Falling for PROFESSOR ADORKABLE Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Edie Danford. I’ve reviewed a few of Edie’s books for Joyfully Jay, and I’ve liked all of them. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest release, PROFESSOR ADORKABLE, because it features a nerdy Czech physics professor and the adorbs housekeeper who helps him feel brave and desirable. It’s such a sweet odd-couple, friends to lovers story.

Catch an excerpt and enter to win in the $10 Amazon GC giveaway down below.
About the book:
What happens when a star-gazing professor falls for his hot young housekeeper? One heck of an earthy explosion…

Professor Marek Janos’s genius at analyzing stellar explosions doesn’t apply to his own disordered world. Forgetting to eat, sleep, and leave his lab has triggered some epic personal disasters. When his family insists he hire live-in help, he discovers home life has awesome benefits. His new housekeeper’s smile sparks more energy than a supernova. And the way he moves? It rocks Marek’s galaxy.

Pete Schulz took a tough fall from his high-flying life in Hollywood. But how does a guy whose best skill is getting dirty clean up his act? His new gig with Domesticated Inc seems like a great first step. Keeping house for a nerdy young astrophysics professor is exactly the low-key, no-chance-for-trouble job he needs, right?

Living together is surprisingly easy for both men. And fun. And more than a little hot. It’s when they’re faced with the idea of living apart that the truly messy work begins…

How about a little taste?

“I made the mess,” I tell my housekeeper. “So I will clean it up.”

“Yeah, I know you can clean it up if given several hours,” Pete responds, his smile crooked. There are no signs of exasperation on his face or in his tone. No signs that he’s upset I’ve woken him up with the sound of breaking glass, and that his once-pristine kitchen floor is now covered with a mess I could have easily avoided if I’d been paying attention. “But it’s my job. Tomorrow morning your job is to go teach a class. You’ll sleep until eight, eat a good breakfast, and then be off.”

I raise my eyebrows. “That is exactly how it will happen?”

“I’ll make sure of it.”

“What if I want to negotiate?”

“Negotiate?”

“Yes. Things can be negotiated in a democratic household, yes?”

“Democratic?”

I smile. “We have no dictators here. Or kings or queens.”

“Well.” He snorts. “There is that matter of your uncle signing my paycheck. But I get what you’re saying, I guess. What were you interested in negotiating?”

“Tonight I feel…antsy? Unable to relax.” I move my shoulders up and down to show him all this tension I’m experiencing. “I’ll go upstairs and sleep, but first I would like company. To hang out with you. For a while.”

His mouth droops as he folds his arms across his bare chest and stares at me. “So you’re saying you’ll let me do my job. But only if I give up my free time for you?”

“Um.” It’s cool in the kitchen, but my face suddenly becomes steam-burn hot.

Damn. I’m incredibly bad at talking to him—or any guy—I find attractive. Doesn’t matter where I am—Prague, Pasadena, Chicago. My language barrier isn’t about Czech versus English. It’s about my head versus my tongue.

What I want with Pete is complicated, not simple. But, as usual, I’ve said words that could be construed as—

God, I don’t even know what.

“You suck at negotiating, Marek.” He says it with a kind note in his voice.

“Yes.” I clear my throat. “I do.”

He sighs and runs his hand over his short hair—hair I want so fucking badly to touch. Is it bristly, soft? Would it sift through my fingers easily, or would it be like my hair and cling to my skin?

“I suppose we could listen to one Harry Potter chapter,” he says, lacking his usual enthusiasm for the idea. “But just one. And if you fall asleep or if I fall asleep or if we both fall asleep, it will be your job to wake up and go back to bed. No sleepovers. That’s a rule that’s not allowed to change.”

I swallow. Ordinarily I would give him shit about the unreasonableness of his request—if we’re asleep, how will we know we’re asleep and thus breaking his rules?

But I keep quiet tonight. I know I’m pushing him. I know he’s beginning to figure out I want more than just his company. So much more.

If this were a work-related matter, I would get my way with a few basic words. Logic applies in my lab. When it comes to my personal life, however, logic rarely applies. Basic words never seem to work.

If I tell Pete what I really want—to take him into his room, to put him on his comfortable bed, to kiss his clever mouth over and over and over, to blow him until his sweet hotness spills down my throat, to hold him tightly and use friction to excellent effect (inside or outside our bodies, I don’t care) until we both come—then he would say “no” quickly and firmly, and quietly shut that detestable door in my face. And I’ll be lucky if he’s still around in the morning.

