Chief’s Mess by L.A. Witt: Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Chief’s Mess, the third book in the Anchor Point series!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24th, and winners will be announced on June 25th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Chief’s Mess Exclusive Excerpt

I could not sit still.

I’d been in baggage claim for a good half an hour already, and Noah’s plane hadn’t even touched down yet. I’d paced and squirmed all over the house forever before I’d left. After all, there could be traffic. Or it might take me a while to find a place to park. Or his flight could come in early.

Yeah, right. There was no traffic. I found a parking space in seconds. And his flight was delayed ten minutes because the world was a giant bag of dicks.

Now we were in that ten-minute window. When, in a parallel universe, Noah was already wheels down and on his way to me. But no, I had to wait a few more minutes. Fuck.

I was so excited I couldn’t see straight. Screwing off on my phone couldn’t hold my attention. There was no one around who looked like they wanted a stranger to strike up a conversation. Nothing to do but wait. Wait. Wait. I didn’t wait well. The more I was looking forward to something—or someone—the less patient I was. The more I needed to do something to occupy my hands, brain, feet. Hell, I’d even checked the restrooms near baggage claim in case one might be suitable to . . . get reacquainted. After all, a lot of the restrooms in this airport doubled as tornado shelters. Seemed like they were sturdy enough to handle a Noah-Anthony reunion.

The thought made me chuckle. I was so tired I was almost slap happy. Not that I’d been awake half the night or anything. Or practically ping-ponging off the walls until I’d finally decided to leave early in case I couldn’t find a place to park. My roommate had laughed at my impatience and all my rationalizing about leaving early. At least he’d probably be gone by the time I came home. Jay was smart like that—if I was this excited about a man I was going to bang, things were going to be loud.

Rocking on my feet to expend some nervous energy, I stared at the screen. It refreshed, and when Delayed turned to Arrived, I almost spontaneously combusted.

Of course the plane still had to taxi, attach to the gate, and wait for God knew what to happen in that interim before someone finally opened the fucking door. And because no one had invented teleportation, Noah had to hoof it off the plane and through the terminal, and the Denver Airport was fucking massive, so it took forever to make that walk.

Six hours later—or maybe like ten minutes; I’d kind of lost track—he appeared, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and looking as fuckable as ever. I couldn’t help grinning like an idiot.

“Hey,” he said when he was in earshot, and held his arms out.

“Hey, you.” I hugged him tight, wishing like hell we could do more than that in public. “So good to see you.”

“You too.”

I took a breath to say something else, but caught the faintly pungent scent of alcohol. I figured he must’ve just had a drink, and ignored it.

At least, until we started toward short-term parking, and his gait wobbled slightly.

What the hell?

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah.” He laughed, adjusting the bag’s strap again, though it seemed pretty well seated on his shoulder.

The scent of alcohol still lingered in my nose. “You’re not . . . drunk, are you?”

“No!” He chuckled. “I had a few on the plane, but I’m good.”

I eyed him dubiously.

“I’m a nervous flyer,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a couple of drinks to calm my nerves.”

“Oh. I guess I can understand that.” I paused. “You should’ve told me. I’m fine with flying, so I could’ve come to Anchor—”

“It’s fine. Like you said, my neighbors don’t get to hog the noise complaints.” He glanced at me and winked.

I hesitated but then chuckled. “Fair enough. To the car?”

“Lead the way.”

Aside from that slight wobble, his gait was perfectly steady. So maybe I’d imagined the whole thing, or my brain was exaggerating it. I didn’t like flying either—I could totally see why someone would drink to bring down the anxiety. Thanks to Clint, though, I automatically assumed any drinking was a red flag, especially once someone showed signs of actual intoxication.

Get a grip. He was nervous about flying. You’re projecting, plain and simple.

So, I put it out of my mind, and we continued toward short-term parking.

Noah hadn’t brought much with him, so he didn’t bother putting it in the trunk, and set it at his feet as he dropped into the passenger seat and exhaled. “God, I am so glad to be off that plane.”

“Rough flight?” I buckled my seat belt. “Or just not a fan?”

“Little of both. We hit some turbulence, and that was about the time I started begging for a drink.”

“Eh, can’t blame you.”

He fussed with some papers for a second—his boarding passes, I thought—and stuffed them into his bag. As he leaned back, he said, “Also doesn’t help that one time when I flew into a base on a cargo jet, I swear our pilot was a fighter pilot before.”

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“Fucker was banking like he was in a Super Hornet.” He made a gesture like his hand was a plane taking a sharp curve, the imaginary wings almost vertical. “Dude was crazy.”

“Wow.” I laughed. “I don’t think I’d enjoy that.”

“I sure as hell didn’t.” He shuddered. “When you’re already kind of nervous about being in the air, that shit is obnoxious.”

“I believe it.”

He looked out at the scenery. Not that there was much, considering the Denver Airport was surrounded by basically nothing. “They really built this place in the middle of nowhere, didn’t they?”

“Well yeah,” I deadpanned. “You don’t build the headquarters for the New World Order in downtown Los Angeles.”

He eyed me. “Come again?”

“Oh come on. You’ve never heard the conspiracy theories about the Denver Airport?”

“I have, but do people actually buy in to that shit?”

I nodded. “They do. My ex-wife’s brother totally thought they—”

Noah did a double take. “Wait, you were married before?”

