The Alpha Heir by Victoria Sue: Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?

Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.

Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.

Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?

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Caleb sat hunched over on a fallen log just by the track that led down to the barn they kept the horses in. Taegan could practically feel the misery in the hunched shoulders, the bowed head, the way he favored his left arm even though he didn’t have it in the sling anymore. His arms were bare. “Caleb?” he called out quietly, not wanting to startle him, but Caleb never moved even though Taegan knew he would have heard him.

He crossed in front of the log and sat down, putting both mugs on the ground and passing him the poncho. “It’s cold out here.” For a second, he didn’t think Caleb was going to take it, but lifting his head he reached out cautiously. Instead of passing it to him, Taegan bunched it up and carefully went to ease it down over Caleb’s head. Caleb recoiled sharply, and Taegan stilled his hands. “Let me help,” he said. “You’ll get cold.”

Caleb lifted his head, the brown eyes suddenly so dark. “And you care, why?”

“I don’t know,” he said wretchedly, then shook his head, the gesture a denial, as Caleb widened his eyes in response. He hadn’t meant to admit that.

“I think it better if I sleep in a different cave until you decide what to do with me,” Caleb muttered.

“No—” he bit off. Caleb was hunched inwards. He was incredible. Giving. He soothed so many bitter corners in Taegan’s soul. He wanted to keep him, but it was impossible. Silas had once told him that many years ago, wolves fell in love at first sight. But Taegan was a human and he didn’t understand this odd compulsion to be with someone he had known barely two weeks. Maybe it was just a good healthy dose of lust.

“I’m not going to apologize for Ralph and Adams. The guards,” Taegan added, then felt ridiculous because of course Caleb would know who he meant. “They were doing their job.”

Caleb didn’t reply. Didn’t move.

“But I was wrong.”

Caleb’s head came up quickly. The surprise written all over his face.

“You didn’t deserve that assumption from me, and I apologize.”

Caleb ducked his head.

Taegan passed him one of the mugs of tea and unwrapped the bread. “My mom says you haven’t eaten.”

“I’m not hungry,” came the whisper.

Taegan put his untouched tea back on the ground. He reached out slowly, hooking his finger under Caleb’s chin and lifting it, immediately drowning in the stormy brown eyes, dark and brittle with misery. He had done that, him. He leaned forward and Caleb leaned back, twisting his head away. The rejection stung in his gut.

“Please eat,” Taegan said, dropping his hand. Caleb had been doing so well and the last thing he needed was Taegan upsetting that.

But Caleb didn’t move, didn’t look up. “What are you going to do with me?”

He had treated Caleb abominably. Taegan paused and for the first time in two years did something that wouldn’t help their cause, but was the right thing to do. “You are free to go. Now. If you want to walk down that hillside, I won’t stop you.”

Caleb’s head shot up. “You’d let me go?”

Taegan swallowed the husky denial. “I wish with everything I am that you are not the Alpha heir and I am not the rebel leader.” He let that sink in. Caleb’s eyes still fixed on his. “Especially after last week.”

Caleb’s eyes dipped, and Taegan reached out and touched his arm. “It should still be wrapped. It’s very likely broken.”

“I-it doesn’t hurt.” Caleb’s gaze lifted and Taegan stared. He was drowning in the golden depths. He’d thought Caleb’s eyes were brown, but the center simmered with chocolate and grew lighter outward until the flecks of amber almost turned them copper. Long golden brown lashes framed them, and Taegan took small comfort that the dark shadows under them had gone.

“You don’t eat enough.” He said almost brusquely to cover what he wanted to say. What he wanted to do. “Please eat something.” The words were quiet but no less pleading.

Caleb stared at the offered bread. He took a breath. “I think I forgot how. If I wasn’t hungry it was one less pain.”

“For me.” Taegan knew he had no right to use those words. Caleb owed him nothing.

Caleb took the thickly buttered bread and inhaled. “It smells wonderful.”

Taegan nudged him gently. “It tastes even better.” Caleb took a bite and Taegan beamed. Such a small victory.

“When will you plan to get the kids?” Caleb asked after swallowing. He sipped his tea and took another bite.

“I have two team leaders that get back from Solonara tomorrow. I haven’t the numbers without them.” Caleb chewed and seemed to consider what Taegan said. “It would help if we had any idea what time of day this is planned for.”

“Noon,” Caleb said immediately.

