Who We Are by Nicola Haken: Blog Tour, Reviews, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Who We Are
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 13, 2017

synopsis

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

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Angie at Wicked Reads ~ “Very heartwarming story, the banter between these guys is so sweet. I can’t say enough about this book to do it justice, just read it, you will love it.”

Beverly at Southern Babes Book Blog ~ “Sebastian and Oliver’s story is beautiful and heartbreaking… These two amazing men are trying to figure out who they really are and together they figure out that they can do anything.”

Jodi at Alpha Book Club ~ “Oliver’s story will make you cry and stand up and cheer for how strong of a human being he is… Loved this story and would recommend to anyone.”

MJ at Alixzia Reading Corner ~ “I ache and bleed with this book for every page turned! Highly recommend!”

Deanna at Two Chicks Obsessed ~ “This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.”

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excerpt
Who We Are
Copyright © Nicola Haken 2017
~ Sebastian~
I WAS JUMPING down from my cab after arriving back from my last drop of the day when my life almost ended. Okay, so maybe I was known for being a tad on the dramatic side, but when Benny – my oldest friend and biggest pain in my arse -jumped out from behind my trailer, I almost choked on my fucking heart.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered, breathless from the fright. “How the hell did you get in the yard?”
I’d been a heavy goods driver for thirteen years, working here at Patterson Haulage Ltd. for three of those – long enough to know they didn’t let pedestrians wander in off the streets to play hide and seek behind the lorries. Transport was in my genes, I guess. My dad had been a trucker all his life, and he met my mum at work – she worked as a clerk in the office. I never wanted to do anything else. I walked straight into my first warehouse job fresh out of school and stayed there until I was old enough to train for my Class 1 licence and could go out on the road. I loved my job.
“That old lady with the bright orange face let me in. Told her I needed to talk to you about Scott.”
“Scott?” Slamming the door to my cab closed, I fished my phone from the pocket of my Hi-Vis jacket and scanned the screen for missed calls. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Well, he likes Eminem, but hopefully he’ll grow out of that.”

 

“What?” Narrowing my eyes in confusion, I stared at Benny who looked to be admiring his thumbnail. 
“Nothing’s wrong with him. I just knew they’d let me come see your truck if I played the kid card.”
Rolling my eyes, I huffed as I turned and re-opened my cab door. Climbing the steps, I leaned inside to grab my holdall and tacho card before hopping back down. “You’ve seen a wagon before. You shouldn’t use Scott like that. There could be a real emergency one day.”
“And if there is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the one anyone’d call about it,” he said, his tone amused as he ran his finger along the curtain of my trailer. “This needs a wash.”
“You offering?” I asked as I locked up the cab and started walking towards the transport office. I found it highly doubtful as I turned my head to the side and eyed up his leather coat, and beige turtleneck that no doubt he’d paid upwards of a hundred pounds for. Benny worked in recruitment. In other words, companies paid him far too much money to find them suitable candidates for their businesses, money which he wasted on overpriced shit he didn’t need. “Or did you come here for another reason?”
“I came because, as you know, it’s my birthday on Friday. The big three-four. I want y…” Pausing mid word, Benny spun on his heels. “Holy hot ginger.”
I didn’t need to turn around to know he’d spotted Rod, seeing as he was the only red-headed bloke who worked at this depot. “Christ, Benny. Keep it down. I have to work with these guys.”
“Chill out. The fact you’re mates with a gay guy won’t give away the big secret that you like cookies and ice cream.”
“It’s not a secret,” I snapped. Or maybe it was, given that I’d never told anyone I worked with that I was bisexual. My last two relationships had been with women, and ‘passing’ as straight was simply…easier. I was a copout and a liar but I was tired of explaining, defending myself.
There are a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality and I’d encountered most of them during my twenties. Now, at thirty-four, I was kind of exhausted with it all. I wanted to fall in love and create a future with another person as much as anyone, but I’d given up on the idea a while ago. Relationships, for me, whether with a man or a woman, seemed to consist of me justifying myself, reassuring my partner, or hiding – as Benny would say – the cookies or ice cream part of my sexuality.
I couldn’t just be me.

 

wasn’t good enough.
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t want to sleep with everybody, and there weren’t twice as many fish in the sea, because most fish thought I was confused, greedy, unfaithful, trying to be trendy, or afraid to admit I was gay. The last one confused me the most. The number of people who believed bisexuality was a temporary label used to ease the transition to gaytown would never cease to amaze me. It happened, sure, but there were a hell of a lot of bisexuals claiming to be gay, or straight, for no other reason than they couldn’t face the stigma attached to it, too.
I was simply attracted to people. I got turned on by the way someone carried themselves, by their confidence, or even shyness. I felt the same stir in my cock and pull of excitement in my chest when I saw the rugged grooves of a man’s chest as I did the silky curves of a woman’s hips. People are beautiful. I couldn’t help it. It’s just the way I was made.
Thankfully, many people realised these days that being gay or straight wasn’t a choice. Unfortunately, some of these same people believed bisexuals were capable of making a choice, and that they should. Well, I tried that when I was a teenager. I tried to pick a side, to ‘fit’ in somewhere.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work out too well.
“Just tell me what you came for,” I added to Benny, pushing open the swinging door that led to the warehouse which, in turn, led to the office.
“Do you have Scott this weekend?”
“No. Lisa’s taking him to see Jenny’s parents in Cornwall. Why?”
“Great! You’re coming to the village for my birthday.”

