Friday, September 30, 2016

Spell Cat fromTara Lain cover reveal, excerpt


Spell Cat
by Tara Lain 

Blurb:
When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But Killian can’t pursue a physics professor—or a human. As the most powerful male witch in ten generations, Killian must bolster his dying race by reproducing—despite the fact that he’s gay.

Even a fling with Blaine is out of the question, because Killian has been told sex with humans drains his power. But if that’s true, why can young human Jimmy Janx dissolve spoons with the power of his mind? If Killian can sort through the lies he’s been fed, he’ll still face his biggest obstacle — convincing rational scientist Blaine to believe in magic.

With his ancient and powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.

Release Date:
Oct. 31, 2016





Pre-Order at 



Also available in paperback



Excerpt

The man’s shaggy head cocked. “Sorry to bother you, but I’m new here. Can you tell me how to get to the physics building?”
Physics. Not my best subject. But right now he needed mechanics to keep his cock from rising. This man seemed to radiate heat even from several feet away, and it lit a fire in places Killian hardly recognized. Standing there with a rapidly rising hard-on came nowhere near cool. “Uh, I, uh, believe it’s directly across the street from here.”
The guy flashed dimples at Killian. “Damn. You’re not the first to say that. I’m not usually so bad at directions. Can you tell me which street? I’ve already been across a couple of streets.”
“The side street, Templeton.”
“Oh.”
The stranger produced a wide smile. “Wouldn’t you know I’d choose every street but that one?” He paused as if he was searching for a new topic. “Quite a group I saw leaving here. What’s your subject?”
“Witchcraft.”
The laugh burst out explosively. “You’re joking?”
Gorgeous, but rude. “Not even slightly. I teach the
history of witchcraft, among other things.”
“Sorry. Guess that was impolite.”
“Yes, I guess it was.”
The guy cocked his head and peered at Killian over the tops of the black rims. There was a lot of mischief in that handsome face. “Since I’m on a roll with being insulting, I think I’ll go all the way. I hope you won’t think I’m a stalker, but I stood here and watched while your class filed out. You’re about the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. Is there the slightest chance you’re single—and gay?” He ducked and held up his hands as if to deflect a blow, but he never stopped smiling.
Killian arched an eyebrow. A lot of people assumed he was gay because of his long hair and pretty face, but he never confirmed or denied. “Who wants to know?”
The paragon thrust out a slim hand. “Blaine Genneau. New professor of quantum physics.” He grinned wickedly. “Gay professor of quantum physics.”
Killian took that hand and got a flash of heat straight to his balls. Like lightning streaked through the window into his jeans. Extraordinary. He pulled his hand back. Maybe the lightning loosened his tongue. “Killian Barth, professor of history. Gay professor of history.”
He gazed into those eyes. Deep green like ancient Chinese jade. A carved mouth. Just the type he imagined wrapped around his cock in his daydreams. But with one big difference. Killian sighed so deeply, it felt like his heart cracked. Yes, this man was gorgeous. Yes, Killian was gay. In truth, he was dying for a real relationship with a partner who both attracted him and fulfilled him, and if he’d ever been allowed to discover the type of partner he wanted, he knew Blaine Genneau would have fit every parameter—every parameter but one.
He tucked the helmet under his arm. “Good to meet you, Blaine.” He walked past the man and out into the sunshine toward his motorcycle. He couldn’t stay. He couldn’t find out what he’d been missing. Because no matter how perfect this man might be, Killian Barth didn’t do physics professors. In fact, he didn’t do
humans. Sex with humans stole his energy and depleted his community, and that wasn’t allowed, because he was the most powerful male witch in ten generations, and he was expected to reproduce.


About the Author




Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!


You can find Tara at Lain

               





Presented By




Thursday, September 29, 2016

A picture is worth...

We still have a moment for the boys of summer, don't we? Tell us in a drabble or a ficlet, 100 to 1000 words. Directions here. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lifeguard Love by Devyn Morgan

Title: Lifeguard Love
Author: Devyn Morgan
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Artist: U/K
Genre: contemporary
Length: 117 pages
Formats MOBI

When up-and-coming social media star Kip Weiss lands a summer lifeguard job at an exclusive resort, there are strings attached. The sweet bonus privileges require a roommate, and after a year in the random dorms, Kip wants to pick who shares the tight quarters. He invites his best friend, the only kid at school who didn’t look down on him for being poor. When Thad arrives, he can’t stop looking at his friend’s new beefy physique. But Kip can’t be into guys, that would ruin his hard-built social media brand, wouldn’t it?

Thad Rowland needs a break. After an academically stressful year at school, his father lines up a boring internship to fill his summer. His true passion is art, not accounting. When his best friend Kip invites him to apply at the resort he jumps at the chance to get away from it all and wear his lifeguard whistle again. But can he live in such close proximity to his celebrity-gorgeous best friend, and keep his true feelings to himself?

