Imperfect Existence: THE MATING OF MICHAEL–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Eli Easton. THE MATING OF MICHAEL is the third book in the Sex in Seattle series and is fully enjoyable as a standalone. You will meet Jack from THE TROUBLE WITH TONY as he’s Michael’s boss at the Expanded Horizons sexual health clinic. Michael played a small role in the THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL but this book really explores Michael’s role as a sex surrogate, and how his giant heart an fierce empathy help him win the love of his fave sci-fi author.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC.
About the book:
Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.

James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.

Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.

My Review:
Lithe and femme Michael Lamont is a nurse and certified gay sex surrogate. He connects with his home health care patients and assists male clients explore their sexuality through referrals from the Expanded Horizons clinic. He’s been doing this for a few years, and has some regular clients–one, Tommy, is a severe burn victim that enjoys Michael’s company just as much as the sensual massage and “happy ending.” It’s through Tommy’s mother that Michael learns his fave author, J. C. Guise a noted recluse, is having a public book signing in a local book shop. Michael has held a tendresse for the man whose fiction spoke to him so strongly that he took up a career in nursing.

James Gallway is a polio survivor and author, learning that being a successful mid-list author means he needs to get into the public eye. Wheelchair-bound and filled to the ears with self-hatred, James never wants people to see or notice him. Really, if your own mother abandoned him to the Children of God group home for disabled children at age 6, you’d likely feel unlovable, too. The gushing, stammering, beautiful young man at his book signing is a case in point. That sexy Michael would never admire him for real, not if he could see James’ withered, wasted legs.

Embarrassed at the spectacle he made of himself at the signing, Michael is stunned when James’ agent tips him off about where to find James…casually. And that interaction goes stunningly awry when James chooses to paint Michael’s interest as clinical, not sexual. And, that leads Michael to be more forcefully forward than he’s ever been before. Unwilling to entertain ideas of romance, James accepts Michael as a friend–tentatively–and is not sorry for doing so. Michael’s compassion and thoughtfulness over the weeks and months of their acquaintance melts James’ stubborn resistance to opening up, and each man is clearly pining for the other.

Unfortunately, Michael’s “secret” job as a sex surrogate is looming in the background, and it becomes a guilty issue once he and James become intimate. Should Michael stop his caring and clinical therapy, just because it occasionally involves some sexual favors? He’s super conflicted, and unsure if James will even keep him around long enough for it to be a situation. Would it be fair to stop assisting the couple of men he’s developed a rapport with in the event James wants a permanent relationship? Michael knows he’s falling in love with James, but he’s not sure his feelings are reciprocated. IN fact, James actively shuts down romance whenever it could sprout because of his insecurities.

As one expects, James’ reaction when he finds out about the surrogacy is cataclysmic. And, the fall out is nothing short of nuclear winter. Michael is devastated. The thing is, Michael’s friends, colleagues, and clients aren’t going to stand by and allow James to roll off into the sunset without knowing the true facts of his caregiving. As one might, James suspected the worst–a two-timing partner–but the picture in his mind doesn’t match the insight he gains from some unwelcome visitors taking up Michael’s cause. Michael, for his part, is broken in spirit but never imposes himself on James. Surprisingly, the trauma of their failed romance is the inspiration James needs to write a new best-seller. And, his open mind/open heart actions have Michael returning for, well, ever.

It’s a sweet story of finding the right person at the right time. The compassionate depictions of persons at various ability-levels, persons of advanced age, and those with emotional or sexual hangups, really allowed readers to focus on the hard work Michael does to ensure his charges are well cared for. It was so sweet to see the bonds Michael had grown with all the people he worked with on the day-to-day, and how they stood up for him, giving James both latitude and attitude for hurting Michael. I really enjoyed this one, for all its tender and touching moments. James leaves this story much improved from the beginning, with a bevy of friends and new family to bolster his life, and a boyfriend that loves him out past the moon and stars.

Interested? You can find THE MATING OF MICHAEL on Goodreads or Amazon.

You can also find book 1, THE TROUBLE WITH TONY, on Goodreads and Amazon.

