Steamy!! THE JOCK SCRIPT–Audiobook Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance audiobook from Lane Hayes. THE JOCK SCRIPT is the third book in her new The Script Club series, and features a genius astrophysicist who inexplicably ends up tutoring a bicurious lacrosse coach in gay sex. You can catch my review for earlier books in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES and RULES OF PLAY, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too. I loved the audiobook, which is sooo steamy.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC.

About the book:

The nerd, the coach, and the hookup…

Asher-

Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left. Sure, the idea of a quick, no-strings intimate rendezvous via hookup app sounds oddly thrilling, but it’s simply not me. Or maybe it is me, because it happened…and I liked it. Until I realized he looked familiar for a reason. A bad reason. Now I’ve made a faux pas with the sexiest man on planet Earth, and my internal karma system requires me to fix it. Help!

Blake-

I may seem like I have it together, but the truth is, I’m a hot mess. I’m so deep in the closet that I can’t remember my real name some days. That’s okay. The benefit of one-night stands is anonymity. Until Asher. Not a total surprise. I’ve always had a thing for geeks, but I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s a pint-sized dynamo on a quest for perfection who can help me come out…if I follow his script.

Hmm. I’m in.

The Jock Script is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance starring a bowtie wearing nerd, a sexy lacrosse coach, and a shenanigan inducing script!

How about a little taste?

Asher closed his mouth in a tight line and sighed. “We should change the topic. Every time I’m with you, I secure my spot in Hades.”

I threw my head back and laughed. “What’s with you and the guilty conscience? I admire your commitment to honesty, Ash, but I don’t think it’s healthy to punish yourself after the fact. Not to mention, your rules seem arbitrary. They don’t make sense.”

“Sure, they do.”

“Hmph. You say sex is a part of nature, and you’re happy to discuss it until your internal sex-o-meter overloads and you decide you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary. It’s like you want to punish yourself for no good reason.”

Asher opened and closed his mouth. “I don’t do that.”

I polished off my salad, pushed my plate aside, and reached for my wineglass. “Yeah, you do. You should give yourself a break once in a while.”

“Says the devil incarnate.”

“Who me?” I flashed a roguish grin. “I’m not so bad, and you don’t have to be so good. Is this the remnants of a super religious upbringing or—”

“Oh, gosh, no. My mother is a hippie. She’s not judgmental at all.”

“Then why—”

“I’m just weird, Blake.”

His tone was firm rather than sharp and sent a strong message that he’d prefer to drop the subject. In fact, he looked suspiciously eager to greet the waiter when he returned to clear our salad dishes and set dinner plates on the table. I observed his animated hand gestures, his starched collar, and perfectly straight bow tie, wondering what he was hiding under all that armor.

Asher wasn’t weird, he was—okay, fine…he was totally weird. But I had a feeling he was compensating too. Making up for something or glossing over an unseen flaw. Sort of like a kid standing guard over a lamp he’d busted by accident. No one would notice as long as he made sure the unblemished side was never shown.

Call me crazy, but that got me. Yes, I was very attracted to him and definitely wanted to get naked and horizontal with him ASAP. But I wanted to know him too. I wanted to peel away his protective layers and study his quirks. His internal system of checks and balances fascinated me.

I twirled my fork around my pasta and smiled. “You know, I’m no devil and anyone who sucks dick like you cannot be an angel. There’s got to be a good middle ground for us.”

“Yes. As friends.”

“Right,” I agreed, shifting in my seat to adjust my cock when he hummed around a mouthful of pasta. No joke, my dick woke up at the mention of alien sex and was now stretching the seam of my zipper. I sipped my wine and willed my body to get the “friend” memo. “So, buddy…since we’re supposed to be spending time together now, I think you should come to my game next weekend.”

“Game,” he repeated, drawing out the single syllable into two. “The one you coach? Or do you play also?”

“I play with a club team, but our season ended a couple of weeks ago. We’re on a break till summer, which is fine ’cause my kids have finals and my girls’ team is in the last stretch before CIFs.”

“I don’t understand that acronym, but I’ll come to your game and maybe afterward we can do power tool…things.”

“Sounds like a date. The game is at ten at Westgate. I’ll text you the address.”

“Okay. I have questions, like…where do I sit and what should I wear? Also, what are the rules?”

I smiled. “Sit wherever you want and wear whatever you want. The idea is to have fun. Well…and to kick OC Lutheran’s ass. As for the rules…the goal is to put the ball in the net more times than our opponent. You’ll be able to follow along.”

He didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do some research. Now, what about us? Do you want me to be there and not speak or…are you going to introduce me? And if so, what will you say? I need to rehearse my lines.”

“Lines? This isn’t a play, Ash. We’re friends.”

“No, we’re not. We hardly know each other.”

I frowned. “Then we need to fix that ’cause I’m going to introduce you as my friend. It’s less complicated that way.”

“And if someone asks where we met, I’m allowed to improvise, correct?” he teased. taking a big bite of pasta.

Too big of a bite. He slurped a rogue piece of tagliatelle with wide eyes, then covered his mouth with his napkin. It was pretty freaking cute. I pointed at the sauce on his cheek.

When he swiped at the wrong side, I hooked my finger and motioned for him to lean in. I wiped his cheek with my thumb, underestimating the intimacy of the gesture. The strong current of heat and desire sizzling between us threw me off guard, rendering me speechless.

My Review:

Asher and Blake are an odd couple matched up out of lust. They find each other on a hook up app, because Asher needs some release, and Blake is exploring his closeted bi side. Blake is a jock. a lacrosse coach and Asher is am astrophysicist. They shouldn’t work, but Blake is so intrigued by Asher’s fearless knowing of himself, and his quest for “perfection”. Blake feels like a bad guy because he’s always had issues settling with a person, while questioning his sexuality. And, Asher’s attitude is so refreshing that he asks him for tips on coming out. While they have lots and lots of sex, developing a friendship though hooking up and then getting more invested in their emotions as the time progresses

This story is really fun and upbeat, and the audiobook brings that same energy. Narrator Alexander Cendese renders clear voices, with plenty of range for the few female parts as well. Asher sounds a little pompous, snarky and stuffy, while Blake is a bit jock-dude-bro sounding. In the moments of passion, it’s just as steamy as anyone could hope for, and the urgency and release is palpable. At just under 6 hours, the pacing is just right and the book kept me company for a few longer car rides and some pre-bedtime stories. I liked the novel and I really thought the narration brought all the characters to life that made me like it even more.

