Confrontation Connection: CONNING COLIN-Review & Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary romance from Brad Vance and Elsa Winters. CONNING COLIN is a savvy new adult romance between a cash-strapped college grad turned sex worker and the newly-out, newly-divorced voice actor who wants to learn all about the gay sex from a cultured, sexy man–even if he is a high-dollar escort. It was sweet with interesting twists, and I haven’t read a Brad Vance book I didn’t adore. Catch my reviews for WEREWOLVES OF BROOKLYN, WOULD I LIE TO YOU? and STRENGTH IN NUMBERS to see why.

Drop down to check out an excerpt and get in on the book giveaway, too!
About the book:
Hamilton Dillon is a high class Manhattan escort, polished, well dressed, and cultured. Colin O’Neill is recently divorced, questioning his sexuality, and disappointed by his first fumbling gay hookups. So he figures, why not hire the best of the best to show him the ropes?

What he doesn’t know is that Hamilton Dillon is really Henry Davis, yet another New Yorker living on the financial edge, cobbling together several jobs to make a living. “Hamilton” has one great suit he can wear on an overnight date, but Henry’s got a good friend at GQ who makes a nice side income renting designer men’s wear for weddings, job interviews, and oh yeah, high end escorts on long weekend assignments. The “top agency” that represents “Hamilton” is really just a smartass lady in India with a Skype account, whose face Henry’s never seen. Oh, and Henry’s also the gruff and very unpolished New York Straight Man “Dillinger,” a solo porn star.

In other words, he’s not at all who Colin thinks he is. Which is just fine, until their relationship gets… complicated.

How about a little taste?

Colin O’Neill hung up the phone, dizzy with excitement and fear. He’d done it. He’d called the number, talked to the agency, and booked a “date” with Hamilton Dillon.

He’d looked at Hamilton’s Rentmen.com ad a hundred times, at least, over the last three months. He’d looked forward to new profile photos the way a kid keeps an ear cocked for the ice cream truck. Even though all the profile pictures had been beheaded for discretion, it didn’t matter. Hamilton Dillon had a way of posing that expressed more personality with his body than most other guys ever did with their faces.

The way he sat on a park bench in nothing but a pair of running shorts and Nikes, shirtless, manspread, his arms thrown over the back of the bench, his strong graceful neck taut, telling you that the face just out of frame was tilted up towards the Central Park sunshine, that the man was reveling in his easy beauty, the unique joy that comes from being young and hot and free in New York City…

Then the way he floated in the air in those same shorts and Nikes, leaping for a football, the camera capturing him from behind in the moment the ball touched his fingers, the imminence of his success apparent, ordained, the muscles in his back bunched, the mass of his shoulders gathered together, sweat flying off his brown hair, in the seconds before you knew he landed on the lawn, arms curled around the ball, surely to rise in triumph and be slapped on the back by all his equally hot and shirtless buddies…

The way he sat at a café table, in a slim fit navy blue polo shirt, one of his sculpted vascular arms holding open a well-worn copy of The Fortress of Solitude and the other just toying with a cup of espresso as if it was the back of another man’s hand…

Colin often did something that very few men did anymore, which was to masturbate furiously and successfully to a series of still photos. And with no penises in sight, to boot. He’d done it so often over the last three months that he’d stopped donating his old t-shirts, because he needed them for cleanup duty, at least until they became hopelessly stained.

He had been divorced for six months now, amicably, from a wife who’d pretty much always known he was gay but had decided to let him figure it out for himself. Elspeth was a career woman whose need for a husband was seasonal, from the company picnic in July to the company Christmas party in December, with various client dinners in between.

He was twenty seven years old, and had engaged in sexual intercourse with one woman and two men. Intercourse was pretty much the word for it, he thought. It sounded less like passion and more like, well, cars merging on the freeway, and all three partners had been just about that exciting. (Actually less so, since on the freeway there was always the thrilling risk of death at the hands of someone who’d rather kill you than let you merge.)

