End of the Road? NEW HAND Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing another SMOKING HOT review for a newly-published M/M romance from L.A. Witt. NEW HAND is part of the Bluewater Bay series, but totally enjoyable as a standalone. This book–which may be the last in the series–is a romance between a shell-shocked widower and a young HIV-positive man. I really enjoyed GET A GRIP and recommend RAIN SHADOW and OUTSIDE THE LINES, as several characters from those stories recur in this one.

About the book:
Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.

Jesse Connelly’s newest friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.

Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.

But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.

My Review:
Jesse Connelly is a twenty-seven year old flamboyant gay man who manages End o’Earth Comics. He was infected with HIV by his first sexual partner back in high school and has been managing the disease for the past decade. He’s always upfront with his status with new partners, but his most recent love interest was a friend, first, and just when they started getting physical Jesse confided his (undetectable) status. And that dude has just stood Jesse up at the local alehouse. Feeling down, Jesse is charmed by the sexy silver fox bartender who’s new to the area.

Garrett’s younger husband died of cancer eight months ago. Though he’d been counseled not to make big changes for the first year of grief, Garrett sold his home, quit his job and moved form Seattle to Bluewater Bay to be near his good friend, Scott, a marriage and grief counselor. They each had lost partners young, and Garrett’s encouraged that Scott has now found love again. Garrett’s not looking for love, but he wants to know that he won’t always be so overwhelmed with grief that he’ll spend the rest of his life alone. Then, he meets Jesse.

The attraction is unexpected, and immediate. Garrett’s been celibate since before his husband died, but they both agreed he should find a new love. Jesse feels horrible and unattractive because of his status, but Garrett’s interest is a big ego boost. They have some issues regarding Jesse’s health, but it’s not because of HIV; Garrett has PTSD from caring for, and losing, his husband. Once they get past the misunderstanding, it’s hot times in Bluewater Bay for these two. Scott counsels Garrett to enjoy the comfort Jesse offers, and Jesse’s ever-mindful about Garrestt’s loss. In fact, he’s a great confidante, willing to listen to Garrett’s memories of his husband. They enjoy each other physically, but also emotionally and on a friendship-level, too. It’s cathartic and tender, and their bond seems unshakable, until Garrett’s in-laws find out about Jesse. And, their unsolicited disapproval provides a hiccup that makes them both pause and reassess. Is Garrett using Jesse as a replacement? Or, are these feelings both Jesse and Garrett are experiencing the beginning of a new life together.

This is a hurt-comfort story that has many facets. Garrett and Scott do a lot of soul-searching about guilt and loss. Jesse pushes all sorts of buttons for Garrett, but they aren’t all in common with those of his late husband. They share different and fun interests, including gaming and comics. Garrett sees Jesse as his own man, one Garrett feels honored to spend times with, but his friends and family are worried he’s moving on “too soon” which brings conflict and guilt. It’s natural that Jesse would wonder if he’s being set up for huge disappointment. If he’s just a rebound fling, well, it’s going to crush him, now that he’s gone and fallen for Garrett. I loved how Garrett and Jesse examined their relationship, and accepted good advice from friends. It’s not easy to admit one is wrong, and they both had their share of apologies to make at different points. They have a fantastic physical connection, and they are able to reassure each other that their feelings for each other is genuine in the end.

This book may mark the end of the Bluewater Bay series, and I’ve enjoyed so many of the stories. I think I’ve read 21 of the 23 books and probably rated most of the 4 stars or higher. It was great to see the wrap up of some of the previous couples, including Scott and Jeremy from RAIN SHADOW get married. I chuckled to see the age-gap couples (Levi and Carter, and Hunter and Kevin) pal around with Jesse and Garrett. I loved how the young whippersnappers ganged up on their mature partners, but relished their experience and patient loving. O.O A sweet and tender story.

Interested? You can find NEW HAND on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this link to comment on the giveaway post for my pals over at Joyfully Jay. One commenter on the tour will win a $10 GC from Riptide Publishing and two of Ms. Witt’s backlist books (not NEW HAND).
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Sibling Rivalry? COVET-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m continuing the SMOKING HOT book reviews with a M/M/M menage from Yolande Kleinn. COVET is a bit of a forbidden romance in that it features a love triangle that includes identical twins. O.O

About the book:
Jack Mason—graphic designer and unrepentant player—has never been interested in monogamy. He certainly isn’t looking for romance when he meets Professor Colin Sloan.

