Saving One’s Heart–THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M interracial romance from Lisa Henry. THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED is a standalone romance featuring a Samoan detective who’s relationship to a youth he once saved has matured into a deep love over the years.

About the book:
The past never stays buried forever.

John Faimu is an Australian-Samoan police officer who deals with hurt kids every day. He loves what he does, but he’s tired of the grind of shift work, and of trying to find a balance between his job, his family, and the young man who straddles the increasingly blurry line between both.

Caleb Fletcher was the teenager John saved from a cult eight long years ago, and he’s now the young man John wants in ways that neither of them should risk.

Eight years after his rescue, Caleb is still struggling with PTSD and self-harm. John has always been his rock, but now Caleb wants more. Can he convince John to cross a line and love him the way they both crave? And when the monsters from Caleb’s past come back seeking to silence him for good, will John’s love be enough to save him?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is a M/M gay romance featuring hurt/comfort, first times, found family, and angst with a happy ending.

How about a taste?

Fucking hospitals.

John scrubbed his knuckles over his scalp. He felt more tired now than he had for a long time, and it wasn’t just the shift work. It was Caleb, and this place, and the knowledge that they’d been here before and they would be here again. Different hospitals, different beds, different scratchy blankets and too-cold air conditioning, but all of them stuck in the same old cycle.

Eight years of this.

It wasn’t always this dramatic. Most of the time it didn’t end in a hospital. Most of the time it was increasingly erratic behaviour. It was risk-taking. It was subtle and pervasive, but John knew how to read the signs. He’d talked Caleb down from plenty of metaphorical high places before. Enough to wonder every time if he was only delaying the inevitable. If Darren was, and the psychiatrists and psychologists were, and the pharmacists.

John sighed.

Of course it felt hopeless. It was almost three in the morning and he was sitting in a fucking hospital. Shit always felt dire in the middle of the night.

John reached out and brushed his fingertips against the back of Caleb’s right hand. His skin was cold to the touch, his fingers white and bloodless. Several of his knuckles were grazed. The wounds weren’t fresh.

Darren had said last week that Caleb had punched a wall. Out of nowhere. No warnings signs, no meltdown, just a sudden, furious burst of anger that had broken over him. And afterward, Darren said, when Caleb was sitting on the floor nursing an icepack, he’d refused to talk about it.

Sometimes even Caleb didn’t know what the fuck was happening in his head.

John’s fingertips brushed the wrinkled edge of the tape that held the canula in the back of Caleb’s hand. The plastic tape was dry and rough.

“I bleed and you’re here.”

Fuck.

John straightened and turned his face toward Caleb’s. His face was pale, his lips colourless. Dark circles carved out hollows under his eyes.

“Your dad called me,” John said. “He’s on his way.”

Caleb’s gaze dropped away.

John leaned closer and frowned. “What the fuck are you doing, mate?”

“Bad night.” Caleb pressed his lips into a thin white line.

“Were you clubbing?” John gestured at his clothes: dark jeans, a tight shirt, and—what were the kids calling them these days?—expensive kicks.

Caleb inspected the bandages on his arm. “Yeah.”

“What happened?”

“Nothing.”

“Don’t bullshit me, Caleb.” John was always there to pick up the pieces, but he didn’t coddle Caleb. He never had, not even at the start. “You think I drove all the way here to listen to you lie to me?”

“I was with a guy.” Caleb flinched as he said it.

“Were you safe?”

Caleb’s gaze faltered. “I was with a guy.”

“So you said.” John wondered what reaction Caleb had been expecting. “Were you safe?”

Caleb nodded, turning his face away.

John studied him for a moment, unsure how to react. A part of him was afraid to react at all in case any reaction was an overreaction. Caleb wasn’t coming out as gay—he’d done that at nineteen—but by admitting to a sexual encounter he was coming out in another way: Caleb was coming out as human being who wanted to be touched. A human being with sexual needs. This was a big step. The biggest in a long time. Nobody had expected him to remain celibate forever; nobody thought that was remotely healthy. But fuck, this big step had turned into a hell of a stumble, hadn’t it? Caleb was in freefall.