I glanced at him and smirked. “Yes. The Illuminati built an airport in the middle of nowhere because God knows the center of the New World Order needs to have a Quiznos and a Hudson News, and I was married before.” I sighed dramatically, patting his thigh. “You’ve had quite a few big shocks today, Noah. If you need to take a breather, let me—”

“Shut up.” He laughed and squeezed my hand. Sobering a bit, he said, “But . . . seriously? You were married?

I’ve been a fan of the Anchor Point series since book one. Okay, so if I’m being honest, I love just about anything LA Witt writes, and I love her ability to tell military stories. I’ll fully admit, I went into Chief’s Mess with high expectations. Unfortunately, this one fell a bit short.

From the very first chapter, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Anthony. Yes, I understand why he wasn’t his ex-brother-in-law’s BFF, but he was just a bit too much of a prick for my liking. He did redeem himself a bit, but never quite enough for my liking. He has issues with Noah’s drinking because of what he watched his sister go through in her marriage, but it felt forced. While later in the book there were incidents that’d be red flags to anyone, there were also times when he was creating an issue where there wouldn’t have been on. As an example, at one point, they’re on Skype and Noah has a drink in his hand. ONE drink. After work. In the evening. That, to most people, wouldn’t be a red flag. And if he had an issue with alcohol in any circumstances, his reaction would’ve been warranted, but he didn’t. He only seems to have issues with people he’s dating drinking.

Noah could’ve been an amazing, broken character. Sadly, other than his drinking, there was very little character development. We never learned why he lost himself in the bottle, never had a reason to cheer for him to get better, other than to hold onto some hot sex.

The story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing, either. It was a lot of sex, which for once didn’t annoy me because that fit the story, but not a lot of plot. I’m not sure what they built their relationship on beyond the chemistry in bed.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

Also check out Just Drive and Afraid to Fly, the first two titles in the Anchor Point series!

 

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

LA.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

To celebrate the release of Chief’s Mess, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

 

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

Mature Content by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Review

 

My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

Mature Content

By Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Cyberlove Series

Book 4

Amazon  | BN | kobo | iBooks | Indigo | Angus & Robertson Book World | Mandadori Store

“You want to talk now that Ian is gone?” Jesse asked knowingly.

I flicked the seam of my pillow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’re being weird, and I’m not sure if it’s because of Zane or something else.”

“It’s not because of Zane. Well, some of it is, I guess.”

“Ah.” He grinned. “Does that mean there is a thing with Zane?”

I stood up and ran my hands through my hair, which had a life of its own due to the amount of grease in it. “Fine, yes. Okay? We fucked at NerdCon. It was amazing, but we still hate each other, so it’s not happening again.”

Jesse’s eyes were huge. “I’m…not sure what to say right now?”

I wasn’t either. All our lives, I’d been the bossy one, the leader, and Jesse had been the follower. I was the ambitious one, the person with answers and advice. And now the shoe was on the other foot. Jesse had a career and a happy life, and I was a goddamn mess. But maybe I’d always been a mess. I was just excellent at covering it up with a smile.

A lot of people ask us about our co-writing process in terms of big picture stuff–plotting, who writes which characters, how do we decide who writes which scene. So, when Two Chicks Obsessed asked us to write about our process, we decided to take it down to the nitty gritty. A day in the life of Megtino. As well as a glimpse at the future of the series.

Megan: I usually wake up every day to a message on gchat from Santino that says “Blah.”

Santino: No, sometimes I say “I hate today” or “Why do I have to have a job?”

Megan: Okay, you’re right you mix it up sometimes, haha. But that’s how our co-writing day starts! That’s our morning greeting. Gchat is our main method of communication because it’s easy and the app works. Usually Santino writes at night, and I write during the day. So every morning is a little bit like Christmas, because I get to wake up and see what magic he did while I was sleeping. I then send him messages like, “THAT WAS SO GOOD. HOW DARE YOU.”

Santino: And then I secretly read her scenes at work and send more messages like “Why do I have to work?”. LOL

Megan: We do plot ahead of time, but we talk through every scene just to make sure we’re both on track with the emotions of our characters. We have changed the plot of…all four books I think. As in, the plot we started out with changed as we drafted because our characters weren’t following that path. So we check in with each other before just about every scene. So before I dig in that day, we’ll take each other’s pulse. I’m usually feeling inspired and excited based on his last scene, so I’m ready to go. 🙂

Santino: I think my favorite part of our process is after it all comes together and I can reread it in its entirety, because day-to-day I get excited for every scene, but then by the middle or end it’s all fragmented in my brain so I’m like “is this coherent and fun for anyone else?? Because clearly we think it’s great!”. We both have those moments, and it’s nice to be able to kind of vent our worries and angst to each other. And then reassure each other.

Megan: It’s definitely hard when I have to write a book on my own. Like, where’s my partner? I need to brainstorm with someone! What’s kind of funny about this series is that it’s rather meta. It’s all about MCs who meet online, and we write the whole series in Google Docs while conversing on Gchat.

Santino: Exactly. I think that’s why the books resonate with so many people, though. Most people in romancelandia have met like-minded online via various different forms of social media, and those relationships have transitioned to long-lasting friendships, partnerships, and more. It’s also why we decided to keep the series going. We almost stopped at book 3, and then we had several conversations about whether we should wrap it up with book 4 since this kind of closes out the story arc that began with Kai and Garrett.

Megan: Right, and then because we can’t help ourselves, we brainstormed an idea for book five, so we guess there’ll be more Cyberlove along the way. 😀

TCO: OH YEAH!!!! Now that is awesome news!!! Thanks for stopping by Megtino.

