4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, J.D. Walker, Reviewed by Lana, Short Story

Review: Romancing the Bouncer by J.D. Walker

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Title: Romancing the Bouncer

Author: J.D. Walker

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13k Words

At a Glance: I really enjoyed Romancing the Bouncer but would have liked it to be just a bit longer.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Bennett “Ben” Pachowski has been a bouncer at Throwbacks for years. He likes his job, though he gets tired of being thought of as more brawn than brain simply because of his size. He also prefers to be romanced before sleeping with a man.

Ben’s favorite band, Rebel’s Ultimatum, occasionally plays at the club, which gives him an eyeful of the sexy bass player, Monty Mabuse. They’ve been eyeing each other for months, though Ben is content to flirt and nothing more, since “commitment” seems a foreign concept to the selfish, arrogant and flirtatious bass player.

But Monty wants Ben to become the next notch on his bedpost, and a devious trick to get what he wants blows up in his face.

Will Ben be able to forgive Monty for his deception? Perhaps, but if Monty wants to have a relationship with Ben, he needs to make some changes, and it remains to be seen whether he can become the kind of man Ben will respect, let alone love.

Sometimes, a little romance goes a long way…

Dividers

Review: Romancing the Bouncer is a short and sweet romance that’s long on the sweet and very short on content, or rather, length. But, as they say, size doesn’t always matter; it’s how you use it. Well, the author used a small amount of space to create two characters that I really liked and felt for but wanted to see more of.

The story centers on Ben, a tough but sweet bouncer who’s looking for his forever man. Because of the way he looks and what he does for a living, people make assumptions about him, and they are always wrong. He’s a thinker and likes to read to the elderly at an assisted living home. And then, you have your typical sexy musician, Monty, who’s looking for his next hookup and sets his sites on Ben. Both are attracted to each other, and Monty gets the upper hand through some subterfuge. Ben’s not so thrilled and basically dumps Monty without even dating him. It was cute how Ben wanted something more meaningful, and Monty just wanted to get in his pants. After some time apart, and then a reconnection, Ben and Monty developed an actual relationship and it was very believable. Both characters for me felt like real people and not a caricature. Both evolved and grew, and I really enjoyed their progress.

And, I really enjoyed Romancing the Bouncer but would have liked it to be just a bit longer, something to get my teeth into. It’s sweet, sexy and just right for a very small snack.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, DJ Manly, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: On Bryson by DJ Manly

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Title: On Bryson

Author: DJ Manly

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 39k Words

At a Glance: On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A few years ago, Soren became involved with the wrong man, and all he wanted to do was get away from a life connected to the mob. But now, here he is yet again, right back in that world, running a nightclub called The Sand Dune for the Gambini crime family. Never does he expect to meet the love of his life there, let alone that the man who comes into his nightclub is a cop on a rampage trying to discover who shot his cousin.

But now that Sergeant Bryson Accurso’s at The Sand Dune investigating, Soren’s been given orders to “be on him” at all times. And after one look at the sexy lawman, Soren immediately realizes his orders will be far too easy for him to follow…and he intends to follow those instructions to the letter.

Dividers

Review: Sgt. Bryson Accurso is like a dog with a bone. He just can’t leave Sidney Gambini, drug lord, alone. His cousin Rickie was shot at his place of business, owned by Gambini’s godson, and Bryson is sure Sidney Gambini’s behind a lot of the events going on. Even though the shooter has been caught, Bryson finds it all suspicious and takes time off to strike out on his own to solve the crime. Bryson is very dedicated to his Italian/Irish family. With the loss of his mother, he has close ties with his father, Aunt and Uncle, and I loved the caring and rhetoric between Bryson and his father, who thinks everything is unnatural.

Soren’s character is sort of sad in a way. He came from a strict family environment, and was kicked out by his father at a young age. Soren was swept off his feet by Marco Gambini, which became yet another downfall for Soren. Soren is hot on Bryson’s heels, at Sidney Gambini’s orders. But Soren is hiding a secret from both Gambini and Bryson.

Bryson and Soren are just the best characters, they seemed destined to be a couple, though there are some snags along the way that kept them apart. I really liked Bryson’s character. DJ Manly gave him a really fun sense of humor.

On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story, with a touch of humor. For being a short story, it had a good plot and enough going on to hold my interest.

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2 Stars, Amber Allure, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Sean Michael

Review: His Very Own Vampire by Sean Michael

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Title: His Very Own Vampire

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: This story had so much promise, but just didn’t deliver.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Vampire Truelock’s job for the last several hundred years has been protecting the President of Archer Industries, a family-run company that has done very well for itself. Since the current patriarch, Desmond Archer, is getting ready to officially retire from the company that more or less runs itself, he sends True on a mission to protect his estranged grandson Lane.

