Gaining Power and Love: BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE–Review and Giveaway!

Hit there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a recently re-released paranormal M/M romance from Tara Lain. BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE is the second book in her Aloysius tales series about witches (and more) living among us. This one features Sam, a young witch who thinks his paintings of the future are a rather crummy ability. Until his art becomes the ultimate weapon against evil.

Catch an excerpt below, and enter the giveaway, too!

About the book:
Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.
One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human

Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?

How about a little taste?

Sammy looked down into the soup. “That’s the only kind of guy who would ever be interested in me. A cheating rat.”

“Sam, that’s not so.”

His voice shook. “Why the hell do you think he even bothered with me to begin with? What would he want with a stupid loser if he was planning on cheating with half the fucking college?” The tears squeezed out and started to drip down his cheeks.

Ryder put the tray on the dresser and wrapped Sammy in his arms. “You’re not a loser at all. You’re one of the finest people I’ve ever known. You’re kind and funny and so smart. You paint like a master. Even if you do pick strange subject matter sometimes.” Ryder chuckled and nodded toward the painting of himself on Sammy’s easel.

“You saw that?” Sammy snuffled. Maybe if he didn’t move too much Ryder would forget to let him go.

“Hard to miss that painting in a room the size of most closets.”

Pretty embarrassing. But compared to having had your energy drained by a cheating pig and your neck chained by the selfsame bastard while you were blacked out, painting a picture of your best friend you had a secret crush on was small potatoes in the shame department.

“Ready to sleep?”

No. “Yeah.” Sammy pulled the pillows out from behind him and lay back down. Al crawled up next to him. His eyelids felt weighted. “Thank you so much for taking care of me. I’ll rest tomorrow, and I should be able to go to school on Monday.”

“Yes, you’ll rest tomorrow, and I’ll see that you do. I’m not going anywhere. I want to make sure that asshole doesn’t come back. I’ll sleep on your couch and be here to take care of you in the morning.”

Sammy shook his head. “No way a human can sleep on that couch. Aloysius won’t even do it. It has lumps the size of Everest. I’ll be fine. Really.”

“Not leaving, so forget about it.”

Sweeter words were never spoken. I don’t want to be alone. He opened his eyes a slit. Ryder gazed down at him. That expression. He remembered it—from the painting. His deep eyes. So soft. So much like love.

A thick fog of exhaustion rolled over Sam, and his eyes wouldn’t stay open. “Sleep in the bed with me and Al. We don’t move much. Sleep here… prommmmissse….”

My Review:
Sam is a young witch finishing his final year of college and trying to discern his true powers. So far, he can’t cast spells, or divine when someone nearby has magic, but he is an accomplished artist. Lately, he’s had many episodes of waking in the morning with work on his easel that he painted in his sleep, images which come true in the near future. It’s always been more of a nuisance than anything, but his new paintings now illustrate key figures coming into his life.

First is his best friend, Ryder, who’s had a dramatic transformation over the summer holiday. Ryder’s taller, fitter and sexier than Sam can stand. He’s long crushed on his human bestie, and the new-improved Ryder is so so tempting. Then he draws am image of himself with Aloysius, his Witch Master’s familiar (a cat), on his own shoulder. From then on, Sam and Al are nearly inseparable. Which is puzzling, because Al’s known to associate with only the most powerful witches, and Sam’s essentially powerless–he thinks. Still, it’s not until paints Lucien that things get creepy.

