Someone to Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker: Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

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SOMEONE TO CALL MY OWN

Road to Blissville Series, Book 2

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 09.05.17

Someone-to-Call-My-Own-customdesign-JayAheer2017-eBook-cover

PHOTOGRAPHER: Wander Aguiar

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

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Psychic Emory Jackson and former black ops specialist Jonathon Silver are men from two completely different worlds with one thing in common: heartbreak. Emory still mourns the loss of his husband five years prior, and Jon is reeling with grief from the recent death of his twin brother.

Sparks fly when mutual friends introduce them, but it’s so much more than basic attraction. There’s an undeniable awareness and a sense of belonging that neither man can deny. Despite Emory’s premonition of a future with Jon, he has vowed never to love again. Jon is convinced that his tainted soul is the reason he will never have someone to call his own. What if they’re both wrong?

Maybe these broken men with their jagged edges could somehow align perfectly to form something whole and beautiful. But will that realization come too late for them?

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Someone To Call My Own is the 2nd book in a spin off of the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries. And while this can be read as a stand alone, reading the other books will give you a better understanding of all of the characters. Plus, the other books are really fun.

So let’s start with that. The Curl Up and Dye mysteries were fun books. I enjoyed them a lot, and although they were definitely high on the cute meter, they didn’t tip the edge into sugary sweet. All of the characters were fun and held their own in the stories.

Book 1 in the Road to Blissville series was a little bit more mature, but still really fun. How can Dr Dimples and Chaz not be fun really?

Book 2 is definitely more serious and mature. And that is a good thing. These particular characters needed that. They needed to be more “grown up”, more serious, more angsty. Emory himself called for that seriousness and Jonathan fit right in.

We get a lot more back story from Emory. Exactly what happened to bring him to Blissville in the first place. There is quite a bit of story telling overlap-which is a big plus if you are reading this as a stand alone, but got slightly tedious at times. After that bit, the story really rolled along.

And poor Emory. I just wanted to hug him. He was so broken. Jonathan didn’t give up though. He gives him space at times and invades his space at other times. The romance was a slow build- but that was what these guys needed.

We see all of our favorite characters again- always a favorite of mine- and we get a few new characters as well. Perfect set up for the next book.

An easy 4 pieces of eye candy for me because of how effortlessly Ms Walker is able to write each character and book with their own voice.

 

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“I think we need to clear the air,” Jonathon said in a calm, rational voice.

“There’s nothing to clear,” I countered. “I’m nothing to you; you’re nothing to me.”

“You think it’s that simple?” Jonathon took two steps toward me. I took three steps back. Jon jerked to a stop when he saw my reaction. “Emory…” He broke off and ran both his hands through his hair. “I know you felt it the night we met. I saw your eyes widen in surprise when the electricity shot through our bodies.”

“So.” Denying it existed wasn’t working. It was time to change tactics. “That doesn’t mean I want or will act on it.” I ran my hand over the infinity tattoo I had inked over my heart. It felt like River’s name was burning my skin like he knew the truth and was calling me a liar. Or, maybe it was anxiety that gripped my heart in its tight fist. Whatever the reason, I felt lightheaded and dizzy. Suddenly, my body felt cold and hot at the same time, and tiny little needles pricked my skin from head to toe. I licked my lips that had suddenly gone dry and numb.

“Emory?” I heard Jonathon’s voice, but it sounded like he was calling to me at the end of a very long tunnel instead of five feet away. He walked toward me, but I kept backing away. I hoped he would stop, but I saw the determination in his eyes. “Emory, I just want to help you.”

“Then leave,” I wheezed between gasps.

“I’d never leave anyone alone in this condition,” Jonathon said angrily. “Now be quiet and let me help you.” He gripped my bicep firmly, but not painfully, and guided me to a kitchen chair. He gently set me in the chair then placed his hand on my stomach beneath the center of my ribs and the other on my chest. I burned beneath his touch. I wrapped my hands around his thick wrists and tried to push his hands off of me. “Stop it, Emory,” he said firmly. “You’re hyperventilating, and I can help you. I. Will. Not. Hurt. You.”

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Hot tears of humiliation flowed freely down my face. No one had ever seen me in the midst of a panic attack and I’d always been able to pull myself out of them on my own. That one was different, and I knew I needed help.

“Ignore my hands on your body, but look into my eyes and listen to me.” His demanding, deep voice was nearly hypnotic. “Inhale deeply through yo

ur nose, Emory. Hold it for a count of three and release it slowly. When you do, you’ll feel my hands moving up and down with your lungs, and your brain will recognize you’re breathing even before the fresh oxygen pushes the carbon dioxide out of your body. Do it with me, Emory.”