Newly single and not looking for anything serious, Colin is intrigued by Jack’s offer of a physical affair with no strings attached. Becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan, but as accidents go, this one’s pretty great.

Peter Mason is Jack’s identical twin. In a long-term relationship himself, Peter tells no one that he’s falling for his brother’s newest favorite, even as the secret creates tension with his girlfriend.

When Peter’s relationship falls apart, he seduces Colin, fully expecting Jack to forgive his transgression. But Jack is keeping secrets too—he hasn’t told even Colin that he’s fallen in love. Suddenly the twins are feuding, and Colin is caught in the middle, blindsided by the revelation that he doesn’t want to choose between them.

Now all three must find a way to share, or they’ll tear each other apart.

My Review:
Jack and Peter Mason are identical twins that share all their secrets…most of the time. Jack is unabashedly out and gay, always looking for his next trick. Peter’s bisexual and engaged to Maureen, his bestie from college. They are both lawyers and work insane hours. Jack develops an interest in the newly-single Colin Sloan, a young professor at the university where they both work, and Peter counsels Jack not to make him a one-and-done…perhaps. Thing is, Colin’s not up for an involved relationship, not after five years with Kyle weer suddenly water under a bridge someplace. Jack’s offer of no-strings open sexytimes, well, it sounded refreshing. And satisfying.

As Jack and Colin continue, however, it becomes clear to Jack that–despite his usual intentions–he’s no longer seeking out other bedmates. And well, he really likes Colin. Jack keeps his feelings secret from Colin, and Jack. Also, now that he’s made it clear there are no strings it’s hard to tie Colin down. Not that Colin’s on the hunt, but, well, it’s a funny thing that he and Peter become good friends. And, it’s a disturbing thing that Peter’s beginning to have sex dreams that star…Colin. These dreams become problematic, when it disturbs Peter’s relationship with Maureen. He feels guilty for having these desires for his brother’s hook-up pal, and can’t confess it to her. Peter’s shame causes him to not speak to Jack, either, and he doesn’t know just how serious Jack has become over Colin. Meantime, Peter’s making more efforts to build his friendship with Colin, and this fuels his lust-filled dreams and fantasies. H

As the months pass, Maureen’s dejected this leads to a reckoning that upsets Peter completely. It’s the catalyst that causes Peter to reach out for Colin, and not in a friendly way. The sexytimes are…brutal, and cathartic. The ripple effect is catastrophic. Jack won’t have any part of Peter poaching his man, no matter how apologetic Peter is. THis detente leaves Colin’s caught in the middle of their cold war, and that makes him recognize, well, that he’s not opposed to being in the middle between these sexy twins if they’re feeling amorous.

The book is H.O.T. with sexytimes that go on. And on. I enjoyed the interplay between Jack and Peter, and how Colin wound both of them around his fingers without even trying. Colin’s has some deep trauma with Kyle walking away–and he loves feeling desired. It’s nearly an addiction for him. That Jack and Peter both want him? It fills that self-esteem void he’s living through. As far as the romance, this one doesn’t follow the formula. There’s so many secrets, and heartbreak, but they seem to work it out. Colin loves to be shared, and jack and Peter’s mix of tender and touch loving seem to fit all of them in a “just right” way. Once the boundaries are secured, they each make the steps that bring all of them closer. The end is a satisfying connection that allow Peter and Jack to have their man, and maintain their brotherly relationship. No taboo parts, and no twincest. Just a bit of Colin being shared and enjoying the heck out of it.

Interested? You can find COVET on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
Yolande Kleinn is a shameless dreamer, a stubborn optimist, and a purveyor of erotic romance. Excitable, fastidious and just a little eclectic, she spends every spare moment writing the stories she wants to read. If she can drag other people into the pool along with her, then so much the better.

