Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C: Quick Review

A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.

Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can’t be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.

Amazon

 

I love a good shifter book and this one takes the cake.

Zev has grown up being groomed to be the Alpha of his pack. A very powerful Alpha at that. Shifter lore states a wolf mates with another wolf of the opposite sex. It’s the way it has always been, so Zev is very confused when he is attracted to his male, human best friend Jonah. Something deep down tells Zev that Jonah is his mate.

Jonah and Zev have grown up together, been best friends forever so it only seem natural that things would progress romantically. Jonah is determined to keep their relationship strong, even when he’s away at college. When Jonah is plagued with weird ailments that can’t find a reason for, he tries to stay away from Zev until he can figure out what’s going on. In the end he runs to Zev because they are always stronger together than apart.

Together Zev and Jonah work to uncover what could be going on and discover that the Fates are never wrong and Jonah was made just for Zev.

Sigh. I love this story. Their connection is so beautiful,so pure and full of happiness and love. I have read this story so many times, their aren’t many authors that can pull off this level of chemistry and make it seem so effortless.

The story itself is entertaining and I couldn’t put it down. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read it, each time is like the first time.

 

Pieces of Candy: 5

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Three New Wishes by Sean Michael: Quick Review

James, Guard and Damien continue to grant the sexual fantasies of their clients, but so far have been unable to make Rainbow Island work for their own relationship. Damien misses being home more often with his lovers, though, and Guard has been working on breaking down James’ defences. As the men move from one week to three week stays for their guests, can they finally make their own fantasies come true, too?

As always, three different fantasies are granted through Rainbow Island.

Tim is rich and bored now that he’s sold all his companies. A sometimes sub for the occasional evening, he’s searching for something more. He’s seen ‘lifestyle’ subs who indulge 24/7 and he’s curious to see if it really works. Full time Dom Rainier is brought in to give Tim the experience he’s been looking for. But Rainier has a secret – he’s been watching Tim in the club for years, just waiting for Tim to get serious before making his move. Can these two men find what they need in each other?

Mike has been hired to be a submissive for three weeks. He doesn’t know that much about the lifestyle, but has been assured that he won’t be damaged and that he can stop the proceedings at any time. He figures he can handle it, besides, the payday is too good to give up and will keep him off the street and fed for a long time. Dom Brendan is handsome and confident and the things he shows Mike have Mike more than a little turned on; in fact, they speak to something deep inside him. Could he have found something more than just another job in Brendan?

Angus and Robbie are a committed Dom/sub pair who want to spice things up a little and see if Puppy Play is for them. They’re excited and nervous to learn this new aspect from Sam, the puppy master that Rainbow Island has brought in to show them the ropes. They discover there’s more to puppy play than they’d imagined and not all of it is for them. Can they separate what they need from what they want and come out stronger than ever in the end?

Don’t miss out on these three new fantasies come true.

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I have really enjoyed this series. Each book offers three new stories as well as a little more into the story of the owners of the resort. While this one provides the conclusion of Guard, James and Damien’s story.

In the first fantasy Tim is a bored executive. He has recently sold his multi-billion dollar company and doesn’t know what to do with his time. He has dabbled in the dom/sub scene but lately that isn’t providing the relief it once did. He’s hoping three weeks immersed in being a 24/7 submissive will scratch the itch.

Rain is the dominant the Island staff hire to bring Tim’s fantasy to life, but Rain has a secret. He has been watching Tim for years as he moved from one dom to another. Biding his time until he could make his move. He knows Tim was made for him, he just has to get Tim to see that they can make this work long after the fantasy is over.

In the second fantasy Brendan wants a submissive, someone knew to the scene. He wants to be able to show someone how wonderful the dom/sub lifestyle can be without the rehearsed lines and the posturing.

Mike is hired by the Island staff to be Brendan’s sub for three weeks. Mike has no idea what to expect but the money was too good to pass up. Mike is a free spirit who travels wherever the next job takes him with nothing and no one to tie him down to one place. The minute the fantasy begins Mike knows hes way out of his league. He starts feeling things he shouldn’t be feeling, things that can’t possibly be felt this early in the game. Brendan will need to show him that the feelings are reciprocated and see if he can be the anchor Mike has been searching for to tie him down.

In the third fantasy Angus and Robbie have been in a committed dom/sub relationship for quite some time. They are looking to try new things, one being puppy play. The island brings in a puppy play expert to help Angus and Robbie navigate this new lifestyle so they can figure out which aspects of the lifestyle they want to incorporate in their own while leaving the rest behind. It’s an adventure of discovery for the pair as they work together to bring their fantasy to life.