Lane’s mother stopped speaking to her father Desmond when Lane was only a few years old and has told her son that his grandparents are all dead. He has no idea that he’s even an heir to a fortune. So when a handsome stranger steps in and saves him from bodily harm just when he needs it, he’s both grateful and a little suspicious. That suspicion only grows when bad things continue to happen to him, all seeming to stem from True’s arrival and his claim that he’s been sent by Lane’s grandfather to protect him.

The fact that there’s insane chemistry between Lane and True doesn’t help either of them untangle the mystery regarding the danger’s source. Can they find the answers before Lane’s unknown enemies manage to do him permanent damage?

Dividers

Review: I am only going to give a short review of His Very Own Vampire because if I write much more, my review would be longer than the book.

This novella had so much promise, it could have been good, but the characters were stiff and poorly written.  Truelock is a vampire who has served the Archer family for over two-hundred-fifty years. Now, Desmond Archer is dying and wants True to find his estranged grandson and bring him home. Lane’s mother ran from her family at a young age and brought her son up thinking that he had no family but her.  When True arrives, claiming he is working for Lane’s grandfather, Lane is confused and wants nothing to do with him. Outside influences fling these two together, as True must protect Lane from family members who want him dead in order to claim Lane’s share of the Archer fortune.

See? So much promise. I wish that Sean Michael had spent more time on this story and really made a novel out of it, as the characters in and of themselves are rather interesting, and the plot is plausible. There are just too many unbelievable leaps and not enough development of characters or storyline for this to be a Sean Michael success.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Reviewed by Taz, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Vivien Dean

Review: Savage Estate by Vivien Dean

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Title: Savage Estate

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count:  272 Pages

At a Glance: I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: For his twenty-fifth birthday, Alec Savage gets the gift of a lifetime—the chance to meet his father for the very first time. What he finds upon his arrival in Washington, DC, however, is a smashed window, an empty house, and a scrawled note with only his name and a phone number on it. Panicked, he dials the number and talks to an uncle he never knew he had, one who insists Alec is in danger if he stays in the house. That’s when everything starts to get really weird.

Within minutes, he’s teleported all the way to nowhere Montana, in the company of the most gorgeous guy he’s ever seen, hearing about how he’s the latest mage in the Savage line. Alec doesn’t want to believe Rowan Bouchard, but it’s hard to argue with the reality of his new snowbound location or the confirmation from the uncle who greets him. He even thinks staying on the estate while they hunt for his father won’t be so bad if he has Rowan as eye candy.

Except Rowan is more than that. He’s a shifter, the most beautiful black panther Alec could imagine. And according to his Uncle Martin, he’s now Alec’s familiar, too…

Dividers

Review: Savage Estate has so many of the things I love: familiars, mages, magic, action. One character discovering he likes guys. All-in-all, a very satisfying read. For the most part, this story follows timid Alec, someone who’s kind of lost until he meets Rowan, right at a crucial turning point in his life. He’s about to come into his powers and, therefore, come under direct threat by those who would rid the world of mages. Rowan, a stoic and dutiful man, arrives on scene to save belligerent Alex, and the story rolls on from there.

Alec and Rowan start a little like oil and water, but feelings quickly develop. While Rowan is supposedly “straight,” or at least had been up until he met Rowan, the instant bonding of mage and familiar unlocked something in him that he’d not known existed. Once the plotline began to unfold, the story took wings. Dirty politics, not knowing who to trust, estranged father reconnected with abandoned son.

While the book was an enjoyable read, and I became more and more engrossed in the story as it unfolded, there were still certain aspects of the storyline which seemed a bit too convenient for my tastes. Primarily it seemed a bit of a cop-out to have Rowan become gay once he connected with Alec. People don’t become gay, they either are or aren’t…or they’re bisexual or asexual, or some other combination of the many identifications out there. I would have preferred that Rowan had discovered his true nature as a gay man, even if his attraction was only, and would always be, for one man. Also, I wish a bigger deal had been made of Alec coming into his powers. The fact he was about to receive his powers at the onset of the book created the conflict necessary for the plot to move forward, and we do get a taste of his powers, but in the end, his magic isn’t what brings us to the climax and ending.

With all that said, I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann, Sean Michael

Review: A Cowboy Out of Texas by Sean Michael

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Title: A Cowboy Out of Texas

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13000 Words

At a GlanceA Cowboy Out of Texas is a sweet, heartwarming little story, well written and keeps you interested in its characters.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Sam Hawker’s fall off a bucking bronc at an event in Canada has left him both physically broken and financially broke and in a hospital with his leg in traction. Between worrying about how he’ll pay his medical bills and not being able to move, he’s going more than a little stir crazy.

