Reservations by Kindle Alexander: Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: October 30, 2017

Wildly successful entrepreneur, Thane Walker is stubbornly set in his ways. Adamantly resistant to the shackles of commitment, he’s seen enough unhappy endings to learn the best way to play is by keeping his men on the payroll.

Levi Silva’s dream of graduating from one of the country’s top medical schools is in his grasp, until news from home changes everything. Now, he’s raising his two teenage brothers and trying to keep everyone’s head above water, emotionally and financially.

When Levi’s new job puts him in Thane’s path, their chemistry explodes, but their fear of being involved in relationships keeps them apart. Unfortunately, despite the intense desire drawing them together, neither man can move forward until they get past their own…Reservations.

Amazon Review – ““Reservations” by Kindle Alexander is a rare gem in the world of M/M Romance, because it is genuinely compelling story telling!”

Amazon Review – “Thane & Levi stole my heart!!”

Amazon Review – “Thane and Levi!! Simply amazing”

Amazon Review – “A beautifully written love story that is guaranteed to melt you heart!”

 

 

I love Kindle Alexander’s books so I was not so patiently waiting for this book to release. I like how past characters always pop up throughout the book and thoroughly enjoy reading about them again.

Levi has had to put his dreams of finishing med school on the back burner and return home to raise his two younger brothers after his father loses his battle with cancer. Levi is working as a physical therapist and a coffee shop but can barely keep them afloat. When Levi gets word that the coffee shop is going out of business he is left scrambling to find another job until one of his past patients makes him an offer that is too good to be true.

Thane is the owner of Reservations, a club for gay men to mingle, dance, eat dinner or find a partner for the night in a safe space. Thane has the whole world in his grasp and has never found someone that couldn’t be bought until he sets his sights on Levi and finds out that not everything has a price.

In order for Thane to get what he wants he will need to stop wielding his money like a sword and trying to slay all of Levi’s dragons for him. Levi is as independent as they come, bordering on control freak so Thane will have to prove he’s serious before Levi will let him in. Just when Thane and Levi begin to figure it all out someone from Levi’s past shows back up to upset the delicate balance that they were just starting to enjoy.

Such a great read, it was a really long book but the story moved along at a decent pace the whole time. There weren’t any parts where I felt like the story dragged along. I think the length helped Levi overcome his fears and put the doubts to rest without it feeling rushed or like he let Thane strong arm him. The execution was well done!

Levi: Such a great character. Nurturing to his brothers, he never makes them feel guilty that he’s put his schooling on hold. Independent and strong, I love that about him. Even though he’s struggling he never takes what Thane is trying to give because he has such strong self worth.

Thane: Billionaire playboy. Jaded by his parents failed relationship he only has time to entertain escorts, never wanting feelings to get involved. Once he finds out that his parents relationship is not what he remembers it causes him to re-think his whole outlook. I love his tenacity, he never stopped pursuing Levi, however whenever Levi said he was uncomfortable with something Thane stopped and reflected and came at him from a different angle.

This story is full of great new characters, Aunt Linda is one of my favorites, but we also get to see old favorites. Tristan and Dylan and Kellus and Arick make a few appearances. I really think it’s time for me to re-read some old favorites.

5 pieces of eye candy

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

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

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

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

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

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

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


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Snowcroft Restoration by Christi Snow: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Two years ago, Law Wyman went undercover for an FBI investigation that went sideways. It cost him both the love of his life and his sanity. The nightmare still haunts him, and so does some unfinished business…Ian Mayne, the son of the man who ruined his life.

Two years ago, Ian had to face the truth about how his father spent a lifetime torturing and trafficking LGBTQ teens. Ever since, Ian has done everything he can to make up for his dead father’s many sins through his law enforcement job. Too many paid in horrific, horrible ways at his father’s hands while Ian kept the truth about his own sexuality hidden.

Law is doing all he can to save Ian, but Ian doesn’t necessarily want to be saved.

Two men…both horrifically haunted by what happened. Is it possible they can find healing together? Only if they have the courage to face their demons and each other…

Trigger Warning: This is a hot story about two men who have both survived past abuse.

All the details…
Title: Snowcroft Restoration
Series: Book #4 in the Snowcroft Men series
Genre: male/male romantic suspense
Book length: ~94,268 words
Release date: November 15, 2017

1. Snowcroft Lost

2. Snowcroft Safehouse

3. Intertwined Hearts

4. Snowcroft Restoration

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I think every reader goes through phases in their reading. You may go through a stretch where all you want are sweet stories, with puppies, ice cream and rainbows. Other times you want some kink, and you read everything you can get your hands on. Lately, I have been on a mystery/suspense kick (Thanks C.S. Poe!), and anything in this sub-genre has been voraciously read by this reviewer. And then you add in that Christi Snow wrote it, well, you didn’t need to ask me twice. This even though I knew at some point I would be curled in a fetal position on the couch, freezing to death cause I didn’t want to leave to get a blanket. (It’s happened more than once…). I snatched up Snowcroft Lost the very first day it came out, and have loved Christi’s stuff ever since. Waiting for Law’s book was a little bit of torture for me.

Law had been through so much, it was tough to read again just how much he had been through. He definitely needed some time to heal, learn to deal with his PTSD and grief, and how to recover mentally and physically from the torture and loss he endured for week’s as a result of his FBI undercover operation. The man he had loved had given his own life to save Law’s. That is a sacrifice that is beyond loving, and yet can leave survivor’s guilt. Taking the time he needed, and not rushing himself back to work, or whatever his next steps would be, allowed him to work through as much as he could with his therapist. However, even from the beginning of the book, you could see that he was ready to come back to the world of the living, to step into what would be his new life.

