Steamy!! THE JOCK SCRIPT–Audiobook Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance audiobook from Lane Hayes. THE JOCK SCRIPT is the third book in her new The Script Club series, and features a genius astrophysicist who inexplicably ends up tutoring a bicurious lacrosse coach in gay sex. You can catch my review for earlier books in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES and RULES OF PLAY, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too. I loved the audiobook, which is sooo steamy.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC.

About the book:

The nerd, the coach, and the hookup…

Asher-

Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left. Sure, the idea of a quick, no-strings intimate rendezvous via hookup app sounds oddly thrilling, but it’s simply not me. Or maybe it is me, because it happened…and I liked it. Until I realized he looked familiar for a reason. A bad reason. Now I’ve made a faux pas with the sexiest man on planet Earth, and my internal karma system requires me to fix it. Help!

Blake-

I may seem like I have it together, but the truth is, I’m a hot mess. I’m so deep in the closet that I can’t remember my real name some days. That’s okay. The benefit of one-night stands is anonymity. Until Asher. Not a total surprise. I’ve always had a thing for geeks, but I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s a pint-sized dynamo on a quest for perfection who can help me come out…if I follow his script.

Hmm. I’m in.

The Jock Script is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance starring a bowtie wearing nerd, a sexy lacrosse coach, and a shenanigan inducing script!

How about a little taste?

Asher closed his mouth in a tight line and sighed. “We should change the topic. Every time I’m with you, I secure my spot in Hades.”

I threw my head back and laughed. “What’s with you and the guilty conscience? I admire your commitment to honesty, Ash, but I don’t think it’s healthy to punish yourself after the fact. Not to mention, your rules seem arbitrary. They don’t make sense.”

“Sure, they do.”

“Hmph. You say sex is a part of nature, and you’re happy to discuss it until your internal sex-o-meter overloads and you decide you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary. It’s like you want to punish yourself for no good reason.”

Asher opened and closed his mouth. “I don’t do that.”

I polished off my salad, pushed my plate aside, and reached for my wineglass. “Yeah, you do. You should give yourself a break once in a while.”

“Says the devil incarnate.”

“Who me?” I flashed a roguish grin. “I’m not so bad, and you don’t have to be so good. Is this the remnants of a super religious upbringing or—”

“Oh, gosh, no. My mother is a hippie. She’s not judgmental at all.”

“Then why—”

“I’m just weird, Blake.”

His tone was firm rather than sharp and sent a strong message that he’d prefer to drop the subject. In fact, he looked suspiciously eager to greet the waiter when he returned to clear our salad dishes and set dinner plates on the table. I observed his animated hand gestures, his starched collar, and perfectly straight bow tie, wondering what he was hiding under all that armor.

Asher wasn’t weird, he was—okay, fine…he was totally weird. But I had a feeling he was compensating too. Making up for something or glossing over an unseen flaw. Sort of like a kid standing guard over a lamp he’d busted by accident. No one would notice as long as he made sure the unblemished side was never shown.

Call me crazy, but that got me. Yes, I was very attracted to him and definitely wanted to get naked and horizontal with him ASAP. But I wanted to know him too. I wanted to peel away his protective layers and study his quirks. His internal system of checks and balances fascinated me.

I twirled my fork around my pasta and smiled. “You know, I’m no devil and anyone who sucks dick like you cannot be an angel. There’s got to be a good middle ground for us.”

“Yes. As friends.”

“Right,” I agreed, shifting in my seat to adjust my cock when he hummed around a mouthful of pasta. No joke, my dick woke up at the mention of alien sex and was now stretching the seam of my zipper. I sipped my wine and willed my body to get the “friend” memo. “So, buddy…since we’re supposed to be spending time together now, I think you should come to my game next weekend.”

“Game,” he repeated, drawing out the single syllable into two. “The one you coach? Or do you play also?”

“I play with a club team, but our season ended a couple of weeks ago. We’re on a break till summer, which is fine ’cause my kids have finals and my girls’ team is in the last stretch before CIFs.”

“I don’t understand that acronym, but I’ll come to your game and maybe afterward we can do power tool…things.”

“Sounds like a date. The game is at ten at Westgate. I’ll text you the address.”

“Okay. I have questions, like…where do I sit and what should I wear? Also, what are the rules?”

I smiled. “Sit wherever you want and wear whatever you want. The idea is to have fun. Well…and to kick OC Lutheran’s ass. As for the rules…the goal is to put the ball in the net more times than our opponent. You’ll be able to follow along.”

He didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do some research. Now, what about us? Do you want me to be there and not speak or…are you going to introduce me? And if so, what will you say? I need to rehearse my lines.”

“Lines? This isn’t a play, Ash. We’re friends.”

“No, we’re not. We hardly know each other.”

I frowned. “Then we need to fix that ’cause I’m going to introduce you as my friend. It’s less complicated that way.”

“And if someone asks where we met, I’m allowed to improvise, correct?” he teased. taking a big bite of pasta.

Too big of a bite. He slurped a rogue piece of tagliatelle with wide eyes, then covered his mouth with his napkin. It was pretty freaking cute. I pointed at the sauce on his cheek.

When he swiped at the wrong side, I hooked my finger and motioned for him to lean in. I wiped his cheek with my thumb, underestimating the intimacy of the gesture. The strong current of heat and desire sizzling between us threw me off guard, rendering me speechless.

My Review:

Asher and Blake are an odd couple matched up out of lust. They find each other on a hook up app, because Asher needs some release, and Blake is exploring his closeted bi side. Blake is a jock. a lacrosse coach and Asher is am astrophysicist. They shouldn’t work, but Blake is so intrigued by Asher’s fearless knowing of himself, and his quest for “perfection”. Blake feels like a bad guy because he’s always had issues settling with a person, while questioning his sexuality. And, Asher’s attitude is so refreshing that he asks him for tips on coming out. While they have lots and lots of sex, developing a friendship though hooking up and then getting more invested in their emotions as the time progresses

This story is really fun and upbeat, and the audiobook brings that same energy. Narrator Alexander Cendese renders clear voices, with plenty of range for the few female parts as well. Asher sounds a little pompous, snarky and stuffy, while Blake is a bit jock-dude-bro sounding. In the moments of passion, it’s just as steamy as anyone could hope for, and the urgency and release is palpable. At just under 6 hours, the pacing is just right and the book kept me company for a few longer car rides and some pre-bedtime stories. I liked the novel and I really thought the narration brought all the characters to life that made me like it even more.