Easy on the eyes, Pat Bouchard is the nurse assigned to Sam for his stay at the hospital, and the two men get to know each other as Pat cares for and entertains Sam. They grow even closer when Pat offers Sam a place to stay while he recovers.

What are they going to do when Sam’s all better and doesn’t have a reason to stay in Canada any longer?

Dividers

Review: Poor Sam Hawker. I think you’ll find Sam to be a really nice guy…who worries constantly about getting better. Sam is a rough and tough rodeo cowboy, but all he’s riding at the moment is a hospital bed. With a broken leg, Sam’s hurting, restless and worried, and then he spies that cute little nurse, Pat.

Pat Bouchard is such a wonderful, nurturing character, and he likes the cowboy. Besides taking care of Sam at the hospital, Pat spends personal time with him. So when Sam becomes anxious and wants out of the hospital but has nowhere to go, Pat offers to take Sam in until he heals up and can get back on the rodeo circuit. Which then makes Sam worry about taking advantage of Pat.

Sam and Pat are really great guys, and this story takes us into their everyday lives: shows us how they meet, who they are, and their feelings for each other. A Cowboy Out of Texas is a sweet, heartwarming little story, well written and keeps you interested in its characters.

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4 Stars, A.J. Llewellyn, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Air Bear by A.J. Llewellyn

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Title: Air Bear

Author: A.J. Llewellyn

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 38000 Words

At a Glance: Air Bear is an incredibly well thought out book for being an extended novella.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Kappy and Jason are happily newlywed men relocating from a military base in Massachusetts to Kappy’s childhood home of Honolulu. For Kappy, the move brings up a lot of good and bad memories. And with his husband working a lot, it leaves him to deal alone with his resurrected past.

Jason, an Air Bear, is working at the combined Hickham and Pearl Harbor bases as a military police detective on a reactivated cold case. Although Jason’s work is secretive, his private life is spicy, hot, and nothing like anything the normally remote Jason has experienced before.

But things are about to get freaky when the target of Jason’s investigation starts stalking him. Jason has much to lose, and now he wonders about Kappy’s assertion that the island spirits—especially some wacky volcano goddess named Pele—will protect him…

This story was previously published in an Anthology from Amber Quill Press named AmberPax. Each of the stories in that book were separated and can now be found individually.

Dividers

Review: Jason is an Air Bear – a military policeman and an air force pilot. Kappy is a braille interpreter and tutor. When Jason gets stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, shortly after they are married, it gives Kappy a happy excuse to go home.

Kappy – short for Kahuna – was born and raised in Hawaii, and the chance to show the island off to his new husband is an opportunity he can’t pass up – but only if Jason refrains from talking pork on the H3 highway. Jason is on a task force charged with solving cold case police files. The problem is, this case doesn’t want to stay cold, and a killer needs to tie up loose ends before he gets caught.

Air Bear is an incredibly well thought out book for being an extended novella. I laughed at the parents, I was intrigued by the mystery, and it was an easy and enjoyable read. The HEA for Kappy and Jason is never in jeopardy—they are a solid couple and so good for each other. I highly recommend this short, easy read.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Angelia Sparrow, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, M/M/M and More, Naomi Brooks, Reviewed By Carrie, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Terror of the Frozen North by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Title: Terror of the Frozen North

Author: Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: Check your reality at the door and immerse yourself in a really good book – this one!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: War is hell, but coming home is even harder. Edward Kilsby, Lord Withycombe, flying ace and noted adventurer, has grown increasingly restless with civilian life. He seeks refuge from his depression and nightmares in adrenaline, and when that fails, in painful sex. Until his erstwhile fiancé blackmails him into making an arctic expedition.

In the frozen wastes, Edward and his secretary, Charlie, work hard, facing the rigors of the climate and the lethal war machines they are testing. But no-one is prepared for what lies under the ice.

Back in London, as Edward’s pistol looks friendlier and friendlier, Charlie must deal with kidnapping, cultists and secret societies, all the while keeping his much-loved lord sane and healthy.

Dividers

Review: Terror of the Frozen North is the second book in this series, which starts with The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Manicurists. Reading that book first is not necessary but may be preferable, as there are overlapping characters and themes from the first book.

Strange monsters, broken souls, and a poor secretary stuck in the middle of it all, this is a book of pure fantasy, a romance with a mythical bent. Set in the 1920s, Lord Withycombe has come home from the war a broken man. He is a penniless lord with a reputation as a daring and renowned hero to uphold.

Charlie is his secretary and an absolute saint. He keeps his lord going and provides for all his needs. Charlie has to accomplish this task while dealing with jealous ex-boyfriends, sadistic fiancés, and a mad scientist. At the core, this is a love story between Edward and Charlie. Lord Withycombe, or Edward, is forced to take adventures to make money to live on and support his staff. This particular adventure involves a mad scientist and the frozen wastes of the arctic, where they are charged to test war machines. But, unbeknownst to them, they are the test subjects for an even more insidious war machine that just might make them all mad – and something is alive under all that ice…..