Holy smokin hot! Like oh mah gawd. Anyway…

I kind of love opposites attract when they have something big in common. Here it was youtube. Other than that, and that they were both openly gay- Zane and Beau could not be more different. And it was awesome. While it was a bone of contention to begin with- squeeky clean Beau versus TrashyZane, they started to realize that maybe they had more in common than they thought. See first sentence of review.

I have to say, this series made me really glad I have a teen at home so I knew all of the lingo already. Otherwise, you could easily spend some time looking things up. Big plus for me and it all fit with the story, but I honestly don’t know if that would be a turn off for others.

Above and beyond the steamy hotness, there was a good story. That is essential to me. Keeping careers alive and moving forward, branding, cattiness in the business, etc. It was really interesting to read all that goes on behind the scenes of having a successful youtube channel.

Both Zane and Beau were likeable even though you want to smack each of them at different points in the story.

There were several different conflicts in the story, and honestly I couldn’t really figure out how he was going to get through it. So they way it did wrap up was done really well.

Being that this was a co-written book, one of the biggest markers for me is if you can tell that one author wrote one character and the other author wrote the second. But honestly, I could not tell at all. The story telling was seamless.

There are quite a few appearances by characters of previous books, and although it can be read as a stand alone, I really would start at the beginning. They are all worth a read.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

ABOUT SANTINO HASSELL:

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

www.santinohassell.com

Santino@santinohassell.com

Twitter: @santinohassell

https://www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell

Amazon Author Page

 

ABOUT MEGAN ERICKSON

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.
For more, visit meganerickson.org

Website: www.meganerickson.org

Amazon Author Page

Twitter @MeganErickson_

IG: https://www.instagram.com/meggiejoknows/
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1440306062901719/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authormeganerickson/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mrsmeggiejo/

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

Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain: Release Day Review, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Luca McGrath may be returning to Napa Valley, California as a promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery, but his heart still lives with bad-boy billionaire’s son, James Armstrong. Luca spent his childhood playing games with the golden boy of California society, so blinded by James he barely noticed the dark, quiet lure of his conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong.

But now, Luca’s home and his own powers of attraction are enough to make James question his dedicated heterosexuality and his promised marriage to a wealthy and powerful businesswoman. The obvious attraction between Luca and James spurs Dylan into action—but he’s fighting a huge secret. While Luca dreamed of James, Dylan dreamed of Luca. When Luca gets caught in the struggle between the brothers and gets accused of culinary espionage he’s ready to chuck the fairy tale—unable to even imagine Dylan’s power to make his dreams come true.

Title: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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There’s Nothing Like Napa

Hi. I’m Tara Lain. Settle down, have a glass of champagne and join me in celebrating my new novel, Return of the Chauffeur’s Son. While this book pays homage to the wonderful romantic movie, Sabrina, it doesn’t take place on the east coast. In fact, it’s set in Napa Valley, CA. I hope when people read the book, they end up wanting to visit this magical place. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Napa a few times so here are a few impressions.

Unlike the other great California wine area, Sonoma, where wineries are tucked along winding roads and hidden cul de sacs, Napa is truly a valley with wineries and restaurants organized around two long parallel roads connected by smaller lanes. All a visitor has to do is start at the end of one long road and hop from winery to winery. You’ll never make it to all of them in one day. In fact, your head will be delightfully muzzy in only a few stops of wine tasting, so be sure to appoint a designated driver, or better yet, hire a car or limo to take you on the tour.

Each winery has its own tasting room. Some are very informal affairs, but most are large rooms offering the traveler snacks and souvenirs to go with their wine.  Usually, you pay a fee to taste a flight of wines – starting with the lightest white and progressing through the heaviest reds. Names like viongnier, pinot grigio, cabernet franc and meritage trip off the tongue – literally. Some of the wineries look like old castles and others are as modern as can be imagined. A few will take you on a tour of their wine making process – a treat for any wine fancier.

In Return of the Chauffeur’s Son, I manage to get my hero on a wine tour bus (they ran out of rental cars) and so the reader goes on a little drive through Napa Valley. I hope you enjoy my new book and that you get to visit Napa sometime soon.

James grabbed her, picked her up, and swung her in a circle before setting her down and starting a very accomplished foxtrot.

Luca watched them dance off, his gut twisting. He liked Nila so much. Why the hell did she have to love James?

A big warm hand clamped his shoulder. His breath sucked in. Slowly, Dylan turned him, and when they were face-to-face, Dylan wrapped Luca in his arms and began to dance.

If Sasquatch had just asked him to waltz, he wouldn’t have been more amazed. “Uh, will your guests be okay with same-sex dancing?”

Dylan whispered close to his ear, rumbly and low, “Ask me if I care.”

Luca smiled. “Dylan, do you care?”

“Not one tiny fuck.”

Every hair on Luca’s body stood on end. The hairs made a matched set with his cock, which leaped to attention and saluted. Whoa. Keep your distance or he’ll know. The old song said something about needing someone all the way, and his penis nodded in agreement. I could run! Get in my new car and drive. Uh, that would be the new car Dylan practically bought for me. He swallowed. “Thank you for helping with my car. I could never have bought it without your, uh, family discount.” He laughed tightly.

“You and Francis have always been a part of the family.” The deep vibration of Dylan’s voice tickled through Luca’s chest and dove lower. “I remember when you and James used to play like brothers.”

