Louder Than Words by Siryn Sueng: Release Day Review

34663806synopsisDerrek is a local teacher in Clearwater, Florida. He frequents a nearby coffee shop before work every morning, where he finds himself enraptured with a young barista, Alex. But Alex never seems to notice him, even when he’s handing Derrek his morning coffee.

After weeks of hiding in his corner under the pretense of working, Derrek finally gains enough courage to ask Alex on a date. He’s crushed when all he gets for an answer is complete silence. He thinks it’s the end, until he finds out that Alex has a disability that has paralyzed his vocal cords.

Sign language is Alex’s way of communication, and it’s something that Derrek knows little to nothing about. With renewed determination, Derrek asks Alex to teach him sign language. Derrek wants to be able to talk to Alex, to tell him how he really feels, and find out if Alex feels the same.

But more than anything, he longs for a relationship that goes deeper than just words alone.

Louder Than Words is an 18,000-word novella.

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jennifer

Hmmm, okay…

So, first… I understand that this is a novella, so, of course, it’s going to be short…. but it ends so abruptly, like literally, in the most random place, I thought for sure there would be another page or two or something, but nope… it just ended. This is my first story by this author, so I’m not sure if that’s the norm, but it took me a bit by surprise in this one.

Other than that, though… it was a cute story. Alex is a barista at the coffee shop that Derrek frequents everyday… sure for coffee but also because he’s smitten with the cute barista with a tongue ring and dark hair. Although he kind of botches his attempt in asking him out… Derrek’s obnoxious (and he seriously, ridiculously obnoxious), co-worker helps him out in asking him out again… That’s when he realizes that Alex doesn’t speak.

Alex, is adorable… tattoo’s, piercings, adorable smile… got me swooning over here! Derrek is a little cheesy but he’s sweet in a “clueless” kind of way. I didn’t take either of them for being particularly experienced but once they got comfortable with each other, they settled into a pretty cute relationship.

When asked to help a new fellow co-worker to learn sign… Alex and Derrek agree, since Alex had also taught Derrek and was a good teacher. However, it didn’t go quite as planned and the kid seemed like kind of a jerk. He’s with the abrupt ending though so don’t get used to him…. I wonder if they’ll be another book or another story involving any of them… I wouldn’t mind reading more about them… like I said… Alex was adorable and well worth the read of this short story…

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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At Attention by Annabeth Albert: Release Day Blitz, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleAT ATTENTION

Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well–different couple for each book)

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: April 10, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS

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synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

excerpt

**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

****

What will Apollo do when he discovers that Perfect Butt guy is his best friend’s little brother? Find out in AT ATTENTION!

Heather's Review

How do I love Annabeth Albert, let me count the ways… seriously, I have never read a book written by her that I haven’t devoured. As a matter of fact, I read At Attention a while ago and just read it again now so I could write this review. That’s really telling, because reading a second time was almost as amazing as the first. Sure, there were things I remembered from my first time with Apollo and Dylan, but overall, I enjoyed it as much as most new-to-me reads.

As soon as we met Apollo in Off Base, I knew I needed his story. There was pain that needed to be healed and I wanted to know he’d be okay. And boy, was he ever!

Dylan has some big tasks ahead of him if he wants to win Apollo’s heart. He needs to show Apollo he’s no longer Apollo’s buddy’s little brother. Heck, I’m pretty sure he needs to remind everyone he’s not a kid anymore. On top of that, he has to get past the double-thick wall Apollo’s built around his heart.

Every interaction, every progression of their relationship felt natural. It was the way two men, one of whom has a long list of responsibilities, would go from a convenient arrangement to help Apollo with his daughters to men in love with one another as equals.

Today, I’ll be picking up the audiobook so I can listen to their story again. There’s one scene in particular, right at the end of the book, that I’m dying to know if the narrator does justice. After that, it’ll be time to start hounding Annabeth for the next book in the series, because the Out of Uniform series is a bit like Lay’s chips: you can’t eat just one.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

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

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

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Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Goodreads


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Imagines by N.R. Walker: Release Day Review and Giveaway

33973808 synopsisJack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.

When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.

Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.

But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance

A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two.