John reached out and squeezed Caleb’s shoulder. “Did this guy try something? Something you didn’t want to do?”

“No.” Caleb shifted. His worried gaze found John again. “No, it was me, not him.”

John nodded.

“We went to a hotel.” Caleb’s gaze slipped away again. “He said I was a slut.” His voice hitched. “Said I was bad.”

John moved his hand from Caleb’s shoulder to his cheek. Caleb was still so cold. “If you tell me he was being a prick, I’ll track the fucker down.”

“The way he said it, I was supposed to like it. Wasn’t his fault.” Caleb closed his eyes. “I didn’t even mind, not much, not when he was there.”

John sighed. “What happened when he left?”

Caleb shuddered. “When he left, all I could hear in my head was Ethan.”

John tensed, and tried not to let Caleb feel it.

“So loud,” Caleb sighed.

John withdrew his hand. “Look at me.”

Caleb opened his eyes.

“Next time you hear Ethan Gray in your head, you don’t listen to him.” John shook his head. “You call you dad, or your doctor, or you call me, doesn’t matter what time, you call me and I will be there. You understand me?”

Caleb jerked his chin in a nod.

“You don’t cut yourself, Caleb.” John frowned. “You understand me?”

“Okay,” Caleb murmured.

The worst part, John knew, was that Caleb meant it, and would go on meaning it right up until the next time he was holding a blade against his wrists.

You’ll break my heart one day, Caleb Fletcher, I know you will.

John forced a smile. “Okay.”

Caleb sighed and closed his eyes.

John watched him until he fell asleep, then got up and hunted down a blanket.

My Review:
John Faimu is a gay, Australian-Samoan police officer who has kept a long-standing friendship with a man he rescued eight years ago. At fifteen, Caleb Fletcher was beaten half-dead and left to die in a locked shed in a religious commune. The police were there to investigate claims of children going uneducated, and found a hellscape of true believers and their unclaimed children barely surviving the Children of Galilee’s cult leader’s directives. Caleb had been kidnapped by his mother, a cult member, when he was only 4, and he didn’t even remember his true father, let alone his birth name. He did remember watching one of the cult enforcers beat his dear friend Simon to death in the punishment shed. All because Simon and Caleb held hands and kissed where someone could see.

The perpetrators went to jail–including Caleb’s mother–but not for Simon’s murder, because no one could find the body, and there were no missing persons notices outstanding for the boy. Though Caleb and another girl from the cult knew he’d been taken to the punishment shed, they were too unreliable to provide testimony to murder without a body for evidence. Caleb was returned to his father’s care, where he had years of medications, therapy and counseling to treat his PTSD, anxiety and depression. He has a reasonable aversion for christianity, as it triggers his memories of time with the cult. John was asked by Caleb’s father, Darren, to continue coming by and checking in on Caleb. They boy had made a bond with his rescuer, and John was happy to oblige; he was single and compassionate with time on his hands, after all.

Fast forward eight years, and Caleb’s a fully-grown, out-gay man. He’s not able to live alone, and struggles with self-harm when the depression gets too great. His med mix is in constant flux, but he’s trying hard to not be that broken boy John peeled off a shed floor. Caleb has been attracted to John since…ever. And as an adult he feels that John and he are well-suited, if only John wouldn’t make such an issue out of it. They are friends–they could be lovers, right? And, John’s afraid that he’ll hurt Caleb in any way that could trigger his self-harm. It’s entirely possible, but it’s also true that these men have had a lot of love for one another since their fateful meeting.

Bigger problem, the parole board has just released the offenders from Children of Galilee, and they are barred from seeking contact with each other, Caleb, or any of the other cult members that weren’t in jail. And, and the body of an unknown child was just uncovered near a creek bed in an area that had been bushland at the time of Caleb’s rescue, but now is a developed community. It’s a long shot, but if they can tie the DNA from the body to anyone from Children of Galilee those folks are heading back into the clink for murder. That is, if they don’t erase the witnesses before identity can be determined.