Or, check out book 2, THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL, on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

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

Unexpected Choices in THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Eli Easton. THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL is the second book in the Sex in Seattle series but is fully enjoyable as a standalone. You will meet both Tony and Jack from THE THE TROUBLE WITH TONY, but they are only secondary characters, helping Daniel figure out his life, and his plan to woo the love of his life: his unhappily married business partner, Nick.

Scroll down to catch my review and to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC.
About the book:
Business tycoon Daniel Derenzo lives for his work until his dying father reminds him life is short. When Daniel starts to reevaluate his world he experiences a startling revelation—he’s attracted to his business partner and best friend, Nick, even though Daniel always believed himself to be straight. In typical type-A fashion, Daniel dissects his newfound desires with the help of the experts at the Expanded Horizons sex clinic. He goes after Nick with the fierce determination that’s won him many a business deal.

Nick Ross was in love with Daniel years ago, when they were roommates in college. But Daniel was straight and Nick patched his broken heart by marrying Marcia. Two kids and fourteen years later, they go through the motions of their marriage like ships passing in the night. But Nick’s kids mean the world to him, and he’s afraid he’ll never get joint custody if they divorced. If he can trust his heart to an awakening Daniel, they all might find their way to a happily ever after.

My Review:
Daniel Derenzo’s father is dying. Not that they have a close–or any–relationship, however his father’s waxing about missed opportunities and taking time to stop working and truly live life has Daniel’s analytical brain in a whirlwind. Like his own parents, Daniel married young and divorced early–no kids, but lots of heartbreak. He’s been a successful businessman since college running DRE, Derenzo Ross Enterprises, with his best friend and former college roommate Nick Ross. Daniel has always been hyper-focused on success, a lesson he learned from his successful and absentee father, who seemingly regrets those calculating choices when diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

On a long business trip to Hong Kong to purchase a company for turnaround, Daniel and Nick are celebrating the new merger. It’s at the bar that Nick confesses his wife of the past 14 years, Marcia, has iced him out; they’ve had a lackluster sex life for more than a decade and no sex for the past three years. Nick’s ashamed to admit he lives in the guest bedroom, and the only reason he stays married is the fear that Marcia will bar a joint custody arrangement for their two children. Daniel is incensed, but not for the reason he expects–his righteous anger stems from a deep wellspring of love he feels for Nick, the kindest man he’s ever known. Daniel has known since college that Nick is bisexual, but in this moment that nearly-familial love he though he felt sharpens into an unexpected arousal, and a desire to care for Nick in a more than platonic manner. It’s shocking to Daniel, because he’s never really thought of men that way. Before he leaves Hong Kong, Daniel books an appointment with a sex therapist back home in Seattle for the next business day; he needs to know if his attraction is real, or just a manifestation of his recent thoughts of mortality.

Daniel wants clarity, to see if his initial arousal was fluke. Meeting with Dr. Jack Halloran, and a sex surrogate Michael, helps Daniel recognize that he’s definitely bisexual, and totally gone for Nick. Now, Daniel’s challenge is to see if he can get some time with Nick, that has nothing to do with their business–and includes his kids for some quality time, too. It’s not that hard, as Marcia has built a lot of “self care” time into her lifestyle, with long yoga classes, spa days and retreats. Daniel’s also making time to spend with his dad, renting a house on Bainbridge Island so his dad can have home hospice in a relaxing spot as his life ebbs away. Nick and his kids are part of this getaway, while Marcia is out of town, for a change.

Nick’s not sure why Daniel’s interested in spending so much time with him and his kids, but he’s grateful for the connection. Though they are long-time friends Nick had harbored an attraction way back when–and it’s coming back to the surface right now. It’s seeing how amazing Daniel is with the kids–talking baseball stats with his son and getting to the heart of his teen daughter’s insecurities–body issues that have been foisted on her by Marcia and her nitpicky mother. Nick had seen the changes in his daughter, but hadn’t really grasped the impact until Daniel forced him to slow down and spend the time reconnecting with his kids. His unhappiness in the marriage had inadvertently driven a wedge between himself and his kids, who he loves dearly.

