Falling For THE VIRGIN KING–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M royal erotic romance from John Michael Curlovich. THE VIRGIN KING features a city-slicking playboy who get yanked to a random eastern European country where he meets and later falls for the newly installed virgin king of Bulvania.

Scroll down to open the link for a copy of THE VIRGIN KING in a giveaway!
About the book:Something is rotten in Bulvania. When the old king dies mysteriously, a young monk named Raymond is called to take his place.

On the other side of the world, Logan, a handsome photographer, is pulled away from his charmed life to assist his father–Bulvania’s newest American ambassador.

As Raymond struggles to balance the weight of his new crown and the dark past adorning it, he must also struggle with his new love for Logan, who may already have his hands full with a variety of strapping military men.

My Review:
The king of Bulvania has died in a tragic industrial accident. Though his widow wants to ascend to the head of state, but there is a distant cousin of the king that still lives–Brother Juniper is a sheltered monk in one of the remote mountain monateries. The Royal Guard, consisting of a cadre of extremely fit and sexually agile men, collect Juniper for his coronation as King Raymond XL. He’s about 20, and completely naive to court and it’s deadly intrigue.

Logan Bockwein is an unapologetic single gay man who’s always looking for his next good time. He’s an accomplished photographer, and has recently had an exhibition of erotic art at a renown D.C. gay art gallery. Then had some fun multipartner action including his ex, a State dept undersecretary. Logan’s dad is PT Bockwein, president and CEO of Zinc, Inc–a tin and zinc mining company. The Bockweins have some Bulvanian heritage–which is rather uncommon as Bulvania is a really small eastern European nation and nearly no one has heard of it. The biggest export of Bulvania is cuckoo clocks, but the country also has a large unmined resource of tin. And, PT Bockwein, as the only influential American with Bulvanian heritage, has just been named as the US Ambassador. He’s insisting Logan come along. And, Logan is NOT happy about it.

Logan is less than impressed with the monk-king, who still dons his shabby robe and hasn’t cut his beard or hair….ever. But Raymond/Juniper is captivated by the cultured, young, and sexy Logan. The king’s guards make for way better playmates, in Logan’s opinion, but Alex, the captain of the guard convinces Logan to become a friend to the king, who is in grave danger from the same folks who likely murdered his royal cousin.

This book is truly a romp into the erotic, with Logan literally having sex with virtually any and every man who is not the virgin king for the first 90% of the book. Alex sees that Raymond’s attraction is growing desperate, and he wants to facilitate a relationship that would benefit Raymond and Bulvania. The grand plan is an absence makes the heart grow fonder situation, with Logan in forced celibacy while the new king tours Europe. It’s really a funny bit that Logan–who has unparalleled powers of attracting bemates can’t get anyone to sleep with him for more than a month. And, when Raymond returns, well, Logan is more than fond of the made-over king.

If you are into kinky, gay erotica that has a strong sense of knowing its plot is silly and a little ludicrous, then you will smirk along like I did at Logan’s tale of love. I liked it, taking the humor and puns and outlandish situations in the style of Monty Python meets a gay bath house. There’s some plotting and evil folks, and lots of dudes getting it on. And, in the end, Raymond finds peace in his new roles as both King and lover.

Interested? You can find THE VIRGIN KING on Goodreads, Riverdale Avenue Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this link and enter for your chance to win a copy of THE VIRGIN KING, courtesy of the Erie Gay News!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
John Michael Curlovich also writes under pseudonyms: Michael Paine and J.M.C. Blair.

Daring Escape in THE ARTIST’S MASQUERADE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M fantasy romance from Antonia Aquilante. THE ARTIST’S MASQUERADE is the second story in her Chronicles of Tournai series. I really enjoyed THE PRINCE’S CONSORT, so I was eager to read this sequel.

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
As the first-born son of a royal duke and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always put his duty to family and country first, even when it conflicts with his own wishes. When Cathal’s father arranges a marriage between him and Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn, without consulting him, he sees no alternative but to go along with his plans for the good of Tournai. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal from the moment he first sets eyes on her. Cathal doesn’t know Flavia is really Flavian, an artist masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive and repressive place where Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s identity, even as he struggles with his obligations and duty, he cannot fight his attraction to the sharp-tongued artist. Flavian is intrigued by him as well, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries he is more taken with the feminine illusion Flavian presents than the man beneath it. He came to Tournai to start a new life—a safe one—as an artist, and an inconvenient attraction to his friend’s betrothed, a man who happens to be a member of the royal family, is not a part of his plans. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses and secrets. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent giving him the ability to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—something that would be invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

How about a yummy taste?

“It’s time you took a wife.”

Cathal managed to keep his surprise hidden with some difficulty. That blunt statement was not what he’d expected when he received the summons to his father’s office. A discussion of family business, perhaps, or questions about happenings at the palace, even a diatribe about one of his cousin’s choices—since Father seemed to hate every one of them since the prince’s marriage to Amory—was what usually precipitated a call to Father’s presence.

He’d never imagined Father would bring up marriage. Cathal had seen no indication Father was even thinking in such a direction. Father had said plenty as he’d pushed the prince to marry, and plenty more when Philip had married a man of his choosing instead of the woman Father would have chosen, but he’d never said a word about his own sons’ need to marry.

Cathal probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. He was twenty-five years old and his father’s heir, and Father was a royal duke and dynastically minded. Producing an heir for the dukedom was Cathal’s duty, despite the existence of his younger brothers. He’d always known it, and he would never think of shirking that duty.

“Yes, Father.” He wasn’t interested in anyone in particular, but there were plenty of women who would make him a suitable wife in Father’s eyes. He was certain he could find someone who wouldn’t make the duty a chore. “I will begin looking for a wife immediately.”

“No need. It’s all arranged.” Father returned his attention to the papers on his desk, as if what he’d just said was of no particular consequence. As if he hadn’t just told Cathal his entire life was about to change and taken Cathal’s last bit of choice away at the same time.

Cathal snapped his mouth shut when he realized it was hanging open. “It is?”

“Of course.”

Of course it was. Cathal should have expected that as well. Father would never leave such an important choice—a family alliance, a mother for future dukes—up to Cathal. He should have done so, or at least he should have asked for Cathal’s opinion. Cathal was of age and had proven himself trustworthy time and again, or he thought he had. It left a sour taste in his mouth to think Father respected him so little.

“May I ask whom I will be marrying?” He immediately regretted his tone as Father arched a single brow.

When Cathal didn’t jump to apologize quickly enough, Father let out a huff that expressed his disappointment more eloquently than a hundred words would have, but he answered anyway. “She’s a cousin of the emperor of Ardunn. Velia is her name. Beautiful, by all accounts, and accomplished, but the connections are the important part.”

Cathal hardly heard anything after Ardunn. Cousin to the emperor of Ardunn? What was Father thinking? And how had he even managed it?

Father looked up again, and this time his huff held more than a little annoyance. “Why are you staring at me that way?”

Cathal didn’t know how he was looking at his father. Usually he had more control, but incredulity seemed to have obliterated it. “Ardunn, Father? I don’t understand. Why—?”

“Don’t be stupid. If your cousin isn’t going to do his duty and marry for the good of this country, then it falls to you to take up where Prince Philip failed.”

And that statement made even less sense. “But, Father, you negotiated a marriage contract with the emperor of Ardunn. Does Philip know?”

His cousin couldn’t know. Cathal had damaged their relationship and weakened the trust Philip had in him—he knew and regretted it—but Philip wasn’t vindictive enough to keep something so big from Cathal, especially considering the prince’s hatred of arranged marriages. Though how a prince came by such a view, Cathal would never know. Nevertheless, Philip would have said something, which meant Father had been negotiating with someone in Ardunn without Philip’s knowledge or consent.

Father scoffed. “He’ll know soon enough.”

“But, Father, negotiating with Ardunn…what did you—?”

“Are you questioning my ability to negotiate a marriage for my son?” Father snapped.

“No, sir.” Just the prudence of doing so with a powerful foreign emperor without the knowledge of their own ruler. “But—”

“This is the marriage your cousin should have negotiated for himself, but since he wouldn’t do his duty, we have to do it for him. For the good of Tournai and this family.”

“But, Father—”

“No more.” Father slapped a hand down on the wooden surface of the desk. “It’s done, and when she arrives next month, you will marry this woman. We’re finished discussing it.”

Cathal gritted his teeth against further protests and gave a sharp nod.

