The Rhubarb Patch by Deanna Wadsworth: New Release Blast, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed whacker away from the rhubarb patch.

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.

Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind, older neighbor is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.

Title: The Rhubarb Patch
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Release Date: July 24, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 284

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Chapter One

“What the…?”

A big, bald man in nothing but orange rubber boots and tighty-whities streaked across the yard toward Scott Howe, waving his hands and shouting.

The high-pitched whir of the weedwacker shredding through the grass and thick, leafy weeds growing along the edge of the small barn went silent when Scott released the handle. Popping out his earbuds, he blinked hard, unable to believe his eyes.

“Stop! Stop!” the man in his underwear shouted. “You’re killing the rhubarb!”

Instinctively, Scott placed the weedwacker in front of him, wielding it like a knight brandishing a sword against an attacking dragon.

At five eight, Scott wasn’t exactly a small guy, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

“Stop, dammit!” The man flailed his arms above his head.

Then Scott registered his words.

Keeping the weedwacker in front of him with one arm, he raised the other in truce. “I stopped!”

Scott divided glances between the crazy man and the bits of grass and dark green leaves. All kinds of weeds grew around his late grandmother’s property, making the yard look like crap. Whether he decided to stay or sell the place, it needed a major spring cleanup.

 

“What the hell are you doing?” The man came to a halt, all but shoving Scott out of the way. He knelt on the ground and began pushing aside the grass. “Dammit, you probably killed this one!”

What’s he talking about?

Scott took a step away as the man in his underwear and orange garden boots hopelessly muttered under his breath, gently picking up the curly green weeds.

“Hey, man, I’m sorry.” Scott brushed his arm across his forehead before sweat ran into his eyes. “I didn’t know this was your property. The realtor told me my property line was five feet past this barn.”

The man stared, bright blue eyes scrunched with incredulity. “It’s not my property, but it is my rhubarb. Nancy and I’ve been growing it for years.”

Scott flinched. “Oh, you knew my grandmother?”

“Yes, she was my best friend, and you just killed some of our rhubarb.” His voice hitched, a twinge of desperation in his eyes.Not in anger but a deep, profound sadness that a hot wash of shame down Scott’s back.

“I’m sorry, but….” He paused, not wanting to sound like a stupid city boy coming out to the country. “But what’s rhubarb?”

Still on his knees, the peculiar man sat back on his haunches. Scott glanced at the guy’s lap, then darted his gaze back up before he noticed the faux pas—but not before taking note the guy was packing some real heat in those less-than-brand-new underwear.

The man gestured to the shredded weeds. “That’s rhubarb. Well….” He pursed his lips. “It was rhubarb.” His broad shoulders slumped, the golden hairs of his chest sparkling a little in the morning sunshine.

“I’m sorry,” Scott said again. “Are you sure I killed it?”

He shook his head and flicked at the plant waste. He straightened a few curly leaves hidden among the shredded ones, but they collapsed. “This one’s done for.” He glanced down the twenty-foot length of the barn. “Thank God I saw you before you killed all of it.”

Getting a little annoyed at this hulk of a man, Scott leaned on the weedwacker, his other hand on his hip. “Hey, I’m sorry you planted stuff on Nancy’s property. But how was I supposed to know? I just inherited this place, and I don’t even know what rhubarb is.”

Those piercing blue eyes scoured Scott from head to toe, then back again. “I suspect you’re Scott.”

He knows my name? “Yes, I am.”

“Well, Scott, I’m Phineas Robertson.” He flipped a thumb over his big shoulder. “That’s my house, and this here’s my rhubarb patch.”

“Hello, Phineas.” He gave the man a courteous nod, wondering if he should’ve called him Mr. Robertson, though he couldn’t be much older. But the guy had a big presence, an authority about him—even in his underwear—that could not be denied.

When Phineas remained quiet, Scott grew awkward. “I’m sorry I weedwacked your rhubarb. Are there any other plants of yours growing on my property?”

Shit, that sounded kinda snotty.

Phineas put his hands on his hips, his fur-dusted belly rounding out. “No, just the rhubarb.”

Feeling bad for sounding like a jerk, because Phineas was clearly distraught about the plants, Scott nodded. “Okay, so maybe you could show me what I can and can’t trim out of this section.”

Hopefully the offer would create a neighborly truce.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Phineas fixed his gaze on the shredded rhubarb, though to Scott it all looked like weeds.

I’m gonna have to google rhubarb.

Phineas climbed to his feet. “Here, let me show you what parts you can pull. I haven’t gotten around here to trim it up, what with the funeral and everything.”

So Phineas had attended Nancy’s funeral. Well, that was more than could be said for Scott.

Phineas towered a good six inches over Scott, and almost all of that burly frame was bare and exposed. Scott gestured to his state of dress—or lack thereof. “You sure you don’t wanna put on some pants first?”

Awareness of being clad only in underwear and orange garden boots dawned bright across Phineas’s face. Glancing down, he gave a rather sheepish smile, which made him very appealing all of a sudden. “Yeah, I should probably do that.” He stood there for another moment before taking a few steps away. Then he paused, pointing at Scott. “Don’t cut anything until I get back.”

“I won’t.”

Then he stomped off rather proudly in his underwear and boots, tossing out over his shoulder, “If you weedwack the asparagus along the fence, you’ll regret it.”

Scott shook his head and laughed.

While Phineas walked away, Scott surveyed the three-acre property that had literally fallen into his lap.

