Loose Ends by Jeff Erno: New Release Review with Giveaway

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire.Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

Title: Loose Ends
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Release Date: August 29, 2017

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Holding the stuffed bear in front of his face, Ivan stepped into the hospital room. He bobbed it up and down, then back and forth, and with a high-pitched Pooh-like voice addressed his patient. “I heard someone’s having an operation today!”

“Me! I am!” The four-year old pushed himself up, then leaned forward with outstretched arms to reach for the bear. “I know it’s you, Ivan.”

“It’s me and Pooh. And you know what? I talked to the doctor, and she said Pooh can go with you when you go in for your operation.”

Jaydin scowled. “Bears can’t go in the operating room, can they?” He glanced over to his mother who stood on the opposite side of the bed. She slipped her hand onto the little guy’s shoulder.

“Well, honey, they’re going to do the operation when you’re sleeping. Pooh can stay with you till you fall asleep, and he’ll be with you again when you wake up.”

“I want him to stay with me the whole time.”

“Don’t you worry,” Ivan assured him. “Pooh will be right there.”

“And Daddy!”

Ivan looked up to briefly establish eye contact with Jaydin’s mom. “Mommy and Daddy will be here. They’ll be waiting for you when you wake up. It’s gonna be so quick and easy. You’ll close your eyes one second, and the next you’ll open them and it will be all over with. And Mommy and Daddy will be there with you.”

“Daddy’s not here though.” Jaydin twisted his face, obviously fighting the urge to cry. He blinked and looked up with his big brown eyes at Ivan. “Do you know where my Daddy is?”

“He’s on his way, honey.” His mother spoke soothingly, but from the expression on her face, she was as annoyed by her ex-husband’s absence as Ivan.

Ivan had been a nurse for four years, the entirety of which he’d worked at St. Joseph’s in the pediatric ward. He’d seen hundreds of little angels come into the unit, some for minor operations and many for more serious, life-threatening procedures. Jaydin needed a tonsillectomy, which might not seem a big deal to the boy’s father, but if Ivan were the little guy’s dad, he’d have been camped out bedside until it was time to take him home. Ivan didn’t understand parents like Jaydin’s father. Obviously, the little boy idolized his daddy, but the man couldn’t be bothered to make it to the hospital in time for his son’s surgery.

Ivan walked over to the side of the bed and held out his hand, stroking his fingers across Jaydin’s soft curly hair. “Remember the cool Star Wars Band Aid you got when you first came to the hospital?”

“The Storm Trooper?”

“Yup. You want another one like that?”

Jaydin looked up at him, wide-eyed, smiling. “I want Kylo Ren!”

“Kylo Ren? He’s a bad guy, isn’t he?”

“So’s the Storm Troopers. Well, wait. Not all of ‘em. Not Finn.”

“Hmm.” Ivan reached into his pocket and pulled out an assortment of animated bandages. “Let’s see. I’ve got Rey, and here’s R2D2, and another storm trooper. I don’t have any Kylo.”

Jaydin’s bottom lip protruded, but only for a second, then he leaned forward to examine the bandages. “I want R2D2.” He smiled, arching his eyebrows in the cutest expression Ivan had ever seen, then suddenly grew serious. “Wait! Why do I get a Band Aid? I don’t have a owie.” Panicked, he looked up at his mother with pleading eyes. “I don’t want a ivy! Mom…” His face began to crinkle into an expression of anguished terror just as Ivan spun around in response to footsteps he heard from behind.

“Hey big guy!” A tall, dark, and handsome white dude stood in the door holding a stuffed Winnie the Pooh bear, about twice the size of the one Ivan had just delivered.

“Daddy! I don’t want a ivy!”

So this was Jaydin’s father? Ivan had assumed the boy’s dad was African American like his mother, but this explained Jaydin’s lighter skin tone and softer curls.

“Where have you been?” Jaydin’s mom barely concealed her irritation of her ex-husband’s tardiness. Glaring at him, she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Remember what we talked about, Jay Jay?” The man ignored his ex-wife and moved closer to the bed, holding out his Pooh bear. “We gotta be brave sometimes, even if it means doing things we don’t want to do.”