A few moments later, dismissed by his father, Cathal dragged in a lungful of crisp air. Spring was taking hold, but the mornings were still cool. At the moment, he was thankful for the gulp of bracing air.

That had been unexpected.

He shook his head and strode down the steps into the garden. The home where Cathal had grown up was probably the largest in the city. Constructed generations ago of pale-gray stone, the house had three stories surrounding the inner courtyard and the garden it contained. He’d played in the garden as a child with his brothers and cousin, chasing each other, hiding among the statuary and bushes. As he grew older, he’d come here when he needed a moment of peace. These days, he spent most of his time at the palace, and the garden was the domain of his mother and younger sisters, who often sat on the benches near the central fountain to do their needlework.

He didn’t linger, couldn’t have if he wanted to. Cathal couldn’t even go up to the palace and inform Philip of the betrothal, because he was due at the port to inspect improvements to the harbor defenses. Taking the most direct route from Father’s office to the front of the house, he strode through the garden and ducked inside again and then made for the entrance hall without slowing.

His sister’s melodic laugh and the quiet murmur of his mother’s voice floated back to him. Smiling, he stepped from the corridor into the grand room. His mother and sister stood at the polished table in the center of the large room. At his first step onto the red marble floor, both women looked up from where they were arranging early spring flowers in a large vase. Identical smiles of welcome lit their faces. His youngest sister looked remarkably like Mother, though Meriall was just fourteen. She was the only one of them to inherit Mother’s golden-brown hair and not Father’s much darker locks.

Each time he saw Meriall, he was surprised at how grown up she was becoming. It seemed just yesterday she was trailing after their brother Etan and getting into scrapes and jumping on her brothers whenever she saw them. Now she was a young lady. The oldest of his three younger sisters was married, and his second sister was nearly seventeen. Cathal might have expected, if he’d thought of the subject at all, Father to be negotiating a marriage for Ottilie, not for himself.

Meriall and Mother were still smiling at him, and they left off fussing with the flowers and greenery as he approached. When she was younger, Meriall would have flung herself at him. She’d learned more appropriate behavior since then, but a part of him missed her enthusiasm. Then again, she would probably still throw herself at Etan. They’d always been closer.

“Cathal.” Mother held out her hands to him and tilted her head for his kiss to her cheek. “I didn’t know you were here.”

He brushed a kiss over Meriall’s cheek as well. “Father wanted to meet with me.”

Because he was watching, he saw the flash of concern in Mother’s warm-brown eyes. Did she know her husband’s plans for Cathal? “Is everything all right?”

No, he didn’t think she knew. He doubted Father would have consulted her anyway. He flicked his glance at his sister, wondering if he should speak in front of her, but everyone would know soon enough. “Father wants me to marry.”

Mother blinked, once, twice, the only sign of surprise in a serene face. “I didn’t realize, but you are getting to be of an age to. There are many lovely girls you could meet and consider. Perhaps we can have a party and invite some of them.”

“Actually, Father has it all arranged already.”

“Oh. Well.” Mother fussed with the flowers before dropping her hands to smooth her skirt. “I didn’t realize you and your father had chosen someone. I wish you’d told me.” The statement wasn’t much of a rebuke, not the way she said it, but from his gentle mother, it was still censure.

“I wish he’d told me.” He bit back impatience. His ignorance of Father’s actions wasn’t Mother’s doing. “I only just found out myself, Mother. She arrives in a month. I assume we’ll all meet her then.”

“Arrives? From where? Who is she?”

He didn’t blame Mother for her bewilderment. “Father says her name is Velia. I only know she’s a cousin to the emperor of Ardunn.”

“The emperor? Does His Highness know?” Mother had been the wife of a royal duke for nearly thirty years. She could see the implications as well as he could.

“It doesn’t appear so.” He glanced from Mother, who was admirably controlling her surprise and concern, to Meriall and her avid, undisguised curiosity. Well, he shouldn’t be talking about Philip’s lack of knowledge of Father’s actions anyway. “You’ll have to ask Father for more information. I don’t know anything else.”

Mother frowned. “Will you tell your cousin?”

“I can’t now. I’m due at the port, and I may be tied up there for most of the day.” And he didn’t want to put this information in a note. Still, someone needed to tell Philip, and Cathal wasn’t sure when Father would. “I’ll tell him when I return to the palace later.”

She nodded. “I’ll speak with your father. We’ll see you soon?”

“Of course.” He took his leave of his mother and sister and strode out through the large front doors into the morning sunlight again. A servant appeared immediately with his horse. He mounted up and guided the horse out through the imposing gate, open in anticipation of his departure. He needed to hurry if he was going to be on time for his appointment, and he refused to be late. He would sort out the rest afterward, including informing the prince.

Philip was not going to be pleased.

My Review:
This is the second book in a fantasy series, and likely best enjoyed when read in sequence, though it can be read as a standalone.

Cathal is the eldest son of a Grand Duke in Tournai, a small but wealthy country with a bustling port in the capital city of Jumelle. Cathal’s cousin is the Crown Prince Philip, and Cathal is his advisor and personal secretary. Cathal is 25 and is startled to learn that his father has arranged a marriage for him, to a cousin of the Emperor of Ardunn. This marriage proposal was arranged without both Cathal, or Philip’s, knowledge or consent. Politically, this was a huge overstep by Cathal’s father, because Ardunn is a warring nation bent on conquest, and offending the Emperor by breaking this betrothal could be an encitement to war. Also, emotionally, Cathal has been a dutiful and respectful son, though his father laments his “lack of ambition”. His father has recently created some large protocol offenses regarding Philip’s marriage to his husband and consort Amory. Philip is concerned his uncle is hatching some power play for the control of Tournai.

Flavian is an Ardunnian artist with the Talent to read the heart of any person that he draws in a portrait. The Emperor, who trusts few of his advisors or court, planned to make ample use of Flavian’s magic, and Flavian knew he could not live in that capacity. Also, matches between men are illegal in Ardunn, and a man cannot make his own way in the country until he is 30 years old, so for all these reasons Flavian decided to run from Ardunn. He is a good friend to Velia, the woman betrothed to Cathal–and they hatch a plan to transport Flavian to Tournai, disguised as a female companion to Velia, when she leaves to Tournai. It’s upsetting and humiliating for Flavian to masquerade as Lady Flavia for the three-week boat journey. He cannot wait to escape as soon as they make land. However, Flavian’s plans are scuttled when their party is not lodged in a house in Jumelle, but is instead welcomed by Princess Elodie, Philip’s younger sister, and taken to the palace to stay. Escaping the palace is not easy trick and Lady Flavia is expected to accompany Lady Velia to all of her attendant parties and excursions in the palace. It’s especially hard for Flavian to continue his ruse under the scrutiny of Cathal–who develops and unwanted attraction to the mysterious Lady Flavia.

So, it’s a mismatch, and an intrigue. Philip and Cathal are hunting Ardunnian spies, and a chance encounter first puts Lady Flavia in their sights. Even Cathal’s growing attraction would not save Flavian if he were a spy–which he is not. Flavian is nearly consumed with jealousy for the acceptance of male-male pairings in Tournai, and wants to find a loving partner, and to get his life back as soon as possible. Because of the intrigue, he must continue his masquerade, but Cathal’s love grows and shelters Flavian in many ways.

Cathal wants out of his betrothal, and Philip is working to find out the specifics of the marriage agreement to see how he can disentangle his dear cousin from Velia–who seems to be a decent woman, but not one that Cathal truly loves. She’s aloof and Cathal’s attempts to develop a rapport are shut down with courtly manners and meaningless flirtations. While Velia is the perfect partner for Cathal–in his father’s eyes–Cathal is almost despairing what he feels will be a loveless marriage–and for what reason? He’s a grown man, and his father has never respected him as a man–and even less in his duties for Prince Philip.

I really liked the comparisons between Flavian and Cathal’s circumstances. These men are near each other in age, but have less common experiences. Flavian knows that he will be summarily despised in Ardunn for just being himself, and is willing to take drastic steps to find a way to live his life in freedom. Cathal has been duty-bound since birth to be an advisor to his Prince, and to raise heirs for the dukedom. Yet, when he falls for Flavian he isn’t put off by his masculinity. Cathal has had two years of observing the close and loving relationship between Philip and Amory, both of whom he respects quite keenly. He was prepared to sacrifice his personal happiness for his father’s ideals, but not once he developed such a strong bond for Flavian–and not when he cannot really bear his betrothed. Cathal is prepared to abandon his life, and build a new one, when fate intercedes.

