Fairytale Love in SINDERS AND ASH–Excerpt Review & Giveaway

Sinder and Ash Blog Tour BannerHi there! Today I’m sharing my re view for SINDERS AND ASH, a contemporary retelling of Cinderella, with a M/M romance twist. You know I adore Tara Lain’s contemporary romances (Knight of Ocean Avenue and Knave of Broken Hearts) so I jumped at the chance to read this one!

Check out the sexy teaser below, and make sure to enter the $20 Amazon GC giveaway.

SindersAndAsh-400x600About the book:

Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashford Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.

Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.

How about a sexy little taste?

Ash’s heart hammered. He cradled Mark’s face, his fingers overlapping the knit of the cap. Mark’s breath smelled like coconut, and his lips looked more delicious than the crème brûlée. Okay, be gentle. Don’t scare him. Gently he laid his lips against Mark’s. One second. Sweet. Two seconds. Exploration. Three seconds. Hot! Oh God, heat crept from that soft contact up to Ash’s head and straight down to his cock. Whoa. Down, boy. He pulled back. Needed more control.

Before he got an inch away, Mark grabbed his head and pulled him back until his tongue pressed like a hot intruder into Ash’s mouth. Oh yeah. Ash slid his hands down Mark’s round butt and tugged him close. Hmmm.Got a nice moan on that one. Mark ate at Ash’s mouth, sucking in his lips. His tongue pressed deep. Wow. This guy was not kidding. Had Ash just thought he should go easy?

Mark pulled back a little and sipped at Ash’s lips, then ran his tongue over the bottom one. First outside and then… oh God, he slipped his tongue inside Ash’s lip and caressed that soft, sensitive skin.

Sweet Jesus, he couldn’t stand up. Ash leaned back hard against the counter, but he knew his knees were crumpling. Strong hands reached around and smoothed over his ass, and then a finger pressed against the crack of his butt like Mark was tracing the seam of the denim—up and down. Jesus, Ash’s cock throbbed. Too much blood in there. Too long since that cock had any exercise. He wanted to rip his pants down and let that finger do its business where it belonged.

Like Mark had read his mind, one hand moved to the front and began to unfasten the buttons on Ash’s fly. Shit, he couldn’t help it. His hips pushed forward, forcing his cock against that hand like a puppy looking for milk.

Mark murmured, “Yessss.” He undid the last button, slipped his hand into the top of Ash’s boxer briefs, and found the promised land.

Whoa! Slow down there boys! LOL. Having read that scene, I can tell you, it only heats up from there!

My Review:
This is a cute tale with creative use of the Cinderella trope. Mark Sintorella, “Sinders” is a housekeeper at a posh NY resort known for its privacy and discretion. Mark is a self-trained clothing designer and spends all his spare money and time sewing couture gowns for women, using himself as a model for patterning. Because Mark’s a man, he’s often given the unwelcome task of cleaning the many fireplaces that decorate the hotel. He’s versatile, however,  (yes, pun intended) in that he also works as a server in the dining room when they are short-staffed. Enter a funny little man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who assures Mark that his androgynous physique and face are the ticket to getting his designs noticed, and Pennymaker promises to introduce Mark to prominent fashion designers. Only, when he does so, Mark is identified as “Mariel,” Pennymaker’s “niece.”
Graphic Teaser 1v2 - Sinders and AshMark’s caught up in the hubbub surrounding the arrival of billionaire Ashton Armitage and his impending wedding.

Problem? Ash isn’t engaged.

Nope, not engaged and not even interested in getting married. However, Ash has two weeks to find a spouse or risk losing his trust fund. His grandfather had written a clause into the trust mandating Ash be married by his 25th birthday or his entire trust would be liquidated and given to charity. Ash is the typical playboy, without any of the scandal. He’s got a prime education, but never worked, and he’s a closeted gay man. He’s considering making an ‘arrangement’ with a suitable woman. one who would understand he has no sexual interest in her, and would be a good companion for the ten years the trust proscribes his marriage must last.

Graphic Teaser 3 - Sinders and AshWhile staying in the posh hotel, Ash meets two women, Bitsy, who has no desire to marry him, and Mariel, niece of Mr. Pennymaker. While he’s intrigued by Bitsy, and is sure he could get along with her, Mariel turns him on. And, well, that’s NEVER happened. He’s not sure if Mariel is Pennymaker’s niece, or “piece,” but he wants to know her better. And, finding out that Mariel is Mark is only more appealing.

I liked the fast-paced transitions in this story. We have several points of view, mostly Mark’s but also Ash and even Ash’s BFF Ronnie, who has her eyes on the voluptuous Bitsy.

