Who We Are by Nicola Haken: Blog Tour, Reviews, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Who We Are
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 13, 2017

synopsis

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

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Angie at Wicked Reads ~ “Very heartwarming story, the banter between these guys is so sweet. I can’t say enough about this book to do it justice, just read it, you will love it.”

Beverly at Southern Babes Book Blog ~ “Sebastian and Oliver’s story is beautiful and heartbreaking… These two amazing men are trying to figure out who they really are and together they figure out that they can do anything.”

Jodi at Alpha Book Club ~ “Oliver’s story will make you cry and stand up and cheer for how strong of a human being he is… Loved this story and would recommend to anyone.”

MJ at Alixzia Reading Corner ~ “I ache and bleed with this book for every page turned! Highly recommend!”

Deanna at Two Chicks Obsessed ~ “This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.”

giveaway

excerpt
Who We Are
Copyright © Nicola Haken 2017
~ Sebastian~
I WAS JUMPING down from my cab after arriving back from my last drop of the day when my life almost ended. Okay, so maybe I was known for being a tad on the dramatic side, but when Benny – my oldest friend and biggest pain in my arse -jumped out from behind my trailer, I almost choked on my fucking heart.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered, breathless from the fright. “How the hell did you get in the yard?”
I’d been a heavy goods driver for thirteen years, working here at Patterson Haulage Ltd. for three of those – long enough to know they didn’t let pedestrians wander in off the streets to play hide and seek behind the lorries. Transport was in my genes, I guess. My dad had been a trucker all his life, and he met my mum at work – she worked as a clerk in the office. I never wanted to do anything else. I walked straight into my first warehouse job fresh out of school and stayed there until I was old enough to train for my Class 1 licence and could go out on the road. I loved my job.
“That old lady with the bright orange face let me in. Told her I needed to talk to you about Scott.”
“Scott?” Slamming the door to my cab closed, I fished my phone from the pocket of my Hi-Vis jacket and scanned the screen for missed calls. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Well, he likes Eminem, but hopefully he’ll grow out of that.”

 

“What?” Narrowing my eyes in confusion, I stared at Benny who looked to be admiring his thumbnail. 
“Nothing’s wrong with him. I just knew they’d let me come see your truck if I played the kid card.”
Rolling my eyes, I huffed as I turned and re-opened my cab door. Climbing the steps, I leaned inside to grab my holdall and tacho card before hopping back down. “You’ve seen a wagon before. You shouldn’t use Scott like that. There could be a real emergency one day.”
“And if there is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the one anyone’d call about it,” he said, his tone amused as he ran his finger along the curtain of my trailer. “This needs a wash.”
“You offering?” I asked as I locked up the cab and started walking towards the transport office. I found it highly doubtful as I turned my head to the side and eyed up his leather coat, and beige turtleneck that no doubt he’d paid upwards of a hundred pounds for. Benny worked in recruitment. In other words, companies paid him far too much money to find them suitable candidates for their businesses, money which he wasted on overpriced shit he didn’t need. “Or did you come here for another reason?”
“I came because, as you know, it’s my birthday on Friday. The big three-four. I want y…” Pausing mid word, Benny spun on his heels. “Holy hot ginger.”
I didn’t need to turn around to know he’d spotted Rod, seeing as he was the only red-headed bloke who worked at this depot. “Christ, Benny. Keep it down. I have to work with these guys.”
“Chill out. The fact you’re mates with a gay guy won’t give away the big secret that you like cookies and ice cream.”
“It’s not a secret,” I snapped. Or maybe it was, given that I’d never told anyone I worked with that I was bisexual. My last two relationships had been with women, and ‘passing’ as straight was simply…easier. I was a copout and a liar but I was tired of explaining, defending myself.
There are a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality and I’d encountered most of them during my twenties. Now, at thirty-four, I was kind of exhausted with it all. I wanted to fall in love and create a future with another person as much as anyone, but I’d given up on the idea a while ago. Relationships, for me, whether with a man or a woman, seemed to consist of me justifying myself, reassuring my partner, or hiding – as Benny would say – the cookies or ice cream part of my sexuality.
I couldn’t just be me.

 

wasn’t good enough.
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t want to sleep with everybody, and there weren’t twice as many fish in the sea, because most fish thought I was confused, greedy, unfaithful, trying to be trendy, or afraid to admit I was gay. The last one confused me the most. The number of people who believed bisexuality was a temporary label used to ease the transition to gaytown would never cease to amaze me. It happened, sure, but there were a hell of a lot of bisexuals claiming to be gay, or straight, for no other reason than they couldn’t face the stigma attached to it, too.
I was simply attracted to people. I got turned on by the way someone carried themselves, by their confidence, or even shyness. I felt the same stir in my cock and pull of excitement in my chest when I saw the rugged grooves of a man’s chest as I did the silky curves of a woman’s hips. People are beautiful. I couldn’t help it. It’s just the way I was made.
Thankfully, many people realised these days that being gay or straight wasn’t a choice. Unfortunately, some of these same people believed bisexuals were capable of making a choice, and that they should. Well, I tried that when I was a teenager. I tried to pick a side, to ‘fit’ in somewhere.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work out too well.
“Just tell me what you came for,” I added to Benny, pushing open the swinging door that led to the warehouse which, in turn, led to the office.
“Do you have Scott this weekend?”
“No. Lisa’s taking him to see Jenny’s parents in Cornwall. Why?”
“Great! You’re coming to the village for my birthday.”