This is a rollicking adventure and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy. The relationship between Edward and Charlie is not an easy one, rather complicated, but it works. The adventures they set out on are well written and believable in the world Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks have created.

Check your reality at the door and immerse yourself in a really good book – this one!

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2.5 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Sean Michael

Review: Finding the Way Home by Sean Michael

Title: Finding the Way Home

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 16000 Words

At a Glance: The characters of Jim and Horse were well done, but I wish they’d had more of a story to tell.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When he arrives home from a long stint in the hospital after losing his right arm to an IED blast, Sergeant James Miller certainly doesn’t expect his keys not to work and a strange man answering his door, only to learn his boyfriend has dumped him. Yet that’s exactly what happens, and James is just happy that he can count on his old platoon buddy to have his back, and a spare bedroom he can use until he gets on his feet.

Horace Grundy the third—“Horse” to anyone who doesn’t want to get his butt kicked—is retired and has a tidy house on the beach that he calls home. The place isn’t big, but he figures there is plenty of room for James, even if he has always fancied the man.

Thankfully, the two of them fit together well, and soon the roommates become more. But James’s past isn’t ready to let go of him yet, and the new lovers are caught off-guard when James’s ex-boyfriend suddenly reappears in his life. Can James and Horse’s new relationship weather the storm?

Dividers

Review: Finding the Way Home is a short novel from Sean Michael, and follows a familiar story arc for him. If you are a fan of his work, you will enjoy this one, but will also feel as though you have read it before.

Sergeant James Miller is finally retired, officially, from the military after an IED blast takes half of his arm. He comes home to find out his boyfriend has moved on with another man, so with nowhere to go, he calls his longtime friend and fellow compatriot Horse, or, Horace Grundy.

Finding the Way Home is a story about healing – mentally and physically – and how the right person can make life worth living. These men served together, they bled together, and they heal together. Because the book is so short, it is a little rushed. I think this story had the potential to be really good; it just needed to be expounded a little more. The characters of Jim and Horse were well done, but I wish they’d had more of a story to tell.

If you like Sean Michael, and you just want a little amuse-bouche, then this is book for you.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Dierdre O'Dare, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: A Cop and a Con by Dierdre O’Dare

Title: A Cop and a Con

Author: Diedre O’Dare

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 23000 Words

At a Glance: A Cop and a Con is well worth the read.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When a cop and a newly released convict cross paths, few cons can expect anything but a cold shoulder and mistrust. Struggling back to the home he knows no longer exists, Ike Hernandez meets a cop who seems to be different. He isn’t sure he can believe the kindness he receives will continue. Still, he wants to learn to trust again and regain his lost self-respect.

Perry Parker became a law enforcement officer because he wanted to help people. He’d seen first-hand the results of poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, a crumbling economy and the insidious effects of peer pressure and bad examples on the youth. He’d watched hardship trickle down to crush the youngest and weakest. He found there was not a lot he could do, but now and then he discovered someone he could help. Would the lost man with the little dog that he picked up one bitter cold and stormy night be one of them?

Pursuing tales about a new drug dealer in his county, Perry starts to doubt the man he’s befriended, but he still feels Ike is a decent person. When the real dealers seek to take advantage of the convict’s past, it takes Perry and his unofficial canine partner and the little stray Ike had adopted to save the day. Can a cop, a con, and two dogs make an unorthodox family?

Dividers

Review: Deirdre O’Dare has created a story with some danger, action, and a special warmth between, yes, a cop and a con. I was impressed with the development of the two MCs, Perry Parker and Ike Hernandez, and if Ms. O’Dare ever decided to make a series starring these two wonderful guys, and their faithful companions, I would definitely be a fan.

Perry, being a Deputy in Alamo County, likes his job and life in this small town. He opens his home and heart to Ike, without question, but Ike by no means takes advantage of Perry. He immediately seeks employment and strives to do good. There’s just something special between Perry and Ike when they first meet, and you can tell they belong together. I like that the relationship between them progresses slowly, and that they get to know each other.

It was heartbreaking when Perry took Ike to Esperanza, returning home after such a long time, only to find it no longer exists, leaving in its place poverty and drug trafficking. While Perry and Ike try to figure out their life, they are faced with doubt, tension and danger from an unknown drug dealer who starts causing problems.

I liked the supporting characters in this story as well, especially Dot and Sheriff Ben Harper. Even though they have short appearances, you immediately pick up on the feelings of comfort and support they share with Perry and Ike. And Badger and Rojo are two unlikely heroes, little creatures with personality!