 

Ugh. “Ah, you know it’s not really my scene.” I had my reasons for not frequenting the village, unlike Benny who spent so much time there it could be considered his second home. Besides, after a day on the road my idea of a good time was Netflix and a takeaway. 
“Yes, Mr Misery, I know having fun isn’t usually on your To Do list but it’s my birthday and you’ll hurt my feelings if you say no.”
We’d reached the office now and I handed my keys over to June through the window partition while raising a sceptical eyebrow at Benny. “Fine,” I said. “But as soon as you’re too drunk to notice whether I’m there or not I’m leaving.”
“I love you.” He turned to June who looked rather amused by my dickhead friend. “I love him, you know.”
“Knock it off, moron,” I said, ramming my shoulder into his.
“Watch the jacket!” he shrieked as he rubbed at the tan leather that made him look like a seventies pimp. “You’re covered in dirt and smell like oil.”
“Please excuse my friend, June. They don’t usually let him out unattended.”
“Don’t mind me, lovey. I’ve seen all sorts in my time.”
I risked a glance at Benny, whose mouth had dropped ever so slightly open. For a man who wasn’t easily offended, the image was priceless.
“You’re on the Midlands run tomorrow, lovey,” June added as she tapped on her keyboard.
Nodding, I told her I’d see her in the morning, swung my holdall over my shoulder and started making my way to the car park, all the while trying not to laugh at Benny’s reaction.
“Did she seriously refer to me as an all sort?” he muttered under his breath when we neared my car. I knew he wouldn’t let it go so easily. “Clearly, out of the all sorts she’s met none of them have been make-up artists.”
“Stop it,” I said, snorting as I clicked open the central locking on my matte black Ford Galaxy. “June’s lovely. A little old-fashioned, but harmless.”
“I’m sure. It just wouldn’t hurt for her to go down a shade or twelve in the foundation department is all I’m saying.”
Opening the rear door, I tossed my bag onto the back seat. “Have you finished being a bitch?”
“God, I hope not.”
Removing my thick, Hi-Vis jacket, I threw that on top of my bag, revealing my dark green uniform polo shirt, before closing the door and getting into the driver’s seat. “Is that all you wanted? You could’ve called or text.”
Benny leaned against my open door, hand on hip. “Told you, I wanted to see your big truck.” He winked at me.
I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, or at least keep a disinterested expression, but I couldn’t help chuckle at him.
“I was in the area, and besides, you’d have said no without my pretty face to seduce you.”

 

Probably. 
“And hey, if you want to bring a plus one your red-haired co-worker is more than welcome.”
Shooing him away from the door, I pulled it closed and brought the engine to life before rolling down the electric window. “Let me know when and where during the week,” I said, dismissing the idea of inviting Rod. He’d only been here for three months and I didn’t know the guy well, but the fact he had a wife and three kids told me Rod wouldn’t be interested in the kind of socialising Benny had in mind for him.
“Will do,” he said, tapping the roof of my car before backing away. “Don’t forget I have expensive taste!”
Shaking my head, I bit my lip to suppress the grin that wanted to escape as I reversed out of my space. I already had his present – a bottle of Dior aftershave, same as every year. It was the only thing I knew the fussy bastard wouldn’t return in exchange for store credit.

 

deanna review

I’ve read some of Nicola Haken before and as usual she ripped my heart out of my chest again. In the best way possible. (There’s a compliment in there somewhere.)

Oliver Clayton put his life on hold 10 years ago to raise his little brother after his mother died of leukemia. He works in a hair salon by day and a drag bar by night to make ends meet.

Sebastian Day is a truck driver. He lives alone with his cat Marv and spends weekends with his son, who he’s raising with his best friend and her wife.

The two meet at a bar and exchange numbers. Both of them will need to come out of their comfort zones if they want to see where this goes. Oliver us so used to living for his brother and Sebastian isn’t really living at all, instead choosing to spend down time at home with his cat.

After several weeks of dating things start to get serious. They introduce their families and start planning for the future. When a health scare puts Oliver’s plans on hold Sebastian will need to hold on tight and anchor Oliver to the life they have started creating together. With support from Seb’s friend Benny and Oliver’s friend Rhys, Sebastian and Oliver can’t look anywhere but forward, together.

I’m not sure where to begin. Even knowing Nicola’s writing, when she hit me with the plot twist I was left stunned. I felt like Seb and Oliver had climbed to the top of the mountain together and she just drop kicked Oliver all the way back to the start of the trail. I cried all over myself while he climbed back up, she totally made up for it. The ending was perfection.

The speed of the story was perfect and it was in no way predictable. She shocked my socks off a few times. The characters were lovable and relatable.

I really would like a sequel that tells Rhys and Benny’s story but I’m so afraid of what she will do to them to give them their happily ever after. In order to live up to this book she’s going to have to hit one with a car or something equally shocking and horrific.

This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.

5 pieces of eye candy

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erin

Whenever Ms Haken has a new release- I MUST HAVE IT! First the Souls of the Knight trilogy, which was so good. Plus, rock stars. But then she branched out a bit in her next 2 books. Both of them both broke my heart but left me happy. And she did it again.

When I first started reading this book I thought “hmm, maybe this will just be a nice love story romance and she won’t rip the heart right out of my chest and stomp on it”. HA! She did. And I am totally ok with that. Because her writing is so great that you have to feel deeply for her characters. They climb into you and won’t let go.

Oliver is a hair stylist just barely making ends meet while raising his brother. One night a week he goes out and performs as Miss Tique- his drag persona. And although he is in drag, he does it with his beard. And sings his own songs. I loved her.

Sebastian is a single dad, co-parenting with his best friend. And one night he runs into Oliver. Or Oliver runs into him. And he is smitten. The purple lipstick mesmerized him.

They begin to date, slowly. Each hiding the secret of the teenager at home. And while Sebastian is ready to go all in, Oliver isn’t. But fate has a different idea.

Even with everything life throws at them, they have a good slow romance burn. Both teenagers play heavily into the storyline which was nice because they really were integral to the story.

I don’t want to tell you too much about what happens. Because I really want you to read this book. Have tissues handy, but you will also smile and laugh and swoon.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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teaser
meet the author

Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media!

