Out today! YOURS FOR THE HOLIDAY–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from DJ Jamison. YOURS FOR THE HOLIDAY is a sweet and tender frenemies-to-lovers romance that features two young men finding their way to love, despite close connections and deep tensions. I liked FULL DISCLOSURE, and I’m glad I picked this up.

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter the $10 GC giveaway below.

About the book:
Fresh off a break-up, Remy is in no mood to share a room with his brother’s best friend during a holiday stay at home. Jason Hendricks has always treated him like a little brother to tease and taunt, all the more embarrassing because Remy has secretly crushed on the jerk since puberty. But when Jason confides he’s bisexual, Remy realizes the crush he loves to hate could be the perfect rebound.

Jason has always found Remy appealing. He didn’t handle his attraction well when he was younger, but now Remy’s a grown man and Jason’s no longer afraid of his feelings. Some playful flirtation sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving break, but he’s not prepared for Remy’s newfound sex appeal or his decision to make Jason his rebound fling. Jason doesn’t want to risk fallout with a family that’s always been there for him, but he’s not sure he can resist.

When the two part ways, they don’t plan to stay in touch, but soon they’re texting, trading sexy pictures and helping each other cope with family drama. Remy agrees to be his for the holiday, continuing their secret fling over Christmas, but Jason knows that won’t be enough. He’ll have to find the courage to be open and honest with his best friend — and the whole Wells family — if he wants a chance at love in the new year.

This approximately 50,000 word novel is a brother’s best friend, enemies to lovers romance that comes with a satisfying HEA!

How about a little taste?

“Hey,” Jason said quietly. The bed dipped as he sat down on the edge of the mattress. “You okay?”

“Oh, so you’re done avoiding me?” Remy said, hating the bitter edge to his words. He swallowed hard, trying to gain control over his emotions, so he didn’t make a fool of himself yet again.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said. He sounded sorry. Truly regretful.

Remy pushed up, struggling into a seated position against the headboard. If they were going to have this talk, he wanted to look Jason in the eye.

Swallowing hard, Remy forced out words that had been nagging at him all day. “I’m sorry too. I got carried away. I didn’t mean to pressure you—”

“God no, Remy,” Jason interrupted. “No, no. It wasn’t like that.”

Jason’s hand hovered in the air. Remy watched Jason hesitate before resting his big palm over Remy’s thigh. The blankets formed a barrier between them, but the point of contact burned as if he could feel the warmth spilling from Jason’s hand.

“Then I’m confused,” Remy said.

“I, uh, find you very sexy,” Jason said, voice tinged with embarrassment. It would be charming if it weren’t for the heavy topic of conversation. “But I need the Wells family. I don’t talk about my parents much, but—”

“I know it’s not great,” Remy said. “Dad filled me in on what happened last summer with your mom.”

“Yeah,” Jason said. “So, basically, I’m terrified of fucking everything up. If I go there with you, I might hurt you. And if your parents or Derek find out, I’m not sure what they’d do. It’s just … messy.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Remy said. “It’s just some fun. No strings needed. And as for going there with me, don’t you think the cat’s already out of the bag? You’ve had your hand on my dick.”

Jason glanced at Remy’s crotch, unable to resist teasing him. “Cat’s out of the bag? And here I thought pussy only referred to—”

Remy slapped his hand over Jason’s mouth. “Don’t say it!”

Jason chuckled, his warm breath gusting over Remy’s palm. Remy shivered as their eyes locked and held. When the wet tip of Jason’s tongue licked a stripe over his hand, he couldn’t hold back a small moan.

“Fuck you, JJ,” he muttered, pulling his hand back. “If you’re going to say no, don’t fucking tease me.”

“I’m not saying no,” Jason said roughly. “I probably should, but I can’t say no to you again. Not one more fucking time.”

My Review:
Jason has been a childhood friend to Derek Wells since elementary school. Despite having material wealth, Jason’s family was scarred by the drowning of his elder sister when she was a child; she’s a girl he never knew, yet her life determined his. See, his mother was so despondent over the death, she became an alcoholic, and his father worked tons to avoid dealing with it. Jason’s friendship with Derek and the generous Wells family provided stability and love he lacked at home. Jason’s like an adopted son to the Wells family, and he won’t do anything to lose that connection, especially as his own family continues to disintegrate.

Unfortunately, Jason found Derek’s younger brother, Remy, attractive. It was confusing to him as a teen, and led Jason to torment Remy with teasing and typical “brotherly” shenanigans. Now that they are all adults, Jason can admit to himself that he’s bisexual. Remy’s been out and proud since his teens. And, they are set to share Remy’s bedroom in the Wells family cabin for Thanksgiving. It’s a temptation Jason isn’t sure he can bear. And, when he confesses to Remy that he’s bi…well, okay that didn’t go so well.

Remy Wells cannot believe that his teen fantasy, Jason–who is a sculpted firefighting Adonis now–is bisexual. This must be another prank, just like all the other crap between them. But, what if it isn’t? Jason would be the perfect rebound now that Remy kicked his two-timing boyfriend to the curb. Remy’s confidence is rather shattered, and having a sexy dude like Jason want him is exhilarating–and troubling. Because Jason, as turned on by Remy as he is, does not want to be a fling for Remy. And, he also is unwilling to let anything they get up to ruin his ability to join the Wells’ for their holidays in the future. Still, Jason’s unable to contain his lust when Remy puts on the full-court press, and what they share is phenomenal. And, well, if Jason plays his texts right, he might get more from Remy when they return to Chicago.

Remy doesn’t want to continue hooking up with Jason back home; that’s too confusing. He was content for holiday-only loving, but the more contact Jason makes, the more Remy craves. It’s awkward because Derek’s a pain, and shutting Jason out for a complete misunderstanding. This would be resolved, honestly, if Jason came out and admitted his feelings for Remy, but neither man is ready for that. They need more time, and they get it in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was expecting a fluffy story with lots of banter and some explosive chemistry. I did get that, but with some added depth I wasn’t anticipating. Jason’s home life is a struggle to endure, and that comes across on the page. Remy’s insecurities are real, as are Derek’s for that matter. Trusting people is difficult, when there’s reason to believe infidelity happened. The reconciliations were realistic, and the Wells’ were happy to welcome Jason as a legal son, instead of just an informally adopted one. HEAs abound.

Interested? You can find YOURS FOR THE HOLIDAY on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 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.

