The Shore Thing by A. R. Barley: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Title: The Shore Thing
Author: A. R. Barley
Release Date: August 23, 2017
Category: Contemporary, States of Love
Pages: 104

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This short novella from an author that I had not read before, was a quick but enjoyable read. Nico was a little naive, while Dale had spent his life in the area, and consequently knew everyone in town, and they knew him. I really enjoyed Dale showing Nico (and me) around his great state of Delaware. That was one of the best aspects of this story. Seeing all the different areas of a small state, and all the fun things that someone visiting could do. It also allowed the reader to get to know Dale, who kept himself a bit at a distance, since he knew better than to fall for someone who was just there for the beautiful summers, but would be gone as soon as the cold winters came.

I loved seeing how the conclusion came about, with Nico’s family and how he would address finding the life he wanted to lead. It was a cute short story with lots of side characters dropping in and out, and seeing how two people decide what they really want to do with their lives, as separate people, and as a couple.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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Rule Breaker by Lily Morton: New Release Review with Giveaway

Is it really wrong to want to murder your boss?

Dylan has worked for Gabe for two years. Two long years of sarcastic comments. Two long years of insults, and having to redo the coffee pot four times in the mornings to meet his exacting standards. Not surprisingly he has devoted a lot of time to increasingly inventive ways to murder Gabe. From stabbing him with a cake fork, to garrotting him with his expensive tie, Dylan has thought of everything.

However, a chance encounter opens his eyes to the attraction that has always lain between them, concealed by the layers of antipathy. There are only two problems – Gabe is still a bastard, and he makes wedding planners look like hardened pessimists.

But what happens when Dylan starts to see the real Gabe? What happens when he starts to fall in love with the warm, wary man that he sees glimpses of as the days pass?

Because Gabe is still the same commitment shy, cold man that he’s always been, or is he? Has Dylan had the same effect on Gabe, and has his solid gold rule of no commitment finally been broken? With his heart taken Dylan desperately needs to know, but will he get hurt trying to find the answers?

From the author of ‘The Summer of Us’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy, showing what happens between two men when rules get broken.

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Okay, you know a book really hit you when you are still talking about it, still posting on social media about it, and still posting quotes from it days after you read it. And that is how I feel about

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton. I haven’t read anything by her, and received a review request on it. I thought, “looks kind of funny, and I need that right now…sure.”

 

Wow! Was I wrong. It made me giggle out loud (on an airplane no less!). I highlighted multiple passages (if I highlight, and I don’t often, it might be one or two passages). And I savored it, by taking a couple days to read it, because I didn’t want it to end.

These two men bring the snark. The emails at the beginning of each chapter are hilarious. Here’s one example:

To: Gabe Foster

From: Dylan Mitchell

Due to your temper tantrum over my spilling coffee on your laptop, I am taking an early lunch. Would you like me to bring you something back? Maybe the blood of a virgin, or eye of newt?

Dylan and Gabe are hilarious throughout the book, and that just made it so much better for me as a reader.

However, there were also a lot of feels. I cried at more than one part. (Lily, I do not like crying when I am reading, just saying…it’s okay, I will forgive you this time.) Dylan had such a soft heart, and it was so obvious how much he loved Gabe, while Gabe was so stand-offish, with good reason, and just would not allow anyone close to him. Pushing Dylan away more than once with his hurtful actions and words. It was hard to see these two butt up against each other, and both walk away practically bleeding, yet you knew they were perfect for each other, once they got their heads out of their arses (it is set in London, so have to use ‘arse’).

The second half of the book was more painful than humorous, but still had plenty of spots of humor. In the end though, this book worked so well for me, on so many levels. I don’t often mark things as a re-read, and I haven’t given a 5 pieces of eye candy rating in months. Both of these are happening with Rule Breaker, and I am glad for it. Now, I will have to sneak back and read Lily’s other romantic comedy, The Summer of Us.

Lily Morton has offered up a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card to a commenter on this blog post. So, tell us, do you enjoy reading romantic comedy books?

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Changing Tides by Alex Standish: Release Day Review and Giveaway

While most pirates sail in search of riches, Captain Devon Hall, the infamous Phantom of the Caribbean, is driven by vengeance. Devon has sworn to put an end to the corrupt governor of Jamaica and break the ruthless man’s stranglehold in the Caribbean.

When Devon is wounded and stranded on land, an unlikely rescuer comes to his aid. Brett Campbell is nothing like his uncle, the governor, and his goals are not so different from Devon’s. Brett longs for freedom, but his obligations to protect those under his uncle’s control keep him from fleeing. Throwing in with Devon might increase both their chances of success—and survival.

When the governor’s attempts to destroy Devon escalate and place Brett in danger and in the hands of the ruthless and depraved pirate Captain Blackburn, Devon must risk everything to save the man he loves and repay his enemies.

All Devon’s ever wanted is his ship, his freedom, friends who stand by his side through thick and thin, and someone to love. But facing dangers at sea and on land, Devon wonders if they will live to enjoy it all.

