Daily Grind By Anna Zabo: Blog Tour and Guest Post

Daily_Grind
synopsisA man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?

Guest Post
While I was writing Just Business back in 2015, two minor characters poked me in the ribs and told me they had books, too. The first was Fazil who pretty much shouted at me that he wasn’t straight, even though Eli was convinced he was (Fazil’s book is Due Diligence).
The other was Brian, the owner of Grounds N’at and Justin White’s boss until Sam hires him away. Brian was a lot quieter about his bisexuality. And I knew his book would be about him exploring that side of his sexuality for the first time—that the book would be, to a certain extent, a coming out book.
I called it my bi-for-you book, and that’s the book that became Daily Grind.
Daily Grind is Brian’s story from start to finish. It’s also Rob’s story, but it’s Brian who must work to get his happy ever after. He has the most to lose—and gain—in the novel.
Brian has known and accepted his attraction to all genders for a long time, but he’s only dated women because that was easier when he was younger. He struggled a lot with bi-phobia in college (being bi was only a stepping stone to gay or that bi was something women did, and only to attract guys) and at that point, pretty much gave up on the idea of being outwardly bi. He’d thought he’d made his peace with that, especially since he was pretty much married to his shop anyway.
Then Rob Ancroft walks in and Brian just can’t help himself.
I really didn’t want the book to be about the angst of being bisexual. That wasn’t really the main thrust of the story. I wanted the story to be about Brian falling for Rob and what has to change in his life for him to have is happy ever after, not about Brian fretting over his sexuality. Brian’s always been bi—that hasn’t changed. At thirty-eight, he doesn’t have much angst about being bi anymore. In fact, at his age now, he feels silly holding on to the worry of his younger self, so he lets it go and jumps right into loving a guy.
The fun bits are all the firsts he gets to experience, even though he’s not at all a virgin.
He’s also utterly relieved to discover that everything feels perfect and normal. Because it is. As Rob says to Brian at one point, there’s nothing wrong with being bisexual.
Now if only Brian can stop being a workaholic…
I do hope you enjoy reading Brian’s book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

DailyGrind_Blog_tour

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meet the author
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow and believes passionately that happy ever afters are for everyone. Anna lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Imago by N.R. Walker: Release Day Review with Giveaway

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synopsis

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bow ties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bow ties, and butterflies.

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jennifer

First, let’s take note of how cute this cover is. I mean, I’m not a fan of butterflies… I’ll actually be honest and say that I’m downright terrified of them. Have you seen their bodies with the long antenna’s and their wings with the voodoo looking faces on the back? And I’m pretty sure they can smell fear, because I was once chased around the outside of my dad’s house a few years ago by a giant, green and yellow one. I’ve never recovered….. Still… I picked this book because 1: The cover and 2: I’ve yet to read a book by this author that I didn’t love.

 
This one was no different. Let’s talk about why…

 
Lawson Gale is on his way to an important interview, in which he’d flown into town to attend when the car renter lady informs him that they didn’t have a rental for him. Already disgruntled from the plane and running a bit late, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.

 
Jack Brighton has witnessed a couple reasons why Lawson would be so flustered and overhears him at the rental car counter. He offers him a ride to the museum, since he’s going that way and Lawson, eventually accepts. Lawson is adorable and shy and sweet and classified as a genius, so his social skills, he thinks are lacking. I, personally think that he’s charming. So does Jack. The way he talks, the way he blushes, his cluelessness about how attractive he is.. and of course, his adorable bow-tie. What’s not to adore?

 
The chemistry between these two charming men, is palpable. Their first date was light but impressive and it felt so genuine. Not like so many dates, now days where it’s like… “Let’s go get drunk and hook up”… No, Jack was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was polite and charismatic, subtle and just…charming… I can’t say that enough about both of them… They both charmed me, from the very beginning.

 
So, Lawson was in town, trying to find a new species of butterfly that a former butterfly enthusiast had seen many decades ago. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the proper equipment to record his findings and despite the last many years, trying to find them again, he was unable to. Now, too old and not able bodied enough to trek around searching and researching, he passed the task off to, Lawson because Lawson was much like himself. He done the work because of a passion for it, not because he wanted credit on a great find or because he wanted to be famous. It was his life’s work and he took pride in it. Mr. Tillman (former butterfly enthusiast) respected Lawson because of it and needed it to be him to get the job done.

 
In the meantime, Jack used the time that Lawson was in town, to woo him- and woo him he did. Their dates were perfect. It was old-school courting type dating and it was respectable and genuine and sweet…Until it got hot and heavy, then little genius, Lawson had himself a dirty mouth lol, it was incredibly endearing. Each of the men also found that because they had such a great deal in common, it wasn’t like the men that they’d both dated before. They each knew how important their jobs were, Lawson especially had a problem with that, because “someone who chases butterflies” might not be taken very seriously. But it was indeed an important job and I loved that Jack saw that… so did Lawson.

