Sold Short? FULL DISCLOSURE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from DJ Jamison. FULL DISCLOSURE is a bit rom-com bit police romance and a fun read.

Drop down to read an excerpt, my review and enter to win a $20 GC in the giveaway!

About the book:
A new real estate agent gets more than he bargained with his first client ….
Camden
I’m desperate to make a fresh start as a real estate agent after leaving my alcoholic boyfriend of way too long. Getting a call to list a house while parading as a hot dog for a few bucks seems like my lucky break. Then things go sideways. My apartment is broken into and burglarized. Getting caught half-naked while squatting in my own listing is a low point. Seeing the sexy-voiced stranger who is now my client — and his gorgeous, cold boyfriend? — major bummer. But hey! I might sell a house … if we can ever get it in decent shape for the market and all the odd questions surfacing about my client don’t get in the way.

Reid
I’m a washed up US marshal turned bodyguard, and even that’s lost its appeal. A leave of absence to deal with a house I inherited from my great-uncle seems like a good opportunity to get my head straight. But then my boss pulls me aside and asks me to take on a witness in danger. We’d be off the grid, so to speak. The guy is a criminal, but he’s young and gay, so we set up a cover as a couple. Might seem risky in Kansas, but all the gossip about those gay guys will make a great smokescreen to our true secret: Lee is a target of the Dragon Boyz gang, and I have to keep him safe until trial. Of course, I wasn’t counting on the gorgeous blond, blue-eyed Realtor who makes me want something more in my life. When he starts asking questions, do I set him straight or risk losing him for good? And then there’s still those gang members to think about.

FULL DISCLOSURE: includes inappropriate attire, gunfights, flirting while in a fake relationship and male/male naughtiness.

How about a little taste?

I shimmied my hips, which in turn shook my moneymaker.

Sadly, I wasn’t on the dance floor, swishing for attention. I was wiggling and jiggling to reach my phone, which was inconveniently positioned in the waistband of my briefs.

The phone rang — and vibrated — turning my shimmy into a spastic hop.

People stared. Though that might have been caused by the hot dog costume encasing me in a sweaty, straining mess rather than the bun action going on. (See what I did there? Bun action. Ha, ha. No, seriously. My life is a joke.)

The sidewalk baked under my feet, and the thick, humid heat of Kansas summer hung heavy in the air. A fan inside the costume kept me from heat stroke, but sweat still poured from my body. The phone slipped and slid against my skin, evading my grasp.

My shoulder twinged with pain, but I managed to pull the dang phone free.

“You’ve reached Camden Lewis,” I answered breathlessly.

With luck, I sounded at least a bit professional. I didn’t intend to be the hot dog in Dogs N Stuff’s marketing campaign a minute longer than necessary.

I had already launched my new venture, as a real estate agent, but business was a little slower getting off the ground than I’d hoped. And my safety net — i.e. my well-paid boyfriend, Austin — was no longer a viable option.

Thus, the humiliating, poorly paid work.

“You’re the real estate agent?”

“Yes!” I responded with a little too much excitement. Clearing my throat, I tried to rein myself in. “Yes, sir, I am. How might I help you today?”

“My name is Reid Bishop. I inherited the place on Ivy Lane, owned by my great-uncle, Robert Winters? Have you heard of it?”

Nope. “Yes, sir. Are you looking to sell then?”

Please please please!

“I am. I live out of state, and I have no idea what condition the property is in presently. I need an agent I can trust to go check out the place and advise me on any steps I need to take to prepare it for market. I will be coming to town in a week or two. I’m not sure of the timetable just yet.”

Score!

“I can absolutely help you with that, Mr. Bishop. There’s some paperwork to get the process started, even if you’re not ready to go on market. I could fax that to your office?”

A loud, nasally voice interrupted my surprise sales call.

“Cam! I’m not paying you to talk on the phone!”

Damn. Dogs N Stuff’s manager, Mike White, who thought supervising a fast-food restaurant made him hot shit, was crossing the street at a jog.

“Fax works. Should I give you the number now?” Reid Bishop asked, his deep baritone smooth ­­­­­as coffee in my ear.

I could listen to that voice all day. But I didn’t have all day, or even all of a minute. Edging down the sidewalk, I put more distance between me and Mike while talking fast.

“Actually, Mr. Bishop, I’m driving. On my way to a showing. You know how it is, all work for us busy real estate agents! But if you want to text the info, I’d be happy to get everything started when I get back to the office.”

“Sure, sounds good. I normally do more homework and check reviews, but I’ve got my hands full.”

“Don’t worry, Mr. Bishop. If you’re not satisfied with my work, you can withdraw the listing and work with another agent. There’s very little risk.”

“Well, you sound like you know what you’re talking about. Thank you.”

Yesss. Score 1 for the art of bullshitting.

“Thank you. Talk to you again soon, sir.”

I ended the call not a second too soon.

“Cam!” Mike bellowed as he grabbed my arm. “I pay you to work, not take calls. Hot dogs don’t have cell phones!”

I turned an irritated look on him. “Hot dogs don’t have legs. Do you want me to cut off my legs?”

“What? No—”

“It was an emergency call. It won’t happen again.”

God, please let it happen again.

If someone else called, maybe I’d finally have enough clients to leave the hot dog business.

My Review:
Camden Lewis is a little down on his luck. His long-time boyfriend is an alcoholic, and borderline physically abusive, so Cam took off, first staying with his best friend, Miguel. But that only made Miguel’s boyfriend upset, so he took a dump of an apartment he’s about to get evicted from, if he can’t get a commission soon in his new line of work: realty. He has one set of clients looking for a home, and one house listed for sale, and no new leads.

Reid Bishop was a US Marshal, but politics and problems drove him out of the service. He’s been doing personal security, but that gig’s about to dry up now that he let some C-List actor get swarmed at an outing. He’s just about to take an extended leave to Kansas to investigate the house his great-uncle left him when his former boss calls with a personal favor. One of their trial witnesses is in jeopardy, and a leak in the Marshals service has them rattled. They want Reid to take the witness–a Vietnamese young man they are calling Lee–out of California and into a safe, unknown space. Kansas it is. Now, Reid and Lee are pretending to be boyfriends, because they are both gay, while Reid takes his time cleaning up his new property and preparing it for sale.

Cam’s ecstatic about listing Reid’s home, until he walks in. It’s in a state of disrepair that ensures it won’t sell fast enough for Cam to get a quick commission. Still, he’s willing to give it a serious go, and even takes Reid up on an offer to work hourly to clear up the house. Lee isn’t happy that Cam’s around so much, because he sees how attracted Reid is to the lithe, upbeat man, and Cam feels awkward about his own attraction to Reid.