Interested? You can find THE JOCK SCRIPT on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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


Loving and Family SAILOR PROOF–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M navy romance from Annabeth Albert. SAILOR PROOF is the first book in her Shore Leave series that features naval submarine officers finding love. In this installment, a naval chief looks to upstage his cheating ex and ends up falling head over heels for his best friend’s younger brother. 

About the book:

The sexy Navy chief and his best friend’s adorkable little brother…

It’s petty, but Naval Chief Derrick Fox wishes he could exact a little revenge on his ex by showing off a rebound fling. His submarine is due to return to its Bremerton, Washington, home base soon and Derrick knows all too well there won’t be anyone waiting with a big, showy welcome.

Enter one ill-advised plan…

Arthur Euler is the guy you go to in a pinch—he’s excellent at out-of-the-box solutions. It’s what the genius music-slash-computer nerd is known for. So when he finds out Derrick needs a favor, he’s happy to help. He can muster the sort of welcome a Naval Chief deserves, no problem at all.

Except it is a problem. A very big problem.

When Arthur’s homecoming welcome is a little too convincing, when a video of their gangplank smooch goes enormously viral, they’re caught between a dock and a hard place. Neither of them ever expected a temporary fake relationship to look—or feel—so real. And Arthur certainly never considered he’d be fighting for a very much not-fake forever with a military man.

My Review:

Navy chief Derrick Fox is jealous as hell. His ex was messing around on him with an officer on his submarine–and now that officer has won the coveted First Kiss raffle, which means he’ll be one of the first shore-side men when they dock at Bremerton in days. And, then he’ll have to watch his cheating ex smooch it up all over the place. If only he had someone he could meet up with–not that he has any family to speak of, which is also why he’s so glad to be good friends with Calder Euler, a fellow chief. Calder’s youngest brother Arthur is 25, out and reportedly attractive. Derrick has known him for a decade, but he’d always been young and spindly. With Calder’s assurance that Arthur would not only show up and be a great first-kiss option to try and make his ex and the crappy officer jealous, but he won’t make a fuss about it. Because Arthur has no intentions falling for a navy man.

Arthur’s ready to do a good deed, helping out Derrick. He’d always had a low-key attraction for the man, who is gorgeous. But, neither Arthur nor Calder expected their parents to show up and welcome Calder home. Catching Derrick and Arthur in an intense lip-lock–one that goes viral and does incense the cheating ex–means the world to the folks. They had thought Arthur would remain single a lot longer, and Derrick, to them, is a huge catch. So, now that they think Derrick and Arthur are an item, they want him to join the Euler family retreat.

Ugh. Complication! So, Arthur convinces Derrick to act as his fake boyfriend for the week because then he can get a separate cabin, and not stay with all the nephews and nieces. The Euler family is incredibly competitive, and Derrick is a little taken aback at how they seem to belittle Arthur for not being as physically agile as the rest of his fit military family. They push Arthur into planning the annual kiddos talent show, and he runs with it, with Derrick’s great support, to build every child’s esteem. It’s an almost radical departure from their business-as-usual winner-take-all mentality, and it really makes a big impression on Derrick, who is already pretty enamored with Arthur. The stunning man who met him at Bremerton is not the young, gangly band nerd he’d met years ago while hanging with Calder. No, he’s an accomplished musician with a thriving composing career. Derrick marvels at Arthur’s skill coddling self-conscious kiddos and helping them find their happy places. And Arthur himself thrives on Derrick’s admiration. In fact, well, both men are falling into love while playing out this close-quarters fake boyfriend scheme. So, yeah, they get to have some fun while sharing that tiny cabin with it’s sweet bathtub.

It’s a sweet and sexy story, with the added family drama creating a crucible that melts Arthur and Derrick together. The Eulers are a fun bunch, if a little tribal and low-key toxic. I was so glad to see both Derrick and Arthur call out their competitiveness, and change their viewpoint to some degree. It was so fun watching Derrick, who’s so loving and so isolated, fall so hard for Arthur. Though Arthur’s aversion to being a military partner is strong, his impressions of what it means to be a partner were based on his youthful experience watching his mom put her life on hold for his dad’s career. As an adult, he’s now having real conversations to discover what it would look like to have an enlisted partner. Because, he’s falling just as hard for Derrick, and he wants to support him while also honoring his own needs. 

There is an unexpected separation, but it’s good because that break allows for true reflection and the space to plan for a brighter future, together. I’m eager to see what happens in the next book–because I think Calder’s going to find his true love.    

Interested? You can find SAILOR PROOF on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy provided via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Find Annabeth online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

All Growed Up LOVE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for a newly released contemporary romance out now from bestselling author Cathy Yardley. LOVE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE pairs two YouTube darlings who were frenemies in high school, but grew up well! 

Scroll down for the excerpt and review.

LCS hi resAbout the book:

Back in high school, Lily Wang wanted to be popular, but she considered herself lucky to be part of a tight group of oddballs and honors students called the Nerd Herd. Now, at twenty-eight, she feels like she’s finally on the cusp of succeeding as a beauty influencer—if she can hit five million subscribers, brands will take notice and she could get her own makeup line.

Fellow Nerd Herd alum Tobin Bui has had a lot of success as a YouTube gamer. But the road to online stardom has been rocky. First, he disappointed his parents by dropping out of college, and now, after years of pranks, skits, and playthroughs, he’s struggling to come up with new content to satisfy his ever-growing fan base. His agents say he needs cross-audience appeal, a new twist.

When Nerd Herd frenemy Lily approaches Tobin about teaming up to do a video to bolster her brand and reinvigorate his, he agrees. But when their first collab video goes viral, their relationship heats up too. With the whole internet watching, will these two former misfits finally realize they’re perfect together?