Lucien is a newly-transferred witch from Prague. He’s beautiful in a deadly way, and his sights are set on capturing Sam, his power, and the whole of the Witch community, if he can…

This story has many points of view, but the most prominent are Sam and Ryder’s. Sam’s a good guy,and has many friends–a perfect target for Lucien’s attentions. Lucien uses his money and wiles to try and win Sam over, but Sam’s crush on Ryder puts the brakes on that seduction. When Ryder’s overcome seeing Sam out-and-about with Lucien, it sparks him taking a stand against his own powerful father. Throughout there were hints that Ryder isn’t exactly human, though I didn’t quite guess his heritage until the end. I did like the push and pull of the story, and the plot twists kept me guessing as to the outcome. Al, the familiar, has a great personality, and cat lovers will surely be intrigued by a series that winds a cat through all the magic. The love story for Sam and Ryder is sweet, and sexy–with both of them finally revealing their true selves to one another. Lucien and his dastardly plans are put to rest by Sam finally learning the extent of his own unique abilities. All ended well, despite the magic, mayhem and murderous intent. Expect and HEA, and to find a new series to enjoy.

Interested? You can find BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card or an ebook.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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

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

You can find Tara at:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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New Love STARTING FROM SCRATCH–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-released contemporary M/M romance from Jay Northcote. STARTING FROM SCRATCH is the fifth book in the Housemates series of New Adult romances set in Bristol, England. I’ve read and enjoyed every one of them, and am always ecstatic when a new one comes out. STARTING FROM SCRATCH is more poignant to me, as a reader, because it features a transgender male character–very well informed by the author’s life experiences. In a time when TG issues are being wholesale discarded by legislators in the US, it’s fantastic to get authentic stories about everyday characters who are trans.

About the book:
Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

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:
Ben is a twenty-five year old transman returning to uni following three years off to undergo trans treatment and surgery. He shares a house with five other guys–out-gay and bisexual men from earlier book in the series–but hides his trans identity, living as a man. It’s fascinating being inside Ben’s head–his fear that he’s not being honest, but also fearing that revealing his history will cause more trouble than he can manage.

Sid is a man wishing for a steady boyfriend. He’s not had any lasting relationships and wonders if he ever will. Meeting Ben while out with mutual friends seems like a perfect opportunity, but Ben rebuffs his overtures. Ben’s not down for a quickie, and doesn’t think he measures up to the standards Sid surely has. Thing is, Jude, their mutual friend, vouches for Sid–and that prompts Ben to reach out and build a friendship. That’s one of Ben’s big goals for the year, be more social and get over his insecurities. So they chat and text and get together for coffee. The more time they spend, the more invested they become. Ben’s nervous about revealing his chest scars–from top surgery–and his manbits are quite different from that of a cismale, but Sid’s not only compassionate, he’s intrigued with Ben for who he is–and their relationship grows openly and honestly.

I was floored by the detail and delicacy of the book. I’ve read a few trans novels and am always happy to learn more about this experience and the triumphs and challenges. The Housemates books are have lots of sexytimes–and there’s no exception here. The author does a great job of bringing Ben to life, and writing a love story that feels sensitive and sexy at the same time. It was easy to feel Ben’s insecurities–and those of Sid as well. He’s a wonderful character, who really investigates his own prejudices and if they pose a risk to Ben’s emotional well-being. I loved the vulnerability of both men, and how Sid doesn’t allow Ben to push him away when he makes a mistake or three. These guys are really interesting on their own, and their interactions with their housemates is as fun as always. Oh, Ben! He wasn’t a trusting sort, but Sid did win him over completely by the end.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM SCRATCH on Goodreads and Amazon (US or UK).

The whole housemates series is fantastic–and all can be enjoyed as standalones.
Helping Hand (Book #1) Amazon (US or UK)
Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon (US or UK)
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon (US or UK)
Watching and Wanting (Book 4) Amazon (US or UK)

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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Happy Book Birthday to FRACTURED SILENCE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary paranormal romance from Carrie Ann Ryan. FRACTURED SILENCE is the fifth book in her Talon Pack series and features a menage relationship that’s key to saving the shifters entire existence. (No pressure!)

About the book:
The Talon Pack continues with a dark secret that could shatter the future of the Packs, or save them all.
Parker Jamenson is the son of three Packs, the sole mediator between every Pack in the United States and Europe, and…he’s dying. He knows he doesn’t have much left in him and is in desperate need of a mate. But with the new and unyielding changes thanks to the Moon Goddess, he might not have as much time as he thinks.

