Way Back: VALOR ON THE MOVE–A Review

Hi there! I’m working my way back into “theme weeks” which are collections of books that (mostly) center on a given theme. This week many of the books I’ll share are ones that were published a year ago, or more, and have been languishing on my TBR pile too long. Today, I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from author Keira Andrews. VALOR ON THE MOVE is an older-younger odd-couple story about the president’s son who falls hard for his new bodyguard. I sequel is releasing soon, and I couldn’t hold out any longer on this one! I have loved other novels by Ms. Andrew’s including KIDNAPPED BY THE PIRATE as well as more contemporary (A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA) and even paranormal (KICK AT THE DARKNESS) titles.

About the book:
He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.
Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the first part of the Valor duology and features a May-December age difference, Jane Austen levels of pining, forbidden love against the odds, and of course a happy ending.

My Review:
Secret Service Agent Shane Kendrick has dedicated his life to the service. He’s been a model agent, and his hard work has finally paid off when he’s assigned as a primary bodyguard for Rafael “Rafa” Castillo, Codename “Valor”, the youngest son of President Castillo. Shane’s made the big time, alright, and he’s glad Valor is the shy retiring one of the family because his partner on the detail, Alan, is having a family crisis and with the election looming the service is stretched so thin that Shane’s sometime on his own with Rafa.

Rafa is a twenty-one year old closeted gay man. His best friend, Ashleigh, is also closeted and they serve as beards for each other in public. They both plan to come out in January, when they graduate college together and Rafa’s father’s done with his second term in the White House. It’s been uncomfortable growing up in the harsh spectacle that is his family, especially as he’s so much younger than his three older siblings. They moved on years ago, and Rafa has felt disconnected for a long time, especially since his father, a Republican to the core, supported measures to outlaw same-sex marriage. After that debacle, Rafa knew he’d keep his head down and has made some grand plans to move to Australia and study at the Cordon Bleu school in Sydney–where he could also learn to surf and live his life openly without being near his likely unsupportive family.

Naturally, growing up with buff, suited, strong bodyguards for the past 8 years has had an impact on Rafa. He’s definitely attracted to the “type” and not really wild about silly young college men. Meeting Agent Kendrick tilts Rafa’s axis something fierce, and he finds ways to show little glimmers of his personality by cooking unique treats for Shane that allow them some quiet time together. It skips to level 11 when Shane confides that he’s gay. Yep, Rafa knows he’s doing wrong, falling for his security, but he’s never stepped a toe out of line before, and Shane is a compassionate man. Their alone-ish time becomes fraught with mutual attraction that Shane is quick to shut down, despite his own feelings. Shane hasn’t sacrificed so much of his life to let poor judgment end this detail–or worse, take advantage of young, inexperienced Rafa.

Then their whole life goes belly up. Rafa has a severe falling out with his family, and runs. Shane and Alan keep watch over him, but terrorists follow, and it’s a life-and-death struggle to survive once the guns start firing. Finding temporary safety and shelter leads to finding physical solace and satisfaction, but the night isn’t over and they aren’t out of the woods yet. And, how did the terrorists find them on this pop-up adventure, anyway? Shane has some hard truths to face regarding his fellow members of the Secret Service, and he also can’t deny that the lines he and Rafa crossed require immediate action.

This story was rich and filled with fantastic research elements regarding procedures for security details, and White House operations. Without question I thought I was on a private tour of our president’s life–and that was awesome. The attraction between Shane and Rafa was handled tenderly, with a sexy bit of daddy-kink for Rafa that felt genuine. I really struggled, as did they, with the situation, knowing that it was going to go poorly–at least for a bit. The intrigue and scrutiny Shane was under, following the attack, was believable, and honest. Even the “bad guys” had heart, and real struggles that were understandable, if unforgivable. There’s not a lot of sexytimes here, because Shane’s an upstanding agent who won’t break his oaths lightly. Rafa’s a determined young man, however, and he finally gets his way–appropriately–in the end. Their adventure seems to end, but a new book is on the horizon and both are HEAs.

Interested? You can find VALOR ON THE MOVE on Goodreads and Amazon.

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.

