Surviving a BLOW DOWN

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M mystery/romance from JL Merrow. I’ve recently enjoyed her recent books, PLAYED! and OUT! so I stepped into her murder-mystery M/M romance Plumber’s Mate series, and I was not disappointed! BLOW DOWN is the fourth book in the series, but I had no trouble loving it despite not reading the earlier books.

About the book:
Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.

Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.

As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.

Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in a series, but I didn’t have any trouble enjoying it without having read the previous three books.

Tom Paretsky is a plumber with a skill that allows him to find “lost” things. Unfortunately, he often finds dead bodies, it seems. He’s newly engaged to Phil Morrison, a private investigator. Tom’s called in as a favor to his sister Cherry, to find something lost, a valuable diamond necklace, for uppity Amelia Fenchurch-Majors. This puts him on the cross side of Amelia’s step-daughter, Violet Majors.

And, when he discovers a body in the midst of the church picnic fundraiser it’s a big, big problem.

Okay, so this is a mystery and it has lots of peril–some bits more mild than others–but it’s also a character study. Tom is fantastic. His language is sublime. I never, for an instant, was confused about his Britishness.

“So, I’ve had everyone and his bloody dog asking me all kinds of crap ever since, up to and including Will it rain tomorrow? and Can you just fill in this lottery form for me? ta very much.”
“That’s just silly. You can’t do anything like that.” She paused. “Can you?”
“Sis, I live in a two-bed semi in Fleetville. What do you think? But try telling them that. Everyone seems to think psychic means whatever they bloody well want it to mean.

Tom and Phil are a sweet couple, still trying to figure out what to do with their relationship. When will they marry? Where? Will they move to Tom’s house, Phil’s flat or elsewhere? Tom has yet to meet Phil’s family–and that’s a fun Sunday roast dinner scene.

Seriously, I was so entertained by Tom I almost didn’t care at all about the murder mystery. Though, the investigation continues and it’s complicated and sordid and there’s plenty of dead-ends and fits and starts. Tom has such a fun and fresh outlook. His dry humor just sings to my soul. I love his bestie, Gary, who makes it perfectly clear that he and his hubs wouldn’t mind a bit of four-way with Tom and Phil. Those sassy blokes! This regular-guy-with-a-gift mystery is just good reading. Expect a harrowing moment or two; the killer sure doesn’t want a psychic getting the better of him (or her!) and might take the opportunity to snuff Tom’s candle. Little bit of sexytimes, but it’s not a big part of this story at all. That said, I liked that their relationship progressed nicely, and in a way that very likely leads us into further mystery stories down the pike.
Sign me up!

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

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

signal boost

Love’s Value: More Than RAG AND BONE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new magical M/M romance from the historical Charm of Magpies world conjured by KJ Charles. RAG AND BONE marks the beginning of a new series and features an interracial couple who’ve got some true dilemmas. As you know I simply loved A GENTLEMAN’S POSITION, THINK OF ENGLAND, and THE SECRET CASEBOOK OF SIMON FEXIMAL, so I knew I’d love this historical, magical romance.

Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)About the book:
It’s amazing what people throw away…
Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicking Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

Warning: Contains a warlock who needs to go straight (but isn’t), a waste-man running out of patience, blood magic, bad-tempered justiciars, and a pen with a mind of its own.

My Review:
Crispin is a disgraced warlock attempting rehabilitation. He had no idea when he was recruited, as a child, by a blood magician that he was doing anything illegal. It was only when his mentor and caretaker was found guilty of murder that Crispin’s involvement became known. He’s been offered several mentors to re-train him in acceptable use of magic–and has failed all attempts, his magic–graphimancy–simply doesn’t work like other types. Using his forbidden bone pen (fashioned from one of his own finger bones!) Crispin can draw with his own blood and make magic happen. It’s a bit harrowing, and highly frowned upon.

