Looking Past What’s STAINED–Review & Giveaway!

BannerTemplate-22Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and excerpt for a new contemporary M/M romance from Chris T. Kat. STAINED is a deeper look into love, one that passes beyond the superficial, that’s for sure.

StainedORIG-final-01About the book:
Blair Clark has reached his breaking point. Forced to leave one job because of sexual harassment, he’s having difficulty finding another. Since no one believes what happened, Blair’s left with a stain on his employment record that he can’t get rid of. He’s had to move back home with his mother. As if that’s not bad enough, he realizes his crush, Travis, is simply using him. His romantic life looks as hopeless as his job search.

Jack Ross is sure he’ll never find anyone who’ll love him for who he is. All anyone sees is the port-wine stain on his left cheek—not the man behind it. Even his mother thinks he should get rid of it. But the procedure is difficult and painful.

When Blair applies for a secretarial position with Jack’s firm, both men learn that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. It’ll take a lot of trust to chase away their insecurities, but if they take a chance on one another, love will find a way.

How about a little taste?

“Can’t I?” I gazed into Travis’s brown eyes, the same eyes I dreamed about at night. In those dreams they were filled with love, but when I looked now, I only saw cruelty, arrogance, and something more, something darker I didn’t want to think about.

“No.” Travis snatched my chin, held it tightly between his big fingers and forced me to keep perfectly still. “No, you can’t. Choose a manly job and they’ll stop. Keep flaunting your sexuality and that’s what they’ll do.”

“Flaunting my sexuality? What’s that got to do with my job?”

“You’re a secretary, for fuck’s sake. It’s a woman’s job. Now stop adding fuel to the fire and cowboy up.” Travis’s voice remained low but it held an angry edge to it, one I recognized well.

I dropped my gaze, and a moment later Travis let go of my chin. Breathing out a sigh of relief, I winced when another guy asked, “Having trouble keeping the fairy in line?”

“Are you kidding?” Travis replied, puffing up his chest.

Enough was enough. I bolted up, ready to leave, when a big hand clamped on my arm. I tugged, but the grip tightened. Anxiety blossomed into fear, especially when the table dropped into sudden silence.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Travis hissed.

My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, making it impossible for me to answer. What the hell was wrong with me? Why had I pursued Travis for so many months? Just because of his looks? Sure, he was hot, and exactly how I liked my men—big, fair-haired, and brown-eyed. But there was no love lost between us. Travis would never come out as gay, even though he liked to fool around with me whenever it was convenient for him.

“Blair, sit your ass down again, you’re attracting attention.”

When Travis pulled at my arm with more force, I planted my feet. I didn’t anticipate Travis letting go all of a sudden, leaving me to stumble backward. I crashed into someone behind me, taking us both to the ground.

Rolling to my knees and away from whomever I’d thrown, I apologized, “I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you?”

Heat flooded my cheeks as embarrassment swept over me. Holding out a hand for the guy I’d tripped, I recoiled when the man sat up, revealing his face. A gasp tumbled over my lips and I stared openmouthed. The skin of the man’s left side was stained in red, giving him a slightly scary appearance, as if he’d been badly burnt.

“I’m fine,” the man said, his brows creasing in a frown. Obviously he’d seen my reaction and wasn’t too thrilled about it.

I couldn’t help but stare even more. The man’s dark blue eyes bore right into me, daring me to say anything. The stained skin drew my attention, no matter how hard I tried to look elsewhere. It looked so painful, a large blotch of red that started below the man’s eye, covered his whole cheek, and tapered out at his jawline.

“It’s not contagious, if that’s what you’re afraid of,” the man said in an icy tone. He rose in one fluid motion, holding out his hand for me to… to what? Help me up? Why would he do that?

I eyed the outstretched hand, hating myself for the fear coursing through me. Just when I was about to take the man up on the offer, two big hands grabbed my waist and hoisted me to my feet.

My Review:

Blair Clark is a professional secretary who’s had a bad break. He was sexually harassed at his last job and let go when his complaint was deemed “without merit.” He’s since had to move home with his kind, and disabled, mother, and he’s feeling rather low. His “friend” Travis is a real piece of work, borderline abusive and truly a vicious closet-case.

Blair has an interview for a job with a man he’d accidentally bumped the night before, Jack Ross. Jack has a large port-wine stain (a blotchy red birthmark) that covers a large portion of his cheek. Like the run-in the night before, Blair nearly fumbles this opportunity, but Jack likes his forthrightness and experience, despite his last job’s poor reference; he hires Blair.

