What’s Your Life Worth? Ask the DEBT COLLECTOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m reprising a review for a collection of serials I loved a few years back–and still enjoy today. DEBT COLLECTOR Season 1 by Susan Kaye Quinn is a fantastic ‘future-noir’ sci-fi/action/romance story about people who have the ability to shift life energy from one person to another. This is usually done for money, and the conflicts inherent for those who wield such ultimate power. I’ve long been a fan and friend of Ms. Quinn, having gotten hook on her Mindjacker Trilogy is Hunger Games quality political-suspense-sci-fi-action-thriller with less bloodshed. I’m bringing Debt Collector back to the blog, because it’s fab, and because it’s FREE through 3/25. THere’s even a sequel, of sorts–DEBT COLLECTOR SEASON TWO–that you can jump into if you like this one.

About the book:
What’s your life worth on the open market?
In this gritty urban fantasy, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more “worthy”… all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again.

Contains mature content and themes.

dc-1

My Review:
The Debt Collector occurs in a future L.A. where pollution and corruption are a daily menace (okay so not very different from now). Still, in this brave new world, everyone’s life’s value is constantly calculated, assessed between the amount of money you could potentially earn versus that which the person might owe. That balance is never breached—if you near the point of equilibrium your lingering life energy is drawn out by a debt collector and transferred to another person more worthy. (Kinda makes me glad my credit card debt isn’t higher, amiright?)

Lirium is a young debt collector. He’s not so keen on the job–honestly, who wants to be a grim reaper? He deals with his depression in the natural way—booze and women—until the night his hired sex worker, Elena, convinces him to give the hit of life energy he generally bestows on his partners to her ailing sister, a child suffering an incurable disease. This turn of events leads Lirium down a path he never envisioned. Unwittingly drawn into the Kolek mafia, Lirium becomes a hit man of the highest order—taking life hits from the dregs of society and selling it to mafia patrons—along with fellow debt collectors Olivia and Valac. Along the way Lirium learns that kids are being illegally transferred out, and he’s compelled to stop the mastermind.

And, did I mention there’s romance? Not the main feature, but still present and pertinent.

Omigod.

I was dying waiting for each episode to go live. Following along with the release dates was like the anticipation of a new The Walking Dead episode—especially when the best characters got killed just after I fell in love with them! As for The Debt Collector, each episode provides a satisfying arc and an excellent resolution while still propelling the overall storyline toward it’s finale. However, now that the serial is complete, you don’t have to wait any time at all to read the whole set.

Interested? You can get the complete 9 episode first season on Goodreads Amazon. It’s currently FREE!

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Love on the Run: FOR HIS EYES ONLY–A Review

fheo-available-nowHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new romantic suspense novel from Lexi Blake. FOR HIS EYES ONLY pairs two former lovers on a wild ride to reconnection–and against some rather determined assassins. Hayley never would have sought out Nick again, until her life depended on him….

forhiseyesonly_highresAbout the book:
A night he can’t forget
Five years ago, Nick Markovic found himself consumed by his quest for vengeance. The one time he managed to find peace was in the arms of Hayley Dalton. Being with her was like bathing in sunlight, and he ached to feel that again, but he couldn’t. He gave his oath to Hayley’s cousin Desiree, his partner at McKay-Taggart and Knight, that he’d never let his darkness infect Hayley’s innocent world.

A spark she can’t put out
It was years before that Hayley offered everything she had to Nick. After that one amazing night, all she wanted was to be his forever. Unfortunately, Nick’s reaction was to walk away from her and never look back. The warm and caring man she’d discovered was gone, and after Des’s death, he’d only grown colder. But when Hayley finds herself in mortal danger, she’s forced to seek protection from the man who broke her heart.

A flame that threatens to consume them both
Haunted by the women he failed, Nick can’t allow himself to grow close to Hayley again. Running to stay ahead of the powerful forces that endanger their lives, they travel from the lush Garden in London to the glittering lights of Rio. As the threat against her becomes clearer, he realizes that to keep her safe he must confront the demons from his past, even if it costs him a future with the woman he loves.

How about a little taste?

Nick went back to staring at the report. “Hayley’s not mine. She was Desiree’s cousin. Now she’s my client.”

Who had been tired the night before and that was why she’d said the things she’d said. This morning she’d seemed much more sensible. After she’d had some sleep and a shower and had straightened herself up, she’d been quiet and seemingly reflective. She was very likely embarrassed by what had been said the night before.

