Being True to LOVE YOU SO MADLY–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. LOVE YOU SO MADLY is the second book in her Love You So series and features a successful business man who unexpectedly falls for the office handy-man. I’ve really loved a bunch of Ms. Lain’s odd-couple romances including VOLLEY BALLS, BEAUTY INC and THE LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS to name a few.

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway!
About the book:
Ben Shane has it all… and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a twenty-three-year-old—no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive—the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus? He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work.

After all, Ben’s perfect… and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only madly in love.

How about a little taste?

In the car Dusty said, “Can we listen to that nice music again?”

He’d noticed. “Sure.” Ben flipped on the Chopin.

For a few minutes, they rode in music. Ben cleared his throat. “Dusty, do you mind if I ask how old you are?”

“Oh sure. I’m twenty-three. How old are you?”

Ben almost laughed. As an executive in a top firm, nobody ever asked him that. But turnabout was fair. “I’m twenty-nine.”

“Wow. You’ve done a lot in your life.”

“Thank you.” Ben glanced at Dusty.

“I haven’t been able to do so much, but I’m working at it.”

“That’s what counts. Keep moving toward your dreams.”

“I like that idea a lot.” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

“So your dad doesn’t live at home?”

“No. Never has. My mom’s taken good care of me, though.”

“Has she always been a nurse?”

“No. She had to work so hard. She was only sixteen when she had me, but she never gave me up, no matter what anyone said.” He took a deep breath and let it out in a long exhale. “And no matter how hard it was.”

“She sounds amazing.”

“She is.” He looked out the window. “It’s hard for her to, you know, let me do stuff, but she’s the best mom.”

“So you’re not married?” Ben chuckled.

Dusty mirrored the chuckle. “Not yet.”

“Have a girlfriend?” Oh, very subtle, Shane.

“No.”

“Not yet, huh.”

“Not ever. I’m gay. But I don’t have a boyfriend yet. I’d like to, though.”

Well, okay. Ben swallowed. “You would?”

“Sure, wouldn’t you?”

“I’m, uh, engaged.” Shit. Shit. Shit. When did I decide to become Mr. Purveyor of Truth?

The passenger seat became deeply silent.

Ben glanced over. Dusty’s eyes were closed, and he seemed to be breathing deeply.

“You okay?”

“What?” His eyes fluttered open.

“Sorry. Just asking how you’re doing?”

“Good, thanks. Just drop me on the curb over there.” He pointed to one of the entrances to Orange Coast College.

“How will you get back to my place?”

“Bus.” He smiled, but his glance scampered all over the place as he opened the door. “Have a great day.”

Ben couldn’t stop. He put a hand on Dusty’s arm—his sinewy, muscled, hot-as-fuck arm. “Dusty, what’s wrong? Come on, tell me.”

“Nothing, honest. Just sometimes it’s hard not to wish I was somebody else.”

My Review:
While this is the second book in a series, it’s easily enjoyed on it’s own.

Ben Shane is a 29 year-old manager of a foundation that oversees corporate donations. He matches donors with worthy causes that align with the person’s, or corporation’s, missions-slash-beliefs. Philanthropy is a huge part of Ben’s mindset, and it’s partly why he’s struggling with his new fiance, Alan Ashland–sole heir to the Ashland fortune. See, Alan can’t wait until they get married and spend weeks on end traveling for their honeymoon. While Alan seems to have a deep affection for Ben, he also wants a trophy husband who will make all his society dinners and be able to jet-off…whenever for whatever. There’s a lot of tension there, and also over BEn’s unwillingness to sell his cottage in Laguna that’s currently being re-habbed.

Ben has mixed feelings about his life plans, and it doesn’t help that he’s more than a little intrigued by Dusty, the genial, hard-working IT-fixer and general handyman in Ben’s office. Dusty is 23, yet he lives at home with his overprotective mother, can’t drive or drink alcohol. He’s fastidious about his diet, and he’s eager to help Ben out–in whatever capacity Ben needs. Dusty fair swoons for the man, and is deeply disappointed to learn Ben’s engaged. Still, Dusty accepts the offer of a part-time job managing the construction project at Ben’s home, and that’s where things get messy.

