Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer: Release Day Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades,he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

Title: Past the Breakers
Author: Lucie Archer
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits
Pages: 220

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Hey guys! Thanks for having me. On a previous tour stop, I did a top 5 list of surf destination from Myles’s POV, and to avoid Casey feeling left out, I thought I’d offer up one for him as well. Since he’s a chef, I asked him for a list of his favorite foods, and here’s what he said. (*Warning: you may not want to read this on an empty stomach.)

Casey North’s top 5 Favorite Foods (in no particular order):

  • Lobster

Casey can’t remember the first time he had lobster, but he imagines it left quite an impression. They didn’t eat it much growing up, but he always requested it for his birthday or special occasions. Most kids probably preferred pizza or hot dogs, but he likes to think he was born with a sophisticated palate. He’s eaten it so many ways from bisques to lobster mac and cheese, but nothing beats cracking into a freshly cooked lobster tail, dipping it in a rich butter sauce, and going to town.

  • Fish

Fish has a special place in Casey’s heart, particularly Pacific halibut. He has fond memories of going down to the pier with his father on Saturday mornings, casting a line, then taking home their catch of the day to prepare and cook. It’s one of the few happy memories he has of his father and something that helped form his love for cooking. And it’s healthy, blah, blah, blah, but the deliciousness helps to mask that.

  • Cheese burgers

This should be self-explanatory. Nothing beats a big, juicy burger piled high with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, fried onions, and a nice dollop of mayo—side of fries optional. He loves making his own at home and likes to experiment with different meats, cheeses, and unique flavor combinations, but the best burger he ever had was in New York at this greasy spoon, hole-in-the-wall, all-night diner whose name he was too drunk to remember.

If he ever found the place again, he doubts it would live up to the legacy it left on his taste buds. Yum!

  • Mango

He doesn’t know when mango cemented itself as one of his favorite foods, but he loves to cook with it. Its sweet and succulent flavors compliment fish really well, so mango salsa heaped on top of grilled halibut makes his mouth water just thinking about it.

  • Ice Cream – Mint chocolate chip

This one needs no explanation, but he does have a fond memory of tiptoeing out of his room one night to sneak himself a bowl only to find his sister Rachel with a spoon of it showed in her mouth and a look on her face that could only be described as deer in the headlights. They made a habit of late-night ice cream socials until their mother walked in on them and grounded them both. But it was worth every delectable spoonful.

I rarely give 5 pieces of eye candy ratings anymore. The book has to leave a strong mark on me, be a book I would re-read, and hit me in the feels right from the get go (at least that’s usually how the 5* books go). The book does not have to be perfect. It can have editing errors. It can have little things that aren’t completely resolved. It can even challenge my basic sense of reality. However, if it doesn’t make that indelible impression, then it isn’t a 5* read for me.

Past the Breakers is the first one in recent memory for me. I have loved “ghost story” type romances since I read Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux back in, *cough cough*, well, a very long time ago. 🙂 Something about a love that transcends space, time, the physical plane, and our normal take on what is real and what isn’t always has been. Finding a book that can do that, and do it well, that’s even more rare. Lucie Archer‘s book did this for me.

First, I love that Casey was going through such a hard time. Overweight, without a job, or even his passion of cooking as a balm, he was so depressed and anxious, it was a wonder that he was able to be open to hearing Myles. Yet he was, and Myles came at a time when Casey needed his companionship, his focus and his love the most. Casey allowed himself to fall in love, despite all the odds against him falling in love with a ghost.

Meanwhile, Myles…talk about heartbreaking! What should have been the best day of his life, proposing to his boyfriend becomes the worst day when he dies and is stuck in the Between. He does get to see the most important man in his life, his uncle, from time to time, and that in itself was heart-wrenching, because you could see the bond they had had when Joe was still alive. And Myles finds himself falling in love with Casey, despite all the odds, as well.

When I read books like this, I try not to anticipate how it will play out, or what the ending will be like (because my rule is it has to be an HEA or I don’t read it!), but I admit I found myself a touch scared that this wouldn’t turn out as I hoped. Not because I didn’t think they would fall in love, but because I didn’t want the ending to be too easy, or weird. It wasn’t. It had my HEA, and even better, it was well thought out. It could happen. You never know what is out there in the world beyond our sight.