 

Ugh. “Ah, you know it’s not really my scene.” I had my reasons for not frequenting the village, unlike Benny who spent so much time there it could be considered his second home. Besides, after a day on the road my idea of a good time was Netflix and a takeaway. 
“Yes, Mr Misery, I know having fun isn’t usually on your To Do list but it’s my birthday and you’ll hurt my feelings if you say no.”
We’d reached the office now and I handed my keys over to June through the window partition while raising a sceptical eyebrow at Benny. “Fine,” I said. “But as soon as you’re too drunk to notice whether I’m there or not I’m leaving.”
“I love you.” He turned to June who looked rather amused by my dickhead friend. “I love him, you know.”
“Knock it off, moron,” I said, ramming my shoulder into his.
“Watch the jacket!” he shrieked as he rubbed at the tan leather that made him look like a seventies pimp. “You’re covered in dirt and smell like oil.”
“Please excuse my friend, June. They don’t usually let him out unattended.”
“Don’t mind me, lovey. I’ve seen all sorts in my time.”
I risked a glance at Benny, whose mouth had dropped ever so slightly open. For a man who wasn’t easily offended, the image was priceless.
“You’re on the Midlands run tomorrow, lovey,” June added as she tapped on her keyboard.
Nodding, I told her I’d see her in the morning, swung my holdall over my shoulder and started making my way to the car park, all the while trying not to laugh at Benny’s reaction.
“Did she seriously refer to me as an all sort?” he muttered under his breath when we neared my car. I knew he wouldn’t let it go so easily. “Clearly, out of the all sorts she’s met none of them have been make-up artists.”
“Stop it,” I said, snorting as I clicked open the central locking on my matte black Ford Galaxy. “June’s lovely. A little old-fashioned, but harmless.”
“I’m sure. It just wouldn’t hurt for her to go down a shade or twelve in the foundation department is all I’m saying.”
Opening the rear door, I tossed my bag onto the back seat. “Have you finished being a bitch?”
“God, I hope not.”
Removing my thick, Hi-Vis jacket, I threw that on top of my bag, revealing my dark green uniform polo shirt, before closing the door and getting into the driver’s seat. “Is that all you wanted? You could’ve called or text.”
Benny leaned against my open door, hand on hip. “Told you, I wanted to see your big truck.” He winked at me.
I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, or at least keep a disinterested expression, but I couldn’t help chuckle at him.
“I was in the area, and besides, you’d have said no without my pretty face to seduce you.”

 

Probably. 
“And hey, if you want to bring a plus one your red-haired co-worker is more than welcome.”
Shooing him away from the door, I pulled it closed and brought the engine to life before rolling down the electric window. “Let me know when and where during the week,” I said, dismissing the idea of inviting Rod. He’d only been here for three months and I didn’t know the guy well, but the fact he had a wife and three kids told me Rod wouldn’t be interested in the kind of socialising Benny had in mind for him.
“Will do,” he said, tapping the roof of my car before backing away. “Don’t forget I have expensive taste!”
Shaking my head, I bit my lip to suppress the grin that wanted to escape as I reversed out of my space. I already had his present – a bottle of Dior aftershave, same as every year. It was the only thing I knew the fussy bastard wouldn’t return in exchange for store credit.

 

deanna review

I’ve read some of Nicola Haken before and as usual she ripped my heart out of my chest again. In the best way possible. (There’s a compliment in there somewhere.)

Oliver Clayton put his life on hold 10 years ago to raise his little brother after his mother died of leukemia. He works in a hair salon by day and a drag bar by night to make ends meet.

Sebastian Day is a truck driver. He lives alone with his cat Marv and spends weekends with his son, who he’s raising with his best friend and her wife.

The two meet at a bar and exchange numbers. Both of them will need to come out of their comfort zones if they want to see where this goes. Oliver us so used to living for his brother and Sebastian isn’t really living at all, instead choosing to spend down time at home with his cat.

After several weeks of dating things start to get serious. They introduce their families and start planning for the future. When a health scare puts Oliver’s plans on hold Sebastian will need to hold on tight and anchor Oliver to the life they have started creating together. With support from Seb’s friend Benny and Oliver’s friend Rhys, Sebastian and Oliver can’t look anywhere but forward, together.