There are a lot of nice relationship and world-building elements in this story–with a bit of magic and some shifter activity, though it is a small part of the story. Court intrigue and spies are big parts of the conflict here. The physical attraction for Cathal and Flavian picks up at their first meeting. They develop a more intimate friendship than is proper for their difference in station and circumstances. We have a front row seat to Cathal’s growth as a man. He has to value himself above his father’s opinion, and he has to reorganize his thinking about the attractions he’s had toward men–and always Suppressed. Flavian is sure that Cathal only likes him in women’s clothes, and that his attraction is sure to be short-lived. What man of Cathal’s position could truly love an asylum-seeker with a regrettable Talent that could bring the ire of Ardunn’s emperor. And, Velia’s taunts later reinforce Flavian’s doubts.

There are certainly a lot of twists, though I kind of expected the biggest one. The climax is appropriately thrilling, and the love story for Cathal and Flavian is difficult, due to circumstances being less than ideal. They have frantic assignations, and use secret passageways to maintain their secret trysts. The bond between them grows out beyond attraction into affection and eventually love. The whole story takes place over a couple of months–but the passage of time was a little hard to gauge at times. The end is definitely happy and resolved in a way that we can accept Cathal and Flavian are building a future together. I have enjoyed both books in this series, and am hopeful there will be another.

Interested? You can find THE ARTIST’S MASQUERADE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

Catch up with Antonia on Facebook, and twitter.

Compromised Love? LEGALLY WED–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M romance from mega-writer Rick R. Reed. LEGALLY WED features a single gay man who’s deepest desire to be married leads him to take desperate action.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway below!
About the book:
Love comes along when you least expect it.
That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants―a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life―and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

How about a little taste?

Same-sex marriage had just become legal in Washington State, and Duncan Taylor didn’t plan on wasting any time. He had been dating Tucker McBride for more than three years, and ever since the possibility of marriage had become more than just a pipe dream, it was all Duncan could think of. He thought of it as he gazed out the windows of his houseboat on Lake Union on days both sunny and gray (since it was late autumn, there were a lot more of the latter); he thought of it as he stood before his classroom of fourth graders at Cascade Elementary School. He thought of it when he woke up in the morning and before he fell asleep at night.

For Duncan, marriage was the peak, the happy ending, the icing on the cake, the culmination of one’s heart’s desire, a commitment of a lifetime, the joining of two souls. For Duncan, it was landing among the stars.

And for Duncan, who would turn thirty-eight on his next birthday, it was also something he had never dared dream would be possible for him.

Now, too excited to sleep, he was thinking about it—hard—once again. It was just past midnight on December 6, 2012, and the local TV news had preempted its regular programming to take viewers live to Seattle City Hall, where couples were forming a serpentine line to be among the first in the state to be issued their marriage licenses—couples who had also for far too long believed this right would be one they would never be afforded. Many clung close together to ward off the chill, but Duncan knew their reasons for canoodling went far deeper than that.

The mood, in spite of the darkness pressing in all around, was festive. There was a group serenading the couples in line, singing “Going to the Chapel.” Champagne corks popped in the background. Laughter.

Duncan couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he watched all the male-male and female-female couples in the line, their moods of jubilation, of love, of triumph, traveling through to him even here on his houseboat only a couple of miles north of downtown. Duncan wiped tears from his eyes as he saw not only the couples but also all the supporters, city workers, and volunteers who had crowded together outside city hall to wish the new couples well, to share in the happiness of the historic moment.

And then Duncan couldn’t help it; he fell into all-out blubbering as the first couple to get their license emerged from city hall. Eighty-five-year-old Pete-e Petersen and her partner and soon-to-be-wife, Jane Abbott Lighty, were all smiles when a reporter asked them how they felt.

“We waited a long time. We’ve been together thirty-five years never thinking we’d get a legal marriage. Now I feel so joyous I can’t hardly stand it,” Pete-e said.

It was such a special moment, and it was all Duncan could do not to pick up the phone and call Tucker and casually say something like, “Hey honey, you want to get married?”

But he knew he had to wait even if patience was a virtue Duncan had in short supply. On Sunday, when the first marriages would take place, he planned on bringing Tucker to their favorite restaurant, an unpretentious little joint on Capitol Hill called Olympia Pizza. There, amid the darkened and—for them—romantic interior with the smells of garlic, basil, and tomato sauce surrounding them, Duncan would propose, saying something clever like:

“I’m thinking about changing my Facebook relationship status to ‘engaged.’ Would you mind?”

In his mind, Tucker would chuckle and then rub at the tuft of blond hair that grew from his chin, regarding Duncan with his dark-blue eyes. Duncan could see the flicker of the candle lighting up his man’s features as he held the silence for a few moments, building the suspense. Then he would say something like, “I think I’ll change mine too.”

That would be one way it could play out—very twenty-first century.

Duncan would then imagine all his friends and family congratulating the newly minted fiancés with “Likes” and words of encouragement and shared happiness. Maybe he could get their waiter to take a picture of them, holding hands over a sausage and mushroom pie, right after the moment when they went from two guys dating to two guys anticipating…marriage.

Duncan found himself wiping yet another tear from his eye. Sunday was going to be perfect.

My Review:
Duncan Taylor is an out-gay man in his late 30s who is watching his dream come true play out on TV: same-sex couples in his very own Seattle, Washington are finally allowed to register for a legal marriage, not a partnership. It’s a watershed experience for him, and he’s prepared to ask his boyfriend of the past three years, Tucker, to marry him.

And, Tucker says no. Not now, and not ever. Which is a deep blow to Duncan. He’s so convinced that finding a man to be his monogamous husband is an out of reach dream he goes and does the previously unthinkable. He puts an ad on Craigslist for a female partner. Yep, Duncan figures he’s always had better female friends, and he could marry a woman for the companionship part of it–and having kids as long as they use IVF. Because Duncan really doesn’t want a wife for a sexual partner.

It’s preposterous, right? That’s what Duncan’s sister Scout says. She’s disappointed he’s giving up on finding a truly compatible partner. And yet, Duncan’s ad gets replies. Most are cranks and crack pots, but one extra-salty response has potential, from Marilyn Staples. She’s an older urban woman with a long history of hanging out with gay BFFs. Meeting Duncan is a bit fraught becasue she’s sure this sexy man is yanking her chain. And, she’s had just as bad luck with men as Duncan. They have common goals and interests and they develop a deep friendship. It takes some convincing, but Marilyn does come around to Duncan’s plan.

And then they hire a wedding planner. Peter Dalrymple is a ginger bear who is as gay as they come. He is sweet, sexy, and professional–and mortified to be attracted to a client. It’s a conundrum, and a big wrench in this ludicrous plan. I really loved all the characters here, and could feel their struggle. Duncan is such an earnest guy, who really wants a loving marriage and kids and whatever his het family and friends can get–he thinks–so easily. What Duncan didn’t realize was how deeply such a relationship could hurt both himself and Marilyn. Seeing Peter, and working on the details of a wedding to a person who is only really going to be a friend is like sucking raw lemons while a full pitcher of lemonade sits at your elbow. Duncan’s determination to follow through on his promise to Marilyn in the face of his attraction to a man who appears to finally be “the one” creates some extra conflict of conscience, and very nearly three super unhappy people.

Marilyn can see the writing on the invitations, though, and the platonic love she’s built with Duncan gives her confidence to set him free–she’s made a strong acquaintance with a great (straight) man from Duncan’s past and they have a spark that could grow past the ember stage. What was almost an honest, but dysfunctional, marriage, turns out to be two happy endings. I loved the story, and the angst, and how these folks work out their drama with grace. I read this one years ago, and the re-release is not demonstrably changed. So if you have an older copy, maybe give it a re-read. It’s worth it.

Interested? You can finhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53246365-legally-wed” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

Catch up with Rick on his website, Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

Fighting Ghosts in the BURN ZONE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M smokejumper romance from Annabeth Albert. BURN ZONE is the first book in her brand-new Hot Shots series that feature rural firefighters who live on the edge of danger. This book features a dysfunctional family and one man’s determination to keep a promise to his late best friend–over his own happiness.

