Giveaways, Keira Andrews

Guest Post and Giveaway: The If Only In My Dreams Blog Tour with Keira Andrews

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Keira Andrews back to The Novel Approach today on the tour for her new Holiday Romance, If Only In My Dreams. Enjoy Keira’s guest post, then be sure to leave a comment below answering Keira’s question, and you’ll automatically be entered for the chance to win an e-book from her backlist (**excl. If Only In My Dreams**).

Good luck!

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Thanks so much to TNA for having me here today to celebrate the holidays and my new romance, If Only in My Dreams. I don’t know about you, but I have certain movies I watch every holiday season without fail. Movies are such a part of tradition in my family, and Christmas is no exception.

Without further ado:

Top 5 holiday movies 

5. Die Hard: My favorite holiday action flick! Because amid all the heartwarming family movies, I need a bit of ass kicking and taking names. Not to mention deliciously evil Alan Rickman. :D

4. Elf: “You sit on a throne of lies” is the greatest single line in a holiday movie ever. I also adore Zooey Deschanel’s singing voice. So much to make you smile in this movie!

3. The Ref: Such a funny little movie with a terrific cast. The leads are fabulous, of course. Glynis Johns (who also appears in my #1 pick) steals the show as the mother-in-law from hell, and Christine Baranski is perfect, as always. (“Slipper socks—MEDIUM!”)

2. Bridget Jones’s Diary: Oh, Mark Darcy! *swoons* This movie begins and ends with the holidays (turkey curry buffet!), and has become a Christmas viewing tradition. I love every single thing about it.

1. While You Were Sleeping: As with my #2 pick, I love everything about this movie. It’s sweet and funny and utterly charming, and doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. An underrated holiday classic!

Which movie tops your holiday list? Let me know in the comments! And here’s a little bit about my new holiday romance. Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season!

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00058]Blurb: To be home for Christmas, they must bridge the distance between them.

Charlie Yates is desperate. For days. Charlie promised his little sister Ava he’d be home for her first holiday season since going into remission from leukemia. Now he’s stuck on the opposite coast and someone else grabbed the last rental car. Someone he hasn’t even spoken to in four years. Someone who broke his heart.

Gavin Bloomberg’s childhood friendship with Charlie ended overnight after a day of stolen kisses. With years of resentment between them, they don’t want to be in the same room together, let alone a car. But for Ava’s sake, Gavin agrees to share the rental and drive across the country together.

As they face unexpected bumps along the road, can Charlie and Gavin pave the way to a future together?

Read now: Amazon.com || Amazon global (should take you to your home store) || All Romance || B&N || iTunes || Kobo || Smashwords

Add on Goodreads

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Excerpt: “It’s an act of God.”

I forced a smile at the older woman behind the Sojourn Airways counter. “It’s probably not the time for a theological debate, but I’d say it’s more an act of Mother Nature.” I tried to laugh, and it limped out as a sad little ha-ha.

Her flat expression, pulled tight by her graying bun, didn’t so much as flicker. On her purple uniform vest was pinned a button that read: Customer service is our bag. No baggage service fees! “Sir, that’s the official airline designation for weather conditions that are beyond our control.”

“Right, gotcha. Look—” I checked her name tag. “Look, Susan, the thing is that I need to get on a flight to New York ASAP. JFK, LaGuardia, Newark—whichever. I’ll even take Philly if I have to.” I forced another smile. “I can always go for a cheesesteak.”

The grim line of Susan’s mouth was unchanging. “There are no flights in or out of SFO today. As I told you earlier, our system has already rebooked you.”

“For the twenty-sixth!”

“Yes.”

“But Christmas is the twenty-fifth!” The desperation I’d been trying to keep at bay with incredibly lame humor sank its claws into me with a mighty swipe.

“Is it? I had no idea.”

Well, at the very least it seemed Susan’s alien leaders had implanted a sarcasm chip even if they overlooked the compassion one. I inhaled deeply. “I realize this end-of-days-style fog has backed everything up, but you can’t rebook me for after Christmas! That’s ridiculous!” I thought of Ava’s round little face, streaked with tears as I’d left for college, and how I’d promised I’d be home for the holidays. “I have plans. I have to get on the next flight out. I have to.”

Susan tapped her computer, not even bothering to look at me now. “I didn’t rebook you, Mr. Yates. The airline did. All flights yesterday were canceled as well, and this is the busiest travel season.” She recited the lines in much the same manner as my mom reading out IKEA instructions as we put together the Billy bookshelf in my bedroom. “There are thousands and thousands of passengers ahead of you. The blizzard on the Eastern Seaboard had already contributed to a huge backlog before this fog set in.”

“But I promised my baby sister I’d be home.” I knew I was whining, and my voice wavered as my throat tightened.

Susan’s mouth turned down as she glanced at me. Her tone softened. “If there was anything I could do, I would do it.”

This unexpected sympathy made it worse somehow. I cleared my throat, the threat of imminent tears a horrifying possibility. Don’t do it, Charlie. Man up. “Okay. Thank you. Do you think I could get out on another airline?”

“I’m afraid they’re all in the same boat.”

“Standby?”

She shook her head and waved a hand at the mass of humanity clogging the terminal behind me. “Everyone has the same idea. As I mentioned, there were already dozens of flights canceled before yours. The twenty-sixth is the absolute earliest you’ll be able to get out, and that’s assuming this fog lifts soon and the rain stops. And if it doesn’t start snowing heavily on the East Coast again.”

With a nod, I shuffled away from the counter, dragging my huge, stupidly pink suitcase behind me. I might be a total homo and unashamed of it, but fuchsia was not a color I’d have chosen for my luggage. Ava had picked it with such delight that I hadn’t been able to say no. At least it had four wheels and was expandable, which was handy since it was stuffed with Christmas gifts.

I’d gotten Ava some old-school Transformers building sets and retro Star Wars action figures I’d hunted down. Princess Leia was her favorite, since even at eight, Ava had excellent taste and understood that the classic trilogy was superior like whoa. On eBay, I’d found Hoth Leia, original recipe double-bun Leia, and even a rare Cloud City Leia, along with a bad-ass Boba Fett.

Now Ava wouldn’t get any of it for Christmas morning. I wouldn’t be able to wake up with her at the ass-crack of dawn to open our stockings, then burst into our parents’ room to drag them out of bed because Christmas was way too much fun for sleeping.

A preteen standing by a pile of luggage whined, “It’s not fair!” to her parents, her arms crossed over her chest and tears in her eyes.

Snorting, I muttered, “Since when has life been fair?” Pretty freaking rarely in my estimation, and never when it came to Ava. I escaped into the nearest bathroom to splash water on my face and get my shit together. My cheeks puffed as I blew out a long breath and examined a fabulous new red spot on my chin in the mirror.

I’d gotten a haircut yesterday since my Aunt Wendy was going to do a group portrait for us by the tree with her fancy camera. This was a big Christmas for the Yates family, and now I wasn’t going to be there. I ran a hand over my thin brown hair, which curled at the ends if I didn’t keep it short. Ava’s did too, but it wasn’t quite long enough yet to curl fully.

We’d Skyped the other night, and she’d proudly run a brush through her couple inches of growing hair. She’d gained weight too, and I couldn’t wait to hold her and feel her solid and healthy in my arms.

I had to suck in a breath, the ache to see her and my parents again a hollow burn in my chest. I grimaced at my reflection. My eyes were already red from the prior night’s insomnia. I never slept well the night before taking a flight due to my paranoia that I’d miss my alarm somehow.

Ava and I had the same eyes: a deep, warm blue, easily bloodshot, and not good at hiding emotions. Our grandpa always said that even though we were ten years apart, we should have been twins.

I’m actually going to miss Christmas. I’m going to break my promise.

The fear that I’d been trying to keep at bay roared up, and I squeezed my eyes shut. I knew it had only been a dream, and that dreams weren’t prophecies or visions, or any of that shit. Yet I shuddered as I remembered the dream hospital I’d finally been able to reach after missing Christmas because I’d kept driving down the wrong roads, taking endless turns.

The dream—nightmare¬¬—doctor had said the relapse had happened too quickly, and there was nothing they could have done. My parents had already left because Ava was gone. I was too late. My baby sister was dead and I hadn’t been able to say goodbye. Choking down a swell of nausea, I closed my eyes and breathed in and out.

It was only a dream. She’s okay.

I splashed my face again, getting water all over my hoodie and not caring. Of course they were out of paper towels, so I wiped my hands on my jeans.

I aimlessly walked the terminal, squeezing between clumps of fellow dispirited would-be passengers and their mounds of baggage. My messenger bag tugged at my neck, and I impatiently adjusted it on my shoulder. It was Saturday morning, and school was out for kids, exams were over for college, and winter vacation was here. Too bad we’d apparently be spending it at San Francisco International Airport, or for me, back in my empty dorm.

Fa la la la la.

A bank of TVs blasted CNN, and I stopped to watch the anchor with suspiciously gleaming teeth put on his serious face beneath a swoop of perfectly coiffed hair. Pulsing red letters took up half the screen, screaming: WEATHER ALERT!

“We’ve just survived snowmageddon in the east, and now it’s the West Coast’s turn! Torrential rain has hit the Pacific Northwest, extending down into Northern California. And it’s FOGmageddon for San Francisco!”

I rolled my eyes. The media’s impulse to add “-mageddon” to otherwise non-threatening words needed to be taken out back and shot, along with “gate” suffixes. Watergate was a million years ago. Get over it, people.

The smug bastard on TV actually smiled. His name was probably Chip, or perhaps Blaine. “Along with the rain, the fog in San Francisco has reduced visibility to the extent that officials are advising folks to stay home. Forget pea soup—this stuff is molasses!”

With a sigh, I trudged on. Might as well catch the AirTrain to the BART station. The thought of hauling ass—and my giant suitcase—back to a ghost town campus was seriously depressing. I reminded myself this wouldn’t be the worst Christmas I’d ever had, but it was cold comfort. The last two yuletides jointly held that title, and I prayed they would never be defeated.

I found the AirTrain sign, along with another: Rental Car Center. I stopped in my tracks, barely avoiding getting rear-ended by a luggage cart and a man who muttered a curse as he wheeled around me. I called out an apology as I stared at the sign, my pulse increasing with a hum through my veins.

Was it possible? Could I make it back in time if I drove? There was rain and fog here and snow out there, but surely in the middle I could make up some time? If I powered through on Red Bull and Twizzlers, I could do it.

Yanking out my phone, I googled the driving time from San Francisco to Norwalk, Connecticut.

43 h (2,952.6 mi) via I-80 E

It was basically straight across the country through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and finally into Connecticut. Which sounded insanely exhausting, but was totally doable. Factoring in stops for eating and a few hours of sleep in the backseat here and there, I’d get there with time to spare. I could make it home for Christmas morning.

Adrenaline zinged through me with this new plan of action, and I hurried to the AirTrain platform. The loop through the terminals to the Car Rental Center was interminable, and I drummed my fingers on the plastic handle of my suitcase until the woman crammed between me and the door gave me an understandable death glare.

I practically dove down the concourse, dragging my suitcase along. Amazingly enough, there were hardly any people at all in the rental area, and I grinned as I approached the first counter. I wouldn’t even have to wait! This was clearly an amazing plan, and perhaps even an Act of God. It was meant to be.

NO VEHICLES AVAILABLE

I blinked at the sign. Okay, next counter. My heart sank a little when I saw a sold-out sign there too. Onto the next. And the next.

And the next.

Of course there were no lines. There were no damn cars left. I kept going just in case, but each rental company I passed was out of vehicles.

As I approached the last one—one of those cheap car places stuck in the back corner—my feet dragged and my shoulders slumped. For all of fifteen minutes, I’d thought Christmas and my promise to my sister could be saved.

As I neared Expedition Car Rental, my heart skipped a beat. I peered closer, scanning the area. There was no sign. There was no sign! In a burst of excitement I raced the rest of the way, barreling into the counter. The young woman behind it jerked her head up from her computer.

“Hi! Sorry to startle you. I need a car. Do you have a car?” I forced myself to take a calming breath and read her name tag. “Sorry, Sook-Yin. I really need a car.” I smiled what I hoped was my most charming smile, because I didn’t need Sook-Yin refusing my patronage on suspicion of me being on crack or meth or huffing the nitrous oxide from whipped cream bottles.

She tilted her head and gave me a regretful closed-lip smile. “I’m so sorry. I just rented our last vehicle.”

Panic and disappointment combined to make my mouth dry and chest tight. “Please. You have to have another one. I’m begging you. I will get down on my knees. I’ll pay extra. I’ll pay whatever you want. Please. I need a car. Or truck. SUV. Minivan. Motorcycle. Anything with wheels and an engine.”

“I’m very sorry.”

I dropped my head to the counter with a dull thunk. “I can’t believe this is happening. Please let me wake up in my dorm and realize this nightmare was just my subconscious being a bag of dicks as usual.”

Sook-Yin made a sound that might have been a stifled laugh, but her tone was sympathetic. “I really am sorry. Hold on, let me check our other area locations. You might get lucky.”

Other locations! I hadn’t even thought of that. I lifted my head and watched her type, holding my breath. Please, please, please, please

She sighed and tucked her dark hair behind her ear. “Nope. But I’ll check the other companies for you.”

My lungs burned as I waited, my hands in fists to stop from drumming my fingers on the counter. The CIA should forget waterboarding—watching someone else search for information on a computer when you’re dying to know the answer is pure torture. Sook-Yin tapped, her eyes scanning the screen, and my heart pounded. There had to be one freaking car left to rent in the Bay Area. There had to be. I’d go to Oakland. Jesus, I’d bus it to Modesto if I had to. Please, please, please, please

Then she gave me the head tilt/sad smile again, and I knew it was hopeless. She didn’t have to say it. I tried to smile back. “Thanks for checking. It was really nice of you.” My brain whirled. What about Greyhound? Sure, it was the busiest travel time of the year and the buses would be loaded with people who couldn’t get flights, but maybe. “I guess I’ll try the bus.”

She winced. “I’ve heard they’re overbooked. And there was that mechanic’s strike? There aren’t enough buses, apparently.”

“I guess the trains are sold out too.”

“Do you want me to check?” Her gaze shifted to something behind me, and she smiled. “Excuse me for a second. Ah, there you are,” she said to someone. “Did you find the Starbucks?”