Working together seems to go well, Blair and Jack develop a strong professional rapport nearly immediately, and there is a mutual attraction budding. For me, I’d have liked a little more build-up of this romance. Blair has been burned before, and I’d expect him to hold off on getting physical with Jack. Likewise, the insertion of Travis into this mix was a little too much too soon. he’s not happy being brushed off, though he was never a true partner to Blair. The giant crisis came nearly from outer space. I didn’t get the rationale behind Travis’ motivation at all. I do suppose some folks are really simply vindictive jackwads, but it all happened so quickly I struggled to accept the act, and Blair’s response. I think a little more foreshadowing would have made this seem both likely and inevitable.

Blair was never not-attracted to Jack, and his constant build-up of Jack’s self-esteem is really very tender. Jack is good man, one that works heard for himself and those he cares for. To be so shattered over a birthmark, even one that draws over-the-top commentary from all and sundry, must be a hard way to live a life. I kind of wanted to knock Jack’s mother in the teeth, but I hope she recognizes her folly before there is no chance for redemption. That said, it’s a sweet, short read that is guaranteed to expand the idea that beauty is far more than skin deep, and that living right is the best way to survive emotional and professional set-backs.

Interested? You can find STAINED on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of three copies of books from Chris’ backlist!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Catch up to Chris online on her blog, Goodreads, Amazon and twitter
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Taking Chances MENDING THE RIFT–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! I’m eager to share this review for a dystopian future M/M romance from Chris T. Kat. MENDING THE RIFT is an mpreg (male pregnancy!) tale in a society where alliances are forged by marriage and breeders are a hot commodity.

MendingTheRift-Preview
About the book:
In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him, as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.

Who about a little taste?

Marcus rappelled off and stepped onto the ground with a crunch of his boots. Pointing at the opening with the askew ladder, he asked, “Don’t tell me you seriously considered climbing down this way.”

Luca shrugged. “I’d have preferred spontaneous levitation, but it didn’t happen.”

He yelped when Marcus put an arm around his torso and lifted him to his feet, as if he weighed nothing. “Hey!”

Marcus silenced him with a glare, and Luca gritted his teeth while Marcus thumped dust off his clothes. “Your father is livid.”

Luca swallowed. He’d expected worried, maybe a bit mad, but livid? His father never got furious at him. Not for long, anyway. Being the baby of the family had its perks. “Why?”

Why? Seriously, Luca, you have to ask why?” Marcus patted Luca’s behind more firmly than was strictly necessary.

Luca shifted, trying to get away from Marcus’s arm. When that didn’t help, he slapped Marcus’s hands away and stepped aside. He couldn’t think when he was so close to Marcus—when the man touched him, he sent shivers up and down his spine. He ignored the glower Marcus directed at him. “Yes, seriously. He knows I don’t want to marry Smith. I don’t want anything to do with all that shit. I want to decide what I’m going to do with my life.”

Marcus shook his head. “Smith is a good man. My brother Kyle worked for him. He said he always treated his people well. If you want I could try to get Kyle on the phone so you can talk to him. That is, if I can get a hold on him. Trust me, you’ll be in good hands.”

“You don’t get it! I don’t want to be in good hands!”

“No?” Marcus raised an eyebrow.

Luca huffed, a small smile forming on his lips. “Well, yes, of course I want to be in good hands. But I want someone to love me, and not just for my ability to become pregnant. I want… you.”

Luca’s heart thundered in his rib cage. There, he’d said it. The ball was in Marcus’s court. Sure, it had only been one night, and Marcus’s reaction afterward hadn’t been promising, but maybe he’d just been scared? Maybe he feared to lose his job? Nonetheless, there was more going on between them, and they both knew it. That one night had just been the last logical step. Luca regretted nothing.

For a moment Marcus seemed startled, and there was a softness in his eyes that was solely reserved for Luca. The softness vanished too quickly for Luca’s liking.

Instead, Luca was greeted with Marcus’s usual, scrutinizing gaze. “You don’t want me, and you better never mention this again. It was a mistake. Now get it out of your head and be a good boy.”

My Review:

This is an interesting dystopian future M/M romantic suspense. Several hundred years in the future, after war ravaged Earth and what remained of civilization has adapted to lowered fertility, it seems that males begin to spontaneously develop internal female sex organs–what we would consider semihermaphroditic, as they have no external female genitalia.

