Home and Away by Samantha Wayland

Lock Awe Press Presents
home and awayBlurb
You can build a team, but you have to find your home.

Rupert Smythe is fond of many things. Callum Morrison isn’t one of them.

Rupert is a quiet, thoughtful business man and, sadly, a total wimp. Maybe not the ideal candidate to run a professional hockey team, but he signed on to do it anyway. As his life has reminded him on an almost daily basis since, this isn’t the most brilliant idea he’s ever had. And that was before Callum showed up.

Being in the spotlight is just part of being a professional athlete, but Callum needs a break. He arrives in Moncton unannounced, determined to help grow the team he just bought, and under the assumption he’d be welcome. Possibly he should have tried to make a better first impression.

Callum figures he can push through the rest of the summer, never expecting two kids, a host of friends, and his growing feelings for Rupert to derail everything he has ever believed about what he wanted, and what he could have.

Rupert is a co-owner of a hockey team, but deathly afraid of hockey players. He is forced to work with them on a daily basis and manages well enough until Callum, the brother of the other co-owner bardges his way into his life when Garrick (the brother) is called away.
Callum is an in-the-closet hockey player and gruff on a good day, insufferable on his worst.
When Rupert’s little brother goes missing and is subsequently found, Callum rushes in to help Rupert collect him and then get him set up in his new home.
Callum comes from a large family and is great with kids, Rupert is an only child and raised by nannies. Together they make a great team helping poor Oliver acclimate to his new life. While doing so, what started as enemies morphs slowly into lovers.
Callum has never had a boyfriend, only hook-ups, he can’t come out because he fears there is no room for a gay hockey player in the NHL.
Rupert knows his time with Callum is on borrowed time but can’t help falling in love one day at a time with the gentle giant.
This book is so rich and full of emotion. I fell in love! There are so many layers. Callum is essentially a virgin – it’s been four years since he’s been intimate with anyone (for a specific reason) and never has he had more than a hook-up in a bar.
Rupert is growing through his own painful past experiences with large men and has no experience being a father.
Oliver is a four year old who was essentially abandoned by his uncaring mother and spends the first several weeks mute.
Christian is a boy Callum and Rupert meet through a Scout service skate lesson. He’s twelve, believes he’s gay and is the only son of a very homophobic drunk.
From Samantha’s previous book, … Net (see review on this site), Alexi and … show Callum how safe it can be to be gay and a hockey player.
There are some very obvious plot holes and some things that you just have to suspend your disbelief – but the slowly building love story and the heart warming relationships that develop between Oliver, Callum, Rupert and Christian are amazing.
The dialog is witty, Samantha does an excellent job of showing and not telling and the secondary characters are just as rich and well developed as the primary characters.
I cannot recommend this highly enough, even to those of us non-hockey fans.
Though it is a standalone, I highly recommend reading Crashing the Net first because it adds a bit to the back story and it’s a really good book! (Reviewed on this site previously.)

6 of 5 hearts



Crashing the Net by Samantha Wayland

Loch Awe Press Presents http://www.amazon.com/Crashing-Net-Samantha-Wayland-ebook/dp/B00M197TCA/ref=pd_sim_351_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MCAN7646D12FV8P0A6E

crashing the netBlurb

Mike comes to Moncton wanting nothing more than to play for the Ice Cats and finally live on his own terms. He’s broke, bruised, and covered from head to toe in cheap lube, but he isn’t going to let that stop him. All he needs is a place to live and some time to figure out how to reconcile who he really is with who everyone wants him to be.

Dumping three gallons of lube on the new kid is just another day at the office for Alexei. He knows exactly who he is: a goalie on the ice, a prankster in the locker room, and a man who knows better than to share his private life with anyone. He’s let people in before and it’s taught him that if he can’t have what he really wants, it’s better to be alone.

Despite their apparent differences, an unlikely friendship grows. Neither of them could ever have guessed how much they really have in common.