They have some stellar missteps, like Reid and Lee meeting Cam in a most revealing way–stepping out of their shower. And there’s strangeness afoot, with shadowy folks checking out the property, digging holes in the yard and breaking in. Reid’s worried it’s hitmen come for Lee, and nearly scares the pants off Cam and others as he totes that gun of his all around. Reid’s jumpiness sets Cam’s wheels a-turning. Are they really boyfriends on an extended leave? Or, are they criminals? Reid’s attraction to Cam is hard to mistake. He’s throwing out come-ons like they’re going out of fashion. It’s highly inappropriate, and Cam’s confused by the mixed signals. That said, Cam’s intrigued to investigate more, and almost afraid to get his heart’s desire.

For me, this was a cute and sweet odd-couple romance. Reid’s near-complacency regarding his and Lee’s welfare didn’t quite jibe with the clear and present danger they were in, so that was a miss for me, but the romance aspect was fun. The story was a bit of a caper, and reminded me of rom-coms that I’ve loved. Lee’s a snot, and he learns some valuable lessons, as do all the characters. Cam learns to stand on his own feet, and respect himself, which was really awesome to see; he’d survived years of emotional abuse from his former partner. Reid’s effusive compliments really help boost Cam’s spirit, and Reid’s time in Kansas limbo help him to sort out his own path–which doesn’t seem to lie in security or law enforcement. There’s a little bit of sexytimes, and they’re yummy, too. Expect an HEA, and a lead-in to a sequel.

Interested? You can find FULL DISCLOSURE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years before trying her hand at romance writing. Her first m/m romance stories focused on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers before she expanded into novels venturing into emergency rooms and other settings. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish who are miraculously still alive. The same can’t be said for the hamster she got in college. RIP Bogie.

Catch up with DJ on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Strangers Connect BE MY BEST MAN–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m happy to share a review and giveaway for a newly published M/M contemporary romance from Con Riley. BE MY BEST MAN links a jaded older man with a struggling refugee, and it’s a charming blend of cultures.

About the book:
Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?
After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.

My Review:
Vanya Petrov survived a targeted attack in Moscow for being gay. His appeal to the UK for asylum is still under review and he suffers from PTSD though his life-threatening injuries are now healed. As a petitioner for asylum, he’s unable to earn any money and must subsist on a meager welfare allowance. It’s barely enough to keep him housed in a miserable hostel and fed. It’s been nearly nine months of waiting, with monthly immigration check-ins, and collecting evidence that demonstrates he will be in grave danger should he return to Russia. He develops a friendship with two people at the hostel, Kaspar and Anna, and they band together against thieves and attackers.

Vanya meets Jason at the store where Kaspar works. Jason mistakes him for a personal shopper, and he’s desperate to make himself look better in the eyes of his foster brother, Andrew. Jason’s been a jerk for the past six months, ever since Andrew asked Jason to be best man at his third wedding to a much younger woman, Chantel, whom Jason is sure is a gold digger. Jason’s also sure there’s no such thing as true love and doesn’t want to help Andrew find his way toward another divorce, but he’s also unwilling to let Andrew walk out of his life. So, he attempts to hire the exotic young man he’s not sure is even of legal age to help transform him from a gruff builder into someone presentable. Vanya, having been seduced into trauma before, is wary of Jason’s motives for hiring him, but he’s also desperate. All of their savings has been stolen and he and his friends don’t feel safe living in the hostel. In fact, being near Jason–a home restorer–gives Vanya an inside track on a vacant property where they can squat in safety.

But being near Jason also turns on both fear and attraction, in equal measure, for Vanya. He’s afraid to get caught accepting money for work, to have Jason learn where he’s living, to have Jason learn he’s a fraud and not a personal shopper, to not be granted asylum…there are so many worries in Vanya’s precarious position as an asylum-seeker and he misses his family who have cut all ties. He’s adrift, and sees that same loneliness in Jason–with whom he builds a rapport. In fact, Jason’s life has been lonely, and he and Vanya unexpectedly hit it off. Vanya gives Jason good counsel about the situation with Andrew and Chantel, and Jason recognizes his instincts there have been rotten. Their camaraderie soon builds into a mutual attraction, and turns cautiously physical. Jason doesn’t know much about Vanya, and what he thinks he knows is off the mark, too. So there be struggles, but there also be admiration. Jason very much admires Vanya’s resiliency, his tenacity, and his willingness to help out Chantel with wedding plans pro bono. Though, when he finds out why Vanya won’t take any money for his work, well, it leads to some fireworks. And, some remorse. And, some big apologies.

I loved the interplay between the characters. Kaspar, Anna, Andrew and Chantel are all fantastic supports to Vanya and Jason. Each man is cautious, with his heart and with his words. Jason has a problem with age differences–between himself and Vanya, and between Andrew and Chantal. It takes him a while to come around, but he’s not afraid to make amends when he gets it. Vanya is an amazing character. I haven’t read many stories from the POV of a desperate would-be immigrant, but this felt so very genuine, and the terror, trauma, and anxiety of that situation came through loud and clear. I ached for Vanya to find a full life in London, and with a man he could trust. Jason seems as if he can be that man, but the lies between them are large and dangerous. How they worked through this was good, though I wondered how Vanya could move on so fast to set his plans into motion. Still, the end is beautiful, and a totally happy resolution. I’d read another three books with these guys at the center, that’s how much I adored this one.

Interested? You can find BE MY BEST MAN on Goodreads and Amazon (US & UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

Catch up with Con on her website, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Rough Love in SAVED–Review and Giveaway!!

Hi there! Today I”m sharing a review, excerpt and giveaway for a new M/M urban fantasy from AM Arthur. SAVED is the first book in the Breaking Free series, and features a world where only males exist. Three genders: alpha, beta and omega, and some rough sexual politics have led to bad relations between breeding pairs…where love isn’t necessarily a given. I’ve liked contemporary and new adult romances from this author (HERE FOR US, THE WORLD AS HE SEES IT, FINDING THEIR WAY) so I was eager to check out this new series.

Drop down to enter the giveaway for an eBook of SAVED and an ARC of book two in the series!

About the book:
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

How about a little taste?

“Would you be able to describe exactly what you saw that night in detail?” Tarek pulled a notepad and pen out of his front pocket.

Braun’s entire body went rigid. “Why? Who are you really?”

“I really am Tarek Bloom.” For a moment, he actually seemed contrite. “What I didn’t tell you is that I’m also a constable.”

“Shit.” Braun bolted out of his chair and toward the front door, fork still in his hand.

In a flurry of movement, Tarek was in front of him, blocking his path to the door, and Braun lashed out with the fork. Dex grabbed his wrist and plucked the fork out of his hand, but that didn’t stop Braun from swinging. He punched Tarek in the chest. Twice. Panic settled in, overriding his common sense, and he tried to push past the brick wall of a man.

“Let me go! I won’t go back, I won’t!”

Arms wrapped around his torso from behind, pinning his arms to his sides. Serge’s comforting scent settled his racing mind a bit, but it was Tarek’s hand on the back of his neck that settled Braun completely.

“Calm down, firecracker,” Tarek said. His deep voice soothed Braun’s frazzled nerves, and his touch sent his pulse racing with delight. “You’re still safe, I promise. No one here wants to hurt you.”

