Persevering as THE DRAGON’S REBEL–Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! I’m baaaack! Ugh, my summer has started WAY TOO LATE, y’all, and my personal computer decided to kill itself as soon as I found time to use it…so. Anywhoo! Today, I’m sharing a review for a new M/M shifter fantasy from Jacqueline Rohrbach. THE DRAGON’S REBEL features a devout warrior-turned-king seeking the release of his goddess and finding the love of his life in the process.

Scroll down for your chance to win a $10 GC, catch the excerpt and pick up a copy for yourself.
About the book:
Cheron, former rebel leader and newly crowned king, comes to Wren Gardens on a holy mission to free his goddess from exile and bring peace to his kingdom, but he’s distracted by an unholy and very beautiful concubine, Ekos.
Ekos may be more than a simple love slave, though. The King of Wren Gardens seems afraid of the strange and often blasphemous concubine and swears the man is cursed. Cheron agrees, especially when Ekos mocks and taunts Cheron’s sense of honor. But the urge to distance himself from Ekos can’t compete with the desire to remain close. Nor is it as strong as the urges in his body—urges he hasn’t felt in years.
As Cheron tries to refocus on his mission, Ekos throws him off again—this time by offering to help him in his holy quest. Cheron knows he shouldn’t trust a man who’s in the employ of a rival king, particularly not one who seems to know all Cheron’s deepest secrets. But he can’t ignore the signs from the goddess telling him to entwine his fate with this tricky, captivating man.
He prays the signs aren’t simply wishful thinking, manifestations of his very unholy desires. Time is running out, and Cheron is falling deeper for Ekos—and deeper into danger of another betrayal. One that could cost him his life.

