Falling for his DUCHESS BY DECEPTION–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new historical romance from bestselling author Marie Force. DUCHESS BY DECEPTION is so different from the other books I’ve read from this author, including FATAL THREAT and CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.

About the book:
In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title…

Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.

Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.

Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?

My Review:
This historical romance is set in Essex, England at the turn of the 20th century–so, around the time of electricity, the birth of the automobile, the beginnings of modern flight-machines and new-fangled indoor plumbing.

Derek Eagan, the Duke of Westwood, is less than a fortnight from his thirtieth birthday, and must marry or risk losing his estate to his greedy uncle. The details of his entailment require a marriage before his birthday, but Derek refuses to marry a simpering debutante and flees the ballroom scenes for his country estate. Upon his arrival, he encounters a person digging on his property. Derek mistakes the intruder for a man, but is surprised to find she’s a very ill woman. He brings her to his home, but pretends to be his estate manager–on account of the beautiful young Catherine being very much opposed to the aristocracy.

Catherine is a learned woman, recently made a “Lady” due to her father inheriting an earldom. Before that, Catherine had taught reading and writing to the local village children, and rode horses for sport. As a Lady, she’s too old to vie for a husband in the ballrooms of London, but her father has suddenly betrothed her to a vile viscount, one who isn’t above taking what he wants without waiting for a marriage license. Catherine, fearing the dreaded marriage ran off in the night and began the search for a key to untold treasure buried by her own grandmother ages ago. Derek is intrigued by the story of the riches left on his estate–he’s long known about the safebox this key would open–but he’s enraged about the viscount’s advances, and only wants to keep the lovely Catherine safe. It’s in this vein that he helps her escape to Gretna Green for an elopement–only, he hasn’t quite told Catherine that he’s the duke. And, well, the whole get married before the birthday thing probably isn’t going to go over well, either….once Catharine finds out.

This was a fast-paced romance with Catherine and Derek falling quickly for one another. Catherine isn’t amused when she learns her husband’s true identity–or his requirements for the inheritance. They have some serious problems, as a matter of fact, but some of this is smoothed over by Derek’s immense ardor for Catherine, who he considers a love match. He’s lucky that Catherine’s sister is a fan of his–she goes a long way to smoothing things over. I liked how spirited Catherine is, and how she stood up for herself in ways that didn’t feel artificial. Derek wounded her emotionally, and she doesn’t let it go until she’s sure he’s truly sorry. Plus, He makes it right in many awesome ways. There’s a lot of sexytimes–for Catherine and her younger sister, because we have a little story-within-a-story happening. That was yummy fun, especially as Derek and his cousin are well-skilled at the art of lovemaking. These two sisters get so much more than they bargained for, but mostly they find lovers and friends who they happily marry.

This is a standalone romance, but I can see that there will be another book coming–likely featuring a couple of wealthy bachelors that were good friends of Derek. I’d gladly read more!

Interested? You can find DUCHESS BY DECEPTION on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Plus.

About the Author:
Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram. Check out her website or join one of Marie’s many reader groups.

ANTON Risks it All–A Review


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary hockey romance from Brenda Rothert. ANTON is the first book in her Chicago Blaze series, and it’s a great start. Star pro hockey player Anton Petrov has one woman on his mind–the one he’s remained celibate for for over two years. Too bad she’s married to his teammate…

About the book:
He’s known as Father Anton to his teammates—the brooding, sexy captain of the NHL’s Chicago Blaze has a reputation for…not having a reputation. Just like his diet and sleep routines, celibacy is part of Anton Petrov’s on-ice mojo. Or so they say. Anton stays mum on the subject. If the world thinks he chooses to abstain from sex, so be it. Better that than the truth getting out: there is a woman he burns for, but he can never have her. She’s his teammate’s wife, after all.

Mia Marceau is finally on her own. Now that she and her husband are living apart, she’s finding the peace she was desperate for. She spends her days in classes and late nights bartending, making her own way in the world at last. After what she’s been through, as long as her husband leaves her alone, she doesn’t plan to rock the boat. He still has the power to hurt those dearest to her, and she can’t demand a divorce with such a high cost.

A chance encounter with Mia has Anton hoping for a shot he never thought he’d get. And while she’s drawn to the intense, serious hockey center, Mia’s leery about playing with fire. That’s all Anton has ever known for Mia, though—a living, burning desire that won’t be denied—no matter the cost.

My Review:
**Trigger warning–this book contains scenes of emotional and physical domestic violence.