Interested? You can find THE JOCK SCRIPT on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


Rebound Love THE JOCK SCRIPT– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. THE JOCK SCRIPT is the third book in her new The Script Club series, and features a genius astrophysicist who inexplicably ends up tutoring a bicurious lacrosse coach in gay sex. You can catch my review for earlier books in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES and RULES OF PLAY, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.

About the book:

The nerd, the coach, and the hookup…

Asher-

Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left. Sure, the idea of a quick, no-strings intimate rendezvous via hookup app sounds oddly thrilling, but it’s simply not me. Or maybe it is me, because it happened…and I liked it. Until I realized he looked familiar for a reason. A bad reason. Now I’ve made a faux pas with the sexiest man on planet Earth, and my internal karma system requires me to fix it. Help!

Blake-

I may seem like I have it together, but the truth is, I’m a hot mess. I’m so deep in the closet that I can’t remember my real name some days. That’s okay. The benefit of one-night stands is anonymity. Until Asher. Not a total surprise. I’ve always had a thing for geeks, but I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s a pint-sized dynamo on a quest for perfection who can help me come out…if I follow his script.

Hmm. I’m in.

The Jock Script is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance starring a bowtie wearing nerd, a sexy lacrosse coach, and a shenanigan inducing script!

How about a little taste?

Asher closed his mouth in a tight line and sighed. “We should change the topic. Every time I’m with you, I secure my spot in Hades.”

I threw my head back and laughed. “What’s with you and the guilty conscience? I admire your commitment to honesty, Ash, but I don’t think it’s healthy to punish yourself after the fact. Not to mention, your rules seem arbitrary. They don’t make sense.”

“Sure, they do.”

“Hmph. You say sex is a part of nature, and you’re happy to discuss it until your internal sex-o-meter overloads and you decide you’ve overstepped some invisible boundary. It’s like you want to punish yourself for no good reason.”

Asher opened and closed his mouth. “I don’t do that.”

I polished off my salad, pushed my plate aside, and reached for my wineglass. “Yeah, you do. You should give yourself a break once in a while.”

“Says the devil incarnate.”

“Who me?” I flashed a roguish grin. “I’m not so bad, and you don’t have to be so good. Is this the remnants of a super religious upbringing or—”

“Oh, gosh, no. My mother is a hippie. She’s not judgmental at all.”

“Then why—”

“I’m just weird, Blake.”

His tone was firm rather than sharp and sent a strong message that he’d prefer to drop the subject. In fact, he looked suspiciously eager to greet the waiter when he returned to clear our salad dishes and set dinner plates on the table. I observed his animated hand gestures, his starched collar, and perfectly straight bow tie, wondering what he was hiding under all that armor.

Asher wasn’t weird, he was—okay, fine…he was totally weird. But I had a feeling he was compensating too. Making up for something or glossing over an unseen flaw. Sort of like a kid standing guard over a lamp he’d busted by accident. No one would notice as long as he made sure the unblemished side was never shown.

Call me crazy, but that got me. Yes, I was very attracted to him and definitely wanted to get naked and horizontal with him ASAP. But I wanted to know him too. I wanted to peel away his protective layers and study his quirks. His internal system of checks and balances fascinated me.

I twirled my fork around my pasta and smiled. “You know, I’m no devil and anyone who sucks dick like you cannot be an angel. There’s got to be a good middle ground for us.”

“Yes. As friends.”

“Right,” I agreed, shifting in my seat to adjust my cock when he hummed around a mouthful of pasta. No joke, my dick woke up at the mention of alien sex and was now stretching the seam of my zipper. I sipped my wine and willed my body to get the “friend” memo. “So, buddy…since we’re supposed to be spending time together now, I think you should come to my game next weekend.”

“Game,” he repeated, drawing out the single syllable into two. “The one you coach? Or do you play also?”

“I play with a club team, but our season ended a couple of weeks ago. We’re on a break till summer, which is fine ’cause my kids have finals and my girls’ team is in the last stretch before CIFs.”

“I don’t understand that acronym, but I’ll come to your game and maybe afterward we can do power tool…things.”

“Sounds like a date. The game is at ten at Westgate. I’ll text you the address.”

“Okay. I have questions, like…where do I sit and what should I wear? Also, what are the rules?”

I smiled. “Sit wherever you want and wear whatever you want. The idea is to have fun. Well…and to kick OC Lutheran’s ass. As for the rules…the goal is to put the ball in the net more times than our opponent. You’ll be able to follow along.”

He didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do some research. Now, what about us? Do you want me to be there and not speak or…are you going to introduce me? And if so, what will you say? I need to rehearse my lines.”

“Lines? This isn’t a play, Ash. We’re friends.”

“No, we’re not. We hardly know each other.”

I frowned. “Then we need to fix that ’cause I’m going to introduce you as my friend. It’s less complicated that way.”

“And if someone asks where we met, I’m allowed to improvise, correct?” he teased. taking a big bite of pasta.

Too big of a bite. He slurped a rogue piece of tagliatelle with wide eyes, then covered his mouth with his napkin. It was pretty freaking cute. I pointed at the sauce on his cheek.

When he swiped at the wrong side, I hooked my finger and motioned for him to lean in. I wiped his cheek with my thumb, underestimating the intimacy of the gesture. The strong current of heat and desire sizzling between us threw me off guard, rendering me speechless.

My Review:
Asher is an out-gay astrophysicist with a physical need and a healthy sex drive. He may be a nerd, but he’s definitely got skills, honed by years and years of sexual exploration. He’s never had shame or fear, accepted by his mother, a psychologist, from before he really recognized his attraction. While looking for a no-strings hook-up partner, Asher connects with Blake, a tall, built athletic bed partner, with whom he shares some awesome sexytimes. He’s not sure why he looks so familiar, even if they’d never met before.

He’s not really about repeats, but Blake, a stalwart Star Wars fan and closeted bisexual lacrosse coach, reaches out for a Round 2 and that’s when Asher connects the sense of deja vu with horror: Blake was the closet-case his good friend and housemate Topher fell hard for a year before, only Toph thought his name was Jake… And, boy does Asher give Blake what-for, defending Topher’s honor. But Blake won’t let Asher disappear without explaining his misunderstanding, and well, asking for a big favor.

