Facing West by Lucy Lennox: New Release Review and Teasers

Nico:

I left my family and tiny Texas hometown fifteen years ago to escape small-town gossips and to give my mom and sister the chance at a better life. But when a phone call from an attorney back home informs me that my sister passed away, leaving me custody of her newborn baby, I’m shocked out of the steady life I’ve built for myself running a tattoo shop in San Francisco.

The thing is: I don’t do babies. And I don’t do small towns. Or commitment. And I especially don’t do family. My plan is to go back to Hobie just long enough to sign adoption papers, giving my niece the kind of stable, loving family I could never provide.

But the moment I meet my niece in the arms of Weston Wilde, my sister’s best friend and the town’s handsome doctor, my plans begin to change. Because suddenly, I see a different future. One with the very thing I thought I never deserved: a family. If only I can convince West that I’m not the same good-for-nothing kid ready to bolt when things get tough.

Weston:

There’s one thing I know for sure about Nico Salerno: he was a good-for-nothing as a kid and judging by the purple-haired, tattoo’d punk who shows up at his sister’s funeral, he hasn’t changed. There’s no way I’m letting him take custody of my best friend’s baby.

But the more time I spend around him, the more I realize that his rough exterior is just a shell and that beneath all the tattoos is a scared, insecure man searching for a place to belong. And pretty soon I know exactly where he belongs: in my bed and by my side.

The problem is, he abandoned his family once before, how do I know that if we become a family he won’t do it again?

Facing West is the first in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love.

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First, I have to say that even though this is book 1 in this series… it’s a breakaway series and I had no idea who Nico’s friends Griff and Sam or their baby Benji is, but I’m probably going to go read their story, because I love hot dudes with babies; and while it was a little off-putting in the beginning, because I hate not knowing who people are when they talk like I should know who they are, but it didn’t take away from the story.

Second, I have to say…Curtis Billingham is a douche!

Okay… now, on to the story…Nico left town when he was just a teenager to spare his mom and sister all the hate and ridicule of having a gay son/brother. He knew his mom wanted to marry the town sheriff, but that sheriff was a bigot, and everyone knew he wouldn’t marry her unless Nico was out of the picture…so he took himself out…

Then we have Dr. West…best friend of Nico’s sister and Hobie native…I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the way he so harshly judged Nico in the beginning. He treated him like crap and in my opinion, there was really no need for it. So he had purple hair, that made him a criminal? Someone not fit to take care of a baby? That’s ridiculous….I found it hard to like him in the beginning. First he said “No way, he isn’t getting near this baby” but then not ten minutes later, when Nico first meets his niece, West is like, seriously? He just walks away? Dude, you just had a verbal tussle and made it clear he wasn’t to have anything to do with her…so what the heck? Make up your mind!

It was hard, because I really liked Nico and you could see from the beginning that the baby being his only family in the world was exactly what he needed. They needed each other. He was lonely and wanted so much more than he thought he deserved. My heart hurt for him. Then West, ugh, I wanted to punch him a time or two, but he got there eventually…once they put their crap away and actually got to know each other. I think maybe his sister might’ve known what she was doing by bringing them together the way she did.

I was glad that Nico had his friends too…the ones who’d drop everything and come be with him when he needed them. I’m really thinking about going back and reading their stories… And other than the idiot new sheriff, Curt…It was a pretty good story. Like I said…I’m a sucker for hot guys with babies!

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Midlife Crisis by Audra North: Blog Tour Spotlight, Release Day Review and Giveaway

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

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This book intrigued me from the beginning for several reasons. First, how often do we see an m/m romance with characters that are people of color, and then on top of it, they are over the age of 50?!?!?!? These are quite often anomalies in the romance genre, much less gay romance, and having them addressed so prominently in the story was fantastic. And the author did both of those sides of the main characters justice. Addressing all the aches and pains that come with aging, and even having one MC come from a town of all African Americans in Texas, made their journey seem more realistic, falling in love at an age where most people think that people are settled with a partner.

In fact, Dave HAD been settled with a partner, for a number of years, until that partner had his own midlife crisis, and moved on. Cam, meanwhile, was married for 35 years to a woman who died the previous year. He had always known he was gay, but never felt he could be in the tiny, all African American town he lived in. Falling in love was never in Cam’s plans, but finally kissing a man was, as we find in the opening scene. Cam went to Austin to find himself, or possibly to see what he could do to be who he wanted to be for a time.