(Posted on Previous Site)

H.O.T. This book is hawt! Mike is a 22 year old, newly living on his own and playing professional hockey. He meets Alexi after being beat up after a “night on the town” and Alexi becomes his protector and mentor.

Mike has the hots for Alexi but could never imagine that Alexi might also be gay. Well… he is and he’s been jonesing for Mike big time.

When the two finally get together they burn the sheets! Mike is the big V but that doesn’t slow him down. Alexi kind of likes things rough, but so does Mike so there’s no problem there.

There is a minor hiccup when Alexi feels Mike needs to go out and sow his wild oats before settling down and the fact that Mike hasn’t come out to his rigid parents… but those don’t last long.

Overall this was a fast paced read, the first half all about the sexual tension and the second all about exploring the reality.

There was a fair amount of tenderness and sweetness, enough to keep me satisfied, and a very happy ever after.

I highly recommend this book and give it a 4.5 hearts of 5.



Imposter in Zebra-striped Briefs by CC Dado

Dreamspinner Presents


When recent college graduate Nathan Harris makes a life-changing move out from under his mother’s thumb and into his own place, he is determined to take some risks. He is tired of not being good enough, tired of allowing his fears to control him.

What he thought would be an exciting adventure ends up being one jaw-dropping mishap of embarrassment after another, leaving him with a life he doesn’t even recognize anymore.

His once boring, lonely existence has been replaced by a brownstone filled with colorful friends, a rough around the edges, tattooed bad boy best friend, and a stripper for a boyfriend who’s not even sure he’s gay.


This turns out to be two stories in one!
From Grand Adventures, an anthology, CC Dado gave us Brandon and Josh, two seemingly disparate men who end up perfect for one another.
(Link to full review here: )

The review for that story (Chapter 12, The place across the hall) :
A really cute short story about a guy who falls in love with his neighbor.

Josh has a (typical-for-him) one-night-stand-guy in his apartment when someone (his June Cleaver-eque) neighbor bangs on his door to invite him to a party for one of the other tenants. John isn’t a joiner. He has tattoos. He sleeps around. He doesn’t do relationships.

Brandon is all about relationships and has “fancied” John since day one.

The brief meet and greet at the party leads to a complete change in John’s thinking and Brandon manages to capture the heart of the lone wolf.

We start the story with Nathan aka Nate aka Nathaniel, moving out from under his mother’s domineering thumb (she refuses to be called “mom” insists on being called by her first name, Aurora and she has refused to his “coming out speech” three times now and he claims he’s autistic when every mental professional she drags him to ends up prescribing HER the medication, not him.) He is very bright (3 points below genius level) and has just recently finished school and is working a dream job at a lab working on Alzheimer’s.

Nate sees an ad for a sublet, thinks it’s fantastic, but in his completely virginal and socially inept way, totally misinterprets Josh’s overtures of friendship as a come- on and nearly dies of embarrassment.

This merely serves to make them instant best friends.

So now, Josh, Brandon and Nate are bonding and so we get to see not only Nate’s story but a continuation of Josh and Brandon’s story.

There ends up being a party thrown again on the roof of their apartment and a stripper is ordered. The original stripper is sick, so a replacement (his brother) is called in a pinch. Neither the original nor the replacement stripper is gay, but willing to dance for men as they pay more.

Something happens when David – the stripper’s brother – sees Nate from across the room and the two end up in clench. David is shocked and runs away. Nate is horrified – again.

The rest of the story is Josh and Brandon navigating the changes in their relationship while helping Nate to come out of his shell and while helping David learn how to trust his instincts.

It’s a very sweet, touching story, low, to no steam, but sexy nonetheless. I loved that we got to see such a satisfying conclusion to the Josh/Brandon story and though we didn’t see as much of David and Nate as I’d like, I’m hopeful we’ll see them in the next? installment.

The writing is excellent and grabs you from the start.

I sincerely hope we see more from this author and this couple in the near future.