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
Half parted in invitation, the concubine’s painted red lips teased the possibilities for Cheron’s sole benefit, for his sole pleasure, for his sole use. At least that was the intended impression, but who knew the actual number of men the concubine had truly pleasured? Many, Cheron assumed. Undeniably gorgeous, the pampered little house pet had all the markings of a palace favorite. Jewels hung from his earlobes, fine silks concealed his thin but muscular frame, and his body had been rubbed down with musky oils. Minus the golden, diamond-studded collar at his throat, he appeared to be a member of court.
“Is Ekos not to your taste, Majesty? He is personal stock, in case you are worried. No low-born has touched him.”
The emphasis had Cheron grinding his teeth. While Sinnac politely used the proper title while addressing him, there was always a lilt to his pronunciation, a gentle reminder that Cheron had only recently became a king. Before, he’d been a lowly soldier—a servant. To men like Sinnac, men who’d been born into power, he would never be anything other than a lucky usurper playacting at greatness.
Sinnac continued, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to see him from a different angle?”
King Sinnac tilted the concubine’s face upward to give Cheron a better look. Ekos lowered his crystal-blue eyes demurely, as was proper, but Cheron swore he saw a flash of mocking defiance in the depths before his lashes lowered. In a second, the brazen glare vanished. Ekos bowed his head, allowing his golden-yellow hair to fall over his shoulders. The posture gave Cheron a clear view of the concubine’s long back and the enticing dip of his ass.
Suppressing his disgust, Cheron kept his response to King Sinnac formal. “He is most pleasing. I am recently sated and do not require sexual services just now, Your Excellence. Perhaps later.”
“I heard you Northern men needed no pause between sessions. That you were an insatiable lot.” Sinnac, a severe man who resembled a long tendril of smoke with his long white body, steel-gray hair, and gray eyes, raised his bushy eyebrows and took a drag from his hookah. Foul-smelling mist coiled around his head, momentarily canceling out the masculine, sweet smell of the concubine’s body oils.
Cheron gave the characterization a breathy laugh. “I’m afraid all men must submit to biology.”
“Of course. Of course.”
Truthfully, Cheron’s carnal needs hadn’t been satisfied recently or even in the past year. His aversion to touching Ekos had nothing to do with lack of desire. Perhaps the young concubine served freely now, but at some point in his life, he’d been brought here in chains and trained in the arts of pleasure. The very thought made Cheron’s skin crawl. Not too long ago, he’d been enslaved under the reign of a cruel king who raped and tortured to stay in power. He had no intentions of following the same path.
After he took control of Broken Maw, servants continued to exist, but they were compensated for their work. No one was compelled to offer sexual services. Those who sold themselves demanded money, certainly, but also equal pleasure. Ekos’s circumstances were much different.
Sinnac, as if stressing those differences, commanded the concubine to attend to Cheron’s needs. “Show our guest your skills, my pet. Seduce him.”
The concubine pouted. In a spoiled voice, he said, “My treasure, I do not believe he wants me.”
A hard glint in his eye, Sinnac returned, “Nonsense. Help him settle in to Wren Gardens. I’ll not have my guests frustrated. And if the rumors I hear are true, he is quite congested with lust.”
Gossip between courts wasn’t uncommon. Certainly, Cheron heard his fair share of stories from Sinnac’s lands, especially tales of the financial troubles of Wren Gardens. It didn’t upset Cheron to learn he was the subject of discussion among Sinnac’s people, but his temperature rose at being so directly contradicted by another monarch.
“What do you know of my frustration, Excellency?”
His laughter croaked as he took another puff from the hookah. “I hear you haven’t had any pleasure since Aethel. His betrayal must still sting, yes?”
Honesty roughened his voice to an almost inaudible, harsh whisper. “Betrayal burns more than it stings, Excellency. Afterward, the smoke blinds us.”
Sinnac raised an eyebrow. “Dramatic. Betrayal also chokes us, apparently, though I heard your lover made good kindling for fire.”
Cheron swallowed down the memory before it overwhelmed him. Sometimes, in the dead of night, he still woke to the sound of his lover’s screams as he twisted on the pyre and the king’s executioner’s grim pronouncement that justice had been done. Now that Cheron had overthrown the king in a successful rebellion, there would be no such burnings. Never again.
Cheron kept his voice level. “His crime was nowhere near as severe as the punishment.”
“Hm,” Sinnac responded. Supposedly, the price for his displeasure ran higher. This marked Cheron’s first time visiting Wren Gardens, but his father told tales of a ruler obsessed with revenge to the point of madness. If the stories were true, Sinnac’s gardens grew on human blood.
Cheron tried to smile. “At any rate, that is in the past.”
“Well, then. My pet can make you forget the traitor existed. Perhaps he can make you forget your own treason.”
It would be unwise to answer the bait, so Cheron kept quiet on the matter. “I have no doubt of Ekos’s skills, but they are wasted on me at the present.”
“We’ll see.” Sinnac waved his graceful fingers, an order for Ekos to proceed.
The concubine’s crystal-blue eyes lowered again. Looking into their depths was akin to jumping into ice-cold water. One could drown, but he’d feel the sting of cold as he sank. Just the same, Cheron barely kept from gasping out loud as Ekos’s long fingers stroked the outer folds of the long robe he wore. Beneath the clothes, his body was taut, ready for a lover’s touch.
“Majesty,” Ekos simpered, his full, round mouth set in a pout. “I can’t please you through so many layers of clothing.”
In Wren Gardens, sex servants weren’t allowed to remove the clothing of nobility. Such a task was reserved for only the most trusted of servants, those who’d been with households for generations. Poisons that seeped through the skin were common here; the precaution made sense.
Ekos’s own dress confused Cheron. Station required servants to wear only thin scraps of fabric that advertised their wares and marked them as slaves. The concubine was swathed nearly head to toe in a loose-fitting, semitransparent silken frock that was embroidered along the hem by a skilled hand. Somehow, this enticed Cheron’s interests far better than any scant loincloth.
As if sensing his increasing desires, the concubine formed his full mouth into an aware smirk. The arrogance took Cheron aback and made him worry for the concubine’s safety. The man’s voice was strong and confident when he said, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to undress me first?”
Sinnac guffawed at Cheron’s horrified expression. “Forgive Ekos, my royal brother. He is overeager to prove his affections.”
Once again, Cheron ignored the overt slight. For now, Cheron had to be content another monarch had even stooped to meet with him. Smiling, he said, “He hasn’t been tested already?”
Sinnac’s countenance darkened. Without thinking, Cheron had insulted the other man’s virility, which he touted with great pride. In the short time Cheron had been a guest at Wren Gardens, Sinnac boasted as many as fifty lovers, all of whom couldn’t get enough of their lord and master.
“My apologies, Excellency.” Cheron spread his hands in contrition. “I understand your prowess is legendary.”
Sniffing, Sinnac got to his knees and began undoing the knot keeping his robe together. Seconds later, he was nearly naked except for his white linen undergarments. Covered in a network of impressive scars, his body flaunted a lifetime of war. “Turn around,” he commanded Ekos.
Immediately, Ekos obeyed. Cheron swore he saw a flash of disgust in the man’s crystal-blue eyes. Soon enough, the meaningless and practiced smile fell back into place. The young man dipped forward, raising his hips. “Enter if you dare,” he mocked.
Sinnac growled at the challenge.
Stomach lurching, Cheron realized the other monarch’s intent. Baring witness to rape immediately quashed his previous desires. He knew it was a typical practice in Wren Gardens, but Cheron failed to control a wave of pity. This was no way to treat another human being.
“Excellency,” Cheron said, interrupting the looming sexual encounter. “I have been an ungracious guest. I would love to indulge in Ekos’s sweet attentions privately. But how can I enjoy him if you put me to shame? Will he even consider me adequate after you?”
“I’m sure I would, Majesty,” Ekos softly assured him. “A man as magnificent as you must be bliss to touch.”
Sinnac ran his hands up and down the length of the concubine’s body, slapping and prodding as he went, but eventually sat back against the cushions without penetrating, much to Cheron’s relief.
His gaze hooded, almost fully concealed, Sinnac said, “Please retire to your quarters, Majesty. We’ll attend to matters of state after dinner. I will have Ekos sent to your rooms. Treat him gently. I paid a high price for him.”
As equals, they stood and formally bowed. The concubine, head still bent toward the ground, his expression concealed by a long flow of honey hair, remained prostrated. His fists clenched and unclenched. When he lifted his head, he smiled serenely and said, “You have yet to pay the full price for me, Excellency.”