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…



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Hacked Up by Ethan Stone: Quick Review with Giveaway

Hacked Up_Ethan Stone 1600X2500 copysynopsisSeattle is being plagued by a string of gruesome murders. For Detective Peter Tao, it’s a career-making case, but he’s struggling to find a lead. How is the killer choosing his victims? What is he trying to prove?

With a long list of suspects and nothing to connect them, Peter is more determined than ever to apprehend the murderer. Then Peter gets the one vital piece of evidence that ties everything together. Now he’ll have to look beyond the obvious to identify the killer before anyone else is murdered.

Solve the mystery in this fast-moving crime thriller by Ethan Stone.

Title: Hacked Up

Author: Ethan Stone

Publisher: Stone Publishing

Release Date: Feb 6, 2017

 

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deanna review

Ethan Stone is a new author for me and I was really looking for something different than the normal contemporary romance I’ve been reading lately. This book definitely hit the mark, from the first page I was sucked in. So much so, that I woke up at 3 am to read the last half of the book.

Detective Peter Tao and his partner Detective Jamey Nolan pick up a homicide case where the male victim was stabbed in the neck and after he died his genitals were cut off. It takes two victims for the detectives to link the crimes back to the hack of Ashley Madison by the hacker group Anonymous. I don’t want to get into too much detail and give anything away.

I will say there is a small romantic story line but it in no way overshadows the other plot line and really complements the story.

The plot moves at a steady pace with numerous twists and turns. The story was well thought out and well executed. It was incredibly entertaining and I couldn’t find any plot holes or anything I would have changed. The characters were very well developed, the backstories were full of rich detail.

This book was the perfect detour from my normal contemporary read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more by Ethan Stone.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Romance on the Edge

Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.

Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.

He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.

Readers can find Ethan online.

www.ethanjstone.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ethan.stone.54

Twitter: @ethanjstone

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ethanjstone/

Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/ethanstone

Email: ethanstone.nv@gmail.com

His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books

 

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Imago by N.R. Walker: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Imago 400x600

synopsis

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bow ties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bow ties, and butterflies.

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jennifer

First, let’s take note of how cute this cover is. I mean, I’m not a fan of butterflies… I’ll actually be honest and say that I’m downright terrified of them. Have you seen their bodies with the long antenna’s and their wings with the voodoo looking faces on the back? And I’m pretty sure they can smell fear, because I was once chased around the outside of my dad’s house a few years ago by a giant, green and yellow one. I’ve never recovered….. Still… I picked this book because 1: The cover and 2: I’ve yet to read a book by this author that I didn’t love.

 
This one was no different. Let’s talk about why…

 
Lawson Gale is on his way to an important interview, in which he’d flown into town to attend when the car renter lady informs him that they didn’t have a rental for him. Already disgruntled from the plane and running a bit late, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.

 
Jack Brighton has witnessed a couple reasons why Lawson would be so flustered and overhears him at the rental car counter. He offers him a ride to the museum, since he’s going that way and Lawson, eventually accepts. Lawson is adorable and shy and sweet and classified as a genius, so his social skills, he thinks are lacking. I, personally think that he’s charming. So does Jack. The way he talks, the way he blushes, his cluelessness about how attractive he is.. and of course, his adorable bow-tie. What’s not to adore?

 
The chemistry between these two charming men, is palpable. Their first date was light but impressive and it felt so genuine. Not like so many dates, now days where it’s like… “Let’s go get drunk and hook up”… No, Jack was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was polite and charismatic, subtle and just…charming… I can’t say that enough about both of them… They both charmed me, from the very beginning.

 
So, Lawson was in town, trying to find a new species of butterfly that a former butterfly enthusiast had seen many decades ago. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the proper equipment to record his findings and despite the last many years, trying to find them again, he was unable to. Now, too old and not able bodied enough to trek around searching and researching, he passed the task off to, Lawson because Lawson was much like himself. He done the work because of a passion for it, not because he wanted credit on a great find or because he wanted to be famous. It was his life’s work and he took pride in it. Mr. Tillman (former butterfly enthusiast) respected Lawson because of it and needed it to be him to get the job done.

 
In the meantime, Jack used the time that Lawson was in town, to woo him- and woo him he did. Their dates were perfect. It was old-school courting type dating and it was respectable and genuine and sweet…Until it got hot and heavy, then little genius, Lawson had himself a dirty mouth lol, it was incredibly endearing. Each of the men also found that because they had such a great deal in common, it wasn’t like the men that they’d both dated before. They each knew how important their jobs were, Lawson especially had a problem with that, because “someone who chases butterflies” might not be taken very seriously. But it was indeed an important job and I loved that Jack saw that… so did Lawson.

 
I could seriously wax on about this story all day, but I’ll save you all from my gushing and spoiling. If you’re a fan of this author at all, you’ll know not to pass it up. It’s sweet and adorable and you’ll love the banter and chemistry between these two men.

 
Easy 5 stars from me!
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Where to find N.R. Walker

Amazon Page

Website

Facebook

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Email:

nrwalker2103@gmail.com

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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.

Cross My Heart by Catt Ford: Release Day Review plus Giveaway

CrossMyHeartFS_v1synopsisDo you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the dwarfs, to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.

Title: Cross My Heart
Author: Catt Ford
Release Date: February 20, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 220

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morgan review

What a fantastic story about two people finding love when they never thought they would. The author makes you fall in love with these characters from the first page and long for their happy ending. Lana is such a wonderful person who just wants to be accepted for who she is without judgement. Daniel spots her and decides he HAS to have her and the chase is on. The things he goes through to win her affection made me laugh and tear up and fall in love with him. He was sincere and such a good person who has a rough past he is working to overcome. Both Lana and Daniel have secrets they are scared to share with each other and these two have to work hard to get their HEA and I enjoyed every minute of their story.