 
I could seriously wax on about this story all day, but I’ll save you all from my gushing and spoiling. If you’re a fan of this author at all, you’ll know not to pass it up. It’s sweet and adorable and you’ll love the banter and chemistry between these two men.

 
Easy 5 stars from me!
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Where to find N.R. Walker

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Website

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Email:

nrwalker2103@gmail.com

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Cross My Heart by Catt Ford: Release Day Review plus Giveaway

CrossMyHeartFS_v1synopsisDo you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the dwarfs, to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.

Title: Cross My Heart
Author: Catt Ford
Release Date: February 20, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 220

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morgan review

What a fantastic story about two people finding love when they never thought they would. The author makes you fall in love with these characters from the first page and long for their happy ending. Lana is such a wonderful person who just wants to be accepted for who she is without judgement. Daniel spots her and decides he HAS to have her and the chase is on. The things he goes through to win her affection made me laugh and tear up and fall in love with him. He was sincere and such a good person who has a rough past he is working to overcome. Both Lana and Daniel have secrets they are scared to share with each other and these two have to work hard to get their HEA and I enjoyed every minute of their story.

The secondary characters are well developed and I felt like I got to know them as well as the MC’s. The ‘Dwarfs’ were funny and irritating and sweet all rolled into one and the love they had for Lana was unconditional. They did a great job making this story as amazing as it was.

This was the first book I have read by Catt Ford and I’m really glad I got to check it out. I was not disappointed. This story gets 5 pieces of eye candy from me and I definitely recommend.

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Open Case by Mickie B. Ashling: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Cover-Open CasesynopsisSeth Wilder and Bryce McFarland deal with the aftermath of Owen Lightfoot’s destructive rampage. Once again, the insurance company denies the life insurance benefit despite the compelling evidence regarding the underlying cause of Mark’s death. However, they acknowledge their former employee’s complicity in the multiple crimes that have blindsided Seth and Bryce. They settle to keep their names out of the news, offering the couple a million dollars apiece, which they accept.

Owen learns of the big payoff and is determined to get his cut. Just when Seth and Bryce think it is all over, Owen reappears, and what follows tests the very limit of their endurance. Through the help of friends and relatives, Seth and Bryce find the strength to keep their relationship intact while seeking out the best way to stop Owen once and for all.

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Series: Open Trilogy #3

Release Date: February 3, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Length: 200 pages

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Guest Post

Hi, all! Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate the release of Open Case, the final novel in the Open Series. I’m excited to share an exclusive excerpt and give you a chance to win a few giveaways. Those of you who haven’t read the first two books, Open Seating and Open House, will want to catch up before you start this one.

Since the status change from friends to lovers, Seth Wilder and Bryce McFarland, have had more challenges than the average couple. Through it all, they’ve been united, communicating without reservation in their quest for a happy ending. Now that it’s within reach, Bryce’s ex-lover, sociopath Owen Lightfoot, is back, intent on destroying it all.

I’d like to thank Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting and my wonderful publicist J for her excellent help in organizing my blog tour.

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The combination gun supply and shooting range was out in Des Plaines, a thirty-minute drive barring traffic. When they left the condo at six thirty, most of the daily commuters had cleared out and they made good time. The shop normally closed at five on Monday, but Jack knew the owner, and being with the Chicago PD did have some advantages. He explained this to Bryce and Seth when they pulled into the parking lot and saw that it was empty except for Jack’s unmarked vehicle. The owners had allowed him to use the facility after hours to give Seth and Bryce their expedited tutorial. They’d even left a 9mm Glock 34 for Seth’s use, along with several rounds of ammunition. Bryce had his own weapon but did avail himself of the store’s ammo. Jack made them sign the standard waivers before they started.

For Bryce, the three hours they spent with Jack had been a much-needed refresher course. He knew how to clean, load, and handle a gun, but it had been a long time since he’d removed it from the case and aimed it at a target. He was grateful for the time Jack had allotted to get him back up to speed. Seth, on the other hand, was completely in the dark. After going over the safety fundamentals, Jack showed Seth how to load and unload his weapon, the proper stance for aiming when standing or in a crouched position, rapid reloading, and some troubleshooting in case the weapon jammed. Seth was visibly uncomfortable handling the Glock and flinched each time he fired a shot. Eventually, he settled down, and by the end of their session he could fire the gun without squeezing his eyes shut and actually hit the target, albeit far off the bull’s-eye.

