Gotta Love WILL & PATRICK’S HAPPY ENDING–Review and Giveaway!

Will & Patrick's Happy EndingHi there! I’m so excited to share a review for the FINAL book in the Will and Patrick series by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths. HAPPY ENDING sounds like the pot-of-gold for Will and Patrick, two strangers who married while drunk in Vegas and are now, semi-reluctantly, building a life together–but NOTHING has been easy for these two! You’ll need to read the previous episodes, (WAKE UP MARRIED, MEET THE FAMILY, DO THE HOLIDAYS, FIGHT THEIR FEELINGS, and MEET THE MOB) first, for this one to make any sense, however. It’s certainly worth your time; I’ve enjoyed them all! As the final book it’s got the HEA we all desire, and delicious feels to wreck ourselves on first!

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter to win a copy of any of the Will and Patrick episodes below.

will-and-patricks-happy-ending-webAbout the book:

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Though just what those plans are have as yet to be determined. As far as Will and Patrick can tell, they consist of blowing through town, wreaking small havoc, and turning the Patterson family’s lives on end.

Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode 5 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

How about a yummy taste?

Will leans back heavily in his desk chair and sweat pricks the back of his neck. A tight band squeezes his chest, but he manages to ask, “What do you mean we can get divorced? Did Frankie and his new bride call it quits?”

Eleanora’s throaty chuckle comes through the phone. “No, darling. They’re still madly in love for now. It’s Romeo Molinaro we have to thank for this piece of good fortune.”

Will frowns, mind scrambling through dozens of half-forgotten or never-known relatives.

“Zeno’s favorite nephew,” Eleanora prompts.

“Oh. Right.”

Zeno is the current boss of the Molinaro family, his father’s uncle, and a terrifying man.

“Unfortunate marriages are going around like the flu in this family. It seems Romeo got hitched to a fetching ragazza. Charming, beautiful, young—the usual. But, as it turns out, also a spy from the Korotayev crime family in New York.” Nonna clucks over the line. “Oh, men. Following the dictates of their little heads always leads to their downfall.”

Bright sunshine screams through the window of the room, ricocheting around and giving Will an instant headache. “If she’s a spy, why arrange a divorce? Why doesn’t Zeno just—” Will drags his finger over his throat even though Nonna can’t see him. “Off her?”

“How like your father!” Eleanora puffs her disapproval. “No, no, darling. That’s no solution. Besides, Romeo begged his father not to kill her. Apparently he’s still smitten. But don’t worry. There will be some other kind of recompense paid, I’m sure. William, the less we know about it all, the better.”

Will exhales slowly. He stands up, turns to the windows behind his desk, and adjusts the blinds, dimming the light. “Romeo’s still in love with her? But he’s going to divorce her anyway?”

“Presumably. Regardless, Zeno’s quote-unquote discovered a loophole in the Trust that smashes through the edict regarding love matches and divorces.”

“Dad knew about this the whole time he was in town, didn’t he? He was just messing with us.”

“We’ll never know for sure, darling. All I know is he told me about Romeo’s situation and Zeno’s solution this morning before his flight out. Regardless, the issue is resolved. You and your doctor are free to handle your marriage as you see fit and Good Works is safe.”

Will stomach knots hard, and he stares at the lines of light the closed blinds leave on his desk. “We could file for divorce immediately? Today?”

“You could. That is, if it’s still what you want to do.”

No, Will! You’ll regret this!!!–was what I wanted to scream at my iPad when I got to this part of the book!

My Review:
This is the final episode in the Will and Patrick serial, and must be read in order.

Will and Patrick met in Vegas and got very drunk and very married in one night. They would have separated, but Will convinced Patrick to stick it out until he could legally untangle them without losing millions of dollars in his Good Works trust–money that would have returned to Will’s mafioso family’s coffers in the event of a quickie divorce. They have been through the emotional wringer back in Will’s hometown of Healing, South Dakota. Patrick, a newly unemployed neurosurgeon, has been hired by the hospital Will runs and as the days and weeks and month have passed both Will and Patrick have developed real loving feelings for the other–but neither of them is brave enough to admit it to the other–both believing their marriage has an expiration date and not wanting to “humiliate” themselves by loving a man who doesn’t return the sentiment.