 

My Review:

Lily Wang always wanted to be a popular girl, but alas, those folks never wanted to invite her into that circle–they mostly snubbed her. And, it stung. She may have had good friends in the “Nerd Herd,” graduated high in her class, and gotten a degree in business economics from UCLA, but she never did get over it. Being pretty and petite has been her brand as a beauty YouTuber for several years now, and she’s living on the ad revenue. She has just under four million subscribers and a well-defined strategy, but if she wants to crack the next level–getting makeup companies to release palettes in her brand–she’ll need to up her game from the sedate, and professional, shows she’s known for. 

Tobin Bui was a class clown, but a fellow member of the Nerd Herd back in Ponto Beach with Lucy. He’s a YouTuber as well, successful without the support of his parents, with a channel that favors the kind of harmless silliness, and gaming playthroughs Tobin was known for in high school. In fact, Lily (and Tobin’s parents) barely see that Tobin has grown up–though Lily knows he must be working hard with his high subscriber numbers. And, well, it seems like the universe is leading them into partnership, because each of them needs to diversify their subscriber base to build viewership that will support new and better projects.

Thing is, they are stinking cute together online with their longstanding acquaintance and their pranks-gone-rogue. It’s almost immediate that their fans are “shipping” them. And, well, they have both grown up very well–Tobin is lanky but built and Lily is a delicate-looking rose of a lasy. They have insane chemistry, both on and off camera. As they reconnect–and Lily begins to catch up with the Ponto Beach crowd she’d left behind following college–they each begine to wonder if a relationship is the right thing, for right now. Tobin had been getting burned out from filming before his collab with Lily, and he’s ready to settle down with such a fine, amazing woman–once he gets a bit of a mental break. Lilly, who has always been so prim, proper, and driven, begins to see that Tobin’s laizzes faire approach to Tubing might have merit she wouldn’t acknowledge, before. 

It’s a slow burn though, as they build a real and true love between them–and share a whole new beginning together. I liked that there was some different representation in this story, with Lily and Tobin being first-generation Asian Americans, who have a little more cosmopolitan view of the world. It looks like there will be another book in this series, which would be fun to read.

Interested? You can find LOVE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:

Cathy Yardley is an award-winning author of romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy, who has sold over 1.2 million copies of books for publishers like St. Martin’s, Avon, and Harlequin. She writes fun, geeky, and diverse characters who believe that underdogs can make good and sometimes being a little wrong is just right. She likes writing about quirky, crazy adventures, because she’s had plenty of her own: she had her own army in the Society of Creative Anachronism; she’s spent a New Year’s on a 3-day solitary vision quest in the Mojave Desert; she had VIP access to the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Now, she spends her time writing in the wilds of East Seattle, trying to prevent her son from learning the truth of any of said adventures, and riding herd on her two dogs (and one husband.)

Connect with Cathy on her Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or get her Newsletter list.

Connecting Through THE LIGHTS ON KNOCKBRIDGE LANE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Roan Parrish. THE LIGHTS ON KNOCKBRIDGE LANE takes us back to Garnet Run, Montana (book 3 of the series) with a single father and his precocious child inexplicably wooing a reclusive climate scientist. You might also like BETTER THAN PEOPLE or BEST LAID PLANS which has some connecting characters in this small town life.

Lights Knockbridge coverAbout the book:Can one man’s crowded, messy life fill another man’s empty heart?

Raising a family was always Adam Mills’ dream, although solo parenting and moving back to tiny Garnet Run certainly were not. After a messy breakup, Adam is doing his best to give his young daughter the life she deserves—including accepting help from their new, reclusive neighbor to fulfill her Christmas wish.

Though the little house may not have “the most lights ever,” the Mills home begins to brighten as handsome Wes Mobray spends more time there and slowly sheds his protective layers. But when the eye-catching house ends up in the news, Wes has to make a choice: hide from the darkness of his unusual past or embrace the light of a future—and a family—with Adam.

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

My Review:
Adam Mills is licking his wounds in his tiny hometown of Garnet Run, Wyoming, now that his marriage is over. He’s just moved in and is trying to reconnect to his only family who will speak with him, a younger sibling called River. They live and work at a cat shelter as will help out with the care of Adam’s eight year old daughter Gus (August). And, River hooked Adam up with a job at Charlie’s hardware. We learned all about Charlie and Rye in BEST LAID PLANS. Gus is a heck of a handful, and Adam’s reminded of this when she is hauled back home by their surly recluse of a neighbor Westley Mowbray–after she broke into his basement to see his lizards.

Wes is a man living in a run-down house on Knockbridge Lane. He’s nocturnal, and weird, and all the neighbors think he’s a vampire or a witch, but Gus adores him immediately. Because she’s enamored with science and it’s clear to her that Wes is kindred spirit. He’s running all sorts of experiments out there in his home, and Gus absolutely wants to know Wes’s secrets. Wes isn’t sure how he became so fascinating but he’s been alone so long that it’s a bit unnerving to be so wholly welcomed by anyone, and Adam does make him welcome, as long as he leaves his tarantula back at his home.

Getting over Mason, Adam’s ex, has been hard, and he really wants to make Christmas good for Gus now that they are settling into their new home. Her idea of what would make this the best Christmas is to decorate their house with the most Christmas lights ever, and Adam is determined to try and make that happen. He puts out a call for donations of lights on his Instagram, and is happy to receive lights from some nearby folks who can drop them off locally. This means they need Wes’s help attaching them to the house, which keeps Wes in their orbit, to some degree. He’s not super neighborly, at first, but Gus is certainly charming him with her keen interest in all his experiments.

Adam’s more than overwhelmed with his personal issues, and he’s trying to mask it for Gus’s sake, putting up the lights that keep pouring in and sharing pics of the results on his social media. His request for lights goes viral, though, which starts to bring people from all over to take pics of the house, and this spooks Gus and Wes–as well as Adam. Wes has been hiding out in Garnet Run from his own sordid history–once a semi-famous child actor, he’s keeping a super low profile due to anxiety from paparazzos. And it’s building again with the strangers who are appearing on Adam’s lawn.