My Review:
Cheron is the new ruler of the Northern Lands, and he’s visiting Sinnac, king over Wren Gardens, in order to find Hell’s Echo, a talisman Sinnac has hidden in his gruesome dungeons. Hell’s Echo is necessary for Cheron to free his goddess, Kalin. He keeps a relic around his neck that heats or vibrates when Kalin is communicating with Cheron from her celestial prison. He encounters the beautiful Ekos early in his visit to Wren Gardens, when Sinnac offers Cheron Ekos’s body for pleasure–because Ekos is a concubine. While Cheron is attracted to Ekos, he abhors slavery of any type, as true followers of Kalin would. Cheron is struck by the brutality of Sinnac’s court, but he’s not savvy enough to understand when he’s being hoodwinked into trouble.

Ekos, on the other hand, is a match for Sinnac’s guile–and Ekos knows that the path for his own freedom will come through assisting Cheron on his quest. Ekos doesn’t honor Kalin, not since his kin were all captured by Sinnac and turned into living garden plots for eternity. Sinnac hopes that Cheron will be able to claim the Hell’s Echo, so Sinnac can steal it and use it to release his own blood-thirsty god, Atyx.

The world building here was a little spartan, at first, and I would have liked a bit more of that upfront so I understood where I was, and what the goals were in the beginning. Cheron is a bit of a bungler, but his heart is true and his mission is foremost in his mind. He strikes bargains with Ekos to forward both of their aims, and that leads from mutual dependence into love. I admit I was a little lost about how a king, such as Cheron, would enter a foreign monarch’s palace under the guise of striking a trade bargain yet without any attendants, or advisors? This seemed shoddy planning, especially as Cheron’s true plan is to hunt out Hell’s Echo and escape with it. Surely he has generals or someone who might have his back?

Unfortunately, he didn’t, which leads to his imprisonment and a series of battles to save himself, or Ekos, or to regain Hell’s Echo…because, as I mentioned, Cheron is a bungler and he manages to lose it more than once.

Still, the pace is brisk and in the second half we fly along from battle to battle with a bit of romance developing between Ekos and Cheron. Ekos has a secret–about himself and his role in Kalin’s imprisonment–but Cheron’s never willing to give up on either Ekos or Kalin, no matter how dire the situation. I loved his steadfastness, as did Ekos. The climax is rapid-fire, with murderous gods and near-death experiences. Cheron never quit his quest, even when it would have been comfortable to do so–and that lead to his ultimate reward, with Ekos by his side, perhaps for eternity.

There’s a little bit of sexytimes, and a lot of magic, of good and bad types. The followers of Atyx–Sinnac and his host of priests and disciples–are disastrously rotten, and they are mutilated accordingly, so if you abhor the gore, this one is likely not going to satisfy. For fans of magical, mythical heroes and the power of good triumphing evil, well, you’ll have a long slog until you get your cockles warmed. But, the end is joyous, and features a fun reward for Cheron.

Interested? You can find THE DRAGON’S REBEL on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Jacqueline Rohrbach is a 36-year-old creative writer living in windy central Washington. When she isn’t writing strange books about bloodsucking magical werewolves, she’s baking sweets, or walking her two dogs, Nibbler and Mulder. She also loves cheesy ghost shows, especially when the hosts call out the ghost out like he wants to brawl with it in a bar. You know, “Come out here, you coward! You like to haunt little kids. Haunt me!” Jackee laughs at this EVERY time.

She’s also a hopeless World of Warcraft addict. In her heyday, she was a top parsing disc priest. She became a paladin to fight Deathwing, she went back to a priest to cuddle pandas, and then she went to a shaman because I guess she thought it would be fun to spend an entire expansion underpowered and frustrated. Boomchicken for Legion!

Catch up with Jackee on her website and twitter.

Out today: IGNITE!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. IGNITE is the 15th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…
For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

I’m finishing this one up now. Look for my review in the coming days.

Interested? You can find IGNITE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Captivated by the MUD & LACE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance newly released from Jay Northcote. MUD & LACE is the fourth book in his Rainbow Place series set in Porthladock, Cornwall. I really enjoyed BETTER PLACE, and was eager to continue reading this engaging series. MUD & LACE features a not-so-straight man who falls for a drag queen with a monthly gig at the Rainbow Place cafe–and they both have some issues to confront.