“Why do you care?” Braun snarled. “I’m just some useless omega you’ve known for twenty minutes.”

“You’re far from useless, little one.”

Tarek’s other hand rose, nearing Braun’s face. Braun snapped at his fingers. “I’m only a womb to you.”

“Far from it, my firecracker.” The hand on his neck squeezed. “Far from it.”

The grounding touch made Braun want to roll over and show his belly, but he was done being passed around. Done letting other people control his life. He didn’t want to feel this mating bond to Tarek, but he also couldn’t turn it off. Even with the heat block, Tarek was under his skin, doing funny things to his insides.

Angry and confused, Braun dared look an alpha in the eye.

My Review:
This world is one where no females exist, and a small percentage of males, the omegas, have the ability to become pregnant. Omegas go into heat, an overwhelming physiologic experience, every three months. It is during that 48 hour window that an alpha could impregnate the omega. And, the offspring can be any of the three genders: alpha, beta or omega. In this world. alphas have the best opportunities, best job prospects and best lives. They get their pick of the matable omegas. Betas are second-class citizens who are essentially infertile as they are never allowed to mate an omega. They do form pair bonds, and some adopt discarded beta offspring. Betas have virtually unrestricted lives, though they are considered to be inferior in intellect by alphas.

Omegas are, maybe, fifth-class citizens. They are kept under strict supervision, they have no rights to freedom or autonomy. Their education usually ends int he mid teens and the omeags are sequestered until their first heat–which comes anytime from 15-21, to “protect” them from having an unsupervised heat where they could be raped by any alpha who catches wind of their pheromones. Once mated, it’s up to the omega’s alpha to decide if there will be further education, a job, or the ability to drive one’s self. An Alpha can physically harm or intimidate his omega without repercussion, using the excuse of “discipline”.

Braun Ettings is a nearly 21 year old unmated omega who just survived the car wreck that claimed the life of his abusive father. Unable to be left on his own, he’s sent to a half-way house for unmated omegas. Braun’s not sad his tormentor died, but he’s scared in his new surroundings, and wishes he could go live with his pregnant, elder brother, Kell. Unfortunately, Kell’s abusive husband is a big problem. Braun notices what looks like a kidnapping of one of the residents of his half-way house and decides to flee–which is brave but perilous. He’s accosted and nearly raped, only saved at the last moment by a beta nurse who recognized him from the recent hospital treatment and his alpha husband. Their friend, Tarek Bloom, is an alpha and a constable, and he’s really intrigued by both Braun and his tale of woe in the half-way house. Braun feels the pull to mate with Tarek nearly immediately, but he’s determined not to fall into the same deadly trap that Kell is caught in.

As Tarek investigates the situation, and some other crimes, he arranges to become Braun’s legal protector, and works out a fostering arrangement for his friends who’d saved Braun. These four form a tight unit of friendship, with a deep attraction brewing between Tarek and Braun. Braun’s confused and pleased that Tarek isn’t simply claiming him outright. He can’t trust that it won’t happen, though. Conversations with Kell help to guide him into accepting what appears to be love, but there are lots of complications–the abusive situation Kell is in, the recovery of kidnapped beta youths, the rescue of Braun’s fellow omegas from the half-way house–to name a few. Plus, Braun’s first heat is imminent. Tarek swears he’ll defend Braun and not claim him, but Braun is unsure that Tarek will keep his word. It was good to see Tarek be such a stand-up guy, especially in the face of the deep prejudices and derision he faces by having such an independent omega. They do fall for one another and sexytimes do happen, but not before the friendship and emotional bonding have been built.

This is, to me, a police romance with an urban fantasy laid over it. Getting used to the lack of females and acclimating to the omegaverse constraints took me a little time. I loved the sexual politics, and how stark the divide was between the alphas and omegas, in terms of power, prestige and autonomy. Braun’s a spitfire of an omega, and he’s often caught at the center of controversy, but Tarek loves him steadfastly, and it’s clear they are going to become stronger as a mated pair as the books go forward. The situation between Kell and his husband isn’t fully resolved at the end of this book, so expect that to drive the story line in the sequel. On a different note, it’s pretty shattering to read about the abuse Braun, Kell and others survive, so take that trigger warning seriously. I’m looking forward to reading on!

Interested? You can find SAVED on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win an eBook of SAVED and an ARC of book two in the series!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Catch up with Ms. Arthur on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Much to Gain by TURNING BACK–A TBR Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently released MFM menage romance from best-selling author J.A. Huss. TURNING BACK is the second book in the Turning series and features Quin, Bric and Rochelle from TAKING TURNS on an adventure into true love.

About the book:
I lived in the dark for three years. My whole world revolved around the whims and happiness of three men. It was just a trip into the forbidden. A way out of a bad situation and forward into nothingness.

Quin, with his easy smile and charming good looks. He was always there for me… Until he wasn’t.

Smith, and his dispassionate attention. He was never there for me and he never regretted it.

Bric, the one who listened, but only to himself. Self-absorbed, self-obsessed, and self-serving. He was never the one I wanted.

And now he might be the only one I have left.

It was good while it lasted, I guess. But it could’ve been so much more. It could’ve been so much better.

And that’s why I’m turning back.

My Review:
There are some spoilers for the first book, TAKING TURNS, in this review because they are linked stories.

Quin, Bric, Smith are long-time friends who enjoy multiple partner sex, and run an exclusive gentleman’s club in Denver where the wealthy choose to share their wives and mistresses with each other. These guys and Rochelle were involved in a kinky four-way sex game for three years, until Rochelle left another woman in her stead. While these three may have been “with” Rochelle, they all certainly availed themselves of the club’s bounty as well. Rochelle was the tenth girl in this position in more than a decade, and she lied a life of luxury and decadence, but it wasn’t enough in the long run. Rochelle’s replacement, Chella, captivated Smith who fell hard for her and decided to leave their long-running game for an exclusive relationship. Quin was devastated by Rochelle’s disappearance. He had begun to acknowledge his deeper feelings for her. All of this was revealed in TAKING TURNS, the first book in the series.

And, Rochelle got tired of the game. She loved Quin alone, and she expected he wouldn’t drop out of the game to be with her…and she had bigger reasons for wanting an exclusive relationship: a pregnancy. When Quin learns that Bric’s advice to Rochelle regarding the pregnancy was callous, he’s even further upset. Despite their agreement to never try to reconnect with one of their past lovers, Quin wants Bric to find Rochelle and make things right. Bric…is not interested. He’d rather just find a new girl to share with Quin, but Quin’s despondency drives him away from Bric, the club, and the menage lifestyle.

Chella can’t bear to see Quin suffer any longer, and enlists a freelance bounty hunting friend to find Rochelle, and Bric’s the contact. He’s determined to tell Rochelle to stay away, but when he meets her, and her daughter of unknown paternity–she’s only 6 months old and looks much like Rochelle–he sees a new opportunity. Bric’s not been happy with his sex life since Quin stopped playing the game. Rochelle wants Quin, and Bric wants both of them–so he convinces Rochelle to return and make amends so the three of them can pick up a new game, or make a menage of their own. This appeal s to Rochelle, who’s been lonely, and who wants Quin any way she can have him…now. Because this year of self-imposed exile has convinced her that a life sharing the one you love seems better than a life without the one you love.