This installment is the last–and best!–and promises an HEA in the title, for goodness sake. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, however. Nope, this serial is all about the long game, and Will knows he loves Patrick, but he also is afraid that Patrick only loves him because of their forced proximity. When the possibility of a no-mess divorce is made real, Will wants to take it–and give himself and Patrick the space to find love on their own terms. One of those “if you love him, set him free” scenarios that absolutely flips Patrick’s wig.

Patrick has barely known love in his life, and Will telling him he needs this break is a club to the head. He’s heartbroken and miserable and absolutely resolved on gaining Will back, once their one-month hiatus is complete. That doesn’t mean he’s not angry. Because he is. He needs Will in his life, and not having him is the crap frosting on the cow-pattie-pie of things in Patrick’s world. Expect a very caustic man having one after the next personal and professional disappointments.

Not going to belabor this. The break up is hard on both men, and the reunion is fast, furious, and a little filthy. It’s a yummy ending with a pair that I almost feel at home with, after nearly 900 pages of their fictional misadventures. Such a fantastic ride. It took me a bit of time to warm to them, particularly prickly Patrick, but they are now my bosom pals and I’m so glad I stuck with the books!

Interested? You can find Will and Patrick’s HAPPY ENDING on Goodreads and Amazon. You can check out the entire series here.

Will & Patrick Collage****GIVEAWAY****

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.

Recognizing Love ON THE OUTSIDE–Review & Giveaway!

BannerTemplate-15Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new contemporary M/M romance novella from Louise Lyons. ON THE OUTSIDE recounts the developing love between two former cell mates, now that they’re out of prison.

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter to win a book and $5 gc below.

On The Outside 400 x 600About the book:
When Craig Ferguson is released from prison after a year’s sentence for fighting, he returns home to his father and brother, and the family business. Throwing himself back into the life he left, with family, work, and women, Craig tries to forget his time on the inside, but there’s one thing he just can’t get out of his mind.

Cell mate, Rocky Kirk, still has six months of his sentence to go, and after a year together in a tiny cell, Craig misses him more than he cares to admit. He does his best to forget, but when Rocky is released, and arrives on Craig’s doorstep, homeless and hurt, everything that happened between them comes flooding back.

Craig’s family takes in Rocky, now known as Kirk, and gives him a home and a job, but he’s reluctant to join in with their partying, and never seems entirely comfortable in their home. A few months later Kirk announces he has to leave, and when Craig presses him for an explanation, Kirk blurts out that his unwanted feelings for his friend are hurting him too much to stay. His admission changes everything, but Craig’s uncertainty, and fears of his father discovering their secret, threatens to ruin anything that could develop between them.

How about a little taste?

I turned away from him, barged past Dad, and took the stairs two at a time. The bathroom door shook in its frame when I kicked it shut behind me. My temper rapidly subsided, and I risked a peek at myself in the mirror above the sink. The color in my face faded, leaving me pale and wild-eyed, breathing hard. What the hell just happened?

I replayed the scene in my head, starting with the almost-kiss between Stuart and Catherine. Was there something between them? Was it really nothing? Was I pissed off because she was supposed to be dating me, or was I actually hurt? I didn’t feel hurt. It didn’t seem that important anymore. She probably wouldn’t want to see me again after my outburst and I wasn’t convinced I minded all that much. What the fuck did that say about us? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was only angry with myself, mostly because when I’d finally got what I wanted, I didn’t want it that much anymore.

“Craig?” A gentle tap came on the door. Kirk.

My rapid heartrate escalated, and I scowled at my reflection. “Leave me alone.”

“Come on, that hand needs looking at.”

Sighing, I sat on the edge of the bath. “Come in.”

Kirk slipped into the room and closed the door behind him. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just fucking brilliant.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t do anything.”

“You know what I mean. Do you think there’s anything going on with her and Stuart?”

“How the fuck should I know? It looked like it, didn’t it?” I shrugged and blew my breath out hard. “I don’t fucking care anyway.”

“I thought you liked her.”

“Yeah, well. Maybe I should have stuck with the one-nighters.”

“You don’t mean that. I thought you wanted a relationship.”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” I didn’t want to think about it anymore either. My hand stung like a bastard, and I noticed for the first time that blood was dripping all over the tiles under my feet. Before I could move, Kirk grabbed a folded towel, placed it on my knee and laid my hand on it, palm down.

