now the DEA has called Snake home to plan the next stage of the mission, leaving Greg no more places to hide. When fantasy and reality collide, will it be everything Snake hopes for or everything Greg fears? The trick will be staying alive long enough to figure out the answer.

How about a little taste?

Knowing what Gene needed before he actually asked was what made them a good team and his growing personal feelings aside, he believed they worked well together. Greg also knew Gene felt the same way because he never failed to show his appreciation. “Thanks, Sunshine, I knew I could count on you. So, tell me how the move to Tampa’s going?”

Greg sighed and leaned back in his chair to look at the ceiling. He had been working at the DC office since joining the agency and while he enjoyed the work, DC was a stressful place to live. He’d adapted just as he’d done when he went to MIT in Cambridge, but it wasn’t his first choice. When the request to transfer and be closer to the undercover operation he’d been devoting ninety percent of his time to came in, he jumped at it even though he questioned his superior’s motives.

But moving was stressful, fitting in with new coworkers more so, and doing both while keeping up with Gene’s needs was damn near exhausting. It was worth it, but he was more tired than he ever remembered being and none of that was Gene’s problem. As an undercover agent in an outlaw motorcycle club, he had more important things to worry about, so Greg downplayed the stress he’d been under. “Florida’s better than DC, that’s for sure.”

“But?” Gene asked knowingly and Greg sighed. He should have known better than to think he could bluff his answer. They’d been talking multiple times a day for almost a year. If there was anyone who could tell just by the tone of his voice what he was feeling, it was Gene.

“When I first got this assignment, it seemed odd that I wasn’t immediately transferred to a closer office. Not that location really mattered in the past, but our partnership was a first in the agency. Normally, undercover agents have full use of the entire Intelligence Division and everyone in ID works together so nothing falls through the cracks.” Maybe he was becoming more like Gene, because he was seeing shadows everywhere lately. “That didn’t happen and it obviously wasn’t necessary because I was able to do whatever you needed from DC. So why, out of nowhere, did Crockett and Stimer request me in the Tampa office? If they wanted me closer to your operation, why not Fort Myers or even the Miami office?”

Gene didn’t immediately respond and Greg knew he was choosing his words. Lately, they’d begun to wonder if someone within the agency, or any branch of law enforcement, was working with Durango. Crooked agents were an unfortunate fact of life and the more information he uncovered about Durango and the MC, the more things didn’t add up. Namely, putting an agent in what they had to know would be a long term undercover operation only to bitch about how long it was taking him to get the job done. It was like they were setting him up for failure and that didn’t sit well with Greg at all.

He was fully invested in doing the best job he could and that was only solidified by the growing personal feelings he was developing for Gene. The last thing Greg wanted was to see him get burned by the agency they both joined in the hopes of doing something good.

“I can hear those wheels turning from here, but we both know how dangerous it is for you to go poking around into Crockett or Stimer. You’re the new face in the office so you have no allies you can trust. If anyone catches wind of what you’re doing…”

“They won’t.” Greg wanted to sneer at the suggestion that he didn’t know how to cover his tracks. The only thing that stopped him was the knowledge that Gene cared about the risks he might be taking. That concern was a foreign concept that he didn’t know how to deal with. “I know how to hide a trail, Gene.”

“I don’t doubt your abilities for a second,” Gene assured, taking the wind out of any potential argument between them. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt. If Crockett or Stimer or someone else has a hidden agenda, you’ll find it in the work we’re already doing. You’re already cherry picking the information you put in the files, already deciding what they can and can’t be trusted with, right?”

“Yes,” Greg grudgingly admitted. He just didn’t know if those precautions were enough.

Gene chuckled at his tone. “You and I both know if they’re in any way involved in Durango’s business, if they’re doing anything to hinder the case, you’ll uncover it in the intelligence you’re already gathering. I know it’s not enough, but I’m already in play and there’s no way to step back now. If you go digging and someone catches wind of it, you paint a target on both our backs.”

Which was the only reason he hadn’t already gone digging and why he was coming clean now. The very last thing he wanted to do was make Gene’s job more dangerous than it already was. “Fine.”