Not a subtle reminder of fraternity. “Yeah, how many times did we turn the great room into a gigantic fort?”

“I seem to recall being turned into the enemy and attacked once or twice.”

“We did love to follow you around.”

His voice got closer and breath warmed Luca’s ear. “I should have realized you were a little too interested in the fact that all my dates were guys.”

Two could play this game. He slipped his lips closer to Dylan’s ear. “You were my role model. I used to peek out the window and watch you kiss boys under the big tree by the pool.”

Dylan laughed deep and throaty. “I finally figured out you were watching.”

“Once I saw a guy go down on you. Your head was back against the tree trunk, and I could hear you moaning.” He whispered softly, “It was the first time I ever came that wasn’t a nocturnal emission.”

The sound from Dylan’s throat sounded half snort and half moan. “I didn’t know about that time, or I might have come inside and paddled your butt.”

“I might have liked it.” He laughed. “Right after that I realized I never felt that way when I saw girls.”

I do enjoy Tara Lain’s books, quite a bit. There are always characters with rich personalities, and quirks that change from book to book. This book is no exception. The side characters have their own personalities and little differences, as well.

Dylan kept his demeanor cool and aloof for most of the book. In many instances, it was difficult to tell what he felt (or didn’t feel) for Luca. Meanwhile, Luca had a difficult time coming around to Dylan, almost too much trouble. It did feel a little forced to have him go straight from one love to another, with a little bit of dating in between.

The espionage story was a great side story. It provided some additional depth to Luca, finding out how much he really wanted to be home, and what he was willing to put up with from the locals. In the end, he won, with the help of Dylan, and was cleared of all wrongdoing. I did like that no one that really “knew” Luca believed he was willing to go to such lengths to win a contest.

As with all of Tara’s books, it had the ever present HEA, and with some great stuff to look forward to with the happy couple(s). I loved that we got to experience a little of that HEA, as well.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 37. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Website:              http://www.taralain.com

Blog:                      http://www.taralain.com/blog

Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain

FB Page:               http://www.facebook.com/taralain

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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.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by L.A. Merrill: Release Day Review, Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too.

Forty years ago Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive.

The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.

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

Title: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Author: L.A. Merrill
Release Date: May 31, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense, States of Love
Pages: 74

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY!

It’s Monday, May 29th, which means it must be… Memorial Day! (In America, at least.) And also… release day for my new novella! Take a time out from your pool-side, burger-flipping, summer kickoff parties (and whatever else y’all are up to on this last Monday in May) to read about unexpected romance in Montana and enter for a chance to win a free e-book!

         

Shakespeare and Bronte and Poe, Oh My: Literary Web Series and New Storytelling

My love affair with literary web series started with one little three-minute episode. After dinner one night, my sister dragged me upstairs to her room, sat me down in front of her laptop and said, “You have to watch this.”

This was Episode One of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Ashely Clements, Mary Kate Wiles, and Hank Green and Bernie Su’s hilarious script hooked me in under a minute. My sister and I devoured the series together every Saturday night in tiny, laughter-filled binges. After we’d seen every episode and spin-off available, we branched out into adaptations of Emma and Jane Eyre, discovering a whole online and IRL culture of web-based filmmakers and production companies, professional actors and groups of college friends staging Shakespeare in their dorm rooms.

Sean and Sinead Persaud spoofing Edgar Allen Poe and Lenore the Lady Ghost. Yulin Kuang’s lyrical I Didn’t Write This series. The campy fun of Carmilla and the blisteringly recognizable humor and despair in Whatever this is. YouTube’s “Watch Next Video” button was my answer to Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” check-in, and I was always ready to press “Yes!”

I always loved watching any “Behind the Scenes” videos, too, eager to see how the stories were made. When I started writing Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, those were the videos I returned to, seeing how tiny teams of actors and crew members banded together on a ridiculously short shooting schedule to create highly detailed serial stories. In my novella, David Marks and his best friend Ronni Oberfeldt run Mark of Cain Productions, a company using its last chance at funding to film a classic Western version of Lorna Doone. When I was younger I was almost ready to drop everything and run away to Vancouver or California to join a web series production company as a writer. I never did end up going, but I channeled my passion for retellings of classic stories into Meanwhile—and if you read closely, you can find more than one allusion to R. D. Blackmore’s story hidden inside mine!

(I did end up writing a sketch script for one episode of The Blank Scene, Maxwell Glick’s acting-exercise-comedy series. It’s called “Have You Seen My Car” if you want to look it up!)

Now for the giveaway! I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch, so leave a comment with your favorite web series and an email you feel comfortable leaving in public, and one person will be randomly selected to receive a FREE copy of my Hanukkah-centric romantic short story Don’t Let the Light Go Out. Leave a comment by June 1st, and we will contact the winner by the end of June! Happy reading, y’all!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is available now! Follow the link to buy it today—and be sure to check out L.A. Merrill’s other stories and the rest of the States of Love novella series! 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novella. I hadn’t read anything by L.A. Merrill before, and with it being in the States of Love line, you could find all kinds of options as to what it was. I enjoyed this one a lot! The  synopsis led me to believe it might be serious, with some guys with guns charging after a guy who’d been hiding out for years. That wasn’t what I got at all. 🙂

One thing I wasn’t expecting in it was to laugh out loud. There were lots of moments of just pure laugh out loud funny. Here are just a few that I marked:

“I had to sign a release form via email before I even got to reserve or rooms. I’m pretty sure I signed away our right to sue over wolverine-related incidents.”