This is honestly such an amazing read. I’m not actually doing it justice in the review. Adam is a sweetheart, a big ol’ marshmallow trying to cope with his grief and manage the care of his exuberant and precocious daughter. She’s a trip, and I loved how she and Adam were so tight in their bond. Meanwhile, Wes doesn’t want to need anyone, and he thinks being a recluse will facilitate that, but he’s parched earth awaiting a rain–and Gus and Adam are a flood of love. He has no capacity to keep their generosity of hearth and home at bay. That said, there are moments of hurt, and self-preservation, and need. And, sometimes there do not match up well for Adam, Wes and Gus. They each have issues to work through, and it takes a minute or two to find closure and allow healing to happen.

There aren’t a whole lot of steamy moments, but there is joy, and elation, and connection–not only for Adam and Wes, but for Wes and his estranged family, for Wes and his community–that he thought he could live without. Well, Adam may not exactly connect with Bettie, Wes’ pet tarantula, but they do reach an understanding of sorts. And, because this is romance, there will be a falling out and a grand gesture and these guys will connect ever stronger after having that small break. I’m so in love with this series that I STILL wish Garnet Run was a real place so I could be friends with Adam, and chat with Wes and help Gus with her next experiment.

Interested? You can find THE LIGHTS ON KNOCKBRIDGE LANE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

You can find Roan online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Rebound Love THE JOCK SCRIPT– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. THE JOCK SCRIPT is the third book in her new The Script Club series, and features a genius astrophysicist who inexplicably ends up tutoring a bicurious lacrosse coach in gay sex. You can catch my review for earlier books in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES and RULES OF PLAY, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.

About the book:

The nerd, the coach, and the hookup…

Asher-

Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left. Sure, the idea of a quick, no-strings intimate rendezvous via hookup app sounds oddly thrilling, but it’s simply not me. Or maybe it is me, because it happened…and I liked it. Until I realized he looked familiar for a reason. A bad reason. Now I’ve made a faux pas with the sexiest man on planet Earth, and my internal karma system requires me to fix it. Help!

Blake-

I may seem like I have it together, but the truth is, I’m a hot mess. I’m so deep in the closet that I can’t remember my real name some days. That’s okay. The benefit of one-night stands is anonymity. Until Asher. Not a total surprise. I’ve always had a thing for geeks, but I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s a pint-sized dynamo on a quest for perfection who can help me come out…if I follow his script.

Hmm. I’m in.

The Jock Script is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance starring a bowtie wearing nerd, a sexy lacrosse coach, and a shenanigan inducing script!

How about a little taste?

Asher closed his mouth in a tight line and sighed. “We should change the topic. Every time I’m with you, I secure my spot in Hades.”

I threw my head back and laughed. “What’s with you and the guilty conscience? I admire your commitment to honesty, Ash, but I don’t think it’s healthy to punish yourself after the fact. Not to mention, your rules seem arbitrary. They don’t make sense.”

“Sure, they do.”

“Hmph. You say sex is a part of nature, and you’re happy to discuss it until your internal sex-o-meter overloads and you decide you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary. It’s like you want to punish yourself for no good reason.”

Asher opened and closed his mouth. “I don’t do that.”

I polished off my salad, pushed my plate aside, and reached for my wineglass. “Yeah, you do. You should give yourself a break once in a while.”

“Says the devil incarnate.”

“Who me?” I flashed a roguish grin. “I’m not so bad, and you don’t have to be so good. Is this the remnants of a super religious upbringing or—”

“Oh, gosh, no. My mother is a hippie. She’s not judgmental at all.”

“Then why—”

“I’m just weird, Blake.”

His tone was firm rather than sharp and sent a strong message that he’d prefer to drop the subject. In fact, he looked suspiciously eager to greet the waiter when he returned to clear our salad dishes and set dinner plates on the table. I observed his animated hand gestures, his starched collar, and perfectly straight bow tie, wondering what he was hiding under all that armor.

Asher wasn’t weird, he was—okay, fine…he was totally weird. But I had a feeling he was compensating too. Making up for something or glossing over an unseen flaw. Sort of like a kid standing guard over a lamp he’d busted by accident. No one would notice as long as he made sure the unblemished side was never shown.

Call me crazy, but that got me. Yes, I was very attracted to him and definitely wanted to get naked and horizontal with him ASAP. But I wanted to know him too. I wanted to peel away his protective layers and study his quirks. His internal system of checks and balances fascinated me.

I twirled my fork around my pasta and smiled. “You know, I’m no devil and anyone who sucks dick like you cannot be an angel. There’s got to be a good middle ground for us.”

“Yes. As friends.”

“Right,” I agreed, shifting in my seat to adjust my cock when he hummed around a mouthful of pasta. No joke, my dick woke up at the mention of alien sex and was now stretching the seam of my zipper. I sipped my wine and willed my body to get the “friend” memo. “So, buddy…since we’re supposed to be spending time together now, I think you should come to my game next weekend.”

“Game,” he repeated, drawing out the single syllable into two. “The one you coach? Or do you play also?”

“I play with a club team, but our season ended a couple of weeks ago. We’re on a break till summer, which is fine ’cause my kids have finals and my girls’ team is in the last stretch before CIFs.”

“I don’t understand that acronym, but I’ll come to your game and maybe afterward we can do power tool…things.”

“Sounds like a date. The game is at ten at Westgate. I’ll text you the address.”

“Okay. I have questions, like…where do I sit and what should I wear? Also, what are the rules?”

I smiled. “Sit wherever you want and wear whatever you want. The idea is to have fun. Well…and to kick OC Lutheran’s ass. As for the rules…the goal is to put the ball in the net more times than our opponent. You’ll be able to follow along.”

He didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do some research. Now, what about us? Do you want me to be there and not speak or…are you going to introduce me? And if so, what will you say? I need to rehearse my lines.”

“Lines? This isn’t a play, Ash. We’re friends.”

