Unexpected NerdLove STARTING FROM SOMEWHERE– Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM SOMEWHERE is the fourth book in the Starting From series. I really enjoyed STARTING FROM ZERO, STARTING FROM SCRATCH and STARTING FROM HERE, so I couldn’t wait to read on in this rock romance series.

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
The guitarist and the geek…
Bobby J-
What can I say? I’m a man of many tastes. I know what I like, and I’m not afraid to go for it. And I like the adorable geek from the bar. A lot. He’s smart and sassy…and he doesn’t seem to know or care that I’m in a hot up-and-coming band. However, I just found out he’s the new intern at Scratch Records. Uh-oh, this could get tricky.

Cody-
Confession…I’ve flubbed my mission. My quest is to research cool things and interesting people before I start my job as aerospace analyst—not fall for a rock star. My internship won’t last long if I can’t control this infatuation. Bobby J might look like a bear, but he’s fun and sweet and…oh boy, I think I’m in over my head. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Starting From Somewhere is a MM, bisexual romance with some rock and roll and a little nerdiness! Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.

How about a yummy taste?

Cody nodded as he pulled out his cell and typed a few notes. “Got it. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Give me one shot before I go.” I motioned for him to start talking.
“A flirting shot. Okay.” He licked his lips nervously, then shook his head. “I can’t. Everything I’m thinking is…rude.”
I barked a quick laugh. “You have my complete and undivided attention. Bring it on.”
“Um…your jeans look tight. I can’t wait for you to stand up so I can see your ass. But I’d love to see your ass out of them too.”
I bit back a grin. “Okay. That was direct and kinda hot, but do not under any circumstances try that with anyone else on planet Earth.”
“Too much?”
“A tad.” I squeezed his shoulder as I stood. “Keep practicing. It was nice to meet you, Cody.”
“You too. I’ll walk out with you. I’ve done enough research tonight.”
I nodded, then led the way to the exit, holding the door open for him. I stepped outside and gazed up at the fast-moving clouds drifting over the half-moon before turning toward my new acquaintance. Cody pulled his keys from his pocket and smiled.
“Where’d you park?” I asked.
“Over there.” He gestured at the black Mini Cooper at the far end of the lot mostly hidden in shadows.
My chivalrous side kicked in out of the blue. “I’ll walk you to your car. I’m heading that way.”
Cody beamed at me. “Thank you. Are you working early tomorrow?”
“No, why you do ask?”
“I’m making polite conversation. No flirtation whatsoever. Although I was mulling over our earlier discussion and realized you’re guilty of double standards.”
“How so?”
“Earlier you said…and I quote, ‘I’d do you.’ You added something about doing ‘it’ over a bar, a table, et cetera. Ring any bells?” He pointed his key fob at his car and gave a satisfied nod when it beeped on cue.
I squinted warily. “Yeah, but—”
“When I told you I wanted to see your posterior in your Levi’s, I was somehow out of line. The logic confuses me. Why should you be able to say what you’re thinking, and I can’t?” He came to a stop at the driver’s side of his car and crossed his arms, silently issuing a challenge of some kind.
“Now that you mention it, I suppose that does seem unfair.” I scratched my beard thoughtfully, then turned around to show off my denim-clad ass. “Ta-da! I present my posterior.”
Cody snickered. “Very nice.”
“Glad you approve.” I pivoted to face him and fumbled with my belt. “I guess I could show you the whole kit and caboodle…or caboose.”
“No, no. Let’s not ask for trouble.”
I raised my hands in surrender. “If you say so.”
“I do. Kiss me instead.”
“Excuse me?”
He pursed his lips, looking uncomfortable as hell. To his credit, he didn’t back down. “You heard me.”
The husky note in his voice zipped through my veins like a secret elixir. The sudden onslaught of need and desire was a powerful combo. I stepped closer, wedging myself between him and the Prius parked next to his car. I was at least four inches taller than Cody and much bigger. I could squish him like a bug. I wouldn’t. I wasn’t that kind of guy, but he didn’t know that. He should be careful around men like me.
“Why?”
“Because I might never meet anyone like you again. If I do, I might not be confident, brave, or sincere enough to tell him what I want. I feel like this might be a chance I should take. I understand if you say no. I’m not your type. I get it. I’m not sure why you talked to me at all tonight. Or why—”
I curled my fingers around the back of his neck and sealed my lips to his.
So what happened to my gentlemanly resolve to not corrupt a nerdy, adorable dude barking up the wrong tree for some sexy action? I had no fucking clue.

My Review:
Bobby J is the lead guitarist for an up-and-coming L.A.-based band, Jealousy. We have met him before in STARTING FROM HERE, the third book in this series. Bobby J is out and loud about his bisexuality, and he’s not one to mince words about his interest or desires. He’s caught in a little bit of discomfort with Johnny, who plays in ZERO, another band in the indie Scratch Records label, due to an aborted tryst with a fan, and members of both bands are urging Bobby to smooth things over. He would like to, he’s just not good at communicating his needs or his feelings.

While out at a seedy bar near the recording studio, Bobby J meets Cody, a beautiful, tall and slender nerdy man who admits to be there for “research” purposes. Cody is a newly graduated aerospace engineer who really works on data mining, looking for trends and patterns. He has three months off before he’s supposed to begin working in the corporate world, and he wants to cut loose a little, find out what “real life” might be like if he wasn’t so tied to his schoolwork. Cody took a summer intern position managing the social media data for ZERO and JEALOUSY, before he ever met any of the band. He just wants to study their “cool” orbit, in addition to gathering data on all sorts of human interactions, like days at the beach, and baking certain cakes. He’s got some sexytimes and dating experience, but that’s with engineers–and his non-sciencey people-ing skills are soft. Cody find Bobby J crazy sezy, and wants to pursue something, if he can, but he also doesn’t want to bias his research. Bobby J, himself a closet geek, offers to open himself up for all sorts of study, so Cody can knock items off his list.

These two, despite seeming to be complete opposites, are a more aligned than one might surmise at first glance. Bobby J was raised by his father, a workaholic scientist, and he studied to be a doctor before dropping out and following his musical dreams. They have similar taste in geeky shows, and they harmonize more than Cody’s data might have predicted. It;s a sweet and sexy fling as summer passes. Bobby J finds reasons to pop into Cody’s cube and they each enjoy the other’s company so much, even when they aren’t sexing each other up, down and every which way. Cody doesn’t think he can truly fit into Bobby J’s musical sphere, and nearly heads for the hills, but Bobby J’s long since swooned for his sexy nerd and they end up lasting longer than the internship–by far.

