Patron by C.B. Lewis: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m C.B. Lewis and I’m delighted to be revealing the cover of my forthcoming novella, Patron.

I’ve always been a bit of a history geek and Patron was the first time I’ve really  had the chance to play so extensively with a couple of my favourite eras: Ancient Greece and Victorian England. As you can see, Blake did an amazing job with the cover, intertwining the eras in question.

If you have a hankering for Victorian Philhellenes (yay Greek-geeks) or a hint of the supernatural or a bit of both, this may be the book you’re looking for.

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

 

TCO Side Note: I LOVE this cover!!!!!

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Dreamspinner Press

 

The lamps were burning, thin coils of smoke winding toward the corniced ceiling. The soft glow illuminated the blank faces of masks and statues in their cases, the shadows stretching and shifting eerily around them.

One could almost imagine they were alive and watching.

Theodore squeezed the shilling in his hand. Making an offering to a statue was superstitious nonsense. He wasn’t in some pillared temple in Athens, and the gods certainly weren’t listening. It was all old-fashioned hokum, yet in the silence of the grand display room of Sir Thomas Drake’s London townhouse, it felt like something else.

One of the statues had his full attention.

Perhaps it had eyes once. Now the fall of the light left only darkness over a curved smile that seemed part threat, part promise. It should have been inconsequential, a slight youth who looked younger than Theodore himself. The figure held a staff in one hand, its other hand upraised, beckoning. Wings sprouted from its heels.

Hermes, the messenger, among many other titles.

Theodore glanced toward the doors. They would come for him soon, and, Lord, if he was intent on this nonsense—and outright blasphemy, if the Good Book was to be believed—then he had best make a start of it before it was too late.

The shilling gleamed in his palm, and he swallowed hard. What was the worst that could happen? Save being struck by the wrath of God—who didn’t like it much when his good English gentlemen toddled off to throw in their lot with the Greek pantheon—he supposed the worst was that Drake and his fellows would find out and he would be a laughingstock.

He set his jaw, then reached down among the statues and laid the coin at the feet of Hermes.

A book-lover from infancy, C.B. has been writing and telling stories for as long as she can remember. Based in Edinburgh, she has diverse tastes and will quite happily attempt to write any genre, but always come back to history, fantasy, and sci-fi like an old friend. C. B. Lewis is small and Scottish and can often be spotted perched around historical monuments with her notepad and pen.

She has been writing and telling tales for almost as long as she can remember, and has a brain that constantly fizzes with an abundance of ideas. If she’s not working on half a dozen things at once, it should be considered a slow day. She loves to travel and just has one continent left to complete her travel bingo card. A lot of the travel has also been research-based, and if pointed at any historical event, she will research it vociferously, just because she can.

Normally, she is based in Edinburgh, where she tends toward the hermit-lifestyle, needing nothing but a kettle, a constant supply of tea, and – of course – the internet. There are no cats, no puppies, no significant others, only a lot of ideas, and an awful lot of typing. And occasionally, cake. Never forget the cake.


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Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer: Release Day Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades,he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

Title: Past the Breakers
Author: Lucie Archer
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Category: Paranormal: Ghosts/Spirits
Pages: 220

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Hey guys! Thanks for having me. On a previous tour stop, I did a top 5 list of surf destination from Myles’s POV, and to avoid Casey feeling left out, I thought I’d offer up one for him as well. Since he’s a chef, I asked him for a list of his favorite foods, and here’s what he said. (*Warning: you may not want to read this on an empty stomach.)

Casey North’s top 5 Favorite Foods (in no particular order):

  • Lobster

Casey can’t remember the first time he had lobster, but he imagines it left quite an impression. They didn’t eat it much growing up, but he always requested it for his birthday or special occasions. Most kids probably preferred pizza or hot dogs, but he likes to think he was born with a sophisticated palate. He’s eaten it so many ways from bisques to lobster mac and cheese, but nothing beats cracking into a freshly cooked lobster tail, dipping it in a rich butter sauce, and going to town.

  • Fish

Fish has a special place in Casey’s heart, particularly Pacific halibut. He has fond memories of going down to the pier with his father on Saturday mornings, casting a line, then taking home their catch of the day to prepare and cook. It’s one of the few happy memories he has of his father and something that helped form his love for cooking. And it’s healthy, blah, blah, blah, but the deliciousness helps to mask that.