I truly loved this book. I loved their relationship. I loved how Casey grew and blossomed with Myles’s love, and how he was able to overcome his depression simply by working through it, finding a loving path to move forward on. I even loved how things ended with Uncle Joe, because I will admit, I had more than a few tears flowing at certain points in the book, but Uncle Joe’s love for his boy? That got me crying again.

This book worked for me on so many levels that even the relatively easy resolution of the bad ex-boyfriend didn’t bother me. I wanted to know more about Casey and Myles, James could go jump in a lake as far as I was concerned. 🙂

Pretty easy 5 pieces of eye candy for me

Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.

Website & blog: www.luciearcher.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/writerluciearcher

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Lucie_Archer


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Broken Wings by Houston Michaels: Release Day Review

Proud to have served his country, Gabriel O’Roarke returned from war unable to recognize the man he had become. While war was hell, it was the aftereffects that were slowly eating away at his soul. Returning to civilian life after surviving events that should have killed him, he struggles to adjust and find himself again. Suffering from PTSD, he is without hope, until a chance encounter with one of the men who saved his life changes things.

Gabriel never imagined Nickolas Tanner would be into the lifestyle, so running into him at a BDSM club is a surprise. The patient and caring Dom is exactly what Gabriel needs, but everything he fears. After suffering captivity, Gabriel struggles to let himself go, to submit to another man. He craves regaining that part of himself, but worries it is forever lost. Nickolas’ steady domination gives him something he has thought lost long ago – hope.

Can a broken submissive, damaged by captivity and torture, learn to fly again?

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I was really looking forward to this one. I hadn’t read a BDSM book in a while, and to add the effects of PTSD on top of it, I was very intrigued. I really wanted to see how a relationship with a man that had saved his life would be able to develop.

The relationship between these men, I thought, was very realistic for the situation they were in. Gabriel had unimaginable horrors inflicted on him, and watched his team die around him. To be able to come back and even begin to live again, much less get back into the lifestyle would have been awful. And Nickolas was adamant about the things that Gabriel needed to do, in order to allow their relationship to work, as well as for him to heal.

However, I kept getting thrown out of the story by what to me was a “how-to” on BDSM. There were explanations in the book that, as a reader, I felt were either unnecessary, or “fluff”. I may not be in the lifestyle, but you can bet that anyone that picks this book up, knowing it is BDSM, has also likely read a previous BDSM book, and likely knows what a St. Andrews Cross is, and doesn’t need an explanation of the alternate name that no one knows it by. It gave the impression that knowledge was trying to be imparted onto the reader, which is not what the reader is necessarily looking for. It drew me out of the story, and made it difficult to focus on the relationship of these men.

It also ended a little faster than I wanted (which I thought was a good thing), because I felt like it was beginning to catch its groove. Maybe there is a second story ahead for these men. I’d consider reading it.

2.5 pieces of eye candy

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Two for Trust by Elle Brownlee: Release Day Review and Giveaway

A fairy-tale vacation—if he can get the ending right.

American nurse Finch Mason steps beyond the comfort of his orderly life and takes a dream trip to England, complete with a National Trust Pass so he can visit numerous historical sites. At the first one on his list, he’s warmly welcomed—and told he bought a pass good for two.

Finch doesn’t hesitate to offer the pass to Benedict, a handsome Brit also there on an outing. They spend a magical week touring the countryside, and while it’s too soon to get attached, Finch wishes their time together would never end.

Then Finch finds himself stuck abroad with no money, and he has no one to turn to but Benedict. Benedict is happy to help, but he also owes Finch some answers—such as who he really is and why he was at the estate where they first met.

Title: Two for Trust
Author: Elle Brownlee
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 252

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I do love the Dreamspun Desires series. I’ve said it before…I love it because it reminds me of reading Harlequin’s as a teenager.

I really enjoyed the premise of Two For Trust. That Finch decided, after being turned aside by the evil doctor at his work, to take himself on the adventure of a lifetime by taking the trip to England that he’d been dreaming about. This all despite the fact that he had to quit his job in order to do it, he was brave enough to jump on a plane and not look back. Meanwhile, serious, but sweet, Benedict found excuse after excuse to keep Finch near him, and not let him leave the country. Not really know what it was he wanted, he at least knew he didn’t want Finch to leave.

