Chief’s Mess by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

Amazon

Riptide

Kobo Books

 

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Chief’s Mess, the third book in the Anchor Point series!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24th, and winners will be announced on June 25th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Chief’s Mess Exclusive Excerpt

I could not sit still.

I’d been in baggage claim for a good half an hour already, and Noah’s plane hadn’t even touched down yet. I’d paced and squirmed all over the house forever before I’d left. After all, there could be traffic. Or it might take me a while to find a place to park. Or his flight could come in early.

Yeah, right. There was no traffic. I found a parking space in seconds. And his flight was delayed ten minutes because the world was a giant bag of dicks.

Now we were in that ten-minute window. When, in a parallel universe, Noah was already wheels down and on his way to me. But no, I had to wait a few more minutes. Fuck.

I was so excited I couldn’t see straight. Screwing off on my phone couldn’t hold my attention. There was no one around who looked like they wanted a stranger to strike up a conversation. Nothing to do but wait. Wait. Wait. I didn’t wait well. The more I was looking forward to something—or someone—the less patient I was. The more I needed to do something to occupy my hands, brain, feet. Hell, I’d even checked the restrooms near baggage claim in case one might be suitable to . . . get reacquainted. After all, a lot of the restrooms in this airport doubled as tornado shelters. Seemed like they were sturdy enough to handle a Noah-Anthony reunion.

The thought made me chuckle. I was so tired I was almost slap happy. Not that I’d been awake half the night or anything. Or practically ping-ponging off the walls until I’d finally decided to leave early in case I couldn’t find a place to park. My roommate had laughed at my impatience and all my rationalizing about leaving early. At least he’d probably be gone by the time I came home. Jay was smart like that—if I was this excited about a man I was going to bang, things were going to be loud.

Rocking on my feet to expend some nervous energy, I stared at the screen. It refreshed, and when Delayed turned to Arrived, I almost spontaneously combusted.

Of course the plane still had to taxi, attach to the gate, and wait for God knew what to happen in that interim before someone finally opened the fucking door. And because no one had invented teleportation, Noah had to hoof it off the plane and through the terminal, and the Denver Airport was fucking massive, so it took forever to make that walk.

Six hours later—or maybe like ten minutes; I’d kind of lost track—he appeared, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and looking as fuckable as ever. I couldn’t help grinning like an idiot.

“Hey,” he said when he was in earshot, and held his arms out.

“Hey, you.” I hugged him tight, wishing like hell we could do more than that in public. “So good to see you.”

“You too.”

I took a breath to say something else, but caught the faintly pungent scent of alcohol. I figured he must’ve just had a drink, and ignored it.

At least, until we started toward short-term parking, and his gait wobbled slightly.

What the hell?

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah.” He laughed, adjusting the bag’s strap again, though it seemed pretty well seated on his shoulder.

The scent of alcohol still lingered in my nose. “You’re not . . . drunk, are you?”

“No!” He chuckled. “I had a few on the plane, but I’m good.”

I eyed him dubiously.

“I’m a nervous flyer,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a couple of drinks to calm my nerves.”

“Oh. I guess I can understand that.” I paused. “You should’ve told me. I’m fine with flying, so I could’ve come to Anchor—”

“It’s fine. Like you said, my neighbors don’t get to hog the noise complaints.” He glanced at me and winked.

I hesitated but then chuckled. “Fair enough. To the car?”

“Lead the way.”

Aside from that slight wobble, his gait was perfectly steady. So maybe I’d imagined the whole thing, or my brain was exaggerating it. I didn’t like flying either—I could totally see why someone would drink to bring down the anxiety. Thanks to Clint, though, I automatically assumed any drinking was a red flag, especially once someone showed signs of actual intoxication.

Get a grip. He was nervous about flying. You’re projecting, plain and simple.

So, I put it out of my mind, and we continued toward short-term parking.

Noah hadn’t brought much with him, so he didn’t bother putting it in the trunk, and set it at his feet as he dropped into the passenger seat and exhaled. “God, I am so glad to be off that plane.”

“Rough flight?” I buckled my seat belt. “Or just not a fan?”

“Little of both. We hit some turbulence, and that was about the time I started begging for a drink.”

“Eh, can’t blame you.”

He fussed with some papers for a second—his boarding passes, I thought—and stuffed them into his bag. As he leaned back, he said, “Also doesn’t help that one time when I flew into a base on a cargo jet, I swear our pilot was a fighter pilot before.”

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“Fucker was banking like he was in a Super Hornet.” He made a gesture like his hand was a plane taking a sharp curve, the imaginary wings almost vertical. “Dude was crazy.”

“Wow.” I laughed. “I don’t think I’d enjoy that.”

“I sure as hell didn’t.” He shuddered. “When you’re already kind of nervous about being in the air, that shit is obnoxious.”

“I believe it.”

He looked out at the scenery. Not that there was much, considering the Denver Airport was surrounded by basically nothing. “They really built this place in the middle of nowhere, didn’t they?”

“Well yeah,” I deadpanned. “You don’t build the headquarters for the New World Order in downtown Los Angeles.”

He eyed me. “Come again?”

“Oh come on. You’ve never heard the conspiracy theories about the Denver Airport?”

“I have, but do people actually buy in to that shit?”

I nodded. “They do. My ex-wife’s brother totally thought they—”

Noah did a double take. “Wait, you were married before?”

I glanced at him and smirked. “Yes. The Illuminati built an airport in the middle of nowhere because God knows the center of the New World Order needs to have a Quiznos and a Hudson News, and I was married before.” I sighed dramatically, patting his thigh. “You’ve had quite a few big shocks today, Noah. If you need to take a breather, let me—”

“Shut up.” He laughed and squeezed my hand. Sobering a bit, he said, “But . . . seriously? You were married?

I’ve been a fan of the Anchor Point series since book one. Okay, so if I’m being honest, I love just about anything LA Witt writes, and I love her ability to tell military stories. I’ll fully admit, I went into Chief’s Mess with high expectations. Unfortunately, this one fell a bit short.