When they were getting ready to shut down for the night, Bryce mentioned the possibility of borrowing his sister’s dog to keep Seth company during the day.

“Can’t hurt,” Jack said. “But a dog won’t stop a bullet, and Seth will have to walk him at least twice a day. Once they step out of the apartment, the safety factor is greatly reduced.”

“You said you’ve got eyes on us 24/7,” Seth protested.

“My guys are in place to keep Owen from getting into your building. They can’t be trailing after you while you’re walking the pooch.”

Bryce stared at Jack, trying to decipher if there was a mixed message. “So what’s the bottom line? Should he go and get the dog or not?”

“That’s up to you guys, but if you decide to do it, watch your back when you take him out to do his business.”

“Next question,” Seth interjected. “How would you feel about me driving myself to Indiana and back without Bryce?”

Jack looked at Bryce, who was hoping for a negative response. Whatever signal Jack picked up prompted him to ask, “What does Bryce think?”

“He doesn’t want me to go alone.”

Post divider 2

meet the author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

CONNECT WITH MICKIE

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads & Ask the Author | Website | Email

 

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Win a $20 Dreamspinner Press gift card, an ecopy of Open Seating, or an ecopy of Open House. Three winners! Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.

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FOLLOW THE TOUR

Feb. 3 – Sinfully

Feb. 6 – Love Bytes

Feb. 8 – Bayou Book Junkie

Feb. 10 – Diverse Reader

Feb. 13 – Molly Lolly

Feb. 14 – The Novel Approach

Feb. 16 – Prism Book Alliance

Feb. 20 – Two Chicks Obsessed

Feb. 23 – Just Love

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Jared’s Family by V.S. Morgan: Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Series: Sequel to The Gift and Sam’s Temptation (can be read as a standalone)
Author: V.S. Morgan 
Genre: m/m, Interracial, Contemporary, Western 
Cover Designer: Tibbs Design
Available Now

“I would definitely read more from this author and recommend it to anyone who likes M/M with kids. Super sweet, lovable D will win your heart as much as the lead men will.” – HappilyEverChapter


“Jared’s Family is a really cute sweet book. I loved the characters, even the supporting characters brought light to the book.” – Goodreads Review


“I liked this book, like really liked it. It is a sweet sweet m/m romance novel with a wonderful HEA.
Thank you V.S. Morgan!! 5 Stars because: ” Love conquers all.” – Goodreads Review

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synopsis

After witnessing his mother’s death, a once outgoing preschooler is now a quiet shadow of himself. The little boy suffers nightmares and rarely speaks, choosing to use the basic sign language he learned in daycare. Desperate to help his little nephew, Virge Stevens takes a leave of absence from the LAPD to bring Donovan, known as D to Montana for the therapy he needs.

A chance meeting at the library changes Virge and his nephew’s lives forever.

Jared Malone is one of five brothers, right smack damn in the middle. He is the peacemaker and the one who gets shit done. When his younger brother gets sick, Jared fills in reading to small children at the library. There he encounters a tall, dark, and handsome stranger and his cute little boy. Jared is immediately drawn to Virge but is still dealing with the betrayal of an abusive ex.

As the Malone family welcomes them to the ranch and into their lives, Virge’s instant attraction for Jared grows, but the cowboy is fifteen years younger than him. Will he be rejected?

Both men have secrets. Secrets that could destroy the connection between them. Can they overcome the odds and find happiness together?


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excerpt
Another blond cowboy stood in the middle, working with a horse. He had a long rope around its neck, guiding it around the ring at a quick clip. The shirtless cowboy spoke in a firm yet quiet tone. Virge nearly choked on his tongue, eyeing the golden skin and muscles on display. This was their cowboy.

The man whistled, and the horse stopped. He rubbed its shoulder, his back to them, as they reached the ring’s split-rail fence.

 


“Daddy!” D shrieked, and the horse whinnied and shied, bumping into the man as it swung around.

 


“Whoa, easy, Spike,” the cowboy soothed.

 


Virge struggled to prevent his nephew from launching out of his arms while the cowboy calmed the large, skittish animal. He’d never been near a horse and was struck by its size and power, which the other man skillfully controlled. As the cowboy turned, Virge saw a tattoo on his chest. A redwing blackbird with a rainbow-hued ribbon dangling from its beak. His heart beat a little faster seeing the colorful ink. Could he be gay? The cowboy handed the rope to a dark-haired man before pulling on a T-shirt that stretched tight over those muscles. He suppressed a disappointed sigh.

 


Nate chuckled. “You’ve got some explaining to do, bro.”

 


“Hi, I’m Jared. I remember you from the library.” He approached with a rolling gait Virge found extremely sexy and offered his hand after wiping it against his denim-clad thigh. Damn, he was built all over and tall, just an inch or two shorter than his own height.