“But Daddy! It’s like a shot.”

Jaydin had been in and out of the hospital quite a bit in his young life, battling numerous throat and ear infections. He also suffered from chronic bronchial asthma, and Jaydin had been hospitalized a couple of times after having attacks. As young as he was, he knew all about hospital procedures, including the dreaded I.V.

Though Ivan had been Jaydin’s nurse previously, he’d never met the boy’s father. What Ivan did know, however, was that the little boy idolized the man. He was some sort of cop from what Ivan had gathered. Jaydin had repeatedly bragged about how his daddy’s job was to catch the bad guys.

“It’s just a little teenie, tiny poke, though.” Tall, dark, and handsome lowered himself to sit on the edge of the mattress. “And it’s so they can give you medicine when you’re having your operation. Right?” He looked up at Ivan for confirmation.

“That’s right.” Ivan forced a smile, a wave of annoyance sweeping over him. Where was this man the last two hours as his son lay fretting and panicking that his daddy wasn’t even going to show up for his operation? And now here he was at last sweeping in to act like the big, badass hero.

Ivan moved to the other side of the bed, stepping around Jaydin’s mother as Mr. Macho Police Detective remained next to his son holding the little boy’s hand. Ivan ever so gently took hold of Jaydin’s other wrist, examining the arm carefully as he sought the best location for insertion of the I.V. needle. Jaydin’s father continued to talk to the boy, promising him ice cream and Jell-O with lots of whipped cream after his operation.

As Jaydin engaged with his daddy, completely distracted from what Ivan was doing with his arm, Ivan expertly planted the I.V.  Jaydin looked over, only slightly startled by the needle prick, but his daddy gently placed his fingers beneath the boy’s chin and guided his gaze back in the other direction, casually acting as if nothing was happening.

Quickly Ivan peeled open the bandage wrapper and secured the R2D2 unit over the taped I.V. port. “There ya go, little man. Good to go. You got your R2 and two Pooh bears.”

“And my daddy!”

Jaydin’s mom slid next to her son as Ivan gathered up his supplies. “And Mommy,” Jaydin added. “Together…like it used to be.”

The boy’s parents glanced at each other, then each turned to their son, smiling. “No matter what,” Jaydin’s dad said, “we’ll both always be here for our little guy.”

“I’m not little no more, Daddy.”

“No you’re not,” his mother said. “You’re growing up so fast.”

“I’m almost gonna be five, and you promised I can have a party, right?”

“Right.” Jaydin’s father nodded. “With a Star Wars cake.”

“Kylo Ren. I want a Kylo Ren cake!

Ivan’s mom is murdered and the lead detective on his case is the dad of a patient Ivan had taken care of the night before. He’s a pediatric nurse and Tucker’s four-year-old son needed a tonsillectomy. That’s where things get started…

Ivan, is hard to like. I’ll say that up front, he drove me all kinds of crazy with his constant judgement, wild assumptions and snarky attitude. He was ridiculous; aside from judgey, he also seemed pompous and a little self-absorbed. He had a problem with nearly everything about Tucker and made no bones about it. I didn’t like that, his uppity-ness. It was annoying. Then the smoking pot with the friend? LOL random!

The dialogue was kind of cringy at times. And why could everyone else call Ivan, Ivey, but he gets testy when his brother does it? That makes zero sense…. Am I being too harsh because the dude gets on my nerves so bad? Maybe. He was just so hard to like for me! Also, I think maybe Ivan was at one point going to be Ian, because he gets called Ian a couple times here and there. Things like that don’t bother me though, it was easy to overlook….

I will say that by the end of the book, Ivan had kind of grown on me… I really liked him and Tucker and I liked how they were with Tucker’s son. The killer, I had pegged from the beginning but I really wished that he wouldn’t have been so nasty to Ivan…I also really liked Ivan’s brother and I was glad he had him at his back. All in all, after Ivan put all his assumptions away and actually got to know and like Tucker.. it was a much more enjoyable story. So glad it also ended with a HEA. Can’t go wrong with a HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy for me.