Ian, meanwhile, had been through many similar situations as Law, from his father’s extreme punishments to finally finding out what his father truly did with the camp that he kept in Snowcroft. He had his own form of PTSD, and had managed to work through most of it on his own. Ian came through the torture and the pain of growing up with his horrific father with such a positive personality. He spent his entire life trying to make up for what his father did, by trying to save his friend, working for the Forestry Service, even his choices with regards to the camp he inherited.

These two men didn’t just work on solving the case that brought them together in the first place, but really tried to connect with each other to find what they needed to make their relationship work. Even when the unthinkable would happen (and it did several times-one of those times ended with me in that fetal position spoken of previously), rather than hiding, or running away, they connected back to their bonds and found what they needed to move forward.

This author knows how to write suspense so well. There were a few times in the book that I swore I knew what was going to happen next…until it happened, and I looked up from kindle wondering where that came from, why didn’t I see it? Then two chapters later, something else happens, and I am shocked once more. She weaves in the mystery, some guns, maybe a bomb or two throughout this series, and you never quite know what to expect. As a reader, that is exactly what I want. I want to walk in knowing I am going to have a great story, and have no freaking idea where it will lead to. Small spoiler...what she did with the house…the visuals I had…that is some fantastic writing to get me there, cause houses are not supposed to do that-ever. (That’s all I’m saying…you will know what I mean when you read this book).

There’s definitely some hotness with these two, although very carefully written considering the traumas Law been through. So well done here, too. The reader got some smoking hot scenes, yet intertwined with the caring and the necessity to acknowledge how difficult this was for Law. It helped to bring Law and Ian closer, even as they had to use some additional therapy options to find a way to not let each other go. Great research on the part of the author.

Few characters deserved a happy ending more than these two men, and I am so glad I finally got to read it. And now…now I am looking forward to seeing what Christi does with _ and _ (I can’t tell you, but when you read it, you will know who…), because how do you redeem a character when you have seen them _ someone’s _ with a _. 😉

Without question another 5 pieces of eye candy read for me, from the amazing Christi Snow. How she has time to write with all her reading, I will never know, but I am thankful she does! Bring on Snowcroft Book 5!!!!

TCO is giving away an ebook of Christi’s (even Snowcroft Restoration), in honor of her release day. Just respond with which of her books is my (Denise’s) favorite. (pppsssstttt…it’s a trick question, because I love all her books and I couldn’t possibly pick one). Anyway, name any one of them, and you’re entered. 🙂

 

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

Lace-Covered Compromise by Silvia Violet: Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Adam Kingston expects to inherit his father’s multinational conglomerate. When he finds out half of it went to Nate Thomas—an annoying man whose dreams for Kingston Corp.’s future clash with Adam’s need to stave off financial disaster—Adam is furious. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to wrest control of Kingston Corp. from Nate.

Nate may be soft-spoken, but he refuses to be swayed by Adam’s arrogant demands. When Nate accidentally drops a pair of his lacy panties in front of Adam, there’s no mistaking Adam’s interest. Nate hadn’t realized Adam was bisexual, but now that his secret is out, Nate is willing to use Adam’s lust against him if it means protecting the welfare of the company he loves.

For Adam and Nate, hatred and desire are closely linked. Their inability to compromise threatens the company and could expose their tightly held secrets. But as they work together to develop a plan to save Kingston Corp., they begin to realize there might be more to their relationship than anger and lust.

Hello! I’m Silvia Violet and I’m here today to share my sexy contemporary romance, Lace-Covered Compromise. I can’t wait for you to meet Adam, a sharp-minded businessman with control-issues and Nate, an easy-going environmental scientist who likes panties and lipstick. They are going to take you on a wild ride.

Follow along through the week and don’t forget to check out my giveaway of a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card.

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I do LOVE a HOT book. And when Silvia Violet writes it, you can usually count on some smokin’ hot sex scenes to be sliding across your kindle like it’s coated with the lube that Valerie mentions knowing is Adam’s favorite brand. 😉 The even better part of her books is that she wraps around those sex scenes neatly with usually a great story, and The Lace Covered Compromise does all that!

If an enemies to lovers book is written well, the push and pull can make for some fantastic reading, and Ms. Violet does it very well. Written in first POV, we only see Adam’s view of his contentious relationship with Nate. However, there are frequent small glimpses of Nate not seeing their relationship in quite the same way that Adam does (at least when Adam isn’t being a complete a-hole).

Adam has to grow so much in this book, and he does, thanks to his father’s death, and the patient love of Nate. Oh, and the fact that Adam learns he likes to be controlled during sex, and apparently loves having his man wear some lace over his man bits. In the end, though, the portion of the title that is the most difficult for Adam to do, and the part that also creates the most growth for him is “compromise”. Not something he has ever had to do, he learns that it won’t kill him to compromise, even if it seems like he would be losing to do it.

The resolution to this issue seems a bit too easy for a man with Adam’s personality to do without an incredible amount of stress, but it works because at that point, he knows he has to choose between that, or his love for Nate.

And there is one piece that you almost never get in any romance novel that the author gives you here. A chance to see the MC’s actually BE in a relationship after all the work to fall in love and resolve their problems. You see Adam and Nate talk, go on a date, do normal things. The reader even gets to see Adam’s relationship with Valerie mature and become one where they are even more honest with each other.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sex scenes…OH MY! The author is, shall we say, creative, and I loved every part of it. Even angry sex has its consequences, which are discussed as adult-like as the “no condom” conversation. I couldn’t stop reading this book! Thank goodness for the kindle app on my phone, so I could at least pretend to get some of my day job work done, while finishing the book. 🙂

Highly recommend, and this is a MUST re-read for me.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. She can be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop.

Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like, “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Connect with Silvia:

To celebrate the release of Lace-Covered Compromise, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 11, 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.

Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows by Ari McKay: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review with Giveaway

Successful attorneys Dane Coulter and Cal Monroe are rivals in the courtroom and friends behind the scenes. But can they be more?

Cal’s always carried a torch for Dane, but Dane is so deep in the closet, he can’t even admit that he might be gay. His father, a raging homophobe who rules the family with an iron fist, forces Dane into an engagement—to a woman. Dane goes along with it to keep the peace and protect his mother, but for Cal, it’s the last straw.

He can’t let Dane make a mistake that could ruin the rest of his life, and he only knows one surefire way to make Dane admit what’s in his heart. But confessing his feelings to his friend could backfire, driving a wedge between them. And even then, the choice must be Dane’s—to live the life his father wants, or to give up everything he has for a chance at happiness in Cal’s arms.

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Greetings, everyone! Ari here, the red-haired half of Ari McKay. I’d like to thank Two Chicks Obsessed for having me here on the blog today to promote our re-release of Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, book two in the Lawyers in Love trilogy!

Even though this is a re-release, we wanted to bring attention to the story because we have rewritten it almost completely from its original form. We were never completely satisfied with the original story, but it took some time and distance — as well as some growth as writers — for us to be able to put our fingers on exactly what it was that didn’t sit right with us. It’s always interesting as a writer to look back at early works and see how we’ve changed and evolved over time. When Dreamspinner offered us the chance to revisit our Lawyers in Love stories, it seemed like fate was stepping in to tell us that we needed to give Cal and Dane’s story new life, to fix what we’d sensed was wrong but had never been able to fully identify. We tossed around several ideas, but it was McKay who was able to finally pinpoint the moment in the story where things started to go wrong. It turns out that when we shifted one of the first scenes from Cal’s POV to Dane’s, everything just sort of fell into place the way it should have from the first.

At it’s heart, this is a story about lawyer Dane Coulter finding the strength to break free of the mold his father has forced him into and begin to live life on his own terms. But it’s also about Cal Monroe, who is in love with Dane, and the strength Cal has to find within himself to take a step back and give Dane room grow at his own pace. Cal recognizes that in his own way he’s just as strong willed as Dane’s father, and he’s aware that Dane might feel that he’s stepping out of his father’s shadow and into Cal’s. When you love someone, doing the thing that is right and best for them is easy when it’s also what you want to do; it says a lot about a person, I think, if they can do what’s right for the person they love, even if they know they might end up with a broken heart in the end.

I don’t want to give away too much, especially since the story is a novella rather than a novel, but both McKay and I hope that if you like stories about someone breaking free of the bonds of obligation and making their own path, you’ll find Dane and Cal’s journey to be worth your time.

The premise for Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows roped me in. Dane’s the rich kid whose daddy controls his life. Cal’s the man who’s in love with him, determined to help keep Dane from making a huge mistake.

Now, before I get into everything, let me say this was an enjoyable book. There was nothing that made me think about putting it down. Unfortunately, I did wind up eye rolling a fair bit. The scenario felt forced. The dialogue, at times, too over the top to be believed.

But, Cal did what he set out to do. Not because he waged war against Dane’s dad (which he did), but because Dane realized he couldn’t go through with a marriage out of obligation.

At this point, I still would’ve given the book 3.5 pieces of candy. But then…

The whole book felt like this huge build up, like there should’ve been a massive conflict with dear old dad. But it never happened. Once Dane goes after what he wants, we jump forward in time and they all live happily ever after.

I suppose, that’s the whole point of reading a romance, but in the end, I had  more questions than answers. I was left wanting more, not because I was so in love with Dane and Cal, but because the story felt unfinished.

3 pieces of candy

 

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay


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Tiki Torches and Treasure by J.C. Long: Release Day Blitz with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

TitleTiki Torches and Treasure

Series: Gabe Maxfield Mysteries, Book 2

Author: J.C Long

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 6, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 60000

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, gay, romance, private detective, cozy mystery, law enforcement, Hawaii, humor

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Gabe Maxfield has reached a comfortable point in his life. His past troubles in Seattle are all but forgotten, he co-owns his own business, Paradise Investigations, with his best friend Grace Park, and he’s happy in his relationship with sexy cop—his neighbor—Maka Kekoa. Maybe the best part is, no one’s pointed a gun at him in weeks.

Knowing his luck, that is bound to change. Lack of clients and money forces Paradise Investigations to take a job helping Edwin Biers search for a treasure he promises will be worth their while. Gabe has a knack for finding trouble, though, and find it, he does.

Chapter One

I was drowning.

Salt water burned my nose as I flailed my arms and legs in the ocean, trying desperately to reorient myself. Every time I started to surface, the ocean waves broke over me again and again. I was done for.

When I finally surfaced and the water drained from my ears, I could hear my companions laughing at my expense—my best friend, Grace Park, sounded like she was going to asphyxiate herself from laughing too hard. My boyfriend, Maka Kekoa, at least had the decency to attempt to hide his laughter from me.

“I’m glad my near-death causes you such amusement,” I growled, glaring at them as best I could with salt water from the Pacific Ocean stinging my eyes. “I knew surfing lessons from you two was a bad idea.”

The three of us were floating in the ocean a ways off from the shore of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, the city I now called home. Well, I was floating in the ocean, which was where I seemed to spend all my time in these lessons. Maka and Grace effortlessly straddled surfboards, Maka also keeping a tight grip on mine so it didn’t get swept away by the waves.