 


Virge shook his hand, hyperaware of the firm grasp of warm, work-hardened skin. “I’m Virge, and this is Donovan. He goes by D.”

“Glad you could make it out—”

 


“Why did he call Jared daddy?” Nate interrupted.

 


“He calls all men daddy and women mommy. If he especially likes someone, he adds their first names. D doesn’t talk much, so he must like Jared.” What about this cowboy had inspired his nephew to talk?

 

meet the author

 

V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, teen son, and a menagerie of pets.

She’s been writing stories since she could hold a pencil and dreams of happily-ever-afters – even for two hot men – because love knows no boundaries. V.S. writes IRMC contemporary, paranormal, and suspense m/m and m/f with heart.

V.S. is a GLBT ally and a lifetime contributor of The Trevor Project.

 

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Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey: Author Guest Post, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

perf4.250x7.000.inddsynopsisA second chance born of love.

Pat Corrigan and Edgerton “Edge” Winters were ready to start a family—or so Pat thought. At the last minute, Edge got cold feet and fled. Pat didn’t bother telling him the conception had already gone through and little Emma was on her way. He didn’t want a relationship based on obligation. He’d rather raise his daughter on his own.

Nine years later, Emma and her Poppy are doing fine. Edge isn’t. He realizes what he threw away by leaving, and he’s back to turn his life around and reclaim his family. It’ll take a lot to prove to Pat that he’s a new man, and even if Edge succeeds, the secret Pat has hidden for years might shatter their dreams all over again.

Title: Poppy’s Secret
Author: Andrew Grey
Release date: February 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 90

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Guest Post

I am a romance junkie and a member of Romance Writers of America.  So each year I judge one of their contests and last year I judged a secret baby book.  I discovered something new.  To top it off a friend told me that she particularly loves secret baby books, so when she challenged me to come up with one, I rose to the challenge and Poppy’s Secret is the result.  Yes, my demented imagination came up with a scenario for an MM secret baby book.  It was fun to write and I hope it’s as much fun to read!!!!

Heather's Review

Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey is one of my first reads from the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner. Typically, I’m more of a fan of series, especially from authors like Andrew Grey. This is because I love the idea of getting to know a community of characters and see glimpses of previous couples in future books. If I was to say anything against Poppy’s Secret, it would be that I wish I’d get to see them again in the future, because I loved Edge and Pat.

This is a second chance story in every sense of the term. Pat and Edge were in love and planning a future. Then, Edge felt the weight of adult life weighing down on him and ran. Now, he’s back and hoping he can prove to Pat that he knows exactly how badly he screwed up. The problem is, life didn’t stop for Pat when Edge left and Pat moved forward with their plans to start a family even though he was doing it on his own.

As happens often in Andrew Grey’s books, little Miss Emma was as much of a main character as the men. The eight year old is now the center of Pat’s universe, and before he can let Edge in, he needs to know he’s not going to run again, hurting not only Pat, but also Emma. And he’s worried that when his secret is revealed, Edge will run.

I can’t tell you too much more than that, but I will say this story ended with a great case of the happy feels.

Definitely a great book to pick up when you need something with only a touch of angst and a great story.

4 pieces of eye candy

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excerpt

“I saw him yesterday,” Edge told his sister, Terry, when she called while he was waiting for his first coffee of the day. “I was at one of the clubs to have a good time. He was on his way out, and he literally ran into me.”

“Let me guess. He welcomed you back with open arms and said that he forgave you for being the biggest jackass of all time, and that now that you were back, the two of you could pick up right where things left off.” Terry could be the biggest smartass on the planet. “I told you then that you were being a jerk.”

“You were sixteen. Everyone was a jerk then.”

“Maybe,” Terry conceded. “But I was still right, and you know it. That job that started this whole thing was just an excuse because you were scared of all the things Pat wanted, and by the way, he has and you don’t. I still see him every now and then.”

“Does he talk to you?” Edge asked.

“Of course he does. I’m not the douche who left him. That was you. I’m just your sister, and that daughter of his is beautiful and wonderfully smart. I used to see them more than I do now that they moved.” She was taunting him—it was another of her skills.

“How come you know all this and I don’t?”

“Maybe because I still live in Harrisburg and you moved to Boston nine years ago and never looked back until everything went to shit and you decided to come home.”

Edge wanted to growl at her, but he couldn’t because she was right, no matter how much attitude she threw his way. “Can you knock it off for a few seconds at least?”

