Attraction Across Millennia LOVE LOGAN–Excerpt and Review

Hi there! Happy New Year, all! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and review for a M/M futuristic-world, dystopian romance from Tilly Keyes. LOVE LOGAN features a human in the year 4021 attempting to achieve respect and glory via a teleportation device, but everything goes wrong when his premier showing results in drawing a time traveler from 2021 through his device–ruining his tech, and his life.

About the book:
Zero’s teleportation machine is the talk of the town, but opening night it fails, leaving him a laughingstock. However, unknowingly, the machine pulls someone from the twentieth century and spits them out in Zero’s time.

Logan has strange, dull clothing and bland hair, and when he opens his mouth, it gets worse. He’s afraid of everything, but worst of all, his talk of love grates on Zero’s nerves.

He vows to fix the machine and send Logan home no matter what. Zero’s best friend, Honey, has other ideas. Despite Logan being terrified of her and labeling her a cat-person, she finds his talk of love enlightening.

With Logan about to go home, Zero needs to realize there’s more to life than going down in history before it’s too late.

How about a little taste?

Each shuffle of clothing and stomp of impatient feet increased Zero’s thumping heart. The curtain muffled the words of the audience, but they increased in volume until a unified grumble shook Zero’s bones. Being ten minutes late was part of his plan to build anticipation, but he hadn’t envisioned the wait would have him close to fainting from nerves.

Zero pursed his lips and exhaled slowly. He brushed his sweat-soaked palms on his suit, then removed his top hat and wiped his brow on his sleeve. He wanted to wear something more flamboyant with tassels and twinkling lights, but he softened his look and chose a stripped black-and-silver suit, and his trusty black top hat. The night was all about his invention, and he dressed down to put all emphasis on it.

“This is such a bad idea.”

Honey’s words pulled him from his thoughts, and he turned to her, widening his eyes.

“You’re here for support, not to further my anxiety.”

Zero could see her normal ellipse shaped pupils had narrowed to a line of black, splitting her lime irises in two. She was afraid for him, and he couldn’t deny that fear when his heart tried to escape his chest.

“If—If only you’d tested the machine.”

Zero pushed his hat firmly on his head. “I have tested it.”

“But never like this. You haven’t done this with a living thing—”

“It will work,” Zero said.

Honey gripped his arm. “But what if it doesn’t?”

He frowned and glanced at her paw that gripped his arm. She blinked then retracted her claws with a softly spoken apology.

“This is my moment. I can feel it in my bones. My life is about to change.”

“Dying is life changing, life ending,” she replied.

Zero shook his head. “I won’t die—hopefully I won’t die, and if I do, I hope it will be quick.”

“What if you walk through and only half of you appears on the other side?”

Zero lifted his hand and tilted it one way and then the other. “Well, if that happens, I’ll die quickly, so it’s not so bad.”

Honey hissed and flattened her ears. “Don’t make jokes.”

“I wasn’t joking,” he said, turning to face her. “If it goes wrong and I die, then you know I died doing what meant the most to me. Besides, I couldn’t live with the shame of a failure, so let’s hope it is either roaring success and I appear in the opposite arch or it’s unable to put my atoms back together and I die instantly.”

Honey shut her eyes and bowed forward. Zero rubbed at her arms, but she didn’t straighten to look at him. She sagged further.

“I can’t go out there until I see your smile,” he whispered.

She sniffled and shook her head. “I don’t feel like smiling.”

“Please Honey, for me. I need to see it. You’re my lucky charm.”

“Fine,” she said with a huff. “But you better not die.”

Zero thought better than making that promise. It was a strong possibility, not that he admitted it to her.

Honey lifted her head and twitched her cheeks. Her nose rose, and two daggered teeth showed through her narrow lips.

“Thank you,” Zero said.

The second the words left him, her smile dropped, and she breathed heavily through her nose.

“Right,” he said and clutched his lapels. “Here I go.”

My Review:
Zero is a human living in the underground world of Earth in the fourth millenium. He’s a handy guy, a picker-fixer who aspires to be an inventor. In this world, no one lives above ground, as the atmosphere was destroyed by nuclear war time out of mind ago. Along with humans in this subterranean existence are Furists and Cold-Blooded. This means they are humanoid fur-covered beings, like giant cats, or scaly ambulatory snake-like people. These are not mutants, their ancestors arrived from other planets looking for shelter as their home worlds died. The social structure in this time is not family-groups. Children may be raised by their parents until they are 10, but are then turned loose within the “islands” of population where they are expected to manufacture a living from whatever skills they possess. If they show themselves to be industrious, these foundlings can earn a basic apartment and token credits to get food. If anyone from this time stops earning and runs out of the tokens or food to sustain themselves they will be shipped out to another planet, likely to scrape an existence from the recycling dumps they have made of other worlds.