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jennifer

Sigh…I adore this couple and the brilliant mind that writes them. Imago, even though I’m terrified of butterflies and moths… I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. It was hands down, one of the top 5 best reads for me so far, this year. This one was no different. And seriously…. Do you see how hot this cover is?

So, we pick up where we left off with Lawson and Jack. It’s several months after the brush fire they’re still together and going strong.

Lawson gets invited to the rainforest to try and figure out why a certain butterfly is dying off. Don’t ask me to recall it, because they all have such weird names, even if I could remember it, I’d never be able to spell it… So, of course, he’s going to go and try to help and as luck would have it, Jack is up for some annual vacation time, so they make it a planned trip together.

I have to say I was a little weary of Pierce, he’s the man they see about the endangered butterflies. He feels hot and cold to me at first and I just wasn’t sure how to take him. Of course, if it was my life’s work, I’m sure I’d be as defensive and protective. Because Lawson needs to do research, Jack is often left to his own devices during the day, but when he and Lawson are together, they’re all about each other.
I love the way these two love each other. There is no one better than Jack, he’s so patient and kind and caring and attentive. I just adored him. Lawson is perfect for him, especially with his dirty mouth and those suspenders lol. How cute is that?!

Of course, Lawson, being Lawson… it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t unintentionally find himself in a dangerous situation. The side of Jack that we see when Lawson is in danger…. Sigh…. Goals! The love he has for him is so beautiful and I found myself just as nervous as he seemed to be. That never happens to me… I was “in it”…. Just hooked from the beginning.

Of course, everything ends up being okay in the long run and Lawson is a butterfly miracle worker and Jack is a Lawson miracle worker and we end on the most perfect note!

I loved everything about this story. I love Jack and Lawson and I really hope Pierce finds himself his own Jack, or his own Lawson because he just seemed so lonely at times and I like for everybody to just be all loved up and together!
Overall, another perfect read and I can’t wait to read more about these guys and their adventures….. and of course… the butterflies.

5 pieces of eye candy

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giveaway

For a copy of N.R. Walker’s Imagines (or Imago if you don’t have that one yet), tell me who your favorite character of hers is. She has so many memorable characters, but you have to pick ONE (or it can be one couple).

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Heart Unseen by Andrew Grey: Release Day Review with Giveaway

heart unseensynopsisAs a stunningly attractive man and the owner of a successful chain of auto repair garages, Trevor is used to attention, adoration, and getting what he wants. What he wants tends to be passionate, no-strings-attached flings with men he meets in clubs. He doesn’t expect anything different when he sets his sights on James. Imagine his surprise when the charm that normally brings men to their knees fails to impress. Trevor will need to drop the routine and connect with James on a meaningful level. He starts by offering to take James home, instead of James riding home with his intoxicated friend.

For James, losing his sight at a young age meant limited opportunities for social interaction. Spending most of his time working at a school for the blind has left him unfamiliar with Trevor’s world, but James has fought hard for his independence, and he knows what he wants. Right now, that means stepping outside his comfort zone and into Trevor’s heart.

Trevor is also open to exploring real love and commitment for a change, but before he can be the man James needs him to be, he’ll have to deal with the pain of his past.

Title: Heart Unseen
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: April 7, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

 

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jennifer

Andrew, I love your stories! You have a little bit of everything in your arsenal. I’m such a sucker for your stories that I don’t even care what they’re about before I one click them or if I’m lucky, get to ARC them, like I did this one. It was no different. It reminded me of a cross between NR Walkers- Blind Faith series and your Senses series. It was just as sweet and comforting and a little sad but hopeful.

In this one, we have James, who is blind since he was about 10 years old. He has an overbearing mother but the most amazing sister and brother in law, who is raising the most amazing, adorable child, Zach, who loves his Uncle Jimmy. He’s gotten used to life as a visually impaired man and he’s living his life as independently as he can. Having recently lost his longtime service dog, he’s still doing great on his own. Unfortunately, being blind, it’s easier, I would think to be taken advantage of, and he was, thanks to a guy that his mother set him up with a while ago. You’d think he has a hard time trusting again, since the guy was a GRADE A A-HOLE… and he was, y’all, you’ll see for yourself. He makes an appearance in this story a time or two; but not enough to be truly angsty.