Brandon Brentwood is the Omega of the Talon Pack and the youngest of his family. He’s not only one of the famed triplets; he’s also the most secretive. There’s a good reason for that, however, and when a shocking revelation meshes the past and present in a very unexpected way, he’ll look to not only Parker but also a disgraced human to save them all.

Avery Montag knows she’s the daughter of a traitor and doesn’t have much to give the wolves in the way of atonement. But she’ll do everything she can to pay for her father’s sins and find a way to end the war between the humans and the wolves.

When the three turn to each other in a time of unrest and for vastly different reasons, temptation burns and seduction beckons. Only, the past, present, and future are never as solid as they seem, and the path the trio thought to travel may just vanish before they’re ready.

My Review:
Parker Jamenson is a mediator between werewolf packs all over the world. He’s descended from the first shifter family and is growing steadily more ill the longer he delays finding a mate. Brandon Brentwood is an Omega, the emotional conduit of the Talon Pack. He’s struggling under the crushing weight of so much empathy, and needs a mate to find his balance. Avery Montag is the daughter of the human who revealed shifters to humanity–and sparked a battle that could bring the end of shifters on earth.

These three meet back in Talon territory, where Parker seeks refuge and Avery arrives to help right her father’s wrongs. They feel an attraction, but it’s not the overwhelming mate-pull that’s the norm for mates to experience. Instead, Parker and Brandon bond with Avery when she’s attacked by a rogue shifter and turned against her will. That said, she’s a great sport about it–and she’s only more attracted to Brandon and Parker. But, mating? That’s pretty extreme for three people who barely know each other. Or, is it…

This is an interesting and spicy menage romance that has plenty of action and adventure, too. Avery is a great lead woman, and she’s down for anything with, or watching, her mates. Brandon and Parker have unique roles to play in the pack dynamics–both being part of a prophecy that can save or doom their packs. Meanwhile, Avery has some level of clairvoyance and does her all to save her new family from destruction. I liked how this was a full story, and not just sexytimes. There are lots of bonding moments, but they don’t overshadow the story. This is the fifth book in a series, and meant to cap off the main plot arc–so it’s a lot to catch up with if you haven’t read along. That said, I didn’t have much trouble keeping up, and really enjoyed this part of the series. The author notes the next books to come won’t follow this same plot arc, but I’d expect to see secondary characters (Mitchell, Max, Kameron) find their way into being protagonists down the road.

Interested? You can find FRACTURED SILENCE on Goodreads, Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Author:
Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

You can catch up with Carrie Ann on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and sign up for her newsletter here.

Happy Book Birthday to LOCKED TIGHT!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new dystopian future novel from Susan Kaye Quinn. LOCKED TIGHT is the fourth book in her 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. I’ve reviewed OPEN MINDS, the first book in this series on the blog, and I’ve read all the books/novellas out so far. It’s a fantastic series, and I’m so glad to return to this amazing fictional world.

Promo pricing of $.99 on this book through Wed 4/19!

About the book:
In a world filled with mindreaders, being a mindjacker is a good way to end up dead.
And Zeph is no ordinary jacker.

He can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest ones—but that just makes him a weapon every jacker Clan wants to control. To keep his family of mindreaders safe, Zeph does what his Clan leader says and tries to shut out the screams—but when jackers are revealed to the world, he has no choice but to hug his kid sister goodbye and leave home.

Passing for a reader is something Zeph does well, but when readers start changing into jackers and his family disappears, Zeph must return to a city filled with jackers who hate him, trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

The bestselling Mindjack Series continues with an all new character and a world of mindreaders and mindjackers as you’ve never seen it before. LOCKED TIGHT is the first of three Mindjack novels from Zeph’s perspective. (See The Locksmith for Zeph’s origin story.)