The situation between us is confusing. I hope this is more than just his workplace. We are friends. He’s my best friend, actually. And he’s the one who makes this place a home.

Occasionally, I have a hard time understanding…what had my language tutor called it? Nuance. Nuanced meanings. Pete and I have a lot of nuances happening between us.

“One chapter would be good,” I tell him. “Chapter Twelve. ‘The Tri-wizard Tournament.’ I need to know all about it.”

He nods and tips his head toward the open door to his suite. “I’ll meet you in there.”

My heart bounces around in my chest—more zaps from that ionizer—but my head doesn’t like the take-care-of-business look on Pete’s face. No smile, no teasing, no dancing notes to the way his boots clap against the tile floor. He checks the locks and the deadbolts on the back door and walks toward his room.

He glances at his doorway and then me, his eyebrows rising. He looks as though he’s holding his breath, maybe holding back a sigh.

Maybe it would be better to give him space tonight. Better for me to be apart from what I want so much, but can’t have. I should walk away, go back to my room without bothering Pete.

My damp toes stick to the cold floor. I want to be more than a job for him. I want to be more than some guy he feels sorry for, some guy who can’t even say what he wants.

I walk over to the sink and retrieve a glass from the nearby cabinet. I fill the glass half full at the tap and then drink. I set it down carefully. The water is cold, but my skin feels hot. I can feel Pete watching me, waiting.

My eyes shift to the hallway. But my feet carry me toward Pete.

My Review:

Marek Janos is a certified astrophysics genius. He’s 26, with two PhDs and a professorship at University of Chicago–yet he struggles with the day-to-day business of life. Sure, part of this is due to him being a Czech transplant to the States but mostly it’s him being out-of-step with real life. He’s an adult, but a bit naive, with a history of being taken advantage of–mostly recently by his ex-boyfriend who quite literally took him for all he was worth. Homeless, living in his lab, and ill weren’t what his family wished to see, so his uncle took it upon himself to find Marek a house, and housekeeper, when he moved from California to Chicago.

Pete is a 23 y/o out gay man trying to live without being fabulous for a change. He’s recently returned from a life and scene in LA where his assistant job for a TV studio exec had an “anything goes” policy–and apparently anything went… Ashamed of his callow life, and burning off the fumes of Insta-fame gone stale, Pete is happy to be a domestic assistant, and Marek’s home is an ideal place to work. Doesn’t matter that Marek is “adorkable;” Pete is remaining celibate, and steering clear of blurring any lines in his professional capacity. He’s got a bunch of rules to keep him free of sexy entanglements, and he doesn’t want to risk being fired due to the clause in his one-year contract that will keep him from contacting Marek, who has become his friend.

Pete likes Marek. A lot. He’s also suspicious why Marek’s uncle insisted on hiring him–specifically he was looking for a “worldly gay man” to manage Marek’s household–because reasons. Did he expect Pete to be more than a housekeeper? Or was he simply concerned that Marek would need someone to help him out of his shell. It’s confusing, and Pete needs clarity. Of course, Marek and Pete have been getting closer and closer as the months have passed. They spend time talking, and listening to audiobooks of Harry Potter cozied up in Pete’s room. Pete takes the time to make special treats for Marek, and this makes Marek feel special. Comfortable. Interested.

Marek’s not so good with nuance, but he’s definitely able to be direct. He makes no mistake about how he wants Pete to be more than his housekeeper. His friend, his lover. These are the roles Marek wants to see Pete in. There are some complications regarding family, and Pete’s desire to be with Marek without messing up his life again. They make an agreement that Pete will be a test subject in Marek’s exploration of the Chicago gay scene. Pete only agrees to some level of intimacy–well more intimacy–if Marek will date other, suitable men. See, Pete, due to his history of being a boy toy, doesn’t feel worthy of being loved by Marek. Meanwhile, Marek decides to up his game, calling Pete’s old friends for make-overs that turn Pete’s head nearly off his body. The urge for each man to take care of the other is both tender and strong. Marek never doubts that Pete is good enough; he only fears he won’t be brave enough to do what is necessary to prove he’s capable of surviving on his own so Pete doesn’t feel as if Marek’s “love” is just misplaced need. Not that Pete thinks Marek will take advantage of him.  Pete has the resources to walk away from Marek, as it turns out. But, should he?