Ned and Crispin met when Ned assisted in the capture of Crispin’s murderous mentor. They have maintained a clandestine love over the past several months, despite Ned’s aversion to magic. He is “flit” able to hear magic, and he also despises this ability. As Crispin takes on yet another mentor, Ned’s getting embroiled in a magical plot–jar sellers, like his neighbor, are being killed in extraordinary ways. Ned can hear the use of magic, and Crispin breaks his oath to save Ned and his rag shop for certain destruction. As the story unfolds Ned and Crispin learn that a great danger is being unleashed, and it’s up to them to save London…

It’s a fantastic mystery, and a sweet romance. This book is the first in a spin-off series from the Charm of Magpies, and fully enjoyable on its own–though I will admit to rushing back and buying up the Charm of Magpie books. I’ve not read a book by this author that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed, so it’s not a big gamble.

Interested? You can find RAG AND BONE on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

About the Author:
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on twitter, Facebook, join her Facebook group, or contact her here. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse March 2016–KINGS RISING-A Review

0ed81-coffeehouse
Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m so excited to share the final book in the Captive Prince trilogy from C. S. Pacat. As you know I fell into the rabbit hole on this series, binge reading the books in hours apiece. KINGS RISING was no less stunning than the first two books. Catch my reviews for CAPTIVE PRINCE and PRINCE’S GAMBIT so you can get better oriented to this captivating fantasy/political thriller that has a dash of M/M romance.

Kings Rising (Captive Prince, #3)About the book:
Damianos of Akielos has returned.
His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity – can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?

My Review:
You absolutely must read this series. Oh, wait. You must read it in order. When you read it, that is. Because you must read it. I had never heard of the author, but what began as whispers in the M/M community soon became a resounding gong of praise for the books that were once an internet phenomenon but are now traditionally published.

For those who haven’t read any of the books, crown Prince of Akielos, Damianos, was captured by his elder half-brother’s guard, chained and sent as a sexual slave to Crown Prince of Vere, Laurent, under the pseudonym “Damen”. Vere and Akielos have had a truce since Damianos struck down Laurent’s elder brother in battle, and Laurent swears he will kill Damianos. Damen must keep his identity hidden to preserve his life, escape, and claim his throne, now that his father has died. That’s rather difficult because Laurent–while he wants little to do with Damen–is unwilling to release him. Further, Laurent is in imminent peril. His uncle, the Regent king, seems to want to remain on the throne and is willing to sacrifice Laurent in border patrol in order to cement his own reign.

As the book opens, Damen’s true name has been revealed in the company of Akielian troops and he takes control of a fort, prepares to battle the Regent’s army and command his smaller garrison win against awful odds. His commanders believe that Laurent is using him, and their worry is great considering the unconscionable issue of Damen, their king, being a slave to a prince–no matter how frigid all believe Laurent to be. Will Laurent try to kill Damen now that he knows his identity? It’s a real fear that Damen suffers–especially as the months of living together and campaigning have brought a particular closeness to Damen and Laurent–one that Damen is loathe to sever. One that endangers Damen’s alliances with his own generals, and causes the Veretians to balk, as well.

It was an amazing set of political gymnastics keeping the combined forces of Veretians and Akielians together, and just when it seems they will win back their thrones the full treachery of both Damen’s brother and the Regent of Vere becomes known. I wasn’t shocked, as I fully expected those revelations–due to excellent foreshadowing–but the manner of revelation springs yet another trap that threaten both Damen and Laurent with execution. The machinations were amazing, and kept the pace incredibly taut. Further, the love story between Damen and Laurent is not easy. They must work at it, and build it, just as with their alliances. It is a quiet affair, because there is so much scrutiny, and yet it is packed with sexual tension, longing, loss and satisfaction. That said, it’s not terrifyingly graphic, so those who are not fans of same-sex pairing do not need to shun the books. In the whole three-book series, I bet there are less than 10 pages of actual sex (that’s 1% of the page volume…)

As a series, this is one I’d enjoy again and again. The storytelling is superb, and the resolution is hopeful and mostly happy.

Interested? You can find KINGS RISING on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in retail booksellers/libraries all over.

Thanks for popping in my friends! Be sure to hop over to my fellow book reviewers and see which are the best books they’ve read this month.