Jeff has generously offered an ebook copy from his backlist (you can see the full list at www.jefferno.com) to one commenter on this post. Let us know your thoughts!

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Dreamspinner Press Exclusive Guest Post: Andrew Grey, RWA Centennial Award Winner

**Once again, Dreamspinner Press is stopping by TCO to give us a little update on some of the awesome things happening over there! Check it out, and yes, there is a giveaway too!

Writing is hard work but writing more than 100 books is astounding. But that’s exactly what Andrew Grey has accomplished. In July Andrew was awarded the Romance Writers of America’s Centennial Award for writing more than 100 romances. Andrew is the first male author and first author of gay romance to receive the RWA Centennial Award. You can read an interview with Andrew here.

If you’re an avid Andrew Grey reader, or new to his titles, you will fall in love with his Forever Yours series while it’s on sale at Amazon and the Dreamspinner Press store: eBook one, Can’t Live Without You, a reunion romance between a now-famous actor and his high school boyfriend, is 99 cents; eBook two, Never Let You Go is available tomorrow and features a soldier returning home who must battle secrets to re-establish a relationship with his boyfriend.

Andrew Grey’s unique blend of sweet and sexy will have you happy that his catalogue includes more than 100 titles for you to read!

Congrats to Andrew on this huge achievement!

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Survival Game (Men of London Book 9) by Susan Mac Nicol: Release Day Review


Since his true love died, paramedic Eric Kirby has been living a half life, but when he meets purple-haired Kyle Tripper, Eric’s heart is jolted into a whole new rhythm.

HANDLE…

Kyle Tripper has led an interesting life. Currently the manager of London’s famous Club Delish, he used to be a croupier extraordinaire in Las Vegas. But not everything in that life was so glamorous; his ex was a piece of work. Now gun-shy, Kyle hopes there is someone special out there for him, and secretly wishes it’s luscious paramedic, Eric Kirby.

WITH CARE

Every day Eric Kirby goes through the motions. Yeah, he saves lives, and, sure, he makes a difference, but he doesn’t feel it anymore – not since he lost his one true. But, when he meets wild, flamboyant Kyle Tripper and learns there’s a skittish, apprehensive man beneath the bold façade, the best of Eric’s protective nature kicks in, and opens his heart to a new love.

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I’ve loved this series from book 1, Love You Senseless with Eddie and Gideon, and have read each book since. The entire series is varied in characters, yet are all interconnected in some way. The reader will often be treated to a quick slice of life on the characters they’ve read and loved before, while still keeping the focus on the characters in the current story. Survival Game, being book 9 in the series could easily have been just another story, but once again, the uniqueness of the characters, and their stories, sets it apart.

Susan Mac Nicol loves to write broken men, really broken men. And these two have had events in their past love lives that would have left many people, not only broken, but completely shattered. Yet these two men found a way to get their lives back and be able to find some love on the way. One of the things that I appreciated about this book was that their healing was not “because of the love of a good man”, but rather from hard work, time, some therapy, and allowing those that loved them to continue to support them through their difficulties. The bonus was that they could support each other as they continued to heal and fell in love at the same time.

One of my favorite things about Sue’s books is that she puts such an element of realism in her books. A character isn’t just sad because they lost someone close to them. There is anger at being left in such a sudden way, survivor’s guilt for having lived through it. Or when a trauma happens it doesn’t just magically go away because you are not near the source of trauma any longer. Lingering effects continue and those effects are addressed realistically. This is evident with both Eric and Kyle.

There were definitely some areas where I laughed out loud (the “healing” calendar is one of those areas, watch for it), but on the whole this was a story where two men needed to spend time coming to terms with where their lives were, and where their lives could converge. I desperately wanted them to have their HEA because they deserved it after the suffering they both endured. I especially wanted it when I was crying at their individual stories.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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

Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Stalking Buffalo Bill—A Shifter U Tale

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

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Before I get started, I wanted to say a big “thank you” to Two Chicks Obsessed for  letting me stop by today and celebrate the release of STALKING BUFFALO BILL. I had so much fun writing this book, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond.