Breeders, male and female alike, had been sheltered and kept from working and even being present in society when they are pregnant, but times are changing in the Northern Confereracy (which exists where Germany and Austria once did) where Luca is the youngest of ten children sired by his father and carried by his dad. All of Luca’s siblings are prolific breeders and Luca–at 22–is well past the usual age of marriage. He’s holding out for a love match and is enamored of his bodyguard, Marcus. Luca is headstrong and frustrated that he’s betrothed to Captain Liam Smith, a man he’s barely met. He runs on the eve of the wedding, only to be tracked down, again, by Marcus. In the kerfuffle, Luca learns he’s been made pregnant–against his will–and is only calmed by the knowledge that his baby is Marcus’ and not that of Capt. Smith.

While Luca, his family and Marcus, do their utmost to keep the pregnancy hidden until the 10th week so Marcus can claim Luca and petition for marriage, Capt Smith becomes enraged. No one expects the lengths he will go to to get Luca–and when this does happen, the terror and torture is bad, bad, bad. The Southern Union, under a tentative truce with the Northern Confederacy, wants to study Northern breeders, and Luca’s a perfect specimen. There’s a lot more going on than simple revenge.

Expect multiple attacks, kidnappings, delayed nuptials, a growing bond between daddy, belly, and daddy, and some yummy sexytimes. This is a book that does not spare the action, and Luca’s life is not the simple path one would imagine for the youngest son of a nation’s Vice President. Lots of political intrigue, and danger, are part of this plot. I will admit to getting a little exhausted by the constant high tension/high stakes. I really just wanted Luca and Marcus to disappear into a cave, or something, to avoid the threat of capture and cuddle.

I struggled with the dialogue, as I truly expect speech patterns and idiom to change in the span of 200 years, and it felt very much 21st Century American-English, when we were set in 23rd Century central Europe. There didn’t seem to be many advances in technology, either, besides the medical breakthroughs regarding Breeders. So, the worldbuilding, as a whole, was lacking, for me. I did like the subplot/subtext of breeder prejudice, and respected both Luca and his dad’s attempts to subvert the restrictions placed on Breeders so that they could be whole persons with occupations and aspirations, not just baby factories.

In total, it was an interesting story. I like Mpreg and this one was really about the pregnancy. We follow Luca throughout the 36 weeks of gestation, and beyond. All of that was fascinating, to me. I loved how dedicated Marcus and Luca were to each other. There are several loving relationships present in the book, which was good to read.

Interested? You can find MENDING THE RIFT on Goodreads, Dreamspinner (ebook, paperback), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

 

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a $15 Gift Card to Amazon!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Catch up to Chris online on her blog, Goodreads, Amazon and twitter
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Cover Reveal and Giveaway! MENDING THE RIFT

BannerTemplate(9)Hi there! I’m eager to share this sexy cover for a dystopian future M/M romance form Chris T. Kat. MENDING THE RIFT is an mpreg (male pregnancy!) tale in a society where alliances are forged by marriage and breeders are a hot commodity.

Without further ado…
MendingTheRift-Preview
About the book:
In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.

Who about a little taste?

Marcus rappelled off and stepped onto the ground with a crunch of his boots. Pointing at the opening with the askew ladder, he asked, “Don’t tell me you seriously considered climbing down this way.”

Luca shrugged. “I’d have preferred spontaneous levitation, but it didn’t happen.”

He yelped when Marcus put an arm around his torso and lifted him to his feet, as if he weighed nothing. “Hey!”

Marcus silenced him with a glare, and Luca gritted his teeth while Marcus thumped dust off his clothes. “Your father is livid.”

Luca swallowed. He’d expected worried, maybe a bit mad, but livid? His father never got furious at him. Not for long, anyway. Being the baby of the family had its perks. “Why?”

Why? Seriously, Luca, you have to ask why?” Marcus patted Luca’s behind more firmly than was strictly necessary.

Luca shifted, trying to get away from Marcus’s arm. When that didn’t help, he slapped Marcus’s hands away and stepped aside. He couldn’t think when he was so close to Marcus—when the man touched him, he sent shivers up and down his spine. He ignored the glower Marcus directed at him. “Yes, seriously. He knows I don’t want to marry Smith. I don’t want anything to do with all that shit. I want to decide what I’m going to do with my life.”

Marcus shook his head. “Smith is a good man. My brother Kyle worked for him. He said he always treated his people well. If you want I could try to get Kyle on the phone so you can talk to him. That is, if I can get a hold on him. Trust me, you’ll be in good hands.”

“You don’t get it! I don’t want to be in good hands!”