I’m not sure where to begin. Even knowing Nicola’s writing, when she hit me with the plot twist I was left stunned. I felt like Seb and Oliver had climbed to the top of the mountain together and she just drop kicked Oliver all the way back to the start of the trail. I cried all over myself while he climbed back up, she totally made up for it. The ending was perfection.

The speed of the story was perfect and it was in no way predictable. She shocked my socks off a few times. The characters were lovable and relatable.

I really would like a sequel that tells Rhys and Benny’s story but I’m so afraid of what she will do to them to give them their happily ever after. In order to live up to this book she’s going to have to hit one with a car or something equally shocking and horrific.

This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.

5 pieces of eye candy

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erin

Whenever Ms Haken has a new release- I MUST HAVE IT! First the Souls of the Knight trilogy, which was so good. Plus, rock stars. But then she branched out a bit in her next 2 books. Both of them both broke my heart but left me happy. And she did it again.

When I first started reading this book I thought “hmm, maybe this will just be a nice love story romance and she won’t rip the heart right out of my chest and stomp on it”. HA! She did. And I am totally ok with that. Because her writing is so great that you have to feel deeply for her characters. They climb into you and won’t let go.

Oliver is a hair stylist just barely making ends meet while raising his brother. One night a week he goes out and performs as Miss Tique- his drag persona. And although he is in drag, he does it with his beard. And sings his own songs. I loved her.

Sebastian is a single dad, co-parenting with his best friend. And one night he runs into Oliver. Or Oliver runs into him. And he is smitten. The purple lipstick mesmerized him.

They begin to date, slowly. Each hiding the secret of the teenager at home. And while Sebastian is ready to go all in, Oliver isn’t. But fate has a different idea.

Even with everything life throws at them, they have a good slow romance burn. Both teenagers play heavily into the storyline which was nice because they really were integral to the story.

I don’t want to tell you too much about what happens. Because I really want you to read this book. Have tissues handy, but you will also smile and laugh and swoon.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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teaser
meet the author

Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media!

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…



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Secrets of You by Skylar M. Cates: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

SecretsOfYouFS_v1synopsisIt’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?
While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

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Guest Post

Release Day Jitters: The Maze of Romance Writing  

It’s release day for Secrets of You! I’m excited and nervous equally. Yes, I hope you love it! Yes, I hope for good reviews and sales. But I also try and take that moment to enjoy my accomplishment.

Some authors will check their sales continuously on release week, others will stay with the covers over their heads, and some authors (like myself) strike a balance between the two extremes. Yet every author I meet does have some kind of ritual on release day. Here are a few of mine.

RITUALS FOR RELEASE DAY:

  1. I try and take a relaxing swim. Living in a warm place, there is optional swimming year round. With every stroke, my anxiety about sales or reviews lessen. Bonus: a hot tub.
  2. I toast the book with a glass of wine or a vodka shot. What I drink depends on three factors: what’s in my pantry, how hard the book was to write, and if my kids are home.

I started this toasting ritual with Exposed. Although the jitters might not be quite as killer as with my first novel, I try and remind myself that I deserve a moment to cheer for my characters being let out in the world. (Yay River! Yay Morgan!)

  1. I check the sales only once that day. Otherwise it will drive me insane (I might ask a trusted friend to watch for more numbers or reviews, but I can only look for so long. This is good and bad. The day The Only Guy hit number one on Amazon, I would have had no clue if not for a buddy sending me a screenshot!)
  2. I watch some trashy television and allow a break.

Some writers are frightened of taking short breaks. I think of it as recharging my batteries. Some of my favorite shows to chill with these days are Shadowhunters, Scandal, and Empire. I love a good soapy show (it goes well with that glass of celebratory wine).

  1. I begin the next book.

 

AUTHORS ARE MAZE RUNNERS

I’m not a plotter with charts and outlines all color-coded or anything that organized, but I’m not a total pantser, either. So yeah, after release day is done, I turn to the next one. I usually scribble notes. Write down some impressions of new characters. It can start pretty simply.

For example, I’m working on a book for the Dreamspun Desires line about a cowboy and a rock star, and I needed a name of a cat. I had Mr. Whiskers and hated it. The cat was a bit grumpy and lazy. I turned to ask my Facebook friends what a good name might be and got over fifty replies! As silly as it sounds, once I picked the cat’s name from the responses (Oscar, at least for now), I wrote a whole page of notes.

Plotting a romance often feels like a maze.  I often turn to that next book and think: now what? Here is how it looks in my brain when I began Secrets of You:

Morgan is alone

River is alone

maze

                                                                                                                                       River and Morgan find HEA

 

Did you get the guys together in my maze? Not too hard, right? Yet the characters struggle at every twist and turn. For them it should be hard. The reader might be able to see the way to true love, and the reader of a romance knows that happy end is coming, but the fun is taking the journey.

(Note: dirty mazes can also be fun.)

Personally I have a horrible sense of direction. If real love were a maze, I might still be lost!