I breathed in slowly, held it for three seconds, and released it. I focused on the way his hands moved up and down with my breathing and pretended that I expelled all the bad energy with every exhale. I repeated the process ten or twelve times before I was completely calm again.

Jonathon pulled his hands off of me and balled them into fists. He didn’t look angry or like he wanted to hit me. It looked like he needed to do something with his hands but wasn’t sure what. He lowered himself into a chair beside me.

“What caused your panic attack?”

“You,” I replied sullenly.

“Emory, I haven’t done anything to you so why would the sight of me cause you to panic?” Jonathon sounded truly baffled and a little insulted.

I knew it would take drastic measures to push him away, so I let him have it with both barrels. “I had a psychic vision about you—well. Us.”

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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Fate Heats Things Up by Sarah Hadley Brook: Release Day Review

Scott Dwyer meets hot, new fireman Adrian Campbell in an embarrassing incident one evening and can’t stop thinking about him. While bartending at the local hangout for Station 39, he sees Adrian with his colleagues about once a week. He thinks Adrian might be interested in him, too, but every time they find a chance to talk, something gets in their way.

When a rash of arson fires begins the same week Adrian starts at the station, the rumors fly about whether or not he is responsible for them.

Things are heating up in town, but will they heat up between the two men as well? Will Fate ever allow them to be together?

Release Date: September 18, 2017
Category: Erotica
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 15600
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Gay
Identity: Cisgender

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This was a short novella, you could almost have called it a short story, but it did have a good amount of story in it. Scott and Adrian seem to spend weeks eyeing each other, considering talking to each other, maybe asking each other on a date, but then never do. In fact, I found myself wondering why Adrian-who seemed to be the more dominant of the two-never asked Scott for his phone number. He kept having to leave for a fire call, and yet didn’t stop and say, let me get your number, and I’ll text you. But it definitely increased the tension between the two, seeing if the other was genuinely interested.

In the meantime, the backstory of Adrian being new to the area, and people starting to wonder if he was responsible for the string of arson fires that had begun the same week he started was a big conflict for Scott to deal with. Scott kept “forgetting” to tell Adrian that he had overheard someone say they thought it was him. In fact, I’m not sure if he ever actually told him he’d overheard that conversation.

For a short story/very short novella length book, it was worth the time invested. I wouldn’t call it erotica, per the category, but definitely had sexy scenes in it. All in all a satisfying story.

3 pieces of eye candy

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Whitecott Manor by Emma Jane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleWhitecott Manor

Author: Emma Jane

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: September 11, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 65300

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, NineStar Press, LGBT, contemporary, British, paranormal, intrigue, family-drama, ghosts, friends to lovers, humor

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Alistair Ellis is the proud gardener for beautiful fifteenth-century Whitecott Manor, in England’s West Country. His life changes forever following a gas explosion at the manor, in which his boss—and love of his life—dies. However, his boss hasn’t exactly gone for good and Alistair still finds himself involved in conversations with the deceased.

Circumstances improve when he meets Noah, the handsome dog groomer for the manor’s new owners. Although there are some issues: Noah is already engaged and Alistair suffers from cynophobia—an acute fear of dogs!

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Read a lot. Join writing groups or writing forums online. Listen to other people when they tell you something you’ve written isn’t very good, even if you don’t agree with them.

 

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

Maybe back to the 60s because I’m a massive fan of The Monkees! Or the 1920s because I love the fashion, but I wouldn’t want to stay in that time.

 

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

Does it have to be a novel? Probably Ash and Darian from Alexis Hall’s Glitterland.

 

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Half a tray of dog food. Almond milk. Apple juice. Some homegrown tomatoes from my uncle. Some fat balls I made for the wild birds. And not a lot else! Most of my food is either in the cupboards or the freezer.

 

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

Telekinesis because I’m horribly lazy.

 

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Probably Arthur from Whitecott Manor. He’s quite well off and basically gets to do what he likes!

I loved the setting of this book, an old manor in England, beautiful gardens as far as the eye can see. It makes you think about old Harlequin romance novels, and traveling to these places to see them yourself. A great location to have a grand romance.

Alistair was kind of a mess emotionally, but in a sweet way. Concerned about his job, after his lover, the owner dies (and then “haunts” him), having a difficult time dealing with his father since the death of his mother, and navigating a world where he is gay in a very small English village. He meets Noah the dog groomer, who he is very taken with at first sight…except for the whole phobia of dogs thing. He also really seemed to care about those around him, going out of his way to help others, and even being open to his father finding a girlfriend.

