Finally LIVING ON THE INSIDE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Londra Laine. LIVING ON THE INSIDE pairs two young-ish men who’ve had pretty intense lives, to-date. Micah is an ex-con trying to turn his life around and re-establish a relationship with his teen son, while Adrien is fighting inner demons of inadequacy after surviving an abusive relationship. Can they find the trust to make it work?

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the $25 GC giveaway!
About the Book:
Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.

Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.

After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.

***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***

How about a little taste?

“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”

“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.”

Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.

Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.

Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.

The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.

Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.

“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.

Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.

Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.

Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.

Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.

“Micah, about what just happened—”

“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.

Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.

“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.

My Review:
Micah is nearly thirty and recently released from prison for drug offenses. He’s moved into his ex’s guesthouse so he can be close to their son, Caleb. Micah had gotten his childhood best friend, Rhina, pregnant when they were in high school, but he realized in prison that he’s really gay–not that he’s “out” about that. Right now he only wants a job so he can pay his way and maybe contribute child support. Rhina wants him to find true happiness, and is an awesome mom and support to Micah, but he’s been looking for a job nearly three weeks now, and his spirits are low.

Adrien is an out gay black man in his late twenties, but he’s owned his own coffee shop for five years. A year ago his abusive ex was killed in a car wreck, and Adrien isn’t sad. They’d been engaged for a year that had turned hellish by the end. Not a small man, Adrien is ashamed that he let his lover physically and emotionally abuse him–and his family’s criticisms cement Adrien’s low self-esteem where his personal decisions are concerned. Still, Adrien’s dad struggled to land a job when he was released from prison back when Adrien was a teen, and he sees the same hunger in Micah, so he offers him a job. It doesn’t hurt that Micah is gorgeous and seems to play for his team. But, Adrien has dated employees before an it always went bad–so this time he’s absolutely, positively not going to fall for the tall, sexy, broken man who works extra hard and desperately wants to be a hero to his son.

Okay, this is a little bit of a slow-ish burn. The pacing is good, and we see how Adrien and Micah both grow into a friendship with deep attraction as Adrien trains Micah to be a stellar barista over the course of a couple of months. Their attraction simmers, but both men set it aside for weeks on end because of their own insecurities. Adrien helps counsel Micah about how to deal with Caleb, and their relationship begins to grow from bratty teen pissing on his loser dad to a bit more of a closeness. The joy Micah exudes is catnip to lonely Adrien, and they start having movie nights–for company–about this time. Their mutual isolation leads to some explorations, and a quiet companionship. But they are still both wary, and Adrien’s family is concerned about him falling for the wrong guy again. Moving into the holiday season, they decide to go public with what seems to be a growing romance, but there’s more complications when the families get involved.

I really loved the tenderness and tentative nature of this romance. Each man has deep scars, and they are willing to take it very slow so they don’t mess up what’s good in their lives. Micah’s family are estranged–but had been most of his life. He was a late-in-life child and pretty much left to fend for himself. He desperately wants to be on the inside of a family–and Adrien is the first person who makes him feel important and needed. But it’s strained by keeping their relationship secret–and Micah must decide if he’s willing to potentially upset Rhina and Caleb by coming out. Adrien’s been in survival mode, until he and Micah connect–and though his family sees the good changes, they are still concerned. There were suspicions that he had been abused by his ex, but Adrien kept it all inside and the super-protective natures of his family are engaged. This leads to some tough confrontations, and a bit of heartbreak. I liked how they worked this out–and how the support of their families was pivotal to their reconciliation and eventual happiness. It’s a happy ending, and there are some yummy sexytimes to enjoy in their journey.

Interested? You can find LIVING ON THE INSIDE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano. In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.

Catch up with Londra on her Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Queer Romance Ink.

Happy Book Birthday WELL-TAILORED Book Blast and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a new contemporary M/M romance from Silvia Violet. WELL-TAILORED is a spin-off from her Thorne and Dash series, but easily enjoyed on its own. Having read all three Thorne & Dash novels, I’m really looking forward to diving into this one!

I’ll be sharing my review in a couple weeks, but you can get in on the release week giveaway below.

About the book:
Marc longs for a grand romance, but he doubts he’ll ever be that lucky. Then he meets Darius, an arrogant tailor who pushes all his buttons. When Darius offers him a job, Marc hesitates—he needs a direction for the future, not another man who doesn’t believe in relationships.

