Making It Real: NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary Christmas romance from Annabelle Jacobs. NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS is a sweet romance for a young man who finally convinces his childhood crush that he’s all grown up…. I’ve loved other romances from this author, like A CASUAL THING, A CHRISTMAS KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and BITTEN BY DESIGN, so I thought I’d check it out.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter the $10 GC or book giveaway below!
About the book:
Ben has Christmas, cats, and mistletoe on his side…. Jason doesn’t stand a chance
For Ben Slater, moving back to Bristol means being closer to his family, living with his best mate, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. But there’s also Jason, his best mate’s eldest brother. Ben’s had a crush on Jason for as long as he can remember, but the eleven-year age gap has always seemed insurmountable.

Jason Armitage works as a vet at his uncle’s practice. He owns a cute cottage on the outskirts of the city, and a loving dog. The one thing missing is someone to share it all with. His brother’s best friend seems a bad choice, but Jason can’t help taking a second look. Ben’s changed a lot since Jason last saw him; both in appearance and attitude. Gone is the shy young boy, replaced with a confident, twenty-four-year-old man.

In the run up to Christmas, the festive period gives Ben the ideal opportunity to show Jason what he has to offer. But concerns for his brother’s feelings hold Jason back. If they have any chance of making this work, Ben must convince Jason that he’s old enough to know what he wants, and Jason needs to believe that a relationship with his brother’s best friend won’t ruin their friendship.

How about a little taste?

Ben tried not to look, but inevitably his gaze was drawn to Jason still sat on the sofa. He stood as Pete stepped back, and Ben got a proper look at him. Ben wasn’t the only one who’d changed a little over the past couple of years. The last time he’d seen Jason, his hair had been short, like an army cut, and he’d had a beard. He’d looked hot then, but now…. Ben had to forcibly shut his mouth so he didn’t gape.

Jason’s thick dark hair, still shaved at the sides, was now a good couple of inches longer on top. And he was clean shaven. Ben kind of missed the beard, but without it Jason looked much younger, and his strong jawline was a thing of beauty. He looked thinner, too. Ben frowned because Jason ate like a horse and had always been bulkier than his brothers. That thought somehow made its way out of Ben’s mouth.

“Have you lost weight?”

Jason laughed softly, one hand immediately going to his stomach. He patted his belly and sighed. “God don’t you start. Mum’s already been on at me about not eating properly.” He pulled Ben in for a quick hug. “It’s good to see you, even if you do put the rest of us to shame.”

Oh God, that voice. As smooth and deep as Ben remembered.

My Review:
Ben Slater has just moved back to Bristol for a new job. He’s sharing a two-bedroom flat with his best mate, Liam, and wondering if Liam’s eldest brother, Jason, will finally see hm for the grown man he now is. Jason is about 12 years older, in his middle thirties, while Ben is just 24. Not that Ben cares about the age difference; he’s made no secret about his attraction to Jason for the past decade, or so. And, now that Jason is single, well…Ben can’t squash his hopes.

Jason really isn’t prepared to see Ben as a grown, and very attractive, man. He’s been wallowing since his long-term relationship ended, putting all his available hours into his veterinary practice, and doesn’t feel that taking up with Ben would be a good idea; young gay men need to sow their oats, right? Jason’s ready for the settled life, and can’t imagine being with Ben is a good idea.

Ben has to work things out with his move, but the more time he spends with Liam and his family, the more he realizes this is where he wants to be, forever. If only he could convince Jason that he’s a serious guy. Some well-placed mistletoe and an injured kitten draw the two men close, but Liam throws a “spanner” (wrench, y’all) in the works. Ben’s afraid to have gotten a taste of Jason that might only last through the Christmas season. I liked how this developed, with Ben and Jason finding their way, and letting go of their expectations (Jason especially!). They fit together nicely, and their fears that a relationship will upset their close-knit families is proved unfounded. THere’s some yummy steamy bits, and lots and sweet animal moments, too. I loved the way bringing Ben in to his life allowed Jason to recapture the spirit of the season, and reconnect with his family, too. It’s a winner!