The secondary characters are well developed and I felt like I got to know them as well as the MC’s. The ‘Dwarfs’ were funny and irritating and sweet all rolled into one and the love they had for Lana was unconditional. They did a great job making this story as amazing as it was.

This was the first book I have read by Catt Ford and I’m really glad I got to check it out. I was not disappointed. This story gets 5 pieces of eye candy from me and I definitely recommend.

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The Alpha King by Victoria Sue: Quick Review includes Giveaway

The Alpha King Book CoversynopsisThe Kingdom of Askara has been torn apart by conflict for centuries, where humans exist as subservient beings to their werewolf masters. Legend says it will only be able to heal itself when an Alpha King and a pure omega are mated and crowned together, but a pure omega hasn’t been born in over a thousand years.
Luca is an Alpha-heir eagerly awaiting the choosing ceremony on his twenty-fifth birthday and the gifts granted by whichever omega he mates. His small pack is destitute due to the decisions of its ruling council, but being only an Alpha-heir, he has no authority to challenge them. Not until now—this moment he has waited a long time for.
Kit grew up as a street-rat, an unlicensed human who would never be more than a slave for whichever master owns him. Then one day he came across a young Alpha-heir, attacked and dying of poison, and found out their fates were suddenly entwined.
Luca needs to take over his pack and save his people. He cannot afford to be distracted. But when he meets Kit, he develops abilities indicating he is not just a pack Alpha, but the King his world has needed for a thousand years.
Is Kit really the cause of Luca’s newfound power, the true mate he needs? How is it possible when the young man isn’t even a werewolf, and as merely a human, a mating is not only forbidden, but for Kit, a sentence of death? (MPreg)

morgan review

What an epic emotional ride!!  The Alpha King kept me hooked from the very first page. She killed me and then brought me back to life multiple times during this story. This was unlike any shifter or MPreg i have ever read. There was so much depth to this story and I love the new world Victoria Sue has created. The scenes are described in such detail that I felt as if I was actually there. MPreg is my guilty pleasure and this was one of the best I have read. The birth scene was so different and worked perfectly. I don’t want to give anything away but it was realistic while working great for a male at the same time.

The characters are amazing. Every one has so much life and I felt like I got to know them personally. Kit and Luca had some serious chemistry and I adored them both from the first meeting. Even when Luca was being hardheaded and I wanted to smack him, I still loved him. They had so much to overcome and I enjoyed every minute of their story.

Victoria Sue is such a talented writer and can seriously rock a story. I cannot wait to see where this series goes and I can’t wait for the next one.

Definitely recommend this read.

5 pieces of eye candy from Morgan 🙂

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Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet: Blog Tour, Playlist, Review and Giveaway

Hello, all! Thank you so much for joining me here today as we celebrate the release of Thick & Thin, the 8th book in the THIRDS series! Dex and Sloane are back, and this time they face one of their toughest challenges: revealing the truth to their friends and family. With Destructive Delta, nothing is ever easy, but Dex and Sloane are determined to see things through. Action, adventure, humor, sexy-times, drama, grumpy lion Therians, and more. Welcome to the THIRDS.

Like the rest of the THIRDS series, Thick & Thin has a music playlist. You can find the rest of the series playlists on THIRDS HQ. I also have a music video playlist on my YouTube channel. Music not only plays a big role while I’m writing, it most often than not shows up in my books. I love incorporating music into my stories because music has always been a big part of my life. What I’m listening to while I write varies, and often corresponds with what’s going on in the story. Sometimes I prefer listening to instrumental, and then put together a playlist of songs I enjoy that I feel go well with certain events or chapters in the books. For Thick & Thin I listened to a lot of instrumental, so when I was finished, I went through my music library and put together a selection I hope you’ll enjoy.

Thick & Thin Playlist

1. Nightcall – Kavinsky
2. Sweet Dreams – Beyonce
3. Wake Me Up – Avicii
4. Count On Me – Bruno Mars
5. Parachute – Cheryl Cole
6. How We Do It – Royal Deluxe
7. Sun Goes Down – David Jordan
8. Hey Brother – Avicci
9. With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker
10. The Other Side – Pendulum

synopsis

Genre: Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters
Series: THIRDS
Length: Novella
Published: Feb 1st, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781635333893

In a matter of days, Dex has been kidnapped, tortured, killed, revived, become half-Therian, offered the chance to become a spy, and accepted a proposal to marry his jaguar Therian boyfriend, Sloane Brodie. It’s been a lot to take in, and although Dex is still trying to wrap his head around everything that’s happened, he knows he has to move forward. After the events of Smoke & Mirrors, Dex and Sloane find themselves in one of the most frightening situations of all: revealing the truth to their Destructive Delta family. When the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same, and it’s up to Dex to prove that in the face of change, the one thing that will always remain the same is family.

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michelle review

The THIRDS are back and I could not be happier *****SQUEAL*****. Saying that I adore this series is an absolute understatement. Cochet has sucked me into the wonderful world of paranormal and the best badass team you can imagine. Thick & Thin (book 8) is a novella in which we get to see the THIRDS back in action – especially Dex and it picks up were Smoke and Mirrors left off.

Tony is in the hospital, Dex is having issues with his…um…new way of life and Sloane is worried about Dex – add in the team’s worries and that sneaky Sparks and Cochet has once again given us a fantastic read. In true THIRDS fashion, Cochet has left us with a lot of unanswered questions but I love that she leaves us hanging on waiting for the next book. She always throws that surprise at the end and man I am excited for Seb & Hudson’s book.

Dex and Sloane are a force to be reckoned with.