From the very first chapter, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Anthony. Yes, I understand why he wasn’t his ex-brother-in-law’s BFF, but he was just a bit too much of a prick for my liking. He did redeem himself a bit, but never quite enough for my liking. He has issues with Noah’s drinking because of what he watched his sister go through in her marriage, but it felt forced. While later in the book there were incidents that’d be red flags to anyone, there were also times when he was creating an issue where there wouldn’t have been on. As an example, at one point, they’re on Skype and Noah has a drink in his hand. ONE drink. After work. In the evening. That, to most people, wouldn’t be a red flag. And if he had an issue with alcohol in any circumstances, his reaction would’ve been warranted, but he didn’t. He only seems to have issues with people he’s dating drinking.

Noah could’ve been an amazing, broken character. Sadly, other than his drinking, there was very little character development. We never learned why he lost himself in the bottle, never had a reason to cheer for him to get better, other than to hold onto some hot sex.

The story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing, either. It was a lot of sex, which for once didn’t annoy me because that fit the story, but not a lot of plot. I’m not sure what they built their relationship on beyond the chemistry in bed.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

Also check out Just Drive and Afraid to Fly, the first two titles in the Anchor Point series!

 

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

LA.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

To celebrate the release of Chief’s Mess, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This novel is approximately 120,000 words.

Amazon

 

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

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

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

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

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

At Attention by Annabeth Albert: Release Day Blitz, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleAT ATTENTION

Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well–different couple for each book)

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: April 10, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS

Add to Goodreads

 

synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

excerpt

**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

****

What will Apollo do when he discovers that Perfect Butt guy is his best friend’s little brother? Find out in AT ATTENTION!

Heather's Review

How do I love Annabeth Albert, let me count the ways… seriously, I have never read a book written by her that I haven’t devoured. As a matter of fact, I read At Attention a while ago and just read it again now so I could write this review. That’s really telling, because reading a second time was almost as amazing as the first. Sure, there were things I remembered from my first time with Apollo and Dylan, but overall, I enjoyed it as much as most new-to-me reads.

As soon as we met Apollo in Off Base, I knew I needed his story. There was pain that needed to be healed and I wanted to know he’d be okay. And boy, was he ever!

Dylan has some big tasks ahead of him if he wants to win Apollo’s heart. He needs to show Apollo he’s no longer Apollo’s buddy’s little brother. Heck, I’m pretty sure he needs to remind everyone he’s not a kid anymore. On top of that, he has to get past the double-thick wall Apollo’s built around his heart.

Every interaction, every progression of their relationship felt natural. It was the way two men, one of whom has a long list of responsibilities, would go from a convenient arrangement to help Apollo with his daughters to men in love with one another as equals.

Today, I’ll be picking up the audiobook so I can listen to their story again. There’s one scene in particular, right at the end of the book, that I’m dying to know if the narrator does justice. After that, it’ll be time to start hounding Annabeth for the next book in the series, because the Out of Uniform series is a bit like Lay’s chips: you can’t eat just one.

5 pieces of eye candy

5-pieces-eye-candy1

buy now

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

meet the author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Goodreads


giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Step by Step by K.C. Wells: Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway

stepsynopsisJamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Title: Step by Step
Author: K.C. Wells
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 256

buy now

Amazon

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble

Dreamspinner Press

 

excerpt

“Please, tell me you’re tapping that gorgeous ass,” Troy said in a low voice.

Guy followed Troy’s gaze to where Jamie stood next to Cole, talking and smiling with Simon Bexter. Guy smiled to himself. Perfect. Cole had caught on to Guy’s plan.

Then Troy’s words hit home. “Excuse me?”

Troy indicated Jamie with a nod of his head. “Your so-called roommate. Only that’s a euphemism, right?” He gave Guy a sideways glance. “You are fucking him, right?”

“Wrong.” Guy set his jaw. It wasn’t the first time that evening that he’d heard that assumption. “One, he’s straight, and—”

Troy snorted. “And what’s wrong with that? He just doesn’t know what he’s missing.” He leered. “You could be the one to teach him how to take a dick.”

Guy tried not to growl. “And two, I’m helping him get a good start in life. Like someone once did for me.” Right then he was asking himself why he’d invited Troy in the first place.

Troy groaned. “Seriously? Just look at him. That is one beautiful specimen of manhood right there.”

Guy watched how Jamie interacted with others. It was funny, but until that moment, he’d never seen him as a man. He was just…. Jamie. But Troy had a point. Jamie’s creamy skin, gorgeous blue eyes, and slim figure all added up to a beautiful man.

How come I never saw him so clearly before?

Maybe it was because Jamie was straight. Guy wasn’t in the habit of lusting after straight guys. He’d had his fingers burned in the past, and on both occasions, it hadn’t turned out well. Maybe that was why his brain had refused to acknowledge what he was now seeing: Jamie was lovely.

Then Jamie glanced across at him and his eyes lit up.

“Ooh, someone’s happy,” Troy said in a singsong voice. “Look at that smile.” He nudged Guy with his elbow. “You play your cards right and you could have that tasty piece of ass warming your sheets tonight.”

Guy turned to Troy with a sigh of exasperation. “You don’t listen, do you? Not going to happen. You got that? Now go find yourself someone else to pester.” He had no idea why Troy’s suggestions evoked such a strong reaction in him, but he wasn’t about to spend time fathoming it out. Not when Jamie was walking over to him.

Troy huffed and left him to go to the bar, and Guy was fine with that. He’d known Troy for years, but recently he had changed. He’d become a pig, pure and simple. At least Guy could see that now.

Well, no more.

Jamie stopped in front of him, his face glowing. “Thank you.” The words were uttered fervently but quietly.

“For what?”

Jamie’s smile hadn’t dimmed. “I figured it out, with a little help from Cole. You put a lot of thought into that guest list, didn’t you?”

Guy played the innocent. “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.” When Jamie continued to stare, he had to relent. “Okay, so I might have invited a few lawyers.” He nodded in Cole’s direction. “I got the impression you were a little awestruck when I introduced you to Cole.”

Jamie chuckled. “That would be an understatement. I may have a mild case of hero-worship.”

“Hero?” Guy widened his eyes. “Wow.” He buffed his fingernails on his shirt. “Guess I did good, then.”

Jamie laughed. “Better than good. You are one cool guy, do you know that?”

Fuck, the light in his eyes….

