I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Author’s Note: This edition has been extensively revised.

When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and shy Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her—completely.

When Christian, manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him—completely.

This is a story about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs or on two. Mavis’s journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home parallels the story of two men discovering each other at the perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense. But when did love ever follow a rational course?

First edition published by Amber Allure, January 2012.

Title: I Heart Boston Terriers
Author: Rick R. Reed
Release Date: September 20, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 54

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This is a quick read. A short story you can read while waiting in line, or while dinner is in the oven. I do like those kinds of reads. Then you add in an animal? Well, you have me wanting to read it right away. 🙂

We could talk about Aaron and Christian, and the fact that Aaron was a little put off initially by Christian’s forwardness. Or about Aaron’s sister, who, honestly as an animal lover, and a shelter volunteer myself, I wanted to…well, let’s just say I didn’t want to take her to dinner.

But let’s talk about Mavis. Because…poor abused Mavis, she needed love more than anyone else in the story! What a sweet thing (take a look at the cover, that is a picture of the author’s own dog, Lily, being a star!) she was. Mavis was a challenge, for sure, especially for a man who had never owned a dog. She acted in ways that were difficult to understand, and which, if you are unfamiliar with animals, would be a challenge to try to figure out how to deal with. However, I loved that Aaron stood up for his dog, and his choices, and said that she was staying, period, and yet went looking for help with a situation he had no idea how to solve.

The approach the author took to the ending was actually perfect for this short story. Mavis was taken care of, and there wasn’t an impossible situation for the two men to deal with, as they worked through whether or not they wanted to pursue a relationship with each other. Sometimes in short stories, the insta-love leads to what would not be a realistic, long term relationship, which can make the reader feel like, it is an HFN, but will later be a “we are done”. And with a romance, we want to KNOW that they will get their HEA.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Guest Post Rick R. Reed

**Today TCO is excited to welcome Rick R. Reed to the GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour. I’m a big fan of his. Psssttt…he mentioned something about a kissing booth at GRL, so here’s hoping! Check out his guest post. I love it! And don’t forget there is a giveaway to enter. (And here’s a little secret, in response to Rick’s post…my husband is coming with me to Denver!!!)**

 

What to Tell People About Your Attendance at GRL

A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed

 

I admit it—to some folks the idea of going to a conference about gay romance literature might seem a little hard to understand. For those of us who are looking forward to it, it’s a foregone conclusion—that it’s fun, that it can be like a family reunion, that it can be an amazing way to mingle with your tribe, with people who get you, and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the reading and writing you love.

But some people in your life might not get it, and it’s for those folks that I offer up these talking points.

I once overheard some people talking about what they tell friends and family about their attendance at GRL, a retreat, as we all know, for lovers of m/m romance. For a reason that’s alien to me, some of the people I overheard felt the need to not be totally open about the event they were attending. As a gay man who’s been out of the closet now almost more years than he was in, the secrecy is a bit hard to understand, but I guess there are still people out there who A. care what someone else thinks about how they spend their off time or B. there are people (like, say, maybe a teacher at a parochial grade school) who knows their association with ‘gay’ literature might be frowned upon. And that’s sad. But I understand it’s a reality for some.

So here are some tips to help you decide what to say when people ask you about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing when you attend GRL.

 

For the straight folks in your life who have never heard of m/m romance

Now, for those of you who are open about where you’re going and people who don’t know your tastes in reading ask something like, “Gay romance? Why gay romance? You’re not gay, are you?” This is such a silly question, as if we have to confine our reading tastes to only who we are. Reading a book with African-American characters and you’re white? Why? Reading a story that’s about aliens from Mars and you’re not one? Why on Earth?

When you put it that way, you begin to see what a silly question it is. It would be like me, as a gay man, saying I don’t read stories with straight characters. I’m not straight, so how could a book about straight people possibly interest me?

Because I’m human! Because we’re all human! And our needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, and despair do not divide us; they unite us.

If someone wonders why you read m/m, you might clue them in that, in the end, you like reading about people falling in love. People. And then you might use the opportunity to tell them what’s so wonderful and different about m/m romance and why it makes sense not only for you to read, but why it also might make sense for them to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try.