My Review:
Zeph left his home and family behind the day the world learned about mindjackers. He’d been recruited to one or another “clan”–a mafia of mindjackers had long existed underground–and he wasn’t proud of the work he’d done for them. But if the world knew mindjackers existed, he was sure being in his home would bring trouble for his mother, father and young sister, Olivia. He fled Chicago New Metro’s suburbs for the more sparsely populated Wisconsin, getting by on his wits and skill as a jacker–and keeping his more powerful abilities as a locksmith locked down tight.

Eighteen months later, he’s trying to find out what happened to his family. A check-in showed a home which looked hastily abandoned. Did jackers come and take them? While rescuing a mindreader from the predation of his mindjacking boss’ influence, Zeph abandons his newest post on a mission to find his family. He links up with the mindreading community, taking a position as a bodyguard to the daughter of a prominent mindreader: Jeffrey Tiller. Tiller’s father invented mindware tech–devices that read and interpret mindreaders’ projected brainwaves to operate phones, cars, televisions, etc. Tiller is himself virulently anti-jacker, and makes no apologies for it. His daughter, Juliette, was dating a girl jacker–and he pulled her from school and put her into one where jackers aren’t allowed. Zeph has to hide his jacker abilities, 24/7 to keep up the pretense he’s just a reader, and hopefully Tiller will like him enough to help find his family. He’s a powerful man with lots of connections–and he does promise to assist.

In the meantime, Zeph takes out a jacker who assaults the minds of kids at Juliette’s school, he’s hailed a hero and this lands him in the spotlight he hates–he’s intercepted by operatives in a confidential government agency who are “hosting” his 13 y/o sister as she trains her newly developed jacker powers. Zeph is ecstatic to find Olivia alive, but horrified that she’s unwittingly being honed into a weapon. His primary objective is to get her free, even if it’s against her own wishes.

Zeph’s life becomes even more of a shell game as he takes a new mission to get close to Julian Navarro, new senator from Illinois who is a known mindjacker–one fighting for equal rights for jackers, and peace between readers and jackers. People who’ve read the series know that Julian is a good and honest man, and partners with the heroine of the first three books: Kira Moore, herself an intensely powerful jacker. Supposedly, Julian may be dosing readers with drugs to spur changes into jackers–but even if Zeph doesn’t buy that line of hooey, saving Olivia depends on getting close to Julian. And, that’s where Zeph’s whole life gets turned inside out. Expect bombings, shooting, and general destruction to dog his steps as Zeph witnesses the hate for jackers up-close and extremely personal. What few allies he makes are seemingly wiped out before his eyes, and he has to make unthinkable choices to protect Olivia from the danger she’s been programmed to create.

I’m not going to say more about the plot: it’s intricate and articulate. Zeph is a good guy caught in every bad situation due to his jacking abilities. He’s not dreamed of having a normal life since he underwent his change at 13 and gained his mindjacking ability–but now he’d give anything for “normal” and he sees how it could be possible if only the bigots would stop hunting the jackers. There’s lots of tragedy in the story, with several casualties, and unexpected allies. At it’s heart, the MindJack series has always been about equal rights, and the fight to gain them for all humans–readers and jackers alike. Zeph has seen enough jackers to know how evil they can be, but the depth of hate coming from readers has always been outside of his experience. Now he knows how horrible they can be, and he’s dead set on finding his parents before they can be destroy–as Olivia very nearly was. I’m down a little because I feel like I lost a good friend on these pages, but I’m excited to read on.

Interested? You can find LOCKED TIGHT on Goodreads, Amazon, GooglePlay and iTunes. It’s on special release week pricing of $.99 through 4/19. You can also read the prequel novella THE LOCKSMITH free on Amazon.

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!

Chapter Reveal for FRACTURED SILENCE!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a chapter reveal for a new contemporary paranormal romance from Carrie Ann Ryan. FRACTURED SILENCE is the fifth book in her Talon Pack series and features a menage relationship between two shifters and the human woman they share. It releases next week, so expect my review then.