“Of course,” Taegan agreed instantly. It was the time Aylin started to cover Sorin. He should have known. How was it possible they were talking when everything in him wanted Caleb’s lips for another purpose?

Caleb finished the bread. He watched Taegan intently as if waiting for something.

“I owe you another apology also.” He would have been blind to miss the flash of pain that darkened the brown pupils nearly to black or the hiss as his words connected. Caleb misunderstood. He didn’t regret one second of it and wasn’t apologizing for it. “I loved every second of the time I spent with you. How I found the strength to leave my bed that morning is beyond me.”

Caleb’s slow, heart-stopping smile was worth every word of his confession. “So why did you leave me?”

“Because I am taking advantage.”

“Because I can’t stay,” Caleb supplied flatly, answering his own question.

“So, will you leave?” Taegan didn’t want the answer. Should he mention Silas’s crazy bonding theory? He couldn’t let Caleb go if it would hurt him, but he couldn’t take back his offer either.

“I know I can’t stay forever, but I won’t leave until Neal and Rayne are safe. I still think I should be the diversion you need.”

Caleb was touching. While they had talked he had crept closer, but it wasn’t charged with the same emotion as the last time. This wasn’t sexual but all about warmth, compassion, and comfort. He knew Taegan was having difficulty retelling some of his worst moments, and he wanted to support him. It would be so good to have someone by his side, but Taegan had lost that right a long time ago. Caleb’s eyes softened as he listened. It seemed to come as easy to him as breathing, but Taegan knew it was dangerous. Caleb was dangerous because for the first time Taegan wasn’t thinking about his responsibilities to other people.

He was thinking of himself.

“Taegan?” It was Cy. “We have an injured messenger bird. I think you need to come. We should have got the message yesterday but it has a damaged wing.”

Caleb stood and took Taegan’s empty mug. “I have a story to read.” He smiled and Taegan watched him go.

The wolf that eventually won his heart would be a very lucky man.

Victoria Sue:

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby three years ago. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail.

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

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Victoria Sue is giving away a free ebook from her backlist to one commenter to this blog post. Tell us what appeals to you most about The Alpha Heir.

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Yanni’s Story (The Spencer Cohen Series Book 4) by N.R. Walker: Quick Review

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.
Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.
Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.
“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.
I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.
Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.
But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

Amazon US – Kindle Unlimited

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I gotta come clean. I didn’t read the first three books of The Spencer Cohen series. I looked, I own book 1. I don’t know why I didn’t read them. I will correct this error as soon as possible. Because I am a fan of NR Walker. That being said, Yanni’s Story really can be read as a stand alone. I have heard that you HAVE to read the first three before this one. No, you don’t. They are lying liars who lie. Like I said, though-I am going to go back to read the first three.

Phew, confession over.

Now to the review! I’ve yet to read one of NR Walker’s books that I didn’t like. Of course I like some more than others, but I genuinely liked them all. This is no exception. There are a lot of potential triggers in this book, which you are warned about repeatedly. And while there were some tough things in the story, I didn’t find it overly filled with angst. Instead, I found it more of a story of growth that didn’t keep the main character dragged down by his past.

Yanni definitely has some hurdles to get over. But he is 100% willing to do the work to get over those hurdles. And Peter is there every step of the way. What started out as a friendship between two unlikely friends, turns into a nice slow burn of romance until they are ready to make the next step together.

A lot of times when one of the main characters seems to have the patience of a saint, I roll my eyes. But somehow, this was different. Peter really seemed like that guy who was willing to wait, to go slowly, to check in. Perhaps it is part of his Daddy kink (he being the daddy). To nurture, protect and care for Yanni. And Yanni eats it up, but is also so humble.

There was a lot in this book. There is no way that I can touch on it all. This is only the second “daddy kink” book I read. And while it wasn’t the trope at the forefront of the story, it was there. And while I don’t think I will seek out daddy kink books in the future, reading them like this. Part of the story, but it didn’t over take the story.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Title: Finding Mr. Wrong
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 218

Amazon US

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Dreamspinner Press

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Second chance romance is one of my favorite tropes. Finding a love, then losing it, only to find it again, while trying to rebuild the lost trust just hits all the feels for me. Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet hits all those notes.