“There’s a lot of glass in there.”

“You reckon you can get it out?”

“I’ll try.” He found tweezers and tissues in the bathroom cabinet, and dropped to his knees at my feet. Some of the droplets of blood soaked into his jeans and I grimaced.

“You’re getting blood on you.”

“It’ll wash.” He dabbed carefully at the back of my hand, and the tissues turned red. “This looks bad. You might need stitches.”

“I’ll be all right.” I clenched my teeth as he plucked out the first glass splinter and looked around for somewhere to put it. I reached for Dad’s can of shaving foam and flipped off the lid. “Put them in there.”

Kirk dropped each tiny piece of glass into the lid, and I counted eighteen pieces before Dad spoke from outside the door.

“Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“No. Thanks. Kirk’s fixing it.”

“Right. Good.” His feet thudded on the stairs as he returned to the football match.

“I’m missing the match.”

Kirk looked up at me and grinned, his brown eyes twinkling. “You’d rather bleed to death than miss the football?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“I think I got it all.”

“What?”

“The glass. I think I got it all out.” I dropped my gaze as he dabbed at the myriad tiny wounds with the wad of tissue. “Does it feel like there’s anything still in there?”

“No.”

“I think I saw some bandages in the cabinet.” Kirk got up and rifled through the cupboard. I stayed where I was until he kneeled down again and placed a dressing on the back of my hand. “Hold that there a minute.”

“Were you a paramedic in a previous life?”

“I did a first aid course a few years ago. I can remember most of it.” He wrapped a bandage around my hand, binding the dressing in place and making a surprisingly neat job of it. When it was done he stayed where he was, and I realized he was holding my bandaged hand in both of his and stroking my palm with one thumb. A few strands of hair had escaped the knot on the back of his head, and I had a sudden urge to tuck them behind his ear. I held my breath, staring at the top of his bent head. The only sound in the room was his breathing, and the intermittent drip from the bath tap that had needed fixing for a while.

“Thanks.” The word came out croaky, my mouth so dry I could barely speak at all.

“No problem.” Kirk jerked away, dropping my hand as if it had burnt him. Snatching up the wad of tissues, he tossed them into the toilet, and used the bloody towel to mop the floor. I stayed where I was until he opened the door and left me alone. His bedroom door opened and closed, and I made my way downstairs. I felt less concerned about my likely imminent break-up with Catherine, than I was about the moment in the bathroom.

What the hell happened? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Did he still think about what happened between us and try not to? Jerk off and try not to remember me fucking him? Did he feel anything when he held my hand and stroked my palm, then jumped away? Jesus Christ. My heart hammered, and this time when I told myself it didn’t mean anything, and that I just kept remembering the person I’d been close to on the inside, it didn’t work.

My Review:
Craig and Kirk were cell mates in prison for a year. During that time they developed an escalating level of physical intimacy, which included sex. Craig is released six month ahead of Kirk, and struggles little on his re-entry to society. His father owns his own construction company, and Craig returns home to live with his father and younger brother, Stuart. They want Craig to go out and party on the weekends, bringing home a different gal every time, as they do. Craig would much rather find a steady girl, and struggles with the memory of his intimacy with Kirk.

Then Kirk turns up on his doorstep–friendless, homeless, and penniless. Craig’s dad accepts Craig’s recommendation to conditionally hire Kirk, and even gives him the spare room in their home until he can save up for his own flat. It seems as if everything is going well, weeks go by and Kirk fits right in, except Kirk doesn’t like to go out pulling for women. Craig meets a gal he really likes, and the friendship with Kirk suffers. Even when Craig is single, things with Kirk are strained. That is, until Kirk reveals his complete crush on Craig.

I really understood Craig’s confusion. He’s always considered himself straight, and his “bent” time in the pokey, well, that was circumstances, wasn’t it? If so, why has Craig struggled to exclude Kirk from his thoughts, and fantasies? Craig admits to himself and Kirk that he must be bisexual, and they decide to see if they can make a go of it, under cover, though. They spend some sexytime holidays, but it’s not enough, and the only way to make it work is for Craig to come out–and that is not a pleasant prospect, or experience. I kinds wanted to kick Craig in the wobbly bits, for a few moments. Good thing Stuart is a level-headed brother; his support was fantastic!

