Now Available! OUT ON THE ICE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new New Adult M/M romance from Lane Hayes. OUT ON THE ICE is the fifth book in her Out in College series, and features a college hockey player falling for a college baseball player. Catch my reviews for OUT IN THE DEEP END, OUT IN THE END ZONE, and OUT IN THE OFFENSE, for more info. While this book can be read on it’s own, you may want to read OUT IN THE OFFENSE first, because that’s where we meet Sky.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
About the book:
Colby Fischer is a bad boy with attitude and a chip on his shoulder. As a senior at a Southern California college, he knows this may be his last shot. He doubts he’ll ever become the hockey legend he dreamed of being as a kid, but he definitely doesn’t want to be an accountant. Things get interesting when he’s asked to train the new intern at his step-dad’s firm, who happens to be the troublemaker from his econ class. And the one guy Colby can’t stand.

Baseball is Sky Jameson’s life. He’s happy to be back at Chilton for his senior year, but he’s burned a few bridges and has a bit too much free time off-season. He could use the money and something to keep him busy until his season begins. But his accidental crush on his prickly coworker could be a problem. Colby is straight and Sky is in the closet. Their timing isn’t great, but the intense attraction is hard to deny. With his final season on the hockey team in the balance, Colby may have to decide if he’s ready to come out on the ice.

How about a yummy taste?

“What position do you play?” Sky asked, pealing the label off his water bottle.

“Right wing. Forward. Think of soccer where the front line moves the ball down the field. We do the same with the puck.”

“I know how it works. I’ve watched a lot of hockey.”

“Have you ever played?” I asked.

“No. Baseball was always number one for me. Besides, hockey is kind of…rough. There’s always a fight. And the game moves so fast, it’s hard to see the puck sometimes.”

“Not if you pay attention.” I raised my beer bottle in a mock toast and grinned. “And I like it rough.”

Sky pursed his lips and stared at me…or maybe he was staring at my throat. I couldn’t tell. “Me too. But not on the field. It distracts from the game.”

“In hockey, it’s part of the game. If you can’t defend yourself, your teammates, and the ice, you have no right to be out there. Might as well take up ice dancing or something,” I snarked, only half kidding. “And no offense, but ice dancing is a hell of a lot more entertaining than baseball. Trust me, I know. I played Little League for a couple of years. I used to beg the coach not to put me in the outfield. Geez, you could take a fuckin’ nap out there some days, you know?”

Sky laughed. “Fuck you. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Baseball is a game of strategy.”

“Strategy my ass,” I huffed, smiling to take the sting from my words…even though I kinda meant it. “It’s one of those weird sports where everyone gets pumped when nothing happens. ‘Oh, it’s a no-hitter. That’s amazing!’ Sure…but nothing fuckin’ happened! No one hit the ball, no one rounded the bases, no one slid to home plate. No one had to even wash their damn uniforms! And you know why?”

“Why?”

“’Cause nothin’ fuckin’ happened,” I replied, taking a long sip of my beer as I let the sweet sound of Sky’s laughter wash over me.

God, he had a great laugh. It made me like him a little more. And yeah, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I liked Sky. He was smart, talented, easy on the eyes, and he had a sense of humor.

“That just proves baseball players are smarter than hockey players,” he taunted.

“Said no one anywhere ever.” I held my hands up in surrender when he flipped me off. “Hey, I’m kidding. I like baseball fine. I told you I follow the Tigers. I still have the jersey my dad bought me when I was ten. Dude, I’d wear it if I still fit in it. What’s your position?”

“Shortstop. I’ve played almost every position at one time or another but I like it the best. You gotta be quick, have a strong arm, and good instincts. I also have a long wingspan. That helps.”

“Makes sense. I don’t know about wingspan, but you gotta be quick in lightning fast hockey too with quick reflexes. Big ol’ quads help.” I smacked my thighs and chuckled. “Mine are kinda huge.”

Sky gave me a lopsided smile. “I noticed. It’s hot.”

“You think muscular legs are hot?”

“I do. Believe it or not, it wasn’t your sweet personality that made me look twice. It was your thighs.”

I snickered. “That’s weird.”

“Maybe, but it’s true. You always wore shorts to summer school. I used to come in a little late so I’d get a good look at you before I sat down. I purposely didn’t sit next to you because I knew I’d get caught staring. And the one day I did, you were the one who got caught.”

“Are you telling me that all this started because of my thighs?” I asked, narrowing my gaze suspiciously.

Sky nodded. “Basically…yes.”

We held eye contact for a moment then busted up.