About the book:
When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.

Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.

Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.

When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.

Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

My Review:
Simon, called Wicksy by his rugby mates, is a regular at the Rainbow Place cafe. His teammate is dating a server there, and the team helped to get the place up and running after vandals smashed it up before the grand opening. Wicksy’s not shy about his interest in the stunning Lady Gogo, a new performer, but he’s not quite sure what to do about it.

Charlie is just 20 and trying to make sense of his life. He’s been out as gay for several years but his best mate, also gay, is rude about effeminate men. Charlie fears telling his pal about the drag shows he does to blow off steam and earn some cash would hamper their friendship. And, Charlie’s not sure he wants his mum to know about how he feels when in his Lady Gogo persona. Because Charlie feels empowered and sexy, glamourous and desirable–a far cry from his normal appearance. Wicksy, being a strapping lad, is catnip for Lady Gogo, and lights a fire within Charlie, too. But, is this handsome man really desiring a woman, because Charlie’s “lady parts” are all costume.

Wicksy’s keen on Lady Gogo, and they start canoodling, with Charlie in drag. It’s fun for both men, and these clandestine trysts help each man re-center their interests. Wicksy is recognizing that he’s not so much worried about Charlie’s sexual plumbing, while Charlie is owning his body and sex appeal in ways he hadn’t considered before. I really liked how this relationship grew–first from an acknowledged place of deliberate contradiction, Wicksy “pretending” Lady Gogo was female while Charlie indulged his inner femininity, to a more realistic recognition that sexuality is how we respond to attraction. Wicksy is a bit late in coming to terms with his desires, but he doesn’t make Charlie feel ugly in his male presentation, either. If anything, the reverence Wicksy always grants Charlie gives Charlie the emotional strength to challenge his own inner questions. It was nice that Charlie got to meet some new people who really supported him, and who offered counsel on his concerns about potentially being trans.

There’s a little separation when Charlie and Wicksy struggle to keep their budding relationship on the down-low, bu tit doesn’t take too long to get things back on the right path. They make the necessary arrangements to live their truth, which enables them to come out as boyfriends, in the end. This one had some very steamy sexytimes, and moments of sweet emotional connection. Even when Wicksy and CHarlie weren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye, their disagreements were always respectful, and insightful. They pushed each other to be better men, and the story shown for all their effort.

Interested? You can find MUD & LACE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

signal boost

They Both are STARTING FROM ZERO–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM ZERO is a spin-off from her Out in College series, specifically featuring Rory’s older half-brother Justin from OUT IN THE OFFENSE. This new Starting From series seems as if it will feature other members of the band Zero, which Justin is forming.

Drop down ot catch an excerpt, my reivew and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past…or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

How about a yummy taste?

Justin turned to me with a fiery expression and gestured toward the glittering lights below. “Everyone here wants more than what they have. And I guess I’m the same. I don’t need recognition and I sure as fuck don’t want love, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks,” he commented with a laugh. “What about you?”
I did a double take. I was two steps behind, struggling to keep up, and if possible, memorize every word he’d said. I hadn’t been around anyone so raw or so honest in a long time. He made rules and broke them with at whim, letting me in and then shutting me out. He had a way of revealing himself that made me feel as though he was holding a mirror to me, daring me to acknowledge my broken pieces too. He was either slightly insane or incredibly gifted. I suspected it was the latter. The cadence of his speech lured me in…and made me want more. I’d tell him anything he wanted to know, just to be near him and this intense spark of…newness, creativity, and wonder.
“What about me?” I asked in a low raspy voice.
“What do you want to accomplish before you leave the planet?”
“I want to write the perfect song,” I replied unthinking.
“There’s no such thing.”
“Maybe, maybe not. But it would be nice to leave something that felt special.”
Justin held my gaze then inclined his head in agreement. “Yeah. I want that too.”
We stared at each other. Whispers of conversation floated from the far corners of the rooftop deck. We weren’t alone, but we might as well be. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so intimately connected to someone I’d never really touched. It was puzzling and enchanting at the same time.
He shivered when the breeze kicked up. I took it as a sign from above and pulled him against me. I had to feel him. I studied the sexy indentation in his bottom lip before giving into impulse and resting my hands on his hip. Justin gave me a funny look but he didn’t push me away.
“You shouldn’t be anonymous. You have too much to share. Too much to say,” I said.
“What are you doing?”
“I…I’m not sure. Is this okay?”
“Yeah. It’s good.” Justin nodded and snaked his arms around my waist.
We were still for a while. He was so close I could feel his breath on my lips. The lingering quiet was deceptive. A casual observer might have mistaken us for old lovers engaged in a tender moment. Or maybe they’d guess we were tentative strangers anxious to make the right moves. Not too fast, not too slow. Neither was correct. There was no quiet here. An electric current sizzled and hissed between us. Intense sexual awareness and something more. Something fiery and passionate. He was wild and rough with jagged edges and a sharp mind. Instinctively, I knew I should proceed with caution because walking away wasn’t an option.
“I want to kiss you,” I whispered, inching closer so our noses brushed.
Justin gave me a crooked smile and tugged at my belt loop. “Then do it.”
I tilted my chin slightly and pressed my lips to his. He was deceptively tender at first. He closed his eyes and hummed into the connection. When I licked at the corner of his mouth, he let me in without hesitation. I couldn’t get enough. He tasted like gin and nicotine with a hint of peppermint. All the things I apparently couldn’t do without.
I pulled him closer, cupping the back of his neck to kiss him harder and deeper. Our tongues twisted in a growing frenzy until everything and everyone around us dissolved into white noise. Justin lulled me into complacency and let me think I was in control. I pushed him back slightly and wrapped my fingers around his neck to keep him in place when he leaned forward to nip my bottom lip. He grinned like a madman and then lowered his eyelashes in a show of faux subservience. I didn’t trust him to stay still or obey for a second. Justin was wild and headstrong. He wasn’t going to do anything that wasn’t either his idea or a bad idea.
I should have known then that I’d met my match.