The book ends with an HEA, one given a bit of time to develop, which I appreciate. The book is about half romance, half making life work after prison. Seeing the reality side of it–the unfairness of hiring and housing practices, which are prejudiced against ex-cons, was enlightening, and poignant. It made reconciliation with Craig and his father so very important. I was glad his father didn’t allow his initial prejudice to make life harder for Craig or Kirk.

Interested? You can find ON THE OUTSIDE on Goodreads, Amazon (US or UK), AllRomance, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from Louise and a $5 gift card.
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.

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Cephalopod Coffeehouse April 2016–MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS-A Review

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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 so excited to share a middle-grade story with a tiny dash of romance. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS is a romp through the world of Dillon, a 7th grade boy, who wants–more than anything–to learn how to dance. And, who secretly loves his dance partner, bestie, Kassie.

My Seventh-Grade Life in TightsAbout the book:
LIVE IT.
All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.
At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.
Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

My Review:
This is a sweet and charming book about a young boy following his dream, even if it means sacrificing himself along the way.

Twelve year-old Dillon Parker is a perpetual bench-warmer on his middle school football team. That doesn’t stop his father from talking it up, and talking down all his attempts to get training in dance. His two best friends, Kassie and Carson, both have had studio dance lessons, and they detest dance schools for that very reason. Still, they love to dance and this trio works hard at expressing passion in the form of dance. Dillon feels as if he’s the worst of the lot, most of his dance moves being inspired by karate moves, a “style” he calls ninja freestyle. He desperately wants to be better, for himself, and for his dance crew, the Dizzee Freekz, but neither Kassie nor Carson will offer him any instruction.

When Dillon learns that a renown studio, Dance Splosion, is offering a three-week dance camp scholarship he creates an entry video. Too embarrassed to send it in, Dillon’s actually encouraged by his fellow Freekz to do just that: enter the contest, with the intention of turning it down, thereby humiliating the studio.

Yes, it’s a completely juvenile revenge plot. And, it’s deftly executed with just the right amount of doubt, self-examination, and subterfuge. To be successful in the contest, Dillon seeks help from Sarah, Dance Splosion star student. She agrees, at first as vengeance for a slight made by Kassie. When she learns that Kassie isn’t up for the competition, Sarah still helps Dillon learn how to dance, and it’s unclear why she’d help him. A secondary nefarious plot, perhaps?

What I really loved about this book was what I love about most middle-grade: tons of heart, tons of insecurity, tons of finding one’s path moments. Dillon feels simultaneously guilty for accepting Sarah’s help, as he must cut himself off from the Dizzee Freekz as part of his deal, but he’s also rocking out, feeling like a real dancer for the first time ever. Sarah’s an excellent dancer, and a good instructor, but she’s not very nice, and being around her only reminds Dillon of how much fun his other friends are.

The plot of the book allowed for many ups and downs, with great supporting characters that are real, and very much imperfect. I had so many fantastic moments of YES! and other fantastic moments of DON’T DO IT, DILLON! There are plenty of excellent insights about being true to one’s self, following your dreams, Don’t give up, being a team player. All of this happens organically, and Dillon’s an excellent naive hero. He’s an everyday kid, no special talent, and all of his success, if any comes, is down to his hard work. Dillon also has to educate his father regarding prejudice, and you can be sure the G-A-Y word is tossed around–not without consequence! Such fun, and told in a way that’s totally engaging and accessible to kids of that age. Expect a diverse cast, a tiny dash of romance, and unexpected friendships.

Interested? You can find MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and likely your public library.

Thanks for popping in! Hope you’ll bop over to check out the fave reads of my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers.


War, Lust and Art: VICTORY PORTRAIT–Excerpt and Giveaway!

BannerTemplate-14
Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for a fantasy M/M romance from Tali Spencer. VICTORY PORTRAIT pairs a war commander with the enslaved prince who assists the artist painting his memorial. It certainly looks sensual…

This is the fourth book in a series. The author popped by to let me know this book can be read on its own! In Tali’s words….

There are connections between stories, though, so events may be developed more fully in different books of the series. Victory Portrait is Peta’s story and stands on its own, but I think M/M readers might also enjoy his brother Endre’s story, Dangerous Beauty, which deals with events that run parallel to this book.

Cool! Thanks for weighing in!

Catch the excerpt and enter to win a $10 gift card in the giveaway below.

unnamedAbout the book:
Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.