Being part of the STARTING FROM series, it was fun to see other band members and how their own relationships have grown. The awkwardness between Bobby J and Johnny gets smoothed over, following some real talk that Cody hands out. From their closeness in previous stories, I had wondered if Bobby J and Johnny would become a unit, but they are too good at being friends, and their attractions lay elsewhere. So, I imagine we’ll see Johnny finding his partner in an upcoming book. In the meantime, I loved this nerdy bear-twink match kindle and scorch it’s way across the pages.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM SOMEWHERE on Goodreads, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

STARTING FROM HERE–Audiobook Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM HERE is the third book in the Starting From series. STARTING FROM ZEROkicked off this rock romance series with each member of the band Zero finding a solid lover. This book features former childhood friends turned rivals in an enemies-to-lovers story.

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
Two bands, one goal, and a second chance…

Declan-
Everything is finally going well. I have a new band, a new label, and a debut album coming out. And then my drummer breaks his wrists. Just my luck. I need a quick replacement to record one more song, but my options are limited, and of course, the obvious candidate hates my guts. Okay, so I may have given him a few reasons over the years, but isn’t there an expiration date on holding a grudge?

Tegan-
I don’t trust Declan McNamara. Sure, he’s talented, smart, and has more sex appeal than any one person should be allowed. And yeah, he may be a rock star in the making, but beware—he’s trouble. However, our new record label’s survival may depend on a truce and extreme measures…of the fake boyfriend variety. If it’s our best shot at the big time, I’m willing to set the past aside and start over…here and now.

Starting From Here is a MM, bisexual romance rock and roll style…rival bands, fake boyfriends, and a second chance at a new love story. Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.

How about a yummy taste?

The sound of cheerful squealing rang in the background before she hung up. I stared into space for a minute or two, feeling very…alone. I didn’t want to slip into teenage levels of self-pity. There was really nothing lamer than a privileged grown-ass adult whining about mommy issues. I flipped through television channels, pausing on a special about great white sharks. Then I tossed the controller aside and picked up my cell again.
Would you ever swim with sharks?
My phone buzzed immediately. I smiled when Tegan’s name lit the screen. Are you high?
I wish. Swimming with sharks is a thing. People get in cages and film themselves being surrounded by predators…for fun.
People are fucking crazy.
True.
What are you watching?
National Geographic. I was hoping for a sex in the wild segment, but I got sharks instead.
Shark sex?
I grinned. Nope. I don’t think I’m ready for that.
It’s not exciting. Fish sex is seriously unhot.
True.
My chuckled morphed into a belly laugh as I sank deeper into the cushion. I shared a quick story about the saucy squirrels who were getting it on outside my window last spring. Tegan teased me for being a rodent voyeur, then recommended a few human porn sites I might appreciate instead.
Btw, it’s officially midnight. Congrats.
I stared at the screen for a moment. I typed and erased two or three thank-yous that seemed a little too effusive. I didn’t want to come across as too excited or too grateful and somehow clingy, so I gave up and pressed Call.
“Hey.”
“Are you really fucking calling me?”
I chuckled. “Yeah. I am. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. But it’s midnight, and I hate talking on the phone, so good ni—”
“Don’t hang up.”
“What’s wrong?”
I stared at the TV unseeing. “Nothing. I just…I’m keyed up and I need someone to talk to. What was your first release like? I know Zero’s record is still doing well. But…what was like in the beginning? How’d you feel?”
Silence.
“You want the truth?”
“Yeah.”
“It was anticlimactic.”
“Oh. That’s kind of depressing.”
“No, it’s just life. Nothing ever happens as fast as you want it to. You’ve got to be patient and keep doing your thing,” he advised. “We came home from our summer tour thinking we made it. What didn’t turn into superstars, but we made progress. And every day it gets better. But who knows what will happen? Maybe you’ll wake up at number one. Just stay positive and…stop torturing yourself.”
I smiled when Tegan’s uplifting advice gave way to exasperation. It was cute.
“It’s what I do. I excel at the art of self-sabotage. Ask my mom. If I bomb, you can be sure she’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so.’ She’ll choose her words carefully, though. She’ll be kind-ish before she gently suggests that it’s time to throw in the towel and join the family firm. Fuck my life.”
“But it’s your life. The honor of making mistakes or kicking ass is all yours. You wrote those songs to be heard. Not everyone will love what you do, but plenty of people will. You just gotta be right in your own head. Ask yourself if you gave your best. Did you?”
“Of course.”
“You’ll do just fine, then. If you sell a million copies, great. If not, you’ll still learn something.”
Silence.
“Thanks. I needed that,” I said softly.
“You’re welcome. Now go to sleep.”
“I’m an almost rock star, and it’s midnight. My night is just beginning,” I lied, stifling a yawn.
“Have fun, rock god,” he snorted.
“I’m kidding. I’m channel surfing.”
“You mean porn surfing?”
I barked a quick laugh. “No, I get my porn on the internet like everyone else. I was watching that show about hoarders. It made me feel better somehow.”
“You’re a freak. Get your computer and jack off. You’ll feel better, and you’ll sleep better,” he advised sagely.
“Thanks, Dr. Monroe. I’ll report back in the morning.”
“Not necessary. Especially if there’re boobs involved.”
“I watch more dick porn than chick porn. I watched a great locker room scene last night. The coach and the quarterback. Sexy as fuck.”
“Are you really sharing a spank-bank story?”
“Yeah, you want the link?”

My Review:
Tegan Monroe is a drummer for the newly-formed band Zero. He’s out gay and in his late 20s he’s been feuding with a childhood friend Declan McNamara for the last few years. Declan, Tegan, and their friend Justin were all part of a band called Gypsy Coma, which imploded when a love triangle was revealed. Tegan and Declan has been on and off lovers before that, but Justin and the band’s lead singer, Xena, had a spectacularly bad breakup which ended Gypsy Coma.

Justin and Tegan then formed Zero, while Xena went in one direction and Declan formed a band called Jealousy—which was signed by the same indie recording label that signed Zero, Scratch Studios. Despite their recent issues, the history behind Tegan and Declan is a powerful force, and Tegan’s personal struggles cause him to seek out Declan as a favor to his ailing mother. Declan’s trying to avoid getting trapped by his manipulative mother into some kind of scheme that would either reintroduce Xena drama, or cause Declan to drop out of his band, just on the cusp of breaking out in the LA music scene.

To get ahead of the stories and cut off a return to scandal, Declan and Tegan agree to pose as fake boyfriends to build buzz before their upcoming tours. No one knows that they’ve already begun some low-key reconciliations of the hate-sex kind.

This is an interesting twist on the enemies-to-lovers trope by having Declan and Tegan share a long-standing friendship that had already been sexual, before the introduction of all the drama. Pushing the fake boyfriends subterfuge onto them was a good foil to allow them to fully explore what they were already doing—just without the angst of trying to continue with the down-low tactics. These guys have always been attracted to one another, but they were never in the right headspace to build something long lasting. And jealousy, the emotion not Declan’s band, has definitely been an issue.