About the book:
The Talon Pack continues with a dark secret that could shatter the future of the Packs, or save them all.
Parker Jamenson is the son of three Packs, the sole mediator between every Pack in the United States and Europe, and…he’s dying. He knows he doesn’t have much left in him and is in desperate need of a mate. But with the new and unyielding changes thanks to the Moon Goddess, he might not have as much time as he thinks.

Brandon Brentwood is the Omega of the Talon Pack and the youngest of his family. He’s not only one of the famed triplets; he’s also the most secretive. There’s a good reason for that, however, and when a shocking revelation meshes the past and present in a very unexpected way, he’ll look to not only Parker but also a disgraced human to save them all.

Avery Montag knows she’s the daughter of a traitor and doesn’t have much to give the wolves in the way of atonement. But she’ll do everything she can to pay for her father’s sins and find a way to end the war between the humans and the wolves.

When the three turn to each other in a time of unrest and for vastly different reasons, temptation burns and seduction beckons. Only, the past, present, and future are never as solid as they seem, and the path the trio thought to travel may just vanish before they’re ready.

You can read Chapter One of Fractured Silence NOW!

Chapter One
Before

Parker Jamenson woke with a start as someone knocked on the door to the small cabin he’d been staying in for the duration of his visit to this particular European Pack. Using his wolf’s senses, he inhaled deeply, noting that the person on the other side of the door was one of the younger wolves that had shown him around when he’d first gotten there. He hadn’t met most of the Pack, as the people of the den hadn’t been too keen on his presence. He’d only just fallen asleep in the armchair fully clothed, exhausted from the trip.

He’d already spoken to the Alpha about coming together with the Redwoods in times of war, but the damn man hadn’t been too eager to reveal his existence to the world. All Alphas were required to meet with Parker as the Voice of the Wolves because he was goddess-touched, but that didn’t mean they had to listen. Hell, most of them would rather bury their heads in the sand and ignore what was going on around them. And while his own Pack might be older than most in the United States, the European Packs were ancient and set in their ways. No one wanted to deal with the fact that the humans were aware of the shifters’ existence, but Parker knew that soon, no one would have a choice.

He opened the door after a moment and nodded at the young woman on the other side. “Tatiana.”

She smiled coyly at him before licking her lips. He could scent her wolf brushing up against her skin, wanting touch, but Parker wasn’t interested. He just wanted to get this meeting with the elders over with and head back home. Her long, honey-colored hair had been in a braid when he’d first met her, but now it looked as if she’d brushed it out over her shoulders and back so it cascaded over her curves. She’d also put on a long, white, flowing dress instead of the tan one she’d worn when he’d shown up.

And though she looked to be his same age and her power felt even younger, she dressed as if she were some maiden from a bygone era on the hunt for a knight.

Parker would not be that knight— no matter how much those eyes of hers flashed yearning.

“Parker,” she breathed. “I’m to take you to the elder circle for your last meeting before you go.” A pause. “It’s a shame we didn’t have more time to get to know one another while you were here. I understand you leave in the morning, but perhaps the meeting won’t take long, and I can show you more of the grounds. I’m sure your wolf could use some exercise.” She smiled. “And though it’s not a full moon, there’s just enough moonlight for the run to be… thrilling.”

He held back a chuckle that wanted to spill out since that would have been rude. She wasn’t hiding anything she wanted, and while he might have appreciated that on another day, he just wanted to go home. Besides, his wolf wasn’t interested in the woman in front of him, and while that might not matter for a quick night of heat, he didn’t have it in him to ignore his wolf tonight. Maybe I’m getting older, and in need of a mate, he thought. Or maybe he was just tired and missed his family. Either way, Tatiana wasn’t for him.

“I’m afraid I will have to get ready to head out after the elder circle.” He held back a frown at the crestfallen look on her face. They hadn’t said more than a few words before this, and though he was a new wolf to her, he wasn’t the only healthy adult male wolf around.

