Making it Work: THE BEAUTY OF US–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a release day review and giveaway for the next book in Kristen Proby’s Fusion contemporary romance series. THE BEAUTY OF US is the fourth book in this series and features a romance for Riley, one of the five friends who own and run their sultry restaurant, Seduction. I’ve really enjoyed the other three books, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME so I couldn’t wait to read on.

There’s an excerpt and book giveaway below!

About the book:
New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.
Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

How about a yummy taste…

“There seems to be an explosion in the jackass population,” I reply, and sigh, passing my glass to Kat for a refill.

“Where are you meeting them?” he asks, and I bite my lip.

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“Online,” he says with a nod.

“I didn’t say that!”

“Didn’t have to. If you met him at the gym or the grocery store, or somewhere else in person, you wouldn’t be embarrassed.”

“I’m not embarrassed.”

“Yes, you are. Otherwise, you wouldn’t mind telling me.”

“Fine.” I sigh and rub my forehead with my fingers. “I met them online.”

“Stop that,” he says.

“I don’t know where else I’d meet people,” I reply. “I’m at work at least fifty hours a week. I don’t do school or clubs or church, and I rarely go to the grocery store because I always eat here.”

“I could stop feeding you,” Mia interjects and I toss her a glare.

“I’m just saying, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

“I don’t understand any of the words you just said.” I squint at him, trying to process.

“Switch it up,” he says with a grin. “Try to meet people somewhere else. I mean, you didn’t meet me online, and I’m not an asshole.”

“Sure, you’re cute, and you look like you have your shit together, but I suspect that once I got to know you I’d learn that you have mommy issues and fourteen dogs.”

“You might,” he says with a thoughtful nod. “I do hide those things well. All I’m saying is, stop using the dating sites and try meeting people in real life.”

“Yeah. Easy for you to say.” I pout into my wineglass. “Do I need to send you some money for this counseling session?”

“Nah, the first one’s on me,” he says, tossing that crazy-hot smile at me again. “Just don’t combine Star Wars and Star Trek anymore and that’s payment enough for me.”

He pulls a few bills out of his wallet and tosses them on the bar, then stands to leave.

“Have a good night, and good luck,” he says.

“Thanks.” Just as he’s almost out of view, I call out. “Wait! I didn’t ask your name.”

“Trevor,” he says, and my stomach immediately does at least four cartwheels. “Trevor Cooper.”

“You’re early,” is all I can think to say. My cheeks burning, my fingertips immediately tremble. “You’re not supposed to be here for two more days.”

“I like to come early. Get the lay of the land, that sort of thing.” He smiles and waves. “See you in a couple of days.”

He walks away, and as soon as I hear the front door close, I turn to my friends and just stare at them in utter horror.

“Tell me that didn’t just happen.”

My Review:
Riley is a marketing exec working with her four best friends at their jointly-owned cabaret bar/restaurant Seduction. She’s just convinced all the partners that a food television special would help boost Seduction into the upper echelon of restaurants, and feels really good about their prospects. In fact, her professional success is far more assured than her personal success as Riley’s suffered many a bad date. She’s pretty much given up on finding a decent man. While lamenting it one night at the bar, a stranger offers some sage advice–and Riley’s mortified to learn that this gentleman of wisdom is the producer of the network special, Trevor Cooper.

Trevor is a 37 year-old divorced man whose had his share of difficult relationships. His ex-wife was a two-timer and he’s still reeling from that betrayal. He finds Riley to be attractive, but he wants to keep things professional. However, he sees how disappointed she is by the schlumps she dates and decides to offer her one “perfect” date so she can experience a fun night out with a decent man. And, then Trevor’s caught: he wants more.

Only, Trevor is only supposed to be in Portland for a few weeks while he films the Seduction special. It’s not long enough to build anything real, is it?

Riley and Trevor make the most of their short time together, soon deciding that they might need to take this relationship into long-distance mode, but that’s not really where their hearts lay. And, it’s complicated by some (over-the-top) dramatics by two women in Trevor’s past. For me, that was a bit messy–and unrealistic–and those interactions are the capstone of Riley’s issues with separation. She needs direct communication, on the regular, and Trevor’s inability to provide it leads Riley to stand up for herself and make a painful choice. I liked how she stood on her own, rather than caved for a poor substitute of her needs. Riley’s a strong gal, and she knows her worth. Meanwhile, Trevor made an abrupt shift into “Clueless” the second he boarded his plane for LA. Not that he didn’t get a clue when his pals stepped into the picture and pried his eyes wide. And, his grand gesture was pretty sweet.

