Peepshow by Clare London: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other people’s lives?

Ken doesn’t have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his break—and plays sexy to the camera.

Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think he’s a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Ken’s confused and thrilled in turn. It’s like living in one of the movies he’s studying at university. He knows the man can’t see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.

Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013.

Title: Peepshow
Series: London Lads: Book Four
Author: Clare London
Release Date: July 26, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Perchance to Dream
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Okay, I will admit, I truly enjoyed this short novella! It was a little like crack. So much fun!

Fairly simple concept. Ken spies someone while working who captures his attention, and seems to be “eyeing” the camera, just for him. He is intrigued, and although he thinks it’s wrong to be as intrigued as he is, he can’t help but be fascinated.

He finally gets to meet his guy, and turns out he really was doing it just for him, because he had been wanting him for several years.

This was just a fun novella. No real angst (unless you count Ken’s angst at the handy in the security office 😉 ). What I enjoyed the most though…was Ken’s snarky internal monologue. As a university student in film, he clearly had tons of time watching movies, and quite often had an internal movie quote for every situation, from Forest Gump to Star Wars. They made me laugh every single time.

I had not read any of the London Lads stories prior to this one, but now I want to go read all of them! I enjoyed her writing so much.

4 pieces of eye candy


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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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You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth FacebookTwitter

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Uncomplicated Choices by Cara Dee: Random Review

When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he’d definitely been handed too many lemons.

We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn’t belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.

Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.

 

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The first book I ever read by Cara Dee was Aftermath, a book about two men who survive a five month kidnapping, only to find that they need and want only each other. (If you haven’t read that book, I highly encourage you to. It is truly amazing. In fact, I may need to go re-read it now that I am reminding myself of it. 🙂 )

Anyway, since that was my first book of Cara’s, I had some idea how strongly she writes from a character’s perspective. The character’s are not often living their “normal” lives, but some sort of different existence that makes falling in love, possibly with the “wrong” person a challenge, yet it feels so right.

Uncomplicated Choices is another such book. I’ll put this right out front, and this could be a spoiler…Ellis is married, to a woman, at t the time that he and Casey begin their relationship. However, it works in this book. I didn’t AT ALL feel like Ellis was cheating on his wife. It worked in this story, because Ellis is trying to find himself, outside of a marriage that went sour so long ago.

Casey was really a fantastic character. First, he was snarky AF. I loved that. He was snarky when he was speaking to Ellis (or anyone else for that matter), and he was snarky in his head. It worked for him. He was able to find the humor in so many situations that others would not, and I absolutely loved that about him. He was a great father, and it was as obvious how much he loved his daughter. She was the light of his life, and didn’t care who knew that, or if that was a stereotype that didn’t match what he “should” be doing.

Both men work on themselves throughout the book, even as they work on finding a relationship that works together. Ellis began the book being “elusive”, yet along the way was able to learn to talk through his feelings, and communicate with Casey as their connection grew. Casey, meanwhile, needed to learn that he was loveable, despite all the bad experiences he’d had with people thinking he was not worthy. Seeing these two men connect with each other, while connecting with their own thoughts and feelings made for a reader experience that went above “falling in love with someone else”. They were able to fall back in love with themselves, as well.

My one issue with the book was that although it was “mostly” a stand alone book, there were periods where I was lost. People were introduced or mentioned that likely had a previous book in this series, or possibly a book ahead that I had no knowledge of, and there was little explanation. This left me wondering if this was a necessary mention, or just a one off comment that would not come up again. Several people I had to infer who they were based on the people who were in the room, and still wasn’t sure I knew who they were. Although this happens often in books in a series, usually there are some descriptions as to how they fit in to the situation to help the reader understand in the event they hadn’t read the previous books. This didn’t happen with several of the characters who were not even in place in the book, but merely brought up in conversation. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the story of Casey and Ellis, however, it did leave me wondering if I was missing a big piece of a story.

All in all a well done book, by an author that I just love to read. 4 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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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

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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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Unbreakable Stories: Rowe by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott: Quick Reviews with Giveaway

Unbreakable Stories: Rowe is a collection of short stories following the romantic adventures and misadventures of former Army Rangers turned security experts Rowe Ward and Noah Keegan following the events of Torch, book 3 of the Unbreakable Bonds series.