Then one night, half drunk and inhibitions lowered, he’d thought, Fuck it, let’s hire a professional and see how it feels when it’s done right.

He’d paged through the escort ads on Rentmen, hundreds of them in Manhattan alone. It was mind numbing, the diversity, and it was overwhelming, the number of choices. He knew he didn’t want to visit Master Bob in his safe and private play space, and he knew he didn’t want to party with Anaconda Joe. The ones who caught his eye were, well yeah, the ones who looked… classy. The one thing he knew he didn’t want was to get ripped off.

And he didn’t want it to feel… He didn’t want to feel like he’d got a burger in a fast food drive through. He wanted it to be special, if that was really possible with a paid companion and not just something that happened to teenage boys in Hollywood movies.

But even the upscale-looking ones, well, there was something about them that… He knew it was good business, to offer yourself up as “versatile,” and available for “mild to wild,” but… Well, the more he saw what he didn’t want, the more a picture began to form in his mind of what he did want. He didn’t want someone who looked like an investment banker but whose profile also said, “Hey I look classy but I can drop it if you just want a dirty pig fest and you’ve got the money for it.”

No. He wanted someone who was one thing. Who wasn’t whoever you wanted him to be. But who was what he said he was. Classy, for real. Not “up for anything.”

And then he found Harrison Dillon.

Thoughts from Author Brad Vance on his new book and more…

Tell us something about your character’s friends.
Henry Davis has some great friends. He’d never manage his high end escort career without the help of Benjamin, who works at GQ and loans Henry the designer suits he can’t afford on his own. And Cameron, who runs the website Straight Guys of New York, where Henry picks up a little extra cash pretending to be rough-and-tough guy “Dillinger.” I really wanted to highlight how many people are dependent on a side hustle, just to make ends meet in an expensive city.

What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?
Henry loves to curl up with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, especially Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream. He snuggles on the couch and watches White Collar for the seventh time, and doesn’t worry about dripping ice cream on his Mets t-shirt. As “Harrison Dillon,” he’s got to be immaculate, but as Henry, he can be a slob.

What activity does your character absolutely hate?
Well, dressing up! Henry’s not really a suit and tie guy. Only watching Matt Bomer in White Collar taught him how to wear those clothes comfortably, naturally. In normal life, he’s just a dude, in cargo shorts and a T.

What’s your character’s secret fantasy?
Henry’s always wanted to be a screenwriter. Becoming an escort was a way for him to literally “buy time,” to escape the hamster wheel of Cubicle City and write. He’s found that time alone isn’t always enough, but without the time, well, it would be even harder.

What’s your favorite decade and why?
This one. Because I’m still alive, I’m still engaged in what’s going on around me in art, culture, style, humor. I’d hate to be stuck in the past! Once you start rattling on about how much better things were in Decade X… you’re old. I don’t plan on getting old, I mean, what’s in it for me?

My Review:
Henry Davis is a recent college grad with a degree in English and writing, and no desire to work for peanuts in the cube-world. He aspires to be a screen-writer, if only he can find his muse. In the meantime, being an escort paid all his college debts, and he’s supporting himself and a family member in need with his earnings. That is a really awesome part of his story, but I don’t want to spoil it–so trust me! Henry’s pretty much as selfless as they come. And boy, do they come!

Okay, Henry has two personas he adopts for his sex worker roles: Hamilton Dillon is a cultured and stunning man in thousand-dollar suits he rents from a pal who works in the fashion pages of GC magazine. The other, “Dillinger” is a “straight” Queens bro who jacks his junk to make bank in solo porn shoots. It’s quite the interesting juxtaposition. Henry tends to lose himself in his roles, and is baffled when his interactions with his newest client, Colin O’Neill, blur the lines between his professional persona as Hamilton, and Henry’s own need for intimacy and connection.