Isn’t that the way we all feel at times? That’s one of the universal truths in a good romance: the path is uncertain.

All I do know is a release day is still special. Forever and always, the day my book releases is like completing that maze. River and Morgan have found each other, and that fact makes me happy.

Thank you for being here with me on my release day. I loved writing this one.

Let’s celebrate!

jennifer
Ok, so, let me first say that I started Secrets of You, not realizing that it was part of a series. I loved the cover though, so I requested it. I didn’t really feel like I was missing much, except for the secondary characters and their stories; such as Rivers former partner, who passed away and the two friends that get married. I’ll have to go back and read about them because, I’m betting they’re just as great.

In this one though, we have River and Morgan. River, like I said River had lost the love of his life in a bicycle accident and was closed off from letting himself love again. He was quiet and moody and pretty much kept himself, to himself. Enter, Morgan, who moves into the same house as River and several of their roommate/friends, and River suddenly can’t get far enough away from him. He’s attracted to him, of course, Morgan is friendly and flirty and always seems in a good mood. Now, after their friends are going on a cruise/honeymoon and leaving the guys at home by themselves, it’s harder and harder to stay away from one another. I, 100% could understand River’s resistance, I couldn’t imagine losing someone I loved so much, let alone having to learn how to live without then and love someone else. I can imagine how it would feel like replacing them or forgetting them and River felt he didn’t deserve goodness. He’d been through a lot in his life. He had a lot of guilt and baggage that he never told anyone, and he desperately wanted to tell Morgan.

Morgan was great, he didn’t push, not really. He helped River by going to different organizations to see which one to donate the money he got from suing the helmet company after Brendan’s passing. River had wanted to do something nice to honor Brendan’s memory with it. It was sweet and Morgan was patient and sincere and honest. He would be so good for River, but I felt like they’d needed each other.

River needed to face some things about his past though, things that he held close to himself and didn’t share with anyone, and that included Brendan or any of the other guys. I was glad when he trusted Morgan, I just loved them both together, anyway.

Morgan’s dad was a tough nut to crack. I understand that some people are just set in their ways and all that and I feel that’s how Morgan’s dad was, even though Morgan tried so hard to gain his acceptance. I feel in that one instance, he just didn’t accept it. He tolerated it, but even Morgan said, he hated to just be tolerated. I really felt for him, but like he also said…. So many other people had it worse. Which reminds me, I really wish they could’ve helped all of the places they looked at, in order to help with Brendan’s money.

I really want to read about Jared and Ennio, as well. I sincerely hope they’re next. That’ll be such a heartbreaking story I’m sure….and for any of ya who read my reviews; ya’ll know that I’m a sucker for hot guys with kids! Plus… I really want to see Jared get his little piece of happy. And he’s a firefighter… come on.

Overall, once I got passed the realization that I didn’t know the other characters and it took me a minute to figure out which ones were coupled up. I enjoyed this story very much. It’s not too terribly angsty, which I liked and I loved seeing River open up and be the person he so badly wanted to be. He was sweet.

4 pieces of eye candy from me!!!

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Tell me how you relax after a major accomplishment!

One winner gets a DSP $15 dollar coupon. Just leave a comment to the blog post.

 

Contact Skylar M. Cates:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/skylar.cates

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SkylarMCates

MY BLOG: https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/

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As the Sun Sets by RJ Jones: Blog Tour, Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

As the sun sets 600 synopsis

Doctor Scott Penney used to be a Paediatric Oncologist—until he burned out. Watching children suffer and die took its toll on his mental health. To cope, he used anonymous sex as an emotional crutch, thinking it was better than hitting the bottle. But that inevitably destroyed his relationship with the man he loved.

With his tail between his legs and a year’s worth of celibacy under his belt, Scott accepts a position as an Accident and Emergency consultant, leaving his career in oncology and London behind.

Ben Jenkins is a paediatric nurse who loves his seaside city, his job, and his faithful old Labrador, Happy. When he meets the new doctor, Ben falls for Scott’s kind-yet-reserved personality—not to mention his good looks. Scott is great with the children who come through the hospital, but Ben senses there’s more to Scott than meets the eye.

Scott tries to resist Ben’s sunny charm—Scott’s not boyfriend material, after all—but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the sad looking old dog and his charming owner. As Scott and Ben get closer and the weather heats up, tragedy strikes and Ben is left wondering how much of Scott’s history he actually knows.

For them to move forward, Ben must show Scott that no matter what happened in the past, a beautiful day can always start after the sun sets.

**This can be read as a standalone**

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Guest Post

This guest post was supposed to be what I’ve got coming up this year, but it’s not a lot.

After As the Sun Sets, I have a story set in Australia called Solid Rock that I plan to release in May, all things going well. It’s about a British boy, James, who has been left his estranged father’s ashes to scatter at Uluru. He thinks he can go to the middle of Australia, release his dad’s ashes, and then return to England within a few days. Little does he realise the magical lure of the rock. Cue Matt. An Aussie tour guide and Alice Springs native. Matt helps James and decides a distraction couldn’t hurt. After all, it’s not often Matt comes across another gay man in the middle of nowhere.