The audiobook version of this story flows effortlessly with solid emotion and clear voice definition from the narrator, Michael Dean. He’s been narrating this series all along, yet I always find the books to sound fresh and engaging. His pacing is excellent and I seriously fell into the story all over again in this format. It’s always awesome when I can enjoy the audiobook just as much, if not more, than the print version.

I like how Declan is so over all the sniping that he’s finally honest about everything. It helps when the spin-doctors start their voodoo to build the buzz. Tegan is definitely suffering, especially because of his mom’s illness, and Declan is strong enough to be the support he needs. The match between them has always been fraught with drama, but this time they decide to let the past stay there and just pick up from where they are. And that made all the difference. Expect some angry-sex morphing into friendship and happier moments before the drama creeps In. It’s a happy ending, and I think it may not be the last connection between Zero and Jealousy, going forward.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM HERE on Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Overcoming Daddy Issues STARTING FROM SCRATCH–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM SCRATCH is the second book in the Starting From series. STARTING FROM ZERO and STARTING FROM HERE recount the falling in love stories of two members of an LA-based indie band called Zero.

Drop down to catch my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
Charlie Rourke is an ultra fabulous human whirlwind on a mission to launch the next biggest band in the world. However, he might have taken on more than he could handle when he signed on to manage Zero. Promoting a rock band and finding gigs shouldn’t be hard. They’re a talented group with a ton of star power. If Charlie can find the right record label, he’s sure he can help them get to the next level. The only problem is the skater boy slash bassist with a quirky sense of humor. He’s annoying and silly, and he’s exactly Charlie’s type. Except he’s straight.

Ky Baldwin isn’t afraid to switch things up. He loves a challenge as much as anyone, but Charlie doesn’t make things easy. Zero’s manager is a force of nature with a razor sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a no-nonsense attitude. Ky can’t stop thinking about him. Winning over Charlie becomes Ky’s pet project. But when the ice between them thaws, neither is prepared for the intensity of going from enemies to lovers. They’ll have to decide if they’re willing to start from scratch and take a chance on the unexpected.

My Review:
Charlie Rourke is a 25 y/o out gay internet influencer who has signed on to manage the indie band Zero. He met the lead singer, Justin, through his godfather, Grey, and Charlie wants to use his platform to promote their band as his true career path. He’s a business man, raised in Tinsel Town by Grey who was his father’s secret lover and more of a dad than Sebastian Rourke ever was. With Zero’s promotions to work on, Charlie has a direction, one that fills his time with purpose–besides caring for his 9 year old half-brother, Oliver. Ollie is a lonely kid, and he struggles to make friends. Charlie has a bit of a trouble with obsessing over small details, and right now he’s mostly stressing over the devotion of the bass player for Zero, and some rather nasty reviews of the band that are starting to gain traction.

Ky is the bass player in Zero and Charlie is more than a challenge to him. Ky is bisexual, not that he advertises. He’s a bit of a skater-man, could have maybe been pro, and he’s more into the band than Charlie suspects. Also, Ky’s way into Charlie–who returns his interest. Ky is amazing with Ollie, which pretty much demolishes all of Charlie’s reservations for falling hard for Ky. Ky has some secrets, mainly what a craphead his old man is, but he’s more that willing to schedule regular visits to teach Charlie to skateboard. And, to still Charlie’s whirlwind brain with a simple kiss, or a silly prank.

These mismatched men connect in ways they hadn’t predicted. It’s a fun counterpoint to the family drama each one faces. Charlie’s always felt a bit ignored by his father, while Ky’s dad is a manipulator extraordinaire. This means that they are both fiercely-independent in their own affairs, but they also long for a steady partner who will provide the missing emotional support in their lives. The subplot pulls in Declan McNamara, an ally-turned-rival who seems to be the focus of the nasty reviewer hounding Zero’s shows. The negative reviews are gaining traction and threaten to upset the recording contracts that Charlie is negotiating for Zero. Declan was involved in a band-destroying love triangle that caused Justin, and his drummer-pal Tegan, to break off from Gypsy Coma, the band they were a part of before forming Zero. And, as Charlie is well aware, bad publicity in the social media space can sink a band faster than a terrible song.

I listened to the audiobook version, and I really enjoyed the pacing and narrator’s range, which was able to manage female and child voices as well as the lower register of Ky and Charlie’s manic-mania dialogue. I was glad to keep going with this series, and looked forward to Tegan’s love story, which was the next book to come out.

In this story the issues each character has with his father affects the path of their life. Charlie doesn’t want to lean on his dad for much, because he’s been so unreliable. He does trust his dad’s keen insights and promotional advice, however, which do make a big impact on the resolution of the story. For Ky, he long-since realized that his father is only interested in his own happiness, and he is so mean-spirited and toxic that Ky is better off without contact–and that’s how he likes it. It was a nasty turn, his dad’s way of ingratiating himself into the Zero sphere, but Ky effectively closes the door, and solidifies his place in the band. Their love story is engaging, and well-told in the audiobook.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM SCRATCH on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Enemies to Lovers STARTING FROM HERE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM HERE is the third book in the Starting From series. STARTING FROM ZEROkicked off this rock romance series with each member of the band Zero finding a solid lover. This book features former childhood friends turned rivals in an enemies-to-lovers story.

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
Two bands, one goal, and a second chance…

Declan-
Everything is finally going well. I have a new band, a new label, and a debut album coming out. And then my drummer breaks his wrists. Just my luck. I need a quick replacement to record one more song, but my options are limited, and of course, the obvious candidate hates my guts. Okay, so I may have given him a few reasons over the years, but isn’t there an expiration date on holding a grudge?

Tegan-
I don’t trust Declan McNamara. Sure, he’s talented, smart, and has more sex appeal than any one person should be allowed. And yeah, he may be a rock star in the making, but beware—he’s trouble. However, our new record label’s survival may depend on a truce and extreme measures…of the fake boyfriend variety. If it’s our best shot at the big time, I’m willing to set the past aside and start over…here and now.

Starting From Here is a MM, bisexual romance rock and roll style…rival bands, fake boyfriends, and a second chance at a new love story. Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.

How about a yummy taste?