Finch was nerdy, and dorky about history, and it was adorable as could be. He didn’t care that he was seen as a geek for knowing all the little things he did. He loved everything about where he was going, and what he was seeing, and wasn’t afraid to show it. Still presenting that courageous front, of being willing to step forward and try something new. The two men certainly made “opposites attract” a perfect phrase.

One thing I really liked about the book that was original was the setup in the chapters. For about 3/4 of each chapter it was told from Finch’s POV completely. Then at the end, the last 3-7 paragraphs or so, it was from Benedict’s POV. It moved the story forward in a different way, gave the reader a little mystery that would unravel in the next chapter, and was nice to see how Benedict was moving forward. I really enjoyed the originality of this idea.

This one was probably a little two sweet for my normal tastes…(small spoiler ahead), as the two don’t really kiss until about 85% into the book. It doesn’t have to have sex, but the back and forth was a touch more than I normally like. I never was sure that Benedict actually wanted Finch, until the very end. He was truly the stoic Britishman. It left me feeling a little frustrated at times in the book.

All in all, a book I enjoyed…and all the English historical and geographical information was amazing! I now want to go have high tea in England, and explore every little thing (which I do any way during travel).

3.5 pieces of eye candy

 


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The Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt: Pre-Release Review

Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins.

Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees.

What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.

As the trust deepens and their bond strengthens, though, Ryan retreats because that sham called love left him jaded long ago. Cynical beyond his years, he’s not letting his guard down, least of all for a thrice-divorced man twice his age.

Now Misha has to find a way to crack through those defenses…or accept defeat and walk away from the submissive who might just be the love of his life.

This novel is approximately 120,000 words.

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It’s safe to say The Master Will Appear is the first book I’ve read that combines fencing and BDSM. Okay, so it was my first fencing book, but the tie in to BDSM was definitely interesting.

The book started a bit slower than I’d have cared for. Honestly, had it been anyone other that someone like LA Witt, who I know writes her words for a reason, I may have given up. Sure, the banter was great, but much like Ryan, I was tired of the beginner level fencing.

But just as Ryan came to understand Misha’s motivations, I understood LA Witt’s, and the book came together nicely. I will admit I’ve cut way back on my BDSM reads because they tend to fall either to the cliche “OMG, that’s so hot” kinky sex side or they read like a how-to guide so the author can prove how knowledgable they are and how much they respect the lifestyle. I’m happy to say this book worked perfectly as far as the BDSM.

And despite my early frustration, as I read the last page of the book, I was ready for more.

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Their Life As They Live It (Persepctives #4) by A.M. Arthur: Exclusive Excerpt and New Release Review

Bernard “Bear” Henson is a blessed man. He is happily married to the love of his life, he co-owns a successful business, and his grown son is desperately in love with a wonderful partner. But Bear knows all too well how precarious that happiness is, so he lives every day with love in his heart and gratitude for everything he has—especially his husband Richard Brightman. Richard has been HIV-positive for thirty years and every new day is a gift.

When Richard becomes unexpectedly ill and is rushed to the hospital, Bear braces for his beautifully constructed life to come crashing down. A hard-won life full of ups and downs, illnesses and setbacks, love and anger, and a lot of regret for how certain things went down. Certain things involving Bear’s alcoholic ex-wife Debbie and the start of Bear’s relationship with Richard. But the past can’t be changed, only remembered and studied.

As Richard fights for his life, Bear reflects on the last thirty years of their entwined lives. College days, his shotgun wedding to Debbie, his unexpected feelings for Richard, and the proudest moment of Bear’s life: the birth of his son Gabriel. Bear’s life with Richard is woven with love, heartache, regret, joy, and everything else in between. They’ve overcome every obstacle that’s come their way, and they’ll overcome this new illness, too. Period. Bear simply isn’t ready to live his life without Richard in it.

Note: This is the fourth book in my Perspectives series, and while it can be read as a standalone, readers will have a much richer concept of these characters if you’ve at least read book two, The World As He Sees It. Warnings for spousal abuse (not between the two heroes) and cheating.