Guy steered himself away from that particular thought, but he had to admit it had shaken him. When was the last time someone looked at me like that?

The sad thing was, he couldn’t remember.

Guy pulled himself together. “So are you done schmoozing for the night, or is Cole about to introduce you to another mover and shaker?”

Jamie laughed again, and Guy loved its natural, unforced quality. Even his laughter makes me feel good. He gave himself a mental slap. He did not want to think about Jamie like that.

Guy smiled. “I’m going to mingle and make sure everybody’s happy. Cole looks like he’s taking good care of you.” He reached out and squeezed Jamie’s shoulder. “I’m glad you’re having a good time.”

To his surprise Jamie gave him a quick hug. “Thank you,” he whispered before releasing him and disappearing in Cole’s direction.

Guy stared after him, shocked by the unexpected display of affection. Then Troy stepped into his line of sight, his lips contorted into a smirk, his eyebrows arched.

Guy slowly turned away and headed into the living room.
Nope. Not going there.

Step By Step Banner

 

 

meet the author

K.C. Wells started writing in 2012, although the idea of writing a novel had been in her head since she was a child. But after reading that first gay romance in 2009, she was hooked.

She now writes full time, and the line of men in her head, clamouring to tell their story, is getting longer and longer. If the frequent visits by plot bunnies are anything to go by, that’s not about to change anytime soon.

Social Media Links:

Website:        http://kcwellsworld.com

Blog:              http://kcwellsworld.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook:      http://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6576876.K_C_Wells

Dreamspinner Press: http://dreamspinnerpress.com/

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Moment of Fate by Karen Stivali: Release Day with Giveaway

moment of fatesynopsisBryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track until he meets Oliver Newcastle.

For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.

From the moment they meet, the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sow his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they’re hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate may have other plans.

Title: Moment of Fate
Series: Moments In Time: Book Five
Author: Karen Stivali
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 244

buy now

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

Heather's Review

The Moment in Time series by Karen Stivali was one that I devoured when I first found it. When Moment of Silence came out, I was excited to see more of the same group of friends. And even though it’s been over a year, I felt that same excitement when I found out Ms. Stivali had written Moment of Fate.

 
Bryan and Oliver’s story isn’t one where the characters instantly fall into love and bed. In fact, they can’t because Bryan’s sworn off sex for a year. While there were some great moments of chemistry between them, at times, I felt like it was a whole lot of “I really like him but I said I wouldn’t have sex for a year.” There’s a whole lot of avoiding talking about the attraction they both feel, which also felt frustrating at times.

 
All of that being said, once they got past their issues, they really got past their issues. They burned up the sheets. There was nowhere left to fall, because they’d fallen in love without the sex. It was sweet and hot.

 
By the time it was all said and done, I was happy to see Bryan and Oliver together, even if there were some loose ends I felt could’ve been tied up better. Who knows… maybe book six will eventually be coming out?

4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy1

giveaway

Enter our Monthly Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey: Author Guest Post, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

perf4.250x7.000.inddsynopsisA second chance born of love.

Pat Corrigan and Edgerton “Edge” Winters were ready to start a family—or so Pat thought. At the last minute, Edge got cold feet and fled. Pat didn’t bother telling him the conception had already gone through and little Emma was on her way. He didn’t want a relationship based on obligation. He’d rather raise his daughter on his own.

Nine years later, Emma and her Poppy are doing fine. Edge isn’t. He realizes what he threw away by leaving, and he’s back to turn his life around and reclaim his family. It’ll take a lot to prove to Pat that he’s a new man, and even if Edge succeeds, the secret Pat has hidden for years might shatter their dreams all over again.

Title: Poppy’s Secret
Author: Andrew Grey
Release date: February 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 90

buy now

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

Barnes and Noble

 

Guest Post

I am a romance junkie and a member of Romance Writers of America.  So each year I judge one of their contests and last year I judged a secret baby book.  I discovered something new.  To top it off a friend told me that she particularly loves secret baby books, so when she challenged me to come up with one, I rose to the challenge and Poppy’s Secret is the result.  Yes, my demented imagination came up with a scenario for an MM secret baby book.  It was fun to write and I hope it’s as much fun to read!!!!

Heather's Review

Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey is one of my first reads from the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner. Typically, I’m more of a fan of series, especially from authors like Andrew Grey. This is because I love the idea of getting to know a community of characters and see glimpses of previous couples in future books. If I was to say anything against Poppy’s Secret, it would be that I wish I’d get to see them again in the future, because I loved Edge and Pat.

This is a second chance story in every sense of the term. Pat and Edge were in love and planning a future. Then, Edge felt the weight of adult life weighing down on him and ran. Now, he’s back and hoping he can prove to Pat that he knows exactly how badly he screwed up. The problem is, life didn’t stop for Pat when Edge left and Pat moved forward with their plans to start a family even though he was doing it on his own.

As happens often in Andrew Grey’s books, little Miss Emma was as much of a main character as the men. The eight year old is now the center of Pat’s universe, and before he can let Edge in, he needs to know he’s not going to run again, hurting not only Pat, but also Emma. And he’s worried that when his secret is revealed, Edge will run.

I can’t tell you too much more than that, but I will say this story ended with a great case of the happy feels.

Definitely a great book to pick up when you need something with only a touch of angst and a great story.

4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy1

excerpt

“I saw him yesterday,” Edge told his sister, Terry, when she called while he was waiting for his first coffee of the day. “I was at one of the clubs to have a good time. He was on his way out, and he literally ran into me.”

“Let me guess. He welcomed you back with open arms and said that he forgave you for being the biggest jackass of all time, and that now that you were back, the two of you could pick up right where things left off.” Terry could be the biggest smartass on the planet. “I told you then that you were being a jerk.”

“You were sixteen. Everyone was a jerk then.”

“Maybe,” Terry conceded. “But I was still right, and you know it. That job that started this whole thing was just an excuse because you were scared of all the things Pat wanted, and by the way, he has and you don’t. I still see him every now and then.”

“Does he talk to you?” Edge asked.

“Of course he does. I’m not the douche who left him. That was you. I’m just your sister, and that daughter of his is beautiful and wonderfully smart. I used to see them more than I do now that they moved.” She was taunting him—it was another of her skills.