Tony just melts my heart the way he cares for his sons (and the team)

Cael is a more of spit fire than before

Ash had me teary eyed several times

Sparks makes the hairs on the back of my neck up

Hobbs has made me fall in love him all over again

As I have stated in prior reviews for this series….. If you’re already a THIRDS NERD than you already know what kind of roller-coaster ride you are in for. If you haven’t started the series…..YOU BETTER GET TO BUYING! You will need to start at book 1 but it is soooooo worth.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Newsletter | DSP |Amazon |Goodreads

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TOUR INFO

Feb 1st – TTC Books and More
Feb 2nd – The Novel Approach
Feb 3rd – Two Chicks Obsessed
Feb 4th – Love Bytes
Feb 5th – We Three Queens
Feb 6th – Joyfully Jay

 

 

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Fire and Hail by Andrew Grey: Release Day Review

firesynopsis

Carlisle Cops: Book Five

Brock Ferguson knew he might run into his ex-boyfriend, Vincent Geraldini, when he took his first job as a police officer in Carlisle. Vincent’s attitude during a routine traffic stop reminds Brock why their relationship didn’t last.

What Brock doesn’t expect is finding two scared children in the trunk of a Corvette. He’s also surprised to learn the kids’ mother is Vincent’s sister. But his immediate concern is the safety of the two children, Abey and Penny, and he offers to comfort and care for them when their mother is taken into custody.

Vincent is also shocked to learn what his sister has done. For the sake of the kids, he and Brock bury the hatchet—and soon find they have much more in common than they realized. With Abey and Penny’s help, they grow closer, until the four of them start to feel like a family. But Vincent’s sister and her boyfriend—an equal-opportunity jerk—could tear down everything they’re trying to build.

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Dreamspinner Press

 

jennifer

First, I have to say that I’m in love with this series and I really thought it would be impossible to top Donald and Carter’s story with little Alex; it was just as amazing though. I loved Brock and Vinny although Vinny was a little harder for me to get to know in the beginning…. Let’s break it down…..

Brock is a new Carslile police officer, we first see him doing traffic patrol when we start his story. It’s a pretty boring day even though he had to stop an ex that had broken his heart one summer in college. Cut to another call at the end of his shift, he sees the ex’s sister who has done something terrible…. Locked her kids in the trunk of her car while she takes a joyride in a fancy convertible with her friend. Obviously, she’s not mentally stable. Brock is the one who finds them first and they trust him, making it next to impossible for the softhearted Brock to leave them when they have to call Donald at protective services.

Turns out, Vinny hasn’t seen his nephew Abey since he was a tiny baby and has never met his niece Penny and as secretive and guarded as Vinny was when Brock knew him; he was completely different when it came to those kids. He done everything in his power to protect them from his sister and the dangerous people in her life, and there were quite a few, including one of Brock’s exes. I thought that that was a little far-fetched, who he ended up being to Abey and Penny and who he was to Brock…. Small world I guess….

As a mother myself, I couldn’t believe how selfish and self-centered the kids’ mother was and for that reason, I just couldn’t see her ever redeeming herself. The kids were much better off without her and Brock and Vinny loved them so much, even from the very beginning.

It was a long, tedious fight but everything worked out in the best way possible in the end and I loved getting to catch up with the rest of the crew, even seeing Terry and Red…. I was so happy for Terry!!! I’m so glad we, as readers got that.

Overall, this story was just another great addition to an already amazing series. I can’t wait to read more… perhaps the new guy that was briefly mentioned coming to work for Vinny? Ya just never know, but I’m really looking forward to finding out!

5 pieces of eye candy for me!

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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.

Nothing Special V by A.E. Via: Blog Tour, Excerpt and HUGE Giveaway!

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synopsis

The boys are back and fiercer than ever!

“We were a unit tonight, moving as one. Even apart, we are deadly, but when combined – we are f**kin’ unstoppable.” ~~ God ~~

Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele – who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team. God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.

A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?

Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.

Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”

“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”

Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.

Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there’s no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to surprise him… surprise all of them.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. There are no multiple pairings in this novel. 

Author A.E. Via

Title:  Nothing Special V

M/M GAY CONTEMPORARY

Edited by: Tina Adamski

Cover Artist – Jay Aheer

PAGE COUNT – 365

Release Date: December 12, 2016

 

 

excerpt

Steele looked at his watch. It was going on five. He figured if he disappeared for a little while and popped back up before the cake cutting, no one would know. He had to do something to loosen the tightening in his slacks. Tech had the audacity to show up in a dark royal blue suit with velvet lapels – which appeared black in dim lighting – and matching blue suede loafers. And he’d be damned, Tech had on a goddamn bow tie made from the same material as the lapels. The pants stopped an inch above his ankles and Steele could see he wasn’t wearing socks. He took another swig of his drink and placed the glass back on the counter, one of the kitchen staff snatching it right up.

He walked over to Tech, not interrupting whatever he was talking about with Free and Furi. When they finished, Steele leaned into Tech’s back. “Come with me.”

Tech turned and looked behind him, giving Steele a skeptical look. Tech knew Steele’s voice. Knew when it was full of want. He took Steele’s hand and let him lead him up the stairs while most of the guests weren’t paying attention to the front of the loft. He really didn’t care if they were seen or not. Steele opened his bedroom door and hurried Tech inside. He closed and locked the door, then stepped back so he could look at his boyfriend. Steele had long ago shed his borrowed suit jacket and was rolling up his sleeves like he was about to do something serious to Tech.

Neither of them said anything while the sexual tension built around them and saturated the air. Tech leaned against the door, his hand drifting down to the front of his pants, rubbing himself there, like just looking at Steele made him hard. Steele stalked forward and brushed his hand over the bow tie, his eyes hooded, his dick rock hard. He wrapped one arm around Tech’s back, still caressing the fabric of his suit. “You look breathtaking, dressed up like this. I couldn’t keep my eyes off you,” Steele whispered. He methodically removed Tech’s suit jacket but didn’t touch his black dress shirt or that tie. He walked Tech to his bed, watching his eyes behind those frames cloud with lust.

