Category Archives: Contemporary

Acceptable Behavior (Marked Men #1) Jenna Byrnes

                          ✨✨Reviewed by Michele​✨✨

TITLE: Acceptable Behavior

SERIES: Marked Men book 1

AUTHOR: Jenna Byrnes

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 26, 2016

BLURB: Tattoos don’t define a person’s character, or make him sexy. But, if you ask Sam Madison, they sure don’t hurt.

Dr. Travis Nelson has a passion for ink but keeps his many tattoos covered by long sleeves and trousers. He’s aware that as a pediatrician he’ll be judged not only by the other physicians in his practice, but also by the parents of his young patients.

When Sam Madison takes his young nephew, Levi, to be seen for an ear infection, he’s immediately attracted to Travis and the feeling is mutual. But Sam’s sister Melanie is going through a rough time and caring for Levi, and covering her obligations, keeps Sam occupied. He feels like he’s in no position to start a relationship.​

Travis sees things differently, though he’s unable to truly understand the deep bond and connection Sam shares with his twin. As Melanie’s life goes from bad to worse, Sam is forced to make difficult decisions. Is protecting Levi enough of a reason for the two men to stay together, or will fighting for the child ultimately tear them apart?

REVIEW: Okay, so this author is new to me and I had no idea what to expect. Well, I really liked this book. I liked the immediate attraction between Travis and Sam. I enjoyed how their relationship grew and changed. The author gives you each characters POV which was nice. Their story never felt rushed to me. It was easily a feel good story. ​​
There are some triggers in this story that may be uncomfortable for certain readers. Sam Madison is a total hottie. He’s sweet and loyal to a fault. Sam moves in with his sister Melanie to help take care of his nephew Levi. Melanie has issues, and I mean seriously messed up issues. Sam and Melanie are twins, so from the beginning you know they have a close relationship. Except Melanie, who has a major drug problem, is as far from a responsible parent as one could get. She totally uses and abuses Sam’s loyalty to her and his love for his nephew. I did not like this woman and kept wishing she would disappear from the story.

Travis Nelson, is a hot pediatrician who loves his job, his bike and his ink. Travis walks in to see his new patient and meets Sam who has taken his nephew for a doctors appointment. Both men are immediately attracted to each other but Travis is uncertain if Sam is divorced and straight as he mistakes the boy as Sam’s son. So Travis decides to keep his sexy thoughts to himself. Then fate steps in and bring the two men together again. This time Travis makes up his mind that he is determined to pursue the drool worthy Sam Madison.

I really enjoyed Travis and Sam together. Their chemistry worked especially when Levi was included in their dynamic. Levi is a cutie and your heart breaks a little when you learn some of the things he has had to endure. But you root for this kid to have some good in his life. I mean the family drama is off the charts. Despite my disdain for Melanie and how Travis sometimes turns into a controlling idiot, I liked the outcome of this story.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing

 

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Only Forever by Scotty Cade

Reviewed by Kiwi

 

TITLE: Only Forever

SERIES:

AUTHOR: Scotty Cade

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: November 30, 2016

 

BLURB: Master Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean. But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched mega yacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.

 

After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive resume, he was quickly offered a position on the private mega yacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!

 

REVIEW: This is another well written book by Scotty Cade. The story grabbed my attention with the very beginning. The prologue was a little heartbreaking. Set in a different time (1942), the story is about two men, one who, named Edward, unfortunately, has just lost the love of his life, Steven. But at the prologue’s end, sadly, Edward also passes away. Then the story flashes forward to the present time and gives us Heath and Theo. Heath to me seems to me to be a bit of a restless spirit or at least unhappy in his current job. He makes the decision to leave his current position and is quickly offered another one on a luxury yacht. It’s here that he meets Theo.

 

Theo is the captain of the luxury yacht where Heath is hired to work on and from the beginning, the attraction is strong and the sparks fly between the two men.  Not only that, there seems to be a bit of a sense of déjà vu between them. But there’s another catch: both men are supposedly straight but they keep having dreams about two men named Edward and Steven. This is where the story gets even more interesting. I haven’t read many stories featuring reincarnation but this is a trope that is seldom used that should be explored more. I definitely felt that the author did an amazing job of taking something that one would think would make the storyline boring but he managed to make it absolutely fantastic.

