Familiar Angel by Amy Lane: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Title: Familiar Angel
Author: Amy Lane
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Category: Paranormal
Pages: 200

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Cats on a Mission

By Amy Lane

So, shapeshifting cats are a particular fantasy of mine. I featured them in The Little Goddess series, in which the humans shifted into cats of human size—and I loved them. The gag of the cat licking his privates who suddenly turns into a human will never get old.

But the cats in Familiar Angel are, well, familiars. There is no mass-conversion in familiar shapeshifters. They’re just cat-sized cats.

And believe me, I played with this concept as much as I possibly could.

One of my favorite moments in the story is when Harry wakes up and his brother is beside him reading from a kindle. “His paw moved and the light flashed, and he turned the page.”

Because if you’re a cat who can read, wouldn’t reading from a kindle be the best thing in the world? No opposable thumbs needed!

Harry and his brothers hunt mice for themselves and rabbits for people, kill spiders, spy on bad guys, and occasionally fish. When they don’t feel like being human, they cat. When they find they have to communicate with other people, they human—but they don’t have to be happy about it. And when they fall in love…

They struggle.

Because they found their cats 140 years ago. They’ve gotten comfortable hiding from hurt, hiding from anger, hiding from fear.  When they cat, they don’t have to deal with the terrible complexities of human emotions. They just have to hunt mice and lick their privates—but that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for the real world.

So as much fun as writing the cat parts were—Edward fighting the guy with the semi-automatic weapon and winning, Francis becoming the ultimate killing machine in the body of a fuzzy Siamese space-cadet, Harry pouting in the stream shallows before learning to fish—it was writing the human parts that were the most fascinating.

I mean, I’m pretty sure my own cats love me—as long as I feed them. They come to me for companionship, the bitch at me when I’m lacking in sensitivity to their superior selves, and I really am their best bet in the winter when they need full-sized body heaters during the cold, dark night.

But I don’t think they’ll ever be in love with me.

And writing that transition, between the self-protective cat and the vulnerable human, was maybe the most fascinating part of writing the book.

I have to say, although it’s an unusual genre, I hope people check in to see Harry, my brave warrior cat, fall in love—and Edward and Francis after him.

Good kitties!

“Hide!” Harry had just enough presence of mind to grab Francis’s other side to help Edward pull him through the thicket of brambles that lined the river. Bleeding, dirty, breathless, they slid to a halt in a hollow between the blackberry bushes and the hill, lying on their stomachs, Francis sandwiched between them. Francis, who had received a terrible scratch from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his eye, moaned in pain. Harry shushed him, and Edward placed a gentle hand over his mouth.

A woman, clothed in blinding, glowing white, burst into the clearing with a man—man?—draped over her shoulder. His clothes were red velvet, and thick curly hair grew all over his face and large skull, like a goat’s.

His back feet were cloven.

“Leonard,” she begged. “Leonard… darling. Wake up. Wake up. I need your help.”

Leonard—the thing… man—rolled his head, much like Francis had done, and moaned. “Emma, leave me. If they find me with you… if they find Mullins here….”

“Mullins!” the woman whispered. “Mullins—I’m losing him. Oh please—Mullins, he’s losing himself again.”

“I’m losing myself again!” came a terrible growl, and another Leonard-like thing stepped into the clearing—this one very obviously glowing red. “Emma, we need to do the ritual. I can’t….” The monster thing, Mullins, let out a horrifying series of snuffling grunts and growls. “I’ll turn,” he said, sounding tearful—if a beast could be in tears. “I’ll turn and gut you both.”

“I understand,” she whispered. “You’ve been very brave. Here.” She set Leonard on the ground then and started to pull items from a leather satchel across her shoulder. “We’ll do it right now.”

“This isn’t the ceremonial place!” Mullins said, sounding despondent. “It’s not cleansed, it’s not prepared—”

To Harry’s surprise, Emma put a tender hand on the beast’s cheek. “My sweet boy, you’ve been too long in hell. We don’t need the trappings of the spell—although the things in those hex bags should help us focus. We just need ourselves, and our good intentions, and our desire.”

Mullins’s grunt was self-deprecating. “The road to hell is the one paved with good intentions,” he said gruffly.

“That’s only because the demons trying to get to earth walked that path first,” she said, sounding cheeky. In their quiet interaction, Harry got a better look at her. Not young—over twenty—but not old either, she was beautiful in every sense of the word. Straight nose, even teeth, perfectly oval face, and blonde hair that streamed, thick and healthy, to her waist, she was what every boy should dream about when he went to sleep hoping for a wife.

Harry didn’t dream about girls, but he could look at this one and know the appeal.

But it was more than the physical beauty—and she had it all, soft hips, small waist, large breasts—there was the kindness to the beasties. The gentleness and calm she radiated when Mullins had threatened her.