They build a friendship, learning about each other, and James discovers there’s more to Australia than just a hunk of rock and deadly animals. But James has to return home. You’ll have to wait and see what happens when it’s released, but this may be my favourite ever story I’ve written.

I don’t have much else in the works. I started writing a short ménage with very little plot, but that’s been sitting on the shelf for some time. I’ll probably finish it soon, though. Sex scenes are fun to write. 🙂

I don’t know if I’ll get anything else out this year. Potentially, there’s a big move on the horizon with my family moving to Portugal. This will mean very little time to write, but that may not be a bad thing. My mojo is starting to run out. Competition is fierce and if you don’t promote yourself constantly then you don’t get many sales. I get enough sales to keep going and readers seem to like what I write, so I can’t complain. But the pressure to promote and put myself out there is too great.

So, we’ll see. I’ll still write, but the pressure is starting to take the joy out of it, so I may not publish. You’ll have at least another full-length novel from me, but I can’t promise much past that at this stage. Who knows? I may start publishing everything for free to escape the pressure.

Thanks for having me. <3 RJ

jennifer

Okay, I came in late in this series. Book 3, however, it must be okay to read as a standalone because I didn’t feel I missed anything at all by not starting from the beginning. I’m going to go back and read the others though, because I really enjoyed this one.
Scott Penney was a pediatric oncologist. Can you imagine how terrible of a job that would be? Rewarding, sure….absolutely, but, losing children? Caring for little kids and seeing them get sicker and eventually not being able to beat the cancer, ravaging their bodies? That takes a special kind of person to do and I wasn’t surprised that it was too hard for him. He felt each loss, it hurt him not to be able to save every one…
Getting burnt out on the job and running from the relationship he ruined by not being able to cope with everything; he decided to get out of the area and try something new…New beginnings and all that. He moved to Brighton and began working in an A&E service. That’s where he met Nurse Rainbow…
Ben is a pediatric nurse who works alongside his volunteer mother at a hospital. She’s a trip too, Glo. She’s everything that is a hippy mom and you cannot help but love her.
Ben starts out just meeting and having a couple lunches with Scott, but their attraction for one another is palpable. Ben is patient and kind and caring and he’s so understanding and willing to help Scott. He’s there for him when he needs him, just to listen. He doesn’t push and he’s such a genuine person, I loved that he was exactly what Scott needed, when he needed it. Scott had been beating himself for a long time over what happened in his last relationship and he just didn’t think that he deserved to be happy.
Ben and his puppy, Happy, wanted to prove to him that he did.
This story was heartbreaking in places and so hopeful in others. I adored the way Ben was with Scott and I loved when Scott finally started opening up and allowing himself something good….something happy. He truly deserved it. The way he grew up and family he had to tolerate…smh… it’s a wonder he turned out to be the kind of man he did at all. He has a good heart and like I said… it takes a special person to do the work that he done with such passion and blinding hope to make people better. I enjoyed that.
Overall, this was a really sweet read. The ending was just perfect as well. I’m looking forward to reading the others in this story.
4 pieces of eye candy from me!

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tco-also in series

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Buy: As the Leaves Fall

Buy: As the Ice Melts

meet the author

rjones-avatar_hiresRJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.

RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work.  But they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days.  Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.

Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.

She is surrounded by males.

RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.

Where to find me

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robyn.j.jones.1711

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rjjonesauthor

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/rjjonesauthor/

Website – http://rjjonesauthor.com

Email – rjjonesauthor@gmail.com

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Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk: Blog Tour, Author Interview, Review and Giveaway

TCO is super excited to have J.E. Birk here today. We asked her very last minute to throw us a bone (see what I did there? 🙂 ) and do a last minute Friday Five-ish Questions, because I found the book so timely. She was so generous and did it right away. So, thank you. Read up on Dating Ryan Alback, then run out and grab it! 

dating ryansynopsisRyan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.

Jason Santos has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can’t seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they’ll both have to learn to let go of the past.

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Guest Post

Greetings! I’m J.E. Birk, and right now I’m traversing the internets to discuss my new romantic comedy, DATING RYAN ALBACK. Follow along to learn more about an insecure movie star, a klutzy teacher, and the neurotic dog who loves them. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide giftcard and copy of any book from my backlist!

tco-friday 5ish

Five-ish Good Questions for Dating Ryan Alback author J.E. Birk. A sometimes feature on Two Chicks Obsessed.

Thank you to the author who agreed to do this interview very last minute. But I felt like these questions needed to be asked! 🙂

  1. The first question, and what could be the telling question as to your psychic abilities…how long ago was Dating Ryan Alback written? It was published on February 20, but I would imagine it’s been written for some time.