 

I absolutely loved the premise of this story. Everything about this book is so vivid and bright. I can’t describe it any other way.  The author’s writing style is amazing.  I was completely immersed in this story. His descriptions of the yacht, the crew’s lives, the weather, everything. As I’ve stated in past reviews of this author’s work, I thought that his descriptions were wordy but have since learned that his descriptions serve an important purpose. It draws you completely into the story. Thinking back on it now, I can remember feeling like I experience the same things that the characters are experiencing. You can definitely tell that the author has a vast knowledge of being on a boat or a ship. I’ve never in my life been near a boat but by the end of that book, I felt like I had taken a pleasure cruise. I definitely appreciate his descriptions as they give you the reader, the full experience of the story being told. Not only that but I felt that I got a special treat with the twist. Wow, I did not see that one coming. I loved it all.  

 

This book was beautifully written, which is par for the course for this author. I really appreciate his work.  This author’s characters are men of a particular age so you know that you’re going to get a more mature romance.  This is a signature Scotty Cade book: well written characters, wonderful plots and storylines and dialogues. You can also expect the editing to be spot on perfect.  Never in any of Cade’s book have I ever found one misspelled word, poor sentence or paragraph structure or plot holes. This author definitely believes in doing research before he writes the first word of any of his books.  The end result is a beautifully written, polished book. 

 

I definitely must give a nod to the super talented Reese Dante, the cover artist. Scotty has used this artist on virtually every one of his books and I must say that the beautiful cover matches the beautiful words within.

 

This is a story that will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

 

 RATING: 🌟🌟🌟Amazing🌟🌟🌟

 

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

 

Dreamspinner Press

 

 

 

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Flaunt by E. Davies Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

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Title: Flaunt
Author: E.Davies
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

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BLURB

“He’s waiting for me to ask, and I’m afraid.”

“I’m just one more gay guy here.”

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.

“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?

Flaunt is a steamy, stand-alone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

Excerpt:

River eyed him. “What’s that look for?”
“Oh. I had the first meeting with the, er… with the liaison for the tech company.” Kyle waved his fork and dug into his veggies.
His attempt to underplay it wasn’t working, though. River had his eyebrow raised. When that didn’t work, River put down his fork and folded his arms, staying silent.
“Fine,” Kyle relented. “He might be… really cute. And gay. And single.” He bent his wrist, gesturing in a circle with his fork. “And new to the area.”
“Get on that before the gold rush,” River breathed out, leaning in over the table. “Go on!”
“No, no,” Kyle waved him off. “It’s not going anywhere. A relationship with him would never work. But he was adorable. Dorky adorable. Adorkable?” River giggled and he went on. “Kind of an otter, I think… scruffy, probably a little chest hair, that kind of look. Awkward and shy. Smart as hell.”
“All I hear is exactly your type, Kyle,” River informed him. “So, why wouldn’t it work?”
Kyle didn’t have a very good answer. “Just… wouldn’t be good. Business with pleasure and all that.” River didn’t look impressed, so he added, “And you know I’m not looking for someone to spend my life with.”
“Maybe he isn’t, either,” River pointed out.


Purchase:
Amazon US | Amazon UK

Goodreads

EXCERPT

“Welcome to our headquarters! Er, not that we have other locations. Not full-time, anyway. Don’t worry about being late. I’m not even ready. I’m so sorry.” This had to be Kyle— the voice on the intercom matched this peppy yet sibilant, rapid-fire speech.

“I— that’s fine,” Nic assured Kyle with a quiet laugh. He was relieved not to be in trouble for showing up late, nor for showing up in formalwear when everyone else was probably going casual. “GPS pointed me the wrong way.”

“Oh, they do that! Right this way, please.” Kyle scanned his card against a reader near the staircase door. When he twirled to hold the staircase door open, his skirt flared out a little.

Kyle was wearing a skirt, over men’s skinny jeans and boots, and a blouse, and chest hair peeked out from the top of the blouse, his biceps unmistakeable. And his suspenders reached under the skirt, presumably to his jeans waistband. It made Nic wonder if he was wearing garters, which was a wholly inappropriate thought for their first meeting.

He awkwardly stepped through the doorway and Kyle brushed past him to trot upstairs at top speed, already talking again.