I understood Cam’s hesitance to move forward with the life that he wanted to lead, but it was frustrating as a reader to understand his continued look at his “old life” as something he needed to get back to, and one he couldn’t move forward from. He’d spent his entire life in the closet, finally moves forward with finding a new love, then makes himself choose between (and this isn’t a surprise since she is called this by her brother) his selfish spoiled daughter who is appalled that her father is gay, versus the man who he fell in love with, and who had had nothing but undying patience for Cam’s slow coming out.  Cam had spent his entire life lying to everyone around him, making sure they all had their needs met, and finally his own were being met and he decided to give it up when his daughter threw a tantrum.

Of course, there is an HEA, so Cam gets his man back, and his children approve, but it still seemed like there needed to be more of a challenge on Dave’s side (although his sister Jacqui did a good job of pushing back on Cam).

One piece that was especially telling for how Cam continued to allow everyone to dictate his entire life was the short snippets of his life with LaVerne, through the years. Although it didn’t necessarily show growth of the character, it did show how he continued to be caught in the spiral he began in high school.

All in all, a sweet story, with a man who took care of everyone but himself first, who deserved a happy ending more than most people.

 

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series, the Hard Driving series, and the Pushing the Boundaries series. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

For more about Audra, and to sign up for her newsletter, visit audranorth.com.

Connect with Audra:

To celebrate the release of Midlife Crisis, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 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.

Remember When by SJD Peterson: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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An epic love story that had potential, but in the end was just ok for me.

The story is told in three parts. As children/teens, early twenties and then close to forty.

I really enjoyed the first part, but I think that was because of nostalgia on my part. Graduating in 1989, I have a fondness for the 80’s. I liked seeing Luke and Nelson as best friends slowly discovering their feelings for each other. Until a quick an unexpected move tears them apart. And as kids are wont to do, they have grand plans of keeping in touch. But alas, the distance is too great. What threw me a bit about this part of the book is that I expected the parents- the mothers especially- to strive to keep in touch as the mothers themselves grew up as best friends. But that didn’t seem to happen.

Part 2 does a fast forward ten years. The inexplicable meeting at the airport that neither was expecting. It was great to see them together again, but it lacked chemistry and heat for me. Add to that a long distance relationship AND parental expectations, it was a recipe for disaster. Then they are torn apart again.

Time jump of 17 years and they somehow bump into each other again. This was a bit eye rolling for me because come on. But ok, it is fiction, let’s roll with it. Again, I just didn’t feel the chemistry and heat. It was sweet, but left me wanting. I also feel that this part of the book wrapped up too quickly and neatly.

So I really did like the way the book was set up in three parts. They were very distinct to each time period and age. And as I said previously, it was a sweet story, but I wanted a bit more.

3 pieces of eye candy


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Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell: New Release Review

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with Illegal Contact. Generally, Santino Hassell‘s books are gritty, dark and quite unlike any other author in this genre (in my estimation). So, having him write a football series seemed-well-out of character from what I would expect of his books. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised with it.

Gavin needed Noah in ways that he couldn’t even comprehend. Meanwhile, Noah did not put up with any of Gavin’s cr@p. He would push back, and Gavin, although he didn’t like it, could appreciate that Noah didn’t care who he was, he wasn’t going to be dismissed lightly.

Gavin had a true journey here to discovering himself, not simply as a bisexual man, but as a human being capable of caring. He’d really only connected with his two best friends, having not had any real childhood to speak of, and so he only showed loyalty for those two. Yet, through his time at home, and his time with Noah, he began a journey to finding what being a part of a productive and caring society, and a part of a caring (and let’s be honest-HOT!) relationship really meant. It was interesting to see that he learned this, all while not being allowed to leave the grounds of his home.

I liked the fact that these two men didn’t just fall into bed two days after meeting. The author could have easily threw them together into the same house from day one, and taken the quick road to love. But he didn’t, he held these two apart, making Noah commute every day to Gavin’s house. It not only grew the tension, it allowed Noah a bit of the upper hand, something Gavin wasn’t used to. It also gave Noah some challenges during the weekends away when he knew Gavin was having a difficult time dealing with his house arrest.

The implosion of their relationship had me crying, simply because I could see it happening easily, especially in the situation they were in.