“Which one of these is to the gun cabinet?” I asked aiming for nonchalant. (Pro tip: there’s no way you can ask that question nonchalantly.)”

And this conversation is my favorite!

“What about costumes?” Jen asked momentarily distracted.

“That’s me,” Enzo said, raising a hand.

“Makeup?”

“Also me.”

“Running sound–“

“You know what, I’m just going to leave my hand up.”

There were actually more that I highlighted, but you’ll need to buy and read yourself. 😉

David and Michael were cute together. Getting together at night and working on the script that David was terrible at writing, and Michael could write so easily. They worked together, along with the band of misfits that showed up as the first guests at the new hotel.

One of the things I enjoyed about this novella was that the people were not perfect. I won’t give away what I mean like that completely, other than to say that sometimes what we believe to be real turns out to be completely different than reality.

David’s creativity with the dog that hated him at the end was pretty darn good!

For a short novella, it had action, it had romance, lots of humor and a storyline that you wanted to see come to a happy ending. All of that, and still a couple surprises you didn’t see coming.

Completely my idea of a fun time!

4 pieces of eye candy


        L.A. Merrill is a tiny blonde woman who loves a good story. She has worked as a tour guide and an assistant stage director, and spent one memorable summer as a camp counselor. After five years in vocal performance, production work, and arts education, she now writes full-time. Her work has appeared in Kansas City Voices magazine, on the YouTube series The Blank Scene, and online. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is L.A.’s fourth story with Dreamspinner Press, and her first published novella. (There’s an unpublished novella, about murderous husbands and Scottish ghosts, written when she was thirteen, that is sitting in a file at home. It will likely never see the light of day.)

An avid knitter, she has yet to follow a pattern and has made some interestingly shaped hats as a result. L.A. makes handknit and crocheted blankets and hats for local charities, as well as leading a LGBT+ writers group in her hometown. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she can usually be found reading, writing, and making things up as she goes along. Follow her on Twitter for feminism and fangirling at @la_mer92

 

Next Stops On The Blog Tour!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (May 30)

Tammy’s Two Cents (May 31)

The Novel Approach (June 1)

Love Bytes (June 2)

Divine Magazine (June 5)

On Top Down Under (June 6)

Dreamspinner Press (June 8)

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

And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out, by both his strict father and his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, goes off to his mission in Barcelona, Spain, and realizes that his life may not follow the trajectory already chosen for him.

His mission companion, Brandon Christensen, is a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner on the surface. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.

Book title: And It Came to Pass
Author: Laura Stone

Stand Alone

Pages/Words: 222 pages / 67,300 words
Cover: Cover Photography by T.I. Stills Photography

[Read more…]

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

Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue Talks MPreg includes Excerpt and Giveaway

Another fun monthly author column with Victoria Sue!

TCO side note: Victoria Sue made me read my first mpreg, so I read The Alpha King, expecting a baby to pop out of the omega around every corner. (I’ve been in the “NOPE” category for years). Surprisingly, I enjoyed the entire book, including the mpreg. I don’t think they will become my go-to books ever, but I definitely had a good time reading, and am now waiting for the next book in the series…but don’t tell Victoria or she will gloat. 😀

“Call the Midwife” 😉

 

I unashamedly admit I wrote Alpha King for me. I’ve heard the term “book crack,” and that pretty much sums up my love for this book. Bossy, handsome Alpha with wall to wall muscles and a protective streak a mile wide. Smaller, but fierce omega who saves his Alpha’s life only to put his own in mortal peril.

And then to complete the package with a big red bow – it had to be MPreg.

Men having babies or MPreg as its often called in books is one of those love it or hate it subjects – but whichever side of the fence you fall on, and there are definitely more and more people climbing over it, it’s here to stay.

There is a discussion forum called Mpreg Central which has over eleven and a half thousand members! It’s associated face book page has a thousand, and the small group on facebook I belong to “MPreg Book Rec” started in 2015, is over 600 members strong and new people are joining all the time. I’m not going to even start on the thousands of fanfics dedicated to the phenomenon.

Makes you think?

Well, how about this – last year surgeons in the US performed the first uterine transplant surgery on a 26-year-old woman. The process is nine hours long, and then approximately one year later doctors will implant embryos that were created using in vitro fertilization. The lady will have to take anti-rejection drugs throughout the pregnancy and then either the uterus will be removed, or it will be allowed to disintegrate.

The same fertility clinic that has done this procedure states they are less than five years away from being able to perform this surgery on a man. And before you wonder why they should – think about trans women. Many women are desperate to have their own child and having chatted to some transgender ladies in this position; they understandably feel the same way.

The science is there. Unfortunately the money is not. To give you an idea; a heart transplant—something successfully undertaken for years—currently costs over a million dollars.

Can you imagine how much a pioneering operation would be?

Luca swore succinctly.

“Sire, Kit also saved your life in the arena,” Sam said flatly.

“What? No, that was you,” Luca insisted.

“Kit warned me. I don’t know how, but he shouted to me. He saw something before I did and I was already running and had my knife out before I saw Malik’s blade. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been fast enough, and you, Sire, would be dead.”

Luca drew in a harsh breath.

“Sire, I’m worried because I think he’s unwell,” Molly put in.

“W-what do you mean?” Luca’s heart pounded so hard it threatened to escape his chest.