Then we have Trevor… I will be the first to admit, I thought Trevor was a giant D bag in the beginning. He was a player, plain a simple. Didn’t “do relationships” and was only good for a one nightery. You know how it goes… He wasn’t mean or jerky, I wouldn’t say that, he’s just hurting from something that we don’t understand until way, way, way later in the book… Almost til the end, so don’t expect to understand him straight way. It’s easy to fall for him though, he finds himself unexpectedly attracted to James. He’s patient and kind; he understands James’ limitations and strives to pull him out of his comfort zone, but in a respectable way, and James has such a good time with Trevor. He see’s James for the person that he is, inside and doesn’t see his disability as a hindrance at all. Yes, things are different and they might take a special kind of care, but it isn’t a bad thing. It’s not a burden….and because of the ex, and a lot of times his mother… that’s exactly what James felt like. My heart really broke for him, at times.

Through getting to know one another, after meeting at a club, Trevor was amazing with James, and James really took to Trevor. It was like the trust was immediate and he became smitten rather quickly. Trevor deserved it though. There was once or twice I doubted, but I shouldn’t have. He was so good for James. I also loved Trevors friend Brent… I hope he finds someone and we get to see it. I also felt for his other friend, Dean, but I’m not so sure of him. I felt sorry for him for a minute but then didn’t care much for him towards the end. At least he had his dad, Brent and a slew of loyal workers there for him. Even if one of them did screw him over, pretty good. More than once and often.

The whole story wasn’t angsty, which I love and we get a lot of closure by the end. I won’t go into detail and ruin it for everyone, but I will tell you that you’ll fall in love with these characters and you’ll love them so much for how much they love each other. I feel like they needed each other and came for each other at the exact time that they shoulda. I adored every part of it and the ending was as sweet and comforting as I could’ve hoped. Don’t pass this one up. It’s so heartwarming and sweet. Just like all of Andrew Grey reads. Read it! You won’t be sorry!

4 pieces of eye candy

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Tys That Bind by Jessie G: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

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Tys That Bind - Final - 400 x 600synopsis

Unprepared, ill-equipped, and with no example to look back on, Ty and Chase embarked on a journey to build a family for Ava and Luc that would far exceed anything they dreamed of for themselves. Two years later, they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, but there’s still a couple of things missing…and they’re ready to make them happen.

Bad boy biker Trick wouldn’t hesitate to fight for those he loves, but Ty knows it will take more than violence to win this war. Willfully submissive Chase has the utmost faith in his Master, but when he sees Ty struggling with demons from his past, it will be his quiet, unbending support that will see them through. Jumping through the loopholes of family court, they are only one event shy of making it all official and neither are willing to wait another second to check it off the list.

Clearing the path for adoption should reassure them, but it will take their cast of well-meaning friends and the occasional slap upside the head before they realize that the ties that bind them together are forged in a love that can never be taken away.

Author: Jessie G

Book: Tys That Bind

Series: Devils Pride MC #3 (series should be read in order)

Key Words: Gay Romance, Adoptions & Weddings, Contemporary Romance

Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna

Release Date: March 31, 2017

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I asked Denise for a prompt to get this posted started and she asked me to talk about the differences between writing happy stories versus angst/action-driver stories. To be honest, I don’t sit down and think “this book has to be” whatever. I let the characters determine the levels of angst to sweet. Either way, as a firm believer in happily ever after, all my stories come with that guarantee.  But the road to such an ending is rarely easy. Like real life, everyone has a journey, and every couple faces problems. It’s how they deal with them without ever losing each other that makes a real life HEA.

A wedding & adoption book may lend itself to the writing happy, but both occasions are rife with hurdles to overcome. I try to make these sequels about the growth of my couples, not only to see how far they’ve come but to show them taking the next steps in their relationship. For Red and Bull, and Chris and Owen, it made sense to write super sweet, romantic stories that hovered on too sappy.