Far away from everything else, the hunky college guys are in an oasis of suntan lotion, their own private apartment, and an entire summer stretching before them. Will their new feelings tear them apart as well as ruin their careers and family ties? Or is the summer heat just the beginning of a scorching hot future?


After getting a little taste of this story to go with that Thousand Word Thursday story, I wanted to read the rest.

Both young men are working on discovering who they are and what they want from life, not just each other. Thad more to work on, between being open about his sexuality and needing to go against his father, who has his life mapped out in a direction Thad doesn’t want to go. His sexuality is almost the smallest problem. He’s been taking his frustrations out in the gym, getting all buff and attractive. Kip’s surprised at the intensity of his attraction to Thad and his new muscles. Kip seems shallow at first, but he’s quite driven, and he’s really there for Thad by the end of the story.

For all that this had some important themes going, the treatment is lighthearted, and the challenges met with medium-low angst. The guys are too busy discovering the joys of each other and worrying about how they look on Instagram. Well, they look great.

The resort setting is mostly background for social media: we see the guys being buff in swim trunks but not actually rescuing anyone. Seemed like a lost opportunity: they exist in a vacuum at the resort, and only when family gets involved do they interact beyond each other and an internet audience. They do have a lot to explore with each other, given how little experience they have.

Still, it was fun, and sweet, and left me with a smile. Kind of like eating the icing off the top of the cupcake. 3.5 marbles


Monday, September 19, 2016

Vespers by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt, Guest review

Title: Vespers (Hours of the Night)
Authors: Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt
Cover artist:Kanaxa
Buy at Amazon
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Genre: paranormal
Length: 90,000 words novel


Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he's vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra's most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can't even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can't afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer's "special diet". A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont's mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can't seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected "Sara" to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can't fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara's brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Guest Review from Patricia Nelson

I went into this story expecting a good vampire tale. This fantastic start to a new series was so far above and beyond that. Nothing is as it seems, the good guys just may be the bad guys, and demons galore threaten everything. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the next one in line. If you're looking for sparkling vampires and sweet fluff, then this complex and compelling book is not for you.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fool's Gold by Sarah Madison

Title: Fool’s Gold
Author: Sarah Madison
Purchase or red on KU at Amazon 
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre: contemporary, horses
Length: 238 pages
Formats Mobi, print


Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.

Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.

I had read the original, shorter version of this story in the anthology where it originally appeared, and like it a lot. I’m just as pleased to read the expanded version.

This time around there’s more explanation of the sport Jake and Rich are involved with: three day eventing. This mad conglomeration of skills taxes the horses and riders to the utmost, requiring they be good at everything a horse can do short of racing on the flat. Those who pursue it all the way to the top need money.

Jake’s father has a lot of it, enough to indulge every possible horse related whim his son has, short of letting him date a fellow rider. When Rich gets smashed up in an accident that also kills some of their best horses, Donald is right there to make sure things go as he wishes. Too bad about what his son might want.

This is a story of second chances, so when Rich and Jake come together eight years later, with Rich as trainer, they have plenty to get over. Not only do they have to polish Jake and his horses to an Olympic gold glow, they have to work out the events of the past. This unwrapped plenty of secrets, mostly painful. Both of them have to examine their decisions at the time and the things they would rather not think about now.

We get some scenes from the father’s point of view, which gave another person’s journey to this story. I would like to say Donald’s evolution and eventual repair of his relationship with his son made my heart go pittypat, but Donald at the beginning of the story and Donald at the end seemed like two different people. Anyone as morally bankrupt as beginning Donald doesn’t have a heart to warm up, he’s got a cold, dark cinder. The author substituted an actual human, capable of change, into the later part of the story. Rich calling bullshit on Donald was a high point. Cause wow did he need someone to call bullshit on him.

Rich and Jake have a lot to work out, some because of the wreck and the damage to Rich’s body, and much because of the trust issues. Also, Jake needs a good hard thwack with the reality stick, because he knows his father, he knows Rich, and he never puts these two thoughts together. Not even after eight years, until his nose gets rubbed in it. I wanted to scream at him to THINK!

But suspending the disbelief on these two issues leaves a good read. The horse scenes are vivid, the bond between horse and rider is beautiful, and the riding scenes were definitely written by someone who knows what it’s like to soar over the obstacles. Watching Jake and Rich come back together is sweet, if occasionally difficult. Rich doesn’t shy away from body issues, when Jake was spared and left perfect, and they have to deal with the contrast. There is growth and forgiveness.

The writing is beautiful, the emotions deep, and the settings so real you can feel the reins in your hand. The story leaves off before the Olympics start, but just getting there was their goal all along, and the competition almost another story by itself. Which I would read! 4.25



Thursday, September 15, 2016

A picture is worth...

