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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10/9 MM Good Book Reviews

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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.

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

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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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10/11 Joyfully Jay

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10/12 Love Bytes

10/12 Abbeys 1-Click Book Blog

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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.

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

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

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

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.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

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!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016810573958

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/TaylorRylanOfficial/?pnref=lhc

Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Rylan/e/B072NG73VR/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TaylorRylan1

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/author_taylor_rylan/

Email:

AuthorTaylorRylan@gmail.com

Newsletter:

http://eepurl.com/cSFNnH

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

Sightlines (The Community #3) by Santino Hassell: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, Review and Giveaway

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

 

  1. What are five words that describe your writing process?

Precise, brisk, web-like, harried, coffee.

  1. Picture your favorite writing space. What are three objects you would find there?

A whiteboard! When I say my creative process is web-like, it’s because I tend to weave the story over time even when I start with a pretty precise outline. I build a little more to a section here or there then go back and figure out more ways to connect them. That is so much easier with my whiteboard.

I also picture a giant coffee mug and my phone. Why my phone? Because I’m constantly messaging and texting with my writer friends while writing so we can encourage and motivate each other.

  1. What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

Honestly, it’s writing that first draft. That’s when the magic happens and that vague idea or skeleton of an outline comes together. It’s also where I get to know my characters and their voices.

  1. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?

I think I’d ask one of romance’s stars, like Beverly Jenkins, how she’s written for so long and has been so prolific and still manages to have amazing ideas. My one big fear is that one day this creative well will dry up, and there won’t be any more books or ideas.

  1. Always the fun question: You wouldn’t be caught where?

At anything that requires a suit and tie! Seriously, uninvite me to all future weddings or formal parties. I go nowhere without the hat.

Sightlines is book 3 in The Community series by Santino Hassell. You absolutely have to read the first two. Now assuming you read the first two…..

Overall, it was a decent conclusion to the series. This book really focused on breaking up the Community- or at least shutting down The Farm- and the budding relationship between Chase and Elijah.

So while everything was wrapped up pretty neatly, it was….okay. Not great, not terrible. It was ok. I wanted more. More of what happened at The Farm. More of Chase and Elijah falling in love. More of Chase opening up and accepting love. More of Elijah discovering his gift. Just more.

The relationship between Chase and Elijah had been blooming since book 1. And when they finally got together, seemingly under false pretenses at The Farm, it was anticlimatic. I don’t know what I was expecting, but again, I expected more.

This band of ex Community members are attempting to infiltrate The Farm to rescue people. But there wasn’t a lot of planning. Just kind of, ok, we’re here. Take these night vision goggles and go. These were smart people. It didn’t have to be a Mission Impossible type rescue, but maybe a bit more than “you go in there, we will go in here…”.

It was an enjoyable read. I don’t regret it, the ending was satisfying. Book two was my favorite of the three by far. But after putting this down and reading a few more books, it won’t be very memorable.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

What lies beneath the surface of the world you thought you knew?

Secrets and lies have twisted an underground community founded by psychics escaping persecution. Blackmail, sex, and social climbing in the name of power has created an irreparable rift.

In the eyes of the founders, there are two sides: loyalists and everyone else. Surely no one would emerge from their tightly woven webs. And they certainly wouldn’t sow the seeds of rebellion within the heart of the Community’s only queer night club.

Now an outcast, a scion, and a runaway are leading a revolution to save not only the men they love, but the entire Community.

Check out The Community series! https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/community

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino:

 

To celebrate the release of Sightlines, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 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.

High Balls by Tara Lain: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post & Excerpt, & Giveaway

Sometimes only the wrong guy can bring the 
right happy ever after.

 

Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.

Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes

Dreamspinner Press

Romance Rocks the World!

Hi! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be here to celebrate the release of my brand new Balls to the Wall novel – High Balls. In High Balls, my hero Theodore is working on his PhD and his dissertation is based on the connection between the works of Jane Austen and the huge romance market. His department head thinks the subject is frivolous and, in fact, denigrates the entire romance genre.

Of course as we know as readers and writers of romance, this academic asshole isn’t alone in his opinions. Sadly, many people write off romance as not literature. I’d submit nothing could be further from the truth.

A lot of the dismissal of romance comes from recognized or unrecognized misogyny. Since women love romance, it must not be valuable. But romance is the largest genre of fiction in the world by so much it’s ridiculous. Nothing else comes close. It is that popular because it speaks to the truth of the soul. We read it not to escape as we’re often accused, but rather to learn how to live and love, how love can transform the world, and how hope is never wasted.

The craft applied to romance is at least as good as that found in other genres and even in so called literary fiction. The people who dismiss it have never read it. Are there bad romance writers? Many. Are there bad writers in every genre? You bet. In fact, some of the best writers I’ve ever read write romance. Good writers would be crazy not to – since that’s where the readers are!

If Jane Austen was working today she’d be called a romance writer and would be as dismissed like all the authors in the romance genre – rather than being called the creator of the novel form and one of the greatest authors who ever lived.