Very satisfying ending, and it has me dying for book 2, Down by Contact, Simon’s story. January is a long way away!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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

Remember When by SJD Peterson: Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Title: Remember When
Author: SJD Peterson
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 210

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Had he lost his goddamn mind? Luke was a friend he hadn’t seen in ten years, not a potential date. He shook his head at his stupidity. Just two old friends having dinner to catch up on old times. It didn’t matter that Luke was still the hottest guy Nelson had ever laid eyes on. Maybe Luke had become a jerk. Perhaps they no longer had anything in common. Hell, just because they rubbed off on each other a couple times, shared a few blowjobs, it didn’t make Luke gay. A lot of adolescents experimented. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, Luke talked about a steady girlfriend. “So put your dick and your hope away,” Nelson warned himself.

The jeans weren’t the easiest to get into with wet skin, but he managed. Somehow he was able to dress, fix his brown mousy curls—sort of—spray on a little cologne, and was downstairs in the allotted time. He was presentable, but sure, he looked frazzled. Of course, when he spotted Luke leaning against a pillar, Luke appeared calm and relaxed and, man, oh man, did he look presentable. He was wearing tight jeans and a baby-blue dress shirt the same color as his eyes that accentuated his deep tan. He wore his hair styled back, the longish strands tucked behind his ears, and from this distance, it looked dry, unlike Nelson’s wet mop.

“Just dinner with an old friend,” he mumbled. He ran his fingers through his hair one more time and took a deep breath.

His hands were shaking so badly he shoved them into the pockets of his jeans to hide his nervousness. With as much confidence as he could muster, he strolled over to Luke.

Luke smiled when he spotted Nelson. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Oh, that was original.

“The receptionist said they have excellent food in the Torch Light, but if you’d rather get bar food, we can hang out in the lounge.”

“Might be hard to talk in the bar,” Nelson pointed out.

“True. Torch Light it is. We can always head to the bar later.”

Nelson walked along with Luke, doing a little mental math. He had to meet his client at seven in the morning and still had to go over the notes his boss had sent him. He was young. As long as he got back to his room by, say… two… three at the latest, he’d be good.

The restaurant was high-end. White linen tablecloths, fine china, cut-crystal wineglasses. The whole nine yards of way too fancy for me to be here. The other patrons wore slacks, dinner coats, and dresses. Nelson was way underdressed, as was apparent from the disapproving looks he was getting. However, since Luke was dressed casually as well, it did make Nelson feel marginally better. He pointed out the dress code as soon as they were sitting and the host had walked away.

Luke waved a dismissive hand. “Like I care. My money spends just as easily as theirs.”

Nelson shook out his napkin and laid it in his lap. “I’d have thought, you being from Malibu and all, you’d adhere to etiquette. You know, wear nothing but the finest everywhere you went.”

“This is my finest. Best pair of blue jeans, that is,” he chuckled. Luke then tilted his head. “Does it really bother you? We can go somewhere else if you prefer.”

“Nah, I’m good. Hell, I don’t even own the finest pair of anything.”

“My kind of guy,” Luke said. He flashed that stunning dimpled smile before hiding it behind his menu.

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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Suspicious Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt/Cari Z blog tour for Suspicious Behavior, the second Bad Behavior book!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of an eBooks off each of our backlists (excluding Suspicious Behavior) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

Five things I (L.A.) learned while researching for this series (about the subject matter or each other!)

When you’re writing a thriller, research happens. It’s just part of the game. Fortunately for me, I live with a cop, so a lot of the research is really just: “(turns head) Hey, what would happen if…?”

So what did I learn while writing the Bad Behavior books?

  1. About serial killers… They’re not all geniuses. In fact, they’re largely average or even below average intelligence.
  2. About cops… All that stuff where the cops are turning on Darren and Andreas? Backstabbing? Pettiness? It happens. For real. Okay, so I knew that, but researching and writing this book meant diving deeper into it, and… yeah. It can get ugly when cops turn on other cops.
  3. About early onset Alzheimers… Man, that stuff is heartbreaking. Cari knows much more about it than I do, so I followed her lead, and… wow. The ferocity of the disease and the speed at which someone deteriorates is so much worse than I ever knew.
  4. About HIV… I honestly had no idea just how many advances had been made in treating and managing the disease. Between this series and my upcoming Bluewater Bay book, New Hand, I’ve spent a lot of time this year researching HIV, and it’s been amazing to see how many strides have been made since the 1980s.
  5. About my co-author… Y’all, she seems nice and sweet and all, but don’t be fooled. When it comes to characters, Cari is as sadistic as I am. Maybe more so. Evil. Evil, I tell you! AND SHE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

 

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

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Suspicious Behavior is the second in the Bad Behavior series by LA Witt and Cari Z, and I have to say I am glad to see that there will be a book 3, Reckless Behavior in 2018. I’m enjoying this series on multiple levels.