Gene laughed at him again and he found himself pulling up a photo of the agent. It was unfair how good looking the man was. Tall, broad, scruffy, with piercing eyes and a strong chin, and lips made for doing sinful things. Gene was all of Greg’s weakness wrapped up in a hard body that made his fingers itch to touch.

A soft sigh and the sound of a bed creaking brought his attention back to their conversation. “I’m done thinking about this for tonight. Tell me something good before we hang up.”

My Review:
This is the second book in the Devil’s Pride MC series, and likely best understood when reading in sequence. To catch up, Snake/Gene is a DEA agent that infiltrated the Devil’s Pride club in Ft. Myers Florida. In the previous book, TRICKING CHASE, he helped the MC get rid of a drug dealer, Durango, who had possibly kidnapped the sister of a patch member–Ty. Ty was a marine, who didn’t re-up when his sister went missing. For years Ty and Snake worked within the club to find out who was dirty, and they eventually teamed up to get rid of Durango and find Ty’s sister. This operation also included many of the Sizzling Miami characters. Snake broke his cover and guaranteed immunity to Ty in exchange for halting the trafficking of drugs, guns and humans.

Well, cut the head off a worm and you get new worms. See, Durango’s brother Santos picked up where his bro left off. And Snake (Gene) is exposed to the MC as an agent. The feds are considering taking out the whole MC, and Gene feels responsible. He spent five years with these guys and doesn’t want them all to get tarred with the criminal brush. He enlists Ty to help him track down Santos, much to Ty’s frustration. He was finally settled with his boy, Chase, and their growing family.

Also, both Gene and his DEA contact Greg think Gene’s been further compromised, by a mole in the DEA. Greg has been the voice at the other end of the phone for five long years. During this time they have built a strong rapport, and that includes sharing hopes, dreams, and fantasies. Greg is completely infatuated with Gene, but suffers crippling body dysmorphia as he’s not the fittest or the sexiest man alive. He’s softer, fuller, and nerdier than the gay men he’s idolized, and has been hurt by many a partner for his non-GQ appearance. Gene absolutely doesn’t care. Greg has kept him safe for five grueling years of deep cover, and he loves the man behind the voice.

Gene so looks forward to meeting Greg, and their first face-to-face does not go well. Oh man! I had the awkward laughs going strong. I really loved how Gene embraced Greg and loved all of him so thoroughly. When they have to separate again, so Snake can fix his mess with the MC club, there’s a lot of wanting going on. Both Gene and Greg want a life together, and that likely means leaving the DEA. Besides, they’re rather disillusioned with the agency after learning one of their superiors is planning to cut them loose.

There’s a whole lot of plot and scheming to settle the business of the book, but it’s an HEA and that includes Greg and Gene riding off on Snake’s bike into the glorious sunset. The stage is set for another book–I’m sure it will include Carlos, Devil’s Pride MC Prez, and Mateo, the young, manipulative son of a rival MC Prez. If you like motorcycle club romance, you’ll probably like this one. I found I enjoyed it far more than TRICKING CHASE, the first book in the series, because it centered on a developing romance. There’s a little bit of sexytimes–I would have liked more, but I’m not complaining. Gene and Greg are sweet together, for all the dirty talk they share.

Interested? You can find TALK DIRTY TO ME on GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo and All Romance eBooks.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click this a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a $30 Amazon GC, OR signed paperbacks of TRICKING CHASE and TALK DIRTY TO ME (Grand prize) Three runners’ up will win an ebook of TALK DIRTY TO ME and a Happy Guy wine opener.

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.

Catch up with Jessie G online on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Tsu, Google+, Ello, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

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Seeking Out a HEARTBREAKER–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review for Kat and Stone Bastion’s new adult romance HEARTBREAKER out today! You know I’ve loved their NO WEDDINGS books (No Weddings, One Funeral, Two Bar Mitzvahs, Three Christmases and For Valentine’s) so I was excited to read their next collaboration. Kiki Michaelson is the artsy gal who got burned by a boy and seeks men who can’t hurt her. Little did she know Darren Cole would turn her palette from monochrome to Kodachrome…

Catch the details on the $25 giveaway below….

