In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott: Release Day Review with Giveaway

A Stories From the Shore Book

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories From the Shore: Book Two
Author: CJane Elliott
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 192

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I haven’t read a lot of second chance love books. That’s likely due to what my friends describe as my loving I read “puppies pooping rainbows”…the fact that I hate the heartbreak that comes before a second chance romance, and the hurt that is palpable as the two MCs begin to reconnect on their way back to their HEA. However for some reason this one caught my eye and I had to go for it. (Maybe it was the cover. I’m a Pisces so I love water.)

This story centers around two men who were incredibly in love, until one day when one almost lost the other and felt he couldn’t be the man of his dreams. 

Anthony was flamboyant, a party man, a man who always was up for a one night stand but never again would he fall in love. Until he sees Walter again, in a different environment and under circumstances that they both wouldn’t have considered a possibility in their previous lives. Anthony represented himself as exactly who he wanted to be and made no apologies for himself. 

Walter made a complete transition from the geeky scientist life to a businessman in a beach town that loved and appreciated all he did in the community. 

When they finally reconnected they couldn’t stay apart despite both their best intentions. They were drawn back together, similar to the sand and the sea. 

I loved that even as they decided to begin a life together not everything was instantly solved. They had issues, both emotional as well as the physicality of living in different states and different lives. Walter had no desire to return to Boston, yet he was willing to do what Anthony needed so they could both find happiness together. 

Not having read book 1, there were a few things that didn’t quite click for me at first but I definitely didn’t feel lost jumping in here. 

I’d love to read more in this series, if the author writes it. But then again I’d want it to be by the sea again. Hint hint. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

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The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown: Release Day Review with Giveaway

The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole.

Title: The Fireman’s Pole
Author: Sue Brown
Release Date: October 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 220

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I just love the Dreamspun Desires series. Every time I read one, I go away happy. Sue Brown‘s The Fireman’s Pole is no exception, in fact this is one I will definitely read again.

So much dichotomy going on with Ben and Dale, and it made for a fun book to read.

With Ben, it was interesting how people liked him, yet he really had no clue. He often left events early, or tried to stay away, not realizing that people actually appreciated him as a person, and not just as “lord of the manor”.

Meanwhile, Dale, when he meets Ben, has some issues with trying to not look like an incompetent. Once he establishes himself though, and begins a relationship with Ben, his dominant side comes out, and Ben is putting in his hands. He didn’t care that Ben was a baron. He cared that he wanted Ben, and Ben wanted him right back.

There was some mystery added in, for extra spice, but not anything that was too tough to figure out. I loved some of the funny parts (the May Pole incident was so funny, and poor Dale never seemed to live it down). And a few parts that tore your heartstrings up a bit. All in all, just and enjoyable read.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Gummy Bears & Grenades by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley can’t wait to marry his fiancé, Team Leader Sloane Brodie, but first he’s looking forward to celebrating his bachelor party—which he intends to be a shenanigans-free evening of getting his groove on with family and friends.

Of course events don’t work out as planned, but for Dex that’s nothing new. One thing is for sure, dodging drug dealers and hired thugs amid booze, dancing—and even a bear costume—will guarantee it’s a night Dex will never forget. Now he just needs to survive all the fun.

Enjoy this bonus story from the THIRDS universe. These events occur between Darkest Hour Before Dawn and Tried & True in the series timeline. While reading this story would enhance your experience of the THIRDS series, it is not essential to read before Tried & True.

Title: Gummy Bears & Grenades
Series: THIRDS: Book 10
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense; Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 102

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I’ve been on this enjoyable ride within the THIRDS world, and have winced, cried, worried and laughed right along with the characters. This book though, was just a fun read (okay, especially the bear costume…because Dex and a bear costume…that has got to be nothing but fun). I enjoyed every second of this one.  Anyone who is a fan of the THIRDS universe, and especially Dex and Sloane couldn’t do anything but take a few hours out to read the hilarity that a bachelor party for Dex would bring.

There were no big explosions, no one getting shot, and no one was kidnapped, and that made it all just fine. These men need to have some fun and happy times too. And when they get the chance to do that, they go all out. With some glimpses of future books peeking out at the reader, you definitely want to savor this one, knowing it will prep you for what is sure to be a wild ride in the next book.

Recommend all the fun of this one.

4 pieces of eye candy

 


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Cover Up by L.A. Witt: Release Day Review

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

Third installment of L.A. Witt’s Skin Deep romance series, COVER UP is a story of passion, pleasure, and happily ever after.

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I really enjoyed this book. Although it is part of a series, I didn’t read the first or second (but I want to now!) and that didn’t hinder my reading experience or the story line.

A lot of times books are one main character or the other unwilling to get into a relationship. For a myriad of reasons. This time it was BOTH main characters who weren’t looking for anything serious. But it snuck up on them and found them anyway.

Instead of one guy chipping away at the proverbial wall around the other’s heart, they are both content to continue as they are. Until they both realize that there is way more to what is happening than a convenient hook up. They enjoy each other, spending time together, hanging out together. Neither was pushing the other away in fear. It was refreshing.

They were romantic without meaning to be and sexy as hell. There is a lot of sex in this book. A LOT. But it wasn’t repetitive or boring.

Naturally there comes conflict. But the conflict was so….mature. Not a big dramatic fight. No giant misunderstanding. It was really well thought out and well written.

A good read that I would absolutely recommend. Both main characters are just so, normal, I guess. But that isn’t a great word for them. One works three jobs to pay the bills, the other is recently divorced. That is life. People have things going on. I appreciate that in a book.

4 pieces of eye candy

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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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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

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Website (www.jleighbailey.net )

 

 

 

 

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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

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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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