Ice, Snow, and Mistletoe by Jocelynn Drake: Release Day Review

John Sullivan is escaping to Denver. Even with a massive snow storm on his heels, he plans to hide away in his cabin in the mountains and ignore Christmas. It’ll be just him and a bottle of whiskey until the new year when he must return to Cincinnati for his best friend’s wedding.

At least, that’s the plan until he runs into Oz at the airport.

Oz … the man who should have been just a fling. The man who was fun and laughs but quickly turned into so much more before he completely kicked John out of his life.

Oz who desperately needs his help…

John is ready to leave Oz stranded at the Denver airport in the coming blizzard, but he finds himself possibly staring down at the reason Oz pushed him away, and John can’t say no.

Second chances don’t come around often, but John is willing to fight for one with Oz.

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I loved last year’s Christmas novella by Jocelynn Drake, Walking on Thin Ice, the first in this series (well, I don’t know if its a series or not, but its one of two, so there you go) and was super glad to get to read this one as well. It was awesome to see more than a glimpse at Spenser and Evan’s HEA, as we watched Oz and John try to navigate to their own.

First, I will say, I was not quite sure I fully bought Oz’s reasoning for leaving John, except that when you saw what their relationship had been like, it made it more realistic. They both felt something for each other during their relationship five years prior, but communication (as can often happen with two men) was lacking, so neither felt they could say something. So, when Oz ended it, although it was hard for me to understand why he wouldn’t say a word, I could see how that might have been difficult for him to say to someone who he’d shared a connection with, but not felt close enough to tell the tough stuff to.

Now, you couldn’t help but love Lizzy. She was at that age that made the reader enjoy every second, as John found out so quickly. He just couldn’t turn that sweet girl away, despite the fact that he was still so hurt by Oz’s rejection. Even a temper tantrum (which I love that the author wrote in, because what 5 year old DOESN’T have a temper tantrum, especially at Christmas) wasn’t enough to sway John away from loving and working towards that family he had dreamed of.

John honestly had a heart of gold. To be as hurt as he was, and still take in two people over the holidays, knowing his own secret would likely be outed took a lot of courage. He knew that he would likely be hurt again once the storm ended and life went back to normal, but he still put his heart on the line, and let them both in. Then after being hurt once again, he took another chance. His heart was so big, and he was so ready for love, it had me bawling on the couch more than once!

Jocelynn Drake can write some hot and heavy sex scenes, and wow, she didn’t disappoint! These two men smoked up my kindle, and I was happy to go back and read it again. 😉

Another solid winner by Jocelynn, and I hope that she finds a way to continue this series! Whatever that looks like for her. 🙂

4.5 pieces of eye candy

Okay, so I LOVED the Unbreakable Bonds series and Ward Security spin off, so I just knew I’d love this one. Hot dads with cute kids are my weakness!

In this one, we have Oz, who’d met John on his way out for an obligated date to get his friend off his back but got distracted by the mans laugh after passing him and his friend on the street. He followed him into a bar and that started Oz’s exploration into men….. However, after a few months of “fun” that was more serious than either let on, Oz had a surprise pop up, that left him scrambling and afraid and he hurt John pretty bad in the process. So bad in fact, I was surprised he was so callous, I didn’t think he was like that. I understand where he was coming from but he could’ve handled it a LOT better and I wish he had because John is so great, I hated that he got hurt.

Cut to, five years, at an airport where Oz was flying to pick up his daughter from her terrible mother’s house over the holidays, he runs into John again, catching them both off guard and bringing back old hurts and old feelings. Especially since a snow storm keeps them stranded in Denver, where John is spending the holiday’s alone.

I know how it had to cost John to invite them to spend the holiday’s with him and again, my heart broke for him. He was so patient and understanding and ….sigh…. he was pretty perfect, I wanted to crap slap Oz a few times, even if I did kind of see where his reservations came from…. Not enough to keep hurting John though. I was team John the whole time. Team John and Team Lizzy both.

Over the course of their stay, things so good, but all good things come to an end, right?.. John was constantly fighting for Oz and Lizzy, but Oz needed to be the one to fight for something. So, as hard as it was for John to do, he had to let go….

All’s well that ended well though, with some help from John’s friend Spencer, Oz comes through when he needs to and puts my fragile, broken heart back together again, just like I needed him to.

This was a perfect little Christmas read and now I gotta go back and read Spencer and Evan’s story because how had I missed that??

5 pieces of eye candy from me!