Colin is a newly divorced voice actor who doesn’t have a lot of disposable income. He gets an allowance from his ex-wife, with whom he had an amiable, mutually-beneficial arrangement. She wanted a husband because it helped her image at work, and he accepted her proposal, mostly because they got along. He’s never had a passionate relationship and they barely shared more than a few sexual encounters over their six years of marriage. He took acting classes and bonded with a classmate, however, and it was the beginning of Colin recognizing that he is likely gay–something his wife had long suspected, and wasn’t the least bit upset over. Thing is, Colin has crippling stage fright, and he’s a timid man by nature. He missed out on telling his pal how he’d felt, but he’s not going to waste too much more time in the “figure out Colin” phase of life.

Buoyed by a big payday for a voice-over spot, Colin FINALLY dials the number for Hamilton Dillon’s escort services. He’s stalked Hamilton’s web advertisement for several months and has definite fantasies that the cultured, attractive man he sees online will be the best tutor for Colin’s fledgling bedroom skills. He’s only tried to date a couple guys since his divorce and both were abject failures. So, Colin’s willing to pony up the fee for expert Hamilton’s tutelage.

And, naturally, Henry is ready to be his very best Hamilton for Colin. It’s a heady experience for both men, even when it isn’t physical. Colin is more than a little gone for Hamilton, and the lines are increasingly blurred the more “dates” they arrange. Henry is captivated by Colin’s vulnerability and the intimacy they continue to develop. It’s really so very sweet, and so very inspiring–Henry has found his muse, in the combination of Hamilton and Colin’s developing relationship. Meanwhile, Colin’s sessions with Hamilton leave him feeling elated and confident enough to try live auditions for the first time in years.

What comes next is something they hadn’t planned for, and it brings moments of heartbreak and rejection, but that’s just reality. The fun part of reality, as opposed to the fantasy they had been experiencing, is that Colin and Henry can find a common ground that actually exists and build something true and real. Which, I was happy to discover, they do. I’m used to the grand, twisting plots of Brad Vance, and I wasn’t disappointed here. Henry is a complex man, with his debts and his desires and his personas. Colin isn’t complicated. He wants a true partner, even if it isn’t convenient. They each grow a lot in the time they spend together, and that was awesome to experience as a reader. They also have some yummy hawt sexytimes, and some incredibly tender moments, times that have both men confused about the roles they are supposed to be playing. That said, the HEA exists, and it felt genuine. Highly recommend.

Interested? You can find CONNING COLIN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win an ebook of THE ROAD HOME.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Brad Vance writes romance stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Given the Circumstances.” Keep up with Brad on his website, Facebook, twitter or email him. at BradVanceAuthor AT gmail (dot) com.

Catching up FALLING FOR THE PLAYER-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recent M/M contemporary romance from Jessica Lee. FALLING FOR THE PLAYER is a new adult romance between a former NFL darling reconnecting with the straight-laced young attorney he’d met in college one fateful night.

About the book:
Bad boy and former NFL running back Patrick Guinness is tired of meaningless sex. Ever since his scorching hot one-night stand three years ago, no one has interested him. So when Max Segreti wanders into his mechanic shop—and his life again—Patrick can’t stop thinking about the totally-out-of-his-league law grad and the possibility of getting him out of his system once and for all…

Max Segreti has spent his entire life doing what his father wants. But when he runs into the hotter-than-hell player he’s never been able to forget, he’s not thinking about studying for the bar. A distraction is the last thing he needs, but after an encounter leaves him wanting more, Max embraces the chaos that Patrick brings…even as he knows it can’t last. They’re too different to ever have a future together.

My Review:
Max Segreti is a nerdy college kid working hard on his studies when he meets Patrick Guinness, star college running back, sure to be picked high in the NFL draft, one night at a bar. They hit it off and the hit the sheets for a hot, hot night. In the morning they go their own ways, Max to law school and Patrick to a pro football career. Neither man forgot the other, however…

Three years later they meet by chance again. Only now, Max is studying to take the bar exam and Patrick is back home, running the family garage and caring for his teen brother, Liam, now that both their parents are deceased. His NFL dreams quashed by a devastating knee injury, Patrick isn’t sure he can measure up to whatever standard Max may have.