There’s lost of love and sexytimes packed into this shorter novel, and fans of the series will love this return to Seduction and the sexy gals who run it. It’s the fourth book in the series, but reads well on its own. And, the end sets up the final book–romance for snarly chef Mia–with a dramatic flair. I’m really looking forward to reading it!

Interested? You can find THE BEAUTY OF US on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win autographed copies of LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU and BLUSH FOR ME.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Author Pic_MontanaAbout the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps.

Visit Kristen online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, or sign up for her newsletter.
InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Cover Reveal for WILD FOR YOU…Coming soon!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for a new contemporary cowboy romance from Daisy Prescott. WILD FOR YOU (releasing 9/14) is the third book in her Love With Altitude series, but it’s a standalone romance. I’ve loved her other books, including READY TO FALL, CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMED TOM CAT, ANYTHING BUT LOVE, BETTER LOVE and WANDERLUST, so I’m looking forward to WILD FOR YOU.


About the book:
Cowboy fantasies. Oh boy, do I have them. I blame the shiny belt buckles and those chaps. Mother of pearl buttons, those chaps.

After getting dumped by my Not Future Husband, I’ve decided to spend the summer in Aspen exploring new adventures. First on the list is rugged, sexy rodeo champion Justin Garrison, who seems happy to accept the challenge.

What if I fall in love with the real man behind the fantasy?
__________________________________

Being the charming cowboy is an easy role to play. Whenever I’m on the back of a horse or riding a bull, everything’s simple, uncomplicated. Running my family’s ranch and trying to keep the past buried are a lot harder.

When my path crosses with a beautiful brunette at a rodeo, I’m not looking for more complications. Feisty Zoe Saragossa’s not a typical buckle bunny and I’m definitely not her type.

Can a city girl fall for a real cowboy?

Wild for You is a standalone, slow burn cowboy romance. It’s part of the Love with Altitude series of standalone romantic comedies set in Aspen, high in the Rocky Mountains.

Interested? You can find WILD FOR YOU on Goodreads and pre-order it on iTunes for $.99 in advance of its release 9/14.

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author Daisy Prescott writes romantic comedies with heart. Her Modern Love Stories feature characters in their thirties and forties finding and rediscovering love in unexpected and humorous ways. Her Wingmen books star regular guys who often have beards, drive trucks, and love deeply once they fall. Look for her new Rom Com series, Love with Altitude, in 2017.

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, and an indeterminate number of imaginary house goats. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

Catch up with Daisy on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Instagram or sign up for her mailing list.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out Today! TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP…

Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a newly revised and expanded M/M contemporary romance from Jay Northcote. TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP sounds like spring break gone severely wild, but it’s a sweet story about a man falling for a morris dancer.

About the book:
Will Rowan’s festival fling with sexy dancer Seth lead to something more permanent?
Rowan is stuck at a folk festival helping out a mate, and it really isn’t his scene. The yoga and singing workshops are bad enough, but morris dancing is the final straw. Bearded men with beer guts prancing around wearing bells—who wants to watch that?

All Rowan’s preconceptions are shattered when he meets Seth—a morris dancer, and the stuff Rowan’s fantasies are made of. Seth persuades Rowan to come to a dancing workshop, and Rowan’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to know Seth better. The attraction is mutual, and a lesson filled with innuendo and flirting leads to an incredible night together.

When Rowan arrives home, he’s gutted to find that Seth has given him the wrong phone number. Assuming Seth did it on purpose, Rowan resolves to forget about him. But fate—and friends—conspire to get them back together. Will they manage to stay in step this time around?

A much shorter version of this story was originally published in the Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology by Dreamspinner Press. This version has been revised and extended. Almost half of it is new content.

Look for my review in the coming weeks, but don’t let the delay stop you from picking up this yummy read right now. I’ve adored all Jay’s books to-date including SUMMER HEAT, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, and TOPS is another stellar story about getting over prejudices and accepting love at the right time.