There was no way that could work for Ty and Chase, thankfully, because I really want each book to be as different as I can make them. In this case, looking forward and taking those next steps comes with some serious introspection that provides the angst that we expect from Ty. From a secret wedding in one of the most people locations in Miami, to officially making it official, all the feelings are there in true non-mushy fashion…mostly. Part of the reconciliation of Trick and Ty, and the growth of his character overall, is the realization that having feelings for isn’t the detriment he once believed it could be.

Does that mean we’ll see a full-on sappy/mushy Ty in the future? Probably only when Ava wants to wear her princess crown.

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denise review

Check out Deanna’s 5 pieces of eye candy review here!

You never know what you are going to get with a Jessie G book. Sometimes she will rip my heart out, make it into mincemeat, and bring me to the other side with an HEA (because she always does that) or sometimes I will read the book and just enjoy having an established couple living their lives, working through all the struggles couples have, but finding more of their HEA.

Tys that Bind is the latter. Ty and Chase had to go through so much to find their HEA in Tricking Chase. When they found Ty’s sister’s children, they became an instant family of four, with all the struggles that must go along with that. This novella was all about completing that family, making it unable to be severed under the law. And it was done in spectacular Ty and Chase fashion. Quiet, with just the two of them there for their wedding-and you will see that it truly is only the two of them for the most important part of their wedding, the vows. A party was thrown in there, as well, because what is a book in the world that Jessie created without the entire family finding a reason to celebrate. 🙂

One of the things that I love about Jessie’s books is that not only do the characters think, introspect and figure out all the reasons WHY they are doing or going to do what they do…but she brings the reader along for the ride. The reader finds that you can’t (and don’t want to) zone out, sometimes reading words and not comprehending. You are fully engaged in intelligent introspection with the character, and that is something special. That is something you will not get with a lot of authors. Jessie provides that in spades.

This family got their true HEA, a hard fought battle from beginning to end, but worth every second, as the characters tell the reader.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.

Where to Find Me

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/jessieg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jessiegbooks

Website: http://www.jessiegbooks.com

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/bhuja1

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

Google +: google.com/+Jessiegbooksmm

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jessiegbooks

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jessiegbooks

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/jessiegbooks/

Tumblr (NSFW 18+):  http://jessiegbooks.tumblr.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JessieGBooks

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

Swift for the Sun by Karen Bovenmyer: Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

swift for the sunsynopsisBenjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Title: Swift for the Sun
Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Category: Historical: Americas
Pages: 230

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excerpt

SWIFT FOR THE SUN Exclusive Excerpt from Chapter 12: Sacrifice

Hours later I woke in the dark alone, and a terrible feeling of foreboding made breathing hard. I felt my way over to the corner. Sun’s spear was still there. I felt better for a moment, until I thought things through, and the realization made my skin prickle. He was gone. And he’d left his weapon behind.

Oh no. Oh God no.

I don’t remember the trip from the tree house to the beach. I only remember the bottom dropping out of my world as I stood holding his spear, then the utter blackness of the night jungle, and then crouching where the tree line ended at the band of sand surrounding our island like a shackle.

The Portuguese had a fire going again.

The smell of roast pig filled the night. I felt nauseous when I realized the source must be Ernest.

The big man, Martio, loomed by the fire. He stood looking into the night while everyone else ate and drank. I almost yelled a warning when I saw what Martio was staring at.

Sun stepped out of the forest shadows, his lean body bathed in the flickering light of the fire. He looked naked in his loincloth compared to the pirates, and the fire lit up his golden skin and braids like the Greek’s Helios or Rome’s Sol Invictus. His hands were empty, arms at his sides with palms facing out to show he had no weapons.

Two sentries at the edge of the light pointed their guns at him, but Martio held up his hand.

“Come,” the big man said in his native tongue, and Sun walked with fluid grace into the camp. There was no trace of the trembling fear I’d seen in him when we’d hidden in the bushes together. It was as though making up his mind to come to the fireside of his former masters had also banished his terror.

The other pirates gathered around, the more drunk glaring through squinted eyes, as if working hard to figure out who the newcomer was.

“Sóli,” Martio said. I watched open surprise and recognition mingle on his face. It was quickly replaced by a narrowing that spoke of both greed and desire. Clearly Sun was someone, something, he valued.