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About the Author

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E. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.
As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new… phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.
After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn’t looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.
Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don’t use your turn signal.

To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Losing Faith by Scotty Cade

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Losing Faith

SERIES

AUTHOR: Scotty Cade

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2016

BLURB: Father Cullen Kiley, a gay Episcopal priest on hiatus from the church, decides to take his boat, T-Time, from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Southport, North Carolina, a place that holds an abundance of bittersweet memories for him. While on a run his first day in Southport, Cullen comes upon a man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River with his Bible in hand. The man’s body language reeks of defeat and desperation, and unable to ignore his compassion for his fellow man, Cullen stops to offer a helping hand.

Southport Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor, Abel Weston, has a hard time managing his demons. When they get too overwhelming, he retreats to Southport’s Historic Riverwalk with his Bible in hand and stares out over the water, praying for help and guidance that never seem to come. But Abel soon discovers that help and guidance come in many forms.

An unexpected friendship develops between the two men, and as Cullen helps Abel begin to confront his doubts and fears, he comes face-to-face with his own reality, threatening both their futures.

REVIEW: This book is in one word: amazing! It was touching and beautifully written. I will say that I wasn’t too excited about this one because of the subject matter but decided to give it a go because it was written by this author. Needless to say that I am so very glad that I made the decision to do so. This man, with his words, has this way of drawing you into his story that I find absolutely magical. His descriptions, which I had in the past described as wordy (which I sincerely apologize for now) were perfect. I get it! This author’s descriptions weren’t wordy at all! He was actually using them to draw you in; he wanted you to experience the emotions of each character, to actually feel their experiences. He did this in a way that is subtle; you don’t even realize until afterwards of what he’s done. Thinking back to his previous fictions I’ve had the pleasure of reading, I realize how he’s always done this.

These two men’s personalities couldn’t have been more different, so much so
That I didn’t think they would be compatible enough to get together. But of course, Cade found a way for them to connect and form an unbreakable and beautiful bond. This subtle build to perfection is what makes this story such an enjoyable read. I can tell you that I was captivated from the first page to the very last.

What I like about this story is that here, you have these two men of the cloth (what I refer to any clergy) who you think are supposed be…oh, I don’t know. I know as a youth, I certainly didn’t think of religious leaders as having their own demons to contend with. Cade of course writes these characters in a way that dispels that myth. He wrote these men in a way that said to me that these are men of god but they’re still only men. And they have demons to contend with just like we all do.

I loved this story. It was so very touching and beautiful. And of course, well researched! That’s one of the many things you can expect when reading this author’s work: an extremely well researched, perfectly edited book. This is a definite must read and one that I highly recommend you read.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 
Dreamspinner Press

 

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Shelton In Love Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

Shelton has found the man of his dreams, but keeping him is an entirely different matter.
Shelton’s falling hard for his attractive roommate, a man who would happily sleep with him, adding him to the list of men in his life. But Shelton wants more than just a fling with Nevil. How can he convince the elusive man there could be something lasting between them?
Shelton in Love is told in five stories spanning two and a half years of Shelton and Nevil’s relationship, the ups and downs, trials and celebrations, with a promise, a separation, a frantic return, temptation and a final triumph. Sometimes Shelton finds it difficult to love a beautiful man, but Nevil is worth the effort. Shelton’s eager to move their relationship to the next level, marriage, but will Nevil ever be ready to take this step with him?

Buy Your Copy
Less Than Three Press: https://goo.gl/YtfqLo
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/698219
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shelton-in-love-1

Excerpt:

Nevil laughed at something the man said, and Percy straightened, clearly furious with him. He suddenly grabbed the front of Nevil’s shirt and pulled him close, giving him a hard kiss.