Title: Changing Tides
Author: Alex Standish
Release Date: August 16, 2017
Category: Historical: Americas
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Changing Tides tells the tale of Devon, a notorious pirate known as the Phantom of the Caribbean who’s the captain of The Flying Horse. He and his crew do what pirates do, that is sail around looking for ships to commandeer and plunder. In between pirating, he’s got it in for the governor of Jamaica, Rupert Campbell, who Devon responsible for his father’s death, and is always looking for opportunity to take the guy down. The book opens with Devon wounded but stumbling his way to the Governor’s mansion where he is found by Brett, the Governor’s nephew. Brett nurses Devon back to health and during his recovery, he and Brett grow fond of each other. Naturally these two are going to have a bit of a hard time getting this thing off the ground, and before they can do much, the governor returns and Devon must flee. What follows is a pirating adventure that sort of reminded me of the classic Treasure Island: hidden treasure, an old map, adventure, ship battles, kidnappings, revenge, the high seas.

There were so many elements that would make me like this book: Pirates, romance, fights, rescue, bad guys getting their comeuppance…but I did not love this. The writing is a bit stilted and the details are kind of bland. I didn’t really feel anything for the characters or the romance. There’s a lot of tell, not show, here and conversations just don’t feel quite natural. There are a few love scenes, but at one point, Brett is half dead and it feels kind of icky for them to be attempting sexy times. This feels like an early writing attempt as far as dialogue and writing style go, but the plot wasn’t horrible. In fact, thinking back to Treasure Island, the style of writing is similar in that there’s lots of action and plot, and it’s much less character driven — not my favorite thing. Still, the good parts were okay and the less good parts really weren’t the worst I’ve read. I’d give the author another try in the future.

2.75 pieces of eye candy


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The Foxling Soldati by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.

Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs—in Rayner’s arms.

Title: The Foxling Soldati
Series: Soldati Hearts: Book Two
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: August 16, 2017
Category: Fantasy: Urban Fantasy; Paranomal: Angels & Demons; Paranormal: Werewolves/Shapeshifters
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Welp, that didn’t turn out like I thought it would.

Let me explain. I tend to shy away from fantasy books in general and shifter stories specifically. I’m not sure why. But this is an m/m and has a historical feel, so I gave it a try. What’s the worst that can happen?

Toka is a playful shape-shifting foxling who lives in the Soldati realm which is ruled by tiger shifters. It’s a nice place, actually: everyone seems to be happy and gets along, the king, Khalon, is easy going with a sense of humor, humility and since finding his fated mate, Riley, is pretty much in honeymoon mode 24/7. Toka’s lot in life is to be a servant, but the Soldati treat their servants (though let’s be honest, they’re slaves) kindly and respectfully. Rayner is the king’s sexy, tiger-shifting right-hand man whose (mutual) interest in Toka goes from flirtation in Book 1 (The Soldati Prince) to physical almost right away here. Pair up a tiger-shifting warrior with a lean twink-like foxling and you’re going to have some sexy times.

Toka and Rayner’s flirtations grow more heated and draw them closer together, physically and emotionally. Toka is just… so sweet, and I always like to see a big, tough alpha like Rayner show his soft, gooey center trying to please his little fox. There’s a bit of angst about whether this coupling is a fun distraction or true love — but it hardly matters because there’s a stupid ancient rule on the books that forbids Soldati and servants to mate. So, while the two can fool around all they want, they can never legally, officially, or openly pledge themselves to each other. Doesn’t that make you so mad? Me too.

The real trouble starts when the Soldati are visited by the king of a neighboring realm who is, essentially, a bear-shifting bully whose desire for revenge against Rayner fuels an uproar amongst the Soldatis and pits long-time friends — and new lovers — against each other. Toka finds himself in an intolerable situation and Rayner has to decide how far he will go, how much he will give up to keep Toka with him.

This is a short, sweet read and the short format naturally requires a sped-up lust-to-love-to-angst-to-resolution timeline and that may not be for everyone. Cochet’s writing is quick and to the point, and the plot flows smoothly. There are light hearted moments, the characters are drawn well and I’m mad, sad and a bit angsty along with them at times. There’s threat of rape and a couple of beatings that take place. Still, things may be a little too happy-happy for some, but I think it worked here for me because of the short-length format (Do not give me 800 pages of happy-happy). I liked Riley, the king’s husband, a lot and while you don’t need to read his book (The Soldati Prince) first, you do need to read it. DO IT. I knew I would get an HEA (because otherwise I would break things) but a little detail at the end made me even happier. So, while I shy away from shape shifting books in general, I was pleasantly surprised in how much I enjoyed this book and the series. Looking forward to reading more Charlie Cochet.

3.75 pieces of eye candy!