Max still find Patrick devastatingly sexy, but he’s been closeted by his overbearing father and isn’t sure he can/should have any sort of relationship in the near future. Max is a good guy, though, and helps Patrick secure excellent counsel from his father’s firm for Liam when Liam gets into a bit of a mess.

For me, this book was heavy on the sexytimes and light on the relationship. All the times I thought, okay we’re going to see these guys build a strong bond, they either didn’t, or the narrative shifted into the future. The tense moments–like Max being pushy about money or Patrick being stubborn about accepting charity–seemed too conveniently resolved. Patrick has a big problem dating someone who has a lot of money–like Max–but I wondered where his multimillion dollar NFL signing bonus went? Because he likely didn’t spend all of it in his short stint in the game…so that was perplexing. I also got aggravated by some of the word choices, like referring “the other man” all the time in close quarters. I like hearing the guys’ names in the books I read, and that sort of linguistic choice always kept me on the outside, hampering my connection to the characters.

That said, there is a sweetish resolution with Max and Patrick finding a common ground that satisfies all of their needs. Also, this feelgood end includes a happy teen and a puppy, so the cute quota is satisfied.

Interested? You can find FALLING FOR THE PLAYER on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jessica Lee is an EPIC eBook Award winner and international bestselling author of paranormal romance. She lives in the southeastern United States with her husband and son. In her former life, Jessica was a science geek and spent over twenty-five years as a nurse. But after the birth of her son, she left her medical career behind. During that transition, she discovered her passion for writing romance and has never looked back. Jessica Lee is currently published by Entangled Publishing and Resplendence Publishing. In addition, she has several self-published titles available.

You can find Jessica on twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Caught Offside–CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY: Review and Giveaway!

Hi There! Today I’m sharing a review for a New Adult hockey romance from Cindi Madsen. CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY is the fourth book in her Taking Shots series about collegiate hockey players, and a sweet, fun read.

Catch my review below and enter to win a huge gift basket of goodies including a $50 Sephora GC, too!
About the book:
Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in a series, but fully enjoyable as a standalone.

Lindsay Riviera is a college senior looking to remake her life. She grew up not knowing her father, and with a mother who used her looks and wiles to find boyfriends to support their lifestyle. That’s not who Lindsay wants to be, and she struck out to be a sex-positive person, in control of her finances and lovers. Thing is, while she hung out with the hockey players at Boston College, and took great thrill in hooking up with them, she got her feelings bruised when the player she thought was really into her turned out to be using her the way she’d used others.

So, she stepped back, took a hockey hiatus, and accepted it when her tell-all expose on collegiate sports–written by her handpicked reporter–turned out to be more pro-sports than she liked. All Lindsay needs to do is pass her remedial mathematics course, and she can graduate and leave her “puck bunny” status in the rear view mirror. Lindsay isn’t happy to learn the only math tutors available either despise her…or are on the starting defense for the Screaming Eagles hockey team.

Ryder “Ox” Maddox is a pleaser. He’s a sophomore in college and a math major, despite his father’s desires. Ryder’s dad played professional hockey for years, and is determined to see Ryder follow on his skates. His mother isn’t quite so stern–after all her marriage was ruined by Ryder’s father chasing too many puck bunnies, and she’s an upstanding mayor in a posh Connecticut burb. Which is why Ryder needs to be a perfect kid–and also why Ryder’s an uptight guy.

Still, he really likes Lindsay’s sass, and hopes to charm her into his life. HE has no idea about her player-chasing ways but she comes clean about it, and he seems untroubled–until his team mates are trying to score her.

I really liked the frankness of this New Adult romance. It’s about making mistakes and learning from them. Lindsay and Ryder make lots of mistakes, and they make it right time and again. It has a nice sex-positive message, with Lindsay holding herself accountable for her own actions, and not allowing anyone the slut-shame her. There’s a rather slow burn to the romance, with Lindsay pushing Ryder away, and building a friendship that slides into more. And, they make good partners to each other, as well. There’s real conflict regarding the status of their relationship, and the status of their academics–because Lindsay is due to graduate, and Ryder isn’t ready to let her go.