Heartbreaker (Unbreakable, #1)About the book:
Kiki Michaelson wants one wild night to forget her starving-artist worries. Simple.
Only instead of Darren Cole becoming her one-night stand, he taunts her with a challenge. Then while she’s trying to best him at his own game, he turns out to be the last thing she’s prepared for: someone she wants to keep.
Which means all he can ever be…is a friend.

Darren Cole never allows a girl to get close—not close enough to matter.
Then storms in Kiki Michaelson, a beautiful, fearless temptation that rocks his world off-balance. But he fights their attraction, unwilling to gamble something physical with their close ties. Until the passionate sculptor exposes her heart and breaks his wide open.

In that moment it becomes clear: she could never be just a friend.
Sometimes what you run from…is exactly what you need.

***HEARTBREAKER is a standalone, full-length new adult romance told in dual POV. Due to mature themes and adult language, this book is for those 18 and older.***

How about a little taste?

I watched his prone body lower, then lift.

Lower.

Lift.

My breath caught and my stride slowed as I drew closer. My mouth gradually fell open. My eyes widened.

Shirtless, baseball hat spun backward, hands sunk into silver metal pails of sand, he performed the most unique pushups I’d ever seen. His skin glistened with a sheen of perspiration under the section’s brighter lights. Taut muscles along his back, shoulders, and arms flexed under the strain of every measured drop and rise.

The world around me seemed to stop—except for him. Art in motion. Beauty in action. Every woman’s fantasy-come-to-life coalesced into one surreal moment where my mind fabricated my body beneath that incredible male form, under all that raw muscle and energy.

On the next downstroke, he paused. Then he glanced up. His gaze locked with mine.

Busted.

Yet powerless to stop myself, I studied the rigid contours of muscle as he held that position. The artist in me flared to life, imagining those lines sketched in charcoal. His tattoo. My gaze lingered on three thick curving tribal-style crescents. The largest began at the base of his neck, where its tip fanned into multiple points. Two smaller crescents overlapped tips with the first, each arcing a different direction, one toward his back, the other curving beneath his arm.

My skin began to heat under the spotlight of his attention, and I burned the image into my memory for when I had a quiet moment, later.

My mouth had gone dry.

I swallowed hard.

Then I found my voice as my brain cells finally began to fire again. “Really? You invite me here and do that” —I gestured toward him with a wild wave of my fingers— “and I’m supposed to think only friendly thoughts?”

His lips twisted into a smirk. “Try.”

I forced my attention back to his face and held his stare. “All I see is sex on a stick.”

Oh, shit. I blurted that out loud.

His knees lowered to the floor, then he pulled his hands from the sand. “Try harder.”

My Review:
While this book shares some of the characters from the No Weddings series, it can be fully enjoyed on its own.

Kiki’s a 27 y/o woman who has been burned more than once, in more than one way. Despite being a successful up-and-coming artist, she’s got money struggles she doesn’t know how to fix–and which are totally outside of her control. Her high school crush busted her heart wide open and that makes her–to this day–gun shy of any man. She prefers anonymous hook-ups, but struggles to put herself out there, too.

She reaches out to Darren, one of the DJs who works for the event planning company Kiki owns with her three siblings, only to be shot down. Darren’s life is complicated by guardianship of his teen-aged sister, who suffers depression. He works hard and goes to school, trying to support them both, and while he’s attracted to Kiki, he is spread very thin between all his responsibilities. Still, he doesn’t want to never see Kiki, so he offers her friendship, and to help her train for a 5K race–which is one of her goals.

Over the several weeks of the book’s span they do develop a friendship, with the a side order of lust. Both Darren and Kiki are guarded regarding their own personal problems, but that changes when Darren has to rescue his sis and Kiki intercedes. I really liked the way depression was handled in the book. Both Darren and his sis suffer in different ways since their mother died, and Kiki is a good mediator between them. Also, the romance development was steady and not rushed. Kiki and Darren get to know each other before they get into bed together. There’s a bit of sexytimes, but it’s just the right amount, I think. The main focus remains on the growth of both Darren and Kiki to allow each to trust the other and find comfort in their sorrow and joy in their successes. Lots of feels, here, that are very companionship-centered. It’s a solid spin-off romance that will please romance fans.

Interested? You can find HEARTBREAKER on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CAN, Amazon AU, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble UK, and Kobo.