Darius lives by a few unbreakable rules: never sleep with employees, fashion should be simple, and romance is for fools. Marc, with his shimmery-sweaters collection, makes him want to break every single one.

They quickly give in to desire, but Darius wants to protect himself and Marc refuses to repeat past mistakes. It’s only when they let go of assumptions, that love has a chance to take hold.

Well-Tailored is a companion novel to the Thorne and Dash series. It can be read as a standalone.

Interested? You can find WELL-TAILORED on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of three audiobooks of PROFESSIONAL DISTANCE or PERSONAL ENTANGLEMENT.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Catch up with Sylvia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or sign up for her Newsletter.
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Building a Love Within the HIPSTER BROTHEL–Review and Giveaway!

hp-blitzbannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a sexy new M/M romance out today from the writing team of KA Merikan. HIPSTER BROTHEL is a sweet and tender friends-to-lovers romance that struck me straight to the heart.

Catch my review below, and get in on the book giveaway, too!

hipsterbrothel-f_600x900About the book:
— The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent. —
Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic would happen. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.
WARNING: Explicit content, strong language. A shameless amount of buzzwords. May cause second-hand embarrassment.

My Review:

Jo Lau has crushed on his gay best friend, Mr. B, since the day they met at the Crossfit gym four years ago. B was living with his boyfriend and boss, Mr. A, until this day–when B called Jo over to his soon-to-be-renovated boxcar home on the edge of his brother’s farm to commiserate. Jo’s been all-fired mad at Mr. A for the past year, when he convinced B to “open” their relationship. Mr. B’s a one-may-guy, and the distance grew between these long-term lovers until it just couldn’t sustain their relationship any longer. Unsure if now is the time Jo, a bisexual who’s never been with a man before, confesses his deep attraction to Mr. B. he tries to be the bestest of best friends, instead; they get trashed on Mr. B’s homemade moonshine and discuss his next plans.

Wanting to throw off the shackles of commitment, Mr. B proposes a new sexual awakening, and becoming an escort to raise capital for a line of alcohol-infused jams that he and Jo could sell. It’s a terrible idea, Jo thinks, but he doesn’t know how to object without revealing his own interest in Mr. B. Helping B build his escort business is a supreme conflict of interest for Jo, who only wants to cuddle his bestie and build a quiet life together. Jo’s sure he and Mr. B are really compatible, but the idea of coming out is…difficult. He’s known he was bisexual since his teens, yet, having always dated women, he’s afraid to seem as if he was gay, and lying about it. He’s seen how those sort of revelations have upset his friends, and he doesn’t want to do that. Still, he’s unable to completely mask his attraction, and when he makes his move on B, well, it’s hot, but it’s not exactly good.

Mr. B thinks Jo’s just using him as an experiment, and that hurts both of them, because B has had a big crush on Jo, too. He can’t get caught up in the drama of being a straight man’s fling, though. Not if he’s going to remain friends with Jo, or get his escort service off the ground. The closer they get, though, the more Jo doesn’t want B to be anyone else’s sex-lumberjack for hire. He want’s B all to himself. And that leads to both sabotage, and denial–which fractures their friendship and budding romance.

I really loved these guys, and I could see the good in each man. I wanted to hate Mr. A, too, like Jo does, but man, that guy was far better than B or Jo gave him credit for, at the very least. The interracial aspect wasn’t explicitly defined, but I did snicker when Jo’s tipped off by the bartender at the gay bar that he doesn’t want to get scooped by the Asian fetishist in the corner. There was a good bit of discussion regarding Jo’s “exotic look,” but it seemed in context with his austere clothing choices and long black hair worn in a top-knot, not particularly reflecting his Chinese heritage. His mother’s acceptance of Mr. B as a lover to her son was heartening, and funny. For readers fearing the “escort” trope, rest assured that Mr. B and Jo are really all about each other.

This friends-to-lovers romance comes together in sweet and believable ways, and I loved how their close friendship was able to weather the ups-and-downs of the getting together business. Each man had the others’ best interests at heart, I felt, and they were so sad when separated! Lots of whoo boy! sexy moments, and an HEA to last a lifetime.

Interested? You can find HIPSTER BROTHEL on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK)

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Authors:
K.A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Catch up with this duo on their website, Facebook, Twitter (run by Kat), Agnes Merikan’s Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest.