Why Google (or any search engine) Needs an “I’m an Author!” Flag

I don’t have a clue as to how authors in the past ever got anything written without Google and Wikipedia. I love research—that real, buried in the library under stacks of resource books research—but there are times when I’m writing that I need to confirm a detail or verify that what I want to happen actually can happen. In these instances, Google comes to the rescue. But if anyone was looking at my search history, I’d probably come off as deranged, odd, or criminal, depending on the book. So I’ve decided to share a few of my more random search terms.

  1. Writing about shifters means researching really important animal-related factoids like: Which is faster, a buffalo or a coyote? This doesn’t sound like something a normal person needs to know. But when you are writing a chase scene in which a buffalo is chasing a coyote, this is critical. The answer, in case you’re interested, is that both the coyote and the buffalo top out at about 40 miles an hour (the buffalo gets up to 35-40 mph, and the coyote can hit 43 mph).

 

  1. Writing shifters has also prompted this gem: Do birds smell? Of course, then I had to specify the olfactory sense, not “do birds stink?” This then also led into a rabbit’s warren of searches because the answer to “Do birds smell?” depends on which birds.

 

  1. When I was writing my YA action/adventure novel DO-GOODER, a couple of my searches probably landed me on a government watch list. Things like How do you make and transport Sarin Gas? and Weapons trafficking routes through Africa might make international law enforcement folks take another look.

 

  1. Some of my searches have yielded horrifying results. DO NOT look up Pit Viper Snake Bites unless you want to see gross, beyond-painful-looking, sometimes rotting and infected bites, including injuries that show bone and tissue and pus.

 

  1. The best—the absolute best!—searches yield eye candy. When I did a search for Hot men with beards, I found William. It was almost a shame that I found him right away. I mean, searching through thousands of images of hot men wouldn’t be the worst way to spend my time… The model that was used for the cover of Stalking Buffalo Bill, by the way, is 100% how I pictured William while writing the novel. 100%

 

I know there are authors who’s search terms might be crazier (or even more likely to land them on a watch list) than mine. Anyone writing romantic suspense or action/adventure novels probably has way more fascinating stories to tell, for example. For the project I’m working on now, I’m going to have to do some digging into black-market baby adoptions. Not quite as fluffy as “Do birds smell?” but I’ll learn something new. 🙂

 

**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a signed copy of my gay YA action/adventure novel DO-GOODER (US only) or a digital copy of one of the contemporary New Adult m/m romance titles in my Letting Go series (open internationally) to a random commenter who tells me: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to look up on the internet?

 

By the time William’s bulky form stood in the entrance of the closet, I was human and 100 percent naked, though I didn’t have time to worry about it. There was a creep out there after my manly man.

“Not real quick with the nonverbals, are you?” I propped my hands on my hips.

He copied the gesture. I had to admit, his version was much more intimidating. And not just because he was actually wearing clothes. “You want to tell me what that was all about?”

I rolled my eyes. “Obviously I needed to get you alone.”

His eyes trailed down my body, from the top of my sandy-brown hair to the tips of my toes. Heat prickled along every inch his eyes touched. Flustered, I snapped, “Not for that.”

“Too bad.”

Did he really—no, now wasn’t the time for that.

“Look, a couple of freaks are looking for you. They had your picture and everything.”

The slight smirk he wore slipped off his face. “What?”

“Yeah, these guys—who gave me chills, by the way—stopped into the café and wanted to know if we’d seen you. They were evil. I mean, to the core. And they definitely weren’t from around here.”

He reached out and gripped my shoulder. “What did they look like?”

“Like a couple of thugs in an amateur production of Oklahoma.”

At his blank look, I gave him a more specific description of the weirdos. Then I told him what I’d seen. “So, Mafia Hit Man is out there right now, looking for you. And you stood there, a hulking target, just begging to be caught.”