HEARTBREAKER Release Day $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Be sure to visit Kat & Stone on their Facebook page today to enter: Kat & Stone Bastion’s Facebook

About the authors:
Kat Bastion won several awards for her bestselling debut novel Forged in Dreams and Magick.

Kat and Stone Bastion’s bestselling first novel No Weddings and the No Weddings series were named Best of 2014 by multiple romance review blogs.

When not defining love and redemption through scribed words, they enjoy spending their time mountain biking and hiking in the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

Catch up with them online on their blog, Facebook, Kat’s Twitter, Stone’s Twitter, website.
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The Plot Thickens–PRINCE’S GAMBIT-A Review

Hi there! I’m really excited to share a review for the second volume of C.S. Pacat’s Captured Prince trilogy. PRINCE’S GAMBIT is a fantastic sequel that had no hope of slowing down. You know how much I loved CAPTIVE PRINCE, well, this book’s BETTER!!!

Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince, #2)About the book
With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…

My Review:
This is the second book in a fantasy M/M series that needs to be read in order.

Damen, who is also Prince Damianos of Akelios, was captured and sold into sexual slavery followed by a coup masterminded by his elder half-brother. Damen now slave to the Crown Prince of Vere, Laurent, must hide his identity in order to stay alive. Laurent’s most fervent wish is to kill the Akelians, and is particularly frustrated that Prince Damianos, who killed his elder brother Auguste, died before Laurent could claim his vengeance. Damen’s fervent hope is to return to Akelios and regain his throne, striking down his brother.

At age 20, Laurent is months from gaining his own throne from his uncle, the Regent king, who has served for the past seven years. Laurent’s not interested in his slave Damen, except to torture him, at first. They have reached a rapprochement in the first book, as Damen convinced Laurent that he can help him survive the treacherous Akelios-Vere border patrol the Regent king has pressed Laurent into performing.

Laurent wants to live. Damen knows that keeping Laurent alive will prevent war between Vere and Akelios. Damen knows that Akelios will fall if war erupts, divided in loyalty as it has been by his brother’s ascendancy. Damen is a born leader, having been proven a top commander and combatant in the wars against Vere. Laurent knows that Damen is strong and has a quick mind, but no one will follow the orders of a slave. That said, the commander of Laurent’s troops–a rag-tag batch of mercenaries–is a pawn to the Regent who’s likely been told to maintain disorder, enabling a poor defense for the Prince. Laurent fully expects that he will never see the crown, if his uncle has any say in the matter.

As with the previous book, the plot is rife with cunning and duplicity. Laurent must stay three steps ahead of his uncle’s schemes, and he seems to do so. Damen, against his better instincts, advises Laurent admirably. He knows that he can slip off across the border and regain favor with his own people, but the entanglements the Regent has put in motion threaten to destabilize the entire region, and will undoubtedly cause war.

Damen trains Laurent’s troops, under the guise of another officer, as well as becomes the ultimate protector of Laurent–who engages in espionage more than once. Damen’s internal conflicts are many and fierce. Laurent is his sworn enemy, and would kill him if her knew his identity. Yet, their close quarters raises feelings of respect and admiration for the man that had brutally punished him previously. Also, the more that Damen is placed in battle, the more that his adversaries begin to see he is not a pleasure slave. He is a battle-hardened warrior, and resembles greatly the lost prince–threatening his anonymity.

I absolutely loved this story. The twists and turns are astounding. Laurent will stop at nothing to keep his life, and land, from war, even fighting his own lords to destroy the Regent’s influence. The Regent is just as duplicitous, and has the might of the land on his side. Laurent, Damen and their troops are often outnumbered, and usually out-matched, and yet they persevere due to Damen’s martial acumen and Laurent’s bravado. I could not turn the pages fast enough.

The book series is a M/M romance, and we do see the elements build here. The first book: no intimacy. This book, some intimacy. Laurent is called the Ice Prince for good reason. (I’m betting that he hasn’t had a “lover” in many years because he’s a molestation survivor.) That said, the long hours of travel, training, strategy and escape have welded Laurent and Damen together. Damen wants to escape and is simultaneously drawn to Laurent, not entirely out of duty. The print edition has a bonus chapter that really gets into the nitty-gritty of their intimacy. #Love

Still, it’s a very, very small part of this story. Expect so much more.