4.5 of 5 hearts



Bachelor Party (Brandt and Donelly Caper: Case #5) by Xavier Mayne

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6450


A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Five

Med student Oliver Mitchell has discovered a way to make more tips as a bartender—put on ripped workout gear and serve drinks at the hip new gay club, Burn. The only catch is Oliver is straight. The staff and patrons don’t mind, though, and Oliver fits in well—until he meets James Buchanan Whitford, a local politician with a secret: he’s married. When James’s scheming wife attempts to catch him in flagrante with Oliver, they flee the city for the refuge of James’s cabin in the woods. There, Oliver faces a new challenge—he’s starting to feel more for James than friendship. Their new relationship must survive political intrigue and small-town politics before they can be together.

With their wedding two months away, it’s time for Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly to have a bachelor party. Ethan’s older brothers are excited, but Ethan is not. As a straight guy who fell in love with another man, the whole ritual is fraught with complications, and he struggles to reconcile newly granted marriage equality with old traditions. Brandt and Donnelly work to help James and Oliver find their way to happiness while pulling off the bachelor party of the year.


Oliver needs some extra money for med school, his BFF Millie tells him that with his hot bod he should be a bartender at Burn – a gay bar. Though he’s intimidated he gives it a go, and really enjoys the experience.

While tending bar, he meets James, a sad slightly older man with whom he immediately clicks. At first just as friends, but when James ends up in a compromising position, Oliver helps him, and the relationship evolves.

Meanwhile, Brandt and Donnelly explore their sexual relationship, explore what it means to be “gay” or “in love with a man”, plan their ridiculously hilarious bachelor party with the help of our favorites Bryce and Nestor.

This book really emphasizes that labels aren’t helpful. Love is love. The end.
Who a person loves does not define who they are.

As always I was touched by the caring relationships demonstrated here: brothers, friends, lovers, families…in a multitude of ways all showing different types of love.

And the sex was way hot and the humor literally giggle out loud!

My only complaint – small one – is that the two stories were almost separate – like reading two books kinda mashed together. I missed having Brandt and Donnelly more centrally involved in the other love story and hope to see more of them in their wedding book – next? Hopefully, next? Pretty please? I can’t wait for their wedding I just know I’m gonna cry my eyes out!

4.5 of 5 hearts



Kissed by Death by Andi Anderson

Extasy Books Presents http://www.extasybooks.com/Kissed-By-Death/


At fourteen, Gregory Harris suffers a massive heart attack during a baseball game. As his coach tries desperately to keep him alive, a tall, handsome man in a hooded black cloak stands beside him–the Angel of Death. Gregory begs this grim reaper for more time on Earth so his parents can prepare for his death. The reaper grants him his wish, and even though Gregory saw him for just a few short moments, he often fantasizes about the mysterious creature. Seven years later, the Angel of Death is back for Gregory. Gregory is ready to move on to the afterlife, but he regrets that he never had a lover and partner to call his own. Gregory has no intention of escaping this grim reaper. In fact, he intends to do whatever it takes to convince Thanatos that they belong together forever.


OMG. This was amazing!

We start the book with Gregory dying of a heart defect. He sees Death but wants a bit more time – so his parents won’t be so sad. (He’s soooo sweet!)

Over the years Death visits many times, but he doesn’t take him. They just stare at each other soulfully. Though his life is full of pain, Gregory’s heart is pure. If only there was a way to trick Death…Because Death may have just fallen in love….

This was an amazingly sweet, yet very sexy read. Death is strong but sentimental and Gregory is nothing but pure love.

I devoured this and will be avidly awaiting more books from this author. It was simply wonderful!

5 of 5 hearts




Empty Nest by Ada Maria Soto

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6515


Neither James nor Gabe has ever had a real relationship. They might make a connection if they can get past their differences—and their fears.

At age fourteen, James Maron decided to prove he wasn’t gay despite vast evidence to the contrary. Now at thirty-two, he’s getting ready to send his son to college and wondering what he’s supposed to do next. Outside his son, his life consists of an IT job he hates and watching telenovelas with the women in his apartment building.