This hottie's making temperatures rise with firewood and more. Want to tell us about it in 100-1000 words? Directions here. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Optical Illusion by Emma Jaye

Title:Optical Illusion
Author: Emma Jaye
Purchase or read on KU at Amazon
Cover Artist: unknown
Genre:contemporary
Length: 350 pages
Formats: Mobi

Smile, wiggle, lie, apologise, and run for the hills.

That's the formula Chris has used all his life, but this time, he has something he’s never had to lose before, a family that cares. The problem is, his new brother’s very edible friend isn’t fooled by his act. If his secrets are revealed, they won’t want him and he has nowhere else to go.

Thanks to a suicide bomber, ex-military police sergeant Jase Rosewood is back in the English countryside. His plans for quiet recuperation are ruined by the effervescent, go-go dancing twink who has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Luckily for the gullible Matt, Jase can smell a liar a mile away, and Chris Bacon, if that’s even his name, stinks to high heaven. Assigned ‘Chris-sitting’ duty while Matt's on honeymoon, Jase has a week to discover what is hidden beneath the bright camouflage. It's a job, just like any other, so why does it feel so different?

Unfortunately, Jase isn’t the only one drawn to the boy who can’t stay still, but instead of wanting to reveal his true colours; they want to dull them forever.

Contains issues of physical abuse, but not between the central couple.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Guest review from Patricia Nelson


This compelling book has got to be one of the most complex, heart rending, heartbraking, hopeful, hilarious, make-me-want-to-open--a-can-of-whupass-on-someone, make me cry like a baby, emotional stories that I have ever read! I was a little disappointed by the cliffhanger ending, but the next one is well worth waiting for!!




Monday, September 12, 2016

Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne

Title: Counterbalance
Author: Aidan Wayne
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary, multicultural
Length: 21,500 (novella)
Formats Mobi, Epub, PDF

John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John's got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.

When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side — talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.

John doesn't know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao — maybe a little too much, honestly — but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.


I was immediately fascinated by the setting, which has heavy overtones of the famous outfit from Montreal with the amazing acrobats and no animals. John, the head rigger, is responsible for the equipment and safety of the performers using it. The scarring on his face and upper body keep him hesitant to form a relationship, but he hasn’t yet met Bao.

Bao is adorable, both physically and in his personality. He lives his life in exclamation points and italics, and he’s so thrilled with everything from new foods to the chance for a kiss that John’s not sure how much of it is meant for him.

Quite a lot. Maybe all of it. But John’s slow acceptance that Bao really, really means what he’s saying, and that it isn’t politeness or an act, or a misinterpretation, gives us a chance to watch his heart relax. Because the poor guy—he’s scarred for a reason that makes Bao’s heart hurt, and mine too. He doesn’t trust easily or often, but Bao’s determined to make John understand. (See, now he’s got me doing it.) His reason for being attracted to John in the first place was beautiful.

Watching the two of them work out the cultural issues, the trust issues, and a matter that John holds himself responsible for is lovely. One interesting smack between the eyes for John reminds us all that Bao is an adult, though he approaches life with the glee of a child.

The heat level is low because of all they have to work out, but this is a very sweet story. I enjoyed it immensely even if Bao kind of wore me out with his high intensity and lack of contractions, and I would love to see his performance. 4.5 marbles


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Evan's Luck by Jennah Scott and H. Sterling

Title: Evan’s Luck
Authors: Jennah Scott & H. Sterling
Purchase at Amazon 
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design
Genre: contemporary, cowboys
Length: 37,000 words, novella
Formats Mobi, Epub, PDF

Spencer Quinn has an image to uphold. His family name means more than anything. It’s the reason the reason they've become the most successful stock contractor on the rodeo circuit. Fresh out of school, he’s ready to take over the family business. It’s no secret he’s attracted to men, and so far that hasn’t been a problem.

Until Evan.

The assertive friend who knows how to push every one of his buttons.

Evan Taylor is known for his love ‘em and leave ‘em style, yet the last few months have left him deflated and lonely. His father's shadow wasn't where he wanted to end up, but he's having trouble finding happiness. Maybe because women can't keep his attention. He’s losing hope of settling down until a blast from the past saunters by, his heart catches and tingles spread over his skin.

Of all people, Spencer. The one person who would never give Evan a second glance. It’s just his luck.
The old saying, “Bad luck is better than none at all” fits Evan perfectly. Or does it? Is his bad luck about to change? Will Spencer Quinn be a good luck charm instead?


I had a really hard time writing the review for this one, because there were things I liked, and a couple of things that made me mad.

The writing was competent, and the plot mostly coherent. I liked Spencer, who had some support from his family and was tough enough to make it in a business world not inclined to like him. Evan was okay, flailing around with this new attraction to a man, and trying so hard to get Spencer to take him seriously as a romantic possibility, even though it came totally out of the blue.