“How come you know all this and I don’t?”

“Maybe because I still live in Harrisburg and you moved to Boston nine years ago and never looked back until everything went to shit and you decided to come home.”

Edge wanted to growl at her, but he couldn’t because she was right, no matter how much attitude she threw his way. “Can you knock it off for a few seconds at least?”

“Fine, but what fun is that? You still have feelings for the guy you ran out on years ago, probably when he needed you the most. Edge, I gotta tell you that if you did that to me, I’d probably tell you to fuck off too. I mean, it has been nine years, as I said. He has a life that doesn’t include you. What did you expect, that he’d spent the entire time you were gone wishing he had you back? Come on. You’re an interesting guy, but nobody waits around for someone that long.”

“Okay,” Edge sighed. “But it was good seeing him again. He looks good, and—”

“So you’re the one still carrying the torch. That’s priceless and pathetic. You were the guy who left, remember?” A cry rose behind her. “Look, I gotta go. Margie needs to be changed and fed, and I think you need to get over yourself and realize that the past is that past and that it’s probably best if it stays there. I know things fell apart, but you have a good job here, and you’re building a life again. You just need to realize that your life isn’t going to include Pat.”

That was harder than Edge thought it would be. He’d had nine years, and even after all the things he’d done and the places he’d been for his art, none of them had ever measured up to what he’d had with Pat. Edge knew he’d screwed up in a major way, though it had taken him months to realize it, and by then he knew it was way too damn late. “I know, but seeing him brought back all that stuff I thought I’d buried.”

“Nothing is ever buried for long. It always surfaces, and when it does you have to deal with it. Buried emotions are like those coffins that floated up in New Orleans during Katrina.”

“Thanks for that image. Now I’m going to see floating coffins.” He paused and closed his eyes as the images floated through his mind. “I’ll let you go.” His sister would need to get the kids ready for daycare.

andrew-grey-picmeet the author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

 

giveaway

Don’t forget to enter our monthly giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Sight Unseen by Susan Mac Nicol with Nicholas Downs: Release Day Blitz and Review

hosting-banner-sight-unseen-rb

Sometimes we don’t see love coming

Based on an idea from L.A. producer and actor, Nicholas Downs, Susan and Nicholas have developed a story straight from the heart.

In a gripping tale of lovers fighting against the odds comes a story of universal appeal about rejection and acceptance and finally finding what is real and true.

sight-unseen-wrap-240

synopsis

Tragedy brings together a reserved but brilliant sculptor and an outgoing gallery owner, friends whose love was sidetracked but was always meant to be deeper.

BLINDSIDED

SoCal natives, Nate and Cody have been friends since childhood. Both knew they were different—and the same. At seventeen, a stolen weekend in the Florida Keys drove their connection deeper and hotter than either could imagine. They were meant to be together. Then, for reasons only Nate knows, suddenly they weren’t.

They’re still friends. Best friends. But they’ve moved on and found other partners. The yearning remains, however, despite the long-ago secret that drove them apart, when tragedy strikes, both men find themselves in the dark. They must grope their way back to who and what they are…which they will find in each other’s arms. Sometimes, losing one’s sight can open one’s eyes—and heart.

sight-unseen-teaser

buy now

Amazon

Amazon UK

iTunes 

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Boroughs 

GOODREADS

Click “want to read” and add to your TBR shelf

http://bit.ly/SightUnseenGoodreads

sight-unseen

BOOK TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sNjNYnBUq0

Heather's Review

From the moment you start reading Sight Unseen, you know it’s not going to be a fluffy story. It’s heartbreaking to see Nate in the moments after his life is forever changed. As if that isn’t enough, the man who should’ve been there for him…isn’t.

Luckily, Nate has Cody. Cody is the best friend who refuses to let Nate give up– on his passion or on himself. At times, he pushes too hard, but it’s because he loves Nate and knows he won’t be happy if he’s still missing a huge chunk of his life.

This is not a steamy, sexy read. It’s a love story. A beautiful, if at times painful, story of two men who love one another falling in love with each other. It’s definitely in the re-read folder on my Kindle!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

4.5-pieces-of-eye-candy3

SIGNING NEWS

Author Susan Mac Nicol is going to the States.

Would you love to meet International Bestselling Author Susan Mac Nicol & L.A. producer and Hollywood Actor Nicholas Downs? Now is your chance!!

It’s a dream come true for Sue and she’s honoured to be signing Sight Unseen with Boroughs Publishing Group and actor Nicholas Downs at this conference from 25-26th March.

If you’re interested in attending this signing, either as an author or a reader, here is the link.

https://caldreaminwriters.com/

The 2017 conference will be at : Embassy Suites in Brea, California.

Address: 900 E Birch St, Brea, CA 92821

There will also be a very special signing event at The Abbey, an iconic gay club in West Hollywood. Nicholas and Sue will be there to enjoy the evening, meet fans of both their genres in film and publishing and be available to sign books, chat and have some fun. If you’re in the area, please pop down and see them, they’d no doubt love to see you.

smn-nd-signing

This is the room they’ll be signing in, isn’t it fabulous. It’s the Cabana Bar.

sss

CONNECT WITH SUSAN & NICHOLAS

nick-and-sue

Twitter: @SightUnseenPR

Instagram: @sightunseenla

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Sight-Unseen-The-Project-1547502492221078/

Susan

www.susanmacnicol.net

Nicholas

www.nicholasdowns.com

Susan Mac Nicol Author Page
https://www.facebook.com/authorsusanmacnicol/

Nicholas Downs Fan Page
https://www.facebook.com/Nicholas-Downs-97159977384/

sight-unseen-banner-1

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

Off Base by Annabeth Albert: Release Day Blitz, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

TitleOff Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

Add to Goodreads

1216_9781488022593_OffBase_Web

synopsis

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Heather's Review

My list of auto-buy authors is short. As in, you could probably count them on two hands and have some fingers left over. But right near the top of that list is Annabeth Albert. Seriously, the same woman whose characters I first met in a series about reality television then made me fall in love with a bunch of gamers, even though I hate video games. And now, she’s taken another turn, getting me to fall in love with a Navy SEAL and his math geek boyfriend in Off Base.