Surprised, Shelton looked quickly around, but there was no one else to see their blatant display of affection. He was hardly aware of the pain that squeezed his chest as he dropped his gaze to his hands clasped on his lap. Nerves burning, he pleaded with the universe to be invisible and that Nevil wouldn’t see him sitting on the bench. He wished the ground would swallow him up, anything, afraid to move and draw their attention.
In a moment he heard their voices drift off and he risked a glance, seeing them disappear into the trees in the opposite direction from him. He waited a few minutes then, sick with disappointment, rose and walked the short distance home.
The apartment had an empty silence to it he’d never noticed before, and he reluctantly closed the door behind him and locked himself into the quiet, lonely rooms.
“Damn,” he said, not sure what he meant by the word. Without bothering to change, he went to the kitchen, grabbed a can of soup out of the cupboard and began to heat the brownish blob over the stove instead of the microwave, not minding the extra time it took. What else did he have to do, anyway? Nevil had said he’d see him that night, but he never should have gotten his hopes up.
Unthinking, Shelton took his hot bowl of soup to the living room and bit off an oath at the sight of the couch. Body instantly on fire and aching for Nevil’s touch, he placed the soup on the coffee table and sat down, sinking into the cushions. Trembling, he surrendered to the memory of Nevil’s skillful fingers; his hot lips and tongue bringing fulfillment. Shelton could never tell Nevil, but that night had been the best in his life.
Drawing a ragged breath, he sat up and clicked on the television before letting one mindless show after the other numb his senses and nudge him toward sleep. At one in the morning, he finally dragged his aching body to bed only to sleep fitfully, listening for Nevil to come home. It was another two hours before he heard the key at the front door and Nevil’s familiar tread in the hallway.
Shelton’s pulses leapt to life as Nevil’s footfalls paused outside his door. He clutched the blankets, urging Nevil to come in and kiss away his hurt and loneliness. He didn’t even care where he’d been. After a brief moment, the footsteps receded and Nevil’s door closed firmly. Shelton rolled to his side and stared at the wall for a long while.

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About the author

DIANNE HARTSOCK is the author of m/m erotic romance, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. If she can’t be writing, at least she has the chance to create through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Currently, Dianne lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

Social links

Website: https://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannehartsock
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/diannehartsock/

Shelton in Love Release Blitz

Max Vos POW Blog Tour with Excerpt

After being taken prisoner by a Taliban Warlord, can Sam Stone hold on long enough to get his best friend back to his family and find love in the arms of Abbas, the handsome, blue-eyed Arab?
Sam has secretly been in love with is best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for quite some time and would not hesitate to die for him.
The macho Marine, Benoit, is shaken to his very core when he and his best friend are taken prisoners and made to do things that he would never have done, especially with Sam, who he knew had feelings for him.
Abbas tries everything to gain his families freedom when an unexpected man comes into his life that he starts having deep feelings for almost immediately.
Sam Stone has been secretly in love with his best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for a long time. It’s only after they were captured by a Taliban Warlord that he realizes that he would readily give his life to get Benoit back to his family. But it is Abbas, the Westernized Arab who steals his heart and helps Sam and Benoit regain their freedom. Now Sam has to learn to find true love and help heal not only himself, but the two men he loves deeply.

Warning: This book contains material that may be offensive to some: graphic language, military
situations, P.O.W scenes, adult situations and other situations only meant for an adult audience. 
EXCERPT:
“Mayday, Mayday, Black Hammer is hit; I repeat: Mayday, Black Hammer is hit. We’re going down.” Bucky’s voice may have seemed calm to an outsider, but those who knew him understood he was anything but calm. “Mayday, Mayday. Black Hammer’s current location: thirty-three Lat by seventy Long. Repeat. Mayday, Mayday.” Bucky choked out as the cabin of the helicopter quickly filled with smoke.
Samuel J. Stone looked at the other five members of his team. “Fuck,” he mumbled, wondering if perhaps they weren’t going to make it out of this one. He yelled at his best friend Benoit. “After all the fucked-up shit we’ve been through, I’m not gonna fucking die splattered on the side of some mountain in this hellhole.”
“Vasquez, get that damn door open,” Stone yelled across the cabin to the other Marine.
“Gettin’ it, Stone,” Vasquez answered his lieutenant.
Stone opened the opposite door, letting some of the thick smoke billow out of the burning helicopter. He and his fellow Marine, Benoit, looked out the open door. They could tell they were going down fast.
“We’re still too high to jump,” Stone yelled at the others trapped in the flaming bird.
“If there was anywhere to fucking jump to,” Benoit yelled back.
Even with both side doors open, the cold winter wind whipping through the cabin, the acrid black smoke continued to surge in, making their eyes burn, their chests constrict with the lack of breathable air. There was a bitter taste in Stone’s mouth from inhaling the foulness of burning rubber and jet fuel.
Using hand signals to keep from yelling to be heard, Stone motioned for Vasquez and the two others to use the door they had just opened to escape through, while he and Benoit and the new kid, Saundersen, would use the one opposite.
The high-pitched scream of the rotor motor was loud enough to pierce the ear-protection headphones, making it nearly impossible to speak. Each man could barely hear Bucky still calling out a Mayday over the radio, through the headsets.