Power of Hope: BROKEN WIDE–Review and get a FREE book!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic new YA dystopian novel from Susan Kaye Quinn. BROKEN WIDE is the sixth book in her MindJack series and the last book in the ZEPH trilogy. You can start the whole series with OPEN MINDS, which is free and fantastic, but you absolutely must read LOCKED TIGHT and CRACKED OPEN before jumping into BROKEN WIDE.

About the book:
All he wanted was peace; all he had was hope.
Zeph had spent half his life hiding what he was—keeping his mindjack powers away from dangerous men and running away from everyone he loved to keep them safe. Now that his life is finally coming together—his mom and sister are safe; the girl he loves in his arms—the world is falling apart. The mindreader backlash against jackers is growing daily. Jacker-bigot politicians are stoking fear and gaining power. And jackers on the Fronter’s Purity list are winding up dead on the streets outside Jackertown.

Even the Jacker Freedom Alliance is tearing itself apart.

All Zeph wants is a chance to build a life with Tessa—but even she is losing faith. If there’s no peace between jackers and readers, what future could they have? Then a protest goes terribly wrong, the president starts talk of a Jackertown siege, and a MINDWARE CEO races to develop a dangerous mind-blasting technology. It seems foolish to even hope for peace, but one thing becomes very clear—the only way to put the world back together is to bring down the powerful people breaking it apart.

The conclusion to the bestselling Mindjack: Zeph series, where daring to hope for peace could be the most radical—and dangerous—move of all.

My Review:
This is the sixth book in the MindJack series where humans have evolved the ability to broadcast their thoughts–but the new wrinkle is mindreaders who can hijack your brain. These “mindjackers” are a super powerful minority, being hunted for experimentation and extermination. And Zeph, a “locksmith” mindjacker who can lock and unlock the toughest minds, will do whatever it takes to keep himself and his family safe.

In LOCKED TIGHT, book four, Zeph allied himself with some horrifying persons in the government and private enterprise–people who truly want to hunt down and kill “jackers”–in order to find his missing sister and parents. He’s also infiltrated the jacker population, attempting to get close to the young, powerful and charismatic jacker senator. Hiding his jacker nature from readers has made Zeph a loner, by necessity, and his plan to rescue his family and go back on the run is upset by the new connections he’s made. What if there could be a balance between the jackers and the readers? Could he then find sanctuary instead of isolation?

In CRACKED OPEN, book five, Zeph went undercover as a mole to discover what he could about the anti-jacker technology being mass-produced by MindWare Tech. Working as a bodyguard to the company CEO’s daughter, Zeph gets a front row seat to the danger–especially because his protectee is in love with a jacker, and determined to overthrow her corrupt father. Meanwhile, Dr. Wright, directer of the government’s super-secret jacking lab, is coercing Zeph to take part in a scheme that will tip the balance of power further into anti-jacker territory. Working with the Jacker Freedom Alliance as a mole helps Zeph keep many jackers safe, but it’s a tenuous time and it seems as if all hope might be soon lost.

But, as we all know, hope is a force that wins hearts, minds and battles. Hope is the foundation of BROKEN WIDE.

Fundamentally, the MindJack series is about discrimination, and surviving intact after the powerful have sought to crush you. It’s a timely allegory to the current political climate where discrimination by the government (of any marginalized community) is lauded by people who have fear or prejudice ruling their emotions. For readers, it’s a chilling journey into discovering what the experience might be for a marginalized population. The government has ideologically decided that jackers are Public Enemy Number One, and need to be studied and eradicated. And yet, throughout, it’s a humanizing story. One of hope and desperation, and succeeding against all odds against your most feared, armed, bully.

BROKEN WIDE is the final book in Zeph’s trilogy, and it’s a terrifying ride. He’s desperate to save the people he loves, but soon realizes the plan to eradicate all jackers will lead to more broken families and dead teens–murdered by the purity-minded Readers First Front and sanctioned by the government. Terrified families are listing their jacker members in chat rooms based on the paranoia the government keeps propagating. Despite the danger, Zeph heads back into the chilling Tiller mansion, masquerading as a reader while helping Juliette Tiller find as much evidence as she can on her father–while also gaining intel on the planned attack on JackerTown, and the technology Tiller’s company has built. They need to find weaknesses that jackers can exploit.