What worked:
Zack. This man’s got enough issues to fill an aircraft carrier. If it’d been any other author, I’d have been nervous that it was overkill. But it all worked! Sure, DADT is a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s comfortable being out. And yeah, we live in a more accepting world than we had years ago, but that doesn’t mean every family is going to openly accept their children for who they are. Combine all the aspects of Zack’s life and you have one big, sloppy, denial sandwich.

Pike. Who better to win over a man who won’t even admit that he’s gay than an out and proud, take no prisoners gay man? The best part about Pike is I never felt icky. You know, that feeling you get when you’re reading and the openly gay guy is pushing too hard to get the man of his dreams to admit his feelings? Yeah, that’s not Pike. In fact, I was impressed that he was the one putting on the brakes at times.

The chemistry. In and out of the bedroom, Zack and Pike had chemistry in spades! And unlike some of Annabeth Alberts’s stories, which are sweet with a pinch of spice, this one definitely turned up the heat! Don’t get me wrong, stories can work both ways and it’s a testament to her talent to know which stories need what level of heat.

The tension. At no point did it feel easy for either character. They didn’t throw their own issues to the side for the sake of an easy story. They truly met in the middle to decide whether or not they were going to take the next step.

What didn’t work:
Nothing. There wasn’t a single thing in this story that didn’t work for me. It’s not often that I can say that, but this is one of those cases. Seriously, this is an instant-buy, re-read, love it for life type of book! I may already be trying to figure out how to hack computers so I can get an early copy of the sequel!

5 mother effing stars!!!

5-pieces-eye-candy3

buy now

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

meet the author

annabeth-avatar

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

 

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

The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews: Quick Review and Excerpt

the-next-competitor-high-res

synopsis

If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?

To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

buy now

Amazon

 

Heather's Review

When I saw Keira Andrews had a new book coming out, and it was a pair of figure skaters, I might’ve gotten just a little excited! And for the most part, my expectations were met or exceeded.

What worked:
Two very different personalities. While Alex is laser-focused on winning Olympic gold, Matt has a much more laid-back approach, even before a horrible accident forces him to change his track. In the end, the two of them balanced each other well.

The journey. As I was reading, I found myself turning the pages, not only to see the men fall in love, but also to see if their dreams would come true.

The chemistry. These men didn’t instantly fall into bed together. They had to work for it. It was especially intriguing to see Alex go from a socially inept, self-centered elite athlete to giving a damn about other people.

The sex. What was there was awesome. It was hot enough you can feel the connection between these men. Matt managed to get Alex to relax, he proved to be as domineering in the bedroom as he was demure outside of it. The only problem was…

What didn’t work:

The sex. Of course, this is only my opinion, but there was a huge missed opportunity in the sex. Alex is strung as tight as he could be, so focused on the sport that he doesn’t know how to let go and live. When he gave into his own desires and Matt started in with the dirty talk, he was putty. It would’ve been great to see more of Matt being a centering force in Alex’s life, starting with forcing him to relax and live out his wildest dreams.

The jargon. Sadly, if The Next Competitor had been written by a new-to-me author, I’d have likely given up on it in the first two chapters. Yes, I was eager to read about two figure skaters falling in love, but at least for a while, that took a back seat to a primer in figure skating. It almost felt like she was trying to put in as much as she could about skating to show that she’d done her research.

Too many moving pieces. If I’d tried keeping up with all the different side characters, I’d have gotten a headache. Don’t get me wrong, it’s understandable that there are more than just the two main characters in the book, but there was too much back story about a lot of the side characters and I gave up on trying to remember who went where.

Overall, The Next Competitor was a fun little read. Part of me hopes we might get to see more of Alex and Matt’s story, because when the book ended, their journey was just beginning.

4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy

excerpt

After the group finishes dinner, Matt says goodbye as we leave the restaurant. “Where are you going?” I ask before I can stop myself.

“It’s my first time in Philly, and there’s one thing I’ve got to see.”

My mouth opens and out plops, “I want to go with you.”

Matt’s eyebrows shoot up. “You do?”

“Just don’t feel like going back to my room yet.” I shrug, my cheeks hot as all eyes land on me again. “But if you want to go by yourself, it’s totally fine.” Why did I say anything at all?

“No, it’s cool.” Matt smiles, his eyes crinkling. “Come on.”

We turn in the other direction from the hotel after Mylene, who is giggling delightedly for some reason, waves goodbye. Night has fallen and the air has a frosty bite to it that reminds me winter isn’t far away, which means the Olympics aren’t far away either. We walk along in silence for a bit until I have to say something to break it.

“So, which sight is it?”

Matt zips up his jacket and puts his hands in his pockets. “You can’t guess?”

I think about what Philly is famous for. “The Liberty Bell?”

“Nope.”

“Some memorial to Ben Franklin?”

“Guess again.”

“The cheesesteak museum?”

Matt laughs. “Seriously? They have a cheesesteak museum?”

I laugh too, warmth flowing through me. “I have no idea. If they don’t, they should.”

We pass a big fountain, walking through a park in the center of a wide, looping street, an imposing building in the distance. As we get closer, it hits me. “Wait, wait. Is this the Rocky thing?”

Grinning, Matt nods and points to the building. “Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring the famous seventy-two steps Rocky Balboa ran up in the movie.”

“You a big Stallone fan?” I’m a bit surprised.

“Not really, but who doesn’t love that moment? Come on, it’s classic.”

“I’ll give you that.”

We keep walking toward the museum, which is lit dramatically. I hardly ever visit any sights when I’m traveling for competitions, so it’s a nice change seeing some of Philadelphia. A little voice still nags, saying that I should be resting and getting ready for my long program tomorrow.

Matt says, “My dad loves that movie. We used to watch it together when I was a kid, and it was like… I don’t know. Like it helped us relate to each other. He’s a plumber from a big conservative Italian family in Richmond Hill—you know, a bit north of the rink? Anyway, we don’t really have that much in common. It’s tough these days.”

He sounds forlorn, and I have to shove my hands in my pockets to keep from reaching out to touch his arm. Maybe things aren’t as perfect in Matt’s life as I thought.

I clear my throat. “I got lucky with my father. He’s always been pretty liberal. He was a hippie or whatever back in the day. We can talk about anything.”