 

For the gay folks in your life who wonder why m/m romance and not just gay fiction

And here, it gets a little trickier. I heard someone say on Facebook recently that m/m romance is by and for straight women and that gay romance is by and for gay men. Um, I beg to differ! Putting aside the inanity of trying to classify who reads and writes love stories, you still might have to talk to gay friends about what they might perceive as reading in a genre that’s not gender-appropriate for you, especially if you happen to be a gay man. Again, the same thing I said above applies–we’re all human. And human love stories, whether they’re about gay people or straight people, have a lot more in common than they have differences. Most of us want to find our happily ever after. Most of us have trouble getting there and may even have the misfortune of kissing a few frogs that did not turn into princes along the way. M/m, gay fiction, gay romance (my personal preference) whatever you want to call it, if it centers around two people falling in love, then it’s blind to gender and you really don’t have to defend your reading choices. Tell them that…and tell them that reading or writing about love is about our shared human experience and has very little to do with what’s between our legs, but what’s between our ears. And we all have that in common.

 

What to tell those who simply cannot know

So you may fall into the camp of someone, for whatever reason, must keep your attendance at a gay-related event on the down-low. I wish the world weren’t a place where this was sometimes necessary, but if it is in your case, you have lots of options (and these you can say without even lying). Tell ’em you’re attending a fan convention for fiction, a romance convention, a get-together with other readers like you to compare notes and meet your favorite authors. See, the specifics are nobody’s business but your own. Yet, I urge you, if you possibly can, to be open about where you’re going. Come out of the closet! You might be surprised that people are not as judgmental or surprised as you think. And by being open, you bring the possibility of the good news of m/m fiction more out into the world at large.

 

What to tell people if you’re an author

I can only speak for me, and the answer to that question is easy. I come because I want to connect with my tribe. For each of the now five years I’ve been coming to GRL as a featured author, my experience is always the same: it’s like a family reunion. It’s a chance, for almost a week, to be with the people I write for, the people who ‘get’ me and I them, and to connect with others who write what I do and be go fan boy on them. It’s truly a retreat…into a perfect world where everyone likes the same stuff as I do. I am not big on swag or giveaways. My best giveaway, I’ve always thought, is a smile and a hug. Those are the things that give me my biggest return.

 

Check out all of Rick R. Reed’s books here!

 


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I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed: Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Cover Reveal: I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed

I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed, published by Dreamspinner Press

Publication date: September 20, 2107 Available for pre-order: August 21, 2017

Cover art design: Reese Dante https://www.reesedante.com/

Cover Model: Lily, the Boston terrier (owned by Rick R. Reed and Bruce Moynagh)

 

When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and shy Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her—completely.

When Christian, manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him—completely.

This is a story about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs or on two. Mavis’s journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home parallels the story of two men discovering each other at the perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense. But when did love ever follow a rational course?

 

Dreamspinner Press

 

 

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE STORY AND AN EXCERPT

With lots of panting and tail wagging, I give you the re-release of my dog-uniting-two-men-in-love story, “I Heart Boston Terriers.” This story is nearer and dearer to my heart than most others because, if you know me, you know I have a Boston terrier (Lily) and she’s our little princess.

It’s only fitting that Lily’s the cover model for the story. I am a proud papa! I took the picture of Lily featured on the cover last fall, just as we were waking up in our cabin at Washington state’s Orcas Island, where we were staying for a long weekend. I’m so glad the phone was nearby that morning!

Thanks to amazing cover artist, Reese Dante, who was able to incorporate Lily into the beautiful face for the story. I’m very blessed to be able to work with her on almost all of my books.

As a point of interest, my husband Bruce and I got Lily from a breeder when was eight weeks old. She’s now fourteen years old and has slowed down some, but is still the same sweet-tempered girl we brought home from the airport that September day lo these many years ago. She’s been part and parcel of our marriage, so it’s kind of appropriate that I would write a love story revolving around a Boston terrier.

I hope you’ll read “I Heart Boston Terriers” even if you read it in its original Amber Quill Press edition (there are significant changes to the story which, I think, improves it a lot). If you like the story, please drop a line to Lily in care of rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

 

***

NEG UB2. For those of you not familiar, this shorthand, meaning ‘negative; you be too’ has shown up in online personals for years…and it can be kind of hurtful. In the excerpt below, our underdog romantic hero, Ethan Schwartz, comes across the phrase for the first time.

Christian returned to Mavis. “I want to see you make this your forever home, Mavis. It’s a place where you can feel safer and safer with every passing day.”