“He’s eating hardly anything. A lot of foods are upsetting him…”

Luca nearly closed his eyes in despair. Surya take my heart. How could he have been so blind? It was him. He was the one Kit had spoken of. Kit didn’t have any confidence in Luca’s love because he had been so busy lording it around being Alpha King he had forgotten about the one person who was responsible for making him the King in the first place. Kit had been left alone for days and this was all Luca’s fault. Kit had done nothing wrong, and Luca had treated him appallingly. He didn’t deserve him, and Luca should be whipped for how he had treated him. Surya didn’t need to take his heart, he had lost it a long time ago to a much bigger one.

“Sam, we shift and search. I want Asher to follow with weapons and blankets.” He looked at Asher. “Choose two men and follow the best you can with supplies. Get water, also.” Asher nodded and stepped away. Luca followed Sam towards the woods, Sam stripping as he walked.

“Sire.” Luca paused as Gabriel shouted urgently. “Sire I have been trying to speak to you for days. There is something you need to know.”

“Not now, Gabriel. I promise as soon as I have Kit safe we will talk.”

“No, Sire,” Gabriel took a close step in determination, “this is important and has to do with Kit.”

Luca stopped, the urgency in Gabriel’s voice finally making him pause, and at the same time he remembered putting Gabriel off before. “What is it?”

“You know I have been going through the old texts on pure omega matings. You asked me.” Luca nodded. Worry settled like stone in his gut.

“The thing is, Sire, I don’t think Kit is ill.”

Luca shook his head in exasperation. He had thought Gabriel had urgent news, not just something comforting. “We can argue that when I get him home.”

“Sire, I don’t think Kit is ill. I think he is pregnant.”

No one spoke. No one moved. Luca swallowed. “What did you say?” He had misheard. Gabriel didn’t—

“According to the old scrolls, Alpha Kings never used breeders, ever, and it didn’t matter which sex their omega was. Look.” Gabriel got a sheet of old paper from his pocket. “I found this tucked in one of the old books. It’s a likeness of Aristaad and Oliver, the first Alpha King and his pure omega. Oliver was definitely male.”

Luca nodded. He knew the history.

Gabriel unfolded the piece of paper. It was a drawing of a couple. The likeness of the Alpha King and his omega was clear. They were both turned sideways and their tattoos were visible. It was the appearance of Oliver, the omega, that was so shocking. He leaned back into his King as if Aristaad were supporting him. Aristaad’s hands were both circled around his omega’s body. What was completely stunning was the huge round belly on Oliver, and Aristaad’s hands laid on it protectively.

“Oliver was pregnant, Sire.”

Luca closed his eyes in desperation. What the hell had he done?

Amazon

 

 

What do you think? Could it happen? Leave a comment and you could win an ebook of any of Victoria Sue’s backlist.

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

Swift for the Sun by Karen Bovenmyer: Exclusive Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

swift for the sunsynopsisBenjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Title: Swift for the Sun
Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Category: Historical: Americas
Pages: 230

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excerpt

SWIFT FOR THE SUN Exclusive Excerpt from Chapter 12: Sacrifice

Hours later I woke in the dark alone, and a terrible feeling of foreboding made breathing hard. I felt my way over to the corner. Sun’s spear was still there. I felt better for a moment, until I thought things through, and the realization made my skin prickle. He was gone. And he’d left his weapon behind.

Oh no. Oh God no.

I don’t remember the trip from the tree house to the beach. I only remember the bottom dropping out of my world as I stood holding his spear, then the utter blackness of the night jungle, and then crouching where the tree line ended at the band of sand surrounding our island like a shackle.

The Portuguese had a fire going again.

The smell of roast pig filled the night. I felt nauseous when I realized the source must be Ernest.

The big man, Martio, loomed by the fire. He stood looking into the night while everyone else ate and drank. I almost yelled a warning when I saw what Martio was staring at.

Sun stepped out of the forest shadows, his lean body bathed in the flickering light of the fire. He looked naked in his loincloth compared to the pirates, and the fire lit up his golden skin and braids like the Greek’s Helios or Rome’s Sol Invictus. His hands were empty, arms at his sides with palms facing out to show he had no weapons.

Two sentries at the edge of the light pointed their guns at him, but Martio held up his hand.

“Come,” the big man said in his native tongue, and Sun walked with fluid grace into the camp. There was no trace of the trembling fear I’d seen in him when we’d hidden in the bushes together. It was as though making up his mind to come to the fireside of his former masters had also banished his terror.

The other pirates gathered around, the more drunk glaring through squinted eyes, as if working hard to figure out who the newcomer was.

“Sóli,” Martio said. I watched open surprise and recognition mingle on his face. It was quickly replaced by a narrowing that spoke of both greed and desire. Clearly Sun was someone, something, he valued.

Martio sunk into a fighter’s crouch as Sun approached, and Sun mirrored him. The big man was more than twice Sun’s bulk, but he moved with a grace that looked just as deadly. I held my breath and imagined them fighting, Sun would be quicker, but I had the feeling Martio would be tireless as well as stronger.

“You remember well.” Martio stopped circling, straightened, and laughed, the sound booming across the beach. Sun straightened too, but he didn’t laugh. He watched Martio like a snake watches a boot, ready to strike if a man steps too close. This didn’t escape Martio’s notice. In fact, he seemed to expect it, like it, a smile curving his full, cruel lips. He stepped away from the roast hog with a chuckle, leaving a wide space.