Catch Yolande on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Art and Love OUTSIDE THE LINES–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! I’m sharing another SMOKING HOT December review with a M/M+F romance from Anna Zabo. OUTSIDE THE LINES is one of the latest books in the Bluewater Bay series. It’s actually book 20, but totally enjoyable on it’s own. I’ve not read anything from Anna Zabo before, but I’ll be on the lookout for more. This story features a gay man who falls for the husband in a open, poly couple, and isn’t sure if he’s prepared for more.

Scroll down for my review and to catch the $25 GC giveaway link!
About the book:
Miniature artist Ian Meyers has one week to rebuild his damaged set. Needing help, he goes to End o’ Earth, the local comic and gaming shop. Owner Simon Derry pushes all of Ian’s buttons, and he also has steady hands and the skills Ian needs.

Before they can even grab a beer, Ian meets Lydia Derry, Simon’s wife. If Ian had any interest in women, he’d suggest a threesome, but then Simon explains that he and Lydia are polyamorous, and if Ian wants Simon, neither of them will complain. If anything, Lydia encourages the relationship.

Ian’s all in, and it’s fantastic working with Simon to piece together his set and then take each other apart at night. His friendship with Lydia grows too. The only problem is, the more time he spends with Simon, the more he wants everything Simon already has with Lydia: A house. A cat. A commitment. So Ian runs, and shatters the trust he has with them both—right when they need him the most. Piecing their relationships back together might prove harder than a smashed set.

My Review:
Ian Meyers builds sets, props and miniatures for Wolf’s Landing, and one of the key pieces–a model-miniature Sacred Grove was ready for the pyrotechnics…until a clumsy stuntman crashed into it. Now, Ian has a week to rebuild the model, and he’s low on supplies. So, he (reluctantly) heads into Bluewater Bay and End o’ Earth comics, which holds models and supplies for gamers in stock. Ian has kept a wide berth from the comics shop because it’s hard to keep his distance from townies and tourists, and there’s been some issues in the past. Also, the local Wolf’s Landing licensed shop Howling Moon is right next door, and that’s a place all the cast and crew avoids.

That said, he’s desperate, and once he steps foot inside End o’Earth Ian’s desperation takes a more personal turn. He’s deeply attracted to the owner and model painter, Simon Derry. Ian charms Simon, who’s willing to provide the space and supplies Ian needs, but they both feel the heat building between them. And, it’s a stunning disaster when Ian meets Simon’s beautiful and talented wife, Lydia. He’s frustrated that Simon was flirting with him, and thinking they both were on the same page, but Ian’s charmed by Lydia, and guilty that he wishes Simon was single. Simon’s a sweet man, and loves Lydia with his whole heart, but…they’re poly, and he’s always missed having a man pleasure him. They’ve been together ten years, and Lydia knows this is an issue. She encourages Ian to share her husband, and Ian doesn’t need a second invitation.

Ian and Simon work together on rebuilding the set, and they spend nights together burning up the sheets. Lydia’s happy to be a bystander who watches their love grow, but Ian’s sure he’s just a side piece…a fling for this swinging couple. Meantime, Simon’s fallen hard, and wants to bring Ian into their relationship permanently. Lack of communication causes some problems, and they have to be fully honest in order to keep their fledgling love growing. There’s lots of cameos from the cast and crew of the show, and I liked how they brought everyone into this book. Simon and Lydia are starry-eyed, seeing the actors and all, and Ian’s reminded about how he was so affected on his first meetings. I liked all the sweet and tender moments.

For people who like menage, this doesn’t really feel like that, because Ian and Lydia aren’t sexually intimate, but they do develop an emotional connection. This is reinforced when Lydia has a professional crisis and needs a solid shoulder to cry on. Ian has the connections to make it right, but he follows Lydia’s advice to not rock the boat. Simon’s not so docile about it, however, and it leads to deeper connections for all of them, both personally and professionally. For Simon and Ian expect hawt sexytimes that include some light elements of bondage, dominance and submission. The resolution is totally sweet and yummy.

Interested? You can find OUTSIDE THE LINES on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this link to comment on the giveaway tour over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for a chance to win a $25 Riptide GC.
Good luck, and keep reading my friends.

About the Author:
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Catch up with Ann on twitter.