And when our laughter faded, the mood changed all over again. I felt that same crackle of heat and sexual energy I always did when I was around him, but this time I knew what it was. And though I might have been unsure, I wasn’t afraid.

I leaned forward on my barstool and motioned for Sky to close the distance. He brushed his nose against mine. I held my breath and waited for him to make a move. Any move at all. When he blinked, I licked the corner of his mouth then pressed my lips to his and closed my eyes.

Interested? You can find OUT ON THE ICE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and 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.

Beginning Life As THE PRINCE’S CONSORT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Antonia Aquilante. THE PRINCE’S CONSORT is the first story in her Chronicles of Tournai series, and it’s off to a great start!

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures are only myth.
Or are they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne of Tournai at a young age, and since then his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to do as they want both in matters of governance and those more personal. He’s become isolated and lonely. Amory is the second son of a wealthy merchant who has never approved of anything about him or had any use for him. Until now.

When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s merchant father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline—something the royal family has kept secret from all but those closest to them for generations.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect what those who oppose their relationship will do to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

How about a yummy taste?

He didn’t know what to think about what they’d done. He’d enjoyed it, but the uncomfortable feeling still plagued him. Before he could begin to analyze it, Tristan was chuckling, low at first, quiet in Amory’s ear, his body shaking against Amory’s chest. Tristan pulled back enough to look at him. His eyes sparkled with happiness, and Amory’s laughter bubbled up to join his friend’s.

The laughter eased the way as they fumbled for handkerchiefs, cleaned themselves up, and neatened their clothes again. Then they leaned against each other and the tree, still laughing a little. It was Amory who moved for another kiss. Both of them were grinning when their lips met, and they couldn’t seem to stop laughing as they kissed, as they kept kissing. But the laughter was soft and light, like the kisses, and Amory relaxed into them, wrapping his arms around Tristan. Telling himself he would think about everything later.

“Good afternoon, brother.”

The unexpected voice and its snide tone had Amory jerking away from the kiss. The back of his head thunked into the tree trunk behind him. Tristan jumped back, separating them much more effectively. Amory almost wished he hadn’t. The short distance between them seemed like a vast gulf, and Amory felt very alone as he straightened away from the tree and turned to face his older brother.

Alban’s handsome face was twisted in a sneer even more disgusted than the one he habitually wore when looking at Amory. He studied Amory and Tristan in silence while Amory struggled not to squirm. No use saying anything to Alban, he knew from bitter experience.

“Now I know why you wanted no part of that pretty little maid last week.” Disdain dripped from Alban’s every word. “You’re more of a disappointment than I thought. Worthless. How are you even my brother?”

With a shake of his head, Alban turned and strode away, likely heading directly for the house. Amory remained frozen for a long moment, not even blinking.

“He’s going to tell your father.” Tristan’s voice was flat, so different from its usual exuberant, almost musical quality. The shock of it broke Amory’s paralysis, and Amory turned to face him. Tristan still stared at the spot where Alban had stood.

“Yes, he is.” Amory ran a shaking hand through his hair and slumped back against the tree. Alban hadn’t hit him, which was a pleasant surprise, but the consequences were still going to be bad. How would Father react? With disappointment, certainly, but that was nothing new. Most likely with anger as well. However disgusted Alban was, their father would be ten times more so.

“Do you think they’ll tell my father?” Tristan turned fear-filled blue eyes on Amory.

“Tris.” Amory reached out. He couldn’t bear seeing him so afraid, and though he couldn’t say much to reassure him, he couldn’t stand by while Tristan was upset either.

But he stepped out of Amory’s reach. “Do you?”

Amory tried to hold back a flinch. “I don’t know.”

Tristan groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face. “He can’t. I don’t know what my father will do if he finds out I prefer men. I’m his oldest son. I’m supposed to take over for him in the business, get married. Have sons to take over the family business after me.”

“You still can. All right, the children part would be difficult if you don’t marry someone who can carry them, but you can still take over the family business.” He didn’t bother mentioning that Tristan had four younger brothers and a younger sister. Surely at least one of them would have children someday who could inherit the family’s business if Tristan never had any of his own and his father insisted on an heir of their blood. But Tristan took his responsibilities as first son seriously. Too seriously. He wouldn’t want to hear that at the moment.

“Not if he disowns me.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. Preferring men is not illegal. It’s not wrong. Your father loves you. He’s proud of you, and you’ll be the same son he’s proud of after he finds out.”

“You don’t know that, Amory.”

No, he didn’t. But Tristan had a better chance of everything working out fine than Amory did. Tristan’s father was proud of his accomplishments, which was more than Amory could say.