Jax disappeared from Matthew’s life, without a word, after being his guiding light during high school. When he is “found” by some meddling friends and family, Matthew initially is determined not to let Jax back in. As he learns why Jax disappeared, their trust begins to be rebuilt, but of course the course of true love is never steady. 🙂

Matthew has a bit of a panic attack once he realizes he could have died, and the company he runs could fall into the wrong hands. As they work back towards each other, it is easy to see how Jax is torn between wanting to do what’s right by his father, and wanting to live a life where he is able to just complete his art. Jax’s story was heartbreaking. He’d spent literally his entire life covering for a father who was weak, and allowed his son to protect him, rather than the other way around.  Honestly, the reader wants to kick Jax’s dad out, but in the end, it is understandable that he couldn’t do anything but help him get out of the next mess.

The Dreamspun Desires line was brought about as a set of stories that harken back to the old Harlequin romance days, where tropes like babies that were previously not know about, or families that break couples up, or where unseen forces tear loves apart, and this book falls right in that line. A little dark, but with a love that stayed true for both men through the time that they had been apart. This quote even hits a little on that old Harlequin trope:

“Honey, I might not be able to have his babies, but wouldn’t stop me from trying.”

I am enjoying this entire line, and really anything by Charlie Cochet I will read, so win-win.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey: Release Day Review and Giveaway

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

Title: Stalking Buffalo Bill
Series: Shifter U
Author: j. leigh bailey
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Mystery/Suspense, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 220

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Dreamspinner Press

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This new Dreamspinner Press line, Dreamspun Beyond, would not normally be my cup of tea. I don’t read much paranormal, shifters or things that run contrary to normal contemporary romance. However, for some reason this series has pulled me in a few times already. Stalking Buffalo Bill is the second book in this line that I have read, and I really enjoyed it!

I loved that the author took the actual physical characteristics of the animals that the MC’s shifted into and incorporated them into their personalities. Donnie was very excitable, quick, loyal, and rather tenacious when it came to what he felt was important. Meanwhile William, a buffalo, more stoic-as I would imagine a buffalo to be, never having seen one-a college professor, and a man who didn’t seem to really get ruffled much, and wanted to protect Donnie by not allowing him anywhere near the problems that he was dealing with.

Donnie made me laugh…he found his mate, and like a wily coyote, would not let him out of his sight. He knew what he wanted, didn’t care that his family didn’t approve of his life choices, and held on tight to his choices. I highlighted so many of Donnie’s thoughts:

“I was protecting my mate from those who would do him harm. It was all very…alpha. How cool was that? Holy shit. Did I just think mate?”

“I turned away from the monitors and realized–again–that I was naked. ‘Really, William, could you bring my clothes in? I’m sure my arguments will be much more valid if my junk isn’t hanging out.”

“Then he smiled, which made my fingers go number, so I dropped my fork. ‘Cause I was smooth like that.”

This book was a fun read from beginning to end for me. It never had me looking to see how far I was in the book, and when it would end. I just kept reading and enjoying. And that is exactly how you want to be reading a book! I’m looking forward to more books in this new line from DSP, and if j. leigh bailey were to write another installment in this world, well, I would be quite happy to read it. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy


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Survivor by TM Smith: Blog Tour, Review, Teasers and Giveaway

Title: Survivor
Author: T.M. Smith
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Taylor Langford’s world is torn apart when he is only thirteen years old—his parents killed, leaving him alone and orphaned. With no living relatives, he’d certainly be another statistic if not for the intervention of the policeman who found Taylor in the crawl space where his mother hid him that fateful night. Despite the tragedy and resulting anguish in his life, Taylor knows how lucky he is.

Frank Moore is a rookie with the Dallas Police Department when he and his partner answer a call in Devonshire, one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. They think the young boy in various pictures throughout the home has been kidnapped until they find him, shaken but alive. Officer Moore recognizes the pain in the kid’s eyes, having lost his own mother to cancer when he was just a boy. He steps in, making sure Taylor is placed with a loving foster family. Over the years, Frank becomes a permanent fixture in Taylor’s life.

A decade later, the case remains unsolved and the once gangly, uncertain teenager is now a college graduate who knows exactly what he wants. He’s coming home to the man that helped mold and shape his life, the man he’s loved for as long as he can remember, Frank Moore. But Taylor isn’t the only person returning to Dallas, and while Frank is distracted by his own conflicting feelings and the new bond growing between the two, the past creeps up on them, determined to finish what was started ten years earlier.