About the book:
Introducing Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

My Review:
Lincoln Reid lost his best friend Wyatt Hartmann in a big fire about nine months ago. They had been friends throughout childhood, Wyatt’s friendly family taking care of neglected Linc from a young age. Wyatt was the first person Linc came out to–and pretty much the only person. Wyatt’s youngest brother Jacob is gay, too, and Wyatt wasn’t happy about it back when Jacob came out. He could see that Jacob had designs on Linc and Wyatt, in his backhanded bigoted way, forbade Linc from ever messing around with his little brother. Made some crude comments about Linc somehow turning Jacob into a gay man.

That was years ago, and they managed to keep their friendship together, but Linc holds true that he shouldn’t have any romantic interest in Jacob–even though they are both grown men and Wyatt is dead. Jacob has just joined Linc’s smokejumping crew of hot shots, one of many replacements for the new fire season. Linc is having enough trouble keeping himself together with the ghosts of Wyatt haunting him, and Jacob taunting him. Jacob isn’t the flighty queer boy his family thought couldn’t manage his life. He’s a determined firefighter with years of experience and certifications. And, he’s tired of his family getting all up in his business. Especially not the lingering sentiment of Wyatt who wasn’t a fantastic brother for Jacob coming up in the world.

Jacob and Linc have real chemistry together; they have always had. Their connection is growing as Jacob proves himself day-in and day-out in the spring training. And, let’s face it, both Linc and Jacob are lonely. Linc has no living family, and Jacob’s family are too mired in their grief over Wyatt–and mad that Jacob’s joined the smokejumping crew–to be a good support. Jacob proposes for him and Linc to have sex just to get the attraction out of their systems–and Linc is too attracted to let the opportunity pass him by. He’s been alone too long, and grieving his lost family and friend to push Jacob away.

One night becomes another, and another, with Jacob spending more and more time in Linc’s home. This means more than sex, their companionship and camaraderie fills the empty holes in each one’s lives and hearts. And, as the work becomes more dangerous, Linc needs to make decisions to put Jacob at the center of his life, while still honoring his friendship bonds with Wyatt. It’s a big change, and would mean Linc coming out. Can he? Will he?

It’s a solid grief/comfort story mixed with the intense love of any swoony romance. Jacob’s family is a tense affair, with their disapproval of Jacob’s professional life choices, and the grudging approval of his life partner, well, it makes for some fights. Fights Linc doesn’t want to have. He feels like losing the love of the Hartmann’s–his surrogate family–could kill him, even if Jacob remained by his side. It’s a touch call, and leads to a great deal of internal and external conflict for Linc. He feels like dating Jacob would dishonor the love the Hartmann’s have showed him since he was a young boy–and they are quick to remind him how much he owes them–even if it’s hypocritical. I really felt Linc’s anguish, and grief, and tenderness and struggle. He’s a good man, and he wants to take of his “family” the best way he can. Even if he has to sacrifice himself to do it. And it’s Jacob’s strong love and fierce contrariness that pushes Linc to change his stance. Because, when it comes down to it, living without Jacob in his life makes his life not worth living.

Expect family drama, confused firefighters, hot sexytimes and cool insight into the work and experiences of smokejumper heroes on the fire lines. The end is a definite HEA, with growth beyond grief and new love to light up days and warm up nights. I liked the story a lot, and I look forward to more stories in this compelling setting.

Interested? You can find BURN ZONE on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo.

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

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

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Dysfunctional Surprise A FAMILY AFFAIR–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M romance from new-to-me author Rob Loveless. A FAMILY AFFAIR is a little silly and melodramatic, highlighting the dysfunction of a middle class family when a son and daughter both have feelings for the same man.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt, my review, and enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway below!
About the book:
It’s been said that if you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were. But what does it mean when they come back into your life—as your sibling’s significant other?

At twenty-five years old, Cal Adams has only ever truly loved one man, the one who broke his heart three years earlier—Andrew Hall. Since then, he has searched for meaningful relationships but cannot smolder the flames of the past his family remains unaware of.

As the holiday season approaches, Cal’s younger sister, Claire, brings her boyfriend home to meet the family. When she arrives, Cal is shocked to meet her boyfriend, who is none other than Andrew. In a darkly humorous tale, Cal decides to show his ex what he missed out on.

How about a little taste?

Cal Adams sat at his desk and shuffled through some papers as he eyed the clock: 5:47 p.m. A mixture of excitement and anxiety churned uneasily in his stomach as the seconds hand ticked away. In thirteen minutes, he would relinquish his work responsibilities and prepare for what was sure to be a big night. A few days earlier, Cal’s parents had called to invite him to dinner Friday night for a special occasion—his baby sister would be home from college for the weekend.

Claire Adams was a senior in college and only three and a half years younger than Cal, yet he couldn’t help but refer to her as his baby sister; perhaps that was part of being a big brother. As Claire’s older brother and only sibling, Cal was a bit on edge about that night’s family dinner. After all, Claire wasn’t just coming home to visit; she was bringing along her new boyfriend to meet the family.

Cal tuned out the clinking of weight machines and the grunts of fatigued gym patrons as he sat in his office and concentrated on the circumstance at hand. His sister hadn’t had a boyfriend meet their parents since her junior year of high school, which meant this was serious. Cal and Claire had become very close in recent years, but he had not heard much about this boyfriend, including his name. Claire had always been one to maintain a low profile on social media, and only acknowledged she was “in a relationship” a month or so ago—without posting any photos. From what Cal had been able to gather from his phone calls with her, Claire and her boyfriend had only been seeing each other for about six months. So they hadn’t been together that long. Still, this was serious, which worried Cal a bit.

Being the big brother, Cal was somewhat protective of his sister, but he was happy for Claire, and he was sure he’d love her boyfriend. After all, Claire had a good head on her shoulders. However, this whole situation made Cal uneasy since it made him reflect on his own lack of success in the relationship department.

As the eldest sibling, Cal had always anticipated he would be the first to settle down. However, being twenty-five years old and never having been in a serious relationship, he often felt frustrated and unfulfilled—like something was missing in his life.

It wasn’t that Cal was undateable. On the contrary, he was quite attractive, with medium-length, dark-brown hair, piercing gray eyes, sharp features, and a lean build. He was successful, independent, and had an easygoing, fun-loving personality. In fact, he went on plenty of dates, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. Either the chemistry wasn’t there or things just didn’t advance. Cal hadn’t experienced genuine feelings for anyone since—

“Hey,” a friendly voice chimed, which snapped Cal’s attention back to work. A petite young woman with a pretty, freckled face and long, ginger tresses appeared at his office door.

“Hi, Sophie,” Cal greeted. “Getting ready to head out?”

“Yeah, my six o’clock canceled on me,” she informed him.

Sophie was a personal trainer at the gym Cal managed and also one of his closest friends. Sophie was a year his senior, and the two had been friends since childhood. They knew everything about each other’s lives: the good, the not-so-good, and the bad.

Cal glanced at the clock: nearly six now. “I’ll be leaving in a few too.”

“Any fun weekend plans?” Sophie asked.

“Well, I have that family dinner tonight, but I’m not sure if I would call it fun.”

“Ohh, that’s right!” she said. “Claire’s bringing home the boyfriend. What do you know about him?”

“Nothing,” Cal replied. “Honestly, I don’t even think my parents know much about him.”

“So this is a pretty big deal,” Sophie stated. “It sounds serious.”

“Yeah, it does,” he sighed with a lack of enthusiasm before he shut off his computer.

“Uh oh, sounds like someone’s big brother senses are tingling,” she teased.

“It’s not that. I’m sure this guy is great. And I’m happy for Claire, I really am. But I’m twenty-five years old and—”

“Cal, you can’t keep thinking like that. You’re young, and you’ll find someone.”

“That’s what all my friends say, but you guys are all in relationships,” Cal countered. “You and Rich have been together for years.”

“Believe me, you’re gonna find someone. Soon. I’m sure of it,” Sophie reassured him as she gave his arm a squeeze. “By the way, I forgot to ask, how did the date go with that guy last night?”

“Eh, it was fine…at first.”

“At first?” she questioned.

“Yeah, I mean, he was cute. We just grabbed a coffee. And he seemed to have a good personality.”

“So what happened?”

“He started talking about how he loves popping molly.”

“No!”

“Oh yeah. And then he told me Lana Del Rey’s music makes him horny. Those were his exact words.”

“What!” Sophie gasped in disbelief. “He did not!”

“I’m telling you I can’t make this stuff up,” Cal chuckled as he shook his head in disbelief. “And really, Lana Del Rey? I didn’t know melancholic songs could get someone all hot and bothered.”