Suddenly Harry had a powerful yearning for his mum, when she’d been dead for nearly five years.

“Here,” Emma said, breaking the sweetness of the moment. “Take the hex bags—there’s ten. Make a pentagram with me and Leonard in the center. I’m summoning an angel, love. You may want to leave when you’re done. I’ve no guarantees he’ll be friendly to you.”

“That’s not news,” Mullins said dryly and began his task. “Do you…. Emma, I know you’re powerful. You summoned my master for knowledge on power alone. But all else you have done, you have done out of love.”

“Including persuade you to our side,” she said. While he set the hex bags, she was stretching Leonard out before her, stripping his shirt with deft, practiced movements. The skin underneath the clothes was smooth and human, and Harry felt nauseated at the abomination of beast and man.

But Emma seemed to care for him.

“It would be worth any torture,” Mullins said softly, pausing in his duties, “to know Leonard will live.”

“Come with us!” Emma begged. “I may not love you like I love Leonard, but you’ve been a good friend to us. Please—”

Mullins shook his head. “It’s not enough to break me free,” he said, and his bestial smile would haunt Harry and Edward for years. “Someone would have to love me enough to sacrifice for me, and make no mistake, Emma. This will come down to your sacrifice. You will be stripped of your power, your youth—are you sure you want to do this?”

Emma let out a sigh. “I would live a mortal lifetime without worry,” she said softly. “But I do not want him all alone without me. ’Twould be cruel.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and then—

Harry gasped and heard Edward do the same.

She was looking right at them.

“I’m about to do something very wrong,” she said, great conviction carrying in her serenity. “But I think something very right too. Carry on, Mullins, but run as soon as you are done.” Her voice dropped. “Please, my friend—I’ll have enough weighing on my soul for tonight’s doings as it is.”

Mullins continued to bustle, and as he set the last hex bag down, Emma began to chant. Mullins traced a circle in the dirt around the outside bags, and then, when the circle ends touched, he pulled out a knife.

Emma nodded unhappily at him and then bit her lip as he cut a line on his palm and let the blood drip on the sealed ends of the dirt line. He and Emma looked at each other again, a strong friendship locking their gaze, before he turned and lurched away, his gait awkward and crippled on his cloven hooves. Harry felt some compassion for him then, poor beast, good friend—but his gaze didn’t linger.

He was too busy watching the white light around Emma grow larger, filling the space inside the pentagram like a bowl.

The light exploded outward, filling the clearing itself, and then one more time, just a few feet more.

Harry and Edward stared at each other, terrified.

They were in the light circle as well.

“Glory!” Edward whispered, and Harry was too shaken to quiet him.

Francis stirred between them and opened his eyes slowly. For a moment Harry feared that he’d startle and scream—Harry certainly would have raised a bloody great hue and cry—but then, Francis wasn’t Harry.

He parted his bruised lips and smiled.

“An angel,” he breathed, and Harry turned his attention back to the center of the clearing.

Where an angel appeared.

Harry’s heart stopped in his throat. Tall—because of course, right? An angel would be tall. Clothed in robes that glittered like diamonds, whiter than pearls he was. His hair was a marvelous flame-gold color, red like a sunrise or an ember. His face was more handsome than sin—bold, straight nose, full lips, a square jaw, eyes of warm, solid brown.

Harry’s groin gave a painful throb, and he almost wept. Those things—those dirty, filthy things that were done to him by rough miners and haughty bankers with gold in their grubby fists—those things were not right here.

Not with an angel.

Not with this angel.

Harry’s eyes burned with the perfection of this angel.

“Suriel,” Emma breathed.

 

Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.


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Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.​

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Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

 

The Great War – where do I start to research it?

If you were to say to me, “Charlie, old thing, I’m interested in finding out more about World War One. Where should I begin?” I’d respond, “Whatever you do, don’t start with a history text book!” Not unless you’re really interested in what battle took place where and which regiments were involved or which governments did what and when. That may be precisely your cup of tea, but I can’t say it’s mine. For me, the bigger picture is just the setting for the characters, and those details are only relevant when they impact on part of an individual’s life story. It’s the people who interest me: what they did, the experiences they lived through, and the effect these things had on them.

When it comes to finding those things out, there are a wealth of resources and some of the very best get as close to the source material as possible. All history is clearly seen at one or more removes, and as it reaches us it’ll have gone through one or more filters, as people relate the things they want us to hear and which support whichever view they’re taking. You have to remember this with whatever material you look at or listen to, but the fewer steps between you and the “eye witness”, the better.