I liked these two main characters, even with all of Alistair’s issues. However, I did think that there might have been too much going on in this book. There were quite a few different conflicts in this book that seemed to pop up, then would fade into the background while another would pop up, until one of the others came to the forefront again. It didn’t make the book confusing, it just made it very busy. It was hard to feel like the romance of Alistair and Noah was a focus when there were so many other conflicts that would become the focus.

The side characters were very well written, including Emmett (the dead lover/owner) who was all about his fashion choices. Those made me laugh every time!

A well written book and characters, but definitely a bit crowded in the story.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

Whitecott Manor
Emma Jane © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Once I was aware of the cuts, they stung like a bitch. I should’ve worn gloves, really, but it’s so much easier not to. I was almost finished anyway, and the Harpers’ rose borders were nearly ready. They’d look beautiful when they flowered in the summer—they always did. White and red rose blooms flanked the path to the tennis court. I just had one last bush to prune and then I could stop for a cuppa. The cuts were itching now too, right where the thorns had snagged and ripped my skin. I sucked the flesh between my thumb and index finger, tasting blood and mud, and stood there, secateurs in hand, watching the house.

It was a fifteenth-century manor—a beautiful listed building made from warm-yellow stone. It’d been revamped inside, a strange mixture of modern and ancient, and was currently—unfortunately, in my opinion—on the market. I didn’t want it to sell; I didn’t want to lose my job. The Harpers assured me that whoever bought the place would keep me on but, well, it wasn’t down to them.

I took my hand from my mouth and watched as the estate agent led a middle-aged couple from their car—some sort of old classic; light blue with a soft-top—to the front of the manor. Even at this distance, I could see the look on their faces as they gazed up at the building before entering. They loved it already. Everybody did; it was such an impressive place. Bloody hell, I’d buy it if I had a spare eight million lying around.

I glowered to myself and turned back to the last bush, reaching into the branches to snip it into some sort of order. I cut myself on another thorn and swore impatiently.

“Language.”

I turned to see Mr Harper—Emmett—watching me. He stood there, smiling, his hands tucked in the pockets of his ridiculous purple corduroys. He always reminded me of Colin Firth, though he didn’t look particularly like him. He was a similar age, I suppose, and had that same clipped accent and no-nonsense manner.

I tossed rose clippings into my wheelbarrow. “Sorry. It’s these roses. They’re full of thorns.”

“Ah, the roses. Yes. I thought perhaps you’d spotted Mr Daniels showing the Scrantons around.”

“Scrantons?”

“Mr and Mrs Scranton. I don’t know their first names, and I don’t care. Lottery winners, apparently.”

I scratched at my cheek with the edge of my thumbnail and then wiped the back of my hand across my brow. “You really want Whitecott Manor bought by lottery winners?” I asked. It wasn’t really any of my business, but I didn’t want to see the place sold on yet again because the Scrantons squandered all their money and ended up bankrupt within a year.

Emmett shrugged. “My dear, I don’t care who buys it as long as they cough up the money. You know I can’t afford to keep the place.”

I knew. Emmett was swimming in debt. His daughters—all five of them—had now moved out and he had to pay for everything on his own since his wife had left. Old Mrs Harper, Emmett’s mother, lived in the house with him, but she was in her eighties and, I think, had about as much money as he did. They wanted to move to a little cottage somewhere, with a nice granny annex and a garden that didn’t require much attention. Certainly not enough attention to take me with them.

I hadn’t said anything. Emmett came and put his hand to the small of my back. “Whoever ends up here would be mad to let you go. They can see how beautiful the gardens are.”

I nodded and stared into the rose bush.

“And you’re beautiful,” he added. “Who would not want you around?”

“You don’t need to flatter me.” I snipped at the bush and tossed branches into my wheelbarrow.

Emmett chuckled and moved away. “Cheer up, Alistair! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. I’m off to take Mother her tea.”

I watched him stroll back to the house as if he didn’t have a care in the world. I’d miss him most of all. Well, maybe he wouldn’t move far. I’d probably still see him around—at the local fair or plant show perhaps. Besides, house sales took ages; I knew that from experience. If the Scrantons bought the place, it’d be a while yet before they moved in. And if they decided they didn’t want a gardener—if—then I had plenty of time to look for a new job. I could always audition for the X Factor and see where that got me—Emmett said I had a great singing voice, and I’d often dreamed of performing on stage.

