Learning How TO LOVE A TRAITOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a new historical M/M Romance from JL Merrow. TO LOVE A TRAITOR is a quiet intrigue set in the immediate aftermath of what was once called “The Great War,” but we now call WWI. I really enjoyed this slow burn, between a man who mourns his brother, and the person who may have been responsible for his brother’s death. I read PLAYED! by this author, and enjoyed her work enough to seek out another book.

To Love a TraitorAbout the book:
Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.

When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.

As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.

But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.

Warning: Contains larks in the snow, stiff upper lips, shadows of the Great War, and one man working undercover while another tries to lure him under the covers.

My Review:
Roger George Cottingham is a scourge to his noble family. The younger son, a bookish sort, continually passed over for affection by his parents in favor of his gregarious elder brother, Hugh, Roger knows he’s second best. When it was time to enlist in the war against the Hessians, he balked. No, he didn’t just balk, this Cambridge-educated man who speaks several languages refused to join up–knowing he was unable to kill a man. He was jailed for a miserable year as a Conscientious Objector before he was sprung and worked as a cryptographer for the Navy.

Hugh was killed in a mission that seems quite dodgy on its surface. Roger’s been tasked by Hugh’s bereaved fiance (and Roger’s close childhood friend) to find out if there’s truth to the rumor that Hugh’s espionage mission was leaked to the enemy beforehand. Inquiries have led Roger to a boardinghouse, home to Matthew Connaught, an amputee veteran of the war–and the man who Hugh replaced in the covert mission. Roger takes a room at the house under the pseudonym, George Johnson, in order to befriend Matthew, and glean information regarding Hugh’s death–information which might implicate Matthew as a spy.

Trouble is, Matthew is a fantastic man. He’s upbeat, and lovely, and he and George immediately hit it off. Not only that, George is attracted to Matthew–and it seems that Matthew may return his interest. For George this is a revelation that is fraught with pain. Could he possibly be falling for the man who had a part in Hugh’s death?

All of his instincts say no, that Matthew is too kind and honest a man to have been a spy, but the deeper he gets involved, the more he recognizes that Matthew has some deep secrets–and he knows more about Hugh’s death than George could have predicted.

I absolutely enjoyed this book. Do not expect a lot of steam–though there is some, for sure. George has a day of reckoning in his future, and his inquiries result in peace for more than one family–though it causes a significant amount of distress for Matthew, and himself. For his part, Matthew finds himself in more than one uncomfortable position, and his confessions are a balm to George, as well as Hugh’s fiance. I ached for George throughout. He’s been abandoned and cast off his whole life, and Matthew provides the compassionate friend and partner that George has been too afraid to admit needing. This is a true hurt/comfort story, with an HEA for men who’ve suffered much, and carry on in the face of grief and loss. Plus, the historical details were a delight. I truly felt as if transported to that era, and was glad for it.

Interested? You can find TO LOVE A TRAITOR on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an 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 the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Love is…WISH FOR YOU–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there and welcome to my stop on the WISH FOR YOU blog tour sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. Forother stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a New Adult romance by best-selling author Marquita Valentine.

Wish for You front coverBook Summary:
There’s only one place in the world Lacey Evans feels normal- the roller derby track. When she laces up her skates and fastens her helmet, she’s powerful and in charge. She knows exactly what to do and what to say. The rules are clear and penalties are enforced for those who don’t follow them. But in the read world, she’s far from powerful and in charge. She never knows exactly what to do and say. For years, she counted on one person to be exactly who he said he was–her best friend, Wyatt Tanaka. Only she changed the rules on him, without any warning, and now she’s the one being punished.

Marine veteran, Wyatt Tanaka, came home to a heroes welcome. But he’s hiding a secret, one that could potential destroy his life. He’s doing the best he can, trying to cope with the guilt and the pain of the girl he loves pushing him away by doing all the things he’d sworn not too. Women, bars, drugs and drinking are what consume him. With Lacey’s new rules, he has nothing to hold on to. Nothing to keep in from feeling dead.