So, here are some of my top resources:

  • War poetry. All of it from the jingoistic to the deeply cynical, and other poems written by notable poets of the era. (When we studied Wilfred Owen at school, nobody mentioned his homoerotic works, some of which are stunning and which put a new context on his more famous war poetry.)
  • The “Voices from…” series of books which uses testimonies from men and woman who lived/fought/sailed/flew in the era. The detais this provides is staggering.
  • Biographies, but not just of the big political or military names of the era. There are some great books about army chaplains, ordinary soldiers, even real war horses!
  • Diaries, letters, artwork from the era. One of the most moving books I’ve read is “Scrimgeour’s Scribbling Diary” which are the wartime writings (made strictly against protocol) of a midshipman. The abrupt end of entries is the most poignant reminder of the terrible loss of young lives.

 

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

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Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 84

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Mason seemed so young to me. Not like 21, but more like 17-18. He was so innocent and the way his mom and her boyfriend treated him…made me think of him more as a kid, in the beginning. Working for his friend Eli at a horse sanctuary was his get away from the advances from the weird boyfriend of his mom, helped; though I suspect Eli is from another story, but I didn’t know this was a spin off, so I didn’t know much about him. My heart hurt for Mason though, there was a reason he was the way he was and it wasn’t just the mom’s boyfriend… he was just another one…

Oliver…I didn’t get the best first impression from him. He seemed kinda skeevy and I didn’t like the relationship he and his boyfriend had or what they wanted from Mason. It didn’t seem like the thing Mason would be into from the very beginning and I almost stopped reading. Not that I’m against ménage’s or poly relationships, I guess I just hoped for more for Mason. He seemed so unsure of himself and other people, and for good reason; but, I didn’t like the thought of anyone taking advantage of him or using him for something, because he wanted and deserved more than that. I liked the way Oliver was there for him and wanted to keep him safe, but when it came to Mason, but even breaking up with the boyfriend so he could try something with Mason, wasn’t Oliver’s idea. It was the boyfriends…I just thought Mason deserved more. Then, it just ended…

Not really a HEA, more like a HFN beginning.

3 pieces of eye candy for me.


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In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott: Release Day Review with Giveaway

A Stories From the Shore Book

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories From the Shore: Book Two
Author: CJane Elliott
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 192

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I haven’t read a lot of second chance love books. That’s likely due to what my friends describe as my loving I read “puppies pooping rainbows”…the fact that I hate the heartbreak that comes before a second chance romance, and the hurt that is palpable as the two MCs begin to reconnect on their way back to their HEA. However for some reason this one caught my eye and I had to go for it. (Maybe it was the cover. I’m a Pisces so I love water.)

This story centers around two men who were incredibly in love, until one day when one almost lost the other and felt he couldn’t be the man of his dreams. 

Anthony was flamboyant, a party man, a man who always was up for a one night stand but never again would he fall in love. Until he sees Walter again, in a different environment and under circumstances that they both wouldn’t have considered a possibility in their previous lives. Anthony represented himself as exactly who he wanted to be and made no apologies for himself. 

Walter made a complete transition from the geeky scientist life to a businessman in a beach town that loved and appreciated all he did in the community. 

When they finally reconnected they couldn’t stay apart despite both their best intentions. They were drawn back together, similar to the sand and the sea. 

I loved that even as they decided to begin a life together not everything was instantly solved. They had issues, both emotional as well as the physicality of living in different states and different lives. Walter had no desire to return to Boston, yet he was willing to do what Anthony needed so they could both find happiness together. 

Not having read book 1, there were a few things that didn’t quite click for me at first but I definitely didn’t feel lost jumping in here. 

I’d love to read more in this series, if the author writes it. But then again I’d want it to be by the sea again. Hint hint. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

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Leaning Into Touch by Lane Hayes: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleLeaning Into Touch

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher:  Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k words

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Second Chance, Friends to Lovers, San Francisco, Office

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Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.

Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.

Leaning Into Touch is Book 4 in my Leaning Into Stories series. This one belongs to Josh and Finn. Josh is a fun-loving, laid-back regular kind of guy who adores his family and his tight-knit group of college buddies. He has a great sense of humor and an optimistic nature that comes in handy when everything begins to unravel in his world. And Finn is the handsome Irishman with a reputation for being ruthless and opportunistic. But Josh has a strong feeling there’s a lot more to Finn Gallagher than he shows.

Leaning Into Touch is about second chances, self-discovery and letting go. It’s also about family. Josh and Finn come from very different places and yet they share so many of the same ideals. I love the complexities of their relationship. They’re very real… or perfectly imperfect. *sigh

Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m going to leave you with a few interview questions for those who are a little curious about moi!

Happy Reading!

Lane Hayes xo

 

  1. If you could be a cartoon character for a week, who would you be?

Tough question. I’m going to go way back to my childhood when a good Saturday started with cartoons and a big bowl of cereal. LOL. The first one that comes to mind is Bugs Bunny. He always cracked me up.