In short, there were things here I should like, and yet… I could not warm up to this story, even after reading it and thinking about it for several weeks. It's an okay story. Should have been a 3.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Thousand Word Thursday snippet and giveaway from Bryn Stein



Welcome to my blog tour for Waiting for Patrick. I’m offering giveaways of one signed copy, one electronic copy, and a choice of one title from my backlist. Comment below and at any of my other blog stops (posted below) to be entered to win. One comment, one entry. Dreamspinner is offering my other paranormal titles (HauntedLifelineand  What No One Else Can Hear ) for $0.99 during “Weekend Reads” on September 2, 3, and 4, in honor of Waiting for Patrick being my ninth published book. Waiting for Patrick will be available at a discounted price throughout the tour (September 1 through 15). Winners of the raffle will be announced on September 16th.




An Excerpt from Waiting for Patrick

I do up the last button on my Union blue jacket and don my kepi, staring at my enlisting indentures lying on the bed. I’m as warm a patriot as anyone else, but I didn’t want to fight. Patrick has a point, though. The South recently instituted the draft in April, and there’s talk that the North will do the same before too long. There has already been news that the conscripts down south aren’t treated kindly even by their own side. Soldiers who volunteered from the beginning have been fighting for over a year, then along comes these men who have been able to stay home until now and had to be made to fight. They don’t think too kindly of them.

Patrick says if we’re going to have to fight anyway, we should probably enlist before we’re drafted. The soldiers who have been in it from the beginning still won’t like that we’ve been potentially taking their jobs and wooing their girls for the last year, but at least we’re volunteering now. Patrick says he and I each have a good excuse for staying home for a year. His pa had died two months prior to the war starting, and Patrick was needed at home. My older brother, Samuel, had already joined the fight, leaving Ma with my five little brothers and sisters. I was the man of the house. But now, Martin, who is still only fourteen, has been given a job. He can take care of Ma and the young’uns now, so Patrick and I are off to war.

Ma comes in to see me in my uniform. She’s crying as we look in the mirror. She hugs me from the side because she couldn’t see over me otherwise. She’s a handsome woman, but only a little thing, five foot to my six foot two. I have Pa’s blond hair and blue eyes, but my dimples are all Ma’s. She tries to smile now, but she’s having a hard time. I know she’s proud of me, as she was of Samuel, but she’s scared. It’s been a year and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him. We don’t even know if he’s still alive. She won’t hear from me often either. It’s not like mail gets through the fighting nohow.

“Ben.” She squeezes me tightly when she says it. “You take care of yourself.”

“I will, Ma. And Patrick too.” I smile when she does. It has always been me and Patrick. Patrick and me. You never see one without the other, ever since we met when we were four years old.

“Well.” She reaches up to straighten my hat as she says, “You tell Patrick Chandler that he best take care of you right back, and I’ll have his hide if he doesn’t bring you back to me.”

“We’ll both be okay, Ma,” I reassure her and enfold her in a giant hug. “I’m of Myers stock. We’re sturdy. You always said that. I’ll be fine.”

She straightens to her full height and puts on her best no-nonsense face. “Well, of course you will. Why wouldn’t you be? You’ll both be home before you know it, draggin’ that good-for-nothing brother of yours with you. Why, I bet you’ll all be home for Christmas.”

That’s only a couple of months away, so I don’t think that will be true, but I realize what she’s doing. She always tries to be so strong. I let her.

“You bet, Ma.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Architect Elliot Graham has bought and restored dozens of historic homes to their original splendor. As in his personal life, he loves them and leaves them, selling them off without looking back. But there’s something about the old plantation house he finds in South Carolina—a connection he can’t explain. He feels as though he recognizes the house, as if within its crumbling walls he might find something he doesn’t even realize he’s lost.

Ben Myers had promised his lover and soul mate, Patrick, that he would wait for his return. Ben has kept his word ever since Patrick left him to wait at the plantation house—during the Civil War. For the first time in many long years, Ben is no longer alone, and he reaches out to Elliot in dreams. Elliot tries to convince Ben that Patrick isn’t coming back, but Ben’s devotion is about to change not only his lonely existence, but Elliot’s life as well.

Buy at Dreamspinner Press

About the Author
Brynn has always loved to write about strong male characters and their close friendships. When she found the world of m/m fiction, she fell in love. Finally, a way to bring those strong male characters together and let those emotional connections spill over into deeper relationships. Sometimes her characters go through the emotional wringer, but they always have each other.

Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who support her writing and sometimes act as proof readers. Both of her daughters are also aspiring writers and hopefully it'll just be a matter of time before they have their own author's biography.

Brynn was a teacher by profession for thirty years. She worked in special education with children with emotional disabilities. She has recently changed careers and is now working as a mental health counselor to this same population and their families. When she is not working or writing, she loves to draw and paint. She also gets outside as often as she can, reads anything that doesn't move out of the way, and is always looking for her next story.