“You’re such a normal guy. How come you always find these crazies?”

“I don’t know, I guess they’re drawn to me,” he joked. “But, in all seriousness, I hate these stupid dating apps. I wish I didn’t have to use them, but I don’t know how else to meet someone. Every time I do meet someone from the apps though, they’re crazy or—”

“Or you don’t feel the spark.”

“No. At least not like I had with—”

“Hey”—Sophie interrupted in a soft voice—“it’s been over three years.”

“I know. I know,” Cal stated. He stood from his desk and grabbed his charcoal peacoat. “And I’m over it—believe me—I am. I just get scared that—”

“Don’t be. You’ll have those feelings again. You’ll find that spark.”

“Yeah, I know,” he sighed with a slight shrug before he hit the lights and left his office with Sophie. The two exited the gym in silence and were soon embraced by the crisp air of late November.

My Review:
Cal is a 25 year old out-gay manager of a fitness center. He takes pride in his body and his confidence, since it’s something he had to work hard to regain after college. See, in his senior year Cal had an on-off hook-up with a younger student from a nearby school, Andrew. It was an instant connection for Cal, who though tit would be good to nurture it. Cal was still a virgin back then, and he had some deep feelings about rushing into physical release with strangers. Andrew was a bit, maybe, put off by Cal’s primness, but he continued to text Cal when he wanted someone to hang with, and they were occasionally physical.

As time goes on, Cal gets more and more into Andrew, who continues to engage and walk away–citing that Cal’s imminent graduation and out-of-state job was going to end their relationship anyway. In the end, Cal regrets taking his job offer, he’s unhappy and isolated. He soon quits, moves back near home, gets counseling and starts working at the fitness center–his experience helps him land the manager position.

Fast-forward three years. Cal hasn’t been able to connect with any other man like he did with Andrew. It’s the measure Cal seems to use against every man he dates. Right now, his dates with Jacob, a nice guy that ticks all his boxes, is still not as awesome as those fleeting meetings of yore with Andrew. He’s a little despondent about going home for a big family dinner where he’s going to meet his younger sister’s steady guy–wishing he had a guy to bring home too. And, he’s even more upset when he turns up and Andrew is standing by Claire’s ecstatic side.

Cal knew Andrew was bisexual, but the horror of finding that Claire is sleeping with the guy who broke his heart–and took his virginity–is just beyond the pale. Cal is a mess, and his drinking binges are problematic. The first meeting is tense, but Andrew maintains he’s all in for Claire. And Cal has to get over it. Returning for a week leading up to Christmas with Claire, Andrew and his parents pushes Cal to the edge. He’s ready to show how great his life is without Andrew in it. Unfortunately, Andrew is more than enticed–and wouldn’t mind keeping Cal as a side-piece to Claire. It’s insane, but it’s almost everything Cal has wanted for the past three years.

This story has a plot that drips with dysfunction. Cal has little contact with his loving and accepting family. He never told them about Andrew, and he’s not sure if he can now. His just-getting-started connection with Jacob is at risk, but Cal needs to confirm that he’s NOT in love with Andrew again, and that’s super hard when Andrew is slick and sly and sneaking his way back into Cal’s bed. Cal and his bestie Sophie put together a plot to unmask the worst about Andrew, but will Claire listen? Or, will Cal ruin Christmas for everyone…

I had some major issues with Cal’s character, considering how serious he gets over a flighty college guy. Yeah, he had more feelings, but he really did not manage them well, at all. His deep swoon back into love/lust with Andrew is completely unconscionable, and he acts very much like a juvenile about all of these issues. I struggled to like Cal for these reasons. Claire is an idiot and Andrew is a user, so I didn’t have a lot of folks to like in the book, either. The scene on Christmas felt straight out of reality TV, and will likely appeal to people who dig the melodrama. Not my bag, but the shenanigans were somewhat amusing.

The ending gets happy once the toxic Andrew is removed from the situation. I kinda felt the reconciliation with Cal and Claire to be to quick and too cute, but that was me. I’d have been more aggressive about making amends, while Cal just hoped for the best…which seemed irresponsible in the situation. That said, the family dysfunction got fixed and the end was happy for all, but mostly Cal.

Interested? You can find A FAMILY AFFAIR on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Rob Loveless is a corporate communications professional, and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been an avid reader and writer from a young age, being influenced by authors like J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown. When he’s not working or writing, Rob enjoys being active, exploring what the Steel City has to offer, and traveling.

Catch up with Rob on his twitter and Instagram.

Getting Together Can Be a HARD RIDE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M cowboy romance from AM Arthur. HARD RIDE is the fifth book in her Clean Slate Ranch series that features cowboys, cooks and city slickers–not to mention some actors, finding love with one another. I’ve enjoyed several books from Ms. Arthur, including SAVED, HERE FOR US, THE WORLD AS HE SEES IT, FINDING THEIR WAY, and recently reviewed ROPED IN so I was eager to read on in this series. Turns out, it’s a perfect way to continue Dad Week.

About the book:
Five Weddings and a Fake Boyfriend
City slicker Derrick Massey has always had a thing for cowboys. So a roll in the hay with Kendall “Slater” Stamos during a rustic weekend wedding is more than A-OK. But when Slater’s forced to hang up his saddle for the season, Derrick surprises even himself with his proposition: be my fake boyfriend and get my family off my back about finding a permanent partner.

Though unexpected, the arrangement is a win-win. Derrick gets a plus-one for a slew of summer weddings and Slater gets a place to stay while he recuperates…with lots of casual fun in between. Which is just how the sexy cowboy likes it: casual. Yet it’s obvious the chemistry between them is anything but.

With the countdown to their “breakup” on, the more time the two men spend together. And the more it becomes clear that what they have could be real, if only they let it be.

My Review:
This is the fifth book in a series, and is probably best enjoyed when read in order but is still enjoyable on its own.

Derrick Massey is a young urban professional running a non-profit business that assists families and ex-convicts trying to rebuild their lives. He’s in his late 20s and a suave black man. His brother Conrad is married to Sophie Bentley–Wes Bentley’s younger sister. Wes is married to Mack Garrett who runs the Bentley Ghost Town attraction, and his grandfather owns Clean Slate Ranch. Derrick likes the ranch, but mostly he likes the cowboys. While mooning over his single state in the wake of the two weddings he’d attended the day before, Derrick runs into Slater, a ranch hand, in the small gym at the ranch. And boy do they hook up. It’s perfect, and over too quick for Derrick’s taste.

Not long after, Slater is running an overnight camping ride with a bunch of dude ranch guests. One of the children wanders off and Slater falls off a cliff trying to save the boy. The injuries which could have been life-threatening amount to a leg surgery that keeps Slater in a cast for what looks to be months. And, that means he can’t work as a cowboy until he’s healed. He’s sure down on his luck and won’t be able to send much money back to his parents who barely get by and are currently raising Slater’s teenaged daughter, Rachel. What few people know about Slater–including his actual name–is he’s an ex-con who’d served time for aggravated battery. He’s a super private guy, and still ashamed of his time in prison.

Derrick has a slew of weddings to attend in the summer season, and desperately wants a date. Slater’s out of work and his bunk at remote Clean Slate is not amenable to recovery or making regular therapy appointments. So Derrick makes a fake-boyfriend pact with Slater–in exchange for living at Derrick’s city apartment and getting rides to therapy and doctor appointments, Slater will come to the weddings with Derrick as his plus-one. Slater agrees, reluctantly, and adds his own caveat: Derrick needs to drive him up to his parents home one specific week. Derrick later learns this trip is to see Rachel’s high school graduation.

I always enjoy a good fake boyfriend story, and this one is really sweet. Derrick’s home is a bit spare, but he makes it as comfy as he can. We get neighbor drama and new friendships which all support Slater’s growth from isolated ex-con into friendly entrepreneur. The chemistry between the men is high, and they eventually decide some sexual benefits can come from their arrangement. They learn a lot about one another, and their vulnerable moments strengthen their growing bond. As the days and weeks pass, both Derrick and Slater come to appreciate the general kindness the other has. They genuinely like each other and it doesn’t take long before the “fake” part of the arrangement is starting to look less and less real.