“Fine, but what fun is that? You still have feelings for the guy you ran out on years ago, probably when he needed you the most. Edge, I gotta tell you that if you did that to me, I’d probably tell you to fuck off too. I mean, it has been nine years, as I said. He has a life that doesn’t include you. What did you expect, that he’d spent the entire time you were gone wishing he had you back? Come on. You’re an interesting guy, but nobody waits around for someone that long.”

“Okay,” Edge sighed. “But it was good seeing him again. He looks good, and—”

“So you’re the one still carrying the torch. That’s priceless and pathetic. You were the guy who left, remember?” A cry rose behind her. “Look, I gotta go. Margie needs to be changed and fed, and I think you need to get over yourself and realize that the past is that past and that it’s probably best if it stays there. I know things fell apart, but you have a good job here, and you’re building a life again. You just need to realize that your life isn’t going to include Pat.”

That was harder than Edge thought it would be. He’d had nine years, and even after all the things he’d done and the places he’d been for his art, none of them had ever measured up to what he’d had with Pat. Edge knew he’d screwed up in a major way, though it had taken him months to realize it, and by then he knew it was way too damn late. “I know, but seeing him brought back all that stuff I thought I’d buried.”

“Nothing is ever buried for long. It always surfaces, and when it does you have to deal with it. Buried emotions are like those coffins that floated up in New Orleans during Katrina.”

“Thanks for that image. Now I’m going to see floating coffins.” He paused and closed his eyes as the images floated through his mind. “I’ll let you go.” His sister would need to get the kids ready for daycare.

andrew-grey-picmeet the author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

 

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TCO Exclusive Guest Post: Victoria Sue – A Five-Minute Valentine

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TCO is so excited!!!! Victoria Sue has offered to do a monthly guest column on Two Chicks Obsessed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. First, because we absolutely adore this woman…and if and when you meet her, we guarantee you will too. Second, because she always brings the fun, sexy and delicious times. And third…because she is British, and you know that at some point, we will be doing some sort of audio interview. 😉

So, without further ado, Victoria Sue is here with her first guest column, which is a fantastic little bite out of her fantastic new series. Book 1 is called Five Minutes Longer, and if you haven’t read it, grab it now, because you will want to read it as soon as you read her Five-Minute Valentine short.

Enjoy!

 

tco exclusive

A Five-Minute Valentine

 

“So, are you going with the traditional flowers and chocolates, or are you being a bit more creative?”

Talon blinked at Gael, having no earthly idea what he was talking about. “Please don’t tell me you forgot,” Gael said flatly.

Talon paused, his mind going a mile a minute. It wasn’t Finn’s birthday. “Fuck,” he swore succinctly. Fucking Valentine’s day was tomorrow. Gael slapped him on the back, grinning.

“He’s a guy,” Talon said defensively after a few seconds.

“Who’s a guy?” They both glanced up as Vance came down the corridor toward where they were standing outside the medical bay.

“Finn, apparently,” Gael drawled.

“Huh?” Vance looked from one of them to the other in confusion.

“I mean he’s not going to be into all that stuff, flowers and shit,” but even as Talon spoke the words, he knew it was a lie. Gael just raised an eyebrow. Vance barked out a laugh.

“You forgot Valentine’s day.”

“You could just take him out for dinner,” Gael suggested.

“When?” Talon nearly wailed not even attempting to disguise his I know and freely admit I’ve fucked up voice. It was nearly ten p.m. They had just finished up a really long day and they’d all eaten take-out earlier. “He’s going on that crime scene forensics course tomorrow, and I have no idea what time he’s gonna be done.”

“There are one or two places that will be open late in Ybor,” Gael mused. “Although, Friday and Valentine’s Day? It’ll be a zoo.”

Talon nearly growled in frustration. He hated eating out. Hated the stares, the whispers when they saw the mark on his face. The fear and mistrust many didn’t bother to hide. “Gianelli’s,” Vance pronounced naming their favorite Italian restaurant. Gianelli’s had a private back room, and they had originally gone to celebrate Doctor Natalie’s engagement. The doc had gotten Gael the private help he had needed when he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had kept it away from the bureau. When she’d asked them to come, they couldn’t say no. They’d all been eating and suddenly heard the sound of raised voices in the main dining room. It had turned out there was a birthday party going on, except the boyfriend of the birthday girl had objected to her ex thinking he could turn up and it had quickly become a fight. Talon and Vance had just grabbed a man each by the collar and hauled them outside. It had been over and done with in a few seconds, and the owner was so grateful his restaurant hadn’t got wrecked, they’d all drunk complimentary champagne. It was the only place the team ever went to eat out, not including Betty’s Diner.

Talon pulled his phone from his pocket and started dialing the number. Three restaurants later he gave up in disgust. Everywhere was slammed. The others didn’t take bookings but were expecting wait periods of at least an hour and the thought that he had no idea what time Finn was going to be back made the two early slots he was offered impossible to accept.

