Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: In Over Our Heads (CJane Elliott)

Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

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Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

In Over Our Heads is marked as the second story from Stories from the Shore series but can be read as stand-alone. I love second-chance romance trope, it’s probably my favorite trope, which is one of the reason why I put a request for ARC in this one.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me.

First of all, I have ENOUGH of characters who turn 30 years old and call themselves “old fart” or “too old”. I know that people have obsession about youth. But look, based on RWA Romance Reader Statistic, the U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years (with average age of 42 years old based on Nielsen). Can romance authors be more, I don’t know, relevant to the majority of readers by NOT making these 30 year old character look like they already have middle-age crisis?!? PUH-LEASE! Sorry, but it’s aggravating for me.

Second of all, I’m sorry, but the reason of Walter’s avoiding Anthony is a bit lame. Yeah, yeah, so he has tragedy when he’s 10 years old. But the whole “I’m doing this to protect you” stance is bullsh*t. He’s a scientist, shouldn’t he based everything on facts and data rather than being rather superstitious about it?

And for second-chance romance, I think the first 50% of the book is mainly about Anthony trying not to care about Walter and has a little flirty-flirty with 22-year-old Miles.

Maybe I’m not in my best mood reading this one, but I can’t really find anything I like about it. Oh maybe Miles… I like him okay. He’s young and fun. I’m more interested in him compared to Anthony and Walter. Plus he dares to call Walter an idiot, so high five to Miles.

RATING: 2.5 stars

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

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Release Blitz & Review: The Half Wolf (Jay Northcote)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

NB: This book will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, after that it will be available at all major retailers.

Length: 65,000 words approx
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb

Mate, family, pack, home… can Quinn and Kellan have it all?

Quinn grew up feeling out of place in the small town he calls home. Yearning for something he can’t name, he’s always felt different but never known why.

Kellan is part of a nomadic shifter pack. When they set up camp in the woods near Quinn’s town, the humans are unwelcoming and suspicious of the newcomers. The moment Kellan catches sight—and scent—of Quinn, he knows Quinn is special. But for the first time in his life, Kellan can’t trust his instincts. Quinn is human, and Kellan is a wolf shifter, so how can they ever be mates?

Their bond is instant and exhilarating. It breaks Quinn’s heart to know their relationship can only be temporary. Love isn’t enough when pack law forbids shifters to mate with humans. Tension explodes between pack and humans, and when Quinn discovers a shocking truth about himself that changes everything, he fears he’ll have to choose between the only life he’s ever known and the man he loves.

Well, it’s young love… Quinn and Kellan are cute together, that’s for sure. There is a nice ‘mystery’ regarding Quinn’s heritage that I figured out Quinn’s heritage way before he did. There is also a friction between humans and werewolves to add the conflict to balance out the romance, which I thought was a decent addition.

Honestly, those who enjoy shifter stories with bonds, mating, and the whole me-mine-GROWL thing will probably love it. Me? I am LONGING for old-fashioned courting and wooing so that it takes time for each party to declare love, even if it’s shifter stories. Whirlwind / I-know-that-you’re-it-for-me love stories usually doesn’t connect with me well. So the romance is just okay for me, nothing special.

The part with who is responsible for the dead sheep keep me interested though. And I loved the blood-spilling action in the end…

RATING: 3.5 STARS

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.


Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/dellamere
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote

Book Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Yuletide Truce (Sandra Schwab)

Title: Yuletide Truce

Author: Sandra Schwab

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date (Print and e-book): September 22nd, 2017

Length: 18,000 words

Sub Genre: historical romance, Victorian romance, mm romance, holiday romance

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Book Blurb

London, 1845

It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.

But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.

Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?

 

What Sandra Schwab Said About the Book:

Yuletide Truce is a feel-good enemies-to-lovers holiday romance that takes you on a sweeping journey to Victorian London, to fog-filled streets and smoke-filled taverns, to Fleet Street, where news are made, and to Bethnal Green, where once a crime lord ruled as supreme master. Meet those who criticized a rich ruling class that clung to its old privileges, and those who eked out a meagre livelihood on the streets of the metropolis. Yuletide Truce not a story about rich people, but a story about two ordinary men — because everybody deserves a happily-ever-after, and I want to challenge the idea that it’s somehow only straight, white, rich people whose stories deserve to be told.

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 Excerpt

Foreman brushed a hand through his hair. “Does that mean I can no longer sharpen my pen on your reviews?”

Aigee’s lips twitched. Suddenly, he felt quite lighthearted, almost daring. As if anything might be possible.

As if this little room had been touched by some Christmas magic.

As if he might take the boldest chance of all…

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll have no difficulties in finding something else for sharpening your pen,” he said. “After all, the lashings of your pen and tongue are renowned.”