Dr. Wright, an unwilling associate of Tiller, agrees to not out Zeph as a jacker, if Zeph will use his jack ability to make mind-blasted super jackers Wright calls “Obedient” for an army that she alone can control. It’s a sick bargain, but it’s the only way to stay alive in the Tiller home. Not that they can stay for long. Tiller’s plans for Zeph and Juliette are straight out of a nightmare, and their need to remain intact soon overcomes the need for intel. And, they leave not a moment too soon. Jackertown, a safe zone for jackers buried within the metro area of what was once Chicago, is under siege. If they are lucky, Zeph might save a few of them with his mindlocking gift.

This isn’t the end of the road, however. No. Zeph’s determined to turn the anti-jacker hysteria with a hefty dose of truth. His surreal experiences take him to the highest levels of power, and he looks true evil in the face. Even as he promises to build more Obedient for the government, he knows he’s going to honor his vow to restore jackers to equal standing–fellow humans with what can be new and helpful gifts. Connecting with the Jacker Freedom Alliance and the mindreading Free Thinkers helps Zeph get the truth out at exactly the right time. Not that anything goes to plan. Still, Zeph’s never thought of himself as a hero–he only acts like one every day, and all the time. Even as he’s making the difficult decisions, it’s all in the hope that he’ll get just far enough to make good on his vow, and protect whichever vulnerable people he can, in whatever way possible. That he finally gets a happy ending is only the sweetest part of the whole series so far.

Interested? You can find BROKEN WIDE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and GooglePlay.

Get yourself a FREE book!
The MindJack universe began with OPEN MINDS, the story of Kira Moore, a sixteen year-old jacker learning about herself and prejudice she’s been born into. Kira is a strong MC, and her steadfast commitment to doing the right thing, even if it’s hard, gives readers a protagonist worthy of respect. It’s a super-fast read that tackles real societal problems with grace and confidence. I read this book in a day. Mostly because I couldn’t stop until I knew Kira was safe.

The great thing? OPEN MINDS is a FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, GooglePlay and Kobo. OPEN MINDS is the first in a trilogy, but has a satisfactory ending that resolves completely while leaving room for the companion books to develop.

About the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from young adult science fiction to adult future-noir, with side trips into steampunk and middle grade fantasy. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies.

She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

Catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

LEANING INTO THE LOOK–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance from Lane Hayes. LEANING INTO THE LOOK is the fifth book in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Grant, the last of the Stanford besties, finding love with an outre personal assistant. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, LEANING INTO ALWAYS and LEANING INTO A WISH, so I was eager to get back to these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

How about a little taste?

I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.

“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”

He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”

“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.

“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”

I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.

“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.

“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”

“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.

“Maybe.”

“Look, Mi. I’m not—”

“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”

Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?

But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.

But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”

Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.

“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”

“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—

“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”

“The what?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.

I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.

My Review:
Gio “Grant” Kostas is the last of his pals to find love, and part of that is due to Grant’s nearly crippling shyness. His family is loud, Greek and overwhelming and Grant’s inability to deal well with conflict led to a childhood eating disorder and running away from home at age 17. He was too upset over the family’s response to his coming-out to stay. Since then, he’s grown a lot as a person. He attended Stanford where he was part of the group that included Eric and Nick, who formed EN Tech, and were MCs of previous books. His roomie was Josh, from LEANING INTO TOUCH,  who really helped Grant get past his shyness and later reconcile with his family. Grant, who did model in his younger years, now heads up the San Francisco office of Kostas Realty, and is poised to make a big contract with a huge new development. His parents are lovely, but bossy, and desperate for Grant to find a good Greek man to settle down with.  Unfortunately, the only person to catch Grant’s eye recently is Miles, Eric’s flamboyant (and a bit wacky) assistant.

Miles had been in a very long-term relationship which had recently ended in spectacular fashion. He learned his ex had a guy on the side, instead of his mind on the wedding plans, which led to some outbursts and one pool-side fight. Miles has a strong defensive manner, and it leads to outlandish behavior, like feigning a British accent with people who irritate him. Or, say, pretending Grant is his new beau when they encounter Tom, a mutual acquaintance of Miles’ ex, at a work function. Grant has been warned to “be nice” to Grant, because Eric’s sure that Miles is both still hurting over his break-up, and well, kind of pining over Grant. Miles isn’t Grant’s type, at all, but Grant admires Miles’ attitude and strength in the face of humiliation. They embark on a friendship, unexpectedly, and sexytimes are a part of that.

