Baby Struggles BACK CHECK: Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M hockey romance from the writing team of RJ Scott and VL Locey. BACK CHECK is the second book in their new Boston Rebels series. You can catch my review for TOP SHELF, the first book, though this one is fine read as a a standalone.

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $10 GC or some backlist books.

About the book:

Meeting Joachim could save his daughter’s life, but it may well cost Isaac his heart.

It’s been one hell of a year for Joachim Löfgren. After a long summer in rehab, he’s been moved to a new town, one far away from the warm Florida sun he so adores, to bolster a struggling Boston defense since the departure of their beloved team captain. He hadn’t even unpacked his skates properly when fate lands another blow, and he’s told that he is dad to a gravely ill child he never knew existed. It’s an easy decision for the burly defenseman to help and he opens up his new home to his child and her guardian Isaac. He’s instantly enchanted with the preschooler as well as her uncle and decides that his life will only be complete if his daughter is part of it. Filing for custody is the only option he feels he has, but this throws his budding relationship with Isaac into utter chaos. The two men soon find themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom as they both fight for the life they feel is best for Sophia.

Despite grieving for the loss of his sister, Isaac doesn’t hesitate to take on the responsibility for his newborn niece Sophia, creating a brand new family of two built on love and laughter. He has a steady income painting pet portraits during the day, but it’s the subversive and satirical cartoons he draws at night that silence his thoughts in the dark. They don’t have much as a family, but he is Sophia’s dad now, and nothing and no one will ever come between them. When a routine pediatric checkup shows that Sophia is ill, it forces Isaac to confront every one of his fears. Finding a matching donor is her only hope, and Isaac begins the journey to find Sophia’s mysterious father. There are no names or dates in his sister’s battered journal, and all Isaac knows is that he’s looking for a hockey player who was nothing more than a one-night stand. Little does he know that finding Joachim could destroy everything.

How about a yummy taste?

“Hey, guys, did you see this story coming out of Fort Lauderdale?”
Everyone looked at me.
“I didn’t do it,” I quickly said as I lifted my hands up innocently. “I was here in Boston.”
“No, it’s nothing bad like you’re used to,” Austin blurted out. Xander swatted him upside the head. The boy’s eyes bugged out, and his soft cheeks turned scarlet. “Oh! No, I didn’t mean you did bad stuff! Being drunk isn’t bad. Well, it kind of is bad when you run off the road and hit a mailbox. It’s not bad in a bad way. It’s, uhm… well, it’s just an addiction right, and you’re not drinking anymore so it’s all okay. No, well, okay in that you’ve stopped drinking and are now—”
“It’s okay, Rowe, I know what you meant, and it’s fine. I did some pretty fucked up things when I was under the influence of alcohol.”
Austin wilted a bit. “Okay, thanks. I didn’t mean to imply that addictions are bad. I mean they are! No, not bad like bad but—”
“It’s okay, kid. Just move onto the news story.” I chuckled. Moral lobbed a chunk of apple at Austin. He ducked it and the glob smacked Kyle in the cheek.
“Right, yeah, so there’s this guy down in Florida who’s looking for a bone marrow donor for his daughter. He showed up at a preseason hockey game to search for some mysterious fan called ‘Hockey Guy’ which the dead mother named as the possible father.”
“Shit, so the guy is raising his daughter alone?” Moral asked, the sad news slowing his inhalation of muffins for a moment.
“Wait…” He placed his muffin on its plate. “If he’s the father then why is he looking for the father?”
“He’s the baby’s uncle but has been raising her as her father. It’s all super sad and everyone in the league is signing up to see if they’re a match for the little girl with leukemia. Look at her.” He showed us all an image of an adorable little girl of perhaps three and her daddy/uncle who was also cute as hell. “We should sign up.”