“Don’t get frustrated,” Maka told me supportively once he’d schooled his face to mask his laughter. “No one does it well on their first try. It’s kind of like sex.”

I didn’t take much comfort from his words.

“How about the four-hundredth time?” I grumbled, swimming to the surfboard. I managed to heave my body onto it, feeling the sun warm my skin. I’d gotten tan in my month of being out and about in the constant sunshine of Hawaii, and my hair had gotten longer, almost enough to give me the surfer image. Now if I could just stay on the damn board.

“Don’t be grouchy, Gabe,” Grace chided, splashing water my way. She looked beautiful in the morning sunlight, her dark skin glistening. She wore a teal bikini that showed off her trim, fit form, toned from a lifetime of exercise and the surfing she’d taken up in Hawaii. She was half Hawaiian and half Korean, which is what drew her to Hawaii after we both graduated college in Washington.

“We’ve been at this for two weeks, and I have improved exactly zero percent.” I probably sounded like a whiny kid complaining to them, but I couldn’t help it. I hated not being good at something. “I think I’m just not meant to be a surfer.”

“Everybody’s meant to be a surfer,” Maka said, as if I’d made the most ridiculous remark ever. Grace nodded her head in emphatic agreement.

“Easy for you to say,” I scoffed, flailing my arms wildly as a wave nearly displaced me from my board again. “You were a professional surfer, remember? And you,” I rounded on Grace, “were basically born incapable of being bad at something. Me… I’m just me.”

It felt strange having a pity party in the ocean on a beautiful mid-October morning. Hawaii was paradise in a lot of ways—the sunshine seemed constant, and at a time when Seattle would already be plunging into a chill that heralded winter, it was warm and pleasant in Hawaii. I wasn’t a morning person, though, and Maka and Grace insisted we have these lessons before work. That meant we were usually in the ocean by a quarter to seven.

“You’re more than ‘just you’ to me, babe,” Maka assured me with a wink, making me blush.

Maka was full-blooded native Hawaiian, and he had the complexion to prove it, bronzed by a life spent frolicking in the sun and waves. He had broad shoulders and narrow hips and was taller than my five foot eight, with perfect black hair and lush, full lips that were utterly kissable. His deep brown eyes always seemed to twinkle, as if a powerful light danced behind them.

“Ugh.” Grace rolled her eyes and pretended to gag.

“You’re jealous,” I teased, sticking my tongue out at her.

“Jealous of you having to eat the same meal every night, so to speak? I don’t think so.”

“Hey, if I could eat prime rib every night, I would,” I said.

“Did you really just compare me to ribs?” Maka asked flatly.

“Huh? What? No—I was referring to eating the same meal every night…” I trailed off, realizing how it must have sounded to Maka, even though I didn’t mean it that way.

“If I’m anything,” Maka went on firmly, “I’m loco moco.”

I gaped at him for a moment. He had a problem with being called prime rib, but wanted to be a rice bowl topped with a hamburger, a fried egg, and gravy.

“Actually,” I said after a moment, “I can see that.” And I could. Loco moco was something you wanted to splurge on, something that was decadent, almost sinful. That description fit Maka to the letter.

I tried to give him a smoldering look, but a rogue wave rocked under me, catching me off guard and dumping me once more into the sea.

“Can we please call it a day now?” I pleaded once I was back on my board.

Grace looked like she was in no hurry to bring my suffering to an end, but Maka took pity and checked his watch.

“Actually, we should call it a day. I still need to shower and get to work. It’s going on nine, now; I can only justify going in so late a few times a week, or the chief gets pissy.”

“We also have office hours,” I reminded Grace for what felt like the tenth time that week. She was really good at what she did—we were private investigators—but she didn’t have the mindset necessary to run a business. That had been handled by her partner before me, and Grace was still getting the hang of being in charge of both sides of the business. Well, partially, since we equally shared ownership and those responsibilities.

“This is what we have a secretary for,” Grace pointed out, though she reluctantly began paddling to shore, Maka and I following suit.

“Poor Hayley’s only been with us for a week,” I panted, tired from the lesson and making it back to shore. “Give her a break.”

“Best way for her to learn is to just throw her into the pool,” Grace said once we were back ashore.

I didn’t respond immediately; I was too busy sucking in sweet, sweet oxygen and hoping my wobbly legs didn’t give out as I trudged through the hot, sun-baked sand to the place we’d left our towels.

“I guess it doesn’t matter so much,” I said when I could. “Business has been pretty slow since we hired her. Not good, considering the office we’ve got now. Rent’s a bitch.”

When I’d agreed to be Grace’s partner at the private investigation firm she’d been co-partner in, Paradise Investigations, I helped finance a move to a new building, worlds nicer than the one she’d been in before.

We’d had a keen interest in us the first week or so after the move, considering how we were constantly in the news regarding the murder mystery I’d solved to get Grace off a murder charge. The interest had died down in the following weeks; as it stood now, we hadn’t taken on a new client in five days, and we’d finished the current projects three days before, which meant three days of no billable hours, and thus no money coming in.

“We could always fire her,” Grace suggested, tossing me my towel. “It’d be one less salary we needed to pay.”

“That doesn’t seem right,” I said, though I’d probably consider it after another week of no income being earned. “I’m sure we’ll get by.”

“We could always take an ad out on TV,” Grace suggested suddenly.

“Isn’t that tacky?” Maka wrinkled his nose a bit.

Grace shielded her eyes from the sun, squinting at Maka. “It’s not like we’re lawyers.”