Heard Great Things! SMOKY MOUNTAIN DREAMS Audiobook review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for an audiobook written by Leta Blake and performed by John Solo. SMOKY MOUNTAIN DREAMS is a bittersweet heartbreak of a book, with a solid love story and intriguing plot. I enjoyed every minute of Mr. Solo’s rendering of this complicated love story. I’ve always loved Leta’s stories, because they feature hardships and big choices. Check out THE RIVER LEITH, WILL & PATRICK GET MARRIED, and PICTURES OF YOU for more hard-won love stories by Leta Blake.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter to win a backlist book from Leta Blake in the giveaway!
About the book:
After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.

Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

The audiobook is 14 hours and 47 minutes long. You can catch a snippet of it here:  SMD Sample from Leta Blake on Vimeo.

My Review:
Christopher Ryder is an out-gay country singer working at Smoky Mountain Dreams, a family-friendly resort in the Tennessee mountains. He’s happy there, but wishing he could find a forever man to share his life with, even though he knows this will cause strife with his family–dysfunctional as they are. Wanting to create a special Christmas gift for his beloved gran, he reaches out to Jesse Birch, a local jeweler who does custom work. Jesse is a sexy man, and Christopher is stunned to learn he’s an actual fan of Jesse’s performances. Christopher’s mostly the understudy to a regular at SMD, who also happens to be a solid drunk and often needs Christopher to stand in for him. Growing up making himself invisible to stay out of his zealot step-father’s ire, Christopher feels seen by Jesse and basks in his admiration.

Jesse is a hard-working father of two who is raising his kids with the help of his in-laws. His wife had a tragic car wreck several years ago and is in a chronic vegetative state. He’s wanted to pull the medical care for years, to let her go naturally, but her sister holds an old Power of Attorney papers and refuses to let her sister go. The legal battle was decided years ago, and mediation is going nowhere, so Jesse visits each week, dutifully, though their children haven’t seen her since the last brain scan showed no signs of activity.

Jesse’s more than attracted to Christopher; and that feeling is mutual. Learning that Jesse is bisexual turns Christopher on, and they begin a tentative courtship–not that it’s easy. Kids, in laws, and Jesse’s wife all make it complicated. But mostly it’s the kids. Jesse’s daughter, who’s 12 and awkward, is struggling with the idea that her dad could love anyone besides her mama, and has a creative plan to bring their family back together. Still, Christopher is patient, and Jesse is learning that loving someone is more than just caring for their physical needs. He recognizes the tremendous guilt he harbors for the way his marriage soured, and allows Christopher to be the bright spot in his rather bland life to this point.

These guys have a penchant for risky sex–mostly in places that are out in the open. That made for some fun and “better you than me” moments. There are also some really intense moments, like Christopher standing up to his bigoted relations and holding Jesse to task over not telling him the whole truth regarding his marriage–and how it’s not legally over… The audio is fantastic, and had me engaged throughout. I almost didn’t mind my commutes, knowing I’d spend more time with that textured voice relating Christopher and Jesse’s mutual heartbreaks and mutual passion. I cried, y’all! They go through a lot in the several months together, but the end is happy, and Christopher finds a loving home, with Jesse and his family, for the first time in his life.

Interested? You can find SMOKY MOUNTAIN DREAMS on Goodreads and Amazon (US or UK) or Audible (US or UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Author of the best-selling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook, twitter and Patreon.

Yes! Not NEVER–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance fairytale from Tara Lain. NEVER is the fourth book in her Pennymaker Tales series and features a love story for a modern Peter Pan, and his darling Wendell. I’ve really enjoyed her romantic revisions in SINDERS AND ASH, DRIVEN SNOW and BEAUTY INC., so I wanted to get my HEA on.

Catch the excerpt and review below and scroll down to enter the $15 GC giveaway.

About the book:
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.

Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

How about a little taste?

He sighed loudly as he pulled a green T-shirt over his head with his back turned to Tink. The T-shirt was just like the others except it proclaimed in brilliant sparkles Underthrow the Overground. He stared in the wavy mirror on the back of the closet door. She’s right. Wen upsets me. Why the fuck can’t I stay away from him? “Let’s just go play music, okay?”

He retraced his steps out the dressing room door and went to drown himself in lyrics.

Two hours later he knew it wasn’t working. All he could see was Wen’s face. John’s face. I don’t want to see them. He snorted. I don’t want to want to see them. That’s different.

When they took their break, Wen walked off the stage straight into Mr. Pennymaker. Somehow he’d changed to a black jacket with floral collar and cuffs. Seriously? And somehow he’d gotten past the guards to hang out backstage. He pressed his hands together. “Splendid, Peter.”

“You kidding?” Peter frowned. “I can barely get my head out of my ass.”

“Yes, but sometimes that’s precisely the view we need.”

Peter spewed a laugh. “What do you want with me, really?”

“Why must I want something?”

“Because people don’t usually bother with people unless they want things.”

He rubbed his chin with two fingers. “All right. I want you to be happy.”

“Why me, for God’s sake? You don’t even know me.”

He smiled softly. “I want everyone to be happy, Peter. I just happen to be speaking with you.”

“Jesus!” Peter wiped a hand over the back of his neck. “You’re too smart for me, old man.”

“Not at all. I simply want you to be smart for you.”

“What does that look like?”

“Getting your head out of your ass and paying attention to what you want instead of what you think you should want.” He yawned behind his hand. “I’m a bit tired, so I’ll say good night. Thank all the Lost Boys for such a splendid show.”

Mr. Pennymaker turned, walked out through the stage door, and was gone.

Peter’s mouth hung open. Hit by a five-foot-one-inch truck.

My Review:

Wendell Darling is a young creative at an ad agency looking for a unique spin for an organic peanut butter campaign. His bosses aren’t fantastic and he works long hours to support his younger sister Michaela and young brother John. Their father died years ago and he’s pretty-sure his fly-by-night mother is dead too. Even if she wasn’t, she was no help while she was alive anyway.

One night while heading home late, Wen sees a bit of wall tagging in the subway that blows his mind. He’s sure that whomever the artist is, it’s the new outre look his campaign needs. Encouraged by Michaela and John, Wen stakes out the subway station and waits to find the artist–if possible. The merry band of folks he meets takes his breath away–particularly the red-haired leader of the pack: Peter Panacheck.