Interested? You can find TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP on Goodreads and 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!

signal boost

Love’s Hard Even When You TREAT ME–A TBR Review


Hi there! I’ve finally made time to get back to the Sole Regret contemporary rock romance series I’ve long adored from Olivia Cunning. TREAT ME is the eighth book in this series and is mostly enjoyable on it’s own, but you’d likely love it better if you read book 3, TAKE ME, first. I’ve read all the books through eight, to this point, and TREAT ME has languished in my TBR, bought and paid for, for almost TWO years now!!! :O

If you’ve not read the series, Sole Regret is a rock band with five members. Each of these guys find a woman to love in books 1-5 (Try Me, Tempt Me, Take Me, Touch Me, Tie Me) and they spend one amazeballs-sexy night together. Books 6-10 (TELL ME, TEASE ME, TREAT ME) feature these same couples as they try to experience that love over the course of a (generally turbulent) weekend. Expect all of them get into major trouble. The planned books 11-15 will bring each couple back for a make-up HEA. There are some overarching plot arcs that span the books, too, and it’s been a wild and sexy ride so far. Books 1-10 are currently available for purchase.

About the book:
Nothing’s fair when love is war…
From the outside, Sole Regret’s lead vocalist Jacob “Shade” Silverton seems to have it all—fame and fortune, success and talent, self-confidence and sex appeal. He also has a sweet, young daughter who rules his heart. On the inside, he knows something’s missing from his perfect life and longs for the right woman to make his broken family whole. His new lover Amanda might be the one. As he spends a long weekend with her and discovers how she loves his daughter, warms his heart, rocks his bed, and genuinely cares about the real him—not just the rock star that holds the spotlight—he becomes convinced she is the one. Unfortunately, Amanda comes with some baggage. Her younger sister is Jacob’s exwife and Tina has never been the type to offer her blessing.

Amanda Lange wouldn’t mind filling the vacancy in Jacob’s life. She adores his daughter, her only niece, and she’s had a most inappropriate crush on Jacob for years. Their time together as a new couple and with four-year-old Julie in tow is everything she’s been dreaming of. And as her infatuation turns into something much more substantial, she starts to believe they were meant to be together. And not just herself and Jacob, but Julie too. The three of them make a perfect family. Unfortunately, Jacob comes with some baggage. His ex-wife is Amanda’s sister and Tina has never allowed Amanda to keep a man for long. Especially not one she still considers her own.

While Jacob is ready to reveal his relationship with Amanda to the world, including to their shared baggage, Amanda is convinced it’s best to keep their secrets between the sheets and try to hide the passion and affection building between them. How long will it be before Tina discovers their secret? And when she does, will she surprise everyone and allow Jacob and Amanda’s love to continue to grow or will she do everything in her power to tear them apart?

My Review:
Jacob “Shade” Silverton is the lead vocalist of Sole Regret, a Texas-based metal band. He’s tall and sexy and illiterate. He’s got an undiagnosed learning disability, but he made the best of things and founded the band with his friends not long after dropping out of high school. He’s got lots of money, and a beautiful daughter, Julie, that he loves to absolute pieces. In fact, because Tina, his ex-wife, made it hard for him to have his custody weekends, this devoted daddy convinced the band to play only every other weekend, so he can fly home and spend his time with Julie.

Also, because Jacob isn’t the most sensitive guy, he’s pretty sure that dating Tina’s older sister, Amanda, won’t be a problem. He’s known Amanda for more than a decade, and though he had a great affection for her before his marriage fell apart, it’s now a lot more intense. In fact, he’s planning to spend his Julie-weekend with Amanda, too.

Amanda knows Tina will go seriously mental if she finds out Amanda’s dating Jacob…but she can’t hide how she feels about him anymore. They’ve already had a spectacular night of sex, and they’re already close friends. Amanda adores Julie, too, and gives up her free time to babysit her all the time, but, yeah, telling Tina is on the “Probably Never” list of priorities.

Thing is, Jacob wants to, a lot, and he’s caught up in the “love” word, too. Not that Amanda isn’t; she just expects that Tina will manipulate the situation and hurt either Julie, Jacob, or both of them in order to keep Amanda away from Jacob.