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The Hunt Begins–VESPERS-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic paranormal M/M romance from Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt. VESPERS features a gay vampire monk charged with killing demons and the new blood source that heats his desire.

vespersAbout the book:
Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

My Review:
Sarasija Mishra has no idea what he’s gotten himself into when he blindly accepts a job offer that moves him from Washington to New Orleans. He’s never met the man he’ll be an assistant to, but the pay is substantial and the contract is for a single year. He wants to help pay some of his mother’s bills now that his father recently passed–and he feels a bit inadequate compared with his elder siblings who all went to professional schools, while he screwed around and got a “go nowhere” degree.

Sara’s not so pleased when it turns out his employer lives in a rundown bayou house in the midst of the swamp. And his employer, Mr. Thaddeus Dupont doesn’t want him there. All Sara can think is it’s because Mr. Dupont doesn’t want a gay man living with him, but he soon realizes that Mr. Dupont is a man unlike any he’s met before.

I mean, really, has anyone ever heard of a gay vampire monk?

This book seems like it would be lighthearted, or at least kooky-spooky, but it’s really an awesome paranormal thriller/romance. Thad has devoted his last 85 years to being an agent of death for demons the Catholic church can’t eradicate. He works within a shadowy organization, the White Monks, who kill demons, and he’s their back-up plan when it gets ugly. Thad does this, and maintains his celibacy, in order to redeem his soul. A devout Catholic, Thad wants the chance at an Afterlife, but being so close to Sara is an excruciating temptation. Sara is meant to be his food source. Thad can survive on small droughts of blood, but he only wants female vessels because they don’t arouse him. Plus, Thad’s compulsion powers don’t seem to work very well on Sara. Sara’s invading Thad’s mind, too, which is deeply unsettling.

Thad hasn’t seen so much demon activity…ever, and the called ones are particularly interested in Thad. Why? Who’s calling them, and how does this guy know so much about Thad’s ancient history? The demons strike close to Thad’s core, kidnapping his daytime agent, Nohea, and attacking Sara. Meanwhile, the ghost of Thad’s only lover, Leo, has come a-calling and the message is not good: the person controlling the demon activity wants Thad to turn him into a vampire.

The interplay between Sara and Thad is really a yummy build up of emotional and sexual tension. Sara isn’t best-pleased to learn he signed up to be a year-long feast for Thad, yet he’s paradoxically miffed when Thad won’t drink from him. Is it because he’s a dude? Is it the gay thing? Because Sara finds Thad to be very attractive, and his esteem grows by leaps and bound when he sees Thad in action, fighting and destroying the demons. Soon, he feels honored, not obliged, to offer himself for Thad’s use–and that doesn’t just mean as a blood snack. Thad’s inner reserve is great, but he cannot resist beautiful, sultry Sara for too long. He also can’t help feeling guilty afterward.

I loved the intertwining of religion here, because Sara is a nominal Hindu. He didn’t really practice the religion, but he knows some of the ancient tales, and begins a little bit of practice as a center for his own concept of soul–following Thad’s example. It was cool how this came to be important at the climax, and I really enjoyed the inter-racial and interfaith aspects of the book.

It’s a little different take on the vampire mythos, but a nice change for the paranormal fan. There’s more action than romance, but the tension is great, the plot quickly-paced and the hope that Thad and Sara can make something beautiful come from their odd-couple connection is also high. There are also elements of humor that are totally fun. Sara’s a dead-pan kinda guy, and Thad hasn’t had so much leavity in his life in a long, long time. I really loved how determined Thad was to keep human fatalities to a minimum, and how reverent he felt about Sara. He’s a good man who got caught in a bad way. What was also sweet was the position the White Monks took to the advent of Sara, and Thad breaking his celibacy vow. The story ends, but the series has just begun. Very excited to follow along!

Interested? You can find VESPERS on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Authors:

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

You can find Irene on her website and twitter.

About Liv Rancourt…

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog Liv Rancourt, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Come find me. We’ll have fun!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Rebuilding UNTIL SEPTEMBER–A Review

Hi there! I’m really excited to share a review for this contemporary M/M romance from Chris Scully. First, UNTIL SEPTEMBER is an enemies-to-lovers romance, which I found very intriguing. But MORE IMPORTANTLY, this book has some excellent diversity with characters who are First Nations Cree growing up in a racially-charged area, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I felt it was a brave choice that gave voice to a culture through the character’s eyes.

Until SeptemberAbout the book:

As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.

My Review:

I want to state right up front, that I applaud the author for being sensitive to First Nations culture and writing a Cree MC who has survived the racism and disadvantage of Native life in a real and approachable manner.