I really loved how these guys interact. They are so careful, and thoughtful, with one another. Pete’s tentative nature about slipping into bad patterns is interesting, and admirable. Marek’s naivete is charming, as is his calculating mind. He approaches problems head-on now, which shows a lot of growth over his previous experiences in Cali. His absolute steadfast belief that he will win Pete’s heart and mind is endearing. Pete, despite his youthful foibles, is really being a bit too hard on himself, and Marek helps him recognize this. Marek’s Czech-accented English felt more charming than stereotypical, and the boys all seem to swoon for Marek, but he’s only got eyes for his Pete. The Chicago realities–including the crap weather in January and the crap traffic any dang time of year–were spot on, for me. As a Chicago native, I loved those details and look forward to seeing more of it in books in this new series. I liked the secondary characters, especially Marek’s gal-pal Zoe, who’s an outspoken teen girl who works in his lab. She’s got gumption, and is willing to help Marek tailor his experiments to get the desired results: Pete loving Marek…forever.

Interested? You can find PROFESSOR ADORKABLE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends.

Meet the Author
Edie lives in Vermont with her husband, two sons, and random creatures that might or might not be pets. She loves libraries (where she’s found play, work, and love since she was a kid), long walks (unless ice is involved), lewd language (in the right context), luscious romance (of any variety), and alliteration.

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

Out today! STARTING OVER–Release Day Blitz and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’ back with a release day blast and giveaway for a new book and series by C.J. Baty. STARTING OVER is the first book in her Knights Club series, but is a spin off from the Warfield Hotel Mystery books. I’m looking forward to sharing a review for it next week.

Scroll down for more info and enter to win an ebook in the giveaway.
About the book:
Xavier Knight was starting his life over. A new city. A new club. The past was gone, and he had everything to look forward to… except… love. That ship had sailed, never to return. He was too old to play the games or stack up the one night stands. Until, an old enemy’s son walked into his club and his heart.

Sebastian Brady was through. Through with hiding who he was. Through letting his brother officers dictate his life. And completely through, with his family telling him who he was. He turned his back on his badge and his family’s heritage in the Atlanta police force. But, he never imagined that he’d be serving drinks in a gay bar and working for the hottest silver fox he had ever seen in his life.

Xavier and Seb have a lot to learn from each other. Hopefully, their growing love will survive Xavier’s past, Seb’s family, and a host of characters with secrets of their own, who all work at the Knights Club.

Insights from the Author:

The Knights Club (formerly the Gentleman’s Club) first appeared in the Warfield Hotel Mysteries Series. It was owned by Stony Whitecastle and is located in Atlanta, GA. At the beginning of the Knights Club/Starting Over, Stony is selling the club to Xavier Knight. He renames the club the Knights Club and instead of a private club opens it the public. Some patrons still hold membership though.

This series involves Xavier and his crew of employees and their involvement with a local police family. We meet Sebastian Brady in Starting Over along with his dysfunctional family. Seb’s struggle with his homophobic oldest brother and the shadow of his dead father, Detective Delmonico Brady, haunts Seb as he tries to make a new life for himself.

Occasionally, a character from the Warfield Hotel series will pop up but they are not central to the story line. Everyone who works at the Knights Club has a past and secret they are running from. They are mixed bag of people who have been suffered many things. The Knights Club is their home and the people who work there are their families. But, even families don’t like each other all the time…

The Knights Club Series Release schedule:
Bk. 1 Starting Over September 18, 2018 Today, yo!
Bk. 2 Letting Go October 2018
Bk. 3 Coming Out November 2018
Bk. 4 Learning Trust December 2018
Bk. 5 Deserving Forgiveness January 2019

Interested? You can find STARTING OVER on Goodreads and Amazon US and UK.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win an ebook of STARTING OVER.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

She has a loving and supportive family who don’t mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!”

Catch up with C.J. on her website, Facebook or twitter.

Falling for a ROCK KING–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new rock romance form Tara Leigh. ROCK KING is the first book in the Nothing But Trouble series and features the lead singer of a rock band who’s hiding a terrible secret–and the girl-next-door he hires to be his chaperone/companion on tour.

About the book:
I’m not who you think I am.

Shane Hawthorne has it all. At least, that’s what the headlines say about me. I have millions of fans, awards, more money – and women – than I know what to do with. But what you don’t see is the wreckage I’ve caused. The memories and pain I can’t escape, even when I pour them into music and spin them into gold.

