Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Fate Heats Things Up (Sarah Hadley Brook)

Title:  Fate Heats Things Up

Author: Sarah Hadley Brook

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: September 18, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 15600

Genre: Contemporary, NineStar Press, LGBT, bartenders, firemen, contemporary

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Synopsis

Scott Dwyer meets hot, new fireman Adrian Campbell in an embarrassing incident one evening and can’t stop thinking about him. While bartending at the local hangout for Station 39, he sees Adrian with this colleagues about once a week. He thinks Adrian might be interested in him, too, but every time they find a chance to talk, something gets in their way.

When rash of arson fires begins the same week Adrian starts at the station, the rumors fly about whether or not he is responsible for them.

Things are heating up in town, but will they heat up between the two men as well? Will Fate ever allow them to be together?

This is the time when I curse the length of this short story. Why? Because it limits the potential of this being more than “just-an-okay” read. I mean, this has an element of mystery with places getting burned and Adrian as a new fireman is suspected at one point as the arsonist. I would LOVE this story to be expanded to mystery, as Scott probably involved in investigating the arsonist behind everyone’s back.

Alas, this comes down as insta-lust, forgettable read, sadly. I am rounding it up because of the potential. And the writing is not that bad, though I cringed when Adrian used the endearment when they only know each other for what, days? Urgh, personal pet peeves alert!

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Excerpt

Fate Heats Things Up
Sarah Hadley Brook © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Tonight has to be the night, Scott swore to himself as he wiped down the long wooden bar top and snuck a glance at the entrance once more. He should have been here by now.

A strong hand clapped him on the shoulder, startling him out of his thoughts.

“You wouldn’t by any chance be looking for Adrian, would you?”

Scott narrowed his eyes and tried his best to glare at his boss, but when Tony only laughed, he knew he had failed miserably. He shrugged and tried to ignore the blush he knew was spreading across his face. “Why would you think that?” he asked, attempting to sound blasé.

“I’ve got eyes, don’t I, kid?” Tony gave Scott’s shoulder a quick squeeze before letting go. “You’ve been mooning over that man for the last month.”

Scott swallowed hard and silently chastised himself. He had been so sure he’d hidden his crush from everyone. Apparently not.

The bell over the door chimed, and before he could stop himself, he looked over at the double glass entry doors. His hope was short-lived, though, because it wasn’t Adrian. The chuckle he heard irked him, and he spun around to face his boss.

“For your information, Tony, I had already decided to do something about it tonight,” he huffed, irritation gnawing at him.

“And what would that something be?”

“I’m going to ask him out,” Scott admitted, pinning his gaze on Tony, just daring him to tease him again.

“Well, all right then! It’s about time, kid,” Tony proclaimed and grinned before heading toward the back room.

Scott couldn’t help it. He smiled back, shaking his head. When he’d first started working at the bar, it had irritated him that Tony called him a kid. He was twenty-five years old, for Pete’s sake. By the time he had a few days at Smokey’s under his belt, he’d realized that Tony referred to pretty much everyone under the age of thirty as a kid, so he’d stopped taking it personally.

He agreed with his boss—it was definitely time to do something about Adrian Campbell, and Scott was going to put it all out on the line this very night, even if the thought scared the shit out of him. Adrian should be arriving with his group of friends any second, just as he had been doing for the last few weeks. Scott felt a flutter in his stomach and tried to shake away the nerves by getting back to work. The bar would be filled with customers soon, and he still had to get some things done. The last thing he needed was to give in to his anxiety.

Of course, if the past was any indicator, he would be smart to worry. From the very first time he’d met Adrian, something had always seemed to prevent them from getting together.

That night, Scott had left a friend’s house and was heading home in his piece-of-shit car, as he lovingly referred to his 1989 Acura. It was late and he was on a dark, narrow, and winding two-lane road with no streetlights. Even the nearly full moon had been partially hidden behind some clouds. Dense woods butted up to the road on both sides for miles and oversized branches bowed out over the cars.