  • Cheese burgers

This should be self-explanatory. Nothing beats a big, juicy burger piled high with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, fried onions, and a nice dollop of mayo—side of fries optional. He loves making his own at home and likes to experiment with different meats, cheeses, and unique flavor combinations, but the best burger he ever had was in New York at this greasy spoon, hole-in-the-wall, all-night diner whose name he was too drunk to remember.

If he ever found the place again, he doubts it would live up to the legacy it left on his taste buds. Yum!

  • Mango

He doesn’t know when mango cemented itself as one of his favorite foods, but he loves to cook with it. Its sweet and succulent flavors compliment fish really well, so mango salsa heaped on top of grilled halibut makes his mouth water just thinking about it.

  • Ice Cream – Mint chocolate chip

This one needs no explanation, but he does have a fond memory of tiptoeing out of his room one night to sneak himself a bowl only to find his sister Rachel with a spoon of it showed in her mouth and a look on her face that could only be described as deer in the headlights. They made a habit of late-night ice cream socials until their mother walked in on them and grounded them both. But it was worth every delectable spoonful.

I rarely give 5 pieces of eye candy ratings anymore. The book has to leave a strong mark on me, be a book I would re-read, and hit me in the feels right from the get go (at least that’s usually how the 5* books go). The book does not have to be perfect. It can have editing errors. It can have little things that aren’t completely resolved. It can even challenge my basic sense of reality. However, if it doesn’t make that indelible impression, then it isn’t a 5* read for me.

Past the Breakers is the first one in recent memory for me. I have loved “ghost story” type romances since I read Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux back in, *cough cough*, well, a very long time ago. 🙂 Something about a love that transcends space, time, the physical plane, and our normal take on what is real and what isn’t always has been. Finding a book that can do that, and do it well, that’s even more rare. Lucie Archer‘s book did this for me.

First, I love that Casey was going through such a hard time. Overweight, without a job, or even his passion of cooking as a balm, he was so depressed and anxious, it was a wonder that he was able to be open to hearing Myles. Yet he was, and Myles came at a time when Casey needed his companionship, his focus and his love the most. Casey allowed himself to fall in love, despite all the odds against him falling in love with a ghost.

Meanwhile, Myles…talk about heartbreaking! What should have been the best day of his life, proposing to his boyfriend becomes the worst day when he dies and is stuck in the Between. He does get to see the most important man in his life, his uncle, from time to time, and that in itself was heart-wrenching, because you could see the bond they had had when Joe was still alive. And Myles finds himself falling in love with Casey, despite all the odds, as well.

When I read books like this, I try not to anticipate how it will play out, or what the ending will be like (because my rule is it has to be an HEA or I don’t read it!), but I admit I found myself a touch scared that this wouldn’t turn out as I hoped. Not because I didn’t think they would fall in love, but because I didn’t want the ending to be too easy, or weird. It wasn’t. It had my HEA, and even better, it was well thought out. It could happen. You never know what is out there in the world beyond our sight.

I truly loved this book. I loved their relationship. I loved how Casey grew and blossomed with Myles’s love, and how he was able to overcome his depression simply by working through it, finding a loving path to move forward on. I even loved how things ended with Uncle Joe, because I will admit, I had more than a few tears flowing at certain points in the book, but Uncle Joe’s love for his boy? That got me crying again.

This book worked for me on so many levels that even the relatively easy resolution of the bad ex-boyfriend didn’t bother me. I wanted to know more about Casey and Myles, James could go jump in a lake as far as I was concerned. 🙂

Pretty easy 5 pieces of eye candy for me

Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.

Website & blog: www.luciearcher.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/writerluciearcher

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Lucie_Archer


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Two for Trust by Elle Brownlee: Release Day Review and Giveaway

A fairy-tale vacation—if he can get the ending right.

American nurse Finch Mason steps beyond the comfort of his orderly life and takes a dream trip to England, complete with a National Trust Pass so he can visit numerous historical sites. At the first one on his list, he’s warmly welcomed—and told he bought a pass good for two.

Finch doesn’t hesitate to offer the pass to Benedict, a handsome Brit also there on an outing. They spend a magical week touring the countryside, and while it’s too soon to get attached, Finch wishes their time together would never end.