“How does he feel about you skating?”

“Aside from not loving how expensive it is, he’s all for it.”

“My dad didn’t like me skating when I was younger. At all. I actually only started to improve my hockey skills, but soon hockey fell by the wayside. I don’t know if he’s ever forgiven me.” Matt’s laugh is strained.

“I’m sorry he’s not more supportive. That must be so hard.”

Looking both ways, we jog across the street to the museum, and Matt shakes his head. “Now that I’m doing so well, I think he’s happy. I’m sure he is. Well, I hope so. Besides, he’s worked his ass off for years to pay for it, so it’s not that he wasn’t supportive in that way. He totally was.”

“Totally,” I agree. Clearly Matt’s got a few conflicting feelings about his dear old dad.

“Still, I think deep down he’d much rather have some stereotypically macho, hockey-playing son rather than a figure skater.”

I’m not sure what to say, so I make an “mmm” noise to show I’m listening. I didn’t know Matt could talk this much in a row.

“I just wish he could love me for who I am. I’ve always tried so hard to make him proud, but I don’t know if he’ll ever accept a gay son.” Matt shakes his head and laughs. “God, sorry. I don’t know how this became a therapy session.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” Wow, Matt Savelli has angst. He always seems so together and unruffled, but perhaps he’s not made of cardboard after all. And I knew my trusty gaydar was on the money. It shouldn’t send a thrill down my spine to hear Matt confirm it, but…

“You’re a surprisingly good listener.”

“Thank you? I think?”

His eyes crinkle in the glow of the street lamps. “No, no, I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was… It’s been nice getting to know you better.”

“Yeah, you too.” My stomach somersaults again, my fingers tingling.

At the middle of the wide, empty stairway we stand at the bottom of the steps, peering up. I whistle. “Wow. That’s a lot of stairs.”

“Bet I can beat you up there.”

I do love a challenge. “No way, no day.”

Suddenly, Matt’s off and running, and I curse under my breath as I launch after him. He’s faster than I thought, and although I close most of the distance, he remains a stride above me as we power our way up the steps. My breath comes in bursts that fog up the chilly air, and I strain to catch up with him. We pass a few people who are coming down, and they applaud as we race by.

I manage to pull up, and we’re neck and neck as we take the last steps. We reach the top in stride, and Matt lets out a whoop of joy, raising his arms in the air and dancing in a circle. I join in, because that’s what you do when you run up the Rocky steps. I’ve never seen him so animated. Well, except for when he’s irritated with me.

We take in the amazing view of the city. Skyscrapers rise in the distance, and before us is the huge oval area we walked across surrounded by the road, with trees and grass and a statue of a guy on a horse I barely noticed passing because Matt was talking.

We jump around like idiots, working up more of a sweat than we did on the stairs, which weren’t actually that hard. Matt leans his hands on his knees, and I reach out to give his shoulder a friendly punch, but my palm just rests there instead.

A shock bolts through me, like I’ve just touched a metal doorknob in winter. We’re both breathing a little hard, and Matt gives me this long look that makes me want to throw him down right here and now and do things that would get us arrested and kicked off our national teams.

He stands up straight and my hand falls away as he steps closer. His voice is low. “Thanks for coming up here with me. It was way more fun than doing it by myself.”

All I can think of is something else that is way more fun to do with someone else—not that I’d know from personal experience—and I swallow hard, my throat suddenly dry. I manage to get out, “Sure.” My pulse thrums in my ears, and it’s not because of the running and jumping.

We lean toward each other. I’m staring at his thick lips as he licks them, and I am so turned on right now, imagining what those lips will feel like on mine, and how Matt’s hands and body—

“Hurry up!”

Matt and I leap apart as a little boy hurtles over the top of the steps. His parents and a few siblings follow, huffing and puffing from their climb. The parents say hello to us and we reply, and I’m glad it’s dark, because I know I’m blushing like crazy.

The father asks us to take their photo, and Matt does, telling them to smile. He gives the phone back, and we stand there awkwardly for a few moments. I clear my throat. “Actually, want to take a pic of me so I can Instagram it?”

“Sure.” He takes my phone, and I raise my hands over my head triumphantly with a big competition smile. It’s dark, but hopefully there’s enough ambient light since a flash will just make it look like shit.

I reach for my phone back, but he says, “Wait a sec.” Coming close, he puts a big hand on my shoulder, spinning me to face away from the museum as my heart thumps. He says, “I’ll get you from behind.”

Of course I practically choke on my tongue, my balls tightening at the thought as I gaze out at the city and try desperately to clear my dirty mind. Matt laughs awkwardly. “Um, you know what I mean.”

“Uh-huh.” I raise my arms. “Is this good?”

“Yep!” He sounds too cheerful now.

Once he’s got the picture, I take a few for him. “I guess we should…” I motion to the steps.
Matt nods. “Yeah, it’s getting late.”

It’s barely eight, but I murmur in agreement and start down. We descend side by side, not talking. It would seem weird to try and kiss him now. Or maybe I should stop overanalyzing and kiss him anyway. But wait, do I really want to kiss Matt? I’m not supposed to kiss anyone right now with the Olympics coming up, especially not Captain Cardboard.

But now that I’m actually talking to him, Matt’s different than I thought he was. He’s cool, actually. We haven’t even argued the whole night, and he wanted me to come out with him.

Well, he didn’t argue, and it’s not like I gave him a choice. He would have had to be totally rude to stop me from coming, and he’s too Canadian for that.

My palms sweat. Maybe he doesn’t like me at all. I think he’s cool now that I’ve given him a chance, but what if he thinks I’m a bigger jerk than he did before? And why should I even care?

“Is your family coming this weekend?” Matt’s voice sounds completely calm and normal. Maybe he didn’t really want to kiss me, but was swept up in the whole moment, or something. Or it was all in my imagination and there wasn’t a “moment” at all. I need to get a grip.

“Alex?”

I realize he’s waiting for an answer. “Yeah. They’re driving here tomorrow.”

“What does your mom do?”

I tell him about my mom’s work as an HR consultant, which I’m sure is fascinating for him. His mom’s a teacher, and we talk about that for a while, and before I know it, we’re back in the hotel.