Interested? You can find NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

Catch up with Annabelle online on her website, Facebook, twitter or email at ajacobsfiction (at) gmail (dot) com.
signal boost

Reclaiming a JUNKYARD HEART–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently released M/M romance from Garrett Leigh. JUNKYARD HEART is a new book in the Porthkennack series that features romances set in a quiet seaside town in Cornwall. It’s the second book in this series by Ms. Leigh, and shares characters with HOUSE OF CARDS, her previous title. JUNKYARD HEART features a recovering addict and a jilted man finding a passion neither expected. I’ve really liked MISFITS, WHAT REMAINS, and HOUSE OF CARDS, so I was eager to read this one.

About the book:
Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.

Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.

But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.

My Review:
This is a contemporary M/M romance set on the Cornish coast town of Porthkennack.

Jas Manning has returned to his father’s farm in Porthkennack, to sort himself out, now that he’s discovered the man he’d been “exclusively” dating for the past five years is married with children. Jas wasn’t an exclusive type, but there was something special about that guy, and having tried, and failed, monogamy Jas is done with men. Full stop.

And then he meets Kim. Kim’s lanky frame and smoldering eyes turn Jas inside out. And, it’s not long–truly–before they can’t keep their hands off one another. But it’s a one-off, right? Hard to avoid one another in such a small town, though. And why should Jas avoid Kim? Well, there’s Kim’s off-again long-time lover, Lena, and his alcoholism. Those are two reasons Jas finds to keep himself from getting romantically entangled with Kim, but they do develop a rapport, a tentative friendship, that keeps them close. Plus, Jas’ is commissioning Kim’s designs and furniture for their new organic eatery. They are bound to each other, even if Jas is loathe to acknowledge it.

I really liked how this story developed. It’s sweet and steamy, with fun elements, like reconnecting with Brix and Calum from HOUSE OF CARDS, and Kim’s straight-shooting discussion of his disease, and his sexuality. He’s pansexual for anyone keeping score, and this is part of what keeps Jas holding him at arm’s length: the idea that Kim can’t be exclusive to him. It’s wild though, how hot their sexytimes get, and Lena’s a happy witness to some of their passion. That said, these guys are hard on the revelations and long on the stubbornness. It was sweet how Jas’s stepmother (they have an odd relationship as Jas was the product of a swingers party and he feels less-than compared to his half-brothers) steps in to correct his idea of what love truly is. That sets Jas on a mission to define and expand their connection into a relationship that fulfills them both.

Interested? You can find JUNKYARD HEART on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link and comment on my gal Joyfully Jay’s blog for your chance to win a $20 Riptide gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Otherwise you can find her on her website, twitter or Facebook.

Falling For A SECRET SANTA–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M Christmas romance just released by Jay Northcote. SECRET SANTA is a sweet story about a holiday mall Santa and the man he falls for. I really liked it, just like I’ve adored all Jay’s books to-date including SUMMER HEAT, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, and TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP.

About the book:
Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship.
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.

My Review:
Luke and Theo are two lonely men who want to find a partner, not a hook up. Still, the easiest way to find someone is through a hook-up app. Luke is attracted to Theo’s unconventional pic, and reaches out–and they seem to find a connection. They enjoy chatting so much, that they move off the app into private chatting and it seems to go very well. They meet in person, and hit it off.

Thing is…Luke doesn’t tell Theo his seasonal temp job is as the local mall’s Santa. And Theo doesn’t tell Luke that he’s co-parenting his son, Archie. The next time they meet, well, it’s when Luke brings Archie to see Santa. So, Luke isn’t sure if Theo is a married man cheating on his wife or what the story truly is. He’s afraid to ask, but soon learns the truth from Archie’s own lips. While he’s okay with Theo being a parent, he’s not okay with Theo giving his generic excuses and bald-faced lies regarding how he spends his time, and why he can’t meet up. It’s a weird situation for Luke, and he’s not sure if he should tell Theo that he knows all about Archie–especially as they continue to make return trips to Santa’s Grotto.