“Join us.” He sat and indicated a place by the fire next to him—I didn’t like how long his reach was. Sun’s eyes flicked to the sentries, who still stared, mouths gaping. Martio waved their muskets down. The men obeyed without argument, but I noticed they didn’t sling their weapons. Everyone in the camp watched Sun as he crossed the short distance and crouched by the fire.

Martio gave him a generous piece of hog off the spit, and Sun took the steaming meat from him and tore into it with his straight, white teeth. For reasons unknown to me, Martio found this gladsome and laughed again. He touched one of the braids tailing down Sun’s back and ran it through his fingers. It reminded me of someone inspecting a horse for soundness. There was a look in Martio’s eyes I didn’t like, and for a moment I fantasized skewering him with Sun’s spear.

Sun casually took his braid back and rotated on the balls of his feet so he faced Martio directly. I couldn’t see the expression on his face from where I was, but Martio stopped laughing and instead watched him eat for long moments.

“Why are you here?” Martio’s voice was low but rumbled through the clearing.

“I want you to leave.” Sun’s voice was steady, easy to hear. His Portuguese was perfect, his accent very slight.

“Why would we do that?” Martio grinned at him like Sun was a child asking for an indulgence.

Sun chewed and didn’t answer him.

“We’re looking for a man,” Martio said as he held up the charred wing from the Sea Swift’s prow. “Have you seen him?”

. I have seen him.” Again, Sun’s voice was clear. I tensed. Had I been wrong to trust him? Had he only been waiting for the right moment to turn me in? No, I would not believe that.

To a man, the pirates looked out into the night past the circle of light. I felt eyes raking the darkness where I lay.

“Where is he?”

“If I take you to him, will you leave my island?”

Martio’s eyes narrowed as he searched Sun’s face. What he looked for, I couldn’t say.

“This is not your island.” Martio’s voice deepened with the ring of command.

Sun shrugged and tore another piece off the meat. Martio no longer thought this was so amusing.

“He belongs to us. He owes us.”

Sun shrugged again.

“Show us this man.” Martio stood.

“It’s dark.” Sun stood too and reached down to pull a piece of flaming wood from the fire. He turned it slowly in his hands, considering it.

“Torches,” Martio ordered.

I kept as low as I could in the undergrowth. All the men on the beach gathered into a scouting party. The atmosphere turned festive, and the bottles of liquor were brought as well. The men seemed to regard the outing as a hunt. There was no other choice—when they passed, Sun leading them into the forest, I followed.

SwiftForTheSun_headerbanner

denise review

Wow! I’m really not sure where to start with this review. I will qualify it by saying I love historicals as a general rule. It is what I started reading back as a teenager. The true “bodice-rippers” that I got from who knows where, and sometimes would read over and over. I’ve read a few since I’ve started reading exclusively m/m, and they have always been good. This one knocked it out of the park for me, though.

First, I must touch on the research. Now I didn’t follow up to make sure all of Karen Bovenmyer’s historical accuracy was there, but enough of it was what I knew to be true to the history of the time, that I imagine most of the rest of it was. Either the author has a history degree, which it appears from her bio that she does not, or she spent an incredible amount of time researching the locations, the cultures, the people and the time. I was astonished at the level of detail she gave, and yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed with words. I could visualize exactly what I was reading, and with such a beautiful locale to read about, it was a great vacation of the senses. In addition there was quite a cast of characters in this book, all very different, both physically (well except for two 😉 ) and personality-wisse, yet I could almost see each character as a separate person.

I’ll admit there were a few times, I considered taking a break from the book. Not because it wasn’t well-written, but for the exact opposite reason! She wrote situations so real for the time, and with such precision that some of it was tough to read. I knew there was a happy ending at the end of Swift for the Sun, but these characters went through so much to get there that I wondered if I could make it without crying. (Final Answer: No.)

The heartbreak of watching all that Sun went through before he found Benjamin made me wonder how he had any humanity intact by that point. A lesser man would have been the savage that Benjamin thought he was, and later learned he was on the edge of. Yet Benjamin saw the beauty inside Sun, and never let his light be diminished.

This book isn’t an easy book to read in some ways. And in so many others ways, I can’t imagine a love story that would shine brighter than the gemstone this book turned out to be.

5 pieces of eye candy

5-pieces-eye-candy4

meet the author

 

Bovenmyer_Karen credit Chris Gannon ARCHAuthor Short Bio:

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her poems, short stories and novellas appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT romantic adventure in 1820s Caribbean, will be available from Dreamspinner Press on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer.com/

Social Media Links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer

https://www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer

https://twitter.com/karenbovenmyer

 

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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.

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.”

giveaway

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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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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The Way to His Heart by Felice Stevens: Release Day Book Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

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THE WAY TO HIS HEART

A LEARNING TO LOVE NOVELETTE

FELICE STEVENS

M/M ROMANCE

02.14.17

the-way-to-his-heart-cover

COVER DESIGN: Felice Stevens

COVER PHOTO: Stock Photo

synopsis

Love is going pretty well for Gideon Marks. He’s living with his boyfriend, Jonah, and his business is thriving beyond his wildest dreams. So why is he still worried he’s not enough, and all he holds dear will slip through his fingers?

Jonah Fine has everything he wants; he’s head over heels in love with Gideon and has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his father. Aware of Gideon’s continuing struggle with dyslexia, Jonah tries to reassure him that they are equal partners in their relationship by making their first Valentine’s Day one to remember.