“No, we’re not. We hardly know each other.”

I frowned. “Then we need to fix that ’cause I’m going to introduce you as my friend. It’s less complicated that way.”

“And if someone asks where we met, I’m allowed to improvise, correct?” he teased. taking a big bite of pasta.

Too big of a bite. He slurped a rogue piece of tagliatelle with wide eyes, then covered his mouth with his napkin. It was pretty freaking cute. I pointed at the sauce on his cheek.

When he swiped at the wrong side, I hooked my finger and motioned for him to lean in. I wiped his cheek with my thumb, underestimating the intimacy of the gesture. The strong current of heat and desire sizzling between us threw me off guard, rendering me speechless.

My Review:
Asher is an out-gay astrophysicist with a physical need and a healthy sex drive. He may be a nerd, but he’s definitely got skills, honed by years and years of sexual exploration. He’s never had shame or fear, accepted by his mother, a psychologist, from before he really recognized his attraction. While looking for a no-strings hook-up partner, Asher connects with Blake, a tall, built athletic bed partner, with whom he shares some awesome sexytimes. He’s not sure why he looks so familiar, even if they’d never met before.

He’s not really about repeats, but Blake, a stalwart Star Wars fan and closeted bisexual lacrosse coach, reaches out for a Round 2 and that’s when Asher connects the sense of deja vu with horror: Blake was the closet-case his good friend and housemate Topher fell hard for a year before, only Toph thought his name was Jake… And, boy does Asher give Blake what-for, defending Topher’s honor. But Blake won’t let Asher disappear without explaining his misunderstanding, and well, asking for a big favor.

Blake sees how natural and genuine Asher is, unafraid to live an out life. He wants to learn how to come out, and thinks that Asher can coach him, and they can keep exploring their intense chemistry. Asher’s temper might be a supernova, but Blake has tickled his organization bone, and he’s swiftly assembling a plan, with the help of his mother’s counsel, for Balke to come out. If not for himself, to give support to his goalie who’s recently come out as lesbian. Blake has some struggles with an old female ex, only because he’s not sure how to trust her with his truth–or anyone for that matter. But Asher’s continued coaching is helping him turn the tide. Having a sexy-nerd boyfriend can do that for you.

Expect sweet and sexy moments, with Asher getting way more in deep than he’d anticipated, and Blake loving Asher’s struggle for perfection. They each have a great backstory, and loving families. Their journey into couplehood is swift and engaging. I really liked it and look forward to the next book in the series.

Interested? You can find THE JOCK SCRIPT on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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


Three Make it Hot TANGLED WARRIORS–Review and Giveaway!

Tangled Warriors BannerHi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a M/M/M paranormal romance from the writing team of Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliot. TANGLED WARRIORS is the fourth book in the Weaver’s Circle series and I was excited to read on in this paranormal romance/adventure series. Check out my reviews for BROKEN WARRIOR, WILD WARRIOR and BLIND WARRIOR to catch up on the series developments.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter the $25 Amazon GC giveaway below!
TangledWarriors_Digital_500About the book:

Lucien Cummings
The pestilents are trying to kill him.

He’s pretty sure the Water Weaver wants to kill him as well.

But after two months of fighting an attraction for a man who couldn’t possibly be his mate, Lucien cracks when he’s pulled into an impulsive threesome with Calder and a sexy man they picked up in a bar.

That night was earth shattering. And now he needs to figure out how to keep both men safe and his.

Calder Saito
Calder doesn’t want to fight his attraction for the Fire Weaver any longer, but they can’t really be soul mates, right?

And what about Gio? The sexy man gives him such a feeling of completeness and peace. Could one man really have two soul mates?

Gio Russo
Can’t he just have them both?

Tangled Warriors is the fourth book in the Weavers Circle series. This MMM paranormal romance includes fast-paced action, running through Savannah, secrets, shapeshifting, kidnapping, deadly Girl Scouts,

How about a little taste?

“Shots!” Gio suddenly proclaimed. “I think we could all use a round of shots. What do you say?” He looked up at Lucien and smiled. “Join me in a round of shots. Break the ice.”

“Nothing feels icy to me,” Lucien murmured, while the fingers on Calder’s waist tightened.

He suddenly felt bad. He was intruding like an annoying little brother. Yes, his intention had been to stop Lucien from hitting on this guy, but now that he was standing there, he felt how wrong it was. What Lucien did and who he slept with was none of his business. He was supposed to be working on getting rid of the bad blood between him and Lucien, not making matters worse.

“None for me,” Calder said softly. “I’ll grab the drinks and get out of your way.”

Gio surprised him by cupping the side of his face with a warm calloused hand. “Oh no, sweetness. We don’t want you going anywhere. You’ve got to stay.” Gio looked over Calder’s shoulder at Lucien. “We want him to stay, right?”

Calder tensed, waiting for the rejection, but Lucien shocked him even more by pulling him in tighter so that he could feel Lucien’s groin against the small of his back. Those long fingers slipped down from his waist to caress his hip bone, sending the most delicious tingles all over his body. “Stay. Have a shot with us,” Lucian pressed. His voice was warm and so very tempting. Calder couldn’t remember ever hearing Lucien talk to him like that. He wanted to live in that voice. Just curl up in it like a warm, handmade quilt.

Releasing him, Gio turned to the bartender as she delivered Lucien’s and Calder’s mix of drinks and ordered a round of shots. Calder didn’t hear what he’d ordered exactly because Gio had also slotted himself better against Calder, causing his brain to short out. He was now in the one place he’d never thought he’d be—a Gio-Lucien sammich. Even with all their clothes on, it was now his favorite kind of sandwich. He would happily eat it every day for the rest of his life.

Calder was too tongue-tied to manage words. He nodded. At least he thought he nodded. He must have done something, because Gio’s smile grew wider. A second hand landed on his hip right where Lucien’s

The shots arrived, and Gio slid one over to Lucien before physically placing one in Calder’s hand as if he knew that his brain wasn’t in control of his body any longer. He watched as Gio clicked his shot glass on Lucien’s and then Calder’s. Tipping his head back, he sent the amber liquid down his long, sexy throat. Calder did the same without a thought. The burn was enough to wake him out of his stupor.