In the elevator, Matt presses the eleventh floor. His hand hovers by the bank of buttons, and he looks at me expectantly. “Fifteen,” I answer.

Matt smiles as he steps off on his floor. “See you around tomorrow. Good luck.”

“See ya. You too.” I’m going for a casual tone and am moderately successful.

The doors close, and that’s it, like nothing happened. Which I guess is true.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert: Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

9781459290679synopsis
It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

Book Three of the #gaymers series

Title: CONNECTION ERROR
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series Title and Number: #Gaymers, Book 3
Publisher: CARINA PRESS
Cover Artist: CARINA PRESS
Release Date: September 5, 2016
Heat Level: 4 (explicit m/m sex, but lots and lots of plot too!)
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: approx. 66,000 words
Genre/Tags: Romance, M/m Romance, contemporary romance, military romance

Goodreads Link

Connection Error Blitz Banner

Heather's Review

When Status Update came out, I wasn’t sure it’d be my cup of tea. I’m not a gamer. I actually have a bit of an aversion to gaming (yes, I’m a bit weird). I couldn’t imagine I’d enjoy reading about guys falling in love when part of their common bond is something I dislike so strongly.

I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Now, we’re three books into the series and I considered duking it out if need be in order to get my hands on Connection Error. These lovable geeks are like crack and I have no desire to give up my addiction. (strangely enough, part of what I hate about gaming is how addictive it can be, lol)

Ryan and Josiah… let me just say, Annabeth Albert made me lose sleep because of these men. I particularly loved how perfectly she portrayed Josiah and his ADHD. I wanted to hug him and tell him it’d all be okay. That he just needed to slow down and go through step by step. Well, and maybe think before he spoke, but even that was charming.

And then there’s Ryan. I guess I deserved to be shocked right alongside Josiah since I grabbed this one without reading the blurb. There were times when he was a bit much to take, but that was understandable given everything he was going through and the fact that he had to concede that his life was never again going to be what it once was.

There’s so much more I’d love to say about Connection Errorbut everything feels like I’d be giving away something vital. So, let me leave you with this… everyone in my personal life knows I have an order of priorities. Sleep, Coffee, Sex. I love my sleep. There’s a reason it’s at the top of my list. And today, I really love coffee, because Annabeth Albert wrote a book so captivating that it made my give up the first love of my life. It was that good.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

4.5-pieces-of-eye-candy
excerpt

Chapter 1

Somewhere between the third newsstand and the fourth moving sidewalk in LAX, Josiah regretted not joining his friend Ravi in training for a 10k charity race. Nothing like a flat-out sprint from the check-in counter to the slow-moving security lines and another dash from security all the way through gates to make him rethink his aversion to cardio. And the worst part was that for once in his life he’d made every effort to be on time, getting up before the alarm, starting coffee, making sure they were out of the house by o’dark thirty ready for his early morning flight to Germany via a stop in Washington, DC.

Passport? Check.

Carry-on with both laptops, tablet and assorted accessories? Check.

Suitcase with more shirts with buttons than he’d ever owned in his life? Check.

Double-checking that his ticket was booked under “Josiah” not “Joseph”? Total fail, but in his defense, it never occurred to him that the travel agency his employer used would give the wrong name. And the check-in attendant at the airline counter didn’t want to believe that there was a mistake. Thus, every careful endeavor he’d made to ensure that he was on time—early even—went up in a huff of waiting for a supervisor and then another supervisor.

And now finally he was sprinting to make sure he didn’t miss the plane. Forget being there in time to priority board, he was going to be lucky to make the plane period. His first time flying first class—thank you, Space Villager for being such a bestselling gameand it was off to an inelegant start thanks to a stupid mistake.

Finally, finally, he reached the last few gates of the terminal. The TV sets scattered throughout the waiting area were all taking about that huge freak snowstorm heading for the New York area and whether it might veer south enough to cause snow along the whole Eastern Seaboard. Josiah shook his head, trying to not get sucked in to the TV. As long as he got to Germany on time, it wasn’t going to affect him and he needed to stay focused on—

“Last call for Flight 324 nonstop service to Washington Dulles International,” the loudspeaker blared.

“I’m here, I’m here,” he panted as the gate attendant set the red phone back on its hook. He held out his ticket. The woman was around his mother’s age with very red lipstick and very short blond hair and a spectacular frown just for him.

“Ah. Mr. Simmons.” She looked up after scanning his tickets, decidedly less frosty once she saw his first-class seat number. “Come with me, I’m going to have to walk you down.” She spoke into a walkie-talkie as they headed down the walkway. “We’re going to need to gate check your bags. I’m so sorry, but the first-class overhead compartments are all full.”

“Crap.” She gave him a questioning look, and Josiah remembered that he was supposed to be Mr. Smooth and Sophisticated Project Manager, not some whiny kid. “Sorry. That’s fine. Just let me grab my laptop.” He grabbed the laptop with the longer battery life before the attendant put a pink gate-check tag on his two bags. “But…uh…fragile.”

She gave him a tight smile, but added a yellow Fragile tag to his laptop bag. “You’re in Seat 1A,” she said, handing him his ticket back. “You’ll get your bags back when we land, I promise. Enjoy your flight.”

After a brief conversation with the gate attendant, a male flight attendant shut the plane door behind Josiah. “Welcome aboard,” he said to Josiah in a tone that clearly meant, “thank you for pushing back our departure.” In fact, the plane was rolling away from the gate before Josiah almost tumbled into the empty aisle seat of the first row.

“You made it.” A warm chuckle eased past the pounding of Josiah’s heart.

“Wha—what?” he whipped his head over to the window seat—a farther distance than one might expect. The first-class seats were huge padded affairs and there was a thick console dividing the seats. And…hello, most gorgeous guy Josiah had ever seen.

Wide, mischievous smile. Sparkling hazel eyes. Unshaven jaw. Short dark brown hair. And holy hell, arm muscles for days. Bulging biceps with tats poking out of his T-shirt sleeves.

All of a sudden this flight started looking way up.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. I just meant I was beginning to think I’d get the row all to myself.” The guy’s voice was possibly even more attractive than his model-worthy face, deep and soothing, with an undercurrent of the sort of confidence that never failed to make Josiah shiver.