Contact Brynn:
http://brynnstein2.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Kind of Honesty by Lane Hayes cover reveal


A Kind of Honesty Reveal Banner


Title: A Kind of Honesty
Series: A Kind of Story, #3
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 85K
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Rock star, NYC, humor

Come on in and see!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert, REVIEW, excerpt and giveaway


Connection Error Blitz Banner


9781459290679

Title: Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series Title and Number: #Gaymers, Book 3, but stands alone well too
Publisher: CARINA PRESS
Cover Artist: CARINA PRESS
Release Date: September 5, 2016
Heat Level: 4 (explicit m/m sex, but lots and lots of plot too!)
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: approx. 66,000 words
Genre/Tags: Romance, M/m Romance, contemporary romance, military romance

Synopsis

It's typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he's (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can't handle another distraction. But he also can't ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man's a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He's got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn't mean he's above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it's even begun?

Book Three of the #gaymers series

Review

This may be book 3 in a series, but it reads perfectly well as a standalone. Or as a jumping off point into the others, because Reader Knows Something Character Doesn’t is a fun place to be, and I suspect Josiah does more than his share of bumbling around in the other stories.

Josiah isn’t very secure in his adulthood, being twenty-three and seriously ADHD. He’s also very good at what he does, which is write computer games, and he’d better get good at what he needs to do next, which is lead the development team. He’s used to other people treating him like a project to be kept on track, not being the one to keep the train running. We get a glimpse of him here without his meds, and the poor guy is random.

Which isn’t to say he can’t manage his life or his team, it’s just skills that he needs to acquire, and watching him learn with a little coaching from Ryan is a lovely part of the story.

Navy SEAL Ryan, on the other hand, is scary controlled at managing, because his entire training is at taking that control into chaos and chaos loses. So when he gets into a situation he can’t possibly control with his body and his career, he needs to work on adapting to a loss of control. Josiah’s a wild card in this, but he has a few things to teach Ryan, and Ryan has a few things to coach Josiah on.

Because Ryan is so tightly wound, he’s slow to warm up to Josiah, and there are physical issues to contend with as well as mental ones. Watching these two guys get their acts on the same page makes for a slow burn: Jos knows what he wants and lets it all hang out trying to get it, while Ryan can barely admit he wants Jos in the same room. Not that they were off to such a great start with that, when Jos says the first thing that flies through his brain. He’s honest, not tactful.

These guys intersect and learn to be friends first and lovers second, which Ryan needs, but it makes for a very distant romance arc, and frankly, Ryan’s been through so much crap that starting a relationship is more than should be asked of him. Don’t expect a lot of sex here: among Ryan’s other losses was a relationship that meant a lot to him, and he has to get past all that and learn to see Josiah as a functioning adult and not a kid to be guided.

So I didn’t quite buy the big finish with I love you. This is hurt/comfort, except there’s not a lot of comforting going on, Ryan won’t accept it. The ending has a lot of the story to carry for a romance. I can’t help but feel that much of the story went on between the last chapter and Epilog, but I enjoyed reading all the same. 4 marbles



Excerpt

Chapter 1

Somewhere between the third newsstand and the fourth moving sidewalk in LAX, Josiah regretted not joining his friend Ravi in training for a 10k charity race. Nothing like a flat-out sprint from the check-in counter to the slow-moving security lines and another dash from security all the way through gates to make him rethink his aversion to cardio. And the worst part was that for once in his life he’d made every effort to be on time, getting up before the alarm, starting coffee, making sure they were out of the house by o’dark thirty ready for his early morning flight to Germany via a stop in Washington, DC.

Passport? Check.

Carry-on with both laptops, tablet and assorted accessories? Check.

Suitcase with more shirts with buttons than he’d ever owned in his life? Check.

Double-checking that his ticket was booked under “Josiah” not “Joseph”? Total fail, but in his defense, it never occurred to him that the travel agency his employer used would give the wrong name. And the check-in attendant at the airline counter didn’t want to believe that there was a mistake. Thus, every careful endeavor he’d made to ensure that he was on time—early even—went up in a huff of waiting for a supervisor and then another supervisor.

And now finally he was sprinting to make sure he didn’t miss the plane. Forget being there in time to priority board, he was going to be lucky to make the plane period. His first time flying first class—thank you, Space Villager for being such a bestselling gameand it was off to an inelegant start thanks to a stupid mistake.

Finally, finally, he reached the last few gates of the terminal. The TV sets scattered throughout the waiting area were all taking about that huge freak snowstorm heading for the New York area and whether it might veer south enough to cause snow along the whole Eastern Seaboard. Josiah shook his head, trying to not get sucked in to the TV. As long as he got to Germany on time, it wasn’t going to affect him and he needed to stay focused on—

“Last call for Flight 324 nonstop service to Washington Dulles International,” the loudspeaker blared.

“I’m here, I’m here,” he panted as the gate attendant set the red phone back on its hook. He held out his ticket. The woman was around his mother’s age with very red lipstick and very short blond hair and a spectacular frown just for him.