“I understand,” she said softly. “Follow me, then.” She turned without another word, but he didn’t miss the extra sway to her hips— an invitation if he were to change his mind.

Keeping his thoughts to himself so he wouldn’t inadvertently hurt her again if he were to change his mind— which he wouldn’t— he followed her through the winding, dirt paths of the den toward the oldest part at the edge of the center. It made sense that this was where the elders chose to live— just slightly outside the most used part of the den for privacy but not near the edge in case of an attack. As elders, they were to not only be respected but also protected.

Tatiana left Parker with a nod, and he bent to walk under a low-lying branch so he could make it to the elder’s circle. Encircling the firepit were seven older wolves of various sizes— three women and four men. At his entry, they all looked up as a unit and stared at him.

If he hadn’t seen his own elders do this before, he would have been creeped out. Elder wolves were those who had either lost their mates long ago or had never been mated, so they didn’t have a connection to the new world or the Pack except through their bonds to the Alpha and those in the hierarchy. After living for centuries, some wolves could no longer deal with the drastic changes of society and chose to cloister themselves. Many of the wolves held immense power on their own because of their age and used that strength to protect the Pack in any way they could.

Parker looked back at the elders respectfully. Though each of the wolves had at least two centuries on him, none of them looked a day over thirty-five. Wolf genetics never ceased to amaze him and he’d been born a wolf.

“Parker Jamenson, of the Redwoods,” the woman closest to him said after a moment. “Welcome. I am Aurora. We’re pleased you were able to take the time to meet with us before you head out on your journey home.”

Parker bowed his head in deference. “I will always meet with my elders, Aurora. To ignore those who have lived the past is to ignore what the future may bring.”

She smiled softly at his words and gestured for him to sit down before introducing him to the others. He kept their names in the back of his mind, but he knew that it was Aurora who led here, and she would be the one to speak.

“We’ve asked you to join us because we believe we have something that once belonged to your people. Your line.”

Parker’s eyes widened. “The Redwoods?” How did something of theirs find its way here?

“Not that line.” Aurora’s eyes went gold, her wolf rising to the surface. “The line of the first hunter. You are the son of the son of the son of the line of the first hunter, are you not?”

Parker froze. Not many people knew that his family came from that line. In fact, he’d only recently learned that his ancestor was the first human to be made into a wolf by the moon goddess as a punishment for what the man had done to defenseless prey. She’d forced the man to become the thing he killed for sport, compelled him to share a soul with that of a wolf. From there, new wolves were made, and shifters were born.

His uncle, Logan, had dealt with horrible side effects from that past, but other than his strength, Parker hadn’t really thought about what that meant. Logan had been far too aggressive even at a young age, and it had taken him years to learn how to fully control his wolf. He, like Parker, had also had to learn how to use their strength wisely when they’d been mere pups and still had to deal with some bursts of overextension some days. The family bloodline was diluted over time, and Parker had had more recent issues with it thanks to his birth father. His mother might be of the line of their honorable ancestors and campfire stories, but his birth father had been one of nightmares. He’d never truly met the man as he’d been young when Corbin died, but he knew the stories. Knew that the former Central Alpha had killed countless in his quest for power.

He pushed that thought out of his head, as he knew just letting it in would enrage him.

“I’m of that line, yes,” he answered after a moment. No need to lie as he had a feeling these wolves knew far more than this. “What did you find?” he asked.

Aurora nodded at one of the male wolves after Parker had spoken. The male stood up with shaky hands, a large box wrapped in cloth clasped between them.

Aurora took it gently from him. “This box is made of the woods of our people— Redwood, Aspen, Oak, and so forth. It is said those first Packs, along with the first ever, came together to make it.”

Parker frowned. “What’s in the box?”

“Open it and see.”