And he was all Josiah’s for the next five hours.

Well, except for the part where he seemed ready to take a nap and tune Josiah out—the guy had a pillow behind his head and a blanket on his lap. He yawned, revealing gleaming teeth worthy of a toothpaste ad.

“You’re not a model, are you?” As usual, Josiah’s tongue leaped into action before his brain could restrain it.

“What? No, not a model.” The guy laughed, more of that smoky chuckle that did things to Josiah’s insides.

“TV star? Athlete? Because it seems like I should know you from somewhere, and I don’t want to get to DC and people be like, hey, you were next to that Laker the whole flight…” He trailed off because his friends were right that he had absolutely no filter, and that was triple true around Muppet-flail-worthy hot guys.

“Nope, not famous.” The guy studied Josiah for a long moment, considering, the sort of are-you-for-real expression on his face that Josiah was well used to. Seeming to come to some sort of decision, the guy stuck his right arm across the console. “Lieutenant Ryan Orson, US Navy.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Josiah accepted the handshake. Navy made sense given the Navy-emblazoned T-shirt stretched tight over the guy’s aircraft-carrier-wide chest. Holy crap, the guy was big. Josiah was a skinny 6’2” with big hands and feet that always got in the way. But this guy’s hand made Josiah’s feel downright dainty. “I’m Josiah, Josiah Simmons.”

“Well, Josiah, want to know a secret?” Ryan asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

“Sure.” Josiah was down with whatever secrets this guy wanted to share.

“Not only am I not famous, I’m not even supposed to be in first class.”

“You’re not?”

“Nope.” Ryan winked at Josiah. He had a very disarming wink, all good humor and twinkly eyes.

“The check-in clerk bumped me into first.”

“You got the nice clerk.” Josiah was still a bit grumbly over the name hassle.

“She lost a brother over in Afghanistan.” There was a subtle hint of “grow up” in Ryan’s tone. Josiah straightened, remembering again who he was supposed to be. And here was this impossibly attractive guy to practice on. Sure, he might be Josiah the clueless geek back home, but here he was Josiah the new project manager. This Josiah knew the right way to act and speak and could impress even tough audiences.

“That’s so sad for her.” Josiah tried for sophisticated empathy, something he knew he kind of sucked at.

“Yeah, it is.” Something indecipherable passed over Ryan’s face, his eyes getting darker and cloudier and that wide smile flagging a bit. “Anyway, guess she saw…the Navy connection and had a spare seat to bump me into.”

“What do you do? In the Navy I mean?”

The guy went silent, considering, and Josiah was afraid he’d been too nosy again, but right when he was about to apologize, Ryan finally spoke. “I’m a SEAL. I do a little bit of everything, but mainly I make things go boom. You?”

“Oh my God, you’re Special Forces. Do I ever have questions for you!” Josiah babbled again, only slowing down as Ryan’s easy smile morphed into grim line. “Sorry. I’m just excited because I’m a video game designer. And special ops is our new expansion pack.” And it happened to be the one Josiah was in charge of.

“You program games?” Ryan blinked, and Josiah wasn’t sure what he’d expected Josiah to do, but this clearly wasn’t it. “Anything I’ve heard of?”

Ah. That was it. He assumed Josiah was some sort of kid programming a dot matrix game in his basement. Josiah knew he looked too young for his job, because he was too young. At twenty-three, he was the youngest lead developer on the design team. Thus, he took no small amount of pride in saying, “Space Villager.”

“Oh wow, really?” There was a new note of respect in Ryan’s voice. “I love that game, especially the pod racer and first-person shooter expansion packs.” There was a hint of Texas or something else Southern in his voice, and Josiah could listen to him all day.

“Yeah? Well you’re going to love our special ops expansion pack even more.” Josiah projected far more confidence than he actually felt. He could make this project a success. He had to. The PR team had already hinted that the next expansion pack would revolve around special ops activities on a small war-torn planet, so Josiah didn’t worry too much about sharing this much with Ryan.

“I bet. My ex got me to back the crowdfunding drive, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My buddies were already teasing me about how much time I spent gaming, but there’s something particularly addictive about your game.”

Your game. Josiah liked the sound of that. He only knew a handful of women who played Space Villager, but the ones who did tended to be rabid fans. It was possible he might even know Ryan’s ex by her user handle, but Josiah had just enough self-control to not ask.

“Prepare for takeoff,” the pilot intoned over the PA. This was the part Josiah hated, the acceleration and stomach-dropping ascent. Today he hated it even more, knowing they might catch the edge of that storm. Focusing on turbulence that was probably hours away wasn’t logical, but then, Josiah’s brain seldom was.

“You always so antsy or are you a nervous flyer?” Ryan asked.

Oh crap. Guess he wasn’t doing such a bang-up job projecting the aura of a with-it project manager. He laughed nervously. “Both?”

“I promise we’re going to be okay.” Ryan gave him a quick friendly pat on the knee.

Oh. Josiah’s eyes went wide. Ryan was missing part of the pinky finger on his left hand and had some wicked scarring further up his forearm. Josiah tried not to stare, but knew he failed miserably.

“Mission gone wrong,” Ryan said gruffly. “Now back to flying, millions of people fly every day. It’s safer than car travel.” His tone made it clear further discussion of his hand was not on the table.

“I know flying’s safe. Knowing that’s not the same as believing it.”

Ryan’s answering laugh seemed to strip some of the tension from his face. “How well do I know that attitude. My ex got nervous before every flight, and his buddies used to razz him about it mercilessly.”

Man, two ex references in five minutes. Ryan must be totally hung up on his ex…wait. “His buddies”…What the hell?

“Your ex is a guy?”

“Yup.” Ryan’s smirk said he’d pegged Josiah ten minutes ago, probably when Josiah couldn’t peel his eyes away from those tasty biceps.

“Cool.” He was grinning, but he couldn’t make his facial muscles behave. Hot damn. Gorgeous, muscled, single, gamer, and gay. He ticked every last one of Josiah’s “perfect man” boxes. And if the gods were kind at all, Josiah could keep it together long enough to make a lasting impression.

buy now

Carina Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

Connection Error Square

meet the author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Tumbler | Fan Group | Newsletter

giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

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