Having Dusty in Ben’s home really crosses their wires. The pressure between Ben and Alan has reached crucial levels, and the simplicity of hanging around with Dusty makes it plain that he’s not happy in his relationship. The chemistry is fantastic, but Dusty’s big medical secret is a barrier–perhaps. I liked how the reveal was made, with Dusty and Ben finding more than common ground in ways neither expected. It was intriguing how Dusty’s welfare dove-tailed with BEn’s business plans, and also helped connect these two when it seemed unlikely they would find happiness together. Dusty is a sweet guy, and Ben is in the middle of a personal crisis. Some readers might not like how Ben isn’t exactly honest about his feelings, but the timeframe seemed to allow the flexibility for Ben to recognize that Dusty was the man for him, even as he needed to carefully disentangle himself from Alan.

The happy ending came in a way that Dusty could hardly believe, but felt right for the story. I liked the plan to work with Dusty’s medical situation, and also how he was much more than his disease. If you didn’t read the dedication, well, you wouldn’t know what was going on with him until Ben was half-way in love. For me, that’s important, and I liked how the character was a person who managed his life, not one who was controlled by his medical issues/history. There are some fun side characters here, including a raucous, wealthy woman whose down-home wisdom helped Ben with his life-changing decisions. Also, cameos from the MCs of the first book in this series will likely please readers. There isn’t a lot of steam, but the feels are right out on the page.

Interested? You can find LOVE YOU SO MADLY on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.

She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara on her website, blog, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

POUNDING SKIN–A Military Monday Review!

Hi there! Sorry for the radio silence, I was in Virginia Beach through Monday afternoon and didn’t have a chance to post until we completed an overnight drive home, and I managed to get some sleep! So “Military Monday” is happening on Wednesday… Today I’m sharing a review for another M/M military romance from L.A. Witt. POUNDING SKIN is the second book in her Skin Deep series, that feature sexy Navy men, and tattoo artists! It’s on a different coast than her Anchor Point series, set in Virginia Beach, where I spent many a Memorial Day weekend, y’all! I’ve loved other Navy romances from LA WITT, including  JUST DRIVE and most recently WASH OUT, so I wanted to jump into this new series.

About the book:
Fighter pilot Jon Russell never sleeps with the same man twice. Known for his lack of shame when it comes to hooking up, Jon has no interest in commitment—even friends with benefits sounds like too much work.

Matt Huffman has slept with lots of women. He’s had loads of girlfriends. So why does the hot as hell pilot getting a tattoo as the result of a lost bet stop his breath? And how come he can’t stop thinking about him, even after he’s gone?

When Jon returns to Skin Deep the second time, he doesn’t want another tattoo. He wants to hook up with the gorgeous artist he spent hours agonizingly close to, and Matt wants to explore some curiosity about men. Fulfill the desire he can’t stop fantasizing over. And he wants to do it with Jon.

As their casual hook up becomes more than just skin deep, both Matt and Jon are faced with questions they don’t want to answer. Matt understands he’s bi—but are these feelings he has typical of hooking up with a man? Or is it only Jon that can make his heart pound? If Jon wanted nothing more than a fling, why does he find himself needing not just Matt’s body, but all of him? And can their relationship withstand the hardships that makes Jon avoid them in the first place?

My Review:
Navy fighter pilot Jon Russell loses a bet with his squadron mates that forces him to get a tattoo–despite Jon’s intense fear of needles. The artist that he seeks out, Matt Huffman, is nearly down-and-out with too many bills and too little cash, but he’s compassionate and curious. Bi-curious, that is. It seems that some of Matt’s recent experiences have highlighted how attracted he may subconsciously be to men. But, there’s no escaping the fact that he’s aroused by the terrified Navy pilot under his tattoo gun.