I really enjoyed this sweet read. Luke and Theo have some moral dilemmas to face: Theo doesn’t want to hide his son, but he’s had some bad reactions from men in the past, and he wanted to get to know Luke, at the very least, before potentially scaring him away with his news. Luke is a bit embarrassed about his current job, and then he’s faced with “unmasking” Theo, a man he’s growing to like a lot. He’s hopeful that Theo will come to trust him enough to tell his secrets, and each time Theo fakes an excuse, well, it’s hurtful. They have to take a mini-break, but when all the secrets are laid on the table they don’t hesitate to make things right. They knew they had something worth working out, and their happy ending comes (hard and often) on Christmas day. There’s some yummy sexytimes, and some sweetness with the kiddo. Archie is a cutie, and he acts very much like an unaffected 4 year old. I loved his love of all things dinosaurs, stuffed pals and Santa.

Interested? You can find SECRET SANTA on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

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

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

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

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

signal boost

Out Now! MERRY GENTLEMEN-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-republished M/M Christmas romance from Josephine Myles. MERRY GENTLEMEN is a sweet and fun reconnection romance between two men who’d loved deeply but drifted apart several years before. Now they meet in the most unexpected of places, and the fire still burns…

About the book:
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men… even the one who dumped you.
Riley MacDermott is going places. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive seagull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. Shame they can’t seem to manage a simple chat without arguing.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley wouldn’t hear of leaving the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless they can figure out a compromise.

Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an ABBA song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.

How about a little taste?

You could lose yourself in Stan’s eyes. Well, I could. They reminded me of sun-bleached denim, with a deeper indigo ring around the outside. They were the kind of eyes that spoke of hard work in the great outdoors, and if it hadn’t been for the fact they’d been just the same back when he’d slaved away as a housing officer, I’d believe they really had been lightened by the sun. His hair certainly had. I’d always thought of him as a dirty blond rather than a honey one.

I still thought of him as a dirty blond, although not because of the colour of his hair.

Before my brain could get hijacked by thoughts of just how dirty Stan could be, I recovered my manners and stuck my hand out.

“Stan. Fancy seeing you here. I had no idea. Really.”

Stan stared at my hand like I was offering him a slice of mouldy pizza. I was just about to snatch it back when he grabbed it and held on.

“Ri? You look… You haven’t changed. Not one bit.”

Normally I’d preen a little at a comment like that. Make some allusion to Botox—not that I had any desire to freeze the expression out of my forehead, as how would I cope if I couldn’t do my patented single-eyebrow raise?

But right now, with Stan holding my hand in his rough, calloused—oh my God, he had genuine, honest to goodness callouses!—paw, I found it hard to do anything other than fight down my body’s instinctive response to him. I wanted to hit him and I wanted to lick him all over, and I couldn’t bloody well figure out which urge was winning.

Actually, right now I needed to stop paying any attention to my body and concentrate on keeping my cool. Couldn’t have Stan seeing me ruffled.

“Well, you’ve definitely changed,” I said. “You’ve got that whole rugged, outdoorsy vibe working for you now.” I didn’t need to hide the fact I was checking him out, thank Christ, so I took my time drinking in the sight of him. “Going back to nature really does pay off, doesn’t it? Shit, you never bulked up this well in the gym. And you’re tanned in the winter, but not a streak of orange to be seen. It’s a modern day miracle. Hallelujah.”

“I don’t need to fake it,” Stan growled, tilting his head back to look down at me and making the most of his three-inch height advantage. It was his arrogant-bastard pose, and he bloody well knew I was a sucker for it because I’d once made the mistake of telling him. Never, ever let a toppy git know just how much they turn you on, or you’ll spend your whole bloody life in a state of perpetual turned-on-ness. Was that even a word? It was now.

“What happened to your hair?” I said, reaching out for a lock. “Totally hot, but aren’t you getting a bit old for the whole surfer look? And you’re way too landlocked, down in deepest, darkest Somersetshire.”

“Piss off, Ri,” Stan said, but there was no heat in his words. The heat was all in his eyes, beaming out and frying me like a laser beam. They’d find me later, nothing more than a pair of melted boot soles on the cobbles.

