Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter: Release Day Review and Giveaway

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 240

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

What can I say about this book without giving away too much? First, it takes the Police song (which no one at the time it came out realized was really a  song about stalking) and puts a bit of an edge on it.

Thomas who self professes to be promiscious, is stalked until he has to leave his home, his family and his job and start over in Washington. But the worst part is how he handles it emotionally. He cuts himself off from anything that will allow him to feel close to someone. The sex is fine, but never a date, never a connection. He was so emotionally damaged, it isn’t difficult to see how his answer was to not allow anyone near enough to hurt him again.

With Zachary coming into the picture, there is such a connection, Thomas has a hard time denying it…yet he does. Often. Almost any chance he gets, which only causes more pain to both of them. Then you add in the suspense of murders that are connected somehow to Thomas, and you have the makings of a book that will keep you up late at night.

Finding a balance between suspense and romance is not easy. The author needs to keep the reader connected to the characters, and in this case characters who are not together other than physically for most of the book, as well as create a mysterious plot that even has the reader wondering who it is that is committing these heinous crimes.

One thing this book needed, and Robert Winter gave to the reader, was the POV of the killer. It allowed you to see what kind of mind was being dealt with. The man was literally insane. (I said online that I would likely never think of the word Beloved the same way again, and after having finished the book, it will still stand true.) The reader needed to see that. Not just that the killings happened, but the level that this man went to to have Thomas as his own. Side note here…how crazy is Robert Winter to be able to see that mind and be able to write it? Well done here. It kept me glued to the edge of my seat every time the stalker came onto the page.

Since I rarely read anything truly suspenseful, this was a departure from my normal reads. However, I found myself so engaged, wanting to know what happened next, and how this would play out, I read this ravenously. (Thank goodness I had no kids that needed dinner or to be transported or just to live 🙂 ) The tiny little pieces here and there gave me the clues I needed to hopefully help the MC’s find the killer in time. (I helped, right?)

One thing that didn’t quite work well for me was the epilogue. It almost seemed to be written after the rest of the book or by a different author. It didn’t quite feel completely true to the characters previous dialogue. Not enough to pull me out of the story, but enough to make me wonder if it was added later as an afterthought. However, I will also say because there was not a ton of interaction between the MC’s throughout the book, it could have been due to that.

Overall, very well done suspense and romantic pairing. I hope to read more from this author as he continues to venture into this genre.

4 pieces of eye candy


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Passion’s Pride by Piper Kay: Cover Reveal, Excerpt (NSFW) and Giveaway

Passion's-Pride-by-Piper-Kay-Cover-Reveal-Banner

 

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To Touch You by Cardeno C. Release Day Review


“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”

By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.

Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.

Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.

Title: To Touch You
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Genre: Gay romance paranormal (shifter/vampire)
Series: Mates (each book is a standalone about a different couple)
ISBN: 9781942184690
ASIN: B072KY67NL
Cover Artist: J.K. Hogan
Release Date: May 4, 2017

Word count: 66,181
Page Count: 260

 

Amazon
Goodreads

 

I have been waiting for another Mates book for probably close to two years now and hot damn was it worth the wait.

Salvatore Rossi is on the fast track with his career. He has no time for friends, family or relationships. Then a chance meeting with a 7 year old boy in an alley in Miancarem sets his life on an entirely different course. His only salvation is choosing the long life of a vampire over the decidedly shorter life of a cancer riddled human.

Yoram Smith is a strong wolf, and he’s known since he was seven years old that he has a true mate out there. He’s even met the man, but as the years go on and Yoram grows into an alpha wolf he begins to wonder if his mate will ever come to him. 27 now, he hasn’t seen his mate in a decade with no signs of the man. He feels like he’s about to come apart at the seams now that he’s the Alpha and he’s being pulled in a million directions with no relief in sight.

Salvatore has made it a point to stay away. He doesn’t do any kind of relationship and he doesn’t understand the “true mate” thing everyone keeps telling him about. What he does know is that the pull to be near Yoram is getting harder to deny. When he can’t take it anymore he makes the trip from Vegas to Miancarem. He doesn’t expect to find his mate about to unravel at the seams. The stress of juggling pack needs with his own needs are wearing him down.