The sound of cheerful squealing rang in the background before she hung up. I stared into space for a minute or two, feeling very…alone. I didn’t want to slip into teenage levels of self-pity. There was really nothing lamer than a privileged grown-ass adult whining about mommy issues. I flipped through television channels, pausing on a special about great white sharks. Then I tossed the controller aside and picked up my cell again.
Would you ever swim with sharks?
My phone buzzed immediately. I smiled when Tegan’s name lit the screen. Are you high?
I wish. Swimming with sharks is a thing. People get in cages and film themselves being surrounded by predators…for fun.
People are fucking crazy.
True.
What are you watching?
National Geographic. I was hoping for a sex in the wild segment, but I got sharks instead.
Shark sex?
I grinned. Nope. I don’t think I’m ready for that.
It’s not exciting. Fish sex is seriously unhot.
True.
My chuckled morphed into a belly laugh as I sank deeper into the cushion. I shared a quick story about the saucy squirrels who were getting it on outside my window last spring. Tegan teased me for being a rodent voyeur, then recommended a few human porn sites I might appreciate instead.
Btw, it’s officially midnight. Congrats.
I stared at the screen for a moment. I typed and erased two or three thank-yous that seemed a little too effusive. I didn’t want to come across as too excited or too grateful and somehow clingy, so I gave up and pressed Call.
“Hey.”
“Are you really fucking calling me?”
I chuckled. “Yeah. I am. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. But it’s midnight, and I hate talking on the phone, so good ni—”
“Don’t hang up.”
“What’s wrong?”
I stared at the TV unseeing. “Nothing. I just…I’m keyed up and I need someone to talk to. What was your first release like? I know Zero’s record is still doing well. But…what was like in the beginning? How’d you feel?”
Silence.
“You want the truth?”
“Yeah.”
“It was anticlimactic.”
“Oh. That’s kind of depressing.”
“No, it’s just life. Nothing ever happens as fast as you want it to. You’ve got to be patient and keep doing your thing,” he advised. “We came home from our summer tour thinking we made it. What didn’t turn into superstars, but we made progress. And every day it gets better. But who knows what will happen? Maybe you’ll wake up at number one. Just stay positive and…stop torturing yourself.”
I smiled when Tegan’s uplifting advice gave way to exasperation. It was cute.
“It’s what I do. I excel at the art of self-sabotage. Ask my mom. If I bomb, you can be sure she’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so.’ She’ll choose her words carefully, though. She’ll be kind-ish before she gently suggests that it’s time to throw in the towel and join the family firm. Fuck my life.”
“But it’s your life. The honor of making mistakes or kicking ass is all yours. You wrote those songs to be heard. Not everyone will love what you do, but plenty of people will. You just gotta be right in your own head. Ask yourself if you gave your best. Did you?”
“Of course.”
“You’ll do just fine, then. If you sell a million copies, great. If not, you’ll still learn something.”
Silence.
“Thanks. I needed that,” I said softly.
“You’re welcome. Now go to sleep.”
“I’m an almost rock star, and it’s midnight. My night is just beginning,” I lied, stifling a yawn.
“Have fun, rock god,” he snorted.
“I’m kidding. I’m channel surfing.”
“You mean porn surfing?”
I barked a quick laugh. “No, I get my porn on the internet like everyone else. I was watching that show about hoarders. It made me feel better somehow.”
“You’re a freak. Get your computer and jack off. You’ll feel better, and you’ll sleep better,” he advised sagely.
“Thanks, Dr. Monroe. I’ll report back in the morning.”
“Not necessary. Especially if there’re boobs involved.”
“I watch more dick porn than chick porn. I watched a great locker room scene last night. The coach and the quarterback. Sexy as fuck.”
“Are you really sharing a spank-bank story?”
“Yeah, you want the link?”

My Review:
Tegan Monroe is a drummer for the newly-formed band Zero. He’s out gay and in his late 20s he’s been feuding with a childhood friend Declan McNamara for the last few years. Declan, Tegan, and their friend Justin were all part of a band called Gypsy Coma, which imploded when a love triangle was revealed. Tegan and Declan has been on and off lovers before that, but Justin and the band’s lead singer, Xena, had a spectacularly bad breakup which ended Gypsy Coma.

Justin and Tegan then formed Zero, while Xena went in one direction and Declan formed a band called Jealousy—which was signed by the same indie recording label that signed Zero, Scratch Studios. Despite their recent issues, the history behind Tegan and Declan is a powerful force, and Tegan’s personal struggles cause him to seek out Declan as a favor to his ailing mother. Declan’s trying to avoid getting trapped by his manipulative mother into some kind of scheme that would either reintroduce Xena drama, or cause Declan to drop out of his band, just on the cusp of breaking out in the LA music scene.

To get ahead of the stories and cut off a return to scandal, Declan and Tegan agree to pose as fake boyfriends to build buzz before their upcoming tours. No one knows that they’ve already begun some low-key reconciliations of the hate-sex kind.

This is an interesting twist on the enemies-to-lovers trope by having Declan and Tegan share a long-standing friendship that had already been sexual, before the introduction of all the drama. Pushing the fake boyfriends subterfuge onto them was a good foil to allow them to fully explore what they were already doing—just without the angst of trying to continue with the down-low tactics. These guys have always been attracted to one another, but they were never in the right headspace to build something long lasting. And jealousy, the emotion not Declan’s band, has definitely been an issue.

I like how Declan is so over all the sniping that he’s finally honest about everything. It helps when the spin-doctors start their voodoo to build the buzz. Tegan is definitely suffering, especially because of his mom’s illness, and Declan is strong enough to be the support he needs. The match between them has always been fraught with drama, but this time they decide to let the past stay there and just pick up from where they are. And that made all the difference. Expect some angry-sex morphing into friendship and happier moments before the drama creeps In. It’s a happy ending, and I think it may not be the last connection between Zero and Jealousy, going forward.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM HERE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Now Available! DRIFTER by Eden Winters–Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word for a new M/M contemporary romance from Eden Winters. DRIFTER features a rocker in hiding helping out a castaway musician.

Scroll down for an excerpt and enter the giveaway for a free copy of the book.
About the book:
Some legends never die…
Killian Desmond met his end in the fiery crash that killed his band, or so the newspapers say. Now a nameless drifter, he plays one pick-up gig after another in a haze of pain and regret, moving on the minute someone says, “You sound like that guy from Trickster.”

Getting outed cost Mike Rose his musical family. A bassist without a band, he’ll play any kind of music to earn a paycheck, but Trickster’s music provides light during the darkest moments of his life.

A chance meeting brings together two lost souls who spark enough heat to set their guitars on fire. Their chemistry, both onstage and off, feels like something written in the words of a song and gives them courage to face life again.

But to seize their future, they have to confront their past.

Every damned, ugly inch of it.

How about a little taste?

The throbbing beat blended with screams from the crowd; a crowd hidden by bright lights. Sweat and cologne and beer filled Killian Desmond’s nose. Familiar sounds. Familiar scents.

Home.