BUY LINKS:
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ64B0L
iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/p.-o.-w./id1191599631?mt=11
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/693806
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=P.%20O.%20W.%20(Max%20Vos)&ac=1&acp=Max%20Vos&ac.title=P.%20O.%20W.&ac.author=Max%20Vos
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/powmaxvos/1117192098?ean=2940153941387

BIO:
Max Vos is a classically trained chef with over 30 years of food service experience. After retiring in 2011, Max found himself with time on his hands and was urged to turn his talents to writing. ‘Cooking English’, a short story, now part of his anthology collection, Inappropriate Roads, is now available. My Hero was his first novel, which turned into an international best seller. Max now has a total of six completed novels, which are listed on his website, along with the entire Memories Series. My Hero: The Olympian, the sequel to My Hero was released late last year.
LINKS:
http://www.maxvos.com/

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http://max-vos.blogspot.com/

https://www.instagram.com/max.vos_author/

GIVEAWAY:
Grand prize: $20 Dollar Amazon GC and a Ecopy of P.O.W. by Max Vos
Second prize: The Complete Memories Series ( 5 ebooks) by Max Vos
Third prize: Two Backlist Titles by Max Vos

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My Hero
My Hero: The Olympian
The V Unit
P.O.W
Inappropriate Roads
Going Home

Memories Series
A Christmas Memory
A Christmas Memory 2
A Christmas Memory 3: Home Sweet Home
A Valentine’s Memory
A Spring Break Memory

Available in French
Souvenirs-de-Noël
Mon Héros
Hawk ‘n’ Harley
Unite V
Rentrer a la Maison

Available in Italian
Il Mio Eroe
Andare a Casa
:

Love’s Tethered Heart by C.L. Etta

 

From Dreamspinner:

Two years ago Mick and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mick a quadriplegic-and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archaeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive,with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mick and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile enigmatic man. Mick is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mick is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mick, and he’s determined to show Mick that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mick’s existence.

If you enjoy romantic tales of heartbreak turned to hope, the life-affirming story of Danny and Mick will make you believe in the possibility of love for everyone-no matter what obstacles they face.

REVIEW: This awesome, amazing, compelling, and fantastic book is one that had me crying until my eyes were red, and laughing until I choked.

Mico has got to be one of the bravest, engaging, and strongest individuals I’ve ever read about. He came out of a situation that would have left many others shattered into pieces. With the help of his friends, family, and caregivers, he’s living his life the best that he can.

Ah, Danny! I can’t help but love and admire him. He’s passionate, loyal, stubborn, determined, and sees Mico as an individual with hopes, dreams, fears, and flaws, not just a lump of flesh attached to the machines that keep him alive. My heart broke into a million pieces when Mick left Danny right after declaring his love for Danny, but the ending took me by surprise. The last paragraph of the blurb sums this wonderful book up perfectly, and I DEFINITELY recommend it to everyone.

 

Rating: amazing

Stallions and Ice by Stephanie Hecht

                Review by Michelle

TITLE: Stallions and Ice

SERIES: Unconventional in Kansas City Anthology 

AUTHOR: Stephanie Hecht

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January17, 2017

BLURB: Part of the Unconventional in Kansas City anthology!

Sometimes you have to climb a mountain to see the future.

While Brandon loves to go and watch his friend, Nichole, at the American Royal every year, there is no way that he is ever going to climb on a horse. His feet belong on the ground or the ice. As one the of the players of the local minor league team, the Wichita Thunder, all he dreams about is someday moving up to the major leagues. That is, until he meets Nichole’s brother, Ethan.

Ethan grew up in a family that has always been in the rodeo circuit. There was no question that he was ever going to be anything else…until he’s sidelined by seizures and can no longer ride. Then he meets Brandon and he begins to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, his life isn’t over.