Peter doesn’t want any spotlights on him; he does art because it needs doing. Not that his wealthy father would ever indulge him in such foolishness. But if Daddy Megabucks can’t find him, then Peter can continue doing what fills his soul, if not his belly. He hangs with The Lost Boys, a band that plays the Club Neverland, and sometimes sings with them too. He’s not interested in Wen’s proposal for commissioned art. A peanut butter ad? Get real! But the Lost Boys are in need of funds, and he’s hopeful that getting some scratch together will help keep Vadon Hooker, slimy drug lord extraordinaire, at bay.

I really enjoy the twists these fairytales endure when this author bends them into m/m romances. It’s a fun progression of meeting, attraction and intrigue as the love story builds. Wen struggles with his attraction to Peter, who seems a new incarnation of his flighty mother. He’s got serious abandonment issues. Peter sees Wen as a father analogue, and that’s not cool, either, as his father was autocratic and wanted to force Peter into a job he was bound to hate. I liked the missing persons theme, and how it played out here. Peter’s band of lost boys were intriguing, too. Tink was a better character than I expected, and I liked how she was both problem and solution for Peter. The Peter Pan mythos is a fun one to play around with and the story really did it justice, while making an enjoyable romance, too.

Interested? You can find out more about NEVER on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.


And don’t forget the rest of the titles in the Pennymaker Tales series…they are all standalones.

You can find SINDERS AND ASH on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

You can find DRIVEN SNOW on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press–ON 35% OFF SALE TODAY! (eBook, Paperback), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes

You can find BEAUTY INC on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes,

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.

She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out Now: KIDNAPPED BY THE PIRATE-Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today, I’m not sharing a spooky book, but it definitely falls into the “different” category. It’s a “bodice-ripping” harrowing tale of man love on the high seas from a fave author Keira Andrews. KIDNAPPED BY THE PIRATE brought me right back to Harlequin Romanceland, a place I enjoyed in my teens… Her swarthy captain won my heart, and that of his scared, virgin captive, Nathaniel.

Scroll down to read Chapter 1 of the book, my review, and enter to win a backlist book for Keira Andrews in the giveaway!
About the book:
Will a virgin captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?
Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, the governor of Primrose Isle, he’s sailing to the fledging colony, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain. Then pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life, but men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with Nathaniel’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. Although Hawk knows he must keep his distance, the desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. It’s not as though Hawk would ever feel anything for him besides lust…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented, and he sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. The crew has been promised the ransom Nathaniel will bring, yet as danger mounts and the time nears to give him up, Hawk’s biggest battle could be with his own heart.

How about a delicious taste?

1710 

If pirates were to be the bloody, savage end of Nathaniel Bainbridge, he wished they’d get on with it.

The windswept deck was damp beneath his bare feet, prompting thoughts of the dewy grass of home. What he wouldn’t give for the freedom to run across the fields of Hollington Estate, wind rushing in his ears over the steady thump of his heart, the world falling away in his wake.

Instead he was confined by an endless, restless sea taunting him with its wildness. In England, he’d heard countless tales of villainous pirates and their dastardly deeds. People spoke as if the ocean teemed with the brigands, but the voyage had been mile after mile of…nothing.

Nathaniel shook his head at his foolishness. Not that he actually wanted pirates to attack their ship and massacre them. If only he could move, he would keep boredom at bay.

He gripped the railing, longing for dirt beneath his nails, scratches on his palms from tree bark as he climbed and explored, wonderfully aching muscles from hours in the lake. If he could only run a simple mile. Hardly any distance at all, but trapped on the ship, that much clear land would be a marvel.

He wiped sea spray from his eyes. If only the ability to run and jump and swim was worth anything at all in his world instead of being childish folly he was supposed to have outgrown. Men did not climb trees or swim for hours, and certainly they didn’t run for the sheer pleasure of it the way he had at Hollington.

Of course, the estate wasn’t theirs anymore, sold off to pay debts, so even if he made his way back to Kent one day, he would never return to those rolling hills. Its verdant trees and round, tranquil lake would now be home to another family.

No, for the foreseeable future, home would be Primrose Isle, a new colony his father desperately wanted to see flourish. Walter Bainbridge had found his fortunes in England not the least bit fortunate, and as a governor in the New World had the thing he loved most dearly: power.

Nathaniel’s future bride waited there. Elizabeth Davenport stood to inherit quite a fortune, and for the colony—and Walter—to thrive, alliances had to be made. So Nathaniel would do the only useful thing he could and marry.

He brushed a fresh spray of briny seawater from his face as he stared out at the endless night, keeping a firm hold on the rail. His untucked shirt flapped in the breeze, the lower fastenings on his breeches unbuckled under his knees.

In the dark, there was no one to comment on his state of undress, and he supposed the crew didn’t care a whit anyway. His trimmed hair curled at the ends in the dampness, and he tucked a lock behind his ear. It had been his little act of rebellion to cut it much shorter than most gentlemen. He certainly wouldn’t be wearing dreaded wigs, either, if he could help it.

Clouds conspired to hide the stars and razor-thin crescent of moon. He shivered in the late September night’s chill; he really should have worn his hated shoes and jacket.

At least the wind was no longer the bitter cold of the mid-Atlantic as they neared the West Indies. He shifted back and forth on his feet, lifting them like a racehorse stamping at the starting line.

The Proud William was fairly large, a merchant ship carrying a cargo of salt fish and forged metal tools to the colonies. But when he’d attempted even a light trot around the main deck, the crew had reacted with consternation at best, hostility at worst.

Running was his very favorite activity and the thing he excelled at most in life—much to his father’s disgust. Swimming in the lake in summertime, cutting through the placid water with sure, even strokes, was a joy as well.

To be surrounded now by endless water but unable to dive in and soothe his cramped muscles was the worst torture. He’d asked the captain if he could at least climb the mast or sail rigging and had been flatly refused.

So he stood by the starboard rail and sometimes paced, careful to stay out of the crew’s way. At least he had been told their progress was swift, and that after a month’s voyage—thirty-one days and some thirteen hours since they left England, to be exact—they would reach the island in a fortnight if the wind held.

He was informed that some ships took several months to reach the colonies. Ships could leave London the same day and arrive weeks or more apart. Such was the way of the sea.

Staring out at the nothingness, he stopped his restless shifting and squinted. The weak sliver of moon had valiantly escaped the clouds for a moment, and Nathaniel thought he spotted a strange kind of movement. The night took on shape before becoming uniform once more.

Perhaps it had been a great ocean creature surfacing—a whale or giant squid, or some kind of mysterious monster.

He chuckled. Earlier that evening, Susanna had read aloud fables from one of the old leather-bound tomes they’d brought from home, and his imagination was clearly running wild.