Martio sunk into a fighter’s crouch as Sun approached, and Sun mirrored him. The big man was more than twice Sun’s bulk, but he moved with a grace that looked just as deadly. I held my breath and imagined them fighting, Sun would be quicker, but I had the feeling Martio would be tireless as well as stronger.

“You remember well.” Martio stopped circling, straightened, and laughed, the sound booming across the beach. Sun straightened too, but he didn’t laugh. He watched Martio like a snake watches a boot, ready to strike if a man steps too close. This didn’t escape Martio’s notice. In fact, he seemed to expect it, like it, a smile curving his full, cruel lips. He stepped away from the roast hog with a chuckle, leaving a wide space.

“Join us.” He sat and indicated a place by the fire next to him—I didn’t like how long his reach was. Sun’s eyes flicked to the sentries, who still stared, mouths gaping. Martio waved their muskets down. The men obeyed without argument, but I noticed they didn’t sling their weapons. Everyone in the camp watched Sun as he crossed the short distance and crouched by the fire.

Martio gave him a generous piece of hog off the spit, and Sun took the steaming meat from him and tore into it with his straight, white teeth. For reasons unknown to me, Martio found this gladsome and laughed again. He touched one of the braids tailing down Sun’s back and ran it through his fingers. It reminded me of someone inspecting a horse for soundness. There was a look in Martio’s eyes I didn’t like, and for a moment I fantasized skewering him with Sun’s spear.

Sun casually took his braid back and rotated on the balls of his feet so he faced Martio directly. I couldn’t see the expression on his face from where I was, but Martio stopped laughing and instead watched him eat for long moments.

“Why are you here?” Martio’s voice was low but rumbled through the clearing.

“I want you to leave.” Sun’s voice was steady, easy to hear. His Portuguese was perfect, his accent very slight.

“Why would we do that?” Martio grinned at him like Sun was a child asking for an indulgence.

Sun chewed and didn’t answer him.

“We’re looking for a man,” Martio said as he held up the charred wing from the Sea Swift’s prow. “Have you seen him?”

. I have seen him.” Again, Sun’s voice was clear. I tensed. Had I been wrong to trust him? Had he only been waiting for the right moment to turn me in? No, I would not believe that.

To a man, the pirates looked out into the night past the circle of light. I felt eyes raking the darkness where I lay.

“Where is he?”

“If I take you to him, will you leave my island?”

Martio’s eyes narrowed as he searched Sun’s face. What he looked for, I couldn’t say.

“This is not your island.” Martio’s voice deepened with the ring of command.

Sun shrugged and tore another piece off the meat. Martio no longer thought this was so amusing.

“He belongs to us. He owes us.”

Sun shrugged again.

“Show us this man.” Martio stood.

“It’s dark.” Sun stood too and reached down to pull a piece of flaming wood from the fire. He turned it slowly in his hands, considering it.

“Torches,” Martio ordered.

I kept as low as I could in the undergrowth. All the men on the beach gathered into a scouting party. The atmosphere turned festive, and the bottles of liquor were brought as well. The men seemed to regard the outing as a hunt. There was no other choice—when they passed, Sun leading them into the forest, I followed.

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denise review

Wow! I’m really not sure where to start with this review. I will qualify it by saying I love historicals as a general rule. It is what I started reading back as a teenager. The true “bodice-rippers” that I got from who knows where, and sometimes would read over and over. I’ve read a few since I’ve started reading exclusively m/m, and they have always been good. This one knocked it out of the park for me, though.

First, I must touch on the research. Now I didn’t follow up to make sure all of Karen Bovenmyer’s historical accuracy was there, but enough of it was what I knew to be true to the history of the time, that I imagine most of the rest of it was. Either the author has a history degree, which it appears from her bio that she does not, or she spent an incredible amount of time researching the locations, the cultures, the people and the time. I was astonished at the level of detail she gave, and yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed with words. I could visualize exactly what I was reading, and with such a beautiful locale to read about, it was a great vacation of the senses. In addition there was quite a cast of characters in this book, all very different, both physically (well except for two 😉 ) and personality-wisse, yet I could almost see each character as a separate person.