Jon’s always ready for a hook-up, but nothing more. And, he’s not sure why he’s so inexplicably attached to Matt–especially so when Matt admits he wants some sexual experiences with an experienced man. Jon’s all to happy to volunteer his sexpertise, and they build a friendship that includes smoking hot sex whenever they can manage. But, they also communicate in a friendly way, and begin to spend non-sex-related time together sharing meals and outings. Matt’s nervous about coming out as bisexual, and Jon patiently stands by his side. Months go on and they are far more than friends, and really more than lovers, before Jon recognizes he’s actually in a relationship. And, that’s not cool with him. He’d sworn to never settle down with another man again, but is being with Matt all the time really “settling”?

I liked this one. Matt was such a tender heart, despite his bulk. Jon’s compassionate, to a point. His freak out because of the ‘-ship’ business was troubling, but I liked how he came to terms with his fears in the end, and salvaged his relationship. Matt was definitely worth it. I also enjoyed all the sexplorations and how eager Matt was to embrace his bisexuality once her mentally committed. It’s clear he’d been traumatized in his youth by an overbearing, homophobic father, but his existing family is supportive, for the most part.

Also, the setting! Virginia Beach is a place I’ve spent lots of time over the years. In fact, on Monday–the day I was supposed to be logging this post–I was doing a drive-by of NAS Oceana, Jon’s base station. I always love when I can connect with a locale and the descriptions of the settings in and around the coastal area there were spot-on. Looking forward to more books in this series!

Interested? You can find POUNDING SKIN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Three’s a Crowd: FOURTEEN SUMMERS–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Quinn Anderson. In honor of the Three-Day-Weekend I’m featuring some “trio”-love stories. FOURTEEN SUMMERS is a new adult romance for two young men who unexpectedly reconnect–and the twin brother who feels shut out. It’s not a menage, but there is a lot of love shared between these three guys.

About the book:
Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

My Review:
Aiden and Max Kingsman are identical twins with loving and supportive parents. They have a childhood best friend, Oliver Jones, who is so close that Aiden and Max want to make him their other brother. In fact, Aiden presides over little marriages between Max and Oliver to make him their official brother–when they are, like, in kindergarten. Their deep bond is encouraged by Aiden and Max’s parents because they know that Oliver’s home life is troubled. His parents fight a lot and Oliver seeks the peace and security of the Kingsman home until his parents finally divorce and Oliver moves away for middle school.

Fast-forward ten years.

Oliver’s father has bought a little house in their old neighborhood so he could be nearer to his own extended family and to where Oliver lives. See, his dad had moved to San Diego, but, now that Oliver is an adult and entering his senior year at NYU, there’s no legal impetus to force Oliver to spend his school breaks with him. Oliver loves his dad, but his extended family is a bit…in your face. Oliver’s a shy guy, used to blending into the shadows after years of weathering his parents fighting. And, he thinks his dad’s family, especially his beefy uncles, look at him sideways now that he’s come out as gay. He’s in the grocery in his old neighborhood when he runs into Max and Aiden, and they reconnect. It’s a boon to Oliver, who is tired of his loud family and has few friends in the area. Plus, Oliver nursed a crush on Aiden…since forever.

Aiden is likewise excited to see Oliver. An introvert living in Max’s outgoing shadow, he’s never even dated a guy, though he’s had years of wondering about it. And Oliver was a big part of those imaginings. This is a quandary, because Max and Aiden often come as a matched set, and Oliver and Aiden are getting closer while Max is somewhat oblivious. Until, well, Oliver can’t take the pressure anymore and he seeks out Aiden one night on his own.

Seriously, these guys are so sweet together. Aiden is initially timid, but he feels safe with Oliver, his childhood love rediscovered. They still have a connection and the chemistry is intense. But, they are afraid to let anyone else know what is building between them in case it doesn’t go right. When Max inevitably picks up on it he feels snubbed; he wants all of Aiden’s attention and he sees Oliver as competition. Aiden needs to break out of Max’s shadow in a way that doesn’t damage their relationships if he doesn’t want to lose Oliver. Because, well, Oliver’s felt like he already ruined his parents’ marriage and he won’t be in the middle of the Kingsman twins’ battle.