“I may not, but I believe it will be all right. Don’t borrow trouble. My father and brother might be too busy killing me to remember to tell your father.”

Tristan huffed out a half laugh and whacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t joke about that.”

“Who’s joking?” Amory smiled crookedly. “Seriously, though, I do think everything will be all right with your father.” He took Tristan’s hand and squeezed and then let go before Tristan could pull away.

“Maybe. I need to go.”

“All right. I’ll see you soon.”

“See you.” Tristan slipped out of their little corner of the garden and was gone before Amory could get another word out. He tried not to think about how unsure Tristan’s parting words sounded. He didn’t want to lose Tristan. Not when he would likely need his friend more than ever.

He didn’t think Father would kill him, but he couldn’t rule out Father hitting him. It was partly why he was so surprised Alban hadn’t—his older brother was a perfect replica of their father in every way. But even without actual murder, Father could make Amory’s life miserable, and Amory wouldn’t be able to do anything until he came of age next week. A week seemed like a short time but was long enough for his father to…

He needed to think about his options. Father would never accept his preferences. Once his father knew, Amory’s time in his family’s house was limited. He hated to leave his younger siblings, especially Adeline, but he doubted he would have much of a choice. It might be best to leave before he was thrown out.

Sighing, he pushed himself away from the tree and started for the house. He hoped he could avoid Father long enough to spend a little time with Adeline and make some plans. And to get his hands to stop shaking.

My Review:
Amory is the second son of a prominent glassmaker, and a consummate failure in his father’s eyes. He prefers men, and is caught having a liaison with his oldest friend, Tristan, by his older and abusive brother at the opening of the story. Amory is sure he’ll be cast out of his family and is bewildered why he is not. It turns out, that his conniving father has deeper plans, offering Amory’s virginity to the crown prince of Tournai, Philip.

Philip detests the glassmaker, and is frustrated that his commissioned piece is late, but he’s intrigued by the offer of Amory–not for his virginity but for his wholesomeness. Philip is a lonely man–young to his rule, he’s given everything he has for his subjects, and he desires a partner. A prince can have a lover in the palace, even a male one, and innocent Amory seems like he could become a friend and a lover. Amory’s own feelings are of shame, at first. He’s ashamed to be bartered like a discount, but he sees a beautiful, lonely prince offering far more than a single night and he jumps at the chance to build a friendship and a relationship. HE immediately moves into the palace as the prince’s lover, and they begin to get to know one another–keeping it barely phsyical while they develop a true rapport.

Philip find the confidante he needs, enough so that within weeks he’s able to share his deepest-held secret: he’s able to shift into a big black jaguar as are many of his immediate family. It’s a latent Talent of the royal family, and Amory is enchanted by the magic of it. Amory has a healing Talent that Philip helps him develop with the royal healers. Months go by, and Amory’s familiar at court, having fully bonded with Philip, and sad because of the pressure Philip seems to be constantly under to marry and produce an heir. Philip finally agrees to marry–Amory. It seems a ludicrous choice, but it’s the only one to make Philip and Amory is convinced by Philip’s dedicated wooing to accept the proposal. Amory has some biological secrets that may pan out in the heir-making department, but only if he makes it to the wedding. It seems there’s a plot to remove the prince’s beloved lover before he can become the official husband and consort.

I really liked all the relationship building that happens here. We see Amory and Philip slowly develop their initial attraction by constant steps toward intimacy. Philip has the right to take what he first desires, but he’s methodical and just in his personal life, as well as in his professional station. He’s a doting elder brother, and his compassion is something that really wins over Amory–who cannot believe his good fortune. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and their quirky/scheming family members. There was good misdirection regarding the source of danger for Amory, and I was glad to say it took me some time to figure out the hidden villain. The shifter and healer Talents gave and interesting twist into the fantasy realm, and allowed for magic to be a part of the everyday life of this story, as well as being available at the climax. I really liked how it all turned out, and look forward to reading on in this series.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

Catch up with Antonia on Facebook, and twitter.

Finding One’s Mate–DRAGON LOST: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGON LOST is a novella in her Dark Kings series, Book 16.5 for those keeping count, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve enjoyed SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, DRAGON CLAIMED, DRAGONFIRE and IGNITE. I’m SO eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Destinies can’t be ignored. No one knows that better than Annita. For as long as she can remember, it’s been foretold she would find a dragon. A real-life dragon. She’s beginning to think it was all some kind of mistake until she’s swimming in one of the many caves around the island and discovers none other than a dragon. There is no fear as she approaches, utterly transfixed at the sight of the creature. Then he shifts into the shape of a thoroughly gorgeous man who spears her with bright blue eyes. In that instant, she knows her destiny has arrived. And the dragon holds the key to everything.