Cover Reveal: THE ART OF HERO WORSHIP

HERO-BannerTemplateHi there! Today I’m so excited to present a cover reveal for a new book coming from Mia Kerick. As you know, Ms. Kerick’s work focuses on LGBT teens in trouble, and I’m sure that’s to be the case in THE ART OF HERO WORSHIP, as well. Cannot wait to get my hands on this one!!

Without further blathering…

TAOHW Front Cover-1

About the book:
Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

How about a little taste?

Pop-pop-pop….

No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully I play dead far better than my dog did when I taught him that trick at the age of seven.

The shots are earsplitting and getting louder because the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I’m trembling violently, but I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop trembling. To stay frozen—like I’ve been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.

Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.

Pop-pop-pop…

“Bang, bang… you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The weird snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. Even in my terrified state, I know that the guy on top of me is totally exposed and I can’t move because I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.

I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection… if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere… like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.

Pop-pop-pop…

Shooter’s right above us now. Don’t move… don’t move… don’t move….

“Dear God, help us!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved, and maybe even glad, as I do.

Pop-pop-pop….

We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.

And then, for a second, it’s quiet.

“Now….” The big guy’s voice is whispering but it seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here….”

His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard that I know I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a week… if I live so long.

Interested? You can pre-order THE ART OF HERO WORSHIP on Amazon in advance of it’s release on Feb 14th.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Where to find Mia online: Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

pride

Dangerous Terrain–GONE AWAY-Excerpt Review & Giveaway

GA-BannerTemplate
Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M reconnection romance from Elizabeth Noble. GONE AWAY is a thriller with a romance mixed in. I really was blown away by the plot and how realistic the danger felt.

Be sure to drop down and enter the giveaway for your chance at winning one of Elizabeth’s many published titles.

GA Final Draft 101515About the book:
Mason Arquette isn’t one for mincing words. In fact, he often rubs people the wrong way—with the exception of Riece Burrell. Riece came with his own set of social issues, but he saw right through Mason’s tough exterior, and they made a perfect couple. Or so Mason thought… until Riece abruptly ended their relationship without much explanation.

Years later, Mason and Riece are thrown back together. As a US Forestry Service photographer, Riece is sent on assignment to the Black Hills, where Mason works. When Mason is tasked with guiding Riece around the territory, old feelings quickly are rekindled.

But nothing is ever easy. Just as Mason and Riece begin to work things out, they’re targeted by people with motives so vile and twisted they defy imagination. In a desperate race for their lives, they must depend on one another and take a big step out of their personal comfort zones to find their way back to safety—and back to love.

How about a little taste?

“Hungry?” Mason poked at the campfire he’d started. This spot was a popular one. There was already a fire pit rimmed with rock and stone, set against an outcrop and facing a small stand of trees. Whoever constructed it had clearly thought out the location well. The trees were far enough away to be of minimal danger from the fire, yet close enough to be convenient for hanging food from. Their fire was protected by the outcrop and the shallow pit.

Riece turned and studied Mason and their camp. He grinned and raised his camera to take a few more pictures. “You photograph very well.” Riece walked over and sat beside Mason. “Want to see?”

“Sure. If I don’t like them, do they get deleted?”

“No,” Riece said and rolled his eyes. He settled on the ground beside Mason and leaned against him while going through the photos he’d taken that day.

Without thinking, Mason lifted one arm and put it around Riece, tucking him close to his side. “Those are pretty good. Even the ones with me in them.” Both of their actions seemed natural and easy.

Riece snorted and pulled the micro-memory chip out. “Of course they are. I have excellent technique.”

Mason laughed and handed Riece his bag. Riece extracted a plastic case, slipped the chip into one of the slots, and put a new one in the camera. “What’s on the menu?”

“Chicken burritos—well, my version. I threw some potatoes on to bake too, and the all-time campfire favorite of s’mores.”

“Oh, nice. I haven’t had those since I was a kid. My mom used to make them for me over the stove.”

“You haven’t had s’mores until you’ve had them made over an open fire,” Mason said.

Riece tucked his camera away, and they set about assembling and eating their dinner. Mason squeezed shredded chicken from foil pouches onto tortilla wraps. They added shredded cheese, some salami, and dried fruits and spices to the mix. Mason rolled them in foil and set them on the hot embers from the fire to warm up. Dried power-drink mix to add to their water completed the meal. It was completely dark by the time Mason loaded skewers with marshmallows for roasting.