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

I just saw Hamilton in NYC so I’m going to say Alexander Hamilton.

  1. What’s your favorite childhood book?

I have so many! One book I still love and actually own two copies of is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. That book is timeless.

  1. If you had to live in a different state, what would it be?

Easy… New York.

  1. What has been your favorite family vacation?

We took our family to Hawaii for a week a couple years ago and had an amazing time. It was the right amount of mellow to give us time to talk and connect and just be together.

  1. Who is the funniest person you know?

My husband. He’s fun and engaging and quick witted. Our daughter is a close second. And she definitely gets it from him. LOL.

 

Finn smiled and fell into step beside me. It seemed quieter on the street than it was earlier; there wasn’t as much foot traffic. Typical for midweek, I supposed. I breathed in the refreshing night air, loving the faint smell of the ocean. I shivered and crossed my arms. So much for enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was cold as fuck out here. I picked up my pace, but Finn pulled at my elbow to stop me.

“Are you daft? Where’s your coat?”

“I f-forgot it at the last bar. It’s okay. I’m cl-close.” I visibly shook when the wind whipped up the sidewalk, sending a scrap of newspaper flying by us like a paper airplane.

“Let’s go back and get it.”

“No, my friend will give it to me later. Or her friend will. I’m almost h-home so—what are you doing?”

“Put this on, then.”

Finn shrugged his suit coat off and set it over my shoulders like a cape or a cloak. He was two inches taller than me and far more muscular. It was like being wrapped in his warm, cologne-scented embrace. The gesture was so chivalrous, it left me speechless for a moment. I knew he was just being kind, but I couldn’t contain my smile.

“Thank you,” I said. “Are you sure you won’t be too cold?”

“Where I’m from, this is a summer breeze. You need it more than I do. Now tell me about your mates. I’m relieved to know you weren’t out drowning your sorrows on your own tonight.”

I snickered at his paternal tone. “I’m not above it, that’s for sure, but no…I was with my work crew for one last happy hour. Marley insisted. She was the redhead with the awesome curls I was with this morning at the museum.”

“I remember. She’s the one holding your jacket for ransom, eh?”

“Yeah. She’s on a mission to find the perfect man for me,” I huffed, making sure he saw my eye roll before we turned the corner to my street.

“Has she ruled out women? You’re bi, aren’t you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what I am anymore. I had girlfriends in high school and even in college but after the first time I was with a man, I haven’t been interested in anything but dick.”

Finn laughed. “Good to know.”

“What about you?” I asked, leading him down a brick path and up a short flight of stairs.

I leaned against the bright red door as I fumbled for the house key in my front pocket. In my head, I was planning a cinematic-worthy good-bye. Something lighthearted but sincere before we parted for the last time. It would have been a helluva lot easier to concentrate if he wasn’t standing so close and looking at me like I was the last brownie on the buffet table. I cocked my head and waited for him to break the spell.

“I like it too,” he said in a husky voice I hadn’t heard in far too long.

I gulped and licked my bottom lip as he moved in, bending slightly to brush his nose against mine. He surrounded me in every possible way. The heat of his body and the warmth of his coat draped me in a seductive cocoon. I felt woozy with a rush of desire so intense, I would’ve swayed on my feet if he hadn’t been standing so close. I set my right hand on his hip to steady myself and leaned in…just as he pushed away.

Finn let out a ragged breath and swiped his hand over his stubbled chin. “Fuck. I forgot how bloody difficult it is to walk away from you.”

“Then don’t.”

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Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes:

Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man & The Right Time, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home, A Way with Words, Leaning Into Love, Leaning Into Always, Leaning Into the Fall, Leaning Into Touch

Coming Soon: Leaning Into the Look

 

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Tour Schedule

10/9 MM Good Book Reviews

10/10 On Top Down Under Book Reviews

10/11 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10/11 The Blogger Girls

10/12 Joyfully Jay

10/16 The Novel Approach

10/17 Two Chicks Obsessed

10/19 Love Bytes

10/23 Alpha Book Club

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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.

Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue stops by with Exclusive Excerpt from The Alpha Prince

**As always, TCO is excited to have Victoria Sue stopping by with her monthly column. This time she dropped off an exclusive LONG excerpt to her newest release, The Alpha Prince, as she was running out to catch a plane to GRL. (I get to hug her lots on Wednesday!!!!) So, check it out, and see what’s happening in the world of Askara.**

 

The Askaran desert can no longer sustain the secret hybrid population of wolves bred from those sent there to die for their crimes. Justice knows the time has come to lead his wolves to a new life, but soon realizes his pack could never be governed by nor swear fealty to the cruel and despotic Alpha of Solonara—Darius—so he hatches a plan to fight and ultimately kill the Alpha, his heir, and take over the territory.