I’ll admit there were a few times, I considered taking a break from the book. Not because it wasn’t well-written, but for the exact opposite reason! She wrote situations so real for the time, and with such precision that some of it was tough to read. I knew there was a happy ending at the end of Swift for the Sun, but these characters went through so much to get there that I wondered if I could make it without crying. (Final Answer: No.)

The heartbreak of watching all that Sun went through before he found Benjamin made me wonder how he had any humanity intact by that point. A lesser man would have been the savage that Benjamin thought he was, and later learned he was on the edge of. Yet Benjamin saw the beauty inside Sun, and never let his light be diminished.

This book isn’t an easy book to read in some ways. And in so many others ways, I can’t imagine a love story that would shine brighter than the gemstone this book turned out to be.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

 

Bovenmyer_Karen credit Chris Gannon ARCHAuthor Short Bio:

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her poems, short stories and novellas appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT romantic adventure in 1820s Caribbean, will be available from Dreamspinner Press on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer.com/

Social Media Links:

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https://www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer

https://twitter.com/karenbovenmyer

 

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The Rainbow Clause by Beth Bolden: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Release Day Review and $50 Giveaway

rainbow clausesynopsis

Heisman winner. Member of the National Championship team. NFL Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Colin O’Connor knows he’s become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he’s ever dreamed of but nobody to share it with. Too bad it’s not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him – because the next girl to intrigue him probably won’t be a girl at all.

Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin’s team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL’s most private quarterback.

The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers that Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he’s even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and after spending his teenage years as a bullied, closeted teen, it hits very close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.

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excerpt

Nick walked over to where Colin was sitting on the lounger. Every molecule was screaming at him to stay away if he wanted to keep things platonic between them, but he needed to have enough self-control for this. Because somewhere along the line, someone had convinced Colin that he wasn’t the ’right’ kind of person to be who he was, and he needed to understand that was just plain bullshit.

Nick gingerly sat at the end of the lounger and when Colin lifted his eyes to look at him, his face was finally out of the shadow. Perfect. If he could only ignore the way Colin looked and sounded and even smelled. How did he smell so clean after a night of dancing and drinking? Nick was sure he smelled like a locker room full of flop sweat and too much booze.

“Listen, you don’t have to do what everyone expects. Even if it’s easier. Especially if it’s easier.” Nick inched closer and tried to ignore the desperate pounding of his heart at Colin’s nearness. If he moved half a foot closer, he’d be close enough to kiss.

Kissing was definitely not what Nick needed to be thinking about right now, especially when Colin’s expression was still TRC teaser 1skeptical.

Nick changed tactics. “Do you know what they call weird people if they’re rich? They don’t call them weird. They call them eccentric. Money and success buys you the ability to break the mold. You can do whatever you want. You’re about to change your whole life. Embrace that you’re different. Stop apologizing for it.”

It was slow, but the doubt on Colin’s face had begun to melt a little. Nick prayed a little and threw his Hail Mary. “The first time we met, you told me that your personal role model wasn’t Tom Brady. It was Nelson Mandela. That’s you, that’s not the cardboard cutout the media wants you to be. Be you. Trust me, you’re a hell of a lot more interesting than the cardboard cutout Colin O’Connor.”

“But you’ve always been easy to win over,” Colin smirked, echoing that first interview. Nick had to swallow down the lump that had grown in his throat, because Colin had insisted he hadn’t remembered that interview. But maybe some of it had come back.

“True,” Nick said. Anything else was a complete lie. He’d been easy to win over from the first moment. The easiest, probably.

 

erin

I have to say, this book left me pleasantly surprised. For the bit of research I did (I checked her amazon page), this is the author’s first gay romance novel.  And honestly, you wouldn’t know it. This book read like the author had written MM before. And that’s a good thing.

With Colin O’Connor entering his second year in the NFL, he is eager to come out of the closet as bisexual. He has totally put his personal life on hold for football and he is ready to share his life with someone. Luckily, there is a clause in his contract that allows him to do this. Of course it has to happen their way, but at least it will happen.