I would get safety from murderers and I would get orgasms. I’m sorry, Nicky, you’re going to tell me how that’s a bad deal for me.

He was going to make sure she understood that his protection wasn’t based on whether or not she slept with him.

Because he wasn’t sleeping with her. He couldn’t hurt her that way again.

“So she was your old lover’s cousin,” Owen mused. “The lover you weren’t exclusive with and who wouldn’t marry you. The pretty girl who looks at you like you’re the sun in the sky is her cousin.”

“She looks at me like she would look at man who can save her.”

“I can save her.” Owen’s eyes lit up, his brows waggling. “Maybe she’ll look at me like that.”

Anger flared through his system. “Don’t you dare. I told you I would take care of her.”

His arms crossed over his big chest and Nick knew he’d been had. “Well, that answers the question with more honesty. You can pretend, but you like the girl. And if you honestly don’t then you need to know that the boys got a good look at her last night. If she’s going to be hanging about, she should be ready for some serious male attention.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The lads talked it over last night and decided there’s no dibs on this one. They all saw her at pretty much the same time. They looked over that dead body and saw her walking in the hall and that was when the fighting started. We all sat down and decided no dibs on her. She’ll get to pick. You should know that Sasha and Jax have decided if she picks either of them, they’re willing to share. I don’t play that way. That’s something I do know about meself. No need for you to be telling me that tale. If there’s going to be some sharing in the bedroom, it’s going to be the traditional kind between a man and a woman and her stacked best friend. That’s what I say.”

“You tell those boys to stay away from her or they will be dealing with me. They will not like to be dealing with me. I will put up with many things from them. They can poke all the corpses they like. They can punch each other. I do not care. They touch Hayley and I will be caring.”

“Wow, now you do sound Russian. A scary Russian. Still, I think if you don’t want the girl, shouldn’t she be allowed to choose? Think about it. It could be fun.”

“Are we talking about the lost boys and their battle for the new chick?” Kayla strode in, her hair in a high ponytail. It bounced as she walked, a testament to her seemingly ever-sunny personality. “I had babysitting duty last night and they kept talking about her even after lights out. Bad boys. I had a plan though. I think we make them compete in a beauty pageant. Hayley gets to judge.”

“I’m judging a beauty pageant?” Hayley followed behind Kay, and both women were followed by Charlotte Taggart and Penelope Knight. It looked like Hayley was rapidly being accepted by the women on his team.

That was not necessarily a good thing. The women on his team could create chaos like no others.

“That sounds like fun,” Charlotte said with a smile. “I think we should require Speedos for the bathing suit competition. No boring board shorts. If Hayley’s picking a lover, she needs to see some booty.”

Hayley stopped, her cheeks going the sweetest color of pink. “Wait. What?”

Penelope put a hand on her arm. “They’re teasing you, dear. Don’t worry about it. The lads will be very polite. Though you should expect some suitors while you’re here. Especially if you come down to the dungeon.”

Now he was the one flushing. “Excuse me?”

Hayley shook her head as she joined him at the table. “It’s nothing. I was just talking to the girls. Did you get the report? Penny said the Dallas office had found something.”

He was all too aware that they weren’t alone. Damon and Ian walked in with Brody Carter and Walter Bennett. The four men settled into chairs as the women joined them. Nick held out a chair for Hayley. He would have to remember that he couldn’t leave her alone for a minute or someone would be whispering in her ear, giving her ideas she shouldn’t have.

Like visiting The Garden on a play night.

It wasn’t happening.

My Review:
Hayley fell for Nicolai years and years ago, when he was the boyfriend her posh and mysterious cousin Desiree would drag to family gatherings. They were only a few years apart in age, but worlds apart in terms of experience. Nick had been Russian intelligence officer who got on the wrong side of the government and nearly died. His sister was murdered, and his quest for revenge cost him Hayley–for five years. They’d shared one night together, planned a new and bright future, but Des had wormed her way back in–and neither Hayley nor Nick has been the same since.

Hayley wouldn’t seek out Nick unless her life depended upon it. And, now it does. Her home in Seattle has been blown up, and the police who should have been protecting her seemed to be looking to remove her, permanently, from their problems list. All of this shortly after she’d received the effects of Des’ Tokyo apartment–bequeathed following Des’ funeral. On the run, and with no one else to help, she flees to London to find Nick–who works for a security company and is a part-time spy. Like Des was.

