Life Out of Tune BAD BOY’S BARD–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. BAD BOY’S BARD is the final book in the Fae Out of Water trilogy, and connects the last true bard of the Seelie court with his long-lost love. Each book follows the love story of one of the three Kendrick brothers, high-ranking Fae of the Seelie court. It all started with CUTIE AND THE BEAST and THE DRUID NEXT DOOR

About the book:
As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

My Review:
Gareth Kendrick is the last true bard of the Seelie. His voice has the power to command people to fall in love, heal, or commit themselves to their doom. He’s always been wary of his power, and scared of the voices of the dead that haunt him ever since his tutelage by the ghost of Gwyddion, the most recently deceased bard before Gareth.

Gareth loved only one man in his long-spanning life: Niall. Niall was a human, or so Gareth thought and they met “by chance” nearly two hundred years ago in the human realm where Gareth chose to live the bulk of his life. For Gareth, Niall was all and everything, and he dispaired greatly when he saw an Unseelie escort Niall through the realms to Faerie. HE was sure Niall was lost to him forever.

The true was much different. Niall was a half-Fae Unseelie prince sent to kill Gareth, but he fell in love with the man instead. His brother learned of the situation and escorted Niall back to their father as a favor, so Niall could plead his love and ask a boon to be released from his oath. Their father refused and sent Niall into one of the hells of their realm, Govannon’s forge, to toil for the past two hundred years in retribution for his treachery. Niall endured the punishment because it ensured that Gareth would not be murdered by another of his father’s minions.

Fast-forward: Faerie is dying and a powerful Mage is planning to rescue it with a remaking spell, but it requires all of the Fae to be present. This includes Niall, whose brother–now the King of the Unseelie–has rescued from Govannon’s forge. And, when Niall sees Gareth he knows he can’t tell the truth. Gareth, instead of performing his part in the new magic, steals Niall away from the ceremony, sure that a “human” could not withstand the magic of the rite.

Unfortunately, when they flee Faerie they upset the balance and the spell to fix Faerie goes awry. Oh, and it’s not cool when Gareth learns his ‘dead Human’ lover is really a living Unseelie Prince. It’s hard going for a bit, but a reconciliation is brokered by David and Bryce, the non-Seelie mates of Gareth’s brothers. By connecting with those men, Gareth sees the folly of condemning interspecies mating, and Niall is able to win his heart back. Oh, and save all the realms from the power-mad Mage who had a whole different plan in mind. Expect high stakes, mad love and healed hearts by the end. There’s a wee bit of sexytimes, but it’s more emotion than motion.

This is the end of the trilogy, which I think is best read in order, but there’s a window to new adventures left open, where Niall and Mal can hit the road to find lost Fae in the human realm. I’d tag along for that…

Interested? You can find BAD BOY’S BARD on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

There’s a three-tour wide giveaway of a $50 GC to Riptide Publishing, and you just need to head on over to my friends at Boy Meets Boys Reviews and comment on their post in order to be entered!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Loving a MANIC PIXIE DREAM BOY–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from the writing team of KA Merican. MANIC PIXIE DREAM BOY is a rock romance between a bisexual rock frontman and the sexy eye-candy he meets at a remote gas station in nowhere. I’ve really enjoyed books by this writing team in the past, including THE BLACK SHEEP AND THE ROTTEN APPLE, so I was eager to read this one.

Catch the epic meet-cute excerpt, my review and enter the book giveaway below.

About the book:
You can’t hide the cracks under the spotlight
Dusk. Leader of The Underdogs. Destined for greatness. Lives in the now.
Abe. AKA Lolly. Iridescent. Unicorn.
All Dusk wants out of life is for his band to become world famous. He also wants to have a lot of fun along the way. And to get his rocks off. When he wants something, he goes for it, consequences be damned. So when he sees a gorgeous pink-haired guy who is the human equivalent of tattooed cotton candy, he can’t help but have a taste. But it’s when Lolly ends up on their tour bus that Dusk knows their meeting was destiny.

Abe is the kind of guy who goes with the flow. He was hitchhiking anyway, so why not spend the week with a hot piece of rocker beefcake, getting smothered by his sexy long hair? And why not play the part of the supportive cutie while he’s at it? It’s not like he’d be sticking around for long anyway.