Though his wolf had stood at attention as soon as they’d mentioned the box, it wasn’t until Aurora unwrapped it— keeping her hands on the cloth rather than the wood— that his wolf howled.
He frowned. “I’m not going to open something I haven’t looked into with wolves I don’t know. I’m sorry if that’s disrespectful, but that just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.”

Aurora’s eyes flashed, but he had a feeling it was more out of respect than anger. “It’s good you’re cautious. That will help.”

“Help what?”

“There is a prophecy,” she said after a moment. He blinked.

“A prophecy?” Why did he feel like he’d suddenly jumped into an old Indiana Jones movie?

Aurora’s eyes unfocused as she spoke in a deeper voice.

“A wolf of three Packs can break their will or unite them all.
“Once united, the Packs will reveal…
“If broken, the Packs will fall…”

Parker’s wolf rushed to the surface at her words, and he tried to blink, attempted to reach out and catch the woman as she fell forward after she’d finished speaking. Only he felt as if he were moving slower than usual, his mind not quite where it should be. His hand brushed the top of the box, and it slid to the ground, opening on impact.

He looked down, his head going fuzzy, his mouth dry.

An ancient dagger, or perhaps the tip of a spear, rolled out of the box amidst a dust cloud that slapped at his face.

“The weapon of the first hunter,” Aurora croaked before passing out completely. The others surrounded them, yet he could do nothing but try to keep himself upright.

Parker tried to speak but couldn’t force his mouth to work. Instead, his body broke out in a cold sweat, and he fell face-first to the ground.

The last thing he thought about before passing out was his family.

They weren’t here to help him.

No one was here to help him.

He was all alone.

And it was his fault.

Again.

Can’t wait to read this one!

Interested? You can find FRACTURED SILENCE on Goodreads, and pre-order it in advance of it’s April 18th release on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Author:
Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

You can catch up with Carrie Ann on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and sign up for her newsletter here.

Making it Permanent–BITTEN BY DESIGN Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Annabelle Jacobs. BITTEN BY DESIGN is the second book in her series, and features an alternate universe, where werewolves are very much a part of everyday life, and one man doesn’t want to risk his heart by falling for a were. I really enjoyed BITTEN BY MISTAKE, and stay tuned for a review on that one in the near future. BITTEN BY DESIGN can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Catch the teaser excerpt and enter the giveaway below.

About the book:
When the last thing you want, is everything you need….

Seb Calloway isn’t interested in shifters. After his best friend bonded with one, he avoids getting involved with them—no matter how hot they are—to prevent the same thing from happening to him. Why take the risk for a few hours of fun?

Tim Walters is the pack doctor. Considered to be mild-mannered and non-threatening by pack standards, he prides himself on being able to stay calm and maintain his control at all times. Desperate for a bond of his own, he knows his interest in Seb is an exercise in futility, but he can’t seem to help himself.

When news emerges that threatens Seb’s safety, he and Tim need to fake a relationship to keep Seb safe. Despite Seb’s refusal to be anything other than friends with benefits, what starts out as pretend, quickly becomes more—for Tim at least. If Tim doesn’t want to end up heartbroken, he needs to prove to Seb that loving a shifter doesn’t mean losing himself.

My Review:
Seb Calloway is a young single gay man who’s not going to fall for a werewolf, unlike his best friend, Jared–who went and mated his wolf, Nathan. Nope, Seb wants his free will, even if it means never finding a true and fulfilling love…like Jared.

Jared, now park of the Regent’s Park Pack, is under their protection, and Seb counts as Jared’s family–so he’s protected even if he’s not interested. Thing is, Seb’s apartment seems to be the site of some low-level activity by other packs, notably the Primrose Hill pack, or a rogue shifter pack–and Seb is in danger. Plus, he gets injured and needs medical attention which brings Regent’s Park pack Doctor, Tim to the scene. Tim has been infatuated by Seb for awhile, and he’s ready to stand in and pretend to be Seb’s boyfriend. Because, well, he hopes that Seb will grow to love him enough to choose to become his mate.