LOL! Great question. One of the main subplots of this book has Jason, the MC, starting a nonprofit to support families who’ve been split apart by deportation. Sadly, in the 2017 political climate, this subplot feels incredibly relevant. But you’re right—I first started drafting this book years ago, back in 2014. At the time we weren’t having the same national conversation about deportation that we are right now. But I was living and working in a community with a huge population of immigrants, and it was an enormous part of our local conversation.

  1. To say that there is a subplot in this story that is timely for current political events would be understating it. There is a portion of that subplot that I literally saw on the news a day after I read it in the book. How much of current events, or even your guess of what might happen in the political climate play into your book?

Ironically, there were points when I was revising this book and selling it when I wondered if I’d have to change Jason’s subplot—because the conversation around immigration was becoming more humane, and more people were starting to see what mass deportation does to families. But then the election cycle leading to the 2016 presidential race began, and that subplot began to feel highly, highly relevant again. Now I’m very glad I never changed it, because I think we need more books that look at how families—especially children—are affected by deportation.

  1. Without giving too much away, what was your inspiration for writing this subplot? Was it something you’ve seen before, or something that you saw coming?

Like Jason, I’m a teacher. And like Jason, I’ve had the horrible experience of watching my students’ families destroyed because of deportation. It’s so easy for people to make blanket statements like “Well, if someone came here illegally, they’ve gotta go.” Logically that’s an understandable statement. Law is law, right? But I suspect most people who say that have never hugged a twelve-year-old whose parents have just been taken away from them to another country. A country that they may have never even seen before. It’s all a very complicated issue, and I wish more nonprofits like Jason’s existed.

  1. How much research did you do for this book? Was it on anything in particular?

The interesting thing about this book is that it’s a romantic comedy. I wrote it as a romcom and I suspect the majority of readers who’ve enjoyed it are people who love romcoms. I’m been talking a lot about how it’s a book I wrote when I needed more comedy in my life…and it is largely very light and fluffy. Except for this one subplot.

So while I was writing this book I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about my favorite romantic comedies. Considering how the best ones stay true to their comedic roots while still allowing for more serious topics to play within the plot.  I hope Dating Ryan Alback is, at the end of the day, a book which gives people a sense of joy and escapism without shying away from real-world issues and topics.

  1. Always, number 5 is the fun one. You receive a genie in a bottle, and are given 1 wish. You can’t wish for more wishes, or world peace, or crap like that. J What would you wish for?

Awww, I wanted a million wishes! Right now I’d probably wish that everyone in the world would show more kindness and empathy. There’s a lot of fear and anger spreading right now. I suspect we’d be in a much better place if we all just spent more time putting ourselves in the shoes of others.

denise review

There is so much I want to say about this book. There were so many elements to it, that made it a surprise for me.

I had not read anything by J.E. Birk before Dating Ryan Alback, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It looked like a sweet, romantic book (and c’mon, look at that cover, doesn’t that say “sweet and cute” all over it?), with fluffy bunnies, kittens and puppies falling all over the place. And it was (minus the bunnies and kittens, and with the dog being somewhat neurotic). This book made me laugh out loud at points. Case in point, this dialogue between Jason and Natalia (Jason’s best friend):

“Dramatic? Did you call me dramatic? My last date took me to a gyro place. Gryos, Jason!”

“I like gyros,” Jason answered mildly.

“Yes, yes, we all like gyros…”

I had several laugh out loud moments highlighted. Ones that I highlighted that later became a bigger part of the storyline. In the end, though, this was a fun, romantic comedy.

Until I realized that there was a sub-plot that made it so relevant to current day politics that I was shocked at the idea that this must have been written well before the U.S. presidency had even been decided. The author nailed the issue so hard, I was in awe at how accurate a portrayal of something that I hadn’t even realized was truly happening (and literally has increased exponentially in the last month). The author’s portrayal of this situation made it hit home even more. And as you read her interview, you’ll see this was deeply personal for her.

All in all this book was such a hit with me, and as I processed it over the next couple days, it felt even more like heaps of fun, with a side of reality thrown in, which I am hoping is how all the readers feel about it.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks. You can follow her ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.

Connect with J.E. Birk:

giveaway

To celebrate the release of Dating Ryan Alback, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide Publishing credit and their choice of ebook from J.E.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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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.

Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, Excerpt, includes Giveaway

Skythane8-1

synopsis

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Title: Skythane

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Authors: J. Scott Coatsworth

Cover Artist: Anne Caine

Length: 85K, # pages

Format: eBook, Paperback

Release Date: 2/17/17

Pairing: MM

Genres: sci fi, mm romance, gay sci fi

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tco-author interview

Thanks for having me to celebrate the release of my first novel, “Skythane.” 🙂

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Yeah… the writing part. 😛

Actually, the editing part is the hardest for me. I am so ready to move along to the next story, but have to relive the current one again and again. But it’s part of the deal, so we suck it up and work through it.