All plans hit a wall when photos of Abe and Dusk emerge online, suddenly pushing the band into the spotlight. To take advantage of the sudden popularity, the band offers Abe money for staying.

Which means money for being in a fake relationship with Dusk.

Which isn’t even fake.

Or is it?

How about a little taste?

The sun hit him like a red-hot hammer, and he squinted, rushing through the courtyard and into the shadow of the roof. His mouth was already smiling when he saw the logo of an ice cream manufacturer in the window. Since they’d already stopped, he might as well have something sweet to go with the savory. Or, possibly-maybe get peanut butter ice cream and win at breakfast?

The store greeted him with fresh, cool air that he inhaled with pleasure, delving between the shelves to find his prize. He could already see it from afar, next to a few jams, and coffee, and—who the fuck was that?

Dusk stopped breathing and just watched the dreamy, pink-haired creature move along the aisle, headbanging gently to music he was listening to through his mint-colored headphones. There was a lightness to his step, and Dusk followed the guy as if he were a rabbit leading Dusk to Wonderland.

The guy’s hair was styled into two thick, messy boxer braids tied with glittery bands. A pair of rollerblades swung from the guy’s large backpack. With each hypnotizing movement of slim hips clad in well-fitting denim shorts that ended just above the knees, Dusk was beckoned closer to the creature who was so at odds with the coarse surroundings, he must had stepped out of a fairytale and gotten lost in the New Mexican desert. His bare calves were nicely toned and dusted with blond hair, twitching slightly as the angel of a guy danced his way through the aisles.

He only stopped once he approached a newspaper stand and pulled out a music magazine. Leaning slightly against the wall, he finally allowed Dusk a good look on the profile of his boyish yet angular face. Working his way through the pages, he seemed completely immersed in his own little world.

One arm, tattooed in pastel-colored shapes that Dusk could not discern from afar, rose, and the guy pulled on a little white stick that peeked out of his mouth, revealing a shocking pink lollipop that he must have been sucking on all along.

Dusk licked his lips, wishing he could be that lollipop. He checked himself out in a mirror next to a stand with hats, just to make sure he didn’t have anything stuck to his face, and he moved closer to the pastel-hued poisonous butterfly. The guy was cute, colorful, but there was an edge to his look. His neck was inked, and his septum pierced. Oh, how Dusk craved to put his hand against the guy’s Adam’s apple.

He couldn’t recall the last time he was rendered speechless, since he was anything but shy. This guy though, casually sucking on a pink lollipop at this gas station in the middle of nowhere, was making Dusk’s throat dry, his palms sweat, and his dick beg for action.

Lolly blinked and gave a short laugh, staring at something in the magazine. Still gently moving his body to the music coming from his headphones, he rhythmically tapped the lollipop against his lips, only to greedily suck it back in. Every time he smiled, a little black star under his eye moved. At first Dusk had assumed it was painted-on, but as he stared more intently, he recognized it as a tattoo.

That was it. Dusk needed to get himself a piece of that.

He took a few steps closer and reached for a magazine off a shelf above Lolly’s head to get an opportunity to stretch in front of the guy, and when their eyes met, he smiled.

Lolly’s eyes were big and so blue they fit right in with his image. He leaned his head back to look at Dusk more comfortably and pushed the headphones to rest around his neck, revealing flesh plugs of the same minty color. Score.

He moved the lollipop in his mouth with his tongue so that the stick was at the side and wouldn’t prevent him from speaking. “What’s up?”

“What’s the flavor?” Dusk pointed to Lolly’s mouth. He bet it now tasted of wet hot sin.

Lolly pulled on the lollipop so that it slid halfway out of his mouth, only to suck it back in, loudly and without shame. “What flavor do you like?”

“I like fruity. And my manager only allows me one sweet thing a day, so I gotta choose wisely.” It was utter bullshit, but did it matter when their gazes met so intensely neither of them blinked? “Can I try yours to see if I wanna buy it?”