New Life and INTERTWINED HEARTS–A Review

Hi there! Continuing on my SMOKING HOT reads, I’m sharing a review for a recently released menage M/M/F romance from Christi Snow. INTERTWINED HEARTS is the third title in her Snowcroft Men series and features three lost souls finding their way together. I read and enjoyed SNOWCROFT SAFEHOUSE, the second book in the series, which introduced us to some of the characters featured here. It’s a love story from beginning to end, when a traumatized gay man falls for the new poly sheriff and they both swoon for a local gal who’s about to have her brother’s baby… (Ha! She tells that joke in the book.) I also liked FOUND AT THE LIBRARY, and I’m looking forward to more books by this author.

About the book:
Three people who’ve given up on love…

After a brutal, late-night attack in his restaurant left Chef Hudson Richmond too traumatized to even enter his restaurant again, he escaped to Snowcroft. Now he’s trying to find a new normal when the reality of his world is a man’s touch makes him sick and his dream has become his nightmare.

Leigh Vaughn lives in a man’s world running Vaughn Construction with her brother, Jamie. She’s tried to be feminine and failed over and over again. Growing up with only her brother, father, and construction crews to guide her, Leigh has no idea what a feminine wile is, much less how to deploy them. But when Jamie and Trevor begin to research finding a surrogate to carry their baby, she knows this is something she can do. Hell, it’s not like those parts are getting used for anything else.

When this small town came looking for a new police chief, David Warner jumped at the chance. After a traumatic betrayal by his partner on the police force, he’s burnt out and jaded. And his love life has been even more depressing than his work life. He’s made one true connection in the last five years, but she disappeared without a trace the next morning.

Three people who have given up on love, may just find a new beginning where they least expect it…in Snowcroft. But love is only supposed to happen in twos. How can they make it work with three intertwined hearts?

Trigger warning: This book features story-lines that involve past assaults and betrayals, but has a guaranteed HEA for three people who couldn’t deserve it more.

My Review:
Leigh Vaughn is a thirty-something woman acting as a surrogate for her brother Jamie and his husband, Trevor. It’s the most she can do to help them build a family, and it’s not like she’s got any romantic prospects. Her last tryst was an anonymous hook up six month ago. And, it’s not like her new roommate, Hudson Richmond, is going to put the moves on her. He’s a gay man who’d been her brother’s on/off hook up pal. They still keep in touch, though Jamie’s now happily married. And, when Hudson needs a helping hand, well, Jamie’s a man with a plan. Leigh is hopeless in the kitchen, and Hudson is a renown chef who needs time until he’s able to work professionally again; they can help each other.

Hudson suffers from crippling anxiety and depression in the wake of surviving an attack and gang rape in his Austin restaurant. He never wants to touch, or be touched by, another man again. Staying in Leigh’s home in Snowcroft, New Mexico, is a time of healing, and a time to get his emotions in check. She needs someone to prepare her meals–because she’s hopeless in the kitchen–and Jamie’s hopeful they will provide the company each other needs. And, it works. Hudson’s night terrors keep them both awake, until Leigh crawls into bed with him one night to comfort him and they sleep peacefully together. Her quiet and calming presence helps to halt his anxiety attacks, too.

Hudson owns property in Snowcroft, but it’s been rented to the new sheriff, David Warner, for an extended period. At least, David should be staying in the cabin, but the heat’s out until the spring thaw, and with the tourists booking up all the rooms in town, David’s lucky to land Leigh’s empty guest room. And, as a confirmed bisexual, he’s luckier to recognize that he’s attracted to both Hudson and Leigh. The time they spend together only confirms to David that these are the people he’s meant to spend his life with. Not that they expect to fall for one another. Hudson’s particularly hard to convince, but David lays the foundation for the plan within weeks of meeting them. And, as Hudson’s therapy help him to manage his anxiety, he recognizes that watching Leigh blossom in motherhood is surely more sexy than he’d ever imagined. His deep feelings for her warm into attraction, and David’s patient and flexible attitude help Hudson find his way back to physical intimacy, with both Leigh and David.