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Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Title: Out of the Shadows
Author: K.C. Wells
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 250

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Josh, residential handy-man and gardener for a set of apartment buildings, has a new job to do. Instead of working in the garden, he’s been asked to do some remodeling in these outdated apartments. New bathrooms and kitchen cabinets, and tiles, it’s going to be hard work. I didn’t understand why he was expected to do it all himself, but he seemed up for it and enjoyed the work. His first day on the job, he thought he was alone, nobody seemed to be home, though after a full day of working, he found the tenant was actually just locked in his room and preferred to talk through doors or texts. He knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. People had been talking about the elusive tenant, giving him idea’s of the kind of person he might be. How wrong they were.

Christian’s life is in his apartment. He never leaves, he never sees people. It’s just him and the insurance job he does from home. An accident from almost a decade ago has left him scarred and disfigured and naturally, he’s pushed everyone away and stayed hidden. Even when he checks out the hot gardener that works in his garden. Little does he know, the man who’s been hired to redo his apartment, IS the hot gardener. Talking through the door seems silly, but he wouldn’t dare let the man see what he looks like.

Until one day, he does. Josh is amazing. He’s patient and kind and everything Christian needs him to be. He doesn’t pretend to not see the scars, but they don’t bother him a bit. I like how he didn’t pretend to not see them, or try to downplay what I’m sure is a serious thing for Christian. He didn’t brush off his anxiety about going out and about, he just worked around it. He nudged him instead of pushed and was so understanding when Christian was uncomfortable. He was really very sweet and of course Christian fell for him, who wouldn’t? Little did he know, the time he spent with Christian, he was falling for him too.

I love hurt/comfort stories. I love the realness of stories like these that have obstacles that aren’t arbitrary or baseless. This one was sweet and slow burning and when these two came together, from friends to lovers, it wasn’t forced or rushed. I loved that.

Although I thought the dialogue was often times cheesy, and I’ve never seen any straight friends act like teenage girls gossiping like Josh’s friends. I liked them as well. I wouldn’t mind reading stories about all of them as well. Overall, it was a very sweet read and I’m glad I didn’t pass it up.

4 pieces of eye candy for me.


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The Charlatan’s Conquest by Vivien Dean: Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.

Title: The Charlatan’s Conquest
Series: Phantom Fixers
Author: Vivien Dean
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 216

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

By Vivien Dean

Thank you so much for letting me stop by today! My name is Vivien Dean, and I’m excited to have a release in the debut month of Dreamspinner’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond. It’s nerve-wracking, I’ll admit. I’ve wanted to have a solo title with Dreamspinner for over three years now. The reports from my author friends who published with DSP were nothing but glowing, and I itched to be a part of it. Plus, the covers were gorgeous, and who doesn’t love getting graced with pretty art? So when Dreamspun Beyond was announced, I jumped at the chance. I had been lucky enough to collaborate with Rick Reed on the Dreamspun Desires line, but this would be all on my own, without any filters, without Rick to help me along. Now, I’m not exactly a newbie. I’ve been writing and publishing romance for over a decade. But first impressions only happen once, and I always strive to present the best I can, especially in my work.

First impressions also play vital roles in our stories. It doesn’t matter if characters haven’t met before the story starts or if they’ve known each other for years. Those initial thoughts on the other person, as well as the interactions, can shape how the relationship progresses. Two strangers bumping into each other in a coffee shop have a specific dynamic. Two men who’ve been best friends since kindergarten will bring a completely different perspective to a budding romance. Those first moments matter, whether we see them on the page or not.

In “The Charlatan’s Conquest,” my two heroes, Cruz and Brody, don’t even know the other exists when the story starts. Cruz first meets Brody when Brody storms into a meeting Cruz has with Brody’s father about getting rid of the ghosts haunting the family house. Cruz is already on edge because he feels like a bit of a faker since he’s not a real ghost hunter, so his first instinct is to keep everybody calm so he can stay in control of the situation.

But crashing the meeting and finding this gorgeous guy sitting on the couch with his dad isn’t Brody’s first impression of Cruz. Actually, he’s already formed an opinion before he steps foot in the house. He’s convinced Cruz is a scam artist, which is why he raced to intervene, but when he arrived, this was what greeted him:

Another car was in the circular drive in front of the three-story brick house. Brody pulled up behind it with a frown, his gaze fixed on the vehicle as he got out of his own. It was a dark blue Volvo station wagon, at least twenty years old, with a dozen stickers on its rear bumper. A yellow ribbon for children’s cancer with words of support surrounding it. A rainbow-colored peace symbol. A variety of slogans like I’m not speeding. I’m qualifying and My other car is the Batmobile and Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.

Brody snorted at the last one. He could tell this gay-rights supporter/speed freak/comics-loving ghost hunter a thing or two about demons.

I wanted Brody’s first impression to be very distinct. It’s also fairly accurate in a purely superficial way. Cruz decorated his bumper in stickers that meant something to him, and the chaos of all the messages and colors is perfectly on point with the vibrancy and diversity in Cruz’s life. Brody learned a lot in a single glance, even though he didn’t understand the importance of all of it. It subverted his expectations, which ultimately made it easier for Cruz to gain his trust.