Feathery clouds streaked the pristine sky as if an artist’s brush had smeared a blue canvas with a wash of white. Everything was greening up with spring. The cute white farmhouse he’d inherited looked cheery, though it needed some work. It was connected to a one-car garage by an overhang, and the peaked roof with two dormers gave the two bedrooms upstairs odd slanted ceilings. Not in the best shape, nor the worst. Flowers already popped up in the mulched beds around the house and garage—a sign of brighter things coming my way, maybe?

Smiling to himself, Scott flipped over a dirty old five-gallon pail by the corner of the barn. He took his iPhone out of his pocket and sat down. After unlocking the screen, he opened the Facebook app.

Nobody will believe this.

Since moving into the house three days ago, he’d been entertaining his Facebook friends and fans online with Country Updates. That was the only writing he was getting done these days, much to his editor’s chagrin.

Country Update #4: You guys will never believe what just happened! I was weedwacking at the farm and suddenly I see this big, bald guy wearing nothing but his white skivvies and big rubber orange garden boots barreling towards me! LOL I guess he’s my neighbor. He’s been growing rhubarb along the barn, but I just weed whacked some. Whoops! LOL Now will somebody tell me what the hell rhubarb is? #truthisstrangerthanfiction #cityboyinthecountry

This was actually my first Deanna Wadsworth read, and I didn’t realize it until midway through the book. I’d been following her on twitter, etc for a while, but for whatever reason hadn’t quite gotten to read one yet, so I was excited to read this one.

I definitely had mixed emotions with this book. I loved the storyline. Scott moving to the tiny village of Gilead, Ohio to start his life over after inheriting his, previously unknown to him, grandmother’s house. With that idea, he needed to work on becoming a new person. Someone who didn’t give over his entire personality to the man he was with, re-creating the pattern every time, the one he learned from his mother.

Meanwhile, Phin was such a generous man, a true heart of gold who had lost so many loved ones in his life, and just wanted to spend his days in his garden with his sweet Sister Mary Katherine (cutest name for a dog ever!). Yet, he didn’t hesitate to develop a friendship with the City “Mouse” who moved in next door.

This story was a very slow burn. These two men developed a good strong friendship, long before anything romantic actually took place. And that was exactly what they needed, for both of them. Scott, so he could learn more about himself, what he wanted, what he needed, and what he liked. Phin because he needed to finish morning the loss of his partner, as well as his best friend. By the time, they actually kissed (and so much more that night!), there was no doubt they were in love.

One of the issues that I had with the story was the length. I found myself skimming more than once. There were some very long descriptions of places, canning processes, etc that seemed to lengthen the story unnecessarily. Although it was a critical part of Phin’s life, even a cathartic process for him as he grieved, it felt like it was dragging the story in places. At 4700 locations, it was a long book anyway, with a lot of story to tell with these two men, so it felt a bit forced.

Also, there were a few unresolved issues that I would have liked to have had follow up on. (I won’t give them because it would be a spoiler.) However, that being said, sometimes life doesn’t always resolve all the issues, and that is one of the things that I did really enjoy about the book. Sometimes life gives you differences that are unresolved and you have to learn to incorporate those into your life.

If you are looking for a sweet love story (with some definite HOT spots), I think you will enjoy it.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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Runner by Parker Williams: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Title: Runner
Author: Parker Williams
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Building New Worlds: How to do it authentically

I’m going to admit, building new worlds in a single book isn’t all that hard. Look at your setting. What motivates you to put your character in that locale?

Example: Runner takes place in a remote town. The main character, Matt, lives far out of town, where he feels safe. Why? He can build a life here. He has his garden, his greenhouse, a stream to fish from, animals that he can hunt. He wants for nothing. Or so he thinks.

Your character: What affects him? What motivates and drives him? How does this affect the people around him?

Example: Matt cuts himself off from his family for the most part. He talks to his brother on the phone occasionally, but he can’t be a part of his family’s life. It just won’t work for him with his issues. So how does this affect others? What impact does it have on his family? The people who know him? Does it have a ripple effect on others? How does your character—and those around him—deal with the situation?

The problems: And here is what’s swirling around, affecting everyone. In a single book, the problem—and resolution—are handled pretty easily.

Example: Matt’s abuse at sixteen by someone he should have been able to trust. Matt assumes that this affects only him, but as time goes by, he realizes how it impacts those around him as well.

But… And here’s where we get into the fun of world building… what happens when your book is actually a series?

When K.C. Wells and I did Collars & Cuffs—and Secrets—all the rules above are in full force, but now the problem comes in that you have to determine if there is an overall story arc and how one event will flow into another book.

Example: Peter from Collars & Cuffs (Trusting Thomas). His abuse at the hands of his tormentor ripples throughout the series. In Someone to Keep Me, it shakes Scott to his core, but it also gives him a friend. Peter’s issues continue to resonate, and touch many lives such as

Jarod in Dom of Ages and JJ in Endings and Beginnings. Peter’s problem becomes a focal point that affects everyone in this world. And this is a good thing. It’s part of your world and it needs to be addressed from time to time so people don’t think you’ve forgotten about it.

In fact, Peter’s mentioned in An Unlocked Mind (book two of the Secrets series), because he does have such an impact on this world.

So when you build a world, you have to look at all of the pieces and see how they slot together. Some may be like an IKEA set, where you’ve got little things that don’t really need to be checked up on each book, but if it’s the main thrust of your story, you need to keep it in the reader’s eye from book to book, especially if there is a long gap between each issue.

Example: In Before You Break, Ellis is injured on the job. Will his injury have an impact on the series as a whole? Maybe not, but it’s still going to ripple from time to time. He’s going to appear in book two when he gets to deal with Rob (poor Ellis).