This is a sometimes-bittersweet love story that mostly revolves around Tim and Seb, with lots of input from Jared and Nathan. The trouble stems from plot threads that occurred in the first book in the series, where Nathan and Jared fell in love. Nathan had broken some big laws, and important people want him punished. Seb recognizes he’s a vulnerable pawn in this pack intrigue, and he relies on Tim more and more to secure his safety. Their bond develops naturally, and is a sexy experience, for sure. I liked the character and world development, and look forward to spending more time with these London werewolves.

Interested? You can find BITTEN BY DESIGN on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

Catch up with Annabelle online on her website, Facebook, twitter or email at ajacobsfiction (at) gmail (dot) com.
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Finding Love AT ATTENTION–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Wow, long time no see! Busy busy back to school, even when I had a break… Still, I really excited to share a review and giveaway for a new contemporary military M/M romance from Annabeth Albert. AT ATTENTION is the second book in her Out of Uniform series, and really enjoyed OFF BASE, so I couldn’t wait to read this one. It’s a new romance that pairs a younger man with the heartbroken widower he’d fallen for years before–when he comes to help out with childcare over the summer.

Catch an excerpt below, and be sure to enter the $20 Amazon GC giveaway, too!
About the book:
Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

How about a little taste?

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.”

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

My Review:
Lt Apollo Floros lost his beloved husband Neal two years ago. He’s grieved terribly, while putting up a strong front for his young twin daughters, Chloe and Sophia. His mother lives in his home, and helps with the childcare, but she’s leaving for a two month trip to Greece with her sisters–a lifelong dream she’s saved for years to experience–and Apollo needs help.

His best friend, Dustin, has arranged to get a suitable person to care for Apollo’s girls: his younger brother, Dylan. Dylan’s just graduated college with a degree in childhood education, and wants to manage recreation classes for kids. He’s got a gig teaching at the summer camp Apollo’s girls are attending, and will be an excellent caregiver, if only he can remember not to fall for Apollo. Again. See, Dylan met Apollo years and years ago, when he came to visit Dustin during a leave, and Apollo was the center of all Dylan’s teenaged (and not so teenaged) sexual fantasies. He’s attracted to Apollo the SEAL, but Apollo the Broken-Hearted? Apollo the Loving Father? #GoneBabyGone

Apollo wallows in his burgeoning attraction to Dylan, quelling his lust by reminding himself that Dylan is Dustin’s baby brother–and twelve years younger than himself. Thing is, Dylan is a strong, assertive man who appreciates Apollo’s micromanaging schedules, and does his darnedest to make Apollo’s life easier. Plus he’s fabulous with Chloe and Sophia. Living in Apollo’s home puts Dylan right in the eye of the storm–he hadn’t realized Apollo spent his nights in the guest room where Dylan sleeps–until Apollo confesses how he’s hardly slept in his own bed in the two years since Neal died. It’s a heart wrenching experience, watching Apollo deal–poorly–with his grief, and deny himself any thoughts of finding love again, out of loyalty to the memory of Neal.

Dylan is a great young man. He’s a partner, and a lover, when Apollo needs one desperately. Still, he’s not getting his needs met, not while Apollo insists on keeping Dylan firmly in the role of ‘babysitter’, and Dylan’s smart enough to stand up for himself, especially when Apollo is way out of line.

I loved how tender this was, and how authentically the love story developed. This isn’t an easy love, but it has the possibility of being a great one. Knowing people who never remarried after losing a spouse, I really connected with Apollo’s grief, and I was relieved when he finally connected to it, as well. There’s a lot of healing in the book–some of it sexual healing–and there’s going to be a break up to make up, but it’s really well handled and felt true. Raising twin girls can’t be easy, but they didn’t take over the story.

I loved these guys, and I loved how they found love together.

Interested? You can find AT ATTENTION on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

Annabeth Albert avatarAbout 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. Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

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