Foreman snorted. “It’s hardly my fault that people insist on being ludicrous.”

Aigee looked out of the window at the darkness that was only broken by the feeble glow of the a few lamps in the windows of the houses around this little yard. “Hm…” For a moment, he still hesitated. Then: “Did you also give a tongue-lashing to that fellow I saw you leading up the stairs at the Little Rose?” He turned, wondering if he had overshot his mark.

Rather pale, Foreman stared at him, which made Aigee realize that his remark could be misconstrued.

“I was rather jealous of the man,” he clarified.

Color came and went in Foreman’s face. With narrowed eyes, he looked Aigee up and down. “I see,” he said, nastily. “And you expect me to give you the same in gratitude for services rendered, is that it?”

Aigee felt a stab of exasperation as he shook his head. “What a nasty mind you have, Mr. Foreman.” He walked over to the bed, sat down, and boxed Foreman in with one arm, forcing him to fall back against the pillows as he leaned over him. “Actually, I was thinking more of giving you a tongue-lashing for being so stupid as to enter a well-known rookery all by yourself.”

They stared at each other.

“I’ve locked the door,” Aigee added helpfully.

Alan “Aigee” Garmond works at Munro’s Bookshop as both employee as well as reviewer for the bookshop’s own magazine, Munro’s Magazine (or MuMa, according the employer). Aigee loves the Yuletide season when the bookshop will have decorations on the windows. Of course everything will be perfect if not for Christopher Foreman, the Adonis of Fleet Street, a reviewer from About Town that seems to constantly rips apart Aigee’s reviews. Aigee doesn’t understand why Christopher seems to dislike him personally since the only interaction they have is one drinking game where Aigee beats Christopher. And he determines to find out why and sets the record straight…

Yuletide Truce is a cute historical holiday M/M romance with a dash of enemies-to-lovers theme, from new-to-me author Sandra Schwab. I immediately loved Aigee … the way that he loved the season and the bookshop where he worked were heartwarming. Aigee’s passion for the books that he reviewed was endearing.

But Aigee isn’t just a meek ordinary guy, no siree. As the story goes further, the readers will find out more about Aigee’s background. I don’t want to spoil much about what Aigee did but I thought it was really good and he totally kicked ass on the right moment. Take that, Christopher ‘Kit’ Foreman!! *lol*. Of course their truce led them to a different path, and you would get your sexy times 🙂

For a short story, I really liked it. It was cute and totally wrapped in all the goodness of holiday season.

RATING: 3.5 stars

Author Bio

 

Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).

She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

Connect with Sandra: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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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

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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.

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Review Tour & Giveaway: How To Save A Life (Eli Easton)

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 80,000 words
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Howl At The Moon Series
 
How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb

Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

Eli Easton returns to to Mad Creek, California — the town where quickened lives freely with her fourth book in “Howl at the Moon” series. Personally, I liked it better than the previous one. However, there were still a number of things that made feel uneasy when it came to addressing physical sex scene between Rav and Sammy.

Good stuffs first!!

I think this is a must for dog-lover MM readers to read. I am a cat person myself but gosh, even I can’t help falling in love with all the dogs here … real or quickened. The beginning broke my heart, when Sammy found himself being dropped off at a shelter that practiced euthanasia and waiting for the days he would get adopted. Seriously, if you don’t feel for Sammy during these days, there’s something wrong with you!!

I really, REALLY, loved Sammy. Oh gosh he was ADORABLE and at the same time ADMIRABLE. The way that Sammy worked on his fears of humans and became the better version of himself: braver, most compassionate, and absolutely loyal … was totally inspiring. I know that I can learn a thing or two from Sammy. He just brought so much goodness.

I must also applauded Rav’s ideas to give back to Mad Creek. He was a smart cookie. I loved the idea of ‘real-world‘ business practice applied to this book.

Now, the things that bothered me a little bit…

Yes, I appreciated the slow burn romance between Sammy and Rav — since Sammy was ‘new’ in this human business. I admit, this book is slightly better in addressing my concern of innocent-like quickened when it comes to sex — which is one of my major problems in Milo’s book, How to Wish Upon a Star, because I thought Milo was too childlike.

With dual narrative from both Rav and Sammy, I could read Sammy’s progress with understanding how his body parts worked, including when he found out that he could get hard. BUT STILL, I felt like the relationship didn’t feel equal in that sense. It wasn’t like reading about an experience guy seducing virgin, you know? Sammy still felt a little too innocent, and I couldn’t really get passed that feeling.

Oh, and the romance itself didn’t exactly make me all warm and fuzzy. It was good but not, uhm, not so romantic in my view.