In closing, remember that in the worlds you create, you’re the god. What you say goes. But you’ve got to make it believable. Or not. That’s the fun thing about creating them. Oh, and because you get to tear them apart, too. That’s always fun.

After suffering an attack at 16, Matt suffers from extreme OCD and PTSD. He has locked himself away from the world in a cabin miles from town. He has turned his land into a self-sustaining oasis. He grows his own food, he fishes and hunts on his land and has almost no contact with the outside world. Then one day his world is turned upside down when someone starts jogging past his house everyday. The first sighting sent Matt into a panic attack to rival all panic attacks. Matt tried calling the sheriff to see if he could stop him, but the runner isn’t breaking any laws. Slowly, Matt comes to expect the runner at the same time everyday. One day when he doesn’t show up Matt’s world tips again. Can he leave his carefully constructed world to find out what happened to his runner?

This was a great read. My heart broke for Matt so many times throughout this story. His reaction to the attack was extreme, but how could it not be? He was 16, with very little if any coping skills. His mom did his a great disservice, she wan’t strong enough to get him the help he needed and so he retreated into himself where he knew he was safe and then eventually to his compound.

The runner, Charlie was an intriguing character. I love that he pushed Matt’s boundaries without being pushy or mean. He knew when to push and when to back off. He was so caring and understanding.

I loved the amount of detail in Matt’s compound. When Parker Williams described it I could actually visualize it, and I really have no imagination. From the greenhouse to the lake and all the gardens.

The thing that made me love this story was that Matt fell in love with Charlie and that made him want to get help to fix his issues, but Charlie made his see that he loved him issues and all and if he was getting help it was for himself. That he was loved either way, warts and all.

The story line was not at all predictable, as soon as I thought I knew what was going to happen something else would. I love that. The characters and the setting were well developed and rich with detail. This is the first time I have read anything from Parker Williams but it won’t be the last.

5 pieces of eye candy

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You Never Know by Mary Calmes: Release Day Reviews with Giveaway

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Title: You Never Know
Author: Mary Calmes
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Hagen Wiley… knew he had the love of his life when he was sixteen years old.

Unfortunately, life happens, especially when you’re young and stupid and I hate so badly that he got hurt like he did. The phone call between the two guys, just about gutted me. But here it is, 17 years later, and the love of his life is back, with his adorable two kids and they’ve come to claim Hagen.

Unfortunately, again, Hagen’s had a lifetime of heartbreak and getting hurt that he doesn’t just not trust Mitch, but he doesn’t trust any guy.. Which is a good thing, because we see him with a FWB, who all the sudden wants more…. Even though he’s a liar and kinda douche, I did kind of feel sorry for him before I knew all that. I’ve known what it’s like to lose the love of your life and then I’ve been on Ash’s side where I wanted someone to want me but they couldn’t, because of the love they had for someone else. I wouldn’t want to be in either of those positions, ever!

I loved Hagen, he’s so forgiving, much more so than I would be, ever….especially with how badly Mitch hurt him and how many times Ash lied to him… he just forgave… they said sorry, he said, okay. With Mitch, it was a little harder for him to win back his trust… not as hard as it should’ve been, because I think he needed to have to prove himself…. But, there was no denying that he loved Hagen… no doubt at all. It was in everything he did. I loved that for Hagen.

So, overall, this is just another amazing story from Mrs. Calmes; one that I couldn’t wait to read and now I’m sad that I’m finished with it. I get so sucked in to each of her stories to a point where, I want to wish them so hard to be real so I can see such amazing love between two people. I feel that way about all the guys in her stories, every single one.

So, I’ll end this with 5, well, well, well deserved stars and I’ll go ahead and declare my impatience for literally anything else she writes, ever!

Don’t skip it, you’ll love it.

I love the idea of high school sweethearts reuniting after they have experienced life a little. They’re not as naive and they know who they are and what they want from life. So, with that story line and the added bonus of Mary Calmes being the author, I knew going in this was going to be a great story.

Hagen and Mitch dated in high school. They had plans to go to the same college and see where Mitch’s promised NFL career took them. Life got in the way, Mitch went to college and Hagen joined the Army. Hagen has returned home needing to heal both his body and mind from the war. His leg needs mending and he needs to get a grip on his PTSD. Mitch has lived his whole adult life in the closet due to his football career. He married a woman and had two children, but after a hip replacement and a trip to rehab he can’t continue to lie to himself. Armed with a divorce and two small children, Mitch heads back to his hometown to raise his boys and to win back the love of his life.

Hagen has long since forgiven Mitch for changing their plans. What he has no intention of doing is picking up where they left off all those years ago. Hagen is just getting his life back to normal and he doesn’t want to disrupt that with bringing Mitch back into his life. It seems that fate has something to say about that and throws Mitch and his adorable boys right into Hagen’s path. Hagen stands no chance again Mitch’s boys and before you know it Hagen is spending time with Mitch and his family. Hagen needs to decide whether he can trust Mitch with his heart a second time or if he needs to tuck tail and run before he gets too attached to all three of them.

Love, love, love! I love stories with kids, especially when the kids are as cute as Brandon and Ryder Thayer. The kids play an important part in the story, making Hagen realize that he wants to be a father. The kids are well adjusted and make Hagen realize that by trusting his heart to Mitch he gets a chance at fatherhood that may not have been a possibility before.

The town of Benson is a great setting for this story and I am hoping that there are a few more stories in this setting. I would love for Ash to get his happily ever after and remain friends with Hagen.

The characters are well developed, their backstories are perfect; no too vague and definitely not too over the top. Hagen was cautious without being whiny and Mitch pursued him with confidence that didn’t come off as cocky or entitled.

There isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. It was everything I have come to love and expect from Mary Calmes.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Found at the Bookstore by Christi Snow: Release Day Review, EXCLUSIVE Excerpt (NSFW) and Giveaway

After suffering a traumatic brain injury the final football game his senior year in high school, Ryder Garrett’s life was never normal again. Most days he’s happy when he can remember the way home. There’s no room in his life for romance or love, which means he’s destined to die a virgin.

Stig Minton doesn’t remember what virginity felt like. Twelve years older than Ryder, he’s been around the block too many times to count and has the scars to prove it…both physically and mentally.

But as these two men come together to help with a wedding, they forge a friendship, a friendship they both desperately need. As their relationship evolves, feelings go deeper. But is it stupid to risk this new—and, yes necessary—bond in pursuit of something that’s doomed to fail?

They both think they’re too broken to make this work. But what if they’re wrong?

Two broken souls may just be able to find reparation in one another…

Book #2 in the Found Series.

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Ryder

Ryder’s dick throbbed with need. Just a tiny bit of friction and he’d be right there. He thrust his hips, enjoying the delicious sense of doing so against a warm body. So fucking good.

Arousal zinged through his balls as they tightened with impending climax. He wanted to draw it out a little bit longer. He never got this. Even in his dreams, he was usually doing this by himself.

To have a phantom, faceless person with him was the ultimate fantasy, but he was too far-gone. His hips stuttered as his rhythm was interrupted by a spasm of white-hot pleasure.

He groaned and awoke on a gasp as his cock continued to pulse with jizz erupting and coating the insides of his boxers. The pure ecstasy of the moment kept his eyes closed in pleasure. Fuck, how long had it been since he’d had a wet dream? So embarrassing that this was his life at twenty-six years old.

He opened his eyes and yelped, almost throwing himself out of bed in his surprise. “St… Stig?”

Stig’s dark eyes looked almost black with intensity and focus. His hand, reaching across the bed and steadying him, kept him from tumbling onto the hardwood floor.

“What are you doing here? In my bed?” His voice rose several octaves. Humiliation mixed with shock flooded him. He’d just humped himself into orgasm against the guy.

I loved Found at the Library, I thought it was so creative, and it really became a bit of a comfort read for me (in fact, I “had” to re-read it before beginning Found at the Bookstore…just to catch up of course 😉 ). I honestly wasn’t sure that Christi could re-create that magic for me with book 2. However, I forgot that her writing is always magic for me. She has the ability to bring characters to life that aren’t one dimensional, that have issues that are not simplistic, or easily solvable. And she definitely does this with Ryder and Stig.

Christi does a fantastic job with making these characters grow as people. What began as a questionable acquaintanceship, grew and moved forward. Ryder did not have an easy life after his TBI happened in high school. He worked at becoming as independent as he could, but still had to rely on others, and at times it was so painful all he could do was sink into it, and hope to come back out the other side. Yet, throughout the story, even as his relationship with Stig began to grow, Ryder began to flourish more as his own person, growing stronger and more confident in himself.

Stig, meanwhile, grew in a different way. Someone who presented himself as bitter over the loss of his ex, and somewhat of a selfish playboy, he began to grow as someone who could care for someone else, not just physically, but emotionally. Previously, he had been seen as one-dimensional, but we began quickly to see that when he cared, he cared deeply. However, he definitely had a darker side that needed to be tended to.

These two had a very rocky road to get to their HEA, including a darkness that almost cost them both everything. Yet it also allowed Ryder to stand up in a way he never had before, and as a reader you couldn’t help but cheer for him in that moment. It was that moment that you sometimes see in movies where the hero you don’t expect overcomes and you stand up and cheer and clap. That moment is worth all the tough ones that come before.

Don’t ask me to choose between these two books as my favorite. I won’t. Just know, I will be reading them both again, sooner rather than later. 🙂

4.5 pieces of eye candy

Christi has generously offered up a signed copy of book #1 (US Only), Found at the Library, to one lucky reader. So, tell us what books mean to you, whether a physical book (such as what Tommy does in Book 1) or ebook/audio book.

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Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C. : Release Day Reviews

Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

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Book 3 in the Hope series, I have to say, it is hands down my favorite, and I really enjoyed Jesse’s Diner. This one though, we have the hot sheriff that I feel like I’ve been waiting on forever, I knew it was going to be good. I was not prepared for how good it actually was! I should’ve been, shame on me!

In this one, we have Richard, once soldier, now Sheriff in the small town of Hope, he’s still smarting from a breakup with assumed playboy, Todd. Todd was also the little brother of Richards army buddy, Leanne, who was a single mom with a military career and needed to call in her friend and little brother to help care for her baby while she was on a 3-month deployment. What would that mean for Richard, who was still in love with the younger man that he was in love with but couldn’t have?

Todd, broke my heart. Simply put, he was not at all the kind of person I thought he was going to be. He loved Richard and couldn’t understand why Richard broke things off. These two, had a horrible problem with communication while they had their several-year tryst, and while Richard wanted someone he could come to; Todd was under the impression that Richard didn’t really care about him one way or another. He thought he was content with the way things were and he had Todd when he wanted him but otherwise didn’t say anything about a commitment or what he wanted.

I wanted to smack him for Todd, because he was hurting him too! Todd is the type that needs to be taken care of and he loved that Richard done that. He felt cared about. There was a D/s aspect to this story, though it wasn’t sexual, it was just the way things were with them. Todd didn’t like decisions and he was flighty and forgetful. Like I said, he needed Richard to sort him out, keep him on track. I loved that about them. They meshed so well because they gave each other what the other one needed.

