Fresh Starts in WORKING IT–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary romance form Christine d’Abo. WORKING IT is the first book in her Ringside Romance series published this year, and I liked the odd-couple sweetness of it.

About the book:
Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

My Review:
Nolan Carmichael suffered a devastating injury in a terrible car wreck two years ago. A couple of his co-workers didn’t and he lives with the pain of the injuries as well as their loss. It’s time, however, for him to work through his equally-crippling anxiety, and find a new job because his savings is dwindling and his younger sister’s job prospects might cause her to move soon. He goes to an interview as an admin assistant, where he meets a sexy man in the toilets just before he’s brought in for the interview. And, it turns out the sexy man he’d met is the office tornado, Chief Technical Officer and all-around admin terror, Zach Anderson.

Zach’s never had a male assistant before, and he’s chased off more than a few assistants already. His workload is becoming more than he can bear, however, especially if he wants to devote any thine to rehabbing Ringside Gym, the haven where he met his best pals in his youth. The owner had died and the place is a musty albatross that’s only going to become a bigger money pit the longer it sits vacant. But Nolan, despite his quirks, is a hard worker and unwilling to let Zach’s irrational mood shifts tear him down. Plus, they develop a rapport that only heightens their mutual attraction. Nolan’s also unwilling to let Zach’s dream die–and he works overtime to help him find a pathway to his true passion: building an LGBTQ-friendly gym and after-school shelter for kids in the city.

There’s a mess of office politics going on, as their company prepares for layoffs in order to mean a partnership agreement, and Zach is thoroughly upset that one of the jobs on the chopping block could very-well be Nolan’s. The thing is, Nolan is a different man to the one who barely made it to his interview. He still suffers the depression and anxiety, but he’s tested his resilience, and developed a stronger set of coping strategies. Zach’s friends recognize Nolan for the gem he is, and counsel Zach not to screw it up. But will having to fire the man he’s coming to care deeply for spell the end of the romance?

Spoiler: Nope. It’s a sweet and surprisingly tender read, though I was expecting far more boxing in this tale. Instead, there’s the clean-out of a musty gym, and the building of new dreams together. Also, some rather nice sexytimes, including an office scene that steamed up my screen. I look forward to reading on in this series and watching Zach’s pal Max find love.

Interested? You can find WORKING IT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

About the Author:
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over forty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book Birthday to LOVE BY NUMBER! Excerpt and Giveaway…

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from DJ Jamison. LOVE BY NUMBER is a standalone odd-couple romance that features a baseball statistician falling for an artist. I really enjoyed FULL DISCLOSURE, so I’m looking forward to reading this one!

Scroll down for the excerpt and to enter the $10 Amzzon GC giveaway!
About the book:
Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

How about a little taste?

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfather had been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.

Interested? You can find LOVE BY NUMBER on Goodreads and Amazon. Currently selling for $.99.

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years before trying her hand at romance writing. Her first m/m romance stories focused on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers before she expanded into novels venturing into emergency rooms and other settings. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish who are miraculously still alive. The same can’t be said for the hamster she got in college. RIP Bogie.

Catch up with DJ on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Itching to Commit MISCONDUCT–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly released erotic menage romance from Samantha Kane. MISCONDUCT is the fourth book in her Birmingham Rebels series and yet I had not one trouble enjoying it as a standalone. The series features the pro football Birmingham Rebels team, and the lusty shenanigans that ensue… This book features a recovering combat veteran and two pals on the gridiron. Yum!

About the book:
The Birmingham Rebels play both sides of the field, proving that the hottest action isn’t always in the arena.
Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.

After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.

Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.

My Review:
Carmina is a combat veteran from Afghanistan. More than three years ago she suffered a brain injury that still affects her balance and memory, but she’s worked through therapy enough that she only suffers anxiety and a speech impediment. Pretty much, she struggles to initiate words, and sometimes inadvertently switches between English and her native Spanish. It’s embarrassing and she self-isolates so she doesn’t feel humiliated. She has a dedicated dog for comfort, too.