Caleb and John are such awesome characters. I loved learning about John’s Samoan heritage through this story. The inclusion of his family–struggling since his father’s recent death–helped round out the story. Glimpses of Samoan culture through foods, sayings, and vignettes were intriguing, and gave me insight I appreciated. Caleb’s story is heart-breaking, and his determination to be as functional as possible in his adult life was commendable and endearing. He’s so gone for John, and his desire to upgrade their relationship from caretaker to lover is poignant. It was super brave of Caleb to state his desires so plainly, and John–who knew years ago that Caleb would break his heart–finally relents believing that he could care for Caleb better than any other stranger. And they are good together, mush to Darren’s chagrin. (Well, he’s struggling with secrets more than sense.) It’s a little tricky at work for John, what with this investigation into the unidentified body and possibly leading back to Caleb, who is still a key witness in Simon’s death.

There ends up being some high-stakes situations in the end, related to the cold case of Simon’s murder. It’s in the moments when John fears losing Caleb forever that he knows he won’t ever let that man slip through his fingers again. I was turning that pages super quick, and fearing it was all going to go really, really bad before the climax. The story is told through John’s POV so there was a lot of fear, adrenaline, anxiety and grief running through those last few chapters–which translated well to me, even knowing it was a romance and we’d all get the HEA. I really liked this interracial, police romance, and the cop-witness dynamic was as intriguing as the older-younger dynamic, virgin hero situation and Aussie setting. Just a great read.

Interested? You can find THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters. Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.

You can find Lisa on her website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, Goodreads, and Instagram.

Finding Love MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M paranormal romance from Josh Lanyon. MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT is the first book in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series, and I absolutely couldn’t resist it for that fact alone. I loved that children’s story as a kid!

About the book:
A gay high-society wedding. A stolen book of spells. A love-threatening lie. Can a witch avoid a murder rap without revealing the supernatural truth?

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John races to prove his fiancé’s innocence before they take their vows.

As Cosmo hunts for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name, and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Mainly by Moonlight is the first book in the sexy Bedknobs and Broomsticks romantic gay mystery series. If you like spellbinding suspense, steamy fun, and a dash of paranormal, then you’ll love Josh Lanyon’s charming tale.

My Review:
Even though he hasn’t practiced his magic in a couple of years Cosmo Saville is a powerful witch. Duc of Westlands and second behind his mother in the succession line to the Abracadantes craft tradition, Cosmo’s just not that into all the traditions. It’s easier for him to blend into the non-magic world if he doesn’t use his magic for everyday tasks, and he’s mostly successful with the exception of portal traveling–that’s just plain practical magic, so he can avoid traffic and what-not. Cosmo owns an antique shop in San Francisco and he discovers a grisly murder of a competitor in his field–who’d revealed he’d found an ancient grimoire. Cosmos barely escapes the scene, but is definitely under suspicion.

He inadvertantly encounters Police Commissioner John Galbraith as they duel for the top bid on an antique bed with craft markings. John, an avowed non-believer in all magical arts, wants it as a whimsical gift for his younger half-sister Jinx, who fashions herself a “witch,” though Cosmo can detect no craft within her. John is rather rude to Cosmo, and his friend thinks it a lark to put a love enchantment on them. Soon, they run into one another more and more frequently, and each time the tension is more of the sexual than avaricious kind. It’s not long before they both fall head over heels, and that’s when Cosmo learn the truth about the love spell–only John’s already proposed and the wedding is mere weeks away. Cosmo hasn’t even told John about his abilities in witchcraft–how can he possibly explain about the love spell?

Also, it seems that John’s intervention is the only thing keeping Cosmo from being arrested for murder–so, will he throw Cosmo to the wolves if he thinks Cosmo enchanted him? For all the complicated twists, there’s a lightness, and a hope to the story. Both Cosmo and John never thought they would fall in love, and yet their hearts and minds are so in tune. Their sexual chemistry is another kind of magic, though, and it’s bound these men tighter than their impending marriage vows.

This is by turns taut and whimsical. The mystery is meant to develop over at least three stories, so we get some immediate resolution to Cosmo’s current problems but new issues are on the horizon to keep the major plot arcs in motion. John’s mother, to whom he is very close, is a bigoted, magic-hating woman, and her antics upset Cosmo and his mother. Cosmo’s mother is unhappy about this marriage, because it means Cosmo is further distancing himself from the “craft” realm. Keeping all the magic antics from John’s consciousness is difficult, and upsetting to Cosmo, especially when there’s a witch seeking revenge casting spells at Cosmo. I like the storyline, and the characters. It’s fun start to a series, with mismatched lovers who may just turn out to be star-crossed.