Anton Petrov has had a challenging life. Born in Russia, he and his twin Alexei were shipped to Michigan for hockey training at the age of five. Anton had to work twice as hard to perform at the same level as Alexei, who has natural talent he barely nurtures. Alexei is on a rival team, but the brothers are very close. Anton is nearly Spartan in his approach to life–no booze, bad food or late nights when he’s in season. It’s been easy to keep away from entanglements, since the only woman who’s caught his eye in the past three years is Mia Marceau–wife of his teammate, Adam. Out one night with Alexei, Anton finds Mia working as a bartender at a dive bar in Chicago’s south side. How could Adam let this happen? Unless, they’ve split up…

Mia’s finally free of Adam’s emotional abuse, but she doesn’t have access to any of their money–he froze her out the second she left, and now he refuses to divorce her and extorts the funds to care for her beloved grandpa–he won’t pay unless she gives him sex. As destitute as she is, she can’t refuse Adam’s demands and risk her grandpa being put on the street. Though mired in Alzheimer’s disease, her gramps raised her when her mother flaked and Mia’s his only family. Even though Adam won’t grant Mia a divorce, she’s moved out and is taking night classes to complete her degree. She won’t be beholden to another man. Ever.

Meeting Anton at the bar is cataclysmic. Mia’s afraid that Anton will reveal her workplace to Adam, but he wants no part of that. All Anton wants is to be close to Mia–as a friend if that’s all she will allow. Not that he wants to break up her marriage–or will make a move on her while she’s still married. He hates that she walks home from the bar late at night, and starts popping by to give her a ride. They chat, and Mia begins to confide in Anton as a friend. Learning the depth of Adam’s abuse makes problems for Anton–he can’t respect Adam and it nearly comes to blows. When Anton needs a sitter for his adopted uncle, a foul-mouthed veteran who’s suffered two strokes, he reaches out to Mia–and she jumps at the chance to help because the salary is way more than she made at the bar. BOnus, she gets to be near Anton, who’s open admiration are a balm to her broken spirit.

This is a bittersweet romance for two lonely souls that are hungering for real love. Anton watches the shenanigans of his teammates and brother, but knows that’s not the life for him. He honors his commitment to be Mia’s friend, and he does this to the letter–even helping her find a pro bono attorney to help with her divorce. Adam’s emotional and financial abuse escalates when it looks as if Mia might escape his control once and for all, and that leads to some really huge conflicts in the book. I liked how this worked out–with Mia’s friends coming to her aid, but with her being a much stronger person and taking back the control Adam tried to steal. For me, there was a bit of repetitiveness in the book that bogged the pace, and it’s a REALLY slow burn due to Anton and Mia needing her divorce to happen and her to become mostly independent in order to feel able to take Anton as a lover. In the meantime there’s hockey and personal tragedy, and a super strong bond that only grows the longer they wait.

There’s just a bit of sexytimes near the end, and they are most satisfying. I love how supportive Anton is, without pushing Mia around with his wealth. I liked Mia a lot, and–as I am a South Side girl as well–I admired her independence and pragmatism. I was disappointed with Mia’s character development, because she’s a described as mixed-race black woman but she could have been any-woman. There is a lack of anything culturally-relevant in her character or mannerisms. That was a short-coming for me. Ultimately, the romance is sweet, the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, and there’s more hockey romance headed our way soon….for two side characters in this story.

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

About the Author:
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

You can find Brenda on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wattpad, Amazon, or sign up for her newsletter.
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Finally LIVING ON THE INSIDE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Londra Laine. LIVING ON THE INSIDE pairs two young-ish men who’ve had pretty intense lives, to-date. Micah is an ex-con trying to turn his life around and re-establish a relationship with his teen son, while Adrien is fighting inner demons of inadequacy after surviving an abusive relationship. Can they find the trust to make it work?

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the $25 GC giveaway!
About the Book:
Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.

Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.

After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.

***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***

How about a little taste?

“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”

“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.”

Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.

Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.

Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.

The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.

Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.

“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.

Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.

Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.

Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.

Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.

“Micah, about what just happened—”

“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.

Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.

“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.

My Review:
Micah is nearly thirty and recently released from prison for drug offenses. He’s moved into his ex’s guesthouse so he can be close to their son, Caleb. Micah had gotten his childhood best friend, Rhina, pregnant when they were in high school, but he realized in prison that he’s really gay–not that he’s “out” about that. Right now he only wants a job so he can pay his way and maybe contribute child support. Rhina wants him to find true happiness, and is an awesome mom and support to Micah, but he’s been looking for a job nearly three weeks now, and his spirits are low.

