Surviving His Change: PREDATORY —Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new paranormal M/M romance from a new-to-me author, Brooklyn Ray! PREDATORY is the third novella in the Port Lewis Witches series featuring a young shifter-witch coming into his own to help two of his circle mates, and his boyfriend, survive the wrath of Leviathan, Sea Queen. I have read the two previous titles in this series, but I won’t get to share those reviews until next week.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
about the book:Donovan Quinn is faced with the impossible: unleashing the wild energy inside him. In the aftermath of a rushed, thoughtless sacrifice, his circle mates brainstorm a plan to appease the Queen of Water. Meanwhile, Donovan desperately tries to find a way to access the lonely Earth magic hiding inside him.
​But with his heart reaching for Tyler, the aggressive and volatile head witch of his circle, and friendships being tested at every turn, Donovan is at a standstill with his magic. Saving his friends, his circle, and his heart becomes far more complicated than he ever thought.
How about a little taste?

If you would’ve asked Donovan Quinn where he might be this time last year, he would’ve had a perfectly executed answer. Something standard and palatable. He would’ve batted his lashes and shrugged, hinted at finishing his degree and landing a good job. That was what people wanted to hear—his mother, the clan leaders, his family and circle-mates. He would’ve lied, and they would’ve smiled, and he would’ve swallowed the truth.
Because Donovan didn’t care about a degree or a good job. He wasn’t worried about appearances or being a good witch. If you’d asked him, he would’ve said, “I’m sure I’ll be keeping busy.”
Donovan never expected to trade those lies for this truth: being in the passenger’s seat of Tyler’s Jeep on the night Liam committed murder.
The sound of the windshield wipers made the silence between them seem like a chasm. They’d dropped Christy off at home after a twenty-minute argument over rights and wrongs, secrets and consequences. Christy had burst into tears and told Tyler his cruelty didn’t count for strength, and when he’d refused to look at her or speak to her, she’d climbed out of the car and slammed the door for good measure.
Now they were parked somewhere in the middle of the woods. The headlights were turned off, rain pelted the roof, and Donovan wasn’t sure if this was the end of something—their circle, their magic, whatever festered between them. It’d been three months and they still didn’t have a name for it. Relationship didn’t fit. Friends with benefits was too watered down.
Whatever it was, it had been born out of Tyler’s anger. His possessiveness and desire. Three months ago, Donovan had taken Tyler to a club to unwind. We’ll find different people. Just have fun for a night. And Tyler had agreed. But as the night went on, liquor and stolen glances turned desire into something else. Donovan had met Tyler’s eyes as a handsome man covered in tattoos licked salt from his neck. Tyler had shoved himself between them and pulled Donovan onto the dancefloor.
Everything changed after that. Everything had kept changing since then.
“You have anything to say?” Tyler asked.
Donovan followed the straight line of Tyler’s nose to his thin, set mouth. He rested his elbow on the top of the door, hand splayed over his jaw. He was typically handsome—black hair kept neat and slicked back, ears pierced with plain silver hoops, skin never inked. His black turtleneck covered a barely there bruise left behind from Donovan’s mouth. Sometimes he glamoured hickeys. Other times he covered them with foundation, like he did the bruises he brought back from fights with his father.
It was difficult to separate who Tyler was from who his family expected him to be. Because Donovan had seen Tyler gentle and everyone else only knew him as a Li.
“They’re our friends,” Donovan said. He picked at the chipped nail polish on his thumb. “We can’t just exile them. We took an oath.”
“They’ve been using dark magic behind our backs, that’s enough to break the damn oath. Not to mention Liam murdered someone tonight and we’ve got demons knocking on our door.”
“Still,” Donovan said.
“Still?”
“We can’t leave them.” Donovan watched Tyler’s jaw flex. He almost brushed his fingers over Tyler’s thigh, but hesitated, unsure if touch could be casual between them or not. “I won’t leave them.”
“Aren’t leopards solitary?” Tyler’s sarcasm was a mean deflection, but it cut Donovan to the bone.
Liam had murdered someone and because of it, the Queen of Water had walked from the sea and put Donovan’s secret on display like it was nothing. Leopard. He’d rarely used the term, even in his own home, and now it fit in Tyler’s mouth like a curse.
“That isn’t fair,” Donovan whispered. He squirmed in place and pulled at the bottom of his shirt, picking at threads, giving his nerves a place to go. He glanced out of the window and watched rain streak through tree branches. The forest was alive around them. “Don’t take your elitist bullshit out on me, Tyler.”
“You didn’t tell me,” Tyler said softly, then louder. “You didn’t even tell me.”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes,” Tyler snapped.
The silence was no longer a chasm. It was too close, too personal, and it made Donovan’s lungs ache. His mouth tightened and he turned away, fighting the urge to shout or cry or argue or explain. He didn’t think Tyler cared for his explanations. He didn’t know if Tyler cared for anything at all.
“Take me home,” Donovan said.
Tyler glanced at him, rolled his eyes, and flicked on the headlights. They didn’t speak for the duration of the trip. Tyler’s gaze flicked toward him while they idled at a stoplight and Donovan hoped he’d say something. Anything. But he didn’t.
The duplex Donovan and his mother lived in was outside downtown, nestled between a gated community and a shopping plaza. There was a whole neighborhood of attached houses painted in different shades of mauve. Donovan’s house was the one with the darkest paint and a yellow door, the last one on the left. Tyler put the car in park and heaved a sigh. Donovan waited for an apology or a question, for something other than silence, but Tyler didn’t say a word.
Fuck him. He slammed the door harder than Christy had and walked inside without looking back. His mom worked the night shift at the hospital, but she’d left a box of macaroni and cheese on the counter. His familiar, a serval cat named Melody, sat on the back of the couch. She looked wild despite how domestic she truly was.
“Why do I always date dickheads?” Donovan asked. Not that he was dating Tyler. Not even close. But still. He narrowed his eyes at Melody and she yawned.
Dickhead was putting it lightly. Tyler was the head witch of their circle, seven years older than him. He had anger issues. He’d never uttered the words commitment or relationship. He was possessive and jealous and mean. He made Donovan feel irreplaceable on some nights, and like nothing on others.
Donovan hated how much he cared for him.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series of witchcraft in the Port Lewis area of Washington state. I think this book is best enjoyed if read in sequence.