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

Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Katie Porter: Blog Tour and Giveaway


Up-and-coming film producer Kyle Wakefield lives in the closet rather than risk the wrath of his influential, conservative parents. The only time he took a chance on love was a tempestuous teenage affair with Nathan Carnes. But when Nathan proved himself hell-bent on self-destruction and wound up in prison, Kyle closed off his heart.

Almost a decade later, Kyle’s production partner hires Nathan’s stunt company, Second Chances, to work on a big-budget action film in London. Nate is floored by his explosive reunion with Kyle. But he sure as hell isn’t surprised that Kyle still treats their mutual needs—and Nate—like dirty little secrets.

As the London holiday season casts its dazzling spell, the two men find themselves falling in love again. Kyle is one breathless kiss away from declaring himself to Nate—and to the world—but they cannot ignore secrets borne of youthful mistakes. To protect their bright new future, Kyle and Nathan will need all their passion and trust . . . and a little Christmas magic.

Publisher’s note: This is a lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel.

#CameUponAMidnightClear #NetGalley

 

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Riptide Publishing

 

20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.

Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of the proceeds from this year’s collection will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.

The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: https://lgbtnet.org/en.

This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:

Pre-ordering this collection will allow you to download each story two days prior to its official release date, as well as save 20% off the list price of the individual books.

Katie Porter is the co-writing team of Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty, friends and critique partners of six years. Both are multi-published in several romance genres. Carrie has an MA in history, while Lorelie is a US Army veteran.

Generally a high-strung masochist, Carrie loves weight training but she has no fear of gross things like dissecting formaldehyde sharks. Her two girls are not appreciative.

Lorelie, a laid-back sadist, would rather grin maniacally when Carrie works out. Her three boys love how she screams like a little girl around spiders.

Connect with Lorelie and Carrie:

To celebrate the release of Came Upon a Midnight Clear, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 25, 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.

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert: Release Day Review and Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

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Title: Wrapped Together

Series: Portland Heat #5

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Kensington Books

Release Date: December 6

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 35,000 words

Genre: Romance, contemporary, friends-to-lovers

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Wrapped-Together

synopsis

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

excerpt

This excerpt comes from chapter one of WRAPPED TOGETHER, when Hollis and his long-time frenemy Sawyer engage in a friendly bet sure to put their holiday cheer to the test!

****

I took a sip of my now tepid, almost-gone tea. Ugh. The good barista was on duty, the one who went with Ev from the knitting store and who always happily made my tea with the same care he did the fancy coffee drinks. I left the group, happy to have the excuse of needing a refill, but as I stood in line, Mary Anne joined me.

“Hollis Alcott, we almost never see you at these things!” Her voice seemed to ring out above the din. “Will you be participating in the contest this year?”

“I doubt it. My fall display is already set.” I tried not to sound too dour—she always had the best houseplants and had custom-ordered the rare fern I’d wanted.

“Ah, well, that’s too bad. You let me know if you change your mind. I’d be happy to lend you some poinsettias or other decor. I know you could do a splendid, tasteful window.”

It was my turn to order, so I gave her a smile as a reply before handing Brady my stainless-steel tumbler for tea and ordering a scone to go. I had to wait down at the other end of the bar for my order, and as I was waiting, Sawyer came loping over, a smile on his boyish face. His wide shoulders stretched the hoodie in distracting ways.

“Hollis! Did I hear you say you’re not decorating?”

“You did.”

He frowned. “I know how much you hate the holidays, but I bet you’d get an uptick in sales if you decorated. I heard Mary Anne offer to help. I could, too. I’ve got gobs of lights.”

“Thank you but no.” Truth be told, I could use the increase in sales, but it wasn’t enough of a motivator to get me ready for the onslaught of red and green.

Sawyer’s head tilted, considering. Oh no. I knew that look too well. A Sawyer who was scheming was downright dangerous. “We should bet, you and I.”

“No,” I said firmly. I stepped away from the coffee bar to let Mary Anne and others wait for their orders, but Sawyer kept step with me, effectively pinning me in between two tables on my path to the door. I sighed and repeated my objection. “No. The last time we bet, I believe you cracked a wrist.”

Sawyer waved a hand, dismissing my concern. “We were fifteen. We’ve had other bets since then.”

We had, but there was one in particular I was determined not to remember right at that moment. This was the peril of having known someone for almost two decades. “How precisely would one even bet on this?”