My Review:

Isaac is in his middle 20s, living in Tampa and raising his deceased sister’s daughter as his own. He could never get his sis to reveal the name of her baby daddy, though he tried. And when she died in birth, well, Isaac took full custody and did his very best. Problem is his little sweetheart, Sophie, is gravely ill with leukemia, and Isaac is not a donor match. And, he has no remaining family to test and see if they could help with a bone marrow transplant to save poor Sophie. Scouring his sister’s old journals, Isaac gets a hint that Sophie’s dad is potentially a hockey fan, so he gets a babysitter and makes a spectacle of himself outside of the arena, hoping to catch some viral buzz and raise awareness of Sophie’s plight. Record numbers of strangers go and get tested as a result, and though Isaac had tried to keep his hope in check, he’s astounded that a match is found. Unfortunately, it’s also Sophie’s biological dad, and he’s a pro hockey player now playing for the Boston Rebels.

Joachim Löfgren is a disgraced professional hockey player newly traded to Boston from Tampa Bay now that he’s out of his fourth stint in rehab. He’s long since spent his signing and endorsement money, though he still makes a good bit of coin as a defensemen. He isn’t sure if he’ll get along with his teammates, but they seem like genuinely nice guys and he’s got few friends. So, he’s pretty stunned to learn that his blood isn’t just a match to helps save a young girl with leukemia–he’s her daddy. Week’s out of rehab, this kind of shock is nearly enough to send Joachim searching for some alcohol, but this time he’s determined not to mess up his life again–or that of his apparent daughter.

The Boston Rebels want to play this as a heart-wrenching story of amazing triumph, but Joachim and Isaac are both wary. It’s not a good look that a pro player didn’t even know he fathered a baby–too drunk to even remember having relations with the mom. Still, Joachim has a nice house and he wants, begs, Isaac to stay with him, so he can get to know his daughter. Having lost his parents recently, Joachim is desperate for a familial connection, and he’s definitely attracted to Isaac. Though his AA sponsor reminds him it’s best not to jump into a relationship while still managing his recovery.

Isaac is terrified Joachim won’t help, then, he’s afraid of how much help he is giving. And well, he’s also afreaid of how attracted he is to Sophie’s bio father, which is how he thinks of Joachim because Isaac is her daddy–no matter the paternity. It seems like it could be a good situation, if Isaac and Joachim do fall for one another, but neither man is expecting a lasting connection. Isaac is planning a full return to Tampa with Sophie once the treatments are done, with visitation for Joachim if he wants, while Joachim wants full custody with Isaac released to regularly-scheduled-pre-baby life. Their diametrically-opposed goals do not become apparent to one another until pretty late in the story, once they have both grown significantly close, and Sophie has begun to bond with Joachim.

I liked this one. It had good, squirmy tension, with the family issues that both men are dealing with. Their mutual love of Sophie, and budding attraction for each other, keeps the story moving ever forward, and it was fun to see these relationships grow. The loneliness is palpable, as is the drama of Sophie’s worsening health condition. There isn’t a lot of hockey in the book, mostly just how the schedule was impacted for Joachim–and, well, how he goes bananas when the fit hits the shan between him and Isaac. Still, there was a great team dynamic here, and I loved how the Rebels all supported Joachim, Sophie and Isaac. When Isaac and Joachim do make it to sexytown, it felt pretty authentic, as they’d been house-sharing for going on two months and had a strong rapport.

Expect a superbly happy ending, and a slow-burn, pseudo-enemies-to-lovers romance.

Interested? You can find BACK CHECK on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card or 2 backlist books from the authors.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

Catch RJ on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter and LibraryThing.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Hockey Romance! TOP SHELF Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M hockey romance from the writing team of RJ Scott and VL Locey. TOP SHELF is the first book in their new Boston Rebels series. A pro hockey player comes out–under duress–but now that he’s living his truth can he be brave enough to finally act on his longtime crush?

Drop down to catch an excerpt, my review and enter for a chance to win a $10 GC or some backlist books.

About the book:

Acting on the attraction to his best friend’s brother has always been off the table for Xander until a passionate hookup with Mason at a beach resort begins a love affair that burns long after summer ends.