Lolly pulled on the stick, so tantalizingly slow, teasing Dusk with his blue eyes and long lashes, with his perfect tanned skin, with his toned arms that were tattooed into various landmarks and animals. Lolly was not only hot. He wasdesire.

“What do I get in return?”

Sink or swim. Dusk would either get a kick in the nuts or a laugh. He leaned down to whisper into Lolly’s ear. Worst case scenario, he could play it down into a joke and continue from there. “You give me something sweet, I give you something salty.”

Dusk’s skin tingled where they almost touched, and he closed his eyes when the soft, frizzy hair brushed against his cheek. Lolly smelled of something sweet, and yet a bit bitter, in a delicious masculine way that made Dusk want to savor him all the more. Cotton candy made of seaweed? No. That made no sense.

Lolly gave a short laugh, and his fingers briefly rubbed Dusk’s chest. “I’m intrigued.”

Dusk pulled back just enough to look into Lolly’s eyes, and the spot on Dusk’s chest where he’d been touched seemed to tingle as if invisible unicorns galloped along his pecs. How far could he push his luck? The guy wasn’t offended by the dirty joke. Sparks of attraction shone between them as if they’d been glitter bombed, and Dusk found it hard to focus on anything but the pretty lips and blue eyes.

“Intrigued enough to follow me outside and risk that I’m a total psycho serial killer?”

Lolly pulled the candy out of his mouth and slowly moved it along the pink line of his tempting lips, leaving behind a sticky sheen. “Maybe you could taste my lollipop in the restrooms?”

“Fuck yes…” Dusk thought it, but then realized he’d also said it out loud. Oh, who cared? His dick was already filling at the thought of all the things Dusk wanted to do with the sweet lips of this heavenly creature. Was the restroom here actually big enough to fuck in? It better be, because one way or another, he would be scoring soon.

My Review:
Dusk Hill is the frontman and lead guitarist of The Underdogs, a rock band he’s formed with his brother Dawn, his bestie Mage and Sid, an experienced drummer. Sid and Dawn are gay, but quiet about it, and Dusk is bisexual, but only out to friends and family. He meets a slender, pink-haired tattooed man in a gas station convenience store–and the attraction is instant.

They actually have to make a run for it, after Dusk and the sucker-licking man he calls ‘Lolly’ in his head make a giant mess of the bathroom they use for a tryst. Lolly was hitchhiking his way to LA and he’s more than happy for the ride(s) Dusk offers by way of their jerry-rigged tour bus…and his narrow cot.

Abe is a drifter wanting to make art, but willing to take his chances with Dusk and his Underdogs. It’s a lark, right? Until it seems like more. Not that Abe’s really prepared for more, or to fall hard for Dusk. An inadvertent photo outs Dusk as bi, and the band wants Lolly to stick around to turn the fallout into a publicity opportunity. Abe isn’t sure this is cool, getting paid a little to cozy up to Dusk in public seems to cross some lines, but Dusk is persuasive, and hawt. They get it on an on and on…

But, as the weeks wear on and Abe isn’t getting any farther with his art dreams, it makes him more uncomfortable. It’s only more frustrating that Dusk doesn’t even know his true name. Dusk is content to play his way through life, and it upsets Abe in ways he didn’t expect. This comes to a meltdown that ruins just about everything between them but Dusk is unwilling to let Abe just walk away. He offers friendship, and a real job managing social media and fan relations for the band–with the sheets-burning sex they’d shared previously now off the menu. And that’s equally rough on both of them.

I loved how these guys transitioned from the hot and horny hook up to the unrequited lovers-turned-friends. It’s bittersweet, knowing how intense their feelings remain, but heartening to see how hard they work to build something awesome between them. Abe’s art is helping the band get noticed, and raise his own visibility, to the point that he’s offered his own freelance gigs that will take him away from the tour. Can Dusk manage to make his true feelings known before Abe walks away? The tension is high and the sex is frequent and dirty. Expect public options to abound, and an epic HEA that brings the audience to its feet. I’m really excited to read on in this new series.

Interested? You can find MANIC PIXIE DREAM BOY on Goodreads and Amazon US | Amazon UK.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Authors:
K.A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Catch up with this duo on their website, Facebook, Twitter (run by Kat), Agnes Merikan’s Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest.