“Yes, thank you. I’m caffeinated and ready to hit the road.”

My whole body seized. It couldn’t be. It was not possible.

Not. Possible.

I slowly turned and…wow. Gavin Bloomberg—still as annoyingly tall and hot as ever—was actually standing there in a fitted brown leather jacket with a blue travel mug in one hand and a little rolling gray suitcase resting by his suede Pumas. He blinked at me, and after a moment his lip curled.

“Charlie?” He appeared as horrified as I felt.

Of all the car rental places in all the freaking world… I concentrated on a civil tone. After all, we were eighteen and officially adults now. “Gavin.”

“Uh…hi.” He stared at me the way he might a piece of gum after walking around on it all day and prying it free from the bottom of his shoe, with little pebbles and a bunch of shit dried into it. He ran a hand through his thick, short hair, and even under dull fluorescents I couldn’t help but notice the rich auburn highlights. His sideburns were longer than when I’d last seen him at graduation in June.

I was weirdly struck by a memory of the summer we’d met, and how almost every day we’d stretch out in the sun by the pond, and he’d close his eyes while I watched his hair dry, the whole time aching to touch.

“Do you guys know each other?” Sook-Yin asked.

I nodded. “I guess. Not really. I mean, we went to high school together.” This was definitely a nightmare, but sadly I was all too awake. Time to evacuate. “Well, I should go.”

“Wait!” Sook-Yin’s face lit up. “Are you both trying to get to the same place? Maybe you could drive together?”

My brain was so dumbfounded at Gavin’s unexpected presence that I hadn’t even processed that he’d obviously rented a vehicle. Oh. My. God. Of course he’d snagged the last car. Of course. Because he got everything he wanted.

Gavin glanced between me and Sook-Yin. “I’m going back to Norwalk.”

“Me too. But we can’t…” I waved a hand between us.

Sook-Yin’s brow creased. “But it’s the perfect solution, isn’t it? I can add another driver to the contract. I’ll even waive the extra fee. You’re already paying more since you’re under twenty-five. Obviously it’s up to you, though.”

“Uh…” Gavin stared at her with dawning horror in his brown eyes.

I shared that horror. There was no way—no effing way!—Gavin Bloomberg and I could drive to Connecticut together. It was impossible. It was unthinkable. It was the worst idea ever.

But fuck me. It was my shot.

As much as I hated it, this was my way home for Christmas. Gavin and I could split the driving and gas, and we could totally make it for the twenty-fifth with tons of time to spare.

“I can’t…it’s…” Clutching his travel mug, Gavin stared at me.

“I promised Ava I’d be home for Christmas.”

The hard edges of Gavin’s gaze softened, and he exhaled. After a long moment, he nodded. “Then I guess we’d better get going.”

“I’m so glad this worked out. What a small world. Can you give me your license?” Sook-Yin started entering my info, apparently oblivious to the tension in the air. “Wait, do you two actually live on the same street?”

Gavin and I nodded silently.

“Wow, what are the odds?” Smiling, she printed off a new contract. “Do you go to the same school out here too?”

“No. He’s at USF and I’m at Stanford,” Gavin answered.

I blinked. He knew where I went? Mom’s voice echoed in my mind.

“Hon, guess who’s going to Frisco for college too?”

“Please don’t call it Frisco.” I rolled another T-shirt and squeezed it into my pink suitcase. “And no, who?”

“Your friend Gavin! Isn’t that wonderful? I’m so glad you’ll have someone from home out there with you.”

The fact that Gavin was most certainly not my friend—and had not been my friend since Pete Stiffler’s party at the beginning of ninth grade—had been lost on my mom. In her defense, her plate had been pretty fucking full the last few years, and I’d never even hinted at a problem.

“I just need you both to sign here, and initial here, here, and here.” Sook-Yin circled spots on the contract.

Gavin picked up the pen, passing it to me when he was finished. The plastic was warm from his fingers, and my stomach danced the way it used to when Gavin was close by. I felt fourteen again and hopelessly out of my depth.

After marking my last initial, I passed the contract back to Sook-Yin, who ripped off a copy and slid it into a narrow folder. She handed Gavin a key. “Here you go. It’s in spot C-thirty-seven, but since it’s the last car left, it won’t be hard to find. It’s a Jetta, but don’t worry, I only charged you economy class. Have a safe drive, and happy holidays!”

We smiled and thanked her, and I followed Gavin to the garage. In silence, we rode the elevator down, and in the subterranean concrete maze, the only sound was the rumbling drone of our suitcase wheels and the odd car driving by. The Jetta waited, navy blue and four-doored, boxy with its sedate and practical German engineering.

A man chewing gum approached from the little Expedition office, which was more like a shack. He wore coveralls and a baseball cap. “Got the last one, huh?”

I smiled tightly. “Yep.”

We inspected the car, circling it to make sure there were no dings or scratches. Gavin signed the form, and the guy started the engine. “Tank is full, and you’re ready to go. Have a good one.” He shuffled off.

Gavin popped the trunk and eyed my pink monstrosity. “Are you moving back or something?”

“No.” I stubbornly didn’t explain further and hefted up the suitcase.

After fitting in his little gray case, Gavin closed the trunk. “I guess I’ll drive first?”

“Sure.” It was all very civil and so freaking bizarre, oh my God.

I went around to the passenger side, buckling my belt and pushing the seat back for maximum leg room. I was only five-nine compared to Gavin’s ridiculous six-one, but I still liked to stretch out. Especially since we were going to be in this car for forty-three hours—and that was with clear weather and no traffic jams. I barely resisted the urge to whimper. Just getting out of the Bay Area took forever in good conditions, let alone FOGmageddon.

After adjusting the mirrors, Gavin backed up. Neither of us spoke as he navigated the winding levels of the garage, and at the exit he stuck the provided parking ticket into the machine. The mechanical arm jerked up to let us pass, and home had never felt so incredibly far away.

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Will Charlie and Gavin be able to put the past behind them and get home for Christmas? Find out in If Only in My Dreams, available now!

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author: After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Where you can find Keira: Website || Newsletter || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads || Amazon Author Page

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The Fine Print:

*Contest Closes at 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, December 7, 2015
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Review: Valor on the Move by Keira Andrews

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Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Valor on the Move

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: Valor on the Move has it all: action, intrigue, romance, and a glimpse at the turmoil and fears surrounding coming out to the world.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

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Review: Keira Andrews’ Valor on the Move is a fast paced and tender m/m romance wrapped up in a mystery full of political intrigue. Like this author’s other works, this story is fairly flawless and the May/December trope is very well written and completely believable.

Rafael is the youngest child of the President of the United States. Having literally grown up in the public eye, and received both its admiration as well as the harsh and almost bullying personal critique that happens to every person in the spotlight, Rafa has remained aloof, exceptionally quiet, and never rocks the political boat like some of his sibling have during their father’s term in office. “Valor,” as Rafa is code named by his security detail, is also nicknamed the “mouse” and rightfully so. Years before, as he was entering college, Rafa’s father took a stand with the Republican Right, who put him in office based on his stance against marriages defined as anything other than between a man and a woman. At that time, on the cusp of coming out to his family, Rafa was devastated to realize he would have to remain closeted, at least until the term of office was up. Using his best friend, who is also a closeted lesbian, as a beard, no one suspected that he was anything other than a “normal” young man with a girlfriend.

When budget cuts predicated that the secret service detail in the White House change so that agents could be assigned to the front-runners in the upcoming election some few months hence, Shane Kendrick finally gets the assignment he had been dreaming of—guarding a family member of the President. While his true goal would be protecting the man in charge, his son would do for now, while Shane continues to move up in the ranks. Openly gay himself, it did not take long for Shane to uncover Rafa’s secret; however, agents never involve themselves in the lives of those they were sworn to protect—it would compromise their effectiveness to serve. But one late night invitation by Rafa morphs into more, and before Shane can even fully understand what is happening, his heart is more than a little interested, and Rafa is head over heels in lust with his Secret Service agent.

Let me begin this review by saying with absolute conviction that this is one of the very best May/December romance tropes I have ever read. With eighteen years dividing Shane from Rafa, and the younger man’s incredible naïveté about relationships, in general, as well as being a virgin, this story had all the potential to be sappy and false. Quite the opposite happens here under the deft and creative hand of Keira Andrews. Instead, we are given a tightly woven action adventure novel, with a tender and evolving romance on the side. Never losing sight of the fact that this is a novel full of political maneuverings and fraught with the danger one associates with being the first family in a world where kidnapping and murder are rampant, Valor On the Move manages to weave both action and romance into an incredibly entertaining story.

Rafa is so intent on just finishing his stint in the fishbowl his life has become that he never accounts for potentially falling in love with the person who has vowed to “protect and serve”. Shane is so busy evading the grief and guilt over losing his parents to a horrendous home fire that the last thing he is looking for is a romantic entanglement with someone nearly two decades his junior. And yet, fate throws these two together and the romance that develops between them is some of the finest storytelling I have ever read. Richly detailed and well researched information on how the safeguarding of the White House members happens, every facet of the inner workings of the Secret Service men and women rang true, lending this novel an air of authenticity that made it even more exciting to read.

The inner turmoil we are privy to as we watch the relationship grow dangerously intimate between Shane and Rafa was so palpable. Rafa could have come off as whiny and just too young despite his age of twenty-two, and yet the strength he has to continue his lie when all he desires is the freedom to live a life free of the closet makes him multi-dimensional and fascinating. The pain he feels over his father’s political betrayal is just heartbreaking to endure as you read how deeply it wounded him and nearly shattered their relationship.

Shane is so lonely, so horribly guilt ridden that the very weekend he was to be with his parents, he chose to pursue his career over his mother’s birthday celebration. When they are lost to a house fire that would claim their lives, Shane is devastated. He carries all that pain and remorse deep inside, so when he promises to always keep Rafa safe, the declaration rings with sincerity and makes the events that unfold in the novel even more realistic.

Valor on the Move has it all: action, intrigue, romance, and a glimpse at the turmoil and fears surrounding coming out to the world. I found this novel to be an outstanding piece of m/m fiction from beginning to end, and I highly recommend it to you.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Valor on the Move here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Keira Andrews

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Valor on the Move Blog Tour with Keira Andrews

Valor on the Move Banner

Please help us welcome author Keira Andrews today, on the Valor on the Move blog tour. Enjoy Keira’s guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-book from her BACKLIST (**Excl. Valor on the Move**)

Good luck!

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Thanks so much to The Novel Approach for having me today to talk about my new m/m contemporary romance: Valor on the Move. 

For this tale of a Secret Service agent falling for the president’s son, I did a lot of research on the Secret Service, the White House, and first families. One of the most interesting aspects of the Secret Service’s operations is the use of Belgian Malinois dogs.

These dogs are fiercely loyal and smart, and have a gentle nature. But when they’re working, watch out! They can run 30 miles per hour and take down any intruders. Malinois look similar to German shepherds, but are smaller and have shorter hair and a 270-degree field of vision—very handy when hunting down intruders on the White House lawn!

This is Jordan and Hurricane, who stopped a White House fence jumper in 2014:

Secret Service dogs

This video on how the dogs are trained is quite very interesting. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to stay on the right side of the fence next time I visit the White House! ;)

DividersPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]Blurb: He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.

Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

Read now: Amazon || All  Romance || B&N || iTunes || Kobo || Smashwords

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Read an excerpt: “Valor on the move.”

As the new agent—Shane, the walking wet dream—murmured into his wrist radio, Rafa resisted the urge to snort. He climbed into the back of the Suburban as the name echoed through his mind.

Valor.

If ever there was a codename that didn’t fit, it was his. Courage and bravery were not exactly the first, or second (or third or fourth or fifth) attributes anyone would give him. Each family being protected by the service had codenames starting with the same letter, and he wondered what other names they’d considered for him. Vegan. Vomit. Vagina.

Virgin.

Squirming in the backseat as they drove away from downtown, Rafa ran a hand over his hair and tried to banish the nervous energy jangling through him. He detested public speaking, a fact of which his mother was naturally well aware. His stomach roiled with acid. He knew she thought it was good for him to get over his fear—that it would help his future career. But in a kitchen, he wouldn’t have to give speeches. He exhaled slowly and reminded himself that either way, it would be over in an hour. Even if he blew it and made a fool of himself, it would be done.

He’d scribbled notes on old-fashioned note cards, and now he pulled them out of the pocket of his navy sport coat. He repeated the words in his head, not really hearing them. His mind ping-ponged from subject to subject, and he tapped his foot on the rubber mat as he whipped through the cards one by one. He wished Ashleigh was there to tell him to chill the fuck out, as she’d surely put it. He had to focus. Healthy kids. Community support. Leading by example.

With a sigh, he stared out the window. Shit, he was horny. Should have jerked off this morning in the shower. He watched the back of Shane’s head as the agents quietly discussed the advance security report for the park. Shane was scrolling through the document on his agent phone—black, of course—as Alan drove. They were both handsome, but Rafa wondered what it would feel like to run his hand over Shane’s nearly shaved head. Wondered if Shane had hair on his chest and powerful body.

Rafa had fantasized about hairy men—not too hairy, but not too smooth either—since about the time he’d moved into the White House. Even in high school, he’d never paid much attention to the other guys. Why look at boys when he had all those men in suits around?

As they neared the site of the future playground, Rafa forced his mind back on his speech. He scanned the fake-sounding words one last time, cringing already without even having said them. Adriana and Matthew had never had to do much of this since Christian had been so good at it. Rafa had almost made it through two terms without having to do much more than smile and wave behind his parents at events. Now he was suddenly expected to give speeches on his own? Of course he’d tried to argue with his mother, but that never got anyone anywhere, and he was no exception.

“Um, can I ask what you guys think about this?”

The agents went silent in the front of the vehicle. Alan glanced at him in the rearview. “Of course. About what in particular?”

“Oh.” Rafa’s cheeks got hot. “The speech. It’s, um…hold on.” He cleared his throat and gave his little spiel about the importance of community spaces in helping promote active lifestyles. “Does that last part sound too…I don’t know. Lame?”

“No, I think it sounds good,” Alan answered. “You’re getting the message across clearly.”

“It’s not fake sounding?”

“Of course not,” Alan said.