James is nearly at his breaking point; he can’t eat, he can’t sleep, he can’t concentrate without seeing Damien and Guard in every thought and action. Guard and Damien strike while the iron is hot, reminding James of all that he lost and all that he can have again.

This story is hot!!! It has something for everyone. There is puppy play, fisting, nipple piercing, some bondage and a ton of hot sex.

I really enjoyed reading this whole series and waiting for the conclusion of Guard, James, and Damien’s story was so worth the wait. It was great to see their progress from the first story to the last.

These wishes were just as hot as the wishes in the other books. I’m not sure how Sean Michael keeps it fresh and interesting, but definitely a job well done.

I know I’m greedy, but I would totally love a followup novella. Maybe a huge party on the island for past guests so we can see where everyone has gotten to.

Pieces of Candy: 4

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

Rough Edges by Cardeno C : Audiobook Review

Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.

Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.

Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Amazon

Audible

Kyle has had to fight tooth and nail for everything he has in life. Nothing has come easy for him and because of that he carries a pretty big chip on his shoulder. He can’t stand people born to money that don’t have to earn it and meeting his buddies friend Brent proves his point.

Brent was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. He was born to money, raised to enjoy the finer things in life, and spends his days lazing about. At least these are the things Kyle thinks he knows about Brent, and takes an instant dislike to him.

When Kyle’s hard work and dedication at work finally turn into a promotion that allows him to put a down payment on a condo he finally feels like he’s made it. He’s accomplished his goal, then in one second it’s all taken away. When the chips are down Kyle has no one to turn to until Brent offers a helping hand.

Kyle borrows Brent’s spare bedroom until he can find a new job and get back on his feet. Over the first few weeks he’s there Kyle starts to realize that there is more to Brent than he first thought. He might not be the spoil rich kid he thought he was. When Kyle realizes what Brent is doing with his free time each day he finds out that old prejudices can blind you from seeing some great right in front of you.

I love a great enemies to lovers story, even if they were only enemies in Kyle’s head. This is a great story about a man finding that through his narrow and intolerant views of people he could be missing out on something great. The characters were well developed and interesting. The story, as always was perfection.

The narrator was good. This was my first time listening to Kevin Chandler. He infused just enough snark in his voice to bring Kyle to life for me. It was great.

Overall an enjoyable listening experience.

Pieces of Candy: 4

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

An Officer’s Submission by Christa Tomlinson: Blog Tour, Author Interview, Reviews and Giveaway

TitleAn Officer’s Submission

Series: Cuffs, Collars, and Love #4

Author: Christa Tomlinson

Publisher:  Self- Torlina Publishing

Release Date: March 15

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, erotic romance, contemporary, D/S, established couples

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synopsis

“You don’t ever have to keep anything you feel locked up, Clay. I’m your Dom, and whatever you need from me, I’ll gladly give to you.”
– Sergeant Logan Pierce

Police Officer Clay Foster is finally at peace and happy with his life. He enjoys his career as a member of Houston’s SWAT team, and he loves submitting to his Dom in the bedroom. His life is perfect, until one cruel act destroys Clay’s bubble of happiness. Shattered trust forces Clay to reevaluate his career, his relationship, and himself.

Sergeant Logan Pierce is the leader of Houston’s elite SWAT team. On the force, he’s the best at what he does. In private, the most important thing in his life is taking care of his submissive, Clay. Clay is his whole world, and Logan will do whatever is necessary to keep him safe. Even if that means going up against Clay’s stubbornness in order to help him heal.

Can Logan and Clay work together to rebuild their happiness? Can they find their way back to the shared passion of Dominance and submission? Or will their love and relationship end before it’s truly begun?

An Officer’s Submission is Book Four in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. If you love romance that is epic, emotional and erotic, you’ll want to give this series a read!

 

tco-author interview

Christa Tomlinson Author Interview

Hello, I’m Christa! I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and I currently live in Houston, Texas. I have two dogs, I’m a former teacher and I’m a retired roller derby player. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was eleven! My big sister let me read hers as long as I promised to skip the “grown up” parts. I always said I would skip them but read them anyway. I was a rebel. My current book is An Officer’s Submission. It’s an erotic BDSM romance, featuring characters from my fictional version of the Houston Police Department SWAT team. This story is about Officer Clay Foster, who loves being a submissive, but still struggles with that part of himself. And his Dom, Sergeant Logan Pierce, who will do anything for his submissive.

  1. What misconceptions do people have about your genre?

That it’s all sex. My books may be heavy on the erotic side, but there are many authors who have books that aren’t. Also, there’s so much more to them than sex. Emotion, friendship and action play a part as well.