“No?” Marcus raised an eyebrow.

Luca huffed, a small smile forming on his lips. “Well, yes, of course I want to be in good hands. But I want someone to love me, and not just for my ability to become pregnant. I want… you.”

Luca’s heart thundered in his rib cage. There, he’d said it. The ball was in Marcus’s court. Sure, it had only been one night, and Marcus’s reaction afterward hadn’t been promising, but maybe he’d just been scared? Maybe he feared to lose his job? Nonetheless, there was more going on between them, and they both knew it. That one night had just been the last logical step. Luca regretted nothing.

For a moment Marcus seemed startled, and there was a softness in his eyes that was solely reserved for Luca. The softness vanished too quickly for Luca’s liking.

Instead, Luca was greeted with Marcus’s usual, scrutinizing gaze. “You don’t want me, and you better never mention this again. It was a mistake. Now get it out of your head and be a good boy.”

Ooh! I’m so excited to read this one. Expect my review in the next few weeks!

In the meantime feel free to pre-order the book in advance of it’s release on Dreamspinner (ebook, paperback) or Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book, or audiobook from Chris T. Kat!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Catch up to Chris online on her blog, Goodreads, Amazon and twitter

Out Today! AGAINST ALL ODDS–Excerpt and Giveaway

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Hi there! Today I”m wishing a very Happy Book Birthday to AGAINST ALL ODDS, a contemporary M/M romance from Chris T. Kat. This is the second book in the Odds Are series, and needs to be read in order.

Check out the excerpt below, and be sure to enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card.

AgainstAllOddsFSAbout the book:
And then they lived happily ever after…
Sometimes Joshua Stone thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. How else can he explain Michael’s love for him? And now they’re living together… in a real relationship. This is the stuff of fairy tales, a love like other people take for granted.

Sure, they have their moments, what couple doesn’t? But a small doubt lingers in Joshua’s heart. Can this really be true? Can a gorgeous man like Michael really love someone like Joshua—the guy with cerebral palsy, who’s helpless without his walker or his tricycle to get him around?

Michael senses Joshua’s worries, but there’s nothing he can do to dispel them because that would mean revealing his secret—and he’s not ready for that. Their mutual secrets hang between them like time bombs waiting to explode. They might not survive the inevitable blast.

How about a little taste?

“I’m awake! I’m awake, really!” Joshua panted.

“Really? I don’t want to take advantage of you, you know.”

“Michael! Excuse me for being tired. I keep going to bed later than I should because someone… namely you”—Joshua poked a finger into Michael’s chest—“works overtime all freaking week, and when said someone comes home, he still expects me to spend time with him.”

A guilty feeling settled in the pit of Michael’s gut. He inspected Joshua’s face more thoroughly, difficult as it was with only a small sliver of moonlight illuminating their bedroom, and noticed blue smudges under his eyes that hadn’t been there weeks ago. Furrowing his brows, Michael slid his gaze over Joshua’s face. Joshua had always been slim—too slim in Michael’s opinion, but that was a sore topic with Joshua—but now his cheeks were hollowed, accentuating his sharp cheekbones even more.

“Michael, do not freak out on me now, okay? It’s all fine.”

“You can go to bed if you’re tired; you don’t need to wait for me.” Michael tried not to wince when he mentally added, especially not on Tuesdays and Thursdays because on those days, I’ll always be late.

“Then we’d most likely only see each other on the weekends.” Joshua pressed a kiss to Michael’s lips, licking along the seam and demanding entrance. Joshua’s boldness had only developed recently, but wow, what a total turn-on it was for Michael.

Michael opened his mouth for Joshua’s exploration, quashing the urge to apologize to Joshua—again. It wasn’t his fault he currently had to drive up to Philadelphia each day for work, and he certainly couldn’t afford to say no to this job.

He’d finally managed to score a real job with some benefits. A couple more months and they could look for a new car… one Joshua could climb into on his own.

Joshua unlocked their lips, sighing. “I… I don’t think I can… I mean….”

Michael tilted his head, still reeling from the intense sensations Joshua’s tongue had evoked. Joshua’s left hand flopped next to his side and his right hand moved restlessly. Smiling, he said, “Bad muscle control?”

Joshua seemed to force his gaze up before he nodded. Michael captured his lips in a searing kiss. “Can I ride you?”

Hmm… definitely sounds like these guys have some challenges ahead.

interested? You can find AGAINST ALL ODDS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck adn keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Catch up to Chris online on her blog, twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon page.

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