She’d always been the far more indulgent of his two older sisters, and he knew she’d packed books he’d favor, although she certainly had a taste for adventurous tales rather than the sentimental stories ladies were supposed to read. They’d both enjoyed the diary of a naval captain who’d served on several ships of the line and described life aboard in vivid detail.

Although the cabin Nathaniel and Susanna shared was tiny, at least they had privacy. He really should rejoin her in their cabin to sleep and end another interminable day, but the walls closed in on him, and it felt like a prison. Susanna’s thunderous snores didn’t help matters, but he couldn’t begrudge her anything.

For the hundredth time, he wondered what his life on Primrose Isle would be like. The colony was only a few years old, and there had been whispers of struggles with agriculture and trade, rumors of corruption and settlers packing up already.

He’d be forced to work for his father or at some other respectable job procured for him, like Susanna’s husband, Bart. Handsome Bart was thirty and penniless, but of good breeding and an agreeable disposition. He and Susanna had insisted on each other, waiting several years until both their fathers gave in and agreed to the match.

Bart seemed happy enough to do Father’s bidding, including leaving early for Primrose Isle some months ago, not knowing at the time Susanna was with child. When Walter Bainbridge made a demand, it was met. Sometimes Nathaniel marveled that a man he had rarely seen since childhood could loom so large.

Susanna and Bart had hated to be parted, but she was needed to oversee the packing up of the estate and auction of the more valuable items. Certainly it couldn’t have been left to Nathaniel, who wouldn’t have known where to begin given he’d spent as much time outside away from the ornate house as he could.

Nathaniel had considered refusing when he and Susanna were summoned. But what would he do? Where would he live? His marriage to Elizabeth had been agreed upon by their fathers, and should he fail in his duty, Walter would disown him. He’d have nothing, not even a roof over his head.

Bile rose in his throat. No, that would not do. So onward to Primrose Isle he went, to marry as his father saw fit. All he knew of Elizabeth Davenport was that she’d lived with her wealthy family for some years in Jamaica before her father joined forces with Walter to establish a shipping company on Primrose.

Well, he also knew her writing was unfailingly neat, and from Susanna’s recounting of the letter, that Elizabeth enjoyed needlework and greatly looked forward to sharing her life with him.

He’d received her letter just before leaving England and had burned it in the grate in his room. At least the voyage was a worthy excuse for not responding. And as much as he’d wished to stay in England, he couldn’t allow dear Susanna to sail the perilous Atlantic alone.

Although with how smooth their journey had been, completely lacking in beasts of the deep or even a gale of note, he apparently hadn’t needed to fret. Still, it was done.

He’d accepted years ago that he was feeble-minded, and although he knew he should be grateful for the opportunity to hold a position of at least some stature on the new colony, he dreaded the notion of truly being under his father’s thumb once more.

It had been blissful having his father overseas for years. He supposed he should feel remorse for such churlish thoughts, but there was so much else to consume his stores of guilt.

So much else indeed.

He turned away from the rail, resigning himself to another long night in the swaying hammock. Susanna was of course sleeping in the cot in the only cabin their father could afford now that he’d squandered so much money.

The cry from above pierced the night, and Nathaniel jumped a mile.

“Sails!”

In the flurry of activity and shouts, he pressed himself to the ship’s side as the crew emerged from the hull like ants. Nathaniel squinted into the darkness, turning to and fro and seeing nothing.

Then he spotted it—the hulk of a ship emerging from the night, not a single light flickering upon it, drawn to The Proud William like a moth to flame. With a sickening twist of his stomach, he realized he had indeed spotted a monster, and it was upon them.

He raced down to the cabin, bursting inside. Chestnut curls unpinned and tumbling over her shoulders, Susanna bolted up on the cot, her book thudding to the floor. One hand pressed to her round belly, she cried out, “What is it?”

“I think it’s pirates.” He could hardly believe the words as he uttered them. Had he wished them into existence by grumbling over boredom? Oh, what a fool he was.

The blood drained from Susanna’s sweet, round face. “Pirates?”

“I don’t know what else it could be.” He threw open a trunk and dug for his sheathed dagger, cursing himself for not raising the alarm sooner. His mind raced, thoughts jumbled as he grasped the hilt of the weapon and tossed the leather scabbard aside.

The thunder of the crew’s footsteps shook the ceiling, dust motes shaking loose and shouts filling the air. Susanna looked down at her nightgown, despairing.

“There’s no time for petticoats or any of that nonsense.” She threw her flowing green gown over her head, her voice muffled by it. “My God, it really is pirates, isn’t it? Oh, I think I’m stuck.”

Nathaniel helped tug the material down over her swollen belly. She emerged from the folds of soft fabric and peered up at the ceiling, as if she could see through the hull. Footsteps scuffled and thumps reverberated, tense voices shouting commands too distant to make out clearly.

Susanna whispered, “No gunshots. Must be too many. The crew isn’t fighting them. Help me pin this shut.” She had stopped wearing her corset, adopting what was apparently a new French style while she was with child.

After he’d pinned the material enough that the robe-like gown would stay put, drawing a prick of blood from his fingertip in his haste, Nathaniel yanked on his stockings and refastened his breeches below his knees before jamming his feet into his buckled shoes. He wouldn’t face these brigands in a state of undress.

He tucked the dagger into the back of his trousers and whipped on his sleeveless waistcoat, fingers clumsy on the buttons. But there was no time for his cravat or jacket. Raised voices already echoed down the corridor. He spun about, belatedly hoping to find something to bar the door.

Susanna had apparently had the same thought. “The trunks aren’t heavy enough. Besides, it will only anger them. It’s no use.”

“Get behind me.” He urged her to the back of the cabin, which was barely wider than the breadth of one’s outstretched arms.

“Be sure to mind your tongue,” she said. “You know how thoughts can sometimes go right from your head and out your mouth without pausing for assessment.”

He huffed. “What exactly do you think I’m going to say to pirates?”

“Shh!” She slapped his shoulder. They waited, listening.

More pounding footsteps, and shouts that possessed an undeniably feral quality. The hair on Nathaniel’s body stood on end, his mouth going dry. Perhaps the pirates would pass them by. Perhaps they’d plunder the cargo and be done with it. Perhaps—

The door burst open, almost flying off its hinges, and Nathaniel barely held in his yelp. His heart drummed so loudly he was certain the two invaders could hear. One of them brushed matted hair from his eyes. They both wore ripped and stained trousers as baggy as their shirts, and their boots were worn out.