Adrien is an out gay black man in his late twenties, but he’s owned his own coffee shop for five years. A year ago his abusive ex was killed in a car wreck, and Adrien isn’t sad. They’d been engaged for a year that had turned hellish by the end. Not a small man, Adrien is ashamed that he let his lover physically and emotionally abuse him–and his family’s criticisms cement Adrien’s low self-esteem where his personal decisions are concerned. Still, Adrien’s dad struggled to land a job when he was released from prison back when Adrien was a teen, and he sees the same hunger in Micah, so he offers him a job. It doesn’t hurt that Micah is gorgeous and seems to play for his team. But, Adrien has dated employees before an it always went bad–so this time he’s absolutely, positively not going to fall for the tall, sexy, broken man who works extra hard and desperately wants to be a hero to his son.

Okay, this is a little bit of a slow-ish burn. The pacing is good, and we see how Adrien and Micah both grow into a friendship with deep attraction as Adrien trains Micah to be a stellar barista over the course of a couple of months. Their attraction simmers, but both men set it aside for weeks on end because of their own insecurities. Adrien helps counsel Micah about how to deal with Caleb, and their relationship begins to grow from bratty teen pissing on his loser dad to a bit more of a closeness. The joy Micah exudes is catnip to lonely Adrien, and they start having movie nights–for company–about this time. Their mutual isolation leads to some explorations, and a quiet companionship. But they are still both wary, and Adrien’s family is concerned about him falling for the wrong guy again. Moving into the holiday season, they decide to go public with what seems to be a growing romance, but there’s more complications when the families get involved.

I really loved the tenderness and tentative nature of this romance. Each man has deep scars, and they are willing to take it very slow so they don’t mess up what’s good in their lives. Micah’s family are estranged–but had been most of his life. He was a late-in-life child and pretty much left to fend for himself. He desperately wants to be on the inside of a family–and Adrien is the first person who makes him feel important and needed. But it’s strained by keeping their relationship secret–and Micah must decide if he’s willing to potentially upset Rhina and Caleb by coming out. Adrien’s been in survival mode, until he and Micah connect–and though his family sees the good changes, they are still concerned. There were suspicions that he had been abused by his ex, but Adrien kept it all inside and the super-protective natures of his family are engaged. This leads to some tough confrontations, and a bit of heartbreak. I liked how they worked this out–and how the support of their families was pivotal to their reconciliation and eventual happiness. It’s a happy ending, and there are some yummy sexytimes to enjoy in their journey.

Interested? You can find LIVING ON THE INSIDE 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:
Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano. In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.

Catch up with Londra on her Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Queer Romance Ink.

Out now–DUCHESS BY DECEPTION!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new historical romance from bestselling author Marie Force. DUCHESS BY DECEPTION is so different from the other books I’ve read from this author, including FATAL THREAT and CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.

About the book:
In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title…

Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.

Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.

Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?

Interested? You can find DUCHESS BY DECEPTION on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Plus.

About the Author:
Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram. Check out her website or join one of Marie’s many reader groups.

Now Available! OUT IN THE DEEP and OUT IN THE END ZONE on Audio! Review and Giveaway

Hi there y’all! SHE LIVES!! It’s been a heck of a year teaching-wise and though I read a lot, I can’t always find the time to blog like I did. Still, I’m trying to rededicate myself to the effort and today I’m sharing a double audiobook release, with a review of one and a giveaway. OUT IN THE DEEP and OUT IN THE END ZONE are two new sports, New Adult M/M romances out in the last few months form Lane Hayes. They are books 1 and 2 of her Out in College series, and soooo yummy. Okay, I’ve read book 1 and 3, so I know those are fab. If you want some more mature romances, I’d also recommend LEANING INTO THE FALL, LEANING INTO ALWAYS, or any of the other Leaning In stories. Out in the Deep is a fun coming out romance featuring two star waterpolo players who start out as enemies, turn into teammates, and end up at boyfriends.

About the book:
Derek Vaughn is a little too serious. He’s a type A control personality with a penchant for order and a love of water polo. But he’s determined to enjoy his last year of college. The real world with a serious job and big expectations can wait for a few months. He’s going soak up every minute on campus with his friends and teammates before he moves on. The only possible kink in his plan is the new guy on the team… also known as his nemesis.

Gabe Chadwick has big Olympic dreams. His transfer between Southern California universities has nothing to do with scholastics. The degree is his backup plan. He’s not there to party or make friends. And he certainly isn’t going to announce his sexuality. But he can’t deny there’s something special about the uptight team captain. However, when an unwitting friendship and mutual attraction collide, both will have to decide if this is the real thing or if they’re about to lose it all in the deep.