For me, the story was mostly about the complicated dynamics of interpersonal relationships in the small hockey-fan community. Lindsay is a strong determined woman, who makes choices that benefit her–and allows Ryder to join her where she is. Likewise, Ryder is a great guy, kind and compassionate, but also scarred by his heavy parental expectations, and the infidelity that tore his family apart. I liked the book and felt the plot was mostly on target. There’s some unexpected melodrama with Ryder’s parents, particularly, but the resolution managed that to my satisfaction.

Interested? You can find CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY on Goodreads, Amazon (US, AU, UK, and CA) Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

You can visit Cindi on her website where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books. Also, check her out on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

New-To-Loving the DISTANT SWIMMER–A Review

distant-swimmer-reviewtourbannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M sports romance from Jacob Cheyenne. DISTANT SWIMMER is a New Adult coming out romance featuring a member of a small college swimming team and his improbable search for love. I enjoyed HANUKKAH GIFTS, so I thought I’d check out this book, too.

distant_swimmer_400x600About the book:
Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

My Review:
Ryan Zwick is a college sophomore on the prestigious Chippewa College swim team along with thirteen other toned, fit men. Ryan’s gay, and out, but quiet about it. He’s sure some of his teammates guess his sexuality, but he’s not confirmed it for them. His bestie from childhood, Marissa, has known for years, though, ever since she tried to seduce him and he finally explained why he couldn’t love her that way. He’s only ever had one boyfriend–back in high school–and he dearly wants to find a serious lover.

New to the team is Blake Gossens–a transfer from Univ of Wisconsin. He’s paired with Ryan for new and difficult interval training that’s supposed to help these swimmers up their game. Marissa and Ryan are both attracted to Blake, and–though Blake claims to be ‘totally hetero’–Ryan is suddenly getting anonymous hook-up messages from someone on his campus who, it seems, is also on the swim team. Marissa has made it (painfully) clear to Blake that Ryan is gay, and she is available. Meanwhile, Erik, cute the foreign teammate from some Scandinavian country Ryan can’t remember, is a super helpful new friend, and Ryan’s interest and libido are piqued.

This book really embraced the drama of those confusing and manic college years. Ryan’s afraid to ogle his teammates too much, and Blake taunts him more than a little. At times, the dialogue and situations seemed juvenile, and I had to remind myself these characters are aged 18-22 and are a bit juvenile. I admit to not liking half of the people on the page. Marissa was selfish and rude for 75% of the book, and a terrible friend to Ryan. Blake made statements and moves that, in a different situation, could have easily been characterized as harassment–or assault. I was really glad for Erik being a decent guy, because sometimes even Ryan got on my nerves, particularly when he was reflecting (poorly) on his high school boyfriend.

It the end, we learn who Ryan’s admirer is, and they do strike a flame together. There are some conflicts between Marissa and Ryan and Blake that need ironing out–and it seems to happen in a satisfactory way for all involved. As a sports fan, and fanatic, some of the collegiate athletics logistics didn’t ring true, for me. But I have a different insight to the inner workings of college teams and dynamics, having married a, and now being mother to a, Division I athlete. The average reader wouldn’t likely notice issues that I immediately peg as not quite plausible. This is a pretty quick read, with a definite happy ending for Ryan, and some interesting sexytimes. I mostly enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find DISTANT SWIMMER on Goodreads, JMS Books and Amazon (US or UK).

About the Author:
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.

Catch up with Jacob on his website, twitter, and Facebook.
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Out Today! DISTANT SWIMMER Book Blast!

ds-releaseblitzbannerHi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a new contemporary M/M sports romance from Jacob Cheyenne. DISTANT SWIMMER is a New Adult coming out romance and I look forward to sharing my review in the coming weeks!

distant_swimmer_400x600About the book:
Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

Interested? You can find DISTANT SWIMMER on Goodreads, JMS Books and Amazon  (US or UK).