Hayley isn’t excited about staying in Nick’s apartment–which happens to be in the same building complex that houses his office and The Garden, an exclusive BDSM kink club, but she decides she has no choice when she’s almost killed en route to a hotel. Who is behind the attempts on her life? And, why? It must be linked to the letters Des left behind, right?

Well, Des left a mess, and may have been planning it to reunite Nick and Hayley, but their path back to togetherness isn’t so easy. This is the 13th book in a series, and all of them involve some combination of suspense and kink, though this one seemed higher on the suspense and lower on the love. Nick has lots and LOTS of memories of Des–which got in the way of building the romance here for me. Hayley is dead set against learning anything about Nick’s kink–because she hates thinking about him with anyone else, though she eventually caves on that because she wants Nick back. They are on the run for a good bit, but get things back on track traveling to Brazil to exorcise the ghost of Des from their lives–and it all goes south again…

I think the book ran a bit long, and the chemistry wasn’t as deep as I’d have wished/expected given the high stakes of the suspense plot. That said, readers who’ve followed the series have lots to enjoy, as there’s a wide and varied cast with so many characters to catch up with, or whet the appetites for further stories. I think the end was fine, an HEA that seemed believable, if a bit drawn out.

Interested? You can find FOR HIS EYES ONLY on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Google Play.

lexi_blakeAbout the Author:
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Catch up with Lexi on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Amazon.
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Out Today: FOR HIS EYES ONLY Excerpt & Book Blast

fheo-available-nowHi there! Today I’m sharing a book blast for a new romantic suspense novel out today from Lexi Blake. FOR HIS EYES ONLY pairs a willing woman and a protective man–against some pretty unsavory characters. I’ll share a review for this one in the coming week. In the meantime…

forhiseyesonly_highresAbout the book:
A night he can’t forget
Five years ago, Nick Markovic found himself consumed by his quest for vengeance. The one time he managed to find peace was in the arms of Hayley Dalton. Being with her was like bathing in sunlight, and he ached to feel that again, but he couldn’t. He gave his oath to Hayley’s cousin Desiree, his partner at McKay-Taggart and Knight, that he’d never let his darkness infect Hayley’s innocent world.

A spark she can’t put out
It was years before that Hayley offered everything she had to Nick. After that one amazing night, all she wanted was to be his forever. Unfortunately, Nick’s reaction was to walk away from her and never look back. The warm and caring man she’d discovered was gone, and after Des’s death, he’d only grown colder. But when Hayley finds herself in mortal danger, she’s forced to seek protection from the man who broke her heart.

A flame that threatens to consume them both
Haunted by the women he failed, Nick can’t allow himself to grow close to Hayley again. Running to stay ahead of the powerful forces that endanger their lives, they travel from the lush Garden in London to the glittering lights of Rio. As the threat against her becomes clearer, he realizes that to keep her safe he must confront the demons from his past, even if it costs him a future with the woman he loves.

How about a little taste?

Nick went back to staring at the report. “Hayley’s not mine. She was Desiree’s cousin. Now she’s my client.”

Who had been tired the night before and that was why she’d said the things she’d said. This morning she’d seemed much more sensible. After she’d had some sleep and a shower and had straightened herself up, she’d been quiet and seemingly reflective. She was very likely embarrassed by what had been said the night before.

I would get safety from murderers and I would get orgasms. I’m sorry, Nicky, you’re going to tell me how that’s a bad deal for me.

He was going to make sure she understood that his protection wasn’t based on whether or not she slept with him.

Because he wasn’t sleeping with her. He couldn’t hurt her that way again.

“So she was your old lover’s cousin,” Owen mused. “The lover you weren’t exclusive with and who wouldn’t marry you. The pretty girl who looks at you like you’re the sun in the sky is her cousin.”

“She looks at me like she would look at man who can save her.”

“I can save her.” Owen’s eyes lit up, his brows waggling. “Maybe she’ll look at me like that.”

Anger flared through his system. “Don’t you dare. I told you I would take care of her.”