Sal and Yoram will need to work together to get the pack to embrace change and their relationship while learning to trust each other with their own needs.

This book was amazing. When Sal and Yoram were apart my heart was breaking for Yorry. You could feel the despair and hopelessness hop off the page at you. It made me want to throttle Sal for being so damn stubborn. Once they got it together, hot dog the chemistry was off the charts. If this is where the Mates series ends, it was a great story to end with.

“I’ll gladly give up forever to touch you.”

How does your heart not melt?!?

5 pieces of eye candy

Author Website: http://www.cardenoc.com/en/book/to-touch-you

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

Concourse by Santino Hassell: Spotlight Tour and Giveaway

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

Amazon

Riptide Books

 

About the Five Boroughs Universe

New York City—home of soaring skyscrapers, concrete boulevards, and the hopes and dreams of millions. A city where opposites attract and romance is found in unlikely places. From the glittering penthouses of Manhattan to the blue collar neighborhoods of Queens, values get tested, cultures clash, and connections made. Men of diverse backgrounds examine their lives, test their sexual boundaries, and seek success in an unforgiving urban landscape that moves fast and stops for no one. Despite the odds, there’s love to be found in the five boroughs as long as they’re willing to work for it.

Check out the Five Boroughs Universe. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/five-boroughs

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino:

To celebrate the release of Concourse, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6, 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.

Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry book 2) by Avylinn Winter: Release Day Review

When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.

Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.

Seven months later, Adam’s effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isn’t ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabriel’s world.

Despite Adam’s attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adam’s photography teacher—a man who treasures what Gabriel does not.

They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?

Amazon

 

This was my first read by Avylinn Winter. I wanted to read and review because I don’t think that there is enough representation of domestic violence in gay romance- especially in young adult gay romance. And, unfortunately, I didn’t love it. It was *okay*, but it could have been so much more.

The entire tone of the book was rather flat. It was told from only Adam’s point of view, and while there is noting inherently wrong with that, it just didn’t ring completely true for me. Maybe there wasn’t enough build up to the romantic relationship as they were long time friends first. If there was more…pining on Adam’s part. Or showing what great friends they were to each other first, then Adam nearly immediately accepting Gabe’s ultimatum to stay in the closet and the (yes, I am going to say this) date rape would make more sense.

This is subject matter that needs to be spoken about more often. But the story needs to hit deeper.

Pieces of Candy: 2.5

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

I Do or Dye Trying by Aimee Nicole Walker: Release Day Review

Newly engaged Josh Roman and Gabe Wyatt know the road to happily ever after won’t be easy, but the two men are certain their biggest challenges are in the rearview mirror. However, life in Blissville is never what it seems and all signs point to dangerous curves ahead.

Josh and Gabe refuse to take a detour because everything they’ve dreamed of is within reach, not even when professional and personal revelations threaten to wreck their plans. It should be the happiest time in their lives, yet neither man can shake the feeling that something sinister waits around the next corner.

Buckle your seatbelts and hang on for the ride because Josh and Gabe are committed to saying “I do” or die trying.

I Do, or Dye Trying is the fourth book in the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries series. These books need to be read in order as the storyline unravels throughout the series. They contain sexually explicit material and are intended for adults 18 and older.

Amazon

 

What a great wrap up to the series! Admittedly, I felt the first two books were super cute and fluffy. Even with the mystery elements to them. Those things didn’t stop me from enjoying those books though. And while this last installment was still cute and fluffy, it was utterly satisfying.

The whodunit was wrapped up with a why they did it. A baby was born. Even a fairly insignificant crime in a previous book was ‘solved’. Josh’s best friend Chaz finally comes clean about what he has been doing. And it all ended with a wedding…..

There was still quite a bit of sex in the book, but I don’t think as much as previous. At least more fade to black sex scenes I think. Because yes, I do think there can be too many sex scenes filling up a book.

The relationship between Gabe and Josh really matured. I love that Ms. Walker doesn’t fall back on the cliche “get in a stupid fight, break up and wallow, apologize and get back together” thing. They argue and have disagreements like every couple. And sometimes they need to go to their corners to take some time to think, but it is never the over the top break up scenario.