Did he love this life or hate it? Who cared, he’d never known another. Back to back with his brother Elliot, he shredded his electric acoustic guitar, improvising for the fans. The strings bent to his callused fingertips, note after note falling from his guitar.

Elliot kept up. Elliot always kept up. Others might get lost in Killy’s musical fantasies, but El gauged Killy’s intentions by the way he moved, held his shoulders, or gestures, like pausing to flip his sweat-dampened hair out of his eyes.

The drummer and keyboardist faded away, letting El set the tone with a deep bass beat.

Killy strutted to the front of the stage. Hot lights illuminated him from behind, shining on sweat-soaked skin. “What you wanna hear?” He didn’t need the words to know they’d be sticking to their prearranged lineup. At their manager’s urging, he’d saved the best for last.

Highway!” roared through the arena.

He grinned and cupped a hand to one ear. “What’s that? I can’t hear you.”

Highway!” roughly six thousand voices cried out in unison, louder this time.

“Aw, c’mon, now,” Killy teased. “We’ll play whatever you want, but you gotta tell us.”

The thunderous chant of “Highway! Highway! Highway!” threatened to blow the roof off the building.

Strolling over a few paces and throwing an arm around his brother, Killy said, “Well, I reckon we better do as they say.”

“Since when have you ever taken orders?” Elliot shot back.

Faster than most could follow, Killy slung his guitar back into place and launched into their best-known riff.

The screaming nearly deafened him. He tried again. On his sixth attempt the crowd settled enough to begin.

He grinned. Adoration and energy flowed from the crowd, straight into his veins, to gather strength and escape through his fingers and his voice.

His deep growl purred through the arena, pouring out the melody he’d written in a single night in a hotel room God knew where. High on life, cheap vodka, and the rush of their first big show, he’d settled onto the bed in the dark, except for the flickering image of a black and white movie on the TV, sound turned down, and began strumming.

The words flowed out of him unbidden, leaving him raw, shaken, and in possession of a number one hit.

He didn’t sing or play Highway—the melody made him its bitch, possessing him, demanding release into the world.

Who was he to refuse?

“Some were born to sand and wind, on the sea they make their home

Some may live a hermit’s life, on a mountain all alone

Or in a glass and metal cage, high up in the sky

Packed in tight with a thousand souls, all trying to get by

Nine to five may work for some, but that don’t work for me

Saddled to day in day out, no, I need to be free

Living a life all on my own, free of family, lover or friend

On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end.”

Alone, just him and the highway, until the chorus.

“On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end.”

Elliot’s sweet tenor wrapped around Killy’s pack-a-day growl, blending together seamlessly.

The audience joined in, chanting, “Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!”

Rob kept pace on the drums, a musician not really worthy of the band they’d become, and Ace, a friend and one hell of a musician, wound his way through the twists and turns on his keyboards.

“The only home I’ll ever know stretches from sea to sea

No start, no end, no in between, just miles of road and me

Living a life all on my own free of family, lover or friend

On the highway I was born, it’s there I’ll meet my end

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!

Highway! Highway! Live and die on the highway!”

The mass of humanity might have started chanting again for all Killy knew. His world boiled down to this moment, the music, his brother, his friend, and the life laid out for him long ago, the first time his mother brought him and Elliot onstage.

They’d stayed. She’d gone.

Here they still stood, though she didn’t.

Never would again.

Nope, no bad thoughts. Just the music.

Note after note poured from him like rain, blocking thought and feeling.

He crashed to his knees, striking a chord and letting his guitar speak for him. Caught in the spotlight, he leaned back in a signature move his manager made him practice, making his shirt ride up to show some skin, while his hair fell back, glittering like gold in a strategically placed spotlight.

The blue streak, his own addition, voiced his defiance at being a commodity.

He should’ve been exhausted after the show they’d put on, but in that moment, he swore he could go all night.

He jumped to his feet, racing across the stage and running through part of the guitar solo for those seated to the left of the stage, then reversed course to the right, repeating the solo.

Arms reached for him, a thousand voices calling his name.

Rejoining Elliot centerstage, he launched into the chorus and let the others join him.

After extending the song by two more choruses, he finally wound down.

An announcer stepped up on stage, to catcalls, whistles and ear-splitting shouts. “Let’s hear it for Trickster!”

Interested? You can find DRIFTER on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter link for your chance to win one of 5 ebook copies of DRIFTER!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written twenty gay romance novels, has won Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist. Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Catch up with Eden online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Bookbub.

The Songs of Love: RAZE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M rock romance from Roan Parrish. RAZE features and up-and coming singer who falls hard for the staid bartender that keeps him level. Catch my reviews for RIVEN and REND to find out more about this series. Some of those characters return in this book, but it’s a standalone romance, too.

About the book:
Sometimes the walls we build to save ourselves have to come tumbling down.

For the last ten years, Huey has built his life around his sobriety. If that means he doesn’t give a damn about finding love or companionship for himself, well, it’s probably better that way. After all, the last thing he wants is to hurt anyone else. Until Felix Rainey walks into his bar, fresh-faced, unbearably sweet—and, for some reason Huey can’t fathom, interested in him.

As the eldest of five kids, Felix Rainey spent his childhood cooking dinner, checking homework, and working after-school jobs. Now in his twenties, he’s still scrambling to make ends meet and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his life. When he meets Huey, he’s intimidated . . . and enamored. Huey’s strong and confident, he owns his own business—hell, he’s friends with rock stars. What could he ever see in Felix?

As Huey and Felix get closer, the spark catches and soon they can’t get enough of each other. But Huey’s worked hard to avoid intimacy, and Felix threatens his carefully constructed defenses. Huey realizes he needs to change if he wants to truly put his past behind him—and build a future with Felix.

My Review:
Felix Rainey has assisted in the care and support of his mother and younger siblings since he was 15 years old. Right now, he and his sister Sofia share a tiny apartment in New York. Felix works at a bagel shop but has dreams of making dioramas for the Natural History museum. He and Sofia sing at Huey’s bar one Tuesday night–karaoke is not Huey’s thing but it draws a crowd–and their duet of a Riven song has Huey calling his dear friend Caleb Blake Whitman—and Theo Decker, former lead signer of Riven. The band is looking for a new frontman, and Felix seems to have the chops.

Felix, however, has stage fright and he gets Theo and Coco, Riven’s guitarist, to listen to Sofia sing the heck out of a couple of Riven songs. That lands her a formal audition and Felix is overjoyed. Things move quickly for Felix and Sofia after that–Sofia gets hired and is constantly with the band, leaving Felix alone for pretty much the first time in his life. He resolves to do something for himself, and the first thing he can think to do is go back Huey’s bar and strike up an acquaintance. Maybe ask him for a date. He nearly chicken’s out, but Huey’s commpassionate care helps Felix find his courage. And, they make a date.