“Ah. Mr. Simmons.” She looked up after scanning his tickets, decidedly less frosty once she saw his first-class seat number. “Come with me, I’m going to have to walk you down.” She spoke into a walkie-talkie as they headed down the walkway. “We’re going to need to gate check your bags. I’m so sorry, but the first-class overhead compartments are all full.”

“Crap.” She gave him a questioning look, and Josiah remembered that he was supposed to be Mr. Smooth and Sophisticated Project Manager, not some whiny kid. “Sorry. That’s fine. Just let me grab my laptop.” He grabbed the laptop with the longer battery life before the attendant put a pink gate-check tag on his two bags. “But…uh…fragile.”

She gave him a tight smile, but added a yellow Fragile tag to his laptop bag. “You’re in Seat 1A,” she said, handing him his ticket back. “You’ll get your bags back when we land, I promise. Enjoy your flight.”

After a brief conversation with the gate attendant, a male flight attendant shut the plane door behind Josiah. “Welcome aboard,” he said to Josiah in a tone that clearly meant, “thank you for pushing back our departure.” In fact, the plane was rolling away from the gate before Josiah almost tumbled into the empty aisle seat of the first row.

“You made it.” A warm chuckle eased past the pounding of Josiah’s heart.

“Wha—what?” he whipped his head over to the window seat—a farther distance than one might expect. The first-class seats were huge padded affairs and there was a thick console dividing the seats. And…hello, most gorgeous guy Josiah had ever seen.

Wide, mischievous smile. Sparkling hazel eyes. Unshaven jaw. Short dark brown hair. And holy hell, arm muscles for days. Bulging biceps with tats poking out of his T-shirt sleeves.

All of a sudden this flight started looking way up.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. I just meant I was beginning to think I’d get the row all to myself.” The guy’s voice was possibly even more attractive than his model-worthy face, deep and soothing, with an undercurrent of the sort of confidence that never failed to make Josiah shiver.

And he was all Josiah’s for the next five hours.

Well, except for the part where he seemed ready to take a nap and tune Josiah out—the guy had a pillow behind his head and a blanket on his lap. He yawned, revealing gleaming teeth worthy of a toothpaste ad.

“You’re not a model, are you?” As usual, Josiah’s tongue leaped into action before his brain could restrain it.

“What? No, not a model.” The guy laughed, more of that smoky chuckle that did things to Josiah’s insides.

“TV star? Athlete? Because it seems like I should know you from somewhere, and I don’t want to get to DC and people be like, hey, you were next to that Laker the whole flight…” He trailed off because his friends were right that he had absolutely no filter, and that was triple true around Muppet-flail-worthy hot guys.

“Nope, not famous.” The guy studied Josiah for a long moment, considering, the sort of are-you-for-real expression on his face that Josiah was well used to. Seeming to come to some sort of decision, the guy stuck his right arm across the console. “Lieutenant Ryan Orson, US Navy.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Josiah accepted the handshake. Navy made sense given the Navy-emblazoned T-shirt stretched tight over the guy’s aircraft-carrier-wide chest. Holy crap, the guy was big. Josiah was a skinny 6’2” with big hands and feet that always got in the way. But this guy’s hand made Josiah’s feel downright dainty. “I’m Josiah, Josiah Simmons.”

“Well, Josiah, want to know a secret?” Ryan asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

“Sure.” Josiah was down with whatever secrets this guy wanted to share.

“Not only am I not famous, I’m not even supposed to be in first class.”

“You’re not?”

“Nope.” Ryan winked at Josiah. He had a very disarming wink, all good humor and twinkly eyes.

“The check-in clerk bumped me into first.”

“You got the nice clerk.” Josiah was still a bit grumbly over the name hassle.

“She lost a brother over in Afghanistan.” There was a subtle hint of “grow up” in Ryan’s tone. Josiah straightened, remembering again who he was supposed to be. And here was this impossibly attractive guy to practice on. Sure, he might be Josiah the clueless geek back home, but here he was Josiah the new project manager. This Josiah knew the right way to act and speak and could impress even tough audiences.

“That’s so sad for her.” Josiah tried for sophisticated empathy, something he knew he kind of sucked at.

“Yeah, it is.” Something indecipherable passed over Ryan’s face, his eyes getting darker and cloudier and that wide smile flagging a bit. “Anyway, guess she saw…the Navy connection and had a spare seat to bump me into.”

“What do you do? In the Navy I mean?”

The guy went silent, considering, and Josiah was afraid he’d been too nosy again, but right when he was about to apologize, Ryan finally spoke. “I’m a SEAL. I do a little bit of everything, but mainly I make things go boom. You?”

“Oh my God, you’re Special Forces. Do I ever have questions for you!” Josiah babbled again, only slowing down as Ryan’s easy smile morphed into grim line. “Sorry. I’m just excited because I’m a video game designer. And special ops is our new expansion pack.” And it happened to be the one Josiah was in charge of.