I tried to forget. To lose myself in booze and groupies. It didn’t work. It hurt me and – worse – it hurt my band. That’s the last thing I want to do, so I’m cleaning up my act… starting with Delaney Fraser.

Gorgeous, smart, drama-free, and even nice – Delaney is the perfect “girlfriend.” When I’m with her I don’t have to pretend. It’s like she sees the real me. And I can see a future with her. But that’s dangerous. Because the truth is, Shane Hawthorne doesn’t actually exist. He’s a shield to hide who I really am. Fraud. Runaway. Addict. Murderer.

And it’s impossible to love a lie, right?

My Review:
Shane Hawthorne is a rock star and lead singer of Nothing But Trouble, a headlining rock band. But he’s hiding a dark secret behind his stage name: as a teen he was driving the car when it crashed and his best friend and surrogate brother Caleb died. Having no one to care for him and fearing he would be prosecuted, he ran and adopted this persona.

As the years have passed, he’s made good in the rock world but his guilt eats him alive and he’s been fighting addictions to alcohol and drugs. His agent devised a plan a few years back to keep Shane from chasing his demons into oblivion: hire beautiful chaperones who will stay by Shane’s side and keep him sober. If the girl happens to be down for sexytimes, that’s cool, too, but she’s not being hired as an escort. Nominally.

Delaney fled her Long Island upbringing after a tragic accident killed her mother and landed her father in jail. Unable to cope with her role in the situation, she’s aimless and wishing she could do something to help her dad. Running into an old schoolmate while waiting tables in LA, Delaney is stunned to get an invite to an exclusive party. It’s clear her pal isn’t really interested in reconnecting; unassuming but beautiful Delaney is the kind of gal who might fit the role Shane needs filled.

Shane and Delaney meet at the party, and it leads to the kind of “relationship” Shane most wants: contractual. Delaney doesn’t want to do it, but part of the contract involves getting her father moved to a minimum security prison once her six-month commitment to Shane ends. With this new mission to help her dad firmly in her mind, Delaney vows to be the perfect public companion to Shane–and nothing more. But, the more time they spend together, the more their attraction makes saying “no” impossible.

It’s a cute romance, but there’s plenty of deeper issues. Delaney’s big secret is nearly as catastrophic as Shane’s, but she stands by him as his world crumbles under some investigative reporting. And, while the press is rabid, the amends made do fill in the gap created by guilt. I liked how it turned out, with Shane building strong relationships with his estranged brother and Caleb’s grieving parents. Delaney’s situation turns out to be really complicated, and Shane’s a jerk about it, though I wasn’t really mad at him. I got his pain–and he does fix things in the end. For me, there was a little too much back and forth with the romance–and the mooning over past mistakes seemed excessive. That slowed the pace a bit, and I wished it wouldn’t have.

Interested? You can find ROCK KING on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

ROCK LEGEND, the second book in the Nothing But Trouble series, comes out July 17th. It’s open for pre-order on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Tara Leigh writes steamy contemporary romance featuring tortured heroes worth lusting after and the women they didn’t know they needed. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Catch up with Tara on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or sign up for her newsletter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Rock Starred: RIVEN, a Review

Hi there! Long time no posts… EEP!! I got sucked into overtime in the past two-weeks, and my life went haywire. That said, I’m still reading tons, so today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M rock romance from Roan Parrish. RIVEN features a lead singer at the top of his fame falling for a musician hiding from his addictions.

About the book:
Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

My Review:
Theo Decker is the lead singer of Riven, a rock band formed by his three bandmates: Coco, Ven and Ethan. He was brought on board and his vocals and songs have propelled the band into stardom. But, Theo’s always felt like the odd-man-out, in his band and his family. Disconnected and frustrated by the stifling trappings of his unwanted fame, he stumbles into a dark bar called by a haunting tune drifting into the alley.

Caleb Blake Whitman was a top blues guitarist and songwriter, but for trips to rehab has left him a shell of the vibrant man he’d been. Clean from his heroin habit for the past year, he’s just starting to write songs again. Meeting the sexy, yet shy Theo isn’t in his life plan. They have some serious chemistry in the bedroom–so much so that Theo tracks Caleb down when he’s off tour. Caleb isn’t thrilled about the prospect of dating a rock star because fame brings drugs–and he’s unsure if he can be around Theo and avoid the pull of his addictions.