“Sorry, I don’t speak coyote.”

j.leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites (http://twitter.com/JenniWrites )
Facebook @JLeighBailey (http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey )
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author (https://www.instagram.com/j.leigh.bailey_author/ )
Website (www.jleighbailey.net )

 

 

 

 

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

Earning His Trust by Alicia Nordwell: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review & Giveaway

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

Title: Earning His Trust
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Five Things You Don’t Know About Me ~ Childhood Edition

Evin, one of the main characters from Earning His Trust, has a six-month-old son. What I’ve found, as a parent, is that we remember so much more about our childhoods as we watch our children grow and live theirs. Here are a few things about me from those tender years!

  1. Growing up, I had as close to two dads as you can get—without having gay parents. For literally as far back as I can remember, my dad and his identical twin brother lived together. I actually moved out before my uncle did, lol. Of course, we have always sworn they share a single brain in two separate bodies, so maybe it was like having one dad that could be in two places at once. (Seriously, I’ve had them thank me by saying, “Thank you for doing [whatever] that for me” when I actually did it for the other one!)
  2. I learned the sign language alphabet in the first grade, and I can still remember all the letters, though I’ve only used it once when asking a worker at a store where to find work gloves. It’s a basic communication skill that I think everyone should learn, though.
  3. The first book I ever remember reading was a collection of Aesop’s Fables. I got a reprint with the original illustrations to read to my babies.
  4. I remember making up the adventures of a family of swamp monsters called the Goo Goo Dolls for my younger stepsiblings as we lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. This was an early indication of my desire to share to create fiction revolving around members of a family.
  5. I’m writing this while listening to the soundtrack to Burlesque. I absolutely love the movie (not only because of all the eye candy) but because that kind of singing and dancing fascinates me. In the 6th grade I learned I have a visible muscle tic in my cheek that triggered when stage fright struck during a song I had to sing as a trio, and having two left feet would be a step up compared to my dancing skills, so it’s all pure admiration for what I could never do, lol.

I’m so glad that I didn’t judge this book by it’s reviews… I’m not sure why so many people are having problems with it…Even me, who isn’t much of a fan of second chances, loved this story!

Evin lost his husband in a “wrong place at the wrong time” accident, leaving him alone with a six month old son and only his friend Gianna who lived two hours away for company. Life as a single parent is hard, I know all about it…but still grieving and trying to get to a new normal without your husband and with a new baby…I can understand why Evin was the was he was. An accident while cooking has him rushing to the hospital with a fussy, teething baby in tow and that’s where he see’s Dr. Perez. His ex.

Ben left after college without so much as a word to his boyfriend and love of his life, Evin. Of course it was a mistake, but they were young and just figuring life out. Saying he went about it the wrong way is a massive understatement, but if he hadn’t, then no doubt about it, Evin wouldn’t have met his husband and had his baby. It’s awkward at first, but Ben goes out of his way a couple times to see Evin again, that leads to texting and then hanging out and then…Feelings are back and things are like they were before.

As anyone who knows me, knows that I love babies in my stories… there’s just something about good daddies that I love reading about! Okay, those kind of daddies too, but get your mind out of the gutter… I meant, actual fathers! And there is no better daddy for Micah than Evin. He’s so sweet with him and patient… and Ben is crazy about them both.

Is was a cute story… very low angst, no terrible exes coming out of the woodwork or scheming people trying to break them up. It was just a nice, fluffy, read about two men who lost touch and then reconnected down the road. You never know what life will have in store for you…that’s the truth…I was so glad these two found it in themselves to work it out though. I wouldn’t mind reading more from them in future books. Fingers crossed, I guess?!

4 pieces of eye candy from me!

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Prizes: Amazon Fire 7” *US Only* $20 Gift Card (Amazon or Dreamspinner) (2) Backlist title winners
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Leaning into Always by Lane Hayes: Release Day Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleLeaning Into Always

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #1, Part 2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Self Pub

Release Date: September 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30k

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, San Fran, Beach, Surfer, Geek, Opposites Attract, Friends to lovers

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Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.

Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.

“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”

“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.

I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.

“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”

“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.

“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.

I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”

“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”

I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”

“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.

“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.

“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”

I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”

“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”

I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.


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Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes:

Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man, The Right Time, Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into the Fall, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home AND A Way with Words

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The Alpha Heir by Victoria Sue: Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?

Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.

Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.

Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?

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Caleb sat hunched over on a fallen log just by the track that led down to the barn they kept the horses in. Taegan could practically feel the misery in the hunched shoulders, the bowed head, the way he favored his left arm even though he didn’t have it in the sling anymore. His arms were bare. “Caleb?” he called out quietly, not wanting to startle him, but Caleb never moved even though Taegan knew he would have heard him.

He crossed in front of the log and sat down, putting both mugs on the ground and passing him the poncho. “It’s cold out here.” For a second, he didn’t think Caleb was going to take it, but lifting his head he reached out cautiously. Instead of passing it to him, Taegan bunched it up and carefully went to ease it down over Caleb’s head. Caleb recoiled sharply, and Taegan stilled his hands. “Let me help,” he said. “You’ll get cold.”

Caleb lifted his head, the brown eyes suddenly so dark. “And you care, why?”

“I don’t know,” he said wretchedly, then shook his head, the gesture a denial, as Caleb widened his eyes in response. He hadn’t meant to admit that.

“I think it better if I sleep in a different cave until you decide what to do with me,” Caleb muttered.

“No—” he bit off. Caleb was hunched inwards. He was incredible. Giving. He soothed so many bitter corners in Taegan’s soul. He wanted to keep him, but it was impossible. Silas had once told him that many years ago, wolves fell in love at first sight. But Taegan was a human and he didn’t understand this odd compulsion to be with someone he had known barely two weeks. Maybe it was just a good healthy dose of lust.

“I’m not going to apologize for Ralph and Adams. The guards,” Taegan added, then felt ridiculous because of course Caleb would know who he meant. “They were doing their job.”

Caleb didn’t reply. Didn’t move.

“But I was wrong.”

Caleb’s head came up quickly. The surprise written all over his face.

“You didn’t deserve that assumption from me, and I apologize.”

Caleb ducked his head.

Taegan passed him one of the mugs of tea and unwrapped the bread. “My mom says you haven’t eaten.”

“I’m not hungry,” came the whisper.

Taegan put his untouched tea back on the ground. He reached out slowly, hooking his finger under Caleb’s chin and lifting it, immediately drowning in the stormy brown eyes, dark and brittle with misery. He had done that, him. He leaned forward and Caleb leaned back, twisting his head away. The rejection stung in his gut.

“Please eat,” Taegan said, dropping his hand. Caleb had been doing so well and the last thing he needed was Taegan upsetting that.

But Caleb didn’t move, didn’t look up. “What are you going to do with me?”

He had treated Caleb abominably. Taegan paused and for the first time in two years did something that wouldn’t help their cause, but was the right thing to do. “You are free to go. Now. If you want to walk down that hillside, I won’t stop you.”

Caleb’s head shot up. “You’d let me go?”

Taegan swallowed the husky denial. “I wish with everything I am that you are not the Alpha heir and I am not the rebel leader.” He let that sink in. Caleb’s eyes still fixed on his. “Especially after last week.”

Caleb’s eyes dipped, and Taegan reached out and touched his arm. “It should still be wrapped. It’s very likely broken.”

“I-it doesn’t hurt.” Caleb’s gaze lifted and Taegan stared. He was drowning in the golden depths. He’d thought Caleb’s eyes were brown, but the center simmered with chocolate and grew lighter outward until the flecks of amber almost turned them copper. Long golden brown lashes framed them, and Taegan took small comfort that the dark shadows under them had gone.

“You don’t eat enough.” He said almost brusquely to cover what he wanted to say. What he wanted to do. “Please eat something.” The words were quiet but no less pleading.