Shane opened his mouth to speak, and Rafa’s heart skipped. It was dumb to care more about what Shane thought because he was hot. But Shane only directed Alan to take a right turn. They quietly began discussing tactics again, and Rafa didn’t want to interrupt.

Although he was used to the agents and their constant presence, it was always weird with new people. They weren’t supposed to talk to him about anything not related to protection, and they weren’t allowed to ever comment on anything they overheard from their protectees. Naturally they heard a million conversations when they were driving his family around or flying with his father, but they were only supposed to respond if the protectee initiated the conversation. But even then, he didn’t think they would ever actually tell him what they thought if it was negative.

When he’d first started college, some of the other kids thought the agents would narc on them for underage drinking, but the Secret Service genuinely didn’t care about that. It had taken a while before his dorm mates had realized the agents weren’t there to tell Rafa what to do, or to be his parents. They only cared about keeping him safe. Stuart had helped Rafa haul Ashleigh up three flights before Christmas break when she’d had one—or five—too many spiked eggnogs, and had been so nice about it.

Rafa tried to focus on his notes, but his mind wandered. He wondered how Stuart and Joanna liked the Livingstons. He wished he could at least text them to say thanks for everything they’d done to take care of him, but of course he didn’t have their numbers. Not that anyone would try to kidnap him of all the presidential children, and he knew the agents were just doing their jobs. It didn’t mean they liked him. They weren’t friends.

He pulled out his phone, making sure his panic button that sent an alarm to his detail and Secret Service headquarters was still safely tucked in his pocket. He’d never had to use the little black rectangle yet, but his parents had drilled into him the importance of never leaving home without it. Rafa quickly typed out a message to Ashleigh, hoping he’d get a comforting response before his speech. But the message remained stubbornly delivered and not read.

Then they were arriving, and he had to put on his best smile and shake hands as the foundation director, Marissa, met him by the Suburban and shepherded him to the makeshift stage set up in the corner of the new park. Marissa was a tiny redhead with a bob cut and black rectangular glasses. She was barely thirty, but ran his mother’s foundation and handled her demands, so Rafa reflected that Marissa must be a marvel of both effectiveness and patience.

The grass was still seeding in cordoned-off areas, and young trees dotted the space. A jungle gym gleamed by swing sets and a teeter-totter. He smiled and thought of a humid August day years ago when he and Matthew had tried to break the world record and failed miserably, giving up after only an hour that had felt like ten.

When he went up to make his little speech, the gathered community applauded like they were genuinely excited to have him there, which was sweet. Of course he’d done absolutely nothing to assist with funding for the park or building it, but he smiled and waved as he took the microphone. Oh God, I’m so bad at this. Why isn’t Chris here? Why does he have to live in New York? Why couldn’t Mom do this damn speech herself? Why is this my life?

As the people waited, he blinked against the glare of the morning sun, and sweat dripped down his spine. He spotted Shane at the edge of the crowd, looking every inch the stereotypical Secret Service agent with his dark suit, ear piece, and sunglasses. Alan was likely positioned somewhere behind Rafa.

He cleared his throat, and the mic buzzed with static. “Hello. I’m Rafael Castillo, and it’s my honor to be here today to celebrate the opening of this beautiful park.” His note cards were in his pocket, and he realized he should have taken them out before he started talking. Heart pounding, he smiled awkwardly as he reached for them. “Um, I…” He fumbled the cards, spilling them at his feet.

Shoot me now. Well, not literally.

He scooped them up as a murmur went through the couple hundred people gathered. “Um, sorry. As I was saying…” He gripped the cards, which of course were now out of order. His eyes scanned the words, but nothing penetrated the buzzing in his head. “I…this park is great. Obviously.” Nervous laughter tittered from the audience. “I know you’ve all worked hard, and…to make kids healthy a park helps, because they can do things here. Health things.”

Oh my God. Abort, abort, abort!

His head spun, and his breath came short. “And I…uh…” Rafa blew out a long exhalation. “I am really bad at public speaking, but you already know that.”

Genuine laughter rang out, and when he focused on people in the crowd, they were smiling at him. Then everyone applauded encouragingly, and his tongue became a little looser. Screw it. “Um, when I arrived and I saw that awesome new playground over there, I remembered this time my brother Matthew and I tried to break the world record for teeter-tottering. Now, the world record is completely insane. Seventy-five hours.” The crowd murmured. “Yeah, crazy, huh? But Matty and I were convinced we could do it. Our dad gave us a little pep talk that morning about reaching for our dreams, and I’m sure you know he gives pretty good pep talks. I was seven, and my brother was nine, and our sister Adriana came with us to supervise—which meant texting her friends and working on her tan.”

The crowd laughed again, and Rafa barreled on. “Well, I’d love to tell you that we made a good run at the record, but we didn’t even come close. That hour felt like forever, especially since I already had to pee.” I’m talking about urination. Mom is going to kill me. But the crowd laughed harder. Bring it back to the point. Get the message out. “Even though we didn’t break a record that day, we still had fun and got active. That park near our house was like our second backyard, and I know this wonderful new space will be home to countless activities and memories for your community. Hey, maybe two of you can take a run at that teeter-totter record.”

Then Marissa was at his elbow, taking the mic with a smile. “What a great idea! How about it, kids?”

The rest of the event was a blur of more hand shaking and picture taking, with people lining up for their turn as Alan and Shane kept a close watch and asked people to take their hands out of their pockets. Rafa’s cheeks hurt from smiling, and he was just glad it was over without too much humiliation.

Usted ha crecido mucho,” a tiny gray-haired woman exclaimed as she shook his hand.

Gracias.” He smiled and nodded. She’d said something about him being bigger or taller, but the truth was that Rafa and his siblings were the whitest Hispanics ever and could barely speak a word of Spanish. His father was born in Miami to Puerto Rican immigrant parents, and his mother in Mexico before her parents moved to Chicago, so they were both fluent. But they’d been hell bent on assimilation and filing off their accents the way a criminal would a serial number on a gun. It had only ever been English at home.

His throat was dry by the time Marissa walked him back to the Suburban with Shane and Alan close by. She pressed a bottle of water into Rafa’s hand.

“Good work. You had me worried there, but you saved it. People like genuine. It worked well. Just go with it straight away next time. As long as you still get in the talking points. Okay?”

“Next time?” Rafa’s heart sank.

Marissa smiled sympathetically. “Your mother’s idea. I’ll try to convince her she still needs to be the primary spokesperson. It is her foundation, after all.”

“Thanks.” Rafa took a gulp of water.

As he suddenly smacked the concrete of the sidewalk, he registered the bang that filled the air. He choked, spitting water, the plastic bottle spinning out of his grasp as someone heavy landed on top of him, further pushing the air from his lungs. Hot breath hit the back of his neck, and Shane’s low command filled his ear. “Stay down!” His hand pressed Rafa’s head to the sidewalk, and pebbles dug into Rafa’s cheek. Adrenaline and terror roared through him. Oh my fucking God. Is this actually happening?

Shouts and a buzz of exclamations filled the air, and Rafa heard someone—Alan—call, “Clear!”

Then there were more shouts, and Shane was hauling him into the back of the Suburban, crawling on top of him as the door slammed and they zoomed away. Rafa couldn’t breathe. His head was jammed into the side door, and now there was leather beneath his cheek. His long legs were scrunched up and tangled with Shane’s, and Shane’s hand was still palming Rafa’s skull. His heart was close to exploding.

Alan was saying something, and Shane answered. But they sounded like the grownups on old Charlie Brown cartoons, their voices making noise with no discernible words. Rafa tried to speak. “Wha…” His throat was like sandpaper.

The vehicle slowed and came to a stop. The engine was still running. For a moment, no one moved or said a word.

Then Shane was gently pulling Rafa up to sitting. Their legs were still tangled, but Shane was focused on Rafa’s face, peering at him intently. “Are you all right?” He squeezed Rafa’s shoulders.

“Uh…uh-huh.” Rafa blinked. It was dark now, and he looked out the windows at what seemed to be an underground parking garage. Alan was on his phone, speaking quietly. Rafa focused on Shane, who was sitting so close to him and seemed to take up most of the room in the backseat. His eyes look like they might be blue up close, and when he sighed, his breath ghosted across Rafa’s face. Rafa’s pulse thundered.

“Backfire?” he asked.

“Huh?” Rafa blinked.

But Alan answered. “I think so. They’re on their way to the scene now to make sure.”

Then Shane was letting go of Rafa, and their legs were untangled. Shane leaned back against the seat, his cheeks puffing out. “Jesus. First day too.”

Alan shrugged in the driver’s seat. “Better safe than sorry. We followed protocol. It was a good dry run. Escape route was effective.” He turned around and smiled crookedly at Rafa. “Sorry about that, kid. Can’t be too cautious.”

“It’s okay. I…thank you. I’m glad no one was shooting at me.”

Alan chuckled. “That makes three of us.” He turned and put the vehicle in drive. “Let’s head back to Castle.”

As they returned to the White House, Rafa stared at his left palm, poking the new cuts there. He didn’t remember feeling it, but he must have scraped his hand when Shane pushed him to the sidewalk.

“Did I hurt you?”

Rafa looked up to find Shane frowning beside him. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

But Shane was sliding closer and reaching for his hand, taking it in his own. As he lightly brushed his fingertips over the scrapes, dislodging a few little pebbles, Rafa shivered. Shane’s hands were callused and thick, but he examined Rafa’s hand as if it was made of glass. As the Suburban bumped over something, their knees touched.

The adrenaline rushing through him made an abrupt left turn into arousal, and Rafa yanked his hand back. “I’m fine. Thank you.” His voice was little more than a squeak, and his face blazed. His clothes had been disheveled, and he prayed the sport coat was covering his crotch. His groin was tight, and he knew an erection wasn’t far behind. He didn’t dare look down to check.

“Sorry if I was overzealous.”

Rafa forced himself to meet Shane’s gaze with a smile. “Don’t be. I really appreciate everything you guys do. Honestly.”

Shane nodded, and then they were at the gates, and Rafa turned to look out the window. He thought of seeing his mother any minute. There was nothing better to kill a potential hard-on.

Will Shane and Rafa’s secret attraction bloom into love?

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About the Author:

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Where you can find Keira:

Website: http://www.keiraandrews.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/2Z-G5

Twitter: twitter.com/keiraandrews

Facebook: facebook.com/keira.andrews.author

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/1366040.Keira_Andrews

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/keiraandrews

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
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Giveaways, Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Kick at the Darkness Blog Tour With Keira Andrews

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Keira Andrews today on her Kick at the Darkness blog tour. Enjoy her guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of a book from her backlist.

Good luck!

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I’ve always been a huge fan of “hate to love,” the trope wherein the main characters in a romance start off as enemies, or at least not on the best of terms. There are few things more satisfying to me than seeing two people who initially don’t like each other ending up madly in love.

Of course my favorite hate-to-love relationship has to be Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. It makes me swoon every single time — especially when Colin Firth is involved! The movie version of Bridget Jones’s Diary is also high on my list for obvious reasons.

I recently read Harper Fox’s Brothers of the Wild North Sea, which was such a satisfying tale of hate to love. What’s your favorite? I’d love some suggestions!

In my new book, Kick at the Darkness, a terrifying virus is unleashed on humanity, turning normal people into killers. While not technically undead, they are zombies in spirit. My heroes, college student Parker, and the TA he can’t stand, Adam, are thrust together when life as they know it goes to hell in a handbasket…

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Blurb: To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.

College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.

But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.

A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.

When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?

Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Scribd | Smashwords

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Excerpt:  It all started falling apart in Film Noir from Bogart to Mulholland Drive.

C-minus?” Parker blinked at the grade, stark and circled in red pen on the front of his paper. His stomach churned. This had to be some kind of mistake. Another student nudged him with her elbow, giving him a look until he backed away from the professor’s desk so the others could find their assignments in the pile. Scrolling through her phone, the middle-aged professor stood by the blackboard, which stretched across the front of the lecture hall. Squaring his shoulders, Parker approached.

“Um, excuse me?”

Professor Grindle glanced up. “Yes? Did you have a question?”

Parker thrust the paper toward her, the red cursive on it a damning indictment. He lowered his voice. “I got a C-minus.”

She skimmed over the three pages. “Did you read the comments from the TA? I think there are some excellent points you can keep in mind next time. More analysis and less plot summary, for a start. There’s another assignment this month. Don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it…” She glanced at the paper. “Parker.”

Even though he knew there was no way she could remember all the names of new students, humiliation flashed through him. He’d almost been valedictorian at Westley Prep, but at Stanford he was no one.

She went on. “I’m sure Adam will be happy to help. Do you have his office hours? They’re on the front of the syllabus. He should be there this afternoon.”

“Look, I don’t…I’m a straight-A student. There must be some kind of mistake.”

The rest of the class was gone, and she scooped up the few remaining papers from the desk. “Why don’t you talk to Adam, and if you’re still unhappy, I’ll look it over for you. I’m sorry. I have to get to my next lecture.” Her shoes tap-tap-tapped as she strode out.

Parker shoved the offending assignment into his messenger bag, wishing he could burn it. Outside, he blinked at the sun and plopped down on the steps of the building, pulling out his phone. He quickly tapped out a message to Jason, his best friend at Westley.

Got a C-minus in a stupid movie class that was supposed to be easy. This is going to screw my GPA! I’m freaking out.

Jiggling his foot, he waited for Jason to reply, watching for the three little dots to appear. And waited.

And waited.

Then he sent the same message to Jessica, who’d lived three doors down from him in Cambridge their whole lives. He waited again. He was tempted to call Eric in London, but his brother would be way too busy to talk to him about a stupid little college paper, and it was probably dinner time anyway. Although Eric would likely still be at work, trading stocks with the American markets.

Parker stared at his phone as if he could will a text from one of his friends to appear. It was ridiculous. He was being ridiculous. But the wave of loneliness was undeniable, and his breath stuttered. He’d been so excited to come to Stanford and strike out on his own, but it hadn’t been at all what he’d expected.

He watched groups of people laughing and talking on the lawn. Other students rushed by him on the steps, and Parker wondered if they’d made friends. He sat there with his C-minus, and felt utterly, pathetically alone. Jesus Christ. Don’t start crying, you loser.