It’s a sweet story, actually, of two lonely souls who struggle to communicate effectively. As their friendship grows, Grant and Miles learn how to sneak past the barriers they’ve each put up to protect themselves from further hurt. Grant’s difficulty with conflict is woven throughout his relationships, but being with Miles helps him to fight his insecurities. Even if Grant can’t stand up for himself, he won’t let people make Miles feel insignificant. And, Miles is a fierce man, unwilling to let Grant make decisions that could hurt himself. When Miles needs a new apartment, Grant insists that Miles take his spare room.  Their budding friendship grows into a dependence that celebrates their mutual strengths.  Miles helps Grant relax from his stressful work-life, and Grant shows Miles how if feels to be valued as he is, quirks and all.

Naturally,  Grant’s invasive family is expecting Grant to find a Greek partner, and an enterprising acquaintance is trying to fill that role. Grant’s half-in the charade, because he’s been assured it’s necessary for the big deal he’s planning, but soon his feelings for Miles overtake his desire to win the contract. Their growing  bond is more than Miles or Grant had really wanted, but they do acknowledge it, and plan a path that makes sense for both of them–no matter what trouble it causes for family or business. I really liked how sweet Grant is, and how much he supports Miles, no matter the zaniness that Miles throws at him. Miles’ best-defence-is-a-good-offense strategy is isolating, but Grant’s patience allows him to get past Miles’ outre exterior to the sweet and vulnerable man he  falls hard for. Expect lots of sexytimes and second-guess moments on the path to love. And, some tender moments between Grant and Miles and Grant and his family–to help Grant solidify his love story and his future.

I really enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO THE LOOK on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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

Out Now! RIDE DIRTY from Laura Kaye

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day shout-out for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. RIDE DIRTY is a novella, book 3.5, in her Raven Riders series and features the club sergeant-at-arms, Caine McKannon, a jaded man with a horrifying past finding inconceivable love with a kindergarten teacher, Emma Kerry. If you want to catch up on other books in the series, check out my review for RIDE HARD and RIDE ROUGH.

About the book:
Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

How about a little taste?

“What do I do?” Emma asked.

We,” Caine said as an urgent, demanding possessiveness dug its claws into his soul. Dug them in, deep.

And it was, without question, something he’d never felt before in his whole life. When you felt as unworthy as he did, you rarely believed that you deserved to possess anything at all. But now, in the face of her vulnerability, Caine dared to hope that he might deserve…what? Not her, exactly, because after being viewed as no more than a possession by the couple that ran his group home, the idea of possessing another person made his stomach roll. But maybe the chance to get to know her, at the very least. And maybe even the chance to give her the things he’d always wanted but never been able to have.

Jesus, even daring to hope for such things made him feel like the bottom might fall right out from underneath of him. And when that happened, he’d just fall and fall and fall…

But if she was going to be brave, he sure the fuck would, too. “We’ll figure this out, Emma. Do you hear me? You’re not in this alone.” His voice sounded like it’d been scoured with sandpaper.

She peered up at him, and her bottom lip trembled a little more. “Promise?”

“Jesus, come here,” he rasped, hauling her in against his chest. He held her tight with one arm and stroked her hair back with the other. And Christ, she felt so good there. So warm and soft against all his cold hardness. So right. These thoughts were so foreign to him he hardly knew what to do with them, but that didn’t make them any less true. He had to swallow around a knot of emotion before he could go on, but when he finally did, his voice was rock solid again. “I give you my word, Emma.”

He made one more promise, too, but this one he kept to himself. Once, he’d failed to protect someone he should’ve. Worse than that, her death had been his fault.

Caine vowed to himself—he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

This time, he’d rather die first.

Interested? You can find RIDE DIRTY on Goodreads, and Amazon (US,  AUCAUK).