Blake sees how natural and genuine Asher is, unafraid to live an out life. He wants to learn how to come out, and thinks that Asher can coach him, and they can keep exploring their intense chemistry. Asher’s temper might be a supernova, but Blake has tickled his organization bone, and he’s swiftly assembling a plan, with the help of his mother’s counsel, for Balke to come out. If not for himself, to give support to his goalie who’s recently come out as lesbian. Blake has some struggles with an old female ex, only because he’s not sure how to trust her with his truth–or anyone for that matter. But Asher’s continued coaching is helping him turn the tide. Having a sexy-nerd boyfriend can do that for you.

Expect sweet and sexy moments, with Asher getting way more in deep than he’d anticipated, and Blake loving Asher’s struggle for perfection. They each have a great backstory, and loving families. Their journey into couplehood is swift and engaging. I really liked it and look forward to the next book in the series.

Interested? You can find THE JOCK SCRIPT on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


BORDER CTRL + ESC-An Under The Rainbow Review & Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a link to my Under the Rainbow and Challenge Month post over on Joyfully Jay for a sweet MF contemporary romance from Ivy L. James. BORDER CTRL + ESC is a Under the Rainbow choice for this week’s challenge because it features a demisexual woman who unexpectedly falls hard for her new husband-of-convenience, a bisexual man from Spain who she’s agreed to marry to facilitate his Green Card status and her inheritance.

Border CRTL + ESC coverAbout the book:

In the United States…

Mariana Mitogo is struggling to make ends meet. Then, out of the blue, she learns she’s to receive a huge inheritance that would erase all her debt. The problem: she has to be married for six months to receive it, and her dating life is nonexistent.

In Spain…

Santiago de los Reyes, Mariana’s Internet friend, has drained his bank account to support his family. Desperate to get his mom the heart surgery she needs, he interviews for a better-paying job that would take him from Madrid to Virginia. When he’s offered the position but can’t get a work visa, Mariana offers a solution that benefits both of them—a fiancé visa and a quick wedding.

If anyone finds out it’s a green-card marriage, Santiago will be deported. Mariana would face a colossal fine and jail time. Good thing they’re committed actors.

But as Santiago and Mariana pretend to build a life together, the lines blur between charade and reality. Will they dare to choose the love that feels more honest every day?

My review for BORDER CTRL + ESC is live over at Joyfully Jay and if you take a field trip over there and make a comment on the post you will be entered to win the weekly prize of a gift set of paperback romances from Carina Press, as well as getting entered in the month-long Kindle Paperwhite giveaway preloaded with 50 e-books sponsored by NineStar Press. Remember to comment on the Joyfully Jay post to be entered to win.

Interested? You can find BORDER CTRL + ESC on Goodreads and Amazon.

About Ivy L. James: (In Her Own Words)

Writing has been part of me since my first story (which I very professionally scrawled on Post-It notes).

 I honed my skills through terrible fanfic and emo poetry, learning through trial and much error. I wrote my first novel in high school, and after that, I couldn’t shake the love for long-form storytelling.

In college I discovered technical communication, creative nonfiction, NaNoWriMo, and romance novels. Now, amidst my career of technical writing and editing, I craft honest, real-talk blogs and feminist romance.

Catch up with Ivy online on her website, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Sexy Nerd Romance: RULES OF PLAY–Audiobook Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. RULES OF PLAY is the second book in her new The Script Club series, and features a literal rocket scientist falling hard for his childhood crush–a jock friend of his older brother. You can catch my review for the first book in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.

About the book:

The genius, the mechanic, and a new playbook…

George-

My brother’s friend is hot. If you’re into flannel-wearing lumbersexual former jocks who eat donuts for dinner and still scribble to-do lists on their palms. I’m not. I’m a serious scientist in my final of grad school. Okay, I admit I have few quirks of my own. I also have a broken truck and a boss who thinks I can help him find love. I’m in over my head. Help!

Aiden-

A few quirks? Really? George the weirdest dude I know. He wears capes in public, brings a book everywhere he goes, and loves all thing spooky. He’s also the smartest person on the planet—who somehow thinks I can help him write a How-To-Get-A-Date playbook for his boss. Yeah, that sounds suspicious. I know baseball; I don’t know anything about love. But I can’t say no. I’ve always had a soft spot for George. I just didn’t count on falling for my best friend’s nerdy brother. This is against the rules, isn’t it?

Rules of Play is an MM bisexual awakening story where opposites attract and shenanigans ensue!

How about a little taste?

“The Script Club?”

I grimaced. “Well, yeah. That name came later.”

“You really are a little weirdo, aren’t you?”

The twinkle in Aiden’s eyes and his affectionate tone paired with an unlikely term of endearment were exactly what I needed to pull me from my infatuation-induced awkwardness.

I smacked his biceps playfully, then leaned against his side, staring up at the crescent moon in the twilight sky. “I am weird and I am proud.”

Aiden chuckled. “I like that about you. I like your idea too. It’s a good one. I should get in on that and collect a few new experiences before I quit the garage and move on to my next venture.”

“What would you do? I mean, what would you want to try?”

“I don’t know. Maybe something will come to me.” He set the half-eaten container of meatballs down and reached for his beer. “As for your boss…he needs a rule book.”

I shifted to face him. “What kind of rule book?”

“A dating rule book. It would be the equivalent of a sports playbook…a list of strategies and a backup plan if things go awry.”

“Okay, that makes sense. Step one, ask for a date.”

Aiden shook his head. “No. Don’t go in hot. Gotta practice a little finesse. It’s better to get to know someone—ask about their interests, share yours, and see if there’s anything there. Theoretically, that’s how I think it should work.”

“You’re right. They have to build a rapport.” I squinted. “He’s going to need an icebreaker.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. Hit me with your best shot.”

“Uh…what do you mean?” I stammered.

“Pretend you’re into me and you want to get to know me.” Aiden quirked a brow and wiggled his fingers. “Ask me something.”

“What are your interests?”

He made an obnoxious buzzer noise and rolled his eyes. “Wrong. That’s a date question. A lame one, too. Would you really walk up to someone and ask them what they’re into?”

“No, of course not.”

“Redo. You’re trying to get to know me, but you can’t be too forward, and you can’t make assumptions. Got it?” He waited for my nod of agreement and continued. “Pretend we’re standing at the coffee machine at work on a Monday morning. And…action.”

“O-kay…what did you do last weekend?”