Archer Noble (once Archie Noblesse) survived life as the eldest child of a drug-addicted Cree prostitute, and that included several years of sexual abuse from an uncle. He battled his way out, scraping money through theft and turning tricks until he could get legitimate employment and put his younger half-sister through college. Marguerite married and had two children before her husband died of cancer, and when the book opens Archer–now a vocal opponent against the heteronormatism of homosexuals–writes and speaks out against the need/right for same-sex parenting. His official stance is that love doesn’t exist, that gay folk shouldn’t bother with monogamy, settling down, or raising kids. They ought to enjoy their lives hedonistically with out the shackles of society, like marriage, weighing them down.

And then…the phone rings and he learns that Marguerite is dead, and he’s the guardian of his nephew and niece-Dillon and Emma-two kids he’s barely met. Marguerite also named her good friend, Ryan, as a stand-by guardian. When Archer arrives at Marguerite’s he’s overwhelmed and eager to pass the kids to Ryan, even if Ryan is just 25 y/o and gayer than gay. A total twink, and not the kind of gay man Archer either fancies or respects. Ryan is the “picket fence” guy that wants a solid stable partnership, and kids, and everything Archer detests. So, why not give him Margie’s kids?

Ryan won’t accept that, however. He knew Marguerite had a plan putting Archie in charge, and he’s determined not to let Archie run off without a second glance. Ryan takes a hard-line stance, saying that he won’t accept guardianship–even as it breaks his heart–but he will stay with Archer and the kids through the summer while school’s out. During that time, Archer’s supposed to be getting all the legalities in place to assume full guardianship.

Archer’s not a nice guy. He’s a cynical and jaded man who has scraped and scraped and learned to game the system wherever possible in order to survive. He’s not proud of himself, and he’s ashamed of his Cree heritage, which forever marked him as lesser in Manitoba where he grew up. He has no illusions of the past, and is sure his mother died alone, one of the many anonymous Native homicides that went unsolved at the time. Over their summer together, seeing Ryan’s compassion, and Dillon and Emma’s reaction to Ryan, is a watershed experience for Archer. He has no doubt that Ryan–a clearly gay man–is a fabulous parent. And, that he could never live up to Ryan’s example.

Still, there’s a romance building. Archer’s rather adept at the Grindr. And he’s got few scruples regarding hook-ups. He knew, as a Native, that addiction was one issue he’d face. As he didn’t want to die young–like all his family–he chooses sex as his outlet for all frustration, rage or disappointment. Ryan puts his foot down regarding “guests” in the house. Ryan is attracted to Archer physically, and he’s growing to love the man who is learning to raise Dillon and Emma, even if he doesn’t like Archer’s political activist viewpoints. He suspects he’s not Archer’s type but all the close quarters makes for tight connections. And Archer’s narrow-minded view of caregiving and who should provide it is blown wide open. He observes Ryan, the patient, self-sacrificing man who’s getting over his dream to marry his college sweetheart cheer on Dillon and Emma. Ryan’s clearly still nursing a broken heart over the man who used him for a doormat, and Archer’s shamed for having contemplated doing the same.

This is a slow burn, though Archer is definitely, and inexplicably, attracted to Ryan. He’s drawn to his kindness and selflessness–and grateful that Dillon and Emma have someone so wonderful helping them through their grief. Through the days and weeks Archer becomes more comfortable in his role as guardian, and he’s got some very tough choices to make regarding his career and his parenting. Ryan’s summer comes to an end, and while he’d love to stay with Archer and Dillon and Emma, he realizes that he deserves more of a relationship than “the manny” role he assumed at Marguerite’s death. It’s a bittersweet moment, but it’s not the end. Both Ryan and Archer have to make some compromises to their life plans, now. And those compromises work. The book is an HEA, but I will warn readers it’s very low steam. Also, expect some unintentional cockblocking by grieving kids who need drinks in the night.

I loved the tenderness. I loved the ethnicity and inclusion. I loved the enemies to lovers premise that I felt was really well-written and balanced. I liked the progressive growth of the dynamic between Ryan and Archer. Ryan is a gem, and Archer was a fool to let him walk away–but not nearly as big a fool as Ryan’s ex, who let him get away twice.  I wished for more steam, and some sexytimes that happened on the page, not just the “aborted” trysts. That said, this is a tender family drama with a stellar interracial romance.

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

About the Author:

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.

Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.

Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers. You can find Chris on her website and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!