Ghosts from the past reappear, sending Gideon into a tailspin. He must make the decision to either hold on to the anger he grew up with or forgive the pain he’s carried with him all his life. It will take all of Gideon’s courage, Jonah’s love, and a special surprise for Gideon to finally realize the one person he must learn to love is himself.

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excerpt

“Do you think I do that? Live with regrets until they’ve made me afraid to accept happiness and accept you loving me?”

I knew to choose my words carefully. “I think you’ve been alone so long it’s colored your outlook on life. And considering you’re one of the most fearless men I’ve ever met, I think it’s made you afraid to move forward. Your mother’s death and your father’s treatment of you left emotional scars. You have a hard time letting people in to help you.”
Gideon stood up, and I missed him immediately; I sat up and watched him pace the floor, holding his wine as he formulated his thoughts. My heart broke for him as I watched his inner turmoil break him down until he collapsed in the chair opposite me.
“I love you, Jonah. Thinking about being without you scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to be alone; I can’t anymore. But it’s not the being alone part that scares me. I’ve been alone all my life. It’s the being without you. I don’t want to lose you. Today made me realize how I could easily hurt you and push you away.” He gulped his wine then wiped his mouth on his sleeve and shuddered.
“It won’t happen.” I swung my legs off the sofa to go sit on the coffee table and face him. “I won’t let it.”
“I’m telling you. I’m perfect at ruining a good thing.”
“I’m not a good thing. I’m the best damn thing to ever happen to you.”
“I know that. But I don’t ever want you feeling like you have to stay with me because you feel sorry for me.”
I plucked the glass out of his hand and placed it on the table then stood and pulled him into my arms. “I feel many, many things for you—desire, absolute lust, but most of all, love. I’m with you because I love you, Gideon, and that’s never going to change.”
The pain in his eyes slayed me. When would he realize he deserved to be loved?
A slight smile curved Gideon’s lips. “Absolute lust huh? I think I like the sound of that.”

meet the author

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter:https://twitter.com/FeliceStevens1

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Instagram: https://instagram.com/FeliceStevens

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jared’s Family by V.S. Morgan: Release Day Blitz and Excerpt

Series: Sequel to The Gift and Sam’s Temptation (can be read as a standalone)
Author: V.S. Morgan 
Genre: m/m, Interracial, Contemporary, Western 
Cover Designer: Tibbs Design
Release Date: February 14, 2017

synopsis

After witnessing his mother’s death, a once outgoing preschooler is now a quiet shadow of himself. The little boy suffers nightmares and rarely speaks, choosing to use the basic sign language he learned in daycare. Desperate to help his little nephew, Virge Stevens takes a leave of absence from the LAPD to bring Donovan, known as D to Montana for the therapy he needs.

A chance meeting at the library changes Virge and his nephew’s lives forever.

Jared Malone is one of five brothers, right smack damn in the middle. He is the peacemaker and the one who gets shit done. When his younger brother gets sick, Jared fills in reading to small children at the library. There he encounters a tall, dark, and handsome stranger and his cute little boy. Jared is immediately drawn to Virge but is still dealing with the betrayal of an abusive ex.

As the Malone family welcomes them to the ranch and into their lives, Virge’s instant attraction for Jared grows, but the cowboy is fifteen years younger than him. Will he be rejected?

Both men have secrets. Secrets that could destroy the connection between them. Can they overcome the odds and find happiness together?

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excerpt
Another blond cowboy stood in the middle, working with a horse. He had a long rope around its neck, guiding it around the ring at a quick clip. The shirtless cowboy spoke in a firm yet quiet tone. Virge nearly choked on his tongue, eyeing the golden skin and muscles on display. This was their cowboy.

The man whistled, and the horse stopped. He rubbed its shoulder, his back to them, as they reached the ring’s split-rail fence.

 


“Daddy!” D shrieked, and the horse whinnied and shied, bumping into the man as it swung around.

 


“Whoa, easy, Spike,” the cowboy soothed.

 


Virge struggled to prevent his nephew from launching out of his arms while the cowboy calmed the large, skittish animal. He’d never been near a horse and was struck by its size and power, which the other man skillfully controlled. As the cowboy turned, Virge saw a tattoo on his chest. A redwing blackbird with a rainbow-hued ribbon dangling from its beak. His heart beat a little faster seeing the colorful ink. Could he be gay? The cowboy handed the rope to a dark-haired man before pulling on a T-shirt that stretched tight over those muscles. He suppressed a disappointed sigh.

 


Nate chuckled. “You’ve got some explaining to do, bro.”

 


“Hi, I’m Jared. I remember you from the library.” He approached with a rolling gait Virge found extremely sexy and offered his hand after wiping it against his denim-clad thigh. Damn, he was built all over and tall, just an inch or two shorter than his own height.

 


Virge shook his hand, hyperaware of the firm grasp of warm, work-hardened skin. “I’m Virge, and this is Donovan. He goes by D.”

“Glad you could make it out—”

 


“Why did he call Jared daddy?” Nate interrupted.

 


“He calls all men daddy and women mommy. If he especially likes someone, he adds their first names. D doesn’t talk much, so he must like Jared.” What about this cowboy had inspired his nephew to talk?

 

meet the author

V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, teen son, and a menagerie of pets.

She’s been writing stories since she could hold a pencil and dreams of happily-ever-afters – even for two hot men – because love knows no boundaries. V.S. writes IRMC contemporary, paranormal, and suspense m/m and m/f with heart.

V.S. is a GLBT ally and a lifetime contributor of The Trevor Project.

 

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