  1. How do you choose names for your characters?

I normally start with The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook. That way I can search by region or ethnicity, etc. But I always end up picking a name that matches the character. For example, I wouldn’t name a soft, kittenish character Ace Steel, unless I was trying to flip a book trope.

  1. What else do you use to immerse yourself in the story (music, visuals, etc.)?

Definitely music. I choose songs based on the mood of the scene I’m writing. And I play that song on repeat until I’m finished with the scene. It helps get my head in the right space, but also serves as white noise to block out any distractions.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?

Gladiator. Russell Crowe is amazing in that movie. Totally believable as the general Maximus. Plus he’s gorgeous and full of muscles. Joaquin Phoenix did an excellent job as Commodus – so evil! And the action and fighting scenes were very well done.

  1. What do you hope people say about you after you’re gone?

I loved her books!

  1. What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?

I’m currently writing the next and probably last book in the Cuffs, Collars, and Love series. Officer Hector Castillo, the sniper from the team, is getting his own story next! I’ve already finished the rough draft and I’m planning for a June or July release. After that, I’ll be making a sub-genre shift. I’ve wanted to write historical fantasy for a long time now, and I’m in the planning stages for my first project. I’m very excited about it!

Thank you for having me on your blog today! I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my work and look forward to chatting with your readers. Readers, feel free to drop any questions you have for me in the comments. Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Christa

deanna review

Love this series and always love catching up with the guys. This book was no exception.

Logan and Clay have settled into a happy life. They work together, they almost live together and they spend all their time off together. Then Captain Hayden has the brilliant idea to split up Logan’s team sending Logan to Narcotics, Tiffany to the bomb squad, and Carlos to lead another team. This brings new team members Harmon and Nelson and new leader Dunlap.
When Clay is blindsided on a training exercise, realizing he can’t count on his new team he retreats within himself to figure out how to move on. He shuts everyone out, including Logan. Logan will need to figure out what happened fast if he has any hope of helping Clay move past what happened.

Captain Hayden has never been my favorite character, I really didn’t like him after he split the team up. However, I do feel like he was firmly in Clay’s corner after everything went down. I thought it was impossible, but he may have redeemed himself. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Harmon, ugh even his name sounds douchey (is that a word? I’m rolling with it.). He was a great villain, but that is the only nice thing I can say about him. I was praying he would get stuck somewhere with Tiffany and one of her bombs.

I loved reading about the old characters that I love and meeting new characters. As always, the character development is impeccable, they are rich in detail, interesting and fit into the story perfectly.

The story…. frustrating at times because Clay was being stubborn but so worth the read. It was a roller coaster of emotion that I would gladly ride again and again. I was furious for Clay, I was mad at Logan for giving him space, I was so grateful when they both pulled their heads out. There were times I had to put the Kindle down for fear I would throw it in my frustration, but Clay got it together in the end.

5 pieces of eye candy

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erin

Book 4 in the series brings us back to the original couple of Clay and Logan. Full disclosure- I read book 1, but did not read books 2 and 3. But they are definitely on my to be read list. I don’t know how I missed them really.

Back to the book. Clay and Logan are both still in the honeymoon stage of a relationship and the happily ever after. They don’t live together yet, but that is a technicality. Everything is going great- until the boss decides to break up the SWAT team. After learning to work together, now they need to learn to work apart.

When Clay is attacked, he retreats. Instead of leaning on his Dom, he holds it all in and distances himself. Logan has no idea what has happened and no idea what went wrong. Now they have to work their way back to where they were.

Watching Clay and Logan rebuild the trust and relationship they once had was like getting two of your favorite characters in a whole new book. Seeing Logan willing to give up a huge part of himself in order to get Clay back. He struggles, but ultimately his love for Clay beats anything he needs or wants for himself.

Ultimately, I think it made them stronger. Not only as a couple, but as individuals. Coming to terms with what has happened to Clay, to them as a couple, and to them in their careers is difficult. Seeing these two, big, tough, strong men being lost and trying to find their way back to each other makes for a great story.

My biggest complaint is how easy Clay’s attackers seem to have gotten off. I wanted blood.

4 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

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

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

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

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Amazon

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Tour Schedule

April 13thTwo Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

April 14th –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

April 15th MM Good Book Reviews

April 16thBoy Meets Boy Reviews

April 17thMy Fiction Nook

April 18th Love Bytes Reviews

April 19thErotica For All

April 20th Nerdy Dirty & Flirty

April 21st – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

April 22nd – Booklover Sue

 

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

One Bullet by Casey Wolfe: Release Day Review

34382246synopsisWhen Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.

Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.

Can one bullet really change two lives? I was intrigued by the synopsis and wanted to see when the author would take it and overall I was impressed.

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Amazon

 

deanna review

Ethan, a police officer was shot while off duty and rescued by police detective Shawn. Shawn saved his life, keeping pressure on the wound until help arrived, visiting the hospital while Ethan recovered. The two struck up an easy friendship even after Ethan had to leave his job on the force due to PTSD. Shawn has been helping Ethan work through his PTSD by going to his weekly therapy appointments with him and suggesting new treatment options he’s read about. At some point the line between friendship and relationship was blurred and the two need to figure out if heading forward together is where they want to be.

I really enjoyed the slow buildup of their relationship. I love the way Shawn was so supportive of Ethan’s recovery.

The one point of confusion I had was with the opening scene. Ethan is trying to avoid the police looking for him and at one point he’s flat out running from them. To the point that the police use the taser on him. Shawn runs to rescue him and the storyline drops. If the police wanted to question him to the point of pursuit and taser use the storyline can’t fall flat. There needs to be some sort of conclusion. If the author was using this idea to introduce Shawn as the hero it would totally work, but the conclusion needs a little beefing up.

That said, I really did enjoy the book. The story was well told, the slow build up was great and the character development was on point. It was entertaining and an enjoyable read. I can’t wait to see where this author takes us next.

3 pieces of eye candy

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

When the Dust Settles by Mary Calmes: Audiobook Review with Giveaway

51mHac376FL._SY346synopsisGlenn Holloway’s predictable life ended the day he confessed his homosexuality to his family. As if that wasn’t enough, he then poured salt in the wound by walking away from the ranch he’d grown up on, to open the restaurant he’d always dreamed of. Without support from his father and brother, and too proud to accept assistance from anyone else, he had to start from scratch. Over time things worked out. Glenn successfully built a strong business, created a new home, and forged a life he could be proud of.
Despite his success, his estrangement from the Holloways is still a sore spot he can’t quite heal, and a called-in favor becomes Glenn’s worst nightmare. Caught in a promise, Glenn returns to his roots to deal with Rand Holloway and comes face-to-face with Mac Gentry, a man far too appealing for Glenn’s own good. It could all lead to disaster – disaster for his tenuous reconnection with his family and for the desire he didn’t know he held in his heart.

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deanna review

This is by far my favorite series by Mary Calmes. There is just something about cowboys. All of your favorite characters from Timing and After the Sunset make an appearance in this one as well. I love when you get to followup with old favorites, and boy is Rand a favorite but I digress.

Mac Gentry is the foreman of the Red Diamond, Rand’s ranch. He comes across as gruff and down right mean, Most people steer clear of the man. He is the ranch and has no need for anyone who doesn’t live the ranch life.

Glen Holloway gave up the ranch life to open a restaurant, The Bronc. Since he doesn’t fit in with his own family he’s created a makeshift family of his own with the strays at The Bronc. He avoids the ranch at every opportunity to stay away from awkward family interactions with his brother and Rand, but mostly to avoid Mac. Mac makes Glen speechless and angry in equal parts.

When Stef calls in a favor, Glen has to go on a four day cattle drive with Rand and Mac. A long day in the saddle and a lonely night on the prairie has Glen and Mac re-evaluating their relationship. If they lay it all on the table will the foundation they build be strong enough to withstand real life or will it crumble to dust out on the prairie?

Love, love, love the book. The characters are familiar, the story is entertaining. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Mary will write another one. I’m not ready to let them go just yet.

Can we talk about Sean Crisden’s voice. Holy Hannah, that is the sexiest cowboy voice I have ever heard. It deep, rich, and just gruff enough to bring the characters to life with panty dropping perfection.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Tied Up In Knots by Mary Calmes: Audiobook Review with Giveaway

51RDgmP2pL._SY346synopsisMiro Jones is living the life; he’s got his exciting, fulfilling job as a US deputy marshal, his gorgeous Greystone in suburban Chicago, his beloved adopted family, and most importantly, the man who captured his heart, Ian Doyle. Problem is, Ian isn’t just his partner at work – Ian’s a soldier through and through. That commitment takes him away from Miro, unexpectedly and often, and it’s casting a shadow over what could be everything Miro could ever dream of.
Work isn’t the same without Ian. Home isn’t the same, either, and Miro’s having to face his fears alone…how to keep it together at the office, how to survive looming threats from the past, and worst of all, how to keep living without Ian’s rock-solid presence at his side. His life is tied up in knots, but what if unknotting them requires something more permanent? What would that mean for him and Ian? Miro’s stuck between two bad choices, and sometimes the only way to get out of the knot is to hold tight to your lifeline and pull.