Interested? You can find MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place). The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male Male Couple in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), an Edgar nominee and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California. Catch up with Josh’s new on her website, Facebook or twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Out Today: FINDING MERCY Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new contemporary police romance from Riley Edwards. FINDING MERCY is the third book in her Next Generation series, and features two longtime colleagues finding love at the right time.

About the book:
DEA agent Jason Walker became a widower at twenty-eight. Two years later he’s still torturing himself with guilt. They’d married young, and she’d been his first love, but her illness changed everything. They’d fought a losing battle and he’d held her to the very end. Now he just wants to be left alone with his misery and memories.

Mercy James is no stranger to grief and loneliness. Her brother’s death of a drug overdose, and her police officer father’s death in the line of duty were the driving forces behind her pursuit of a career in the DEA. In spite of—or maybe because of—her past, Mercy doesn’t believe in feeling sorry for others, or for herself.

When a case brings Jason and Mercy together, and their attraction heats up, can her tough, straightforwardness help Jason learn to live in the light again? He’d lost his first love, but is he ready for a forever love?

My Review:
Mercy James and Jason Walker are DEA agents who’ve known each other for several years. Mercy was aware that Jason’s wife died of cancer a couple of years ago. She’s seen how he’s closed himself off, but they get along okay, and that works when they are assigned to the same case: strange, toxic drugs working their way through the local high schools.

Jason’s felt guilty about his failed marriage long before his wife–his childhood sweetheart who grew apart–died. Jason had married straight out of college, and his young bride got cancer within the first few years of marriage. Though they were great friends, the romance died following her cancer’s remission, and that drove a deeper wedge between them. They’d been planning to separate when her cancer returned. Jason grieves his best friend, and feels like he can’t move on or he’ll taint her memory.

That’s why he’s confused about his unexpected attraction to Mercy. They’ve had a great working relationship…but now everything feels charged. Mercy, who has no living relations, had to deal with heaps of grief throughout her life, and lives her life with no regrets now. She notices how Jason looks at her, and she pushes him to get back to living his life.

The case is heating up as well, with some inside tips from Jason’s younger sister–a teacher at a nearby high school. Kids are taking the tainted drugs and turning up dead, so she’s eager to help out.

This is a well-paced police-romance with good balance between the case work and the romance. At first, Mercy and Jason agree to a no-strings arrangement, and it’s incendiary. Neither of them have had a regular partner in years, and they both agree it’s not just the novelty. For Jason, this is the first truly adult sexual relationship he’s had–he and his wife were platonic since he turned 23, and he’s now thirty. Meanwhile, the more they interact, the more they fit. They have movie nights, and text chats and Jason’s family wants to meet the girl who has him captivated.

While Jason comes to terms with his guilt he hurts Mercy pretty bad, but it also drives a wedge back between himself and his family. THat leasd to the big climax where Mercy has to save the day. There’s some catastrophic issues and injuries that propel us int the next book in this series. I loved how that was a good side plot, and the main plot was totally focused on Mercy and Jason. I could feel Jason’s grief and empathize. Mercy is a rock, and a realistic character. Both of these characters have real issues, and experience real emotions. I liked this book, and it’s drawn me in to the series. I’ll be looking for the next book for sure.

Interested? You can find FINDING MERCY on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Riley Edwards is a bestselling multi-genre author, wife, and military mom. Riley was born and raised in Los Angeles but now resides on the east coast with her fantastic husband and children.

Riley writes heart-stopping romance with sexy alpha heroes and even stronger heroines. Riley’s favorite genres to write are romantic suspense and military romance.

Catch up with Riley on Facebook, twitter, BookBub, Amazon and Goodreads.

Small Town Quarrels: FIREBALL–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Nazarea Andrews. FIREBALL is a smoking hot romance between small town folks who can’t avoid one another any longer… I really liked SECRET THINGS, so I was excited to try a new book from this author.