IndiGo

Changing Perspectives MAYBE THIS TIME–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary romance from Annabelle Jacobs. MAYBE THIS TIME is a sweet unexpected romance for a 38 year old silver fox and his new slightly younger neighbor. I’ve loved other romances from this author, like A CASUAL THING, A CHRISTMAS KISS, and BITTEN BY DESIGN, so I thought I’d check it out.

Catch my review and enter the book giveaway below!
About the book:
Moving into a new home starts with a bang when Ryan Blackwell celebrates turning thirty. Being hungover means he’s bleary-eyed and clumsy the next day, but even in that state, he can appreciate how sexy and fit his neighbour is.

Matt Thomas isn’t looking for anything long-term—one and done is usually his life rule. Why settle down early, like his sister, when casual relationships are so easy? With Ryan living in the same building, chance encounters are inevitable. When one night together becomes two, a friends-with-benefits deal seems a natural progression.

There’s only one problem: sex with no strings relies on matching expectations, so Ryan can’t help worrying. His huge heart always wants more, but Matt’s been clear about his limits. As passion leads to caring, they’ll have to make some tough decisions—maybe this time, breaking some rules will be worth it if that means they’ll get to share a future.

My Review:
Ryan Blackwell notices his sexy silver fox neighbor when he moves into his new flat, but he doesn’t think Matt returns his interest. And, it’s kinda true. Matt thinks Ryan is dead sexy, but he’s not a guy who wants more than no-strings, and striking up with a guy in his own building seems fraught with potential complications.

At first.

Once Matt makes it clear he’d like one night, and Ryan agrees, they both get it on, and get along. It’s a good night and a great morning, and they go back to their lives. But they do run into one another around the building, and their one nighter soon turns into a repeat. And, it’s still good. Matt’s close friends warn him that this sounds like the beginning of something…more. More than friends with benefits, and Matt’s not sure how he feels about it. He’s felt averse to relationships for half his life, and it’s ingrained for him to deny any semblance of attachment, but he really likes how he feels with Ryan, and he’s grateful for the support Ryan gave him at a rough time. They have a good time hanging out and running together, as well as burning up the sheets. Would it be so bad to see where this could lead?

Ryan’s not made for flings, but he’s so attracted to Matt he’s willing to try. Each time they connect, he has to remind himself they are friends and nothing more, but when Matt seems to change his mind, can Ryan catch up to speed? I liked how they talked through this, and how Matt wasn’t too impatient to give Ryan a little time to digest his confession. There’s a lot going on with their close friends, and even some work drama, so I expect we’ll see some of the secondary characters find love in later books. One thing I noticed, and perhaps it’s because I’m a Yank, but these folks seem to have tea all the time. I’d be in the toilets all the time if I had half as much tea as these characters… It made me chuckle to consider it. Also, lots of delicious sexytimes, if that’s your cuppa.

Interested? You can find MAYBE THIS TIME on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

Catch up with Annabelle online on her website, Facebook, twitter or email at ajacobsfiction (at) gmail (dot) com.
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Sold Short? FULL DISCLOSURE–Review and Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

How about a little taste?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, the humiliating, poorly paid work.

“You’re the real estate agent?”

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

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

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

Please please please!

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

Score!

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

A loud, nasally voice interrupted my surprise sales call.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesss. Score 1 for the art of bullshitting.

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

I ended the call not a second too soon.

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

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

“What? No—”

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

God, please let it happen again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

Strangers Connect BE MY BEST MAN–Review and Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

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

Rough Love in SAVED–Review and Giveaway!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about a little taste?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested? You can find SAVED on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An awesome, exclusive excerpt!

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

“Not yet. You go ahead.”

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

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

“Hey,” Rav said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog shifters were fucking amazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance huffed.

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

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

“Like what?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Truer words.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance was quiet for a long moment.

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

“I don’t care what you think.”

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

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

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

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

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

Lance got up and walked away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re a goof,” Rav told him.

“What’s that mean?”

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

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

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

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

“Yeah?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Hmmm. Were they?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

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

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