Aiden smiled. “Good one. And my answer…not much. I went to that college ball game I told you about last week, watched a lot of basketball, made arrangements to schlep your Bronco here, and played pool with Kenny and a couple of high school buddies. You?”

“I studied and hung out with my friends.”

He stared at me long enough for me to wonder if I had meatball between my teeth.

“If that’s all you have to say, you just killed this conversation,” he deadpanned.

I chuckled. “I did not. It was your turn to ask <em>me</em> something. That’s how it works in real life. I’m not that big of a dork!”

“But what about your boss?”

Good point. “Newton is a big dork. Very big.”

“Right, so this is where rules come into play. You have to pay attention and take hints and clues to heart. Almost everything I mentioned about my weekend had a theme…sports. I told you what I’m interested in without announcing, ‘I like sports.’ If you really wanted to get in my pants, you’d ask me a sports-related question.”

I shot to my feet, whirling my cape like a true badass. “Who said anything about getting in your pants?”

Yes, I was entirely in favor of the idea, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t said it aloud.

“Isn’t that the end game?” Aiden flashed a devilish grin my way.

“No! I mean, maybe for you, but not for Newton. I don’t think he’s hoping for sex.”

“Then what’s the point?”

“Love!”

Aiden widened his eyes comically. “What’s that?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed in defeat, reclaiming my spot on the stoop next to him. “That’s why this is complicated.”

My Review:
I reviewed this odd-couple friends to lovers romance a few weeks back. The story connects George, a non-jock super literary astrophysics genius with Aiden, a super jock turned mechanic who’s looking to become a baseball scout. They agree to a collaboration: Aiden fixes Georges truck for cost and George looks over Aiden’s player algorithms–and well, they fall into sexy times. Because they have both had a crush on the other for years now.

As an audiobook, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, Both Aidan and George come off as fun and sexy, their playful banter really catalyzing their burgeoning romance. The voice acting definitely gave off the vibes I felt reading each character, and I enjoyed how gritty and throaty the intimate moments sounded–moments of wonder and mutual enjoyment.

This is a sweet New Adult romance with lots of playfulness, and the expected family struggles, as George attempts to keep his fling with Aiden on the down-low to not upset his brother Simon–who is Aiden’s best pal. I liked how this echoed the tension from FOLLOWING THE RULES, where Simon kept his interest in Topher–George’s good friend and housemate–on the super down-low. Aiden’s personal life is definitely changing, but in ways he’s ready to embrace as he finally follows his own path and becomes the man he’s strived to be. There are some dirty firsts, flirty moments, and caped crusades in this one, and I really enjoyed them all. Highly recommend.

Interested? You can find RULES OF PLAY on Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


A New Beginning UP IN SMOKE? A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M hotshot fireman romance from Annabeth Albert. UP IN SMOKE  is the fourth book in her Hot Shots series that feature rural firefighters who live on the edge of danger. I really enjoyed BURN ZONE, HIGH HEAT, and FEEL THE FIRE,  so I was excited to read on in this series.

About the book:

Three Men and a Baby meets Backdraft with explosive chemistry and heartfelt feels.

Freewheeling smoke jumper Brandt Wilder thrives on adrenaline. He’s never met a parachute he can’t repair or a dangerous situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of. He’s popular and fun-loving and not at all looking to settle down or form lasting relationships. It’s a lifestyle that’s served him well…right up until the day he finds a baby on his doorstep.

Shane Travis is used to putting his country music career—and his own happiness—on hold after his sister rolls through his life. Like last spring when she convinced him to try skydiving for his birthday—and she walked away with the hot parachute instructor.

Now he gets to deliver the piece of news that will upend Brandt’s carefree life: he very well might be a dad.

Shane’s niece is safe in Brandt’s strong, capable hands, but too many questions remain unanswered. Co-parenting while they sort it out leads to late-night talks, and soul-bearing confessions lead to a most inconvenient attraction. Still, Shane can’t leave this makeshift family behind—even if it means playing house with the one man he can’t resist.

My Review:

Shane Travis is an up-and-coming country singer, if only he wasn’t always derailed by his impulsive sister. This time he’s up and left him with his baby niece, Jewel, disappearing into Canada to work some music festival and with no intention of returning to motherhood anytime soon. Shane has commitments of he own, and he hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in days, so he does the only thing he can do: hunt down the unwitting baby daddy and see if he can’t get Jewel a family she deserves.

Brandt Wilder is all his name suggests, a free-wheeling, free-loving adrenaline junkie that smoke jumps in season and does parachute jumps out of it. He’d met Shane and his sister, Shelby, when they did a parachute jump for Shane’s 30th birthday–round about 10 months back. Well, it was a fun night for sure, but he never imagined a child would come of it. He’s mighty suspicious when Shane turns up on his temporary doorstep, but agrees to take them in for a spell–at least until they can work out a paternity test. Because Brandt is not a deadbeat dad–at least he won’t be if little Jewel truly is his daughter.

While these unlikely babysitters await the testing and results, they also get acquainted. Shane is waiting for a callback to a reality singing show and Brandt’s between shifts in the field. They spend time co-parenting, and connecting in ways Shane had wished for the first time he’d met Brandt. Of course, he’s got prospects in the music industry, but he’s also got some down time, and he’s spending it mooning over both Brandt and Jewel, writing new lyrics for songs that he’d never imagined before. Brandt’s life hasn’t gotten less dangerous, but he’s got commitments he can’t escape, no matter how itchy his feet get. And, well, Shane is the kind of guy that worth being stable for, isn’t he?

Of course there are lots of complications, but there are also late night bonding sessions, first times, shopping sprees at the thrift store, and errant mothers turning up and making drama. I loved how Shane and Brandt built a connection between themselves, as well as with baby Jewel. They’re so sweet, and so sure that they are messing everything up, while trying their hardest to be good caregivers. Their attraction is hot as a wildfire, even if Shane’s afraid to make any moves–Brandt’s a big dude and he already knows the man likes women. Turns out, though, that Brandt is…open…to having sex with men, and though he doesn’t specify his sexuality in actual terms, it’s clear that Shane yanks his chain in just the right way.          

Their attraction simmers and then rages, but it’s still hard going for these guys and their little miss. Brandt and Shane are going to do the right things to make sure that girl lacks for nothing in life–not even a mama. It’s a totally sweet story with a great HEA.  