I seriously liked this one. It’s tender and thoughtful, with strongly connected characters. It’s not a menage–Max is straight–but there is no denying that Max, Aiden and Oliver share a lot of love. Aiden, while being his own man, is inextricably tied to Max, and Max–well, he has to learn to back off. It’s hard for him to not be Aiden’s guide, hero and protector, but he manages to move past his own needs so Aiden can find love with Oliver. Not that Oliver doesn’t love Max, because he does–as a brother. There are some really special moments here with growing pains that gave me pause. I liked how Oliver talked with his parents, working on his relationships, as well as how he was honest about his needs with both Max and Aiden. This trio is all about love, and they work together to find the right balance for each of them. The ending is absolutely happy and might bring a tear or two.

Interested? You can find FOURTEEN SUMMERS on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click here to comment on the giveaway post over at Joyfully Jay in order to enter to win a $10 GC on Riptide.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Catch up with Quinn online on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr.

Triple the Love: ALPHA HEAT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new dystopian-Omegaverse M/M romance from Leta Blake. I’m doing a mini-theme week for the next few days all about trios of love. Yep, menage-y fun. ALPHA HEAT is the second book in the Slow Heat series. It’s set in a post-female world where males of three genders have a highly-ordered society. I loved SLOW HEAT, the first book in the series and plan to share a review for that soon.

In the meantime, drop down to catch my review and enter the book giveaway!
About the book
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.
Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.

My Review:
This book, set in a post-female “omegaverse” world is filled with males of three genders: alpha, beta and omega. Alphas are the most dominant, and have the most rights and privileges in society. They are the only gender allowed to officially mate omegas, who are genetically-altered males that have a uterus. Thus, alphas breed with omegas, and the omegas give birth to alphas, betas or omegas. Betas are relegated to service jobs in society. Omegas become the property/responsibility of their alpha husbands–and they go through heat every several months or so. Heat is a painful experience for an omega, and the clawing need to reproduce is only assuaged by knotting coitus with an alpha. And, while betas and omegas can receive an alpha, it’s forbidden by law and religion for an alpha to be “unmanned,” or mated, like an omega.

Okay, so Xan Heelies was a secondary character in the first book. He’s an alpha, though small, and the only alpha son of a wealthy bonded pair. He’s known his whole life he’s wanted to be an omega–and he’d convinced his childhood best friend, Jason, another alpha, to breed him as an omega when they were in university together. This was before Jason found his Erosgape (pronounced Er-os-gah-pay) or heartmate. It’s a visceral connection that occurs between some lucky alpha and omega pairs. Xan knows he won’t find and Erosgape for himself–not as he’s “unmanned.” Xan is practically shunned by his controlling Father–who keeps Xan from his compassionate pater, the omega who birthed him. Xan still has deep feelings for Jason, and resents Jason’s Erosgape partner, Vale. However, when Jason and Vale have important news to relate, Xan is there, and again runs into Urho, a widowed alpha and one of Vale’s closest friends.

Urho is older, a veteran of the Great Wars, and still mourns the loss of his Erosgape love, Riki, after nearly twenty years. Riki died in childbirth, a fate many omegas experience. Since then, Urho has worked as a medic to all, but omegas in particular, helping wed and unwed omegas with challenging heats and deliveries. Xan finds Urho to be very appealing, but he knows the stoic alpha would never service him like an omega.

In fact, Xan has a contracted omega, one he is bound to, but doesn’t have amorous love for–and Caleb his partner prefers this. Caleb is another societal anomaly; though physically stunning, Caleb is aromantic and asexual; he only wants an alpha to help him through his heats, and prefers only good company and compassion all the rest of the time. Caleb wants Xan to have a discreet lover who can fulfill his needs, but Xan only finds a brute alpha who physically abuses Xan (while mating him) for being unmanned.