Zero wants to be more than a simple technician for fruit pickers. He has been building a teleportation device using scavenged parts for nearly ten years. He scrimped and saved his tokens to buy a theater in which to demonstrate his device for the wealthy Elite, who live in a hovering island above the rabble of commoners below. One of these Elite is Apollo, A former Lover of Zero’s who took his design ideas for improving hovercars and made himself an Elite, abandoning Zero. Apollo never stays away from Zero for long, relishing the power he has over him as and Elite, and enjoying any slights and suffering Zero experiences. Instead of teleporting Zero, this device brings a man from they year 2021 into his own time. Zero doesn’t know this, at first. He thinks this plain and unusual “Logan” person was paid by Apollo to ruin his device, and humiliate him in front of his audience. Zero is bitter and furious, and leaves Logan in the care of his best friend and assistant, a Furian called Honey.

It is Honey that determines Logan must have come from somewhere else, because he’s terrified by “cat-people” and his reactions prompt Zero to investigate. He’s not happy to discover his teleporter is a time machine. he can’t use that for any social or monetary currency in his world. If anyone discovered Logan’s origin, he’d be studied or killed, and Zero’s too wound up in his own disgrace to really care that Logan is a man out of time. It is only more irritating that Logan’s ancient sensibilities, like “love” and “family ties”, are somehow resonating with Honey. She convinces Zero to fix the machine to send Logan back, but this will take time and tokens, two things Zero is running short on–especially once Logan’s ineptitude costs Zero his day job.

Meanwhile, as Zero endeavors to repair his device, he’s unwillingly charmed by Logan’s card tricks and “magic”, another unfamiliar concept. It turns out that Logan’s father was a successful magician in his time, and Logan often studied as his assistant. The magic he performs seems much like what Zero would like to produce scientifically, and the rapport grows between them. This is dangerous, naturally, because Logan is meant to return to his own time, but also, the unfamiliar feelings associated with that love concept are interfering with Zero’s ability to provide for himself and Logan. Apollo’s lurking on the edges, hoping to exploit Zero’s vulnerabilities, as well.

This is a magical and intriguing dystopian love story, with two great MCs finding love in the most unexpected way. Logan is so out of his element, he’s quaint and trite in the most basic sense of wishing both for a return home and also for true love building between himself and Zero. For his part, Zero is a selfish man–because that is the prime directive of his society. Sex is sex, and work is currency in his world. He could trade himself for sex to earn the tokens he needs to manage his life and help Logan, but doing so will alienate Logan, who’s rather puritanical about the situation.

I adored the world-building here, and the love story as it developed. There were great moments of tension, especially as Zero built the device that would take his one true love far away to the past. His own impending bankruptcy and inevitable removal from society is also a great emotional hurdle, promising hurt on top of hurt before the climax. I loved Zero myself long before he solved his problems and found his happily ever after. Highly recommend!

Interested? You can find LOVE LOGAN on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Books2Read.

About the Author:
Tilly lives in a small village in the UK, surrounded by fields, and meadows.
By day, she’s looks after her two lively boys, but by night…she’s usually asleep, too exhausted to write, but sometimes she gets lucky, sometimes she settles down with a nice cup of tea and sinks into a story.
She hopes you enjoy them. Let her know by sending her an email.

Growing Up and Getting Past SWEET REVENGE–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tilly Keyes. SWEET REVENGE features a man returning to his hometown to spend time with his sister and niece and falling for the yummy local baker who happens to be dating a tormentor from his past.

Scroll down to catch an excerpt and enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
Riley’s not the scared, weak boy of years ago.

Strong, handsome, wealthy, and successful, he should be happy, but he’s not. He’s still tormented by the bullies of his school years, the cruelty he was subjected to. There’s only one way to silence those reverberating memories, and that’s revenge.

But while seeking it, he finds peace in the small village where he befriends Zac, the cake maker. Zac’s the first friend Riley’s had in decades, boyish and fun and, without a doubt, sweet. Feelings grow toward the cake maker, but his need for revenge still hovers in his mind.

When he discovers Zac secret, he wonders if revenge is really worth it with Zac in the crossfire.

How about a yummy taste?

Riley stared at the different bouquets of flowers, then groaned and rubbed his temple. Choosing flowers wasn’t supposed to be torturous. He reached for a bunch of yellow roses and stared at them long and hard. Roses were far too romantic, and it certainly wasn’t meant as a romantic gesture. He put them back and grabbed a bunch of white lilies while nodding. They looked nice, a bit droopy, a bit torn, but it was the thought that counted.

“Are you confessing your undying love or going to a funeral?”