Interested? You can find UP IN SMOKE on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy provided via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Jock + Nerd = Romance! RULES OF PLAY– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. RULES OF PLAY is the second book in her new The Script Club series, and features a literal rocket scientist falling hard for his childhood crush–a jock friend of his older brother. You can catch my review for the first book in the series, FOLLOWING THE RULES, but this one is fine read as a standalone, too.

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.

About the book:

The genius, the mechanic, and a new playbook…

George-

My brother’s friend is hot. If you’re into flannel-wearing lumbersexual former jocks who eat donuts for dinner and still scribble to-do lists on their palms. I’m not. I’m a serious scientist in my final of grad school. Okay, I admit I have few quirks of my own. I also have a broken truck and a boss who thinks I can help him find love. I’m in over my head. Help!

Aiden-

A few quirks? Really? George the weirdest dude I know. He wears capes in public, brings a book everywhere he goes, and loves all thing spooky. He’s also the smartest person on the planet—who somehow thinks I can help him write a How-To-Get-A-Date playbook for his boss. Yeah, that sounds suspicious. I know baseball; I don’t know anything about love. But I can’t say no. I’ve always had a soft spot for George. I just didn’t count on falling for my best friend’s nerdy brother. This is against the rules, isn’t it?

Rules of Play is an MM bisexual awakening story where opposites attract and shenanigans ensue!

How about a little taste?

“The Script Club?”

I grimaced. “Well, yeah. That name came later.”

“You really are a little weirdo, aren’t you?”

The twinkle in Aiden’s eyes and his affectionate tone paired with an unlikely term of endearment were exactly what I needed to pull me from my infatuation-induced awkwardness.

I smacked his biceps playfully, then leaned against his side, staring up at the crescent moon in the twilight sky. “I am weird and I am proud.”

Aiden chuckled. “I like that about you. I like your idea too. It’s a good one. I should get in on that and collect a few new experiences before I quit the garage and move on to my next venture.”

“What would you do? I mean, what would you want to try?”

“I don’t know. Maybe something will come to me.” He set the half-eaten container of meatballs down and reached for his beer. “As for your boss…he needs a rule book.”

I shifted to face him. “What kind of rule book?”

“A dating rule book. It would be the equivalent of a sports playbook…a list of strategies and a backup plan if things go awry.”

“Okay, that makes sense. Step one, ask for a date.”

Aiden shook his head. “No. Don’t go in hot. Gotta practice a little finesse. It’s better to get to know someone—ask about their interests, share yours, and see if there’s anything there. Theoretically, that’s how I think it should work.”

“You’re right. They have to build a rapport.” I squinted. “He’s going to need an icebreaker.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. Hit me with your best shot.”

“Uh…what do you mean?” I stammered.

“Pretend you’re into me and you want to get to know me.” Aiden quirked a brow and wiggled his fingers. “Ask me something.”

“What are your interests?”

He made an obnoxious buzzer noise and rolled his eyes. “Wrong. That’s a date question. A lame one, too. Would you really walk up to someone and ask them what they’re into?”

“No, of course not.”

“Redo. You’re trying to get to know me, but you can’t be too forward, and you can’t make assumptions. Got it?” He waited for my nod of agreement and continued. “Pretend we’re standing at the coffee machine at work on a Monday morning. And…action.”

“O-kay…what did you do last weekend?”

Aiden smiled. “Good one. And my answer…not much. I went to that college ball game I told you about last week, watched a lot of basketball, made arrangements to schlep your Bronco here, and played pool with Kenny and a couple of high school buddies. You?”

“I studied and hung out with my friends.”

He stared at me long enough for me to wonder if I had meatball between my teeth.

“If that’s all you have to say, you just killed this conversation,” he deadpanned.

I chuckled. “I did not. It was your turn to ask <em>me</em> something. That’s how it works in real life. I’m not that big of a dork!”

“But what about your boss?”

Good point. “Newton is a big dork. Very big.”

“Right, so this is where rules come into play. You have to pay attention and take hints and clues to heart. Almost everything I mentioned about my weekend had a theme…sports. I told you what I’m interested in without announcing, ‘I like sports.’ If you really wanted to get in my pants, you’d ask me a sports-related question.”

I shot to my feet, whirling my cape like a true badass. “Who said anything about getting in your pants?”

Yes, I was entirely in favor of the idea, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t said it aloud.

“Isn’t that the end game?” Aiden flashed a devilish grin my way.

“No! I mean, maybe for you, but not for Newton. I don’t think he’s hoping for sex.”

“Then what’s the point?”

“Love!”

Aiden widened his eyes comically. “What’s that?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed in defeat, reclaiming my spot on the stoop next to him. “That’s why this is complicated.”

My Review:
George is the youngest child in his family. His two older brothers were huge jocks–Simon even played pro football before concussions sidelined him. And, Simon’s best friend Aiden has been the star of many a nighttime–and daytime–fantasy for George since forever. Aiden played football with Simon and baseball with their eldest brother, but George never got into “sportsball,” always sitting on the sidelines while his brothers played, usually wearing a cape, and always reading a book. George didn’t fancy himself a superhero, he was more goth/vampire inspired, and is a bit high on the socially awkward scale, with a low tolerance for peopleing. George is bisexual, but he leans more toward men than women in his sexual attraction.

George really adored how Aiden would stand up for him, like his brothers, whenever idiot jocks would pick on him. He’s a grown man now, working on his graduate degree in aeronautics and trying not to lean on his folks for help, so when his ancient truck breaks down, George is happy to oblige Aiden who suggests a creative way to pay for the repairs.

Aiden’s nearing 30 and wants more than working as a grease monkey for his homophobic uncle. He’s always loved athletics, and has been quietly taking courses that will help him become a scout for baseball teams. He even has some rudimentary algorithms put together to make this more structured, but he wants George’s mathematics brain to look over his calculations in order to confirm he’s on the right track. George is a little overwhelmed, with his internship and school–especially now that his incredibly awkward boss wants tips on how to woo a co-worker who’d made play for George. He isn’t really interested in her–a mutual feeling–but it’s convenient to claim he has a boyfriend to get his boss off his back, except now the boss thinks the “boyfriend” can also help him in his romantic quest.

So, George and Aiden spend a lot of time together, fixing the truck and watching baseball games, to help Aiden’s mission to become a scout. It’s quiet nights sharing the meals George’s mom delivers and moments of absolute discovery as Aiden confesses his own unrequited attraction for the shy but beautiful man George has grown into.