Sucking in a harsh breath, he coughed several times while slamming his shot glass on the bar. Gio grabbed his hand again and shoved a drink into it. Without thinking, Calder sipped it, relieved that it was his gin and tonic. The addition of more alcohol to his system probably wasn’t the smartest, but at least it had gotten rid of his coughing.

When he could breathe, he took a deep drink and set the glass on the bar to find Gio smiling at him while Lucien’s hand continued to dig possessively into his hip.

You okay?” Lucien inquired. For once, the question didn’t sound spiteful or mean. There was genuine concern in his tone.

Calder managed a small nod and Gio laughed.

Of course he’s okay. What are you drinking, sweetness?” Before Calder could answer, Gio leaned in and licked his bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth for a second, then releasing it with a wet pop. “Mmm…gin and tonic. Not bad.”

Calder barely heard the words. It was just a rush of blood past his ears as it raced to his steadily hardening dick.

As Gio moved away, he reached past Calder and pulled Lucien close. “And what are you drinking?” Calder watched as Gio licked his way into Lucien’s slack, welcoming mouth. He didn’t know what turned him on more—actually kissing Gio or watching Gio kiss Lucien. It defied all logic, but it was clear that his libido had zero interest in logic. He only wanted to know all the wonderful things Gio could do with his mouth.

Gio released Lucien and licked his own lips slowly. His dark eyes had turned black as his pupils dilated with desire. “I can tell this is going to be a fun night already. I suggest we head to my place so we can get more comfortable and less likely to be arrested.”

“We?” Calder croaked out.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in the Weavers Circle series and is best enjoyed when read in order.

Lucien Cummings and Calder Saito are the newest members of the Weavers Circle They have been given paranormal gifts to weave the powers of fire, Lucien, and water, Calder, in an epic battle for humanity. See, the Weavers protect Earth from an alien invading force called pestilents who seek to drain our world of its energy. The pestilents are humanoid warriors that can’t usually survive in our atmosphere long, so their flesh begins to rot and stink–that’s how the Weavers can sense them. The pestilents also have sorcerers on their side, helping to sometimes bewitch humans to try an attack the Weavers by ambush.

Lucien, a strong Black man, and Calder, a smaller half-Japanese man, didn’t know their roles in the Weavers battles. While still mortal they were attacked by pestilents, and their fellow Weaver brothers, Clay, Baer and Grey, rescued them–and then the three goddesses who protect the Weavers gave Lucien and Calder their powers over fire and water. And, well, as their powers seem to clash, so do their personalities. Calder is quiet, almost shy, and he’s got an attraction to Lucien, but Lucien’s abrupt with him, almost always teasing him, and not in a nice way. The other Weavers and their soulmates. who share a restored antebellum mansion as living quarters, are about ready to strangle them for their constant mean bickering. As part of a make-nice gesture, these young Weavers go out clubbing and that’s where they meet Gio. Sexy Gio, who isn’t at all troubled by the tension between Lucien and Calder, In fact, he relishes the opportunity to get right in the middle of it–and them. Lucien’s down, and Calder is, too–after a few moment’s thought.

These men enjoy an explosive night, and their passion seems to quell the animosity that had sprouted between them. But, well, now it’s a little awkward. Because Calder still wants Gio, and Lucien as well. Not that he knows how to get in touch with Gio–until Gio turns up at their compound to do his job:  antique furniture restoration. And that’s when both Calder and Lucien begin to believe in the soulmate magic they’d been hearing about from Clay, Grey and Baer. Except, how can they both have Gio as a soulmate? And what about the fact that Gio isn’t interested in getting into another menage relationship permanently? His last boyfriends hurt him real bad, after all.

But the growing battles with the pestilents bring danger literally to the front door more than once, and Gio’s reticence may cost all of the Weavers their lives.

This is a well-paced, action story with a solid menage romance. It dovetails nicely with the on-going story arcs and delivers a 1-2 punch for connecting Weavers with their soulmates. I thought the authors did a great job of demonstrating the conflicts each man felt about their attractions. Gio is once-bitten twice-shy, but he’s drawn to Lucien and Calder, and learning about the dangers of the pestilents lurking in our world really gets him rethinking his position. And, well, their sex is fantastic. It’s enough to turn Lucien’s wandering heart inside-out, and have him actually want to get a soulmate. For Calder, it’s a dream he is afraid to make real, in case it doesn’t turn out. But, their growing love and incendiary passion is strong enough to overcome a lot of hesitance.

I loved how the whole series is building to a climax, and, now that the final weaver has been found, they can complete their circle and finally defeat the pestilents once and for all. It’s all coming to fruition, and I’m excited to get the next (probably last) book in my hands ASAP.

Interested? You can find TANGLED WARRIORS on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

Catch up with Jocelyn and Rinda on their website, Facebook, and twitter.

BORDER CTRL + ESC-An Under The Rainbow Review & Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a link to my Under the Rainbow and Challenge Month post over on Joyfully Jay for a sweet MF contemporary romance from Ivy L. James. BORDER CTRL + ESC is a Under the Rainbow choice for this week’s challenge because it features a demisexual woman who unexpectedly falls hard for her new husband-of-convenience, a bisexual man from Spain who she’s agreed to marry to facilitate his Green Card status and her inheritance.

Border CRTL + ESC coverAbout the book:

In the United States…

Mariana Mitogo is struggling to make ends meet. Then, out of the blue, she learns she’s to receive a huge inheritance that would erase all her debt. The problem: she has to be married for six months to receive it, and her dating life is nonexistent.

In Spain…

Santiago de los Reyes, Mariana’s Internet friend, has drained his bank account to support his family. Desperate to get his mom the heart surgery she needs, he interviews for a better-paying job that would take him from Madrid to Virginia. When he’s offered the position but can’t get a work visa, Mariana offers a solution that benefits both of them—a fiancé visa and a quick wedding.