I picked up the wheelbarrow and went to empty the clippings on the compost heap. I was just trundling back to the roses when I spotted the estate agent leading the Scrantons out into the gardens. I’d make myself scarce; I didn’t want to have to smile politely while they stood and gawked, so I downed tools and headed to the potting shed.

The cabbage seedlings were coming on nicely, I noticed, but my beetroots were depressingly small. I’d never had much luck with beetroot. They never grew much larger than rat testicles. I shrugged out of my overalls and tied the arms around my waist, singing an Elvis track softly beneath my breath.

I’d just reached for a watering can when an almighty bang made me jump out of my skin. The windows blew out the front of the manor, followed by tongues of fire licking the frames. I stared, heart frozen and mouth open. Then my heart started again, blood thumping in my ears. I threw open the shed door and ran.

“Emmett!”

I dashed towards the building, pulled open the door, and hurried down the hall to where the explosion had come from—the kitchen. Flames crackled in the room, red and angry and louder than I would’ve expected. Smoke and heat billowed outwards, and I coughed and covered my nose. My eyes watered.

“Emmett!” I yelled again.

Something crashed—maybe part of the ceiling falling—and I took a step to go after Emmett when somebody grabbed my arm and hauled me back.

“Mr Harper’s in there,” I shouted at the estate agent, fighting the man’s vice-like grip. “Emmett! Emmett!

The estate agent pulled me away, forcing me bodily back down the hall and outside. He was speaking—shouting, I think—but I yelled too, my voice hoarse, and I couldn’t hear him, couldn’t see, couldn’t… Emmett.

Sirens screamed in the distance, and then I saw the lights flashing through the trees that flanked the lane beside the manor. Fire engines arrived in a cacophony of noise and colour. The estate agent held me in a bear hug, and all I could do as firefighters jumped from their vehicles was stare at the flames roaring from the broken windows.

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Emma Jane has been writing stories since primary school, some of which still survive in notebooks in her dad’s attic, and wanted to be an author as soon as she realised it was a possible career choice and ‘Pony’ or ‘Ninja’ weren’t viable options.

Her first short story, Club Freak, about an anonymous woman’s determination to find her husband’s killer, was published by Park Publication’s Debut magazine in May 2009. Since then, she has gone on to write many short stories and poems for various small presses and has achieved an Honourable Mention in the 2011 Writers of the Future competition.

In 2014, writing as Emma Jane, she signed her first publishing contract for not one, but two novels. Otherworld formerly published by Torquere Press, and Shuttered by Dreamspinner Press.

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A Master For Michael by Morticia Knight: Release Day Review

Finding a Master for Michael won’t be easy, but Javier is determined that his boy will have the best—even if it means letting him go.

The Hampton Road Club is a secret gathering place for men of a more sadomasochistic nature. The 1920s might be roaring, but certain practices are still frowned upon in open society. Michael’s job is to greet the club members as they arrive and to report directly to the club manager, Javier. Sometimes, his direct contact with Javier has nothing to do with the club members and everything to do with submitting to the strict Master.

Javier would give anything to keep Michael as his permanent boy, but he owes his boss, Saul a great personal debt for helping him when he was at his lowest. Saul taught him that professionalism is the key to keeping things running smoothly at the club. He knows Saul would be greatly disappointed if he were to ever find out about what goes on between him and the club greeter behind closed doors. That’s why he’s never revealed to Michael how he really feels and why he must do the one thing for which he’d never thought he’d have the courage: Give Michael away to a new Master.

General Release Date: 12th September 2017

Pairing: MM Book Length: Novella

Genre: Bondage and BDSM, Erotic Romance, Gay, Historical

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Michael is the greeter at a secret men’s sex club in 1920s LA. He’s a sweet kid who’s had a harsh upbringing and while down on his luck was befriended by one of the club’s masters, Javier, and given a home and a job. Those parts are told through flashback. I don’t think it’s spoilery to say that in the year and a half that since Michael came to the club, he’s become Javier’s sub on the down low, and has fallen in love with the kind Dom. Javier, trying to sustain a level of professionalism in front of the staff and in particular club owner Saul, keeps Michael and the relationship at arm’s length. Saul is kind of a bright guy and suspects that under Javier’s cool façade run strong feelings for Michael. Saul sets in motion a plan to see if he’s right.

This is a very short story, and being BDSM, it’s not my usual cup of tea. We quickly learn Javier and Michael are in love with each other and Javier’s fear of disappointing Saul keeps him from making his relationship with Michael more official. While this hasn’t made me a fan of BDSM, it certainly didn’t make me hate the genre and it’s a sweet story, really. Morticia Knight fans will probably want to give this one a try.