“That was pretty good.” Riece leaned against his pack and gazed up at the sky.

Mason laughed. “What were you expecting, squirrel meat?”

“I was worried about what we were going to eat. I’ll admit I had visions of freeze-dried food packets. I didn’t really pay attention when you were packing. I was afraid to look too closely,” Riece confessed.

“Tomorrow we’ll be near a river, and we can score some fresh fish and use our water filters to refill our bottles. I’ll show you how to spear fish.” Mason stood and stretched. When he began collecting their food stocks and garbage, Riece immediately joined in, helping him. “Anything like toothpaste or mouthwash we’ll store in our sack as well. That stuff smells good to wildlife too.”

“We can keep the lube with us, right?”

That made Mason laugh. “I wouldn’t dream of having it any other way. It’s nice enough out tonight. I can set the tent up, or we can sleep without it.”

“If you don’t mind, and if the wildlife will cover their eyes, I’d like to be able to see the open sky.” Riece sat cross-legged near the fire and pushed his hands against the ground. “Sort of hard and lumpy.”

“You’re such a city boy,” Mason said with a chuckle. “That’s what I brought a sleeping pad for.”

“Now who’s being a city boy? I was thinking more along the lines of how comfortable you are to sleep on.”

Mason smiled, rolled his eyes, and shook his head before he went about completing the task of getting their sleeping area readied. Riece packed their food in the bear bag they would use to secure it high enough off the ground it would be safe. Using a rock and some utility cord, Mason showed Riece how to rig it between two trees.

“We’ll use this as a base camp, hike farther out tomorrow, and come back here to sleep before heading to the next area you need to go to,” Mason explained. He’d spread the map out and traced their path with one finger.

Riece looked over his shoulder. Mason could feel his warm breath on the back of his neck and how he nodded every few seconds. Eventually Mason spread the sleeping pad out, and Riece inflated it before arranging their bedrolls over it.

The temperature dropped fast after the sun went down. Riece was lying on his back, arms bent under his head, looking up at the sky. They’d hiked quite a way that day, and Mason was getting tired. He spent a few minutes watching Riece. He’d folded his clothes and neatly placed them in his backpack, which made Mason smile. Even in the wilderness, there were some things Riece would do to follow his routine, and there was no stopping him. Mason had learned long ago trying to make Riece give up too many of his habits too quickly would cause him to close off and withdraw. Something Mason wanted to avoid at all cost.

Mason stripped off his clothes before he slid into the bedroll with Riece and wrapped one arm around his waist. Despite the cool night air, he was warm in seconds with Riece’s body against his.

My Review:
While this is the fourth book in a series, it can be fully enjoyed as a standalone.

Mason Arquette is a mixed-race (white and First Nations!) gay US Forest Service ranger whose territory covers the Black Hills region of South Dakota, his homeland. Years ago he met Riece Burrell at college. Both Riece and Mason have some emotional issues; Mason has a temper and Riece has OCD and crippling social anxiety, but they fit well together in spite of those impediments. They had a satisfactory relationship that ended when Riece left suddenly, with no discussion. As it turned out, Riece’s mother counseled her son to leave–making it clear that Mason wouldn’t continue to tolerate Riece’s tics indefinitely. (Thanks, Mom!!)

So, after three years they are reunited when Riece is assigned to photograph parks in Mason’s jurisdiction. Mason surprises him at the airport, and again, when he takes them to a romantic inn en route to their destination. While Riece and Mason have separate rooms, Riece can’t take the separation any longer. They seem to get on like a house afire, burning up the sheets anyway….

After getting Riece settled in Custer the ardor ebbs, a bit. Mason wants time to regroup, and be sure he can trust Riece again. They have an extended hike planned so Riece can get images of some of the more remote vistas, and while their reconnection is still going strong, it suddenly gets thrust into overdrive. Encountering some shady characters on the trail has Mason thinking of remote meth labs or poachers, but it’s far, far worse.