All of our favorites are there. Chaz and Meredith, Adrian and Dr Dimples. All of the secondary players get nice page time without distracting from the main story at all. As in life, their friends just add to the dynamic.

And get ready to laugh when our favorite Dirty Bird gets a friend.

Now that Gabe and Josh have gotten their happily ever after, I am practically salivating waiting for Chaz and Dr Dimples to get their story.

 

Pieces of Candy: 4

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

Risky Behavior by Cari Z & L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Cari Z/L. A. Witt blog tour for Risky Behavior, book 1 of the Bad Behavior series!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one eBook off each author’s backlist (excluding Risky Behavior) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.

Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.

As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

 

Risky Behavior is the beginning of a new series by the prolific L.A. Witt and Cari Z. And from what I saw on Riptide’s website, book 2 in the series is a continuation of the story of Darren and Andreas. Thank goodness!!! Because I feel like I only got a small taste of what their relationship will be like.

These two men did not come together easily or quickly. It was a slow burn. Trust was not easily earned for Darren with Andreas. Andreas was an a-hole (which I think the character readily admits). He’s never had a partner who wouldn’t put up with his lack of information or difficulty in getting along. Darren, however, didn’t let it go. He would ask questions, again and again, if needed, to get the full information. And that would be the only type of person Andreas would trust, not only with his back as a partner, but with a potential relationship. Darren stepped right up, pushing right back at Andreas, the perfect foil.

The action and suspense in this book was non-stop, lots of twists and turns, as they tried to take down a huge drug cartel in town, which involves people at all levels. I always enjoy books that have more than just a romance in them. Intrigue, suspense, and the occasional shooting does not go awry, if there is romance and an HEA or HFN on the last page, and this book did not disappoint.

Risky Behavior ends on an HFN note, with much more to come in Book 2, as we see these two men continue to team up to take down the bad guys, as well as team up in the bedroom. (Which, btw, Darren surprises everyone, including Andreas in the bedroom. 🙂 )

This was well done, with seamless co-authoring, which isn’t always easy to do. I can’t wait to see what is ahead for these guys.

4.5 pieces of eye candy.

 

About Cari Z

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/

About L.A. Witt

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 . . .

L. A.’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 Risky Behavior, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from each Cari and Lori’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6, 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.

A Worthy Man by Jaime Reese: Release Blitz with Excerpt and Teasers

Series: The Men of Halfway House #5
Author: Jaime Reese
Genre: M/M Romance
Release: May 2, 2017
Photographer: Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography

A story of two men and the boundless love that forever changed them. 

Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.


* Although part of a series, this full-length novel can be read as a stand-alone. *Word count: 124K

Vann grew silent again, rubbing his thumb along Drayton’s hand. “I’m tired of life kicking my ass all the time.”

“Then maybe it’s time you kicked back.”

“Um, I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of shit that would land me back in that hell.” He patted their clasped hands with his free one. “You’re supposed to be the smart one in this relationship.”

Drayton chuckled, thankful the teasing side of Vann was still present. “What I mean is…don’t let this shit hit its mark. You’re not this tough guy everyone thinks you are.”

“You’re supposed to tell me how badass I am and how you’ve been fantasizing about me every night.”

Drayton threw his head back and laughed.

“I missed hearing your laugh all those years,” Vann whispered.

He sighed as he tilted his head toward Vann. “I need you to listen to me. Okay?”

Vann nodded, staring at their clasped hands.

“You’ve got a good heart, and I’ve learned that’s both a strength and a weakness. It’s the reason you are the most caring man I know, but also the reason you feel this pain so much.”

“You’re getting better at this whole reading people thing.” Vann tilted his face toward him, his eyes pleading as if making an effort to absorb his message. “I’m not the same guy I used to be.”

“You’re still my Vann.” Drayton reached out, placing his palm against Vann’s chest. “In here.”

“I feel as if I take one step forward then get kicked ten steps backward.” Vann softly thumped the back of his head against the wall, another tic that seemed to linger after all these years.

“You’re a fighter.”