I also found Deirdre O’Dare’s dedication at the beginning of the book heartwarming, and the Author’s Note explains her creative ideas for the town of Alamo County, Esperanza, and Riata, and how they came to be. A Cop and a Con is well worth the read!

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, K-lee Klein, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Moonstone by K-lee Klein

Title: Moonstone (Stone Magic: Book One)

Author: K-lee Klein

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 239 Pages

At a Glance: A slow and different take on the shifter paranormal genre.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Ky’s a fighter, Blue’s an artist, but together they are truly magical.

Ky’s fought his way to the boxing championship for the third time, but now the fight of his life isn’t against an opponent in the ring. He’s battling a darkness within himself that he can’t ignore and can’t control. If he fails, everything he’s spent his life working for will be gone, and he can’t see a path to victory. Only a hunch sends him looking for help in the most unusual places.

Blue’s a quiet guy, living for his family and the art of his tattoos. He’s created his shop, Blue’s Dungeon, to be a place for the celebration of art on skin—simple, friendly, and mostly uncomplicated—and Blue likes it that way.

But when Ky shows up in Blue’s tattoo parlor, desperately searching for a lifeline, it’s the beginning of something magical for both men…

Dividers

Review: K-Lee Klein is a new to me author, and while I enjoyed this book and her writing, I did have a difficult time reading this story. It wasn’t so much the writing but the pacing, I think. Much of the story taking place happens just over two months, but it felt much slower while reading it. The story seemed, to me, to drag in places, especially when head-hopping from Blue to Ky.

Moonstone has an interesting concept and take on magic and on the shifter/paranormal genre. However, I didn’t feel that this story was all that paranormal/magical until nearly three-quarters of the way into the reading. There are very few clues to the paranormal until the reason Ky is searching for his lifeline has been explained. After this, the rest of the story happens quickly.

Ky’s problem, which I won’t give away here, wasn’t mentioned but once in the first of the story. It’s not even really explained, the reader is just given the fact that Ky is searching for something. Something he seems to find at Blue’s tattoo parlor. After an immediate bout of sex between Ky and Blue, the story is mostly taken up by Ky’s reaction to his not-quite-relationship with Blue, and vice versa.

Blue was an extraordinary individual from first introduction. I liked him immediately. He was an amazing artist, from Ky’s POV, and I, at first, thought he was an autistic savant. But no disabilities are discussed in this book. In fact, the reasons turn out to be quite magical. Literally.

Circumstances conspire to drive a wedge between Blue and Ky, and I was honestly confused for some time while the paranormal aspect of the story came to light. Then everything seemed to fall into place for our MCs, and they got their happy ending.

I liked the verse Klein created, and would love to have more background on some of the characters and situations introduced in Moonstone, Oli in particular. Perhaps Michael and Dart, as well, but it’s not an imperative need as Moonstone itself was a complete story.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann, Shawn Lane, Short Story

Review: Unobtainable by Shawn Lane

Title: Unobtainable

Author: Shawn Lane

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13000 Words

At a Glance: This was my first time reading author Shawn Lane, and I have to say that though the story is short, it’s also very good.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Scott O’Hara and Edgar Lopez have been partners in the homicide unit of Haydon Cliff’s Police Department for the last couple of years. Edgar is openly gay and a bit of a player. Though Scott is also gay, he keeps it to himself. Even from Edgar. Until one night, a slightly drunk Scott initiates sex between them. Scott doesn’t expect the sex to be repeated. He doesn’t do one-night stands or have casual sex-buddies. But Edgar has other ideas and Scott can’t seem to resist his sexy partner.
While they try to solve the mystery of who is murdering Haydon Cliff’s homeless, they also try to solve the mystery of whether Edgar’s heart can really be unobtainable.

Dividers

Review: Unobtainable is a fast paced murder mystery; suspenseful, with some drama and a lot of heat, and I really enjoyed the interaction between the two MCs, Scott O’Hara and Edgar Lopez. This was my first time reading author Shawn Lane, and I have to say that though the story is short, it’s also very good.

I could quickly tell Scott is a very caring person. He cares about his Mother, his sister and her family, even a homeless lady named Betty. I also liked the ease of the conversations between Scott and his sister Ofelia. And even though he more than cares about Edgar, Scott’s afraid of having his heart broken again. All he really wants is a solid relationship with the right man.

Edgar, meanwhile, is portrayed as a player, though there really isn’t a lot of that going on in this story. To me he just seemed like a good guy, but because of mixed messages between him and Scott, there is some drama added to the story. Deena, Edgar’s mother, is a good character too, and I loved how she talked with Edgar and Scott.

For being a short story, Unobtainable is a page turner. It held my interest to the end, so sit back, relax and just enjoy!