The long-haired man’s beady gaze raked them up and down, and he asked his squat companion, “You ever fuck a bitch with pup?”

Nathaniel’s stomach swooped. How do they know? Susanna was hidden behind him. He lifted his chin, forcing strength to his words. “You shan’t lay so much as one filthy finger on my sister.”

Ignoring him, the squat man leered, baring snaggled, yellow teeth. He answered his friend’s question. “Good and juicy, I tell you.”

Behind him, Susanna dug her fingers into Nathaniel’s shoulder. Heart in his throat, he yanked the dagger from the waist of his breeches, brandishing it toward the pirates. “Stay back!”

The two blinked at Nathaniel, then each other, before bursting into raucous laughter. The long-haired man said, “Oh no, we’re done for, Deeks!”

Heavy footfalls sounded in the corridor, brazen and commanding. Spines snapping straight, the pirates stepped aside as a man filled the doorway, shoulders almost brushing the frame. He was tall enough to duck slightly as he entered, and his sharp gaze swept the cabin, which had never seemed quite so small.

He wore black from head to gold-tipped toes—open-collared shirt, trousers tucked into knee-high boots, and a long leather coat that flared out behind him. A pistol was tucked into his wide belt, and a cutlass winked from his hip. Gold gleamed on the belt buckle, matching the small square earring in his left ear, rings on his fingers, and the tips of those black boots.

The ends of a red sash dangled over his hip, the only splash of color aside from the gold. He had to be twice Nathaniel’s age, his face weather-worn, a scar jagging across his left temple. His dark hair was cut fairly close to his head, a surprise since Nathaniel had expected all pirates to have long, unruly hair like the animals they were.

His trimmed beard shadowed his strong jaw. In the low light, the color of his narrowed eyes was impossible to ascertain, but Nathaniel imagined they must be as black as the pirate’s soul.

He might have been the very devil himself.

Nathaniel’s palm sweated around the handle of the dagger, and he hated the tremors in his outstretched arm. His throat was painfully dry, and he croaked, “We—we don’t have anything of value. No gold or jewels worth your effort.”

Susanna added, “Even my wedding ring is plated.”

Tully, one of the Proud William’s young crew, had entered the cabin. The man—the pirate captain, undoubtedly—glanced to him. Tully nodded. “’Tis true. Only clothin’ and trinkets in their trunks.” He sniffed dismissively, tossing his reddish hair. “Nothin’ hidden anywhere in here we could find since we left London.”

Nathaniel had thought better of the crew, but saw now how naïve he’d been. It must have been Tully who had informed the pirates that Susanna was with child. “What a coward you are, Tully.”

He snorted. “As soon as I got a good look at the flag, I knew we were done for. Everyone knows the Sea Hawk will gut you from stem to stern once you’re in his talons. I ain’t dying for cargo I don’t give a fuck about and a captain who treats us like garbage.”

“Your destination is Primrose Isle?” The pirate—this Sea Hawk—demanded, his tone low and calm.

“Yes,” Nathaniel answered. “It’s a new colony.”

Tully nodded. “Her husband’s there. We’re to drop them off with their father. The old man’s the guvnor or some such thing.”

At this, the Sea Hawk seemed to jolt, but a moment later the ripple had vanished and he was still again, fearsome and dispassionate. Nathaniel thought he must have imagined the hiccup.

Yet a gleam entered the captain’s devilish eyes, and dread slithered through Nathaniel. The Sea Hawk loomed nearer and demanded, in the same deliberate but undeniable manner, “Your name, boy.”

Heart hammering, all he could manage was, “Uh…”

“This one’s called Bainbridge,” Tully offered.

“Bainbridge,” the captain repeated, barely a whisper now. “As in Walter Bainbridge?”

Fingers going numb around the dagger, Nathaniel nodded. He’d have bruises where Susanna clung to him, her sharp exhalations ghosting over the nape of his neck. There was no sense denying it. “Our father.”

“You’re the son Walter Bainbridge killed his wife to achieve?” The captain’s focus sent chills down Nathaniel’s spine.

He couldn’t hide his wince, and had to nod. His mother had never even held him before the rest of her lifeblood drained away. Susanna had been but six, spying through the keyhole, and she’d confessed it all after Nathaniel’s endless badgering when he was a lad.

Strange how he could experience the aching, hollow absence of a touch he’d never had, even after eighteen years.

The captain’s eyes glinted. Good God, the man was enormous. Nathaniel was tall enough, five feet and seven inches or so, but this monster towered well over six feet. It was all Nathaniel could do to hold his ground and not stagger back against Susanna. The tip of his blade quivered mere inches from the villain’s black heart.

The Sea Hawk gazed down at them as though they were prey he was most eager to consume. “Your father is a liar. Corrupt. An evildoer in silk stockings and a curled wig.”

Nathaniel swallowed hard, hand shaking. Could he lunge and push the dagger into this vile man’s heart? Not that he had much love for his father, but who was a pirate to talk of evildoers?

The Sea Hawk’s eyes glowed with hatred. “Your father cheated me. He was tasked with justice, with fairness. Instead he conspired to steal from me. He branded me a pirate when I was a privateer.”

“Aren’t they the same thing?” Nathaniel blurted. As the Sea Hawk’s nostrils flared, Susanna dug her nails into Nathaniel’s shoulder.

“No, they fucking are not,” the pirate gritted out. “Privateers are licensed. Legal. Privateers follow rules. Laws. Just as your father was supposed to as a judge in the Court of Admiralty in Jamaica. Your father tried to strip me and my men of everything we’d worked and suffered for. We escaped him, but in the years that have followed, he has never paid the price.”

Dread consumed Nathaniel. His father’s greed and avarice would once again bring suffering. If not for Walter’s mounting debts, Nathaniel and Susanna would still be safe at home, waiting until she had her babe before making the journey. Hollington wouldn’t have had to be sold at all, and now they faced God knew what at the mercy of pirates.

Oh Lord. Please spare Susanna and her child! 

Bile rose in his throat at the thought of any harm coming to his sister, terror clammy on his skin. Sweat slipped down Nathaniel’s spine. “I…” He racked his brain for something—anything—to say, some means of escape. His dagger shook, and he licked his dry lips. “I’m sorry.” He had to fix this.

A slow, ghastly smile curled the devil’s lips. “You will be.”

My Review:
I truly adored this gritty, yet tender, historical pirate romance.