Xan, unfortunately, meets Urho one night after being abused by his tormentor/lover, and Urho’s confused by the situation, and his reaction to Xan. Urho had always found Xan intriguing, but he’s unsettled by the unexpected arousal. There’s a lot of complication surrounding Xan’s situation: if he’s reported to be unmanned, he’ll be jailed, or worse. He’d lose his money and his family standing would suffer. Due to the whisperings around their town, Xan’s Father has decided Xan and Caleb should move to another town near the coast to oversee the opening of a new branch of their company. Xan knows it’s further banishment, but he can’t refuse. Caleb;s not happy to move, but getting away from their town means less of a chance that Xan’s risky behavior will be discovered. The hell of it is, well, Urho was just beginning to come around on the idea of servicing Xan, a deal that Caleb was brokering to help Xan escape his abuser…and Xan was sure he could find happiness with Urho, and Caleb, at his side.

This is lush world, with intricate boundaries and deeply connected characters. The constraints of society are real, and the consequences are potentially dire. But Xan can’t help who he is, any more than Caleb can. They have a strong love, even if it’s not romantic. Urho isn’t sure how he’ll fit in, but Caleb’s blessing is sure, and Xan is such a willing lover. They have other complications too, like Jason and Vale needing Urho’s medical assistance, and a deadly flu epidemic wreaking havoc. Xan and Caleb’s new home in a remote village soon becomes a refuge for their friends, even as it harbors an interloper with designs on Caleb. I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers, but the climax is intense. There are urgent medical issues occurring at a time when it seems no help is available. Xan, who has long thought himself useless, becomes a hero to many and recognizes his true worth, and his true loves: Caleb and Urho. It’s not a typical menage, as Caleb has very little sexual intimacy with either Xan or Urho, but he’s important in ways none of them had predicted.

This story, with all it’s rules and complications, has an ending that is unequivocally happy. There are babies and commitments and the bad guys get their just desserts. And, I think we have hope of more books to look forward to in this series. Xan’s elder beta brother needs love, as does his cad of a cousin. I love how all the characters in this book felt like real people, and how palpable their love, or their grief, felt. I’ve read omegaverse and mpreg stories before, but this is the first series where I’ve really craved the next book. For a post-female world, this felt strangely accessible. It was beautiful watching Xan outgrow his self-loathing, and embody the strong alpha his lovers knew him to be.

Interested? You can find ALPHA HEAT on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of SLOW HEAT!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:
Leta Blake is the author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.

More Than a WASH OUT–Military Monday Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new M/M military romance from L.A. Witt. WASH OUT is the seventh book in her Anchor Point navy series. I’ve loved JUST DRIVE, AFRAID TO FLY, CHIEF’S MESS, and RANK & FILE. WASH OUT features a main character that appeared in AFRAID TO FLY, but they can all be read as standalones.

About the book:
Casey Olson has always known he was destined to be a Navy SEAL, and the best day of his life was when he was accepted into training. The worst day was when a snapping bone ended his dream.

After three combat tours in five years, Logan Carter left the Marines and self-destructed. Now he’s sober and, thanks to a forgiving ex with friends in high places, has a promising job as a civilian contractor. All he has to do is stay on the rails and out of a bottle, even when his demons won’t leave him alone.

Logan likes his job, and he really likes the gorgeous man at the next desk. Casey tries not to check Logan out, but who is he kidding? From the start, despite their best efforts, neither man can resist the other. Sizzling chemistry leads to sex so hot they can both almost forget why they’re stuck in this office to begin with.

It would be perfect, except Logan can’t stop reliving wars he’ll never forget and Casey can’t stop grieving the SEAL he’ll never be. And they’ll never have a future together until they can make peace with their pasts.