There are some good mis-directions, here, and a couple indecent proposals. I was glad there was so much candor, actually. I didn’t want to hate any of the characters for being liars, and I didn’t have to. As this is a M/M romance expect Mark and Ash to get to together. And expect it to be sexysexy. The whole drag thing, Mark/Mariel was a little campy and also a little rom-com-y, and I was reminded that this is more of a romantic comedy than a gritty romance. There are preposterous stakes, marrying in two weeks to receive a trust, and an equally preposterous wedding scene, which (after a big switcheroo) was something actually totally endearing when I read it.

I liked Ash and wanted him to grow up, which he did. I thought he was a little clueless regarding the clauses of his trust agreement, but that only made him seem more romantic and lovable for being willing to toss it all away. Mark is a good sport about a lot of stuff, and I was glad to see that his hard labor was appropriately rewarded. Plus, who doesn’t love androgynous fashion models and kitchen sex? Answer: Nobody.

Interested? You can find SINDERS AND ASH on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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

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

You can find Tara at:

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Cover Reveal: SINDERS AND ASH by Tara Lain

Sinders and Ash Cover Reveal Blitz Banner
Hi there! Today I’m sharing the cover for Tara Lain’s SINDERS AND ASH, a contemporary M/M retelling of Cinderella!
SindersAndAsh-400x600
About the book:
Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashford Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.

Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.

Release Date: October 14, 2015

How about a little taste?

Pennymaker turned and looked at Mark. “What are you working on?”

“Excuse me? I, uh, have to clean some fireplaces this morning. You know they keep the rooms cool just so they can use them? Makes work for me.”

“That’s not what I mean, of course.” Pennymaker turned back to the rack and pushed some jeans aside. “Aha!” His hand shot through the garments to the dress form. He made an opening in the clothes and stepped through to stand beside the red dress. “Perfect. Just beautiful. What a talent.”

“Excuse me?”

Pennymaker beamed at him. “You have exceptional design skills.”

God, it was hard to not be flattered. “Thank you, sir.” But how had Mr. P known to look for the dress? Who’d told him?

Pennymaker walked over to the chair and sat. It creaked. Hopefully the tiny man wouldn’t strain the old wood too much. “I would like to show that dress to some people.”

“Uh, who?”

“Let’s say some potential investors.”

No. He couldn’t get excited. “Really, sir? You’re in the clothing business?”

“I’m in many businesses, my boy.”

Okay, try not to be suspicious. “How did you know I was a clothing designer?”

The little man waved a hand. “That lovely T-shirt, of course.”

“No one told you?”

“Who would tell me?”

Had him there.

Pennymaker stepped back and surveyed the dress. “Now, who is your model?”

What? Mark cocked his head.

“Whom did you set the dress form to?”

“Oh, uh, myself. I, uh, don’t have anyone else. I’m pretty slim, so it works.”

“Perfect. Perfect. When do you have to be at work?”

This conversation was crazy. “In about an hour. This is my morning off. Unless they need me, of course.”

“Good. Put on the dress.”

“What? Why?”

“We’re going for a little walk through the hotel. You’ll be my… niece. Go on, go on.” He made a shooing gesture with his hands.

Mark shook his head. “Sir, I know I fit the dress to me, but that’s because I don’t have anyone else. I’m not a transvestite.”

“Never said you were, dear boy. But these people I want to have see the dress will be much more amenable to taking your designs seriously if they think of the idea themselves rather than me telling them. That’s how we all are, now isn’t it? I want them to see the clothes. We don’t have another model, and we don’t want anyone else in on our secret.”

Secret? “What if someone recognizes me?”

Pennymaker cocked his head. “That’s very unlikely. You do a good job making yourself plain and unmemorable with your cap and glasses.”

Mark felt the blush. Shoot. The man had him dead to rights.

“Besides, people see what they expect, and they certainly don’t expect to see Mark Sintorella in a dress. Now, put it on.”

Mark stepped behind the rack of clothing. He stripped to his boxer briefs and stopped. What the hell was he doing? He could jeopardize his job for this crazyassed little guy with his hairbrained scheme.

The voice came from the other side of the clothes. “Do you have it on?”

“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you sure about this? I really need the money I get from working here.”

“Tut-tut, my boy. Hurry. I want to make one tour around the lobby and public rooms before you start your shift. Time’s a wastin’.”

Mark pulled the dress over his head and let it fall into place. The skirt was just full enough to swing when he walked, so no one would notice his cock under it. “Uh, I don’t have any boobs.”

“Let me see.”

“See what? What I haven’t got?”

He stepped out.
Pennymaker looked at him studiously. “Gorgeous. You don’t have breasts, but then neither do some women to speak of. I’m more concerned about the hairy legs. Go shave, quickly.”

“What? Sir, I don’t think so….”

“This won’t be your only modeling assignment, I suspect, so think of it as a long-term investment. Consider that brilliant young model who used to walk the catwalks in both male and female shows. You’re at least her equal in beauty.”

“But—”

“No buts. This is your future. Now go!”

This one sounds SO good. You can find SINDERS AND ASH on Goodreads and preorder it on Dreamspinner Press.

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

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

You can find Tara at:

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