Discovering AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary Christmas romance from Jennifer Snow. AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS is set small-town Alaska and features a driven doctor making time for romance with her old bestie’s protective brother.

About the book:
In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts…

My Review:
Dr. Erika Sheraton is a workaholic surgeon in metropolitan Anchorage, at the same hospital where her father is the surgical department chair. She has put in countless hours as a clinician in order to prove herself to her father, and work on a research project to test a new anti-rejection drug for organ recipients. Her own mother had died when Erika was a young girl–due to a failed kidney transplant. This life-long mission is interrupted when her father suspends her privileges at the hospital for a mandatory vacation–since she hasn’t had one in years.

At loose ends, Erika returns to her small hometown of Wild River, to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Cassie. It’s awkward, mostly because Erika has arrived with barely two weeks until Christmas and the few hotels in town are book up–and Erika’s now imposing on Cassie to sleep on her couch. Not one to stay still long, Erika’s soon finagling her way into Search and Rescue missions with Cassie’s brother Reed, who has surely grown up. As part of this team, Erika makes some medical situations way easier, earning the gratitude of her father’s old boss at the community hospital.

Her attraction to Reed is inconvenient–now that Erika has time off she has time to reflect on happier days in Wild River and lament all the things she routinely gave up for a career she’s not convinced she wants any longer. Not now that her father’s pulling power plays and possibly removing her from the drug study. Reed is the emotional rock she remembers, only taller, more muscled, and sexier. It isn’t long before these two are burning up the sheets and each other. But life in the arctic wild is dangerous and soon Erika’s surgical expertise is necessary for Reed’s survival.

I’ll be honest, there were a LOT of issues in this book that didn’t make sense to me–because they fell short of the realism I enjoy in my contemporary romances. In previous careers I ran medical studies and have decades of working experience within the American medical system. So, Erika’s experiences in the hospital felt like gross exaggerations which pulled me from the story. Likewise, her assertions of power on Search and Rescue seemed farfetched and unrealistic. The romance between Erika and Reed felt rushed, and the environmental challenges of an Alaskan winter seemed conveniently mild to allow for situations that would foster the romance. In the end, Erika needs to make a choice between her previously self-sacrificing career and some level of work-life balance in a new position. She makes the only realistic choice, though it seemed a bit of a false choice within the constraints of the story. To me the story was more melodramatic than I had anticipated, and I didn’t really connect with Erika as a character until well past the halfway point in the book. I’m on a huge Alaska reading cycle now, and this was not the best book I’ve recently come across.

Interested? You can find AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jennifer Snow is an award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and five year old son. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author Association, and SheWrites.org. She is a contributing author to Mslexia Magazine, WestWord Magazine and RWR. She has also taught RWA Chapters courses online.

Her publishing credits include two holiday novellas, previously published by The Wild Rose Press, now re-released as self-published editions through Amazon. The Mistletoe Fever was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks in the category of Kindle Short Reads. Her six book small town, Brookhollow series is published through Harlequin Heartwarming and her MMA sports romance series Beyond the Cage is published through Berkley/NAL Intermix.

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

Finding Happiness With A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary Christmas M/M romance from Jay Northcote. A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS is a sweet story featuring a wealthy closeted virgin falling for a motorcycle-riding tattoo artist.

About the book:
Archie’s posh parents want him to meet a nice girl–how can he tell them he’s fallen for a bad boy instead?

Closeted, innocent and lonely, Archie Arandale longs for someone special in his life. A Christmas party organised by his wealth management company is the last place he expects to meet the man of his dreams.

With his leather jacket, tattoos, and piercings, Cal Turner turns heads the moment he walks through the door. He definitely isn’t looking for a boyfriend, but Archie’s hesitant charm captures his attention, and sneaking off during the party to have a little fun can only make a dull evening more interesting.

After their reckless and thrilling encounter, Archie is keen for more experience and Cal is happy to oblige. The need for secrecy means this can only be a casual fling, yet as they spend time together in the run up to Christmas, their feelings become more intense than either of them had bargained for. How can Archie find the courage to tell his family about Cal, when Cal’s the exact opposite of the ‘nice girl’ they’ve been hoping for?