The book, as part of a larger series, ends on a cliffhanger. The third book, Kings Rise, will decide who survives. My money’s on Damen and Laurent. And not only as kings who share a border. I’m thinking these two will share a royal bedchamber as equals, too.

Interested? You can find PRINCE’S GAMBIT on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
C.S. Pacat is a Melbourne writer. Her first series the Captive Prince trilogy began its life as an original web serial. Self-published in 2013 to critical and commercial success and acclaim, the Captive Prince trilogy was acquired by Penguin, and will be published worldwide in 2015.

You can find Ms. Pacat on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Taking Chances MENDING THE RIFT–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! I’m eager to share this review for a dystopian future M/M romance from Chris T. Kat. MENDING THE RIFT is an mpreg (male pregnancy!) tale in a society where alliances are forged by marriage and breeders are a hot commodity.

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About the book:
In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him, as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.

Who about a little taste?

Marcus rappelled off and stepped onto the ground with a crunch of his boots. Pointing at the opening with the askew ladder, he asked, “Don’t tell me you seriously considered climbing down this way.”

Luca shrugged. “I’d have preferred spontaneous levitation, but it didn’t happen.”

He yelped when Marcus put an arm around his torso and lifted him to his feet, as if he weighed nothing. “Hey!”

Marcus silenced him with a glare, and Luca gritted his teeth while Marcus thumped dust off his clothes. “Your father is livid.”

Luca swallowed. He’d expected worried, maybe a bit mad, but livid? His father never got furious at him. Not for long, anyway. Being the baby of the family had its perks. “Why?”

Why? Seriously, Luca, you have to ask why?” Marcus patted Luca’s behind more firmly than was strictly necessary.

Luca shifted, trying to get away from Marcus’s arm. When that didn’t help, he slapped Marcus’s hands away and stepped aside. He couldn’t think when he was so close to Marcus—when the man touched him, he sent shivers up and down his spine. He ignored the glower Marcus directed at him. “Yes, seriously. He knows I don’t want to marry Smith. I don’t want anything to do with all that shit. I want to decide what I’m going to do with my life.”

Marcus shook his head. “Smith is a good man. My brother Kyle worked for him. He said he always treated his people well. If you want I could try to get Kyle on the phone so you can talk to him. That is, if I can get a hold on him. Trust me, you’ll be in good hands.”

“You don’t get it! I don’t want to be in good hands!”

“No?” Marcus raised an eyebrow.

Luca huffed, a small smile forming on his lips. “Well, yes, of course I want to be in good hands. But I want someone to love me, and not just for my ability to become pregnant. I want… you.”

Luca’s heart thundered in his rib cage. There, he’d said it. The ball was in Marcus’s court. Sure, it had only been one night, and Marcus’s reaction afterward hadn’t been promising, but maybe he’d just been scared? Maybe he feared to lose his job? Nonetheless, there was more going on between them, and they both knew it. That one night had just been the last logical step. Luca regretted nothing.

For a moment Marcus seemed startled, and there was a softness in his eyes that was solely reserved for Luca. The softness vanished too quickly for Luca’s liking.

Instead, Luca was greeted with Marcus’s usual, scrutinizing gaze. “You don’t want me, and you better never mention this again. It was a mistake. Now get it out of your head and be a good boy.”

My Review:

This is an interesting dystopian future M/M romantic suspense. Several hundred years in the future, after war ravaged Earth and what remained of civilization has adapted to lowered fertility, it seems that males begin to spontaneously develop internal female sex organs–what we would consider semihermaphroditic, as they have no external female genitalia.

Breeders, male and female alike, had been sheltered and kept from working and even being present in society when they are pregnant, but times are changing in the Northern Confereracy (which exists where Germany and Austria once did) where Luca is the youngest of ten children sired by his father and carried by his dad. All of Luca’s siblings are prolific breeders and Luca–at 22–is well past the usual age of marriage. He’s holding out for a love match and is enamored of his bodyguard, Marcus. Luca is headstrong and frustrated that he’s betrothed to Captain Liam Smith, a man he’s barely met. He runs on the eve of the wedding, only to be tracked down, again, by Marcus. In the kerfuffle, Luca learns he’s been made pregnant–against his will–and is only calmed by the knowledge that his baby is Marcus’ and not that of Capt. Smith.