On Bainbridge, the chemistry between Daniel and Nick becomes unbearable–and Daniel vows to help Nick escape his loveless marriage with a minimum of damage to the kids. If Nick wants to be free, that is. And Nick knows he can’t continue to live the shadow life Marcia has decreed, including resigning from DRE effective immediately. Once Daniel learns that Nick is ready to make a clean break, Daniel’s mission is to make the divorce as bloodless as possible. In this, Daniel is aided by his father–who has tons of contacts–and PI Tony DeMarco, Dr. Halloran’s life partner. Tony finds secrets even Marcia doesn’t know, but will help ensure she accepts the very generous terms Nick is planned to offer.

I really liked this one, even when I wasn’t sure I would. I’m not big on “cheating” plotlines, so the prospect of Daniel interfering in Nick’s marriage was not ideal, however, I thought it was handled really well. It’s clear from insight we get in Marcia’s POV that she’s supremely unhappy, and being goaded to stay married by her aggressively mean mother. The revelations she gains as a result of Tony’s investigations pave the way toward ultimate happiness for all parties, and that was a nice twist. I really enjoyed the kids, who are just the right amount of present and actively interested in Nick’s happiness. They take to Daniel fine, thanks to his consummate attention to detail. It was amusing how sections of this book were written like a business plan, complete with Daniel’s hostile takeover of Nick’s family. Daniel’s dad assisted his enlightenment, and supported his pursuit of happiness–even knowing he’d never see the full resolution. I liked his dad, who was pragmatic to a fault, and gave advice with hubris and panache. While we get glimpses of Jack and Tony from the first series book, and Michael, from the third one, this story stood on its own.

Interested? You can find THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can also find book 1, THE TROUBLE WITH TONY, on Goodreads and Amazon.

Or, check out THE MATING OF MICHAEL on Goodreads or Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

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

Release Blitz and Giveaway for the Sex In Seattle Series!

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a release blitz and review for some yummy M/M romances from Eli Easton. THE TROUBLE WITH TONY is the first book in the Sex in Seattle series and features a PI working undercover to get info about a woman’s murder…but this time he’s pretending to need the services of a sex therapy clinic because the sexy director is a prime suspect. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books, SECOND HARVEST, FIVE DARES, and Daddy Dearest books: FAMILY CAMP and ANGELS SING.

Scroll down to catch a review of the first book in this series and to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC.
About the book:
As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under cover with one of his suspects. He can’t help it—Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely-eyed hero Tony goes for. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.

Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?

My Review:
Tony DiMarco is a private eye investigating the suspicious death of Marilyn White. The coroner said she OD’ed on prescription drugs and wine, her husband’s alibi was rock-solid, yet Marilyn’s parents don’t believe that Marilyn would kill herself. The detective who handled the case, an old buddy of Tony’s when he was on the force always had a sneaking suspicion about the sex therapist Marilyn had been seeing, Dr. Jack Halloran.

Casing the doc’s “bedside manner” Tony is stunned to find the doc irresistibly tempting sexually, but he can most assuredly rule the doc out as a sexual partner of Marilyn’s. Turns out this decorated war veteran isn’t only a sensitive physician, he’s also gay. Now Tony has to figure out if the cause of Marilyn’s death was as simple as it seemed.

Jack Halloran is damaged goods. The scars of his tours in Iraq as a battle surgeon are emotional, as well as physical, and he’s sure no gay man will have him. Worse, he’s unmistakably attracted to his newest erectile dysfunction patient, Tony DeMarco. He’s determined to get a handle on Tony’s dysfunction–and not just in the medical sense. Except, doing so would be a gross misconduct on his part.

Both men struggle with their attraction, Tony pursuing Jack as much as he is answers for Marilyn’s parents. When he finds out the truth behind her death his resolve to become more than a patient to Jack is high on the To-Do list, but a chance encounter ends up shattering their Doctor-Patient relationship. Will it also dash any chance of happiness for them?