About the book:
He’s infuriating…
Dempsey Jones has been a nuisance my entire life, the straight-laced Boy Scout grown up to be a firefighter, of all things. He was the one helping kittens out of trees and old ladies cross the road while I was lighting cherry bombs with my best friend in abandoned buildings, and now that we’re all grown up—even if my Dad doesn’t agree—he’s still just as annoying.

She’s impossible…
Taite Ridley has been a constant my whole life, the curly haired mischievous daughter of the police chief, charming and devious and alluring. She was wild in ways I never dared to be and too big for our little town. But she’s here, a small town cop, and I can’t avoid her, even if I wanted to.

And I don’t want to.

It’s like mixing fire and gasoline and when these two collide, someone is gonna get burned…

My Review:
Dempsey Jones has had a thing for Taite Ridley ever since high schoo.Painfully shy, Dempsey hid his attraction behind sharp words and one-upmanship. It seems. But Dempsey’s been having some delicious hate sex of late with River City’s junior chief of police. He wants more, but how can he convince Taite he can be the man of her dreams?

Taite, having lost her mom young, is a daddy’s girl to the max. She grew up at the precinct, doted on my the cops and office staff, and has now come in to her own as an officer herself. Taite’s had a lust-hate relationship with Dempsey since high school, but she always thought her troublemaker persona turned him off. And, she’s never getting married. Not after seeing her dad suffer when her mom died. But, as the small town gears up for the big fundraising competition between the fire department and the police department, Taite might have more to lose than her pride. Yup, Dempsey’s careful planning might just win her heart.

This is a sweet and sexy love story that seemed to be enemies-turned-lovers, on the surface. Instead I think it was friends-turned-lovers because the hate posturing was more Taite’s drama than anythign else. Dempsey has been gone on Taite a long time now, and his only angle is how to turn his “drunken,” down-low hook-up into his sleep-in-my-bed-all-night girlfriend. There’s plenty of fun bits, too, like how the fire department tries a new tactic to raise money: a nude calendar. For Dempsey, tall, fit and sexy fire captain, well, he can’t avoid baring all–and it’s part and parcel of his plan to win Taite over too.

There’s plenty of waffling, however, and that was a little bit of a drag, for me. Taite does finally see the light, though, when Dempsey sees her through some dark moments. It’s cute and fun. I enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find FIREBALL on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series.

Stop by her twitter and tell her what fantastic book she should read next. You can also find her on her website, blog, Facebook, join her Street Team, or sign up for her newsletter.
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Way Back: VALOR ON THE MOVE–A Review

Hi there! I’m working my way back into “theme weeks” which are collections of books that (mostly) center on a given theme. This week many of the books I’ll share are ones that were published a year ago, or more, and have been languishing on my TBR pile too long. Today, I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from author Keira Andrews. VALOR ON THE MOVE is an older-younger odd-couple story about the president’s son who falls hard for his new bodyguard. I sequel is releasing soon, and I couldn’t hold out any longer on this one! I have loved other novels by Ms. Andrew’s including KIDNAPPED BY THE PIRATE as well as more contemporary (A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA) and even paranormal (KICK AT THE DARKNESS) titles.

About the book:
He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.
Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the first part of the Valor duology and features a May-December age difference, Jane Austen levels of pining, forbidden love against the odds, and of course a happy ending.

My Review:
Secret Service Agent Shane Kendrick has dedicated his life to the service. He’s been a model agent, and his hard work has finally paid off when he’s assigned as a primary bodyguard for Rafael “Rafa” Castillo, Codename “Valor”, the youngest son of President Castillo. Shane’s made the big time, alright, and he’s glad Valor is the shy retiring one of the family because his partner on the detail, Alan, is having a family crisis and with the election looming the service is stretched so thin that Shane’s sometime on his own with Rafa.