3 pieces of eye candy

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Calm by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn: Release Day Review

A love worth the wait.

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship.

Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life. He admits his attraction to men, and confesses his feelings for Riley. Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus on a new man, Will Martin.

Riley and Carter’s renewed rapport intensifies, and Will becomes insecure. Will’s resentment increases until he issues an ultimatum, forcing Riley to refocus his energies away from Carter.

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh. Aware of the changes in Carter’s life, Riley is uncomfortable knowing Carter has moved on.

Carter and his ex-wife, Kate, navigate new waters as their children learn their parents are dating other people. Will can’t deal with his jealousy and ends his relationship with Riley.

Unattached for the first time in years, Riley and Carter slowly transition their friendship into a relationship. Carter comes out and leaves his job, accepting the reality of being disowned.

Riley and Carter go public with their relationship, but worry the fallout will affect their families. Drawing strength from each other, they meet the challenges of being an out couple head on.

General Release Date: 12th September 2017

Pairing: MM Book Length: Super Plus Novel

Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Gay

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I will be the first to tell you that when I read Wake, I did not give it a great rating. I was pretty upset at the fact that it basically had a cliffhanger, and there was no information in the ARC that there would be a book 2. (The author responded to my review post stating that there would be a follow up book.) I liked the MC’s, but that cliffhanger just threw me for a loop.

Calm, book 2, is the book that finishes the story for Carter and Riley, best friends from the first day of college, and definitely was a long road for these two to get to their HEA. Riley begins a relationship with a friend of Natalie’s. Meanwhile, Carter and his wife divorce, and work through the new and winding road of exes relearning to be friends, while still parenting two children.

As Carter and Riley drift back into each other’s orbits, they begin to be friends again. This is important for these two men, and honestly is what later is able to drive them into a romantic relationship. As they learn to be their own person without the other (and their ex-wives), they also learn to be friends again, who are there for the other when things become difficult. This was a crucial aspect of their relationship, and carries over later into the beginnings of their romance.

I will say that I was a bit disappointed how long it took to bring Carter and Riley to their romantic relationship. It felt like Riley’s relationship with Will, including sex scenes, was a larger portion of the book than his eventual relationship with Carter. Of course, in the end, after all the pain these two had been through, once the reader was there, it was heartwarming and satisfying, to see how they interacted with each other, as well as with Carter’s children.

The authors do a wonderful job showing us all the characteristics of the events and locations in the book. Their writing is seamless from one author to the next, and gives very rich descriptions that help the reader feel they are in the room with the MC’s.

On the whole, this is a satisfying completion to the epic journey of these two, from best friends to soul mates and future husbands. I will admit, I would love to see a book 3 with a certain secondary character with a snarky attitude, and an aversion to monogamy. 🙂

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

First edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2013.

Title: Family Man
Author: Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Release Date: September 11, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 206

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This is a super sweet book. Yes, there is hot sex, but I really enjoyed the romance.

Vince is from a big Chicago  Italian family. I live in the N.Y. tristate area.and, trust me, families like these are everywhere. Big, loud, in your business and completely loving. I think it bothered me a bit that Vince didn’t want to tell his family-  Because they are the type to not judge. Even with their heavy religious background.

Trey is a neighborhood kid who always noticed Vince, but Vince didn’t notice him. Until he did. And what started as an experiment of sorts turned into a slow burn romance as Vince came to terms with his sexuality and Trey dealt with his crazy home life, trying to hide his alcoholic mother from Vince.

Let me tell you, there is a scene in a jazz club that is so hot. And all of their clothes stayed on. I adore scenes like that. Hot and sexy is more than sex.

Even with the various family issues, the story is low angst. It boiled down to two neighborhood kids discovering each other and falling in love.

This one is far from perfect, but worth a read.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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Loose Ends by Jeff Erno: New Release Review with Giveaway

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire.Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

Title: Loose Ends
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Release Date: August 29, 2017

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Holding the stuffed bear in front of his face, Ivan stepped into the hospital room. He bobbed it up and down, then back and forth, and with a high-pitched Pooh-like voice addressed his patient. “I heard someone’s having an operation today!”

“Me! I am!” The four-year old pushed himself up, then leaned forward with outstretched arms to reach for the bear. “I know it’s you, Ivan.”

“It’s me and Pooh. And you know what? I talked to the doctor, and she said Pooh can go with you when you go in for your operation.”