General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.

When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.

And now for a little taste…

“You want me to assist the painter. Only that?” Peta asked.
“Yes. I just want you to understand you will be naked and…Brazzi will want you to be sexually aroused.”
“What?”
“It’s what Brazzi does. Not for himself—not unless you’re a woman—but for his method. He was tried three years ago on charges of obscenity because he uses…sexual fluids for mixing his paint. He truly is a genius. His colors are astonishing.”
“And you want Arrento to see me like that? Naked and…being used?”
“No.” Gaspar was being firm. “I want a portrait of my general. And I happen to think that the sight of you will keep his ass firmly planted for whatever sittings the painter requires. You see, Darius has one weakness—only one. He cannot resist a thing of beauty—and you, my pretty slave, are the most breathtaking young man I have ever had the privilege to look upon.”
Peta flushed. Gaspar wasn’t smiling. The man was serious.
Could he do it? Did he want to do it? Peta knew he was pretty. His looks had blessed and cursed him all his life. His beauty had attracted Kesme as a fellow cadet and was what Kesme had praised that last night when they’d made love…and Peta’s face was what Lukacz, his own father, had sought to destroy, thinking that doing so would release him from predation and unnatural desires. And now Gaspar, too, wanted only one thing…
“Just sit there and look pretty,” he said, heart sinking as he grasped what Gaspar was asking him to do.
“Only if you’re willing. I’m not completely oblivious to what this sort of service might entail. It could be rather…awkward. On the other hand, it might not be for long. Darius can be stubborn. It’s possible he won’t show up.”
And just as possible that he would.
Peta wanted to say no but he could not get his mouth to form the word. He might never get another chance to see Arrento, perhaps hear his voice. Be in the same room with him.
He’d be silent…naked…terribly exposed even in his utter worship.
But he would at least be able to say he had seen the great man.
“I’ll do it,” he said.

Interested? You can find VICTORY PORTRAIT on Goodreads, Resplendance Publishing, Amazon and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

You can find Tali on her blog, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.
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Besting the Storm: SEND LAWYERS, GUNS AND ROSES–Review & Giveaway

BannerTemplate-13Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt, review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M romance suspense novel from Heloise West. SEND LAWYERS, GUNS, AND ROSES is the sequel to HITTING BLACK ICE, and really should be read in order.

Catch the review, excerpt and enter to win one of three ebooks of SEND LAWYERS, GUNS AND ROSES below.

HeloiseWest_SendLawyersGunsandRosesAbout the book:
When Hunter and Alex are given the vacation of a lifetime, it’s a chance for them to pay attention to romance and get out of the path of danger. The tiny Caribbean island of Saba is gorgeous, the first to have marriage equality, and the Sabans are the nicest people on earth.

There’s lots of rum poolside for relaxing and a room with a mirror on the ceiling for passion. Hot karaoke nights, cold beer, and new friends.

But their new friends Orfeo and Max, and Max’s sister Talisha, share a troubling secret. Alex and Hunter want to help. As a hurricane bears down on them, a dead body surfaces, and a purple backpack loaded with stolen jewels leads a pair of dangerous men to the island.

Alex would rather poke his own eyes out with a pointy stick than call on his old enemy Nick Truman for help; he’d also do anything to keep Hunter out of danger. But even his nemesis can’t reach them now.

Once again, they only have each other to depend on as their paradise is about to become hell on earth.

How about a little taste?