This is a bittersweet read, with Jacob and Amanda falling so hard for one another, and Tina messing the whole thing up. You can expect touching moments, hawt sexytimes, a catfight and a heartbroken rocker. TREAT ME doesn’t end on a strong cliffhanger, but it does leave the reader wanting the next Jacob-Amanda book (#13 on the docket) right now. Too bad that’s not out yet… In any case, I loved getting to know Jacob better. He’s a confident outside-vulnerable inside guy who’s always been ashamed of his lack of academic success. He thinks that Amanda might love him despite all his disabilities, but he suspects she’s as cold as her sister when the chips are down. That said, we don’t hate anyone but Tina when this book draws to a close.

Looking forward to lucky # 13, and I’m off to read book 9.

Interested? You can find TREAT ME on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. This book is also part of a Books 8-9 boxed set available on all vendors that will save you $1 on the cost of each separately.

About the Author:
Combining her love for romantic fiction and rock ‘n roll, USA Today and New York Times Best-Selling Author Olivia Cunning writes erotic romance centered around rock musicians.

Raised on hard rock music from the cradle, she attended her first Styx concert at age six and fell instantly in love with live music. She’s been known to travel over a thousand miles just to see a favorite band in concert. As a teen, she discovered her second love, romantic fiction–first, voraciously reading steamy romance novels and then penning her own.

Olivia’s first book in her Sinners on Tour Series, Backstage Pass, was published in 2010 by Sourcebooks. Since then, she’s added to her collection of naughty rock stars by continuing the Sinners on Tour series, and starting two new series, One Night with Sole Regret and Exodus End World Tour. She believes there’s a perfect rock star out there for everyone–as long as you like your heroes a little sweet, a little dirty, and a lot sexy.

You can find Olivia on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Love, Seeds and DIRTY DEEDS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M romantic suspense from HelenKay Dimon. DIRTY DEEDS is the first book in her Dirty series. It’s also a spinoff from her Tough Love series, which featured MR. AND MR. SMITH, THE TALENTED MR. RIVERS, and GUARDING MR. FINE, and you know I liked bunches. In fact, one of the leads had cameos in Guarding Mr. Fine, and he’s a smart sexy devil.

About the book:
No dirty deed goes unnoticed in a seductive game of cat and mouse. But for Alec and Gaige, the wrong move could get them killed.
Alec Drummond didn’t make his billions by playing nice—or by playing much at all. When it comes to pleasure, Alec only has time for whatever’s quick and easy, which is exactly what he gets from his company’s hot new computer genius. But Gaige Owens isn’t some pushover. He pushes back, and it’s giving Alec a rush. The question is, could Gaige be the one who’s leaking trade secrets? Just to be safe, Alec keeps him close at hand . . . night and day.

Gaige never thought he’d roll over for a man like Alec again, but who could resist sex this mind-blowing? Then there’s the draw of Alec’s mysterious side: his cutthroat ambition, his covert CIA connections, and the murder in his past. For Gaige, a deeper look proves an irresistible temptation. But when Gaige and Alec are stripped of their defenses by an unseen danger, everything they don’t know could bring them closer together—or tear them apart. Only one thing is certain: Before it’s all over, someone’s going down.

My Review:
Alec Drummond is a billionaire agri-business mogul living in Munich–and he’s got a reputation for shooting first when his financial interests are in jeopardy. He’s not happy that a CIA operative, Gaige Owens, makes it into the nerve center of his cybersecurity offices. Naturally, Gaige isn’t really CIA, he’s actually a guy in limbo, left to twist in the wind by his former partner and compelled into action by the CIA Special Acitivites Division officer Seth Lang. Gaige’s ex did a bad job of hacking some high-level places and framed Gaige for the dirty deeds, and Seth’s holding Gaige’s feet to the fire for his own purposes.

Gaige is sure Alec will kill him, but Seth set up this meeting to demonstrate Gaige’s abilities to Alec, as a way to get Alec to take Gaige on as an operative. See, Alec’s company makes quarterly deposits to the Doomsday Bank for seeds to ensure food security. Unfortunately, there’s been some shady deposits there in the last six months. Extra deposits that no one seems to know about, but were seemingly arranged by Alec himself.