“You program games?” Ryan blinked, and Josiah wasn’t sure what he’d expected Josiah to do, but this clearly wasn’t it. “Anything I’ve heard of?”

Ah. That was it. He assumed Josiah was some sort of kid programming a dot matrix game in his basement. Josiah knew he looked too young for his job, because he was too young. At twenty-three, he was the youngest lead developer on the design team. Thus, he took no small amount of pride in saying, “Space Villager.”

“Oh wow, really?” There was a new note of respect in Ryan’s voice. “I love that game, especially the pod racer and first-person shooter expansion packs.” There was a hint of Texas or something else Southern in his voice, and Josiah could listen to him all day.

“Yeah? Well you’re going to love our special ops expansion pack even more.” Josiah projected far more confidence than he actually felt. He could make this project a success. He had to. The PR team had already hinted that the next expansion pack would revolve around special ops activities on a small war-torn planet, so Josiah didn’t worry too much about sharing this much with Ryan.

“I bet. My ex got me to back the crowdfunding drive, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My buddies were already teasing me about how much time I spent gaming, but there’s something particularly addictive about your game.”

Your game. Josiah liked the sound of that. He only knew a handful of women who played Space Villager, but the ones who did tended to be rabid fans. It was possible he might even know Ryan’s ex by her user handle, but Josiah had just enough self-control to not ask.

“Prepare for takeoff,” the pilot intoned over the PA. This was the part Josiah hated, the acceleration and stomach-dropping ascent. Today he hated it even more, knowing they might catch the edge of that storm. Focusing on turbulence that was probably hours away wasn’t logical, but then, Josiah’s brain seldom was.

“You always so antsy or are you a nervous flyer?” Ryan asked.

Oh crap. Guess he wasn’t doing such a bang-up job projecting the aura of a with-it project manager. He laughed nervously. “Both?”

“I promise we’re going to be okay.” Ryan gave him a quick friendly pat on the knee.

Oh. Josiah’s eyes went wide. Ryan was missing part of the pinky finger on his left hand and had some wicked scarring further up his forearm. Josiah tried not to stare, but knew he failed miserably.

“Mission gone wrong,” Ryan said gruffly. “Now back to flying, millions of people fly every day. It’s safer than car travel.” His tone made it clear further discussion of his hand was not on the table.

“I know flying’s safe. Knowing that’s not the same as believing it.”

Ryan’s answering laugh seemed to strip some of the tension from his face. “How well do I know that attitude. My ex got nervous before every flight, and his buddies used to razz him about it mercilessly.”

Man, two ex references in five minutes. Ryan must be totally hung up on his ex…wait. “His buddies”…What the hell?

“Your ex is a guy?”

“Yup.” Ryan’s smirk said he’d pegged Josiah ten minutes ago, probably when Josiah couldn’t peel his eyes away from those tasty biceps.

“Cool.” He was grinning, but he couldn’t make his facial muscles behave. Hot damn. Gorgeous, muscled, single, gamer, and gay. He ticked every last one of Josiah’s “perfect man” boxes. And if the gods were kind at all, Josiah could keep it together long enough to make a lasting impression.

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Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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Rescued by Felice Stevens, REVIEW, excerpt, giveaway






Title: Rescued
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: September 5, 2016

Blurb


Ryder Daniels is all too familiar with rejection. His parents cut off contact because he’s gay and his boyfriend left him, choosing drugs over love. Aside from his rescued pit bull, his only joy is hanging out with his younger brother. Then his mother does the unthinkable and forbids them to see each other, leaving Ryder devastated and alone. His friends urge him to date, but Ryder would rather throw himself into working at the dog rescue and figuring out a way to see his brother again.

When Jason Mallory’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to get married, he shocks everyone by breaking up with her instead. He believes he's too busy for a relationship now that the construction company he started with his brother is taking off. When he discovers a group of abandoned pit bulls and calls the local dog rescue group to pick them up, an uncomfortable encounter with Ryder causes Jason to question feelings he’s hidden deep inside for years.

Jason and Ryder build a friendship, until an unexpected kiss sparks the attraction they’ve been fighting. Jason gives Ryder unconditional love and helps him reconnect with his brother while Ryder shows Jason the passion he’s always missed in relationships. Together they must battle through their family differences and ugly prejudices. Only then can they prove that once you find the right person to love, there’s no turning back.

This is a re-release of the original book which was first published in August of 2014. The entire book has been revised and re-edited with over 10k words added. In addition, at the end of this book is a sneak peek of the next book in Ryder and Jason's story, Reunited.






Review by Cryselle


I hadn’t read this friends to lovers story in its first incarnation, so it was all new to me. I really liked Ryder, who hadn’t given up on his family, even though everyone but his brother Landon seemed to have given up on him. Ryder’s desperation to be part of his brother’s life is something Jason can help with.

Jason’s a good guy too, coming late to the realization that he’s bisexual. He’s got the longer journey to get to happiness, but more straightforward.  The two of them work well together, having each other’s backs when it comes to placing rescue dogs, dealing with family, and new sexual experiences.