Donovan is an earth witch joined in a circle with four others: the circle leader Tyler, an air witch with whom Donovan has regular D/s hook-ups, Liam, a water witch who has royally pissed off Leviathan, Christy, a psychic, and Ryder, a fire witch who also practices dark magic….

Their circle is all off balance due to the dark magic, and Leviathan is demanding some tribute, which could be Liam, if they can’t get a big, bad strong witch to protect him. Unfortunately, they all think it could be Donovan, who has hardly been able to tap the extent of his power. Donovan’s father was a leopard shifter, but Donovan didn’t learn the secret of that magic before his dad was killed.

Donovan is unwillingly solitary, because he and Tyler don’t have a solid relationship. Donovan is afraid to ask for what he needs, and Tyler doesn’t know he isn’t giving Donovan the support he needs. Meanwhile, Tyler struggles to hold his circle together while his abusive parents make trouble.

This is a really inventive witchcraft series, where all the characters are way ore than their magic, and have to struggle with power they never intended to wield. They do not always make “good” decisions, but they do rely on one another and develop strong bonds—both magical and emotional. Donovan wants to be claimed by Tyler, and once he finally asks, he reaps an amazing bounty of love. There are D/s elements here but they are not intense.

The first two books center on Ryder and Liam, with Donovan playing a supporting role—these stories set up the conflict between Tyler and Ryder and Liam and Leviathan, which is why I think they should be read first. There is a little bit of world-building up front, but it pales compared to the full story. Having read all three books, I’d definitely read on.