If anyone finds out it’s a green-card marriage, Santiago will be deported. Mariana would face a colossal fine and jail time. Good thing they’re committed actors.

But as Santiago and Mariana pretend to build a life together, the lines blur between charade and reality. Will they dare to choose the love that feels more honest every day?

My review for BORDER CTRL + ESC is live over at Joyfully Jay and if you take a field trip over there and make a comment on the post you will be entered to win the weekly prize of a gift set of paperback romances from Carina Press, as well as getting entered in the month-long Kindle Paperwhite giveaway preloaded with 50 e-books sponsored by NineStar Press. Remember to comment on the Joyfully Jay post to be entered to win.

Interested? You can find BORDER CTRL + ESC on Goodreads and Amazon.

About Ivy L. James: (In Her Own Words)

Writing has been part of me since my first story (which I very professionally scrawled on Post-It notes).

 I honed my skills through terrible fanfic and emo poetry, learning through trial and much error. I wrote my first novel in high school, and after that, I couldn’t shake the love for long-form storytelling.

In college I discovered technical communication, creative nonfiction, NaNoWriMo, and romance novels. Now, amidst my career of technical writing and editing, I craft honest, real-talk blogs and feminist romance.

Catch up with Ivy online on her website, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Prodigal Love: HAPPY FOR YOU-A TBT Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a sweet M/M contemporary romance from Anyta Sunday. HAPPY FOR YOU is the third book in her Love and Family series. This book features two friends reconnecting, and maybe finding the love they always harbored, but never confessed. Check out my review for TABOO FOR YOU and MADE FOR YOU if you like these Kiwi love stories.

HAppy for you coverAbout the book:

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

My Review:

Mort grew up in a house devoid of love. His father despised him from birth, after his mother died in childbirth. With such an austere childhood, it was a miracle Mort found a family to embrace him–that would be the Rochesters, the ordinarily boisterous and loving family of five kids and a mom who treated him as their own. Mort was best friends with Michael (Roch) the eldest, and harbored a very long tendresse for his best mate, but knew it would always be unrequited. Life got kooky when Roch’s mom took very ill, needing a kidney transplant to save her life, and unexpectedly asking Mort to go away and leave their family behind before she had surgery.

Mort respected her wishes and left, teaching outside of Wellington and away from his beloved Rochesters for a year. A year of pining for the only family he’d truly loved. Even while his own bitter father died, and missing with his whole heart both Roch and his younger brother, Felix. But a year was the most he could stay away and now he’s home and wanting to mend fences. At first the Rochester clan is standoffish, and Felix himself is very hurt–he’d harbored the world’s biggest crush on Mort for years, and that was unfortunately why their mom asked Mort to leave; she was afraid that Felix and Mort might develop a relationship, and this would go against her conservative ideas–and her vow to stay close the God if he would save her with a transplant.

It’s a lot of bittersweet, honestly, but at 28 years old Mort is a man grown, as is Felix who’s 25, and neither of them are willing to let the other walk away again. Is friendship all they can have? Would going farther upset the tenuous rapprochement that they have currently? Felix fears his mum will ostracize him if he follows his heart’s desire for Mort, but some firm talk does sort out the biggest of the messes, here. Plus, Felix has a reasonable fear that Mort will always love Roch more than him, and that continually has him pushing the brakes on both friendship and more. I loved the goofy family, and the outlandish characters they are. Mort is so loving to all his Rochesters, but he’s especially sweet to Felix, who feels he’ll always be second-best to his dashing elder brother. Also, he’s a little afraid to come out in general, as he’s never had a date with a man, and Mort is the only one he’d ever dreamed of in those darkest of fantasies.

Mort wants his family back, but he also wants more with Felix. It takes both of them a while to recognize the need and vulnerabilities of the other, but they are both committed to fixing their mistakes and building a family–together and on their own. There are some sweet firsts, as Felix is a very inexperienced man, on top of never being with another man before. He dated girls a little, but not much. His love for Mort is a poorly kept secret in the family, but its such an exuberant and joyous connection when he finally screws his courage up to be a partner to Mort, accepting the love Mort has been dangling out for him to grasp for several months.

We get a couple mentions of our beloved characters from the previous books–Mort now works at Kresley Intermediate with Jack and Luke from the two previous books, but apart from some coincidental contact (Felix was one of Ben’s blind dates gone bad) this is truly a standalone story. I highly recommend these feel-good romances, and enjoyed reading this one more than once.

Interested? You can find HAPPY FOR YOU on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About Anyta Sunday: (in her own words…)
A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, GFY/OFY, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

If you’d like to check out more of my stories, check out my website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Building a Life MADE FOR YOU-A TBR Pile Review & Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a TBR Pile and Challenge Month post for a sweet M/M contemporary romance from Anyta Sunday.  MADE FOR YOU is the second book in her Love and Family series and features a young man adrift as the guardian to his younger pre-teen brother after their parents had died, and the teacher who helps him sort out his life–and love. Check out my TABOO FOR YOU review if you are intrigued by New Zealander lives and loves.

Made for you coverAbout the book:

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?

Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.

But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?

Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.

But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home –
– a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.

My review for MADE FOR YOU posted today over at Joyfully Jay today and if you take a field trip over there and make a comment on the post you will be entered to win the weekly prize of one of two 6-title audiobook bundles from Tantor, as well as getting entered in the month-long Kindle Paperwhite giveaway preloaded with 50 e-books sponsored by NineStar Press. Remember to comment on the Joyfully Jay post to be entered to win.

Interested? You can find MADE FOR YOU on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About Anyta Sunday: (in her own words…)
A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, GFY/OFY, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

If you’d like to check out more of my stories, check out my website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Rearranging Lives BOOKENDS–Review and Giveaway

Bookends BannerHi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a F/F contemporary romance from Brenda Murphy. BOOKENDS is the third book in her University Square series and features a widow with an autistic child fighting against her attraction to a sweet and submissive plumber. I really enjoyed ON THE SQUARE and LOCKSET and we get a glimpse at some of those characters in this story, too.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the giveaway!
Bookends-f500About the book:

The life of university librarian, Amari Foster, life is neatly cataloged. Work, home, and securing a future for her daughter are her focus. Hard-edged and handsome, she manages her private life with ruthless precision, cutting ties, and maintaining distance to protect her battered heart.