Of your writing, who is your favorite story?

So far?

I love “Flames”, my short story in “A More Perfect Union”, because it combines some of my favorite things – Italian, my hometown of Tucson, romance, and a little magical realism.

But I also love Skythane, my first novel, because… well, because it’s my first novel, and because I love the story and the characters. 🙂

Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.

My first published story was “The Bear at the Bar”, published in the anthology “A Taste of Honey” from Dreamspinner in 2014. But my first publication? That happened in 1998, and was a book called “Raising each Other”, a self-help book for teens and parents I wrote with four other teens and our High School English teacher. 🙂

Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.

Not sure how unique it is, but I sleep commando. I can’t stand having clothes on under the sheets, and it’ll keep me awake all night. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

Tell us something we don’t know about your heroes. What makes them tick? Tell us one thing about them that we don’t learn from the book, the secret in their past.

Hmmm… they are connected even more deeply than they know, by events that greatly precede their births.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

 

excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

 

meet the author

j-scott-coatsworthScott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

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Dating in Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter: Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

DatingInRetrospectFS_v1

synopsis

Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.

Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.

A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.

Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)

Author: Lila Leigh Hunter

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: February 15, 2017

Category: Romance

Genre: Contemporary

Sex Content: Explicit

Pairing: MM

Orientation: Bisexual

Identity: Cisgender

Length: Novella

Words: 38,800

Pages: 101

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Guest Post

Pop Culture Infiltration

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike! What day is it Mike? It’s Hump day! Sorry, but I had to do it. 🙂Riverside, IA

I want to thank the crew of Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting me today. I didn’t realize how many pop culture references I had on my States of Love novella, Dating in Retrospect, until I was halfway through it. Then, I embraced them.

When you first think of Iowa you don’t associate it with Hollywood and TV productions unless you’re from the area. But there are many movies, shows, and books that take place in the Hawkeye state. During their dating year, my main characters—Clay & Aaron—visited several places used or referenced in pop culture, and they quoted some of them as well.

Their first date takes place in Riverside, Iowa—future birthplace of James T. Kirk. You guessed it, my boys are geeks and aren’t afraid to admit it.

They also visited the Field of Dreams and the Bridges of Madison County. There are mentions of singing telegrams, the Radio City Rockettes, Star Trek, and some other popular shows & one-liners.

If you want to see how all of this plays a part in their relationship, you would have to read the story. Oh, and something I didn’t realize until this very moment, one of the characters gives a graduation speech, hint, hint. <3

DatinginRetrospect _headerbanner

 

 

 

excerpt

Clay—May ’15

Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.

“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.

“Thank you.”

“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”

“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.

He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.

“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.

“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”

“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.

“Ass.”

Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.

“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.

 

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meet the author

Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

Social Media

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctHk41

Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/HunterRomances

Lila’s Cabana on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LilasBooks/

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/LilaLeighHunter

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Hunter_Romances

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lila_leigh/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Hunter_Romances/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/HunterRomances

Website: http://lilaleighhunter.wordpress.com

Email: llhunter.romance@gmail.com

Blog Tour Dates

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

Better with Bacon by Matthew Lang: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Guest Post and Giveaway

BetterWithBaconFS_v1synopsis

When Patrick’s long-term girlfriend Li Ling dumps him just as he’s working up the nerve to propose, he ends up drunk on David’s couch—and later in David’s bed. Although initially reluctant to pursue anything beyond a one-time drunken tryst, David throws caution to the wind during an intimate dinner, where the two men also discuss Patrick’s dream of entering the food industry. Just as the friends-turned-lovers are settling into their new romance, Li Ling calls Patrick—she’s pregnant.

Convinced the announcement spells the end of their love affair and a return to their platonic friendship, David flees to Sydney to escape his heartbreak. But upon his return to Melbourne, David discovers the situation hasn’t gone the way he’d expected. There might still be a chance for David and Patrick’s dreams to come true if they can forgive each other’s mistakes and move forward.

 