My Review:
Justin Cuevas is a 26 y/o, bisexual musician trying to start a new band, Zero. His last band had a big falling out when Justin broke up with his lead singer girlfriend, and then their guitarist revealed Justin was now having sexytimes with the band’s male drummer–Tegan. Justin’s mom has been shutting out her younger son, Rory, for nearly two years–ever since Rory came out as bisexual and began exclusively dating a man. Justin doesn’t want to rock that boat again, and yet he finds himself terribly attracted to a silver fox stranger at his latest gig. Without revealing their names or the pasts, he and his mysterious stranger have a hot encounter in the bathroom of an upscale bar.

Gray Robertson is forty-four and used to being on his own. He had a loving partnership with Seb, a big-wig movie studio producer more than twenty years ago, but it was too hard to keep the love alive when they were constantly denying their sexuality–and married to beards. Gray was essentially a second father to Charlie, Seb’s biological son, and both Seb and Charlie have a big place in his life. But, Gray won’t go back to Seb again. He can’t recapture that love he once had, and thinks it’s best if they stay best friends instead. Seb had brought Gray to Justin’s gig, trying to see if Gray would be willing to work with Justin on writing some songs for the soundtrack of the action movie he’s producing. Gray is intrigued by Justin’s vivaciousness and creativity, but he’s willing to be a one-night stand if that’s all he can get. Seb learns of Gray and Justin’s sexy night together and seems even more determined to get Justin to work for him–maybe so he can keep an eye on Justin. When Seb can’t get Gray to reach out to Justin, he gets Charlie involved.

Thing is, Charlie likes Justin as a musician. As a social media influencer, and a master’s student in talent management, Charlie sees his opportunity to launch Zero into stardom. But Justin isn’t easily caught, and he’s not sure what working with Gray or Charlie will do to, or for, him. Unfortunately, Justin’s broke, working two crappy jobs and living on his drummer’s sofa. It’s important for him to get a break for Zero, but not at the expense of his pride and creativity.

This dual POV story is a great jumping off point for a new series. Justin is sweet and earnest and scattered–trying not to fall in love, because love is big lie that just breaks you into pieces. At least that what he witnessed in his mom’s life. Gray has felt deep love for Seb, but the constant deceit they both had to maintain killed the ardor. He knows Seb’s machinations, however, and tries to stay a few steps ahead of Seb’s schemes. Charlie had the right side of it, knowing his father never stopped loving Gray, but Charlie is his father’s son–always looking for the best deal. For him, it’s Zero’s success, and he won’t allow Seb to crush the band for the quest for a movie soundtrack. At the heart of all these intersecting schemes is Justin and Gray, who are falling hard for one another. They spend time scoping out scenes of romance in the wild, trying to find inspiration for the love song Seb wants them to write. Gray is proud of Justin’s desire to make music on his own terms, and to own his truth. Justin takes strength in his convictions, realizing how destructive it was for both Gray and Rory to hide their true loves for the sake of convenience. It provokes a hard conversation with his mother, that could lead to healing or separation.

The end is happy, with Gray and Justin, and Zero, finding a rhythm and audience for their stories. There are many hot and sexy moments, with lots of positive moments. Gray and Seb have a reckoning that I think will lead to Seb finding love eventually. Meanwhile, Tegan and Charlie are great side characters and I’m sure each will have his own love story–maybe even together, but that’s way to soon to tell. In any case, I’m ready for the next verse in this aria and look forward to more blockbuster love.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM ZERO on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
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 won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Finding Love at FAMILY CAMP–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance from Eli Easton. FAMILY CAMP is a contemporary romance that features a closeted pro baseball player and a single gay man raising two foster kids. These guys turn out to be soulmates, and their growing love is sweet and sexy to witness. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books, SECOND HARVEST, FIVE DARES and ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter the $25 GC giveaway!
About the book:
When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

How about a little taste?