Jason and Jessica were busy at Penn State and NYU. Before college they’d often spent hours texting each other, and it had rarely taken more than a minute for a response. But in the month since school had started, he’d barely heard from them. Jason was rushing a frat, and Jessica seemed to have a non-stop schedule of classes and partying.

After what felt like an eternity, his phone buzzed, and Parker’s heart leapt.

Dude, you need to unclench. You’ll be fine. It’s not a big deal. School just started.

Parker sighed. Jason had never cared much for academics, much to his parents’ chagrin. He would never understand how big a deal it was that Parker had a C-minus. In a movie class he’d only taken for the allegedly easy grade.

Jason texted again:

Go get laid. There have got to be plenty of hot guys at Stanford. Later, dude.

There was no word from Jessica, and Parker tapped out a text to Jason:

Yeah, you’re right. Thx. Later.

Jason was right—he needed to get laid. Parker admittedly hadn’t really tried, but he was already overwhelmed with homework. He had no idea how his friends were going out so much when he needed to spend every spare hour studying to keep up. School had always come easily to him, but college felt like being tossed out of the wading pool and into the deep end.

Still though, he should make an effort to meet someone. Maybe he needed to check out Grindr or one of those gay hookup apps and put up his picture. Yes, that would be more productive than feeling sorry for himself. He tapped his camera to face him and ran a hand through his short hair.

It was dirty blond, not the golden color his brother had been blessed with. Parker had bleached it once at Jessica’s insistence, but he’d felt incredibly stupid, like he was trying to be in a boy band, or was a big Draco Malfoy fanboy. Either way, it wasn’t a good look. So he didn’t mind his hair, but wished his eyes were something other than ordinary brown. Jess had suggested blue contacts, but he’d put his foot down.

Parker took a selfie, forcing a smile. His wide mouth was decent—his lips could have been a little thicker, but they were nice and red without looking like he wore lipstick. A good cocksucking mouth if he did say so himself. His teeth were white and straight thanks to a small fortune in orthodontics when he was a kid, and his nose was small and inoffensive. He took a few more pics, but hesitated when he went to download Grindr in the app store.

What if no one wants to date me? Or even fuck me?

He thought he was cute enough, but what if no one else did? There were a ton of hot guys at Stanford. What if he put up his picture and there were only crickets in return? It hadn’t even happened yet, and already the promise of humiliation churned his stomach. He slipped his phone away. He’d download the app later.

Parker sighed. Ugh, he had to go deal with this bullshit grade. His throat was scratchy, and he guzzled a bottle of water on his way to the building nearby where the TA for the movie class had his office. With every step, the failure seemed to seep into him another inch, and with it mortification and a growing resentment. It wasn’t fair. He had math and statistics pre-reqs for his economics major to worry about—this dumb elective wasn’t supposed to be actual work.

I suck. I should have worked harder. What will Dad say if he finds out?

He climbed up to the office level at the top of the four-story building and scanned the nameplates beside each door. His sneakers squeaked on the floor, and it felt preternaturally quiet. At the end of the hall, Parker found the name he was looking for, written on a piece of folded paper and fitted into the nameplate slot.

Adam Hawkins: Film and Media Studies

Parker scoffed to himself. Film and Media Studies. It wasn’t like it was a real academic discipline. This Adam Hawkins was likely a pretentious douchebag who wore black turtlenecks and horn-rimmed glasses. He probably drank tea and had a minor in existential philosophy. He—

The door opened. “Oh, hello. Can I help you?”

His throat gone completely dry, Parker could only croak. “Uh…”

Adam Hawkins did not wear horn-rimmed glasses.

The jury was still out on whether he had turtlenecks in his wardrobe, but at the moment he was wearing a black leather jacket over a light blue button-up and jeans. He was a few inches taller than Parker’s own five-nine, and the leather stretched over broad shoulders. His thick black hair was short and lustrous—it freaking gleamed—and his facial hair was artfully scruffy, just the right length to make Parker wonder what it would feel like against his skin.

He watched Parker with hazel eyes that were strangely golden. “Did you need some help?”

“I’m…” Parker tried to ignore the lust humming in his veins and get it together. “C-minus.”

“You’re C-minus?”

Cheeks hot, Parker grabbed the paper from his bag and held it up, refocusing on his anger. “That’s what you gave me on my assignment, and it’s not fair.” God, he was whining, and he should leave. Cut his losses. Man up.

Adam Hawkins opened the door wider and stepped aside. He simply said, “Okay.” He sat behind his desk and glanced at the round clock on the wall. “My office hours are over, but…” There was a buzzing from his pocket, and he held up a hand to Parker as he answered his cell. “Hi, Tina. Yeah. I’ll be there soon. Okay.” He smiled. “Yeah. You too.” He hung up.

“Look, if you have to go meet your girlfriend or whatever, it’s fine,” Parker muttered.

“She’s running late, so I can stay for a few minutes. You’re obviously upset and—”

“I’m not upset!” Parker perched on the guest chair, his foot tapping restlessly. “I just think there’s been a mistake. I don’t get C-minuses. Ever.”

“You’re a freshman?” Adam reached for the paper and looked it over.

He nodded. “Economics major, but I’m pre-law.”

Adam continued reading through the assignment before handing it back. “A lot of people think film studies will be an easy elective. You’re clearly intelligent, but this paper reads as though you wrote it in fifteen minutes the morning it was due and didn’t even watch Laura.”

“I watched it!” Okay, so he watched clips on YouTube and read the Wiki synopsis. That totally counted. He got the gist. Like he was supposed to spend his time watching old movies instead of actually studying? He was already up to his eyeballs in readings. “I’m sure the professor will see that I at least deserve a B.”

Adam’s eyebrow arched. “Will she? You seem sure of yourself.”

“Well, I told you. I don’t get C-minuses. I won the state spelling bee when I was nine. I presented for our model UN at prep school and met the Secretary of State! I don’t…I’m better than this.”

“I’m sure you are. For the next assignment, do the work and put some thought into it, and your grade will reflect that.”

Parker knew he was right, but all he could see was the C- on the paper, taunting him. Third week of classes, and he was already coming up short. It felt like all his failures were symbolized by this one grade. He could just imagine what his father would say. “This is what happens when you don’t concentrate. Eric never—”

“I’m not changing it.” Adam’s declaration jolted Parker from his thought.

Pulse racing, Parker tried to keep the desperation from his voice. “My GPA has always been perfect. Except one time. But that can’t happen again. I can’t get a C-minus. You have to change it.”

“Do I?” Adam laughed. He actually laughed.

Parker felt hot all over, and knew this was all spinning out of control. He needed to cut his losses and leave with a scrap of dignity, but he couldn’t stop indignation from slamming through him. “Don’t laugh at me! Who do you think you are? This isn’t even a real academic subject.”

Adam only regarded him with a raised eyebrow. “I think I’m the TA who’s not changing your grade, no matter how much entitled crap you throw at him. So suck it up and learn something from it.”

Parker wanted to leap up and run away, but he was frozen on his chair, flushed and ashamed in the silence that followed.

Adam sighed, and his tone softened. “I bet you were valedictorian, right? Smartest kid at your school? But Stanford isn’t high school. It can be a tough transition.”

His cheeks flushed again. No, he wasn’t valedictorian. He was salutatorian—a.k.a. second place, a.k.a. loser—thanks to Greg Mason’s record-breaking perfect fucking score on the calculus final. Like always, Parker came up short, and now he had a C-minus, and he didn’t have any friends out here, and he hated himself more than he ever had. He should be able to let this go.

“You’re going to have to work hard in every class. Even if you think it’s a Mickey Mouse course. I know it can be a real shock when things don’t come easily for the first time in your life.”

Parker lashed out. “I’ve always worked hard. I am working hard! All I do is study. The important stuff, anyway. I’m going to be a lawyer. What are you going to be?”

Adam’s face was impassive. “I’m getting my MFA in documentary filmmaking.”

“You’ll probably end up working for some crappy reality show,” Parker muttered. He was being a dick, but at the moment he didn’t care enough to bite his tongue.

Pushing back his chair, Adam stood. “If that’s all, I have things to do besides get attitude from a lazy freshman who expects everything handed to him on a silver platter.”

Parker jumped to his feet. “You don’t know me.”

“I know your type. I’ve met a thousand—” he picked up the paper and read the name on the front, “Parker Osbornes in my life.”

Snatching the paper back, Parker tried to think of something to say. He blurted, “I’m dropping this stupid class.”

Adam eyed him evenly. “Okay.” Then he started scrolling through his phone. After a few moments he glanced up. “Was there something else?”

Teeth gritted, Parker spun on his heel. Mortification warred with anger as he tore the paper in half and stuffed it in a garbage can on his way out of the building. He pulled out his phone to check the time and skipped into a jog with a muttered curse. His stats lecture started in two minutes and he was never going to make it on time. It wasn’t even noon, and he was so ready to go to bed and be done with this craptacular day.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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Keira AndrewsAbout the Author: After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Where You Can Find Keira: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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4.5 Stars, Keira Andrews, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews

Title: Kick at the Darkness

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 225 Pages

At a Glance: Keira Andrews embraces the contradiction of a romance set against a backdrop of death and horror in Kick at the Darkness.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.

College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.

But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.

A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.

When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?

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Review: The Stand, I Am Legend, World War Z—I am a huge lover of almost anything post-apocalyptic. What better way to explore the nature of humanity, after all, than to create the near complete destruction of it? And what better way to illuminate the courage and strength to survive than to juxtapose that devastation with a love story?

Keira Andrews’ Kick at the Darkness is a lesson in religious zealotry and biological warfare, in which man’s inhumanity to man gives way to the dystopian landscape where Parker Osborne and Adam Hawkins eventually find themselves in this enemies-to-lovers story. In a state of emergency as the world as they know it collapses around them, Parker and Adam are thrown together in a fight to escape the creatures that’ve swarmed the Stanford University campus and, as we eventually come to discover, all corners of the country, if not the planet.

The imagery in this novel is vivid, the action punctuated by a palpable terror which is then thrown into stark contrast by moments of peace, those moments a direct effect of the growing bond between Parker and Adam as their individual desire to survive becomes the dire need for each to make sure the other remains safe. Those quiet respites don’t last long, however, as it seems there is no safe place to land that doesn’t leave them vulnerable to the predators that kill on instinct and prey on them relentlessly.

And sometimes the predators are those who are humans disguised as allies.

The secondary supernatural aspect of this story comes at the expense of Adam’s inability to be honest about who he is, that he’s a werewolf who was orphaned before he was able to learn exactly how to be one. Not to mention he’s not sure how many others there are out there like him. His insecurity in revealing his hybrid nature to Parker resolves itself not by choice but by necessity, and adds another dimension to their relationship in the trust that builds between them, and then in the blow to their tenuous bond as the uncertainty of the rabid infection they’re facing begins to take its toll.

Keira Andrews embraces the contradiction of a romance set against a backdrop of death and horror in Kick at the Darkness. The tension starts in chapter one, with Parker and Adam and their dislike of each other, and steadily escalates as the hope for survival begins to look less likely as they make their way from California to Cape Cod in search of Parker’s parents. This novel is a mix of bitter and sweet; a story of heartbreak and hope, sprinkled with moments of humor in the darkness; and the triumph of two men who fall in love in spite of, or perhaps because of, the odds against them. Their happiness comes at a terrifying cost—one of life’s greatest ironies—and the author delivers it with no shortage of passion for her characters or their story.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

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Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews

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Title: Kick at the Darkness
Author: Keira Andrews
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Release Date: May 28, 2015

Blurb: To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.

College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.

But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.

A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.

When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?

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Excerpt: He really should have gone to bed.

Instead, Parker was in an empty classroom sitting in a circle with a bunch of people who looked as if they should be smoking up and playing Hacky Sack at the Oval. He squirmed in his wooden chair, wondering if he could just get up and walk out in the middle of the lesbian’s story about her struggle to add vegan items to the cafeteria menu. He had nothing against lesbians or vegans (or lesbian vegans), but he clearly didn’t fit in with the LGBT student group. Activism wasn’t really his thing.

He’d spotted the flyer for the group meeting after his lecture, and had decided it was high time to stop feeling sorry for himself, and to try making friends. Or take Jason’s advice and maybe pick up a hot guy.

Of course the only guy he could think about was Adam Hawkins. All day, Parker had replayed their encounter in his mind, devising witty comebacks and scathing putdowns. Not that he’d ever see Adam again, thank God. First thing tomorrow, he was dropping that class. He’d pick up another elective next semester, or in the summer if he had to.

“What do you think, Parker? It’s Parker, right?” The blonde girl who’d been speaking smiled encouragingly.

Shit. “Um, I think it’s great. Sounds like a plan.”

A murmur buzzed around the circle, and a short Asian guy with a pierced eyebrow spoke up. “You think we should stage a sit-in until the school bans all meat and dairy products? Don’t you think that’s a bit extreme?”

He felt the heat of a dozen pairs of eyes on him. “Uh…it would get their attention, though. Then maybe they’d compromise?”

The blonde exclaimed, “Exactly!”

As everyone debated the merits of food-based activism, Parker eyed the cute guy sitting next to him. Reddish hair and green eyes, and a tight little body. The guy hadn’t said much of anything so far. Maybe he wasn’t digging it either? It was hard to tell. But he could be cool. He was definitely hot, at least. I won’t meet anyone if I don’t try.

Screwing up his courage, Parker leaned over and whispered, “Meat, I get, but no dairy? And no chocolate? Life isn’t worth living.”

The redhead glanced at him with an unreadable expression. “Chocolate is overrated.”

“Uh, yeah, of course.” Parker waved his hand. “I was just kidding.”

The guy smiled. Hmm. Wait, had he been kidding too? Everyone liked chocolate, right? Heart thumping, Parker whispered, “Want to grab a coffee after this? We could live dangerously and have a latte with real milk.”

Please say yes. Please say yes.

The redhead’s gaze swept up and down Parker, like a searchlight coming up empty. Parker wanted to puke as the guy pasted on a smile.

“That’s so sweet. But I’ve got a lot of studying to do after the meeting.” Then he decisively turned back to the group. “Marjorie? Can we discuss that stunt Kappa Sigma pulled on the weekend at our cruelty-free bake sale? I think we should petition the administration…”

As they discussed something involving an unholy alliance of snickerdoodles and condoms, Parker wished the scuffed tile floor would open up and swallow him whole. Sadly, the floor was apparently vegan, because Parker remained right where he was, his face burning, sure that everyone knew he’d just been shot down.