No, Mason’s soon employing all his backwoods tracking skills to keep himself and Riece out of the range of lethal crossbow bolts. Nothing like some psychotic killers to make a scenic trail harrowing, amiright? I really got into this thrill ride, as it truly was something I hadn’t expected. Expect bloodshed, mayhem and daring forays. Expect Mason and Riece to fully repair their breach and become better than the couple back in college–excellent sexytimes, yo. Also, expect slurs of all varieties–including homophobic and racial. Just sayin’.

Interested? You can find GONE AWAY on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a book from Elizabeth Noble’s giant backlist!
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!). 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. Three of Elizabeth’s books have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards.

You can catch up with Elizabeth on her website, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or sign up for her newsletter.

pride

Coming Soon! Herc’s Mercs THE HARDER THEY FALL–Excerpt and Giveaway

Herc-BannerTemplateHi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and book giveaway for a new release from Ari McKay. THE HARDER THEY FALL is the newest in the Herc’s Merc’s series, so expect hot alpha men working security and getting down and dirty.

HMthehardertheyfall1400About the book:
Chris Hardison never expected the simple consulting gig to put him on somebody’s hit list, but Hercules Security’s resident computer whiz never does anything by halves. Now he’s on the run, guarded by gorgeous Jason Hekili, the newest member of Herc’s crew. But Chris and Jason have a past, and holing up in a safe house together is as complicated as it is dangerous.

Jason still wants Chris even though his broken heart hasn’t healed. He isn’t sure he can trust Chris, but when a crime syndicate targets Chris for assassination, Jason has to put his life on the line to protect Chris or risk losing their second chance for happiness before it even begins.

How about a little taste?

It took him a few minutes to find the right place, and his heart lurched when he saw Jason sparring with a tall, broad-shouldered Native American merc. He hovered in the doorway of the training room, torn between wanting to run over, fling himself at Jason, and beg for forgiveness, or wanting to flee.

Jason had changed. Gone were the thick, dark waves that Chris had loved to run his fingers through; Jason had shorn it all off in favor of a buzz cut, and Chris wanted to cry at the loss. Jason’s shoulders were broader, and he was even more muscular overall. After working with mercs for so long, Chris knew the difference between bodybuilder muscles and working muscles, and he could tell Jason had gotten those hard muscles from work. Jason’s body wasn’t the only thing that looked harder; Jason’s face looked different as well. More closed off, more distant. It was enough to make Chris want to turn and run. How could he possibly stand a chance with this Jason?

Before he could slip away unnoticed, the other merc knocked Jason on his ass. Jason let out a grunt when he hit the floor, but he didn’t grimace or show any other sign of pain. He simply bounded to his feet and turned—and spotted Chris.

For a long moment, he simply stood there, holding Chris’ gaze, and something that Chris thought might be hope brightened his eyes. Then Jason turned away, said something to his sparring partner, and headed toward the far side of the room.

Chris’ heart plummeted at that clear rejection signal, but he knew he deserved it. He lifted his chin and squared his shoulders. Jason had seen him, so he couldn’t just sneak out like this had never happened, and he hadn’t come all this way to give up so easily anyway. The other merc’s eyebrows climbed as he watched Chris march across the room, and Chris heard him say something about going to the showers, but Chris’ attention was focused entirely on Jason.

“Jason, I’d like to talk,” he said firmly as he approached.

Jason draped a towel around his neck, his spine straightening before he turned slowly to face Chris. Up close, Chris could see that a slender, pale line of a scar now bisected Jason’s right eyebrow. The line mercifully skipped over his eye, but picked up again on his cheek, running down to the sharp line of his jaw. It made his cheekbones look even more pronounced and pulled the line of his lips slightly crooked, though that wasn’t easy to judge, since he was clenching his jaw.

“I believe you agreed six months ago that there was nothing more to say,” Jason replied, his voice ragged, betraying emotions that didn’t show on his face. “And you didn’t want to subject yourself to a long, awkward ride.”

“A lot can change in six months,” Chris pointed out, aching to reach out and touch Jason but knowing he didn’t have that right yet. “You have. So have I.”