LauraKayeAbout the Author:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Surviving With OF HOPE AND ANGUISH–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I know I’ve been spotty with the posts, of late. I’m more than halfway finished with my student teaching as I finish a Masters of Education to get my teaching license…so life is hectic. That said, I’ll post as often as I can, while writing lesson plans, curriculum and teaching full-time. Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for an historical M/M romance out now from Sylvia Violet. OF HOPE AND ANGUISH is the sequel to REVOLUTIONARY TEMPTATION imagines a clandestine romance between a Continental officer and the dandy who risks his life for his country and General Washington.

Don’t forget to drop down and enter the book giveaway below!
About the book:
1777 Philadelphia and enviorns…
Jack and Eli have been separated for months while Jack gathers intelligence in Philadelphia and Eli spies on British officers in New York. When Jack has to take on the role of spymaster and work behind-the-scenes, Eli offers to insinuate himself in Philadelphia’s loyalist circles, taking Jack’s place.

As Eli works to uncover traitorous negotiations between a high-ranking American officer and the British, he cozies up to British spymaster John Andre. Jack doesn’t like Eli putting himself at risk, nor does he like seeing him fawning over a beautiful, charming man.

As the chances of the American army surviving the winter decline, tensions mount between Jack and Eli, threatening to tear them apart. They will have to rely on their love and trust for one another to make it through these harrowing months.

My Review:
Major Jack West never thought his most important role in the Continental army would be as General Washington’s newest spymaster. He’s been out in Philadelphia nearly the whole winter, gathering intelligence that can be passed to his command at Valley Forge, but the winter is only more bitter without his love, fellow spy and book seller, Eli Ashfield. They had met in the summer when Jack recuperated an injury in New York through the acquaintance of Mrs. Constance Stephens–a presumed Loyalist but actual Revolutionary spy.

Constance and Eli have bided their time in New York, but the British army has moved on, and their ability to make useful inquests has dried up. Eli had been in the confidence of a new British spy, John Andre, and is eager to push on to Philadelphia where he could continue his surveillance…and meet up with Jack. Jack isn’t best pleased to see Eli and Constance out in Philadephia–he’d been grateful they were out of the line of fire–but he can’t resist their skills as spies, or Eli’s charms. Both men had known they might not make it past the war, and they make the most of their opportunities.

Naturally, Jack is frustrated to be the handler for Eli, and even more so when they both recognize that Andre has more than a passing interest in Eli. Expect jealousy to rage, and Jack to suffer greatly in silence. Tempers run hot and cold, and the game is very much stacked against both them. Adnre is wily, and unscrupulous. He’s brash and a formidable match against Eli, who is remaining monogamous to Jack–a first for the confirmed hedonist. Circumstances are not in Eli’s favor when Jack discovers what he thinks are traitorous communiques from Eli, and it looks as if Andre has succeeded in seducing Eli.

Expect it to get complicated, and the bonds of love to stretch to the breaking point. Jack knows Eli is his soul-mate, and will gladly sacrifice himself to keep Eli safe. Good thing they still have allies who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, and with honor. This one is a whirlwind, at times, with deception a constant. The love between Eli and Jack continues to grow, even as absence and the threat of death are nearly commonplace for them. I’m still loving these books, and look forward to more harrowing adventures.

Interested? You can find OF HOPE AND ANGUISH on Goodreads and Amazon.

Also, REVOLUTIONARY TEMPTATION is on sale for $.99. Pick it up on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Catch up with Sylvia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or sign up for her Newsletter.
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Finding Him PRETTY IN PINK–A Review


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance just released by Jay Northcote. PRETTY IN PINK is a sweet coming out story about a questioning man who falls for his neighbor–a gender bending out-gay man. This is a book in the Housemates series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own. Other books in the series I loved include WATCHING ANS WANTING, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and STARTING FROM SCRATCH, which introduce our main characters for PRETTY IN PINK.

About the book:
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

My Review:
Johnny is a tall, lithe man who often plays up his androgynous looks. He wears his blonde hair long, likes to glam up with guyliner, and enjoys lacy lingerie from time to time. Johnny’s not one to play a female, but he does like messing with straight men–and seeing how they enjoy his very masculine touch. So, he’s down when his new neighbor, Ryan, thinks getting it on with a bloke might be a bit of fun.