My Review:
Logan Carter is a combat veteran and former Marine who is piecing his life back together. Surviving three combat tours didn’t prepare him for life as a civilian. We met Logan briefly in AFRAID TO FLY as Travis’ drunk boyfriend who embarrassed him at the Navy Ball. He’s been a Navy contractor before, and lost those jobs due to alcoholism–but he’s 6 months sober and in therapy to deal with his PTSD for the first time since he didn’t re-up seven years ago. Travis, good guy that he is, has pulled some strings to get Logan a last-chance job working in the training department, setting up schedules and teaching classes to enlisted sailors.

On his first day, Logan meets Gunner’s Mate 2 Casey Olson, a man grieving the loss of his lifelong dream of being a SEAL. He’d passed the many fit tests and even made it past Hell Week in BUD/S training, but a snapped lower leg in a training run on the loose beach sand brought his career to a swift halt. While he’s recuperating now, it’s highly unlikely that Casey will qualify for SEAL training due to this injury, and he’s having a hard time coming to terms with it. Still, working in the training division on light duty has it’s benefits. His co-workers are cool, and Logan? Logan is HAWT.

Would it be a bad idea to have some fun before he gets reassigned?

While Logan knows it’s a bad idea to mess around with a co-worker, he’s been celibate a long time. And, as they build a friendship in the office, the undercurrent of attraction grows. After a particularly hard day for Casey, Logan’s sympathy is more temptation than they can take, especially when a kiss follows the embrace. But, are they making a big mistake, or stepping into their future together?

There is a lot of awesome details in this book about combat vets and dealing with PTSD. I liked the day-to-day of it, getting into Logan’s head and seeing his issues up-close. It was also interesting how the fictional administration had made specific plans to ensure the personnel had safe spaces in which to work. I hope this is a true look at the reality of life for persons in the military, but I have to guess it’s not a complete picture. We get some deep insight into therapy, as well, and seeing Logan cope through his art was cool. Casey’s heartbreak was palpable, and his frustration at being consoled felt real. There was a moment near the end where he reached an unfortunate boiling point, but it marked the necessary turning point for communication between Casey and Logan. Because they had long passed the point of casual lovers into true boyfriends. I liked this one lots, and found the scorching sexytimes highly satisfying.

Interested? You can find WASH OUT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY***
Click on this link to comment over on Book Reviews and More by Kathy to enter for a chance to win 2 backlist e-books from L.A. Witt.
Gook luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.

New Beginnings? LOCK NUT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly released contemporary M/M mystery romance from JL Merrow. LOCK NUT is the fifth book in the Plumber’s Mate series and I hope it isn’t the last. I adored PRESSURE HEAD, RELIEF VALVE and BLOW DOWN. For those who haven’t picked up these books, they feature a plumber with a knack for finding water and lost/hidden items–including dead or missing people, and his former bully who’s now his fiance. It’s set in England, and has some absolutely awesome vernacular.

About the book:
Still waters run deadly.
Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.

My Review:
Tom Paretsky–maybe he is Polish–is a plumber with a unique knack for finding what’s hidden, including dead bodies. His fiance, Phil Morrison, is a private investigator, so it’s a handy skill to have. In this story Tom and Phil are planning their wedding, but it’s not going well, especially when Tom’s face gets put on the telly as a suspect in a murder.

Tom’s committed to finding the true killer before another death gets put on his head. And Phil’s determined to make it to the altar–with Tom intact. Though moving in together hasn’t been without issues. Tom’s a little territorial, and he’s slow to adapt to big changes. Like finding out about his paternity issues and building his familial relationships. Phil knows Tom needs nudging, even when Phil goes a bit far.

As with the other books in the series, the sexytimes are on the down-low but Tom’s raw wit keeps the pace cracking along and we know how very much he adores Phil. That’s totally reciprocated, too, even though Tom has self-esteem issues. Tom’s efforts to track down the killer are more personal this time. He’s making friends with the kooky family of the grieving widow, knowing that she’s the prime suspect. I did like all the misdirection, even if I had picked out the killer in the beginning. The harrowing bits have the appropriate amount of tension, and enough suspense to make me wonder if we’d hear those wedding bells pealing, or not. I loved how it ended, and I really hope to see more of these books in the future.