Then Finch finds himself stuck abroad with no money, and he has no one to turn to but Benedict. Benedict is happy to help, but he also owes Finch some answers—such as who he really is and why he was at the estate where they first met.

Title: Two for Trust
Author: Elle Brownlee
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 252

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I do love the Dreamspun Desires series. I’ve said it before…I love it because it reminds me of reading Harlequin’s as a teenager.

I really enjoyed the premise of Two For Trust. That Finch decided, after being turned aside by the evil doctor at his work, to take himself on the adventure of a lifetime by taking the trip to England that he’d been dreaming about. This all despite the fact that he had to quit his job in order to do it, he was brave enough to jump on a plane and not look back. Meanwhile, serious, but sweet, Benedict found excuse after excuse to keep Finch near him, and not let him leave the country. Not really know what it was he wanted, he at least knew he didn’t want Finch to leave.

Finch was nerdy, and dorky about history, and it was adorable as could be. He didn’t care that he was seen as a geek for knowing all the little things he did. He loved everything about where he was going, and what he was seeing, and wasn’t afraid to show it. Still presenting that courageous front, of being willing to step forward and try something new. The two men certainly made “opposites attract” a perfect phrase.

One thing I really liked about the book that was original was the setup in the chapters. For about 3/4 of each chapter it was told from Finch’s POV completely. Then at the end, the last 3-7 paragraphs or so, it was from Benedict’s POV. It moved the story forward in a different way, gave the reader a little mystery that would unravel in the next chapter, and was nice to see how Benedict was moving forward. I really enjoyed the originality of this idea.

This one was probably a little two sweet for my normal tastes…(small spoiler ahead), as the two don’t really kiss until about 85% into the book. It doesn’t have to have sex, but the back and forth was a touch more than I normally like. I never was sure that Benedict actually wanted Finch, until the very end. He was truly the stoic Britishman. It left me feeling a little frustrated at times in the book.

All in all, a book I enjoyed…and all the English historical and geographical information was amazing! I now want to go have high tea in England, and explore every little thing (which I do any way during travel).

3.5 pieces of eye candy

 


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Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey: Release Day Review and Giveaway

It could be the catch of a lifetime.

William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.

William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Title: Setting the Hook
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Andrew Grey‘s books are a must-read in the m/m romance genre. He simply knows how to write, and gives the reader stories about everyday people living everyday lives. These aren’t necessarily model beautiful men, rich billionaires whose only problems are which company to buy up. No, these are real men with problems that every person who reads will be able to empathize with.

I loved that William and Mike were attracted to each other from the start, but for five years, only saw each other twice a year for a day outing of fishing. A long distance romance of wishes and dreams. Neither acknowledged the attraction, until Mother Nature decided to give them a little shove together. Once they had the push, they jumped in with both feet, willing to see what would come of a few days together, then later two weeks together.

I do love when Andrew sets up a ready-made family. The loner William, who felt as if no one understood him, felt comfortable with all of Mike’s family, not just the man he’d been waiting for. And Andrew always gives us sassy kids, and moms with attitude. (Both Mike and William’s moms showed they weren’t just grandmothers, but women too!)

There were a couple things that played out a little neater than I expected, but it didn’t detract from the story at all. It simply would have given it a little more tension, in my eyes. And Andrew always gives us the happy ending we waited for. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy


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Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams: Exclusive Guest Post, Quick Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

How far would you go for the man of your dreams?

Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.

Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.

Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Title: Somewhere on Mackinac
Author: Jeff Adams
Release Date: Mary 3, 2017
Category: Contemporary, States of Love
Pages: 113

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I’m happy to close out the blog tour for “Somewhere on Mackinac” here at Two Chick Obsessed.

Somewhere on Mackinac is part of Dremspinner’s States of Love series, which sets romances in each of the fifty U.S. States. The book is set on Mackinac Island, Michigan and is the story of Jordan, a visitor from Chicago, a Miles, an Island native who runs his family’s horse stable. They meet because of the Somewhere in Time fan celebration weekend taking place at the Grand Hotel. They both love the 1980 film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour and it’s what initially draws them together.