“Even if it isn’t tacky, we can’t afford it,” I reminded her as I wrapped my towel around my waist and gathered my board under my arm for the trek back to our cars. “We’re going to have to pray someone comes in and offers us a job that isn’t finding a lost cat or staking out seedy motels—something we can get some money out of.”

Grace grunted, her spirits somewhat dampened by my pragmatism, but I knew she would get over it. This was our relationship, often consisting of her being flighty and dreamy and me being the cord that pulled her—sometimes forcefully—back down to earth.

“Okay, I’ve got to go,” Maka said when we reached his car. “Already running late.”

“See,” I said, pausing long enough to take a quick kiss on the lips—though I wanted much, much more than a quick kiss—before continuing. “This is yet another good reason we should just stop these morning surfing lessons.”

“Not gonna happen. Seeing you dripping wet is worth being late to work.”

And again, in the space of ten minutes, I blushed.

“You two are disgusting,” Grace muttered.

“Shut up, Grace.”

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J.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert: Release Blitz, Excerpt (NSFW), Giveaway and Release Day Review

Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations…

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO—and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semi-anonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction—they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

Title: Wheels Up

Series: Out of Uniform #4

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): November 6th, 2017

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance

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He’d seen Wes’s chest before on camera, but the camera was fuzzy, missing key details like how Wes’s nipples were the exact color of Dustin’s favorite butterscotch toffee and how his collar bones looked made for biting. And the camera had never captured the force of Wes’s stare, the way he seemed to see past Dustin’s soul to his most secret of desires.

“Think you could get your cock out for me?” Wes’s voice was as seductive as a kiss, and his eyes never left Dustin.

Using his left hand, Dustin got an awkward grip on his cock, drew it out, waited for the next command.

“You’re doing so good for me,” Wes praised. “Pinch a nipple for me, nice and hard, and I might let you touch your cock.”

“Oh fuck.” Dustin absolutely loved when Wes played like his, and being able to look at his intense face while he made such dirty commands was the best head trip ever. Following orders, he used his left hand to pinch his right nipple, hard enough to make himself gasp.

“Twist it. More.” Wes leaned forward, arms resting on his knees.

“Hurts,” Dustin panted. He’d had worse pain, of course, but somehow deliberate pain like this was a far different beast than the ordinary wear and tear he took over the course of training or a mission.

“That’s right. Doing good.” Wes’s blue eyes were almost black now. “You’ve earned a stroke, but slowly.”

“Yes. Thank you.” Dustin’s eyes squished shut as his hand connected with his throbbing cock.

“No, look at me,” Wes commanded, and Dustin’s eyes snapped back open.

He stroked himself with a firm grip, but slowly like Wes wanted. He had to squeeze hard on the base because he was that close to the edge. “Oh God.” His voice broke.

“Yeah? Tell me what you want.” Wes was breathing hard, the only sign that he wasn’t immune to Dustin’s show.

“I’m close.” Dustin’s whole body trembled as he repeated the slow stroke upward on his cock.

“No, you’re not.” Wes’s voice was stern, his eyes like granite chunks. “Tell me. Tell me what you want.”

Usually this was where Dustin would start begging to come, admitting to progressively kinkier fantasies, but instead the truth tumbled out. “Touch me. Oh, God, touch me please.”

Hey hot cover!

Okay, first things first… if there isn’t an APP like Joe4Joe… there should be…

In this one, Dustin (Dylan’s brother, remember him? From At Attention? Gorgeous and Broody? Yeah, this is him.) Anyway, I didn’t understand his hesitation with everybody knowing his ‘’orientation’’ because his hello, remember the brother?? But, whatevs, to each their own personal journey, and I do not judge, I felt for him immensely.

Wes, is also on the app and he and Dustin had been talking for several long months. Being from different sides of the country, what could it hurt, right?? That’s how Dustin viewed it, anyway… Until both of them were supposed to be in the same place at the same time and agreed to meet. Of course, after months of getting to know each other and…..doing other things via video chat… of course they hit it off and had chemistry… lots of it.

All things considered though, as tough as it might be…. It was only a one timer, or it was supposed to be… but what happens when Wes gets transferred and SURPRISE… of anywhere in the world, guess where he gets sent to?….. Yep, same place Dustin is…. (A bit far fetched?? Yeah, okay… but it kinda works, so…just go with it)….. Now, I’m not sure all the rules of the military, but apparently, with some such ranking, you’re not even allowed to be friends with people of different rank… seems silly, but… I’m sure there’s reason’s…. so if theres no friendship possibility, you can guess how a relationship would be tolerated…. It wouldn’t! But, these guys… they cant seem to help themselves… their time together and continued conversations, I would’ve risked it too!

I loved them together, they were hot and Wes was endlessly patient and all the things that Dustin didn’t feel he could be. Wes…sigh…hi Wes!

What I didn’t love was the back and forth…the forbidden sense of it all made them getting together a bad idea and they’d promise this time was the last time, because their careers were in jeopardy if anyone found out…but then, they’d do it again and then feel bad about it. It was angsty and unfair the situation that tried to keep these two apart and then you throw in some dangerous situations and it had me in a near panic attack a time or two…I got very invested, and I love stories like that!!

I will say, that Dylan and Apollo continue to be my favorite in this series, but I did enjoy these two’s back and forth. While I feel like the HEA was a little…HFN, I’m looking forward to maybe hearing about them in future books.

Overall, 4 pieces of eye candy from me.