If only they would’ve stopped and had the conversation months or even years ago, they could’ve avoided all the hurt. I hated how down on himself Todd was and how hard he thought he had to try. I hated seeing him try. I shed many tears for Todd Smitty, but it made the ending so much more worth it.

Finally getting their heads out, and true to any CC read, they worked it out and had the sweetest of sweet endings. I’m really looking forward to more from this series and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for DJ and Seamus!

Very well written, very sweet story with a very deserved 5 stars from me on this one.

Truly a great addition to an already great series.

I just loved Jesse’s Diner, there was such a sweet, strong love between those two that I couldn’t resist. It is still a read I come back to every so often, because it warms my heart every single time.

So, I was excited that CC continued the series bringing Richard, the sheriff, to his HEA. This was a second chance romance, and what was interesting was that nothing specific separated them, other than they just didn’t communicate to each other their own wants and needs. Richard wanted a monogamous relationship, stable, and he never thought he could have that with Todd, who was sleeping with other people, and didn’t seem to have a lot of focus in his life.

Meanwhile, Todd wanted Richard more than anything, but being bored was his vice, and if he was, and he had time on his hands, and there was never any mention of wanting monogamy, then he slept with someone. However, no one he cared about, and if the two men had spoken, they would have realized they wanted the same thing. Instead, Richard just stopped talking to Todd, because he couldn’t do that to his heart any longer.

What a dynamic! So often with men, communication is forgotten, and the assumption is that the other person should know what is in someone’s head. There is a definite Dominant/submissive piece here, with Todd wanting and needing to be directed, but also I think because it helps with his focus. At the same time though, Richard feels it is wrong to be that type of person, so they must learn to communicate what is best for each other.

They do a good job of finding that happy place in order to be what the other person needs, and I really enjoyed their journey towards an HEA.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley: Release Day Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

Letting Go RDB Banner

LETTING GO

Love by Design, Book 1

MORNINGSTAR ASHLEY

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.14.17

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2sZFfqC

Letting Go Cover

Years ago, before tragedy struck, Alex made a child’s promise to always protect and care for his little sister, Evie. Then piece by piece, all the good in his life was taken away until Alex was left alone as guardian to his much younger sister. Suffering and loss scarred Alex, causing him to withdraw from the world. Struggling with anxiety and trust issues, Alex attempts to help Evie heal from their shared traumatic past, but each day is harder than the last. To make matters worse, Alex’s best friend, Ben, is pushing him to get out of his rut, confronting him with the fact that what Alex thinks is contentment is just stagnation and fear. The last thing he needs is for an old acquaintance to reappear in his life, making him feel things he hadn’t dealt with in years.

The executive of the marketing department at graphic design firm Vivid, Kelley has his life together. While not perfect, he’s happy with his career and his three best friends. A chance encounter with Alex, the guy he was once attracted to, is icing on the cake. Fighting through Alex’s defenses to find the breathtaking man underneath will be hard, but Kelley is up to the challenge. Kelley believes that the things most worth fighting for never come easy.

To accept all that Kelley is offering means Alex must drop his barriers. Kelley will need to keep trying and prove that Alex can trust him, even when grief and anxiety try to pull him back.

Amazon

 

Alex 2

Kelley 2

Pushing him back on the couch Kelley straddled Alex’s body, using his weight to hold the squirmy man in place, Kelley put his hands on Alex’s abs, fingers at his sides as his possessed Alex’s.

Shoving Alex’s shirt up as Alex lifted to give enough room for Kelley to pull the shirt off, dropping it to the floor. Attacking his nipples with teeth and tongue making Alex whimper and moan. Fuck! Hearing those sounds just turned him inside out. Turning the heat between up to lava level.

Moving back up to his neck Kelley sucked, tasted as he reached down with one hand greedily rubbing Alex’s dick through his pants. Running his hand up and down giving him the same of the pressure that Kelley’s throbbing cock was begging for.

“Oh, God.” Alex groaned with a rough edge to his voice as he arched his neck giving Kelley even more room to explore and mark. He wanted his mark on this man. Wanted everyone to see that he was Kelley’s. Fearing that with all the pain locked inside Alex he would never truly be his.

“Your shirt. Take off your shirt. I need to feel your skin.”

Kelley did exactly that.

He flattened Alex to the couch again, pressing their chest together once again, Alex had spread his thighs, Kelley slotted himself right there. Their groins meet and slide together. And holy fucking hell did that feel good. The pressure of Alex’s steel length against his rock hard cock sending relief and pleasure throughout his body.

Alex scratched his nails down his back making him growl. He had his legs bracketing Kelley’s body holding him in place. Like he would be so fucking stupid as to move.

He can feel Alex’s heart jackhammering through his chest. Their breaths panting out between kisses and moans.

What had started out slow had built and built until Kelley wanted to say fuck it and rip Alex’s clothes off to get at every inch of his skin. To have their bodies, slippery from sweat, sliding together.

And just like that Kelley knew exactly what he was going to do. Oh, sweet jesus the thought alone sending lust hurtling to his aching balls, making him want to shoot.

He was going to drive Alex to the brink over and over. Making him forget anything and everything except the need that would be coursing through his body. The need Kelley would put there. Have Alex begging and pleading Kelley to let him come.

Within minutes they lay back on the couch completely naked, kneeling between Alex’s thighs once again. All of Alex’s gorgeous fucking skin on display. His cock seemingly begging for attention, the crown purple and leaking pre-come onto his stomach. Kelley mouth waters with the thought of sliding it between his lips. But not yet.