My Review:
Derek Vaughn is a senior caption on his college waterpolo team, and he’s sure this is going to be a great year–until his long-time nemesis, national-team member Gabe Chadwick, joins the team. Derek is freshly-single, having broken off a two-year relationship with a woman he’d struggled to connect with for the last six months, or more. It’s shocking how attractive he finds Gabe–and how a bandaging incident led to making out, and more.

Gabe is gay, but closeted. He doesn’t want prejudice to upset his chances at making the olympic team in two years. So, when Derek calls him all mortified following their unexpected moments of passion, well, Gabe pretends it never happened. This infuriates, Derek, who wants to control the situation–and who maybe secretly wants a rematch. A silly confrontation causes Derek’s coach to force them into close proximity. And that’s when Gabe’s finally honest about his desire–and Derek’s ready to accept his bisexuality.

Under the guise of teammates trying to mend a rift, they spend as many days and nights together as they can. Derek’s trying to keep it on the DL, but his ex is posing a problem, and it’s soon clear that roommates and teammates are getting suspicious… Will Derek take the fall, or will both he and Gabe find a path to love that includes being out and proud?

The audiobook is really fun, with a solid narration that really plays up Derek’s dead-pan, self-deprecating humor. I could easily envision Derek’s horror and hesitance, through the well-paced narration. Having read the book, it was really cool to hear all the bits and pieces come to life. I really enjoyed the story in both media, but for people on the go–I had a long road trip–the audio was a great way to pass the time.

Interested? You can find OUT IN THE DEEP on Goodreads, Amazon ebook, and Audible (audiobook).

About the book:
Evan di Angelo is an upbeat, good-natured goofball who loves his friends and family… and football. A traumatic accident may have ended his hopes of playing professionally, but he’s made the most of his four years on the field at a small Southern California college. He’s learned the hard way to embrace change, take chances and try things outside of his comfort zone…like agreeing to play fake boyfriends for someone else’s senior project.

Mitch Peterson knows that being his authentic self is the path to true happiness. He’s grown from a shy, quiet kid from a broken home to an out and proud budding internet sensation bound for grad school. An awesome senior project is the key. It’s unlikely anyone will believe the hunky, straight athlete is Mitch’s new lover, but it’s worth a shot. However, as their tentative friendship blossoms into unexpected attraction, the lines between reality and fiction blur for both men. Evan is forced to face old demons and decide if he has the courage to take the next step and come out in the end zone.

I’m still listening to this one, and will report back with a review as soon as I can.

Interested? You can find OUT IN THE END ZONE on Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

****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 were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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

About the Narrator:
Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.
Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

Catch up with Michael on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud.

Out now! AN ERIE COLLECTION–Release, Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week review and book giveaway for a M/M shifter romance series from V.L. Locey. AN ERIE COLLECTION contains four novellas featuring Templeton Reed, a skunk shifter who inexplicably falls for Mikel Lupei, alpha of the Lake Erie wolf pack. I’ve previously reviewed AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY, but was hungry for more of this fun and engaging shifter world. For those who’ve enjoyed any of the previously-released novellas, this collection includes a fourth novella that is new.

About the book:
You can now have all four of the MM Lake Erie pack novellas in this one reasonably priced collection! Included in the set are the previously released novellas An Erie Halloween, An Erie Operetta, and An Erie Garden Party. To round off this whimsical and romantic shifter set is a brand-new novella, An Erie Uprising!

It’s been one wonderfully romantic year since skunk shifter Templeton Reed met Mikel Lupei, the alpha wolf of the Lake Erie pack. During that year, the two men fell in love and worked side-by-side to solve some tricky murder mysteries. They also opened up Lupei Manor, Mikel’s familial home, to other LGBTQ mystical beings in the Erie area. Sadly, being gay in the supernatural world Templeton and Mikel live in can be a death sentence.

During the past year, the magical world has slowly been coming unraveled. Civil unrest now runs rampant through the community as the lesser breeds revolt against the hateful dictates of the Elder Counsel. The uprising will surely touch every person residing in the magical world beside Lady Erie. Will the flames of unrest and war consume everything and everyone Templeton and Mikel hold dear as well?