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deanna review

I love the Marshalls series. There is just something about Ian and Miro. Their story is a fairytale,.. Kinda… Maybe… If Quentin Tarantino were writing it.

This installment picks up with Ian being away on a four month op and Miro being loaned out to the DEA on the west coast. Of course Miro finds all sorts of trouble to get into out there. As he’s headed home he gets the call that Ian is heading home too. For the first time, Ian asks Miro to pick him up from the airport with his team.

Miro starts hoping for some normalcy when Bam, the military life rears it’s ugly head again. Several people from Ian’s old unit have died and the government brass think that someone is trying to kill the whole team. Ian heads to Washington to try to figure out what’s going on, meanwhile Craig Hartley has escaped from prison again.

Ian and Miro have some tough choices to make. Can Miro stand by Ian when’s he gone for as much time as he’s home? Can Miro live with the anxiety everyday of not knowing whether Ian is going to come home safe? Is Hartley coming after Miro again?

This story wraps up in stunning fashion, as I’ve come to expect from this series. I can’t wait to see where the next story takes us, hopefully their is a wedding involved.

These characters are some of my favorites, the story was entertaining and fast paced. I’m kinda over the Hartley story line, I know the storyline was left open so he could possibly return in a later book, but please Jesus let Miro be. I can’t handle the stress of him being kidnapped and tortured again.

I think Tristan James is perfect for this series. The Chicago accent is great, it’s gritty and tough and perfect for Ian and Miro. I will admit Kage sounds damn good too.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Catching Heir by Julia Talbot: Audiobook Review with Giveaway

517DXqe2IOLsynopsisIs he in love with an old hotel – or its new owner?
Professional snowboarder Cullen Patrick is successful and kinda famous. So when he inherits an old Colorado hotel from an unknown relative, he really should leave well enough alone.
Matt Nathanson has been managing the Treeline Estates since college. He loved the elderly former owner, and he stands to inherit the place if no one claims it in the next week. Of course, Cullen shows up, and Matt thinks it’s time to move on. He doesn’t want to like Cullen, no matter how engaging the guy is, or how hunky.
Cullen has grand ideas for the Treeline, but he doesn’t want to implement them without Matt, and he’s not sure he’s ready to give up snowboarding. Can Matt convince Cullen that putting down roots is worth it…and maybe catch his heir at the same time?

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deanna review

My review of the book: What a great read. Julia Talbot is a new author to me and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Matt is just days away from claiming ownership of The Treeline, a hotel he has worked hard to maintain for years when Cullen, the deceased owners grandson is found and ownership reverts to him. Cullen is a professional snowboarder and never wanted to own a hotel.

Ben, the previous owner wrote a clause in the hotel trust that Matt could never be fired for any reason. His job was and always would be secure at The Treeline. Cullen and Matt will have to work together to ensure the success of The Treeline while Cullen still has his snowboarder’s life to contend with. Along the way feelings are developed and both want to make their arrangement a little more permanent.

I loved his! It was a sweet, low angst read. I loved the progression of the relationship between Cullen and Matt. It felt real, with everyday obstacles and little to no drama.

Listening: I forgot how much I enjoyed this story until I started listening. John Solo brought Cullen and Matt to life in a way that was perfect for their story. It was thoroughly entertaining and so enjoyable to listen too.

4 pieces of eye candy

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Who We Are by Nicola Haken: Blog Tour, Reviews, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Who We Are
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 13, 2017

synopsis

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

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Angie at Wicked Reads ~ “Very heartwarming story, the banter between these guys is so sweet. I can’t say enough about this book to do it justice, just read it, you will love it.”

Beverly at Southern Babes Book Blog ~ “Sebastian and Oliver’s story is beautiful and heartbreaking… These two amazing men are trying to figure out who they really are and together they figure out that they can do anything.”

Jodi at Alpha Book Club ~ “Oliver’s story will make you cry and stand up and cheer for how strong of a human being he is… Loved this story and would recommend to anyone.”

MJ at Alixzia Reading Corner ~ “I ache and bleed with this book for every page turned! Highly recommend!”

Deanna at Two Chicks Obsessed ~ “This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.”