Quin isn’t ecstatic when Rochelle returns, however. He’s burning mad that she disappeared without telling him about the pregnancy, and how he missed all the changes of her body and birth of his daughter. They’ve agreed, for now, not to do a paternity test so both Quin and Bric can assume fatherhood. Bric moves Rochelle into his own personal penthouse apartment and fawns all over the baby, and Rochelle. Quin’s not fooled, recognizing that Bric’s playing a deeper game than before, but he also wants Rochelle more than ever. And, as the days go by, he’s experiencing his own need for more than a menage–for an exclusive relationship with his lover and their daughter. But, will Rochelle fall for Bric in the meantime?

This was an interesting story with lots of twists, turns, and sex. There’s no denying the sexual tension, but there’s a lot of intrigue, too, with master puppeteer Bric orchestrating his desired outcome: a longstanding menage with Quin and Rochelle, while also maintaining his ‘bachelor-ish’ status. Rochelle can’t trust him, and Quin sees through him, but Rochelle believes she needs Bric to bring Quin closer, and Quin believes he needs Bric to hold Rochelle’s attention. I liked the emotional swings in the book. I liked how these people aren’t near as callous or carefree as they appear on the surface. I like how they think often about each other, when it seems like they are thinking only of themselves. I liked how Rochelle gave Smith what-for, and how he had to make amends in the end. Because he was a big jerk to her, a lot, for no good reason. And, I liked that the ending is happy, for Quin and Rochelle. Bric, well, he has another book to get his life in order. We got a lot more insight on all the players in this game, and Bric, though he seems monstrously self-centered, is clearly not the bad guy we’ve come to expect. Looking forward to wrapping up this series soon!

Interested? You can find TURNING BACK on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

About the Author:
JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who make you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

Catch up with Ms. Huss on Facebook, twitter, her blog and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Rescuing One’s Self: HOW TO SAVE A LIFE–Review, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and exclusive excerpt for the newest book in the Mad Creek universe from Eli Easton. HOW TO SAVE A LIFE is the fourth M/M canine shifter romance in this series and I absolutely adore them all. Check out my reviews for HOW TO HOWL AT THE MOON, HOW TO WALK LIKE A MAN and HOW TO WISH UPON A STAR because these are books to not miss…

Also, don’t miss the exclusive excerpt or the backlist book giveaway below!
About the book: Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

An awesome, exclusive excerpt!

Sammy looked back at Rav and waved. “Come on! Come swim!”

“Not yet. You go ahead.”

Sammy tossed his head, like Rav was being silly, and went deeper. He started paddling around. Dog paddling, his hands working the water in front of his chest, a huge grin on his face. Fuck it, that was cute. Rav smiled to himself as he unloaded the bike’s saddlebags. He’d brought an old blanket, a couple of collapsible chairs, a case of beer, a bag of chips, salsa, and guacamole he’d made himself. Damn, he hardly knew himself, acting all neighborly and shit, like he was actually a part of this community. But he’d lived in Arizona long enough to treasure his damn guacamole.

He set up the blanket and chairs and took the food and beer over to the food table. Lily and Tim were there, setting out plates and utensils.

“Hey,” Rav said.

“Hello, Rav.” Lily’s gaze was assessing, like he was a bug and she was trying to figure out the species. “How’s the shelter doing? I hear about it endlessly from everyone in town.”

“Not surprised. I think everyone in town has volunteered at least once.”

“Oh? How’s that working out for you? Are they helping?”

“They’re very enthusiastic.” Rav kept his voice carefully neutral.

“Is it hot today, or what?” Tim gushed. “Looks like Sammy has the right idea, getting in the lake.”

“He knows what he wants all right,” Rav agreed.

Lily looked at Sammy in the water, dog paddling around, then at Rav. Her head tilted curiously, and her eyes were narrowed and searching.

Sweat broke out on the back of Rav’s neck. It was like that scene in Children of the Damned when the alien kids were trying to read the guy’s mind and he pictured a brick wall to block them.

“Cold beer?” he asked abruptly, holding up the heavy case with one hand. “Is there ice somewhere?”

“There’re a bunch of coolers.” Tim nodded over his shoulder at a whole row of variously hued insulated boxes. “Feel free to use them if you can find space.”

“Got it.” Rav went to it, happy to leave Lily’s company.

He’d met her a few times. She was supportive of the shelter and the idea of rescuing dogs, but Rav got the feeling she could read him like a book. And Rav wasn’t all that keen to be read, thank you.

After stuffing half the case of beer in the coolers, he sat in a chair on the blanket and drank from a freshly opened bottle. He wasn’t being very social, but with all the volunteers he had at the shelter, it was nice to have time alone, to just be still for ten damn minutes and watch Sammy swim. Daisy pulled Sammy toward shore until they were both waist-deep. She wore a pink bikini, and Rav couldn’t help but notice that she had a great figure. Strong and lean. Damn, she looked so human.

Dog shifters were fucking amazing.

She rotated her arms in the air, demonstrating a long forward stroke. Sammy copied her, his wet arms flashing in the sun. She was chatting away with him, though Rav couldn’t hear what she was saying. After a bit, they moved deeper into the water, and Sammy tried to repeat the overhead stroke. But his elbows kept wanting to fold up and his hands to paddle at chest-level. The two of them were soon giggling like mad. Fuck. Where was Rav’s phone? He should seriously be videoing this because it was the cutest… in the world, the thing with the….

He’d just raised the phone and started filming when someone plopped down in the other chair on the blanket. In Sammy’s chair. Rav inwardly groaned when he saw it was Sheriff Lance Beaufort. He stopped filming guiltily and dropped the phone onto the blanket.

“What?” he asked bluntly. This is my fucking holiday, man. Leave off busting my balls.

For a moment, Lance was silent, like a bomb waiting to go off. Then: “I hear Sammy moved in with you, Mr. Miller.”

Rav felt a flicker of shame, though he had nothing on God’s earth to be ashamed about. He forced his body to relax.

“Yeah, well, Lance, Sammy said the town needed that teeny tiny tool shed he was living in. Apparently, you guys don’t have enough beds for people? Or something like that. And since he was mostly staying overnight at the shelter anyway, he gave his space up to someone else. So yes, he’s commandeered my couch. You’re welcome. Happy to contribute.”

Lance went tense all over and got a constipated expression. Rav pictured his head as a cartoon volcano with smoke rolling out. He had to bite back a laugh. Yes, dear old daddy was right. The best defense was offense, preferably with a nice smooth knife twist at the end. Rav had a feeling Lance would be sensitive about any perceived criticism of Mad Creek.