Mason specializes in assisting same-sex couples on their journey to becoming parents and fighting every rule that blocks his way in the stuck-in-the-past agency that hired him. Living in his brother’s pool house is rent-free, and every cent he earns he saves for his dream—that one day he’d have his own company helping others. The downside is that he has to see his annoying brother every day, the upside is that his brother’s teammates from the Boston Rebels make regular visits. The eye candy that passes Mason’s window is almost enough to make him consider dating a hockey player, but not just any player though. Ever since Xander—his brother’s childhood friend—came out as gay at a press conference, Mason’s puppy love has turned into a burning attraction he can no longer ignore.

Hockey has been one of Xander’s main focuses since he was old enough to balance on skates. Well, hockey and Mason Kingsley, but Mason was always unattainable. Now that he’s about to see thirty candles on his birthday cake and is no longer hiding the fact he’s gay, he’s ready to find a soul mate to make his life complete. A summer vacation is just what he needs to have time to think, but when the Boston Rebels arriving in paradise with Mason in tow, thinking is the last thing he needs. One torrid night under a balmy moon and rules about not messing with his best friend’s brother vanish on a warm, tropical breeze.

Summer romances don’t generally last past Labor Day, but with the new season about to begin Xander and Mason are going to have to face the world and decide if their love is real enough to withstand everything.

How about a yummy taste?

“Thanks. That means a lot.” I got a little emotional. Eli gave my shoulders a squeeze.

“It’s great that you’re willing to toss the gloves for me but maybe you should let me handle any instigators. Remember the last time you threw down with Adler Lockhart? The dude whipped you like a rug.”

Eli made that pig-like snort sound. “In my defense, he caught me unaware with some stupid joke about a rabbit, a priest, and minister walking into a bar. While I was trying to figure out whether he meant rabbit or rabbi, he sucker punched me in the face.”

“Dude, that was no sucker punch. People in the rafters saw it coming.”

Eli tugged me into his chest. We bro hugged for a long time then we broke apart. “We better get to that meeting, but we’re not done discussing this. And don’t ever hide shit from me again. We made a blood pact.”

I smiled. The first smile to grace my face in days. “I won’t do it again.”

My Review:

Xander Holden is a top defenseman on the Boston Rebels professional hockey team. He’s also a closeted bisexual man. He has never had a long term relationship, but he’s lived a very discreet life and he’s supremely upset that one small tryst leads him to come out publicly–to avert a scandal or blackmail. Xander has a lot of friends on his team–some of whom are queer. His very best friend, Eli Kingsley, is a little miffed that Xander never confided in him, but he’s going to be even more hacked off if he finds out that Xander has a long-time crush on his younger brother, Mason.

Mason Kingsley is an out and proud gay man, who is just opening a new adoption agency–one that specializes in helping queer couples adopt. Mason has known Xander his whole life, and has definitely been half in love with him since adolescence. All grown, and helping to plan the ultimate 30th birthday getaway for Xander, Eli and himself in the Caribbean, Mason is hard-pressed to not admit his deep and strong attraction.

This is a sweet romance that has a bit of hockey, mostly because we spend a lot of time with the team, who all show up for the getaway. Their season ends abruptly and they are unhappy about it, but Xander feels like the spotlight is definitely on him. His spirit is wounded, and Mason’s sexy shenanigans are a fun distraction. Well, until Xander recognizes that he really adores Mason as more than his bestie’s “kid” brother. Now, Xander wants way more than just the fling Mason offers–he wants everything Mason is willing to give him. Mason’s dreams of a whole life together with Xander seem to finally be coming true, but there is definitely public fall out for dating a celebrity, and it might squelch his new agency before it even gets started.

I felt like this book moved really quickly, and it only worked because Xander and Mason had such a long acquaintance before they admitted their mutual attraction. The coming out was a little traumatic, but less than I’d anticipated. As an entree to the new series, we have a really good sense of all the players on the Rebels and who might find a boyfriend next.

Interested? You can find TOP SHELF on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card or 2 backlist books from the authors.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

Catch RJ on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter and LibraryThing.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out now! AN ERIE COLLECTION–Release, Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week review and book giveaway for a M/M shifter romance series from V.L. Locey. AN ERIE COLLECTION contains four novellas featuring Templeton Reed, a skunk shifter who inexplicably falls for Mikel Lupei, alpha of the Lake Erie wolf pack. I’ve previously reviewed AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY, but was hungry for more of this fun and engaging shifter world. For those who’ve enjoyed any of the previously-released novellas, this collection includes a fourth novella that is new.