While Luca, his family and Marcus, do their utmost to keep the pregnancy hidden until the 10th week so Marcus can claim Luca and petition for marriage, Capt Smith becomes enraged. No one expects the lengths he will go to to get Luca–and when this does happen, the terror and torture is bad, bad, bad. The Southern Union, under a tentative truce with the Northern Confederacy, wants to study Northern breeders, and Luca’s a perfect specimen. There’s a lot more going on than simple revenge.

Expect multiple attacks, kidnappings, delayed nuptials, a growing bond between daddy, belly, and daddy, and some yummy sexytimes. This is a book that does not spare the action, and Luca’s life is not the simple path one would imagine for the youngest son of a nation’s Vice President. Lots of political intrigue, and danger, are part of this plot. I will admit to getting a little exhausted by the constant high tension/high stakes. I really just wanted Luca and Marcus to disappear into a cave, or something, to avoid the threat of capture and cuddle.

I struggled with the dialogue, as I truly expect speech patterns and idiom to change in the span of 200 years, and it felt very much 21st Century American-English, when we were set in 23rd Century central Europe. There didn’t seem to be many advances in technology, either, besides the medical breakthroughs regarding Breeders. So, the worldbuilding, as a whole, was lacking, for me. I did like the subplot/subtext of breeder prejudice, and respected both Luca and his dad’s attempts to subvert the restrictions placed on Breeders so that they could be whole persons with occupations and aspirations, not just baby factories.

In total, it was an interesting story. I like Mpreg and this one was really about the pregnancy. We follow Luca throughout the 36 weeks of gestation, and beyond. All of that was fascinating, to me. I loved how dedicated Marcus and Luca were to each other. There are several loving relationships present in the book, which was good to read.

Interested? You can find MENDING THE RIFT on Goodreads, Dreamspinner (ebook, paperback), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

 

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Catch up to Chris online on her blog, Goodreads, Amazon and twitter
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MORE THAN A FEELING–Excerpt tour!

ROCKIES_Tour
Hi there! I’m helping to get the word out on a contemporary cowboy romance from Sara Richardson. MORE THAN A FEELING will be released the end of this month, and it sounds like a good one!

More Than a Feeling (Heart of the Rockies, #3)About the book:
Stop running…and start falling
For Ruby James the Walker Mountain Ranch is her safe haven. Here in Aspen, Colorado, she can finally build a quiet life for herself without fear of her old one rearing its ugly head. Or so Ruby thinks. Any single woman would be happy to indulge a tall, dark, and curious cop-but the closer Ruby gets to him, the closer she gets to losing her newfound peace.

Police officer Sawyer Hawkins is no stranger to secrets. He’s ready to leave town for good until a security threat brings him back to Walker Ranch, and Ruby’s gorgeous green eyes soon have him second-guessing his decision to go. Her kindness and quiet strength awaken feelings he’d thought long buried, even as her reluctance to talk about her past worries him. The cop in Sawyer only wants the truth-but the man in him wants Ruby in his arms forever.

A little taste…

“Sawyer…” There was so much she couldn’t tell him. So many reasons she should ask him to leave, to leave her alone. But the ache tightening inside of her would never go away if she didn’t touch him, if she didn’t feel the generous hunger of his lips against hers, the thrilling sensation of his hands reading every curve of her body. So instead of saying anything, instead of casting him out of her life, she scooted to her knees so she could reach his lips, first touching them lightly with her fingers. “You’re a good man, Sawyer Hawkins,” she whispered. And though she knew he couldn’t have her forever, she could give herself to him now. He could have her for this one moment.

His gaze fused with hers, the mesmerizing blue of his eyes smoldering like the center of a flame. His large hands settled on her hips and tugged them until she straddled him.

The swing pitched forward and she wrapped her arms around his neck to keep from losing her balance.

“This isn’t why I came here,” he informed her hoarsely.

“That’s disappointing,” she breathed against his neck. The stubble made her lips tingle.

Sawyer sighed in a helplessly delicious way and took her chin in his hand, bringing her lips to meet his, brushing them lightly in teasing preview.

Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy…the man could kiss.