He cursed himself for thinking it was a good idea to attend this meeting in the first place. Why did he need to officially meet other gay people? Maybe he should just pledge a frat and put his cocksucking skills to good use like he had in prep school. He didn’t need a boyfriend anyway.

But I want one.

Remembered shame flooded Parker, joining the fresh humiliation of being rejected by the redhead beside him. He’d only tried to kiss Greg Mason once, and he could still feel the hard tile floor of the shower, cold and wet as he’d landed on his ass, Greg staring down at him with a curled lip. “Don’t be a little faggot.”

The fact that he was eighteen and still had never properly kissed someone was so pathetic he could barely stand it. Sitting there in the circle of LGBT students who’d probably all kissed a dozen people, he felt like he had a neon sign blinking over his head.

Loser! Loser! Loser!

But what was the point of finding a boyfriend anyway? It’s not like he could ever really bring someone home. His parents tried their best—they really did—but the whole gay thing made them so awkward and uncomfortable. Not to mention he knew their rich pals at the country club would surely not approve. Parker wondered what his father would say if he dated an anti-establishment hippie type. The mere thought made him bark out a laugh.

Heads swiveled. “Is there something you wanted to share?” The blonde asked, her smile a little strained.

Before Parker could answer, a white guy with dreads interrupted, frowning at his smartphone. “Whoa. Did you guys see this? There are some crazy riots or something in New York.”

“What are they protesting?”

“Probably not meat and dairy, Abrah.”

“Is it Occupy Wall Street? I hope so. I heard they’re trying to make a comeback.”

“Dunno. Oh wait, it’s in DC too. Probably something about police brutality?”

As the group talked over each other, checking their phones, Parker slung his messenger bag over his head and made a beeline for the door. He escaped back to the quad and grabbed a sandwich (turkey and Havarti, thank you very much) on the way to his dorm. The common room was crowded with people watching CNN, but Parker didn’t care about whatever protest or riot or whatever-the-fuck was happening. He probably should, but he had way too much reading to do, especially after wasting time at that meeting.

Embarrassment flooded him again as he thought of the dismissive way the redhead had examined him. Then a voice echoed in his head—Adam Hawkins calling him a lazy freshman. “I work hard at what matters. Ugh, he’s such an asshole,” Parker muttered as he kicked the door closed behind him.

“Who’s an asshole?”

“Jesus!” Parker’s heart skipped a beat. “Don’t do that.”

Grinning, Chris pulled a T-shirt over his shorn head. “Sorry, bro. Just came back to do some laundry.” He smelled his arm pit. “Febreze is the best invention ever.”

“I’ve barely seen you since NSO.” New student orientation had been a week of mandatory activities designed to help frosh settle in and make friends. Parker had learned his way around, but totally failed to meet anyone he connected with. Chris was nice enough, but another pang of missing JJ swelled in Parker. He cleared his throat. “How’s Michelle?”

“Spectacular. Seriously, her tits are just…” Chris raised his fingers to his mouth to kiss them. “Bellissimo. I’ve found the woman of my dreams.” He shrugged. “At least for now. Hey, her roommate’s pretty hot too. Wanna come back with me? I got some dope weed. We can hang out and play Call of Duty. I bet she’ll blow you by the end of the night.”

Parker chuckled. He could undoubtedly give Michelle’s roommate some pointers. “Nah. I’ve got a lot of reading to do. Econ test tomorrow already.” Maybe he should go hang with them, but he hadn’t had a chance to come out to Chris, and he had zero interest in weed. Sometimes Parker felt like he was eighteen going on forty-five. Partying and getting high had never really been fun for him.

“Cool. If you change your mind give me a buzz.” Chris raised his hand as he headed to the door.

Parker slapped Chris’s palm and flopped down on his bed. “Later.”

In the silence that followed, Parker found himself actually missing the near-constant thump-thump of the house music favored by the girl next door. Maybe she was watching TV in the lounge. The news channels always made such a big deal out of everything these days, and Parker didn’t see the point in getting worked up.

He stared at Chris’s empty bed. Jason had been his roommate all through high school at Westley, so it should have been nice to virtually have his own room at school for a change. It should have been freaking awesome.

But it wasn’t.

Parker pulled out his phone. No message from Jessica. He hit her number and waited while it rang, sighing as her voicemail clicked on.

“This is Jessica. Quick—leave a message before phones become completely obsolete.”

For a moment, Parker was frozen with indecision. Then he tapped the screen and ended the call. What would he say that didn’t sound ninety-nine percent pathetic?

“Okay, enough.” His voice was loud in the stillness of the room. “Time to get to work.”

After wolfing down his sandwich, he opened his textbooks. The dorm was quieter than usual, and he put his phone on airplane mode and lost himself in free trade theory. By eight o’clock his eyes drooped, and he stretched out for a power nap. He was drifting off when a girl’s piercing voice echoed in the hall.

“It’s happening in San Francisco!”

With a roll of his eyes, Parker put in his earplugs and curled toward the wall. He’d check the news later when there was actual information to report instead of just fear-mongering speculation. Let them protest corporate America or the police or whatever they were doing. He had his GPA to worry about.

§§§§

It was ten-thirty by the time Parker dragged himself out of bed. He still wore his jeans and a T-shirt, and he zipped on a dark green hoodie before stuffing his feet into his sneakers. The fifteen-minute walk across campus to the coffee shop would wake him up, and sweet caffeine would keep him going all night. He needed to do better. He needed ace this test. He would ace this test.

He popped in his earbuds and skirted around the people jammed into the dorm’s common room.

“Yo, Parker. Are you seeing this shit?” Mike from two rooms down—nice enough guy, but obsessed with sports—called out as Parker hurried by.

“Later, man. Need coffee.” Parker gave him a wave and turned on his music. They were probably watching the baseball game since the Oakland A’s were one win away from the playoffs, but he couldn’t let himself be distracted.

He’d mapped out this shortcut the first week of school after the RA had confiscated his Italian coffee maker. The night air was crisp, and Parker shoved his hands in his hoodie pockets as he navigated the nooks and crannies between buildings. He caught glimpses of the main quad, where a large number of people milled about. Probably some frat thing; all the better that he avoided it so he could get back to his books ASAP.

But he wondered what the riots or whatever had been about, and he thumbed off the airplane mode on his phone so he could Google it. As the phone reconnected, it vibrated in his palm and the screen filled with notifications. Nothing from JJ, and Parker wished he didn’t feel the stab of disappointment and hurt. It wasn’t their fault they were fitting in and making friends at college. He couldn’t expect them to have the time for him that they used to. But it still stung.

He shook it off and focused on the screen. “Seven missed calls from Mom?” he muttered to himself with a smile. “Classic.” When she got something into her head, she was a dog with a bone. As he walked, he listened to the voicemail message she’d left.

“Honey.” The recording was staticy and garbled, with some kind of background noise. Parker stopped to listen harder. He couldn’t make out the next few words. Then, “Cape house. We love you.” The message ended.

Huh. That was weird.

Why would she be calling about the Cape house? His parents went down to Chatham most weekends in September, but it was Tuesday. Parker deleted the message and started walking again. He’d call her when he got back to the dorm, or maybe wait until morning. It was after midnight on the east coast.

As he cut behind one of the science buildings, he stopped in his tracks. By a palm tree, there stood Adam Hawkins and his ludicrous cheekbones. Of course—he’d never seen the guy before today, and now he was likely doomed to run into him daily.

Adam had a motorcycle helmet in one hand, and had changed his loafers for black work boots. Wearing earbuds, he peered at the bright screen of his phone with a frown creasing his forehead.

Ugh.

Adam’s gaze shot up, his eyes hard as he removed his earbuds. “Excuse me?”

Parker realized he might have said that out loud. He paused his playlist and cleared his throat, trying to remember one of the witty comebacks he’d had a million of that afternoon. “Um, nothing.” Of course he’d think of ten more the minute he left Adam behind. Which couldn’t be too soon. In his black leather jacket and stubble, he looked ridiculous. Ridiculously hot, which wasn’t really fair since he was a film geek. A documentarian, even! Not to mention a condescending know-it-all. Parker kept walking.

“You didn’t have to complain to the dean,” Adam called after him.

Parker stopped and faced him. “Huh?”

“Are you seriously going to pretend it wasn’t you? I have to meet with Professor Grindle and the head of the department at the end of the week because a student with rich alumni parents put up a stink. She wouldn’t say who, but she didn’t need to.”

“It wasn’t me.” When Adam snorted and started walking away, Parker couldn’t stop himself from following. “Hey! It wasn’t me, asshole.”

I’m the asshole?” Adam turned, gripping his helmet. His nostrils flared. “Every year I get kids like you taking my courses. Kids who don’t care about the arts, and just want an easy grade. And now you’re messing with my future. This job is everything to me. My degree is everything.”

“First off, who says I don’t care about the arts? I like the arts just fine, thank you very much. I played viola in my school orchestra, I’ll have you know. And like I said, it wasn’t me. Whatever, dude. You’re not worth it. I have important things to do like study for my econ test.”

“Uh-huh.”

“What? What does that mean?”

“That eighteen-year-olds think they know it all.” Adam shrugged, his flash of passion concealed again behind a flat expression. “If you say it wasn’t you, I guess it wasn’t.”

Jesus, this guy was annoying. “And what are you, twenty-two? So wise.”

“Twenty-three, actually.”

“Oh, that changes everything. Whatever. I don’t have to talk to you.”

“Okay.” He shrugged again, now completely calm.

“Econ is a hell of a lot more important than watching movies.”

Adam watched him with an inscrutable gaze. Just like with the cute redhead, it felt as though he was being evaluated and found hopelessly lacking. “Okay.”

“Stop saying that! Oh my god, why am I even having his conversation?” Parker brushed by him and pressed play even though now he was going the wrong way for the coffee shop. He’d loop around, since he couldn’t turn back. “Have a nice life,” he called in his wake. If Adam replied, Parker didn’t hear it over the music in his ears.

He could not drop that class soon enough. He should have known—

A scream pierced the night, so loud he heard it over the new Macklemore song. Parker ripped out the earbuds and glanced around. He and Adam stared at each other. “Do you hear—”

“Yes,” Adam replied, his entire body tensed.

In the distance, the screaming swelled as other voices joined in. Parker’s heart thumped. “That’s a hell of a hazing ritual.”

The din increased, and more shrieks raised the hair on Parker’s arms. A girl and guy raced around the building. “What’s happening?” Parker shouted.

“They’re killing everyone!” The girl yelled, her eyes wild as she shoved past him.

More students streamed behind the buildings, and Parker watched them as his brain struggled to process what was happening. Then he was being yanked so hard he thought his shoulder might pop free of its socket. Adam propelled him forward, and yes, run. Run!

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: A Way Home by Keira Andrews

Title: A Way Home (Gay Amish Romance: Book Three)

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages

At a Glance: If you’ve been waiting for things to be wrapped up before starting the books, then it’s time to dive in!!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Will returning to their Amish roots renew their faith in each other?

Isaac and David never thought they’d go back to the Amish world. But when Isaac’s younger brother is stricken with cancer, they don’t hesitate to return. Their relationship is on the rocks after insecurity and fear drove a wedge between them in San Francisco, and David is determined to make things right. Yet if they thought navigating “English” life was confusing, being back in Zebulon is even more complicated.

Their families are desperate to bring them back into the fold, and pressure from the community builds. Isaac and David yearn for a future together, but each day it becomes harder to hide the truth about who they really are. They’re caught between two worlds, and if they’re not careful it could tear them further apart.

Can Isaac and David make their way back to each other—and find a place to call home?

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Review: “Love counts for a lot, but you need a heck of a lot of patience and grit too.”

As sad as I am to see this beautiful trilogy come to an end, I am extremely satisfied with the way Keira Andrews left things. She covered everything I hoped would be touched on, and then some. At the end of A Clean Break, the fear was whether David and Isaac would work things out after all of their miscommunications and the incident at the club; and, of course, that issue is addressed immediately. Their love is so strong, though, I never doubted they’d be more than fine. The beauty to me in this book was everything else.

As we learned at the end of the second book, Isaac and Aaron’s younger brother, Nathan, is very sick with cancer, and in the hospital. The Byler brothers rush home to Minnesota to be with him, with David and Jen soon following. One of the best storylines in the book has to do with Aaron and what it’s like for him to return to his family after leaving the church and being shunned ten years ago. What we have seen of Aaron so far has been this smart, together, confident young man, but in A Way Home, we see an entirely different side of him. Every scene with him was pure gold. His uncertainty, his anger, his heartache at being blatantly ignored – even though he knew that would be the case – was so very heartbreaking and moving. I thought he was amazing already, but my love for him exploded in this book.

All of the secondary characters, in fact, were once again amazing. June. What can be said about this woman? Unwavering loyalty, support, friendship, love, and advice. She’s fantastic. Aaron’s wife Jen continues to be completely awesome, ready to take on the Bylers and everyone in Zebulon if need be. All of the siblings and friends of Isaac and David back home in the Amish community are just so real and heartwarming. The kids’ reactions to seeing Isaac, Aaron, and David again were perfect and priceless. And, Mervin has to get a special mention also. He really turned out to be such a good egg. I love how he came around, as much as he could, anyway, and let Isaac know how much he cared about him.

The moments with both of the guys and their families were so well written – all of their feelings and reactions and motivations were absolutely authentic, and you couldn’t help but be drawn in with them. One of the most wonderfully touching scenes in the entire story was a talk that Isaac has with his mom while she is out hanging clothes on the clothesline. We learn a bit about her as a girl, and her Rumspringa, about what it means to her to be Amish, and how much it hurt to lose Aaron. It allowed Isaac to understand her a bit more, but also gave him the opportunity to gently stand up to her and to show her what a strong man he is becoming.

Of course, I want to shout from the rooftops about the climax of the story, and how perfect the ending is…but, as always, I would never give anything away. I will say this, though…there are moments that will leave you speechless, moments that will have you cheering, and there will be tears. Lots of tears, if you’re a baby like me. I dubbed chapter fourteen as “the chapter of all the cries.”