I liked the slow steps these guys took into making their relationship work. Theo only feels truly at home when he’s near Caleb. They build a camaraderie that makes a safe zone for Caleb to write music again–songs for himself, for his former lover and best-friend, and songs for Theo. Theo’s writing is changing, too, and his new music isn’t in sync with Riven’s style or brand. Being loved by Caleb is a big bolster to Theo’s self-esteem. His disenchantment with touring and fame has been taking a huge toll on his emotional health. The few times Caleb’s able to be with Theo when he performs are big steps for both of them, but Caleb’s fear of failing in his sobriety is a huge barrier to their happiness. Caleb holds Theo at arm’s length in fear that the love he’s feeling is too close the the high he got while using. It’s a tough balance actually, and takes some hard truths from his sponsor and his bestie to get past his fear.

Theo’s ready for a big change, and while he’s been building some stronger friendships within the band, he knows that continuing that lifestyle is untenable. Especially if he’s going to build a life with Caleb. Theo’s emotions are so palpable, and overwhelming. He’s a guy who craves love, and Caleb’s attention is the most love he’s had in a long time, maybe ever. I liked this one a lot. Theo and Caleb are both out, and their problems aren’t related to their sexuality. Instead, they struggle with finding healthy love that supports and affirms. Theo’s sterile childhood set him up for a lonely adulthood, which is paradoxically reinforced by his fame. Caleb never had a problem with fame, it’s drugs that ruined his life and career. Each man has to learn to love himself, first, and that helps them to each be better partners for the other. It’s a sweet story with yummy sexytimes.

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

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

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

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Making it Real With a PART-TIME LOVER–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m excited to share a review and giveaway for a new romance from Lauren Blakely. PART-TIME LOVER is an unexpected romance between two people burned by bad marriages making a bold attempt to right an injustice…through sexytimes. I loved STARS IN THEIR EYES and thoroughly devoured this one!

Scroll down for a tasty excerpt and be sure to enter the HUGE giveaway too!
About the book:
I’ll say this about Christian — he made one hell of a first impression. When I first saw the strapping man, he was doing handstands naked on a dock along the canal. His crown jewels were far more entertaining than anything else I’d seen on the boat tour, so I did what any curious woman would do — I took his photo. I might have looked at the shot a few dozen times. Little did I know I’d meet him again, a year later, at a secret garden bar in the heart of the city, where I’d learn that his mind and his mouth were even more captivating. But given the way my heart had been trampled, I wanted only a simple deal — No strings. No expectations.

Our arrangement worked well enough until the day I needed a lot more from him…

***

Let me just say, this whole part-time lover thing was her idea. I’d have gone all-in from the start, but hey, when a gorgeous, brilliant woman invites you into her bed, and only her bed…well, I said yes.

But then, one hysterical phone call from my brother later, begging me to find myself a wife so grandfather’s business stays in the family, and I need a promotion with Elise. Turns out a full-time husband suits her needs too, and a temporary marriage of convenience ought to do the trick, until we can simply untie the knot…

As long as no one finds out…
As long as no one gets hurt…
As long as no one falls in love…

But our ending was one I never saw coming.

How about a sexy taste!

~Elise~

A year ago

The boat slides under another bridge then motors through a more residential area, passing homes on the water and private docks every few feet. My eyes hungrily eat up the view. My current hometown of Paris is my love, but I could get used to weekends in Copenhagen. It’s a delightful mix of old and new, like a Swiss alpine town mated with a futuristic sky-rise city.

As I gaze at the sun-soaked homes, I imagine lazy afternoons drinking strong coffee on the deck, reading delicious tales under the rays. That seems like a recipe for happiness for the rest of my days.

I want to feel that way. Happy. It’s been so damn elusive lately, and for a fleeting moment, it feels as if I grasp it again, so I’m no longer teetering on the edge of grief and shame.

But that’s why I’m here, to move past that terrible duet.

I try valiantly to simply enjoy everything in front of me: the buildings, the water, the view.

As we round the bend in the canal, I blink at the view.

Holy hell, the unexpected view.

Nearby is a private dock.

On that dock is a man.

He’s performing a downward-facing dog, and his rear is facing us.

What a spectacular ass.

It’s not covered in sweatpants or basketball shorts.