“The town doesn’t need your contribution,” Lance said in a voice of pure wounded pride.

Rav shrugged again, poking the bull. “That’s not the impression I got. But no worries, bruh.”

Lance took a few deep breaths and went back on the attack. “So he’s sleeping on the couch, out of the kindness of your heart? That’s your story? I hope you’re not taking advantage of that kid. Sammy’s always given me the impression that he’s… innocent. I think he was, uh, sheltered growing up.”

Rav kept his benign expression, but the barb hit home. “Yes, he’s on the couch. Ask him yourself. Or maybe not, since he’s not a minor, and it’s really none of your business.”

Lance huffed.

Rav settled back in his chair, tilting his face up to the sky. He wasn’t keeping score, but he thought he was ahead.

“So. Have you, um, noticed anything… unusual about Sammy? Now that he’s living with you?” Lance fished.

“Like what?”

Like…” Lance growled, impatient. “He’s… different. From other guys.”

“The world would be boring as fuck if we were all alike.”

“No, I mean really. Really, very different.”

Out of Rav’s peripheral vision, he could see Lance’s intense blue eyes staring at him.

“He’s different,” Rav agreed slowly. “Most guys are assholes. I can say that with some authority because I am one.”

“Truer words.”

“Sammy, on the other hand, is not an asshole.”

“No. He’s not,” Lance agreed. “He’s also not particularly well-educated. He’s, um, taking classes with my mom. Basic stuff. Very, very basic.”

Rav casually slapped at a fly on his arm. “We all have our challenges. I don’t hold that against him.”

Lance growled low in his chest, evidently getting frustrated. “You haven’t noticed anything else odd about him?”

As amusing as this was on some level, Rav was starting to lose patience. “What are you getting at? Are you implying that Sammy is simple-minded? Because he’s not. He’s fully capable of making his own decisions.”

“I never said that. Lily says Sammy is very bright, one of her brightest qui—er, students. But he still can barely read and write. Did you hire him because he’s attractive? Because you wanted to get him into your bed?”

Rav had a serious urge to punch the guy. But his upbringing taught him that power came from feeling no emotion, or at least acting like he didn’t. The calmest man in the room won over the ranting lunatic. He forced himself to release the tension. He even yawned to show how much he wasn’t bothered.

“I hired him because he’s great with the dogs. Period.”

Lance’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Why do you think that is, Mr. Miller?”

Man. This guy was like a bloodhound on a scent. But if he thought he could get Rav Miller to crack, he was barking up the wrong tree. “How do you explain any talent? Maybe he’s got a sensitive soul.”

Lance was quiet for a long moment.

“I know you’re not a stupid man,” Lance said finally, in a low and serious tone. “And definitely not as stupid as you want me to think you are.”

“I don’t care what you think.”

“Tell me you don’t know there’s something different about this town. About these people. What are you hiding?”

Rav looked Lance in the eye. “Do you want to know what I think about Mad Creek? I think you’ve got a hell of an unemployment problem, and I can’t see that you’re doing jack all about it. Did you see how many people showed up to apply for that job I opened? And every day I get ten, twenty people coming around wanting to do something, anything. So maybe instead of spending your time worrying about law-abiding business owners who are trying to do some good in the world, you should focus on helping your own community. Just a suggestion. Lance.”

Lance flushed firecracker red. Even his ears lit up and his eyes snapped. Oh yeah, there went the volcano. Ka-blam. So that was Lance’s sore spot. Good to know.

“This community and its needs are not your problem, Mr. Miller.” Lance’s voice shook.

“Well then, how about we make a deal? You stay out of my business, and I’ll stay out of yours?” Rav stared Lance down. Yeah, that’s a threat, buddy. How do you like it?

Lance got up and walked away.

Rav needed to cool down, in more ways than one, so after Lance left, he stripped off his tank and waded into the lake.

Daisy and Sammy were swimming back and forth between the shore and a wooden dock that was out several hundred yards in the water. The next time they got close, Rav joined the race. He wasn’t the most graceful swimmer in the world, or the fastest, but he had a lot of anger to burn off and he attacked the water like a demented mermaid. Even so, he reached the dock seconds after Sammy. Sammy bobbed in the water, his face split wide with a smile.

“You can swim!” he exclaimed, as if Rav had been holding out on him.

“‘Course I can swim. What do you think? I know everything.”

Daisy laughed. “Don’t believe him, Sammy. All men think that.”

“Oh I know he doesn’t know everything,” Sammy said coyly.

Sammy and Daisy exchanged a knowing glance. Rav decided to change the subject.

“I see you’re getting the hang of it.” Rav mimicked the overhead stroke.

“Yes, it’s much faster.” Sammy held out one long arm and turned it back and forth, looking at it critically.

“Rav, you can play with Sammy for a while. I’m gonna go eat now!” Daisy chirped.

“Don’t eat all the burgers. Save some for us,” Rav said sternly.

“He’s joking,” Sammy told her. “He’s so funny!” Humor was Sammy’s new thing, and he couldn’t get enough of old TCM comedies right now. Daisy just laughed and headed back to shore.

“Don’t mow all the grass!” Sammy called out after her. “And don’t spill all the Coke! Ha-ha!”

“You’re a goof,” Rav told him.

“What’s that mean?”

“That means you’re silly. It’s a compliment.”

Rav leveraged himself out of the water onto the wooden dock, his triceps bulging, and was slightly annoyed when Sammy swung up beside him so easily he might have weighed nothing at all. Rav wiped the water off his face and beard and smoothed back his hair. As usual, concepts of personal boundaries held no sway with Sammy, and he didn’t leave enough room between them for a whisper. His slick arm and side rubbed against Rav’s.

“You like the water, I see.” Rav said.

“Yes. I forgot how much! I used to swim when I was… young.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes. Swimming is very—” Sammy thought about it. “Refreshing.”

Rav smiled at Sammy fondly. The shimmering water and sun, and his slicked back hair, brought the lines of his face into sharp focus. God, he was changing so rapidly. It was a little, Rav imagined, like having a child. Parents were always saying things like “He’s growing so fast!” Only in Sammy’s case, it wasn’t his body, but his mind and behavior that were changing, and it at lightning speed. He liked using bigger words, picking them up from Rav or the TV or God-knows-where, all as though his brain were a dictionary database. He was getting more talkative, joking and laughing more. He was moving with more swagger too, acting like a tough guy, possibly, Rav realized, imitating Rav himself. It was almost sad to see the shy, awkward Sammy ebb away. Or it would have been, if the new, more confident Sammy were not so damned appealing. Rav loved seeing Sammy happy.

“Why do you look at me like that?” Sammy asked, his golden eyes staring back into Rav’s.

Rav blinked and looked away. “Sorry. Guess I was thinking about something else.”

“What? You must like it a whole lot. Your eyes were all melty.”

“Hmmm. Were they?”

Sammy didn’t push for an answer. He put his head on Rav’s shoulder. His wet hair was damp and cold where the sun had already warmed Rav’s skin.