This was a love built on hurt-comfort. David couldn’t find lovers who satisfied him, mainly because he needed a poly relationship. Leigh is uncomfortable in her femininity, thanks to her hypercritical mother, but David and Hudson’s admiration is too much to cast aside as fleeting. Hudson’s growing affection for two people who continue to care for him, despite his struggles, is unexpected but deeply enjoyed. Just when it deems like they’ve jumped all the hurdles and should be coasting into the finish line, well, life gets in the way. Leigh’s medical difficulties aren’t easy to overcome, but this triad is stronger than they expected, and an extended happy ending gives the reader solid assurance that Leigh, Hudson and David will have a happy life together.

I really liked the slow development of all the relationships here. There were many obstacles to overcome, and it took time, effort and patience on the part of the characters to find peace and happiness. They have real-world problems, and fears, including the worry about scandalizing their small town. Plus, there are family matters to consider, at least for Leigh. David’s parents, who live in a commune, are ecstatic that he’s found treasured lovers, while Jamie and Leigh’s mother are, well, uh. It’s awkward. And that’s to be expected. There are some deep issues the characters need to work through–both on their own, and together. The way it unfolds was good, but I wanted to get to the HEA faster. And, they seemed to fall into one problem after another. It made fore more drama than I was ready to handle, and I got impatient. That said, the grief and loss, and strength and love that were present really resonated. I’m looking forward to the next book, though, which will likely bring back at least two characters from this book, and SNOWCROFT SAFEHOUSE.

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

Christi SnowAbout Author Christi Snow: in her own words…
As an avid reader my entire life, I’ve always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy I feel when I read. But…I never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When I turned 41, I decided it was time to go after my dream and started writing. Within four months, I’d written over 150,000 words and haven’t stopped since. I’ve found my passion by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. I’m truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

My tagline is…

Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. I have to admit, I am loving this adventure!

You can find Christi on line on her website, Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Bringing the Heat–CITYWIDE A Review

Hi there! This week I’m going to feature some SMOKING HOT books mostly featuring menage stories…because I live outside Chicago and I like some heat (and sexy distractions!) in my holidays.  Today I’m sharing a review for a recently released novella collection from Santino Hassell. CITYWIDE is a new book in the Five Boroughs series and features a bunch of folks from Ray’s Queens squad finding love…and super hot sex. There’s a little bit for everyone, including M/M/M, F/F and M/F lovin’. I’ve loved Hassell’s contemporary romances, SUNSET PARK, FIRST AND FIRST, INTERBOROUGH, and CONCOURSE, so I couldn’t wait to jump into this new book.

About the book:
A record-breaking heatwave engulfs the Five Boroughs, and emotions run as hot as the temperatures.

In Rerouted, Chris Mendez is trying to live a drama-free life. That doesn’t include another threesome with Jace and Aiden Fairbairn. But then a citywide blackout leaves them trapped together, and Chris is forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew about relationships and his own heart.

In Gridlocked, former Marine Tonya Maldonado is keeping real estate heiress Meredith Stone on permanent ignore. Mere isn’t Tonya’s type. Not even close. Who cares if she kisses like a dream and has the filthiest mouth this side of the East River? But then a security detail at a summer party ends with her saving Mere’s life and discovering they have more chemistry than she’d ever imagined.

In Derailed, Stephanie Quinones escapes the heat and her complicated love life by going on a company retreat. Trouble is, it’s a couples’ retreat, and she lied about having a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the only person willing to play pretend is her on-again/off-again fling, Angel León. They’re currently “off again,” but after a week in the woods, Stephanie realizes she wouldn’t mind them being permanently on.

My Review:
The stories link many of the single, and not-so-single, characters that have appeared in several of the previous books. CITYWIDE opens with a citywide heatwave that’s causing periodic black outs across the five boroughs of New York City. This is particularly troublesome because the servers for QFindr, a LGBTQ dating app created in FIRST AND FIRST, don’t like being without power or AC for long periods of time. Chris Mendez, is one of Ray Rodrigues’ Queens crew–and he’s had a lot of contact with the sexy QFindr folks, because their crews mingle through Ray. He recruited them to be models for QFindr’s launch, and they all went on a queer-friendly mixer cruise. Through this connection, and Caleb, Ray’s boyfriend’s ex, calls Chris to help with tech support during the heatwave–the company’s tech officer is on vacation.