“That’s what Four Finger Fred said.”

“Who?”

“Never mind,” Vann mumbled.

“You’re not a quitter, so don’t you dare start now. You always find a way to make things work.” Drayton quieted, hoping to convey every ounce of love he felt for the man staring back at him. “That relentless fighter, he’s the guy I fell in love with when I was a kid and he’s the guy who had the strength to pull through the last ten years. And he’s the guy staring back at me right now. Who I love. Back then, now, and always.”

“You’re a romantic fucker,” he said with a weak chuckle. Vann ghosted his fingers along Drayton’s jaw, his focus following his fingers as they traveled down his neck. Drayton’s chest tightened when Vann looked up and gave him a lopsided grin—one that bore a hint of youthful innocence Drayton hadn’t seen in so long. “I’m supposed to be the strong one, standing guard while you change the world. Now…I just feel so fucking lost.”

Drayton leaned in and pressed a kiss to Vann’s lips. “You and me, we’re a team. Don’t ever forget that. I’ll stand guard for you until you find your footing again.”

Vann wrapped his arms around Drayton’s shoulders and held him close. “Thank you.”

He slid his arms around Vann and sighed. He stroked the back of Vann’s hair and hoped his message had been received, and that his words had enough power to cast out the evil demons trying to imprison Vann’s spirit.
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.

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

Linchpin by Jodi Payne: Exclusive Author Interview and Release Day Review

He’s sent in to clean up and is left with one very hot mess.

Randall Quinn has been a cleaner for the mob for over ten years, but a particularly violent scene sets him to drinking alone and contemplating his options.

At thirty-nine, it’s possible this is just a mid-life crisis so he tries buying himself a flashy car to satisfy the itch, and agrees to take another job to test his conviction.

He’s expecting easy money when he arrives at a seedy motel to clean up after what the Boss told him was supposed to have been a simple execution.

But what he discovers in that motel room is anything but simple, and from that moment on, every decision he makes for himself makes his life more and more complicated.

General Release Date: 2nd May 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78651-569-8 Date: 4th April 2017
Pairing: MM Book Length: Novella
Genre: Gay, Erotic Romance, Contemporary

Amazon

Why Romantic Suspense?

Largely because I hadn’t done one before. I do love my alpha men, the ones that always take charge in the bedroom. I really like the idea of the alpha that has all the right qualities in bed, but sometimes – outside the bedroom – he’s got the swagger but doesn’t always have the cred to back it up. I got a chuckle out of the idea of a really confident, experienced mobster going in to dispose of a body and finding the “body” wasn’t dead and gets completely flustered by it. I couldn’t resist the humor in that, and I brought a lot of it to the story.

Why short form?

I love short stories and novellas. I love how we get dropped into the middle of something, have to get up to speed quickly and the story moves along with a purpose. There isn’t room for much that isn’t directly related to the drama and romance at hand, so a novella length romantic suspense means that the story starts in the middle of a situation and it never has the luxury of slowing down. The ball starts rolling and it just gains speed, gathering up all the issues as it barrels toward the HEA.

What kind of research did you have to do?

For this one I did all kinds of crazy research. I needed to learn about the newest model BMWs, how a Beretta works, whether it was possible to put a 1990s era pick up truck into four-wheel drive on the fly. I needed to understand the difference between a mob cleaner and a fixer, and they are not the same thing. I needed to learn about really old farm houses and how their storm windows used to work. I researched crazy, random things that leant the book authenticity. It’s one of my favorite things about writing – everything you can learn along the way when you challenge yourself to try something new or different.

How do you set yourself up to make sure you capture all the issues?

This was the hardest part of writing the story for me. For starters, I usually have a rough point-a-to-point-b sort of plan in my head when I write but I don’t usually plot everything out in advance. That was rookie mistake #1. Rookie mistake #2 was knowing I wanted a particular twist toward the end and merrily writing away, not realizing that I had actually lied to the reader, though innocently and by accident, not once, but twice early on in the story. It wasn’t too difficult a fix once I hit on how, but it nearly scuttled the project for me because as a reader I cannot abide being lied to in order to be set up for a later shocker. The tells can be subtle and few, but there need to be tells. I need to be able to go back in the book thinking, “but he said…” and discover than no, he didn’t say that, he said something else that was similar and easily misconstrued. That kind of thing. It’s much harder than I expected it to be and I am glad I chose to try a “romance with suspense” style novella first, before diving into a full-length novel. This rookie has much respect for the “suspense with some romance” style authors out there. It’s requires being able to hold a lot of balls in the air at once and it’s not easy.