A note from the author…

I hope you enjoy Frank and Taylor’s story. It’s been a long road to get them settled, but I’m happy with where this story has taken them. When I started this book, the intent was to write a stand-alone story, but that has changed. Characters continually evolve throughout the writing process, and there are several characters in the book that want to tell their story. I’ve grown especially fond of Rory and I can’t wait to write his book, which will take us back to when he first joined the Bureau, and continue on to his happy ever after.

Please be advised: This is a May/December romance, and as in life, there are sexual situations that take place prior to the main characters finding their way to one another. This is not gratuitous; it is meant to show character growth and self-realization. There is absolutely no cheating.


I love a good mystery, add in a longtime crush and some hero worship and you have perfection.
Taylor’s whole world comes to a screeching haunt when his parents are murdered. Frank, a police officer on the scene finds Taylor hiding in an attic crawl space. Over the years Frank remains close with Taylor and his foster parents, often vacationing together each summer.

When Taylor graduates from college he decides that he’s done watching life from the sidelines. This summer on vacation with Frank, he’s going to tell him how he feels. Before Frank and Taylor can really begin to explore their relationship the past comes back to finish what was started ten years ago.

The storyline had a slow build up which I adored. The detail that went into showing how Taylor and Frank’s relationship evolved over ten years was nothing short of amazing. The mystery part of the story was well thought out and executed. There were a ton of characters to keep track of on top of all the plot points to tie the mystery together. The author managed to do it without confusion and keeping me on the edge of my seat.

I’m really hoping that this is the beginning of a series because there are a ton of secondary characters that I would love to see get their own story.


A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or ticking away on her next novel.

Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people, Love is Love!


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Facing West by Lucy Lennox: New Release Review and Teasers

Nico:

I left my family and tiny Texas hometown fifteen years ago to escape small-town gossips and to give my mom and sister the chance at a better life. But when a phone call from an attorney back home informs me that my sister passed away, leaving me custody of her newborn baby, I’m shocked out of the steady life I’ve built for myself running a tattoo shop in San Francisco.

The thing is: I don’t do babies. And I don’t do small towns. Or commitment. And I especially don’t do family. My plan is to go back to Hobie just long enough to sign adoption papers, giving my niece the kind of stable, loving family I could never provide.

But the moment I meet my niece in the arms of Weston Wilde, my sister’s best friend and the town’s handsome doctor, my plans begin to change. Because suddenly, I see a different future. One with the very thing I thought I never deserved: a family. If only I can convince West that I’m not the same good-for-nothing kid ready to bolt when things get tough.

Weston:

There’s one thing I know for sure about Nico Salerno: he was a good-for-nothing as a kid and judging by the purple-haired, tattoo’d punk who shows up at his sister’s funeral, he hasn’t changed. There’s no way I’m letting him take custody of my best friend’s baby.

But the more time I spend around him, the more I realize that his rough exterior is just a shell and that beneath all the tattoos is a scared, insecure man searching for a place to belong. And pretty soon I know exactly where he belongs: in my bed and by my side.

The problem is, he abandoned his family once before, how do I know that if we become a family he won’t do it again?

Facing West is the first in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love.

Amazon – Kindle Unlimited

 

First, I have to say that even though this is book 1 in this series… it’s a breakaway series and I had no idea who Nico’s friends Griff and Sam or their baby Benji is, but I’m probably going to go read their story, because I love hot dudes with babies; and while it was a little off-putting in the beginning, because I hate not knowing who people are when they talk like I should know who they are, but it didn’t take away from the story.

Second, I have to say…Curtis Billingham is a douche!

Okay… now, on to the story…Nico left town when he was just a teenager to spare his mom and sister all the hate and ridicule of having a gay son/brother. He knew his mom wanted to marry the town sheriff, but that sheriff was a bigot, and everyone knew he wouldn’t marry her unless Nico was out of the picture…so he took himself out…

Then we have Dr. West…best friend of Nico’s sister and Hobie native…I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the way he so harshly judged Nico in the beginning. He treated him like crap and in my opinion, there was really no need for it. So he had purple hair, that made him a criminal? Someone not fit to take care of a baby? That’s ridiculous….I found it hard to like him in the beginning. First he said “No way, he isn’t getting near this baby” but then not ten minutes later, when Nico first meets his niece, West is like, seriously? He just walks away? Dude, you just had a verbal tussle and made it clear he wasn’t to have anything to do with her…so what the heck? Make up your mind!