If I had bumper stickers on my car—and the fact that I don’t says something about me, too, whether I like it or not, haha—mine would probably be as diverse as Cruz’s. One for my kids being honors students. Some type of pride emblem. One that says, “Hostile 17 owes me kittens.” The list would likely be huge. My Flex would look like a Nascar car covered in ads. Except not, because, well, it’s a Flex.

What first impression would people get from your (real or imaginary) bumper stickers?

Paranormal stories are not usually my books of choice. With just a few exceptions, I have always been more of a contemporary romance, life in the current plane of reality kind of reader. But The Charlatan’s Conquest intrigued me from the second I read the blurb. Not just because it was part of a new line by Dreamspinner Press, but also because the ghost part, that has always been a bit of a fascination for me, and within the gay romance genre, those books are few and far between.

I immediately liked Cruz. He was a responsible guy, with a family that was strange, but helped to create him into the person he was. His connection to his family made him even more likable, especially his younger sister, who even while she was sick couldn’t help but try to find Cruz the right boyfriend.

Brody, well, he took a little getting used to. The reader could see that his concern was that his father was being swindled, and having spent so much of his life on the other side of things with his father, he wanted to make sure there was not one more thing that would go bad. Brody for years didn’t realize that all the hauntings that he refused to acknowledge were actually brought through him.

Once these two connected and worked through how the hauntings were happening, and what was the root cause, it was easy to see how these two men could work together to try to find the right way to get rid of them, and allow Brody to find a happy place for the first time in his life. Seeing a man who spent his years from the time his mother died until he was able to rid himself of these demons in a terribly unhappy place was tragic, and explained so much about his life, and even his skepticism.

Brody and Cruz fit well together, but even more, they were able to be strengths for each other, as both had their own demons (literally and figuratively) to work through, but needed each other to balance everything out. They were definitely ying to yang for one another. Giving and taking as needed to deal with the enormous and frightening tasks that they had to deal with.

What a satisfying ending, not just to the story, but to how it was dealt with. With ghost and paranormal stories, whatever the author dreams up could be somewhat realistic, or it could be so off the charts out there that the reader has a hard time believing that it “could” happen in a parallel universe. In this case, it felt like something that really could happen in that alternate world.

I really enjoyed this one, and highly recommend! 4.5 pieces of eye candy

 

VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.

Vivien is a four-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.

CONTACT VIVIEN

Website: www.viviendean.com

E-mail: vivien_dean@yahoo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vivien.dean.3

Twitter: @VivienDean

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The Long and Winding Road by TJ Klune: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

Title: The Long and Winding Road
Series: Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles: Book Four
Author: TJ Klune
Release Date: August 11, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 346

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I feel like I knew this was coming and I still wasn’t prepared for it. How do you? How do you prepare for the end of something you’ve felt so invested in for so long? Something that impacted your life a great deal, even though they were fictional people in a fictional world ? I wasn’t ready… I’m still not.

Probably be mild spoilers, though I’ll try not to… Beware of that now ….that was your warning!

In this one, we start out looking in the past… we see a lot that went on in the time gaps, from Bear’s POV. Ty’s addiction, man, that was a tough one. It was so very well written and explained. My heart broke for both of them, but Tyson…reliving it all from Bear and Otter… I just loved the realness of it all. The reality of it and how much it hurts the people who love you. I wasn’t expecting that. Then, we go on another journey we didn’t get to see in other books. How they decided and how it affected each of them. There’s so much I could, and that I wanna say here. I wanna gush and ramble and cry, because I did a lot of all of that, while reading it… And I’m not being dramatic; especially if you’ve followed this imaginary family from the beginning, you can’t not help but get invested in their fictional little lives and want the absolute best for them, always. All of them, even Creed, who I gotta be honest, drives me a little crazy.

Then, we get to the present…. Izzy… I worried about her after Ty left her last book. That effing cliffhanger… I mean, spoiler if you haven’t read it.. sorry, but if you haven’t then why are you jumping ahead? Go back and read it!

So, Izzie…and Bear and Otter and their amazing news. Then Ty and Dom and Anna and Creed, and everyone is all here. Ty is getting settled into his life where we left him, Dom and Ben… things are good with everyone finally, and we’re on the road to preparing for their future and the greatness they’re getting. It’s a hard road… hard and funny and taxing and emotional… everything you’d expect with this family. But through everything, they always have each other…They’re one giant team, right? Bear and Otter, there isn’t anyone alive that loves as much as those two do… they have an endless amount and it’s so fun to read about. I loved every single second…. Even if I did wanna throttle Otter for just a split second. I love how everything was handled and how Bear can be the serious one when he needs to be. His heart to heart with Izzie had me a mess….I was happy to see him be the calm one, when it counted. When he needed to be, he had several heart to hearts in here….They were even coherent…mostly 😛

And then everything that they’d worked so hard for, everything that had been leading up to this moment…. Happened…. And F if I didn’t fall in love with all of them even more all over again….