Since her injury, Carmina hasn’t had an orgasm–not by herself, and not with another, not that she’s had sex in three years; she hasn’t. But being around all the sexy Birmingham Rebels is turning her head in two directions: at Tom and Danny, two players who couldn’t be more different.

Tom is the quintessential Nebraska farm boy with All-American good looks and a charm that would woo a man or woman. Which is good, because he openly plays for both teams. His roommate and closest friend on the team is Danny, a brooding black man with a bad history. Danny’s really close with one of the coaches, Marion, and he’s got a hidden spark for Tom because of, well, an orgy they participated in recently to, uh, help Marion get over a gang rape she’d experienced way back in college. (That was all part of a previous book…)

Okay, so Carmina wants Tom and Danny. Tom wants Carmina and Danny. Danny doesn’t want to admit he wants Tom, and doesn’t want the baggage of seriously dating anyone–which is what he thinks he’d have to do with Carmina. And, there’s the question of the elusive Big O. Tom volunteers to be Carmina’s sex coach, but it’s Danny who gets her off. And there’s jealousy. And boosy, bossy Tom who recognizes that Danny wants him, but only when he’s dominated.

I liked this story because it had a bunch of things going on in addition to the menage dynamics. Tom and Danny have an on-field nemesis that had hurt Marion way back when, and the team he plays for is the last on their schedule. Will there be retribution? Players get injured and the Rebels’ playoff dreams are in jeopardy. Further, Carmina has to learn to stand on her own feet, even when it shuts down the “help” of some of her closest pals. It’s still a sensual book, with MF, MM, and MFM activities, and the trio is engaging. I wanted all of them to find comfort in one another. So glad they did! Readers of the series will be happy to get some closure on earlier plot threads, as we have lots and lot of menage couples who peek into the book here and there. I’m looking forward to more sexy tales in this series, for sure.

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

About the Author:
Reviewers have called Samantha Kane “an absolute marvel to read,” and “one of historical romance’s most erotic and sensuous authors.” Her books have been called “sinful,” “sensuous,” and “sizzling.”

She is published in several romance genres including historical, contemporary and science fiction. Her erotic Regency-set historical romances have won awards, including Best Historical from RWA’s erotic romance chapter Passionate Ink, and the Historical CAPA (best book) award from The Romance Studio.

Samantha Kane has a master’s degree in American History, and taught high school social studies for ten years before becoming a full time writer. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children. Ms Kane loves to hear from readers.

You can find Samantha on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Overcoming the Hate–FIGHTER-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M sports romance from Carol Lynne. FIGHTER is a bit of a sports epic with a huge cast and a lot of heart.

About the book:
For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage. On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard. Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addicted mother made it too dangerous to return home.

Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice: if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted. Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control.

After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news. With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray. Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight, or walk away like he did years earlier?

My Review:
This is a bit of a “sports epic” in that the story arc stretches over the MMA fighting careers of two men and ten-ish years. Dray is an up-and-coming MMA fighter, the pride of The Brick Yard training facility on Chicago’s mean streets. He’s all set to get a title bout when his secret–that he’s gay–gets splashed out. Dray runs, unwilling to see how the fans hate him for his sexuality, heaving behind his mentor and pseudo-father Tony Brick, the man who raised him and saved his life in that broken down gym.

Flash-forward eight years: Lucky Gunn, who’d been a wide-eyed teen spending most of his nights in The Brick Yard’s laundry room, and watched Dray’s rise and fall is now out on the MMA circuit, only Tony’s too sick to be a good coach. He’s dying of cancer and it’s a huge mess. He reaches out to Dray to come back to Chicago and coach Lucky to a championship, and Dray resists. First, because he doesn’t want to taint Lucky’s career and later, because he’s really attracted to Lucky, and the feeling is mutual.

The thing is, Lucky’s not willing to hide his love for Dray, and he’s also doesn’t really care if his career suffers. He’s got a good life, now, and he wants a family like he’s built with The Brick Yard people, taking in runaways like Tony did with him. But, he can’t imagine doing it on his own, and he’s struggling watching Tony waste away.