Cashel should not exist. It was unheard of for an Alpha-heir to be born an omega, and Darius has made every day a torment for his son. After spending years failing to breed another heir, and desperate not to have to give his territory away to another pack, he finally turns his attention back to Cashel and a whole new nightmare begins.

Justice’s whole life has been about righting a wrong and delivering the very thing he was named for. Meeting Cashel, and finding out he is his true mate, sends his carefully constructed plans and promises up in flames. When he discovers Darius’s cruelty runs deeper than any of them imagined, he is faced with a last desperate choice between his love for Cashel or his loyalty to his people.

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Justice stood by the window as soon as Sorin’s first rays bathed the sky. He had barely slept, and not just because of the noise from the powerful storm that had swept the skies last night. Not that he wasn’t used to rising immediately as the suns shone over the desert, but there was a bigger problem that had prevented him getting any rest.

Cashel. The prince he had come to kill was his mate. They had all agreed the heir was to die—as well as his father, on the assumption they were both just as bad—but now what did he do? His wolf had told him they were mates as soon as they had touched; and the animal’s distress at leaving him in his own bed—and not immediately claiming him—had nearly driven him mad. His wolf was an Alpha as much as he himself was, and they usually worked in harmony until Justice had made himself leave Cashel last night. The thought of Cashel being anywhere he wasn’t had nearly brought on a shift last night. Even now, Justice’s skin was tight as it stretched to contain and leash his animal’s power.

He hated the cluttered room and suddenly longed for the wide open plains from home where a wolf and a man could breathe in harmony. He also disliked sleeping anywhere his stallion Kashir wasn’t. He supposed he could understand horses not being allowed in the bedrooms—a bare smile graced his lips—and even though Zane had promised to stay with his horse, it still seemed wrong. In the desert horses were only second in importance to water, and Kashir had saved his life more times than he could count.

He gazed at the courtyard below, already busy. There seemed to be some sort of market being set up and Justice watched in interest as a cart containing what looked like beer was pulled into place. He stiffened suddenly, his sharp ears picking up the footsteps and the door latch lift but before whoever was attempting to walk in could even open it, he whirled and lifted his Kataya. The blade was never out of his sight, and only not on him because he was currently naked. The serving girl that entered his room looked up, promptly shrieked and dropped the full jug of water she was carrying which smashed noisily onto the stone floor. Two gammas came running in, swords drawn. “Might I suggest,” Justice said evenly, lowering his blade, “you warn all house servants to knock before entering my chamber.”

The gammas nodded nervously and practically carried the shaking woman out of the room. In another few seconds two more servants were back with a mop to clean the water and more hot water so Justice could bathe. He actually longed for a bath. He had had two since they had crossed the sea, and still marveled that water was so plentiful it could be wasted on such an extravagance.

What was Cashel doing right now? Was he also bathing? Was he taking soap and gliding it over—

A snarl echoed in his head as the animal inside him attempted to get free. Justice closed his eyes and took some deep breaths. He couldn’t claim his prince before the games were ended and he sent a signal to the nine ships moored out of sight waiting for it. And then it would still take three days to travel from Salem.

He was just pulling his breeches on when Zane and Armand knocked and entered the room. They promptly collapsed onto the chairs by a small desk, and helped themselves to the bowl of fruit.

Armand looked around at the small but opulent room and whistled slowly.

Zane snorted. “He hates it,” he pronounced and took a huge bite out of an apple.

Armand’s eyebrows rose up. “You hate it?” The disbelief was apparent in his voice.

Justice shrugged. “It’s a little cloying.” There was just so much in the room that was completely unnecessary, and even in the middle of the night when the temperatures in the desert dropped dangerously below freezing, he had never slept with so many covers on a bed in his life. Decorative pottery and books seemed to litter every surface. In fact, when he had been shown the room he had questioned the gamma, thinking he had been directed somewhere already occupied.

Zane’s voice dropped. “What is it?” Zane was regarding him steadily. He knew Justice wasn’t as calm and unruffled as he usually seemed, even if no one else could tell. “Did you meet the omega?”

Armand scoffed but he kept his voice low. “From what I heard in the kitchen last night, I wasn’t expecting our Alpha to be in his own bed this morning.”

“Damn, Justice.” Zane’s eyes widened. “That’s fast even for you.”

Justice ignored the teasing. “He was sick.”

Armand shrugged. “It matters not, seeing as he’s going to be dead soon anyway.”

Before Justice realized what he was doing, his claws were around Armand’s throat. Armand immediately went limp in his grasp and, rasping for breath, tilted his head to expose it a little more. It was a tremendous show of true loyalty and absolute submission.

They could all smell the blood as it ran down Armand’s neck. Justice’s nostrils flared and he took a breath, his anger barely receding enough for him to relax his grip. Another breath and he took a step back and dropped his arm, the claws retracting. “You will not touch him. Ever.”