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, Christiane France, KC Kendricks, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: The Ghost Makes Three by KC Kendricks and Christiane France

Title: The Ghost Makes Three (The Ghost at the B&B: Book Two

Author: KC Kendricks and Christiane France

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

At a Glance: I find this to be humorous and really light reading.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Michael Brooks’ life took an unexpected direction when he found the Taylor mansion, a two-story Colonial perfect for a Bed & Breakfast. An untenured college professor, he suddenly became a successful entrepreneur. And best of all, he met sexy deputy Colin Jefferson and they hit it off in a big way. He’s even made friends with a ghost.

Deputy Colin Jefferson is dedicated to his career and to making a life with Michael. Serving the community he loves, he’s well aware of the stories that tell of the Taylor mansion being haunted. Now he’s living there with Michael and Colin knows the stories are true. There’s a ghost with a penchant for wearing denim lurking in his bedroom.

How the ghost came to live in the B&B is a mystery Michael and Colin need to solve. It’s the only way for their resident spirit to find eternal rest. But until then, the ghost makes three…

Dividers

Review: Michael and Colin are still into each other, a lot, and live together at the B&B.

The Taylor Bed & Breakfast has been renovated and is taking in customers. When a couple by the name of Harrington arrive, Michael gets another clue to Robin’s death—but there is a little trouble in paradise. Colin gets a little jealous over Robin and Michael. He also admits to feeling that Robin could be a threat to him and Michael, and suggests he may leave to take a job with the FBI.

As Michael and Colin continue investigating Robin’s death, more and more pieces start falling into place. Michael seems to get into the investigating on his own, but not without Colin’s warning to be careful and to let him know what’s going on.

This is the second book in the Ghost at the B&B series, continuing the murder mystery from The Ghost Wore Denim. I find this to be humorous and really light reading. The plot to this series is not complicated, and there are more clues added in this installment, but the murder is still not solved.

As I don’t see these books as a standalones, I didn’t think the history of Lightfoot, Virginia needed to be repeated in this story, but the one thing that I am sort of curious to find out is, what will happen to Robin once the murder is solved?

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Megan Slayer, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Ripples in Cedarwood by Megan Slayer

Title: Ripples in Cedarwood (Single Father Society: Book Two)

Author: Megan Slayer

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count:

At a Glance: A return story to Cedarwood that is entirely enjoyable.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Steve Moore wasn’t planning on being a dad. He envisioned a life of teaching and professional swimming. Fast forward a year and he’s the guardian of his ten-year-old sister. He wants love and passion, but who wants to date a guy with a family?

Farin Baker believed love wasn’t in his cards—until he takes his nephew to swimming lessons. One glance at the water-slicked hunk teaching the class has him thinking about jumping into the dating pool again. He’s ready for a fresh start with a hot guy for his bed.

Will they find heat between the sheets or will the guardianship situations cool their ardor?

Dividers

Review: An enjoyable go-round with Megan Slayer and the gay dads of Cedarwood! I really enjoyed my return to both Cedarwood and Slayer’s work. There is still a bit of telling going on in the series, but the story doesn’t disappoint. I don’t think this is a standalone, though, because characters from the previous book factor in heavily in this installment.

I loved seeing the return of Farin and getting his story. Though I was a bit disappointed by not seeing a character introduced in the last book, Steve and his sister Imogene, were a welcome addition to Cedarwood. Once again, Slayer introduces real world problems for her characters, and deals delicately with these same issues. I love the realism in the books. All the problems the characters face are ones that have been in the headlines, and it is easy to see that the fanaticism is there, but it isn’t overdone.

Steve steps up and takes on his young sister after a tragedy and shows a maturity that rings true with the character writing. Megan Slayer’s characters react like real people and respond with real emotions. The insta-love is heavy handed, but it fits with this author’s writing style that I am coming to enjoy.

Looking forward to the next installment of Cedarwood!

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, Christiane France, KC Kendricks, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: The Ghost Wore Denim by KC Kendricks and Christiane France

Title: The Ghost Wore Denim (Ghost B&B: Book One)

Author: KC Kendricks and Christiane France

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 54 Pages

At a Glance: Even though this is a short story, I felt there was enough information given, and that Michael, Colin, and Robin’s characters were well developed.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Michael Brooks has it all mapped out. The market is ripe for him to flip a few houses to supplement his income as an untenured professor at the local college. His plan takes a detour, however, when he finds a two-story Colonial perfect for a Bed & Breakfast—with a ghost who wears denim.

Deputy Colin Jefferson is a hometown boy who made good. As a member of the local police force, he serves the community he loves. He’s heard stories about the Taylor Mansion ghost all his life. Maybe he’s even seen it a time or two, he admits to himself, if he truly believed in that sort of thing.

But now Colin has to believe when the ghost pays a visit and Michael asks for his help. Will the men be able to solve the mansion’s ghost problem even as they’re driven into each other’s arms, not out of fear, but out of intense mutual desire?