“Can’t you stop and get him something on the way home?” Vance asked.

“The truck’s in for service. We’re both in Finn’s.” In fact, any second his boyfriend was going to come out of the locker rooms looking for him. As if Finn had heard him, the door opened at the end of the corridor and Finn came out with Sawyer. Finn was laughing, and Sawyer was shaking his head in amusement. Finn looked up, and Talon met his green eyes. Everything in him soothed instantly. He wanted to do something special. He didn’t want to do chocolates and flowers, and yeah, he’d stuffed up the chance of both because he’d forgotten. Forgot Finn was normal, and he was anything but. Forgot his boyfriend was and would always be the very best thing that had ever happened to him. Forgot he wasn’t supposed to take him for granted. His lips curled upwards in the answering smile to Finn’s soft one.

“You done?” Finn said softly and gasped as Talon drew him in close to his body. Finn looked around, alarmed.

“Everyone’s gone home,” Talon murmured desperately wanting a kiss.

“Well, we haven’t,” Sawyer groaned, turning and following a chuckling Vance. Gael threw him a pointed look and then ruffled Finn’s hair.

“Knock ‘em dead, tomorrow, kid.”

Finn’s eyes sparkled, all eager. “I can’t wait.”.

Talon smiled indulgently. He couldn’t imagine anything more boring than discussing the nuances of directional blood-spatter, but he knew Finn had just bought a book by a famous forensics scientist in preparation for the course and Talon had already been lectured by his boyfriend on the value of it. Apparently, the book – Forensics for Fiction – had been written for authors, but Finn had raved about it and had even gotten their boss Gregory interested. Their team didn’t have the experience to handle murders in any way, and to be honest, they were having enough problems with the living, but Gregory was trying as hard as he could to plug all the numerous gaps in their training.

And Finn was an asset Gregory had recognized when he had been too stupid to. No, he had to get Finn something special…

 

 

Talon was fairly pleased with how things were going so far. He’d deliberately turned off Finn’s alarm and woken him up with breakfast in bed. Just a little too late to have Finn worrying about anything other than ramming down his chocolate chip muffin and racing in and out of the shower. He’d arranged for Gael to pick him up as he was still without the truck and after Finn had disappeared in an eager blur, he was showered and ready for Gael when he showed. Gael quizzed him immediately when he’d arrived, but Talon had just said everything was in hand. Gael had grinned and called him a lucky bastard. Which he knew. He had a dozen stops to make when he got his truck back but was waiting outside the training area next to the Tampa PD building when Finn came out of the door. Finn looked in surprise when Gael took his keys from him and promised Finn his “baby” would be safe and sound in their parking garage when he needed it tomorrow. Talon steered a bemused Finn to his truck and got him settled in there.

He started the truck and turned around. “You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?”

Finn opened his mouth, then closed it, and Talon smiled at the pink flush that started in his neck. He leaned over and pressed his lips to Finn’s, satisfied when he felt Finn’s hands creep around his back. He pulled back and then nearly—for a split second—thought to hell with the plan and wanted just to drive Finn home and carry him to bed, but he didn’t.

“I hope you’re hungry.”

Fifteen minutes later they pulled up outside Betty’s Diner. “What are we doing here?” Finn asked in astonishment. Talon grinned and jumped down from the truck and was at Finn’s door before he’d recovered from his shock enough to open it. Betty served breakfast and lunch six days a week, closed at 3 p.m., and it was the first place Talon had ever taken Finn to. To be honest, the diner looked closed. All the shutters were down, and it looked like the usual emergency lighting was on when you glanced at the door.

Talon just smiled and clasped Finn’s hand which he almost never did. He led Finn solemnly to the door and opened it. “I screwed up and forgot to book anywhere early enough.”

But Finn didn’t answer. He was too busy staring at the setting inside. Betty stood beaming, but even Talon was impressed at the table. All the smaller tables usually in the middle had been pushed to the side against the booths. The only table left was set up in the middle of the now empty floor. Talon blinked at the snowy white tablecloth and napkins, and the two candles flickering gently. The bottle of champagne he had dropped off earlier was chilling in the ice bucket. There were rose petals sprinkled over the table, and a single rose in a vase next to the candles.

Finn’s hand tightened in his, and he glanced at him quickly. The green eyes he loved shimmered as he stared, and then Finn gazed back at Talon and swallowed.

“It’s beautiful, Betty. Thank you,” Talon said, quietly.

“How?” Finn swallowed, and Talon guided him to the table. Talon didn’t answer because Betty was busy serving the soup. Finn inhaled. “My favorite.”