Jaydin scowled. “Bears can’t go in the operating room, can they?” He glanced over to his mother who stood on the opposite side of the bed. She slipped her hand onto the little guy’s shoulder.

“Well, honey, they’re going to do the operation when you’re sleeping. Pooh can stay with you till you fall asleep, and he’ll be with you again when you wake up.”

“I want him to stay with me the whole time.”

“Don’t you worry,” Ivan assured him. “Pooh will be right there.”

“And Daddy!”

Ivan looked up to briefly establish eye contact with Jaydin’s mom. “Mommy and Daddy will be here. They’ll be waiting for you when you wake up. It’s gonna be so quick and easy. You’ll close your eyes one second, and the next you’ll open them and it will be all over with. And Mommy and Daddy will be there with you.”

“Daddy’s not here though.” Jaydin twisted his face, obviously fighting the urge to cry. He blinked and looked up with his big brown eyes at Ivan. “Do you know where my Daddy is?”

“He’s on his way, honey.” His mother spoke soothingly, but from the expression on her face, she was as annoyed by her ex-husband’s absence as Ivan.

Ivan had been a nurse for four years, the entirety of which he’d worked at St. Joseph’s in the pediatric ward. He’d seen hundreds of little angels come into the unit, some for minor operations and many for more serious, life-threatening procedures. Jaydin needed a tonsillectomy, which might not seem a big deal to the boy’s father, but if Ivan were the little guy’s dad, he’d have been camped out bedside until it was time to take him home. Ivan didn’t understand parents like Jaydin’s father. Obviously, the little boy idolized his daddy, but the man couldn’t be bothered to make it to the hospital in time for his son’s surgery.

Ivan walked over to the side of the bed and held out his hand, stroking his fingers across Jaydin’s soft curly hair. “Remember the cool Star Wars Band Aid you got when you first came to the hospital?”

“The Storm Trooper?”

“Yup. You want another one like that?”

Jaydin looked up at him, wide-eyed, smiling. “I want Kylo Ren!”

“Kylo Ren? He’s a bad guy, isn’t he?”

“So’s the Storm Troopers. Well, wait. Not all of ‘em. Not Finn.”

“Hmm.” Ivan reached into his pocket and pulled out an assortment of animated bandages. “Let’s see. I’ve got Rey, and here’s R2D2, and another storm trooper. I don’t have any Kylo.”

Jaydin’s bottom lip protruded, but only for a second, then he leaned forward to examine the bandages. “I want R2D2.” He smiled, arching his eyebrows in the cutest expression Ivan had ever seen, then suddenly grew serious. “Wait! Why do I get a Band Aid? I don’t have a owie.” Panicked, he looked up at his mother with pleading eyes. “I don’t want a ivy! Mom…” His face began to crinkle into an expression of anguished terror just as Ivan spun around in response to footsteps he heard from behind.

“Hey big guy!” A tall, dark, and handsome white dude stood in the door holding a stuffed Winnie the Pooh bear, about twice the size of the one Ivan had just delivered.

“Daddy! I don’t want a ivy!”

So this was Jaydin’s father? Ivan had assumed the boy’s dad was African American like his mother, but this explained Jaydin’s lighter skin tone and softer curls.

“Where have you been?” Jaydin’s mom barely concealed her irritation of her ex-husband’s tardiness. Glaring at him, she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Remember what we talked about, Jay Jay?” The man ignored his ex-wife and moved closer to the bed, holding out his Pooh bear. “We gotta be brave sometimes, even if it means doing things we don’t want to do.”

“But Daddy! It’s like a shot.”

Jaydin had been in and out of the hospital quite a bit in his young life, battling numerous throat and ear infections. He also suffered from chronic bronchial asthma, and Jaydin had been hospitalized a couple of times after having attacks. As young as he was, he knew all about hospital procedures, including the dreaded I.V.

Though Ivan had been Jaydin’s nurse previously, he’d never met the boy’s father. What Ivan did know, however, was that the little boy idolized the man. He was some sort of cop from what Ivan had gathered. Jaydin had repeatedly bragged about how his daddy’s job was to catch the bad guys.

“It’s just a little teenie, tiny poke, though.” Tall, dark, and handsome lowered himself to sit on the edge of the mattress. “And it’s so they can give you medicine when you’re having your operation. Right?” He looked up at Ivan for confirmation.

“That’s right.” Ivan forced a smile, a wave of annoyance sweeping over him. Where was this man the last two hours as his son lay fretting and panicking that his daddy wasn’t even going to show up for his operation? And now here he was at last sweeping in to act like the big, badass hero.