Aaron loved what he was telling the dog, whether she understood or not. Aaron believed any creature could pick up on the caring in Christian’s voice; he certainly could. But he worried about Becca. He wasn’t sure she had really left the door open for second chances or a “forever home,” and Aaron was doubtful this one visit from Christian could change things so much that she would allow Mavis to stay after all, especially if she became a dreaded “repeat offender.”

One of the last things she had said, before leaving for her internet date, was, “I was going to wear those Jimmy Choos today too. Damn it. Those shoes were mantraps, I tell you.” She had laughed, but Aaron could hear the regret and longing in her voice. He would never understand how someone—his sister, especially—could allow a pair of shoes to take precedence over a living thing.

Christian held Mavis up and out to Aaron. “Here. You try.”

Awkwardly, as if he were taking a newborn from Christian, he took Mavis into his arms, cradling her and letting one arm support her along her soft and warm belly.

“Just talk to her,” Christian said. “Just like I did—let her know you care, but make sure she understands you’re in charge.”

Aaron met Christian’s expectant gaze.

“Go on,” Christian encouraged.

Aaron didn’t know if he was doing the right thing, continuing to build a bond with a dog his sister had first insisted go back to the pound. But Mavis was appealing to his kindness with huge brown eyes, as if she too were waiting for him to make his move. Aaron doubted anyone could resist those eyes; they were perfectly round, a rich deep brown, and stared out of a face that was all at once wise, soulful, and a little melancholy.

He kind of let himself drift into the dog’s deep gaze and almost forgot Christian was there. He certainly forgot about Becca’s wishes as he began to speak, gently stroking Mavis’s head all the while.

“You and me, kid. We’re two of a kind. Alone. A bit unwanted, yes.” He massaged her neck. “But the two of us, we have a lot to offer, don’t we? So we’re not gonna feel sorry for ourselves, are we? We’re both survivors too, and we’re not gonna let this temporary setback get us down permanently. We’re going to remember that life is a series of sunshine and rainy days—and no one escapes either. That’s the thing we have to bear in mind—that the rain does stop falling, the sun does come out again. It happens for all of us.

“It’s happening for you, little stinker. Right now. You’ve found someone who’s decided to give you a home, someone who’s made the most important decision a person can make—to love.” He let himself feel the solidity of Mavis’s compact body against his own and knew, right then, that come hell or high water, sisters or high heels, nothing was going to come between this man and his dog.

“And while you may not love me yet, I think you will. If you get no other sense from my words than this, remember—I am not going to let anything bad happen to you, ever. Not if I can help it.”

He released Mavis, setting her gently down at his feet, where she promptly curled up, calmer than he had ever seen her.

Gradually he came back to reality and realized he’d probably just made an ass of himself in front of Christian. What he had said to the dog was heartfelt, but what if Christian had seen his words as nothing more than Hallmark platitudes? He was lifting his head to give Christian one of his patented sheepish grins, when he noticed Christian already looking at him.

If Aaron didn’t know better, he would say Christian was touched. And not “touched in the head,” either, although he might be that as well, but touched as in something really got through to him.

Christian slowly shook his head. He didn’t say anything for a long while, and then what he said next wasn’t at all what Aaron expected.

“Can I kiss you?”

 

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.

FIND RICK ONLINE

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Website: www.rickrreed.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

 

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

A Dangerous Game by Rick R. Reed: Guest Post and Exclusive Excerpt

DangerousGame[AFS

synopsis

Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love.

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love.

But appearances are not always what they seem.

His savior owns the escort agency À Louer, and he wants the young and handsome Wren as part of his stable of men-for-hire. Down on his luck, Wren figures, why not? He needs the money. When he joins, though, he doesn’t count on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he falls hopelessly in love.

But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but À Louer’s dark—and deadly—secrets.

DangerousGame[A]_FBbanner_DSP

excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Wren Picks Up an Abandoned Paper on the Bus and Discovers a Murder in A DANGEROUS GAME
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed 