Was that angry heat or turned-on heat? Couldn’t figure it out on him either. I had to face it, we both had ample reason to be pissed off with each other, but five years was a long time to hold a grudge.

“Much as I’d love to get on my way, it’s actually my job to check up on you. See if there’s anything you need any help with. Lend a hand, you know.” Jesus, could I have made that sound any more like a come-on? Clearly my mouth was in cahoots with my dick rather than my brain. I bit the inside of my lower lip, just to show it who was boss.

But Stan just carried on staring at me, while the sun-warmed denim of his eyes frosted over.

“Right. Just your job.” Oh, that guttural Slovakian accent! After the best part of a decade of living in the UK, Stan’s had definitely mellowed compared to when we’d first met, but it was still sexy as hell. “I’ll make sure I let you know if there’s anything you can help me with.” He stepped a little closer then, and tucked both thumbs into the waistband of his combats, hands framing his package like I needed any reminding of what was hidden in there. Well, not so hidden. Whereas I was a grower, Stan was most definitely a show-er, meaning his tackle was almost as big flaccid as it was erect. Not that that was a disappointment. More of a relief, really. If he’d got any bigger when hard, I’d have had to make like a snake and dislocate my jaw before giving him a blowjob.

And I really didn’t need to be remembering blowing Stan right now.

My Review:
This is a republished work by the author, now that the original publisher is no longer in business. If you had purchased the original back in 2013, it is the same story…

Riley is still not over his intense love for Stan, the man who left him nearly five years ago. They wanted different things, it seems; for Riley it was an urban life, posh address and well-paying job–even if he hated it, while Stan relished outdoors activities and living off the land. As many times as Stan tried to talk with Riley about tempering his ambitions with some reality, it didn’t take. And so, when Riley refused to entertain the idea that they could build a new life together in a more sedate locale, Stan took off and built his dream house on 30 acres in Somerset, while Riley continued his life in Bath.

Not that much has changed for him. Well, he found a new job he didn’t hate quite so much, but he never moved and his last two boyfriends, nice as they were, saw the futility of building a life with a man who was clearly still hung up on “the one that got away.” Riley’s managing the two-week Christmas arts and crafts market in Bath, with an eye on his ailing boss’ position, and is gobsmacked to learn the last-minute addition to the market is Stan, selling his handmade woodcrafts. Their initial meet-up after five years of silence is unsettling. Riley’s just as attracted as ever, and mad about that.

Not so mad that he isn’t cordial. And a little flirty. And he appreciates when Stan helps him clean up from a rogue seagull spattering–Riley and the manky seagull are a sub-plot of the book, in truth. Riley’s trying so hard to entice Stan to recognize that he’s left such a good thing behind, and not seeing how much he let get away when Stan left. But he does see, even if it’s too late. They are still fantastic together and the love between them only swells as the days pass, especially once Riley invites Stan to stay in their old flat for the time he’s in town–and Stan agrees because his alternative was sleeping in his camper van. Though they don’t spend many nights simply sleeping…these two are a very rough-and-tumble pair.

In the end, Riley can’t live for a job that won’t hold him close at night, or challenge him in bed, or love him up with deep affection and Slovakian endearments. He needs Stan, and he needs to get over his hangups about country living if he’s going to have him. Even the seagull agrees, I think. It’s a sweet resolution for them, and I liked how Riley worked out a plan for employing himself within Stan’s new slow-paced world.

Interested? You can find MERRY GENTLEMEN on Goodreads, Amazon and Smashwords.

About the Author:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.

Check out Jo’s website, Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter for more info!

Replacing AN UNSUITABLE HEIR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for the final episode in historical M/M mystery/romance series from KJ Charles. AN UNSUITABLE HEIR is the third book in her Victorian Sins in the City series, and should be read after AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION and AN UNNATURAL VICE. Third book, third pair of seemingly mismatched lovers who are on the run from, or hunt for, a murderous scoundrel.

About the book:
A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.
On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.

My Review:
4.5 Stars for this historical M/M romance set in Victorian-era London. This is the third book in a series and is likely best enjoyed when read in sequence.