As he turned into another sharp curve, his tire rolled over something. His car lurched and the sound of dragging metal on concrete hissed out into the dark.

What the hell is that? He’d pulled his foot off the gas and turned his music down. He’d checked his rearview mirror and gasped at what he saw. Three massive shapes were barreling toward his car. The brake light cast a red glow on the moving figures, and his mind instantly flashed to all the horror movies he had watched over the years.

“Shit!”

He looked around frantically and realized there was nothing to do but floor it. He had no idea who they were or why the maniacs were chasing him in the dark, but he wasn’t about to stick around and find out. When he stepped on the gas, the screeching sound grew louder and his car jerked hard, just before a loud crunching noise echoed into the night. Crap! Was that my tire?

He’d frozen, unsure what to do. Did he try to keep driving? Should he continue on or pull over? He could hear his father’s voice in his head lecturing him on how he’d destroyed his car by not stopping. That did it. Scott had been more terrified of what his father would say than the chance of being murdered, and he pulled over, even though he knew it was probably the most idiotic thing he had ever done in his life. In any horror movie, this would be when the audience screamed at him to get the hell out of there, but it didn’t change his mind. As he set the brake, he glanced in the mirror again. The figures had gained ground on him and by this time were easier to see. All three appeared to be wearing matching long coats and boots, like a uniform of some kind. There was something familiar about them. One more glance and his heart dropped to his stomach.

Fuck! They were firemen and they looked furious. What the hell was going on? Relieved they weren’t three crazy escaped convicts that were roaming the woods looking for someone to kill, he rolled his window down. They were obviously pissed, but he was fairly certain he wouldn’t be murdered.

“Fucking lunatic!”

“Do you have any idea what you just did?”

Hmm. He reconsidered his escaped convicts theory. They weren’t making any sense. Scott tried to speak, but two of them just wouldn’t let him get a word in. They were screaming at him through the window while the third guy was crouching next to his front tire.

“All right, I’ve got it.” The guy by the tire stood up with something in his hand. “Here, Hernandez, take this back to the fire and see what you can do with it.”

Scott looked at the two men at his window and swallowed hard. “Um, did he say fire?”

“Yeah, you idiot! You ran over a coupling and dragged the damn fire hose down the road and out of our hands! Tore it off the fucking hose!”

“A what? I don’t understand,” Scott said, bewildered. He raked his fingers through his hair and shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he darted his eyes between the two angry men. “What did I do again?”

Apparently, they were done screaming because they just glared at him.

“Guys, go on. I’ll catch up with you in a minute. I need to get some information for our report.”

Scott slid his gaze over to the third man again. Even in the dark, it was easy to see he was good-looking. Tall. Scott liked tall men.

The other two turned to leave.

“Fucking idiot. Could have killed someone,” Hernandez muttered.

Scott was mortified and started to shake. “I’m…I’m so sorry,” he said as he climbed out of his car and moved to talk with the only man still there. “How did I…I mean…fuck, I don’t know what I mean.” He ran his hands through his shaggy blond hair. “I don’t even know what a…what did he call it?”

“A coupling,” the fireman explained, his deep voice calm and reassuring. “It connects two hoses together when we need to lengthen the line. The house we’re working on is really far off the road.”

“Oh my God, is there anyone in it? Shit, what if someone dies because of me?” Scott felt sick and doubled over, fighting the urge to vomit. A full-blown panic attack was brewing up inside him.

“Hey, it’s fine.” The fireman moved closer and put his hand on the small of Scott’s back. “It’s an abandoned house. A really old, ramshackle house. Nobody lives there, so don’t worry. Just breathe through it. You didn’t hurt anyone. Hell, to be honest, this was as much our fault as yours.”

The fireman began to rub his large hand in small circles on his back, calming him down and at the same time sending warmth spreading through him. “What do you mean?” he whispered.

“I mean that Sanders shouldn’t have hooked up the lines in the street. We pulled the firetruck pretty far off the road and we hadn’t set out cones or lights around the area yet. But I’m new here, so I can’t really tell him he was wrong. For some reason, he left it there and went to check on the hydrant and then you hit it and dragged it down the damn road!” He chuckled a little as he drew his hand away from Scott’s back. “Shit. Never seen that happen before.”