My Review:
Templeton Reed is a shy skunk shifter working diligently as a lineage specialist for the shifter world. Given the hierarchy of their world skunks are near the bottom–and lots of the “Lesser” shifters are suddenly disappearing–violently. So, he’s worried, but not truly anticipating the attack of a puma and bear shifter. Some quick thinking, skunk-muskiness, and a determined wolf, Mikel Lupei, is all that keeps Templeton on the “still with us” plane. Two things become clear: Templeton’s attack wasn’t random, and Mikel’s got a hankering for his pungent rescuee.

Thing is, same-sex relations are banned in their shifter community. Likewise, even if homosexuality wasn’t a fatal crime, it’s still not okay for a wolf shifter to have relationship with a lesser (skunk) shifter. Defying the laws and customs of their world Templeton and Mikel find love that surpasses their dreams. Unfortunately, it brings more doemsetic trouble than even Mikel could have predicted.

Their love, and the scope of their relationship, grows in the three following novellas. IN these Templeton has the opportunity to show exactly how fierce a lesser shifter can be, risking certain death to uncover the mysteries of murdered shifters, and rescue Mikel from enforcers of their own community. The writing is whimsical, and there’s plenty of sexytimes to balance the action and intrigue. The first time I read AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY I wanted to know more about Templeton, Mikel and their world. Now that I’ve read the whole series, I totally enjoyed the experience. Highly recommend to fans of M/M shifter romance, especially those who love odd shifters and unusual pairings. The series also features some non-shifter paranormal folk, so expect a vamp, or three, as well as some keen insight into societal inequalities and the fight for equal rights for all.

Interested? You can find AN ERIE COLLECTION on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from VL Locey.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

Out now! HONEYMOON FOR ONE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Keira Andrews. HONEYMOON FOR ONE is an older-younger odd-couple story about a jilted fiance who tries to enjoy his lonely honeymoon–and finds unexpected new love on his adventure. The setting is Australia–which seems to be a fave for Ms. Andrews as I’ve enjoyed THE STATION and TEST OF VALOR which are both told from down under…

Scroll down for my review and to enter the giveaway!
About the book:
The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.
Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

How about a yummy taste?

As Ethan walked through the resort on Fraser Island the next afternoon after a tour to gorgeous Lake McKenzie, he finally admitted to himself that he was looking for Clay.

Because he’s nice! He’s fun to talk to. Besides, my harmless crush is just that. Harmless. Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Nothing’s going to happen. He’s apparently straight and I’m on the rebound. But we can be friendly. I like his accent, and he’s a nice guy.

Of course, Clay wasn’t just nice. He was sexy. His accent? Sexy. The Australian slang he used that made him sound like Crocodile Dundee sometimes? Sexy. His broad shoulders and solid build? Sexy. That he didn’t have chiseled abs and was a little soft around the middle? Sexy. Those blue eyes, and how the auburn in his hair gleamed in the sun, especially in his beard and the hair on his arms, and how he had freckles…

Sexy, sexy, sexy.

But the sexiest thing of all was how thoughtful he was. How he made such an effort to make sure Ethan could hear him when he spoke. How he’d told him the secret of the Mission Bay sunrise. How he’d copied the tour guide notes for him. Even back in Cairns, how he’d held Ethan’s backpack while Ethan was snorkeling and watched over him, then later took him to buy a hat.

Ethan was wearing the hat now, and it gave him a giddy little thrill.

Is he straight though?

The question had been niggling at him. Clay had been married to a woman for years and had kids, but of course that didn’t mean he was straight. He could be bi or pan. Although he’d mentioned the right woman coming along.

Still, when Ethan had touched his arm that morning on Mission Beach and looked into Clay’s eyes, he swore there had been a flicker between them. That unnamed frisson of knowing.

Wishful thinking. Don’t be an idiot.

There were four pools at the resort, and Ethan strolled around the first two. It was sunny, and through his polarized sunglasses, the water, surrounding palm trees, and forest beyond were vibrant. He waved hello to Shiv—who was reading on a lounger since there was nothing planned for the day after that morning’s trip to the lake in four-by-four jeeps—and continued on to a smaller, kidney-shaped pool that was more tucked away, and—

Fuck. Clay.

There he was, stretched out on a chaise lounge under the shade of an umbrella and surrounding trees on the deck at the far end of the pool. There were a few adults in the water paddling lazily, others on the more exposed side of the concrete deck sunbathing. Kids seemed to be in the bigger pools, their splashing and shrieks distant noises now.

Oh so casually, Ethan ambled around the pool, stealing glances at Clay from the corner of his eye. The chaises on either side of him were vacant. In fact, that whole shady side of the pool was empty and quiet. There was no music piped in, just the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It was perfect.