His arms crossed over his big chest and Nick knew he’d been had. “Well, that answers the question with more honesty. You can pretend, but you like the girl. And if you honestly don’t then you need to know that the boys got a good look at her last night. If she’s going to be hanging about, she should be ready for some serious male attention.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The lads talked it over last night and decided there’s no dibs on this one. They all saw her at pretty much the same time. They looked over that dead body and saw her walking in the hall and that was when the fighting started. We all sat down and decided no dibs on her. She’ll get to pick. You should know that Sasha and Jax have decided if she picks either of them, they’re willing to share. I don’t play that way. That’s something I do know about meself. No need for you to be telling me that tale. If there’s going to be some sharing in the bedroom, it’s going to be the traditional kind between a man and a woman and her stacked best friend. That’s what I say.”

“You tell those boys to stay away from her or they will be dealing with me. They will not like to be dealing with me. I will put up with many things from them. They can poke all the corpses they like. They can punch each other. I do not care. They touch Hayley and I will be caring.”

“Wow, now you do sound Russian. A scary Russian. Still, I think if you don’t want the girl, shouldn’t she be allowed to choose? Think about it. It could be fun.”

“Are we talking about the lost boys and their battle for the new chick?” Kayla strode in, her hair in a high ponytail. It bounced as she walked, a testament to her seemingly ever-sunny personality. “I had babysitting duty last night and they kept talking about her even after lights out. Bad boys. I had a plan though. I think we make them compete in a beauty pageant. Hayley gets to judge.”

“I’m judging a beauty pageant?” Hayley followed behind Kay, and both women were followed by Charlotte Taggart and Penelope Knight. It looked like Hayley was rapidly being accepted by the women on his team.

That was not necessarily a good thing. The women on his team could create chaos like no others.

“That sounds like fun,” Charlotte said with a smile. “I think we should require Speedos for the bathing suit competition. No boring board shorts. If Hayley’s picking a lover, she needs to see some booty.”

Hayley stopped, her cheeks going the sweetest color of pink. “Wait. What?”

Penelope put a hand on her arm. “They’re teasing you, dear. Don’t worry about it. The lads will be very polite. Though you should expect some suitors while you’re here. Especially if you come down to the dungeon.”

Now he was the one flushing. “Excuse me?”

Hayley shook her head as she joined him at the table. “It’s nothing. I was just talking to the girls. Did you get the report? Penny said the Dallas office had found something.”

He was all too aware that they weren’t alone. Damon and Ian walked in with Brody Carter and Walter Bennett. The four men settled into chairs as the women joined them. Nick held out a chair for Hayley. He would have to remember that he couldn’t leave her alone for a minute or someone would be whispering in her ear, giving her ideas she shouldn’t have.

Like visiting The Garden on a play night.

It wasn’t happening.

Interested? You can find FOR HIS EYES ONLY on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Google Play.

lexi_blakeAbout the Author:
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Catch up with Lexi on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Amazon.
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EMBERS Heating–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M release from Kate Sherwood. I really liked MARK OF CAIN and SACRATI, so I was eager to check out her newest Common Law series books. Last month I reviewed LONG SHADOWS, and was captivated by the complicated social politics of a rural Montana border town, which has become a smuggling epicenter for drugs and guns across the US-Canadian border. The situation brought veteran police detective Jericho Crewe home after a 15 year absence and put him in the crossfire between his childhood best friends, the FBI and the DEA. EMBERS, the second book in the series, came out last week and this really focuses on the emotional dilemmas Jericho faces as new Under Sheriff of Mosely.

embersAbout the book:
Small town—big problems. Jericho Crewe is back in Mosely, Montana, trying to deal with police corruption, interfering feds, his newly discovered family members, and, of course, Wade Granger.

He doesn’t really need a biker war on top of it all, but as the bodies start to pile up, it becomes pretty clear that’s what he’s got. Not only that, but Wade’s involved somehow, and as soon as Wade is a part of something, things that seemed clear become cloudy.

With the feds breathing down his neck, Jericho has to find his way through Wade’s maze of half truths and manipulations. It would all be so much easier if Jericho could think straight in the other man’s presence. So much easier if their passionate past could be forgotten, and if he could be sure he’s strong enough to resist the temptation of a passionate present.

My Review:
Det. Jericho Crewe’s had his life turned on its ear in the past few weeks. He learned his no-good criminal father was murdered when he was summoned back to Mosley, Montana after a 15 year absence. His previously unknown step-mother, Nikki, and two half-siblings are in danger–probably of their own making–due to the high likelihood that Nikki (and Jericho’s father) were running drugs over the border for Wade Granger. Wade is Jericho’s high school boyfriend, though that was all kept undercover way back when.