It’s au naturel, as finely sculpted as the statue of David.

He’s a dog all right.

I sit up.

I practically stand. I lean on the edge of the boat, agog. I won’t even pretend I’m not looking. I’m ogling.

The Japanese friends whisper and point. The couple shifts closer to get a better look. The college girls titter and laugh.

We slide along on the calm water, and now we’re fifty feet away from a sight way better than the Little Mermaid statue, more magnificent than the royal palace.

He bends forward, pressing his palms into the wood, lifting his legs, and flipping them upside down.

Full. Frontal. Birthday suit.

He’s a tall drink of a man, and I’m so very thirsty.

“Look,” I whisper to Veronica, though of course she’s already engaged in the fine art of gawking. “Did you know the Mad Naked Handstander of Copenhagen was on the tour?”

She sighs contentedly. “I am so glad you forced me to go to the buffet.” She parks her chin in her hands, watching the tall upside-down creature.

“My favorite part of the buffet is dessert,” I say, as my eyes gobble him up.

This man wears nudity well, even in this unusual position.

“I enjoyed the rubies and emeralds in Rosenborg Castle, but I like these crown jewels even better,” I say.

And hey, perhaps I’m perving, but I’m an equal-opportunity spectator at this private dock show. I don’t merely peer at the centerpiece of his physique, resting majestically against the grooves of his abs. My eyes take a most happy stroll up and down his carved body, from the planes of his stomach, to his strong thighs, to his arms ripped with muscles. His face is hard to read at 180 degrees, but I see the shape of his cheekbones, carved by angels.

Then, he moves. He walks on his hands. Back and forth.

Like he’s performing.

Showing off his most unique skill set.

I chuckle louder.

Then louder still when he holds himself up on one hand only, waving to us.

“What a show-off,” Veronica says.

Lars clears his throat. “And sometimes, we see the unexpected sights of Copenhagen.”

I do what any curious onlooker might do. I grab my phone and snap.

Snap.

Snap.

The man stands, takes a bow, and waves.

My chest heats up. The temperature in me flirts with mercury levels. He’s a stunner. My God, he’s like Skarsgård, from this distance.

And because I believe in speaking my mind, I cup my hand over my mouth and shout, “Bravo. All of it.”

He doffs an imaginary top hat and takes a bow. “My pleasure.” His voice books across the water, his accent a British one.

Sparks unexpectedly race down my chest. That accent is delicious. “Oh no. The pleasure is truly all mine.”

My Review:
Elise is a cosmopolitan woman running her PR firm in Paris, a city were she spent much of her youth, though she was educated in NYC. She’s still getting over the astounding secrets of her recently deceased husband at the beginning of the story. On a girls’ trip to Copenhagen Elise encounters Christian–doing naked handstands on his dock–while taking on a boat tour of the city. Following some banter, she attempts to meet him at a local cafe, only to later learn he was awaiting her at a bar of the same name.

Christian is in Paris a year later, where he meets Elise again. This time, they get things right, and the attraction simmers. Elise isn’t ready for a man to conquer her heart, however, and she makes Christian wait. Their weekly non-dates are smoldering, but not sexual, and it’s a fun cat-and-mouse game until Chistian’s brother runs into some trouble and the easiest way out is through…a marriage of convenience.

This was a fun one! I really liked how Christian and Elise built a friendship which complimented their passion. The rom-com situations were intriguing, and their part-time status as lovers seemed to make their hearts grow ever fonder. There’s a bit of sexytimes, though it’s more romance than steamy, and the feels were intense, on both sides. I couldn’t stop turning the pages near the end, once both Christian and Elise had recognized their feelings had grown well beyond companionship and into true love.

Interested? You can find PART-TIME LOVER on Goodreads, Amazon (US UK, CA, AU & paperback) iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this GIVEAWAY LINK to enter to win a Kate Spade tote and a $50 Sephora GC!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In October, she’ll release HARD WOOD, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole–THE WONDER OF YOU, A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a sweet and spunky new romance from Harper Kincaid. THE WONDER OF YOU is a contemporary retelling of Alice in Wonderland…as a romance. I’ve enjoyed other books that reimagined classic works, including THE HIDDEN LIBRARY which also featured an Alice character.