Clay wore his sexy-AF aviator sunglasses, navy bathing trunks, and nothing else but his gold-colored watch. It was kind of old-fashioned to wear a watch, and it was sexy. He’d apparently taken a dip, since his hair was wet and darker, and drops of water dried on his skin.

His long, muscular legs were crossed at the ankles. There was a newspaper folded over his stomach, his fingers laced on top of it. His nipples were pink amid the reddish hair on his chest, and as Ethan got closer, he imagined licking those nipples.

Heat roaring through him, he swallowed thickly. This was a bad idea, and he should turn back the way he came. But now he was close enough that if Clay saw him, it might seem rude, like Ethan had turned around and left because he was avoiding Clay. So he kept walking slowly around the curve of the shaded deep end, where one woman in a bikini swam a slow side stroke.

Clay’s chaise was partly reclined, and it was entirely possible he was napping and didn’t have any idea Ethan was even there. Ethan slowed even more so his flip-flops didn’t flap on the concrete.

Okay, if I walk by and he doesn’t notice me, that’s a sign. I’ll keep going and stop being ridiculous.

He was still at least ten feet away when Clay called, “Ethan!” and lifted a hand in a wave.

“Oh, hey!” Ethan replied too loudly. Calm the fuck down. He smiled as he approached. “You found a good shady spot.”

“Yep. Got skin cancer once when I was younger, so I reckoned me and the sun aren’t mates.”

Ethan gaped. “Oh my God. I’m sorry. You said before that you had to be careful, but I didn’t realize.”

“Nah, nah. Don’t be sorry.” He casually motioned to the chaise on his left in invitation. Ethan spread out his striped resort towel and settled in, his heart beating too fast as he took off his hat since they were in the shade. Clay added, “I shouldn’t be so dramatic—it wasn’t melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma. Quite common in Australia. It can’t spread, so it’s not dangerous like other cancers. Still, I had to have surgery to remove it, so it’s not nothing.”

“Wow. I’m glad it wasn’t melanoma. Obviously. Where was it?” he asked before realizing how intrusive that was. Even though Clay really felt like a friend now, Ethan had to remember it was probably mostly in his head. “I’m sorry, I’m being totally nosy! You don’t have to tell me.”

See? This was a bad idea. I’m going to make a fool of myself with this crush. Maybe it’s not so harmless after all.

“No worries. It was on the back of my left shoulder.” Clay leaned forward, angling so Ethan could see. He reached over that shoulder with his right hand, his fingers finding a pale circle of a scar. Just below it was a tattoo, a green sort of shield with a yellow sun rising over a green horizon and five stars dotting the shield. It was a few inches wide and several inches long.

“Cool tattoo.” Ethan had never been compelled to get one, but he enjoyed looking at other people’s. Before he could stop himself, he traced it with his fingertip. Clay’s back was freckled as well, and goddamn, why was that so sexy? The seconds ticked by as he touched Clay, neither of them saying anything.

Finally, Ethan asked, “Does it mean something?” He was still touching, and Clay shivered. Ethan dropped his hand, his mouth dry.

Clay cleared his throat as he sat back. “It’s part of the Cricket Australia logo. On their uniforms there’s a roo on the left and an emu on the right, and ‘Australia’ written underneath.” He laughed and muttered something Ethan missed.

“What was the last part? Sorry.”

“I thought having the full logo was overkill for a tattoo. Didn’t want it too big, but I like having a little something.”

“You really love cricket, huh?”

Clay laughed. “What gave me away?”

Ethan chuckled. “Oh, you were going to tell me about that thing. The…” He racked his brain for the right word. “Ashes?”

“Ah, yes.” Clay tipped his head forward and peered at Ethan over the rims of his aviators with his intensely blue eyes. A thrill of desire shot through Ethan’s veins. Clay asked, “Are you sure you really want to know? No need to humor me, mate.”

“No, I really do!” He laughed, and it came out shaky, so he faked a cough. “I always loved sports when I was younger, and I want to get back into them. Although the Mets were epically bad last season, so I wasn’t very inspired to hop back on the bandwagon.”

“What happened to make you lose your interest? I can’t imagine.”

“Oh. It was…” Ethan motioned to his ears. “I lost interest in basically everything. I was really depressed for, like, four years. But the last year’s been a lot better. I’ve come to terms with it, I guess. But I’m still not the way I was before.”

“Ah.” Clay nodded sympathetically. “I understand. Still finding your footing. It can take a while. When I first moved down to Sydney, it was quite a culture shock. My entire life was upended. Home, work—the whole bit.”