Guest Post

“Shit, they’ve done it. The Millennials have actually done it. They’ve created a space where you can be whatever gender identity you are, be attracted to whoever you want and no one fucking cares. It’s great!”
This comment recently found its way to my personal Facebook wall, along with another post from the same person decrying the lack of men in assless leather chaps and dykes with their tits out at Midsumma, Melbourne’s annual summer festival of queer art.
And my brain, being the annoyingly wonderfully overthinking and pattern forming organ that it is, immediately linked those two statements together. Normalisation. The process of being normal? The process of becoming normal. The process of having equality and equal rights has created both of the above situations. It’s arguably responsible for the death of lesbian bars, same sex marriage becoming increasingly recognised in the western world, and the fact that police stations in Australia have dedicated gay and lesbian community liaisons. I got a rainbow wristband from them at Carnival this year, actually.
Normalisation means not needing as many safe spaces as the last generation of queers did. It means that people who live vanilla lifestyles can be out proud, visible, and dragging moody teenagers along to queer carnival day when the kids clearly have better things to do I mean really. And people can do all that without having their reputations tarnished. Without social stigma. Without losing their jobs. Once, only those who dared to be overtly different dared to be out, now everyone else can too. At least, mostly. More often than not.
Even me being here, a gay man writing about gay men for a site run by women who love gay men is part of this long, slow movement that’s still being fought today (don’t get me started about how Australia doesn’t have marriage equality yet. Just don’t), but is so much better for each generation. It’s important to remember that we all owe an awful lot to the men in assless chaps, the topless dykes, and the trans women of colour to name just a few groups now eclipsed by the queer mainstream, if such a thing can be said to exist. We owe them for creating a world where you can be exactly where you are right now, reading these words and loving the stories that you read.
Without those who dared to go before, this onetime babygay might never have dreamed about writing stories. Or probably wouldn’t have dared dream of publishing and sharing them openly.
There’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s still a need to be daring – to be the guy with his metaphorical ass hanging out of his metaphorical chaps forging towards a better future for the marginalised. Now I have to check my own abled cisgendered male privilege and support the battles against transphobia and bipjobia in my bubble of liberalism. And not all gay men get that.
I’ll tell you something though – the ones that do? They’re sexy. And if you know any who are gay and single, send them my way, yeah?
In the meantime, I’ll keep writing about the messy realities that face men like me, and not quite like me, as this normalisation thing happens around us. I hope you’ll join me in moving it along.

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excerpt
Stonewall, named after both the New York Inn and the riots, had a name that now evoked a film that no one went to see. It was also one of David’s main haunts in Sydney—a good place to get a drink, get groped, dance a bit, and possibly even pick up. It was an older, mixed crowd than the nightclubs, and although there was a time for dancing for all hours, now didn’t seem to be one of them. David found himself ordering a G&T and kicking back on a couch, and wishing he’d brought his personal phone. Although he was aware there had been a time when people at bars talked to each other, he’d grown up with most people checking their phones first. To be fair, he could easily have gone up and inserted himself into a conversation with a “Hi, I’m new here” or a “Hi, I’m visiting and decided I should meet new people,” which normally worked, but tonight, he let the buzz of conversation swell around him and wrap him in its vibrancy and life. Something dancey in the Top 40 played overhead, and he smiled as he sank into the cushions of the couch and let the beat thrum through his bones.
“Wow, you look relaxed.”
David’s eyes snapped open, and he looked up into calm brown eyes framed by long brown hair that tumbled halfway down the man’s back.
“Yeah, well… stressful week.”
“Pool?” the man asked. “I’m hunting for games.”
“Huh?” Only then did David notice the pool cue gripped loosely in the man’s hand.
“Sure,” he said. “I don’t bet, though.”
“No, no, just a friendly game.” The man flashed him a grin. It was hard to pin down his age, as beard stubble added years to any face. He was of medium height, and had a stocky, muscular build, with forearms that David was a little jealous of. “I like talking to people over a game. There’s something to do besides fumble for the next topic of conversation.”
David laughed. “I suppose lining up your shot gives you an excuse to be silent.”
“It does. Pool also makes it more likely that guys come up and watch—and talk to you. And it also lets you approach interesting people and chat to them without being creepy.”
“Interesting?”
“Are you telling me you’re not?”
“I work in banking,” David said. “By definition….”
The bestubbled man deliberately looked David up and down, his eyes lingering on David’s chest and crotch. “I don’t know. One banker I met moonlighted as a stripper. You’ve got the body for that.”

morgan review

This was the first book I have ever read by Matthew Lang. The story started off pretty good and ended well, I just wasn’t feeling the middle very much. The MC’s have some communication issues and it causes one of them, in my opinion, to make a bad decision that I just couldn’t see him making if he cared about his best friend as much as he said he did. I know the head space he was in might have caused him to run when faced with the big issue, but the other decision he makes just made me itch.  Of course everyone deals with stress in different ways so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and kept reading. When the two get together and finally talk things out their relationship takes off and there are quite a few ‘awwww’ moments, but by that point I still wasn’t feeling it that much. I will check out a few more books by Matthew Lang considering this was the first thing I have read by this author, for sure. I’ll have to go with 3 pieces of eye candy for this one.

3-pieces of eye candy

meet the author
Matthew Lang writes behind a desk, in the park, on the tram, and sometimes backstage at amateur theater productions. He has been known to sing and dance in public and analyze the plots of movies and TV shows, and is a confessed Masterchef addict. He has dabbled in film, machinema, event management, and even insurance, but his first love has always been the written word. He is suspected of frequenting libraries and hanging around in bookstores, and his therapists believe he may be plotting some form of literature.

My Social Media:
Website: www.matthew-lang.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MattLangWrites/
Twitter: @mattlangwrites

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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!

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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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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
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“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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