Scott cleared his throat and pulled himself to a standing position, leaning his hip against his car.

“You feeling better?”

Scott nodded and started to reply, but as soon as their gazes met, his breath hitched in his throat. Shit. The man was gorgeous. Deep chocolate-brown eyes stared back at him and Scott couldn’t tear himself away.

“I’m Adrian. Adrian Campbell,” he said as he offered a hand to Scott.

He swallowed hard and shook Adrian’s hand. “Scott Dwyer.” Electricity jolted through his body as if he had touched a live wire, and Scott yanked his hand back.

Adrian quirked an eyebrow at him but kept silent.

“Um, yeah. I should be going. Thanks for…well, thanks. Sorry about the…the hose thing,” Scott stammered as he opened his door. “Wait…should I drive my car?”

“Yeah, the tire’s fine. The coupling and hose were dragged but then it looks like the coupling banged around in the wheel well for a bit.”

“Okay. Thanks. I don’t know a lot about mechanical things,” Scott admitted as he turned back to his car.

“Hey, Scott?”

“Yeah?” Scott looked at Adrian.

“Do you live or work around town?”

Scott smiled tentatively. Why was he asking? Could Adrian be attracted to him? “Yeah, actually both. I have an apartment in the center of town—over Gina’s Pizza Oven. And I bartend at Smokey’s Bar & Grill.”

“Smokey’s? The guys were telling me about that place. Said they all hang out there pretty often.”

“Yeah, they do. It’s sort of Station 39’s hangout. The owner, Tony, used to be a fireman.”

“Campbell! Get your ass over here!”

Adrian grinned. “Guess they need me. The fire was almost completely out by the time you dragged the hose, but I better get going. See you around, Scott.”

Damn. Scott tried to hide his disappointment as he nodded and slid into his seat. He checked his rearview mirror and was frustrated that he couldn’t see Adrian. Either it was too dark or he had moved too far out of vision. He shook his head and tried to ignore his intense longing to have Adrian touch him again. It had struck him that maybe fate had brought them together. As he drove off that night, he wondered how soon he would see Adrian again. He’d never really believed in fate before, but something told Scott it wouldn’t be long before they connected again.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | NineStar Press

 

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Falling for You (Charlotte Blake)

Falling For You
Charlotte Blake
(Great Escapes, #1)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Sometimes love finds you whether you want it to or not …

Grace Clark is a star at her job as an art director at Boston’s biggest advertising firm. But inside she’s still mourning the loss of her sister two years ago. Losing Mia and a failed engagement have been enough to keep her heart on lockdown ever since.

Luke Arnold is tired of relationships that don’t go anywhere. Usually women are all over him, but it’s been years since he’s met someone he could really fall for.

But when he sees Grace from across the room at the Redview Lodge, he can’t keep his eyes off her. They meet in the New Hampshire mountains over Thanksgiving, and they find in one another something that neither of them expected.

18+
NOTE: This STAND-ALONE romance contains very steamy love scenes. All of the books in the Great Escapes series can be read in any order.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Mia turned up the radio as her sedan flew across the slick road.

Let’s Go Crazy.

She was excited about the trip home. She had been living in New York, and despite the close proximity to Boston, she hadn’t seen her sister, Grace, for four months. Mia was just finishing school, and between internships and the huge amount of work she had been putting in to earn her MBA, there just wasn’t any time. She was lucky to have a sister like Grace. She understood when Mia was too busy to talk. And with Grace, she never needed to feel pressured to have a perfect relationship. When they did get a chance to see each other, it was as if they had never been apart.

Though lately Mia had been trying to make extra time to connect with her heartbroken sister, at least on the phone. Grace was just getting on her feet again after a long depression. Her fiancé had pulled a fast one on her, and there had been a few months of Mia visiting her often, trying to coax her off the couch and into therapy. Grace had been absent from work long enough that her job was on the line. She had some savings, but not enough to last her more than a few months.