Of course, even in the early stages of love there are obstacles to overcome. As you might have guessed, the fact these two live apart will be an issue. Chicago isn’t all that far from Mackinac, but it takes some effort to get there. It’s about seven hours with a car/ferry trip or three by plane. It’s not exactly a trip you’d make on a whim. For both guys, the distance factor is a significant one for a number of reasons.

As if distance weren’t enough, each of them at least one other thing going on that makes starting a relationship more difficult.

For Jordan, he’s also got ex-boyfriend baggage. Drake is suddenly makes moves about wanting him back and he’s going to some extraordinary lengths to try to get Jordan back. It’s the last thing Jordan needs as he’s thinking about starting something new. Plus, the reasons he broke it off with Drake haven’t gone away.

There’s also trouble with Miles’s business. The family stable is in trouble and while Miles doesn’t know what to do about it he’s also one of those men who doesn’t want to ask for help. Jordan, however, has the skills to help but getting Miles to accept assistance might be more difficult than actually saving the business.

Love can be a minefield of so many different issues, and yet it can be so worth it in the end. I hope you’ll pick up Somewhere on Mackinac and see how the magical place, combined with the guys’ favorite movie, work to help them see past the problems they run into.

The excerpt below gives you a glimpse of how Jordan discovers Miles needs help.

There’s also a Rafflecopter below where you can enter for the chance to win a free copy of the book. Feel free to leave question and comments as well. I’ll stop back over the coming days to leave responses. Thanks for stopping to check out Somewhere on Mackinac!

Suddenly, Miles’s voice was in the distance, and he didn’t sound happy. I couldn’t make out everything he was saying, but it was a heated discussion. Hopefully I could sit here, since I was off the road, and he’d ride by so there wouldn’t need to be an awkward moment.

“You realize this could be the end of our family business, right?” he asked.

The soft clip-clop of his horse was all I heard for a few moments.

“I bought you out because it was the right thing to do. Can’t you reinvest some of that money to help clean up your mistakes?”

He was right behind me.

“You may have left, but I still live here. It’s not my fault you got bored. I would’ve taken over everything and you know it.”

I willed myself to become one with the bench as the horse stopped.

“I gotta go.”

I held my breath, hoping he’d nudge the horse into moving. Silence prevailed. Maybe Miles was considering the conversation. Maybe he had a way to make horses go stealth. Maybe he was staring at the back of my head.

“How much did you hear?”

Option three was right.

I pivoted on the bench to look at him atop Wildfire. Of course, Miles looked great in a red plaid shirt and blue jeans along with the denim jacket I’d first seen him in. What I didn’t like were the worry lines around his eyes, or the way his forehead was deeply furrowed.

“Enough.” There was no reason for me to lie. “Anything I can do to help?”

“Not unless you’ve got a way to make my brother stop being a self-obsessed ass.”

I shrugged. “’Fraid I don’t have a fix for that.”

“Well, I’m sorry I disturbed you. I should get going, but hopefully I’ll see you later.”

Before Wildfire could even get a couple of steps, I got up and approached. He pulled back on Wildfire’s reins and the animal obediently stopped.

“Sounded like you’re having business problems.” I approached Wildfire so I could rub his nose. “Maybe I could help with that?”

“I’m not sure anyone can.” Miles tensed in the saddle.

“Business strategy is what I do.” I looked up at him. “I’ve never worked with a stable, but I’m happy to offer any guidance if I can.”

His sigh sounded like a breath he’d held for years.

“Honestly, it’d be good to talk to someone who doesn’t live here. Trying to keep it under wraps to keep the gossip down isn’t easy. Luckily, Mr. Walker at the bank maintains discretion.”

“Tight cash flow?”

“That’s part of it.” The tension in his voice implied there was a lot more to the story. “You really think you could help?”

“Maybe. Whether I can or can’t, I’ll certainly keep your confidence.”

Miles dismounted, and the horse gave a sound of protest while cocking his head to look at his rider.

“It’s okay, boy. I got something for you.” He pulled an apple from his jacket pocket, which the horse eagerly snatched. “See, it’s all good.”

The smile Miles had for the horse was unburdened and reminded me of the one I’d received from him just yesterday. He talked quietly to the animal as he led him to a tree to tie him up.

“You sure you want to hear this? You’re on vacation after all.”

“Tell me.” I gestured back to the bench.