Contains: A closeted virgin, a tattooed biker, class differences, a dramatic coming out, a very inappropriate Christmas gift, and a happy ending (of course).

My Review:
Archie Arandale is the youngest son of very wealthy parents. He’s lived a very sheltered life, and only just moved out on his own now that he’s completed uni. He does work for his father’s investment firm, but he truly wants to open a non-profit to help LGBT youth. Archie envisions someday coming out, but first he should probably have some physical experience with a man.

Cal Turner is a tattoo artist who won a lottery a few years back. He’s big, burly and brash, but a compassionate and sexy man. He paid off his mum’s home and bought himself a place, then donated a bunch to charity and invested the rest. He’s been out since school, but he’s never had a real relationship even though he’s nearly thirty. His best mate convinces him to attend one of the seminar dinners hosted by his investment firm–and there he meets Archie. Archie is thin, blonde and adorably shy. It’s good fun to tease him a little, if only to watch him blush crimson, but when Archie truly responds to Cal’s teasing they make a connection neither anticipated.

One rushed encounter leads to and exchange of numbers, and a continued acquaintance. Cal’s stunned that Archie has so little experience, as wealthy and attractive as he is, but he realizes that Archie’s been so scared to ask for what he wants, leaving him isolated and lonely. Cal can empathize with loneliness, and he makes the effort to be a good partner to Archie, helping him explore his sexual needs safely, and build a rapport as well. They are so well suited, despite the class differences, because Archie’s a down-to-earth guy, not a posh git like Cal had anticipated. The only real problem is Archie being closeted–and he’s warming to the idea of sharing his truth after the Christmas holidays. Can Cal trust him to make that choice? Will Archie’s posh family accept the common man he’s falling for?

This is a sweet and sexy romance. I really loved the intimate moments and Archie’s exuberance to find an attentive partner. Their growing friendship is fun and flirty, with such potential. I loved how adventurous they were with one another, and I totally fell for both Archie and Cal, as they fell for one another. Archie’s family are more accepting than he would have guess–once he revealed all his secrets, including a mismatch in their politics. I really enjoyed the coming out scene, and Archie’s unexpected advocate was a breath of fresh air. This is a holiday story, but fully enjoyable at any time of year.

Interested? You can find A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS on Goodreads and Amazon.

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

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

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

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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Picked Up By ANGELS SING–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a new M/M Christmas romance from Eli Easton. ANGELS SING is a contemporary romance that features a gay coach falling for the young gay father who owns the local bookstore. This is the second book in her Daddy Dearest series, right after FAMILY CAMP. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books, SECOND HARVEST, FIVE DARES and ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE.

About the book:
Jamie Bailey has not had such a wonderful life. He gave up his dreams of Harvard at 18 to raise his sister’s unwanted baby, and later a prized job to help a sick friend. Now the father of six-year-old Mia, and assistant manager at Raven Books, Jamie’s dreams are dashed once again when Uncle Billy admits what dire straights the bookshop is in.

Stanton Potter, son of the most notorious businesswoman in Bedford Falls, loves his job teaching at the local elementary school. But he’s less than thrilled when he is forced to put together a Christmas pageant with first-graders, including Mia Bailey.

When Stanton meets Jamie, angels sing. Jamie’s gender-bending fashion sense, and sweet aura, have Stanton suffering through the worse crush he’s had since he was a teen. But can there be any hope for them when Jamie and Mia’s lives are about to be uprooted?

This Christmas, its Jamie’s turn to receive a little help from heaven.

My Review:
Jamie Bailey is a an out-gay 24 year old father to his adopted niece, Mia. He runs Raven Books, a bookstore in tiny Bedford Falls, Oregon, where he also lives in the upstairs apartment. Jamie went to college while caring for Mia, and had good prospects for jobs, but he stayed at Raven Books to care for its proprietor, Uncle Billy, who’d helped with Mia’s care for years now. Uncle Billy promised to sell the store to Jamie, but he’s been unwilling to turn over the reins completely.

Having been literally raised in Raven Books, Mia’s as big a part of the bookstore as her father, and she helps corral kids for the highly attended story times. She struggles to connect with kids her own age, however, and is really attached to her first-grade teacher–who is placed on emergency bed rest due to issues with a pregnancy. Jamie is nervous Mia won’t get along with the substitute teacher, Coach Stanton Potter.