Chris is not excited about turning up. He’s been avoiding Caleb’s business partner and half-brother, Aiden, and his husband Jace, for a couple of months now. Because Chris’s really attracted to them. And they want him to be a third in their sexytimes. And he wants that super bad, but he’s not down for an open relationship. He’d be their third in a hot second (and even hotter third!) but he’s not willing to share them outside of their triad. And, they’ve been poly for…ever. Trapped in the QFindr offices during a city-wide blackout that lasts three days. Three hot and sweaty, mainly naked, and hawt days. Also, Chris comes to terms t=with his self-esteem issues, and Aiden and Jace consider his needs seriously. They also uncover some big dirt that leads to the firing of an employee who looks for retribution in Gridlocked. Expect heart-to-heart-to-hearts and some seriously filthy frolicking. These guys fill each others’ holes…metaphorically and physically. Happy endings abound.

In the GRIDLOCKED Tonya Maldonado, another pal of Ray’s, reconnects with Meredith, Caleb’s sister. They’d had some fun times before, but Tonya’s not down with being some sort of conquest and that’s how she felt after their tryst. Not that they don’t have mad chemistry. Meredith is a rich heiress, and Tonya’s working as private security now that she’s out of the Marines. While at an event, Tonya helps Mere escape some homophobic stalkers. Tonya keeps her safe, and that prompts Mere’s estranged father to step in with an offer Tonya really doesn’t want to refuse. Mere’s livid that she’d even consider it, though. I’ll be honest, I’ve long loved Hassell’s M/M interludes, but wow! He blew my mind with these F/F scenes. O.O I loved how tough Tonya is, and how she stands her ground. She knows she’s got a great opportunity, but she’s also sympathetic to Mere’s domestic issues. Tonya’s a professional, and she pulls comrades along with her. There’s happiness to spare in this one, and I liked seeing Mere, Caleb and Aiden’s father become more human than his previous introductions.

In DERAILED, the final two members of Ray’s squad, Angel and Steph, acknowledge a deep connection to each other. Steph is pansexual, and though Angel is totally gone for her, he’s not really down for an open relationship. Steph has worked as a paralegal for a law firm for a good while, and wants a raise, but can’t seem to get one, despite her hard work and evident qualifications. She thinks this may be because she’s not settled with a partner, and maybe because she’s female. To keep people out of her business she “invents” a fiance, Angel, her long-time friend and on-and-off sexual partner. Angel, well, he’s interested in playing that game, because it’ll put him and Steph together for a whole weekend on a staff retreat, and won’t a change of scenery be nice? Maybe Steph will see how good they could be together, and want to make it permanent. All their pals are in committed relationships, and Angel wants one so bad he’s stepping outside of his comfort zone for Steph.

It actually works pretty nicely, for a while. That said, it’s not all smoking hot sex. Okay, besides the sex there’s some barbecue, and some Angel being a fab partner, and some Steph standing up for herself and being plain about her needs as a professional and a woman. And some realization that Angel’s been the love of her life for more than a decade. Having grown up with bad parents and unfair responsibilities, it’s tough for Steph to recalibrate her personal goals, but loving Angel isn’t difficult, and she’s finally willing to take the chance. Expect really hot nights and love under the stars.

Having read all six books in this series, I can tell you right now, I’d read six more. Matter of fact, Steph’s brother’s looking a little lonely… Write more, Mr. Hassell. I’ll be waiting.

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

About the Author:
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

You can find Santino online on his website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Making It Real: NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary Christmas romance from Annabelle Jacobs. NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS is a sweet romance for a young man who finally convinces his childhood crush that he’s all grown up…. I’ve loved other romances from this author, like A CASUAL THING, A CHRISTMAS KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and BITTEN BY DESIGN, so I thought I’d check it out.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter the $10 GC or book giveaway below!
About the book:
Ben has Christmas, cats, and mistletoe on his side…. Jason doesn’t stand a chance
For Ben Slater, moving back to Bristol means being closer to his family, living with his best mate, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. But there’s also Jason, his best mate’s eldest brother. Ben’s had a crush on Jason for as long as he can remember, but the eleven-year age gap has always seemed insurmountable.