“Ready? Take the beach bag. I’ll grab the chairs,” Alex said. “Did you get enough to eat?”
“Yeah. What’s the time?” Hunter slung the bag over his shoulder.
Alex shrugged. “Who cares? Have a cocktail. You know, to hydrate and pace yourself for a long day in the sun.”
“Let’s set up camp. Maybe a nap first.”
Their bare feet slapped against the sun-bleached boards of the footbridge, some of the flowering rainforest clinging to its edges for the hundred or so feet from the breakfast patio to the pool. The beach chairs were striped canvas and wood, chaise-style. Alex had grabbed a matching umbrella for when the sun was directly overhead. He left it closed, as they had a few hours yet before noon, by the arc of the sun in the unbelievably blue sky. The poolside held a half dozen chaise lounges and couples of various ages. They returned languorous, sun-soaked greetings in English, Dutch, and French as Alex led them to a spot he deemed worthy for their day in the sun. When the chairs were side by side, the canvas beach bag between them, Hunter sighed with pleasure, though he was soaked with sweat. He pulled off his T-shirt. “Do you want to swim first?”
“I’m dying to.” With a wicked grin, Alex slid his shorts down, the T-shirt hem falling to below his hips.
“Tell me you didn’t get a thing-thong!” God, they’d laughed together at the online models wearing bathing suits with pockets for their cocks.
Alex laughed. “No, a Speedo. For you.” He shrugged out of his T-shirt with an elegant, mouth-watering play of muscles and skin, and some of the lounging women whistled and clapped for the navy-and-white-striped Speedo he revealed. Hunter mock-growled and reached out to grab Alex, but he dashed away and ran along the side of the pool, blond hair streaming, long, muscular legs eating up the distance to the deep end. He dived like a happy dolphin into the water. Hunter ran after him and followed with a hurried, sloppy dive, shocked at the sensation of water as warm as bathwater. He wanted to melt into it. When he came up for air, hands beneath the water gripped his calves, and he grabbed a breath before Alex yanked him under. They wrestled briefly, then surfaced.
“Fantastic!” Alex shook his head briskly to whip the water from his hair.
Hunter shoved him, threw himself on top of him, and they went under again.
When they surfaced, Alex said, “We can rent a sailboat. Or a rowboat and paddle around in the bay. Or fish if you want. Do you think your leg will hold up to snorkeling?”
“Snorkeling, maybe even scuba.” He’d swim to the moon to keep Alex happy.
“I was born underwater,” Alex said, surprising him. “I even had those infant swim lessons.”
“You’re a natural,” Hunter replied. “Aqua Boy.”
Alex shoved him again; Hunter let himself fall backward into the water with a huge splash.
They swam for a while, joined by the other sunbathers when the heat got too intense. Hunter pulled himself from the pool and sat on the edge, watching Alex do laps. He shaded his eyes against the fierce touch of the sun. It pressed against his skin despite the water-resistant sunblock, and he splashed water up and down his arms, chest, and neck to cool off. Maybe he should have gone tanning like Alex had, because it hurt to touch his skin already. The water reflected and intensified the sun. He wasn’t that kind of redhead, but the tropical sun made him feel like one. Tanning had seemed kind of frou-frou…not for him…but he didn’t want to look like a strip of bacon at the end of the day either. Sucked it up and endured the tanning bed.
Alex swam over and pulled his gorgeous body out of the pool to sit on the edge beside Hunter. “I’m ready for some reading and napping. Lunch buffet is open until four… What are you laughing at?”
“We must be on vacation if we’re planning the day around the next meal.”
Alex smiled. “It’s about ten now. We can eat something light at eleven when they open.” He leaned in close. “If we go up to the room by noon, we’ll have time to screw our brains out until about two and have lunch again.”
Hunter nodded. It was all he could do.
“So it’s not meal times we’re planning for, right?” The sparkle in Alex’s eyes wasn’t about ham sandwiches and fruit salad. “Did you see the awesome mirror on the ceiling?”

Bonus Character interview with Hunter Charbonneau!
What do you find attractive in a man?
In the past, I liked guys who weren’t going to stick around. My ex, charismatic, a tough guy with the fatal flaw of addiction, burned my heart out for love. So, yeah, I’m attracted to guys who need to be saved, but appear to be saviors themselves. Like Nick. That’s never ended well for me.

The first thing that went through your head when you saw Alex (who went by the alias Shawn in the first book).
Great eyes and great ass.

Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?
She needs to make honorable men out of us! We’ve got a wedding to plan!

Before you met Alex, what was your ideal man?
Alex was different in an indefinable way that made me take a second look at him and to reconsider my stance on love. My ideal man is Alex.

You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?
Anything with Alex—the best dinner date we ever had was a tiny Italian place in the North End of Boston. Italian food is always going to remind me of Alex ☺.

My Review:
This is the second book in a series and needs to be read in order.

Alex and Hunter are two men healing from a tragic event. (Alex had been wanted by the FBI due to fabricated charges and double-agent shenanigans. Hunter was shot in the kerfuffle, and is still recuperating.) They met when Alex was working at a busy, urban hospital emergency room together. Hunter is a Physician’s Assistant, though he hasn’t worked in six months due to recovery from his injury. Alex had his graduate school dreams derailed by the FBI manhunt and has since found a new purpose: joining the FBI to help root out bad agents, if he gets accepted.