Interested? You can find LOCK NUT on Goodreads, <a href=”Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Pop on over to my pal Joyfully Jay and leave a comment to be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Matching Goals LEVEL UP–Release Week Review and Giveaway

Hi there! I’m super excited to share a release week review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Annabeth Albert. LEVEL UP is a companion story of the #gaymers series because one of the MCs is a side character we met in both CONNECTION ERROR and OFF BASE. If you liked STATUS UPDATE or BETA TEST, you’ll enjoy this one, but it’s totally a standalone, too

Catch the excerpt, my review and enter the giveaway for a $20 GC below!
About the book:
Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

How about a delicious taste?

Bailey was the type who moved a lot as he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting. His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was more than a little turned on.

“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up over the years.”

“Totally. And speaking of art, let me find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game. He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”

“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon, Bailey went to sit on the couch.

“You want a drink while I’m in here?” Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”

“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.” Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.

He really did not look at all like any photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why photography? You said you could have done game design?”

“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship to the art institute in Portland.”

“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked like he lived for weekend games of some type.

“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.

“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff on the TV screen while you have your drink?”

“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.

Landon queued up the pre-release trailer Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.

“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”

“I know, right? Now look at the in-game screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.

Somehow, as he shared more video clips, he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth video that he realized that he was aroused.

Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand, holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.

“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.

“Ow,” they said simultaneously.

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the skin?”

“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away. Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet. Arousing.

Bailey leaned in again, way slower this time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to take his time learning the lesson.

Landon was the first one to take things further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.

Not content to let Bailey be the one exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip. Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want it to ever end.

My Review:
Landon is a wunderkind physics genius we met in CONNECTION ERROR and OFF BASE, as a roommate to Pike–who crossed those series. Landon is bisexual, but he doesn’t date men bigger than himself having been raped in college by strapping athletes. He often struggles with intimacy, in fact, as a result of PTSD stemming from that experience. Still, he’s a sexy, lithe man and has agreed to pose for a “naughty” calendar for a literacy campaign. He’s been in touch with the photographer via email, and Bailey seems like a nice girl–their cyberflirting has Landon intrigued.

Unfortunately, the photographer, Bailey, well…he’s a guy. And gay. And BIG. Turns out the sweet fey-looking girl featured in Bailey’s Instagram feed is his assistant. Landon is flustered, and frustrated, but Bailey is as magnanimous and warm as he had been online. And, they still have common gaming interests. The photo shoot goes well. Well enough that Landon and his best pal agree to drinks with Bailey and his assistant. There is a mutual attraction growing between Landon and Bailey, but Landon’s afraid his anxiety will crop up if they become intimate. Plus, Bailey’s living in Portland, though he has a job prospect that will bring him back to California where Landon lives.

Landon initially shuts down Bailey romantically, but explains why. His trauma causes Bailey pain, knowing that his physical state isn’t something he can change, but Bailey’s still interested in being Landon’s friend, if nothing else. So they continue to game online, and chat over the phone, too. Over the course of another month they build a strong friendship, one that they aren’t sure they want to risk in case getting physical leads to panic attacks. I love though, how Bailey is so down for whatever, and how his mellow attitude brings Landon peace. They have some sexytimes on Skype and that really helps them build on the attraction in a non-threatening manner.

When they reconnect in Cali, it’s a far better experience than the first time they met–and Landon has been seeing a therapist to help mitigate his panic attacks. Plus, it works for him that Bailey is more than willing to let Landon be the more aggressive partner. Landon’s growth stems from a deep desire to make his friend his lover–and he crosses emotional barriers he didn’t intend to address in order to do so. There is a decent amount of steam for the situation, though the conflict is pretty low-stakes. I found it to be a feel-good sort of book, with two decent guys finding unexpected friendship and love that conquers their fears.

Interested? You can find LEVEL UP on Goodreads, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Annabeth Albert avatarAbout 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. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

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 active children.

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