The team big wigs have chosen Nick Wheeler as the journalist to tell his story. Not only is Nick known as a sports writer for a blog, he is also gay. To get this in depth look at Colin as a person, not just a player, Nick thinks he should move in with him.

I really liked the fact that Colin really was a private guy because he was a private guy. He pretense of hiding from the public because of his stardom as a football player. Colin and Nick together are both sweet and hot. From the beginning they seem to have a genuine friendship and admiration of each other that is evident- even before they burn up the pages.TRC teaser 4

A few more enjoyable aspects of the book were that Nick was a big sports fan. He WRITES about sports. So many times in a book with a sports player, his love interest is completely clueless to the game. But not this time. Also that the team big wigs knew that he was gay ahead of time and weren’t scrambling for a cover story or something. But that seems to be what Colin was all about. He was an honest guy.

Some of the phrasing was repetitive- Heisman winner, member of the championship team, and rookie of the year. That was repeated FAR too many times for my liking.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I felt like this book was very similar to another I’ve read that came out fairly recently. Sure there are differences, and probably enough differences. But seeing as my book memory is hazy (I often have to go back and skim book 1 of a series before I read book 2), that the similarities stuck out that much to me says something.

3 pieces of eye candy

3-stars

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meet the author

Beth Bolden Profile picBeth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband and their beloved cat. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published two novels, The Lucky Charm and Getting Lucky, and a short story, Eye of the Storm. Her next novel, Summer Attractions, will be released in August 2016.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

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Tys That Bind by Jessie G: Release Day Blitz and Review, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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Author: Jessie G
Book: Tys That Bind
Series: Devils Pride MC #3 (series should be read in order)
Key Words: Gay Romance, Adoptions & Weddings, Contemporary Romance
Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna
Release Date: March 31, 2017

Tys That Bind - Final - 400 x 600synopsis
Unprepared, ill-equipped, and with no example to look back on, Ty and Chase embarked on a journey to build a family for Ava and Luc that would far exceed anything they dreamed of for themselves. Two years later, they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, but there’s still a couple of things missing…and they’re ready to make them happen.

Bad boy biker Trick wouldn’t hesitate to fight for those he loves, but Ty knows it will take more than violence to win this war. Willfully submissive Chase has the utmost faith in his Master, but when he sees Ty struggling with demons from his past, it will be his quiet, unbending support that will see them through. Jumping through the loopholes of family court, they are only one event shy of making it all official and neither are willing to wait another second to check it off the list.

Clearing the path for adoption should reassure them, but it will take their cast of well-meaning friends and the occasional slap upside the head before they realize that the ties that bind them together are forged in a love that can never be taken away.

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The wedding hadn’t changed anything and yet he felt vastly different.

 

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deanna review

I am a huge Jessie G fan, so I will grab up any book she writes as soon as it drops. Jessie’s books are utter perfection and this one is no exception. I was so anxious to see where the road to adoption and marriage led Ty and Chase and I wasn’t disappointed. It was exactly as I had envisioned it and so so perfect.

Obviously this is a follow-up novella and shouldn’t be read as a stand alone. Some of my favorite men mad an appearance in this one and it’s always great to see them again.

Ty and Chase agreed that marriage and adoption went hand in hand. That’s how Ava and Luc saw it, and Ty and Chase were going to make that happen for them. When one of the stipulations of the adoption were that they already be married they had to find a way to do that without the kids feeling left out. Sneaking off for a private ceremony was so perfect (there’s that word again) for Ty and Chase.

The adoption itself made me want to cry happy tears, buckets of them. The happiness and the emotion poured off the page, I almost felt like I was being adopted (don’t I wish). The celebration after with the whole gang of merry men was just as it should have been. I can’t wait to see where these guys take us next.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
meet the author
Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.
Where to Find Me
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Save The Date by Annabeth Albert & Wendy Qualls: Release Day Review with Giveaway

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synopsis

Randall Young has one duty as his sister’s “man of honor”: to ensure she has the best wedding ever. That includes an epic bachelorette pub crawl, leading him to Portland’s most popular gay bar… and into Hunter Mitchell’s well-muscled arms. A one-night stand with a sexy soldier is the perfect way to ditch that pesky V-card and get himself in the mood for a weekend of flowers, cake, and nuptials.