“Edwin,” Tech moaned, leaning into his neck and sucking at his throat.

Steele growled, easing Tech down on the bed and covering his body, pressing firmly against him. Steele kissed Tech with all the built up passion he’d kept contained for the last eight hours.

NS5 - Teaser

michelle review

*****THE BOYS ARE BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER*****
Nothing makes me happier than when one of my favorite series has a new book added to the family. I absolutely love the Nothing Special Series and AE Via has outdone herself once again.
Nothing Special V has everything I love in a series….New characters….new relationship….previous characters and all the God and Day you can handle. Via does an excellent job in keeping you engrossed in the pages as we watch the Bad A$$ awesomeness that is the Narcotics Unit come alive. Her stories, especially the Nothing Special Series, always gives me goosebumps while reading it. In the 1st book when God goes crazy over Day being held captive will forever be my #1 scene. It gave me ALL THE FEELS, however, the opening chapter of Nothing Special V comes very close to taking that #1 spot…
The sound of Desert Eagle handguns. “You hear that, Ro? Hang in there. He’s here
OMG…..That line right there will have you reading until the wee hours of the morning. This book was a little different from the previous ones as it had multiple POVs besides the 2 MCs, Tech & Steele. We get into the minds of God, Day, Tech (Eekkkk….he is one bad a$$ computer nerd), Steel (ex-military….enough said!) and Free (yep….new character who I have started to adore).
If you haven’t started this series – YOU SHOULD
If you have and are waiting to read this – DON’T WAIT
If you want a read that will leave you wanting more – HURRY UP AND 1-CLICK.
Book Hangover – ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY
Via could write 100 books in this series and I would always want more. I could read about every single character she could create and never get tired of them. I wish I could give more than 5 pieces of eye candy as this deserves a sh!t ton more. I cannot wait for Free and Hart to get their story. Well done Ms. Via – You have delivered another fantastic read.

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meet the author

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A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.

Visit my site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com  for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next

 

Links

Amazon Buy Link:  http://amzn.to/2jzH7C8

Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/DVKJ5O

Smashwords: https://goo.gl/psjFiu

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/e0aytf

Author Official Website: http://authoraevia.com

A.E. Bloghttp://authoraevia.com/blogfann.html

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/aeviaauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorAEVia

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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.

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

TitleOff Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

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

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synopsis

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

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

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

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

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

excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I guess I could do a beer.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heather's Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 mother effing stars!!!

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buy now

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

 

meet the author

annabeth-avatar

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

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

 

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Painted on my Heart by Kindle Alexander: Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: January 2, 2017
synopsis
Artist Kellus Hardin let love and loyalty cloud his past decisions, a mistake he definitely won’t make again. Now, lost and alone, he’s left to pick up the shattered pieces of his broken heart while facing the truth of his reality.
Arik Layne exudes power, confidence, and determination. But when an encounter with the guarded artist shakes him to the core and alters all his future goals, he finds more than just his heart on the line.
For Kellus, opening himself to love isn’t an option.
All Arik wants is to make the artist his.
Can love create a masterpiece when it’s painted on your heart?

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teaser

deanna review

Wow! There isn’t one aspect of this book that I don’t adore. The writing is stellar, the characters are complex and relatable and the plot line kept you on the edge of your seat.

Arik owns a chain of popular hotels and is opening one in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. His cousin Gage has hired local artist Kellus to make an original piece to hang in the lobby of the hotel. Kellus has made other pieces for his hotel chain but Arik has never had the opportunity to meet the artist face to face. One look and Arik is hooked.

Kellus has come to learn that he can’t depend on anyone but himself. His family has turned their back on him and his best friend/boyfriend has chosen his drug habit over him, but not before taking everything of value from him and leaving his life in tatters. Kellus has the weight of the world on his shoulders and he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Kellus’s big dream is for stability, it both his personal and professional life.

Arik is offering both, but it will take a huge leap of faith from Kellus to believe they won’t be snatched away. Just as Kellus starts to get comfortable with Arik, his ex rears his ugly head, sending Kellus off doing damage control. Kellus is so afraid that he isn’t worth the drama and extra effort and that Arik will walk away, when all Arik wants to do is hold onto his gorgeous artist tighter.

I love the character crossover. We get to see Gage and Trent and Colt and Jace again, which is always a good thing.

This was a long book, but an amazing book. Despite the length, the plot never got stuck it always kept moving. For me there weren’t any parts that were slower that others, the whole storyline was well developed and entertaining.

Arik, what can I say about Arik. His confidence was a delight. He saw who he wanted and he barreled through Kellus’s defenses to get to his heart. The way Arik could take one look at Kellus’s art and see exactly what Kellus was going through at that point one in his life was one more foundation block in building their rock solid relationship.

The quirky relationship Arik has with Gage had be laughing, it was much needed comic relief. They fight like children and at times it was just the levity that was needed. While Arik and Gage are the larger than life jokesters, Kellus and Trent are the quiet strength.

Kellus reminds me of a wounded warrior, he may have been broken by his ex at one point but his spirit is still fierce. The words were so well written that at the height of the drama with his ex I could actually feel his embarrassment, despair and soul crushing ache of not being in control of anything. Even when it appeared that nothing else could be heaped on top of Kellus without breaking him, his inner strength would surprise the hell out of you.

This book was a great way to start out 2017.