Will decades of tradition tear the men apart? Or can they can overcome all their obstacles and be together?

REVIEW: I have to admit that because this book was so short my expectations were very limited. I was sure I would not be able to connect with the characters. I mean how could you when the book is barely over 50 pages. Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong.

Brandon, a goalie on a hockey team, goes to see his best girlfriend compete at the Rodeo. Of course since Brandon is gay it’s no hardship for him to be around all those cowboys. He meets up with his friend Nichole, who comes from a large family of rodeo competitors. All of her siblings compete until recently. Some type of unknown illness is preventing the youngest, Ethan, from riding. The minute Brandon and Ethan meet sparks fly. The attraction between the two young men is mutual and instantaneous.

I immediately fell in love with Ethan. He’s so sweet and cute, but he’s not the most confident after the breakup from his last boyfriend. Now, he can’t compete due to his illness.This is a quick story that is easily read in one siting. The story immediately drew me in and it turned out to be an endearing read. I can easily say that I wish there had been more to their story. I really enjoyed it!.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟.5

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing 

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Gaining Trust (Kiss of Leather) Morticia Knight

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Gaining Trust

SERIES: Kiss of Leather

AUTHOR: Morticia Knight

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017

BLURB: Chuck isn’t sure what he needs and Master Jordan can’t wait to show him.

Stone’s shy junior investigator, Chuck, can no longer deny his interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The beautiful connections and raw emotions he’s witnessed between so many of the Doms and subs at Kiss of Leather, leave him yearning for something he’d never dared hope he could have: unconditional love and care from a man. He isn’t sure if he can take the chance of having a real relationship when he’s not out to his meddling parents yet, but the sexy Master Jordan, Gavin’s friend and the owner of Club Consequence, makes him want to take that chance.

Master Jordan has been biding his time until he can get next to the super-fine Chuck. Gavin warned him that Chuck wasn’t in the lifestyle, but there’s something special about him that Jordan can’t deny. When they’re finally alone, the chemistry is off the charts and Jordan can tell it won’t take much to bring Chuck willingly into the world of BDSM.

An unexpected development in the case of Corey’s kidnappers shocks them all, but not as much as what happens with Chuck’s family. Jordan teaches Chuck that secrets hold power over the person keeping them, and that gaining trust can only be achieved through complete honesty.

REVIEW: This is the 5th book in this series and one that I was looking forward to. This story features Stone’s assistant, Chuck, and Gavin’s friend, Jordan, the owner of another BSDM club, Club Consequence.

I was intrigued from the moment these two were mentioned and featured briefly in the previous books so I was very pleased to see that the author has decided to give them their own story.

As with all of her characters, the ones in this series are very well written. Knight’s attention to detail in her work is meticulous. She has a great talent for maintaining her characters and their storylines. The transitions from one book in her series to the next are always smooth without any breaks or holes in the plots.

Her depictions of the subs and their Doms are awesome. The subs aren’t simpering, child-like, effeminate twinks. There’s nothing wrong with a man being effeminate or a twink but I absolutely detest when simpering and child- like is thrown in. She strikes the perfect balance between these men being strong and independent but are strong and confident enough to submit to their Doms.

I loved Jordan and Chuck’s characters. Chuck’s character was shy and sweet, strong and fierce and due to his upbringing, a little ‘buttoned up’. He was introduced to the BSDM lifestyle because of the case he and Stone are investigating but he’s drawn to it because of the deep love and respect that he observes between the men he’s befriended. He meets Jordan while working undercover at Jordan’s club. I also loved how Chuck didn’t allow the stench of his family’s bigotry to touch him. He’s a loving and kind gentlemen that treats people with respect. He also had a lot of backbone. This is what fascinated me about him. He was shy and sweet but also very tough. I love how the author wrote him breaking away from his family. She did it with little fanfare and didn’t dwell on it afterwards. She understood that everything else took a back seat to Chuck and Jordan’s budding romantic relationship.

I also adore the way Jordan’s character was written. Now that I think about it, I appreciate how this author portrays her characters of color in ALL of her stories. As a reader of color, I can honestly say that Knight has done a wonderful job of this. There have been quite a few authors in the MM genre, on many occasions, who had been dragged for filth by readers in general, readers of color specifically over their ridiculous and often times insidious stereotyping of their characters of color. Some on more than one occasion. I’ve never encountered that problem with any of this author’s work. The skin color of a particular character is only used to describe physical appearances. Again, as a reader of color who likes to read LGBT themes books, I really appreciate this.