Grace had resisted at first, but Mia had seen this kind of thing before and had known exactly what to do. In the end, she’d found the right doctor and therapist for her sister and then harassed her until she made, and kept, appointments with them. It took some time, but eventually she had started to come back to herself. Mia credited the meds more than anything, though she knew Grace hated having to take them.

She was back to work now, though, busy again, and they still talked a couple times a week to touch base, more if Grace needed someone to cry to. Mia was relieved that she would have a chance to focus on her for a bit, and was glad the mellow holiday at home wouldn’t distract them too much. There were lots of tears in those weekly calls, and though they’d ebbed away a bit, she couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her sister in a big bear hug.

She and Grace had grown up at their parents’ place in Boston. It had been even longer since she had seen them, and she couldn’t wait to catch up on all the family gossip. Her mom tended to try to keep family secrets just that: secret. But her dad had let slip that her aunt’s daughter had been working, no joke, as a stripper. Everyone in the family was in a tizzy about it, but were too afraid to confront her. Mia would have loved the opportunity to get the details first hand, but really she had been relieved to find out that her aunt and cousin would not be joining them for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Probably too embarrassed, she thought.

She laughed aloud as the music played. She had never been close with her cousin, but Angie had been known to jump around from school to school, project to project, job to job. Whatever the story was, Mia was sure there would be plenty of secondhand lurid details once she pulled into the driveway. She’d get her mom to talk, even if it took all week.

It was getting late, nearly eleven, and she was eager to get there. She had expected to arrive by nine, but no such luck. The traffic out of the city had lasted for hours. But now she was on the move again. The snow had turned to rain, which meant the roads were pretty clear now, and she pushed on the gas a little harder.

The music on the radio changed, and a moment later Winter Wonderland was blasting through her speakers.

“Aw, yuck!” she shouted at the radio, wrenching the volume down.

It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and already with the Christmas music! The last thing she needed was to get that junk spinning through her head all night long.

She picked up her phone to switch to her playlist. She was an expert at her phone, and could make most of the selections, even texting, without even looking at the thing. One day they’d probably just implant the information into people’s brains somehow, but for now she just had to wing it like everyone else.

But it was late, and she was on the freeway. She needed to look at the screen to select some different music. She checked around her for cops and then waited for a straight stretch of road. She held the phone up to the steering wheel so she could glance back and forth between the screen and the road, scrolling down the list, searching for something classic, something she could sing to, to wake her up a little for the last hour of the drive. More Prince, maybe.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement, something white speeding by her passenger side window. A motorcycle? No.

It was a truck, and it was going way too fast. He was going to cut her off. She dropped her phone and blared her horn, then watched in horror as it tipped onto two wheels, about to flip over right in front of her.

How was this happening?

She steered right to get out of the way. The back end of the truck clipped her car at just the right spot. Just the wrong spot.

She was airborne. There was no sound but for her own blood pumping, ringing in her ears.

Time slowed down.

As her car flipped through the air again and again, her thoughts went blank. Adrenaline rushed through her body as the first airbag went off, but when the car smashed upside down onto the pavement, she only registered the pain.

And then it was over.

She was gone.

 

Author Bio:

I am happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home, where I lives with my husband, two kids, one dog and three cats. I started writing at an early age, but have only been writing novels for the past five years. I love the idea of love conquering all, and that is what drove me to begin the Great Escapes series, where the reader follows couples meeting up in exotic locations around the world. In this series, each book is a stand-alone, and each can be read in any order.

But readers, be forewarned, there is a healthy amount of steam in these books!

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Great Escapes!

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Saved (AM Arthur)

Title:  Saved

Series: Breaking Free #1

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher: Briggs-King Books

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000 words

Genre: Romance, non-shifter Omegaverse, alternate universe, mpreg

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Synopsis

He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000 words.

Excerpt

“Would you be able to describe exactly what you saw that night in detail?” Tarek pulled a notepad and pen out of his front pocket.