My Review:
Rav Miller is a big, brawny biker with a heart of absolute gold, when it applies to dogs. People, not so much. He grew up in a family that thrived on making tons of cash in real estate and business, but he didn’t like the cut-throat, often not even legal, tactics they took to make more and more money. So, he stepped away and began rescuing dogs.

Over the years, he decided that opening a no-kill shelter was the best manner to his goal: more dog rescues. He even went to shelters in his area and rescued dogs tagged for destruction. A year ago, he met some strange men from Mad Creek, California; these guys helped him return all his animals from sheltering int he desert after vandals had turned the whole facility loose. Rav never forgot the experience, and he was struck by the intelligence in the eyes of some random dogs they’d brought along, including Milo. And, he sees that same spark of intelligence in Sammy, a shy chocolate lab.

Sammy’s first life was as a chocolate lab, and it began with a great start. He loved his owner, and she loved him, but she fell down the stairs one day and he was too scared to bark for help. Her sister took Sammy in when his first owner died. But, this woman’s husband was abusive and particularly hated Sammy. He hated when Sammy interfered while he was beating his wife, and he beat Sammy, too. He threatened to leave Sammy out in the snow during the winter, so she took him to a shelter. There he meets a dog who can turn into a man, one who insists Sammy will be able to do so if only he tries hard enough. Sammy isn’t sure if he can, but he also recognizes that he needs to get away from this shelter before his kill date comes up. He takes careful note of his dog-man-friend’s instruction on how to make it to Mad Creek and be safe. All Sammy needs to do is get adopted, however, he is terrified of large men and few families are willing to adopt him. His kill date draws lethally close. Until Rav comes along.

Rav tries to win Sammy’s trust, but it’s hard to do. Within a week, Sammy the dog goes missing. Rav’s speechless when he watches surveillance footage showing Sammy open his cage, and several doors, in order to release himself from captivity. Upon activating Sammy’s tracker, he follows his meandering labrador to Mad Creek, several hundred miles away. Two connections to Mad Creek in one year is too much coincidence, and Rav decides a road trip is necessary. Arriving, he cannot believe what he finds: lots and lots of doggy-acting humans. Is it magic, or science? If there’s any people Rav could love, it would be these remarkable dog-people.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort isn’t happy that Rav’s deciding to stay, but the whole town is overjoyed when Rav announces he’s planning to open a dog rescue in Mad Creek, and he’s willing to hire members from the community as staff: firstly, Sammy. He immediately notices how many unemployed people live in Mad Creek, and how thin the financial resources are stretched. Yet, working with Sammy shows Rav how easy it is to train the “quickened” dogs (who appear as people because they are dog shifters) in new, but repetitive, tasks. It’s first nature to them to do the same thing over and over, and it gets Rav’s brain working on potential industries he might be able to bring to Mad Creek, to provide jobs for the thousands of quickened who’d never adapt sufficiently to standard jobs in an unsheltered life.

While Sammy is falling head over tails for Rav, Rav’s doing the same with Sammy. Their relationship grows slowly, because Sammy is newly quickened and his physical body is more mature than his emotional or mental age. Plus, Sammy is still shy of large men, even in his human body. Still, being close with Rav is exciting and Sammy’s pals, like Milo, help him figure out how to become a physical lover. Rav’s patience and quiet love for the man-dog he’d rescued back in Arizona pays off, and Rav’s experience in business brings new life to Mad Creek. I don’t really want to discuss those details, because the intricate plotting is very sweet. The book is a bit of a slow burn, and has some dark moments, too. Like, Sammy’s experiences of abuse, and the way the Mad Creek folks try to run Rav out of town. Expect true love to win the day, Sheriff Lance to get a new partner in caring for Mad Creek, and the quickened to find new hope and industry. It’s tender adn sweet and gooey and I loved every second of it. While there’s no guarantee we’ll see another book in this series, I’m wishing on stars and howling at the moon for one.

Interested? You can find HOW TO SAVE A LIFE on Goodreads, Amazon (US or UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

And, don’t forget to  check out the previous books in this dog-gone fun series….

HOW TO HOWL AT THE MOON, HOW TO WALK LIKE A MAN, and HOW TO WISH UPON A STAR.

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled 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, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Eli currently publishes with Dreamspinner Press and has a few self-pubbed titles as well. She also publishes thrillers under the pen name: Jane Jensen.

Catch up with Eli on her website, Facebook, and twitter.
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Starting Over With ALL WHEEL DRIVE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently published M/M romance from Z. A. Maxwell. ALL WHEEL DRIVE is the 18th book in the long-running Bluewater Bay series, but is fine to be read as a standalone. Readers who’ve enjoyed HELL ON WHEELS will likely enjoy it most, as it features some side characters in this new love story.

About the book:
Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.

Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.

Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

My Review:
Healey Holly is a man adrift. His long-time, bipolar, boyfriend, Ford, just spun off the rails of sanity and nearly took them both to a very young grave. They’d been growing apart, and were on a last goodbye weekend when things went really, really, bad. Busted up and needing some connection to his roots, Healey limps into Bluewater Bay and offers a load of cash to the disabled man, Diego Luz who’s recently purchased Healey’s family home, so that he can crash in the apartment above the garage. It’s a dump, filled with storage boxes of Diego’s late-mother’s art and Diego doesn’t want to have anyone up there, but he recognizes the desperation rolling off Healey and reluctantly agrees.

Diego is wallowing, and has been for some time. He’d suffered an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down a few years back, and he’s bitter over the way his life has changed. Once a sought-after photojournalist and bed partner, Diego is a virtual recluse, now, doing some low level editing work for the Wolf’s Landing TV show that is filmed in Bluewater Bay. His step-father has been after him for a year to make the documentary about his late mother’s art, and her influence on Chicana politics, but Diego can’t find the will to even look at her work. He’s so despondent, and he’s not sure what to make of the interested stares he witnesses from Healey.

So, this book is long on healing. Physical, emotional, sexual. Healey is a brilliant man, and doesn’t trust his instincts since life with Ford went so awry. How could he be so complacent, and was he responsible for Ford going manic? Diego’s much more pragmatic, but still vulnerable. He wants a stable partner, but doesn’t think anyone would want him for anything but a fetish, if that. As he and Healey begin to confide in one another, they see each other in a different light, one where Healey can forgive himself and Diego can endure the pain of his mother’s loss. There are some sexy moments, but they aren’t porn-worthy. Unless some of it’s a bloopers reel. And that’s okay, because all of this felt really genuine. Life is freaking messy, and Diego is quick to judge himself for making messes, while Healey basks in the strength and resilience Diego casually demonstrates. I liked how they saw the good in one another, and brought that to the surface.

When each man needs to hunt down his demons–Healey needs to speak with Ford face-to-face to resolve the legal issues that have developed from their accident, and Diego has to visit his stepfather and the extended family–they are a solid support for each other. A bulwark against the potentially crushing emotional toll these experiences are sure to bring. They work as partners, for many reasons, but not least of which is sheer stubbornness, and the ability to see past the present limitations and into future possibilities.