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excerpt
Who We Are
Copyright © Nicola Haken 2017
~ Sebastian~
I WAS JUMPING down from my cab after arriving back from my last drop of the day when my life almost ended. Okay, so maybe I was known for being a tad on the dramatic side, but when Benny – my oldest friend and biggest pain in my arse -jumped out from behind my trailer, I almost choked on my fucking heart.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered, breathless from the fright. “How the hell did you get in the yard?”
I’d been a heavy goods driver for thirteen years, working here at Patterson Haulage Ltd. for three of those – long enough to know they didn’t let pedestrians wander in off the streets to play hide and seek behind the lorries. Transport was in my genes, I guess. My dad had been a trucker all his life, and he met my mum at work – she worked as a clerk in the office. I never wanted to do anything else. I walked straight into my first warehouse job fresh out of school and stayed there until I was old enough to train for my Class 1 licence and could go out on the road. I loved my job.
“That old lady with the bright orange face let me in. Told her I needed to talk to you about Scott.”
“Scott?” Slamming the door to my cab closed, I fished my phone from the pocket of my Hi-Vis jacket and scanned the screen for missed calls. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Well, he likes Eminem, but hopefully he’ll grow out of that.”

 

“What?” Narrowing my eyes in confusion, I stared at Benny who looked to be admiring his thumbnail. 
“Nothing’s wrong with him. I just knew they’d let me come see your truck if I played the kid card.”
Rolling my eyes, I huffed as I turned and re-opened my cab door. Climbing the steps, I leaned inside to grab my holdall and tacho card before hopping back down. “You’ve seen a wagon before. You shouldn’t use Scott like that. There could be a real emergency one day.”
“And if there is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the one anyone’d call about it,” he said, his tone amused as he ran his finger along the curtain of my trailer. “This needs a wash.”
“You offering?” I asked as I locked up the cab and started walking towards the transport office. I found it highly doubtful as I turned my head to the side and eyed up his leather coat, and beige turtleneck that no doubt he’d paid upwards of a hundred pounds for. Benny worked in recruitment. In other words, companies paid him far too much money to find them suitable candidates for their businesses, money which he wasted on overpriced shit he didn’t need. “Or did you come here for another reason?”
“I came because, as you know, it’s my birthday on Friday. The big three-four. I want y…” Pausing mid word, Benny spun on his heels. “Holy hot ginger.”
I didn’t need to turn around to know he’d spotted Rod, seeing as he was the only red-headed bloke who worked at this depot. “Christ, Benny. Keep it down. I have to work with these guys.”
“Chill out. The fact you’re mates with a gay guy won’t give away the big secret that you like cookies and ice cream.”
“It’s not a secret,” I snapped. Or maybe it was, given that I’d never told anyone I worked with that I was bisexual. My last two relationships had been with women, and ‘passing’ as straight was simply…easier. I was a copout and a liar but I was tired of explaining, defending myself.
There are a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality and I’d encountered most of them during my twenties. Now, at thirty-four, I was kind of exhausted with it all. I wanted to fall in love and create a future with another person as much as anyone, but I’d given up on the idea a while ago. Relationships, for me, whether with a man or a woman, seemed to consist of me justifying myself, reassuring my partner, or hiding – as Benny would say – the cookies or ice cream part of my sexuality.
I couldn’t just be me.

 

wasn’t good enough.
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t want to sleep with everybody, and there weren’t twice as many fish in the sea, because most fish thought I was confused, greedy, unfaithful, trying to be trendy, or afraid to admit I was gay. The last one confused me the most. The number of people who believed bisexuality was a temporary label used to ease the transition to gaytown would never cease to amaze me. It happened, sure, but there were a hell of a lot of bisexuals claiming to be gay, or straight, for no other reason than they couldn’t face the stigma attached to it, too.
I was simply attracted to people. I got turned on by the way someone carried themselves, by their confidence, or even shyness. I felt the same stir in my cock and pull of excitement in my chest when I saw the rugged grooves of a man’s chest as I did the silky curves of a woman’s hips. People are beautiful. I couldn’t help it. It’s just the way I was made.
Thankfully, many people realised these days that being gay or straight wasn’t a choice. Unfortunately, some of these same people believed bisexuals were capable of making a choice, and that they should. Well, I tried that when I was a teenager. I tried to pick a side, to ‘fit’ in somewhere.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work out too well.
“Just tell me what you came for,” I added to Benny, pushing open the swinging door that led to the warehouse which, in turn, led to the office.
“Do you have Scott this weekend?”
“No. Lisa’s taking him to see Jenny’s parents in Cornwall. Why?”
“Great! You’re coming to the village for my birthday.”