Now, the future…the future is perfect. Although I hated to see it end… it ended perfectly… in the best place. Everyone was in the best place. Happy and healthy and together. Kids and family, love and extended hippy family. It couldn’t have ended better. I’m sad, really that it’s over… I’ve been following this series for what seems like ever and we’ve been through a lot with them… a whole lot. But we got everything we needed by the end. Everything to make it okay to say goodbye to. I hope we do get a glimpse at everyone later, maybe in brief cameo in a Paul and Vince book, or possibly if Kori/Corey gets a book, which I beg to all that is Holy that, that will happen.

Although it’s time to say goodbye to everyone, I feel better knowing I can come back and revisit them any time I want to….I give this series AND this story… ALL the sunshine points!

5 stars from me. And even though I may be a little biased, I was given this story with the promise of an honest review… If you follow my reviews at all,  I am nothing but honest… perhaps a little dramatic at times too, but always honest. If you loved any part of this entire series. You won’t want to pass this one up. It’s perfect.


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Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne: Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

A heart-pounding, romantic conclusion to the Agents Irish and Whiskey series.”

Barrel Proof

Layla Reyne

Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey #3

Publisher: Carina Press (HQN)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): August 7, 2017 (Ebook and Audiobook)

(Audiobooks of Single Malt (AIW1) and Cask Strength (AIW2) also releasing August 7, 2017)

Length (Print & Ebook): 189 Pages (Ebook); 6hr, 30mins (Audio)

Subgenre: M/M Romantic Suspense 

This book features: Book 3/Trilogy Conclusion. Angst, Action, Romance, HEA

Carina

Amazon

Nook/B&N

iBooks

Google Play

Kobo

Audiobooks

 

Quotes about the book (or others in the series):

From Single Malt:

“Sexy, smart and suspenseful – this book has it all.” –HelenKay Dimon, author of Mr. & Mr. Smith

“With sharp writing, compelling characters, and an engaging plot, Single Malt is the M/M romantic suspense series I’ve been waiting for.” – Santino Hassell, award-winning author of the FIVE BOROUGHS series

“Single Malt is full of explosive chemistry, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A must read for any romantic suspense fan!” — Megan Erickson, USA Today Bestselling author

Early reviews about Barrel Proof:

RT Magazine – 4.5 Stars, Top Pick:

Barrel Proof is the third and final book in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series. After two books that follow the formation of a heated M/M romantic relationship, Barrel Proof starts off with a climax as secrets are revealed and the romance is tested. … Fans of the series will be equally challenged and delighted by the twists and turns Reyne takes. The book flows into a more action-oriented focus as the plot progresses, but Reyne ends the romance with just the right amount of heft to keep any reader of romantic suspense and M/M romance delighted. 

Night Owl Reviews – 4.5 Stars, Top Pick:

Layla Reyne finishes her trilogy with an absolute bang! As sorry as I am to say goodbye to this fabulous pair I couldn’t have enjoyed their ending more.

The Romance Reviews – 5 Stars, Top Pick:

BARREL PROOF is the emotional, high impact, AMAZING finale to the Agents Irish and Whiskey series.

Heart-breaking and heart-fulfilling, this book is the perfect finale to the series, and Layla Reyne now has a brand new reader completely addicted to her work. Without a doubt, absolutely recommended by me.

 

Aidan put one knee to the bed, swung the other over Jamie’s lap, and cupped his cheeks in his hands, drawing him in. It wasn’t the lip smashing, teeth clashing kiss Jamie was used to from Aidan. It was slow, devouring, and tinged with the unmistakable taste of goodbye.

Afraid ratcheted up to terrified.

“Baby,” he murmured against Aidan’s lips, the one word trembling.

“Shh, Whiskey.” Aidan pulled back enough to yank off his shirt, then started back in for another kiss. Jamie stopped him, holding his face slightly away and forcing his gaze.

Goodbye was in his eyes too.

Jamie shot past terrified to devastated. “No,” he breathed, barely a whisper.

Aidan shook off the hold and drove a hand into his hair, pulling Jamie in for another melancholy-laced kiss. So little light, so much darkness, and as Jamie ran his tongue along Aidan’s, the tang of tequila and whiskey.

Slow, like the kiss, Aidan’s hands began to rove, as if he were memorizing the texture of his hair, the scruff covering his jaw, the breadth and width of his shoulders. A cool palm flattened over his tattoo, over his heart. The touch was gentle, not the usual digging pressure of Aidan’s fingers.

Bidding farewell.

A whimper escaped Jamie’s lips. His heart was at war with itself. He needed to retreat, to beg and plead with Aidan to stay and give him another chance, but if his partner’s mind was made up, there’d be no changing it now. And if he tried, if he argued, he might not get this last kiss, this last chance to make love to the man who would forever carry his heart, wherever his life went.

Without him.

Conceding the inevitable and accepting the disaster of his own creation, Jamie admitted defeat and surrendered.