I really love the relationship between Andreas and Darren. They are great offsets for each other. In book 1, so much was about how Andreas was dealing with the issues in his life, leading up to the culmination of the book where…well, I don’t want to give that part away in case you haven’t read this series, but if you have, you know what happens. 🙂

In book 2, we see more of their relationship blooming from a support level. Darren is crumbling inside, as more and more stressors build for him. Throughout the story, they are working to catch a serial killer, yet real life doesn’t give them even a moments break. Seeing how heart-wrenching it is for Darren to deal with Asher’s debilitating disease, knowing he can only be supportive is tough for Andreas, but he works hard to be whatever Darren needs him to be. We see that these two men are not merely F-buddies (and in fact there really is only one sex scene in book 2), but a growing relationship that they are building to last.

Andreas, of course, has his own issues…mostly of his own making…to deal with, but manages to muddle through with only a minimum amount of pain to himself and his children. And seeing how he reacts to his children, allows the reader to see that he isn’t just a hardened detective, who scowls and growls, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He is a man who loves his children, despite not seeing them often, and having tried to shut them out of his personal life on many levels. His daughter Erin doesn’t allow it, and he learns that maybe opening up isn’t going to carve him to pieces.

Although much of the focus of this book was working through all the circumstantial evidence to find the killer, and seeing how cops can easily turn their backs on other cops, it still manages to make these two men, who realize how much they need each other, a priority to each other. Finding stolen moments together may be all they have, but they know that time is precious and will take whatever they can.

Looking forward to book 3!

4 pieces of eye candy

It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.

It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.

They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.

Check out Bad Behavior!

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About Cari Z.

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, 

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

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

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

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

About L.A. Witt

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

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

To celebrate the release of Suspicious Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 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.

Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas: Release Day Review with Giveaway

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

Title: Pins and Needles
Author: A.J. Thomas
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 300

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This was a good story. A bit different in that most books I have read with a main character who loses a limb or has an accident is usually in the military. Not so with this. Instead, a seemingly freak accident. So points for originality.

Nate is the typical gay son of a powerful lawyer who can’t live up to his father’s expectations at all. So he walks out. His first client is one his father’s firm wouldn’t represent- Sean.

Now, I normally like reading about law in books as I feel that it educates me. But I definitely had some eye rolling that Nate, newly minted lawyer knew far more than seasoned lawyers. And there was a lot of law talk in the book.

There was also a lot of technical talk about what Sean did on the ship. My eyes glazed over a bit honestly.

Ultimately, the story is one of hope. If you live your life for you and no one else, you can be happy. Sean enjoyed what he did on the ship- but his real passion was tattooing. Quite a polar opposite. Sean did a lot of poor pitiful me pouting, but that is to be expected when the guys life is pretty much torn apart and everything he has worked for is gone.

Together Sean and Nate had a very slow burn. Which they needed as they were lawyer and client. And they had a sneaky little way of getting around that at the end.

Hawk- the man who raised Sean after he was kicked out- was great. I loved just about every scene he was in. Gruff on the outside, teddy bear on the inside.

So while this was slightly predictable, there was a bit that wasn’t. Well, I mostly figured it out but I always try to do that when there is a mystery involved.

So twists, some turns, lots of technical talk, slow burn romance, hot sex and tattooing. Not bad.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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The Shore Thing by A. R. Barley: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

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

Title: The Shore Thing
Author: A. R. Barley
Release Date: August 23, 2017
Category: Contemporary, States of Love
Pages: 104

Amazon US

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Dreamspinner Press

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This short novella from an author that I had not read before, was a quick but enjoyable read. Nico was a little naive, while Dale had spent his life in the area, and consequently knew everyone in town, and they knew him. I really enjoyed Dale showing Nico (and me) around his great state of Delaware. That was one of the best aspects of this story. Seeing all the different areas of a small state, and all the fun things that someone visiting could do. It also allowed the reader to get to know Dale, who kept himself a bit at a distance, since he knew better than to fall for someone who was just there for the beautiful summers, but would be gone as soon as the cold winters came.