Braun’s entire body went rigid. “Why? Who are you really?”

“I really am Tarek Bloom.” For a moment, he actually seemed contrite. “What I didn’t tell you is that I’m also a constable.”

“Shit.” Braun bolted out of his chair and toward the front door, fork still in his hand.

In a flurry of movement, Tarek was in front of him, blocking his path to the door, and Braun lashed out with the fork. Dex grabbed his wrist and plucked the fork out of his hand, but that didn’t stop Braun from swinging. He punched Tarek in the chest. Twice. Panic settled in, overriding his common sense, and he tried to push past the brick wall of a man.

“Let me go! I won’t go back, I won’t!”

Arms wrapped around his torso from behind, pinning his arms to his sides. Serge’s comforting scent settled his racing mind a bit, but it was Tarek’s hand on the back of his neck that settled Braun completely.

“Calm down, firecracker,” Tarek said. His deep voice soothed Braun’s frazzled nerves, and his touch sent his pulse racing with delight. “You’re still safe, I promise. No one here wants to hurt you.”

“Why do you care?” Braun snarled. “I’m just some useless omega you’ve known for twenty minutes.”

“You’re far from useless, little one.”

Tarek’s other hand rose, nearing Braun’s face. Braun snapped at his fingers. “I’m only a womb to you.”

“Far from it, my firecracker.” The hand on his neck squeezed. “Far from it.”

The grounding touch made Braun want to roll over and show his belly, but he was done being passed around. Done letting other people control his life. He didn’t want to feel this mating bond to Tarek, but he also couldn’t turn it off. Even with the heat block, Tarek was under his skin, doing funny things to his insides.

Angry and confused, Braun dared look an alpha in the eye.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | A.M.’s Pot O Gold | Newsletter

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Times Square (Jana Aston)

Times Square
Jana Aston
Publication date: September 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A STANDALONE romance from New York Times bestselling author Jana Aston

Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

I saw that quote about fairy tales embroidered on a decorative pillow at a home decorating store. Honestly, it pissed me off. Retail propaganda aimed to promote sales when any single girl in the city could tell them they’d sell more if they’d offer Keep Your Pants On, Asshole instead.

But it’s fine. I don’t have room for decorative pillows anyway.

And I don’t have time for distractions.

Which is why I’m ignoring the distraction staring at me right now. The one who looks like he belongs on a billboard campaign. The one with the full lips and the cocky smile. The one refusing to look away even when I give him my best no way scowl.

The one headed in my direction. Right now.

*Times Square was previously published inside the Love In Transit anthology.

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Author Bio:

Jana Aston likes cats, big coffee cups and books about billionaires who deflower virgins. She wrote her debut novel while fielding customer service calls about electrical bills, and she’s ever grateful for the fictional gynecologist in Wrong that readers embraced so much she was able to make working in her pajamas a reality. Jana’s novels have appeared on the NYT, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, some multiple times. She likes multiples.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Future Of Us (Aubrey Parker)

The Future of Us
Aubrey Parker
(The Future of Sex, #12)
Publication date: September 3rd 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

Love doesn’t matter. Romance doesn’t exist.

(The final installment in The Future of Sex series)

In the year 2060, sex is a game of extremes. No desire is unexplored and even the unimaginable is possible.

Alexa Mathis, head of the monolithic O Corporation, has found a prodigy she believes will drive her sex empire to rapturous new limits: Chloe Shaw, a common girl with uncanny gifts that make her a powerful escort.

Chloe doesn’t believe in love. She believes in ecstasy, and her employer’s newest tool to usher “the future of sex”: an intelligent network known as The Beam.

And so it is until she meets Andrew … and the whole world changes.

The Future of Sex is a 12-part serial that is being published in installments. As such, episodes are short and sometimes end on cliffhangers.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

She looked at Andrew for a long second, then let the moment hang.

There were no words. Only the strange miasma between them: pain, and anger, and betrayal, and untruth, and love.

Mostly love.