Armand immediately sank to his knees. “Gravest apologies, my Alpha. Please know I would never insult your mate, and I pledge my life to protecting his as well as your own.”

“He is your mate,” Zane said. It wasn’t a question. Justice’s response could be taken for nothing else.

Justice blew out a long breath as his wolf was back under his control. He nodded, accepting the apology and the declaration. He might regret this reaction against one of his closest friends, but he would not apologize for it. It would demean them both.

Justice walked to the window and took a deep breath, trying to calm down. He could smell the fragrant Juno bushes and their small white flowers that reminded him of his mother when he had been young. She had managed to grow one in a small pot and his father had allowed her to keep it even though the only things usually granted water were what kept them alive. The flowers were prolific here, of course, and he would make sure any of his people that wanted would have a garden redolent with them.

He had things to do first, of course.

“How do you wish to proceed?” Zane asked carefully.

Justice understood the question and how this changed their plans. He was disgusted by the show of his mate last night and didn’t understand how his father could have done what he did. Children were a gift on Arrides, and there was not one that wasn’t fiercely loved and protected. “The plan still stands with obviously the caveat of claiming my mate as soon as the games are completed and our warriors are ready to attack.”

He understood the look of disbelief Zane and Armand both had. It was unheard of for an Alpha to wait to claim his mate. The ritual courting between his people was superseded by the need for an Alpha to find his mate. Simply because any that tried to prevent it risked being mauled and killed by a very angry Alpha wolf. Justice didn’t know if he had the strength to wait for the games to finish before he claimed Cashel. “I may have to take one day at a time. I may have to move things up, even.”

“Alpha,” Zane started, which made Justice pause. Zane had called him Justice since they were old enough to talk. Calling him Alpha meant he was including the pack in whatever he was going to say. It was Zane’s none too subtle way of reminding him of his responsibilities. “I understand you wish to give your wolves time to get here, but we have to think of the safety of your mate and the health of the pack. Another six days is too long.”

Justice knew what he meant. The phrase “the health of the pack” really meant the health of the Alpha. The two were intertwined at such a basic level, one couldn’t be happy and prosper without the other. The pack needed Justice to claim Cashel.

 

 

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The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown: Release Day Review with Giveaway

The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole.

Title: The Fireman’s Pole
Author: Sue Brown
Release Date: October 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 220

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I just love the Dreamspun Desires series. Every time I read one, I go away happy. Sue Brown‘s The Fireman’s Pole is no exception, in fact this is one I will definitely read again.

So much dichotomy going on with Ben and Dale, and it made for a fun book to read.

With Ben, it was interesting how people liked him, yet he really had no clue. He often left events early, or tried to stay away, not realizing that people actually appreciated him as a person, and not just as “lord of the manor”.

Meanwhile, Dale, when he meets Ben, has some issues with trying to not look like an incompetent. Once he establishes himself though, and begins a relationship with Ben, his dominant side comes out, and Ben is putting in his hands. He didn’t care that Ben was a baron. He cared that he wanted Ben, and Ben wanted him right back.

There was some mystery added in, for extra spice, but not anything that was too tough to figure out. I loved some of the funny parts (the May Pole incident was so funny, and poor Dale never seemed to live it down). And a few parts that tore your heartstrings up a bit. All in all, just and enjoyable read.

4 pieces of eye candy


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His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

TitleHis Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

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NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

I love it when a plan works out . . .

Hey y’all!  I’m so excited to be here to talk about my latest romance, HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND.  I love writing  and I’ve done it since I was a kid and with every book, it gets easier and it gets harder. I also have discovered that some things I always like and some . . . well, they aren’t my favorites.

I find that I never like slowing down at the beginning and spending the necessary time to do the pre-work and plotting correctly. I get an idea and I just want to jump in and start writing but I know from experience that it never ends well if I skip my plotting.

But I LOVE casting the characters in the book once I’ve figured out who they are. I mean who wouldn’t love scoping out Pinterest for the perfect hot dude to be my latest hero. That part of the job does not suck. And I love building the inspiration board and gathering the photos and ideas that fill in all the gaps in the story. You can take a look at the board for HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND  to see who I dreamcast as Victor and Isaiah (anyone else love Morris Chesnut?): https://www.pinterest.com/robincovington1/his-convenient-husband-love-and-sports-1/

And – I’ve paired up with an amazing artist, Shirin, to have desktop wallpaper made for my readers to enjoy. Check it out and if you love it, you can download it here: http://robincovingtonromance.com/books/love-sports-series/his-convenient-husband/

Do you dreamcast the heroes when you read? Share pics of your faves.