Interested? You can find PREDATORY on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 GC to NineStar Press.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Brooklyn Ray is a tea connoisseur and an occult junkie. She writes queer speculative fiction layered with magic, rituals and found families.

Catch up to Brooklyn on twitter or Tumblr.

Out Today! DIGNITY Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. This one features a reclusive computer genius and the homeless  woman who picks a fight with the biggest dog in the yard. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends living on the edge of the law.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
About the book:
Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.

What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.

How about a little taste?

Protective and possessive instincts coiled around my gut and rage felt like it was going to choke me. I was so used to being cold and numb, I didn’t know what to do with the fire that was licking at my insides.

“I saw him take her out of the trunk when they got to the docks. He moved like a cop. Not the kind who is there to actually protect and serve, but the kind who pulls you over for no reason and slaps cuffs on you to prove a point. I was locked up for a lot of years, boy genius. I know what a dirty cop looks like. He had a busted-up nose and stitches on the side of his face. Should be pretty easy for Titus to identify him.”

Titus King was Bax’s half-brother and the only law enforcement officer in the entire city any of us slightly trusted. He was one of the few men the Point hadn’t tainted. He was a good guy, trying to do right by the people in our city, and he wouldn’t hesitate to throw Goddard’s dirty cop under the bus. But I didn’t want anyone going after the Mayor. His sadistic ass was all mine.

“Do you think they made it out of the container after you hit it with the truck?” That had been my idea. Nassir was only sending in Booker and Benny to get Noe out, but I didn’t think it was enough fire power. Since he refused to let me go, even siccing Chuck on me as a babysitter until the job was done, I made Benny go over the plan with me no less than a hundred times until I came up with a better one. Knocking the container sideways with one of the big semi-trucks that littered the area would give Benny the time he needed to get Noe out and distract the outside security detail enough that Booker could do his thing. It was a risk because the people inside the container—including Noe and Benny—might have ended up injured when the thing flipped, but the odds of them making it out were much higher than if Benny tried to take on everyone on his own.

“If Benny made it out, we won’t hear from him again. That was the deal he made with Nassir. He would get your girl and then disappear, so he can go and live happily ever after with his. As for the rest of them,” he shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Your girl said someone had a gun, so if they were shooting at Benny, he would do whatever he could to make sure they stopped. He’s not about to catch a bullet for any of us. I know you want that asshole alive for your own reasons, but honestly, it’s better if Benny popped him.”

It was better, but it wasn’t what I wanted. A bullet between the eyes was way too easy for a guy like Goddard. People would bemoan how bad the Point had become, how Goddard had been a staunch supporter of crime prevention measures. He would die a martyr and a legend. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. I wanted who Goddard was, who he really was, out in the open. I wanted his mansion doors flung wide open and every skeleton inside the walls exposed and thrown out on the perfectly manicured lawn for the entire world to see. I hated people who hid behind the law. I hated when men in any position of power got off on using their elevated status to jerk the helpless and hopeless around. Death wasn’t the answer. Devastation was.

I closed my eyes and squeezed the cold, still hand that was clasped in mine. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and fury lit up my blood like popping and sizzling firecrackers.

“When do we ever end up with anything that’s better for us?” That wasn’t how the Point worked. That wasn’t how we worked.

Booker grunted and I felt him move behind me. “It happens. It doesn’t seem like better should be able to find a foothold in this place, but despite all odds, it does.”

My Review:
Snowden Stark was a good kid with an amazing talent for writing code. His parents and twin sister were his whole world, but a series of unfortunate events–not likely random–left him isolated with his intellect and a huge grudge against the government. He grew up in the wealthy part of The Point, fast friends with Nassir, the man who rules the crime-ridden enterprises that drag it down. With no one to trust, he stuck with Nassir, and they’ve made life hard for folks who deserved it. Think of him as a digital Robin Hood, of a sort.