He pulled back to look at her, but what good was that? She wanted to feel him against her, solid and safe and warm. So she wrapped her legs all the way around his waist cinching them tighter until the hard bulge of his desire for her pulsed between her legs. It was blinding the way he made her lungs pound, the way he sent her dizzy heart twirling in circles. His touch brought her somewhere else, made her feel like someone else. Someone whole and unbreakable. The person she’d always wanted to be.

MTAF_Teaser1

Interested? You can preorder MORE THAN A FEELING on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, and BAM. It releases 3/29.

Interested in the book series?
NO BETTER MAN (Heart of the Rockies, #1)
When it comes to business, Avery King always comes out on top. So after a very public breakup, work is the perfect excuse to flee the Windy City for the gentle breezes of Aspen, Colorado. Her mission: acquire the land of a rundown mountain ranch. Avery expects an easy win . . . until she meets the rugged and irresistible rancher who won’t give up his property without a fight.

Bryce Walker is stunned by the stubborn beauty determined to get what she wants. But what she wants is his last connection to the life he used to have. Bryce has plans to return the ranch to its former glory and no way will he sell his family home. Yet the more time he spends with Avery, the more her sweet touch makes him forget his painful memories. Now Bryce must decide whether living in the past is worth losing his future…

Available here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay | Kobo | BAM | Indiebound

SOMETHING LIKE LOVE (Heart of the Rockies, #2)
IT’S GONNA BE A WILD RIDE

Ben Noble needs to do some damage control. Fast. His heart has always been in ranching, but there’s no escaping the spotlight on his high-powered political family. Now the only thing that can restore his reputation is a getaway to the fresh air of Aspen, Colorado. Not to mention that the trip gives Ben a second chance to impress a certain gorgeous mountain guide. But Paige Harper is nothing like the shy girl he remembers . . . she’s so much more.

Paige is serious about Ben, too: seriously annoyed that the playboy cowboy is using her mountain for his PR. Once upon a time, she fell for Ben’s aw-shucks charm, but the fairy tale didn’t end happily. Paige doesn’t intend to let down her guard again. But keeping their relationship all business and no pleasure may be harder than she thinks-especially if the moonlight, the Rockies, and a certain irresistible rancher have anything to say about it…

Available here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay | Kobo | BAM

About the Author:
Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot peak at midnight, swam through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually, Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After five years in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now, she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons. Her first contemporary romance, No Better Man, was released by Grand Central forever 2015.

Catch up with Sara online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Life Was Rotten. THEN SAWYER HAPPENED–Review and Giveaway

BannerTemplate(22)Hi there! I’m excited to share a review for a new contemporary cowboy M/M romance from Hurri Cosmo. THEN SAWYER HAPPENED is a sweet love story, and a dangerous mystery wrapped together.

Catch my review, the excerpt and enter to win in the $50 worth of AllRomance giftcards giveaway below.

SawyerAbout the book:

Trace is nursing a broken heart. He lost his job, his boyfriend of two years was cheating on him, and his apartment building burned right to the ground with all his worldly possessions.  It was time for Trace to get out of Minnesota.

So Trace heads for Texas and Riven Creek Ranch, the horse farm his Aunt Lois owns. But hours before he arrives, Lois is in a terrible car accident that nearly takes her life, and Trace finds himself in charge of the ranch kitchen. Sounds simple enough and it’s the least he can do for his recuperating aunt.

Then Sawyer happens.

Sawyer is his aunt’s big, beautiful, muscle bound, incredibly sexy straight ranch manager. Someone who has no clue Trace is gay. And meeting the big man should have been okay, except it was in the middle of his aunt’s kitchen at five in the morning and Trace was nearly naked. Embarrassing? Yep. But the very next day Trace proceeded to ramp up his embarrassment by quantum leaps when he nearly sets his aunt’s house on fire and the brooding Sawyer has to come to the rescue.

Seems like Trace’s “luck” followed him. Not to mention that Aunt Lois’s “accident” was actually attempted murder. And now, they just might want Trace dead, too.

Can Trace figure out who’s behind the attempts on his aunt’s life AND keep Sawyer from finding out he’s hot for the cowboy?

He probably can’t. But he’s going to try.

How about a little taste?