About the book:
You can now have all four of the MM Lake Erie pack novellas in this one reasonably priced collection! Included in the set are the previously released novellas An Erie Halloween, An Erie Operetta, and An Erie Garden Party. To round off this whimsical and romantic shifter set is a brand-new novella, An Erie Uprising!

It’s been one wonderfully romantic year since skunk shifter Templeton Reed met Mikel Lupei, the alpha wolf of the Lake Erie pack. During that year, the two men fell in love and worked side-by-side to solve some tricky murder mysteries. They also opened up Lupei Manor, Mikel’s familial home, to other LGBTQ mystical beings in the Erie area. Sadly, being gay in the supernatural world Templeton and Mikel live in can be a death sentence.

During the past year, the magical world has slowly been coming unraveled. Civil unrest now runs rampant through the community as the lesser breeds revolt against the hateful dictates of the Elder Counsel. The uprising will surely touch every person residing in the magical world beside Lady Erie. Will the flames of unrest and war consume everything and everyone Templeton and Mikel hold dear as well?

My Review:
Templeton Reed is a shy skunk shifter working diligently as a lineage specialist for the shifter world. Given the hierarchy of their world skunks are near the bottom–and lots of the “Lesser” shifters are suddenly disappearing–violently. So, he’s worried, but not truly anticipating the attack of a puma and bear shifter. Some quick thinking, skunk-muskiness, and a determined wolf, Mikel Lupei, is all that keeps Templeton on the “still with us” plane. Two things become clear: Templeton’s attack wasn’t random, and Mikel’s got a hankering for his pungent rescuee.

Thing is, same-sex relations are banned in their shifter community. Likewise, even if homosexuality wasn’t a fatal crime, it’s still not okay for a wolf shifter to have relationship with a lesser (skunk) shifter. Defying the laws and customs of their world Templeton and Mikel find love that surpasses their dreams. Unfortunately, it brings more doemsetic trouble than even Mikel could have predicted.

Their love, and the scope of their relationship, grows in the three following novellas. IN these Templeton has the opportunity to show exactly how fierce a lesser shifter can be, risking certain death to uncover the mysteries of murdered shifters, and rescue Mikel from enforcers of their own community. The writing is whimsical, and there’s plenty of sexytimes to balance the action and intrigue. The first time I read AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY I wanted to know more about Templeton, Mikel and their world. Now that I’ve read the whole series, I totally enjoyed the experience. Highly recommend to fans of M/M shifter romance, especially those who love odd shifters and unusual pairings. The series also features some non-shifter paranormal folk, so expect a vamp, or three, as well as some keen insight into societal inequalities and the fight for equal rights for all.

Interested? You can find AN ERIE COLLECTION on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from VL Locey.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

Coming Soon! AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY–Review & Giveaway!

Erie Garden Party Banner v2Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M shifter mystery/romance from V.L Locey. AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY is the third book in the Lake Erie shifters series and features copious cross-species lovin’, a bit of revenge, and some dead bodies… This novella releases 4/13.

Catch my review and enter to win a copy for yourself below.

An Erie Garden PartyAbout the book:
Spring has finally arrived along the shores of Lake Erie and no one is happier than skunk shifter, Templeton Reed. Now that the snows have melted, he can frolic and play on the grounds of Lupei Manor, the formidable home that he shares with his life partner, Mikel Lupei, the alpha of the Lake Erie pack. What a pity that his joy is short lived.

Not only does a stranger appear to shake things up in the manor, bodies begin showing up on the grounds as well! Could the newcomer to the pack be the one viciously killing innocent humans and shifters? Or is there a more nefarious force at work lurking just outside the boundaries of the ancient manse Templeton, Mikel, and their LGBT friends call home?

How about a little taste?