Caleb stared at the offered bread. He took a breath. “I think I forgot how. If I wasn’t hungry it was one less pain.”

“For me.” Taegan knew he had no right to use those words. Caleb owed him nothing.

Caleb took the thickly buttered bread and inhaled. “It smells wonderful.”

Taegan nudged him gently. “It tastes even better.” Caleb took a bite and Taegan beamed. Such a small victory.

“When will you plan to get the kids?” Caleb asked after swallowing. He sipped his tea and took another bite.

“I have two team leaders that get back from Solonara tomorrow. I haven’t the numbers without them.” Caleb chewed and seemed to consider what Taegan said. “It would help if we had any idea what time of day this is planned for.”

“Noon,” Caleb said immediately.

“Of course,” Taegan agreed instantly. It was the time Aylin started to cover Sorin. He should have known. How was it possible they were talking when everything in him wanted Caleb’s lips for another purpose?

Caleb finished the bread. He watched Taegan intently as if waiting for something.

“I owe you another apology also.” He would have been blind to miss the flash of pain that darkened the brown pupils nearly to black or the hiss as his words connected. Caleb misunderstood. He didn’t regret one second of it and wasn’t apologizing for it. “I loved every second of the time I spent with you. How I found the strength to leave my bed that morning is beyond me.”

Caleb’s slow, heart-stopping smile was worth every word of his confession. “So why did you leave me?”

“Because I am taking advantage.”

“Because I can’t stay,” Caleb supplied flatly, answering his own question.

“So, will you leave?” Taegan didn’t want the answer. Should he mention Silas’s crazy bonding theory? He couldn’t let Caleb go if it would hurt him, but he couldn’t take back his offer either.

“I know I can’t stay forever, but I won’t leave until Neal and Rayne are safe. I still think I should be the diversion you need.”

Caleb was touching. While they had talked he had crept closer, but it wasn’t charged with the same emotion as the last time. This wasn’t sexual but all about warmth, compassion, and comfort. He knew Taegan was having difficulty retelling some of his worst moments, and he wanted to support him. It would be so good to have someone by his side, but Taegan had lost that right a long time ago. Caleb’s eyes softened as he listened. It seemed to come as easy to him as breathing, but Taegan knew it was dangerous. Caleb was dangerous because for the first time Taegan wasn’t thinking about his responsibilities to other people.

He was thinking of himself.

“Taegan?” It was Cy. “We have an injured messenger bird. I think you need to come. We should have got the message yesterday but it has a damaged wing.”

Caleb stood and took Taegan’s empty mug. “I have a story to read.” He smiled and Taegan watched him go.

The wolf that eventually won his heart would be a very lucky man.

Victoria Sue:

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby three years ago. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail.

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

Victoria Sue is giving away a free ebook from her backlist to one commenter to this blog post. Tell us what appeals to you most about The Alpha Heir.

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

Yanni’s Story (The Spencer Cohen Series Book 4) by N.R. Walker: Quick Review

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.
Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.
Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.
“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.
I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.
Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.
But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

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I gotta come clean. I didn’t read the first three books of The Spencer Cohen series. I looked, I own book 1. I don’t know why I didn’t read them. I will correct this error as soon as possible. Because I am a fan of NR Walker. That being said, Yanni’s Story really can be read as a stand alone. I have heard that you HAVE to read the first three before this one. No, you don’t. They are lying liars who lie. Like I said, though-I am going to go back to read the first three.

Phew, confession over.

Now to the review! I’ve yet to read one of NR Walker’s books that I didn’t like. Of course I like some more than others, but I genuinely liked them all. This is no exception. There are a lot of potential triggers in this book, which you are warned about repeatedly. And while there were some tough things in the story, I didn’t find it overly filled with angst. Instead, I found it more of a story of growth that didn’t keep the main character dragged down by his past.

Yanni definitely has some hurdles to get over. But he is 100% willing to do the work to get over those hurdles. And Peter is there every step of the way. What started out as a friendship between two unlikely friends, turns into a nice slow burn of romance until they are ready to make the next step together.