Just as my hero Theodore says, we should be proud to read and write romance. It’s what’s happening, friends. It’s the literature that rocks the world.

“Bartender?”

Snake looked in the mirror again. That was Pink Hair talking. Teddy stood beside the Greek statue and looked—scared? Anxious? Probably embarrassed. Why did he come here? To prance this beautiful man in front of me? He sighed. As if I’m all that.

He turned, tried to smile, and failed. “Yeah. What can I get you?”

“Champagne cocktail for me, darling.” Pink Hair smiled and gazed into Snake’s eyes. Did they know who he was?

Greek Statue asked for the same. Big, hunky, and handsome wanted a beer and—that left Teddy. Snake nodded to him without meeting his eyes. “What can I get you?”“Beer, please. Uh, Snake, these are my friends.”

Startled at being addressed by name, he finally looked at Teddy. “I gathered that.”“Uh, that’s Rodney, uh, Rod, and his husband, Hunter. Rod’s a famous painter and Hunter’s a college teacher like me.”

Snake still couldn’t get his smile muscles to move, but he stuck a hand across the bar and shook with both men, although the one called Rod only offered fingertips. Snake’s eyes fled back to Teddy.

Teddy glanced at the beauty next to him and said, “This is David. He owns the Underwood Galley on Forest. He’s Rod’s bestie. His husbands are away playing volleyball, so we’re keeping him company.”

Snake just stared. Too many words he didn’t quite grasp. Did he really say husbands? Like, plural? But bottom line—Snake’s face broke out in a smile. “Hi, David, really pleased to meet you.” He shook the handsome man’s slim hand as his brain repeated the mantra, Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend.

Rod said in his dancing, musical voice, “You thought David was Theodore’s boyfriend, didn’t you?”

Snake felt the crease pop between his eyebrows and smoothed it with intention. “Looked like it.”

Teddy really frowned. “So you assumed I lied to you?”

“Thought crossed my mind.” He glanced up at the scowling Teddy Bear and almost laughed. “Sorry.”

Rod said, “Theodore, be reasonable. You two barely know each other. Snake might think you would lie to him.”

Snake shook his head. “No, actually, I don’t. Teddy here’s not the lying type. But….” He shrugged.

Rod grinned. “But you’re the jealous type.”

“Not usually. Let me get your drinks.” He turned away, but saw the Greek god David look at Teddy with wide eyes and mouth the word Wow.

He swallowed his chuckle as he added the bitters to the champagne and then pulled the beer from the cooler.

Rod had this funny wheedling voice. “So you call Theodore ‘Teddy’?”

Snake turned back with two of the drinks and flashed a smile. “Teddy Bear, actually.”

Teddy sat back on his stool. “Snake!”

“I mean, who could call that pretty thing something so stodgy and serious as Theodore?” He cast a sideways glance at Teddy.David looked at Teddy too. “Uh, you better call him Theodore—because that bear can bite.” He laughed.

“Nah.” Snake slid the other beer and champagne to David and Teddy. “We need to get this boy to stop fighting what he is and work it.”

Rod shrieked. “Snake, I adore you! No one with an endless vocabulary could have ever so perfectly expressed the life plan for Theodore Walters.”

Snake looked at Teddy. “Walters. I didn’t know. Pleased to meet you, Teddy Bear Walters.”

A wild giggle exploded through Teddy’s compressed lips. “You’re all crazy!” He shook his head. “What’s your last name?”

“Erasmo.”

“Snake Erasmo. Your mother did not name you Snake.”

“Nope.”

David said, “Who did?”

“Some friends. Something to do with the walk.”

Teddy rested a cheek on his fist. So damned cute Snake wanted to eat him. “What’s your real name?”

“If I told you, I might have to kill you.”

“It’s the only way to keep me from killing you for calling me Teddy Bear. I mean, aren’t all Teddy Bears portly and hairy?”

“Well, my teddy bears always made me feel good, and warm, like I had love curled up next to my belly.”

Rod sighed. “Oh my.”

Teddy blinked hard. “Okay, but you still have to tell me your real name, or—else!”

Oh man, I could drown in those wide eyes. “Well, in that case, my name is Streams. Crystal Streams, to be exact. My hippie mama was into Native culture at the time I was born. Shit, it’s a good thing. The following year she might have named me Frankincense or—Marjoram.”

All four men laughed, but Theodore cocked his head with a quizzical expression. Hmm.

Snake held up a hand and walked over to the two guys who’d just sat down at the bar, took their orders, filled them, and then slowly sidled back to Teddy and company. Have to give these guys time to size me up, because I think my future depends on it.

 

Volley Balls
Bk #1
Available to purchase at 
 
Fire Balls 
Bk #2
Available to purchase at
Beach Balls
Bk #3
Available to purchase at

 

 
FAST Balls
Bk #5
Available to purchase at
Prefer paperback?
The first and second book are now available in paperback! 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

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