Stanton is in his mid-30s and not-exactly out. His mother is a businesswoman, owning many properties in Bedford Falls–now that they sold the family hockey-stick manufacturing plant. Bedford Falls has slowly declined in prosperity over the last few decades, with the loss of good quality jobs and younger people migrating to nearby cities for employment. She’s got a plan for the refurbishment of main street Bedford Falls, but it involves shutting down Raven Books. Stanton loves living and teaching PE in Bedford Falls, but he’s not excited for the huge change being handed down from his principal: cover the first-grade class for his sick colleague and get the kids ready for the annual Christmas pageant. A day into the job, Stanton realizes he’s way out of his depth and head to Raven Books to find books on classroom management. Mia’s a skeptical observer of her new teacher, but she’s always willing to help–and getting Jamie involved seems to assist Stanton in emotional, professional and physical ways.

Jamie and Stanton have immediate chemistry–and neither has a lot of options for partners, but it’s professionally questionable for Stanton to have anything but friendship with a student’s parent. Still, Stanton is drawn to Jamie, and when Jamie has a great plan for the Christmas pageant, Stanton is more than willing to accept his help. Unfortunately, they both know whatever might develop between them has an expiration date. Raven Books is in trouble financially, due to increases in rent outstripping their sales. Without the store, Jamie will have to move–and this will likely happen by the end of December.

I really loved the sweet and tender love story that develops between Jamie and Stanton, who willingly comes out in his efforts to help Jamie save Raven Books. Stanton didn’t realize his mother was involved in pushing Raven into bankruptcy, but he makes heroic efforts to bring in enough business to keep Jamie in Bedford Falls. The Christmas pageant is a hit, and Mia’s happy to have some new and caring people in her life. She’s a precocious child, with observation and literacy skills that surpass the usual for a 6 year-old, but she’s not horrible, or bratty. I enjoyed her simplistic viewpoint, even as I knew the shenanigans of her class were exaggerated for effect–as were Stanton’s shortcomings. The end is happy, with a nice small-town neighbor-helping vibe that I enjoyed.

Interested? You can find ANGELS SING on Goodreads and Amazon.

If you’re interested in more of the Daddy Dearest series, you can find FAMILY CAMP on Goodreads and Amazon.

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Catch up with Eli on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Out today: IGNITE!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. IGNITE is the 15th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…
For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

I’m finishing this one up now. Look for my review in the coming days.

Interested? You can find IGNITE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

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

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Captivated by the MUD & LACE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance newly released from Jay Northcote. MUD & LACE is the fourth book in his Rainbow Place series set in Porthladock, Cornwall. I really enjoyed BETTER PLACE, and was eager to continue reading this engaging series. MUD & LACE features a not-so-straight man who falls for a drag queen with a monthly gig at the Rainbow Place cafe–and they both have some issues to confront.

About the book:
When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.

Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.

Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.

When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.

Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

My Review:
Simon, called Wicksy by his rugby mates, is a regular at the Rainbow Place cafe. His teammate is dating a server there, and the team helped to get the place up and running after vandals smashed it up before the grand opening. Wicksy’s not shy about his interest in the stunning Lady Gogo, a new performer, but he’s not quite sure what to do about it.

Charlie is just 20 and trying to make sense of his life. He’s been out as gay for several years but his best mate, also gay, is rude about effeminate men. Charlie fears telling his pal about the drag shows he does to blow off steam and earn some cash would hamper their friendship. And, Charlie’s not sure he wants his mum to know about how he feels when in his Lady Gogo persona. Because Charlie feels empowered and sexy, glamourous and desirable–a far cry from his normal appearance. Wicksy, being a strapping lad, is catnip for Lady Gogo, and lights a fire within Charlie, too. But, is this handsome man really desiring a woman, because Charlie’s “lady parts” are all costume.