A lot of times when one of the main characters seems to have the patience of a saint, I roll my eyes. But somehow, this was different. Peter really seemed like that guy who was willing to wait, to go slowly, to check in. Perhaps it is part of his Daddy kink (he being the daddy). To nurture, protect and care for Yanni. And Yanni eats it up, but is also so humble.

There was a lot in this book. There is no way that I can touch on it all. This is only the second “daddy kink” book I read. And while it wasn’t the trope at the forefront of the story, it was there. And while I don’t think I will seek out daddy kink books in the future, reading them like this. Part of the story, but it didn’t over take the story.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Title: Finding Mr. Wrong
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 218

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Second chance romance is one of my favorite tropes. Finding a love, then losing it, only to find it again, while trying to rebuild the lost trust just hits all the feels for me. Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet hits all those notes.

Jax disappeared from Matthew’s life, without a word, after being his guiding light during high school. When he is “found” by some meddling friends and family, Matthew initially is determined not to let Jax back in. As he learns why Jax disappeared, their trust begins to be rebuilt, but of course the course of true love is never steady. 🙂

Matthew has a bit of a panic attack once he realizes he could have died, and the company he runs could fall into the wrong hands. As they work back towards each other, it is easy to see how Jax is torn between wanting to do what’s right by his father, and wanting to live a life where he is able to just complete his art. Jax’s story was heartbreaking. He’d spent literally his entire life covering for a father who was weak, and allowed his son to protect him, rather than the other way around.  Honestly, the reader wants to kick Jax’s dad out, but in the end, it is understandable that he couldn’t do anything but help him get out of the next mess.

The Dreamspun Desires line was brought about as a set of stories that harken back to the old Harlequin romance days, where tropes like babies that were previously not know about, or families that break couples up, or where unseen forces tear loves apart, and this book falls right in that line. A little dark, but with a love that stayed true for both men through the time that they had been apart. This quote even hits a little on that old Harlequin trope:

“Honey, I might not be able to have his babies, but wouldn’t stop me from trying.”

I am enjoying this entire line, and really anything by Charlie Cochet I will read, so win-win.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey: Release Day Review and Giveaway

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

Title: Stalking Buffalo Bill
Series: Shifter U
Author: j. leigh bailey
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Mystery/Suspense, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 220

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This new Dreamspinner Press line, Dreamspun Beyond, would not normally be my cup of tea. I don’t read much paranormal, shifters or things that run contrary to normal contemporary romance. However, for some reason this series has pulled me in a few times already. Stalking Buffalo Bill is the second book in this line that I have read, and I really enjoyed it!

I loved that the author took the actual physical characteristics of the animals that the MC’s shifted into and incorporated them into their personalities. Donnie was very excitable, quick, loyal, and rather tenacious when it came to what he felt was important. Meanwhile William, a buffalo, more stoic-as I would imagine a buffalo to be, never having seen one-a college professor, and a man who didn’t seem to really get ruffled much, and wanted to protect Donnie by not allowing him anywhere near the problems that he was dealing with.

Donnie made me laugh…he found his mate, and like a wily coyote, would not let him out of his sight. He knew what he wanted, didn’t care that his family didn’t approve of his life choices, and held on tight to his choices. I highlighted so many of Donnie’s thoughts:

“I was protecting my mate from those who would do him harm. It was all very…alpha. How cool was that? Holy shit. Did I just think mate?”

“I turned away from the monitors and realized–again–that I was naked. ‘Really, William, could you bring my clothes in? I’m sure my arguments will be much more valid if my junk isn’t hanging out.”

“Then he smiled, which made my fingers go number, so I dropped my fork. ‘Cause I was smooth like that.”

This book was a fun read from beginning to end for me. It never had me looking to see how far I was in the book, and when it would end. I just kept reading and enjoying. And that is exactly how you want to be reading a book! I’m looking forward to more books in this new line from DSP, and if j. leigh bailey were to write another installment in this world, well, I would be quite happy to read it. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy


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