Then one night, he goes too far, gets in too deep, and when the truth comes out… will Lacey keep pushing him away or help save him?

My Review:
Well. This book took me through a few really squicky turns. I have a bit of insight into PTSD–family members who suffer(ed). And I also have known quite a few vets who wallow in intoxication, trying to bury their pain. Perhaps that’s why I had such a visceral reaction–because I know how real this experience is for countless men and women who’ve returned from the front lines.

At the time we join the story wounded veteran Wyatt is in full wallow. He feels responsible for the death of his battle buddy and has returned home where everyone wants him to be ‘normal’. He couldn’t find normal with a GPS and a set of MRE’s, yet he tries to pretend. He hungers for Lacey though they’ve only ever shared a few kisses. He’s sure he’s not good enough for her–and she confirms that by pushing him away. Booze and pot have helped mellow him out, but, without Lacey, he’s hitting the hard stuff–coke and prostitutes–looking for any release from his pain. Sure, he keeps his weekly appointments with his counselor; therapy only works if you’re honest. And he can’t be honest. Not about the drugs, not about the women, and not about the death of his buddy.

Lacey’s tortured by Wyatt’s downward slide. She loves him with every breath in her lungs, but she’s not the girl Wyatt deserves–in her opinion. Oh, and his mother’s opinion, too. See, Lacey’s not-alright. She has all-consuming panic attacks when her schedule deviates. And her schedule is about to get tossed into the recycling bin–now that her family is headed to Turkey as missionaries. Except for Lacey. She’s too old to go as a dependent and now she needs a place to live. Good thing Wyatt has a spare bedroom.

Wyatt’s almost a split personality. He can’t bear being just friends with Lacey. His counselor advises that he take whatever connection she’ll offer–and they each try to set the other up with dates. Total disaster, that. Fury drives Wyatt far past his usual binges and he nearly OD’s. Lacey is called in to support Wyatt, allowing his mother the chance to explain how sorry she was for ever questioning Lacey as a mate for Wyatt.

Still they have issues to work through. Wyatt needs more counseling, and Lacey’s diagnosis doesn’t help matters. There is a point of compromise, however, and a comfortable solution. It’s not the typical HEA–because we know there will be more bumps down the road–but there is confidence that their future will be good.

For me, I had a lot of trouble with Wyatt. He’s stubborn, abrupt and erratic with little consideration for himself, or Lacey. I wished like hell that he’d let go of his (irrational) guilt and just be the kind of guy Lacey needed. As for Lacey, I was a bit stunned how quickly she let Wyatt flop into her bed. She’s a devout Christian girl, and yes, she loves Wyatt–has for years–but it was lightspeed macking action. Their inability to communicate honestly really gave me (and them) fits. I’m not a huge fan of complications based on dishonesty–not saying that everyone must be candid all the time–I just want more of a romantic hurdle than simply “I can’t tell you the real problem.” Even in his biggest crisis, Lacey had to hear the real truth by eavesdropping before Wyatt would confess. By the end they were actually being truthful, and gained a bit more of my respect. And, Wyatt getting clean helped even more. I think readers who enjoy a good redemption tale will find their wishes fulfilled with this story.

Interested? You can find WISH FOR YOU at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

marquita valentine author pictureAbout the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She’s the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South.

Marquita met her husband (aka Hot Builder) at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man—and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children. You can stalk find at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

To celebrate WISH FOR YOU’s release, you can enter one of two giveaways!!

***Giveaway 1***
Continental US residents, click this Rafflecopter link for your chance to win
(1) Engraved set of dog tags from Things Remembered – Continental US Only
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***GIVEAWAY 2***

EVERYONE can click on THIS Rafflecopter link for your chance to win

(1) $100 USD Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble – International

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Good luck and, as always, keep reading my friends!

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