In the meantime, they accept a trip to the isolated Caribbean isle of Saba to spend time with old friends of Alex’s mothers. Reunited with a childhood friend, Orfeo, Alex’s budding Feeb senses begin to tingle–particularly when Orfeo’s partner Max and his sister Talisha seem to get freaked out by Alex’s desire to join the FBI. Hunter can’t help noticing how agitated they become, too, so it’s not only Alex getting worried about his friend’s welfare. This is not an exaggeration; the island’s first murder in a decade occurs a few days later, and the subject was a PI staying at Orfeo’s hotel. Despite their worries, Alex and Hunter make a lot of headway into their own sexytimes–and Hunter considers making some serious declarations…of the marital type. If he can muster the nerve, that is.

As a hurricane bears down on Saba the whole mystery becomes infinitely more deadly. And not just because of the weather. Max and Talisha have Really Bad Guys on their tail who are probably only the tip of the gargantuan iceberg of their problems. Expect a lot of hiding, scrabbling for incriminating details, and sexytimes. Oh, also, a hurricane, two desperate chases, dangerous criminals, and collaboration with known felons to hopefully make it out alive. It’s an intriguing romantic suspense, and I’m sure we’ll see more of Hunter and Alex in another book, likely set in Quantico, VA!

Interested? You can find SEND LAWYERS, GUNS, AND ROSES on Goodreads, Loose Id Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of three ebooks of SEND LAWYERS, GUNS AND ROSES.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

You can find Heloise on her blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads.
pride

Happy Book Birthday to RIDE HARD! Excerpt and Giveaway

RIDE HARD - RWB bannerHi there! I’m excited to share an excerpt and giveaway in support of a new contemporary biker-romance series from bestselling author Laura Kaye. RIDE HARD is the first book in the Raven Riders spin-off from her Hard Ink series. I really enjoyed the Raven Riders and am sure this one will be a hit, too!

Check out the excerpt and be sure to enter the giveaway for one of THREE $25 GC to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice!) below.

RIDE HARD - coverAbout the book:
Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders…

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…

And now for that little taste…

Nervous excitement rippled through Haven’s belly as she approached Dare. His brow was furrowed and his eyes were narrowed, his whole expression painted with an intensity she couldn’t read. But, oh my God, did he look hot sitting on that bike. Strong thighs straddled the motorcycle. Lean, cut arms stretched to the handlebars. Long hair all blown back from his face.

Wild. Hard. Raw.

As excited as she’d been to ride with Jeb, she was about a million times more ecstatic to ride with Dare. After last night, arousal flowed lazily through her just to look at him. So getting to be so close to him when she wasn’t sure that would happen again? She couldn’t have been happier.

“Okay,” she said, slipping the helmet back on. Dare wasn’t wearing one, and Jeb hadn’t either. Weren’t they supposed to wear helmets? Wasn’t it dangerous not to? But his face was wearing that serious, shuttered look he sometimes got, the one that wasn’t much open to answering questions, so Haven didn’t ask.

He gave her a hand on, and then she had no choice but to wrap her thighs around the outside of his and press her front against his back. She rested her hands lightly on his hips, suddenly feeling awkward about holding on to him the way she’d done so innocently with Jeb. She was probably way overthinking it, but what had felt easy with Jeb felt more weighted, more significant with Dare.

“You ready?” he asked over his shoulder.

“As I’ll ever be,” she said.

Dare pulled her hands around him, making her embrace his chest. Their closeness shot butterflies through Haven, because he felt so good in her arms. “Hold on to me, Haven,” he said, beckoning even more butterflies. And then he took off, slowly at first, like Jeb had done.

She couldn’t believe she was touching Dare this way, but between their closeness, his hard heat, and the ride, Haven was grinning into her helmet. They rode down the mountain at an easy pace, Dare leaning them gently into the curves.

Haven loved the openness of the ride, the way the warm air rushed over her skin. It made her feel like she was flying, like she could go anywhere, like she was free. When the road flattened out into a straightaway, they passed a big parking lot and stadium—the racetrack she’d heard people talking about. A huge mural filled one whole exterior wall—the words Green Valley Racing painted in green over a waving black-and-white checkered flag. She’d never seen a car race in person, but she would love to. Maybe that was another thing for her list.