I loved seeing how the conclusion came about, with Nico’s family and how he would address finding the life he wanted to lead. It was a cute short story with lots of side characters dropping in and out, and seeing how two people decide what they really want to do with their lives, as separate people, and as a couple.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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Rule Breaker by Lily Morton: New Release Review with Giveaway

Is it really wrong to want to murder your boss?

Dylan has worked for Gabe for two years. Two long years of sarcastic comments. Two long years of insults, and having to redo the coffee pot four times in the mornings to meet his exacting standards. Not surprisingly he has devoted a lot of time to increasingly inventive ways to murder Gabe. From stabbing him with a cake fork, to garrotting him with his expensive tie, Dylan has thought of everything.

However, a chance encounter opens his eyes to the attraction that has always lain between them, concealed by the layers of antipathy. There are only two problems – Gabe is still a bastard, and he makes wedding planners look like hardened pessimists.

But what happens when Dylan starts to see the real Gabe? What happens when he starts to fall in love with the warm, wary man that he sees glimpses of as the days pass?

Because Gabe is still the same commitment shy, cold man that he’s always been, or is he? Has Dylan had the same effect on Gabe, and has his solid gold rule of no commitment finally been broken? With his heart taken Dylan desperately needs to know, but will he get hurt trying to find the answers?

From the author of ‘The Summer of Us’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy, showing what happens between two men when rules get broken.

Amazon – Kindle Unlimited

Okay, you know a book really hit you when you are still talking about it, still posting on social media about it, and still posting quotes from it days after you read it. And that is how I feel about

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton. I haven’t read anything by her, and received a review request on it. I thought, “looks kind of funny, and I need that right now…sure.”

 

Wow! Was I wrong. It made me giggle out loud (on an airplane no less!). I highlighted multiple passages (if I highlight, and I don’t often, it might be one or two passages). And I savored it, by taking a couple days to read it, because I didn’t want it to end.

These two men bring the snark. The emails at the beginning of each chapter are hilarious. Here’s one example:

To: Gabe Foster

From: Dylan Mitchell

Due to your temper tantrum over my spilling coffee on your laptop, I am taking an early lunch. Would you like me to bring you something back? Maybe the blood of a virgin, or eye of newt?

Dylan and Gabe are hilarious throughout the book, and that just made it so much better for me as a reader.

However, there were also a lot of feels. I cried at more than one part. (Lily, I do not like crying when I am reading, just saying…it’s okay, I will forgive you this time.) Dylan had such a soft heart, and it was so obvious how much he loved Gabe, while Gabe was so stand-offish, with good reason, and just would not allow anyone close to him. Pushing Dylan away more than once with his hurtful actions and words. It was hard to see these two butt up against each other, and both walk away practically bleeding, yet you knew they were perfect for each other, once they got their heads out of their arses (it is set in London, so have to use ‘arse’).

The second half of the book was more painful than humorous, but still had plenty of spots of humor. In the end though, this book worked so well for me, on so many levels. I don’t often mark things as a re-read, and I haven’t given a 5 pieces of eye candy rating in months. Both of these are happening with Rule Breaker, and I am glad for it. Now, I will have to sneak back and read Lily’s other romantic comedy, The Summer of Us.

Lily Morton has offered up a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card to a commenter on this blog post. So, tell us, do you enjoy reading romantic comedy books?

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

Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood: Quick Review


Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by lunch with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?

Release Date: August 10th, 2017

Title: Textual Relations
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Cate Ashwood
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance (GFY)
Length: Novella – 32,500 words
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35668308-textual-relations

Amazon-Kindle Unlimited

This is a super sweet, quick read. But it doesn’t skimp on the hotness factor either!

A wrong number, total opposites and someone discovering they weren’t as straight as they thought. This could have been a very formulaic romance. But it was really well written.

Often times a shorter book doesn’t have character development and relies quite heavily on sex scenes to move through the story. And while there are sex scenes- both characters were really great. Henry is completely “adorkable”  and Ash is a bit of a wild child. They complement each other really well. This definitely wasn’t a forced opposites attract story.

Ash teaches Henry to go off script sometimes. To have adventures- big or small. Once Henry realizes that taking a risk brought him to Ash, he understands that letting go of structure sometimes is fine. And Henry does the same for Ash- shows him that sometimes structure is good.

I chuckled with Henry researching his newfound attraction to men (or at least Ash) as completely scientific. It just made perfect sense to him.

It was the perfect palate cleanser after reading a big heavy novel and gearing up for another.

Definitely give this a read. I will absolutely add this author to my list of books to look for.

4 pieces of eye candy

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