Nathaniel Bainbridge is the only son of Walter Bainbridge, governor of Primrose Isle in the British West Indies. He’s eighteen and unable to read–what we would call a dyslexic. He was well-schooled in order to hide this deficiency, and he’s unwilling to reveal his other shame: he is attracted to men. It’s 1710, and the penalty for sodomy is death. Besides, Nathaniel’s suffered enough of his father’s physical and verbal beatings to last a lifetime. When his father’s fortunes turn and the ancestral home is sold to settle debts, Nathaniel and his pregnant sister, Susanna, are forced to sail to Primrose Isle where Walter and Susanna’s husband await them. Oh, and the wealthy planter’s daughter, Elizabeth, whom Nathaniel is expected to marry forthwith so Walter can use her dowry to finance his colony-building schemes. Nathaniel almost wishes he could be lost at sea.

And then…pirate attack.

The Sea Hawk, a large, fearsome pirate captain, waylays their vessel. When he hears that Walter Bainbridge’s son is aboard, he knows he’s about to get his revenge. Ten years before Governor Bainbridge revoked Hawk’s privateer status, seizing his vessel, cargo and branding him a pirate. It was all a scheme to enrich himself, and Hawk was rescued by his crew just before he’d have been hanged. Never forgetting the cost he and his men took, the Sea Hawk has simmered on his anger, and now plans to ransom this “Plum” (Nathaniel) back to the governor…if only he knew how dire the Bainbridge finances were. Nathaniel is afraid his father won’t want him back anyway, no matter the cost, which in this case is steep. He’s going to spend the next four weeks aboard The Damned Manta, Sea Hawk’s ship, a prisoner in the captains’ quarters–so no one dares to spoil their prize.

Nathaniel is terrified of his situation, and intrigued by Captain Hawk. He’s a stunning man, for being a bit older–near his forties. Nathaniel notices the hitch in his steps, caused by aching bone and muscle, and he’s taken by Hawk’s at times tender treatment of him. Nathaniel inadvertently pleases Hawk, by not being too whiny and showing mettle. He’s a fast learner, despite his disability, and Hawk even admires Nathaniel’s resilience. In such close quarters, it’s inevitable that they find some common ground, and it happens to be in their preference for men. Hawk has free rein on his own desires, though he never takes his crew to bunk–he prefers to keep things anonymous in ports. That said, wouldn’t it be juicy to despoil Walter Bainbridge’s heir? And Nathaniel, afraid he’ll die soon, either in a wreck, in battle against other pirates or the Navy, or killed when his father doesn’t pay the ransom, does NOT want to die untouched.

Nathaniel’s desire, once tapped, becomes a bone-deep need that Hawk struggles not to respond to. Intimacy build, though the good will of the crew is dependent upon ransoming Nathaniel. Can Hawk let go of the only lover he’s adored since he was a lad himself? Could he kill his “Plum” if the ransom isn’t paid? There is a lot of soul-searching and sexual exploration happening here, and it was sweet to be inside both Nathaniel’s and Hawk’s POV. They have quite the dilemma, with conflicting duties and desires. Both men are sympathetic, and interesting on their own. The ending is intense, and unexpected, by the character’s admission. How could they find happiness in this world where criminals can’t disappear and men can’t love each other freely? Their crimes are capital, but their plans are homely: to find a place where Hawk could drop his pirate captain persona, fish, and live with Nathaniel in peace. Is it possible? Tragedy might abound, but so does love. And Nathaniel is unwilling to let his lunatic father destroy Hawk for the sake of his own pride. Expect sexytimes, heroic measures, a crew-charming lad, a gruff pirate who wants to settle down, and battles with man and nature. The sexytimes were sweet, even when they are rough.

Interested? You can find KIDNAPPED BY THE PIRATE on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book 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.

Stranger-Danger? EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Keeping with my pre-Halloween “weird” theme, I’m sharing a review for a soon-to-be-released YA adventure romance from Cat Jordan. EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH is the story of a boy who’s given up on space-stories…then finds a supposed “alien” girl on his property.

The book releases 11/7, but you can scroll down and pre-order it today! Also, enter the giveaway to win 1 of 3 $10 Amazon GCs or one of two signed copies of the book.

About the book:
How long does it take to travel twenty light years to Earth?
How long does it take to fall in love?

To the universe, eight days is a mere blip, but to Matty Jones, it may be just enough time to change his life.

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Of course she is.

Matty has heard a million impossible UFO stories for each of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. When he was a kid, he and his dad searched the skies and studied the constellations. But all of that is behind him. Dad’s gone—but now there’s Priya. She must be crazy…right?

As Matty unravels the mystery of the girl in the field, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined. And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

A heart-wrenching romance full of twists that are sure to bring tears to readers’ eyes, from Cat Jordan, author of THE LEAVING SEASON.

My Review:

Matty Jones is a high school junior on summer break when two things happen on the same day:  his unemployed UFO conspiracy-theorist father walks out, and a strange girl claiming to be an alien appears in the fallow field on his family’s defunct farm. Matty’s furious with his dad, a man who’d been slipping away from his responsibilities for years. His mother is devastated, but Matty had seen this coming.

Matty had grown up knowing that his dad was big into space and UFOs. It was local legend that an alien aircraft landed in their field on the night his father was born–but the government washed away the evidence. Still, Matty and his dad spent ages outside on the their twin telescopes searching the night skies for something out there. His dad blogged, and over the past few years the tenor of the blog had shifted from informative to conspiracy-oriented. Along with this, his dad pulled away from Matty and his mom–even going so far as to have affairs with some of his ardent blog followers. Matty thinks good riddance to his slacker dad, and is frustrated that his mom even harbors any hope he’ll return.

Meanwhile Priya, the “alien” in his field, is busy collecting data about Earth. Her home planet, she reveals, is deep in the Libra constellation, and Matty’s too lonely and downhearted to simply brush her off. He wants to believe that Priya is a confused girl who’ll move on soon–like all the other UFO lunatics his father had ginned up over the years. But, there’s clearly something wrong with Priya–she is dressed bizarrely–in a tutu and wearing a platinum wig over her dark hair–and has trouble with balance that she ascribes to differences in Earth’s gravity. She can read Matty’s thoughts, and it unsettles him. She also struggles with language, and he thinks maybe she’s from a different country, completely discounting the notion that she’s possibly an alien.

She’s still in his field the next day, and the next, and the more time Matty spends with her, the more he wants to be near her, even as she resurrects good memories of time spent with his dad. The conflict is real for Matty, but so is the compassion. He and Priya share some intimacy over this time, each night watching the skies for her ship to arrive and whisk her back through the wormhole to her planet.