So, for me, the book was less about coming out than it is about finding one’s tribe. Tony is a remarkable man whose history of saving young men from the mean streets dates back decades. The boys he saved number legion, but they all felt he was a father figure to only them. As Dray and Lucky comfort and care for Tony on his journey to peace, they learn how very much he cared for all of them, and their new passion, besides each other, becomes how to preserve Tony Brick’s legacy. They get some help from unlikely sources, but it only makes this whole story sweeter. Lucky’s still collecting kids, just the way Tony had, but now on a larger scale as they keep The Brick Yard open and include the special services help that these runaways need. Dray and Lucky are saving one kid at a time. Also, it’s good that both men are young, fit and fighters, because sometimes a bit of “Convincing” must be done to save kids from abusive parents who just won’t let go.

It’s a tender and compassionate story, and the stage is set for Dray and Lucky to make a real difference for the castaway gay youth on Chicago, it seems. Expect sweaty sexytimes and some grieving, too.

Interested? You can find FIGHTER on Goodreads, Pride Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: In Carol Lynne’s words…
Well, to be honest, I’m completely boring. I spend my days juggling two young children and my writing career. You’re just as likely to either catch me writing a steamy love scene or scrubbing jelly out of the carpet.

Besides writing, my biggest passion is reading. I have a lot of authors I follow (no not in the stalking sense), but Sean Michaels, B.A. Tortuga, J.M. Snyder and Chris Owen have to be my all-time favorites.

Here are some unusual facts about me:

I drink gallons of coffee every day, but I much prefer instant. I catch all kinds of flack for this from my family and friends. Even though I only drink instant, I am very picky about which brand I buy. It must be Taster’s Choice or nothing.

I love country music, but can’t stand to have music playing in my house. Therefore, I don’t even own a stereo or radio of any kind. I listen to my tunes as I’m driving around town and that’s enough for me.

I like to refer to myself as underheight instead of overweight. I’m just sure that if I could add another six or seven inches to my short 5’2 frame, I’d be much thinner. Therefore, it’s not that I overeat, it’s just that I stopped growing.

I enjoy the Hallmark commercials more than I enjoy the Hallmark movies.

Well, sorry folks, that’s about all I’ve got for you. Maybe someday soon I’ll have something really exciting to put on this page, but for now, this is me in a nutshell.

Catch up with Carol on her website, and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Out Today and FREE: SWEET SIXTEEN on INKLO


Hi there! Today I’m sharing info on a new release and a new reading app from Brenda Rothert. SWEET SIXTEEN is a contemporary YA romance and is being released in episodes for free via the INKLO app. Check out the info below.

About the book:
In Roper, Missouri, football is everything. At least, to everyone but high school senior Gin Scott. Gin plans to escape her hometown as soon as she graduates, but her plans to stay under the radar until then are ruined when her secret crush, quarterback Chase Matthews, offers her a coveted spot as one of the Sweet Sixteen.

It’s an honor Roper girls dream of, but for independent Gin, it’s more like a nightmare. By rejecting Chase’s invitation, she is ostracized from her classmates, and eventually, most of her town.

How sweet it is.

About INKLO:
INKLO is a mobile app and digital self-publishing platform that turns written stories into real-time, social experiences.
The app is very user-friendly. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will be able to follow authors and/or stories to read the new chapter posted each week. Reading stories on INKLO is and always will be FREE.

Interested? You can find SWEET SIXTEEN on INKLO and it can be read for FREE! You can read an episode each week on the INKLO app and even react to it in real time! Chat with your friends and follow the book to be notified of new chapters!

All you have to do is download the INKLO app, find the book, and click “follow”.
Go to the INKLO site for more details…

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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Catching up FALLING FOR THE PLAYER-A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Jessica on twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

New-To-Loving the DISTANT SWIMMER–A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catch up with Jacob on his website, twitter, and Facebook.
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