Doesn’t mean that Jericho’s forgotten the pull toward Wade in the intervening years. Wade’s a slick guy, though, and while he’s surely a criminal, no one can get anything to stick. In the last book Wade helped Jericho save his half-siblings from people who’d been sworn to serve and protect. The sheriff, Jericho’s other childhood bestie Kayla, asked Jericho to stick around, work for her to help root out the corruption and he agreed.

Since then, it’s been one fire after the next–and I mean that literally. Wade’s bar and the local biker gang’s hangout have both been hit by arsonists, and three Chicago-native drug runners have been found killed execution-style. The DEA is nervous to deal with Jericho, after learning about his familial and emotional ties to Wade Granger–but their also nervous to deal with Kayla because her father might be leaking information to the biker gang. Meanwhile, someone keeps moving drugs over the border, and Jericho’s being used by Wade to establish an alibi–not just for Wade by for Nikki. And the Bikers are ready to demonstrate their might in a show that could kill innocents. Jericho’s at the center, even if he doesn’t want to be. His decisions to forge links between the factions puts him in a precarious place, and leads to his ultimate discipline when one too many of his cowboy antics can’t be tolerated.

And Wade keeps coming around with all his sexy eyes and sexy moves and Jericho’s really a sucker for Wade. Expect some low level sexytimes for these two. But is Wade’s interest just another manipulation? The book’s really fast-paced, and the intrigue level is high. Being part of a series, I think you need to read it in order, and let the story build all it’s layers. I’m really anxious to read the third book, now, seeing that Jericho’s got a fight on his hands to clear his name, and establish whatever relationship he can with his family…and Wade.

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

The first book in the series, LONG SHADOWS, is currently on sale for $2.99. Catch my review and all the purchase links here.

About the Author:
Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Catch up with Kat on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Crossing the Lines: COME CLOSER–Review

comecloser_banner2Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary romance from Brenda Rothert. COME CLOSER is a story of a survivor who’s suffering PTSD and the doctor who reaches her–putting his own career on the line again.

come-closer_amazon1About the book:
Sometimes appearances deceive. Take me, for instance. I look like a respectable doctor with his shit together, but the rural Montana mental hospital I work at is actually a sanctuary from my demons. At just thirty-five years old, I’ve already failed on an epic scale. Treating patients at Hawthorne Hill is part of my atonement.

I’ve found peace when a new patient turns me inside out. Allison Cole is a beautiful, haunted survivor who fell into silence after witnessing a murder. But even without words, I’m drawn to her. The closer we get, the more I’m tempted to cross my professional boundaries and give in to my desire.

Soon I find myself in a desperate race to put the pieces of Allison’s silence together. Her life becomes inextricably entwined with mine as I fight to save the second chance I never thought I’d have. I’ll break whatever rules I have to in order to protect this woman who’s been to hell and back. For her, I’ll do harm.

My Review:
Daniel is the chief of staff at a private mental hospital in a remote location in Montana. It’s a nice place for people who have the funds. Allison arrives as a mute patient scarred by witnessing the brutal murder of her twin sister AVA, and hasn’t spoken in the month since that event.

As Allison tries to heal from the PTSD she’s confronted by the psychiatrist, Dr. Heaton, regarding the possibility of being complicit in Ava’s murder. Meanwhile, Ava’s been losing herself–and burying her grief–by getting lost in books. When no one can reach Allison, Daniel notices her reading habits and they begin communicating via book recommendations and notes. As the story goes on, we learn that Allison is the target of a search by Ava’s killer. She has details–besides being an eyewitness–that tie people well-known to Ava into several other murders, drug deals and big crimes. Daniel’s sure that Allison’s telling the truth, and he’s trying hard to protect her, but the threats are getting closer to their facility, and Daniel, a man who’s working his way back from losing his medical career already once–is putting everything on the line to keep Allison safe. And that’s not just because she’s his patient.

This is an intriguing romantic suspense novel that has really fantastic descriptions, and a pace that kept me turning the pages. The revelations about Ava and Allison’s history–and the ordeal that resulted in Ava’s murder–were well-written and felt authentic, not salacious or convenient. Daniel has a whole lot to lose if he’s caught up in another scandal–his medical license and visitation rights with his young son. The stakes are high for him, but Allison’s life is also in the balance, and it could be that employees of the mental hospital have motivations for keeping Allison sidelined. I also thought the discussions regarding Daniel’s career issues were well put-together and realistic.