 

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth: Twitter | Facebook  | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

 

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Reawaken by Christina Lee: Release Day Review and Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

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REAWAKEN

UNDER MY SKIN SERIES, BOOK 2

CHRISTINA LEE

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 11.02.17

Cover Designer: KANAXA

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2gtg143

Reawaken_DIGITAL_HighRes

Losing his adoring husband shattered Tristan Rogers world. For the past few years, he’s been going through the motions, running their dog grooming business while hiding the loneliness he feels down to his bones. When he witnesses an ugly breakup between a pretentious customer and his boyfriend, Tristan can’t help but intervene. Something about the unassuming younger man calls to him, and he can’t help wondering if he’s experienced some heartache of his own.

Life took a tragic turn for Jonas “West” Hollis as a teen, and he’s felt indebted to his overbearing lover ever since. Tristan’s kindness draws him from the start, but with his dreams finally in reach, West can’t risk getting close to someone else. Not now that he can live his life and stand on his own merit.

From innocent texts to companionable rides on Tristan’s boat, what starts as an unexpected friendship between the men sparks into undeniable attraction. Neither are ready for anything deeper than a couple of passionate nights wrapped in each other’s arms but their connection becomes too intense for either to ignore. If Tristan and West want to heal their broken hearts, they’ll need a considerable amount of trust and courage—not only in themselves but also each other.

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I’m emotionally drained….this one was a tough one.

First, we have Tristan, who owns Doggy Styles (how cute is that), doggie grooming place. He’s content just going through life after losing him husband a few years back. He’s not really living, just going through the motions, but he still has his husband’s family, and some good friends; Brin and Elijah, you might remember from book 1.

So, content with how things are, he’s surprised when he finds himself interested in West, the hooded guy that comes in with the stuffy suit that talks to everyone like their beneath him. After helping him out one evening and giving him a place to crash, and a bike….they form a sort of much needed phone relationship. They both have so much in common and I think they needed a semblance of friendship that both could offer.

Tristan was endlessly patient and understanding. He let West come to him when he needed him, without any expectations or strings attached to their friendship. Because West’s last relationship with the suit was suffocating and suppressing, he needed the option to go at his own pace.Reawaken Teaser 2

Michael- that’s the suit and you’ll not like him, I’ll tell you that right now. He’s condescending and petty, and I hated that he just never seemed to understand how ugly his personality and character was. I can’t stand people like that. He was so gross. I don’t blame West for needing to get away from him, their relationship wasn’t a healthy one and I feel like the suit more than took advantage of him, no matter which way the author tried to spin it. It wasn’t right. But, whatever… I was glad he got away.

What I didn’t really like (other than Michael) was that I just didn’t feel like West had romantic feelings for Tristan…. I think he needed him and liked the comfort he gave him, but when he popped up out of nowhere and confessed his love to Tristan at the end, I didn’t feel it. Not even a little bit…. I thought Tristan deserved more… Not that West was a bad guy, he wasn’t… not at all, I understood where he was coming from and why he was the way he was… He’d lost so much in his life, he was just trying to find himself… I just don’t like he did and in return, Tristan would just be another co-dependency that he didn’t need. Their relationship just felt a bit one sided to me, I guess…
Maybe I’m wrong… maybe I read too much into it and had too high of hopes for Tristan, I dunno. I did like West, I genuinely felt for him and wanted him to find his happy and if Tristan is that, then I truly think there would be no one better for him…. I just wished I felt that way about West FOR Tristan…

ANYWAY… overall, it was a really good addition to the series and if you like low angst and slow progression… this is your story!

I’m still hoping for Elijah to pull his head out and find him some happy…. Maybe next book??

4 pieces of eye candy from me!

“Take yourself out so I can see you,” West suggested with a devilish gleam, and I did a double-take, marveling at the contradiction. Gone was the moody, unsure kid, only to be replaced by the liberated, playful man filled with hope and mischievousness.

“What—right now?” I looked along the shoreline, and outside of a couple of faraway boats, we were virtually alone. Still, I shook my head. “I can’t—”

“Sure you can,” he replied with a smirk. “You look so impressive manning this boat. Distinguished, even. It would be hot to see you holding your cock while your other hand grips the wheel.”

“Goddamn, West,” I ground out as our eyes met briefly. “Haven’t you come into your own… What happened to my quiet and shy companion?”

He laughed and then shrugged. “Guess he finally went after what he needed. And who he wanted.”

When he curved his eyebrow in challenge, I shivered. My gaze panning the shoreline, I already knew I planned on doing precisely what he asked. Fuck, he knew exactly how to light me up and appeal to my whims—all of which seemed to include him in one fashion or another.

I jerked the throttle and reduced to a slower speed before my hand drifted to my shorts. I tugged them just far enough down that the head of my cock was exposed above the waistband as I gripped my shaft.

“Nice,” he murmured in appreciation as he gazed fixedly at my dick. He stood, sidled next to me, and dragged his fingers along my shoulder blades, making the hairs on my neck stand up. Thankfully there was a glass partition that extended along the sides of the steering wheel, so unless you had a direct view, you wouldn’t realize that I held my cock in my fist.

West’s fingers slid beneath the waistband and into my crease.

“So hot,” he whispered in my ear.

“Fuck,” I groaned, arching my back.

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Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing.

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.

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Tender Mercies by Eli Easton: Exclusive Guest Post incl Recipes, Review and Giveaway

A Men of Lancaster County Novel

Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

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Exploring Eddie’s Veganism (with recipes!)

By Eli Easton

I’m celebrating the release of TENDER MERCIES, the second book in the “Men of Lancaster County” series.  It features a new couple and can be read as a stand-alone. What the books in this series have in common is being set in Lancaster County, a rural area of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite. It also happens to be where my husband and I have a farm.