As little as Alec wants him, he grudgingly accepts Gaige into his company–and his private residence–so he can keep a very close eye on him. It’s clear that Gaige is a gifted hacker, and a sexy young man, but Alec doesn’t want any part of that…at first. As they end up the subject of a couple of fatal attempts on their lives, Alec and Gaige get closer out of necessity. And, that’s some more dirty deeds right there, folks. As the danger intensifies, Gaige and Alec recognize the answers they need are buried in the seed vaults in Svalbard. Not that it comes together easy. Nope, it’s a rough situation and results in double-crosses by members of Alec’s most intimate circle.

In this romantic suspense, we’ve got spies, CIA, powerful men, assassins, and a plot that could endanger the food security of nations. It’s interesting and intriguing with a pace that keeps the pages turning. Both Gaige and Alec despise Seth and his machinations, but they work out their personal differences without too much difficulty in order to discover the plot to sabotage Alec’s business and reputation.

This series seems to revolve around the Drummond brothers–all three of them–and Alec is the stalwart one who’s not willing to even look for love. His family has some dark secrets, and it really colored his outlook. That said, Alec’s curiosity about Gaige leads to more than partnership, even if it’s “no strings”. They get tied up quick enough, nonetheless, and Alec got over his ingrained aversion to relationships because Gaige was worth the effort. Gaige is a little bit of a wisecracker, and I so wanted him to get into a good relationship after all the hub-bub of his horrible ex.

I’m expecting the next book to feature Alec’s brother, Finn, and I’m looking forward to it!

Interested? You can find DIRTY DEEDS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a divorce attorney—not the usual career transition. Now she writes full-time and she’s much happier. The author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and short stories that have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, she’s on the board of directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and Mira Costa College.
You can find HelenKay online on her website, Facebook, twitter Tumblr and Pinterest.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

CAUGHT! in the Truth–A TBR Thursday Review

Hi there! Today I’m working off my TBR Thursday list and pulling out a contemporary M/M British romance from JL Merrow. I really enjoyed OUT! and PLAYED!, the second and third books in the Shamwell Tales series, but I’d always wanted to read the first–CAUGHT! Now that it’s been re-released I jumped at the chance to check it off my TBR.

About the book:
Bow ties are cool . . . but secrets, not so much.
Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

My Review:
Mr. Robert Emeny is a certified teacher whose life has taken a bad turn. He doesn’t want anyone to know what drove him from the posh boys’ public school (like a private high school in the States…) into a small-town nursery school as a primary school teacher. He’s struggling to make it through the days, class management of 20 six year-olds isn’t the easiest, but he’s especially taken by the doting until of his troublemaker twins: Sean Grant.

Sean’s twin sister’s been suffering from cancer for years, and he’s lived with her and assisted in the care of his rough-and-tumble nephews since their dad skipped off before their birth. It’s made a crimp in his love-life, but not too much of one. Eyeing up his nephews’ cute teacher–who the kids all call ‘Mr. Enemy’–isn’t a hardship either. Of course, Sean thinks Rob’s likely looking at him as the ‘bit of rough’ he is: being a poor ‘ratcatcher’ (exterminator) and all, but darned if he doesn’t like the way Rob wears his sexy bow-ties and cuddles close on the back of his motorbike.

These two are an odd couple, but they hit it off rather quickly. It’s too quick, though, because Rob’s still reeling from the accusations he faced back at his old school, where he tendered his resignation and lost his boyfriend in one fell swoop. If only he hadn’t been so conscientious…

The secret eats at the relationship, and Rob wants to unburden himself, but what if Sean doesn’t believe him? What if he does what his last partner, the man Rob hoped to marry, did? There’s a lot of fear there, and some deep, deep shame, too. Sean’s hurt feelings need smoothing over, and Rob does the smoothing in the sweatiest way possible…after a jog, people! Sheesh! Perverts, the lot of you. 😉 Just kidding, there’s some yummy sexytimes here.

I was so happy to find this one back on the market, and I’m eager to read the fourth Shamwell Tale, SPUN!, released last month. Expect a review soon.

Interested? You can find CAUGHT! on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Sibling Rivalry is ABSOLUTELY, ALMOST, PERFECT–Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I have a whole lot to share about a newly released M/M contemporary romance from Lissa Reed. ABSOLUTELY, ALMOST, PERFECT is the third book in her Sucre Coeur series, and I gobbled it right up. AAP features a strapping Scots/English baker and his anxiety-riddled partner who fly to England to attend the wedding of the baker’s estranged brother. It’s a perfect quagmire of familial problems and an almost disaster of absolutely everything they’d built together.