This collection is more than 30,000 words long and contain stories such as:
Piece of Pie
Mistletoe
Haunted
Gotcha
And many more…

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Drake & Elliott have mastered another hit! Unbreakable Stories: Rowe is the compilation of shorts of Noah & Rowe and they are absolutely hilarious, sweet & s. There is not much more to say that I haven’t said in previous reviews. I adore this series and it will forever be in my top 5 of all time. Drake & Elliott are a dynamic duo that I hope continue writing together for years to come.

Noah & Rowe had everything…

Impressive writing – check
Good flow of each story – check
Witty – check
Sweet – check
Sexy – check

The stories that Drake & Elliot create are full of family and love. Every time I read a new story (short or long) with the Unbreakable Men I get ALL. THE. FEELS. My favorite short was Mistletoe. The warmth and love you feel Noah has for Rowe is gut clenching. Noah will do anything to make Rowe feel loved during the holidays and the reindeer games they play definitely did the trick. I love getting a glimpse into their lives and seeing a little bit more of how they are so well matched as partners.

I hope Drake & Elliott continue to do little shorts (or a full length) of the Unbreakable characters. I don’t want to ever let them go. Well done Ladies – Keep the stories coming!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

Why can I not get enough of these men? I just love all the men in this series, and they are written so well by Drake & Elliott, I have to wonder how anyone will be able to get enough. I almost NEVER beg for additional stories on characters, mostly because often it seems when they have achieved their happy ending, then there isn’t much to tell about them.

However, these two authors have written such an incredible series, with characters who are so true to life, so diverse in personalities, that I cannot imagine how any of them could be boring. Adding these stories after their happy endings are such a joy to read. You learn more about their lives, their pasts, their wants, all the hot sex they have, and mostly about how the relationships between all these men continue to strengthen bonds built over many years.

Rowe’s stories are no exception. We see the fun side of Rowe and Noah, as they mess with their oh so serious friends. And we see the tender side, as we learn more about Rowe’s deceased wife, and his sister in law. The tears were flowing…in a short story. THAT is hard to do. For an author to bring a connection to a reader based on a short story is an incredible gift, yet these ladies do it so well.

I can’t help but hope that we get more scenes, maybe even more books, even as I know that these two will be working on a spin off series that I have no doubt will rock my world. Their writing draws me in, creates some serious magic, and then spits me out the other side, wrung out from the feels, but still happy as can be that I get to have a little of that in my life.

Well done, ladies…well done.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

For a chance to win an ebook copy of any of the Unbreakable Bonds books (including the stories), tell us, have you read any of the books in this series? If not why (okay, run now!), and if so, which one is your favorite?

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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)

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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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Mai Tais and Murder by J.C. Long: Quick Review and Excerpt

Gabe Maxfield never wanted to be a detective or a policeman or anything of the sort. The closest he wanted to come to the law was writing legal briefs and doing research for a big-shot law firm. Nice and safe, and without all the stress. No unanswered questions, just well-defined legal precedents.

When he moves to Hawaii in the wake of a disastrous breakup and betrayal by an ex, a murder investigation is the last thing he expects to get wrapped up in, but he can’t help himself when a dead body, a hunky cop, and his best friend get involved.

So much for sipping Mai Tais on the beach and admiring the well-tanned bodies around him.

Author: J.C. Long

Series: Gabe Maxfield Mysteries

Release Date: June 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947139-19-0

Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 53000

Sex Content: Explicit

Pairing: MM

Orientation: Gay

Identity: Cisgender

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The sound of banging drew me from the nap I’d fallen into on the uncomfortable, lumpy couch I’d inherited in my new condo. I looked around, confused until I realized someone was knocking at my front door rather impatiently.

I hurried across the room, threw open the door, and was greeted with the sight of a burly Islander pulling a dolly loaded up with boxes. The movers were there, finally. I glanced at the watch I wore on my wrist. It was nearly noon, so only, oh, two hours late.

“Aloha, we’re with the movers,” the man said unnecessarily.

“I thought you were going to be here by ten,” I said, stepping out of the door and allowing the man to wheel the dolly inside.

“Yo, you got choke boxes, braddah.” It sounded like it was meant to be an explanation, but if it was, I didn’t understand it. I’d been in Hawaii for two weeks, and I had not come close to catching on to the local pidgin. I understood what was being said around me about seventy percent of the time, and then suddenly I had no idea. Perhaps he saw the confusion on my face, because he added, not unkindly, “You got a lot of boxes.”