In TENDER MERCIES, the protagonists are a tender-hearted city vegan who bought a farm in the country to start a farm sanctuary, and a young Amish man kicked out of his community for being gay.  My husband and I have dreamed about having a farm sanctuary. It’s fun as an author to be able to live your dreams vicariously as I did in TENDER MERCIES.

Part of our personal journey has been going vegetarian and then vegan. When we bought our farm seven years ago, we were both lifelong carnivores. But having our own chickens, cows, and even a pig taught us that these animals are just as personable and “aware” as our beloved dogs. Eventually we got to the place where it felt too hypocritical to dote on our own cows, pig, and chickens, and still buy meat at the market. We also went vegan for health reasons after watching documentaries like “Forks Over Knives” and “What the Health”.

I don’t talk about this a lot in my books because I don’t want to come off as preachy or offensive with my personal beliefs. I myself couldn’t imagine going vegan most of my life, so I get it. However, in the case of TENDER MERCIES it was critical to the farm sanctuary theme of the book that Eddie be a vegan. Samuel, the other main character, is Amish and grew up with, of course, lots of meat at every meal. He learns to eat vegan living with Eddie, but he does miss meat. 😊

Since going vegan I’ve found a lot of terrific recipes and meals that we love. We eat a lot of whole grains, beans, starches like potatoes and squash, veggies and fruit. I love carbs, so I’ve enjoyed eating this way and I lost 90 pounds as well!

I thought I’d share a recipe as part of this blog tour. Here’s a simple vegan soup (the beans add lots of protein) and cornbread recipe—perfect for fall!

WHITE CHILI RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (16-oz) vegetable broth
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4-oz can of diced green chiles
  • 30-oz can white beans (undrained)
  • 3 cups (16-oz) corn, fresh or frozen
  • green onions or cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in ¼ cup water or broth (or olive oil if you prefer) until translucent.
  2. Add carrots and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomato paste and spices, stirring to coat well.
  4. Continue to cook until carrots are almost tender, adding broth as necessary.
  5. Add green chiles and beans (plus bean liquid).
  6. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, smash some of the beans to

create a thick and creamy chili.

  1. Add remaining broth or water to thin as desired.
  2. Add corn plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Garnish with green onions and/or a drizzle of hot sauce.

Vegan Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (almond, soy, etc)
  • 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400°F. Use a nonstick 9 inch bread pan, 8 inch square baking pan or shallow glass pie dish and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together until well combined.
  3. Add sage, plant-based milk, pumpkin puree, liquid sweetener, plus optional sugar if using and anise if using, and stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and the bread is firm to the touch.

I use these two recipes regularly and our non-vegan friends who have visited have also enjoyed them. The recipes are from Meal Mentor (https://www.getmealplans.com/) which is a great source of vegan recipes that I highly recommend.

I hope you enjoy fall and spending time on the farm with Eddie in Samuel in TENDER MERCIES.

Eli

I was a huge fan of Second Harvest by Eli Easton. I love stories that explore men who are fighting their sexuality based on religion. It’s a storyline that is, and will continue to be, realistic for years to come. So, when I saw Tender Mercies, I knew I had to get it, push back everything else in my life, and read it. And I might have kept on reading it in the car (NOT while driving), at a party with the hubster’s friends, at a chili cookoff, and through pizza night with the fam. Yeah, I’m a horrible person when it comes to a good book.

I wasn’t sure what to think at the start of the book. Eddie is a city boy moving to the country. It felt too similar to the start of Second Harvest. But his reasons were different, so I moved along. I still didn’t understand how a city slicker thought it was a good idea to move to the country without prior planning and research to start an animal sanctuary, but whatever… this is Eli Easton and she won’t let me down.

Samuel’s storyline broke my heart. An Amish man, caught giving in to his nature as a gay man. Beaten. Shunned. Broken. Yeah, he stole my heart and had me ignoring the clock across the room.

I will fully admit there were times I caught myself thinking too hard about the story, trying to figure out if what was happening was realistic, but it didn’t matter. This isn’t real life, it’s a grown-up fairy tale about two men falling in love. And I don’t care where Benedict came from, I just know I want a Benny (and maybe a Carrot) of my own.

In the end, I’d give Tender Mercies 4.5 stars.

 

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Shattered Pieces by K.M. Neuhold: Release Day Blitz, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

SP banner release blitz

SHATTERED PIECES

HEATHENS INK SERIES, BOOK 4

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 10.31.17

SP Cover

“I was sure my heart had withered away years ago, but then you smiled at me and I felt it beat again.” ~Gage

Years ago, I fell in love with my best friend’s little brother. Then, he took his own life, leaving me shattered and unable to piece my heart back together. I’ve been a zombie for nine long years. Until a crazy, gorgeous man walked into Heathens Ink and injected color back into my world of gray. No matter how hard I try to resist Beck he just won’t give up on me. I would need steel willpower to withstand his gorgeous long legs in his high heels, and his drawer full of lacy lingerie. But is this just a kinky hook up or does it have the possibility for more?

“We’re both broken, but our jagged edges fit together well” ~ Beck

When you’re half of a whole you never contemplate what life would be like without your matching piece. Since my twin sister, Brianna, died last year, nothing I do seems to quiet my soul. I know there has to be some way for me to feel happy and whole again. And, when I look into the pained eyes of the tattoo artist at Heathens Ink I feel like I have a purpose. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I have to find a way to put him back together.

Shattered Pieces is book 4 in The Heathens Ink Series and can be read as a standalone.

COVER DESIGN: K.M. Neuhold

COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto

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Scattered Pieces Teaser 1

Scattered Pieces Teaser 2

“Dance with me.” Beck holds his hand out to me. His eyes spark with amusement at what I’m sure is the obvious horror in my expression.