Betty beamed. “Of course,” and then she sniffed in that what did you expect kind of way. Talon’s belly growled as he smelled Betty’s homemade tomato soup. He’d spent all day worrying about making tonight perfect and hadn’t even thought about eating anything.

“How was your day?” Talon said.

Finn’s face lit up, and Talon listened as Finn eagerly told him what he had learned. They finished their steak and Betty pulled over a cart with some tiny deserts for them to share, and pressed a set of keys into Talon’s hand. “You just lock up when you’re done.” Finn stood up and threw his arms around her, and she chuckled and left them alone.

It was immediately quiet, and Talon swallowed down his suddenly dry throat. “You would be right thinking I forgot about Valentine’s day…I did.” Talon watched the green eyes he loved widen a little at his pronouncement, but then Finn’s face softened, and his smile was back. Gentle, forgiving and sexy as all hell. He was crap at sharing, but Finn deserved the truth and so much more.

“Normal life stopped for me the day I woke up with this.” Talon gestured to his face, then took Finn’s slim hands in his because he needed the touch. “Grandma and Grandad tried, but after Grandad died I stopped bothering.” He shrugged. “I never saw anything worth celebrating.” Finn’s hand tightened in his. “No, that’s not even strictly true. It…” Talon swallowed again, searching for the right words. “It was as if normal life didn’t involve me. Other people had lives. Went to ball games, hell – even dated. So, I didn’t forget exactly. I knew it was Valentine’s day. I just stopped thinking anything like that applied to me.”

Finn’s eyes glittered, and Talon brought Finn’s hand up to his mouth and kissed Finn’s palm. He needed a few seconds to cover his own eyes becoming suspiciously bright. Talon slid a hand into his back pocket and brought out an envelope. He squeezed Finn’s hand before he let go and straightened the envelope a little before handing it over. Finn’s lips parted soundlessly. “Yours is at home.”

Talon understood immediately. “And I bet you would never have said a word about it if I hadn’t.” Finn would never try and make him feel bad. Finn’s lips curled up into the shy smile he loved. “Open it.”

Finn tore the envelope and grinned when he saw the card. He arched an eyebrow. “This is a valentine card?”

Talon chuckled. “I think it’s a birthday card, but I managed to find one with nothing written on it. He watched as Finn read the words Talon had written and saw the lump travel down Finn’s throat.

super hero with heart

“I think this is you, not me,” Finn said quietly. “You’re the one with the super abilities.”

“Come here,” Talon ordered quietly, and Finn got up, and Talon drew him close until he was sitting on his lap. Talon gently raised Finn’s chin with his finger until their eyes met and held. “Every day. Every day you make me a better person. Every day when I can’t love myself, you do it for me. You have the biggest heart of anyone I know, and I don’t know how the hell I ever got so lucky that you make room in it for me.” Talon thumbed the moisture from under Finn’s eyes and captured his lips with his own.

He had gone to five stores before he had found the card he wanted. It had a picture of Superman on it, and Talon could hear the words as he had written them.

“You are my hero. Love is your superpower, and you save me with it every day.”

 

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The Way to His Heart by Felice Stevens: Release Day Book Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

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THE WAY TO HIS HEART

A LEARNING TO LOVE NOVELETTE

FELICE STEVENS

M/M ROMANCE

02.14.17

the-way-to-his-heart-cover

COVER DESIGN: Felice Stevens

COVER PHOTO: Stock Photo

synopsis

Love is going pretty well for Gideon Marks. He’s living with his boyfriend, Jonah, and his business is thriving beyond his wildest dreams. So why is he still worried he’s not enough, and all he holds dear will slip through his fingers?

Jonah Fine has everything he wants; he’s head over heels in love with Gideon and has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his father. Aware of Gideon’s continuing struggle with dyslexia, Jonah tries to reassure him that they are equal partners in their relationship by making their first Valentine’s Day one to remember.

Ghosts from the past reappear, sending Gideon into a tailspin. He must make the decision to either hold on to the anger he grew up with or forgive the pain he’s carried with him all his life. It will take all of Gideon’s courage, Jonah’s love, and a special surprise for Gideon to finally realize the one person he must learn to love is himself.

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excerpt

“Do you think I do that? Live with regrets until they’ve made me afraid to accept happiness and accept you loving me?”