Hunter wants to blow off some steam before he stands up as his best friend’s best man. He’s already married to his military career, not looking to settle down. He certainly doesn’t intend for the one guy he met (and, okay, got off with) in Oregon to be his counterpart in the wedding party. Or a virgin. Definitely wasn’t intending that. Luckily, they have the rest of the weekend for Hunter to show Randall what he’s been missing.

The more they’re thrown together by the wedding, the more Randall and Hunter grow together outside the bedroom… which is dangerous because there’s a lot more than 2500 miles standing between them and a happily-ever-after. If they want a future beyond their wedding weekend hookup, both must find the courage to take a chance on love.

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jennifer

Cute!

First, we meet Randall who is at his sister’s bachelorette party just before her wedding weekend of fun and togetherness with the wedding party. A night out, pub crawling the gay scene, they run into Hunter, who Randall doesn’t know is his sister’s soon-to-be-husband’s childhood best friend. He’s rough and broody and a massive, muscled, army man….which Randall finds really attractive… who wouldn’t?
One night together, where Randall semi-loses his V-card and he’s slinking away before Hunter wakes up. I don’t even think they even exchanged names. Meeting again for wedding stuff was awkward to say the least, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Hunter, really. I mean, he’s sexy and has a filthy mouth, that part was hot, but he was a bit standoffish, I guess in the beginning. Understandable, but… you know….
Anyway, the guys are forced to be around each other and naturally, being attracted to one another, they keep hooking up….

I’m not real sure when it went from hookups to wanting a relationship, but I figured it would be Randall being the one wanting it, but we get more feelings and internal thoughts from Hunter, surprisingly. He made up for his macho, manly attitude and I really liked him by the end… I really liked them together by the end. It was sweet and a little fast, seeing how it all derived from one weekend together, but we get a glimpse into the very near future and see that they have a cute HFN. I wouldn’t mind reading more about this couple, they were good together.
It wasn’t angsty and there was little to no drama, I liked that. It was just a cute, sexy, quick read.
Would recommend 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

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My Dragon, My Knight by John Inman Release Day Review with Giveaway

my dragon my knight

synopsis

Danny Sims is in over his head, torn between his abusive lover, Joshua, and Jay Holtsclaw, the bartender up the street, who offers Danny the one thing he never gets at home: understanding.

When Joshua threatens to get rid of Danny’s terrier, Danny knows he has to act fast. Afraid of what Joshua will do to the dog, and afraid of what Joshua will do to him if he tries to leave, Danny does the only thing he can do.

He runs.

But Danny isn’t a complete fool. He has enough sense to run into the arms of the man who actually cares for him—the man he’s beginning to trust.

Just as their lives together are starting to fall into place, Danny and Jay learn how vengeful Joshua can be.

And how dangerous.

Title: My Dragon, My Knight
Author: John Inman
Release Date: March 31, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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michelle review

WOW is the first words that come to me while I sit here to put a review together.   Another new author to me, John Inman, has blown me away with this story.   I was expected a little “dark” considering the blurb but what I got was a story full of heart ache and eventually new love.  I don’t feel there is a need to recap what the blurb already states so I will focus on the story without giving spoilers away.

There are books that make you feel the emotions and then there are books that demand you to feel the emotions.   My Dragon, My Knight demanded that I sit up and listen to the story that is being told.  I was enthralled with this book and could not put it down even though there were times I couldn’t see past the tears.   Anytime I read a book about abuse I generally can hold it together and not let the tears flow but then there are times when I let them fall just to finish reading.  I generally am not a big sap when it comes to reading books including those with huge triggers.  It’s more the emotions that are bouncing off the pages than the actual action being done (although they are gut wrenching) that gets me emotional.

Inman’s writing is impeccable and the flow of the book was perfect.  The character development (as hard as it was to see an abusive character) made this book 10 times better than I could have imagined.    My Dragon, My Knight will be a book that stays with me for a very long time.   Inman turns a tragic situation into one of love and beauty – So to Mr. Inman – Thank you for such an engaging, heart breaking and beautiful story.     I will be checking out more books by this author.

5 pieces of eye candy

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