Interested? You can find ALL WHEEL DRIVE on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Z.A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Her published books include Crossing Borders, Drawn Together, and the St. Nacho’s and Brothers Grime series from Loose Id, ePistols at Dawn and The Pharaoh’s Concubine from Samhain Publishing, and Notturno, Vigil, Stirring Up Trouble, and All Stirred Up from MLR Press.

Catch up with Ms. Maxfield online on her website, twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Coming Soon: HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS Excerpt Reveal

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt for a new historical romance coming soon from Sorcha Mowbray. HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS is the first book in a new Lustful Lords series and features an unexpected earl and the intrigue he must face, as well as his late-brother’s fiance, whom he is expected to marry…

About the book:
His brother’s untimely death leaves him with an Earldom and a fiancée. Too bad he wants neither of them…
Theodora Lawton has no need of a husband. As an independent woman, she wants to own property, make investments and be the master of her destiny. Unfortunately, her father signed her life away in a marriage contract to the future Earl of Stonemere. But then the cad upped and died, leaving her fate in the hands of his brother, one of the renowned Lustful Lords.

Achilles Denton, the Earl of Stonemere, is far more prepared to be a soldier than a peer. Deeply scarred by his last tour of duty, he knows he will never be a proper, upstanding pillar of the empire. Balanced on the edge of madness, he finds respite by keeping a tight rein on his life, both in and out of the bedroom. His brother’s death has left him with responsibilities he never wanted and isn’t prepared to handle in the respectable manner expected of a peer.

Further complicating his new life is an unwanted fiancée who comes with his equally unwanted title. Saddled with a hand-me-down countess, he soon discovers the woman is a force unto herself. As he grapples with the burden of his new responsibilities, he discovers someone wants him dead. The question is, can he stay alive long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill him while he tries to tame his headstrong wife?

How about a little taste?

London, May 1860

Stone heard the butler intone his name and title loudly enough for all of London to hear, let alone the population of the Devonses’ ballroom. Had anyone suggested three years ago he would bear the family title, Earl of Stonemere, never mind be contemplating his future nuptials, he would certainly have laughed. True, he never actually laughed anymore, but he certainly would have found such a claim incredulous.

It was no longer an amusing matter.

Having survived the receiving line, he eased through the crowded ballroom. Every few feet, he stopped to speak with one acquaintance or another. Not so long ago, these same people would have been running for the hills and hiding their daughters. But fate, a fickle mistress to say the least, had other plans.

Moving with a quickness born of desperation, he barely acknowledged the next three men as the heat from the crowd paired with the stench of perfumes and body odor to choke him. After his service in India, crowded entertainments such as a ball had grown difficult to endure. The press of bodies and the loud murmur of conversation punctuated by the occasional shrill laugh smothered him, too similar to the roar of battle and the cries of the dying.

Moving past a swarm of silk skirts, he spotted a dark, hidden alcove, an oasis from the overwhelming onslaught, both real and imagined. If he could shut it down quickly enough, he wouldn’t embarrass himself. If he failed, all of London would learn just how broken he was.

He was an earl. Not a soldier. Never again a soldier.

Once the cool darkness enveloped him, he opened his mouth and drew a breath. His pounding pulse eased as the vise around his chest released and his damp skin dried. After another quarter hour spent tucked away, he believed he could manage the crowd long enough to find his betrothed.

As any good officer would, he had a strategy. Find her, claim his dances, and then await each one either on the balcony or on the dance floor, if required. Even the cardrooms at these soirees bordered on disabling.

He reached for the drapes to his hideaway, but hesitated as two women tittered in the immediate vicinity.

“Why, Gladys, I heard his name announced earlier. I’m certain Matilda invited Stonemere despite all the gossip.”

“I simply cannot imagine what she was thinking,” the one called Gladys said.

“Can’t you? Having one of the Lustful Lords in attendance at your ball? I daresay everyone who is anyone will wish to be able to say they were here. It’s all so deliciously scandalous and yet possible now the unmitigated rake is off the market.” Gladys’s friend sighed with a bit more drama than anyone in their right mind or otherwise would deem necessary.

“Well, one should hope that man can contain himself what with all these poor young virgins parading around. It would serve Matilda right if he debauched each and every one of them while here under her auspices.”

“Oh, do be sensible, Gladys. He could perhaps ruin four or five in one night, but all of them?”

Past ready to find his fiancée and escape his hidey-hole, he stepped out next to the ladies in question, turned to them, and bowed over each of their hands. The shock on their faces far outweighed any notion of good manners on his part. “Why, ladies, you both give me far more credit than I deserve. Even in my heyday of debauchery, I could only service three ladies in a single evening.”

As the two ladies sputtered, he departed their corner. The temptation to turn and wink at the gossipers won out, which caused another round of tittering and sputtering from behind him. Of course, he was well aware of what proper Society called himself and his friends. But the Marquess of Flintshire, Earl of Brougham, Baron Lincolnshire, and Viscount Wolfington—as well as himself—held little regard for polite society. Each of them had learned the hard way that they had no place amongst their peers.

This looks like a fun one! Look for a review from me in the coming weeks.

Interested? You can pre-order HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS on Amazon (US, UK, CA and AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and GooglePlay. The book releases Sept 20th.

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

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

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

Hard to Trust LEANING INTO ALWAYS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance out today from Lane Hayes. LEANING INTO ALWAYS is book 1.5 in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Eric and Zane, two seemingly mismatched lovers from the same place but definitely not the same life. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, so I was eager to get back to these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.

Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.

How about a little taste?

“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”

“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.

I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.

“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”

“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.

“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.

I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”

“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”

I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”

“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.

“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.

“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”

I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”

“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”

I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.

My Review:
Eric Schuster and Zane Richards are months away from their wedding, and all is great when they can live their idyllic life in San Fransisco. That’s where Eric feels at home, despite he and Zane both growing up in Orange County. They went to the same high school, but Eric was an awkward teen, teased and bullied from early youth for his apparent “gay”-ness. And, he was gay, and he was out, because he couldn’t avoid it. Zane was strong, popular and athletic, a poster boy for Cali surfers and secretly bisexual. While Eric grew up having all his material needs met, Zane’s single mom worked overtime to provide the basic necessities. They both ended up at the same college, and gravitated toward one another as friends for years before they started dating. Most days, Eric feels like he’s dreaming; engaged to marry his teen crush who is (to Eric inexplicably) his dear friend. And, he’s over the high school mentality, until he and Zane need to return to Orange County for Zane’s work and to catch their folks up on the wedding plans.

Zane is a professional sailor who sells yachts for a living. It’s a sweet gig, but Eric’s not the first mate-type. He’s barely getting his sea legs, in all truth. One of Zane’s biggest clients is Don Carrigan, a wealthy blowhard of an investor who’d put a lot of money into Eric’s company as a start-up, and who’s not so happy that Eric’s business partner, Nick, broke off the engagement to his daughter.