Ryan’s long-harbored attractions for androgynous models, and he’s not averse to being with a guy. It’s not his life plan, mind, but he’s nearing the end of his uni days, and feels like some serious experimentation is in order. He’s got a few weeks before his revisions are complete and he takes his final exams, so why not blow off his pent-up steam with his sexy new neighbor, Johnny. Just so long as no one really knows. Except his housemate Ewan find out, and Ewan’s boyfriend…who is Johnny’s housemate. And then another person, and well, they’re just having some fun, right? So why is Ryan frustrated when Johnny invites randoms over for his own fun…

Oh boy, does this one get sticky! Ryan never expected more than one night with Johnny–it was what they agreed upon, after all. But both Johnny and Ryan recognize that their night was too satisfying to be a one-off. Hence, the friends-with-benefits charade. They are both into one another, but neither will admit to growing feelings. Johnny’s been hurt before by a cheating partner,and Ryan’s life plan is to check off his bisexual bucket list and find a suitable girl to marry. Unfortunately, they end up hurting each other with their silence, and the repair is awkward. I liked how their comrades help patch things up, when they think they are standing up for one, or the other. It’s a sweet story that ends up with Ryan coming out, and Johnny finding love–with Ryan, duh! There’s a lot of sexy business, and I loved the gender-bending kink both Ryan and Johnny share. It’s a tender experience, with loads of stereotype-defying moments.

It’s always fun to catch up with my fave housemates, too, and there’s brief reconnection with old pals from previous books as Ryan and Johnny work their way into love.

Interested? You can find PRETTY IN PINK on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Cephalopod Coffeehouse February 2018–Bringing the HEAT

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m sharing a review for a newly published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. HEAT is the 12th book in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and–being a series junkie–I’m eager to see how this all turns out.

About the book:
Nikolai is a dragon shapeshifter who knows well the meaning of loss. Orphaned and raised to be a Dragon King, he never accepts defeat. Now, Nikolai prefers his solitude . . .until a beautiful, irresistible woman calls upon him for help—and Nikolai’s whole world goes up in flames.

Ever since MI5 agent Esther woke to discover her mind taken over with magic, she feels like stranger to herself. She looks to a notorious dragon, one who has the power to help her find her memory. But as she and Nikolai come closer to discovering what really happened to her, a dangerous passion ignites between them. Can this lone Dragon King help the woman he’s grown to love to uncover the truth about her past—or will a deep and fiery danger tear them both apart?

My Review:
This is the 12th book in a series and best enjoyed when you’ve read several of the more recent releases, I think.

To sum up, Dragon Kings are fighting a battle for survival in modern times. They have the ability to shift from human to dragon form, and once ruled the earth, but went into hiding to prevent annihilation from the primitive humans who populated the lands. This decision created a huge rift in the community, and a war ensued. Constantine, the kink of all kings banished Ulrik, another dragon king, for inciting the war.

Nikolai was raised by Ulrik, and he’s always felt it was a deep betrayal to fight against Ulrik to protect humanity. He’s long had issues with his decision, and he wants to make peace with Ulrik. It’s a dangerous time, however, with Light and Dark Fae having devious plots, and a rogue dragon trying to destroy Ulrik, Constantine and the rest of the dragons to assume supreme power over earth and humanity.

Esther is a former MI5 agent whose brother has worked to keep the dragon’s identities secret from society. Esther got tangled up in the midst, having her mind controlled by a powerful Druid. She’s desperate to learn what happened in the three weeks that are missing from her memories. Nicolai has a special gift of sight–he can pluck images from people’s consciousness, even if they can’t remember. He and Esther head to Dublin to trace her paths and see if any patterns develop. In the thick of this they admit they have a ton of chemistry, and are likely to be fated mates.

I’ve really enjoyed the series, and this book in particular is really good. There is convergence between several plotlines at this point so that we can see the impending conflict. Many of the characters have found love, but Con and Ulrik are still single. So I’m expecting some page time to them finding love, as well as defeating the threats from Fae and others. The love story was slower to unfold than I had expected considering Esther and Nikolai have had some close encounters before they set out on their mission. I did love how some of the mystery surrounding the Druid has been cleared up, and it’s clear that most of our “bad guys” aren’t what they seemed to be, at first. Happy endings abound, and the end is clearly near. Looking forward to the next book!

Interested? You can find HEAT on Goodreads and Amazon.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends! Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers and their fave books of the month below…