I let my inner musings escape before I could rein them in, and Sawyer smiled. He knew he had me. Whatever nervousness and shyness captured my tongue around large groups did not, unfortunately, extend to Sawyer. “Well, I was thinking whichever of us makes it into the top three is the winner of our bet, and then the loser has to do whatever the winner wants for an evening.”

Oh, I did not like this. “Anything?”

“That wasn’t a no.” Sawyer’s grin showed the sort of charm that made him so darn popular. “And I wasn’t thinking of something kinky. Trust me here, Hols.”

“Don’t call me that.” And I most certainly did not trust him. I was pretty sure the always-affable Sawyer didn’t have a kinky bone in his body, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t up to something. “But I could get you to do any task of my choosing?”

See, the thing about me that Sawyer knew was that I have a very hard time resisting a bet. Always have, hence the aforementioned bet freshman year of high school about jumping over auditorium seats during drama class. I’m also notoriously cheap. And as it turned out, I did have a job for him.

He nodded. “Anything.”

“I have a bathroom I want painted at my store. Including the trim.”

Sawyer, to his credit, didn’t look remotely pained. “That’s fine. I’m good at painting.”

“And you? What would you want?” I had no idea why I was asking. I certainly wasn’t planning on agreeing to this ridiculous plan.

“A surprise.” He winked at me.

“I don’t like those.”

“I know. Which is why you need one. But if it makes you feel better, I’ll specify no sex or nudity involved.” Sawyer had mercifully dropped his deep, clear voice to softer tones. I still bristled at the thought of anyone overhearing this.

“Or humiliation, public or otherwise.”

“Oh, Hollis, you know me better than that.” He held up his hands. They were big, capable hands, and I had to blink to get my eyes to look away. “Now, come on. I dare you. Bet me.”

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jennifer
Sawyer and Hollis…. Let’s chat about them, shall we?

 
Okay, Hollis, I wasn’t so sure about in the beginning. He’s a real “glass-half-empty” kind of guy. It was kind of annoying in the beginning because I just wanted to be like… NOT EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE! Knock it off! Lol but, he great on me, once he started opening up a bit more and not taking everything so seriously.

 
Sawyer was his exact opposite, he’s more of a glass-half-full, kind of guy and he just wanted to break Hollis out of that tough nut that was so hard to crack. However, to get Hollis out of his “Bah-Humbug” type tude for the holiday’s, Sawyer drums up a bet that ends up getting pretty steamy when it comes to collecting on it. The kicker? Even though Hollis never recovered from losing important people in his life, he seems to keep his feelings all wrapped up tight, he’s been in love with Sawyer.

 
Doesn’t that just suck? Unrequited love or not so unrequited in this case, but secret love? Sigh…. I found myself rootin for them the whole time. Especially once we get to see a more vulnerable side to Hollis. I will say that, this is the first book of this series that I’ve read and I can’t believe I started out with the 5th one; it didn’t take anything away from anything though, I wasn’t lost or confused, so I’m assuming it’s okay to be a standalone.
And even more happy to report that there is no cliffhanger and it has a cute little HEA.

 
I really enjoyed this one and it’s right on time for the holidays.

 
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for the promise of an honest and unbiased review. Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews, knows that all my reviews/rant are honest and unbiased, so take my word for it; if you want a little feel good, Christmassy read; don’t pass this one up.
If you’ve read anything by this author, you know you won’t be disappointed.

 
4 pieces of eye candy for me

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Wrapped Together Teaser 1

meet the author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open— no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
| Facebook Group | Annabeth’s Mailing List

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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.

Holiday Roundup: Authors and Reviewers Picks

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Who doesn’t like Holiday reads? We asked some of our favorite authors and our own reviewers what their favorite holidays reads are, and some of the answers caused us to rethink our own answers. The good thing with holiday reads is that there are so many to go around, and its just the perfect time to sit back with a glass of wine or hot cocoa and spend the night with a couple of delicious men…on paper of course! 🙂

Let us know what your favorites are!

found at the library

Denise: Found at the Library by Christi Snow

if only in my dreams

Morgan: If Only In My Dreams by Keira Andrews

SleighRide300Heather:  Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan

dickensFelice Stevens: The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon

great miracleCardeno C: A Great Miracle Happened There by Kim Fielding

Cover-Audio-He-Completes-MeSloan Johnson: He Completes Me by Cardeno C

against the grainMichelle: Against the Grain by Charlie Cochet (for the Thanksgiving scene!)

dreaming of snowJessie G: Dreaming of Snow by Teodora Kostova

 

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