Jason Armitage works as a vet at his uncle’s practice. He owns a cute cottage on the outskirts of the city, and a loving dog. The one thing missing is someone to share it all with. His brother’s best friend seems a bad choice, but Jason can’t help taking a second look. Ben’s changed a lot since Jason last saw him; both in appearance and attitude. Gone is the shy young boy, replaced with a confident, twenty-four-year-old man.

In the run up to Christmas, the festive period gives Ben the ideal opportunity to show Jason what he has to offer. But concerns for his brother’s feelings hold Jason back. If they have any chance of making this work, Ben must convince Jason that he’s old enough to know what he wants, and Jason needs to believe that a relationship with his brother’s best friend won’t ruin their friendship.

How about a little taste?

Ben tried not to look, but inevitably his gaze was drawn to Jason still sat on the sofa. He stood as Pete stepped back, and Ben got a proper look at him. Ben wasn’t the only one who’d changed a little over the past couple of years. The last time he’d seen Jason, his hair had been short, like an army cut, and he’d had a beard. He’d looked hot then, but now…. Ben had to forcibly shut his mouth so he didn’t gape.

Jason’s thick dark hair, still shaved at the sides, was now a good couple of inches longer on top. And he was clean shaven. Ben kind of missed the beard, but without it Jason looked much younger, and his strong jawline was a thing of beauty. He looked thinner, too. Ben frowned because Jason ate like a horse and had always been bulkier than his brothers. That thought somehow made its way out of Ben’s mouth.

“Have you lost weight?”

Jason laughed softly, one hand immediately going to his stomach. He patted his belly and sighed. “God don’t you start. Mum’s already been on at me about not eating properly.” He pulled Ben in for a quick hug. “It’s good to see you, even if you do put the rest of us to shame.”

Oh God, that voice. As smooth and deep as Ben remembered.

My Review:
Ben Slater has just moved back to Bristol for a new job. He’s sharing a two-bedroom flat with his best mate, Liam, and wondering if Liam’s eldest brother, Jason, will finally see hm for the grown man he now is. Jason is about 12 years older, in his middle thirties, while Ben is just 24. Not that Ben cares about the age difference; he’s made no secret about his attraction to Jason for the past decade, or so. And, now that Jason is single, well…Ben can’t squash his hopes.

Jason really isn’t prepared to see Ben as a grown, and very attractive, man. He’s been wallowing since his long-term relationship ended, putting all his available hours into his veterinary practice, and doesn’t feel that taking up with Ben would be a good idea; young gay men need to sow their oats, right? Jason’s ready for the settled life, and can’t imagine being with Ben is a good idea.

Ben has to work things out with his move, but the more time he spends with Liam and his family, the more he realizes this is where he wants to be, forever. If only he could convince Jason that he’s a serious guy. Some well-placed mistletoe and an injured kitten draw the two men close, but Liam throws a “spanner” (wrench, y’all) in the works. Ben’s afraid to have gotten a taste of Jason that might only last through the Christmas season. I liked how this developed, with Ben and Jason finding their way, and letting go of their expectations (Jason especially!). They fit together nicely, and their fears that a relationship will upset their close-knit families is proved unfounded. THere’s some yummy steamy bits, and lots and sweet animal moments, too. I loved the way bringing Ben in to his life allowed Jason to recapture the spirit of the season, and reconnect with his family, too. It’s a winner!

Interested? You can find NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

Catch up with Annabelle online on her website, Facebook, twitter or email at ajacobsfiction (at) gmail (dot) com.
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Mission Possible: OPERATION GREEN CARD-Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a new contemporary M/M romance from GB Gordon. OPERATION GREEN CARD is a new book in the Bluewater Bay universe–which is loosely connected to the other books in the series (including WHEN TO HOLD THEM also by this author) but fully enjoyable as a standalone. I’ve loved other GB Gordon books, SANTUARIO and THE OTHER SIDE OF WINTER, so I was excited to read this one!

Check out my review below and head out to a pal’s blog to enter the $10 GC giveaway!
About the book:
Arkady Izmaylov is a family man. He’s also gay. In Russia. His sister Natalya has been telling him to get out for years, but it’s only after an attack in the street that he finally concedes and says yes to her desperate plan of him marrying a stranger for a green card.