The first book, AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION, featured the mystery, mischief and murder that befell Clem Tallyfer, bastard son of his Grace, the (late, late) Earl of Moreton as he managed a lodging house, and fell in love with Rowley Green, one of his lodgers. The second book, AN UNNATURAL VICE continues the investigation of whomever killed one of Clem’s lodgers, Reverend Lugtrout, and also Clem’s half-brother, Edmund, then the earl. Lawyer and journalist Nathanial Roy is working hard for Clem to ensure he doesn’t get put out of his lodging house by his uncle, an mean elderly man who is claiming the title as Edmund had no legal offspring. But spiritualist Justin Lazarus met Edmund’s secret wife, and knows a son was born. They spend most of their book on the run from London’s killer fog, and a real-live killer, while they hunt down the rightful Earl of Moreton.

We already know the identity of the apparent earl by the end of the second book, and he’s not what anyone expected. Pen, and his twin Greta, christened Repentance and Regret after being born in a religious sect where their mother took refuge when her scoundrel of a husband married her, had his merry way, and discarded her at the age of 16, are now performers. And Pen likes it that way. He and Greta have a good life where Pen can allow some room for his…unusual and generally unacceptable behavior.

See, Pen is gender dysmorphic. He’s not happy in men’s clothes all the time, and he’s also not happy in women’s clothes either. He has long, lush hair, and often paints his face to match that of Greta–and not only for their performances. There are days he can’t bear to look as his naked form, and his broad, strong hands–tools of his trade–horrify him in their masculinity. In the musical hall, he can dress in ways that are counter to society’s dictates and pass it off as a lark, or the eccentricity of a performer. And he likes it too much to give up for some stuffy title. There’s no way he could mask his nature for the twenty–or fifty–years he’d need to as an earl. And the idea of marrying a woman to sire an heir? *Pen shudders*

Mark Braglewicz was born to a Polish anarchist, and endured life with only one arm. He’s an enquiry agent, what you might call a private investigator in today’s terms. His dear friends Clem and Nathaniel need his help tracking down the missing twins, and there’s no shortage of death and destruction that follows this search. Already three men are dead, and two properties were either burned or vandalized. It’s actually not hard for Mark to find Pen, nor is it hard to woo him. Pen hasn’t found a man before who had such flexibility in his desires. Mark finds Pen’s gender-bending appeals to him far too much, and he’s in a bad spot. He’s falling for Pen, but the murderer is still on the loose. It’s with no other choice than to save his friends and protect Pen from the murderer that he reveals Pen to be the rightful Earl of Moreton.

Pen is furious at the betrayal. And he’s not happy with the process of investigation. As his great-uncle and cousin dispute the situation, Pen and Greta are sent to pass the time at the family seat in the country. With their new “relations.” It’s uncomfortable, and unnerving, for Pen to be scrutinized so. Clem and his half-cousin Tim, also make the journey and they are good companions. Greta seems so happy on her walks with Tim, and Pen can’t escape his title, though he desperately wants to do so. Once the lawyers finish their investigation, he’ll be sealed into the title forever. And, man, is he mad with Mark for this burden!

Though, it wasn’t Mark’s fault. It was his rotten father’s fault. If Pen is destined to be this earl, then he’s going to make things right within this whole dysfunctional family, by golly! Well, if he lives that long. It’s clear the danger didn’t remain behind in London, and Pen’s fears that he’s being stalked are only assuaged when Mark turns up at the country estate to search for a possible killer among the house staff and visitors. And, Mark’s able to win back his beloved Pen.

The mystery was, as in the previous books, slowly revealed and had a great twist. The open love between Mark and Pen is tender and thoughtful. I could see why both men were so conflicted. If Pen is a earl, Mark has no hope of sharing any sort of love, clandestine or not, with him. But, the story ends happy–and realistically so. Pen is a quick thinker, and when his chance appears to make his life as he sees fit, he grasps that lifeline with both his strong hands and runs like the devil chased him. This is a fantastic mystery-romance series with just the right amount of intrigue and affection and a beautifully-rendered historical setting.