Rafa is a twenty-one year old closeted gay man. His best friend, Ashleigh, is also closeted and they serve as beards for each other in public. They both plan to come out in January, when they graduate college together and Rafa’s father’s done with his second term in the White House. It’s been uncomfortable growing up in the harsh spectacle that is his family, especially as he’s so much younger than his three older siblings. They moved on years ago, and Rafa has felt disconnected for a long time, especially since his father, a Republican to the core, supported measures to outlaw same-sex marriage. After that debacle, Rafa knew he’d keep his head down and has made some grand plans to move to Australia and study at the Cordon Bleu school in Sydney–where he could also learn to surf and live his life openly without being near his likely unsupportive family.

Naturally, growing up with buff, suited, strong bodyguards for the past 8 years has had an impact on Rafa. He’s definitely attracted to the “type” and not really wild about silly young college men. Meeting Agent Kendrick tilts Rafa’s axis something fierce, and he finds ways to show little glimmers of his personality by cooking unique treats for Shane that allow them some quiet time together. It skips to level 11 when Shane confides that he’s gay. Yep, Rafa knows he’s doing wrong, falling for his security, but he’s never stepped a toe out of line before, and Shane is a compassionate man. Their alone-ish time becomes fraught with mutual attraction that Shane is quick to shut down, despite his own feelings. Shane hasn’t sacrificed so much of his life to let poor judgment end this detail–or worse, take advantage of young, inexperienced Rafa.

Then their whole life goes belly up. Rafa has a severe falling out with his family, and runs. Shane and Alan keep watch over him, but terrorists follow, and it’s a life-and-death struggle to survive once the guns start firing. Finding temporary safety and shelter leads to finding physical solace and satisfaction, but the night isn’t over and they aren’t out of the woods yet. And, how did the terrorists find them on this pop-up adventure, anyway? Shane has some hard truths to face regarding his fellow members of the Secret Service, and he also can’t deny that the lines he and Rafa crossed require immediate action.

This story was rich and filled with fantastic research elements regarding procedures for security details, and White House operations. Without question I thought I was on a private tour of our president’s life–and that was awesome. The attraction between Shane and Rafa was handled tenderly, with a sexy bit of daddy-kink for Rafa that felt genuine. I really struggled, as did they, with the situation, knowing that it was going to go poorly–at least for a bit. The intrigue and scrutiny Shane was under, following the attack, was believable, and honest. Even the “bad guys” had heart, and real struggles that were understandable, if unforgivable. There’s not a lot of sexytimes here, because Shane’s an upstanding agent who won’t break his oaths lightly. Rafa’s a determined young man, however, and he finally gets his way–appropriately–in the end. Their adventure seems to end, but a new book is on the horizon and both are HEAs.

Interested? You can find VALOR ON THE MOVE on Goodreads and Amazon.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal for SNOW BALLS!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. Yep, a two-fer this week from that author! SNOWBALLS is the sixth book in her Balls to the Walls series which I have devoured. While they are all standalones, you can check out my reviews for VOLLEY BALLS, FIRE BALLS, BEACH BALLS, FAST BALLS, and HIGH BALLS, to see if any of these mancandy books tickle your fancy.

About the book:
JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.

Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

How about a little taste?

Carefully JJ placed the art objects into the scene. These dolls would bring in the money during Winter Fantasy because people could afford to give them as gifts. An original piece of art at a reasonable price. It was a great find for shoppers. He nestled a lovely red-and-green doll into a forest of tiny pines.

“That’s really pretty.”

“Oh.” JJ almost dropped the doll. He grabbed it firmly, placed it, breathed, and turned toward the husky voice. Showtime.

The cop raised the corners of his mouth slightly. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.”

Could he try out his own deep voice? JJ cleared his throat and dropped his tone from the usual stratosphere. “Not a problem. I wasn’t paying attention.” Blue. The guy’s eyes were a deep blue. Up close, his face had a classic structure that looked like it had been wrecked a bit: a high-bridged nose with a slight crook, as if somebody broke it once or twice, creamy skin marred by a few orange-peel-like marks, a light scar from the upper part of his neck that curved over his jaw. Scary. Ummmm… and sexy.

The policeman took out a small notebook—just like in the movies. “I’d like to ask you a few questions about what you saw today.”

JJ took hold of the edges of the counter so he could keep his hands still. “Okay.” He tried again, an octave lower. “Sure. Shoot.”

The guy flipped a page of the notebook. JJ stared at him and the question burst out. “Uh, what’s your name?”