 

As a teenager, I remember watching Somewhere in Time over and over. (It’s been many years since I’ve watched it, but I have it on order now! 🙂 ) I loved the tragic, but happily ever after story. So getting the chance to be reminded of that with Somewhere on Mackinac was not something I was going to pass up, and Jeff did a fantastic job interweaving Richard and Elise’s story gently throughout. He didn’t retell the story, he simply impressed upon the reader how important this movie was to both the MC’s.

I’ve been enjoying the States of Love series with Dreamspinner Press, because it is low angst, with the inevitable HEA, but also stretches out to find the little known pieces of the states we know and love. With this story, Jeff shows us all the little things about Mackinac Island, Michigan that most readers weren’t aware of: cars still not allowed, the Grand Hotel, even the tree from the movie.

Jordan and Miles are sweet together, as they venture into a short term relationship. As Jordan hides a secret, they find they are becoming more, and that adds stress to that new relationship. Finding a way through the secrets, and into a life together is a bit of a challenge for them, but all good relationships come with time, compromise and a willingness to try.

Of course there is an HEA, because all love stories must have one (even Richard and Elise’s), but my absolute favorite part of this was just reliving the joy from the movie from an entirely new angle. What a joy to bring these two things together.

4 pieces of eye candy

Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

 

He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.

Links:

Website: http://jeffadamswrites.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeffAndWill/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterJeffAdams

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 pieces of eye candy


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


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

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Also available:

Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London

 

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

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

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


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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

Title: Vodka & Handcuffs
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: April 26, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 112

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There are moments in life that change your trajectory.   That is most definitely true in the case of love.  For me, it was my friend insisting I get a beer with him in the middle of the day.  For my boyfriend, it was going to lunch with his friend and then grabbing a drink in the middle of the day.  Our paths collided, and we’ve been together ever since. I am not a bar person at all.  Nor am I a beer person.  It still seems strange to me that had I not broken my normal patter than day, I’d be living a very different life six years later.

I wanted to share an excerpt that highlights that very quality for my two lovers in Vodka & Handcuffs.

The same is true for how Marlon and Vahin meet.  Marlon had a shit day of traffic patrol.  His partner, Andrew, is a racists jerk, and annoying too boot.  Marlon just needs some time away from him.  That’s all he needs, really.  Well, he needed it more than he knew…

He needed to cool down before meeting the guys at Brother’s Bar. It would be nothing but talking shop, and at the moment, he wouldn’t be able to keep his tongue in check when it came to Andrew. Not that the others wouldn’t understand. They all pretty much hated Andrew, which was one of the main reasons Marlon had the privilege of being his partner. Marlon was about as difficult to rile up as a bushel of frozen cucumbers, at least that was how Chief Schmidt worded it. Still, if Marlon said too much, it was sure to get back to Andrew somehow, and he would make Marlon’s life even more miserable.

Part of him almost wished he’d let Andrew do something. Something that would be big enough to negate Andrew’s ties to his senator uncle and former police chief grandfather. Although, that big enough something would’ve come at the cost to an innocent family who’d had the misfortune of a bike accident.”

The possibilities that flooded his mind the past few months rushed through him like a hurricane. Thirty-eight wasn’t too old to start a new career. He’d been on the force for fifteen years. That was a good amount of time, for anyone. A life change could be what he needed.

Except it hadn’t even been a thought until Andrew started occupying the passenger seat. Andrew had been a pain in the ass since day one, but he was steadily getting worse. It was only a matter of time. And Marlon didn’t want to be anywhere near when that time came. But he didn’t want to stop being a cop either. He loved being a cop.

At least he used to.

He could move. California had always been alluring. But he was too much of a family guy to want to leave Denver.

Marlon pulled his car into Brother’s Bar parking lot, slammed it into park, and smacked his open palm onto the steering wheel, imagining it was Andrew’s face. He’d have to talk to the chief, again. One of these times, he’d listen. And screw cooling down. He needed a drink, and if he happened to spout off too much about Andrew, then so be it. He turned off the engine, got out of the car, and halted.

“Oh. No fucking way.”

He narrowed his eyes and glared at the red sports car glowing directly under the street lamp illuminating the parking lot. He didn’t need to inspect. Didn’t even need to see the vanity license plate to know it was Andrew’s. Just his damned luck. Andrew hated the guys as much as they hated him. It only made sense Andrew would choose this night—the night when Marlon was more fed up than he’d ever been—to try to be one of the boys.