Wicksy’s keen on Lady Gogo, and they start canoodling, with Charlie in drag. It’s fun for both men, and these clandestine trysts help each man re-center their interests. Wicksy is recognizing that he’s not so much worried about Charlie’s sexual plumbing, while Charlie is owning his body and sex appeal in ways he hadn’t considered before. I really liked how this relationship grew–first from an acknowledged place of deliberate contradiction, Wicksy “pretending” Lady Gogo was female while Charlie indulged his inner femininity, to a more realistic recognition that sexuality is how we respond to attraction. Wicksy is a bit late in coming to terms with his desires, but he doesn’t make Charlie feel ugly in his male presentation, either. If anything, the reverence Wicksy always grants Charlie gives Charlie the emotional strength to challenge his own inner questions. It was nice that Charlie got to meet some new people who really supported him, and who offered counsel on his concerns about potentially being trans.

There’s a little separation when Charlie and Wicksy struggle to keep their budding relationship on the down-low, bu tit doesn’t take too long to get things back on the right path. They make the necessary arrangements to live their truth, which enables them to come out as boyfriends, in the end. This one had some very steamy sexytimes, and moments of sweet emotional connection. Even when Wicksy and CHarlie weren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye, their disagreements were always respectful, and insightful. They pushed each other to be better men, and the story shown for all their effort.

Interested? You can find MUD & LACE on Goodreads and Amazon.

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

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

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

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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Finding Love at FAMILY CAMP–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance from Eli Easton. FAMILY CAMP is a contemporary romance that features a closeted pro baseball player and a single gay man raising two foster kids. These guys turn out to be soulmates, and their growing love is sweet and sexy to witness. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books, SECOND HARVEST, FIVE DARES and ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter the $25 GC giveaway!
About the book:
When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

How about a little taste?

Sixth inning. Geo was ready for the game to be over. It was fucking hot on the ball field, all open and exposed, the sun baking down. And he was also not sure how much more Travis-watching he could take—him with his silky burgundy gym shorts and a sweaty Camp Evermore green shirt stretched over those muscles. His long legs were tanned and well-defined from hours at the gym.

Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.

Damn, but that was one fine-looking man. Geo knew he should lay off, though. Travis had made himself clear.

Only he hadn’t. At all. One minute, Travis seemed into him him. He sought out Geo’s company, like the way he kept coming by the cabin at night. And the next minute, he’d put distance between them, ignoring Geo or closing himself off behind a granite-like expression and those eye-hiding shades. And Travis had laid a clear line in the sand. Not at camp. Not gonna happen.

Yup. That was fine. Sure, Geo hadn’t been mutually attracted to a guy that hot in ages. Or ever, really. But Geo hadn’t come to camp to fool around. He had other priorities.

It did make him wonder though. Bridget had said Travis wasn’t out. A quick Google search last night had confirmed that. In fact, Geo had been shocked to discover there’d never been an out baseball player in the major leagues. Like, in the history of American baseball. Which was tragic. No wonder Travis was in the closet. It had to suck monkey balls living like that. Especially with all the women who threw themselves at him constantly. There were a dozen women on the sidelines right now that looked ready to have his babies. That had to be weird for a gay guy. Didn’t it?

Geo himself was always super uncomfortable when women came on to him. He felt compelled to blurt out “I’m gay!” in the first five minutes. It was just too weird otherwise.

Then again, Travis’s love life was none of Geo’s business. Maybe the guy was bisexual. Maybe he liked dating women just fine.

Jayden came up to bat. Geo focused on his son, clapping hard. “Come on, Jayden! You’ve got this!”

Jayden took a wide stance beside the plate, both hands gripping the bat, choked up a little. Travis had spent a few minutes with Jayden at the start of the game, showing him how to stand, and Jayden copied him exactly. The kid was a great mimic. He’d been nervous at first, tense and defensive. But by now he just looked focused. He stared, narrow-eyed, at Frank as Frank pitched an easy ball.

Geo loved that about this game, that everyone tried to give the kids easy wins, and no one took the competition seriously.

Jayden hit the ball hard. It flew through the air a short ways then plonked to the ground and skipped along fast. It was heading right down the center line, though a bit more towards third base and Travis’s side of the field.

“Go Jayden! Go!” Geo shouted. He went after the ball. In his peripheral vision, he saw Jayden round first base and keep running.

Travis was going after the ball too, dodging low. He scooped it up. He was going to throw it to third base, keep Jayden back on second. Geo couldn’t let that happen.

He dove in front of Travis, crowding him, holding an arm out to block Travis from throwing the ball.