I think readers will enjoy the twists, the slow-burn of romance and the mystery in this one. It’s not a typical romance, and that really caught my attention. I was rooting for Daniel and Allison to not only make a future together, but to survive the imminent danger, too.

Interested? You can find COME CLOSER on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

You can find Brenda on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wattpad, Amazon, or sign up for her newsletter.
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Engaging THE PROTECTOR–Release Day Review!

release-day-blitz-the-protector-by-donna-grantHi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review of a new contemoprary romance from Donna Grant. THE PROTECTOR is the second book in her Sons of Texas series, and features the youngest son, a Force Recon captain named Cullen, on his mission to track down his missing father. You really need to read THE HERO to understand the whole series.

bk-2-the-protectorAbout the book:
When Marine Force Recon captain Cullen Loughman learns that his father’s been kidnapped, he will do whatever it takes to find him. In order to achieve his mission, Cullen will need to team up with the best of the best—someone who just happens to be the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on…

This isn’t the first rodeo for ex—Air Force pilot Mia Carter. Still, Cullen’s bad-boy good looks and charm are distracting her from duty. . .and it appears that the feeling is mutual. As Mia and Cullen make their descent into a dark, dangerous world, their attraction reaches the boiling point. But is their desire worth the risk when a ruthless enemy is waiting in the wings—or will their Lone Star love conquer all?

How about a little taste?

Cullen hadn’t expected Mia Carter to be so . . . amazing. He’d never seen a woman fight with such passion or with movements so beautiful that he’d found himself watching her instead of finishing off the Colombian.

For the first time in Cullen’s life, he couldn’t find words. He could only stare at the beautiful woman with one thought—Valkyrie.

She was the epitome of what he imagined the winged creatures of Norse mythology would look like. All she needed was armor and a sword to complete his vision.

Now, as he sat in the cockpit of the British WWII Bristol Buckingham C. MK 1 plane, also known as the Bristol Type 163 Buckingham, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her.

Beautiful didn’t begin to describe this incredible woman. Every time her steely black gaze fringed with impossibly thick lashes turned his way, he became entranced. Her eyes were large and slightly tilted up at the corners.

He forgot to breathe as he took in her unblemished, sun-kissed face. With high cheekbones and wide, full lips, he was smitten.

Wisps of inky black hair escaped from her ponytail to fall along the narrow column of her neck. An olive tee skimmed her torso to show mouthwatering curves, and black denim showcased her lithe legs to perfection.

“It was Orrin who approached me,” she said.

That didn’t surprise him. His father had always had a gift for finding talent and using it to his advantage. “When?”

“A few years ago.”

It made Cullen wonder what else his father had been up to. While he and his brothers were off building their lives, Orrin Loughman had been setting up a team of Black Ops members to do some of the dirtiest jobs.

One of the missions, put together by the DOD, had sent Orrin and his team to Russia to steal a bioweapon.

Except something had gone terribly wrong. Someone betrayed Orrin Loughman. In the process, he’d been kidnapped, and his team was executed.

The last person to see his father was the woman sitting next to Cullen.

The years he’d spent as a Marine Force Recon captain had taught him many things. He knew how to fight his way out of various situations using his hands, body, and mind. He knew how to spot liars and traitors. He also had dozens of rescues to his name.

He was damn good at his job. But he had to be more than good now. His father’s very life depended on it.

“How did you find me?” Mia asked.

“I went to the Air Force Base. When you weren’t there, I went to General Davis’s office. It seems they keep a record of every flight you make.”

Her lips compressed. “That they do.”

“To my benefit. If I hadn’t arrived, you would either be dead or in Camilo’s care. Neither of which sounds appealing.”

“I already thanked you.”

“Yes, ma’am. You sure did.” He linked his fingers over his stomach. There was something about Mia Carter he found compelling, and it had nothing to do with her beauty. She was very much like him, he suddenly realized.

Wary of the world with a look of cynicism she didn’t bother to hide.

“Tell me how a pilot with your skills is able to have a hangar on a base, work for the military as a contractor, and still be able to take jobs with criminals. Because let’s be honest . . . Camilo was a criminal.”

“It won’t matter what I give you as an explanation. You’ve already formed an opinion,” she replied coolly.