Huey–which is a nickname of his last name Hughes–is a recovering pain pill addict. He’s been a sponsor for NA for years now, and he’s been sober going on a decade. He was Caleb’s sponsor a few years back and that’s how they became such good friends. He’s used to locking down his emotions, but he’s really supportive of the needs of people he meets–to the point that his life is more about others than himself. The idea that a beautiful man like Felix could want him is…puzzling. But, the bond between them grows steadily. Felix is irrepressible and his light is a foil for Huey’s deep and brooding facade. The truth is, Huey needs Felix the same way Felix needs him. They are two lonely souls who’ve sacrificed themselves to help others: Felix for his mom and younger siblings and Huey for the people he might be able to help overcome their addictions. It’s hard for them to think of themselves first, and to ask for what they truly need.

They do get some thing right from the start. The sexytimes are yummy and their conversations move quickly form stilted to comfortable. They can spend time with one another and just be–but the abandonment Felix is experiencing as Sofia prepares for her tour is exacerbated when Huey’s also taking care of the people he sponsors. They struggle a bit, but it’s not super intense. Neither Felix nor Huey is happy with being apart, and they each push the other into new and uncomfortable society–with good results. Felix befriends Matt, husband of Rhys from REND, and that helps with his issues of loss now that Sofia’s gone. Huey realizes that he’s overextended himself both with the bar and as a sponsor. It’s interfering with him taking care of himself–and Felix.

These guys have found their One at just the right moment, but it’s still hard for them to take anything for themselves. Huey’s sure his sobriety has been maintained by rigid control, and he’s afraid that his upset schedules to accommodate visits with Felix might cause a relapse. I liked how they worked through it with Felix being brave for himself–taking chances both professionally and personally–and Huey taking the sage advice of people he’d often counseled. The story is a little heavy on description and backstory, which made pacing a bit slow in the front end. These are two regular “famous-adjacent” guys just figuring things out, messing up, and figuring them out again, which was a nice twist for this series. I loved that Huey literally carved space into his apartment to make Felix feel more welcome, and I loved how Felix just fit Theo, and soothed his battered heart and Sharpie-d flesh.

This book brought a good sense of closure to the Riven stories, having three solid couples finding three stellar HEAs. I really enjoyed all of them.

Interested? You can find RAZE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

You can find Roan online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

The State of Love REND–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a contemporary M/M rock romance from Roan Parrish. REND features a married couple battling abandonment issues and depress to build a more stable relationship. I liked the first book in this series, RIVEN, and was glad to see some of those characters play a role here. It’s a perfect pick for my rock romance bender, too!

About the book:
After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

My Review:
Matt Argento and Rhys Nyland are a married couple. They met and filled a need the other had–Rhys loved to save a man, and Matt needed saving. Rhys is a musician and singer, and the book starts about 1.5 years into the marriage, so it’s not about how they fall in love. No, it’s about staying in the moment, and trusting that love is real–and that you deserve it. Why? Because Matt is a foster system product who has abandonment issues.

Matt loves Rhys, but Matt struggles with depression. He has a long history of being left behind, and the idea of Rhys going on tour is fanning the flames of his anxiety. Rhys, for his part, is a super lover, and a huge caretaker–but he can’t fix Matt. Only time, patience and Matt’s own willingness to believe that he is worthy of Rhys’s boundless affection can solve this conundrum. Be ready with the tissue, y’all.

I loved the deep and brooding moments as much as I loved the intensity of their lovemaking. Matt can’t be whole until he opens his heart and mind to the possibility that Rhys loves all his brokenness. And, Rhys is just amazing at loving Matt. Like, nobody could do it better. The pacing is a little slow in the beginning where the reader is following Matt through his sometimes exhaustingly mundane narration, but the second half is a big emotional lift, and I felt really connected through the climax. And speaking of climax, there’s a LOT of sexytimes in this book.

We met these characters briefly in RIVEN, the first book in this series, but honestly, we know NOTHING about them other than they are married, and Rhys was once Caleb’s boyfriend. I loved getting to see this couple interact with Theo and Caleb and how their friendships only grew stronger. It’s a way darker book than RIVEN, but it’s also so rewarding to see this established couple work on their relationship, and build a love that is strong and real, well beyond the early love infatuation that first brought them together.

Interested? You can find REND on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

You can find Roan online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Beat of Love ROCK HARDEST–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary rock romance from MJ Roberts. ROCK HARDEST is the third book in her Chords Brothers series and features a rocker trying to get his life and band together and the sexy drummer he falls hard for…

Scroll down for my review and to enter the books + $25 Amazon GC giveaway!
About the book:
Cole’s world shattered seventeen years ago. Now he’s got one chance to get his life back on track. Hoping that going back to music will ease his tortured soul, Cole starts his own band. There’s only one problem— he can’t find a drummer.

T.J. Casarez is stuck working in her family’s restaurant until her cousin calls her to audition. Cole’s not expecting a female drummer. Yet from the first beat they sizzle. But there’s no way she’s getting involved with a privileged pretty boy. She’s been burned before, and dating a band member is a recipe for disaster.

Only… it’s not just their onstage chemistry that’s on fire.

My Review:
Cole Chord is the elder brother of Ryder Chord–Ryder is an international rock star, and Cole regrets stepping away from music in his late teens due to a family tragedy. In the intervening years Cole had a drug problem–though he’s been clean for years now. Now, Cole’s 34. It’s 17 years since he left his original band, and he’s a very wealthy real estate tycoon in L.A. Cole is ready to chase his dream of music stardom. He hires a wild and outrageous bassist, Tremor, and a guitarist who might just KEEL you–Spider. With no non-addict + talented drummers showing up for an audition, Spider calls his cousin TJ for an impromptu jam session/audition. TJ turns out to be a sexy and sassy woman–and she makes Cole sit up and take notice.

TJ is in her mid 20s but she still lives in a family-owned apartment above one of her family’s Mexican restaurants. Her brothers and extended family are especially protective, and TJ herself doesn’t want to date any man–not after the last guy–a wealthy white man–broke her heart, their engagement, and left her in deep debt. So, while she finds Cole attractive, she doesn’t want anything physical to happen between them…or does she?

Cole’s real estate empire SHOULD run itself, but a misdirected call for assistance from a disgruntled tenant tips Cole off to a burgeoning problem of fraud that may have been perpetrated by his long-time business partner. Knowing that man has mafia ties makes Cole especially wary. Could this situation torpedo his day-job, or his new chance with his nascent band? The chemistry between the members of Phoenix Rising is growing, helped out a bit by Ryder’s support–and that of his friends, other rock superstars and friends of Cole, too. And, the chance to open up for Ryder’s band on a leg of their European tour really palys havoc with their lives–in a good way.