 

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….1990

Certain things were impossible to forget: the way it felt when you broke your leg falling out of a tree at age eight; your first real, meaningful kiss; a spanking so harsh you really could not sit comfortably for the rest of the night. Along with those things, Bear could now file the sight and sounds of a woman giving birth.

Eighteen hours in labor, six of which Bear had tried to sleep away in an uncomfortable chair, so he could be there for everything. He was eager to meet his daughter or son. They’d both agreed to wait and be surprised—one of the few things they’d agreed on in the last nine months. Ever since she verified yes, she was pregnant for real, and then yes, he was the father, their lives had been a series of dramatic compromises.

“You can keep sucking your boyfriend’s dick if I get to name the baby.”

“Go see your boyfriend whenever, but you come home to our bed every night.”

“Miss this appointment because you’re with him, and I’ll disappear with your kid.”

Mostly Bear was compromising and it kept him trapped between two worlds: the world of raising his child with Debbie and the world of loving Richard. It stressed him out, and even while Richard had adjusted to his meds and started gaining weight, Bear was losing weight. Not sleeping. Working himself to death to provide for his family—and according to Debbie, he never, ever did enough.

But then she was finally in labor, and she was pushing. Bear let her squeeze the shit out of his hand, while he watched a head of dark hair emerge, sticky and wet, followed by a perfect little face. Shoulders and arms. And then the baby was out, nether parts hidden by scrunched up legs.

“It’s a boy,” the doctor announced. “A very healthy looking baby boy.”

Bear’s heart surged with more love than he thought possible at the sight of his perfect son’s squirming body, the sound of his cries. The nurse let him cut the cord, and then the boy was taken away to be cleaned up. Bear watched every single movement, every action, desperate to hold his son in his arms.

He looked down at Debbie, who was quietly crying. And not happy tears. He knew her well enough. Those were…unhappy tears? She’d been hoping for a girl, but their son was perfect. No need to cry.

“All right,” said the nurse holding the baby. “Mom?”

Debbie shook her head no. Undaunted by her odd reaction, Bear held out his arms. The nurse gently deposited the most perfect human being on the planet into his arms. The baby’s eyes were shut, but he emitted soft, smacking sounds. Tiny fingers grasped for something. Bear took in every single detail of the bundle in his arms.

“He’s beautiful,” Bear said. “My God, he’s perfect. Debbie, you did good.” He couldn’t look away from his son, while the doctor dealt with the afterbirth and a few stitches for tearing. That had to suck balls.

“Have you discussed names?” the nurse asked.

“A little,” Bear replied. He was so happy to have this precious baby in his arms, he didn’t care what name Debbie came up with. “It’s Debs’s choice.”

Still a little teary, Debbie said, “Gabriel. His name is Gabriel Aaron.”

“Gabriel Aaron,” Bear repeated. “It’s just about perfect, Debs. You wanna meet him?”

She wiped her cheeks, then nodded. As gently as he could, Bear eased his precious burden into Debbie’s arms. She still looked troubled, but who couldn’t smile at that pretty baby? “He looks like you,” she said.

“You think?”

“I do. He’s our son, Bernard. Our son.”

“Yeah.”

“Ours.” Her sharp tone caught his attention, and then it pissed him off.

He’d left her room twice since they arrived, both times to call Richard and give him an update. Gabriel was biologically Bear’s, but Bear was in love with Richard, and he wanted to share as much of this experience as possible with the man. He wanted Richard to meet his boy as soon as he could, and Debbie knew it. No matter what compromises Debbie demanded from Bear, Richard would be a part of his son’s life.

“You okay for a while so I can make some calls?” Bear asked. “Little Gabriel’s got two sets of grandparents who want to know he’s here.”

“Yeah, we’re fine.”

Bear pressed a supportive kiss to her sweaty forehead, and a loving one to Gabriel’s, then went in search of the nearest pay phone. He had plenty of change in his pocket in anticipation of today’s announcement. And he did exactly what he said he’d do: called her folks first, with all the vital information. They weren’t the nicest or most supportive people in the world, and he understood why Debbie had wanted to get away. But they mostly liked him, because he took care of Debbie, and they took the news well.