Who designed your fabulous website?

I’m so glad you asked. It is fabulous! Visit jodipayne.net and find out!

Jennifer
So, Quinn is a bad guy… Used to be a legal, forensic, clean up guy but made a lot more money doing it for the mob. Being in it for ten years, he was ready to get out, retire. Unfortunately, you don’t just retire from the mob and Quinn knew that… Still, another day on the job, he’s there to clean up a room with a body, except…. The body is very much alive… Having no choice but to kidnap him, per mob boss orders… he takes him to his house and hides out…

Now, Tony doesn’t know who would be after him or who would want him dead, but he doesn’t put up much of a fight to get away from Quinn.. I guess we know why after a night together has them hookin up…. And it’s hot, y’all… it’s really hot. I mean, it’s not your typical romance, that’s for sure… but still… it is….

But then, all you think you know… you don’t know and it flips ya on your head. I was like… whaaaaaat?
I mean, it’s a short read with lots of action and a lot more “action”… but by the end, you’re really rooting for the bad guys… Who knew?

4 pieces of eye candy

Jodi spent many years in the theater in New York and San Francisco presenting classical playwrights such as Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw for large audiences, and more edgy Fringe work in tiny black-box theaters. From these masters, she learned to appreciate and explore the humanity in her characters, and writes believable men with real flaws and strengths, living relatable lives. Her men are imperfect but genuine, strong-willed but likeable; they are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the way to happy ever after.

When writing, Jodi is frequently found wearing a scarf and sock monkey fingerless gloves in the winter, and near the sand with a view of the ocean in the summer. When she’s not writing, Jodi mentors LGBTQ youth, enjoys movies, cop-dramas, attending Broadway shows and will drop everything for live music. She has an eclectic taste in everything from music and books, to movies, to people. Jodi lives and writes near New York City with her wife and family, which includes an enormous polydactyl cat.

Email: jodipaynewrites@gmail.com

Website: https://jodipayne.net

Blog: https://jodipayne.net/blog-2/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/payne.jodi

FB Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodiPayne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jodipayne1800/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jodi-payne/

 

 

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

Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway


Is this the makeover of a lifetime?
Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.
Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.
Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Dreamspinner Press

Also available:

Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London

 

This is my second Dreamspun Desires title, and continues the “Romancing the…” theme. You can see the fab little logo that Bree Archer designed for me!

This is a contemporary romance, with lots of humour, romance and sexiness, set in both London – my home city – and the remote Scottish island of North Uist. The contrast is extreme! And that’s reflected in the shock poor Perry Goodwood feels when he’s sent from his smart media city setting to the bleak wilds of the Highlands. To say nothing of meeting the grumpy, reclusive – but handsome – crofter Greg Ventura. Much fun, culture shock, misunderstanding, and soul-searching ensues, on the peat-boggy road to a HEA.

Today Romancing the Ugly Duckling goes on pre-order, in both paperback and ebook. It’s very exciting for me, and hopefully will brighten up a reader’s day too. I hope you enjoy this post, the cover reveal, and my celebratory Giveaway today.