Plumber Thalia Makris has given up her dream of long-term love after a series of bad relationships. Desperate to have her own business, Thalia fills her days working overtime and her nights with fantasy novels.

After a chance encounter leaves both women wanting more than a one-night stand, they find themselves on the precipice of love. Will they take the plunge?

How about a little taste?

“Mama, why do you wear this?” Brianna perched on the end of the bed and turned the scratched dull gold wedding band in her hands.

Amari adjusted her tie, tugging the knot in her bow tie into shape in the mirror. “Because it reminds me of your mommy.” She watched her daughter’s expression in the glass.

“It makes you sad.” Brianna held the ring up between her fingers and looked through it.

Amari turned to her daughter and held out her hand. “Sometimes.”

Brianna deposited the ring in her mother’s palm. “You should flush it.”

“What?” Amari pushed the ring over her knuckle before she slid her vest on.

“That’s what we did in my class when the fish died. I wasn’t as sad when I couldn’t see it anymore.” Her gaze settled on Amari. “If you didn’t see it, maybe you wouldn’t be so sad.”

Amari buttoned her vest from the bottom and held her daughter’s gaze. “I’m not sad.”

Brianna frowned. “You said to always tell the truth.”

“I am. And yes, sometimes it makes me sad. But other times it reminds me that your mommy and I were very much in love.” Amari lifted her suit coat from its hanger and folded it over her arm. She tilted her head at her daughter.

“I don’t remember her.” Brianna drew her hand over the comforter, tracing the pattern of the design with her fingers.

Amari swallowed on the dry ache in her throat and shifted her gaze to her shoes. “We need to go soon. We don’t want to come in after the bride.”

Brianna slid off the bed and spun in a slow circle. “Does my dress sparkle? Like Poppy in Trolls World Tour?”

Amari held the door open and nodded toward the hall. “It does.”

Brianna walked ahead of Amari. “Do you think they’ll have the spring rolls Ms. Mai makes?”

“I don’t know. I’m sure there’ll be something you want to eat at the reception.” Amari followed her daughter down the stairs to the living room.

“Don’t you look sharp. And, Brianna, you look so pretty in your new dress. Come here, let me fix your hair.” Cora Foster’s voice, filled with love, washed over Amari and pushed back her melancholy.

Brianna took a half step toward her grandmother and stopped. “I like it this way.” She squatted and rubbed her hand over their dog’s back. Lucy, their ever-patient Newfoundland, lifted her head and snuffled Brianna’s hand.

Amari lifted her chin at her mother. “Mom, please, let her be. She’s settled and we don’t have time for a meltdown.”

Cora pressed her mouth together in a thin line. “Fine.”

Amari plucked her keys from the hook by the door. “We won’t be late.”

Cora patted her lap. Lucy ambled over and rested her head on Cora’s knee. “We’ll be here.” She picked up the remote. “I’ve got a date with a Witcher.” She waggled her eyebrows.

Amari snort-laughed. “All right, Mom.”

Brianna crossed the floor, stopped short of her grandmother. She bent from the waist and leaned forward. “Hug?”

Cora scooted forward and pressed her forehead to Brianna’s brow. “Have fun. Bring Grandma a spring roll if they have them.”

“Okay.” Brianna straightened and walked to the door.

Cora’s gaze settled on Amari’s face. “You going to be okay?”

Amari looked away from her mother’s eyes. Her gaze settled on the faded photo of her wedding day on the wall behind the television. “Aren’t I always?”

Cora pursed her lips. “If you say so.”

Brianna shifted from one foot to the other by the door as she pulled her sweater on. “Mama, come on. The spring rolls will be gone.”

My Review:
Amari Foster is a librarian at Langston University in Ohio. She’s an out lesbian Black woman who’s raising her daughter alone since her wife died eight years ago. Brianna, her daughter, is on the autism spectrum, and that’s caused grief at school and at home. One of Amari’s ex-girlfriends took out her frustration with Brianna’s quirks physically, causing a lasting scar. So, Amari doesn’t date anymore–just hooks up for anonymous trysts. That’s how she meets Thalia for the first time.

Thalia Makris is a plumber with plans. She’s longed to open a used bookshop, and has tons of books ready to go, but the money is a little tight. If only she hadn’t given so much to her last girlfriend. And, well, it’s hard to leaver the family business, too, especially so because her dad is pretty self-righteous and doesn’t want to accept that Thalia is a lesbian. Thalia is also a sub, and her one afternoon with Amari dominating her was ah-MAZE-ing. If only they could reconnect. Until they do at the wedding of mutual friends. And, it’s not quite amazing. Amari is flustered, and she’s got a mini-crisis going with Brianna, and dammit! That’s why she goes to Cleveland for hook-ups, so she won’t run into them back near home.

Thalia is peeved, but forgiving, until their next encounter when Amari shows her whole ass–saved by her mother who didn’t raise her daughter to behave so rudely. Thalia’s about the write Amari off for good, but her sympathy and empathy are both engaged, knowing about Amari’s bad track record in love, and well, they both have a book fetish to match their Dom/sub kink. Still, stepping into a ready-made family is a challenge, even if the kids are neurotypical, and Thalia’s got some struggles to overcome there. And Amari has some forgiving to do–of herself. Plus, being way less judgmental regarding Thalia and her motives.

I liked this one, especially because Thalia is determined not to let anyone run her down, not even her dad. And not a new lover, no matter how fantastic the sex is. Amari’s love for her deceased wife, and her daughter, are so palpable on the page. It was definitely bittersweet, especially as she struggled with the idea of replacing her deceased wife. It was so tough for her to trust again, and Thalia weathered the storm as best she could. I loved Amari’s mom, and their relationship was super special.

Interested? You can find BOOKENDS on Goodreads, NineStar Press and Books2Read.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list.

Catch up with Brenda on her website and Facebook and Instagram.