Unable to stop himself he slipped his hands, fingers spread wide, to his ankles, over his thighs, across his chest. Gliding with the lightest touch around Alex’s erect nipples, back down his arms. Over and over he did this, needing to get his fill of this beautiful man. No one should have this effect on another person. He sat there with a naked Alex in front of him in awe of every lean muscle that pushed up to meet his hands, every scar his traced.

“Kelley,” Alex bites out as his body trembled under Kelley’s gentle touches.

“Yeah, baby. You need something?”

“Fuck. Don’t be an ass. You know want I want.”

Kelley sank back down on top of him. Licking a path up his collarbone to his throat and then their mouths meet stifling any more words that Alex was going to say. Their cocks align perfectly, and Kelley begins to thrust his cock against Alex’s as their kisses turn desperate and needy.

Kelley pulled away, and before Alex could utter a protest, he moved, swallowing his cock to the back of his throat. Letting his saliva pool in his mouth, needing all the wetness he could get for the slide of their cocks. With every groan that Alex had let out Kelley’s cock would twitch and throb tightening to epic proportions.

Each time he could feel Alex getting close Kelley would back off. Time and time again bringing him to the brink before pulling his mouth and hand away. Alex would whimper and wiggle, unable to lay still. He was so out of it that he words were reduced to grunts and groans.

When Kelley was satisfied that he had sufficiently teased Alex, he pulled off his cock with a pop. Using the spit that was now covering his hand, he coated his own cock with it before laying on top of Alex, lining their cocks up.

His body fitting tightly to Alex’s. Wrapping one arm around Alex’s shoulders, holding as close to him as he could, both needing the closeness this position gave them. Kelley began thrusting his cock against Alex’s.

“I’ve got you, baby. Just feel.”

Profanities had started to spill from Alex’s mouth. Kelley’s whole body was so overwhelmed by the slide and friction of their cocks he felt like he could’ve blown his load at any moment, hoping that Alex was feeling even a silver of what he was.

Alex had begun to counter thrust, writhing his tight body under Kelley. His head was tipped back, the muscles of his neck corded and straining.

“That’s it, baby. Let go.”

Cute cover!

I was drawn to this book because I’m such a sucker for hot guys with kids. Single dad’s or in this case, single brother raising his eight-year-old sister. After losing his father to cancer a month before his sister was born and losing his mother in a car accident when his sister was just four, he’s dealing with a lot. Evie (his sister) has panic attacks and night terror’s and other residual problems from the accident, making it hard for Alex to do much else besides work and worry about her. He seems like kind of a jerk in the beginning, he’s impatient and short with people, his best friend especially, even though his best friend Ben is there for him and Evie and honestly just wanting him to move on and live again. It doesn’t help that the guy Alex was seeing at the time of the accident that left Alex a single guardian, had left him because it was too much to stick around with a guy who had a kid with psychological problems. Now, don’t blame the ex though, he had his reasons and they were completely understandable. I didn’t blame him a bit. Still, Alex didn’t trust people after that and didn’t get close to anyone. So, when Ben (the best friend) asked him to meet a girl he’d been seeing and was getting serious with, Alex puts on his grown-up pants and agrees, even though he was grumpy about it. That’s where he runs into Kelley.

Kelley is the head of a marketing thing where Alex worked before he lost his mother. Kelley had seen him around and thought he was gorgeous…. Over time, he saw him get sadder and sadder before he up and quit. Knowing at least a little bit of the reason why, he was happily surprised to bump into Alex at restaurant and tried to talk to him to catch up. It didn’t last long, but Kelley didn’t give up….

I thought the way Kelley and Alex talked to each other for the first half of the book was borderline professional and not in any way like “friends”. I understand that Alex was trying to keep him at a distance and Kelley was trying to not be pushy, but especially when Kelley tried an innuendo or a silly jab, it seemed awkward…like trying to tease your lawyer or something. I didn’t get the chemistry between the two at all. Not for a while.

And don’t get me wrong, I understood, TO A POINT, where Alex was coming from, but I couldn’t stand him the majority of the book. I understand panic attacks, I understand pushing people away, I understand doing everything on your own and feeling like if you let your people down, it makes you feel like crap…. But Alex was selfish. Period, he was selfish and his woe is me, nobody understands me, nobody knows what it’s like because nobody else has ever faced tragedy in their lives before, crap was annoying. His whole thing with Ben… although Ben was a jerk and pushy at dinner the ONE TIME, I didn’t see him as being pushy at all any other time. He was concerned for his friend… Man, my best friend after a lifetime together is used to tough love because if you can’t trust your best friends, your family to tell you the truth then who can you trust? Even when it hurts… and that’s all Ben was trying to do… Like I said, he did go overboard, but it came from a good place. Alex flew off the handle and into a fit of rage any time anyone said anything he didn’t like. True or not.

Kelley was patient and understanding and wonderful. He put up with so much from Alex and I honestly thought he deserved so much better. I wanted to be sympathetic towards Alex, I really did and I guess at some points I was… but the majority of the time I just wanted to throat punch him and his attitude.

I loved Evie and I loved all the friends, although I wasn’t so sure about Peter, still not, but I haven’t given him another thought after I closed the book. The story ended on a good note, which I was happy about…I love good endings, especially when they took so long to get there, like I felt this one did. The story itself wasn’t a bad one, it was actually a great storyline. I just don’t feel like I ever got over my annoyance of Alex to enjoy it like I wanted to. I hate when that happens.

3 pieces of eye candy from me on this one

Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).

Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.

Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either. After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/morningstar.ashley

TWITTER: @starzehashley

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Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

Title: Mascara & Bandages
Series: Mary’s Boys: Book Three
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 121

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

This is the third book in this series, and somehow I missed the first one (I’ll definitely need to correct that at some point)…but I have never felt lost for not having read the first one.

One of the things that I enjoy about Brandon’s book, and especially this series is that he writes across the board. He doesn’t write only gay white males who have money, etc. He writes drag queens (ManDonna has my <3 ), African-Americans, Asian men, men who don’t have two nickles to rub together, as well as men who are coming out of the closet. In other words, he writes gay men out in the world. Because as we know, gay men are all different, just as straight people are, bisexual, etc. His characters are rich in diversity, and their personalities reflect that diversity, and differences in culture.

Zachary, oh goodness, what happened to him broke my heart, as much as I realize that it is a part of what happens, I still hated to see any character go through it. But with his family at Hamburger Mary’s (which I am totally visiting when I am in Denver for GRL in October…maybe Brandon will take me there!) he attempts to work through the trauma, all while I begins dating Asian American doctor Teegan, whose family will never accept Teegan being gay, or Zachary, with or without him being a drag queen.

Teegan’s ex-wife is also a great character in this, showing that not all divorces need to end in people hating each other, and making their children’s lives miserable. She is supportive and caring, and wants Teegan to be happy more than anything.

Zachary had such a big heart, as the reader can see when they learn all about his bookstore. He was so deserving of that happy ending that Brandon absolutely had to provide them. But even more, Zachary was able to grow within himself and face his fears. No matter the challenge (and he had a couple very tough ones), he was able to stand up and work through it, with his family and Teegan’s support, but also by being the man he knew he could be.

4 pieces of eye candy


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The Cycle by P.T. Denys: New Release Review

Almost 15 years ago a brutal attack by a violent psychopath changed everything.

In Violence Begets… despite horrific child abuse, Rick St. James and Kevin Vincent were able to find love in each other. They discovered that violence only begat violence when they allowed it to.

They had a choice.

They chose love.

Now Rick’s little brother is faced with the same painful reality that Rick once had to endure. Returning home to help his brother causes the nightmares of the past to crash and merge with the demons of the present.

Love is put to the test and it may not be strong enough to survive The Cycle!

Amazon

 

First things first. If you have not read the first book, Violence Begets– stop what you are doing, buy it and read it. Then come back here. You absolutely cannot read this book without reading the first.

It has been a week since I finished this book. And still I don’t think that my review will even come close to doing it justice. This is a brutal read. It is heartbreaking. It is beautiful. It is fascinating. It will very likely trigger a lot of people for various reasons. There was a big unexpected trigger for me in the book which left me with quite a bit of introspection.

How do I review a book and beg you to read it when I know what a difficult read it is? This is the book to push you out of your comfort zone. But like I said, you had to have read book 1 and if you did, you pretty much know what you are in for. I also REALLY don’t want to give anything away.

This is an amazing details driven book that relies heavily on psychology. Seeing what makes people tick, how it affects them and those around them and how one seemingly small thing can bring it all crashing back.

Jump out of your comfort zone. Read Violence Begets if you haven’t, then read this. Although I suggest giving yourself some happy reads in between.

If you already did read Violence Begets, you must read The Cycle.

 

Pieces of Candy: 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.

Santa’s Naughty Helper by Ari McKay: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Shy lawyer Kevin Anderson is presented with an unexpected opportunity when he draws hunky litigator Erik Wilson’s name for their office’s secret holiday gift exchange. Kevin has pined for his friend for a long time, but he fears ruining their working relationship if Erik doesn’t return his feelings. The anonymity of the exchange gives him the chance to let Erik know someone is interested, so Kevin turns the gift into a game: twelve days of presents, each more suggestive, culminating with a Christmas Eve meeting—if Kevin finds the courage to see it through!

Erik is intrigued by his secret Santa, who has given him something to look forward to during the holidays for the first time in years. But as Christmas approaches, he realizes he doesn’t want a mystery man; he wants his best friend, Kevin. When his attempts to instigate something with Kevin fail, Erik accepts the dinner invitation of his secret admirer. Little does he suspect that Santa’s naughty little helper might be just the man to make all his Christmas dreams come true in a holiday friends-to-lovers romance that progresses from sweet to spicy for two sexy lawyers.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2012.

Title: Santa’s Naughty Helper
Series: Lawyers in Love
Author: Ari McKay
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
Pages: TBD (Novella)

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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I enjoy Ari McKay’s books, and really love the holiday theme in July, so I wanted to grab this one right away.

I loved the cute premise. The shy lawyer who gets up the nerve to show his Secret Santa recipient, his best friend, how much he wants to spend all the cold winter nights with him. Kevin was so creative with his gift giving, and as he saw how much Erik enjoying receiving the gifts, he was able to become much more daring than he ever expected he would.

One thing I would have liked to have seen a bit more of was Erik’s point of view. I struggled with believing he made such a quick switch into wanting Kevin when he had shown no previous inclination. I think it would have been easily resolved with a bit more of Erik’s POV to help fill in the blanks as to where his mind was at.

I did find some of the dialogue a bit stilted and cliche, with some of the lines not sound as natural as I would have expected from two men who had been best friends for years.

All in all a cute story, with a fun premise, giving you hope for love during the holiday season.

3 pieces of eye candy


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Spun! by JL Merrow: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Amazon

Riptide Books

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Spun!, the fourth of my contemporary MM romantic comedies in the Shamwell Tales series.