Naturally, there is a bit of separation in play, to create the climactic tension, but it does get resolved without too much stress. Derrick and Slater lean on their best friends/confidantes to help guide their way back to one another. It’s a sweet reunion, and I wonder if we don’t have a spin-off story that features Derrick and Slater’s twin neighbors. O.O

Interested? You can find HARD RIDE on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

About the Author:
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Catch up with Ms. Arthur on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out now BROKEN WARRIOR–Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share an excerpt and giveaway for a M/M paranormal romance from the writing team of Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliot. BROKEN WARRIOR is the first book in the Weaver’s Circle series and it’s off to a great start.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway below!
About the book:
Clay Green
A brotherhood? Monsters? Goddesses? Magic? The world has become a strange place.

After a life on the run, Clay Green is rescued by a crazy old lady with a shotgun and an even crazier story about monsters, goddesses, and a secret brotherhood.

Gifted with the power of the earth, Clay must locate his missing “brothers” before invading monsters can destroy everything. As if that’s not enough to contend with, Clay can’t keep his hands off the man trying to rebuild the plantation house he’s temporarily living in.

Dane Briggs
Something strange is going on…
Dane knew restoring the old plantation house wasn’t going to be an easy job, but at least none of the clients were going to be underfoot. Since losing his wife and child, the only way Dane can keep going is to focus on the work.

But that focus crumbles the second Clay appears covered in blood and barely hanging on to life. Mystery and danger cling to Clay and the other men who suddenly show up. A smart man would walk away.

Dane chucks smart out the window in favor of hungry kisses and the silken slide of skin against skin. He doesn’t understand what’s happening, but there’s no question that Clay needs him. He’s just not sure his heart can survive being broken again if something happens to Clay.

Broken Warrior is the first book in The Weavers Circle series. It includes fast-paced action, explosions, hurt/comfort, sexy times, animal shenanigans, wounded hearts, three crazy old ladies, and magic!

How about a little taste?

“And were you attacked on your walk? Some kind of flying suckerfish? Because that’s definitely not a hickey on your neck,” Baer continued.

Grey lifted his mug of coffee to his lips again, but he paused long enough to agree. “Definitely not a hickey.”

Without thinking, Clay slapped his hand to the spot Dane had sucked on during round one—or was it round three? Fuck, he’d come so many times last night, his balls should need a week to recover, but his dick was refusing to take orders from his brain or balls. The damn thing wanted to say “Fuck coffee” and crawl back into bed with Dane.

Laughter rang out in the kitchen, and Clay groaned. He’d never had a roommate, but he sort of imagined this was what it was like. Fuck, when all six of them were in the plantation house, it would be like a goddamn frat house.

Grabbing a mug out of the cabinet, Clay continued to ignore the duo at the table as he poured himself a cup of liquid sanity. He took his time, adding a little sugar, and then turned to the table. Before he took one step, he lifted a hand, and whatever Baer had been about to say stopped in his throat.

“I won’t discuss it. Not one word,” Clay said firmly.

Baer’s shoulder’s slumped, and his mouth snapped shut. He looked like a sad puppy for all of two seconds before he was up and happy again.

“I’m sure Grey is one of us,” Baer announced, moving on to an entirely new subject. At least this was one Clay was willing to tackle, even if he wasn’t sure he had the brainpower for it yet. If anything, it gave him something to think about besides Dane.

“Yeah, I kind of thought that last night too.”

Clay settled into a chair across from Baer and Grey. He could use a long, hot shower and a clean set of clothes, but one look at the eager expression on Baer’s face and he knew the man would follow him to the bathroom to discuss this. He could do without them sharing the bathroom with him.

“When I saw him running with you toward the Jeep last night, I swear I got the weirdest feeling of déjà vu. I know we’ve done this all before. Well, maybe not at that club, but the running together, the fighting together.” Baer rested his forearms on the table and leaned forward. “Even when we got back to the house, I felt like I knew him. Known him my whole life.”

“The same way you feel with me?”

Baer nodded.

Clay looked over at Grey, who had both hands wrapped around the dark-blue coffee mug resting on the table in front of him. A deep frown was pulling at the corners of his mouth and drawing lines between his thick eyebrows. Without the threat of death and destruction looming over their heads, Clay took a moment to actually look at the man. Gray hair highlighted his temples, and more of it flecked the closely trimmed beard lining his jaw and chin. He was paler than himself and Baer, as if he were more likely to spend long hours inside the house, but there was no missing the lean muscles that filled out his wrinkled button-down shirt. Maybe a swimmer. Or a runner.

“What do you think?” Clay prodded when Grey remained silent.

“That this is all stupid, ridiculous, and utterly impossible,” Grey grumbled. His hands tightened on his mug, but he didn’t lift it back to his mouth.

“But?”

“I can’t deny I have the same feeling of déjà vu with both of you. Something-something inside of me keeps claiming that I know.”

Clay glanced over at Baer. “Did you tell him?”

“Oh, he fucking told me so much,” Grey answered for him with a rough bark of laughter. “Powers and goddesses and other dimensions with alien monsters trying to kill us so they can destroy the world. I heard plenty last night.”

Closing his eyes, Clay pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily. Yeah, that was pretty much how it all sounded. Insane and impossible. That was his life now to a T. Opening his eyes again, he stared at Baer. “And you told him all this stone-cold sober?”

Baer’s chest puffed up and he grinned broadly at his friend. “No!”

Clay rolled his eyes.

“I found that cheap bottle of whiskey we lost. I think Jo hid it. But anyway, we killed that bottle, and I explained about the pestilents, Weavers, and the Circle.”

Clay looked over at Grey, waiting for his response on how the hell he took this information while loaded up on cheap whiskey.

“And then he turned into an ostrich,” Grey said in a deadpan voice.

“I was trying for a peacock. Something flashy,” Baer commented in a low voice.

“Broke the coffee table.”

“I panicked!”

“You were drunk!” Clay shouted.

“Birds are hard,” Baer muttered under his breath, his eyes locked on his coffee mug in front of him in a pout.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

Catch up with Jocelyn and Rinda on their website, Facebook, and twitter.

Unconventionally Building THE FAMILY WE MAKE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Dan Wingreen. THE FAMILY WE MAKE features a single dad raising his teen son, and falling hard for the Big Brother he’s connected to help his kid make friends.

About the book:
Spencer Kent gave up on love a long time ago. As a twenty-eight-year-old single father with a fourteen-year-old son, Connor, he knows his appeal to the average gay man is limited, and when you factor in his low self-esteem and tendencies towards rudeness and sarcasm, it might as well be nonexistent. But that’s okay. A man is the last thing Spencer needs or wants.

Tim Ellis’s life is falling apart around him. After four years of hard work at college, he finds himself blacklisted from the career of his dreams by the professor he refused to sleep with and abandoned by the boyfriend he thought he was going to marry. Even though he was lucky enough to land a job at a bakery, he still feels like a failure.

Tim and Spencer’s first meeting is filled with turbulent misunderstanding, but Tim makes a connection with Connor through a Big Brother/Big Sister program, and both men put aside their mutual dislike for his sake. By letting go, they may help each other find their way into a life they never could have imagined.

Warning: References to attempted sexual coercion by a male professor towards a male college student, references to a female high school teacher having sexual relations with unnamed underage male students.

My Review:
Spencer Kent is a 28 year old father to his mini-me, Connor, who is 14. Yep, teen dad was trying prove something when he got a girl prego in 8th grade. Heterosexuality didn’t take, however, and Spencer has long since given up on finding a man who will actually want to be with him and his son. He only dated two guys in college, and that was a long time ago. Thankfully, Spencer’s parents were totally supportive, helping to raise Connor so Spencer could complete high school and college. Connor is as gangly and awkward as his father was in his teens. He’s also got big abandonment issues because he never knew his mother and his dad was away at college for a couple of years–until his parents moved house from New York to Ohio so that Spencer could live with his son and commute for his schooling.

Spencer and Connor now live in Chicago, in a house Gram and Gramps bought, where Spencer is a literature teacher–one of those cringe-y mean ones, in fact. He’s a lot of bluster and fuss, forcing young minds into actual introspection and critical thinking and learning. So, there’s that. Connor is a freshman at Spencer’s school, yet, somehow no one knows this. Connor is even placed into Spencer’s literature class, which Spencer likes because he wants to keep a close eye on his son. And, what he notices–beyond the bullies Connor refuses to report–is that Connor has no friends. Not one. And this distresses Spencer on an acute level. His good friend Cass, a fellow teacher, urges Spencer to take Connor to a nearby Big Brother-type organization run by her ex-husband. There, Cass states, Connor can meet a college-aged volunteer who will befriend him and help him gain social and emotional skills to be successful.