The official story they’d given the family was her first “pregnancy” had miscarried, but she’d “miraculously” gotten pregnant again a few months later. Everyone bought it, and it kept the complicated reason private. Waiting on Debbie hand and foot had also kept the particulars of their relationship—and likewise, his relationship with Richard—a secret from Bear’s family. They’d been proud of him for stepping up and marrying her, like any good Catholic would, but they’d breathe fire and brimstone if they ever found out about Richard. His parents and brother Pete would turn on him, and Debbie knew it.

She knew it, and she manipulated the hell out of him.

Bear’s parents were thrilled with the news. His father, especially, loved that there would be another Henson to carry the family name. They promised to pass the news to his brother. Then Bear made the third, but most important phone call.

“I have a son,” he said the moment Richard picked up the phone.

“Oh, baby, I’m so happy for you.” Richard whooped over the line. “How long have you been at the hospital? You must be exhausted.”

“I am but it’s okay. It was worth it to see Gabriel born.”

“Gabriel. It’s a lovely name.”

“It’s perfect. He’s an angel. I can’t wait for you to meet him.”

“I can’t either, as long as his mother allows it.”

Bear growled. “She doesn’t get a say in this. You are going to meet my son.”

“I look forward to it. You sound completely worn out.”

“I’ll get some sleep soon, I promise. I needed to hear your voice, tell you the good news.”

“It’s amazing news. You’re going to be a great father, Bear, I know it. You have so much love inside of you.”

“You’d be a great dad, too.” Bear didn’t dare voice the nebulous future he’d entertained more than once: him and Richard together, raising Bear’s child as a couple. Happy, the three of them.

Richard coughed softly. “Even I wasn’t gay, that wouldn’t be possible anymore.”

“Hey, medicine is advancing every day. Someday they’ll find a cure, I know it.”

“I hope so. For now, love your son. Support your wife. I love you.”

“Love you back.”

Bear reluctantly hung up, and his quarter clunked down with all the others. He could probably waste time making a few more calls, but the most important people knew. The gossip grapevine would take care of the rest. His boss said to take all the time he needed, but as soon as he got Debbie and the baby home and settled, he had to go back to work at the gym.

For now, he returned to the delivery room to bask in the amazing thing that was his perfect, beautiful son, Gabriel Aaron Henson.

Oh how I loved this book.

First, I have pretty much loved ALL of AM Arthur’s books. She has several different series but they all live in the same world and there is always a bit of cross over. Which I just think it so fun. Second, I have wanted Richard and Bear’s story for a long time. As the dad’s to the main character in a previous book AND the owners of a gay club frequented across series- I wanted their story. And we got it.

Richard and Bear’s story is told in a series of flashbacks while Richard is in the hospital recovering from an illness. This could have felt abrupt and forced, yet it is seamless. We go all the way back to the beginning- when they first met and became college roommates. Some of the flashback stories are long, some not so long. But all of them perfect.

And those flashback stories gave *me* some serious 80’s flashbacks.

Their romance that began as a friendship was so beautiful. I am kind of a sucker for older characters who have been together for a long time and have been through a lot. And boy did they go through a lot. Nothing was overly dramatic or for shock value. It was swoony without being saccharine, and sexy without being raunchy.

When you know that there is a happily ever after because you’ve seen it in other books in the series, but can’t wait to read it and see what happens- that is a good book and a great story.

 

Pieces of Candy: 4.5

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Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey: Release Day Review and Giveaway

It could be the catch of a lifetime.

William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.

William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Title: Setting the Hook
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Andrew Grey‘s books are a must-read in the m/m romance genre. He simply knows how to write, and gives the reader stories about everyday people living everyday lives. These aren’t necessarily model beautiful men, rich billionaires whose only problems are which company to buy up. No, these are real men with problems that every person who reads will be able to empathize with.

I loved that William and Mike were attracted to each other from the start, but for five years, only saw each other twice a year for a day outing of fishing. A long distance romance of wishes and dreams. Neither acknowledged the attraction, until Mother Nature decided to give them a little shove together. Once they had the push, they jumped in with both feet, willing to see what would come of a few days together, then later two weeks together.