After the meal, they settled in the living room again. Greg poured himself a glass of what he introduced as his homemade wine, but Perry politely declined a glass for himself. He couldn’t recall any decent wine he’d ever drunk being that particular shade of purple. He was definitely making a mental shopping list for when he could find somewhere civilized, and gin and tonic would come several steps above couscous on that.
Greg picked up a book and started reading. Perry waited a while—after deciding against asking what they could watch on the miniscule TV in the corner of the living room, with obvious dust settling on the controls—then coughed to get Greg’s attention. “Where do you need me tomorrow?”
Greg peered at him over the book. “What are you talking about?”
“Working together, remember? Um. What exactly do you do, apart from painting?”
Greg’s look was possibly sly, but that could have been due to the waning light outside the cottage.
“Sometimes I work in the Sea Bird restaurant.”
Perry thought he remembered seeing a sign to that place on his journey here in Dougie’s car. The building itself had been very small, more like a tea room, with a single light on in the front porch, and it didn’t look very open for business. But he’d go with the flow. “Are you a chef?”
Greg laughed. He seemed more relaxed tonight. “No, I think you’ve realized my cooking skills aren’t the best. And it’s not really big enough for a chef and full kitchen staff. I mean, it wouldn’t meet your London standards.”
“That has nothing to do with anything.”
“What?”
“My London… standards, experience, whatever you want to call it. I’m in Uist now, and I want to know what you do here.”
Greg was looking at him oddly. Was he, Perry, coming across as too bossy? God, this man was impossible to gauge properly.
“It’s more of a large dining room where friends can hang out.” Greg still sounded reasonably relaxed. “It’s owned by a couple of elderly sisters who are marvelous cooks, and we sometimes hire it out for a celebration. We’re not big on dinner parties here, you can imagine. I help out with serving when it’s busy. But mainly I provide the fish dishes, especially scallops.”
“You’re a fisherman?”
Greg nodded slowly, his gaze still on Perry. “Yes, you could say that. I’m a diver. I dive for scallops.”
“Can’t you just… I don’t know.” Buy them in a shop? “Don’t they have official suppliers?”
Greg frowned. “Hand-collected scallops are better. The sweeter ones are chosen, and the dish is more precious. Haven’t you ever tasted the difference?”
It pained Perry to admit weakness, but he did. “I’ve never had scallops in my life.”
Greg’s eyes narrowed. “I thought you lived in the center of the sophisticated city?”
“We can’t all afford posh restaurants,” Perry snapped back, then blushed at—yet again—having to admit shortcoming.
“Oh.” Greg blinked. “Well, you’ll see them in the raw when you come out in the boat tomorrow with me.”
“When I…? Tomorrow…? Boat?”
Greg smiled slowly. “Yes. The weather should be fine, so I’m driving west past Lochmaddy to one of my favorite coastal seawater lochs. I’ll pack some provisions so we can eat lunch there. You can help carry the equipment, then collect the scallops into boxes and keep watch for me.”
“We… I….” Perry was struggling for words. Worse, Greg seemed to realize it and find it highly amusing. “I’ve never been in one.”
“One what?”
“Boat. I’ve never been in a boat. Well, until the ferry two days ago.”
Greg nodded, also slowly. “That’s fine. You can stay here if you want.”
“No!” Perry’s cry was instinctive. Did this brute of a bloke think he, Perry, was a lightweight? “I will not! We made a deal.”
“Okay. Well, I hope Bridie brought a selection of decent waterproofs as well as your day clothes, because you’ll need them.”
“You said the weather should be fine….”
“Just in case,” Greg said ominously. He concentrated back on his book.
Perry sat silently for a long moment. In fact, everything was silent, inside the cottage and out, apart from the occasional call from a bird, and Greg turning a page. Perry wasn’t used to such quiet. Nor was he used to living in close quarters with a man who barely tolerated him, and actually wanted him to get lost. There was a small pile of paperbacks on the table beside Greg’s armchair, and Perry picked one up. He also wasn’t used to reading anthologies of horror stories, his preference being for romantic comedies and the occasional biography—but he supposed there was always a first time. Opening it to the first chapter, he bit back a sigh. At least he’d won this stage of the battle with Greg Ventura, and he had more time to convince him about the TV project.
But thinking about the trip out onto a likely freezing Scottish loch tomorrow, he wasn’t sure whether the price would be too much to pay.

 

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

 

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:
Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk
Blog: www.clarelondon.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts

Romancing the Ugly Duckling is based on the culture shock of town meeting country. What’s your favourite – the busy, lively bustle of city life or the quiet, picturesque calm of the countryside? Would you move to one or the other, given the chance?

I’m offering a $10 Amazon giftcard for one lucky commenter who shares with us the kind of setting they like best, and the reason why!

 

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