I also didn’t really enjoy other perspectives getting their own chapters, albeit not many. And I was a bit annoyed with Lance’s stubborn stance towards progress.

The last chapter feels like a closure to the series. I really hope that’s not the case. There are still a number of characters who I would love to read…

RATING: 3.5 out 5

August 30 – OMG Reads, RJ Scott
September 4 – Hoards Jumble
September 8 – V’s Reads
Author Bio

Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Website: www.elieaston.com
Twitter: @EliEaston
Email: eli@elieaston.com

 

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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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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Anyta Sunday)

Title: Scorpio Hates Virgo

Series: Signs of Love #2

Author: Anyta Sunday

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: September 1st, 2017

Length: 245 pages

Sub Genre: Contemporary M/M gay romance, friends-to-lovers

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Book Blurb

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

 

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

 

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs. It can be read as a standalone.

Themes: Light-hearted, friends-to-lovers, slow burn

Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

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Excerpt

Cal rocked up to his Jeep all business-casual, in form-fitting jeans, polished leather shoes and matching brown satchel, and a dark jacket that covered a beige T-shirt.

“You got a meeting or something?” Percy asked, slipping his sunglasses on.

Cal opened the passenger door and looked at him over the roof. “No.”

Sunlight did very striking things to Cal’s hair. Made it look positively copper. Not as red as his cheeks were getting, though.

A cheerful cry startled Percy and he ripped his gaze away from Cal. Crystal was waving at them from her opened kitchen window.

“Good morning,” she called.

After another restless night, he could hardly call it good, but . . . “Morning.”

She leaned further out the window, her dressing gown gaping a little too much down the front. “Are you out for the day?”

“A couple of hours. Taking Callaghan here to work, then nipping past the Home Depot.” To get the home ready to market, he needed to spruce up the place. Paint the living room and bathroom, put in a new vanity, replace the door handles of the kitchen cupboards, change the faucets and showerhead and put in a new toilet seat.

“You at the Home Depot?” Cal murmured. “Sure you’d even know what to buy?”

Percy gestured for him to get in the car. “High time I get you to work.”

As he slipped into the driver’s seat, Crystal called out after them. “Good to see water and earth spending time together!”

Over his sunglasses that had slipped down his nose, Percy looked at Cal. “See, this is why we’ll always be nemeses.”

Cal hitched his brow, and Percy turned the ignition and peeled out from the curb.

“Together we’re mud.”

 

“Blue key for the car, either the yellow or green one for your house. What’s the third for? A safe stashed with secret diaries?”
Cal chuckled. “Yellow is for home. Green is the key to my heart, of course.”

Scorpio Hates Virgo is the second book from Anyta Sunday’s Signs of Love series. I totally tried to imagine two people I know in real life with these two signs (Scorpio is my friend — Virgo is my younger sister) while reading this book, by the way *laugh*. While I admit that some of Anyta Sunday’s words in this book SLAYED ME dead but in overall, I felt that the book didn’t quite meet my initial expectation…

I guess I was sort of wanting to read about intense enemies-to-lovers story, where the words-exchange were brimming with bites and sparks, particularly because of the title. Hate is a strong word; there are certain attributes/behaviors that I attach to it. Unfortunately, I thought those were missing from Percy and Cal’s relationship. While Percy and Cal kept saying that they were nemeses… I didn’t felt like so. Their banters were good but didn’t feel like animosity. Even the nickname of Perseus and Callaghan felt more like endearments rather than name-calling.

For me, this book was more about Percy and Cal who were already on-the-way of announcing their love to one another. They just needed the right push and the right moment. But when it came, the moment wasn’t rewarding enough. I didn’t get to the point where I said, “FINALLY, BOYS!”, you know what I mean? There are slow-burn romances where I am so involved with the couple, I practically hold my breath waiting for “THAT” moment when they both acknowledges their feelings, and I practically exhale in satisfaction afterwards. This is not one of those books for me, sadly.

Having said that, this is Anyta Sunday’s. I still adored the little TENDER moments between Percy and Cal. I cherished the interaction between Percy and the rest of the Glovers family. I LOVED the Sherlock Gnome game (although I totally saw the ‘twist’ from million miles away; one of the oldest game in a book!). Overall, this is still a wonderful slow burn read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did book #1, Leo Loves Aries.

I’ve been choosing you since we first met. Just like you’ve been doing with me.”

Author Bio

 

Slow burn romance that quickens the heart.

Anyta is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French.

Member of Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Anyta: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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To win 2 grand prizes – 1 set of ecopy of 5 of Anyta Sunday’s favorite NA romances and 1 set of signed paperbacks of Leo Loves Aries and Scorpio Hates Virgo (open internationally):

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