Thanks for reading! If you love my guys as much as I do, drop me a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com

xoRobin

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

“Fake” marriage, or marriage of convenience is not a trope you see often in the MM romance world. But you should. After marriage was finally declared legal by the Supreme Court, it opened up a whole new world! So this was my first book with the trope and I hope it won’t be my last.

Isaiah is a widower with a teenage son. He is also an NFL player in his off season. His incredibly artistic son gets to meet a world renowned ballet star from Russia. Sparks fly but neither can or want to commit. So after one night, they move on. Until Victor is denied political aslyum for his outspoken views on how gay men are treated in Chechnya. On a whim, Isaiah proposes, but says they have to stay platonic so that he doesn’t risk getting hurt again.

We all know how that goes. So, yes, it was predictable there. But the story and leading up to the HEA were still a good read.

Even though both Isaiah and Victor have high profile, demanding careers, the focus is on them as a couple and on Isaiah’s son. While this could have been a much longer book by adding more story to their careers, I liked that they didn’t. That way more of the story could focus on them and be character driven.

I expected more angst, and it would have been welcome. I didn’t really feel Isaiah’s pain at being a widower, but that is just me. I expected backlash from his son Evan about the relationship, but he was totally welcoming. And while Victor was outspoken, again I thought there would be more immediate repercussions.

So while there was a lot of “could have beens” in the story, I still really enjoyed it. The subject could have been dark but the author kept it light. Seeing Isaiah and Victor live together while dancing around their feelings was fun. And I really loved Evan- Isaiah’s gender fluid son.

There was tons of representation- which is a very cool thing. Victor is described as gender fluid, but I didn’t see that. Wearing a bit of make up doesn’t gender fluid make.

Ultimately, this was a nice story to read. I probably won’t remember it in a few weeks, but I don’t regret reading it.

3 pieces of eye candy

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

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My Forever, My Always (Men of Crooked Bend) by Taylor Rylan: Book Blast, Excerpt and Review

 

My Forever My Always Book Blast Banner

MY FOREVER, MY ALWAYS

MEN OF CROOKED BEND SERIES, BOOK 1

TAYLOR RYLAN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 06.15.17

My Forever My Always Cover

COVER DESIGN: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

Growing up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere Wyoming did not provide Simon Redfeather with a whole lot of opportunities to explore his sexuality. From a young age he’d known he was interested in men but wondered if he’d ever find someone to settle down with. Though he wanted to stretch his wings, he knew the ranch was his life and he’d inevitably follow his heart back home. Would he be able to find love with someone that could give as good as they get and love the land as much as he did?

Sean Welsh considered himself lucky that he’d grown up with two dads because coming out had been a breeze. Never wanting to trade in on the privilege of their last name, Sean and his identical twin wanted to forge their own path and open their own architectural firm in Jackson, Wyoming. He never expected Simon Redfeather, one of his new clients, to be a gorgeous, sexy, honest to god cowboy. With Simon pushing all his hot buttons, he finds himself wishing he wasn’t the shy twin and yearns to be daring, like his older brother.

The attraction is instant but are Simon and Sean willing to risk everything in order to find their other half?

My Forever, My Always is the first book in the Men of Crooked Bend series. Each book in the series will focus on a different couple but will be better enjoyed as a series as the couples all make appearances in each book. Each book contains sexually explicit material between two men and are intended for adults over 18.

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My Forever, My Always Teaser 3

“Okay so here goes. I once jerked off to thoughts of Jasper.”

“What the fuck, Simon!” Sean shouted while getting out of bed.

“That came out absolutely wrong. Please, Sean, get back in bed and let me explain. I promise you it was before I knew either of you and I honestly have absolutely no feelings for Jasper what-so-ever. Please, baby. You’re it for me and only you. Seriously that came out so very wrong.”

I must have said something right because Sean crawled back in bed with me and rolled towards me so we were lying face to face. “Okay speak. And this had better be good.”

“Okay as I was saying I once jerked off to thoughts of Jasper. Only at the time I didn’t know it was Jasper. I didn’t know either of you yet. But what I did know was that I had seen Jasper at a club one night and I was instantly attracted to him. Don’t give me that look, Sean. You two are identical. But anyway I saw him at the club and was attracted to him. And I even was going to go over and offer to buy him a drink. But as I started toward him a little blond twink sidled up to him and he just reached down and grabbed his ass. When that happened I left the club. But when I got home I was still incredibly worked up and when I got into the shower and went to take care of business it was Jasper’s face I saw and it was Jasper that I imagined sucking my cock. Like I said I didn’t know either of you at the time. And this was all the night before I actually met either of you. I didn’t meet either of you until the next day when you both came out to the ranch. But I felt that you should probably know that at one point before I even met you or your brother I rubbed one out to the image of Jasper on his knees in front of me.”