“Is that so?” Jason regarded him with narrowed eyes, a muscle twitching slightly in his jaw. It was something Chris recognized at once as a “tell,” an indicator that Jason wasn’t nearly as unaffected by Chris’ presence as he was trying to appear; sometimes the little things he’d learned from being around people in the physical side of the security business were quite useful.

“Yes, that’s so,” Chris replied quietly. This was the part where he laid himself utterly bare and held nothing back, which was terrifying, but it was necessary if he wanted any hope of winning Jason back. “I’ve had plenty of time to think about what an idiot I was. I’m sorry I hurt you, and I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. You didn’t do anything wrong. It was all me and my stupid insecurities getting in the way. Letting you go was the biggest mistake of my life.”

Jason’s eyes widened slightly as if he was surprised at Chris being so blunt and forthcoming. At first, he stared back at Chris, seeming to search for something. Finally he gave a terse nod. “I’m glad you realize that,” he said quietly.

“I do, and I’m willing to do anything to make up for my stupidity.” Chris took a little step closer, gazing up at Jason hopefully. “I’ve missed you so much, Jason. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how good we were together. I came here to see if there was any way you’d consider giving me a second chance.”

Again, Jason didn’t answer immediately, and this time, there was no mistaking the pain in the look he gave Chris. “There’s a problem with that.” He glanced away from Chris and frowned. “Trust has to go both ways.”

Interested? You can find  on Goodreads, Torquere Press, Amazon, and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win an ecopy of Herc’s Mercs–THE HARDER THEY FALL.

About the authors:
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full-length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.

Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Where to find the authors online:
Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Website | Goodreads | Amazon

pride

Mix-Ups And Meyhem in WITH THIS BLING–A Review

Hi there! today I’m sharing my review for a funny contemporary M/M romance from LB Gregg. WITH THIS BLING is the third book in the Romano and Albright series, and it’s a fast-paced adventure/romance.

With This Bling (Romano and Albright, #3)About the book:
Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series, but it read fine as a standalone. 4.5 Stars.

Caesar and Dan have been dating for a short while. They are still getting to know one another, and enjoying their incendiary passion. Dan is a 40ish former NYPD cop turned private detective. He’s big and bossy and totally gone for Caesar, a 28 y/o Brooklyn native and member of a giant Italian famiglia that may or may not have mafia ties…he’ll never say. Out loud. Caesar has begun managing his friend Poppy’s catering business, and his cousin is trying to woo a very pregnant Poppy to FINALLY marry him.

Caesar is caught in this misfire/crossfire wedding proposal gone totally wrong when he is pressed into filling in for morning-sick Poppy on a local cable morning show. It’s actually quite hysterical, and leaves Caesay a black-eyed, bloody (possibly engaged!) mess. Is this the result of using his Nonna’s cursed rings? The jury is out…

Dan’s newest case is bleeding into their private life, too. Expect parkour-style espionage and explosions. Lots of explosions. Caesar always seems to be on the wrong end of a concussion, and yet, his dead-pan NYC humor is riotous. Complaining that the squirrel and bird he spies in Dan’s Staten Island backyard is “too much nature” for him. Deciding that the best way to handle being kidnapped and stuffed into a cool box is to snack on fresh-made cannoli? I died.

I loved Caesar’s family. From his flashy Nan to his Goodfellas-esque uncles and father. They’s good people. We don’t get to see much of Dan , as Caesar tells this story, but he’s a bit of alright. Honest, and loyal. Maybe a bit too trusting for some–especially as he’s an ex-cop. Caesar and Dan get really close in this book, so close that Caesar has to meet an ex. Unwittingly. And they continue building on an established pattern of semi-public sexytimes; all to the good in my book.

I breezed through WITH THIS BLING, and would surely head back for another episode.

Interested? You can find WITH THIS BLING on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple, AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
LB Gregg (Lisabea) writes fun, fast-paced contemporary male/male romances for a variety of publishers including Riptide, Samhain, and Carina Press. Her wildly successful Men of Smithfield books feature hot, hunky men looking for love in small town New England. You can find more information about LB, The Men of Smithfield, and her fun series Romano and Albright at her website.  Catch her also on twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!