TJ realizes she needs to stand up to her overbearing family, but the boost she gets from Cole makes all the difference. She could barely resist him as it was, and now she’s swooning. And Cole’s a half-mile ahead of her into complete attraction and maybe true love.

This alternating POV rock romance is heavy on Cole being an absolutely-awesome human who cannot do enough to make his and everyone else’s lives easier, busier and more lucrative. He’s like an angel come to Earth. Meanwhile TJ is as aggravating and unlikable as I can imagine a female lead–without her being a sheer criminal or abusive cheater. She’s all about the tease, and then pull away. She takes gossip for gospel and deliberately hurts Cole time and time again. Instead of having ONE adult conversation, TJ flounders, and nearly squanders, her opportunity with Phoenix Rising. All the supportive folks are on Cole to make things right with TJ and it felt pointless because their biggest conflict was her unprofessional behavior. I didn’t connect with TJ much at all, and for that I struggled to understand the relationship. It seemed superficial and forced. Likewise, the resolution Cole developed to keep TJ from thinking he’d use his money to entrap her was almost ludicrous. Since I seriously couldn’t fathom how Cole became so uber-wealthy in the first place, his plan to fully-woo TJ was especially befuddling.

I haven’t read the other stories in this series, but many of those characters were involved in this story and I was honestly intrigued about those characters falling in love.

Interested? You can find ROCK HARDEST on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****
Click on this Rafflecopter Link to enter for your chance to win a 3-book set of e-books (Rock Hard, Rock Harder and Rock Hardest) from MJ Roberts, or a $25 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Fan favorite M. J. Roberts is known for lovable characters, witty dialogue, exciting plot twists, fast-paced action that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and romance scenes that sizzle.

With more than two million copies of stories in circulation worldwide, Roberts is well loved for creating characters who feel as real as your most cherished friends.

M.J. Roberts is the author of seventeen novels, including the popular Rock Hard: Chord Brothers series, and over twenty short stories; she’s won six literary awards including the Literotica Summer Lovin’ Contest 2015 for Risk Your Heart and the April 2019 gold medal from Literary Titans for Rock Hard: Chord Brothers, Book 1.

Roberts is also an editor, songwriter, audiobook narrator, and professor of creative writing. A modestly humble egomaniac with a penchant for superheroes, she’s married to an awesome professional musician (a.k.a. The Rock and Roll God). Her ‘I’m with the band’ status and access to a bunch of real-life alpha bad boys means she’s always saying ‘Anything you say can and will appear in print. Names will be changed to protect the guilty.’

You can find MJ online on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

They Both are STARTING FROM ZERO–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary M/M romance from Lane Hayes. STARTING FROM ZERO is a spin-off from her Out in College series, specifically featuring Rory’s older half-brother Justin from OUT IN THE OFFENSE. This new Starting From series seems as if it will feature other members of the band Zero, which Justin is forming.

Drop down ot catch an excerpt, my reivew and enter for a chance to win a $25 GC.
About the book:
Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past…or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

How about a yummy taste?

Justin turned to me with a fiery expression and gestured toward the glittering lights below. “Everyone here wants more than what they have. And I guess I’m the same. I don’t need recognition and I sure as fuck don’t want love, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks,” he commented with a laugh. “What about you?”
I did a double take. I was two steps behind, struggling to keep up, and if possible, memorize every word he’d said. I hadn’t been around anyone so raw or so honest in a long time. He made rules and broke them with at whim, letting me in and then shutting me out. He had a way of revealing himself that made me feel as though he was holding a mirror to me, daring me to acknowledge my broken pieces too. He was either slightly insane or incredibly gifted. I suspected it was the latter. The cadence of his speech lured me in…and made me want more. I’d tell him anything he wanted to know, just to be near him and this intense spark of…newness, creativity, and wonder.
“What about me?” I asked in a low raspy voice.
“What do you want to accomplish before you leave the planet?”
“I want to write the perfect song,” I replied unthinking.
“There’s no such thing.”
“Maybe, maybe not. But it would be nice to leave something that felt special.”
Justin held my gaze then inclined his head in agreement. “Yeah. I want that too.”
We stared at each other. Whispers of conversation floated from the far corners of the rooftop deck. We weren’t alone, but we might as well be. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so intimately connected to someone I’d never really touched. It was puzzling and enchanting at the same time.
He shivered when the breeze kicked up. I took it as a sign from above and pulled him against me. I had to feel him. I studied the sexy indentation in his bottom lip before giving into impulse and resting my hands on his hip. Justin gave me a funny look but he didn’t push me away.
“You shouldn’t be anonymous. You have too much to share. Too much to say,” I said.
“What are you doing?”
“I…I’m not sure. Is this okay?”
“Yeah. It’s good.” Justin nodded and snaked his arms around my waist.
We were still for a while. He was so close I could feel his breath on my lips. The lingering quiet was deceptive. A casual observer might have mistaken us for old lovers engaged in a tender moment. Or maybe they’d guess we were tentative strangers anxious to make the right moves. Not too fast, not too slow. Neither was correct. There was no quiet here. An electric current sizzled and hissed between us. Intense sexual awareness and something more. Something fiery and passionate. He was wild and rough with jagged edges and a sharp mind. Instinctively, I knew I should proceed with caution because walking away wasn’t an option.
“I want to kiss you,” I whispered, inching closer so our noses brushed.
Justin gave me a crooked smile and tugged at my belt loop. “Then do it.”
I tilted my chin slightly and pressed my lips to his. He was deceptively tender at first. He closed his eyes and hummed into the connection. When I licked at the corner of his mouth, he let me in without hesitation. I couldn’t get enough. He tasted like gin and nicotine with a hint of peppermint. All the things I apparently couldn’t do without.
I pulled him closer, cupping the back of his neck to kiss him harder and deeper. Our tongues twisted in a growing frenzy until everything and everyone around us dissolved into white noise. Justin lulled me into complacency and let me think I was in control. I pushed him back slightly and wrapped my fingers around his neck to keep him in place when he leaned forward to nip my bottom lip. He grinned like a madman and then lowered his eyelashes in a show of faux subservience. I didn’t trust him to stay still or obey for a second. Justin was wild and headstrong. He wasn’t going to do anything that wasn’t either his idea or a bad idea.
I should have known then that I’d met my match.

My Review:
Justin Cuevas is a 26 y/o, bisexual musician trying to start a new band, Zero. His last band had a big falling out when Justin broke up with his lead singer girlfriend, and then their guitarist revealed Justin was now having sexytimes with the band’s male drummer–Tegan. Justin’s mom has been shutting out her younger son, Rory, for nearly two years–ever since Rory came out as bisexual and began exclusively dating a man. Justin doesn’t want to rock that boat again, and yet he finds himself terribly attracted to a silver fox stranger at his latest gig. Without revealing their names or the pasts, he and his mysterious stranger have a hot encounter in the bathroom of an upscale bar.