All Royden wanted was to find an item his brother buried when they were children. It was supposed to be a quick and simple trip, but he should’ve known nothing would be easy with enemies like the Dragon Kings have. Royden has no choice but to trust the beguiling woman who tempts him like no other. And in doing so, they unleash a love so strong, so pure that nothing can hold it back.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

My Review:
This is a book deep in a series of adult paranormal romances that all feature strong women falling for sexy Dragon King shifters.

Royden is a Dragon King looking for a talisman in Crete that was taken from him and hidden eons ago by his brother–before all the dragons were sent away from this realm. The talisman was a claw from his grandfather, who’d been dragon king before Royden. It had been buried in the crypt-like caves surrounding the isles around Crete, which had been Royden’s ancestral domain before the war with humanity.

Annita Dragoumis is a homebody of a woman, living in her sister’s estate in Crete, an historical home that has acres of private beaches. She swims the caves, looking for solitude, and never looking for a partner. Annita had been told by her great-aunt Chara, a famous seer, that she would be important one day–and would meet a dragon. It seemed silly, but Chara’s prophesies came true on many occasions, and her Yaya also warned her to be vigilant to find the dragon–that this would surely come to pass. So, Annita is curious how Royden came to be inside the private caves on her family’s estate. The connection is immediate, and Annita is sure this “man” is the dragon of Chara’s prophesy.

Royden isn’t so sure about Annita, but he’s rattled that Annita knows about dragons–believes them to be real. He knows he should abandon his quest, but he’s drawn to the beautiful human woman who seems to see through his ruses. He makes excuses to stay longer, and Annita’s able to solve the mystery of the talisman–which is unsettling but resolved for Royden. And so his attraction for Annita. He doesn’t want to take her from her family, which is so close knit, but his place is truly in Scotland with the other Dragon Kings, so he gives Annita the option to join him there–and he reveals his full dragonness to her. She’s eager to join him, but she’s conflicted. It’s the counsel of her dear family that makes the decision for Annita–and it causes a small amount of pain for Royden, at first, but their fated mate bond is strong enough to weather a bit of conflict.

It’s a novella, so things happen fast. It’s also really centered on Annita and Royden, so we don’t have a lot of other peripheral plot arcs impinging on this story. There’s a little bit of sexytimes, but it’s brief. I was mixed on the conflict/separation, not sure why it needed to be there. It seemed convenient and untenable, but it all got resolved really quick after that.

Interested? You can find DRAGON LOST on Goodreads and Amazon.

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!

Now Available! GE-MI: Part One Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word for a M/M paranormal romance from Mell Eight. GE-MI features a young Ge-Mi, animal-human hybrid, trying to pass his way without getting torn to bits for being an “outlaw”. It’s an alternate-reality future with a suspenseful plot–but just the beginning of a romance.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
A hundred years ago, evil scientists spliced human genes with those of animals, creating a genetic mutation passed on through the generations. Hated because of their differences, these Ge-Mis live on the fringes of society where they scrounge and scrape to get by.

Nevada is half Ge-Mi and hides that fact behind baggy clothes and by keeping distance between himself and everyone around him. One day, his peaceful life is shattered by an explosion and the arrival of a pack of wolves to sniff out the culprit.

Wolves have excellent noses and as Alpha, Taylor can sniff out every one of Nevada’s secrets—and the harder Nevada tries to resist, the more difficult staying away from Taylor becomes.

How about a little taste?

In the waiting room, people milled about restlessly. There weren’t any chairs provided for the supplicants, nor for the onlookers who were only there to enjoy the show. Handing over a bribe wasn’t supposed to be a comfortable experience, after all.

Nevada stood in a corner, the backpack containing the only thing he had that would suit as a bribe clutched carefully in his arms. Rosto stood next to Nevada, one shoulder pressed indolently against the wall. He was older than Nevada by at least twenty years, his hair grayed at the temples, but his back still strong and unbent. Rosto had done this before—brought a supplicant with his bribe—and he had a personal connection with the lord of the city. Rosto wasn’t worried, but Nevada was.

It had only been six months since Mom had died. They hadn’t had the money or the resources to get her proper health care, and her cold had turned deadly far too quickly for Nevada’s three part-time jobs to pay for a doctor’s bill. It wasn’t just that the doctor was expensive, but payoff money for his silence was too much. Nevada would have risked it for Mom’s sake, but Mom had put her shaking and weak foot down and the matter was settled.