Tim Ellis thought he’d be pursuing his doctorate in child psychology this fall, and planning his wedding, too. Unfortunately, one of his professors refused to recommend him to a program without sexual favors in exchange, and Tim is convinced his refusal has him blacklisted. Then, his crappy boyfriend got mad that he wasn’t going to grad school and left him, taking his kinda-fake friends in the bargain. Working as a baker, Tim is feeling really low in terms of self-esteem and joins a volunteer organization to work with children who could use a positive influence in their lives. He’s used to working with younger kids, but the director says their program mainly caters to teens. His first two mentees are not a good fit, and he’s afraid the director will bounce him out if he doesn’t connect to candidate number three.

Tim is wary when he meets both Connor and his dad Spencer for the first time; most kids arrive at the youth center without their parents. He’s panicked when Spencer’s acidic questions impugn him as a possible child molester. It’s a bad scene and only Connor’s near-terminal embarrassment at his father’s behavior squelches the ugly interaction. Tim realizes Spencer’s over-protectiveness is a product of his deep love for Connor, which is a boon. And, he and Connor do hit it off when on their own. Their friendship is beneficial for Connor and Tim, and Spencer sees a positive change in Connor, so he’s happy. He’s also lonely, as I mentioned before. So, when he and Tim encounter each other in a grocery, he’s willing to let Tim help him out with food on the high shelf and maybe meal suggestions.

So, Spencer and Tim develop a bit of a friendship too, and Tim becomes a regular member in the Kent home. Their increased familiarity feeds a mutual attraction that neither man thought was viable. And, when physical affection becomes the next step, they each need to figure out if this is a relationship that can grow in their lives. Tim was gun-shy about finding a new guy, and Spencer never thought a guy would find him attractive–especially a young, fit guy like Tim.

This is a sweet, slow-burn of a romance for an insecure dad and an insecure college grad. The characters have enough backstory and issues to read like real people. Connor’s challenges with anxiety and shyness are genuinely helped by his friendship with Tim, and his growth supports the emotional growth of both Tim and Spencer. There are diverting side stories that keep the story widening out so it’s not just connection and consummation. Political games in Spencer’s school, the issue with ongoing bullying, and the seemingly aimless direction of Tim’s life all bring texture and context to the story. I liked Tim more than Spencer, mainly because Tim is a likeable guy. Spencer is lovable, but one needs to crack beneath his sarcastic shell and see the vulnerability within. Tim is successful at this because of his deep bond with Connor. A bond that doesn’t break once Connor learns that Tim and his dad are in a romantic tangle. Connor is a great kid, and I was glad to see him catch some breaks in the end.

If you like romances where the curmudeon turns into a marshmallow with the help of the right lover, and positive father-son relationship stories, you’ll probably dig this one.

Interested? You can find THE FAMILY WE MAKE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

About the Author:
Dan lives in Ohio (as people do) with his husband and the most adorable little rescue dog ever. His three favorite things are The Empire Strikes Back, winter, and RPGs. His least favorite thing is pizza. Since the age of twelve, it’s been his dream to write something good enough to get published and, after over a decade of unforgivable procrastination, he actually managed to get it done. Thankfully, what he finally ended up writing turned out much better than the Spider-Man and Eminem fan fiction he wrote in sixth grade. His new dream, which will hopefully take less time to achieve, is to own two Netherland Dwarf bunnies named Bunnedict Thumperbatch and Attila the Bun.

You can find Dan on Twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Not So SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a contemporary M/M erotic romance from Ryan Field. SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO is a gay erotic love story LOOSELY based on Sleepless in Seattle. You know I liked PRETTY MAN, and this installment of gay erotica was definitely fun to read.

About the book:
It is hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since the classic romance Sleepless in Seattle warmed the hearts of theatergoers. Best-selling M/M author Ryan Fields, gives us his unique reinterpretation of this classic theme with Sleepless in San Francisco.

When young Noah Richardson sends an email to the producers of the home renovation show Dream Away, he has no idea that the host of the show, Jonathan Haynes, will be intrigued and touched by his sad story. Noah, his recently-widowed father, and their black lab, Tucker, have relocated to San Francisco to start a fresh new life and heal their wounds. And their new house is in dire need of renovation.

Jonathan Haynes is desperate to find an interesting house to film for the show. So he gets on a plane and flies to San Francisco the day after he reads Noah’s email. But Jonathan soon finds out that Noah’s father, Ed doesn’t know about Noah’s email and he has to convince him to do the show. The fact that Ed and Jonathan wind up on the living room floor having passionate sex during their first meeting doesn’t help.

Ed finally agrees to do the show. By the time construction begins, Ed and Jonathan can’t get enough of each other. They start having secret encounters to satisfy their desires, never realizing they are building a solid relationship at the same time.

Then a series of events takes control of their lives and changes them all forever. Ed’s not sure what to do. He’s in love with Jonathan, and he can’t get enough of Jonathan’s body. But he feels guilty about starting a new relationship with anyone. So he wrestles with the conflict and begs for a sign to help him decide what to do, which leads to a surprise ending that none of them could have predicted.

My Review:
This gay erotic romance is loosely based on Sleepless in Seattle.

Ed Richardson and his 10 year old son Noah have spent a year mourning the loss of Jake, Ed’s husband and Noah’s other dad, who was killed in a car accident. Ed can’t sleep in their NYC home any longer and he hopes a big change of scenery will help his insomnia and bring a fresh start. So, he buys a real fixer-upper in San Francisco and relocates their small family, but his insomnia persists and Noah is worried. Noah sends an email to the producers of Dream House, a DIY house-fixing show, to get help for his dad.

Jonathan Hughes is the face/star of Dream House and he’s intrigued by Noah’s letter. He’s been looking for the next house renovation to film for his new season and this one sounds far more promising than his other leads. Jonathan has a boyfriend, Mike, a wealthy publicity manager with whom he is not especially suited. Mike’s left for a 6-month stint in London, and Jonathan gets him to agree to being open–because Jonathan is so unsatisfied with their sex life and really thinks Mike will find someone else while abroad. Jonathan is stunned to find that Ed Richardson is 100% what turns him on, and their first meeting ends up in sex that rocks Jonathan world–and sends him abruptly out on his ear.

Their working “relationship” is initially strained, because Ed’s a bit of a jerk when it comes to Jonathan. They share a deep attraction and the sex is smoking hot, but Ed’s guilty over taking a sex partner–even as no-strings as Jonathan is being–while still mired in his grief. And, he doesn’t want Noah to get attached, although there is enough contact between Noah, Jonathan and Ed’s best friend to make for a solid bond. It’s all too scary for Ed, however, and he routinely shoves Jonathan to the side, shagging him mad, but offering no emotional support. Jonathan continues to stick up for himself, and then accept Ed’s advances–until we get the biggest kerfuffle.

This is an erotic retelling of a popular het romance, so it’s not rife with “feels and jitters” It’s packed with sex, and includes a bit of cheating, references to multi-partner play, sneaking around, and barebacking after testing. Ed and Jonathan are a sloppy pair who fit just right. Ed’s emotional situation could be best described as “hot mess with a side of grief” and he’s guilty and angry and jealous by turns. In the end, Jonathan does patch the hole in this family in a good way, and they do end up having an HEA. The side characters were fun and mainly added to the story. I get that Mike was a parallel to “Walter” from the Seattle story, but we likely could have done without him entirely.

If you are a fan of gay-takes on popular culture romances, and erotic stories that are really a lot of sex and a little light of plot, this could be a title for you.

Interested? You can find SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRNCISCO on Goodreads, Riverdale Avenue Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

About the Author:
Ryan Field is a hybrid author of over 100 published modern romance novels and stories, including AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN, FANGSTERS, THE RAINBOW DETECTIVE AGENCY and best selling VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE SERIES. RfieldJ@aol.com

You can find Ryan on his website, Twitter, or Facebook Author Page.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Submitting For Real DRIVE–Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M New Adult coming out romance from Courtney Maguire. DRIVE features a young mechanic in East Texas fighting to raise his sister and make ends meet. Help seems to come from from unexpected allies. It’s a pseudo single-dad story, and I really liked it.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
In the conservative East Texas town of Black Creek, you’re either old money or you work for them. Redmond Cole is the latter. The long hours he spends fixing fancy cars in the local garage are barely enough to support himself, let alone his sixteen-year-old half-sister, Katie. All he wants is a better life for the both of them, one that’s easy and real, but he has a secret. One that could blow up the meager existence he’s worked so hard to maintain.