Bringing the Funny

I never set out to write humour. Whether or not I’ve nevertheless achieved it is up to the individual reader’s judgement, but all I wanted to do at the outset was have fun with my writing. It wasn’t until I started to see a common thread in reviews (“Merrow’s trademark humour”; “JL Merrow brings the funny” etc) that I realised that hey, other people were having fun with it too. Which, obviously, leads to fun squared, and a very happy author. 🙂

I grew up reading all sorts of funny books. The late, great, Sir Terry Pratchett is, of course, my idol—there is nothing he didn’t know about comic timing*—and another early influence was Douglas Adams.

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” ― Douglas AdamsThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe

I discovered The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the library at an early age and proceeded to annoy my poor mother mightily by reading out choice lines whenever she was trying to get on with something else. Who could forget the classic, “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way as bricks don’t”, a line that on one level, tells you nothing at all, but on another, is a fantastically evocative bit of description?

It’s probably not surprising that both Pratchett and Adams were British, as of course was another great influence of mine, PG Wodehouse. Not that I don’t appreciate the humour of other countries, but there’s just something about the dry, erudite and/or absurd wit of my fellow islanders that speaks to my dyed-in-the-wool British soul.

Wodehouse is best known these days for the Jeeves and Wooster books, which spawned the delightful TV series starring an exquisitely young Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie (okay, I may possibly be showing my age here). He also wrote an immense number of other books, many of them romances featuring plucky young ladies, empty-headed sons of the aristocracy, irascible older relatives, and pigs. (Although the latter generally didn’t feature in the romance bit). All of them sparkled with his gentle, literary humour:

“Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city’s reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology

For me, letting an idea run away with me, or playing with words a bit, is half the fun of writing. Both Wodehouse and Pratchett were masters at taking an idea and running with it all the way to absurdity and back.

“If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards!” Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

I also loved Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books, starting with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾. Adrian is an adorably unreliable narrator. Much of the comedy comes from his confident (and hilariously mistaken) pronouncements about everything from politics to his parents’ tangled love lives.

“I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul de sac.” – Sue Townsend, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Terry Pratchett has said that writing is the most fun anyone can have by themselves. I’d tend to agree, but I’d add that probably the best thing about writing is connecting with readers. Laughter (this is the science bit) is a social mechanism that reinforces bonding within a group, so there’s something very special about sharing a joke with a reader.

I hope you’ll enjoy the humour in Spun!—and if you do, I’d love to hear from you! And if you’ve got an all-time favourite funny book, why not share it/a quote in the comments?

*or, indeed, most other aspects of comedy. Sir Perry, I kiss your rod**.

**This is by no means as rude as it sounds.

Okay, I will say this quickly to get it out of the way…I have never read a JL Merrow book before (I know, right?) and I am feeling like such a (as the author may put it) “silly git” for it. How have I never read anything by this author?

I decided to do this one on a whim. Merely because I was interested in seeing what the fuss was in this series being re-released and additional work added, as well. I still haven’t read Books 1-3, although I will endeavour to correct that as soon as possible. But wow, this was a lot of fun!

The reader, if not from the UK, needs to be willing to enjoy all the local dialect, and just hope you can get it all in context. There is a ton of that dialect, but it isn’t difficult to suss out most of the meanings, and if you have your UK dictionary downloaded into your kindle, you are golden!

There was so many fun aspects of this book. It was lighthearted, not angsty in the least, although I have to say I was anxious for these two men to get themselves together as a couple! A very slow burn this was, but with small children in the picture, and tons of exes hanging around, it was bound to happen.

David was such a doll! He had such a sweet temperament, and throwing out all his French endearments, as well as seeing his devotion to Gregory made him a character I wanted to know, in person. I wanted to meet David, and hang out with him, whether it was watching “the telly” or trying to cook dinner with him. His love of spending time with Rory’s children was wonderful to read. He truly adored those kids, before he even realized he was in love with their father.

Meanwhile Rory, what a gentle man. He really just wanted everyone to be happy, himself last. He never wanted to make waves, never to fight too hard. Yet he loved, it was so obvious how much he loved those around him, David included. He loved his time with his children, and cherished that time, and those kids as precious, even if he had to cancel time with someone else for them. He was meant to be a father, and a caregiver.

David and Rory together seemed to hit the perfect team. David, being more “worldly”, could easily have looked down on his new postman landlord, for his time with his bigoted mate, or his manner of speech, yet he never did. He always respected Rory. Rory was no different, always showing tremendous respect for David. They worked together on everything, and it showed their joy in spending time together, and with the kids.

What I enjoyed the most though was the enjoyment they found in each other. Cracking little flirting jokes, spending time learning to cook (and burn things) together, finding their way into a comfortable loving place.

I enjoyed JL Merrow’s writing, the subtle English humor, and venturing into learning what family can look like for two men who didn’t realize they were looking for a family in each other.  Looking at JL Merrow’s backlist, I believe I could be spending a lot of time catching up with everything happening across the aisle. And I’ll enjoy every minute of it.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

About the Shamwell Tales

Welcome to Shamwell! A sleepy rural village in Hertfordshire, England, it’s the perfect place to move to for a little peace and quiet—or at least, you’d think so. But as a succession of newcomers to the village find, there’s more going on in these idyllic surroundings than cricket matches on the common and pints of ale in the local pubs.

As a place where everyone’s connected to everyone else, Shamwell’s rife with mishaps, mayhem, and misunderstandings—and the path of true love is no smoother than the ancient stone walls of the parish church.

Each contemporary romantic comedy in this series stands alone, but all feature a cast of characters drawn from Shamwell and its surroundings.

Check out the Shamwell Tales, available from Riptide Publishing!

 

 

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

Goodreads: goodreads.com/.J_L_Merrow

To celebrate the release of Spun!, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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