It’s no secret that I love this series. I christened it #AmishAngst because these boys bring out all your feels. If you’ve been waiting for things to be wrapped up before starting the books, then it’s time to dive in!! But, even though we’re told this is the final book, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t really the last we’ll see of them. A little birdie told me that Isaac and David have more to say. ;)






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Giveaways, Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: The A Way Home Blog Tour With Keira Andrews

A Way Home

The Novel Approach welcomes Keira Andrews on the A Way Home blog tour. Keira shares some pics, telling us who she had in mind as character inspirations while writing the books, and she’s also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of any book from her backlist, winner’s choice! (**Excl. A Way Home**)

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Good luck!

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When I read, I always imagine the story playing out like a movie in my mind. I even cast actors for the roles, and sometimes I’ll pause and imagine the layout of a room and decorate it so I can see it very clearly. This might be why I’m such a slow reader! I guess I like to see every detail.

The first book I can remember casting was Dark Angel by V.C. Andrews. The mysterious and dreamy Uncle Troy was 21 Jump Street-era Johnny Depp in my young mind. Those cheekbones! (And lord, that poufy ’80s hair!)

Johnny-Depp-21-Jumpstreet

When I write, I also cast the characters with actors. For my gay Amish trilogy, I had three specific actors in mind when I created roles. In my head, Isaac is Dylan O’Brien, from Teen Wolf and the movie The Maze Runner.

Dylan

For Isaac’s lover David, I imagined Torrance Coombs, who stars on Reign.

Torrance

I also named Isaac’s brother Aaron after actor Aaron Tveit, my favorite Broadway performer (and start of the TV show Graceland). He has the voice—and face—of an angel.

Aaron

How about you? Do you imagine actors in your head when you read? What do you think of my choices for Isaac, David and Aaron?

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00067]Blurb: Will returning to their Amish roots renew their faith in each other?

Isaac and David never thought they’d go back to the Amish world. But when Isaac’s younger brother is stricken with cancer, they don’t hesitate to return. Their relationship is on the rocks after insecurity and fear drove a wedge between them in San Francisco, and David is determined to make things right. Yet if they thought navigating “English” life was confusing, being back in Zebulon is even more complicated.

Their families are desperate to bring them back into the fold, and pressure from the community builds. Isaac and David yearn for a future together, but each day it becomes harder to hide the truth about who they really are. They’re caught between two worlds, and if they’re not careful it could tear them further apart.

Can Isaac and David make their way back to each other—and find a place to call home?

This is the final chapter in a trilogy of forbidden Amish love.

Buy Links: Amazon US | ARe | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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Excerpt: “Do I look okay?”

As Isaac glanced at Aaron, he stepped in a pile of slush that soaked straight through his sneaker. It was the end of April, but the vestiges of winter still clung to northern Minnesota, and melting snowbanks dotted the hospital parking lot. Aaron stopped and smoothed a hand down his jacket. It was a nice raincoat—the color of red wine, fitted with buttons down the front—but they both knew it didn’t matter.

Still, Isaac nodded. “You look great.”

Aaron tried to smile. “Thanks.” He pushed back a lock of blond hair that had crept over his forehead, and pushed a button to lock the doors on the salt-stained sedan he’d rented at the airport.

The truth was that Aaron could be wearing his fanciest suit, but the only way to please their parents was if he donned plain clothes again—clothes that followed the rules of the Ordnung down to the very last detail. Isaac wasn’t wearing Amish clothes either, and he realized it would be the first time his parents would see him in English jeans and a hoodie. His green raincoat was thin, and he shivered, wishing he had gloves.

Maybe he should have changed into his Amish clothes after all. Mother and Father would hate to see him like this, but he’d wanted to…what? Make a statement, he supposed. But what was he really saying? Was it brave to spit in his parents’ faces and turn his back on his heritage? Or cruel?

Isaac tugged at his sleeves and scuffed his rubber toe across the wet concrete. Driving from Minneapolis had taken longer than he’d expected, and it would be dark soon. If he asked Aaron to go back to June’s now so he could change, the nurses might not even let him see Nathan by the time they returned.

They stood by the car, breath clouding the damp, wintry air, and stared at the gray and beige concrete block that was the hospital. The glass doors of the emergency room swished open and shut as a nurse in blue scrubs came out. She lit a cigarette as she walked away from the door, joining a man in a wheelchair with a metal pole holding a plastic bag towering over him. The nurse exhaled a cloud of smoke and rubbed her arms.

“I guess we should go inside.” Aaron stared at the doors with hunched shoulders.

“Yeah.”

Neither of them moved. They’d been so desperate to get to Minnesota after the nurse had called. Mother and Father refused to come on the line, and she could only tell them so much. Nathan had cancer. He probably needed some kind of transplant. Could they be tested?

Now, standing in the slushy parking lot of the hospital under a gray slate sky, Isaac felt just as far away as he had in San Francisco. Nathan has cancer. The terror that his brother would die before Isaac could see him again had driven him here as though he were a horse kicked by a merciless rider. Not being able to speak to Nathan or their parents had been torture.

Yet now that he and Aaron had arrived, Isaac’s stomach churned. A vision of blood soaking into the fresh white snow filled his mind, and David’s voice echoed.

“I must repent or my mother will die. Everyone I love will pay for my sins. You need to stay far away from me.” 

Isaac swallowed hard over a swell of emotion. They’d come so far together, but somehow not far enough. David hadn’t answered his calls and texts about Nathan. Why hadn’t he? The ache to have David by his side burned hollowly in Isaac’s chest. Isaac had been so afraid not to come back to Minnesota straight away, and now he couldn’t face actually going inside. He itched to clutch David’s hand and feel his warm, solid strength.

“David’s coming tomorrow.”

Isaac blinked at his brother, his pulse jumping. Was I talking out loud? “What?”

Aaron held up his phone. “Jen’s taking him to the airport first thing. The redeye was booked, but he’ll be in Minneapolis by early afternoon.”

The surge of sweet relief was tempered by dark tendrils of disappointment and hurt. He wished he could scrub his brain and erase the image of David in that place. The image of Clark touching him. Kissing him. Kissing his David! Isaac’s mind whirled uselessly. “Oh.”

Aaron’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh? That’s it? Okay, tell me what happened. I know you don’t want to, but before we go in there and deal with all…that, we need to deal with this. Spill it. What did you guys fight about?”

Sighing, Isaac jammed his hands in his coat pockets. His face flushed, and he wasn’t sure if it was with anger or embarrassment. “He kissed someone else,” Isaac mumbled. He hated even saying the ugly words.

What?” Aaron’s jaw opened and closed. “Are you serious? Of course you’re serious—forget I said that. What happened?”

Isaac kept his gaze on a scattering of rock salt. “I saw them kissing at the dance club. David didn’t think I’d be there, but I got a fake ID. I was going to surprise him.” He laughed hollowly. “Didn’t turn out how I expected.”

“I… Wow. I really can’t believe this. It doesn’t seem like David at all. He’s so in love with you. I mean, when he looks at you little cartoon hearts spring out of his eyes.”

“Really? You think so?” Isaac blinked rapidly to fight impending tears, and breathed carefully. “Then why? I guess Clark has something I don’t,” he muttered.

Clark?” Isaac nodded, and Aaron pressed his lips together. “I can’t believe this. I’m going to kill him. Both of them! What did David say?”

“He said Clark kissed him like I saw, and that he tried to get away from him, but Clark followed. I saw them go into the bathroom together. David says nothing happened. ” Isaac inhaled through the wave of nausea. “But I know what people do in there.”

Aaron’s gaze narrowed. “Wait—David says nothing really happened?”

“I want to believe him, but…I can’t get it out of my head, seeing them together. It makes me so angry and…sick. Sick to my stomach. I should have known. I heard Clark say that he was going to get David into bed the first night we met him.”

Jaw clenched, Aaron shook his head. “Well, that I can certainly believe. I love Clark, but he can be a selfish ass sometimes. But David? I don’t know. He’s never struck me as a liar, Isaac.”

“But we lied to our families and everyone we knew for months. We’re still lying to them.” He jabbed his finger toward the hospital. “I’m going to go in there and lie. Because it’s bad enough I betrayed God and my community by leaving. But if they found out who I really am? It would be over for good. No visiting. No letters. Nothing.”

Aaron sighed. “Isaac, when was the last time you got a letter? The only way they’ll ever let you back in their lives is if you repent your evil, worldly ways, come home, and join the church. Whether or not they know you’re gay won’t really matter in the end. Yes, you’re right—if they find out, they’ll turn away from you. Right now you’re not shunned like I am, but you’ll never have a real relationship with them. Not unless you go back and do everything they want. Give up everything you have. Everything you are.”

It was all true, but Isaac still shook his head. “I can’t tell them the truth. They can’t ever know.”

“I’m not suggesting you should march in there and come out.” Aaron took Isaac’s shoulders gently. “Just that you should think about how far you’re willing to go to keep that shred of hope alive. How much of yourself you’re willing to give up, and for what? Maybe a letter or two a year if you’re lucky?”

“It’s better than nothing,” Isaac whispered.

Aaron smiled sadly. “Maybe. And yes, you’re right that you and David have lied about who you are, and the truth of your relationship. But don’t hold that against him now. It’s not fair. Hear him out. Has he ever lied to you before?”

“No. I don’t know. I don’t think so. How am I supposed to know?” That was what dug into him the most with sharp, angry edges—that he wasn’t sure of anything now. Had David lied to him in the past? Isaac’s heart said no, but maybe he was fooling himself?

“I know you’re hurt and angry, and you have every right to be. Just don’t make any big decisions right now. Whatever happens in the end, I support you, but don’t give up on your relationship with David without really talking with him. He’s a good person. You both are. You can work through this. I know you can.”

He nodded. Part of him wanted to tell Aaron that David had apparently been lying about drinking as well, but the words wouldn’t come. He didn’t have a clue what to think about that. About any of it. He wanted so desperately to believe David had never wanted anything to happen with Clark, but he didn’t want to be…what was the word Chris had used? A chump. It was as though Isaac’s feeling were a big pot of stew inside him, stirring and stirring and stirring. It wouldn’t be long until it all overflowed.

In his pocket, his phone buzzed. Heart in his throat, Isaac pulled it out and read the words on the screen.

I will be there soon. I love you. 

He exhaled shakily, the jagged edge of his panic dulling as warmth flowed through him. As hurt as he was, he knew David truly loved him. If that made him a chump, so be it. There was so much he wanted to say, but it would have to wait. It was better to talk in person, especially since David barely knew how to use his phone even after months.

“I guess we really should get in there.” Aaron blew out a long breath. “It’s easy to give you advice, but not so easy to take it myself. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up. They might not even look at me, let alone talk to me. God, it’s been so long. Almost ten years now. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Seeing them again, it’s…terrifying. But exciting too.”

Isaac squeezed Aaron’s arm. “I’m here. We’ll do it together.”

On the other side of the lot, a large delivery truck rumbled away, revealing a horse and covered buggy hitched to a light post. Isaac’s heart skipped a beat as he recognized old Roy right away. He thought of dear Silver, and hoped he’d see her again soon. Looking at the buggy, it hit home—Mother and Father were really inside, and so was Nathan. His little brother was in there, lying in a bed not knowing if he’d live or die, and here Isaac was worrying about himself.

Without another word, they hurried across the lot, almost in a run by the time the glass doors swooshed open to admit them to whatever might wait inside.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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Keira AndrewsAbout the Author: After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Where you can find Keira: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Keira Andrews, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Guest Post: Once Upon a Time — Reimagined Fairy Tales with Keira Andrews & Leta Blake

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When we first began writing our sexy, gay twists on classic fairy tales, we deeply offended someone on the internet, who ranted that the children’s stories we all grew up reading should remain unsullied. We thought it rather amusing that this person was crusading to retain the purity of fairy tales when the original stories and folklore could aptly be renamed:

Photo credit: monica hamburg / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: monica hamburg / Foter / CC BY-NC

Fairy tales: “outside the box” pioneers

While most of us grew up on the sanitized Disney versions of fairy tales, the originals are pretty darn brutal. For example, Snow White’s nemesis was originally her mother, but the Grimms made her a stepmother in the second edition of their tales. Apparently a jealous mom having her daughter murdered and wanting to eat the child’s internal organs was a little much even for them.

But not to worry! Whether mother or stepmother, the evil queen is punished for her transgressions by dancing herself to death in red-hot iron shoes. Now there’s a visual of vengeance that’ll undoubtedly lead to peaceful slumber for young minds.

Meanwhile, the Brothers Grimm decided to make up for slightly softening Snow White by adding a jaunty dash of dismemberment to Rumpelstiltskin. In the original, the angry imp takes his ball and goes home, simply running away never to be seen again. But let’s face it — running away is for losers. No, better that he “in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.” Sweet dreams, kids!

Let’s talk about sex, baby

In original versions of Little Red Riding Hood, our plucky heroine realizes that grandma’s big eyes are actually those of the Big, Bad Wolf, and performs a striptease to distract the wolf so she can escape. This is just one example of how surprisingly sexual early fairy tales were. In fact, the end of some early versions of the tale read as, “sweet and sound she sleeps in granny’s bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.” Bestiality and pedophilia has never sounded so romantic!

In the Rapunzel we heard as children, we don’t recall the prince knocking up our heroine with premarital sex. Forget happily ever after — more like wocka chicka bam bam! Meanwhile, in Giambattista Basile’s version of Sleeping Beauty, it’s a dashing king who comes across the titular heroine. Naturally he has sex with her while she’s unconscious (as you do), and carries on his merry casual-rapist way, having gotten her pregnant with twins. Oh, and he’s totally already married! The queen tries to serve him the babies for dinner (because cannibalism is always a welcome addition to fairy tales), but in the end she gets burned alive and the king marries Sleeping Beauty. He’s a keeper!

A gay twist on Jack and the Beanstalk

We’ve expanded and revised one of our novellas and are republishing it. Here’s a little more about Rise.

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What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold and glittering jewels with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world is turned upside down. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. But do they have the courage to let go of the past and follow their dreams?

Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.

This is a retold fairy tale with a twist. Previously published as Ascending Hearts; this version has been revised and expanded.

Buy or borrow Rise today from Amazon!

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So, you can see why we don’t really consider our reimagined erotica fairy tales to be particularly offensive to the proud legacy of fairy tales. We love using the original tales as inspiration and a jumping-off point to create new fantastical worlds and erotic romances between two men.