This is a sweet New Adult romance with lots of playfulness, and the expected family struggles, as George attempts to keep his fling with Aiden on the down-low to not upset Simon. I liked how this echoed the tension from FOLLOWING THE RULES, where Simon was keeping his interest in Topher–George’s good friend and housemate–on the super down-low. Aiden’s personal life is definitely changing, but in ways he’s ready to embrace as he finally follows his own path and becomes the man he’s strived to be. There are some dirty firsts, flirty moments, and caped crusades in this one, and I really enjoyed them all. Highly recommend.

Interested? You can find RULES OF PLAY on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


Role-Playing into Love: FOLLOWING THE RULES– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Now that school is wrapping up, I’ve got more time to start posting reviews again. Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. FOLLOWING THE RULES is the first book in her new The Script Club series, that spun off a little from the Starting From series–beginning with a literal rocket scientist who’s looking for a little extra cash and begins tutoring his roomie’s older brother in humanities. And man-love…

Drop down to catch my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.


About the book:

The geek, the jock, and a new set of rules…

Topher:

My friend’s brother needs an academic assistant and I need a job. Problem…jocks are my weakness. Seriously. I lose my ability to speak coherently around muscle-bound hotties. Oh yeah, I lose my inhibitions too—not a good look for a guy with a genius IQ. So what am I going to do about Simon?

Simon:

Finishing college isn’t high on my list of priorities, but my future in professional football is looking bleak. I need a plan B or C, and I could use some help navigating life as an undergrad. Topher is perfect. He’s also a little strange…but in a good way. And I like the way I feel when I’m around him—as though anything is possible. Maybe if we follow our hearts, we’ll find what we’re looking for. But that means changing the rules…

Following the Rules is a MM, bisexual awakening romance starring a lovable nerd, a cool jock, and some extracurricular fun.

My Review:
Topher is an aeronautical engineer with one year to go in his master’s program. His paid internship just dried up and he has a month to go before school starts. With time on his hands and money on his mind, Topher is almost happy his new roommate, George, suggests Topher tutor his older brother, Simon, a man returning to college while on hiatus from the NFL. Simon had played several seasons for the LA Rams, but he’s been sidelined with a concussion, again. He was cut from the team, after a looong recovery, and is in limbo, training and taking classes, awaiting whatever magic his agent can work to get him signed to a new team.

Topher has a mini-mega-crush on Simon, and he’s a whole lotta awkward about it. Thing is, Simon is an uninhibited man, and he’s very lonely. The wait for his return to the NFL is messing with his head and he’s desperate for some company to fill his home and head with distraction. They meet in an unconventional way–and Simon’s cool with it, even as it unsettles Topher, because, well, sexy naked men tend to unsettle him. But they have some silly banter, with Simon intrigued by Topher’s dedication to research, schooling and sexytimes. And, they connect in banter over “scripts” like sexy role-playing that has Simon’s flagging libido taking notice in ways it never has before.

This audiobook is totally fun and a treat to enjoy. I really loved the efforts the narrator took to help differentiate the voices, including Topher’s whiskey-totting gran, and Simon’s goth-dracula brother George. Topher’s voice sounds geeky-sexy with a sweetness and lightness that belies his eagerness to please. Simon’s deeper timbre easily had me mentally-conjuring an athletic professional, who is always down for an adventure.

The casual-to-more romance was low-angst and easily followed, with the fun of first-times and all the excitement surrounding exploring one not only a new lover, but one who is shaping up to be a soul mate. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to watching other sexy geeks in Topher’s inner circle find love. This series is a spin off from the Starting From series, so we get a few cameos of Topher’s former roomie, Cody, who found love with a rock guitarist in Starting From Somewhere.

Interested? You can find FOLLOWING THE RULES on Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.


A Deeper Connection THIS IS NOT THE END: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary MMF menage romance from Sidney Bell. THIS IS NOT THE END features two bandmates who have more in common than they thought–especially when they begin sharing one’s wife.

About the book:
Zacary Trevor is the love of Anya Alexander’s life. Their sometimes tumultuous marriage has survived ups, downs, and all the in-betweens. With successful careers, a lovely home, and a beautiful child, domestic bliss is a hard-earned reality for two people whose hedonistic days are in the not-so-distant past. They’re happy. Enter Zac’s best friend, the deeply reserved Cal Keller.

Zac’s friendship with Cal is the foundation of his career and—until Anya and their son came along—the most important relationship of his life. Cal’s a cipher, someone Anya can’t help but gravitate to, even if they don’t always get along. Even more, she’s drawn to the Zac she sees when he’s with Cal—a careful, cautious version of her husband, someone with hidden thoughts and desires kept secret even from her. Inviting Cal into their home, deeper into their life, is a risk.

Zac should say no. He knows he should. But he doesn’t. From the first, the hint at the life the three of them could have together is exhilarating. And finding a new definition for family just might be worth the risk to every bond that exists between them.

My Review:
Zac Trevor and Cal Keller are bandmates, and the longest relationship/friendship either man has had in his adult life. Zac is an avowed hedonist and has indulged in much and frequent sex with many many partners over the years. Cal is his opposite, keeping himself in check and sober is a huge part of his life–ever since he lost control and nearly injured a family member about 8 years back.

Zac is married to Anya Alexander, a former model turned photographer. Anya is a keen observer of humanity, and also a sexually-liberated woman. Zac is in favor, enjoying sharing Anya with sexy men they each find attractive. It’s interesting that Zac is completely mum on the attractiveness of Cal, because he’s a very sexy man, in her opinion. Even if he’s standoffish, and she thinks Cal resents her. It becomes a mission to learn more about Cal, now that she’s home more and can explore building a friendship–or more–with Cal.

Zac and Anya have a young son, PJ, and Cal thought being married and a father would settle Zac. But he’s absolutely stunned to learn about the kinky hijinks Zac and Anya entertain. Once Anya makes it clear that she would be more than willing to engage in some sexytimes with Cal, while Zac watches. Because Zac very much likes to watch. And Cal’s even more stunned to learn that Zac has had fantasies of this very act–and more–with Cal in the bed with them. It’s so unsettling that Cal’s sobriety is threatened, and this becomes a turning point in the relationship between Cal and Zac, that Zac can finally confess he’s seen the rigid manner of Cal and knows his sobriety is an issue.