Travis snorted, bemused. “What are you doing? You’re on my team.” He backed up, trying to get away from Geo.

“Blood before bros, man,” Geo said with fake seriousness. He kept up with Travis, step for step, grabbing Travis’s right arm in a firm grip so he couldn’t raise the ball.

“Stop it!” Travis laughed. “Dork. That’s not legal.

“Don’t care.”

They took three steps back, like they were dancing. Geo held Travis’s right arm, staring him down. Travis met his gaze, a goofy smile on his lips. Back and back they stumbled. Suddenly, Travis got a sparkle in his eyes. He wrapped his left arm around Geo’s waist and picked him up, swinging him around so he ended up behind Travis.

Geo was still finding his feet as Travis drew back his arm and sent the ball sailing.

Right to home plate. But Jayden got there first. Umpire Cindy made the motion with her hands, safe.

Geo laughed and raised his arms in triumph. “Yeah, baby! Great job, Jayden! Home run, whoo!”

Then he realized everyone was staring at them. On the sidelines, there were a dozen cameras raised, filming.

Oh. Er. Hmm. Geo wiped his face, feeling sheepish.

That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.

My Review:
Geo is determined to be a good father–with or without a partner. He’s out, and he has a good job as a middle-school history teacher. After years of applications, interviews and preparation, he’s finally building a family, with Jayden, a pre-teen boy, and Lucy, a 5 year old girl. Both of these kids have emotional scars and Geo is trying his hardest to get them to open up. He’s had foster custody for about 6 weeks, but his plan is to adopt them, if he can wrangle the legal hoops.

Travis is a pro baseball pitcher who knows his years in the big leagues are coming to an end. He’s gay, but closeted, even to his family. Travis was adopted as a teenager, and has a complex about losing the love of his large adoptive family if he comes out–plus there are no openly gay players in the pros, so he doens’t want to be a standard bearer. He works the family camp week at his family’s camp–as it falls during the all-star break and he likes to lend a hand.

Travis and Geo meet en route to the campsite, when Travis rescues Geo who’s car had run out of gas. He gets that Geo’s a new foster dad, and he’s irrationally angry with his misapprehension of the situation. Still, while Travis might think Geo’s just his type, believing that he’s not in parenthood for the long haul tweaks all Travis’ childhood apprehensions. Travis goes out of his way to be cool to Jayden and Lucy, but give Geo the coldest of shoulders.

On the campground, however, they strike up a tentative truce, which crackles with mutual attraction. Travis’ older sister notices and she confronts him–setting this man “straight” on some home truths he’d long forgotten. I really loved the women in this story who each have texture and personality, beyond the “confidante” sketch. Jayden, who is often belligerent, warms to kids at the camp, and listens to Travis’ counsel about how much Geo cares about him. Having a role model who understands the foster system allows Jayden to build a strong relationship with not only Geo (who is over the moon!) but also kids his own age, and Travis. Little Lucy, who is emotionally delayed, makes big strides toward connecting with Geo and others–thanks to Travis’ sweet dog. THe kids, like the female characters, are well written and feel like whole people–who’ve survived trauma and are afraid to be hurt yet again. Travis and Geo both connect well with these two, and their entire dynamic during the week appears more than friendly–which makes space for the night time interludes Geo and Travis are soon angling to pursue.

Naturally, there’s conflict due to Travis’ career and fear of coming out. Geo doesn’t know how to manage it–and they live about 250 miles apart–but when the major situation gets resolved it leaves the MCs searching for a deeper connection, and a family of their own. It’s sweet, with a slow burn. I liked it bunches and highly recommend.

Interested? You can find FAMILY CAMP on Goodreads and Amazon.

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

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Catch up with Eli on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Making it Past the ROCKY GROUND–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary veteran romance from Kaylea Cross. ROCKY GROUND is the latest Crimson Point novel and features a Scottish military vet falling hard for a single mom who’s had it rough. I really liked FRACTURED HONOR so I was interested to read on in this series.