5 pieces of eye candy

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excerpt

Chapter 1

The shrill ring of his phone should have startled him awake, but Kellus Hardin was just too damn tired to do much more than roll in the direction of the irritating sound and throw a hand out to half-ass search around his mattress for the device. When he came up empty handed, he managed to turn the other way and do the same. By the time his exhausted sleep-hazed brain identified the phone wasn’t anywhere around him, he heard the chirp indicating a voice mail. He cracked an eyelid and lifted his head enough to look over at the alarm clock. Four thirty in the morning. Seriously? Nothing good could come from a call that time of night. He collapsed back to the bed with an annoyed groan. He’d been asleep less than an hour after working the fifteen before on the pieces he had due for the art gallery opening.
“Fuck,” he growled out, turning over again. He tucked a soft pillow into his side and decided he’d deal with that call in the morning. His exhausted state gave a solid thumbs-up on the plan, and he easily drifted back to sleep. What had to be a mere second later, the ringing started again. Stupid cell phone.
Kellus threw the covers away from his body and darted off the bed, angrier than he’d been in a very long time. He was fucking tired—tired of his fucked-up life and tired of this motherfucker who wouldn’t leave him the fuck alone.
Fuck!
With a vengeance, he zeroed in on the location of the noise. He marched to his laundry basket by the bedroom door and began tearing through the clothes to find the stupid phone, no doubt still inside his paint-spattered coveralls where he’d dropped it not fifty-three minutes ago before he’d finally managed to crawl into bed.
Palming the device, he glared at the caller ID. John. Of course. Who else would call in the middle of the fucking night?
“What?” he shouted as he connected the call.
“Come get him.” A deep masculine voice with a Spanish accent had him pulling the phone from his ear to look down at the screen in confusion.
Wait. Great. Even fucking better—John’s dealer.
“No,” he said firmly as he stood tall and fisted his free hand at his side. His chest bowed in defiance as if the guy on the other end of the phone were right there in his darkened bedroom. “You give him that shit, you deal with him.”
The harsh laugh on the other end of the line held what might have been genuine amusement. “I deal with him and it won’t end well.” The line went dead. Kellus shoved his fingers through his hair to help push the long strands out of his eyes.
“Fuck!” he bellowed to the empty room, spinning in a complete circle, gripping his phone in his hand and punching his fist through the air. Thank God he was alone, because if anybody had witnessed that little outburst he’d have been carted off to the nearest mental facility. He was just so fucking sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Breath heaving as anger and dread coursed through his veins, Kellus stood there, staring absently at his bed. The fatigue of the day settled heavy on his shoulders. He had responsibilities. He couldn’t take on more of John’s bullshit. He jammed the heels of his palms against his tired eyes and released an exhausted sigh. After so many hours holding a brush for the fine details of his painting, his hands cramped with the movement, and the muscles in his neck and back protested the long hours he’d put in today. He needed sleep. More than the fifty-three minutes he’d gotten.
“I’m not fucking doing this again. I warned him the last time. I made it clear. No more!” Kellus sliced the hand still holding his cell through the air with finality. With that decision made, he stalked across the room and tossed his phone on the nightstand. He climbed back in his bed, whipping the covers over his exhausted body.
He hadn’t heard from John in six days.
Six glorious, productive, happy days.
Staring up at the ceiling, unable to get his mind to shut off, he told himself he’d made the right decision. John needed to stay away. Kellus forced his eyelids closed. At this point, he’d still get a few good hours sleep before he had to start his day. The longer he lay there, the more guilt crept in.
It always did.
Images of his best friend came to mind. Happier times. Memories of his and John’s younger days and all the trouble they’d managed to get into. Those thoughts actually calmed his breathing. His mind drifted to the summer of their senior year. He hadn’t thought about that time in so long. He and John had gone to the lake with some friends. A healthy, glowing, handsome John had teased him unmercifully until he had finally agreed to skinny dip…
“Fuck!” Kellus whipped off the covers and rose, angry and worried.
He couldn’t leave John in that place.
Kellus stopped dead center in his bedroom, fuming; he was so pissed at himself, at his own indecision, at John. What the fuck was wrong with him? John had destroyed both their lives, shit on him over and over with absolutely no regard for his feelings whatsoever. He’d lost everything because of John. He swore he’d never do this again.
But he couldn’t leave John there.
Not there.
Dejected, Kellus ran a frustrated hand over his face, sighed, then went for his closet to dress.
~~~
Topping out at max speed, Arik Layne flew down the Dallas North Tollway. Being the only one on the highway might have been the only benefit of flying home in the middle of the night from his Escape Del Mar property.
God, he was past exhausted.
Less than five minutes later, Arik parked and wearily made his way through the private entrance of his downtown Dallas high-rise, shrugging out of his hand-tailored suit jacket before he reached the elevator. At the elevator, he tossed the garment over his arm and entered his exclusive security code into the wall-mounted keypad, effectively locking the car for his personal use. The doors opened immediately. The technology didn’t require him to do anything more than step inside before the doors closed and the overhead floor-indicator light displayed each passing floor, a soft ding sounding repeatedly as he traveled non-stop up the forty or so floors to his penthouse. Arik rested against the back wall, forcing a finger into the knot of his necktie to loosen its tight hold. He then removed each cuff link at his wrist and absently dropped them into his slacks pockets. The more he removed now, the faster he could hit his perfect Vera Wang mattress and shut his tired eyes.
The entire building was quiet. Another benefit to relocating to this area. Well, sort of. Dallas as a whole was quieter than any place he’d ever lived. He walked the few steps to his front door, pulling out his wallet to wave in front of the security pad when the doors didn’t unlock at his arrival. Strangely, the key card inside his wallet didn’t trigger the lock to release. Arik let out a yawn as he entered his code into the attached keypad. He’d have to remember to check his card in the morning.