Matty’s friends draw attention to Priya’s weirdness, and it leads to the big crisis and reveal of Priya for exactly who she is. It’s a good and honest twist, that breaks Matty’ s heart while at the same time restoring the abandoned bond between himself and his father. Though that makes it sound a lot more complicated than it is. At it’s core, this is a story about a boy falling for people who leave him behind, and learning how to deal with that. Matty is a strong character, a good guy who felt real. He’s not perfect; he’s a slacker like his dad, and plans to spend his summer riding dirt bikes, visiting the beach and getting high with his best friend. His encounters with Priya open his eyes to the wonder of his mundane life, and foster a new sense of purpose that he may, or may not, pursue.

The truth of it is, there are mysteries in this world that can’t be explained completely, and must be taken on faith. Gravity, Priya asserted, was one of those. Love, as Matty learned, was another. It’s a sweet book, with a heart-tugging resolution that fans of YA will really enjoy.

Interested? You can find EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of its 11/7 release on Harper Collins, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Indie Bound.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win 1 of 3 $10 Amazon GCs or one of two signed copies of the book.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author In Cat jordan’s words…

When I was a teenager, the very first book I ever tried to write was pretentious and stilted and set in a future where there was no paper. Obviously, I fancied myself another Ray Bradbury (who I was thrilled to meet not once but twice!). The book had an awesome title and no plot but I had the most fun creating the characters and the world they lived in. That to me is the most enjoyable part of writing a novel: envisioning a world and populating it with all kinds of people and dogs. Gotta have a dog.

The worlds I create now as an adult are based on my travels from coast to coast in the US, to Europe and Mexico and Canada, and on the people I have met and loved and admired and feared. And dogs.

Currently I live in Los Angeles. With my dog.

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Out Today! DIGNITY Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. This one features a reclusive computer genius and the homeless  woman who picks a fight with the biggest dog in the yard. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends living on the edge of the law.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
About the book:
Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.

What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.

How about a little taste?

Protective and possessive instincts coiled around my gut and rage felt like it was going to choke me. I was so used to being cold and numb, I didn’t know what to do with the fire that was licking at my insides.

“I saw him take her out of the trunk when they got to the docks. He moved like a cop. Not the kind who is there to actually protect and serve, but the kind who pulls you over for no reason and slaps cuffs on you to prove a point. I was locked up for a lot of years, boy genius. I know what a dirty cop looks like. He had a busted-up nose and stitches on the side of his face. Should be pretty easy for Titus to identify him.”

Titus King was Bax’s half-brother and the only law enforcement officer in the entire city any of us slightly trusted. He was one of the few men the Point hadn’t tainted. He was a good guy, trying to do right by the people in our city, and he wouldn’t hesitate to throw Goddard’s dirty cop under the bus. But I didn’t want anyone going after the Mayor. His sadistic ass was all mine.

“Do you think they made it out of the container after you hit it with the truck?” That had been my idea. Nassir was only sending in Booker and Benny to get Noe out, but I didn’t think it was enough fire power. Since he refused to let me go, even siccing Chuck on me as a babysitter until the job was done, I made Benny go over the plan with me no less than a hundred times until I came up with a better one. Knocking the container sideways with one of the big semi-trucks that littered the area would give Benny the time he needed to get Noe out and distract the outside security detail enough that Booker could do his thing. It was a risk because the people inside the container—including Noe and Benny—might have ended up injured when the thing flipped, but the odds of them making it out were much higher than if Benny tried to take on everyone on his own.

“If Benny made it out, we won’t hear from him again. That was the deal he made with Nassir. He would get your girl and then disappear, so he can go and live happily ever after with his. As for the rest of them,” he shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Your girl said someone had a gun, so if they were shooting at Benny, he would do whatever he could to make sure they stopped. He’s not about to catch a bullet for any of us. I know you want that asshole alive for your own reasons, but honestly, it’s better if Benny popped him.”

It was better, but it wasn’t what I wanted. A bullet between the eyes was way too easy for a guy like Goddard. People would bemoan how bad the Point had become, how Goddard had been a staunch supporter of crime prevention measures. He would die a martyr and a legend. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. I wanted who Goddard was, who he really was, out in the open. I wanted his mansion doors flung wide open and every skeleton inside the walls exposed and thrown out on the perfectly manicured lawn for the entire world to see. I hated people who hid behind the law. I hated when men in any position of power got off on using their elevated status to jerk the helpless and hopeless around. Death wasn’t the answer. Devastation was.

I closed my eyes and squeezed the cold, still hand that was clasped in mine. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and fury lit up my blood like popping and sizzling firecrackers.

“When do we ever end up with anything that’s better for us?” That wasn’t how the Point worked. That wasn’t how we worked.

Booker grunted and I felt him move behind me. “It happens. It doesn’t seem like better should be able to find a foothold in this place, but despite all odds, it does.”

My Review:
Snowden Stark was a good kid with an amazing talent for writing code. His parents and twin sister were his whole world, but a series of unfortunate events–not likely random–left him isolated with his intellect and a huge grudge against the government. He grew up in the wealthy part of The Point, fast friends with Nassir, the man who rules the crime-ridden enterprises that drag it down. With no one to trust, he stuck with Nassir, and they’ve made life hard for folks who deserved it. Think of him as a digital Robin Hood, of a sort.

Noe Lee is a Korean runaway from a horror of an adopted family. She’d rather live on the streets using her wits than return to their unholy embrace–but she won’t leave The Point either. She makes cash by creating new identities for people who desperately need them, and one of her recent customers was the 16 y/o pregnant stepdaughter of The Point’s crooked Mayor Goddard. Oh sure, he looks squeaky-clean to his constituents and donors, but he’s a bad, bad dude in a city filled with them. Noe’s on the run, and wants Snowden Stark’s help–which he refuses to give. At first. But when it comes to a rescue, this man can bring the fire.

Stark takes Noe in to his world, and she’s as committed to bringing Goddard to justice as Stark seems to be. An abuse survivor herself, Noe recognized the pattern with Goddard and helps flush out many other victims. Meanwhile, Stark and Noe have an attraction that won’t be stopped. They understand life on the fringes, and have the ability to smooth each other’s rough edges. But, Stark’s sense of duty is a little strong, and his single-minded pursuit of Goddard leaves Noe feeling a bit cold. Good thing Stark has a pal who won’t let him let a good woman slip away.