At that point I was just hoping that he would forgive me. When I felt the bed shaking I was worried that I had blown any chance of a permanent relationship with Sean. Especially if he was lying there crying because of the story I just told him. But what I didn’t expect was to find out that Sean wasn’t crying, he was actually laughing! Laughing! Like a loon! And he had clearly been holding back for a while because his face was red and there were tears running down his cheeks.

“Do you want to share with me what exactly it is that you find so funny about that story?” I asked.

“You do realize that I already know about that night right?”

“No I didn’t know. How did you know? I never said anything and as far as I know Jasper didn’t see me at the club and I left right after I saw him.”

“See that is where you are wrong. Jasper actually did see you that night and he told me about seeing you. I was so attracted to you that first day and I wondered if you were gay or not because apparently your family seems to have broken my gaydar and he let me know that he had seen you the night before at the club. So he saw you and he let me know that you were at the club and so we came to the conclusion that you were gay.”

First.. Hello hot cover!!

Simon is a rancher with a law degree at 30 and is ready to settle down. While he works with his family, they all seem to have degrees in something else as well as run their ranch and I assume they’ll all get a story, but this one is Simon’s. While this is a cute story and a bit long it’s still cutesy given that these boys both take to one another right away.

Sean is a well known architect, in business with his brother Jasper. Jasper, I wasn’t a fan of in the beginning… he seemed douchey and had no respect for Sean in their shared living space. That put me off immediately… I also found it a bit unbelievable that with two dads, all three sons turned out gay. I’m sure it happens, don’t get me wrong and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it…obviously… but, it’s just not something that you find happening, normally. I dunno, I’m being too critical, I know.

While I’m being that way, I’ll also mention the overuse of one’s name in this, drove me bananas! “Hello, Simon, how are you Simon? I’m well Sean, thank you, Sean. How are you today, Sean?” Why? Just, why? Am I being too irritable? Perhaps, but man, did it drive me crazy!!
Then we hit the halfway mark and I expected the cute story to end with a nice little HEA and maybe a hint of the next story, but then a bunch of random stuff got thrown in…. kidnapping and blackmail? It was all a big stretch and was just so unnecessary, in my opinion. Also, if anyone follows my reviews at all, it’s no secret that I HATE when the bad guy gets away with being the bad guy. I need karmic justice!

Overall though, even though this seems kind of ranty… the story between Sean and Simon was a cute one and I’m glad they ended up happy and together. This is my first by this author and I’m not sure about the second one, because like I said, I’m wasn’t a fan of Jasper, but…. I’ll admit, I’m curious enough to check it out.

3 pieces of eye candy

After several years of daydreaming about sexy men in her head, Taylor decided to finally start writing about them! That’s where the Men of Crooked Bend came from, although at the time, she had no idea as to what she would name the town, nor what state it would be even be in. She quickly learned that even though she had ideas in her head, it was her characters that ultimately decided what would happen in each story. She goes into each adventure with a set plan but already knows that in the end, things will change and that her characters are going to get their way.

When she’s not writing about sexy men, she loves to read about them. Even if, her reading time has become less frequent since she started writing, she still tries to find time to read at least once a week.

She is a busy mom of three and one kitten named Lucky. If she’s not writing or reading about sexy men, she’s either running to some band function or another or is busy cheering from the stands at basketball games or marital arts functions.

Her Men of Crooked Bend Series is her first series but she already has two spin-off series planned!

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Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey: New Release Review with Giveaway

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.
The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.
But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Title: Taming the Beast
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Andrew Grey writes so prolifically that I think he must write a book a week. And where he gets his plot bunnies is only known to him. However, this book seems to have come from the Beauty and the Beast storyline, with a much more modern (and of course m/m) feel.

Dante’s past still haunted him even after meeting and falling for Beau. The guilt he carried for the death of his wife was so self inflicted that the town picked up on it, treating him as he felt he should be treated, as a killer. Moving past it would take more than the love of a single man, but forgiveness of himself.

I really liked that though Beau was the “Beauty” in this mix, he wasn’t a man to just sit there and do as his Beast told him. He was determined to make the situation work, as well as wanting to see beyond the distant exterior of Dante. He accepted that Dante could do things in the town he couldn’t but wanted to make sure that he didn’t take advantage of that.

They fell in love quickly but it did feel organic simply because Beau wouldn’t let Dante keep pushing him back. They worked together to figure out how to deal with the crises that came to them, yet didn’t try to solve the problem for the other (well okay Dante wanted to but he respected Beau’s wish to not have him solve it)

The epilogue worked well to complete their story, and gave the reader a glimpse into the full transition of Dante back into the world he had cut himself off from. I would have liked a little more informations on how his deceased wife’s parents handled everything but that wasn’t critical to the story. These two men with such distinct tragedies in their lives found a love and life together, bringing their HEA full circle. Definitely a book I enjoyed.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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