Dividers

Review: A murder mystery, a ghost that “likes to watch,” and definitely a story that’s entertaining and not too complicated, The Ghost Wore Denim has humor and two very amorous MCs, Michael and Colin!

The story opens up with Michael Brooks at a gay club in Lightfoot, Virginia, where he has just moved. He meets Deputy Sheriff Colin Jefferson there, and they have a drink and a very short dance and make a connection, but then Colin is called to duty.

Michael and Colin do meet up again at Taylor Mansion, when Michael calls the police out to the mansion because of a man he saw inside. After Colin checks things out, he tells Michael the ghostly history of the mansion. Needless to say, after some serious flirting, Michael and Colin begin their heated relationship.

Michael again meets up with the kinky ghost, Robin Radcliffe, who died in October, 1975. It’s been forty years since his death, and Robin explains to Michael how it happened. He gives Michael some clues, but he can’t identify anyone that was involved. Michael shares the information with Colin, and they start to investigate, with little results, but Michael can’t let the mystery go.

I liked the plot to this story, but we are left with a few clues and a still unsolved mystery. The sequel is The Ghost Makes Three, so we will see where that takes us. Even though this is a short story, I felt there was enough information given, and that Michael, Colin, and Robin’s characters were well developed.

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Kris T. Bethke, Reviewed by Taz

Review: Something Like Hope by Kris T. Bethke

Title: Something Like Hope

Author: Kris T. Bethke

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 35,000 Words

At a Glance:

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: Television actor Aaron Zeller is thrilled when the character he plays on a popular primetime crime drama begins a gay relationship with one of the main characters on the show. While the cast and crew are mostly supportive, lead actor, Lucas Logan, is not. Aaron feels nothing but inexplicable coldness from the man.

Lucas admits his attraction for Aaron, but he is reluctant to act on his desires because of the potential detriment to his career should his sexuality become public. What they have between them could be sizzling hot. But is it worth the risks?

Dividers

Review: I loved the premise of this book. Closeted superstar actor falls for another actor, but can’t express that love publicly for fear of damage to his career. Whenever I read stories about guys who want their cake but are too afraid to make the personal sacrifices to deserve it, I tend to get frustrated, but this story was handled in a way that I really appreciated the conflict between love and career. I think the reason this element didn’t bother me was because it was addressed by both characters in a direct and honest way. Each knew what they could tolerate, and made sure the other was okay with the limits their circumstances created on how public they could be about their relationship.

On top of the love interest, the sex was smokin’ hot. The passion and heat between the two protagonists was undeniable, as was the passion of their desire for one another. As I read, I could feel the intensity of Lucas’s possessiveness and jealousy. At the same time, my heart beat a bit faster at the strength of Aaron’s desire for Lucas.

One thing that I would have liked to witness was some form of a pitfall threatening the development of the central relationship. The way the book progressed was natural and believable, but if there had been a dramatic moment or set of events that forced Lucas to face his decision to remain in the closet, or perhaps to push him to make the decision to go public, there would have been a bit more of a dramatic flair and a greater sense of overcoming obstacles by the end.

That said, this story was highly satisfying and very believable. The honesty, emotions, and flow made for an engaging read and a hot love story.

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5 Stars, Amber Allure, JC Wallace, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Jerricho’s Freedom by JC Wallace

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Title: Jerricho’s Freedom

Author: JC Wallace

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 360 Pages

At a Glance: Jerricho’s Freedom is a taut, psychological thriller that leaves you breathless by story’s end.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Jerricho never expected to fall in love with Rex, the sexy, construction foreman, but he did. Too bad tradition forbids Jerry from marrying for love. Prince of the clandestine Anzuni demon clan, a Baelso (bearer of children), and a virgin at twenty-four, tradition dictates that Jerry marry a man chosen for him. Despite his soul-deep love for Rex, Jerry has no choice but to follow through with his obligation as prince and marry someone he doesn’t love.

But Jerry isn’t prepared for his dominant, aggressive fiancé who is interested in marrying him only for the future title of king. Facing the reality that he will lose his virginity to the cold man, Jerry flees to Rex for one night of passion. When Jerry finds himself pregnant with Rex’s baby, however, the actions of his enraged fiancé release Jerry from his marriage obligation.

But just when Jerry believes he will marry for love, he and Rex are ripped away from life as they know it. Betrayals, kidnappings, cruel experiments, pregnant men, and the reappearance of the Anzuni’s greatest enemy force Jerry and Rex to fight for their lives, their love, and their unborn child…

Dividers

Review: Well, let’s all take a deep breath, shall we? I mean, political intrigue, betrayal, kidnapping, dubious consent, slave trafficking, pregnant males, new races of paranormals with horns and tails, and a group of characters that I personally wanted to save…again…and again…and again. Yes, a big gulp of air is needed for sure when discussing author JC Wallace’s new novel Jerricho’s Freedom.