Riley paused and turned to the woman beside him. The old lady clutched a woven bag to her chest and stared him down with her beady eyes. Her lips were framed by a mosaic of wrinkles, and she trembled slightly as she waited for a response.

“Neither…”

She hummed, stepping closer. Her hand closed around the lily stalks, and she pulled them from Riley’s hand. He wasn’t anticipating the strength and speed and was left clutching the air.

“Okay, then.”

“Lilies are what I expect to have at my grave,” she said, slotting them back in the flower stand.

Riley frowned. “That’s…that’s nice to know.”

“And roses are romantic, haven’t received roses in years. If it’s not meant as love, or condolence, what are you buying flowers for?”

“To say sorry, sorry for being a rubbish brother, and an even worse uncle.”

“Ah, well, there’s no tags on the flowers that say those exact words. Boy or girl?”

Riley looked down at himself, then back up at her. The woman rolled her eyes. “I didn’t mean you, did I?”

“No, of course not,” Riley said, scrunched his brow. “Girl, my niece. I’ve got a niece.”

“May I make a suggestion?”

“I’m sure you’re going to whether I say yes or no.”

The woman laughed, and her thin lips stretched in a smile. “Ditch the flower idea, alcohol is far better.”

“Alcohol?” Riley smirked.

“A bottle of whiskey, that was my favourite.”

Riley lifted his eyebrow. “Whiskey?”

She jabbed his bicep with her bony finger. “Don’t think I can’t drink you under the table.”

Riley rubbed his arm. “I 100 percent believe you could.”

“Good, now get to it.”

Her gaze followed him as he walked towards the cashier.

It was only a small village shop, and they kept all the alcohol behind the counter along with the medicines and cigarettes. Riley flicked his chin out at the man serving.

“What rose do you have?”

“We only have one, and it’s £3.99.”

Riley smiled tightly, nodding. “Guess that’ll do, then, can I have a box of those beers too?”

He didn’t particularly like Emily’s husband, but he couldn’t turn up without something for him too.

He paid and strolled out the shop, but a familiar croaking voice made him stop. He turned back to the woman and watched as she hobbled towards him.

Her thin lips tugged into a smile, and her pink cheeks looked fragile as it stretched. “Be a dear and help me cross the road.”

“Of course.”

Riley offered his arm for her to take and she latched on.

He led her across the road and once on the other side, released her arm. He looked down and noticed the flowers poking from her bag—white lilies. His mouth bobbed open as he thought of something to say, but she only waved him away.

“You’ve got something for your sister, but what about that niece of yours?”

Riley darted a look back to the shop, but a tapping sound had him turning back to the woman.

She knocked her frail knuckles against the window, and Riley looked inside the cake shop. He hadn’t been to the village for months, and the cake shop was definitely a new addition. The village shop barely stocked anything of use. There were boards covering the windows of the hair salon; the church looked haggard and crumbling. But the bakery gleamed, and the display he could see through the window was more at home in the posh areas of London.

Riley flashed a smile at the woman. “Thanks.”

She turned and waved over her shoulder.

Riley pushed inside the bakery, and immediately a sugary scent wrapped around him. He strolled up to the counter and admired the cake creations behind the Perspex shield. They were all identical and arranged in uniformed lines. Chocolate sponge, one that looked like lemon, and a pink one with a strawberry on top.

Riley looked up and craned his neck to see further into the bakery kitchen. There was no one inside, and he frowned, checking his watch. It was two o’clock, and he doubted the staff were still on break.

“Hello?”

Riley bunched his lips together and waited, but there was no reply. He turned, poised to go back to the shop, but the billboard caught his eye, and he moved towards it.

Adverts were nailed to the board, one asking for a tenant, one selling a wheelbarrow, and another an old sofa. They were scrawled in pen, and the pictures were black and white. Riley freed one of the pieces of paper and frowned. Not an advert, but a missing pet poster. Not a dog, or cat like he expected, but an African grey parrot.

“Who’s a pretty boy, then?”

Riley startled at the voice and pressed the poster to his chest. He flashed a look at the man behind the counter and laughed softly.

“You scared the hell outta me.”

The man blushed and bit his lip. “Yeah, I don’t know why I did that. I saw you with the poster, and it kinda popped into my head.”

“And out of your mouth.”

“Yeah.”

Riley repinned the poster and walked towards the counter. The man was younger, midtwenties at a guess. He swept his black hair back over his head and fixed his warm eyes to Riley’s. There was a flutter in Riley’s gut that unnerved him.

“So, they haven’t found the parrot?”

“Nope, that posters been up since I opened.”

“The bakery is yours?”

The man puffed up, not to shove his muscles in Riley’s face but to show him the apron smudged with chocolate. “Yeah, it’s mine.”