Marlon slipped right back into his car and peeled out of the lot, cursing under his breath. He drove for a bit longer, then realized he was cruising up 17th Street—the old gay section of 17th Street.

He’d spent many an hour at JR’s when he was younger and at the Wrangler after that. Both were now gone, making way for upper-class, straight, yuppieville.

The new Hamburger Mary’s caught his eye; at least a bit of the old gayborhood was left, refurbished or not. He drove past it without a second thought. Drag queens weren’t his thing. Although… he’d heard the new location had more of a sports bar feel to it. It didn’t sound as relaxing as unwinding with the guys, but if he couldn’t be with other cops, at least he’d be around gays. And most importantly, Andrew wasn’t there.

He made it about another half mile before he turned around.

 

On the 8th of May, please pop on over to Boy Meets Boy for the final Vodka & Handcuffs blog tour, where I’ll give you a sneak peak at what’s to come.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 19 – MM Good Book Reviews

April 24 – Joyfully Jay

April 25 – Open Skye Book Reviews

April 26- The Novel Approach

April 26 – Alpha Book Reviews

April 27 – Love Bytes

April 28 – Divine Magazine

April 28 – My Fiction Nook

May 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed

May 8 – Boy Meets Boy

One of the things that I enjoy most about Brandon Witt’s books is that there are always aspects of the books that you just don’t find in many other m/m romance books. Vodka and Handcuffs is a perfect example of that type of book.

Vahin, a man who when disowned by his Muslim family for being gay found a family at Hamburger Mary’s, accepted his life as it was. In his 30s he decided to stop the hookups, enjoying his job at Mary’s. A drunken hookup up with a partially closeted Marlon wasn’t in his plans, but after Marlon’s bad day with an openly racist partner, they ended up in bed. Once they were sober, working their way towards a potential relationship was a challenge.

This novella hit on so many issues that are relevant in today’s society. First, open racism and bigotry (sadly) has become more rampant in recent months, and Brandon hits on this from both Marlon and Vahin’s POVs. Even with the characters being gay, the more challenging  piece was working their way through Marlon’s partners disgusting comments and actions. These are not easy issues to tackle. In the m/m romance genre, often any sort of bigotry is portrayed due to the characters sexuality (which does come into play as well), but the characters’ skin color was just as much a conflict to be addressed. I really appreciated that Brandon used this as conflict in the book. It happens, its realistic. Being gay can be and often is what causes characters to engage in hate crimes. However, the primary conflict here was not merely the characters sexuality, but their race as well.

The love and appreciation between all the side characters in their self-made family was evident. I can’t wait to see where this series continues to move forward. Brandon has done a stellar job with this series so far.

Side note: I think I am going to be hitting Hamburger Mary’s during my time in Denver for GRL. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

Brandon is offering up one of his backlist titles (and there are some amazing 5 star reads in that backlist, just saying…) to one of our readers. So give him a big congrats, and let him know what you are looking forward to most about reading Vodka & Handcuffs.

 

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

Website:  http://www.brandonwitt.com

Author Facebook Page:  http://bit.ly/2jxsfVu

Dreamspinner Press:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/brandon-witt

Brandon’s Patreon Support page:  http://bit.ly/2j58PdQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wittauthor

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2p7a2lc

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4896623.Brandon_Witt

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO5cFqYKyNyDCxExAonFPRA

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

Olive Juice by TJ Klune: Release Day Review with Giveaway

32993007synopsis

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

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jennifer

What a vague blurb, eh?

I didn’t care… I knew who wrote it so I was like.. of course, I’m gonna read it and of course, I’m gonna love it! I wasn’t disappointed… Surprised? Absolutely, I was not prepared for this book. Not one bit.
I went into it knowing it was about David and Phillip. Knowing that they’d been through something traumatic together and that was about it…And oh, boy, did they. The worst thing imaginable as parents.

This story is the epitome of overwhelming sadness and how one copes with it. How easy it is to be angry when your grief is so profound that you don’t know what else to do but lash out or blame yourself to feel better. Or to feel worse… because you feel as if you deserve it, which is what David did

He carried everything on his shoulders and because he was drowning is his own grief, he forgot that he wasn’t the only one suffering. Pain will make you do that, though, won’t it?