The pace of this novel is perfect. The alternating point-of-view satisfied, with intimate glimpses of both Tony–and his deep family ties–and Jack, with his deep commitment to duty. Both men struggle to feel whole in the face of lost careers and physical shortcomings. The resolution of the crime investigation is concise and clear, as is the attraction and escalation of their relationship. I really enjoyed the tension, and the physical developments between Jack and Tony–who was terrified and surprised of his feelings for Jack, at first.

There were some delicious sexytimes, and an HEA now that Tony’s sexual dysfunction seems cured.

Interested? You can find THE TROUBLE WITH TONY on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can also find book 2, THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DANIEL, on Amazon.

Or, check out THE MATING OF MICHAEL on Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

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

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

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

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

Picked Up By ANGELS SING–A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Love at FAMILY CAMP–Review and Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

How about a little taste?

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

Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t care.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange Old World–ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance from Eli Easton. Most of my reads for this week are supposed to have been released at least several months ago, if not longer, but ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE is a historical romance set in 1850s New Mexico which is still way back. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books, SECOND HARVEST and FIVE DARES. ROBBY RIVERTON is a fun and suspenseful romp through the truly wild west–and hijinks abound.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter the $25 GC and books giveaway!
About the book:
Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.
The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

My Review:
Robby Riverton is on top of his world, acting on the New York stage and being paid to do it! One night, however, he leaves the theater late and becomes an eyewitness to a murder committed by a notorious mob boss. Now his fame could be his downfall. Fleeing New York for less gentile areas, he hops a wagon train west. His hope is to re-settle in San Francisco and join an acting troupe there.

While en route, Robby makes the acquaintance of a flighty young gal, Rowena, who’s sold herself as a mail-order bride to hide the fact that she’s in a family way. She plans to have the babe on the journey west and claim it was an orphan she adopted when the mother died in childbirth. Robby thinks it’s unlikely her story will fly, but it becomes moot when Rowena meets a young banker who’s willing to make an honest woman of her. Rowena entrusts Robbie with a letter to her fiance, Clovis Crabtree. Robbie thinks getting to Santa Fe would be far enough to start over, but the mob boss’ minions are on the trail and his only means of escape is to don Rowena’s left-behind clothing and assume her identity.

Trace Crabtree thought he’d left Flat Bottom, New Mexico, in his dust. Being injured in the Army, however, sent him back to his family’s ranch. Now he’s the sheriff of the town he ran away from, and can’t figure out how to get out. Well, he ducks into Santa Fe to meet with a man who scratches his itch once a month or so–but it’s nothing permanent. On one of these trips Trace unexpectedly meets his younger brother’s intended–and saves her from some east-coast ruffians. It’s not until his elder brother takes “Rowena” back toward Flat Bottom that Trace recognizes tall, elegant Rowena isn’t who she claims to be. And who he really is turns all Trace’s cranks…

This is a charming historical romance. There are fun elements, like how “Rowena” schools the uncouth Crabtrees into better manners and shares her clothes with her soon-to-be inlaws. Trace is more than attracted, he can barely contain himself, meanwhile, Robby’s struggling to maintain his charade, at risk of public embarrassment and death. He’s playing the role of his life, and the mobsters aren’t planning on leaving any witnesses alive. Robby actually falls hard for the quirky Crabtrees and his influence helps Trace appreciate his own family better. Poor Clovis has a tendresse for a local gal, and Rooby’s subtle ways help Clovis find his true happiness–even if it won’t be with Rowena. I really enjoyed this one, and highly recommend it to fans of historical M/M romance.

Interested? You can find ROBBY RIVERTON: MAIL ORDER BRIDE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****
Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC or own of three ebooks.
Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

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

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.

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

The Thrills Continue FIVE DARES–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Eli Easton. FIVE DARES is not a sports romance, per se, but the two main characters are athletes and daredevils, and their predicament makes them nearly acrobatic in the bedroom. I have loved all the Eli Easton books I’ve read, including MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES, her HOWL AT MOON books and most recently DESPERATELY SEEKING SANTA. FIVE DARES is another new adult romance, this time between two best friends who secretly love each other, but have to go through hell to connect physically.