Gabriel Juarez is the CFO of a technology giant. He has looks, charm, fantastic wealth, a workaholic personality, and a string of boyfriends who only stick around because he’s too busy to tell them to leave.

A bad laptop/projector interface causes James and Gabe’s paths to cross. Friends, family, and coworkers jump to match Gabe with a nice guy, and James with anyone. But are they too different? Everyone will have to tread very carefully to keep things from ending before they start.


James has been the perfect single father ever since his 14 year old mistaken attempt at being “straight” got pregnant and didn’t want the baby. For the last 18 years he’s lived like a monk, worked his fingers to the bone providing for his son and doing his best to ignore that there might be a life out there for him to enjoy.

Gabriel is a very out and proud CFO of a successful IT business and a player. He’s never had a relationship because he’s never found anyone worth that kind of attention.

From the moment the two meet over a broken lap top, there is a strong connection. Gabe is tickled with the idea of introducing James to the joys of being a gay man and James is pretty ready to be taught.


I really loved this book – but was frustrated because it’s one in a series so I didn’t get the ending I was geared up for – but I know is coming!

Ada Soto does an excellent job creating the right mix of innocence and exploration in a confident but shy James. She also gives us Gabe who is worldly but kind and genuinely caring. The chemistry between the two is perfect.

I loved the secondary characters as well, the assistant, James’ son, the best-friend and even the clueless co-worker who is about to become a father.

I really enjoyed getting to the point where real intimacies are becoming alarming co-existences. Can two men from such different worlds really make it work? I look forward to finding out in the next installment.

4.25 of 5 hearts



Launch the Hunt (Grizzly Rim #1) by Mia West

From Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Launch-Hunt-Grizzly-Rim-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZLQULS4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1434334206&sr=8-3&keywords=launch+the+hunt

grizzly rimBlurb

Bush pilot John Tillman never expected to raise his kid sister. As her graduation approaches, he can almost taste the freedom of the empty nest in his near future—to fly in his eagle form for days…walk around his house naked…maybe even bring a man into his bed for the first time in years. To save her college fund, John’s taking every run his plane can handle and doing his best to keep his shifting under the radar. Then his latest job walks into the local bar with a strange gait and velvety Southern drawl.

After three tours, two new legs, and one long-overdue divorce, the only thing Logan Maddox is counting on now is a distraction-free hunting trip with the son whose teen years he’s almost missed. Logan isn’t a hero, just a guy trying to readjust with new parameters. If he hasn’t quite put into practice the gay identity he’s finally accepted…well, it’s not top priority. But fate has its own tactics, and the only pilot available to ferry them looks like a recruitment ad for Alaska’s hottest unit, and arrives with a seventeen-year-old girl in tow.


Logan is a newly single guy, sharing custody of his son, bonding on a trip to Alaska. He’s also learning to use his prosthetics after being injured in the military.

John is raising his sister, on the final leg as it were, and thinking about the future. He ends up taking a job of playing tour guide to Logan and his son and knows that, at least in the near future, things are looking good.


This is a novella, so things move quickly. The attraction is there immediately and the men – not bar sluts, so they move with some trepidation – act swiftly but with temperance. I loved that they didn’t immediately have sex though they did become physical right away.

Mia West is a new author to me and I’m looking forward to more of this series! Her writing is smooth and flows well. Her world building is EXCELLENT and the characters are complex, including the secondary characters.

As with any good story, I wish it’d been longer, but I definitely feel we got a solid HEA and that our guys were in it for the long haul.

I highly recommend this new series with 5 of 5 hearts!



Places in Time by Cardeno C

Romance Authors Presents https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-placesintime-1824738-149.html

places in timeBlurb

A relationship-challenged actor unexpectedly finds love in the arms of his childhood best friend.