This book is told in three parts, no chapters. Anya tells the beginning, how she initiates this journey and guides Zac and Cal to confess their secrets and needs. Then Cal picks up the story, giving us the inside look into his fiercely private struggles. He has loved Zac for more than a decade, but he kinda loves Anya, too. And, he’s a little jealous of their idyllic life, with a sweet son and a house that seems to be filled with love. And it is, but a different take on love than Cal had imagined. He’s not sure if he is welcome to be a full member of the family, or a temporary lover like all the others before him. Because that’s his secret-est desire of all–to truly belong in a family, and one that includes Zac is the biggest bonus. Zac wraps up the story, which brings in the largest of vulnerabilities: Zac and Cal being intimate with one another. And, the full acceptance of their blended family by each of them. I liked how this turned out, with firm reassurances that they are committed to each other and to their poly-family.

I loved the straight-talk. I loved the sexytimes. I loved that Cal was well-hung and well-heeled. I loved that Anya and Zac were so open with each other, and how they got Cal to open up, too. For a manage, this one was centered on personalities and relationships, and not sex. Definitely recommend for people who like menage, or MMF stories.

Interested? You can find THIS IS NOT THE END on Goodreads, Carina Press and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

Catch up with Sidney on her website or twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

More and Merrier–WE 3: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary FMF menage romance from Lara Zielinsky. WE 3 features a swinging couple who find a “unicorn”: a bisexual woman who’s willing to share their carnal adventures. It’s a sexy fun time for many in this one.

About the book:
Eric and Elena Tanner have been enjoying their lifestyle membership at the Club Caliente for years. Swinging fulfills their desire to meet new people and engage in group sex.

When the new bartender, Jess, flirts with them and agrees to play in a threesome, Eric and Elena make plans for a single night of pleasure. All three are satisfied, so Jess is invited to come again. And again.

For months Elena, Jess, and Eric meet up for lots of sex, and dinners. There are casual nights in Netflix and chilling. It’s heady, addictive and no one wants it to end.

However, they all know that’s the deal in the lifestyle. Swingers move out of each other’s lives all the time. Complication is the enemy. So what happens when they start to fall in love?

My Review:
Elena and Eric Tanner are a married couple who are practiced swingers. They very much enjoy group sex and swapping partners at private parties, or their regular nights at Club Caliente in Miami, Florida. Eric is a pilot and Elena was a stewardess, until the politics of the company caused her to quit her job. She had a close relationship with another woman, once, and still sort of misses that connection.

Eric meets Club Caliente’s newest bartender, Jess, while she’s examining Eric’s erotic photos in a club art show. The main subject is Elena in varying degrees of clothing and arousal. Jess thinks Elena is gorgeous and is eager to meet her, once Eric says he’d be happy to introduce them. Jess is a loner, by choice. She’d grown up and aged out the foster system and been roughly rootless her entire life. She’s concerned why Eric might be interested in connecting her and his wife, at least at first. They all do have a chemistry, once they meet in a more quiet and personal way. Elena is attracted to Jess, as is Eric, and Jess is surprised that this attraction is matched by their personalities connecting. Elena is a little selfish, fearing that Jess isn’t very into her, but Eric’s encouragement allows her to see she needs to give Jess the time to acclimate to a completely new dynamic, that of a triad. All the characters in this story are interesting and passionate. They care deeply for their partners, while also enjoying sharing their partners. Jealousy wasn’t a thing, until Elena started falling for Jess, for whom she became slightly possessive. This was an intriguing situation, as she’s not that possessive of her own husband.

This was a very sexy read, with lots of three-way interactions, some that included more partners, and others that are exclusively between Elena and Jess. What began as a bit of fun develops into a stronger connection and relationship than any of these folks had anticipated. That said, it seemed like some of the subplots didn’t develop–like the supposed jealousies of the Club Caliente owners, who may or may not be very sketchy employers. Or Elena’s new business venture selling and guiding sex-tourism trips for swinger couples. The end came rather abruptly, and I wasn’t sure if Jess made a cohabitating move, or just quit her job. Or, what. I had hoped it would become a more intimate and permanent arrangement, but there was enough uncertainly I wasn’t exactly sure if Elena and Jess were starting a real partnership of their own. For the times that Eric is away. Otherwise, they’d all three be sharing a bed. It seemed, at least.

If you are into lesbian scenes, orgies, or swingers I think you’d really enjoy this one. I liked the development of this menage relationship, though I felt there were holes in other parts of the plot.

Interested? You can find WE 3 on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Lara Zielinsky writes lesbian and bisexual women’s romance fiction. Her first novel Turning Point (2007) was a finalist for a Debut Author Goldie from the Golden Crown Literary Society. In 2019, she releases her 3rd novel, We Three: One and One and One Makes Three.

She loves the process of writing (yes, even editing), publishing and enjoys interacting with readers.

Catch up with Lara on her website or twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Daddy Drama STARTING FROM THE TOP– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M rock romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM THE TOP is the fifth book in the Starting From series. I really enjoyed STARTING FROM ZERO, STARTING FROM SCRATCH, STARTING FROM HERE, and STARTING FROM SOMEWHERE so I couldn’t wait to read on in this rock romance series.

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…
Johnny
A quiet place to live and some time to recharge before my band heads out on the road again sounds amazing. I wouldn’t mind a distraction too, but my new neighbor is off-limits. There are rules about not getting involved with your bandmate’s ex, right? And Sean isn’t my type anyway. He’s too bossy, too commanding, and he has way too much baggage. I’ve learned that it’s best to let go of the heavy stuff. So why am I so drawn to him?

Sean
Coming out later in life has taught me to protect my privacy at all costs. And while juggling a handful of businesses and two kids isn’t easy, I excel at the art of multitasking and keeping everything separate. But Johnny blurs those lines. He’s easy-going, sweet-natured, and cool. In short, he’s everything I’m not. I want to know all about him…starting from the top.

Starting From the Top is a MM, bisexual romance with some rock and roll, an age gap, and a little family fun! Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.

How about a yummy taste?

The cheery sound of family fun drifted through the house…the dog barking, cupboards closing, and a girlish squeal of delight. And more dog barking.

I chuckled at the chaotic homey cacophony. I would never have envisioned this was Sean’s life. He’d always seemed like a badass boss to me—not a man who’d wear an apron to bake cupcakes with his daughter while his son had a guitar lesson. His chocolate mussed hair and concerned parental frown made him look goofy and yet very…endearing. In a hot dad way.