After that, Nevada hadn’t been able to stay in that house or city. The hiding was a fact of life, but he hoped the melancholy could be alleviated with a new home and a new start. Nevada had arrived in Kensey three days ago and found an apartment whose owner didn’t mind pets. The down payment had sapped the last of his hastily scraped-together funds, so Nevada had gone job hunting.

Rosto’s café was quaint and in need of a full-time waiter. The pay was decent and the hours reasonable. But in Kensey, things worked differently than Nevada’s old home. The lord in Kensey wanted a direct bribe from every citizen; the previous lord didn’t pay any mind to peons like Nevada. Had Nevada known he had to meet with the lord directly and provide a bribe that, if accepted, was his ticket to having any sort of life in Kensey, he might have chosen to settle in a different city with a different lord.

The room fell silent quickly, almost suddenly, as a side door opened. The man who stepped into the room first was clearly a guard. He was wearing a light layer of armor, the bluish metal vibrant against his dark skin, and a large laser gun at his hip. His hard eyes surveyed the room once before he stepped aside. The second man who walked into the room looked like he was Rosto’s age, somewhere in his late fifties. His blond hair disguised whatever gray may have been present, but the crow’s feet around his blue eyes revealed his true age.

“Where is Taylor?” the lord asked his guard. They both walked to the front of the room where a very large desk built of thick, dark wood was positioned. It was intimidating, but that was probably the point.

“Off with his wolves,” the guard replied stiffly.

“That boy,” the lord grumbled. “All right, let’s get started.”

A third man stepped forward from where he had been standing off to the side of the desk. He was holding a datapad from which he read out the first name.

A woman and her two young children approached the foot of the desk. She needed help finding her layabout husband. He owed her back wages for childcare, and she wanted him to pay up. Her bribe was a gold necklace with a ruby in the center, which would have paid for the childcare handsomely.

“She’s after revenge,” Rosto explained under his breath. “Her husband was a cheat, and she wants what’s rightfully owed to her because she knows he’ll suffer for it. Lord Reyes prefers supplicants ask for something meaningful, instead of straight out asking for something purely selfish. He’s a good man.”

Nevada hoped so because he didn’t have anything nearly as nice as a ruby necklace in his bag.

For the next half hour, he watched as fancy watches, jewelry, and other expensive items were offered to Lord Reyes in return for favors. Some of them Lord Reyes agreed to, like the woman looking for childcare money, but others he denied. He didn’t return the bribes either way.

“Rosto Gregorio,” the steward called.

“That’s us,” Rosto grunted as he pushed off the wall. He strode forward, unconcerned, and Nevada hurried to follow.

They reached the desk and stopped a few feet away. Rosto bowed, and Nevada copied him a beat too late.

“How’s the café?” Lord Reyes asked, a smile on his face. It was the first smile Nevada had seen from him. He apparently was interested in what Rosto had to say.

“We’re expanding the kitchen at the moment,” Rosto immediately began to explain. “Putting in four ovens so we can sell fresh-baked goods as well. We’re also adding outside tables for the summer, which means I need additional waitstaff. I’m looking to hire Nevada here.”

Lord Reyes turned his attention to Nevada, and Nevada fought not to squirm. He needed the job, which meant Lord Reyes had to like him.

“New to the area, too, I believe,” Lord Reyes said. “Has all the appropriate paperwork been filed?”

“As of last night,” Rosto replied. “All it needs is your seal of approval.”

Lord Reyes nodded. “You’ll have to come over for dinner and tell me about your renovations,” he said to Rosto. His attention switched back to Nevada. “What have you brought to entice me to allow you to live and work in my city?”

Nevada gulped and reached into his bag. He knew what he looked like. He had a ragged bandana tied tightly over his head, his long-sleeve shirt was threadbare and unraveling at the cuffs, and his loose jeans had a darned hole in one knee. The clothes were baggy, too, but Nevada had to hide a pair of cat ears and a tail beneath his outfit. He looked poor, but hopefully that meant Lord Reyes wouldn’t look any deeper at what Nevada was hiding. Hopefully, it also meant he wasn’t expecting anything extravagant as Nevada’s bribe.

Nevada pulled the fluffiest, whitest cat he had ever fostered out of the bag and gently placed her on the desk.

“This is Princess Pea. She likes big houses and lots of attention. She’s also very particular about what blankets she sleeps on. I thought you might like to have her company.”

The waiting room had gone silent. It was even quieter than when Lord Reyes had first walked into the room. Yes, it wasn’t a ruby necklace, but surely a beautiful cat wasn’t so bad. Nevada fought to keep from turning to look around the room.