Sixth inning. Geo was ready for the game to be over. It was fucking hot on the ball field, all open and exposed, the sun baking down. And he was also not sure how much more Travis-watching he could take—him with his silky burgundy gym shorts and a sweaty Camp Evermore green shirt stretched over those muscles. His long legs were tanned and well-defined from hours at the gym.

Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.

Damn, but that was one fine-looking man. Geo knew he should lay off, though. Travis had made himself clear.

Only he hadn’t. At all. One minute, Travis seemed into him him. He sought out Geo’s company, like the way he kept coming by the cabin at night. And the next minute, he’d put distance between them, ignoring Geo or closing himself off behind a granite-like expression and those eye-hiding shades. And Travis had laid a clear line in the sand. Not at camp. Not gonna happen.

Yup. That was fine. Sure, Geo hadn’t been mutually attracted to a guy that hot in ages. Or ever, really. But Geo hadn’t come to camp to fool around. He had other priorities.

It did make him wonder though. Bridget had said Travis wasn’t out. A quick Google search last night had confirmed that. In fact, Geo had been shocked to discover there’d never been an out baseball player in the major leagues. Like, in the history of American baseball. Which was tragic. No wonder Travis was in the closet. It had to suck monkey balls living like that. Especially with all the women who threw themselves at him constantly. There were a dozen women on the sidelines right now that looked ready to have his babies. That had to be weird for a gay guy. Didn’t it?

Geo himself was always super uncomfortable when women came on to him. He felt compelled to blurt out “I’m gay!” in the first five minutes. It was just too weird otherwise.

Then again, Travis’s love life was none of Geo’s business. Maybe the guy was bisexual. Maybe he liked dating women just fine.

Jayden came up to bat. Geo focused on his son, clapping hard. “Come on, Jayden! You’ve got this!”

Jayden took a wide stance beside the plate, both hands gripping the bat, choked up a little. Travis had spent a few minutes with Jayden at the start of the game, showing him how to stand, and Jayden copied him exactly. The kid was a great mimic. He’d been nervous at first, tense and defensive. But by now he just looked focused. He stared, narrow-eyed, at Frank as Frank pitched an easy ball.

Geo loved that about this game, that everyone tried to give the kids easy wins, and no one took the competition seriously.

Jayden hit the ball hard. It flew through the air a short ways then plonked to the ground and skipped along fast. It was heading right down the center line, though a bit more towards third base and Travis’s side of the field.

“Go Jayden! Go!” Geo shouted. He went after the ball. In his peripheral vision, he saw Jayden round first base and keep running.

Travis was going after the ball too, dodging low. He scooped it up. He was going to throw it to third base, keep Jayden back on second. Geo couldn’t let that happen.

He dove in front of Travis, crowding him, holding an arm out to block Travis from throwing the ball.

Travis snorted, bemused. “What are you doing? You’re on my team.” He backed up, trying to get away from Geo.

“Blood before bros, man,” Geo said with fake seriousness. He kept up with Travis, step for step, grabbing Travis’s right arm in a firm grip so he couldn’t raise the ball.

“Stop it!” Travis laughed. “Dork. That’s not legal.

“Don’t care.”

They took three steps back, like they were dancing. Geo held Travis’s right arm, staring him down. Travis met his gaze, a goofy smile on his lips. Back and back they stumbled. Suddenly, Travis got a sparkle in his eyes. He wrapped his left arm around Geo’s waist and picked him up, swinging him around so he ended up behind Travis.

Geo was still finding his feet as Travis drew back his arm and sent the ball sailing.

Right to home plate. But Jayden got there first. Umpire Cindy made the motion with her hands, safe.

Geo laughed and raised his arms in triumph. “Yeah, baby! Great job, Jayden! Home run, whoo!”

Then he realized everyone was staring at them. On the sidelines, there were a dozen cameras raised, filming.

Oh. Er. Hmm. Geo wiped his face, feeling sheepish.

That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.

My Review:
Geo is determined to be a good father–with or without a partner. He’s out, and he has a good job as a middle-school history teacher. After years of applications, interviews and preparation, he’s finally building a family, with Jayden, a pre-teen boy, and Lucy, a 5 year old girl. Both of these kids have emotional scars and Geo is trying his hardest to get them to open up. He’s had foster custody for about 6 weeks, but his plan is to adopt them, if he can wrangle the legal hoops.

Travis is a pro baseball pitcher who knows his years in the big leagues are coming to an end. He’s gay, but closeted, even to his family. Travis was adopted as a teenager, and has a complex about losing the love of his large adoptive family if he comes out–plus there are no openly gay players in the pros, so he doens’t want to be a standard bearer. He works the family camp week at his family’s camp–as it falls during the all-star break and he likes to lend a hand.