About the book:
Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

My Review:
Andy and Jake have been best friends for a decade or more. They grew up together in the Boston area, went to school together and have been roommates for four years now at NYU, from which they’ve just graduated. As kids and adults, Jake has had a secret crush on Andy, the wild and charismatic son of an esteemed lawyer and a financial planner. Andy has a penchant for planning outrageous dares that Jake has been a part of as well, either as the front man egging him on and ginning up the crowd (at Andy’s behest) or as a co-participant. Jake gets a thrill out of being Andy’s closest confidant, but he’s wanted more for a long time now. Jake’s anxious to move to the west coast, knowing that he’ll leave Andy behind, so that he can maybe get the space he needs to find a boyfriend who can love him, unlike Andy who he believes is happily heterosexual.

Andy plans a spectacular dare for a big graduation party–and for once it goes horribly wrong. Andy and Jake end up with second degree burns on their palms, and Jake’s unable to leave for his new job; they both need eight weeks of rest to allow their skin to heal. Andy’s father is frustrated that Andy pulled another stunt, one that sabotaged his summer internship before he starts Harvard Law school in the fall, but Andy’s somewhat thrilled. He gets his father to let him and Jake their family cabin on Cape Cod in which to recuperate. They have daily nurse visits, and the cabin caretaker’s willing to make some meals for them while they both remain bandaged and a bit surly through recovery. Andy didn’t want to see his best friend leave, and this affords them a chance to have some uninterrupted time together before the next phase of their lives begins. Andy’s known that Jake is bisexual, at the very least, for more than a year, and he doesn’t understand why Jake never told him. Doesn’t Jake trust him? Doesn’t Jake want him? Should Andy want Jake to want him? It’s a hornet’s nest of jealousy, in Andy’s mind.

As the days and weeks pass and the boredom sets in, Andy comes up with a new dare, one that will scratch his itch for Jake’s undivided attention: that they combine forces to get each other off. They have no other sexual outlet, and can’t use their own hands to do the deed, not with all the bandages in the way, but some careful positioning might just allow for physical release. Jake’s not down with it, though, because he’s already too in love with Andy, and doesn’t want his heart smashed just for some experimental fling. The thing is, Jake’s been well-trained to go along with Andy’s dares, and this time he’s going to get more than a rush out of it. They only have a handful of weeks left together. And they make the most of it…until the next dare: falling head over heels in love.

This is such a sweet friends-to-lovers story. They history is carefully added in a series of vignette flashbacks that really demonstrate the bond between Andy and Jake, a bond Andy didn’t recognize was love until he’d almost lost Jake, and himself, in his new and lonely future. Andy’s father is a stern taskmaster and Andy can’t see veering of the path they outlined years ago, when Andy was still just a teen. But he’s not happy, and he misses Jake terribly. Their summer of love ended too soon, and his heart can’t take the thought that Jake will move on without him. Andy hadn’t considered himself bisexual, at all, until their summer together, but he’s miserable when Jake moves on to his new job. Jake isn’t doing much better, even though he likes his job and reconnecting with his sister, with whom he now lives. That said, he’s moping over the separation, and had to cut all contact with Jake in order to heal his busted heart. Naturally another dare brings them back together–not a good one, actually, but the more they chat the more Andy recognizes the reason for all his dares, stemming for the very first one, was gaining Jake’s attention and admiration. From then it’s just some career-plan gymnastics to reunite this couple for real.

There’s so much tenderness on the page, and some really steamy bits, too. We get both Andy and Jake’s point of view, so we can see all the internal anguish they manage as their relationship morphs. It was cool how Andy reached out to his mom for help, and advice, and how their conversation allowed Andy to re-evaluate his life goals and tailor them to his current dreams. He’s always been super athletic, and the branch of law he’d initially chosen wasn’t suitable to his outgoing and active personality. Plus, what’s the point of playing it safe all the time? For a dare-master like Andy it’s go big, or go home. And he’s never just gone home. It’s probably why he and Jake fit so well; their mutual love of the thrills in life. It’s a happy ending all around.

Interested? You can find FIVE DARES on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Eli currently publishes with Dreamspinner Press and has a few self-pubbed titles as well. She also publishes thrillers under the pen name: Jane Jensen.

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

THanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!