Catch an excerpt, author interview, my review and enter the $25 GC and books giveaway below!
About the book:
Craig Oliver and Alex Scheff lead a charmed life. Craig is part owner of Sucre Coeur, the bakery he’s loved and managed for years. Alex is an up-and-coming Seattle photographer. Their relationship has been going strong for a year, and everything is absolutely perfect—right up until Craig receives a wedding invitation from his long-estranged brother.

As Craig grows tense over seeing his brother for the first time in years, Alex can’t control his anxiety over meeting Craig’s family. At the wedding in an English hamlet, boisterous Scottish mothers, smirking teenage sisters, and awkward ex-boyfriends complicate the sweet life they lead.

Some thoughts from Author Lissa Reed…

Hello, and thanks for hosting this tour stop! I’m a writer living in Texas with a couple of cats and what some folks might call too much yarn and too many books. These people would be terribly wrong.

My current book, Absolutely, Almost, Perfect, is an homage to one of my favorite genres of film – the British rom-com. Only with a gay couple in the lead, rather than relegated to being sidekicks or best friends. Craig and Alex, my protagonists from my first book, are back to face their first major obstacle as a couple: Officially Meeting The Parents.

Why do you write?
Honestly, I have written for so long, that I don’t quite know how to answer this question! The shortest, simplest answer is that I do it because I must. But then also, because no one else is going to write the stories that skulk around in my brain, and I want to see them written! I need them out on paper so the next idea can come in and capture my imagination, my time, and my ink pen.

Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
I would say Certainly, Possibly, You, my second book. It was a story about queer females, and being one of those myself, it was a little more of a personal story in a lot of ways, and I had to battle myself a bit to really let go and write it freely. I had to get out of my own way and stop worrying about whether I was going to represent queer women well, were people going to wonder about how I knew this or that, did anyone even want to read about queer women? It was a fight.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
In Absolutely, Almost, Perfect, we come back around to Craig and Alex from Definitely, Maybe, Yours. When the book opens, they’re not struggling with their feelings for each other anymore – they’re a solid relationship already in progress, about to meet a huge sort of milestone-slash-obstacle. What makes them special to me is the way they face things together, as a unit. They went through so much just to acknowledge that they loved each other, that now to see them hand-in-hand, dealing with things together, just delights me no end.

How much research do you do for your books?
Depends on the topic of the book, honestly. I am always going to want to get the things I don’t know as right as I can get them. Absolutely went through two English readers, one of whom had a roommate from the Essex area to help out and make sure my book was correctly British when it needed to be. I also had to do some research on wedding cakes – full size cakes are not my specialty – and how to get pet dogs to England (because I was not having them leave Fitz behind). But I have a project in the pipeline set in my home state of Louisiana, so I can get away with a little bit less in the research department.

Who designs your covers?
The initial cover was designed by RJ Shepherd, for my first book. Then CB Messer kept the concept going through the next books so we had a coordinated trilogy. I love these book covers, but I’m excited to see if I can write something else for Interlude that’s outside the Sucre Coeur universe, so I can see what CB can really do for the stuff my brain produces!

How about a little taste?

Smelling of soap, a blue bath towel slung around his hips, Craig drops a kiss on Alex’s forehead before he takes his own seat. He slides the Ivory Square of Doom to his side of the table. “Right, we have to work this out.”

“Do we?” Alex cuts a finger of toast and dips it into his egg. He concentrates on the simple task so he doesn’t have to look Craig in the eye. “I mean, really. Neither of us actually wants to go. Why can’t we just RSVP with a sad but firm no and send them the nicest thing on their registry?”

Silence stretches long enough that he does look up. Open-mouthed, Craig stares at him. A forgotten toast finger drips egg yolk onto the tabletop. “You…” Craig shakes his head and puts down the toast. “You spoke to my mother. Many times you faced this woman on Skype or Facetime and had actual conversations with her, and you still somehow think that is a reasonable course of action.” His eyebrows lift, and he lets out a low whistle. “You know, I’ve held your balls in my hand. Were they brass all this time, and I just missed it?”