“This place is real nice.”

“Thank you, it doesn’t bring me much money, but I enjoy it.”

Riley frowned. “Not everything’s about money. Happiness is more important.”

The man smiled warmly, then stuck out his hand for Riley to take. “I’m Zac.”

“Riley.”

He frowned and looked down at their shaking hands when he felt stickiness. Zac glanced down, then up at Riley again.

“Well, that’s embarrassing.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Sorry for the wait, I was in the back, and I’m not strictly open right now.”

Riley darted a look back to the door and widened his eyes when he realised the shop was in fact closed.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise.”

Zac waved the comment away. “If I open all day, I’ll get overrun. I’ve got the breakfast pastries in the morning and the cakes and muffins in the afternoon.”

“You do this all by yourself?” Riley scanned all the cakes with wide eyes. There were so many it was hard to imagine one guy could do it all.

Zac ruffled his black hair with a tinge of embarrassment in his cheeks. “Yeah, I buy some stuff in and make the rest. My kitchen porter comes in at four and cleans everything up. He’s Dave—he’s a nice guy, but his taste in music is awful.”

“What does he listen to?”

“Very loud rock where you have no idea what the singer’s screaming about.”

“Ah,” Riley said, looking away.

Zac rocked back on his heels. “By that ‘Ah’ I’m guessing you’re a fan.”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“So, Mr. Terrible-taste-in-music, what brings you here?”

“My sister, she lived in the village. I’ve been a bit of a crap brother recently, wanted to surprise her.”

Zac drew his eyebrows together. “What’s her name?”

“Emily Mathews.” Riley sighed.

It was a small village, but still with a population of a thousand or so—there was no way this man could know who she was.

“Ah. With little Maisy, right?”

Riley was rarely stunned, but it took an extended blink and a squeeze to the bridge of his nose before he could speak.

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“So, you’ve been a rubbish brother, then, and you want to make amends.”

“Something like that.”

My Review:
Riley is a grown man returning to his hometown in the UK (somewhere) to reconnect with his sister Emily and school-aged niece Maisy. He’d sold his business interests and took 6 months traveling to “find himself” and didn’t bother to check in so he’s in Emily’s bad books. Riley meets Zac, the new and talented local baker, while he’s buying a sweet treat for his surprise apology visit. Riley hates returning to his hometown because he was beaten and bullied from a young age, and he still suffers panic attacks thinking about his chief tormentor, a boy named Aaron. As the days pass, Zac and Riley hit it off, and Riley begins to feel a little more settled having a friend in town. Riley even takes the apartment above Zac’s rented shop, deciding to stay indefinitely to help Emily care for Maisy since her now ex-husband abandoned them.

Each day, Riley and Zac converse and share a coffee while Zac readies the shop. It’s a great friendship with subtle hints of maybe more until Zac confesses he has a wealthy boyfriend…named Aaron. Despite his misgivings, Riley continues to befriend Zac, and the confirmation that his tormentor is dating the man he’s crushing on still doesn’t derail this burgeoning friendship. At least, not until Aaron meets Riley, and then it’s old habits all over again.

This is an okay read. For myself I had struggles because I’m a detail-oriented person and I felt a distinct lack of the kind of details I usually enjoy. I like to know about the setting, and the ages of people, and roughly how they made their living. This story was all very generic about those sorts of things, which frustrated me, but may not be a big deal to another reader. I also wasn’t sure if there was a language issue, but it seemed like there were missing words in places, leaving me scrambling to intuit the context, at times. Not sure if this was because I had an advance copy, and those issues were cleaned up in the final edit–but it also bothered me. I grew tired of overlong patches of dialogue, too, where it carried too much of the plot. People do not converse in paragraphs…

Truly, however, the biggest issue I had was the “revenge” arc that was completely non-existent. Supposedly, Riley is going to take revenge on his biggest bully, the man whose very voice or presence STILL gives him panic attacks. Not once did he make any such plan. His whole plan was to AVOID Aaron at all costs. Only in the VERY end when Aaron was making physical threats did Riley make the jump–to protect someone other than himself. I really felt like Riley got a “sweet reward” by falling hard for Zac and having his love returned, versus getting revenge. It’s an otherwise breezy romance.

Interested? You can find SWEET REVENGE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

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

About the Author:
Tilly lives in a small village in the UK, surrounded by fields, and meadows.

By day, she’s looks after her two lively boys, but by night…she’s usually asleep, too exhausted to write, but sometimes she gets lucky, sometimes she settles down with a nice cup of tea and sinks into a story.

She hopes you enjoy them.

You can catch up to Tilly via email: tillykeyesauthor (at) outlook (dot) com