“Sexiest Man Alive” and Golden Globe winning actor Ethan Baker lights up the screen but fizzles in his personal life. When his latest girlfriend breaks up with him, Ethan turns to his one “forever” person—Jude Harrison. But as Ethan makes the familiar drive to his best friend’s house, an unexpected detour and a bewildering passenger take him through places in time he’d long forgotten. Suddenly Ethan sees Jude’s actions over the years from a different perspective, but it’s his own reaction that’s the biggest surprise.


This is a short story that recently got re-released.

Ethan is a self-centered actor, self-acknowledgedly so, who has been best friends with Jude most of his life.

Jude has been in love with Ethan since the moment they first met.

It takes a trip through time for Ethan to realize that Jude has feelings for him and that Ethan has feelings for Jude as well!

It’s a very short, sweet story that makes you smile and sigh and – just as all Cardeno’s stories do – feel good inside.

I loved that when Ethan finally figures things out, he and Jude just jump in, no questions asked.

4.5 of 5 hearts



Kage by Maris Black

Reviewed by Tracy

Maris Black Books Presents http://www.amazon.com/KAGE-Trilogy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00VMX9MSK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1432830745&sr=1-1&keywords=kage+maris+black


My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend… but the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?

I met Michael Kage.

Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.

He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.

The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not?

For me, Kage is everything.


I have to start out by saying “oh god the ending” That was not what I was expecting…

Jamie Atwood is a 20 year old college student with a girlfriend who he just can’t seem to really connect with. He gets an opportunity to attend an MMA fight as part of his Journalism project. He then meets MMA fighter Michael Kage who is there as a spectator. Jamie notices him right away and is drawn to his commanding presence. They engage in some conversation and Jamie mentions that he really hopes to be a publicist.

Kage shows some interest and some time later Jamie finds himself being invited to Las Vegas to act as an intern/publicist for Michael Kage. Jamie is so pumped and jumps at the chance to go to Vegas for the summer and get hands on experience. He definitely gets more than he bargained for.

Michael Kage is one intriguing character. He has so many layers. He is funny, gorgeous and mysterious. I loved how descriptive the author is in describing Kage’s looks. I definitely had this lovely picture in my head of muscles on top of muscles with gorgeous skin. We get glimpses of sweetness and anger. He’s pretty vague about his background and drops little bits of information about himself that leads the reader to believe there is more to him than meets the eye. He’s not just a fighter and he’s not just a hot guy with a great body. He seems like he knows what it is to struggle and work hard to get what he wants.

Jamie and Kage have such great chemistry when they are together. Jamie can’t help but check him out and study him at every opportunity. I liked the banter between them and I enjoyed their “work out” sessions.

Jamie has always been aware of how good looking he is and isn’t averse to using his looks to his benefit whether it be with women or men. I think that awareness of how his looks affect men made him not freak out so much when Kage and Jamie find themselves having a sleep over with one of Kage’s old friends. When their relationship becomes physical the hotness literally leaps off the pages.

Jamie’s way of describing Kage’s physicality rang true. He admired every muscle, every drop of sweat on Kage. Jamie is so accepting to being physical with Kage once he decides to go for it. He’s never been with a guy before and that really turns Kage on. The first time they actually have sex is off the charts hot. It was hot, hard and dirty.

Kage I think is a much darker character than any other character that Maris has written. It kind of threw me off (his aggressiveness) but it was also a turn on for Kage to be so forceful. I think it threw me because as I said I haven’t read a character like this in any of Maris’ books…but it worked because Kage is rough and tough but he has this sweet and fun side to him. He is a huge flirt and he knows that his looks totally push Jamie’s buttons. I loved the glimpses of Kage’s vulnerability throughout the book…It humanized him and made him not be just “the machine”. He is a scary guy when he gets angry and I need to know why he is the way he is.

I was literally squirming in my seat reading their scene together but it was definitely hot and Jamie fell into submission so beautifully. He would do whatever Kage wanted him to and he was ok with that.