Ivan moved to the other side of the bed, stepping around Jaydin’s mother as Mr. Macho Police Detective remained next to his son holding the little boy’s hand. Ivan ever so gently took hold of Jaydin’s other wrist, examining the arm carefully as he sought the best location for insertion of the I.V. needle. Jaydin’s father continued to talk to the boy, promising him ice cream and Jell-O with lots of whipped cream after his operation.

As Jaydin engaged with his daddy, completely distracted from what Ivan was doing with his arm, Ivan expertly planted the I.V.  Jaydin looked over, only slightly startled by the needle prick, but his daddy gently placed his fingers beneath the boy’s chin and guided his gaze back in the other direction, casually acting as if nothing was happening.

Quickly Ivan peeled open the bandage wrapper and secured the R2D2 unit over the taped I.V. port. “There ya go, little man. Good to go. You got your R2 and two Pooh bears.”

“And my daddy!”

Jaydin’s mom slid next to her son as Ivan gathered up his supplies. “And Mommy,” Jaydin added. “Together…like it used to be.”

The boy’s parents glanced at each other, then each turned to their son, smiling. “No matter what,” Jaydin’s dad said, “we’ll both always be here for our little guy.”

“I’m not little no more, Daddy.”

“No you’re not,” his mother said. “You’re growing up so fast.”

“I’m almost gonna be five, and you promised I can have a party, right?”

“Right.” Jaydin’s father nodded. “With a Star Wars cake.”

“Kylo Ren. I want a Kylo Ren cake!

Ivan’s mom is murdered and the lead detective on his case is the dad of a patient Ivan had taken care of the night before. He’s a pediatric nurse and Tucker’s four-year-old son needed a tonsillectomy. That’s where things get started…

Ivan, is hard to like. I’ll say that up front, he drove me all kinds of crazy with his constant judgement, wild assumptions and snarky attitude. He was ridiculous; aside from judgey, he also seemed pompous and a little self-absorbed. He had a problem with nearly everything about Tucker and made no bones about it. I didn’t like that, his uppity-ness. It was annoying. Then the smoking pot with the friend? LOL random!

The dialogue was kind of cringy at times. And why could everyone else call Ivan, Ivey, but he gets testy when his brother does it? That makes zero sense…. Am I being too harsh because the dude gets on my nerves so bad? Maybe. He was just so hard to like for me! Also, I think maybe Ivan was at one point going to be Ian, because he gets called Ian a couple times here and there. Things like that don’t bother me though, it was easy to overlook….

I will say that by the end of the book, Ivan had kind of grown on me… I really liked him and Tucker and I liked how they were with Tucker’s son. The killer, I had pegged from the beginning but I really wished that he wouldn’t have been so nasty to Ivan…I also really liked Ivan’s brother and I was glad he had him at his back. All in all, after Ivan put all his assumptions away and actually got to know and like Tucker.. it was a much more enjoyable story. So glad it also ended with a HEA. Can’t go wrong with a HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy for me.

Jeff has generously offered an ebook copy from his backlist (you can see the full list at www.jefferno.com) to one commenter on this post. Let us know your thoughts!

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Survival Game (Men of London Book 9) by Susan Mac Nicol: Release Day Review


Since his true love died, paramedic Eric Kirby has been living a half life, but when he meets purple-haired Kyle Tripper, Eric’s heart is jolted into a whole new rhythm.

HANDLE…

Kyle Tripper has led an interesting life. Currently the manager of London’s famous Club Delish, he used to be a croupier extraordinaire in Las Vegas. But not everything in that life was so glamorous; his ex was a piece of work. Now gun-shy, Kyle hopes there is someone special out there for him, and secretly wishes it’s luscious paramedic, Eric Kirby.

WITH CARE

Every day Eric Kirby goes through the motions. Yeah, he saves lives, and, sure, he makes a difference, but he doesn’t feel it anymore – not since he lost his one true. But, when he meets wild, flamboyant Kyle Tripper and learns there’s a skittish, apprehensive man beneath the bold façade, the best of Eric’s protective nature kicks in, and opens his heart to a new love.

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I’ve loved this series from book 1, Love You Senseless with Eddie and Gideon, and have read each book since. The entire series is varied in characters, yet are all interconnected in some way. The reader will often be treated to a quick slice of life on the characters they’ve read and loved before, while still keeping the focus on the characters in the current story. Survival Game, being book 9 in the series could easily have been just another story, but once again, the uniqueness of the characters, and their stories, sets it apart.