Barrel Proof is the final installment in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series by Layla Reyne. This is not a standalone book, so you’ll forgive me if I delve a bit into the first two books, Single Malt and Cask Strength. You can’t read book 3 without having read books 1 & 2 and only a sadist would read 1 & 2 and not read this — amirite?

Book 1 establishes a bit of the background of Irish and Whiskey themselves, their mutual, growing attraction and the subsequent consummation of their relationship as they work on their first case together. I love when two heroes cannot stop thinking about each other and succumb to their out-of-control physical desire. Book 2 continues their FBI partnership and romance as Irish insists on them being “casual” as he tries to fend off his growing feelings for his partner. They’re both concerned with breaking Bureau rules by entering into a romantic relationship, but Irish in particular is afraid of falling in love and being widowed again, something he doesn’t think he could live through a second time. But a case involving Whiskey’s past as a college basketball star brings up jealousies on both hero’s parts. I know, I know. “Jealousy”, as a rule is, yanno, bad, but … love me some angst — and its resolution! To see Irish come around from their status as casual is very *sigh* worthy.

There’s also the overall arc of the action part of the series, that being terrorist Renaud whose anger at being thwarted in Book 1 has put Irish and his friends, family and coworkers in the cross hairs as Renaud takes his revenge. But there’s more, isn’t there? Irish and Whiskey’s boss, Mel, has discovered that Renaud’s plans started long before any of them ever thought, and his list of victims — past, present, and future — grows. Mel has also enlisted Whiskey’s help in uncovering details of the death of Irish’s husband (Mel’s brother) and his partner, an investigation that is being kept from Irish.  I’m sure that won’t come to bite him in the ass anytime soon.

Book 3 continues the action just about where Book 2 left off, with the guys heading to retrieve their boss Mel from a secret mission she’s on in Cuba. A mission which ultimately leads back to Renaud and, that secret I mentioned before? Yea, that gets out of the bag and throws another road block in the still-budding relationship between our two heroes. Can our guys work this out? Probably… Assuming they can live out the week because in the meantime, Renaud is upping his game: Bombs, kidnappings, destruction of world markets, systems hacking, mistrust and betrayal — it’s all on tap here.

This book does not drag, it’s action, action, action — of all kinds. The financial and tech plots are satisfying and thorough; Layla Reyne did some research that’s for sure. For me, though, it’s always about the ‘ship! At this point in the series, our guys are established and we know how they feel about each other. While the revelation of the secret does take our guys down different paths for a while, they don’t hurt each other with cruel words or actions. They own how they feel about each other and I never doubt these feelings, even if they have to step away from each other for a while. I feel very satisfied at leaving these two at the end on the new path their personal and professional lives have taken.

I liked the secondary characters a lot here: Mel, Danny, Irish’s brother, Whiskey’s best friend Cam and even an ex from Irish’s casual period in Book 2 turns out to be a good, likable guy. The writing is solid, action packed and the romance is a nice balance of angst, feels and hot, hot, hot. I hadn’t read the first two books when I decided to review this book, so I did a mini-marathon read. These books are about 62,000 words, so novella length. For fans of the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, you’ll feel at home in this series; it’s what drew me to these books in the first place. There were similarities between Irish and Whiskey’s world and Ty and Zane’s. FBI agents, check. Two alphas, one slightly older, check, check. Widower, check. A cyber guy, check. Little bit of a rocky start. But is that all a turn off? No way. These two guys, their histories and the trouble they find themselves in are unique and really only once in a while did I make a note and go “Aww…Ty!” So, if you love T&Z (me!) you might find a new book boyfriend couple to hang out with for a spell.

4 pieces of eye candy for this book and the series.

 

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Author Tagline:

Adrenaline-Fueled Romance

Author links:

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2oqoS7q

FB: http://bit.ly/2o2IbjJ

FB Group: http://bit.ly/2oxovZf

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2nCu49M

Tumblr: http://bit.ly/2p3pQYl

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2ufSQvc

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2o2Doz1

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2oxjdgu

 

Prizes: (2) HUGE Agents Irish & Whiskey Gift Packs including: 1 Kindle Fire Tablet, 1 Agents Irish & Whiskey mug, and surprise swag! (Ships to US/Canada only; international winners will receive Amazon Gift Card: $35)

 

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Bad Boys Need Love Too by Christa Tomlinson: Book Blast, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Why Do Bad Boys Make You Feel So Good?

Inspiration for Bad Boys Need Love Too

Hello everyone! My name is Christa Tomlinson and I’m here showing a little love for one of my older titles. Bad Boys Need Love Too was the second full length novel I completed. It tells the story of Gage Mason, a motorcycle mechanic and Joseph Naderi an up and coming lawyer.

Bad Boys Need Love Too is an opposites attract erotic romance. Gage is blue collar with grease under his fingernails, while Joseph wears nice suits and comes from a good family. But these two men need in each other in ways neither of them expected.