I do love when Andrew sets up a ready-made family. The loner William, who felt as if no one understood him, felt comfortable with all of Mike’s family, not just the man he’d been waiting for. And Andrew always gives us sassy kids, and moms with attitude. (Both Mike and William’s moms showed they weren’t just grandmothers, but women too!)

There were a couple things that played out a little neater than I expected, but it didn’t detract from the story at all. It simply would have given it a little more tension, in my eyes. And Andrew always gives us the happy ending we waited for. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy


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Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams: Exclusive Guest Post, Quick Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

How far would you go for the man of your dreams?

Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.

Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.

Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?

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

Title: Somewhere on Mackinac
Author: Jeff Adams
Release Date: Mary 3, 2017
Category: Contemporary, States of Love
Pages: 113

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I’m happy to close out the blog tour for “Somewhere on Mackinac” here at Two Chick Obsessed.

Somewhere on Mackinac is part of Dremspinner’s States of Love series, which sets romances in each of the fifty U.S. States. The book is set on Mackinac Island, Michigan and is the story of Jordan, a visitor from Chicago, a Miles, an Island native who runs his family’s horse stable. They meet because of the Somewhere in Time fan celebration weekend taking place at the Grand Hotel. They both love the 1980 film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour and it’s what initially draws them together.

Of course, even in the early stages of love there are obstacles to overcome. As you might have guessed, the fact these two live apart will be an issue. Chicago isn’t all that far from Mackinac, but it takes some effort to get there. It’s about seven hours with a car/ferry trip or three by plane. It’s not exactly a trip you’d make on a whim. For both guys, the distance factor is a significant one for a number of reasons.

As if distance weren’t enough, each of them at least one other thing going on that makes starting a relationship more difficult.

For Jordan, he’s also got ex-boyfriend baggage. Drake is suddenly makes moves about wanting him back and he’s going to some extraordinary lengths to try to get Jordan back. It’s the last thing Jordan needs as he’s thinking about starting something new. Plus, the reasons he broke it off with Drake haven’t gone away.

There’s also trouble with Miles’s business. The family stable is in trouble and while Miles doesn’t know what to do about it he’s also one of those men who doesn’t want to ask for help. Jordan, however, has the skills to help but getting Miles to accept assistance might be more difficult than actually saving the business.

Love can be a minefield of so many different issues, and yet it can be so worth it in the end. I hope you’ll pick up Somewhere on Mackinac and see how the magical place, combined with the guys’ favorite movie, work to help them see past the problems they run into.

The excerpt below gives you a glimpse of how Jordan discovers Miles needs help.

There’s also a Rafflecopter below where you can enter for the chance to win a free copy of the book. Feel free to leave question and comments as well. I’ll stop back over the coming days to leave responses. Thanks for stopping to check out Somewhere on Mackinac!

Suddenly, Miles’s voice was in the distance, and he didn’t sound happy. I couldn’t make out everything he was saying, but it was a heated discussion. Hopefully I could sit here, since I was off the road, and he’d ride by so there wouldn’t need to be an awkward moment.

“You realize this could be the end of our family business, right?” he asked.

The soft clip-clop of his horse was all I heard for a few moments.

“I bought you out because it was the right thing to do. Can’t you reinvest some of that money to help clean up your mistakes?”

He was right behind me.

“You may have left, but I still live here. It’s not my fault you got bored. I would’ve taken over everything and you know it.”

I willed myself to become one with the bench as the horse stopped.

“I gotta go.”

I held my breath, hoping he’d nudge the horse into moving. Silence prevailed. Maybe Miles was considering the conversation. Maybe he had a way to make horses go stealth. Maybe he was staring at the back of my head.

“How much did you hear?”

Option three was right.

I pivoted on the bench to look at him atop Wildfire. Of course, Miles looked great in a red plaid shirt and blue jeans along with the denim jacket I’d first seen him in. What I didn’t like were the worry lines around his eyes, or the way his forehead was deeply furrowed.

“Enough.” There was no reason for me to lie. “Anything I can do to help?”

“Not unless you’ve got a way to make my brother stop being a self-obsessed ass.”

I shrugged. “’Fraid I don’t have a fix for that.”

“Well, I’m sorry I disturbed you. I should get going, but hopefully I’ll see you later.”