“Son of a human,” Mikel snarled.  He stripped and shifted. I stood with his clothes over my arms, watching the wolf work the scent. He padded to the lake, snuffled the shore intently, and then slowly made his way back to the corpse. I turned my head to stare at Erie when he shoved his head under the bloody sheet to smell the body. The water seemed almost tranquil today. How I wished we were planning our spring fete instead of standing here beside a dead man. Mikel tapping my arm brought my attention from the Great Lake back to him. I handed him his pants.

“So, what can you tell us about this poor man’s fate?”

“He’s human.” Mikel zipped his trousers vehemently. “And he was killed by a large animal, either wolf or bruin. Whoever did this dragged him through the lake to mask the scent. I’ll have to gather the pack to scour the woods. Damnation.”

“Oh dear me,” I sighed. “I suppose the call must be made then.”

Mikel threw his head back and stared at the soft white clouds ambling past. “Yes. We have to notify the Elder counsel. That is standard operating procedure when a human is involved in mystical matters. Damnation!”

I reached out to pat his thick bicep. I wasn’t sure he wanted consolation but I offered it anyway. He placed his hand over mine.

“Let me know when they plan to arrive. I’ll take a long stroll through the woods.”

Mikel’s lip rolled as he turned to look down at me. “I hate that as well. You should be at my side. This mansion is as much your home as it is mine.”

“Yes, well, the times they aren’t a changing as rapidly as needed,” I smiled then snuggled into his wide chest. His arms cinched around me tightly, his smoky shirt smashed between us. My ear rested over his strong heart. “If one of the Elders saw me here it would raise questions. I know we have a lie all in place, but I for one do not wish to put that lie to the test. Better I enjoy the forest for an hour or so while they attend to this mess.”

“I love you beyond words, Templeton,” Mikel said into my black hair. “Someday, I swear, we shall not have to hide our love for each other.”

“From your mouth to the Elders’ ears,” I whispered, then tipped my head up for a kiss. We both needed one. Pity it couldn’t be a longer one, but it was tender.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series, and I’d advise readers to begin in order for best enjoyment.

Templeton Reed is a skunk shifter in love with Mikel Lupei, the Alpha of the Lake Erie wolf pack. The feeling is very mutual, and they co-habitate in Mikel’s mansion on the banks of Lake Erie with a few misfit beings: A gay vampire and his thrall, a bisexual wolf and his best pal who happens to love a mer, and the house staff of half-Elves. Mikel, Templeton and Vincente (the vamp) are all agents of OTTER, an underground shifter organization that keeps its eyes on the supernaturals, making sure they’re staying undercover, I believe. This was likely explained in an earlier book in the series, and not really touched upon here until I was half finished with the book.

At the opening, Mikel’s cousin from the Puget Sound pack, Havel, arrives literally in tatters. He’s been kicked out of his pack by his father for behavior unbecoming, which we later learn has to do with Havel’s predilections for beautiful dresses. Coincident with Havel joining the group at Lupei Manor, a murdered human’s body washes ashore on their beach. It’s clear that the man’s life was taken by a beast, but the water has washed away the scents of the perpetrator.

The Elders must be called to investigate, and Templeton’s not above sticking his nose out to find the guilty party–mostly because Mikel’s too moon-crazed to give proper attention to the problem. When a second body comes ashore, however, and Havel seems to be squarely in the mix, Templeton’s really got his work cut out. Also, lots and lots of sex. Mikel’s response to the full moon is running with his pack and rutting with Templeton, with a few nap and food breaks in between.

This is a fun story, and I wished I’d read the previous books in the series so I could have enjoyed it more. I was able to catch up quickly, though there were moments of confusion for me that I know would not have existed if I’d read the first two books. That said, the mystery portion was interesting and Templeton has a great voice, so I did like the story. I am a fan of odd shifter types, and Templeton–as a skunk–was so fun. Poor man was often scared nearly-muskless, and yet his tenacity to discover the murderer, knowing how outmatched he was, was charming. He’s also brave when it comes to his personal relationships. Mikel and Templeton must keep their love affair secret, or risk retribution from the governing Elders. Yet, Templeton hates lying to his parents. Is there a coming out party planned? Maybe…

Interested? You can find AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of the April 13th release on Torquere Press and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

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