“Oh, come on, Craig.” Alex runs a hand through his hair. “Yes, I spoke to your mother. She’s nowhere near as scary as mine.”

“See, now, there’s an excellent reason for both of us to go to this damn wedding, so I can show you in person exactly how wrong you are.” Craig lifts his mug of tea and coughs out a laugh. “Your mother is frightening, I grant you: half my size and twice as intimidating as I can manage on my best day. In fact, our mothers would get on like houses afire, which should give you an idea as to why I, at least, cannot get out of going to this wedding.” He takes a sip of tea, sets the mug aside, and reaches over the table to catch Alex’s hand in both of his. “Alex, even apart from my mother’s insistence… Chloe is one of my oldest friends. I have to do this for her. But I can’t do it without you. I know it won’t be easy, but I need you there with me.”

At the sight of their joined hands, a lump grows in Alex’s throat to match the one in his stomach. “It’s just… your family…”

Silence falls again, interrupted only by Fitz tap-tap-tapping across the checkerboard linoleum of the kitchen floor and whining to be picked up. Craig scoops him up and scratches Fitz’s fuzzy little ears. “They won’t bite, Alex. They’re just…”

“Just people, just your family, I know.” Alex’s chest tightens. “Just your mother, your father, your sisters, your brother who you don’t even like, and I guess there’s an Aunt Lorraine now, and this Chloe chick and God knows who else gathering for the Wedding of the Century, where they’ll get to meet Craig’s neurotic train wreck of a boyfriend and judge us. They’ll judge me for being an uptight, deadbeat American and you for clearly having some kind of episode, to decide that I was an appropriate choice for a boyfriend.”

The lump in his throat swells and cuts him off.

Family.

My Review:

Craig and Alex have been together for nearly two years and they are very much in love. Alex is a bit of an emotional mess, thanks to an abusive ex, but he and Craig are solid. Stable. And…freaking out about returning to England for Craig’s brother’s wedding to his dearest childhood friend, Chloe. Craig and his brother, Duncan, are estranged because Duncan was a horse’s ass of a sibling, who mercilessly bullied young Craig and never apologized for years of emotional and physical torment.

Alex doesn’t want to go at all, but he’s not going to let Craig go alone. They head off to Merry Olde for the festivities and it’s…uh, I believe the correct British term is: tit’s up. O.o.  Chloe is a bridezilla, hell-bent on getting Craig and Duncan to make up in time for the wedding. She’s adamant that Duncan has changed his personality completely from when they were all kids, and Craig should give him the chance to make amends. Still, it’s easy to see that she’s a decent person, despite her many tantrums. Craig and Alex are reliant upon Craig’s childhood boyfriend, David, a sweet man attractive to both of them, to navigate the parent-infested waters.  And Duncan, well, if this would have been playing out in front of me, that man would have gotten a swift boot to his manparts.

I haven’t read any of the earlier book in this series, but I had no trouble dropping into this rom-com. Alex’s medications for anxiety make him loopy and he gets a hysterical fit in response to Duncan’s shenanigans. Craig doesn’t let the slights go, and Duncan–if Chloe doesn’t ditch him–might turn up to his own wedding with a (well-deserved) shiner. Throughout, stalwart Craig is the hot mess and shaky Alex the voice of reason, which is quite the juxtaposition. I loved the folks, and the fun. Duncan and Craig’s family is large and boisterous, and they love with abandon. There’s just a little bit of steam to go along with all the zaniness.

Fans of the series will love the twists, and the sweet resolution, which brings along a super-sized HEA. I had a lot of fun with the Brit English bits, and watching Alex grow as a partner to Craig.

Interested? You can find ABSOLUTELY, ALMOST, PERFECT on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, Book Depository and Indiebound.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC to Interlude Press or one of five ebooks of Absolutely, Almost, Perfect.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Lissa Reed is a writer of fiction, blogs, and bawdy Renaissance song parodies. She traces her early interest in writing back to elementary school, when a teacher gifted her with her first composition book and told her to fill it with words. After experimenting with print journalism, Reed shifted her writing focus to romance and literary fiction and never looked back. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Absolutely, Almost, Perfect is the third book in her Sucre Coeur Series.

Get to know Lissa on her website on Twitter and on Instagram .