Okay. Definitely time to go. I reached for the knob just as Sean did.

“I’ll walk you out,” he insisted, holding the door open.

I stepped onto the porch and blinked against the bright afternoon sun at the hilltop view of the city. “Wow. This is nice.”

“Yeah,” he agreed absently. “How was he?”

“Amazing. The next Chuck Berry.”

Sean sighed grumpily. “Less sarcasm, please.”

“Sorry, Dad.” I snickered. “He was great. I mean, he sucked, but I think he had fun. I told him to keep the guitar and practice on his own. If you want me to come back, I will.”

“Really? That’s good.” He stared at the horizon for a moment before glancing my way. “I wanted to—why are you smiling at me?”

“You’re fuckin’ covered in chocolate. It’s in your ear.” I made a face and tugged at my own ear.

He gestured at the apron. “Baking isn’t my thing.”

I flashed a megawatt grin at him. “Sure, it is. Are you decorating those cupcakes with anything besides frosting?”

“Sprinkles. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Thanks, but I don’t want to crash your family time.”

Sean inclined his head. “So…did he talk to you?”

“It took a little coaxing. Full disclosure…we played video games before we picked up the guitars. You’re not paying me, so I don’t really feel guilty. I just don’t want you to think it was a jam session from the start.”

“I know.”

“You know?” I repeated.

“I snuck in to see how you were doing. Hulk let you down. You might want to go with Iron Man or Captain America next time.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I snort-laughed, then sobered. “As for Parker…he’s a good kid. He’s shy, reserved, and likes organization. He seems like the kind of person who excels at things he can control. I bet he builds killer Lego sets. He might learn a few songs, but I doubt he’s a savant. You never know, though. Kids are sponges. They pick up stuff you and I would never catch.”

“That’s true. I’m impressed. And you’re right…about everything. He keeps a lot inside. He’s always been that way. Very thoughtful and methodical. He sets a high bar for himself. He likes to get things right the first time. He does well in school, but he’s struggling with the transition to junior high. His old friends tried out for sports and he opted not to. It’s left him feeling ostracized and alone. Hormones don’t help. I thought it might be good for him to spend time with someone cool who—”

“Cooler than you?”

“Well, let’s not get crazy.” Sean flipped the corner of his apron and let out a self-deprecating laugh. “I just…thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.”

“No problem. Hey, if he really is interested, we can do this regularly. My schedule is light for the next couple of months, but it’ll get crazy again in late spring.”

“I’ll call you.”

“Text me. I hate phone calls.” I held out my right hand and snatched it away a second later, narrowing my gaze. “You have frosting on your nose.”

“My nose?” He wiped his hand over the apron, then across the tip of his nose. “Did I get it?”

“No. Come here. Let me help you.” I stepped into his space and brushed the sugary goodness away.

“Did you get it?” he asked in a huskier than normal tone.

“Yeah, but it’s on your ear and your chin and…”

“Where else?”

“Here.”

I ran the pad of my thumb under this bottom lip. “Got it.”

I didn’t move. I should have, but something held me in place. I studied his features, noting the flecks in his eyes. I wondered what color they were…gold, green, brown? I traced a line at the corner of his mouth, rubbing the scruff of his neatly-trimmed beard. I stared at his full lips for a long moment before meeting his gaze. Then I inched closer and…kissed him.

My Review:
Johnny is the lead guitarist of the up-and-coming band Zero, and we’ve met him in previous stories but he takes center stage finding love and a family in this book. It can be fully enjoyed as a standalone.

Johnny is an out gay 30 year-old man who is finally getting recognized as the lead guitarist of Zero, a band known for their LGBTQ members and currently trending in the charts. While the band works on its third album Johnny is taking some time to pause and set up house. He grew up with a single drug-addicted mother and was always being shuffled off from one bad living situation to another. This is the first home of his own, one he isn’t sharing with ANYONE, and he’s reveling in it a bit. He has a designer and the whole thing is coming together nicely. Attempting to do a small favor for his designer leads Johnny to a neighbor’s home, and he’s surprised when the door is answered in a very strange and sexy way–but not by the homeowner! It’s even more shocking that he does know the owner, Seth Gruen, owner of a popular WeHo gay nightclub called Vibes and also former boyfriend of his bandmate, Tegan.

Seth is 45, and out as bisexual. He’s also the divorced father of two kids whom he co-parents. Seth is super protective of his kids, and tries to keep his personal life very separate from his work life and his dad life. Tegan only met his kids twice, briefly, though they dated for a couple of years off and on. Johnny is definitely attracted to Seth, but he’s pretty much attracted to lots of gay/bi men. Johnny is a truly sex-positive person, and he’s a bit glam, both of which are not necessarily traits Seth looks for in a partner, not that he’s looking for a partner. That doesn’t mean he isn’t intrigued. It’s just that he really wants Johnny’s guitar skills a bit more…sort of. See, Seth is struggling to connect with his introverted 13 y/o son, and he thinks maybe connecting young Parker with a rocker for lessons might open him up for conversation. It’s only a partial ruse to keep in contact with Johnny. But, that connection leads to further business ideas, and they get a little tangled in the details. Oh, and they have sex. Often. And Seth’s kids adore Johnny.

Johnny has never really wanted a family–he didn’t have one growing up and his home life was atrocious. He is mostly sober, following a period of heavy drinking, though he never does drugs. There’s a lot of competing interests in Johnny’s life but things with Seth and his kids are simple: he and Seth have mind-blowing sex and he gives Parker some lessons just for kicks. The more time stretches on, though, the more Johnny and Seth connect in friendship, and eventually love. If only either of them was ready to admit it–or change their plans to expand into a true partnership.

This one was really fun and a bit sweet. Johnny is irreverent and honest, qualities Seth truly values. He helps Seth see that he keeps punishing himself for coming out so late in life, taking the blame for his failed marriage. Johnny’s struggling with some fame growing pains, too, and Seth (and the kiddos) help to keep him grounded. The kids really are a nice part of this story. There is a parenting dynamic that was well-explored and allowed Johnny and Seth to grow in their understandings of how to communicate when it’s awkward and build bridges instead of burning them. Expect some intense steam that mellows into a smoldering love story. There is a bit of struggle near the end, as they outgrow their original no-strings arrangement. It leads to a happy ending, with plenty of family for Johnny to revel in, now that he and Seth can build theirs together.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM THE TOP on Goodreads, and Amazon.

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About the Author:
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.