Lord Reyes’s eyes had frozen in a hard glare. “Is this a joke?” he snapped.

Nevada bit his lip, wondering how to answer that. Maybe live animals weren’t acceptable as a bribe? Before he could formulate an answer, Princess Pea took over. She sauntered across the desk toward Lord Reyes and hopped down into his lap where she promptly began to purr furiously. One of Lord Reyes’s hands involuntarily drifted to his lap where he began to pet her soft fur.

“Fine,” Lord Reyes snapped. “Six months’ probation. Rosto will come report to me then, and I’ll decide whether to accept you in my city. I’ll even make sure Princess here isn’t eaten,” he added cryptically.

Rosto bowed, one of his hands pushing on Nevada’s shoulder to force Nevada to bow also. Then that hand pushed Nevada toward the door.

“I can’t believe you got away with that!” Rosto breathed once they were out of the waiting room and headed toward the building exit.

“Got away with what?” Nevada asked, glad to be away from Lord Reyes.

Rosto laughed, but he didn’t sound amused. “You gave Lord Reyes a cat. That’s practically the ultimate insult.”

“Oh,” Nevada mumbled, feeling his shoulders droop. He had six months, at least, which was enough time to save up before he had to move to another new city.

“Where did you find that cat anyway?” Rosto asked as they reached the main doors and headed out into the parking lot.

“I find cats everywhere,” Nevada replied with a shrug. “I have a beautiful tortoiseshell looking for a new home, if you’re interested.”

Rosto unlocked the car without answering. Nevada got in and buckled his seat belt. The engine whirred to life, and the hydraulics bounced them gently into the air. The car flew toward the city down the hill, Rosto guiding them along in silence. They stopped a few minutes later outside Nevada’s apartment building.

“No more cats where Lord Reyes is concerned, okay?” Rosto said. The car idled in the air for a few seconds as the hydraulics engaged and the car drifted to the ground. “You start on Monday, 9:00 a.m. sharp.”

Nevada got out of the car and stepped onto the curb. Rosto waved goodbye before sending the car streaking upward again.

My Review:
Nevada is a Ge-Mi, a human-animal hybrid, living in a post-apocalyptic world. All the major cities crumbled following the Great Wars, and warlords–or just Lords–rule the territories that remain. Ge-Mis were the result of scientific experimentation about 150 years prior. The object of the gene splicing was to eradicate human illness with enhanced animal genes–though some entities took this way too far, trying to create supersoldiers.

Nevada has hidden his snow leopard characteristics–a bushy tail, round, furry white ears, and a stripe of fur running down his back–not to mention the black rosettes that dot his shoulders and his scalp–for his whole life. At the beginning of the story his mother had just died and Nevada ran for a new territory to save his own skin–the doctor caring for his mother surely would have turned them in for being Ge-Mis. He’s applying (aka bribing) to Lord Reyes to live and work in his territory. Nevada has a powerful sponsor, Rosto, who’s willing to hire him to work at his cafe. Despite Nevada offending Lord Reyes with his bribe–a snowy white cat Nevada calls “Princess Pea” Nevada is granted a temporary permit to remain and work.

Years pass, and Nevada is well-settled into his job for Rosto. He also keeps a tiny apartment filled with the stray cats he finds and adopts. It’s a decent life, but there are complications. He still keeps his Ge-Mi status on the down low. There is more unrest in the town right now, with marauding hyena Ge-Mis staging deadly attacks. Lord Reyes’ Ge-Mi grandson, Taylor Reyes, and his band of wolf Ge-Mis are diligent at protecting the town. They pop into Rosto’s cafe when a bomb nearby rattles the foundations. Taylor senses Nevada’s cat-side, but is immediately put off the scent by the stray kitten Nevada had been sheltering in his pocket.

Nevada isn’t sure if he should run for it–in the territory where Nevada was born and raised Ge-Mis were exterminated, but it’s not true here. He doesn’t want to leave his life behind again. Taylor’s interest doesn’t seem to be waning, however. And, inexplicably, Nevada’s cat isn’t innately scared of Taylor’s wolf/dog. This is just the first book of the adventure, but Nevada makes choices here that reveal his true self, and bring him closer to Taylor. There isn’t any steam here, but the rapport is growing, especially as Nevada uses his power to help Taylor out of some situations with the hyenas. Nevada is afraid the humans he’s befriended will turn away from him, and he’s ready to deal with the fall out. It’s a sweet and funny adventure, and I’m eager to read on and find out how Taylor and Nevada build their relationship further.