Jason Cooley was taught from birth that he’s no good to anyone. Then the military taught him he was good enough to save other lives, but that purpose got amputated along with his leg. He’s now working security at Wolf’s Landing and sending monthly checks to his ex for their daughter’s education. When Natalya asks him to marry her brother, Jason knows right away he’ll do it more for the mission than the money she’s offering. But when he actually meets Arkady, his mission turns complicated.

Jason quickly discovers he’s not as straight as he thought. He’s also the man of Arkady’s dreams. Arkady must convince Jason that he’s worth loving, and that Arkady won’t disappear from his life like everyone else. Because Arkady has always wanted a family of his own, and he’s not letting go of this one.

My Review:
Jason Cooley is a war veteran and amputee. He lost his lower leg and foot in his last rescue mission as an Army Ranger. It crushed the fledgling sense of purpose he’d gained from joining the armed services, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and late mother–who was killed in action when Jason was two. His father had little to do with him from then on, and he was raised in the love-bereft home of his mother’s parents, who treated him as a burden. He joined up straight out of high school, and now works as a security guard on the set of Wolf’s Landing, a long-running TV show filmed in his home town of Bluewater Bay. He still lives in that childhood home, though his grandparents are gone, and it’s cramped and run-down. Jason has a five year old daughter, Lily, conceived literally on the eve of his deployment, with his high school bestie, but they were never truly romantically linked. She’s married and her hard-working husband has formally adopted Lily. Jason sends whatever money he can to support Lily, but he’s not really involved in her life; he’s sure that’s for the best. Only, even after working double shifts, and hardly spending any money on himself, Jason still can’t afford the gifted school Lily’s being recommended for enrollment.

Arkady is living on borrowed time. The situation in Russia is grave, with men accused of homosexuality being literally disappeared to prison or shallow graves. No matter how circumspect he is about his sexuality, he’s a target. He’s been attacked before, and saw his best friend murdered years ago for their “crime”. His sister, Natalya, has been trying to get him a job in security–or whatever–at Wolf’s Landing, but the work visa is not coming. Hearing that Jason needs money, Natalya proposes a solution that could benefit her beloved brother: green card marriage.

The idea seems preposterous on its face, but the more Jason ruminates, the more he envisions this scheme as a new mission in his life. He can pay for Lily’s school, and save Arkady from a death sentence. It appeals to his latent hero complex, and it’s not as if he’s never shared intimacy with a man; it was a down-low practice on some of his deployments. When he says he’s down, Arkady makes plans for a “trip” to visit Natalya. His whole family knows this is code for his defection. Arkady had thought he would never have a loving relationship or family, but coming to the States ignites these desires. He finds Jason incredibly attractive, and that feeling, well, it’s mutual. Jason is stunned at Arkady’s masculine beauty and his growing desire for his “roomie” is confusing. They have a real role to play in convincing all their witnesses that they are having a whirlwind romance, but neither of them expected to get so caught up in it themselves.

Jason’s frustrated that Arkady might not even care about him beyond getting his paperwork managed, and Arkady’s heart is so open to Jason that whenever he perceives Jason pulling back, it hurts, and hurts bad. They do find a way to become intimate, and again, the reality is far brighter than the fantasy—but it crashes and burns when they adhere to the idea that this is a temporary situation, to simply get Arkady’s permanent residency card. For both men, this relationship has become important, and breaking up is unthinkable, so they guard themselves against further vulnerability, until they can’t bear it any longer and the honesty bursts forth.

I loved the tenderness and commitment each man showed for each other’s well-being. It was so fun to watch this marriage of convenience to grow into a passionate romance. Arkady’s joy over building a real family, with Lily and her parents, is immeasurable. The HEA is fantastic! And yummy sexytimes as Jason and Arkady learn to share themselves more and more. Expect a wedding that’s somewhat bittersweet, and a love that is built to last.

Interested? You can find OPERATION GREEN CARD on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Go Over to my pals at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to leave a comment and be entered to win a $10 Riptide book credit!
Good luck and thanks for popping in!

About the Author:
G.B. Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing. Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands.

You can reach GB online here: website, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.