 

Ugh. “Ah, you know it’s not really my scene.” I had my reasons for not frequenting the village, unlike Benny who spent so much time there it could be considered his second home. Besides, after a day on the road my idea of a good time was Netflix and a takeaway. 
“Yes, Mr Misery, I know having fun isn’t usually on your To Do list but it’s my birthday and you’ll hurt my feelings if you say no.”
We’d reached the office now and I handed my keys over to June through the window partition while raising a sceptical eyebrow at Benny. “Fine,” I said. “But as soon as you’re too drunk to notice whether I’m there or not I’m leaving.”
“I love you.” He turned to June who looked rather amused by my dickhead friend. “I love him, you know.”
“Knock it off, moron,” I said, ramming my shoulder into his.
“Watch the jacket!” he shrieked as he rubbed at the tan leather that made him look like a seventies pimp. “You’re covered in dirt and smell like oil.”
“Please excuse my friend, June. They don’t usually let him out unattended.”
“Don’t mind me, lovey. I’ve seen all sorts in my time.”
I risked a glance at Benny, whose mouth had dropped ever so slightly open. For a man who wasn’t easily offended, the image was priceless.
“You’re on the Midlands run tomorrow, lovey,” June added as she tapped on her keyboard.
Nodding, I told her I’d see her in the morning, swung my holdall over my shoulder and started making my way to the car park, all the while trying not to laugh at Benny’s reaction.
“Did she seriously refer to me as an all sort?” he muttered under his breath when we neared my car. I knew he wouldn’t let it go so easily. “Clearly, out of the all sorts she’s met none of them have been make-up artists.”
“Stop it,” I said, snorting as I clicked open the central locking on my matte black Ford Galaxy. “June’s lovely. A little old-fashioned, but harmless.”
“I’m sure. It just wouldn’t hurt for her to go down a shade or twelve in the foundation department is all I’m saying.”
Opening the rear door, I tossed my bag onto the back seat. “Have you finished being a bitch?”
“God, I hope not.”
Removing my thick, Hi-Vis jacket, I threw that on top of my bag, revealing my dark green uniform polo shirt, before closing the door and getting into the driver’s seat. “Is that all you wanted? You could’ve called or text.”
Benny leaned against my open door, hand on hip. “Told you, I wanted to see your big truck.” He winked at me.
I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, or at least keep a disinterested expression, but I couldn’t help chuckle at him.
“I was in the area, and besides, you’d have said no without my pretty face to seduce you.”

 

Probably. 
“And hey, if you want to bring a plus one your red-haired co-worker is more than welcome.”
Shooing him away from the door, I pulled it closed and brought the engine to life before rolling down the electric window. “Let me know when and where during the week,” I said, dismissing the idea of inviting Rod. He’d only been here for three months and I didn’t know the guy well, but the fact he had a wife and three kids told me Rod wouldn’t be interested in the kind of socialising Benny had in mind for him.
“Will do,” he said, tapping the roof of my car before backing away. “Don’t forget I have expensive taste!”
Shaking my head, I bit my lip to suppress the grin that wanted to escape as I reversed out of my space. I already had his present – a bottle of Dior aftershave, same as every year. It was the only thing I knew the fussy bastard wouldn’t return in exchange for store credit.

 

deanna review

I’ve read some of Nicola Haken before and as usual she ripped my heart out of my chest again. In the best way possible. (There’s a compliment in there somewhere.)

Oliver Clayton put his life on hold 10 years ago to raise his little brother after his mother died of leukemia. He works in a hair salon by day and a drag bar by night to make ends meet.

Sebastian Day is a truck driver. He lives alone with his cat Marv and spends weekends with his son, who he’s raising with his best friend and her wife.

The two meet at a bar and exchange numbers. Both of them will need to come out of their comfort zones if they want to see where this goes. Oliver us so used to living for his brother and Sebastian isn’t really living at all, instead choosing to spend down time at home with his cat.

After several weeks of dating things start to get serious. They introduce their families and start planning for the future. When a health scare puts Oliver’s plans on hold Sebastian will need to hold on tight and anchor Oliver to the life they have started creating together. With support from Seb’s friend Benny and Oliver’s friend Rhys, Sebastian and Oliver can’t look anywhere but forward, together.

I’m not sure where to begin. Even knowing Nicola’s writing, when she hit me with the plot twist I was left stunned. I felt like Seb and Oliver had climbed to the top of the mountain together and she just drop kicked Oliver all the way back to the start of the trail. I cried all over myself while he climbed back up, she totally made up for it. The ending was perfection.

The speed of the story was perfect and it was in no way predictable. She shocked my socks off a few times. The characters were lovable and relatable.

I really would like a sequel that tells Rhys and Benny’s story but I’m so afraid of what she will do to them to give them their happily ever after. In order to live up to this book she’s going to have to hit one with a car or something equally shocking and horrific.

This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.