Noe Lee is a Korean runaway from a horror of an adopted family. She’d rather live on the streets using her wits than return to their unholy embrace–but she won’t leave The Point either. She makes cash by creating new identities for people who desperately need them, and one of her recent customers was the 16 y/o pregnant stepdaughter of The Point’s crooked Mayor Goddard. Oh sure, he looks squeaky-clean to his constituents and donors, but he’s a bad, bad dude in a city filled with them. Noe’s on the run, and wants Snowden Stark’s help–which he refuses to give. At first. But when it comes to a rescue, this man can bring the fire.

Stark takes Noe in to his world, and she’s as committed to bringing Goddard to justice as Stark seems to be. An abuse survivor herself, Noe recognized the pattern with Goddard and helps flush out many other victims. Meanwhile, Stark and Noe have an attraction that won’t be stopped. They understand life on the fringes, and have the ability to smooth each other’s rough edges. But, Stark’s sense of duty is a little strong, and his single-minded pursuit of Goddard leaves Noe feeling a bit cold. Good thing Stark has a pal who won’t let him let a good woman slip away.

This is a dark story and abuse survivors should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of molestation experiences. It’s a bit Batman, too, with all the gadgets and tech warfare. I liked how they plotted their revenge, and unmasking Goddard was a sweet, and very dangerous, enterprise. It’s always good when the bad guys get taken down, even if it’s merely in fiction. The world is well-described enough that the more unseemly sides of it seem perfectly commonplace. Corrupt, pedophile mayor? Sure. Computer geniuses who live in the shadows doing white hat work? Yep! Big, mean bouncer/enforcers who have a soft side? Why not! The juxtapositions are interesting, and the delayed gratification of the sexytimes was in-character for Stark, at the very least. It’s a twisty ride to love, but it does happen.

Interested? You can find DIGNITY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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

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Dark and Gritty: BROKEN SOLDIER–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a dark contemporary M/M spy story from Jamie Lynn Miller. BROKEN SOLDIER features a covert couple taking down an arms dealer–if they don’t get destroyed first…

broken-soldierAbout the book:
Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller are dedicated soldiers working covert ops for Shadow Unit — a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.

Partners in the field and out, they had been through hell together for the last four years and made it through standing side by side. But when their latest undercover op to bring down an arms dealer plunges them into a world of drugs, sex and violence, Shawn must literally get in bed with the enemy in order to complete the mission. And Connor is forced to watch, helpless, as his partner is broken into pieces.

Will love be enough to put them both back together or will this be their final mission?

WARNING: Contains scenes of drug use, graphic sex and realistic situations.

My Review:
This is a dark contemporary spy novel that features a M/M love story, hard drug use, deep cover, dubious consent, death, and destruction with a happy ending.

Connor Finley and Shawn Weller are operatives in Shadow Unit, a inter-national cadre of soldiers and infiltration specialists (think ex-CIA/MI5) that go in and “get the job done” against mega-badguys. They are also covert lovers, having built a friendship over the course of years, and now being a committed couple for the past five months. The current mark is Jae Chan, an arms dealer operating out of Kuala Lumpur. Jae likes his men drugged out and biddable, as Shawn discovers as soon as he’s able to catch Jae’s roving eye in a gay entertainment club run by Jae. Connor’s hired on as club security, but Shawn’s the one who’s in the most danger.

If you take a gander at the cover, you’ll see cut lines of drugs. Expect Shawn to be pushed into taking both cocaine and heroin in order to maintain his cover, and get close enough to Jae to get the necessary evidence. Also, Jae’s going to use Shawn rather horribly, and Shawn’s guilt over both betraying his lover, and getting dependent upon the drugs, is a tough journey to experience. You may also notice the title is: BROKEN SOLDIER, because Shawn gets REALLY messed up in the process of maintaining this covert-op. I’ve never read a book with so much hard drug use, and it wasn’t pleasant, from a voyeuristic standpoint. I’m a gal who got raised in the “Just Say No” era, so I’m not fascinated by drug-culture. I did feel as if the experiences were described with an eye to reality, and nothing about this situation with Shawn is positive. He’s trying to romance a scumbag drug-dealing arm-dealing bully, and he knows his life is constantly on the line.