Interested? You can find AN UNNATURAL VICE on GoodreadsLoveswept Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on twitter, Facebook, join her Facebook group, or contact her here. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Loveswept.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Strangers Connect BE MY BEST MAN–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m happy to share a review and giveaway for a newly published M/M contemporary romance from Con Riley. BE MY BEST MAN links a jaded older man with a struggling refugee, and it’s a charming blend of cultures.

About the book:
Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?
After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.

My Review:
Vanya Petrov survived a targeted attack in Moscow for being gay. His appeal to the UK for asylum is still under review and he suffers from PTSD though his life-threatening injuries are now healed. As a petitioner for asylum, he’s unable to earn any money and must subsist on a meager welfare allowance. It’s barely enough to keep him housed in a miserable hostel and fed. It’s been nearly nine months of waiting, with monthly immigration check-ins, and collecting evidence that demonstrates he will be in grave danger should he return to Russia. He develops a friendship with two people at the hostel, Kaspar and Anna, and they band together against thieves and attackers.

Vanya meets Jason at the store where Kaspar works. Jason mistakes him for a personal shopper, and he’s desperate to make himself look better in the eyes of his foster brother, Andrew. Jason’s been a jerk for the past six months, ever since Andrew asked Jason to be best man at his third wedding to a much younger woman, Chantel, whom Jason is sure is a gold digger. Jason’s also sure there’s no such thing as true love and doesn’t want to help Andrew find his way toward another divorce, but he’s also unwilling to let Andrew walk out of his life. So, he attempts to hire the exotic young man he’s not sure is even of legal age to help transform him from a gruff builder into someone presentable. Vanya, having been seduced into trauma before, is wary of Jason’s motives for hiring him, but he’s also desperate. All of their savings has been stolen and he and his friends don’t feel safe living in the hostel. In fact, being near Jason–a home restorer–gives Vanya an inside track on a vacant property where they can squat in safety.

But being near Jason also turns on both fear and attraction, in equal measure, for Vanya. He’s afraid to get caught accepting money for work, to have Jason learn where he’s living, to have Jason learn he’s a fraud and not a personal shopper, to not be granted asylum…there are so many worries in Vanya’s precarious position as an asylum-seeker and he misses his family who have cut all ties. He’s adrift, and sees that same loneliness in Jason–with whom he builds a rapport. In fact, Jason’s life has been lonely, and he and Vanya unexpectedly hit it off. Vanya gives Jason good counsel about the situation with Andrew and Chantel, and Jason recognizes his instincts there have been rotten. Their camaraderie soon builds into a mutual attraction, and turns cautiously physical. Jason doesn’t know much about Vanya, and what he thinks he knows is off the mark, too. So there be struggles, but there also be admiration. Jason very much admires Vanya’s resiliency, his tenacity, and his willingness to help out Chantel with wedding plans pro bono. Though, when he finds out why Vanya won’t take any money for his work, well, it leads to some fireworks. And, some remorse. And, some big apologies.

I loved the interplay between the characters. Kaspar, Anna, Andrew and Chantel are all fantastic supports to Vanya and Jason. Each man is cautious, with his heart and with his words. Jason has a problem with age differences–between himself and Vanya, and between Andrew and Chantal. It takes him a while to come around, but he’s not afraid to make amends when he gets it. Vanya is an amazing character. I haven’t read many stories from the POV of a desperate would-be immigrant, but this felt so very genuine, and the terror, trauma, and anxiety of that situation came through loud and clear. I ached for Vanya to find a full life in London, and with a man he could trust. Jason seems as if he can be that man, but the lies between them are large and dangerous. How they worked through this was good, though I wondered how Vanya could move on so fast to set his plans into motion. Still, the end is beautiful, and a totally happy resolution. I’d read another three books with these guys at the center, that’s how much I adored this one.

Interested? You can find BE MY BEST MAN on Goodreads and Amazon (US & UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from Con Riley.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

Catch up with Con on her website, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Out Today! TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested? You can find TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP on Goodreads and Amazon (US or UK).

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

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

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

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

signal boost