Susan Mac Nicol loves to write broken men, really broken men. And these two have had events in their past love lives that would have left many people, not only broken, but completely shattered. Yet these two men found a way to get their lives back and be able to find some love on the way. One of the things that I appreciated about this book was that their healing was not “because of the love of a good man”, but rather from hard work, time, some therapy, and allowing those that loved them to continue to support them through their difficulties. The bonus was that they could support each other as they continued to heal and fell in love at the same time.

One of my favorite things about Sue’s books is that she puts such an element of realism in her books. A character isn’t just sad because they lost someone close to them. There is anger at being left in such a sudden way, survivor’s guilt for having lived through it. Or when a trauma happens it doesn’t just magically go away because you are not near the source of trauma any longer. Lingering effects continue and those effects are addressed realistically. This is evident with both Eric and Kyle.

There were definitely some areas where I laughed out loud (the “healing” calendar is one of those areas, watch for it), but on the whole this was a story where two men needed to spend time coming to terms with where their lives were, and where their lives could converge. I desperately wanted them to have their HEA because they deserved it after the suffering they both endured. I especially wanted it when I was crying at their individual stories.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Earning His Trust by Alicia Nordwell: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review & Giveaway

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

Title: Earning His Trust
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Five Things You Don’t Know About Me ~ Childhood Edition

Evin, one of the main characters from Earning His Trust, has a six-month-old son. What I’ve found, as a parent, is that we remember so much more about our childhoods as we watch our children grow and live theirs. Here are a few things about me from those tender years!

  1. Growing up, I had as close to two dads as you can get—without having gay parents. For literally as far back as I can remember, my dad and his identical twin brother lived together. I actually moved out before my uncle did, lol. Of course, we have always sworn they share a single brain in two separate bodies, so maybe it was like having one dad that could be in two places at once. (Seriously, I’ve had them thank me by saying, “Thank you for doing [whatever] that for me” when I actually did it for the other one!)
  2. I learned the sign language alphabet in the first grade, and I can still remember all the letters, though I’ve only used it once when asking a worker at a store where to find work gloves. It’s a basic communication skill that I think everyone should learn, though.
  3. The first book I ever remember reading was a collection of Aesop’s Fables. I got a reprint with the original illustrations to read to my babies.
  4. I remember making up the adventures of a family of swamp monsters called the Goo Goo Dolls for my younger stepsiblings as we lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. This was an early indication of my desire to share to create fiction revolving around members of a family.
  5. I’m writing this while listening to the soundtrack to Burlesque. I absolutely love the movie (not only because of all the eye candy) but because that kind of singing and dancing fascinates me. In the 6th grade I learned I have a visible muscle tic in my cheek that triggered when stage fright struck during a song I had to sing as a trio, and having two left feet would be a step up compared to my dancing skills, so it’s all pure admiration for what I could never do, lol.

I’m so glad that I didn’t judge this book by it’s reviews… I’m not sure why so many people are having problems with it…Even me, who isn’t much of a fan of second chances, loved this story!

Evin lost his husband in a “wrong place at the wrong time” accident, leaving him alone with a six month old son and only his friend Gianna who lived two hours away for company. Life as a single parent is hard, I know all about it…but still grieving and trying to get to a new normal without your husband and with a new baby…I can understand why Evin was the was he was. An accident while cooking has him rushing to the hospital with a fussy, teething baby in tow and that’s where he see’s Dr. Perez. His ex.

Ben left after college without so much as a word to his boyfriend and love of his life, Evin. Of course it was a mistake, but they were young and just figuring life out. Saying he went about it the wrong way is a massive understatement, but if he hadn’t, then no doubt about it, Evin wouldn’t have met his husband and had his baby. It’s awkward at first, but Ben goes out of his way a couple times to see Evin again, that leads to texting and then hanging out and then…Feelings are back and things are like they were before.

As anyone who knows me, knows that I love babies in my stories… there’s just something about good daddies that I love reading about! Okay, those kind of daddies too, but get your mind out of the gutter… I meant, actual fathers! And there is no better daddy for Micah than Evin. He’s so sweet with him and patient… and Ben is crazy about them both.

Is was a cute story… very low angst, no terrible exes coming out of the woodwork or scheming people trying to break them up. It was just a nice, fluffy, read about two men who lost touch and then reconnected down the road. You never know what life will have in store for you…that’s the truth…I was so glad these two found it in themselves to work it out though. I wouldn’t mind reading more from them in future books. Fingers crossed, I guess?!

4 pieces of eye candy from me!

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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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.”

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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

 

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