“I don’t dance.”

“Come on, you’re supposed to be trying fun, new things. I’m not expecting Fred Astaire, just stand in my general vicinity and nod your head to the beat.”

I sigh in resignation and take Beck’s hand, refusing to notice how soft his skin is or how good it feels to touch someone, however casually.

Still clutching my hand, Beck starts to dance. He starts out tame, simply swaying to the music. But, before long he’s spinning and shimmying like a ballerina on crack. Even being goofy and over the top he’s utterly graceful. And the joy in his expression is heartbreaking in its beauty.

When he spins out and then into my arms like a tango dancer, a laugh escapes from my chest, too full of a warmth to contain it.

“You have a really nice laugh,” Beck says, smiling up at me.

My heart thuds violently against my ribcage. Some long-forgotten place in my brain wakes up from its long slumber and starts to make irrational demands like kiss him and make Beck mine.

I pull my arms back, forcing a smile as blood rushes in my ears. Beck isn’t mine. He can never be mine. I had someone who was mine and I broke him beyond repair.

“I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty,” I admit with chagrin.

“Never too late to pick it back up again,” Beck reasons, stepping close again but not so close to warrant another retreat on my part.

His lips are rosy pink and so soft, slightly parted and unbelievably tempting. I can’t remember if we were discussing laughing or kissing and I don’t really care.

“For the first time in a long time I’m starting to wonder if that’s true.” The hope my statement sparks in Beck’s eyes forces me to backpedal as guilt washes over me. “It feels wrong to imagine happiness is possible, even in some vague, future way.”

“I’m not going to give you any trite bullshit like saying Johnny would’ve wanted you to be happy. I didn’t know Johnny and even if I had there’s no way to know what he would’ve wanted because he’s gone. But you’re still here. You still have a life, a heart, and the right to be happy whether now or in a vague future.” The way Beck holds my gaze is like a cobra ensnaring a mouse. “You don’t need Johnny’s permission to move on and be happy. You only need to give yourself permission.”

I am a huge fan of this series so I was equal parts super excited and hesitant about this book. Don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with Gage in the first book but I was so afraid this book was going to break me. It totally did, but my god was it worth it. Kyleen was able to shatter my heart and knit it back together. I did cry reading it, but she didn’t leave me a sobbing mess.

Gage runs Heathen’s Ink with his best friend Adam. Gage is in love with Adam’s brother Johnny, who they lost to suicide 9 years earlier. Gage goes through life in a fog, going through the motions but never engaging in anything or with anyone. The amount of guilt he carries over Johnny’s death is staggering. Then a hottie walks into the tattoo shop for a tattoo and tilts Gage’s world on it’s axis.

Beck, short for Becket not Beckham is sassy, smart and gorgeous. The brooding tattoo artist just pushes all of his buttons. Beck is no stranger to loss himself, he is their to get a memorial tattoo for his twin sister who died suddenly a year ago of a brain aneurysm. While both are still grieving, Beck can’t get Gage to engage in conversation, or much of anything. He walks away thinking he will never see the enigmatic man again.

Then one night the guys from the tattoo shop drag Gage along to a club where Beck is unknowingly a dancer in a burlesque show. The two strike up an friendship and Beck makes it his mission to show Gage what he’s missing in life. Determined to find new hobbies that Gage will enjoy so he stops walking through life in a fog.

If his sister’s death taught him anything, it’s that life is too short for regrets and he’s going to make sure he doesn’t have any. As their friendship evolves into something stronger than either intended they must decide if they can take a chance on love or if the risk is too great.

Gage- I fell in love with Gage in the first book, I love a dark, broody character. The ones with painful pasts usually tend to fall harder and love fiercely, as long as you can get them to see past the pain. I just wanted to hold Gage, it was so hard to see him hang on to Beck so tight only to push him away at the same time. You could feel his fear and need like it was your own.

Beck- No matter what he has been through, Beck is a bright light. He shines for all to see, and that is exactly what Gage needs. From the lacy underwear, to the high heels, and the makeup, Beck let Gage see the real him, and Gage fell hard and fast. While he helps Gage wade through his own grief, he allows Gage to see his as well. He never lets his needs be pushed aside which allows their relationship to develop on equal ground. He let Gage see how unhappy he was in his professional life which was a stark contrast to the persona he lets everyone see.

While I was a tad bit afraid to read this one, I am so glad I did. Gage and Beck’s story was every bit as amazing as they deserved and I thought it would be. I’m glad Gage got the closure he needed with Johnny, which allowed him to move on with Beck.

Kyleen has come to be one of my go-to authors. Her work is amazing and you can tell she loves what she writes.

5 pieces of eye candy

KM Neuhold Graphic

I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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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.

Life on Pause by Erin McLellan: Blog tour with Giveaway

Welcome to the Life on Pause blog tour! Follow along as I stop off at several blogs this week to learn more about this small town m/m romance, which follows a nerdy museum worker and a high school choir teacher as they watch way too much sci-fi on Netflix, wear ridiculous historical costumes, and fall in love.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $20 Riptide Publishing gift card!

Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.

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Erin McLellan writes contemporary romance, often set in the South or Midwest—particularly Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas—with characters that are complex, good-hearted, and sometimes a little quirky. Erin likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She has always enjoyed writing, but becoming a librarian and meeting enthusiastic romance readers helped her find her own writing passion. Now Erin cheerfully writes romance with characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum. A former public librarian, she still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but Erin hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.

Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband, and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.

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To celebrate the release of Life on Pause, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 4, 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.