Connor has to watch from afar, and provide as much back-up as he can to Shawn without tipping off Jae’s many bodyguards. Meanwhile, seeing Shawn be used and abused make him furious–and he’s really worried about the seemingly constant drug use he witnesses. Will Shawn make it through this mission intact? Will Connor blow their cover to save Shawn?

I’ll tell you, it was a bit harrowing. There’s a good build-up of suspense, with death on the menu. The climax wasn’t nearly the end of the book–because we still needed to see Shawn get off the junk. If anything, this book obliterated any hint of desire I may have ever harbored for heroin. Ugh. Yuck! That said, the walk-back from the edge that Shawn experiences in Connor’s loving embrace was very tender.

This is a work of fiction, and I know that reality is likely not as convenient as the set-up in this book, but the situations felt authentic, and interesting. The emotional dilemmas and hard choices within reflect a seedy subculture that I’m sure exists, to some degree, somewhere. I liked the strong love between Connor and Shawn, and I’m looking forward to following their dangerous adventures.

Interested? You can find BROKEN SOLDIER on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing male/male fanfiction stories for nearly fifteen years and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008. She’s a romantic at heart, and her stories reflect the desire we all have to find “the one”, persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.

Jamie has a degree in Fine Arts and has spent the last thirteen years working as a Graphic Designer. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today, with her husband and their furry, four-footed “children”.

Besides writing, Jamie enjoys traveling, softball, reading, science fiction, hanging out with friends, and just being creative. She is eternally thankful for all of the love and support her husband has given her over the years with her writing and other endeavors.

Catch up with Jamie online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Their Experience Was STAGED–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m really excited to share a review for a new alternate universe M/M romance from Kim Fielding. You already know I enjoyed A SECOND HARVEST and LOVE CAN’T CONQUER, but STAGED is something altogether different. It’s a new episode in the Belonging ‘Verse series offered by Riptide Publishing, and it’s a really unique story setting. All the stories take place in a world very much like ours, except slavery was never outlawed…

Staged (Belonging, #3)About the book:
Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.

Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.

A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: dubious consent, explicit violence and non-consent.

My Review:
This book is the third set in the “Belonging ‘Verse” series that explores an alternate world where slavery was never abolished, and is set in current times. It is a stand alone read.

The book has these warnings: dubious consent, explicit violence, and non-consent. You need to understand that this is a fictional slave society. Slaves are not allowed to refuse any task or action desired by any master, even ones not their own. This book contains rapes and horrific beatings of slaves, including the MC, Sky Blue.

Sky Blue is a slave, born from a slave in a whorehouse, though his father was a well-known freeman singer. He was sold at age 8 to a music producer. He later took second in a slave singing competition, and toured the world with the all-slave band 2Nyte. These days he sings in a rundown club, and he knows his days are numbered there. He’s not surprised when he’s sold to a slave trader, and he’s fretful, awaiting purchase in a filthy warehouse where he’s caged all day and night. Then he’s bought.

Morgan Wallace seems wealthy and kind, at first, but he’s never handled a slave before. Sky is anxious for direction, and has no idea what to do with himself. He travels from NYC to San Francisco and there he learns the worst of his new experience. He and Morgan make the rounds at all-male, private, BDSM parties. Which are horrifying. Truly. Not only are the slaves there mistreated, they are disfigured and raped for the dubious enjoyment of their masters. These are freemen who take great pleasure in breaking the toys of their fellows.