Interested? You can find GE-MI: Part One on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Cover Reveal for WHAT HE REALLY NEEDS


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for a M/M contemporary romance from Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood. WHAT HE REALLY NEEDS features two old school friends reconnecting–and finding unexpected love amid a contentious lawsuit. The book drops 3/20.

About the book:
Cayo Suárez, who is gay, and Ben Roth, an admitted Oblivious Straight Guy, were roommates in law school, but two years after graduating, they have lost touch. After an accidental meeting, Cayo invites Ben to stay with him while Ben looks for his own apartment. There’s only one complication, but it’s a big one—Cayo has been in love with Ben since they met.

What begins as a heartwarming reunion of old friends heats up quickly, and Ben starts to wonder if he’s as straight as he always thought he was. Cayo and Ben reconnect in a most unexpected way, but their jobs complicate things. Cayo works for low-income people at Legal Assistance, and Ben works for the man.

When Ben and Cayo become involved in a controversial case, powerful people with a lot to lose seize control of the situation. They want to bend the case’s outcome to their own nefarious ends, and they’ll destroy anyone who tries to stand up to them. Will Cayo and Ben find a way to save Ben’s career, and their budding relationship, before it’s too late?

What He Really Needs is an action-packed book full of warmth and humor, a first-time bisexual awakening, a healthy dose of suspense, steamy sexy times, and an extraordinary happy ending.

Interested? You can pre-order WHAT HE REALLY NEEDS on Amazon.

About the Authors:
Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and enjoy travel, friends, dogs, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Josh and Ryan love writing, and the romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.

You can catch up with Ryan and Joshua on their website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Finding the Will To Go On–ON CHOCORUA–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M coming-out and coming-of-age story from Robin Reardon. ON CHOCORUA is the first book in her Trailblazers series, which features a college freshman doing things…that cause him great pain.

About the book:
A mountain. A blizzard. A young man new to hiking and to love, making mistakes in both.
First year of college. A great time to re-invent yourself. Nathan Bartlett takes the opportunity very seriously—maybe a little too seriously. And he makes mistakes.

His mistakes? Falling for a straight guy who reminds him of his beloved older brother. Getting too invested in the substance abuse disorders of two other students. And climbing a mountain in a snowstorm for all the wrong reasons.

But he also develops friendships that will be his for life. He faces his inner demons and comes up with a plan. And he realizes that answers to important questions are seldom waiting on the surface but must be worked for, or struggled for, or suffered for—and sometimes all three.

Nathan is a trailblazer on his own journey. His success will be measured not by how well he follows someone else’s path, but by whether he can forge his own. This first book in a series of three novels gets Nathan started on a journey that will teach him about himself, about life, and about love.

Walk with him.

My Review:
Nathan Bartlett was orphaned at the age of one, and raised by his maternal grandmother with his sister Nina (a year older) and his eldest brother Neil who is six years older. Nathan has always looked up to Neil as more of a father-figure than a brother, and loves him dearly. Neil’s favorite activity of all time is hiking, and there’s plenty of it to do in their native New Hampshire. Nathan never hiked with his brother as the opening of the story is Nathan preparing to climb Chocorua peak alone, in memory of Neil. So, we start at the resolution, and then Nathan leads us backwards on his tale of woe.

Nathan has known he’s gay for years, but he never acted on it, and never dated anyone in his small community high school. He has told Neil his secret, and prepares to find a way toward meeting a man while away at college. As a freshman, it’s a big, bold new world, and Nathan comes out to his roommate to begin the year. El Speed is cool with it, and even attempts to negotiate a connection for Nathan with a gay student he knows. It doesn’t pan out, but Nathan hits it off with a boy in his acting class, Alden, and develops an unrequited crush on Daniel, the manager in the cafeteria dishroom where Nathan takes a job.

The story is essentially all about Nathan finding his people, and making headway into adulthood. It comes across as genuine, if not inspired. Alder becomes very important, as a guide for Nathan into physical sex and emotional love, but the relationship struggles when Alder’s personal demons come to call. Daniel serves as a mixture of the carnal male affection Nathan desires, inexplicably mixed with the paternal love Nathan’s always craved and sought from Neil. Daniel is a couple of years older than Nathan–so he’s got some experience and maturity–and he’s an avid hiker. Nathan thinks learning to hike with Daniel will enable him to be even closer to Neil–demonstrating his “un-tutored” prowess in something at which Neil excels. Unfortunately, Daniel’s a terrible guide and he’s not interested in being anything more than a friend. Daniel’s inexperience and arrogance nearly kills both himself and Nathan the first time they go hiking.