My heart broke for both of these guys. Literally, I was a sobbing lunatic through the majority of this story. I wanted so badly for them to get the answers that they were looking for, but like life, sometimes it isn’t all fairytales and roses. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to go through those hard times alone and I was glad that they had each other and even when they were lost, that they found their way back to each other because they’d already lost so much I didn’t want them to lose anymore.

Sigh… It was a heartbreakingly tragic read, but so well worth it. You’d be a fool to pass this one up.
And even though he made me cry….again… like, ugly, psychotic looking, Farrah from teen mom, ugly face cry… I loved it.

5 pieces of eye candy

5-pieces-eye-candy1

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Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

darkest hoursynopsis

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life-and-death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most… for good this time.

Title: Darkest Hour Before Dawn
Series: THIRDS: Book Nine
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense; Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 224

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denise review

What can I say about the THIRDS world that I haven’t said previously? Charlie Cochet has created an alternate world that is steeped in so much realism, grit and humor that sometimes it is hard to remember that I don’t really know these men. (On a side note, someone PLEASE pitch this book series for a TV series!!!!)

So, back to my review. I went into this, anxious for the HEA for Seb and Hudson. The THIRDS Nerds have been waiting a long time to see these two finally find their way back together for good. It was definitely worth the wait. The obvious love between these two has been there since the first moment we met Hudson. Seb’s devotion to the British man has never wavered, and continues to be just as strong through the book.

Every single time I read one of Charlie’s books, I am completely surprised by something. Like blown away, wasn’t expecting that at all, surprised. This time as I began reading Darkest Hour Before Dawn, I initially thought, this will be a sweet, second chance at love story. And it was a second chance at love story, but rather than sweet, I would use the word intense to describe the book. There was so much happening here, that just when you thought “oh, now they will get their HEA”, Charlie hit you with another surprise from left field. Nothing that this family couldn’t handle, but definitely a stretch to continue on.

And the surprise that you always get at the end of any THIRDS novel, well this one has been a long time coming, and the ramifications will be long lasting and far-reaching. This touches everybody in the Unit Alpha family, and beyond.

If you are looking for a lot of Dex and Sloane, Ash and Cael, or Calvin and Hobbs, you won’t see a lot. This was definitely a story about Seb and Hudson, as it should have been. But you definitely get a few glimpses of all your favorite THIRDS characters, which make you itch wondering where they will all be going next.

My love for this series has not ebbed one bit. It continues to be fresh and different from book to book, and character to character. I have no idea what Charlie has in store for all these men coming up, but I honestly cannot wait to find out.

Now, excuse me, because I just finished this book, and I am going to go read it again, just in case I missed anything. 😉

5 pieces of eye candy

MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE – CHARLIE COCHET IS A FREAKING GENIUS.

Gahhhh – I have never loved an author or a series more than Charlie Cochet and her THIRDS Series. Darkest Hour Before Dawn is book 9 in the series. I have yet to find a series that compares to the THIRDS series with it’s exciting and jaw dropping plots, sexy Alpha men and world building like no other. The way Cochet intertwines each book in the continuation of the story is poor freaking genius.

DHBD is Seb & Hudson’s story about second chances. We met them in book 1 where we get bits and pieces of how they were once a mated a couple but are no longer together. I was intrigued from the beginning about what happened and how each one is coping with not being together.

Cochet does an outstanding job in giving us a piece of them as we watch them come full circle. The writing is superior and the ongoing plot will once again make you wonder how Cochet keeps coming up with the twist and turns. The story will keep you engaged and captivated until the very end. AND….of course Cochet ends it with a WTF moment and goes out with a bang. We get a little bit of everyone & everything and of course Sparks is sneaky as always.

As usual, I will be over here waiting for the next book and I hope this series never stops. I love the world Cochet as created with all the sex, secrets and lies. I am on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next.

If you have not started this series I hope you will give it a try.

If you are #THIRDSNERD like me I hope you love Seb, Hudson and their story as much as I have.

Another outstanding book for Charlie Cochet.

FAVORITE LINE: “Whatever happens, whatever storms come our way, I will be here, holding your hand, facing it with you.”

5 pieces of eye candy

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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.