In fact, he had formed an opinion. He suspected that she liked danger. She also loved to fly. Combine the two, and she was in heaven.

“You were telling me about how you and my father began working together,” he said, getting them back on topic.

She cut him a look with her black eyes. “What you really want to know is if I betrayed him. As I told Callie—and everyone listening on the phone that day—it wasn’t me.”

“I do remember that call. Though I’ve learned that people say a lot of things that aren’t the truth.”

“You want the truth?” she asked, turning her head to him. “I’ll tell you the truth. I hated taking orders, so I left the Air Force as soon as I could. But I wasn’t ready to give up flying. It’s my life.”

That much he could tell. It was in her blood.

My Review:
In The Hero, the first book in this series, we met the Loughman family, or what was left of it. Orrin is father to three sons, Wyatt, Owen, and Cullen. Twenty years ago his wife was muedered. Orrin, being a Navy SEAL, suspected Melanie’s death stemmed from his work in secret missions, but her killer was never found. Orrin’s sons didn’t recover well, their family splintered, but each boy followed their father’s footsteps into military service, even if neither of them had oaken to him in years. These days Orrin runs a private Black Ops team for classified missions.

Without warning Wyatt, Owen and Cullen were pulled from their missions and dropped at their Texas reach, only to discover their aunt and uncle murdered, and their father kidnapped. He’d recently been tasked with recovering Ragnarok, a bioweapon developed by a Russian scientist. Only the pilot, Mia, and Orrin had survived. Mia got the weapon transferred to Orrin’s right hand gal, Callie, and his three sons are on the hunt for their father.

Cullen tracked Mia to a job-going-wrong situation in Florida. He knows Mia is his best bet on getting Intel to find his dad. Over the course of several days Mia and Cullen learn that the Saints, a shadow organization responsible for Ragnarok’s development, have eyes, ears, and guns everywhere. Including the Air Force base Mia flies from. The place where Orrin’s team of men had been slaughtered. It’s not safe for them to remain, and their escape is none-too-easy. Good thing that Mia’s made some incredible allies. Cullen is most impressed. And, injured. Cullen is gravely injured.

Meanwhile, Orrin is receiving help from two unlikely sources, help that’s keeping him alive. He’s been beaten, starved and battered nearly to death, but he’s determined to see his sons in person once more–and take down the Saints, if he can. The bulk of the book is the search for Orrin, and that’s not resolved. Mia and Cullen do find a fierce attraction for the other, however, and that grows into affection under all the near-death pressure. We learn tons about the espionage, the Saints and the purpose for Ragnarok, but the story isn’t finished.

For one, Wyatt and Callie have to fall in love. And, the mighty mighty Loughmans need to save the day. I liked his book better than the first one, though I often felt the romance angle was pushed too strongly. I had trouble accepting all the internal dialogue, which often boiled down to lust, or mooning, when the situations were so dire. I love romantic suspense, and this book is getting closer to the mark, for me, though I think romance fans will be satisfied. Orrin’s a great character and I was glad to see him somewhat restored and on the trail of vengeance. His allies are unconventional, but just as fierce as he needs them to be. Looking forward to the resolution in the next book!

Interested? You can find THE PROTECTOR on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, iBooks, IndieBound, Kobo, Powells, and Tantor Audio. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.
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Offered Up As BAIT–Review & Giveaway!

bait_fbbanner_dspHi there! Today I ‘m sharing a review and giveaway for a M/M romantic suspense novella from Elizabeth Noble. BAIT is the fifth book in her Circles series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone. I really liked GONE AWAY, and I love the remote Wyoming setting, so it was a must read, for me.

Catch the author notes, review and comment to win in the book giveaway below!

baitfs_v1About the book:
Tyler McCall has made mistakes. He was a teacher—before he fell for a student in his school. That misstep cost him his job and everything he’d worked for. He moved to the Black Hills of Wyoming to start his life over, and he’s happy working at the Big Rock Inn near Devils Tower.

Linden Bourne, a no-nonsense FBI agent Tyler had met before, returns to Wyoming hot on the trail of a killer. The previously unexplored attraction between them grows—which is good considering they’ll be spending a lot of time together when a blizzard strands them at the inn. Cut off from the outside world, with no power, they’ll need to rely on their wits and each other to survive.

Especially when it becomes clear they’re not alone—and the danger they face comes from more than the elements.

Thoughts from Elizabeth Noble

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and thank you for having me today!