Morgan seems genuinely apologetic and torn regarding his employment of Sky at these parties. He seemingly takes no pleasure in it, and spends days tending Sky’s wounds in the aftermath. He buys Sky all sorts of gifts, and it’s utterly confusing to Sky. Why? Why torture? Why make amends? Can none of these people see him as human? The answer to that is: NO. Sky challenges Morgan’s beliefs regarding the intellect of slaves, but Morgan’s in a position where he can’t stop his association with the horrible cretins, and manumission (freeing of a slave) is not allowable–unlawful–in any case. That said, he has a genuine affection for Sky. Sky’s also perversely attracted to Morgan–and often takes the upper hand in their private, intimate activities. Sky’s never had a home, only a place to stay where he was communally housed with other slaves. The apartment that he and Morgan share is the first place that feels uniquely home to him.

I don’t want to give away the big twist, but I will acknowledge that I expected it. Morgan’s activity is too shady, and his remorse too sincere. He’s clearly playing a dangerous game with Sky and his new BDSM associates, and he’s unable to pull out, even if it means hurting Sky more and more. Still, Morgan recognizes that Sky is as much a man as he is, and just as intelligent, debunking the indoctrinated fiction that slaves are somehow lesser beings, and unable to feel any sense of their position. This makes Morgan realize that his actions are all the more heinous.

I loved how Sky was so in touch with his humanity, and the limitations and injustice of his station. While there is absolutely a thriller/horrifying aspect to the book, the ending is truly tender and spectacular. Sky never imagined what his fate might be, but he made actual decisions–generally forbidden–that directed the course of his new life and happiness. When he had the opportunities to escape, he demonstrated, without any shadow of doubt, his humanity and commitment to Morgan. It was really so sweet, and I was happily rewarded by bearing witness to Sky’s HEA.

Writing a book from a slave’s perspective is never easy, I imagine. This whole alternate universe is a statement about control, and the lack of it. It allows deep investigation of the darker side of humanity, perspectives that linger malevolently on the side of our current experience, but have never really faded: entitlement, prejudice, absolute power, exploitation, and the like. It’s not a pretty picture–and surely exists on the fringe of society today. By internalizing these stories, readers are able to gain a new empathy for those who don’t have any real power over their destiny or livelihood. I enjoyed the previous two books in this series for that same reason. That said, none of the books are upbeat or happy, though they do end with an HEA, as well. There are no actual repercussions for owners who abuse their slaves, while there are many torments to which a slave can be subject, not the least of which is being sold off to work in dangerous mines. There is a small movement to abolish slavery, but it is still in its infancy.

You are warned in the blurbs–non-consent, violence and dark themes within. Let the reader be wary.

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

About the Author:
venicebigKim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Catch up to Kim on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Broken Lives, New Dreams–ROCK Book Blast and Giveaway!

BB BannerHi there! Today I’m getting the word out for a new dark contemporary romance from JA Huss. ROCK is a second chance romance, with a twist. Is the boy getting back with the girl? Or, her maniac twin sister? (O.O)

Catch the excerpt and get in on the amazing giveaway, below!

Rock Ebook CoverAbout the book:
He had it all. He lost it all. And all he wants now is a second chance.

RK Saber ran from tragedy five years ago when his car went over the side of a mountain in a prom-night crash. Consumed by guilt, he walked away from Juilliard and morphed into Rock, front man for the global rock-band sensation, Son of a Jack. Five members. Five best friends. Five rising stars burning so bright, they had to know it couldn’t last.

When tragedy strikes again and the band goes from five to two, RK is sentenced to… home. Back to the place where all his nightmares started. Back to the memory of all the things he lost. Back to the reality he refused to face before he left.

The Vetti twins were identical in all ways but two. Melanie was insane and Melissa was not. One twin was killed on prom night five years ago and one twin was not. And now that RK has returned home, the twin left standing has quite a story to tell. Could she really be the girl he thought he’d lost forever? Or is Melanie just up to her same old tricks?

ROCK is a rock-star romantic suspense by the New York Times bestselling master of twist, JA Huss.

How about a little taste?

“We’re not done, Melissa Vetti.”

“Not even close,” she says, winking at me as she pulls the door open to a waiting Gretchen.