About the Author:
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.

Catch up with Jacob on his website, twitter, and Facebook.
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Coming Out On Top–VOLLEY BALLS Review & Giveaway!

banner-blogtour-volley-ball-by-tara-lainHi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M/M sports menage romance out today from Tara Lain. VOLLEY BALLS is the first book in her new series, and absolutely steams–but also has some real heart, too.

Catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter the giveaway too!

volleyballs400x600About the Book:
A double dose of alpha male might be better than one. Tara Lain’s popular novella, Volley Balls, is now expanded and revised.
Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

How about a little taste?

David buried his head in Gareth’s broad chest and, much to his disgust, started to cry. The feelings didn’t even make sense. Anger, jealousy, lust, and—yes, fear. At the heart of it all. He started to shake. Gareth pulled him tighter, but it wouldn’t stop. Phil’s angry face stared at him. Screamed at him. His fist descended—again and again. Pain and anger and shame. “Oh God!”

“What, love?” Gareth kissed his hair.

“I was so afraid.”

“Nothing to fear, love.”

“Phil. Oh God. He said he wanted to kill me. I think he would have if Edge hadn’t come.” He burrowed into Gareth’s arms.

“We’re here now, love. Nothing more to fear. You took care of that bastard. He won’t bother you again.”

Edge’s deep voice came from behind him. “If he comes near you, I’ll kill the asshole.”

David sucked in breath and turned in Gareth’s arms. He saw Gareth shake his head, warning Edge. “David took care of him, Edge. He got the police and had him thrown in jail.”

David wiped at his eyes. “Thank you, Gareth. I know I said I could take care of myself, but I lied. I’ve been alone so long. I only got involved with Phil because I was lonely and wanted someone to care about me. Instead, he hit me and abused me. I’m so grateful to Edge for saving me today. I’m so grateful to both of you for not being the kind of man that Phil is. So grateful.” The tears ran down his cheeks again and dripped off his chin.

Edge stepped closer and tipped up David’s chin with his finger. He did something David hardly ever saw him do. He smiled. “I know I’m a big Neanderthal with no fucking manners, but sometimes that’s a handy kind of guy to have around.” Funny how David hadn’t noticed those dimples in Edge’s cheeks before. Like you could sharpen pencils in them.

David stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Edge in a huge hug. “Thank you. I’m so glad you were there. I’m so grateful.”

Edge chuckled, and the vibration zipped straight to David’s cock. Down, boy.

Another pair of strong arms wrapped around him from behind and made it a group hug.

David giggled. “I’m the filling in an Aussie sandwich. If I’d known, it would have been my lifetime aspiration.”

My Review:
David Underwood just got out of an abusive relationship with a closeted gay man. He’s always fancied big athletic men, and he’s captivated by the sexy Australian volleyball players practicing on Laguna Beach. Of course, when he gets called out by one of the players with decidedly homophobic slurs, he skedaddles. Quick. David’s all about non-confrontation.

So, he’s rather upset when one of the volleyballers follows him to a bar. Sure, David’s blind date was going nowhere, but boring is better than beaten, right? Except Gareth isn’t like his outspoken mate, Edge. No, Gareth, though big and burly and sexy, is a closeted man himself. And, David’s not going down that path either. Well, not without Gareth considering coming out, anyway. Actually, Gareth is fed up with Edge and his father’s aggressive homophobia. He’s even made plans to transfer colleges to the LA area–his mother lives in San Diego and she’s a PFLAG-gal. She only wants Gareth happy. Meeting her reassures David that Gareth has a path to being true to himself.

And, meeting Edge after their game? Volcanic. Edge is panicked and freaks out when Gareth shuts down his slurs and comes out.

Thing is, Edge can’t comprehend how Gareth is gay. It’s a mystery to him, one he wants to untangle. And he does so by following Gareth and David around. Yeah, he’s a creeper. Good thing for David, actually. Because David’s ex is a real piece of work, and none-too-pleased to have been served with a restraining order. Connecting as protectors of David, Gareth and Edge soon realize that they have more than friendship between them–and somehow David’s able to link their desires into more than a brief tryst.