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Did you ever read the original, darker versions as a kid? Let us know!

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About the authors:

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for news, giveaways and more.

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Leta’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively, but her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting the romance stories that she would most like to read. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family. You can find Leta online at her websiteFacebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for news, giveaways and more.

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4.5 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Keira Andrews, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Rise by Keira Andrews and Leta Blake

Title: Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale

Author: Keira Andrews and Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 106 Pages

At a Glance: Rise is everything you’d expect a fairy tale to be: magical, mystical, romantic, and it’s well written to boot.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold and glittering jewels with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world is turned upside down. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. But do they have the courage to let go of the past and follow their dreams?

Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.

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Review: I love fairy tales, not the happily-ever-after (though that’s lovely) but the fact they’re so much more than they appear on the surface—the symbolism, the alchemy, the moral lessons they originated as—and re-imagined fairy tales, whether fractured or mostly true to their archetypes, are a time-honored favorite in fiction, particularly in romantic fiction. Authors Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have put their own personal stamp on the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk in Rise, and have not only given the tale a gay twist but an erotic one as well.

Rise is the revised and re-released version of their story Ascending Hearts, a novella I read a couple of years ago and loved enough that I happily agreed to visit it again in its latest incarnation. The story structure hasn’t changed at all; it’s still the same love-conquers-all romance, still just as heart-tugging in its telling, still just as uplifting as the healing power of love which is the heart of this tale, and though different in scope from the original, still symbolizes the rise of a poor man from his lowly state. This time, however, Jack and his “giant” become all the richer for having found the love of a lifetime.

The fracturing of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale is the necessary cog to introduce Jack and the plight he faces, being an outcast in his village. Not because he’s gay but because he’s stigmatized as the Devil’s spawn by virtue of his red hair, a canon with a long and storied history and the impetus for his being friendless, spurned by his family, used and then cast aside. Jack is rejected and dejected, and the final crack in his already burdened soul comes at the hands of his own mother’s betrayal; though it’s this betrayal which is the catalyst for Jack’s ascension, leading him to his destiny.

Meeting Rion, the greedy giant who hoards his riches while the Outsiders below starve and suffer, begins with misperceptions and mirrored prejudices between him and Jack. It’s not until they begin to question everything they’ve been told about each other, and begin listening to their hearts’ and carnal desires rather than leaning on the long-held beliefs passed in stories from generation to generation, that this fairy tale love story begins, that the authors pull out all the stops in the romance, playing on our emotions and our hopes for that aforementioned happy ending despite what seems to be poor odds.

Rise is everything you’d expect a fairy tale to be: magical, mystical, romantic, and it’s well written to boot. I was enchanted, start to finish, and it was entirely worth the revisit.






You can buy Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale here:

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: A Clean Break by Keira Andrews

Title: A Clean Break

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 266 Pages

At a Glance: I cannot tell you how hungry I am for the final book. I trust Keira Andrews to take us on another incredible ride.

Blurb: They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?

David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?

But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.

While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.

This is the second chapter in a trilogy of forbidden Amish love. This book features explicit sex and is not an inspirational/Christian novel.

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Review: I have so much love for David and Isaac, you guys. So much. When they left Zebulon at the end of A Forbidden Rumspringa, I was equal parts excited and scared for them. Both feelings are validated in Keira Andrews’ gorgeous sequel, A Clean Break. It’s a big world out there, and our guys find both triumphs and trials as they navigate the complicated waters of their new “English” life in San Francisco.

While the greatest joy for them is the freedom of being together, it’s also very tricky. It’s not easy to leave all of one’s childhood teachings, beliefs, and hang-ups behind, and David and Isaac find themselves constantly confronting their own self-doubt and fear about how being gay fits into their belief system. How can something that feels perfect and natural be wrong? How can it go against God’s will if it was God who made them the way they are?

I love the way the author handles religion – which can be a very touchy subject – in the story. Isaac’s brother Aaron has completely turned away from his faith and says he no longer believes in God, which David and Isaac can’t understand at all. Then there is Aaron’s wife, Jen, who grew up in a conservative Mormon household but has moved away from being a strict observer. She does still believe in God, though, and still goes to church on occasion. I hope that in the final book David, especially, is able to find that middle ground for himself. I can’t imagine him giving up his faith entirely, as it’s such a big part of his ideals and who he is.

Speaking of Aaron…I can’t go any further without talking about how amazing he is. He is everything. Kind. Loving. Patient. Truly the perfect brother. His help and advice are obviously invaluable to his brother and David, but more than that, his understanding of their situation and emotional strength and support are going to be what pulls them through. What he and Jen – who is also unbelievably fantastic – are doing for these guys is incredible.

There are other triumphs, including Isaac enrolling in, and loving, school, and David getting his carpentry business going. But it’s the struggles that make this book such an emotional read at times. The love is so strong and pure between these two, and we are SO invested in them at this point, watching either of them struggle is truly heart-wrenching. And David definitely has an extremely tough time. I absolutely hated to see him in so much turmoil and because he didn’t want to burden anyone, basically going through it alone.

Things are still rocky at the end of the book, and not only is there not really a solid resolution but there is even heavier drama on the horizon. I cannot tell you how hungry I am for the final book. I trust Keira Andrews to take us on another incredible ride and get us right where we need to be. I strongly believe that it’s going to be the best book of the trilogy. Is it spring yet??? I desperately need A Way Home!






You can buy A Clean Break here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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Giveaways, Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Clean Break by Keira Andrews

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The Novel Approach is pleased to have Keira Andrews with us today on the A Clean Break blog tour. Enjoy the guest post and excerpt from the book, then be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of any book from Keira’s backlist (*excl. A Clean Break*).

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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Culture shock is described asthe feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” For young Amish men David and Isaac, leaving their insular, isolated community behind and moving to San Francisco isn’t easy.

Have you ever experienced culture shock? After university I backpacked around Australia for a year, which was a wonderful experience. Probably my biggest period of culture shock came when I worked as the bartender in an outback hotel hours from anything. Here’s a picture of the town of Duchess, which is in northwest Queensland.

Duchess

Yep, that’s it. That’s the town. Duchess was a thriving outpost at the turn of the century, but for decades now only the hotel remains. The main building hosts the pub and a few small rooms, and there are portable rooms out back. For a month I lived in Duchess, serving beer, beer, and beer (and occasionally a packet of crisps, aka potato chips) to the railway workers and sheep station ringers. There was no radio or TV, and the Internet was still too new in 1998 to have made its way to Duchess.

It was an interesting experience, to say the least. The men were friendly and kind, and said stereotypically Australian things like “fair dinkum.” They invariably apologized when they swore in front of me. It was fascinating to learn about their lives, and they were patient in explaining Aussie slang to me when I couldn’t keep up. I read a lot of books in my off hours, and went for walks with my mixtapes and walkman—my only source of media entertainment.

My month in outback isolation ended when I discovered a snake in the kitchen. After a moment of frozen terror, I darted into the bar and screeched for the manly men. Fortunately the snake was dozy and coming out of hibernation, and they were able to capture it. I asked optimistically if it was a carpet snake, which is one of the few Australian snakes that won’t kill you. “Nah, that’s an Adder,” one of the railway men replied.

A Death Adder, in fact, and it’s not just a clever name—you’re toast in three minutes if bitten. And thus ended my outback adventure, as deadly snakes in the kitchen was a little too much culture shock for me! Besides, after a month with no TV, I was jonesing to get back to the world. I can’t imagine what it would be like now going out to Duchess, as I imagine the cell service is rather nonexistent! Not sure I could get by without my iPhone. How about you?

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a clean break-200-300Blurb: They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?

David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?

But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.

While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.

Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

Journey to San Francisco with Isaac and David in A Clean BreakA Clean Break is the sequel to A Forbidden Rumspringa, and David and Isaac have left their families and way of life to live with Isaac’s older brother in the city. Here’s a little excerpt of the boys in the Target change rooms trying on their new underwear. For them, it’s a whole new world!

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Excerpt: Isaac took the room on one side of the narrow hallway, and David the other. He could still hear the ever-present music, which he supposed was better than silence, since he felt incredibly self-conscious all of a sudden.

After hanging up his hoodie, David perched on the little stool in the corner and removed his sneakers. He peeled off his T-shirt and with a deep breath, stood and pulled down his jeans. The air felt cool against his cock and balls, and he was acutely aware of how many strangers there were just beyond the flimsy dressing rooms.

He grabbed the first package in the bag and ripped it open. They were briefs of different colors, and he chose the white ones. He wasn’t sure if the size was right, since they felt tight as he pulled them up. They seemed to fit around the waist, but they squished everything else together, his privates bulging against the cotton even more than the man’s in the picture.

“Isaac?” he whispered. “Have you tried any on?”

“Boxers. They feel strange. What about you?”

“Briefs. Definitely strange.”

“Show me.”

“I’m not going out there! Someone might see,” David hissed.

“Just open your door and I’ll open mine. On three. One, two—”

His pulse racing foolishly, David listened to the creak of Isaac’s door and edged his open. Sure enough, he could see right into Isaac’s dressing room. Isaac stood in nothing but the little shorts, which were decorated in squares of greens and blues.

Isaac’s gaze raked over David, and he swallowed hard. “You look…”

“Silly?” David peered over his shoulder into the mirror. He could see the faint shadow of the crease in his backside through the cotton. “They’re so tight! I know this is the way they’re supposed to be, but…”

“You need to buy those.”

“Huh? Aaron already bought them.”

Isaac shook his head. “Right. I forgot.” He peeked down the hallway before adding, “You look really, really good.”

“Oh.” David flushed as he looked down at himself. “You think so?”

Isaac nodded vigorously. “You look like the man in the picture.”

Even though he was standing there practically naked—and practically in public, even though no one could see—confidence surged through David. “You should try them too. The boxers look good, but…” He could imagine how the tight cotton would hug Isaac’s lean hips, and—

As the man at the counter began speaking, they both jumped and slammed their doors. David leaned against it, heart thumping. He stared into the mirror, suddenly feeling unbearably exposed and wrong. 

Aaron’s voice echoed from down the hallway. “Hey, man. My brother and his boyfriend are in there. They’re new around here and need clothes, so we’ll be here for a while. I practically filled the cart, so we’ll start with the jeans.”

As the man replied, David took a deep breath and blew it out. Boyfriend. Aaron had said it to a stranger like it was nothing at all. David couldn’t imagine what it would be like if he and Isaac didn’t have Aaron to help them. He’d thought he was so very worldly taking June’s truck to the drive-in and wearing jeans. Reading a dirty gay magazine from the gas station. What a joke—he barely knew anything.

Then Aaron’s voice was right outside the door. “You can only take eight items in at once, so I picked stuff for each of you. We’ll start with the pants.” He placed a few over the dressing room door. “I’ll sit out here and wait for the fashion show. David, I went a size smaller than the jeans you already have. And there are skinny leg, boot cut, dark wash—actually, never mind that. Just try ’em on and see what you like.”

David could barely get his feet through the bottom of the legs, so he hoped they were the skinny ones, as he couldn’t imagine anything skinnier. The dark denim hugged his thighs, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to bend over. There were two mirrors in the stall, and he looked at himself from all the angles.

The shame evaporated, and energy pulsed through him as if the music in the air was singing inside him. It was frightening, but exhilarating. With his bare chest and the jeans clinging to his body, he could almost be an English rock star, or someone in a movie. He’d never looked so different in his life. So very not Amish. He ran his hand down his chest and belly, and then lightly over his fly. He still wore the briefs, and he tingled.

“How’s it going, David?” Aaron asked.

With a deep breath, David opened the door. He grinned. “Not bad.”

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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Keira AndrewsAbout the Author: After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Where you can find Keira: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, J.A. Rock, J.E. Birk, Jess Buffet, Keira Andrews, Liam Livings, Lisa Henry, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Sue Brown, Z. Allora, Z.A. Maxfield

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak PeekHappy Sunday, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week. We’re starting off February in a great way, with more guest authors, great posts, outstanding giveaways, and, of course, more reviews to share with all of you.

Now here’s a look at what’s up in the week ahead.

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MondaySue Brown is first up, helping us kick off the week on the The Next Call blog tour

Liam Livings is also helping us start the week off right on the Escaping from Him blog tour

TuesdayRhys Ford’s Black Dog Blues blog tour makes us a stop today, and I hear there be dragons

WednesdayKeira Andrews joins us today on the A Clean Break blog tour

J.E. Birk is also with us to do a little release day celebrating of the new Dreamspinner Press novella Depending on You

Thursday RJ Scott drops in today for a visit on The Bucket List blog tour

Z. Allora also joins us today with a guest post and giveaway on the Transgender Romance blog tour

FridayJess Buffet makes TNA a stop on the Always Been You blog tour

The writing team of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock also stop by on their Merchant of Death blog tour

Saturday – And finally, Z.A. Maxfield closes out the week on the Deep Desire blog tour

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That does it for this week, folks. Until next Sunday, happy reading!

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Janet, Self-Published

Review: Holding the Edge by Keira Andrews

Title: Holding the Edge

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 88 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Gay figure skaters keep their relationship secret–and end up on thin ice.

Misha Reznikov has an Olympic gold—and a secret lover who just happens to be the silver medalist. Now that their competitive days are over, Misha and former rival Dev Avira are setting up house in LA and giving their relationship a shot in the real world. They agree that keeping their romance strictly under wraps is best for their pro careers and Misha’s family back in Russia. So what if Dev hasn’t told his parents, and they never eat out for fear of being spotted? It’s not perfect, but they’re together.

But as they prepare for a special holiday skating show on Christmas Eve in Dev’s hometown, tension builds. How long can Misha and Dev keep their love secret–and what happens if one of them wants to stop hiding?

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Review: What a wonderful book. Holding the Edge is the continuation of Cold War, where we met Dev and Misha and watched them fall in lust. Misha’s voice tells the story as they step away from competition and the international spotlight, and begin to build a life together – quietly.

” We may not be competing anymore, but we are still in the skating world. There are rules, even if they are not written down.”

This conflict between who and what they are, and where they want to be, is the driving force of the story. As Dev and Misha get closer emotionally, the heat of their physical relationship is very powerful. It’s sexy and good, and binds them closer together to a point it is hard to hide their ‘coupleness’.