It was hard, because I really liked Nico and you could see from the beginning that the baby being his only family in the world was exactly what he needed. They needed each other. He was lonely and wanted so much more than he thought he deserved. My heart hurt for him. Then West, ugh, I wanted to punch him a time or two, but he got there eventually…once they put their crap away and actually got to know each other. I think maybe his sister might’ve known what she was doing by bringing them together the way she did.

I was glad that Nico had his friends too…the ones who’d drop everything and come be with him when he needed them. I’m really thinking about going back and reading their stories… And other than the idiot new sheriff, Curt…It was a pretty good story. Like I said…I’m a sucker for hot guys with babies!

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Midlife Crisis by Audra North: Blog Tour Spotlight, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

This book intrigued me from the beginning for several reasons. First, how often do we see an m/m romance with characters that are people of color, and then on top of it, they are over the age of 50?!?!?!? These are quite often anomalies in the romance genre, much less gay romance, and having them addressed so prominently in the story was fantastic. And the author did both of those sides of the main characters justice. Addressing all the aches and pains that come with aging, and even having one MC come from a town of all African Americans in Texas, made their journey seem more realistic, falling in love at an age where most people think that people are settled with a partner.

In fact, Dave HAD been settled with a partner, for a number of years, until that partner had his own midlife crisis, and moved on. Cam, meanwhile, was married for 35 years to a woman who died the previous year. He had always known he was gay, but never felt he could be in the tiny, all African American town he lived in. Falling in love was never in Cam’s plans, but finally kissing a man was, as we find in the opening scene. Cam went to Austin to find himself, or possibly to see what he could do to be who he wanted to be for a time.

I understood Cam’s hesitance to move forward with the life that he wanted to lead, but it was frustrating as a reader to understand his continued look at his “old life” as something he needed to get back to, and one he couldn’t move forward from. He’d spent his entire life in the closet, finally moves forward with finding a new love, then makes himself choose between (and this isn’t a surprise since she is called this by her brother) his selfish spoiled daughter who is appalled that her father is gay, versus the man who he fell in love with, and who had had nothing but undying patience for Cam’s slow coming out.  Cam had spent his entire life lying to everyone around him, making sure they all had their needs met, and finally his own were being met and he decided to give it up when his daughter threw a tantrum.

Of course, there is an HEA, so Cam gets his man back, and his children approve, but it still seemed like there needed to be more of a challenge on Dave’s side (although his sister Jacqui did a good job of pushing back on Cam).

One piece that was especially telling for how Cam continued to allow everyone to dictate his entire life was the short snippets of his life with LaVerne, through the years. Although it didn’t necessarily show growth of the character, it did show how he continued to be caught in the spiral he began in high school.

All in all, a sweet story, with a man who took care of everyone but himself first, who deserved a happy ending more than most people.

 

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series, the Hard Driving series, and the Pushing the Boundaries series. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

For more about Audra, and to sign up for her newsletter, visit audranorth.com.

Connect with Audra:

To celebrate the release of Midlife Crisis, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 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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Remember When by SJD Peterson: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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An epic love story that had potential, but in the end was just ok for me.

The story is told in three parts. As children/teens, early twenties and then close to forty.

I really enjoyed the first part, but I think that was because of nostalgia on my part. Graduating in 1989, I have a fondness for the 80’s. I liked seeing Luke and Nelson as best friends slowly discovering their feelings for each other. Until a quick an unexpected move tears them apart. And as kids are wont to do, they have grand plans of keeping in touch. But alas, the distance is too great. What threw me a bit about this part of the book is that I expected the parents- the mothers especially- to strive to keep in touch as the mothers themselves grew up as best friends. But that didn’t seem to happen.

Part 2 does a fast forward ten years. The inexplicable meeting at the airport that neither was expecting. It was great to see them together again, but it lacked chemistry and heat for me. Add to that a long distance relationship AND parental expectations, it was a recipe for disaster. Then they are torn apart again.

Time jump of 17 years and they somehow bump into each other again. This was a bit eye rolling for me because come on. But ok, it is fiction, let’s roll with it. Again, I just didn’t feel the chemistry and heat. It was sweet, but left me wanting. I also feel that this part of the book wrapped up too quickly and neatly.

So I really did like the way the book was set up in three parts. They were very distinct to each time period and age. And as I said previously, it was a sweet story, but I wanted a bit more.

3 pieces of eye candy


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Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell: New Release Review

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with Illegal Contact. Generally, Santino Hassell‘s books are gritty, dark and quite unlike any other author in this genre (in my estimation). So, having him write a football series seemed-well-out of character from what I would expect of his books. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised with it.