Red is gay.

He doesn’t want to lie, especially to Katie, but Black Creek isn’t the most hospitable environment to those who are different. His secrets keep them safe. He’s all but resigned to a life in the closet until he’s propositioned by the dashing, wealthy Victor Itachi. What follows is a secret and intense sexual relationship that challenges everything Red believes about himself. But when Victor’s craving for dominance starts to affect his submissive partner’s real-life relationships, Red must decide what’s more important: his power or his secrets.

How about a little taste?

Under the hood of a car, everything makes sense. Gears and wires. Oil and grease. All the parts fit together and just work. Each piece has its own function, a logic. Completely predictable even when damaged. Won’t turn over? Check the battery, the wiring, the alternator. Find the broken piece and the whole thing comes alive again, purring and growling and shrugging itself back into action.

I pulled my head out of the engine compartment of a Nissan Altima and flexed my back with a satisfying crack. The owner brought it in complaining of overheating. The repair was a simple one. Just a few hoses needed replacing. I wiped my grease-coated hands and folded my tall frame into the driver’s seat. I flicked the key, and the engine turned over easily. I tapped the accelerator and the temperature needle climbed before stopping at normal. I smiled and gave the dash an affectionate pat.

“Good girl.”

“Red!” I jumped at a sharp voice from inside the shop. I shut off the Nissan and stepped out to find my boss, Bo, poking his square head into the garage, gesturing for me to join him. Visible through a bank of windows behind him stood a neatly dressed man with long, ink-black hair and a troubled expression. I’d seen him before. Many times, in fact. He drove a silver BMW 5 series sedan, a fine machine and well-suited to a man like him, and he brought it in monthly for regular maintenance.

I always noticed. Not only the car, but the man. How the air changed with his appearance. How, like now, the gears in my head locked up and stopped moving, and all I could do was stare, mesmerized by the flow of his hair around his shoulders, the bow of his lips, his olive skin. He was nothing like the rednecks here in Black Creek. I struggled for a word to describe him. Pretty was what he was. Not in a feminine sense. More in the way you think of a Ferrari 458 as pretty. Sleek and stylish with a touch of ferocity lurking just beneath the shiny topcoat.

“Redmond!”

I jumped again, my eyes jerking back to Bo’s irritated face.

“What the hell are you doing? Get in here!”

Face hot, I slammed the car door behind me. I straightened my collar, immediately feeling ridiculous for doing so, and made my way into the shop.

“Mister Itachi,” he announced as I stepped through the door, “this is Redmond Cole. He’s our finest mechanic. I can assure you he’ll have you fixed up in no time.”

I nodded without raising my eyes, dirty hands shoved in my pockets. Mr. Itachi. Victor. I knew his name already, had seen it on intake forms and receipts, but unlike the other countless names I encountered daily this one stuck. He shifted nervously, his shiny leather shoes scraping across the shop floor. I lifted my eyes just enough to see his lips curl downward and lowered my head to hide my flush.

“I have a very important meeting in Longview, tomorrow,” he said, each word crisp and carefully formed. “It is absolutely imperative it’s ready by first thing in the morning.”

“Yessir.” My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, making the words thick.

“Trust me,” Bo assured him, slapping me roughly on the back with a meaty hand. “He’ll have it ready if he has to work all night.”

I frowned and swallowed hard as he gave my shoulder a tight, warning squeeze.

Mr. Itachi clenched and unclenched his hands at his waist, and he released a long sigh. “I guess I’ll leave it to you then.”

My tongue frozen in place, I nodded again. Bo released his grip on my shoulder and ushered the gentleman out in a fog of reassurances, each one laced with a subtle threat pointed at me.

Heart pounding, palms sweating, I retreated into the garage. I leaned heavily against the Nissan I’d just been working on. My coworker, Lawrence, squinted at me from underneath a Mazda 3, and I pulled myself up straight.

Goddammit, Red, get a hold of yourself.

“What is it with that guy?” he said in his three-pack-a-day voice, jabbing his wrench toward the windows.

My stomach clenched. “What do you mean?”

“Bo can’t seem to jump high enough when he comes around.”

I released a nervous laugh and shrugged. “Money talks, I guess.”

Lawrence snorted, disappearing back under the Mazda. Here in Black Creek, there were two classes of people: the obscenely wealthy and everyone else barely scraping by. Like every other East Texas town, we were founded on lumber and natural gas. Those who got in early prospered. Those who didn’t worked for them. Generations of people whose fate was determined by the luck of their great-great-grandfathers, though something told me Mr. Itachi’s story was different. The silver BMW pulled into the bay next to me, and I peered at it over the Nissan’s roof.

“What’s wrong with you?” I whispered to myself.

My Review:
Red Cole is a 25 y/o closeted single gay man living in a conservative East Texas small town. He’s working as a mechanic, barely making ends meet as he raises his 16 y/o half-sister Katie; she a bit of a troublemaker, and ran to Red when escaping from their abusive father three years ago.

Red does a great job fixing a custom Beemer for wealthy lawyer Victor Itachi, and hesitantly accepts Victor’s invitation for a drink. It’s a big step for Red, even if it’s not a date. It’s weird that Victor can see through Red’s het facade, and even more weird that he’s inviting Red to some debauched playhouse for discreet “like-minded” folk. Red refuses, but his curiosity is piqued.

A few days later, Red is calling Victor for more information. And, the playhouse is a trip. What Victor likes is a D/s variation based on pet play. He wants a pet to take care of, in the playhouse and in real life. Red is ashamed at how turned on he is by submission. It must say something crappy about his masculinity–like his worthless father always said.

Red has also semi-befriended an out gay man called Sean, who is the town pariah. He was shipped off to schooling in Austin by his bigoted father and only returned to town when his dad died a couple of years ago. And, he desperately needs a friend. They meet because Sean’s car has been vandalized with paint by a homophobe, and Red agrees to dab off as much paint as he can–even after his homophobic boss tries to deny the business. When Sean’s mother dies, Red is as big a comfort as he can manage, while still firmly lodged within the closet.

But in the playhouse with Victor, Red is quickly growing accustomed to Victor’s Dominant play, he’s even jealous that Victor’s other pet, Toby, gets to spend time with his Master. It’s a really confusing time, emotionally, for Red, as Victor does more and more caretaking outside of the playhouse. And, the more time that Red spends with Sean, the more he thinks maybe coming out is the best option after all.

This is an interesting story with a few bigger twists that kept the story moving. Red’s relationships with Katie and Sean are safe, because neither knows of Red’s gay secret. He’s able to grow a bit with his playtime with Victor, and see that he needs more than just to “heel” when his phone begins to bark. The D/s is a curveball, with unexpected struggles–Red hasn’t had to fight to keep a man to himself before–not that he’s ever wanted to. And, the power plays with Victor and Toby have real life ramifications–as Red learns when Toby shows up at his job. This is all overlayed by the toxic masculinity mindset that permeates this Texas town–and creates a sanctimonious backdrop that allows aggressive homophobia to flourish. Red’s “upstanding” boss isn’t too “upstanding” to gouge Sean for the work Red mostly did on his lunch breaks. And, he’s clearly perturbed that Red would even do such work where his “upstanding” customers could witness it. Victor’s unwilling to have any physical contact with Red that isn’t locked behind playhouse doors or half a state away in his Galveston beach house.

But, Red’s new experiences teach him what’s most important. Sure, he can be Victor’s pet, but is that a way to live? Toby’s example was a big wake-up call, I think. Red needs to stand up for himself, take care of his sister (even when she makes life so difficult) and find the courage to live his life with a lover that finds him worthy. Thankfully, he does this before the books ends. There are a few scenes of D/s play, but I wouldn’t call them especially romantic. Victor and Red take some time away, and this brings the first real intimacy of the story–it is also near the end…and serves as a stark counterpoint to how different a loving relationship would look, by comparison.

The climax brings the disparate parts of Red’s life into close proximity. The fallout is a bit explosive, but it provides the proper reorientation for Red to get his life ordered. The ending is a strong Happy for Now, with definite glints of an HEA. I really liked the layers of character and plot, which had many points of resonance. I’d be eager to read on, and see what happens with Red, and even Victor and Toby.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas. Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country. Her first novel, Wounded Martyr, is a 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short Category.

You can catch up with Courtney on her website, Facebook, twitter and Instagram.