About the book:
She’s been hurt too many times…
Single mom Tiana Fitzgerald has sworn off all romantic relationships to protect herself and her daughter. Her track record is disastrous and she’s done getting hurt. But a certain sexy Scotsman in Crimson Point has other ideas, and somehow manages to sneak past her defenses at every turn. As the hits keep coming and her life implodes, she begins to see he’s unlike any man she’s ever known. Now he’s become the greatest threat to her heart, because there’s no possible future for them. Not when he’s leaving the country in a few weeks. And when her worst fears are realized, she must risk everything by placing her trust in in his hands.

He’s determined to capture her heart.
Scotsman Aidan MacIntyre never saw the fiery, beautiful Tiana coming. The prickly redhead has gotten under his skin as badly as he wants to get under hers. But she’s determined to keep walls between them. Luckily the former Royal Marine doesn’t know how to give up. Someone from her past wants to hurt her, but Aidan will stand between her and any threat. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her and the little girl who have completely stolen his heart—and fight for them to have a future together.

How about a little taste?

The molten hunger in his eyes sent a torrent of heat rushing through her body even as her old fears bubbled to the surface again. “Aidan…” she murmured, dropping her gaze to his chest.

She’d done it. Given her unspoken consent. Now her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest.

His hand came up to stroke her hair away from her face. She leaned into his touch, craving more. Craving this wonderful, incredible man that for some reason wanted her in spite of all her imperfections.

Her heart beat an erratic rhythm against her ribs. She’d never experienced anything like this before. Not with this level of intensity. This was…something she’d only read about before. Was it because of everything they’d gone through together? Because she’d relied on him for survival?

His fingers stroked against her scalp in a drugging caress that had her eyelids drooping. “What are you so afraid of?”

She looked up at him again. God, he was beautiful. And strong. And brave.

He was also going to rip her heart out when he left.

It wasn’t easy to voice her insecurities aloud, but she felt comfortable with him. Close to him in a way she’d never felt with another man. “Of making another mistake. Of getting my heart broken again,” she whispered.

He cupped the side of her face to run his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ll not hurt you, lass.”

Her insides squeezed at the tenderness in his voice, the yearning in his eyes. No, he wouldn’t hurt her intentionally. “But you’re leaving soon. In another few weeks.” That was going to leave a scar, no matter how gently the cut was made.

“Aye,” he agreed, his gaze locked with hers. “But I’m here now.”

His words reverberated in the deepest recesses of her heart. He was right here in front of her, and he wanted her.

Any other arguments she had stored up vanished in the space of a single heartbeat. Before she could think herself out of it, she gave free rein to the need pulsing inside her, took his face in her hands and pulled him down to her waiting lips.

My Review:
Tiana is a fierce single mother whose life seems to be unraveling. Her last boyfriend tried to molest her 8 year old daughter, Ella, and now she’s trying to ensure her little girl doesnt’t have to take a witness stand to protect herself from a predator. And, Evan, her first love and Ella’s daddy has reappeared and now wants to build a relationship with young Ella. So, really it’s not time to be falling for a Scotsman who seems to be more than just nice.

Aidan “Mac” McIntyre is a veteran working for an acquaintance from his military days. He wants to get his green card and sty in the US, but his appeals have been denied and he’s going to return to the UK for some time while it all gets sorted. This is why Aidan shouldn’t be falling for his boss’s tenant, but he can’t help admiring how strong Tiana is, and how well she minds her sweet young girl all alone. Learning how Tiana was betrayed in her past relationship sets Mac on edge. Which is good, because he’s gong to need all his battle-honed skills to ensure Tiana and Ell are safe, not only from Ella’s abuser.

This story went in ways I had never anticipated, which was good. As much as I read, it’s often hard to surprise me. Tiana and Ella get separated a a critical moment–through no fault of their own, but that makes them uniquely vulnerable for attack, and there is an enemy laying in wait. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say my anticipation of a marriage of convenience did not bear fruit. Instead, there are more than one flight for their lives, and hostiles in every corner. I liked the three-prong attack Tiana needed to weather and felt she did it with grace. There are some sexy scenes, but I felt they were a bit long and mildly repetitive, so I skimmed those–not saying other readers won’t be enthralled. It was a little mundane, for me, though it made sense in the narrative.

It’s a solid romantic suspense, and I enjoyed it bunches.

Interested? You can find ROCKY GROUND on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

About the Author:
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and has been nominated multiple times for the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

Catch up with Kaylea on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.