The guy looked embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. I should have identified myself. I just… uh, I’m Detective Star.” He flashed his badge.

“What Star?”

“Excuse me?”

“What’s your first name?”

“Oh. Ryan.”

JJ smiled. “Nice name. I’m JJ LaRousse.”

The detective looked a little confused, but he wrote it down. “One S or two?”

“Two. And the JJ stands for Jamison Jeremiah.”

“So, Mr. LaRousse—”

“JJ.”

“JJ. Can you tell me where you were this morning at nine forty-five?”

JJ’s eyes widened. “Do you think I did the robberies?” He held the counter really tight.

“Mr.—uh, JJ—I was told that you saw the thieves, and I’m just trying to determine te chain of events.”

JJ breathed out. Relax! “Yes, uh, I was right here in this booth.”

“Can you describe what you saw?”

“I saw Santa Claus and his elf walking past really fast.” He looked into the blue eyes. “I guess I should say I saw two men dressed as those characters.”

“Can you describe them?”

“The Santa guy was kind of tall. A little taller than you, but not as tall as me.”

Star wrote. “So, about six feet one or so?”

“Probably, yes. The other guy was little. That’s one reason why I didn’t think anything strange. The elf was really small—like, he fit the costume. I figured they were just rehearsing for the Winter Fantasy Santa’s Village.”

“How small.”

JJ held out his hand at the middle of his chest.

“About five foot four?”

“Yeah, or maybe smaller.”

“But it was definitely a man?”

JJ cocked his head. “Good question.”

Again, that gaze speared him. “Close your eyes and picture the two of them and see if you remember anything that would indicate if the person might have been female.”

JJ closed his eyes. Wow. The detective smelled good. Like citrus with some honey in it. A soft smell, not overpowering at all. Maybe he could just snuggle his head against Ryan’s neck and inhale deeply. “Ummm.”

I’m really looking forward to this one!

Interested? YOu can find more info about SNOW BALLS on Goodreads, and pre-order it on
Dreamspinner Press.

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!

Impetuous Love JAX–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Cristin Harber. JAX is a standalone story that features some characters from her Titan, Delta and Only series, and sure to have lots of suspense and action. While I didn’t meet any of my fave characters from LOCKE AND KEY, I still enjoyed this unexpectedly tender spin-off story.

About the book:
Seven is an enigma. A motorcycle club princess. The daughter of a notorious gangster. The best friend of the deputy mayor. A coffee shop owner. The single mom of two young, adopted children. She’s colorful, in every way possible—from her attitude to her piercings and bright pink hair—and she’s a woman on a mission with the power to help broker a clean break between a powerful motorcycle club and a South American drug cartel. But not all players are ready for the game to change, including the ones she can’t see like the CIA.

Jax Michaelson has a bad attitude and a good shot. The former Navy SEAL has been on Titan’s problem list for running his mouth since the day he showed up for work, but he does a hell of a job, and they’d never let him go. Call him cocky, that’s fine, because then you’d have to admit he’s the best at anything and everything—except diplomacy.

When Titan is forced into the seedy drug world filled with cartel glitz and Harley-riding MCs, Seven and her family become an unexpected bargaining chip right after she and Jax find a way to stand each other—in bed.
Will friends become lovers? Or are they too far gone to be opposites that attract? Is Jax nothing but a bad boy who leaves her hoping for a military hero when the burden of living as Mayhem royalty backfires and her children disappear.

JAX is a standalone romantic suspense novel by New York Times bestselling author Cristin Harber. It features characters from the Titan, Delta, and Only series, but readers do not have to have read those books to enjoy this one. There’s a guaranteed happily ever after and no cliffhanger! Enjoy!

How about a little taste?