Before Wildfire could even get a couple of steps, I got up and approached. He pulled back on Wildfire’s reins and the animal obediently stopped.

“Sounded like you’re having business problems.” I approached Wildfire so I could rub his nose. “Maybe I could help with that?”

“I’m not sure anyone can.” Miles tensed in the saddle.

“Business strategy is what I do.” I looked up at him. “I’ve never worked with a stable, but I’m happy to offer any guidance if I can.”

His sigh sounded like a breath he’d held for years.

“Honestly, it’d be good to talk to someone who doesn’t live here. Trying to keep it under wraps to keep the gossip down isn’t easy. Luckily, Mr. Walker at the bank maintains discretion.”

“Tight cash flow?”

“That’s part of it.” The tension in his voice implied there was a lot more to the story. “You really think you could help?”

“Maybe. Whether I can or can’t, I’ll certainly keep your confidence.”

Miles dismounted, and the horse gave a sound of protest while cocking his head to look at his rider.

“It’s okay, boy. I got something for you.” He pulled an apple from his jacket pocket, which the horse eagerly snatched. “See, it’s all good.”

The smile Miles had for the horse was unburdened and reminded me of the one I’d received from him just yesterday. He talked quietly to the animal as he led him to a tree to tie him up.

“You sure you want to hear this? You’re on vacation after all.”

“Tell me.” I gestured back to the bench.

 

As a teenager, I remember watching Somewhere in Time over and over. (It’s been many years since I’ve watched it, but I have it on order now! 🙂 ) I loved the tragic, but happily ever after story. So getting the chance to be reminded of that with Somewhere on Mackinac was not something I was going to pass up, and Jeff did a fantastic job interweaving Richard and Elise’s story gently throughout. He didn’t retell the story, he simply impressed upon the reader how important this movie was to both the MC’s.

I’ve been enjoying the States of Love series with Dreamspinner Press, because it is low angst, with the inevitable HEA, but also stretches out to find the little known pieces of the states we know and love. With this story, Jeff shows us all the little things about Mackinac Island, Michigan that most readers weren’t aware of: cars still not allowed, the Grand Hotel, even the tree from the movie.

Jordan and Miles are sweet together, as they venture into a short term relationship. As Jordan hides a secret, they find they are becoming more, and that adds stress to that new relationship. Finding a way through the secrets, and into a life together is a bit of a challenge for them, but all good relationships come with time, compromise and a willingness to try.

Of course there is an HEA, because all love stories must have one (even Richard and Elise’s), but my absolute favorite part of this was just reliving the joy from the movie from an entirely new angle. What a joy to bring these two things together.

4 pieces of eye candy

Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

 

He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.

Links:

Website: http://jeffadamswrites.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterJeffAdams

 

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Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter: Release Day Review and Giveaway

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 240

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

What can I say about this book without giving away too much? First, it takes the Police song (which no one at the time it came out realized was really a  song about stalking) and puts a bit of an edge on it.

Thomas who self professes to be promiscious, is stalked until he has to leave his home, his family and his job and start over in Washington. But the worst part is how he handles it emotionally. He cuts himself off from anything that will allow him to feel close to someone. The sex is fine, but never a date, never a connection. He was so emotionally damaged, it isn’t difficult to see how his answer was to not allow anyone near enough to hurt him again.

With Zachary coming into the picture, there is such a connection, Thomas has a hard time denying it…yet he does. Often. Almost any chance he gets, which only causes more pain to both of them. Then you add in the suspense of murders that are connected somehow to Thomas, and you have the makings of a book that will keep you up late at night.

Finding a balance between suspense and romance is not easy. The author needs to keep the reader connected to the characters, and in this case characters who are not together other than physically for most of the book, as well as create a mysterious plot that even has the reader wondering who it is that is committing these heinous crimes.

One thing this book needed, and Robert Winter gave to the reader, was the POV of the killer. It allowed you to see what kind of mind was being dealt with. The man was literally insane. (I said online that I would likely never think of the word Beloved the same way again, and after having finished the book, it will still stand true.) The reader needed to see that. Not just that the killings happened, but the level that this man went to to have Thomas as his own. Side note here…how crazy is Robert Winter to be able to see that mind and be able to write it? Well done here. It kept me glued to the edge of my seat every time the stalker came onto the page.