I knew to choose my words carefully. “I think you’ve been alone so long it’s colored your outlook on life. And considering you’re one of the most fearless men I’ve ever met, I think it’s made you afraid to move forward. Your mother’s death and your father’s treatment of you left emotional scars. You have a hard time letting people in to help you.”
Gideon stood up, and I missed him immediately; I sat up and watched him pace the floor, holding his wine as he formulated his thoughts. My heart broke for him as I watched his inner turmoil break him down until he collapsed in the chair opposite me.
“I love you, Jonah. Thinking about being without you scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to be alone; I can’t anymore. But it’s not the being alone part that scares me. I’ve been alone all my life. It’s the being without you. I don’t want to lose you. Today made me realize how I could easily hurt you and push you away.” He gulped his wine then wiped his mouth on his sleeve and shuddered.
“It won’t happen.” I swung my legs off the sofa to go sit on the coffee table and face him. “I won’t let it.”
“I’m telling you. I’m perfect at ruining a good thing.”
“I’m not a good thing. I’m the best damn thing to ever happen to you.”
“I know that. But I don’t ever want you feeling like you have to stay with me because you feel sorry for me.”
I plucked the glass out of his hand and placed it on the table then stood and pulled him into my arms. “I feel many, many things for you—desire, absolute lust, but most of all, love. I’m with you because I love you, Gideon, and that’s never going to change.”
The pain in his eyes slayed me. When would he realize he deserved to be loved?
A slight smile curved Gideon’s lips. “Absolute lust huh? I think I like the sound of that.”

meet the author

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Jared’s Family by V.S. Morgan: Release Day Blitz and Excerpt

Series: Sequel to The Gift and Sam’s Temptation (can be read as a standalone)
Author: V.S. Morgan 
Genre: m/m, Interracial, Contemporary, Western 
Cover Designer: Tibbs Design
Release Date: February 14, 2017

synopsis

After witnessing his mother’s death, a once outgoing preschooler is now a quiet shadow of himself. The little boy suffers nightmares and rarely speaks, choosing to use the basic sign language he learned in daycare. Desperate to help his little nephew, Virge Stevens takes a leave of absence from the LAPD to bring Donovan, known as D to Montana for the therapy he needs.

A chance meeting at the library changes Virge and his nephew’s lives forever.

Jared Malone is one of five brothers, right smack damn in the middle. He is the peacemaker and the one who gets shit done. When his younger brother gets sick, Jared fills in reading to small children at the library. There he encounters a tall, dark, and handsome stranger and his cute little boy. Jared is immediately drawn to Virge but is still dealing with the betrayal of an abusive ex.

As the Malone family welcomes them to the ranch and into their lives, Virge’s instant attraction for Jared grows, but the cowboy is fifteen years younger than him. Will he be rejected?

Both men have secrets. Secrets that could destroy the connection between them. Can they overcome the odds and find happiness together?

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excerpt
Another blond cowboy stood in the middle, working with a horse. He had a long rope around its neck, guiding it around the ring at a quick clip. The shirtless cowboy spoke in a firm yet quiet tone. Virge nearly choked on his tongue, eyeing the golden skin and muscles on display. This was their cowboy.

The man whistled, and the horse stopped. He rubbed its shoulder, his back to them, as they reached the ring’s split-rail fence.

 


“Daddy!” D shrieked, and the horse whinnied and shied, bumping into the man as it swung around.

 


“Whoa, easy, Spike,” the cowboy soothed.

 


Virge struggled to prevent his nephew from launching out of his arms while the cowboy calmed the large, skittish animal. He’d never been near a horse and was struck by its size and power, which the other man skillfully controlled. As the cowboy turned, Virge saw a tattoo on his chest. A redwing blackbird with a rainbow-hued ribbon dangling from its beak. His heart beat a little faster seeing the colorful ink. Could he be gay? The cowboy handed the rope to a dark-haired man before pulling on a T-shirt that stretched tight over those muscles. He suppressed a disappointed sigh.

 


Nate chuckled. “You’ve got some explaining to do, bro.”

 


“Hi, I’m Jared. I remember you from the library.” He approached with a rolling gait Virge found extremely sexy and offered his hand after wiping it against his denim-clad thigh. Damn, he was built all over and tall, just an inch or two shorter than his own height.

 


Virge shook his hand, hyperaware of the firm grasp of warm, work-hardened skin. “I’m Virge, and this is Donovan. He goes by D.”

“Glad you could make it out—”

 


“Why did he call Jared daddy?” Nate interrupted.

 


“He calls all men daddy and women mommy. If he especially likes someone, he adds their first names. D doesn’t talk much, so he must like Jared.” What about this cowboy had inspired his nephew to talk?

 

meet the author

V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, teen son, and a menagerie of pets.

She’s been writing stories since she could hold a pencil and dreams of happily-ever-afters – even for two hot men – because love knows no boundaries. V.S. writes IRMC contemporary, paranormal, and suspense m/m and m/f with heart.

V.S. is a GLBT ally and a lifetime contributor of The Trevor Project.

 

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Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell: Release Day Blitz and Review

Hard Wired

Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Release Day Blitz

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.