I wanted to shake Jamie and Kage towards the end of the story. Some misunderstandings happen and Kage completely blows up… Ugh!

The ending was just ugh! Crazy! I was so upset. I wanted some type of resolution. My heart broke for the both of them and I don’t know how they’re going to fix it.

I loved this book. I really did. I loved that it took me out of my comfort zone a little because it’s not like Maris’ other books and because of that fact I will definitely be biting my nails til August. Ugh! August??!! Really?

4.5 of 5 hearts


The Eskimo Slugger Audiobook by Brad Boney Narrated by Michael Ferraluolo

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6453


It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Since he was born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.
Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory. As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery to figure out who he really is and what matters most.

Book review (Previously posted on this site.)

Trent is a baseball player from Alaska, thus the name Eskimo Slugger. He’s at the top of his game when he gets injured and ends up spending two weeks in Austin, TX. There he meets Brendan, a law student/record store clerk. They start as friends but once Brendan tentatively asks Trent “Is this a date?” the two acknowledge the deeper aspect of their blossoming relationship. The two immediately set sparks off one another, though neither has ever had a gay relationship before.

With some pretty funny forays into gay sex, the two explore each other and a relatively unexplored aspect to their personalities. For Brendan, being gay is something he’s pondered but been afraid of, but with the right incentive he embraces the idea and eventually decides to incorporate into his life fully and without secrecy.

For Trent, being gay means possibly (probably) the end of his career, certainly the end of his life as it stands currently, and though he’s always known he was gay, he has never let himself entertain the idea that he could actually live as a gay man.

Brendan enlists the help of Stanton and Hutch (from The Return) as “gay mentors” and together, with Bill Walsh (from The Nothingness of Ben) the group bonds, smoke a lot of weed and begin to form relationships that even death won’t end.

Ultimately, Trent has to make the biggest decision of his life: Choose baseball or choose Brendan. Perhaps the two can be together, but probably it’s one or the other.


By now you should have read the first two books (The Nothingness of Ben and The Return). If you haven’t – go! What are you waiting for? Technically this could be a standalone, I guess, but it won’t make a heck of a lot of sense and will leave you very unsatisfied.

If you have read the other books you know that the end of this book is really the beginning of TNOB. That, Brad Boney, is an amazing feat! Mr. Boney has managed to create this beautiful circular set of books that literally bleeds one into the other so that (as a reader) you want to just keep going round and round the merry-go-round.

I found myself referencing both of the earlier books time and again with the “treasures” that were revealed throughout this book. Without completely giving away all the secrets just know that the MCs of all three books are inter-related in various ways and little bits of their stories, past and present are slipped in throughout the story.

In The Return it was all about music – fast paced facts and quips, with Slugger it’s baseball. For me, the music was more interesting, but if you are a baseball fan this will really hit home. (See what I did there?)

I didn’t like the love story as much in Slugger as in The Return or TNOB, probably because it happens so quickly. I just never felt the emotion – especially from Brendan. Trent was invested, you get that feeling so strongly. Brendan was too standoffish for me and it made me a little sad. But… since I know what I know about how things end… he’s forgiven ☺.

I really, really enjoyed these books and was sad to see it end. I can’t say for sure, but I think that if I were to recommend a reading order I would say start with The Return, then Slugger then finish with TNOB. There may be something “missing” with that order, but I think, ultimately, it will be so much more satisfying. Or… do as the author may have intended and read it : TNOB, Return, Slugger, TNOB… and so on and so on…

Just a fantastic book all around, 5 of 5 hearts and for the series 6 of 5!

Michael Ferraluolo did an excellent job with this! I adored Charlie David and was disappointed he didn’t narrate this, the third of the series. I think the continuity would have been great. But… Michael didn’t disappoint with his performance. He has a great voice that is easy to listen to, did a nice job differentiating the characters, really got into the emotion of the story and even managed to do a nice job with the female voices.

All in all I am sticking with 6 of 5 hearts for this in either book or audio form!