Over the course of the first year, Nathan learns how to stand up for himself, to come out to those whose support he needs, and to support those people who are being wronged/harmed by the callousness of others. He wishes he didn’t have to learn these lessons in so difficult a manner–especially in losing Neil. Nathan deals with his natural anxieties far better than most, and he’s rather well-adjusted considering his many tragedies in life. His friendship with El Speed, and his relationship with Nina both grow and help him keep a steady course. It’s a pretty quiet book, and I think knowing about Neil upfront took a lot of tension away for me. I was patiently waiting for the time Nathan would get the notice, and I didn’t feel as much connection to the situation as it unfolded because I then knew ‘Oh, this is where he bites it.’ And it was sad, no doubt, but the gut punch of grief didn’t manifest for me, since I was inured by the knowledge it was coming. That said, there are more books coming in this series, and I’m eager to watch Nathan’s world grow and (hopefully) get happier.

Interested? You can find ON CHOCORUA on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Robin Reardon: “I am an inveterate observer of human nature, and my primary writing goal is to create stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender—people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation or identity. My secondary writing goal is to introduce readers to concepts or information they might not know very much about. On my website, robinreardon.com, see individual book pages for “Digging Deeper” sections that link to background information and research done for the novel.

My motto is this: The only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out.

Interests outside of writing include singing, nature photography, and the study of comparative religions. I write in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts skyline.”

You can catch up with Robin on her website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Battling a HEATED RIVALRY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a M/M contemporary hockey romance from Rachel Reid. HEATED RIVALRY is the second book in her Game Changers series, which features two rival hockey players finding love with each other. All the books in the Game Changers series are standalone romances. Check out my reviews for book one, GAME CHANGER, or book three, TOUGH GUY, which I highly recommend.

About the book:
Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

My Review:
Russian Ilya Rozanov and Canadian Shane Hollander are star hockey players who meet the first time as teenagers at the Junior World Championships. They are both team captains, and Shane’s disappointed his team loses to the cocky Russian. And, he’s not best pleased to go second behind Ilya in the NHL draft a couple of years later. They play for rival teams, but Shane has more endorsements and acclaim due to his boy-next-door looks and charming personality. Ilya thrives on conflict, and he’s got a penchant for low and dirty cutdowns.

Over these years, Ilya and Shane come into closer and closer contact, and there’s a current of attraction that they do not understand, but they do not resist either; Ilya is bisexual and Shane is gay–both are closeted. And, when they come together it’s incendiary. And confusing. Ilya tends to like dominance games, and Shane’s deep need to release tension favors a submissive role in the bedroom.

Their on-ice rivalry leads to explosive sexytimes–but over the years they begin to talk more than simply hook up, and Ilya and Shane develop a secret camaraderie that they cannot reveal–so many of their teams’ promotional activities center on their intense rivalry and competitiveness. Even if Ilya and Shane wanted to come out, they don’t feel they are able to do so and begin a public relationship with one another. Not yet, but they are making plans that will enable them to have a private life and share their growing deep love for one another without making headlines.

This was a really interesting and surprisingly tender love story for two very different men. Ilya suffers the scars of losing his beloved mother to depression/suicide, and growing up without affection from his dysfunctional family. Shane has bee well-loved by his parents, who might understand his sexuality, but he doesn’t want it to define him–or the direction of his career. There are glimmers of the first book, especially the scene where their fellow hockey player comes out to applause, which puts a new perspective on how they could live their own lives. I liked how that dove-tailed and enabled these guys to make choices that would support, versus alienate, them. It’s probably the most fraught of the three books in this series, but ends on a hopeful note.

Interested? You can find HEATED RIVALRY on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Rachel Reid is the pen name of Rachelle Goguen. She chose it because it is much easier to say, spell and remember than Rachelle Goguen!

Rachel writes cute, romantic smut, mostly about hockey players.
Rachelle co-hosts a comic book podcast called Living Between Wednesdays.

Rachel/Rachelle lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has always lived there, and it’s looking like she probably always will. She has two boring degrees and two interesting kids.

The first two books in her Game Changers m/m hockey romance series, Game Changer and Heated Rivalry, are both available now from Carina Press. Book three is coming soon!

You can catch up with Ms. Reid on her website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Are you a hockey fan? I am honestly not, because all my winter sports effort goes into wrestling–which my kids do and my hubs coaches. Still, I’ve been reading hockey romance for years now, and have more book reviews coming in that sub-genre over the next month or so. Feel free to share some of your fave hockey romance titles in the comments.

In the meantime, thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!