As I was saying before, Jordan’s character was also well written. He was a Dom but his style was a little different than the others. His was a gentler approach. This didn’t make him any less of a Dom but I think that he adjusted his approach a bit for Chuck because he knew that Chuck was new to the lifestyle as he didn’t want to scare him off.

The storylines, character development and plots are wonderful and engaging. The books aren’t too long but just long enough to satisfy you. There are no unnecessary cliff hangers that leave you hanging either. This book, this series is definitely well worth the time to get in to.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:

 

Pride Publishing

 

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Guest Post by R. Phoenix: Why I Wrote Too Close

The question I’m being asked a fair bit is “why did you write this story?” This is probably one of the most complicated questions I’ve ever been asked, and the answer changed every step of the way. First of all, let me start by letting you know there are trigger warnings regarding domestic abuse and violence in the book and potentially in this blog post.

When I sat down to write this book, I didn’t expect it to be anything special. I thought it would join the ever-increasing collection of shitty first lines, first paragraphs, and first chapters that have been abandoned on the desolate wasteland of my Google Drive. For a long time, its title was something like “Contemporary Thing.”

I rewrote the first page and a half six times before it ever hit editing. I spent hours on three paragraphs. I erased them. I rewrote. I erased that. (You get the point.) I contemplated dropping it. But somewhere down the line, I figured out what I was writing — and I realized it was special, which both made the journey easier and more difficult.

Too Close isn’t autobiographical, but it is grounded in reality — in my reality, and in other people’s. Abuse touches so many people’s lives, directly or indirectly, but it isn’t something we talk about. There are so many reasons why, but in my experience, it has come down to one basic truth: it’s complicated.

In another world, it would be simple. One partner would perform a specific action, and the other would leave. But in reality, there are other factors: love, fear, children, finances, nowhere to go. Many people who are abused have been slowly but systematically isolated from friends and family, and they don’t know what to do.

Another question I’ve been asked is, “What message are you trying to send with this book?” By contrast, the answer to this one is simple: I didn’t consciously set out to send a message. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, considering the element of abuse, but I didn’t know what I was trying to tell people.

I can’t dictate or predict what readers will take away from this book. Maybe they’ll get an idea of how complicated abuse is in practice and how many factors can suspend someone in an unhealthy relationship. Maybe they’ll think I didn’t villainize the abuser enough or that I villainized him too much. Maybe they’ll think that Skylar is too innocent and too blameless or maybe they’ll think he’s weak, whiny, or spoiled.

Maybe they’ll just laugh at my gloriously terrible puns and carry on without it affecting them at all.

I wouldn’t mind a shift away from the knee jerk, “I’d never let myself be abused…!” Because that shame is part of the reason I don’t — didn’t — talk about my experiences. I realized after I finished Too Close that I could count how many people knew I’d been in an abusive relationship. I could even more easily count how many people knew any details. Over a decade later, I could definitively tell you who I’ve told. Until now — and maybe even now — it was too taboo, uncomfortable, unwelcome, shameful.

The stigma has to be lifted, and the need to remain silent and alone has to be addressed.

No one deserves to be abused. No matter what. And if you’re in an abusive situation — even if it seems hopeless, if you feel helpless, there are options. Spoiler alert? Unlike Skylar, I didn’t have a hot math teacher to get out of my situation, and I didn’t have a dependent younger sibling to be strong for. So take heart from that: this is fiction, and some of it is what I wish had happened instead of what actually did.

You are strong. You are worthy. You can break free. You may not believe it right now, but you deserve better. There are people who will help you.

In the end, I’ve rambled at you for several paragraphs to tell you the answer: the reason why I wrote this book is every bit as complicated as the reason why people stay in abusive relationships.

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence: http://www.ncdsv.org/ncd_linkswominternational.html

Blurb:

Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.

He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?

Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.

Get it from Amazon

Bio:

R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slave driver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers. She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. She’d love it if you’d say hello!

Social Media Links:

Website: http://rphoenixbooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaissaPhoenix
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/r.phoenix
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/raissaphoenix