Gavin needed Noah in ways that he couldn’t even comprehend. Meanwhile, Noah did not put up with any of Gavin’s cr@p. He would push back, and Gavin, although he didn’t like it, could appreciate that Noah didn’t care who he was, he wasn’t going to be dismissed lightly.

Gavin had a true journey here to discovering himself, not simply as a bisexual man, but as a human being capable of caring. He’d really only connected with his two best friends, having not had any real childhood to speak of, and so he only showed loyalty for those two. Yet, through his time at home, and his time with Noah, he began a journey to finding what being a part of a productive and caring society, and a part of a caring (and let’s be honest-HOT!) relationship really meant. It was interesting to see that he learned this, all while not being allowed to leave the grounds of his home.

I liked the fact that these two men didn’t just fall into bed two days after meeting. The author could have easily threw them together into the same house from day one, and taken the quick road to love. But he didn’t, he held these two apart, making Noah commute every day to Gavin’s house. It not only grew the tension, it allowed Noah a bit of the upper hand, something Gavin wasn’t used to. It also gave Noah some challenges during the weekends away when he knew Gavin was having a difficult time dealing with his house arrest.

The implosion of their relationship had me crying, simply because I could see it happening easily, especially in the situation they were in.

Very satisfying ending, and it has me dying for book 2, Down by Contact, Simon’s story. January is a long way away!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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Remember When by SJD Peterson: Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

Had he lost his goddamn mind? Luke was a friend he hadn’t seen in ten years, not a potential date. He shook his head at his stupidity. Just two old friends having dinner to catch up on old times. It didn’t matter that Luke was still the hottest guy Nelson had ever laid eyes on. Maybe Luke had become a jerk. Perhaps they no longer had anything in common. Hell, just because they rubbed off on each other a couple times, shared a few blowjobs, it didn’t make Luke gay. A lot of adolescents experimented. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, Luke talked about a steady girlfriend. “So put your dick and your hope away,” Nelson warned himself.

The jeans weren’t the easiest to get into with wet skin, but he managed. Somehow he was able to dress, fix his brown mousy curls—sort of—spray on a little cologne, and was downstairs in the allotted time. He was presentable, but sure, he looked frazzled. Of course, when he spotted Luke leaning against a pillar, Luke appeared calm and relaxed and, man, oh man, did he look presentable. He was wearing tight jeans and a baby-blue dress shirt the same color as his eyes that accentuated his deep tan. He wore his hair styled back, the longish strands tucked behind his ears, and from this distance, it looked dry, unlike Nelson’s wet mop.

“Just dinner with an old friend,” he mumbled. He ran his fingers through his hair one more time and took a deep breath.

His hands were shaking so badly he shoved them into the pockets of his jeans to hide his nervousness. With as much confidence as he could muster, he strolled over to Luke.

Luke smiled when he spotted Nelson. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Oh, that was original.

“The receptionist said they have excellent food in the Torch Light, but if you’d rather get bar food, we can hang out in the lounge.”

“Might be hard to talk in the bar,” Nelson pointed out.

“True. Torch Light it is. We can always head to the bar later.”

Nelson walked along with Luke, doing a little mental math. He had to meet his client at seven in the morning and still had to go over the notes his boss had sent him. He was young. As long as he got back to his room by, say… two… three at the latest, he’d be good.

The restaurant was high-end. White linen tablecloths, fine china, cut-crystal wineglasses. The whole nine yards of way too fancy for me to be here. The other patrons wore slacks, dinner coats, and dresses. Nelson was way underdressed, as was apparent from the disapproving looks he was getting. However, since Luke was dressed casually as well, it did make Nelson feel marginally better. He pointed out the dress code as soon as they were sitting and the host had walked away.

Luke waved a dismissive hand. “Like I care. My money spends just as easily as theirs.”

Nelson shook out his napkin and laid it in his lap. “I’d have thought, you being from Malibu and all, you’d adhere to etiquette. You know, wear nothing but the finest everywhere you went.”

“This is my finest. Best pair of blue jeans, that is,” he chuckled. Luke then tilted his head. “Does it really bother you? We can go somewhere else if you prefer.”

“Nah, I’m good. Hell, I don’t even own the finest pair of anything.”

“My kind of guy,” Luke said. He flashed that stunning dimpled smile before hiding it behind his menu.

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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