“What kind of name is Jax?”
“Probably the easiest thing my ma could think to shout when she heard she was having a boy. It stood out on a block of Dons and Johns.”
“Your neighborhood was filled with porta-potty kids?”
Her humor made him grin. “Guess so. But that was back in the day. Who cares? This place makes me realize I don’t know much about you.”
She sucked her cheeks in thought. “I don’t think you’re always a jerkface.”
“Good to know, princess. ” He gave her a lingering once-over. ” I don’t think you’re always… I’m coming up blank.” Or at the very least, he was having a hard time thinking of an appropriate comparison.
It was too dim to see her blush, but she ducked her chin as though she were. After a second that strung between them for miles, Seven regained her unaffected composure. “I slapped you. I think you can come up with at least one thing.”
The memory ran to his groin, and Jax rolled his bottom lip into his mouth, letting go with a slow breath. Her slap hadn’t been just a no. It had been a hell no with style. She’d rejected his proposition, but he wasn’t positive she was rejecting him.
“Sweetheart, I liked that.”
Tension crackled in the few feet between them. The hairs on his skin stood as he waited to see what she would do next, what she would say, and how he would volley it back.
“Don’t flirt with me right now,” she whispered. “I need a favor.” She eased back onto the desk as though she owned the place, crossing her legs.
“Isn’t that the best time to flirt?”
Seven rolled her eyes, but she smiled liked the devil sipping sweet tea.
“Careful, beautiful.”
A thick wave of magenta hair fell over her cheek, obscuring half her face. “Careful or what?”
Her pink fucking hair was ridiculous but artistic, not too serious. She was like splashes of colors sprinkled with surprises—tongue stud, eyebrow jewels, and a name like Seven.
Jax had no idea what to do about that. “You want to have that conversation right now?” He set the smoothie on the ground. “Because if you want to try again, I’ll dole out whatever consequences we agree to.”
Seven’s tiny, unexpected gasp made a shiver of anticipation roll through his muscles. Even if Jax hadn’t been trained to pick up on microchanges in human behavior, he would’ve noticed how her breaths quickened despite her best effort to disguise the natural reaction. Jax wanted to feel her pulse, needed to know how far she would let him push her, how much she would trust him.

My Review:
Jax Michaelson is a Titan agent attending the wedding of his colleague, Ryder, when he meets Seven again. Motorcycle princess of the Mayhem MC, Seven didn’t quit the club that destroyed her family life, even when her father–the former prez–when to prison for drug trafficking. In fact, knowing that the club is trying to get out of the drug game altogether spurs Seven to call on Jax for help. See, breaking loose from a Colombian cartel takes mediation a MC just doesn’t have, but Titan does.

Jax has been interesting in Seven, her sild hair, piercings and indomitable attitude, for a while. But this reconnection has taught him she’s more than her facade. She’s a business-owner, who’s caring for her ailing mother, and has adopted two kiddos after their mom OD’ed and their dad went to jail. She’s determined to make a good and solid life, and needing a man isn’t on her to-do list. Still, her assistance to Mayhem’s cause draws her into a tight circle with Jax, and the attraction flares. When in Bogota–and also Vegas–it’s a connection she doesn’t want to fight. Even when it irrevocably changes their situation. Especially the Vegas nights. Shenanigans ensue…

The vibe from the book is tension. Seven has a nervous tic for folding/refolding items in her environs when she’s nervous, so expect lots of folded table linens, sheets, blankets and origami. Also, expect Jax to be more than the surly ex-SEAL with a chip on his shoulder. We get a real deep look at a man who loved and lost young, and never thought he’d make himself vulnerable again. The situation with the MC-cartel is only further inflamed by Seven’s ex-husband, Johnny, and her own father–neither of whom want the drug trade to disappear. It’s about business fr one, and pleasure for the other. This leads to some harrowing times as Seven’s new family gets torn apart and Jax is her rock and rescuer. Jax, working with Titan to settle this situation for Mayhem, gets an unexpected opportunity to correct wrongs from his youth, and that closure means a lot.

For me, the story is a little busy, and it’s sometimes hard to remember who is who. Plus, these folks seem to have 27-hour days and 13-day weeks, because they have time for stuff I can’t even imagine, and I’m a workaholic insomniac. That said, if the time frame were at all realistic, I’d have loved the story. Seven’s a stand-up gal who protects her own, even at her own expense, and Jax is a man of principle who isn’t afraid to get dirty (or be dirty) for the people he treasures.

Interested? You can find JAX on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Author:
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

You can catch up with Cristin on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Team Titan Facebook, or sign up for her newsletter.