A Dangerous Game has its thriller aspect as well as its love aspect. Here’s where one of our boys first finds out that escorting can not only be risky—it can also be lethal.
Snatch that paper up. See what’s going on outside your own little dramafest. Maybe there’s something in there that will take your mind off Rufus for the next ten minutes. Hell, maybe the classifieds is just twitching with dream jobs, just for you.
Right.
Wren did lean over and pluck the newspaper from the seat. He scooted back up against the window and opened it.
And his heart nearly stopped.
The front-page headline practically screamed at him, making his blood run cold and the world around him dissolve.
Second Murder on City’s North Side Believed to be Linked to Escort Service
Wren fought his way through the spare, journalistic prose to learn that a second young man had been “stabbed to death along Chicago’s lakefront.” The victim, whose name and details were being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was believed to have been associated with the same escort service, À Louer, that Evan Maple, who was murdered in a similar fashion two weeks ago, worked for.
Wren scanned the article for more, but there was nothing to identify who the victim had been. But Wren was suddenly certain it had to have been Rufus who’d been killed.
That was the reason he hadn’t called.
He was dead. And before that he was being stalked by some serial killer out to put an end to male escorts by picking them off one by one, stopping their hearts and their commerce with something like a sharp hunting knife.
Wren felt like he was going to be sick. Although he still had several blocks to go, he reached up and pulled the cord to alert the bus driver he needed to get off. When the bus had barely stopped at a corner, Wren dropped the paper to the floor and hurried out the back door of the bus.
Outside the air was thick with humidity and exhaust fumes, even this early in the morning. The sun, beating down harshly out of a dirty white sky, didn’t serve to make him feel any better. Wren sat down on the curb and then put his head between his legs, trying to slow his breathing and force back the bile burning the back of his throat.
He sat there for several long minutes, waiting for his heart rate and respiration to slow, telling himself over and over again that he needed to get ahold of himself and that À Louer employed several young men, any one of which could have been the killer’s victim.

 

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meet the author
madison_parker_MG_4203-WEB CROPPEDRick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

STALK RICK
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed
Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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

Big Love by Rick R. Reed: Release Day Review

BigLove-400x600

synopsis

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally faces his attraction to men. Into his life walk two men who will change everything. He can’t deny his feelings for teacher Seth Wolcott, who is beginning his life anew. And bullied but out and proud freshman Truman Reid shows Dane what it means to love yourself, in spite of all the obstacles the world throws at you.

Coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak and falling in love…. The first day of school is the start of a truly life-altering year for the three men, who are about to start a new journey together.
Title: Big Love
Author: Rick R. Reed
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Coming of Age
Pages: 200

Heather's Review

Big Love is my first introduction to Rick R. Reed‘s writing. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the blurb since there were three people mentioned, one of which being a high school student. While I figured that meant it wouldn’t be a menage, I didn’t know if maybe they met and then met again years later. Anything was possible.

As it turned out, Truman was not in a relationship with Dane and/or Seth, but he did play a pivotal role in bringing the two of them together.

How you feel at the end of this book is going to depend largely on what you want going into it. If you’re looking for a romance with two men falling in love, this might not be the best book to pick up. That was what I thought I was getting into, and I felt like I didn’t really know why I should believe that Seth and Dane love one another by the end, or even what the attraction was other than both of them being gay adults in the same small town. The only intimate moments are fade to black, and even then I didn’t feel a real connection. Then, there was a truly bizarre moment that seemed out of character, both in what Seth did and in how Dane reacted.

All of that being said, if I don’t think about the book as a romance, but as a work of gay fiction, it worked well enough. Although it’s passed off as a romance between Seth and Dane, it was truly the story of Dane and Truman growing to accept who they were as gay men.

1-3.5 pieces of eye candy

deanna review
When I read the synopsis of this book I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. There are three main characters, two teachers and a student. My mind instantly went hmmmm…

Truman, an obviously gay high school student struggling to survive day to day teenage life. Seth, a teacher new to the school and openly gay and running from a cheating ex-boyfriend. And Dane, an English teacher with two children who just lost his wife to an auto accident who has been hiding that he is gay since he was a teen.

The three lives intersect when Truman’s struggles get to be too much for him. As Truman embarks on a journey of self discovery it opens Dane’s eyes to what he has been missing out on by being too scared to be himself.

Truman must learn to be comfortable in his skin, as Seth settles into life in a new small town and Dane learns that who he is, is who he’s meant to be as long as he can convince himself and his children.

I really enjoyed this book. Truman’s struggle was so beautifully written that it made me want to just reach out and hug him. It was amazing to watch him become comfortable with who he was and add some sass to his personality. Watching Dane and Seth’s relationship develop with a slow burn was a beautiful thing.

The overall story was well developed and entertaining. I was up until 5:30 AM reading because I couldn’t put it down. My only hope is that one day Kirk gets his own story because everyone deserves happiness no matter how they start out.
4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy1

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