Travis and Geo meet en route to the campsite, when Travis rescues Geo who’s car had run out of gas. He gets that Geo’s a new foster dad, and he’s irrationally angry with his misapprehension of the situation. Still, while Travis might think Geo’s just his type, believing that he’s not in parenthood for the long haul tweaks all Travis’ childhood apprehensions. Travis goes out of his way to be cool to Jayden and Lucy, but give Geo the coldest of shoulders.

On the campground, however, they strike up a tentative truce, which crackles with mutual attraction. Travis’ older sister notices and she confronts him–setting this man “straight” on some home truths he’d long forgotten. I really loved the women in this story who each have texture and personality, beyond the “confidante” sketch. Jayden, who is often belligerent, warms to kids at the camp, and listens to Travis’ counsel about how much Geo cares about him. Having a role model who understands the foster system allows Jayden to build a strong relationship with not only Geo (who is over the moon!) but also kids his own age, and Travis. Little Lucy, who is emotionally delayed, makes big strides toward connecting with Geo and others–thanks to Travis’ sweet dog. THe kids, like the female characters, are well written and feel like whole people–who’ve survived trauma and are afraid to be hurt yet again. Travis and Geo both connect well with these two, and their entire dynamic during the week appears more than friendly–which makes space for the night time interludes Geo and Travis are soon angling to pursue.

Naturally, there’s conflict due to Travis’ career and fear of coming out. Geo doesn’t know how to manage it–and they live about 250 miles apart–but when the major situation gets resolved it leaves the MCs searching for a deeper connection, and a family of their own. It’s sweet, with a slow burn. I liked it bunches and highly recommend.

Interested? You can find FAMILY CAMP on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****
Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC.
Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Having 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, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine 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, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

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

Making it Past the ROCKY GROUND–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary veteran romance from Kaylea Cross. ROCKY GROUND is the latest Crimson Point novel and features a Scottish military vet falling hard for a single mom who’s had it rough. I really liked FRACTURED HONOR so I was interested to read on in this series.

About the book:
She’s been hurt too many times…
Single mom Tiana Fitzgerald has sworn off all romantic relationships to protect herself and her daughter. Her track record is disastrous and she’s done getting hurt. But a certain sexy Scotsman in Crimson Point has other ideas, and somehow manages to sneak past her defenses at every turn. As the hits keep coming and her life implodes, she begins to see he’s unlike any man she’s ever known. Now he’s become the greatest threat to her heart, because there’s no possible future for them. Not when he’s leaving the country in a few weeks. And when her worst fears are realized, she must risk everything by placing her trust in in his hands.

He’s determined to capture her heart.
Scotsman Aidan MacIntyre never saw the fiery, beautiful Tiana coming. The prickly redhead has gotten under his skin as badly as he wants to get under hers. But she’s determined to keep walls between them. Luckily the former Royal Marine doesn’t know how to give up. Someone from her past wants to hurt her, but Aidan will stand between her and any threat. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her and the little girl who have completely stolen his heart—and fight for them to have a future together.

How about a little taste?

The molten hunger in his eyes sent a torrent of heat rushing through her body even as her old fears bubbled to the surface again. “Aidan…” she murmured, dropping her gaze to his chest.

She’d done it. Given her unspoken consent. Now her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest.

His hand came up to stroke her hair away from her face. She leaned into his touch, craving more. Craving this wonderful, incredible man that for some reason wanted her in spite of all her imperfections.

Her heart beat an erratic rhythm against her ribs. She’d never experienced anything like this before. Not with this level of intensity. This was…something she’d only read about before. Was it because of everything they’d gone through together? Because she’d relied on him for survival?

His fingers stroked against her scalp in a drugging caress that had her eyelids drooping. “What are you so afraid of?”

She looked up at him again. God, he was beautiful. And strong. And brave.

He was also going to rip her heart out when he left.

It wasn’t easy to voice her insecurities aloud, but she felt comfortable with him. Close to him in a way she’d never felt with another man. “Of making another mistake. Of getting my heart broken again,” she whispered.

He cupped the side of her face to run his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ll not hurt you, lass.”

Her insides squeezed at the tenderness in his voice, the yearning in his eyes. No, he wouldn’t hurt her intentionally. “But you’re leaving soon. In another few weeks.” That was going to leave a scar, no matter how gently the cut was made.

“Aye,” he agreed, his gaze locked with hers. “But I’m here now.”

His words reverberated in the deepest recesses of her heart. He was right here in front of her, and he wanted her.

Any other arguments she had stored up vanished in the space of a single heartbeat. Before she could think herself out of it, she gave free rein to the need pulsing inside her, took his face in her hands and pulled him down to her waiting lips.