I got the inspiration for this story as I was on a plane ride back to Texas. I had my headphones on and was doodling in my notebook, waiting for plot bunnies to hop by so I could catch one. Then Bad Boyfriend by Garbage came up on my playlist. As I listened, I envisioned a tough bad boy on the back of a motorcycle. He was quick tempered but charming. Rough around the edges, but naturally smart and caring to those he counted as family.

I knew I had to write Gage’s story. And I knew I had to give him a partner who was sweet and could soothe his rough edges. That’s where Joseph came in. But Joseph isn’t a doormat martyr. He gives Gage what he needs, even if it’s not always what he wants. And Joseph has some things to work through on his own.

It was a blast writing this story. Bad Boys Need Love Too is full of angst, drama and lots of sex. As I was writing, I listened to songs from Garbage, Joan Jett and Peaches to get me in the right head space. The influence from those songs was perfect, and helped me create the exact world I’d imagined on that plane ride.

I hope you’ll give Gage and Joseph’s love story a try. If you do, be sure to drop me a line and let me know what you think. Happy reading!

Love,
Christa

Title: Bad Boys Need Love Too

Series: Book 1 of 3 in the Bad Boys Need Love Too series

Release Date: October 21st, 2014

Publisher: Self Published

Genres: Gay (m/m) Erotic Romance

Pages: 432

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23295042-bad-boys-need-love-too

Why Do Bad Boys Make You Feel So Good?

“You won’t let anybody else have you, Joseph. I won’t let anybody else have you. I want you all to myself.”
– Gage Mason

Everyone has had their experience with him. The Bad Boy. The one with rips in his jeans and a lazy, devil may care smile on his mouth. The man who can make you do bad things that feel so good.

For Joseph Naderi that man was Gage Mason. They met when Joseph took his motorcycle into Gage’s shop for repairs. The second Joseph laid eyes on Gage he knew he was trouble, but something about the sexy mechanic drew him in. Maybe it was the dark eyes that studied Joseph like Gage wanted to know everything about him. Maybe it’s the way he made Joseph feel with the rough touch of his hands and a possessive grip on his hair when they kissed. Or maybe it’s the way Gage grows to need Joseph, even though he won’t admit it.

For once in his life Joseph is taking a risk. Despite everything that tells him he shouldn’t, he’s taking a chance to be with Gage. Joseph doesn’t know if it will end well. He just knows that he can’t resist that Bad Boy.

Bad Boys Need Love Too is a steamy gay romance full of drama, love, and explicit sex scenes. Gage and Joseph’s story is book one in a complete three book series.

 

Gage settled down at the metal desk in his office to review invoices for parts orders. He’d only been at it for five minutes when he heard the sound of a motorcycle pulling up in front of his building. He could tell it was a racer by the sound of the engine. The shop was closed, but Gage still went to see who it was. If it was a friend, he’d let them in no matter the hour. But instead of seeing one of his buddies through the glass, he saw the distinct body of the Diavel he’d repaired last week and its owner, Joseph Naderi.

Gage smiled in pleased surprise and hit the button to raise the garage door. He hadn’t expected to see Joseph again unless he went after him. He knew he did careful and thorough work so there was nothing wrong with that bike. Which meant that Joseph was here because he wanted to see him.

Joseph rode in and Gage walked over to him as he shut down the bike and pulled off his helmet. Gage didn’t even try to keep the heat out of his expression as he looked at Joseph straddling his bike. Again he was dressed casually, and his long, curly hair was down, windblown from his ride. There was the faintest hint of a five o’clock shadow along the sharp line of his jaw and above the curve of his lip. And those gorgeous eyes of his were bright with excitement. This man was beautiful. Even in his jeans and tee, Joseph still looked fresh and neat and clean. Gage wanted to get him dirty. He wanted to see him sweaty with his hair even wilder and his clothes ripped and twisted half off his hard body. So many things he wanted to do, and now that Joseph was back it looked like he might get that chance.

“You’re still here.”

Gage quirked a brow. “Obviously. What are you doing here? Bike giving you trouble again?”

Joseph shook his head slowly. “No. I uh… wanted to say thank you for fixing her. The ride has been smooth just like you said it would be.”

Gage smiled real slow and moved in closer. “You go around and personally thank everybody who does work for you? Your cable repair man? The guy who changes your oil?”
Again Joseph shook his head slowly. “Not usually.”

Gage gripped the bike’s throttle, watching as Joseph’s gaze dropped to his hand. He squeezed the throttle once and saw Joseph’s throat working as he swallowed. “Tell me why you’re really here, Joseph.” Sea green eyes rose to look into his. They were so expressive that Gage could easily read his nervousness. Gage smiled again. “I already know but I want to hear you say it.”

Regular Price $4.99. On sale for .99 for a limited time

August 8th thru August 20th

 

Bad Boys Need Love Too swag pack: print copy of book, cover art key chain & poster

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6d41b92d131/?