The menage was a little quick, but I did enjoy it. The book’s written from all three characters’ point-of-view, so we get a little deeper insight into Gareth and Edge, and their deeply homophobic upbringing. David’s acceptance of both of them is a balm for each. And, he’s a sweet guy. I guess I would have liked a little more development of the romance, because it seemed to wrap up really quickly. That said, it’s a mostly-fun read that has some dark moments.

Interested? You can find VOLLEY BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 GC to Amazon.
Good luck and keep reading my 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 at:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Written In The Stars: LEO LOVES ARIES–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly released M/M contemporary romance from new-to-me author Anyta Sunday. LEO LOVES ARIES is a New Adult romance between college students who might have a little help from their horoscopes. It’s a sweet slow burn, and I really enjoyed it.

leo-loves-ariesAbout the book:
A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

My Review:
Theo and Leone are fraternal twins who are attending college in Pittsburgh, PA. They share their old family home now that their parents have relocated to Minnesota. This makes it easy for Leone to live virtually unassisted–she’s been legally blind since her late teens. They also share a mutual heartbreak. Leone had dated Derek and Theo had dated Sam(antha) for each about two years. But, a year ago, Sam and Derek broke up with each of them, and began dating each other. And, the wedding announcements are out.

Vowing to not be sad sacks, Leone and Theo decide to find each other a hot date with whom to attend the June nuptials. In the meantime, they need to find a new roomie, to offset their costs. And, Theo’s former econ tutor–Jamie–seems to be a perfect match. Jamie is a little older, a master’s student in economics, Theo’s chosen filed of study. Theo had been a bit of a jerk at the beginning of their mutual coursework, but they settled into a rapport before term’s end. Now, Theo’s jazzed that Jamie might help him ace his applied economics class. He’d actually sought out Jamie for tutoring, and the roommate thing just happened.

Jamie gets along so well with Leone–and their mother, a horoscope and divination fanatic, has advised her Leo children that their perfect love match would come with an Aries–which is Jamie’s sign. As they all build camaraderie, Theo’s sure that Jamie and Leone would have a great chance with each other. And, Theo–who’s felt isolated because he believes his mutual friends with Sam have deserted him–is grateful for the deep bond he and Jamie are building. They discuss economics, and Jamie insists on getting both Leone and Theo to eat healthy meals he cooks for them, and they just fit. Which is why it irks Theo that he’s a wee bit jealous of his sister getting the best of his best friend, ever. Not that any of that has been happening. Theo just imagines it’s a foregone conclusion.

Thing is, neither Leone nor Jamie got this memo. And Jamie goes a mite colder when Theo talks about going out on the blind date Leone has set up. It’s a sweet and slow burn with just enough bread crumbs for readers to recognize that Jamie and Theo aren’t on different pages–their reading different books. Jamie makes it clear that not only is he gay, but that he quite fancies Theo. And Theo’s…not averse. Well, Jamie is an attractive, fit, well-put-together man. And, he cares quite a lot for Theo. As a friend. Maybe experimenting wouldn’t be a bad idea? Oh, Theo! I wanted to shake him half a dozen times. He’s really a great, clueless guy, but their developing relationship is really tender and sweet, and he makes it all great with some gestures that aren’t exactly grand, but do mean an awful lot to smitten Jamie.

The book reads very cleanly, but I certainly heard the undertones of British-English author. It caught me off guard more than three times. That said, I really liked the story. Expect a horny adventurer, a sparkling HEA and two guys to find their soulmates were written in the stars.

Interested? You can find LEO LOVES ARIES on Goodreads and Amazon. You can also find a freebie short story LEO TOPS ARIES on Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About Anyta Sunday: (in her own words…)
A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, GFY/OFY, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

If you’d like to check out more of my stories, check out my website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!