My Review:
Tiana is a fierce single mother whose life seems to be unraveling. Her last boyfriend tried to molest her 8 year old daughter, Ella, and now she’s trying to ensure her little girl doesnt’t have to take a witness stand to protect herself from a predator. And, Evan, her first love and Ella’s daddy has reappeared and now wants to build a relationship with young Ella. So, really it’s not time to be falling for a Scotsman who seems to be more than just nice.

Aidan “Mac” McIntyre is a veteran working for an acquaintance from his military days. He wants to get his green card and sty in the US, but his appeals have been denied and he’s going to return to the UK for some time while it all gets sorted. This is why Aidan shouldn’t be falling for his boss’s tenant, but he can’t help admiring how strong Tiana is, and how well she minds her sweet young girl all alone. Learning how Tiana was betrayed in her past relationship sets Mac on edge. Which is good, because he’s gong to need all his battle-honed skills to ensure Tiana and Ell are safe, not only from Ella’s abuser.

This story went in ways I had never anticipated, which was good. As much as I read, it’s often hard to surprise me. Tiana and Ella get separated a a critical moment–through no fault of their own, but that makes them uniquely vulnerable for attack, and there is an enemy laying in wait. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say my anticipation of a marriage of convenience did not bear fruit. Instead, there are more than one flight for their lives, and hostiles in every corner. I liked the three-prong attack Tiana needed to weather and felt she did it with grace. There are some sexy scenes, but I felt they were a bit long and mildly repetitive, so I skimmed those–not saying other readers won’t be enthralled. It was a little mundane, for me, though it made sense in the narrative.

It’s a solid romantic suspense, and I enjoyed it bunches.

Interested? You can find ROCKY GROUND on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

About the Author:
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and has been nominated multiple times for the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

Catch up with Kaylea on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

Out today! ROCKY GROUND Release Blitz!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release blast for a new contemporary veteran romance from Kaylea Cross. ROCKY GROUND is the latest Crimson Point novel and features a Scottish military vet falling hard for a single mom who’s had it rough. I really liked FRACTURED HONOR so I was interested to read on in this series.

About the book:
She’s been hurt too many times…
Single mom Tiana Fitzgerald has sworn off all romantic relationships to protect herself and her daughter. Her track record is disastrous and she’s done getting hurt. But a certain sexy Scotsman in Crimson Point has other ideas, and somehow manages to sneak past her defenses at every turn. As the hits keep coming and her life implodes, she begins to see he’s unlike any man she’s ever known. Now he’s become the greatest threat to her heart, because there’s no possible future for them. Not when he’s leaving the country in a few weeks. And when her worst fears are realized, she must risk everything by placing her trust in in his hands.

He’s determined to capture her heart.
Scotsman Aidan MacIntyre never saw the fiery, beautiful Tiana coming. The prickly redhead has gotten under his skin as badly as he wants to get under hers. But she’s determined to keep walls between them. Luckily the former Royal Marine doesn’t know how to give up. Someone from her past wants to hurt her, but Aidan will stand between her and any threat. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her and the little girl who have completely stolen his heart—and fight for them to have a future together.

How about a little taste?

The molten hunger in his eyes sent a torrent of heat rushing through her body even as her old fears bubbled to the surface again. “Aidan…” she murmured, dropping her gaze to his chest.

She’d done it. Given her unspoken consent. Now her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest.

His hand came up to stroke her hair away from her face. She leaned into his touch, craving more. Craving this wonderful, incredible man that for some reason wanted her in spite of all her imperfections.

Her heart beat an erratic rhythm against her ribs. She’d never experienced anything like this before. Not with this level of intensity. This was…something she’d only read about before. Was it because of everything they’d gone through together? Because she’d relied on him for survival?

His fingers stroked against her scalp in a drugging caress that had her eyelids drooping. “What are you so afraid of?”

She looked up at him again. God, he was beautiful. And strong. And brave.

He was also going to rip her heart out when he left.

It wasn’t easy to voice her insecurities aloud, but she felt comfortable with him. Close to him in a way she’d never felt with another man. “Of making another mistake. Of getting my heart broken again,” she whispered.

He cupped the side of her face to run his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ll not hurt you, lass.”

Her insides squeezed at the tenderness in his voice, the yearning in his eyes. No, he wouldn’t hurt her intentionally. “But you’re leaving soon. In another few weeks.” That was going to leave a scar, no matter how gently the cut was made.

“Aye,” he agreed, his gaze locked with hers. “But I’m here now.”

His words reverberated in the deepest recesses of her heart. He was right here in front of her, and he wanted her.

Any other arguments she had stored up vanished in the space of a single heartbeat. Before she could think herself out of it, she gave free rein to the need pulsing inside her, took his face in her hands and pulled him down to her waiting lips.

Interested? You can find ROCKY GROUND on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

About the Author:
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and has been nominated multiple times for the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

Catch up with Kaylea on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.