“Sawyer! Damn. You scared me.” Trace fell back against the freezer suddenly feeling light headed. He took in the big body blocking any escape he had and his cock twitched as if it liked the idea there was no way out. “I didn’t hear you… behind me.”

“I saw your car in the driveway. How’s Lois?”

Trace shook his head in an attempt to clear it. “She’s awake and very alert… but…” But someone wants her dead. Who? Someone on this ranch? Could it be Sawyer? I trust him with my life… That’s what she said.

“But what?”

Trace looked up into hard cold eyes. The question was genuine. He cared about the condition of his aunt. But what condition did he care her to be in? “Nothing… just… well… I guess you’re going to have to know… I mean…” Damn, he had to stop acting like a horny teenager in front of this man. “Let me… I’m going to make coffee…”

“It’s made. The big insulated urn on the counter is full. Just made it about a half hour ago so it’s fine.”

“Oh. Good. Let’s sit down. I need to sit down.” Trace took a few steps forward which brought him right in front of the cowboy. He expected Sawyer to move, to back up, but he didn’t. Then Trace did the unthinkable. His body reacted on its own as he put his hand on the big man’s chest and pushed. There would have been no way on God’s green earth he would have been able to physically move the cowboy without his express permission, not to mention help. But Trace’s brain seemed to totally malfunction in this man’s presence.

And, as expected, being pushed in any direction was never going to work for Sawyer. Sawyer grabbed his wrist, twisted it tight behind Trace, which brought Trace up solid, against Sawyer’s hard body, chest to chest. Being several inches taller, Sawyer glared down into Trace’s shocked face, a smoldering look in his eyes. Trace could feel Sawyer’s hot breath on his face, sense the man’s tense muscles from his pecs down through his thighs…

My Review:
Trace is a 20-something college graduate who’s having a run of really, really bad luck. Laid off, newly-single, and suddenly homeless, he returns to his aunt’s Texas ranch for the first time since his mother died several years ago. His aunt, Lois, is critically injured in a car wreck just before he arrives, however. She charges Trace with taking care of her ranch hands’ meals and managing the bills–while she recuperates. Her foreman, Sawyer, will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the ranch.

Trace is dumbstruck when he meets big, burly, beautiful Sawyer. His imagination often goes wild, but he knows better than to out himself on an isolated Texas ranch. Sawyer is a kind man, which only makes Trace more swoony. In the meantime, Trace has some hilarious escapades, messing up meals, getting bucked off his horse, needing general rescue which always seems to come in the form of Sawyer.

As the story winds on, we learn that Lois had been being pressured to sell her ranch to a neighbor, and her car wreck was clearly no accident. Goons try to physically intimidate Trace into convincing Lois to sell. Expect some homophobia and hair-raising moments as Trace endures beatings and serious physical threats. Also, expect Sawyer to make it clear that his intentions regarding Trace are thoroughly dishonorable…and a little kinky.

I liked the story, though I felt the pace was a little slow and the dialogue was a little juvenile in parts. Trace is a really neurotic guy, and his headspace is cluttered with needless doubt and questionable choices. I wanted to reach into the book and shake him every time he lied about his intentions, and his feelings, and his abuse. I loved Sawyer, and I really liked Trace a lot. He’s such a compassionate guy. I had some questions regarding Aunt Lois’ recovery–because it was written as if she was 80 years old, but that didn’t make any sense. Even if she was twenty years older than Trace’s mother, she’d still only be in her late 60s. She could have easily been rehabilitated enough to return home–to my experience. *shrugs*

If you’re looking for a mostly-breezy gay cowboy romance, this one will wet your whistle.

Interested? You can find THEN SAWYER HAPPENED on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AllRomance and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of FIVE $10 GC to AllRomance.

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Hurri Cosmo lives in Minnesota where she holds tight to the idea that there, where it’s cold a good part of the year, she won’t age as fast. Yep, she avoids the truth as much as she avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons she loves writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, she doesn’t mind “real life” and she does try to at least keep it in mind when she writes her stories, but she truly loves creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason she loves reading this genre, too. Give her a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and her computer, whether she is reading or writing, and she will entertain herself for hours. The fact she actually gets paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

Catch up to Hurri online on her website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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