Since I rarely read anything truly suspenseful, this was a departure from my normal reads. However, I found myself so engaged, wanting to know what happened next, and how this would play out, I read this ravenously. (Thank goodness I had no kids that needed dinner or to be transported or just to live 🙂 ) The tiny little pieces here and there gave me the clues I needed to hopefully help the MC’s find the killer in time. (I helped, right?)

One thing that didn’t quite work well for me was the epilogue. It almost seemed to be written after the rest of the book or by a different author. It didn’t quite feel completely true to the characters previous dialogue. Not enough to pull me out of the story, but enough to make me wonder if it was added later as an afterthought. However, I will also say because there was not a ton of interaction between the MC’s throughout the book, it could have been due to that.

Overall, very well done suspense and romantic pairing. I hope to read more from this author as he continues to venture into this genre.

4 pieces of eye candy


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To Touch You by Cardeno C. Release Day Review


“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”

By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.

Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.

Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.

Title: To Touch You
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Genre: Gay romance paranormal (shifter/vampire)
Series: Mates (each book is a standalone about a different couple)
ISBN: 9781942184690
ASIN: B072KY67NL
Cover Artist: J.K. Hogan
Release Date: May 4, 2017

Word count: 66,181
Page Count: 260

 

Amazon
Goodreads

 

I have been waiting for another Mates book for probably close to two years now and hot damn was it worth the wait.

Salvatore Rossi is on the fast track with his career. He has no time for friends, family or relationships. Then a chance meeting with a 7 year old boy in an alley in Miancarem sets his life on an entirely different course. His only salvation is choosing the long life of a vampire over the decidedly shorter life of a cancer riddled human.

Yoram Smith is a strong wolf, and he’s known since he was seven years old that he has a true mate out there. He’s even met the man, but as the years go on and Yoram grows into an alpha wolf he begins to wonder if his mate will ever come to him. 27 now, he hasn’t seen his mate in a decade with no signs of the man. He feels like he’s about to come apart at the seams now that he’s the Alpha and he’s being pulled in a million directions with no relief in sight.

Salvatore has made it a point to stay away. He doesn’t do any kind of relationship and he doesn’t understand the “true mate” thing everyone keeps telling him about. What he does know is that the pull to be near Yoram is getting harder to deny. When he can’t take it anymore he makes the trip from Vegas to Miancarem. He doesn’t expect to find his mate about to unravel at the seams. The stress of juggling pack needs with his own needs are wearing him down.

Sal and Yoram will need to work together to get the pack to embrace change and their relationship while learning to trust each other with their own needs.

This book was amazing. When Sal and Yoram were apart my heart was breaking for Yorry. You could feel the despair and hopelessness hop off the page at you. It made me want to throttle Sal for being so damn stubborn. Once they got it together, hot dog the chemistry was off the charts. If this is where the Mates series ends, it was a great story to end with.

“I’ll gladly give up forever to touch you.”

How does your heart not melt?!?

5 pieces of eye candy

Author Website: http://www.cardenoc.com/en/book/to-touch-you

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Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry book 2) by Avylinn Winter: Release Day Review

When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.

Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.

Seven months later, Adam’s effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isn’t ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabriel’s world.

Despite Adam’s attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adam’s photography teacher—a man who treasures what Gabriel does not.

They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?

Amazon

 

This was my first read by Avylinn Winter. I wanted to read and review because I don’t think that there is enough representation of domestic violence in gay romance- especially in young adult gay romance. And, unfortunately, I didn’t love it. It was *okay*, but it could have been so much more.

The entire tone of the book was rather flat. It was told from only Adam’s point of view, and while there is noting inherently wrong with that, it just didn’t ring completely true for me. Maybe there wasn’t enough build up to the romantic relationship as they were long time friends first. If there was more…pining on Adam’s part. Or showing what great friends they were to each other first, then Adam nearly immediately accepting Gabe’s ultimatum to stay in the closet and the (yes, I am going to say this) date rape would make more sense.

This is subject matter that needs to be spoken about more often. But the story needs to hit deeper.

Pieces of Candy: 2.5

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