“Oh, my God, you guys are disgusting. Who has sex in a break room?”

Missy giggles, then grabs my arm as if to cling to me. Her grin is wild and wide, her eyes are dancing as they look up at me, and when she leans into me, resting her head on my shoulder for a brief moment, just as I open the back passenger door to Gretchen’s stupid hybrid car, I sigh.

It’s long and deep. But everything about it is good.

“Get in,” I tell Missy. She does, searching for her seatbelt as I close the door and walk over to the other side.

“You’re not sitting in back, RK,” Gretchen says.

“The fuck I’m not,” I mumble, getting in next to Missy. Her hands are all over me as Gretchen huffs about not being a chauffeur and some other bullshit that I can’t be bothered to listen to.

I put my arm around Miss and she leans into my chest. One hand tucked behind my back, one lifting my shirt up, a fraction at a time. And even though I just came inside her five minutes ago, I’m ready for more.

Gretchen talks the entire ride but I don’t understand a word she says. Melissa’s mouth is on mine, then biting my shoulder, then she’s scooting back and lowering her face to my stomach, still lifting my shirt up with that one hand.

When Gretchen stops in my driveway, Missy and I give off half-hearted waves as I push her up against the front door and stare down into her blue eyes. “You know what?” I slur the words just a little.

“What?” She laughs back.

I have so many thoughts in my head at the moment. About her, her music, the bar, this town. What it felt like to come home after five years. How alone I felt. What it felt like to go to her show tonight. To be included. Part of something again.

“I missed you,” I say.

“I missed you too.”

“No,” I say. “I mean I missed you.” I place my hands on each of her cheeks and bump my forehead against hers. “I missed how you started that band. I missed how you worked out those songs. I missed all the mistakes, and all the triumphs. I missed the stressing out over money. I missed the conversation you had to have with Teej to get a spot. I missed picking out the guitar you play, the strap, the picks. I missed you making a decision about what you’d wear on stage. I missed you squealing to whoever is your best friend these days about your first show. I missed the applause, I missed TJ’s proud face afterward, I missed the first blown amp, the first time someone said, Hey, are you the chick who plays at Float’s? I missed everything, Melissa Vetti, rock star. And I’m so fucking sorry. Because life would’ve been so much better if we’d done it together.”

She pouts her lips and nods her head. I can see a little gleam of light in her eyes as she tries not to cry. “I missed your life too.”

“Yeah,” I whisper. “It just would’ve been so much better if we’d done it together.”

She looks up at me and smiles. “We’re together now, RK. And that’s all that matters.”

Interested? You can find ROCK on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Rock GiveawayClick on this Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter the giveaway for a $100 gift card, signed copy of ROCK, Coach Wristlet, Perfectly Posh Pack, Brighton Notepad with Pen, Prada Sunglasses, and ROCK Super Swag pack.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who make you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

Catch up with Ms. Huss on Facebook, twitter, her blog and Amazon.

Love Isn’t Easy as THREE, TWO, ONE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for JA Huss’s dark romantic suspense novel, THREE TWO ONE. I’ve liked Huss’s work in the past, and I know I’m going to get a story that bends romance out beyond the norm. Always filled with broken people who spackle their hearts back together and triumph over some fearsome histories, Huss is who I read when I want something truly different.
(Bonus, there’s also a good bit of sex–not that it’s all sexy…)

Three, Two, One (321)About the book:
ONE GIRL
Battered, barefoot, and huddled under a bookstore awning in the pouring rain, Blue only knows one thing. After fifteen months of captivity, finally… she is free.

TWO FRIENDS
Self-made millionaires JD and Ark are not out to save anyone when they stumble upon a wet and shivering girl one early Sunday morning. But when you sell sex for a living and salvation rings your bell… you answer the call.

THREE SOULMATES
After years of searching, love lifts the veil of darkness, and three people—with three very big secrets—find themselves bound together in a relationship that defies the odds.

Or does it?