Believe it or not, deciding on the locale for a novel can be a huge part of the plot. Where the action is takes place has the ability to greatly influence how the characters act and react to any given situation.

In Bait, the majority of the story takes place near the Devils Tower in Wyoming, USA. There of course is the spectacular beauty of the land. It’s a wilderness location and that in and of itself makes this place mysterious and exotic. There are no palm trees and beaches, but pine trees and snow.

It is that location, the trees, the snow, the remote location that creates the thriller portion of the story. FBI agent Linden Bourne is trying to piece together clues that will help him catch a killer. What he doesn’t realize is in doing so he’s driven to the very spot where that murderer is stalking their next victim.

The next victim, Tyler, is the man Linden has come to question. This killer could have just as easily hunted their intended victim in a city. However, placing the story out in the wilds of the Wyoming Black Hills, in the winter, in a blizzard adds a whole other layer to the danger the characters face.

The elements of nature are a very hazardous adversary. You can’t reason with high winds, low temperatures and white out conditions. The only real choice is get out of the way. Now, throw an unknown person or persons into the mix who is hell bent on driving our heroes into those elements and the suspense ramps up.

Most readers know the feeling of having the power go out in a storm, or trying to travel through poor weather conditions. It’s a short leap to imagining fighting your way through heavy snows, cold so frigid it’s deadly and unfamiliar terrain.

In Bait, I’ve taken the story’s location and used it as more than a backdrop. The land, the weather has the potential to become another executioner. Not only do Linden and Tyler have to survive a human threat that is hunting them, but deadly natural conditions that are far more perilous.

My Review:
Though part of a series, BAIT is easily read as a standalone. It does bring back two side characters from the previous book, GONE AWAY.

FBI Special Agent Landon Bourne is headed back to the Black Hills of Wyoming to either catch a killer or save a man he’d recently met. Tyler McCall had been a high school teacher in Ohio, another life ago. As a recently minted teacher, he didn’t balk when he met an attractive younger man, not realizing Dimas was a student in the high school. Their affair was turned in, Tyler went to prison, and more than ten years has passed with no contact between them.

Tyler started over near Devil’s Tower, doing odd-jobs, at first. He now delivers beer and mans the reception desk for a local motel. It’s honest work and he’s glad for it, but he’s lonely. It’s a big surprise when Agent Bourne shows up at his hotel, hours before a blizzard is set to begin. It’s even more of a surprise when Agent Bourne’s investigating the possible murders of three of Tyler’s former students.

Is it Dimas, on some sore of spree? Or was it Tyler? Landon’s pretty certain Tyler wasn’t mixed up in these deaths, which had been framed as either accidental or suicides, but that means Tyler might be a target. As the blizzard rages on and the hotel loses power, and contact with the rest of the world, Tyler and Landon scramble to stay warm and safe. If only the elements were their problem.

I had just a bit of trouble with the set-up of the story. It didn’t make a lot of sense that this agent, stationed in Arizona, would be the only person sent to question/apprehend Tyler, rather than a local agent–or pair of agents. The suspense elements once the story got going were interesting, however. This is a pretty short read, which didn’t allow for as much character development. That said, the way they interact felt engaged and committed. They don’t drop into bed, they develop an uneasy partnership–that deepens as they are confronted by more and more peril.

The climax is really intense, and I did love how it all got resolved. Expect a desperate chase, several near-death experiences and a sunny HEA.

Interested? You can find BAIT on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance.

About Circles….
Every life is a circle, and sometimes those circles connect and overlap in unexpected ways, even if the patterns they form aren’t obvious at first glance.

Past and present, from the wilderness to small towns and cities, the greedy and evil seek to exploit the vulnerable. The brave men of law enforcement fight to protect the innocent and punish the guilty—but they’re not alone. Men from all walks of life are called to stand beside them and solve these mysteries. Along the way, lives intertwine as couples are reminded that one thing makes the struggle worthwhile: love.

You can learn more about all the books in the series here.

****GIVEAWAY****

This book features people meeting their untimely ends in the way they most feared. Leave me a comment on the way you’d be most afraid to die for a chance to win one of Elizabeth Noble’s backlist reads. (2015 and earlier, no book bundles)  Winner chosen at random.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and one tabby cat. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.
Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published several of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.

Catch up with Elizabeth on her website, Goodreads, Amazon, Dreamspinner, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest or sign up for her newsletter.