5 pieces of eye candy

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erin

Whenever Ms Haken has a new release- I MUST HAVE IT! First the Souls of the Knight trilogy, which was so good. Plus, rock stars. But then she branched out a bit in her next 2 books. Both of them both broke my heart but left me happy. And she did it again.

When I first started reading this book I thought “hmm, maybe this will just be a nice love story romance and she won’t rip the heart right out of my chest and stomp on it”. HA! She did. And I am totally ok with that. Because her writing is so great that you have to feel deeply for her characters. They climb into you and won’t let go.

Oliver is a hair stylist just barely making ends meet while raising his brother. One night a week he goes out and performs as Miss Tique- his drag persona. And although he is in drag, he does it with his beard. And sings his own songs. I loved her.

Sebastian is a single dad, co-parenting with his best friend. And one night he runs into Oliver. Or Oliver runs into him. And he is smitten. The purple lipstick mesmerized him.

They begin to date, slowly. Each hiding the secret of the teenager at home. And while Sebastian is ready to go all in, Oliver isn’t. But fate has a different idea.

Even with everything life throws at them, they have a good slow romance burn. Both teenagers play heavily into the storyline which was nice because they really were integral to the story.

I don’t want to tell you too much about what happens. Because I really want you to read this book. Have tissues handy, but you will also smile and laugh and swoon.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media!

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…



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Jumping In by Cardeno C: Quick Review with Giveaway

jumping insynopsisWhen love’s on the line, the brave jump in with both feet…

Small town cop Clint Rivera can’t catch a break. His ex of two weeks is suddenly getting married, his dogs tore up his furniture, he’s getting evicted, and he’s out of beer. When he decides to solve his alcohol shortage by going to his ex’s engagement party, Clint winds up too drunk to drive himself home.

Enter gorgeous deputy mayor Hawk Black, the man who constantly shows up unexpectedly and sends Clint’s body and mind into a tailspin with nothing but his whiskey voice and blue eyes. After months of patience, Hawk can finally seduce the man he’s been craving.

Clint’s day might not have started out well, but Hawk’s going to make sure it ends with a bang, preferably in bed. He’ll show Clint some rewards are worth the risk. With love on the line, Clint will need to decide if he can open his heart, tear down his shields, and jump in with both feet.

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deanna review

I’m a huge Cardeno C fan so I usually jump to read any books that are released. In true CC fashion, this book did not disappoint.

Small town sheriff, Clint Rivera is having a run of bad luck. He’s just returned to town after a bad breakup and a two week vacation at the lake to find his ex, Ewan Gifford is engaged to a woman and throwing the engagement party of the year. Clint heads home to lick his wounds only to find the dogs have eaten the couch, he’s being evicted because the landlord sold to a developer and he’s out of beer.

Taking care of pressing matters first, Clint heads to the engagement party for the free alcohol and runs into the sex deputy mayor, Hawk Black. Since Clint has been drowning his sorrows in alcohol all night he isn’t fit to drive himself home and Hawk jumps at the chance to offer a ride.

Hawk has been lusting after Clint for months and finally sees his opening. Not one to let a chance pass him by, Hawk goes on the offensive with one goal in mind. Win over Clint Rivera.

Love this story. The characters are relatable, the plot line realistic and entertaining. This could easily be turned into a full length novel. Hint hint.

4 pieces of eye candy

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jennifer

Okay… I’m Jumping In on the 6th book and don’t realize how I haven’t read any of these before when I adore this author!

Clint is a cop in a small town, just getting back from a camping trip in the woods to get over a bad breakup with a man who insisted they stay hidden. When he gets back, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong and an already terrible day is made worse, by an invitation to said exes wedding… to a woman, just two weeks after they broke up. Which means, he must’ve been seeing her when they were together.

Hawk Black has had his eye on Clint since the second he laid eyes on him. Uprooting his whole life on a glance, he’s been patiently waiting to make his move on Clint; the day he gets back from his camping trip, he gets his chance. Now, I know a lot of people are leery about insta-love, but…. I’m a sucker for it, when it’s believable. I loved these two, especially together.

Hawk is sweet and romantic and he knows what he wants and is intent on getting it. Clint needs a little more convincing but a weekend with Hawk showing him what life could be like if he stopped fighting the inevitable, it didn’t take no time for him to fall for Hawk as well… afterall, he was already insanely attracted to him and had been since he laid eyes on him as well.

The only problem I had with this, was that it wasn’t longer. But, alas, it was a novella, so I knew it wouldn’t be. I loved it though… I need to go back and get the others of this series, I already know I won’t be disappointed.

5 pieces of eye candy from me!

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