Gray Robertson is forty-four and used to being on his own. He had a loving partnership with Seb, a big-wig movie studio producer more than twenty years ago, but it was too hard to keep the love alive when they were constantly denying their sexuality–and married to beards. Gray was essentially a second father to Charlie, Seb’s biological son, and both Seb and Charlie have a big place in his life. But, Gray won’t go back to Seb again. He can’t recapture that love he once had, and thinks it’s best if they stay best friends instead. Seb had brought Gray to Justin’s gig, trying to see if Gray would be willing to work with Justin on writing some songs for the soundtrack of the action movie he’s producing. Gray is intrigued by Justin’s vivaciousness and creativity, but he’s willing to be a one-night stand if that’s all he can get. Seb learns of Gray and Justin’s sexy night together and seems even more determined to get Justin to work for him–maybe so he can keep an eye on Justin. When Seb can’t get Gray to reach out to Justin, he gets Charlie involved.

Thing is, Charlie likes Justin as a musician. As a social media influencer, and a master’s student in talent management, Charlie sees his opportunity to launch Zero into stardom. But Justin isn’t easily caught, and he’s not sure what working with Gray or Charlie will do to, or for, him. Unfortunately, Justin’s broke, working two crappy jobs and living on his drummer’s sofa. It’s important for him to get a break for Zero, but not at the expense of his pride and creativity.

This dual POV story is a great jumping off point for a new series. Justin is sweet and earnest and scattered–trying not to fall in love, because love is big lie that just breaks you into pieces. At least that what he witnessed in his mom’s life. Gray has felt deep love for Seb, but the constant deceit they both had to maintain killed the ardor. He knows Seb’s machinations, however, and tries to stay a few steps ahead of Seb’s schemes. Charlie had the right side of it, knowing his father never stopped loving Gray, but Charlie is his father’s son–always looking for the best deal. For him, it’s Zero’s success, and he won’t allow Seb to crush the band for the quest for a movie soundtrack. At the heart of all these intersecting schemes is Justin and Gray, who are falling hard for one another. They spend time scoping out scenes of romance in the wild, trying to find inspiration for the love song Seb wants them to write. Gray is proud of Justin’s desire to make music on his own terms, and to own his truth. Justin takes strength in his convictions, realizing how destructive it was for both Gray and Rory to hide their true loves for the sake of convenience. It provokes a hard conversation with his mother, that could lead to healing or separation.

The end is happy, with Gray and Justin, and Zero, finding a rhythm and audience for their stories. There are many hot and sexy moments, with lots of positive moments. Gray and Seb have a reckoning that I think will lead to Seb finding love eventually. Meanwhile, Tegan and Charlie are great side characters and I’m sure each will have his own love story–maybe even together, but that’s way to soon to tell. In any case, I’m ready for the next verse in this aria and look forward to more blockbuster love.

Interested? You can find STARTING FROM ZERO on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Falling for a ROCK KING–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new rock romance form Tara Leigh. ROCK KING is the first book in the Nothing But Trouble series and features the lead singer of a rock band who’s hiding a terrible secret–and the girl-next-door he hires to be his chaperone/companion on tour.

About the book:
I’m not who you think I am.

Shane Hawthorne has it all. At least, that’s what the headlines say about me. I have millions of fans, awards, more money – and women – than I know what to do with. But what you don’t see is the wreckage I’ve caused. The memories and pain I can’t escape, even when I pour them into music and spin them into gold.

I tried to forget. To lose myself in booze and groupies. It didn’t work. It hurt me and – worse – it hurt my band. That’s the last thing I want to do, so I’m cleaning up my act… starting with Delaney Fraser.

Gorgeous, smart, drama-free, and even nice – Delaney is the perfect “girlfriend.” When I’m with her I don’t have to pretend. It’s like she sees the real me. And I can see a future with her. But that’s dangerous. Because the truth is, Shane Hawthorne doesn’t actually exist. He’s a shield to hide who I really am. Fraud. Runaway. Addict. Murderer.

And it’s impossible to love a lie, right?

My Review:
Shane Hawthorne is a rock star and lead singer of Nothing But Trouble, a headlining rock band. But he’s hiding a dark secret behind his stage name: as a teen he was driving the car when it crashed and his best friend and surrogate brother Caleb died. Having no one to care for him and fearing he would be prosecuted, he ran and adopted this persona.

As the years have passed, he’s made good in the rock world but his guilt eats him alive and he’s been fighting addictions to alcohol and drugs. His agent devised a plan a few years back to keep Shane from chasing his demons into oblivion: hire beautiful chaperones who will stay by Shane’s side and keep him sober. If the girl happens to be down for sexytimes, that’s cool, too, but she’s not being hired as an escort. Nominally.

Delaney fled her Long Island upbringing after a tragic accident killed her mother and landed her father in jail. Unable to cope with her role in the situation, she’s aimless and wishing she could do something to help her dad. Running into an old schoolmate while waiting tables in LA, Delaney is stunned to get an invite to an exclusive party. It’s clear her pal isn’t really interested in reconnecting; unassuming but beautiful Delaney is the kind of gal who might fit the role Shane needs filled.

Shane and Delaney meet at the party, and it leads to the kind of “relationship” Shane most wants: contractual. Delaney doesn’t want to do it, but part of the contract involves getting her father moved to a minimum security prison once her six-month commitment to Shane ends. With this new mission to help her dad firmly in her mind, Delaney vows to be the perfect public companion to Shane–and nothing more. But, the more time they spend together, the more their attraction makes saying “no” impossible.

It’s a cute romance, but there’s plenty of deeper issues. Delaney’s big secret is nearly as catastrophic as Shane’s, but she stands by him as his world crumbles under some investigative reporting. And, while the press is rabid, the amends made do fill in the gap created by guilt. I liked how it turned out, with Shane building strong relationships with his estranged brother and Caleb’s grieving parents. Delaney’s situation turns out to be really complicated, and Shane’s a jerk about it, though I wasn’t really mad at him. I got his pain–and he does fix things in the end. For me, there was a little too much back and forth with the romance–and the mooning over past mistakes seemed excessive. That slowed the pace a bit, and I wished it wouldn’t have.

Interested? You can find ROCK KING on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

ROCK LEGEND, the second book in the Nothing But Trouble series, comes out July 17th. It’s open for pre-order on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Tara Leigh writes steamy contemporary romance featuring tortured heroes worth lusting after and the women they didn’t know they needed. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Catch up with Tara on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or sign up for her newsletter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!