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

Where to find Christa

Website: ChristaTomlinson.com
Email: contactchrista@christatomlinson.com
Twitter: @shockz314
Facebook: Christa Tomlinson
Instagram: Christa Tomlinson
Goodreads: Christa Tomlinson

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A Sip of Rio by Teodora Kostova: Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Liam Young has a problem – he’s booked a romantic holiday to Rio de Janeiro months ago, but when he breaks up with his boyfriend, all his plans fall apart. Not only is his dream holiday slipping through his fingers, but Liam is sick and tired of getting his heart broken.

Blaine Reed has a solution that can save Liam’s plans. Recently divorced, Blaine needs a break, and a couple of stress-free weeks in Rio with a sexy guy like Liam sounds like heaven.

Liam and Blaine hit it off right from the start, becoming good friends even before they’ve left London. Despite their efforts to ignore the simmering attraction between them, it boils over when they end up sharing a room in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Being together in Rio is easy, and it’s exactly what Liam needs – no feelings, no drama, nobody getting hurt.

Until someone does.

When the holiday bubble bursts, it’s up to them to find a way to be together outside of Rio’s seductive magic.

 A Sip of Rio

 Series (name + # in series): Stand-alone

 Publisher: self-published

 Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 2016, available as ebook, print and audio book

 Length (Print & Ebook): 47000 words, 228 pages in paperback

 Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance

 

 

 Amazon – Kindle Unlimited

 

Bookdepository

 

Audio book available on Audible and iTunes.

 

Audible

 

iTunes

 

What you want the takeaway of the book to be for readers: A Sip of Rio is a happy book about beach holidays, finding love in unexpected places and following your heart. I’d like readers to fall in love with Rio de Janeiro as much as I did, and crave a beach holiday of their own. And maybe, just maybe, gather the courage to do what their heart tells them just this once.

 

Quotes from Teodora Kostova about the book: I fell in love with Rio de Janeiro when I first went there a couple of years ago and it was inevitable I’d set a book there some day. A Sip of Rio is that book. It’s romantic, sexy, maybe a bit melancholy, and full of hope. It’s a book you can relax by the pool with, a cocktail in hand, and a smile on your face.

  

Liam had believed Diego when he’d said the run would be fun. What he hadn’t anticipated was that the preparation for the event would turn out to be just as entertaining. He and Blaine woke up early and went for a run on the deserted beach. The only people there besides them were a group of men jogging at a steady pace, singing some sort of a motivational song. They were all shirtless, wearing black shorts with bombeiros written in red letters on the back.

Both Liam and Blaine ogled them as they ran behind them, staring as the muscles on their broad backs rippled with every move.

“What the hell is bombeiros? Male strippers?” Blaine said breathlessly.

Trying to keep up with the hot guys in front of them was not easy, but the round, perfectly shaped asses snugly covered with thin black shorts were motivation enough to keep going.

“I don’t know,” Liam said, panting. “But if we don’t stop we won’t be able to run for five yards, let alone five kilometres tonight.”

They slowed down to a slow jog, watching as the bombeiros sped up ahead, their chants still echoing in the quiet of the early morning. When they were merely a dot in the distance, Liam stopped, bracing his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. Blaine joined him, out of breath too, but much more collected. He had his phone out and was tapping on the screen with great concentration.

“Firefighters,” he said with glee, tucking his phone back in his pocket.

Liam groaned, every firefighter fantasy he’d ever had finding its way to the front of his mind.

“You sure you don’t want to try and catch up?” Blaine asked, laughing when Liam threw him a glare.

“No, but we’re running on the beach every morning from now on,” he said, delighted when it was Blaine’s turn to glare at him.

They spent the rest of the day wandering around Rio Sul shopping centre, looking for 80s inspired clothes and accessories. Liam couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed so much. Watching Blaine try on neon leggings that left little to the imagination, tight shorts that barely covered his ass, and cropped t-shirts in all colours of the rainbow was very amusing. At one point he thought they were going to get thrown out of the shop as Blaine pranced around in a tight crop top, cut off leggings, and knee high socks. But what made Liam drop to the floor of the fitting room in a fit of hysterical laughter was the long blonde Jane Fonda style wig he was proudly flicking from side to side.

Liam tried a few outfits as well, and it was Blaine’s turn to laugh at him. But there was also a barely concealed glint of desire in his eyes when Liam put on a pair of bright yellow hot pants and a vest in the same colour, leaving it open at the front and not bothering with a t-shirt underneath. When Liam was finished in the fitting room, Blaine took all the clothes he’d tried on and stuffed them in their shopping basket, ignoring Liam’s protests that he hadn’t actually decided which ones to get.

“We’re buying them all,” Blaine said, a low growl in his voice. “And you’re going to try them on for me when we get to the hotel. I’ll help you choose.”

Liam grinned, liking the idea very much. He couldn’t wait to get back to their room.

 

 

Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job in 2010 when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had to guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid

 

Connect with Teodora: Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter | Newsletter | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

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