The overhead lights automatically lit as he entered his front door, and the motion sensors continued lighting his way the deeper he ventured inside his home. Arik absently tossed his suit jacket on a chair in the living room, never straying from the direct path to his bedroom. He pulled his shirttails from his slacks, his level of sheer exhaustion rising with each step he took. Honestly, that had to be the only reason he didn’t register the glow of lights coming from underneath the closed door until he’d already turned the handle.    
“What the fuck?” His heart almost leaped out of his chest when he stepped inside his bedroom to find someone sprawled across his bed in what probably qualified as a seductive pose. Recognition took another second to seep in.
“Surprise!” A small pop sounded and confetti flew into the air, scattering across his bed.
Arik’s brows snapped together. Oh hell no. He loved that bed.
“What the hell are you doing?” Arik asked as he moved farther inside the room. He registered the slight look of indignation and the flip of that long, black, silky hair before Boy Toy’s face morphed again into a pleasant smile.
“I came to surprise you.” BT wiggled his sexy ass and gave a cheeky little smile.
Even as tired and annoyed as he was, Arik experienced a stir below his belt. He was human after all, and this particular BT was especially skilled. He stopped at his dresser, reached inside his front slacks pockets and casually tossed the contents on the small tray. He didn’t like surprises of any kind, and BT, short for boy toy number one hundred and—hell, he’d lost count of the willing men he’d bedded—had just shocked the hell out of him.
This one was way too pretty and so deliciously tempting that for a split second he almost gave in…almost.
No, he had to stay firm. This was utter bullshit. He couldn’t have random BTs breaking into his home, surprising him at every turn, desecrating his perfect bed with confetti.
“How did you get in here?” he asked, leaning against the dresser, casually crossing his arms over his chest.
“I’ve been planning this since you left me last week. I swiped your card from your wallet when you were in the shower.” Boy Toy lost the erotic pose, probably too much strain for his delicate body.
“I guess I need to keep a closer eye on my wallet in the future.” Arik shoved away from the dresser and headed toward his closet.
“I’m beginning to think you’re not happy that I’m here. You know I’d look good on your arm for the opening of Escape Dallas.” BT hopped up from the bed and trailed after him, following him into the closet.
“Are these your things?” he asked, nodding toward the garment bag hanging in his closet with luggage settled beneath. Arik’s things had been pushed aside and replaced with BT’s, as if the guy planned to stay awhile. First the bed, now the closet. He didn’t allow anyone to breach his private space. That crossed every line he had.
Fuck, he’d known when he first saw this guy he’d be trouble. The gorgeous ones always were. Arik shook his head.
“Yes, I put them next to yours. I arrived late and didn’t have time to unpack.”
Arik abandoned his silk tie on the built-in dresser and began to grab BT’s things. The level of pissed off coursing through him now superseded any desire he might have mustered.
“You can’t ever do this again. I told you from the beginning,” Arik said, shoving the garment bag toward BT as he went for the two suitcases, then he tossed the strap of one over his shoulder and grabbed the other by the handgrip. How long had he even planned to stay that he needed all this?
“Be careful with that. It’s got my mink inside!” BT carefully draped the bag over his arm, allowing Arik to take him by his other arm and forcefully guide him from the closet.
“Why in the hell would you bring a fur coat to Texas?” Arik kept his grip tight, even when BT tried to worm his way out.
“Why would I leave home without… What are you doing?” BT actually held on to the doorframe to keep Arik from removing him from the bedroom.
“You’re going to the guest room, BT. We’ll talk—”
A solid outraged screech cut him off.
“Stop calling me that! I hate that. I have a name.” The guy went into full-on diva mode right there in the middle of his hall.
“You’ve known the deal from the beginning. I don’t like these kinds of surprises. I was very clear,” Arik said. When he realized it might take two hands to deposit BT into the guest bedroom, he went for that door, pushed it open wide, and tossed the suitcase in his hand across the room. For a second there, he’d thought the guy planned to go back to Arik’s bedroom which would have turned things pretty shitty real quick. Luckily, BT came toward him with a very calm, patient look on his face.
“If you would just go with it, we could have a very special relationship,” BT said, placing a delicate hand on Arik’s dress shirt, letting his fingers trail down Arik’s chest as he took a step closer. “I’m good at attending events with you. I look good on your arm. Besides, I’m tired of modeling. It takes up so much of my time. And if we came to some sort of arrangement, with all my extra free time, I could take care of you any way you saw fit.”
“Not gonna happen.”
BT’s words couldn’t have been better deterrent for giving in and indulging in a quick hook-up. Arik preferred his fun with no strings attached. Not that he had anything against the whole finding Mr. Right concept. But the boy toy currently groping his ass was not anywhere close to his idea of relationship material. Arik stopped the hand at his waistband and shrugged the case off his shoulder, dumping it right inside the guest bedroom door. He left the gorgeous but clearly crazy man standing there as he headed back toward his bedroom.
“I need to leave here by eight in the morning. Be ready.’’
“Seriously? You’re just leaving? I stretched myself to be ready for you.”
Arik looked back to see BT stomp his foot for good measure, his now flaccid dick swinging in the process. BT was certainly beautifully put together, tall, lean, chiseled abs, a perfect body that Arik knew from past experience could bring a lot of pleasure.
No, Arik. That was how he’d gotten in this situation in the first place. Stop. No. Walk away.
“Goodnight, BT. Don’t come back to my room,” he said at the door.
“Stop calling me BT! I’m not just your boy toy! My name is Steffan.”
Steffan—yeah, he remembered that now. Steffan twirled around and stalked into the guest bedroom, that long hair floating out around him. The door slammed shut in his wake.
Arik closed his door and reached down to twist the lock when he heard something crashing against the guest room door. Arik chuckled at that one and quickly opened his door again.
“Be ready by eight in the morning. I won’t be happy if you make me late,” he yelled before closing and relocking the door.

He staggered to the bed. His bed. Even with taking the time to rid the bedspread of the confetti and change the pillowcases where that overly strong cologne lingered, he’d still, hopefully, get at least a couple hours’ sleep.

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meet the author
Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!
Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com
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