Still, he wants to keep Don happy, and Don’s in the market for a new yacht. That means a trip to Orange County on the hunt for just the right boat. It also reconnects Zane with the man he’d lost his virginity to years ago: Dean. Dean was a couple of years older than Zane and Eric in school, but Zane and Dean had a lot of time to experiment. They wouldn’t have ever considered coming out as bi, then, and Dean’s not wild about the prospect now, but he seems to keep popping up and being uber-helpful in Zane’s quest for the perfect yacht. And Eric’s not convinced that Dean’s interest is all water long past a bridge.

This book is told from Eric’s point of view, and it’s really a vulnerable look into long-held insecurities. He struggles with Zane’s relationship with Dean, which is purely professional, because of the high school awe he’d placed on Zane,and to some degree Dean. They were/are the beautiful people, and he’s, well, he’s less gawky now. And he looks good in a suit. But, what if Zane thinks Dean’s a better match, because they share so many physical interests? Eric can’t surf, he’s only learning to sail and they don’t have the same shared history that Dean and Zane do. His suspicions are magnified by Dean’s constant presence, even in their home up in San Fran. It’s getting to be way to much for Eric to stay silent about. And, well, he feels pressured to stake his claim on Zane, even when it stretches his physical limits.

This is an engaging and sexy read, and I loved getting to know Eric and Zane better. I didn’t read the first book in this series, and I think I would have liked to, just to see how these guys morphed their friendship into love.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO ALWAYS on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Young and Questioning HAVING HER BACK–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a YA transgender romance from Ann Gallagher (aka: L.A. Witt). HAVING HER BACK is a tender and age-appropriate novel about acceptance, friendship and love–and contains the right amount of teen misunderstandings and angst. I liked LEAD ME NOT, another low-steam “Ann Gallagher” book, and I love YA romance, so this was an auto-pick for me.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a backlist book from LA Witt.
About the book:
Trevor Larson is a Navy brat. He’s used to moving every few years, and thanks to social media, he can stay in touch with the friends he leaves behind. But shortly after he leaves Okinawa, his best friend, Brad Gray, cuts off contact and disappears.

Four years and two bases later, Brad resurfaces—and announces his family is coming to Trevor’s base in Spain. But a lot’s changed in four years, and Trevor is stunned to find out Brad is now Shannon. Their reunion isn’t quite what either of them had hoped for, but they quickly find their footing, both relieved to have each other back.

Except nothing is ever all sunshine and roses. The military is a small world, and there’s no keeping Shannon’s transition a secret. Parents warn their kids away from her. She can’t attend school on-base for fear of harassment or worse. And although her parents try to hide it, being ostracized by their only social circle while they’re thousands of miles from home is taking a toll on them too.

More and more, Shannon leans on Trevor. But she’s also drawn to him, and he’s drawn right back to her, feeling things he’s never felt for anyone before.

Trevor’s scared, though. Not of dating a trans girl. Not of damaging his chaplain father’s career or reputation. After finally getting his friend back, does he dare take things further and risk losing her a second time?

My Review:
Trevor is a 16 y/o Navy brat on a base in Rota, Spain. He’s grown up moving every few years when his dad, Pastor Larson, a Protestant chaplain, gets reassigned. Sometimes he meets up with friends he’d made in DOD schools at other bases, and that’s the case in Rota. He’s lived there a few years now, and a few of his better pals from the Okinawa base are now in Rota, but not his very best friend Brad. Brad shipped out form Okinawa and dropped off the face of the earth, it seemed, because he wouldn’t respond to any of Trevor’s emails, IMs or texts. It’s been four years, and Trevor’s stunned to get an email from Brad saying he’s coming to Rota in a month, and he’s changed. A lot. Trevor wonders if that’s because Brad’s gay and bad things happened when he moved form Okinawa. Trevor’s determined to be good friend to Brad, no matter what.

Shannon is a transgender girl, who used to be Brad. It’s been a hard four years but she’s transitioned well, and feels good in her body for the first time, perhaps, ever. She’s had a lot of backlash in her personal life, though her parents completely support her, even if they all suspect her transition may have caused her dad not to make his promotion that past two years. Still, she’s being homeschooled, and trying to keep a low profile; unlikely in the small circle of families that make up overseas bases.

Trevor is stunned when he meets Shannon, and pretty angry she didn’t trust him enough to divulge her big secret before they met in person–or at any time in the past four years. His reaction isn’t excellent, but Shannon interprets his swift departure as a rejection of her new self, and that’s a stumbling block. Trevor does make it up to Shannon, and Shannon fits into their group of Okinawa friends without too much issue. There are some quakes in the personnel, however, and Shannon’s the center of some anti-trans sentiment that’s sweeping the base, including members of Pastor Larson’s congregation. It’s upsetting for all, but Trevor’s more confused about his changing feelings for Shannon. They shared a deep friendship as kids, and now when he thinks back, he doesn’t see “Brad” in those memories, he sees Shannon, and he’s not sure what to do with his growing attraction to her. What if they break up and become enemies, as some of his buddies have with their exes?

This book is told from Trevor’s and Shannon’s point-of-views and that’s really interesting. I liked how culturally-competent the characters’ inner thoughts, actions and dialogue are. These are kids who are have fought hard to maintain friendships, and they aren’t willing to toss Shannon aside because of her transition. In fact, all of Trev’s pals accept her wholeheartedly into their group, and their girlfriends invite Shannon on shopping trips and makeovers. The kids also stand up for Shannon when she’s accosted in public or put-down in conversations they overhear. Trevor’s mistakes with Shannon come from his own insecurity, and aren’t related to her transition.

The intimacy that develops between Trevor and Shannon is cautious and tender. Trevor just got his best friend back…he doesn’t want to mess things up by being a bad boyfriend. He’s never even dated a girl before; realistically he’s sure he’ll mess up and they’ll stop speaking again. Shannon’s never dated and she is insecure about her body, and how a partner would view her body. It leads to some discord between them, that has a good resolution in the end.

This is a YA read, so expect YA-levels of steam, and nothing more. That said, there are some unique experiences here due to Shannon’s physiology and that provokes some valid and frank discussion. I liked how sensitively that was handled, and the introspection both Trevor and Shannon demonstrate is valuable for people who have concerns about trans-persons and their relationships. Shannon didn’t expect to find a partner who could love her as she is, and has a reasonable fear of fetishization, though she doesn’t think Trevor sees her as a fetish. She’s also nervous that he’ll be unhappy with her physical state, and that’s an anxiety-triggering situation. Trevor’s more afraid of being a bad partner, given his lack of experience. It was really endearing and felt realistic. The military aspect of this story likewise felt well-informed, and I could absolutely see all the sights in Rota and nearby, just as Shannon did. Yet another locale to put on my travel bucket-list. Readers who enjoy teen romance, or trangender stories, will really enjoy this one. I know I did.

Interested? You can find HAVING HER BACK on Goodreads and Amazon US or UK.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.