I nodded my understanding, deciding not to press the issue of the lateness; I’d learned in my brief time living on the island of Oahu that things in Hawaii ran differently, as if time followed different rules there. Things that would be done at a quick pace back in Seattle just happened slower here—the whole aloha, relaxed island attitude to blame, I supposed. It definitely wasn’t a bad thing—in fact, I found the lifestyle here to be worlds better than what I experienced on the mainland. It was just an adjustment. Grace assured me I’d get there eventually, and I was mildly successful already, becoming way more relaxed than I had been in Seattle, but when it came to things like this, I couldn’t help but get a little irate.

Didn’t people in Hawaii want their packages on time, too? At least pizza delivery still ran on time.

I stood back and allowed the man and his companion to wheel in more boxes. They were about halfway through unloading when the second man stopped and pulled the door down on the back of the truck, leaving the rest of my boxes inside.

“Hey, what are you doing? Those are my boxes!”

“Nevah mine, braddah. Try wait, yeah? We come back bumbye. We gone go grind.” The bigger guy came out of the condo behind me, patting my shoulder with a beefy hand.

I ran a hand through my hair. “I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand…”

“He said they’ll come back in a bit. They’re going to get lunch.”

I looked over and saw a tall, dark-skinned Islander, bulging muscles all but ripping out of the tight maroon V-neck T-shirt he was wearing. He was about an inch over six feet, with dazzling white teeth and short-cut, dark hair. His eyes were a surprisingly light shade of hazel that contrasted his skin.

“Oh, uh, yeah, okay. Thanks.” God, I sounded like a stammering idiot.

If the hunk of an Islander noticed, he didn’t say anything. “You’ve been here a few weeks, right? Why are you just getting boxes? Not that I’m stalking you or anything,” he added quickly, eyes widening a bit as he probably processed what he said. Saying you weren’t stalking someone made it sound like you were stalking someone. I hadn’t taken it that way, but when I thought about it, I could see how it could sound stalker-like. “I live in the condo next to yours.” He pointed over my shoulder at the door to his place.

I had my suspicions that he was blushing, but with his face as tan as it was, it was hard to tell. It did look like the skin on the exposed, smooth expanse of his chest and neck had reddened a bit, but was likely just wishful thinking.

That’s when I realized I was staring at his chest. Goddamn it, here I was, a twenty-nine-year-old man acting like a fifteen-year-old. “I’m Gabe Maxfield.” I introduced myself to establish that I was not,  in fact a bumbling idiot. “Nice to meet you.”

The guy took my hand and shook it firmly. His touch was surprisingly soft despite the few calluses I could feel, and a warmth spread through me that had nothing to do with the blazing sun. “I’m Maka Kekoa. Hauʻoli kēia hui ʻana o kāua. That’s nice to meet you in Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language.”

I tried to repeat it, and he smiled at the way I stumbled over the words. “To answer your question,” I said quickly, trying to move past the embarrassment of butchering the language, “I wasn’t in a rush to get everything since this place came mostly furnished. I shipped them from Seattle at the cheapest—and slowest—rate.”

“Oh, you need these guys back here at a certain time?” he asked, gesturing toward the movers, who still hadn’t driven off, much to my surprise. They were standing close together, watching our interaction with quite a bit of interest.

“I’m supposed to meet a friend today at three, so they need to be here and finished before then.”

Maka nodded and walked to the passenger door of the truck, rapping on it with his knuckles. The door opened and some words were exchanged that I didn’t hear—not that I was paying attention. My eyes were too busy traveling over the nice muscles of Maka’s arms and the very pleasing shape of his ass.

Okay, I will admit it. I had such fun with this book! I seriously cannot wait for the next book (there is a next book, right? When?) to come out.

Gabe, probably one of the most apathetic MC’s to start a book, becomes quite involved in the world around him (c’mon he is in HAWAII!!!!) when his best friend is arrested for the murder of her private detective business partner. He, somewhat unwittingly, falls into clues along the way, while being chased by the people trying to make sure nothing comes of his investigation.

He also falls in love with a hot Hawaiian police detective (who also happens to be a hula dancer. Whew!), and they work through the investigation together, in a fashion–still have to keep everything on the up and up, of course.

Of course, the mystery is solved, not without some serious injury coming to Gabe Maxfield first. And not without leaving some of the mystery open for future books…

This was a fun, flirty, and sexy book, with a bit of mystery thrown in. Grab this one for when you need a night in, and want to venture away to the islands. You won’t regret it!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theatre. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and he is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time when not writing by thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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

Twitter: @j_c_long_author

Website: http://www.jclong.org/

Email:jclongauthor@gmail.com

 

 

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