About the book:
What if Alice didn’t fall down the rabbit hole, but instead, traveled through Lincoln Tunnel into another kind of Wonderland: New York City.
The best day of twenty-five year old Alice Leighton’s life was the day she got to put her nothing special, li’l Southern town in her rear-view mirror. Good-bye to phony ‘bless your hearts’ and ‘I’ll pray for you’ crap, all while talking trash behind her back. She’s New York City’s latest addition and she’s going to work her ass off proving she earned her spot in the country’s top grad program.

Never again will she let some jerk derail her future and break her heart. Oh, and no more players. She’s D.O.N.E with the ‘cool guys’.

Getting caught up in Dare Grangeworth, the art world’s resident bad boy, was not part of her Alice 2.0 plan, even if he is just her type, with his beard, tats sleeves and intense green eyes. When he’s not dodging the press or his cultish fan base, Dare’s making art that makes a statement. Women seem to lose their heads around him – all the more reason why he finds Alice’s candor refreshing. He’s used to women giving in – not giving attitude.

He has to get to know this girl, even if it means allowing himself to be the subject of her research. Before too long, he becomes more than a simple outlier she can explain away. And for him everything starts to feel larger than life and upside down, like a heady rush, all while desperately trying not to lose his heart.

Become lost and found in this re-imagined story of Alice and her cast of characters, in a world where Wonderland meets Sex-and-the-City.

My Review:
Alice Leighton is moving into her sister’s 2.5 bedroom apartment in New York City when she runs across Dare Grangeworthy in a taxi battle. Her sharp tongue intrigues him but so does the contents of the purse she left in the cab. An infamous avante-garde artist, Dare wants to get to know Miss Alice in more personal ways, but Alice has big plans.

She’s been with rich, powerful men before and she’ll not be swayed from her graduate school courses: she’s in training to become a clinical sex therapist. And, her first assignment is to find a sexual partner and document their sex life via journaling. Dare, having had a terrible break with his last lady-love, wants no more publicity of his love life. Yet, he still wants Alice. And his pursuit might could put Alice’s big plans in jeopardy.

This was a little wacky and a bit juvenile. Some of the banter between Dare and Alice seemed right out of high school. I got that this was a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, though, so I was willing to entertain a bit of wackiness. Having read the original work, not just relying on movies, I could see peaks of Carroll in areas. Each chapter beings with a brief Carroll excerpt, to focus that bit of the story, so readers could easily see the parallels. Having been inspired by the random, chaotic narrative of the masterwork, well, this book echoes that spasticity in its storytelling. It was a quick breezy read, but left me wanting a bit more substance to round out the mayhem.

Interested? You can find THE WONDER OF YOU on Goodreads and Amazon (US, UK, CA and AU).

About the Author:
Born in California and raised in South Florida, Harper Kincaid has moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on her head ever since. For years, she was a jill of all trades and a master of none, but is now tickled hot pink to pen stories that break and mend people’s hearts for a living. Kincaid believes seduction occurs from the neck up, which is why her characters are smart, sexy, and slightly quirky – and definitely worthy to be your next hard-core book crush.

When not writing, she adores listening to indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to her laugh ’til they snort. She is a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but has now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia.

Catch up with Harper on her website, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, sign up for her newsletter, Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookbub.

Being True to LOVE YOU SO MADLY–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. LOVE YOU SO MADLY is the second book in her Love You So series and features a successful business man who unexpectedly falls for the office handy-man. I’ve really loved a bunch of Ms. Lain’s odd-couple romances including VOLLEY BALLS, BEAUTY INC and THE LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS to name a few.

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway!
About the book:
Ben Shane has it all… and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a twenty-three-year-old—no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive—the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus? He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work.

After all, Ben’s perfect… and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only madly in love.

How about a little taste?

In the car Dusty said, “Can we listen to that nice music again?”

He’d noticed. “Sure.” Ben flipped on the Chopin.

For a few minutes, they rode in music. Ben cleared his throat. “Dusty, do you mind if I ask how old you are?”

“Oh sure. I’m twenty-three. How old are you?”

Ben almost laughed. As an executive in a top firm, nobody ever asked him that. But turnabout was fair. “I’m twenty-nine.”

“Wow. You’ve done a lot in your life.”

“Thank you.” Ben glanced at Dusty.

“I haven’t been able to do so much, but I’m working at it.”

“That’s what counts. Keep moving toward your dreams.”

“I like that idea a lot.” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

“So your dad doesn’t live at home?”

“No. Never has. My mom’s taken good care of me, though.”