“Yeah.” Ethan hesitated, but the way Clay watched him so patiently and without judgement gave him the confidence to say, “And now, being single again, it’s just so…weird. Like, who am I if… If I’m not with Michael?” Saying his name aloud was painful, but felt good at the same time, to release some of the pressure inside him.

Clay nodded again. “I was half of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly for so long. It hurt to lose that, no mistake.” He smiled sadly. “Hell, I still feel like I’m finding my footing. Thought I should have figured it all out by now, but that’s life for ya, I reckon.”

Warmth filled Ethan’s chest, affection and understanding flowing. “Always full of surprises, right?” And some that were actually good surprises. Like meeting a sexy older man who somehow likes me. Somehow gets me.

“Indeed.” Clay looked at him for a moment. Then he said, “You know, it’s nice to chat about it with someone on the same page. Haven’t really made many mates since I moved, and aside from Facebook, I don’t see the blokes from the Curry. Not that we’d talk much about this sort of thing.”

It made Ethan feel so damn good to be in Clay’s confidence. He had to stop himself from grinning delightedly. Instead, he joked, “Strong silent types in the outback, huh?”

Clay chuckled. “Something like that.” He sipped from a bottle of water. “Glad to have met you.” Then he jolted and looked horrified. “Not saying I’m glad at the trauma you’ve had. It’s awful that your wedding was called off.” He grimaced. “Maybe it’s best for me not to talk about all this after all.”

“No, no. It’s okay. I know what you meant. No offense taken.” He smiled genuinely, relieved when Clay visibly relaxed. But maybe it was time to lighten the subject. Sitting back on his chaise, Ethan said, “All right, tell me all about the mysterious Ashes. Maybe cricket can be my new sport.” And since it was something important to Clay, he really did want to know about it.

Clay grinned. “If you insist.” He sat back and re-crossed his ankles. “What do you know about cricket?”

“Um…nothing? It’s kind of like baseball and takes forever to play?”

Throwing his head back, Clay laughed, exposing his neck. Ethan watched his Adam’s apple. Clay said, “I’ll start at the beginning.”

Ethan nodded and uh-huhed as Clay outlined the basics. Stumps, bats, a wicket, a pitch, creases, bowling—Ethan wasn’t sure he really understood all the info, but he kept nodding, loving the rumble of Clay’s voice.

“Is this making sense?” Clay asked.

“Yes! I mean, it’s a lot to try and take in, but I think I get it.”

“We should watch a match. It’s really the best way to learn.”

Belly somersaulting, Ethan tried to keep his voice casual. “That would be cool, yeah. So what’s the thing about ashes?”

“The Ashes is a test series between England and Australia. Test matches can go five days, as opposed to an ODI—” He cut off. “You’re going to be bored shitless if I go into the overs and innings and all that. In a nutshell, England and Australia play a series every year or so of five matches. It’s very competitive. Lots of patriotic pride tied up in it. The name comes from the late 1800s, when we beat England for the first time over there. Being beaten by the colonies on English soil was quite a shock for the poor pommies, bless their hearts. Our bowler went fourteen wickets for ninety.”

“I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good?” Ethan laughed. Clay laughed as well, and God, he was so hot.

“It was very good. So one of the London papers published a mock obit for English cricket after we won. At the end it said, ‘The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.’ The Brits were determined to get the ashes back, and over the years, mumble mumble.”

A chattering couple walking by made the last part impossible to hear, but Ethan guessed, “Over the years that became the name of the tournament?”

Clay frowned after the couple, who thankfully kept walking. “You’ve got it. Legend goes that when England came back to Australia to play, a lady gave the captain an urn with the ashes of a burnt cricket ball inside. That urn’s in a museum at the MCC in England, but now the winning team gets a crystal version of it to keep until the next series.”

“Are you serious?”

“Mate, I never joke about cricket. Ever.”

Ethan grinned. “I love that the trophy is an urn. That’s awesome. Thanks for explaining all that.”

“I’d give you an ear-bashing all day about cricket if you let me.”

I’d let you do so many things to me.

Before Ethan’s mind could veer too far down the path of wondering what Clay’s beard would feel like against his face if they kissed, Clay said, “Tell me about baseball. Your Mets aren’t doing so well?”

“Not last season. But there was one year when I was a kid? We didn’t make the World Series, but it was still amazing. You know, when everything seems to go right during the season, and the players are all awesome guys and you feel like you know them, and you’re rooting so hard for them. And when they win, it’s just the best feeling in the world.”