Love. Lust. Sex.

This trinity might be perfection… but not everything should come in 3’s.

WARNING: This is a STANDALONE non-traditional M/F/M ROMANCE with a non-traditional ending.

My Review:
This is a sexually-explicit dark romance which features a M/F/M menage and some brief M/M elements.

Ark and JD are two men who collect public sex acts on tape for porn websites. They have been business partners for four years, having met the first night Ark stepped off a bus in Denver and rescued JD from a 4-on-1 beat down. JD is the star of the public sex tapes, and they recruit only legal, disease free women to perform. Ark is a master videographer and runs all the logistics of their operation. They have made millions of dollars in porn over the past four years, but it hasn’t been easy. JD has a dark past which includes a (recovered) drug addiction, a dead girlfriend and a missing daughter. They are weeks away from the culmination of their plan to open their own porn website when they meet a half-naked, shivering woman sitting in the rain on an early October morning.

Unable to score their required quota of public sex tapes for the week, JD attempts to cajole the woman into starring in their movie–she clearly needs cash–and she accepts. But, it’s raining and she’s freezing and looks strung out. They end up taking her to their penthouse around the corner, and that’s when Ark knows his life is about to change.

The woman, who they call Blue on account of her blue eyes, has been through extreme trauma–her body bears the welts and scars of beating–tell-tale scars of BDSM/rough trade sex play. When she becomes cognizant she confesses running away from a cult which had kept her as a captive sex slave for the past 15 months. Blue had been attempting to help her childhood friend escape from an baby-selling ring but got sucked into it, instead. She is broken and unwilling to attempt to return to her past life, afraid to embarrass her high-profile parents. Ark agrees to give her sanctuary in the condo he and JD share, but the attraction between them is magnetic. JD has no compunction about his interest, but Blue wants more than JD, she wants Ark, too, and Ark’s not down for a menage. At first. Ark is more than interested in Blue, but he’s not a “sharer” and he’s seen JD in action with women–he’s rough which is not Ark’s style even if it plays well in porn. Blue’s extreme agorophobia is unsettling, and the brand on her neck sends JD into a dark headspace–his girlfriend was branded just the same way, and their baby stolen, sold to adoptive parents. The questions about Blue’s history begin to be revealed, and mutual connections in the porn industry start answering JD’s long-desired inquests regarding the whereabouts of his daughter.

As the time winds, Blue and JD are able to entice Ark into committing to a menage. Ark is, himself, always slightly removed from the emotional aspect, and he fears that JD will hurt Blue–he’s seen it before. JD enjoys very rough sex, and Blue’s emotionally frail. But the shoe really drops when Ark arrives home to find some very abusive kink happening in his absence.

The mystery of JD’s guilty past, Blue’s quest for justice and Ark’s absent history all resolve in the final 10% of the book. It’s a carefully revealed mystery, with plenty of misdirection. There is a lot of sex, but little of it felt erotic. I think this was because scenes told from Ark’s POV were lacking emotionally, which was in line with his character. He was obsessive and controlling and holding too many secrets (of his own and JD’s) to allow for a full connection between himself, JD and Blue for a very long time. That isn’t a criticism. I enjoyed the way the characters interacted, and how the subtle foreshadowing built up to a seriously good payoff. This is a book that keeps the reader guessing, and waiting, and knowing that something REALLY REALLY bad is coming and hoping that it will all just work out.

Spoiler: it doesn’t. Not exactly.

There is a positive resolution where the baddies are brought to justice, and the guilty are punished, but it’s not a sunny, hearts and flowers ending. The intrigue and twistedness of the characters is fascinating, however. And though the end isn’t sunshine and rainbows, it’s honest and real and good. I’d highly recommend.

Interested? You can find THREE TWO ONE on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

J.A. HussAbout the author:
JA Huss is the author of the Amazon bestselling Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.

You can connect with JA (Julie) on Goodreads, Facebook, twitter, her website, her blog or via her newsletter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!