“Has she always been a nurse?”

“No. She had to work so hard. She was only sixteen when she had me, but she never gave me up, no matter what anyone said.” He took a deep breath and let it out in a long exhale. “And no matter how hard it was.”

“She sounds amazing.”

“She is.” He looked out the window. “It’s hard for her to, you know, let me do stuff, but she’s the best mom.”

“So you’re not married?” Ben chuckled.

Dusty mirrored the chuckle. “Not yet.”

“Have a girlfriend?” Oh, very subtle, Shane.

“No.”

“Not yet, huh.”

“Not ever. I’m gay. But I don’t have a boyfriend yet. I’d like to, though.”

Well, okay. Ben swallowed. “You would?”

“Sure, wouldn’t you?”

“I’m, uh, engaged.” Shit. Shit. Shit. When did I decide to become Mr. Purveyor of Truth?

The passenger seat became deeply silent.

Ben glanced over. Dusty’s eyes were closed, and he seemed to be breathing deeply.

“You okay?”

“What?” His eyes fluttered open.

“Sorry. Just asking how you’re doing?”

“Good, thanks. Just drop me on the curb over there.” He pointed to one of the entrances to Orange Coast College.

“How will you get back to my place?”

“Bus.” He smiled, but his glance scampered all over the place as he opened the door. “Have a great day.”

Ben couldn’t stop. He put a hand on Dusty’s arm—his sinewy, muscled, hot-as-fuck arm. “Dusty, what’s wrong? Come on, tell me.”

“Nothing, honest. Just sometimes it’s hard not to wish I was somebody else.”

My Review:
While this is the second book in a series, it’s easily enjoyed on it’s own.

Ben Shane is a 29 year-old manager of a foundation that oversees corporate donations. He matches donors with worthy causes that align with the person’s, or corporation’s, missions-slash-beliefs. Philanthropy is a huge part of Ben’s mindset, and it’s partly why he’s struggling with his new fiance, Alan Ashland–sole heir to the Ashland fortune. See, Alan can’t wait until they get married and spend weeks on end traveling for their honeymoon. While Alan seems to have a deep affection for Ben, he also wants a trophy husband who will make all his society dinners and be able to jet-off…whenever for whatever. There’s a lot of tension there, and also over BEn’s unwillingness to sell his cottage in Laguna that’s currently being re-habbed.

Ben has mixed feelings about his life plans, and it doesn’t help that he’s more than a little intrigued by Dusty, the genial, hard-working IT-fixer and general handyman in Ben’s office. Dusty is 23, yet he lives at home with his overprotective mother, can’t drive or drink alcohol. He’s fastidious about his diet, and he’s eager to help Ben out–in whatever capacity Ben needs. Dusty fair swoons for the man, and is deeply disappointed to learn Ben’s engaged. Still, Dusty accepts the offer of a part-time job managing the construction project at Ben’s home, and that’s where things get messy.

Having Dusty in Ben’s home really crosses their wires. The pressure between Ben and Alan has reached crucial levels, and the simplicity of hanging around with Dusty makes it plain that he’s not happy in his relationship. The chemistry is fantastic, but Dusty’s big medical secret is a barrier–perhaps. I liked how the reveal was made, with Dusty and Ben finding more than common ground in ways neither expected. It was intriguing how Dusty’s welfare dove-tailed with BEn’s business plans, and also helped connect these two when it seemed unlikely they would find happiness together. Dusty is a sweet guy, and Ben is in the middle of a personal crisis. Some readers might not like how Ben isn’t exactly honest about his feelings, but the timeframe seemed to allow the flexibility for Ben to recognize that Dusty was the man for him, even as he needed to carefully disentangle himself from Alan.

The happy ending came in a way that Dusty could hardly believe, but felt right for the story. I liked the plan to work with Dusty’s medical situation, and also how he was much more than his disease. If you didn’t read the dedication, well, you wouldn’t know what was going on with him until Ben was half-way in love. For me, that’s important, and I liked how the character was a person who managed his life, not one who was controlled by his medical issues/history. There are some fun side characters here, including a raucous, wealthy woman whose down-home wisdom helped Ben with his life-changing decisions. Also, cameos from the MCs of the first book in this series will likely please readers. There isn’t a lot of steam, but the feels are right out on the page.

Interested? You can find LOVE YOU SO MADLY on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading 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 on her website, blog, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.