Clay grinned. “Nothing like it, mate.” Then he laughed, his shoulders shaking.

“What?” Ethan laughed too. “You get it, right?”

“Absolutely.” Clay looked like he was trying to stop laughing but couldn’t manage it.

What?” Ethan nudged Clay’s bare arm with his fist, resisting the urge to flatten his palm over the firm, hair-dusted muscles. He groaned as he thought back over what he’d said. “Oh, I see. ‘Rooting so hard.’ You know I didn’t mean it like that. ‘Root’ doesn’t mean sex in the US.” He giggled, because he and Clay were apparently twelve.

As they laughed together over the silly joke, Ethan’s hearing aid battery beeped in his left ear. That meant the right likely would go soon too. Grimacing at the loud beep, he said, “Sorry, I need to go change my hearing aid batteries. They beep to let me know.”

“No worries. I’ll try to compose myself. Of course now my mind’s full of stupid jokes.”

Ethan grinned. “Tell me one before I go.”

“Well, did you know Australian’s don’t have sex?”

Hearing the word “sex” come out of Clay’s mouth had Ethan’s balls tingling and his head going light. His voice sounded too high as he said, “No? What do they do?”

“They mate.”

Ethan burst out laughing, and Clay joined in. Sure, it was childish. But he didn’t give a shit. It was fun. Michael would have rolled his eyes because he was always too snobby for puns. And wow, Ethan realized he and Michael hadn’t had goofy fun in a long, long time.

He’d missed feeling so relaxed. Like, he didn’t have to worry about what Clay would think if he made a dumb joke or announced, “that’s what she said” after a double entendre. Because Clay would laugh along with him.

Because Clay was awesome.

My Review:
Ethan is a 27 y/o out gay man who has been battling through depression over the loss of his parents and his hearing all in the past few years. He struggled since college, but now he has a job he likes and he and his college boyfriend, Michael, are one day away from wedded bliss! At least, until Ethan arrives home early on the night of the rehearsal dinner and finds that Michael is…uh, occupied, with another lover. Ethan is devastated to learn the depth of Michael’s betrayal, but he’s unwilling to go along with Michael’s new poly plan, even if he does understand that their relationship had been floundering before Michael accepted his proposal.

Having lost out of the boy of his dreams, Ethan’s set on not missing his honeymoon trip to Australia. It was a promise he’d made to his dying mother to visit the land down under, and though he’s heartbroken and miserable, Ethan takes it. There he meet’s Clay, the big and burly bluey (redhead) from the outback. Clay is in his mid-40s and recently divorced. He has two adult children, and is constantly being pestered by his ex-wife and daughter to find a new woman to share his life. Clay isn’t really interested in dating, but he can’t stop noticing Ethan. And not only because he’s young, fit and single. Clay has a huge protective streak in him, and he’s called into action to help Ethan nearly from the beginning. Learning Ethan’s tale of woe, and knowing how hard he’s found it to cope with becoming hard of hearing, keeps Clay on guard to pitch in.

They spend extra time together, and Ethan revels in it. Unfortunately, Clay’s worldview takes a big shift when he discovers a level of attraction he’d never anticipated. He’s never even thought about being with a man–it wasn’t done in his small outback town. His only experience with gays has been slurs and hate crimes he’d overheard. The very idea of being with Ethan…that way…is terrifying, but he’s also terrified of Ethan walking away and taking the only spark of attraction Clay’s had in years back the States.

I really liked the emotional balance in this one. It starts out pretty melancholy, what with the betrayal and Ethan coming to terms with yet another abandonment situation. He’s trying to make the best of things but he hadn’t really traveled much since he got the hearing aids, and there are so many new situations it’s hard for him to cope. Every thing, every experience, seems colored or filtered through a lens of what Michael would have done, or wanted, and it takes Ethan some time to bust free of those negative sentiments. Clay is a tantalizing bit of eye-candy, but the more intimate they become the more they recognized how unfulfilled they were in their relationships. It’s a wild ride for straight-Clay, who is likely somewhere in the demisexual spectrum. He doesn’t want to come out, but he doesn’t want to let go of Ethan. He has some intense internalized homophobia that he’s able to work through with patience, and listening, from Ethan. While this initially had vacation fling written in bold letters and red ink, this new connection is too good to let languish. Ethan’s still ready for a new beginning, and Clay is poised for starting over. With their lack of ties, it makes a global move possible, one that ties an HEA onto this story. It was kinda cool how that all worked out, without seeming obnoxious, or contrived.

Interested? You can find HONEYMOON FOR ONE on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

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

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

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