Keira Andrews takes the time to develop the characters secondary to the MCs, adding layers and depth to the story, giving it a richness that adds to the impact of the story upon the reader. I was drawn into their world and was invested in their hope for the future. I have never skated and have only been in a rink once, but I could clearly see their world and be a part of it. I fretted and worried about them, I hurt for them, and I was angered by the politics that pressured them to remain hidden, as too did their own fears. Keira is very successful at writing from Misha’s POV. There are wonderful Russian flavors that scent the story, leading to the holidays and the touching conclusion.

This is a powerful and timely story, with many overtones – but the strongest feeling I had was excitement. I was glad to be a part of the story and had to immediately reread the whole book to see if it really was as good as I thought. It was great to see the lust from Cold War develop into love in Holding The Edge….I think I have another favorite Christmas story too. Keira Andrews has just become an auto-buy for me.








You can buy Holding the Edge here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

Photo booth sailors

My new novel Semper Fi is about Marines who go from friends to lovers after WWII. Interestingly enough, the vintage photos I’ve found of gay servicemen from the first half of the 20th century have all been sailors. (Hmm, I guess the Village People were onto something!) Here are a few of the shots that made me swoon (and one that made me blush!) Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Derrick Knight, Heidi Cullinan, J.A. Rock, Jay Northcote, Jordan L. Hawk, Joseph Lance Tonlet, Keira Andrews, L.B. Gregg, Lisa Henry, Meredith Shayne, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Susan Mac Nicol

A Sneak Peek and An Uber-Unscientific Poll

TNA BadgeGreetings, everyone, and welcome back to a look at what we’ve got coming up in the week ahead, but first I’d love your feedback.

You may have missed it, but earlier this week I wrote a blog post about ratings. For two days, the review team here at TNA and I had long conversations about assigning numerical ratings to our reviews and, as Rena so deftly stated it, quantifying the unquantifiable. If you’ve seen the post, you know by now that I loathe ratings with every fiber of my being because it’s often little more than giving a number to something as intangible as the feelings we have for a book. Trust me when I tell you there are times it’s more difficult to come up with the number than it is to write the review, and, let’s face it, in the end it’s the words that matter with books, regardless of which side of them we land on—author or reader/reviewer.

So, what I’m asking of you today is to take a brief moment of your time, both readers and authors, please, to weigh in on my desire to do away with the numerical rating system here at The Novel Approach, and to simply allow our reviews to speak for themselves. In order to continue recognizing those books that we want to designate as standouts, however, they would be awarded the designation “A TNA Page Turner” (thank you for that, Taz!), because when we really love a book we do feel it should be offered a little special affection. :) I also welcome your comments on the subject below.

Many thanks and warm regards!

Now, here’s what’s up in the week ahead.

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MondaySusan Mac Nicol kicks off our week on the Love you Senseless blog tour, with a giveaway

Joseph Lance Tonlet also drops by today to talk a bit about his debut novel Grif’s Toy, and to give one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of the book

TuesdayL.B. Gregg was kind enough to take the time out of her writing schedule to answer a fiew questions for me on her There’s Something About Ari blog tour, and there’s a giveaway

Bottom Drawer Publications presents Meredith Shayne and the Cutting Out blog tour and giveaway

WednesdayJordan L. Hawk is here with an exclusive cover reveal her Brand New Series

Jay Northcote also joins us on the Nothing Series blog tour, with an interview and giveaway

ThursdayKeira Andrews is our guest today with a guest post and giveaway on the Semper Fi blog tour

Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock also stop by with an interview and giveaway on their Brandon Mills Versus the V-card blog tour

Friday – The holidays come early to The Novel Approach with Heidi Cullinan and the Sleigh Ride blog tour and giveaway

Then Derrick Knight joins us on the Miracle on Mistletoe Lane tour with a guest post and giveaway

SaturdaySandrine Gasq-Dion’s Strange Addiction blog tour makes a stop here with a giveaway

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And that does it for the week ahead. Thanks for being here and, as always, happy reading!

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4.5 Stars, Historical Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

Title: Semper Fi

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend. Continue reading

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Cover Reveal, Keira Andrews, Loose Id

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Holding the Edge by Keira Andrews

KA_holding the edge_coverin

I’m so delighted to share the cover for my new holiday novella Holding the Edge. Thanks to Dar Albert for the wonderful artwork. Holding the Edge is the sequel to Cold War, my figure skating romance from earlier this year. Dev and Misha are back and trying to make their secret relationship work in the real world.

This book is from Misha’s POV, which was really fun to write. I love diving into a character’s head, especially so we can see the other MC through his eyes. Here’s an excerpt.
Continue reading

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Keira Andrews, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: A Forbidden Rumspringa (Gay Amish Romance) by Keira Andrews

keiraandrews-banner

When I mentioned to a friend months ago that I was writing a romance between two Amish men, she was interested—but wrinkled up her nose a bit and said, “Those beards just aren’t attractive to me.” I have to agree, which is one reason Isaac and David, the young lovers of A Forbidden Rumspringa, haven’t joined the church yet. Amish men typically don’t wear a beard until they make the official choice to be baptized and live the Amish life.

Aside from the glut of largely faked Amish “reality” shows on TV, Hollywood hasn’t depicted the Amish very often. But I did some research, and without further ado I present the five hottest Hollywood Amish men. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Ashe Barker, Ashlyn Kane, Bey Deckard, Cardeno C., Charlie Cochet, Cover Reveal, D.H. Starr, GayRomLit, Hayden Thorne, JC Wallace, K.A. Merikan, Keira Andrews, Morgan James, Rebecca Cohen, Rhys Ford, T.M. Smith, T.T. Kove

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to anyone who’s popped in today to see what we’ve got in store for the week ahead!

If you missed my announcement on RJ Scott’s blog about the Virtual Gift Basket Giveaways we’ve got coming up at the end of the month and into the first week of October, I’ll repeat the news here because, well, it bears repeating. We’ll be doing a giveaway of SIX baskets, courtesy of Team TNA’s GayRomLit featured and supporting authors. Each basket will include $25 in E-Gift Cards to various retailers, as well as E-books from the following participating authors: Jordan L. Hawk, Erica Pike, Zathyn Priest, DH Starr, Rhys Ford, Sophie Bonaste, Ethan Day, JK Hogan, Rafe Haze, LE Franks, Edmond Manning, Jacob Z. Flores, Jamie Lynn Miller, Lex Chase, RJ Scott, Sherrie Henry, Katey Hawthorne, Charlie Cochet, Deanna Wadsworth, and a late but very welcome addition to the giveaway, Z.A. Maxfield.

That’s a lot of titles and a lot of gift cards to give away, and I’m so excited to get the party started in just a few weeks’ time!

But for now, here’s what’s happening this week. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, New Adult, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Two Men Risk Everything For Love In Keira Andrews’ “A Forbidden Rumspringa”

Title: A Forbidden Rumspringa (Gay Amish Romance: Book One)

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 231 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name. Continue reading

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Keira Andrews, Loose Id

It’s Hot Off The Ice In Keira Andrews’ “Cold War”


“If you’re not gonna go all the way, why go at all?” ― Joe Namath


Title: Cold War

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Loose-Id

Pages/Word Count: 100 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most surprising and intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira needs to refocus. He’s worked for years to win Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Distraction in the form of steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life.
Continue reading

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Keira Andrews, Loose Id

Figure Skating Romance – A Guest Post And Giveaway From Keira Andrews



I’m not going to lie — one of the things I love most about figure skating is watching the pretty people in sequins go out there and do amazing things on the ice. The pretty men in particular. :-D I’ve had plenty of crushes over the years, but here are my pics for the top five hottest guys who will be taking the ice in Sochi (in no particular order).

Daisuke Takahashi – Japan, singles
Daisuke (pronounced “dice-kay”) is a rock star in Japan, and extremely popular the world over with skating fans (and cats).


Maxim Trankov – Russia, pairs
While Maxim has an unfortunate propensity for bad hair of late, his hotness cannot be denied. (Especially in tight leather pants!) He and partner Tatiana Volosozhar are strongly rumoured to be a pair off the ice as well. That is one hot couple!










Andrew Poje – Canada, ice dance
Andrew and his partner Kaitlyn Weaver are definitely a couple off the ice as well. And a very attractive couple they are!


Brian Joubert – France, singles
Bound for retirement after this season, this will be our last chance to appreciate Brian’s pretty face and spectacular ass…ets.


Robin Szolkowy – Germany, pairs
Robin’s hotness cannot even be dimmed by a neon bodysuit! He and partner Aliona Savchenko have always been quirky — and undeniably sexy.












Rivals on the ice — lovers in the locker room

In Cold War, my new m/m figure skating romance, American pairs skater Dev can’t stand Mikhail, his arrogant Russian rival. Although Dev is loathe to admit it, deep down he’s uncomfortably attracted to Mikhail. But after he lets his frustration with another second place finish get the better of him, hate explodes into passion.

After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most surprising and intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira needs to refocus. He’s worked for years to win Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Distraction in the form of steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life.

But with the Games only days away, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be on the line. Can Dev put his deepening feelings on ice as he goes for gold?

Available from: Loose Id, Amazon and All Romance eBooks

An excerpt from Cold War

After dinner in the buzzing dining hall, Dev left Bailey—still gossiping, and he had to admit he’d really enjoyed the story about the dressing room diva throwdown after one of the Canadian women cut the other off just before a jump in practice. He returned to the apartment block, and as he walked into the lobby, his heart skipped a beat.

Looking long and lean and utterly fuckable in jeans and a Henley, Misha leaned against the wall near a seating area, tapping at his phone. He glanced up as the door closed behind Dev with a soft thud. When he met Misha’s hungry gaze, Dev’s pulse rocketed. He stopped in his tracks. Should he go over? Should he run to the elevators? Should I slap myself because I’m acting like a teenage girl?

Without a word, Misha turned and headed for the two elevators on the far side of the lobby. He pressed the button.

Dev’s feet moved, and a moment later he stood next to Misha, watching the numbers tick down as one of the elevators neared. There was a foot between them, but Dev could feel an electric heat skittering over his skin. A few other people fell in behind them as they boarded the elevator.

When Dev moved to press the button for his floor, Misha caught his wrist before Dev could raise it. His touch burned, and Dev glanced at him, but his face was impassive. Keeping his gaze forward, Misha raised his other hand and slowly, with purpose, pressed the button for his floor.

Dev’s breath stuttered.

Get off on my floor. Press the button now before it’s too late. Press it. Press it!

Dev watched his floor go by without any regret. Anticipation roared through his body and his heart pounded as he followed Misha off the elevator and down the hall. He held his breath, hoping they wouldn’t run into anyone who knew them. Misha’s teammates were all likely housed nearby, and if they saw them—

But they didn’t, and a moment later they were inside Misha’s room with the door closed. It was identical to Dev’s, but on the opposite side of the building. Dev leaned back against the door. It was dark in the room, but the blind was up, and moonlight cast them in a silvery glow. Misha stood by the far bed near the window, watching Dev silently.

“Your roommate…”

“Gone to dinner with his girlfriend. Spending the night at her hotel.”

“Oh.” Dev was breathing shallowly. “Okay.”

Misha peeled off the Henley and popped the button on his jeans. “Okay,” he repeated.

Dev wanted to lick Misha’s dark nipples and run his hands across his broad chest, down to his cut abs and lower. There was nothing left to say. Pulse thundering, he closed the distance between them and took Misha’s head in his hands. He traced Misha’s lips with his thumb, and Misha opened his mouth and sucked it in slowly.

They kissed deliberately, exploring each other’s mouths, hands roaming until the need was too much and Dev had to be naked. Evidently Misha felt the same, and he tore at Dev’s shirt and ripped it over his head before rubbing their chests together.

Both moaning, they stripped off the rest of their clothes in a fevered rush, kissing and touching and grinding against each other like dogs in heat. Dev was going to get off soon just like that, standing there by the bed, but then Misha broke free and snatched a small bottle of lube off the bedside table. A box of condoms sat there as well, and Dev realized Misha had prepared for this—had waited in the lobby and enticed Dev back to his room.

Dev’s stomach clenched. He wasn’t sure how to feel. Angry? Flattered? Was this all a game? Was he being played? He searched Misha’s gaze and found only heat and longing there, open desire in his parted lips as Misha slicked his long fingers and climbed on the bed.

As Misha moved onto his hands and knees, Dev stared, mesmerized. The lean muscles in Misha’s back and arms gleamed in the moonlight, his thighs flexing as he reached back with his right hand to spread his round ass. His hole exposed, he started fucking himself, a breathy moan escaping his lips. He looked over his shoulder to where Dev stood, frozen.

If this was a game, Dev couldn’t do anything but play.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

Can Dev and Misha put their searing attraction on ice as they go for gold? Find out today at Loose Id, Amazon and All Romance eBooks.

Bio:

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy and paranormal fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Jayson James, Jena Wade, JL Merrow, Keira Andrews, Nikka Michaels, Sid Love, Sneak Peek, Stevie Gonzalez

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week



Welcome back, everyone, I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. We’ve got lots of great guests, giveaways, and reviews coming up in the week ahead and hope you’ll all stop in to see what each of our special guests has in store.

Here’s what’s on deck in the week ahead!

MondayJL Merrow drops in today on Riptide Publishing’s It’s All Geek to Me Blog Tour, and there’ll be a giveaway, too.

TuesdayJena Wade is here to talk a little bit about her new book Lumber & Law, and she’ll be giving away an e-copy of the book.

WednesdayKeira Andrews skates through on her Cold War Blog Tour to talk about the sport of figure skating, as well as offering a giveaway of the e-book.

ThursdayStevie Gonzalez stops in with exclusive excerpts from his series The Adventures of Astropilots Stern and Moreno, and he’s also offering an e-book giveaway of the first book, Framed on Titan.

FridaySid Love isn’t only a blog owner, but he’s also a published author now, and he’ll be our guest at TNA today to promote his Valentine’s Day romance, Holding on to Hope.

SaturdayNikka Michaels is back to promote her new release Room Service, so stay tuned for her visit.

SundayJayson James rounds out the week with a guest post about his newest book Drifting, and he’s also giving away an e-copy of the book.

Until next week, happy reading!

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