But love didn’t erase the negatives. Her heart wanted to forgive him. He even had good excuses — interestingly, provided for her by Alexa rather than Andrew himself. Through her version of events, Chloe had come to see how tightly Andrew had been bound and how hard he’d fought to extricate them both.

But no matter what she understood and no matter how great the love behind it all, Chloe still felt the hurt. She still felt the betrayal.

“You were the person I went to when I felt like everyone was against me, Andrew. You were my port in the storm.”

It wasn’t a loving thing to say, and Andrew knew it. She wasn’t wrapping verbal arms around him. She was telling him how completely she’d bared her soul before he’d plunged his twisting knife inside her.

“I know.”

“My only friend in the city is Slava, and we only got closer after Voyos. She covered for me, you know. When I was on Voyos, I was supposed to be working. I was supposed to be with clients, but I didn’t want to be. So, I never worked alone. I was always with Slava, and I let her do all the work so that I could stay true to you. But what kind of backward notion is staying true to you in this day and age?”

Andrew looked touched, but he hid his smile. He hadn’t earned the right and knew it.

“My mom was no help; she was half my problem. The way things were changing at work was another one, and the weird shit they had me doing at work — stuff I’m only understanding now — was yet another. Everything was uncertain. So much still is. Everything but you, Andrew. You were the one person I could talk to. You were the only thing I thought I could count on.”

Andrew exhaled, clearly crushed. He looked like he wanted to apologize again, but it was still Chloe’s turn to speak.

“That’s the worst part of this. It’s not that I thought I loved you. It was that I’d been so careful not to truly love anyone other than my family, then decided to break my own rule and ended up regretting it. The mental wall I told you about? I took it down. I figured that there wasn’t any point. Let sex and love mix, I told myself. I couldn’t bring myself to have sex with other guys, so I tore that division all the way down. Just you and me. I’d find ways to adapt to my job, even if it meant less money and fame. What could it possibly hurt?”

She looked at Andrew, then back down.

“I told you about how much O was confusing me. How uneasy they were making me. They were experimenting on me like a lab rat, Andrew! And who did I go to for comfort? You — a part of the problem. You weren’t my safe place. You were part of the experiment.”

“I didn’t want to be. Not after I saw where it was headed. Not once I got to know you.”

“But you were,” Chloe said.

And Andrew nodded. “Yes.”

 

Author Bio:

I love to write stories with characters that feel real enough to friend on Facebook, or slap across the face. I write to make you feel, think, and burn with the thrill that can only come from getting lost in the pages. I love to write unforgettable characters who wrestle with life’s largest problems. My books may always end with a Happily Ever After, but there will always be drama on the way there.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Be My Best Man (Con Riley)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 260 pages
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb

Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?

After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.
Author Bio
 

Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

 

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Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Leaning Into Always (Lane Hayes)

Title:  Leaning Into Always

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #1, Part 2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Self Pub

Release Date: September 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30k

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, San Fran, Beach, Surfer, Geek, Opposites Attract, Friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.

Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.

Excerpt

“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”

“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.

I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.

“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”

“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.

“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.

I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”

“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”

I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”

“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.

“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.

“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”

I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”

“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”

I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.

Leaning Into Always is a short novella about Eric and Zane after they finally get together in Leaning Into Love. This story plays into the trope of “getting jitters before the happily ever after“. You know how it is … when one suddenly feels not confident about the relationship and starts questioning what the lover sees in him/her. Eric always thinks that Zane is the gorgeous, popular guy. While him, Eric Schuster, is the nerd who got bullied back in school. He wonders what Zane sees in him.

This trope will not complete without a ‘villain’ too. Enter Zane’s ex-f*ck buddy who, of course, makes Eric jealous and determines to do everything to make Zane stays on his side. Seriously, it’s like watching a rom-com! So yeah, I thought this novella was pretty sweet. And Eric has a kink, who knew?!? *laugh*

It’s a good short follow-up before we send our heroes sailing to the sunset for their honeymoon 🙂

RATING: 3.5 stars

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Meet the Author

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 an almost 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, Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into the Fall, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home AND A Way with Words

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