Family is a big theme here: Ryder yearns to be included in his family of origin and has made a family of friends, Jason’s scared what his family thinks. There are some great folks in these families, plus one evil harpy and a parent who is apparently brain dead. Landon, and Connor and Emily and their well trained pit bulls were much brighter on the page. 

Where this story fell apart for me was the overwhelming amount of sex that may have masked some story. The second half of the book is heavy on the sex scenes, which I ended up skimming. I may have missed something for the plot, but after a while I could not bring myself to keep reading in depth. Other readers may not have this problem.

What I did love was Jason’s mom, who has the right idea on how to deal with homophobic jerks. Jason’s family had some great scenes, and every couple should have that kind of support.

This book was a mixed bag for me, but I’m glad Jason and Ryder ended up happy.

Purchase Links


AMAZON US / UK

KOBO / iBOOKS / ARE



Excerpt

Still glaring at him, Jason moved a step closer. “I know you did, but I didn’t get a chance to answer. You dismissed me like I was a stranger. I thought we were friends.” He raked his hand through his hair as his voice, full of frustration, rose a notch. “Look, I didn’t plan on it happening. It surprised me as much as you, but I thought you knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t fuck around with you.”

Ryder tried to ease Jason’s agitated state. “It’s fine. Let’s forget about it, all right?” He gave him an uncertain smile. Better this way. They could work through Jason’s uncomfortable feelings, and as for his own yet-to-be-reckoned-with desires, he could push them back into that black box where he kept all his life’s disappointments. Right now it contained his parents’ treatment of him, his inability to see his brother and the affairs with Josh and Matt. Jason would be one more depressing addition.

Jason cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think you understand.” He took a step closer. “I’m not sorry for kissing you.”

Jason’s soft, husky voice sent a shiver through Ryder and he backtracked a few steps. “I am, though. I’m not looking to teach someone to be gay. You either are or you aren’t, man, and you’re straight.” It pained him to push the guy away, but he wasn’t about to sacrifice a friendship for casual sex.

Jason snorted. “You don’t really know shit about me. If I was perfectly straight, would I have dreams about you?” His blue eyes took on a glint Ryder had never seen before as he continued. “Dreams that have you on your knees sucking my brains out through my cock. Dreams of me sucking you.”

Ryder retreated until he ran out of space and found his back up against the wall, his eyes still caught up in Jason’s mesmerizing dark blue regard. All the air seemed to have been sucked out of the room.

“No one’s ever had this effect on me, not any woman I’ve ever dated or slept with, none of my friends. Not even the guy I once fooled around with in college.” Jason swallowed, a heavy, nervous gulp, then huffed out a self-conscious laugh, all the while never breaking eye contact. “You didn’t know that about me, did you? I’ve never told anyone until now.”

Ryder stood mute, in a state of suspended belief that Jason stood before him, saying these things to him. Jason—bisexual? Was that what he wanted to say? That explosive piece of information Ryder knew had never been shared with anyone before warmed his heart. Jason shared his secret with him, but Ryder remained uncertain what it ultimately meant to their friendship. His heart beat a wild, stuttering rhythm while blood pounded in his head.

As if he couldn’t bear to face Ryder with what he was about to say, Jason turned his back to him. His normally steady, calm voice shook somewhat, betraying exactly how deep his uncertainty ran. “I don’t know what I’m doing here. Am I gay now, ’cause I dream of you, your mouth, your tongue in my mouth? Or, am I bi? God, I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but it’s been making me crazy for weeks now, and I’m not sure what’s happening to me anymore.” He tried to laugh, but it came out choked. “I’m kinda lost at sea here, floating around without a paddle. You know”—a red flush stained the back of his neck—“sex with my ex-girlfriend was never that good. When I look back, it was always unsatisfying, a way to get off quick.” His whisper sounded like a shout to Ryder’s ears. “Maybe it’s why I’ve never thought of settling down. Maybe I knew something was missing.”

Author Bio


I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, my characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Semper Fi by Keira Andrews, Guest review

Title: Semper Fi
Author: Keira Andrews
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Buy at Amazon
Buy at All Romance e Books
Genre: historical, military
Length: 95,000 words

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim's wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn't know a thing about apple farming--or children--but he's determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend's support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

Note: This m/m romance contains scenes of violence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Guest Review from Patricia Nelson


Keira Andrews has written a beautiful, bittersweet, intensely personal, and gripping tale about two friends' experiences during WW2, the lasting effects after the war was over, and the painful, heartbreaking, obstacle filled journey to find a love they had to keep secret. I was hooked from page one, and I can definitely say this is a book I will read over and over again.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A picture is worth...


Let's go historical: here's a Union soldier from the Civil War. Someone must have loved him to treasure his picture so much.

Brynn Stein sent me this picture, and I think she may have some story to go with it. I do hope she'll share!