This is a dark story and abuse survivors should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of molestation experiences. It’s a bit Batman, too, with all the gadgets and tech warfare. I liked how they plotted their revenge, and unmasking Goddard was a sweet, and very dangerous, enterprise. It’s always good when the bad guys get taken down, even if it’s merely in fiction. The world is well-described enough that the more unseemly sides of it seem perfectly commonplace. Corrupt, pedophile mayor? Sure. Computer geniuses who live in the shadows doing white hat work? Yep! Big, mean bouncer/enforcers who have a soft side? Why not! The juxtapositions are interesting, and the delayed gratification of the sexytimes was in-character for Stark, at the very least. It’s a twisty ride to love, but it does happen.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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Super Sequel NOT YOUR VILLAIN–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA LGBTQ-friendly superhero novel from CB Lee. NOT YOUR VILLAIN is the second book in her Sidekick Squad series and is a fantastic follow-up to NOT YOUR SIDEKICK. Both books are set in the US, a little over a century into the future, when superheros and villains take center-stage in the world…and Bells is a master of his future.

Check out the excerpt and be sure to enter the $25 GC and book giveaway below!

About the book:
Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

How about a little taste?

Captain Orion walks into view, dragging a machine on a cart behind her. “I don’t like that smirk he’s giving you. Shame we couldn’t get the audio on that feed to work. Step aside, let me get a look at him.”

Bells has only seen Orion in holovids and during that one, frenzied encounter at Abby’s house. It’s startling how different she looks now from the shiny, polished hero who graced comic book covers. Her hair is tied in a messy ponytail; her bangs fall limp across her forehead. She’s wearing her usual blue-and-white supersuit, but Bells has never seen it this dirty or in such a state of disrepair; there’s a patch ripped in the leggings, and her knee is poking out. Orion’s cape trails behind her; the edge is frayed and riddled with dirt. The cart she dragged in rolls onto it, causing her to stumble. Orion yanks her cape free of the cart, straightens up, and glares at Bells, as if she’s daring him to laugh.

Bells recognizes the machinery sitting on the cart; it’s one they used at the training center to measure the power levels of meta-humans.

He remembers the last time he was tested. All the other students had taken care not to use their powers all day so they could get an “at rest” rating and be sure that the League could see their full potential. He kept his Barry shift on all day, so that by the time he was measured, he’d be so tired out he’d get a low rating.

What does Orion want with me?

The former hero looks down her nose at Bells. “Well. The famous, talented Chameleon. The League was all about you. The next me, perhaps. Or maybe that was just what they were filling your head with. Did they promise you glory? Greatness?”

“Free lunch,” Bells says. “And travel. To the training center for three summers. Got to see a lot of places. I liked Baja, but the last one was pretty cool. The North is awfully pretty. Lots of trees. Huge, like giants. And last year I got to go to the beach all the time, so—win.”

“I don’t think you understand the gravity of your situation, Barry.” Orion grins like a feral cat. “I’ve got your file right here.”

Orion flips through the thick sheaf of papers. Bells takes a deep breath when he spots the word Broussard, followed by a photo of the restaurant and even a picture of him and Simon as kids. The file must have been important for Orion to print them on actual paper. Or maybe Orion can’t connect to the Net anymore.

How long has she been on the lam? What was she proposing to Stone? The League obviously doesn’t know where she is, since they still claimed she was in Corrections.

Even if she doesn’t have the League behind her, she’s still dangerous, especially if she knows who he really is.

My Review:
Bells has grown up in Andover, a smallish town in the Nevada desert, several hundred miles from what remained of Los Angeles, after the Disasters and World War III are just stories in history books. Nearly 100 years ago, when humanity was still fighting to survive, there was a series of large solar flares that caused cataclysmic events, and generated the first generation of meta-humans, humans with super powers, of any type.

Bells is a black transboy with the power to alter his appearance, and that of anyone or anything he touches. He’s dealing with the meta-human stuff pretty well for a kid whose parents run a black market agribusiness. Oh, and who also has a long-time crush on his best friend Emma. In the beginning he keeps his identity as “Chameleon” one of the newly inducted member of the Heroes League of Heroes. Unfortunately, Jess, who has an undetected super power recognizes that Bells has been made a pawn in the game of heroes vs. villains. Jess noticed that the “villains” that Chameleon was impersonating on a series of “training missions” all had characteristics of her good pal, Bells, and Jess reveals the bigger plot that surrounds a group of missing villains, and Captain Orion, leader of the Heroes League.

This story overlaps NOT YOUR SIDEKICK and picks up with Jess, Bells, and their other pals trying to rescue Jess’ girlfriend Abby’s parents from captivity. Abby has a super power, but she’s been given a serum by Captain Orion to negate her mechanopath abilities.

Just as Bells is getting a handle on his powers and his feelings for Emma, life gets in the way. Ema finds her own boyfriend, and Chameleon’s activity in rescuing Abby’s mom leads to him being listed as Public Enemy ! by the Heroes League. That said, he finds some comfort in pals that didn’t have strong enough powers to make it into the League–and his mission to unmask the REAL villains of this world (think grown-ups in the government) brings some results. To a degree. If nothing else, Jess’ superhero parents take their mission seriously, and superheroes and villains are uniting to defeat the actual bad guys and bring justice to those who need it.

I love the multicultural cast, and the world is beautifully rendered. All to locales jump off the page, and Bells’ plight, in life, love and activity, is a sympathetic one. I love his sweetness, and his commitment to do the right thing even when it’s really, really difficult. It seems as if Bells’ perserverance wins him both the respect and validation he sought when he hungered to be a hero, and I was happy for that. I wonder who will lead us to eventual victory in book three. It feels like Jess’ sister Claudia is a strong candidate. This is an excellent book series for teens who are identified, or questioning, in the LGBT spectrum, as the relationships are all affirming and fluid. Bells is trans, Jess is bi, but seriously dating a girl, Emma has two moms, and there are many other examples of queer life, too. This world posits that nothing is unusual about those connections, and that felt pretty super, too.

Interested? You can find NOT YOUR VILLAIN on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Book Depository, and Indiebound.

****GIVEAWAY****

Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC to Interlude Press, or one of FIVE e-books of NOT YOUR VILLAIN.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer, rock climber, and pinniped enthusiast from Southern California. A first-generation Asian American, she is passionate about working in communities of color and empowering youth to be inspired to write characters and stories of their own. Lee’s debut novel Seven Tears at High Tide was published by Duet Books in 2015 and named a finalist in the Bisexual Books Awards. This summer, C.B. was named to Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.

You can find C B online on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, twitter and Instagram.