And, oh man, the fact that she got to check another item off after having done it with Dare absolutely tickled her. Which made her wonder again why Dare had come after her and Jeb.

I need Haven.

His words came back to her, making no more sense now than they had when he’d said them. What did that even mean? What did he need her for? Did it have anything to do with what happened last night? Haven didn’t know whether to be excited about that possibility or scared—after all, Cora had said he’d seemed agitated. What if whatever had agitated him was why he wanted to talk?

Her shoulders sagged at the thought.

They came to a stop sign at the edge of the racetrack’s long driveway, and Dare looked over his shoulder at her. “Wanna take it fast or slow? Your call.”

Something in his eyes made her belly flip. “Fast,” she said.

The corner of his eye crinkled. “Was hoping you’d say that. Hold on tight.”

It definitely sounds intriguing.

Interested? You can find RIDE HARD on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

***GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of THREE $25 GC to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice!)
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

LauraKayeAbout the Author:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Tail Wagging Review for HOW TO HOWL AT THE MOON

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for fantastic contemporary M/M shifter romances from Eli Easton. I won a free copy of HOW TO HOWL AT THE MOON, the first book in her Howl at the Moon series, and it was such a breath of fresh air that I just swooned.

How to Howl at the Moon (Howl At The Moon, #1)About the book:

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

My Review:

I really loved this one! Most shifter books I pick up are more “exotic” species like wolves, dragons, hedgehogs, frogs and the like. So, reading about Mad Creek’s hidden community of dog shifters was a total treat. In this world, dogs who share a special bond with their human partner can catch the Spark that initiates transformation, or “quickening.” Mad Creek is filled with newly quickened humans-who-used-to-be-dogs and they are a wild, pun completely intended, bunch.

Tim is a self-trained horticultural whiz. He worked for an organic plant company under the thumb of an autocratic jerk who abused Tim’s trust and left his name off all the patents of unique, beautiful and delicious flowers and vegetables Tim created. He’s starting over with a few rose seeds he’d harvested in his own time, and hoping that his boss doesn’t sue him for patent infringement.

Sheriff Lance Beaumont is a feisty collie shifter, third generation of quickened. He has a fierce loyalty to the residents of Mad Creek and protects their small enclave with his constant and unwavering attention. That’s why Lance is still single. He can’t fathom spreading his attention to a wife, or children, and keeping outsiders from learning of the magical aspects of Mad Creek’s population. Meeting Tim at the local diner sets off all Sheriff Beaumont’s warning bells, mostly because he reeks of marijuana and everyone in the backcountry of California’s mountains fears illegal pot growers are poised to invade. Lance is especially sensitive to this, as the squatting farmers would also bring attention, and could blow the cover of his fellow quickened.

Fearing the worst, Lance pulls a dirty trick: disguising himself in his dog form and allowing Tim to “adopt’ him after feigning an injury. This way, he can investigate Tim’s greenhouse seedlings undetected and arrest Tim before any further bad guys arrive. This is a hysterical situation, in reality. All the residents of Mad Creek know Lance very well, both as a man and a collie. The veterinarian gives “Chance,” as Tim dubs him, a humiliating pink paw wrap, and Lance’s interfering mother comes sniffing around Tim’s home, more than once.

When Lance recognizes that his inner dog is bonding with tender, timid, kind-hearted Tim, he’s in a real quandary. How could he arrest the man his dog yearns for? And, could Lance get Tim to be interested in him–as a man? Though Lance has never had a yen for men, his dog is so over the moon for Tim that he cannot hold himself back from feeling all that love, too.

I so enjoyed the many faux pas of both Lance and Tim as they navigate this heartwarming love story. They have so many fun moments, and some not-so-fun ones, like Tim learning Lance’s secret, and feeling a fool. I have to say, I loved Lance’s pushy mom. She was a treasure. The sexytimes were delish, with Lance having his first-ever experiences with a man…and digging it. Lance is such a straight-laced guy, who becomes almost voracious for Tim, and that was both captivating and charming. I adored this book so much I immediately bought the next book in the series. I’ll share a review for that one as soon as I can.

Interested? You can find HOW TO HOWL AT THE MOON on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

About the Author:

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!