Where-oh-where to begin? A synopsis is nigh on impossible, for there are so many layers to this novel, numerous horrible and outrageous acts, and so much betrayal by trusted advisors that I hardly know what to cover first. So, instead I am going to tell you why you should read this incredible tome—and make no mistake about it, clocking in at 360 pages does not make this a book for the faint of heart. But, dear reader, if you decide to take a chance on this one, well, I can tell you that your heart will be in your throat most of the time and that you will simply shake your head in disbelief at what our main character, Jerricho, can withstand in order to free himself and those he loves.

  1. A demon falls in love with a human. Yes, Jerry is a demon complete with horns and tail and the ability to freeze time. Admittedly his power is faulty and unreliable at best, but he can do it…sorta. His love interest, Rex, is the foreman of the construction company. Rex is everything you want in a hero: big, handsome, caring, smart and loyal to a fault. Most importantly he loves Jerry back, and that is going to be the key to bringing these men back from the brink of death on more than one occasion. They have one night together and while protection is used, the author invokes that fatalistic warning—a condom can break—and sure enough, somehow Jerry becomes pregnant. Here is the first occasion the author takes to establish a sweetly romantic vein into the story. This plot point will serve to keep you, the reader, sane when all is falling apart around you. Never mushy, but hot and sensual, their relationship allows for hope when all else seems so very hopeless in this long novel.
  1. A friend and a dad to delight in. Keith is the much-needed comic relief in this story. Jerry’s best friend and also a demon, Keith keeps it real throughout this novel. He grounds Jerry when he needs it, and gives good advice. This is a guy who is solidly in Jerry’s court and will, in the end, be with Jerry when all the chips are down. Jerry’s father is perhaps the most accepting and loving of parental figures I have ever seen in an m/m novel. Admittedly it helps that this alien race they are part of accepts m/m relationships, but Jerry is a rebellious and seemingly ungrateful son, and the way in which his dad continually wraps him up in love and support is really wonderful.
  1. The bad guys. I hated them. Do I need to say more? They tortured, raped, abused and nearly destroyed every person they stole. They used their own alien race to begin growing an army by feeding them growth hormones and using Jerry’s blood to change their loving partners into ravenous rapists. They fed those they created more drugs to make them submissive slaves whose only thought was to satisfy a raging sexual need they had no control over. The bad guys were despicable, numerous, disgusting and diabolical. Time and again they captured and recaptured Jerry and Rex and degraded them, knowingly and with glee. Be forewarned, there is most assuredly non-consensual and dubious consent going in this story, and while most of it is off the page, there are moments when you just want to scream at the horrors inflicted on these men.

Jerricho’s Freedom is a taut, psychological thriller that leaves you breathless by story’s end. It is a story of triumph and of love. I sincerely hope we will see more of this new race of paranormals. I highly recommend this novel to you!

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Short Story, Vivien Dean

Review: Wild Fragile Vines by Vivien Dean

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Title: Wild Fragile Vines

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13000 Words

At a Glance: This is a really beautiful and touching short story of a love that one man can’t let go, and the other can’t accept.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: When his boss’s twenty-year-old son announced he wanted to be more than friends, Tim Kammerling told him no. He wasn’t ready to have a relationship with someone more than ten years younger than him.

Devin, however, knew he couldn’t stick around Napa and honor the status quo. Instead, he left town, and he and Tim became long-distance friends.

Now, through the letters he’s kept over the years, clippings he’s collected, and the memories he’ll never shake, Tim stands on the threshold of a new beginning.

Yes, a lot can happen in eighteen years. Letters are sent. Calls get made. And lives are changed…

Dividers

Review: There is nothing better than a good short story that is emotional without being melodramatic. This is such a story.

Tim has had a rough life – always taking care of his loser father. He’s finally got a good job he loves and that he’s really good at. There is just one complication that comes up—Devin, the young son of the vineyard owner who is home from Berkley on holiday, declares his love for Tim. While Tim won’t lie about his orientation, he doesn’t advertise it either, and he certainly isn’t ready to take up with the boss’s son. They can be friends but nothing more. Devin is a musician, and he decides to drop out of college and moves to Seattle to get his career started.

But he keeps in touch with Tim, no matter where his life and music take him. This story is told largely in epistolary form, starting with Devin’s letters and, as the years go by, cell phone calls, texting and eventually emails to Tim.

What a beautifully poignant story of a love that smolders for many years before it can burn brightly. Wild Fragile Vines is highly recommended as a wonderful example of a complete short story.







 

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4.5 Stars, Amber Allure, Angel Martinez, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Pill Bugs of Time by Angel Martinez

Small Gems

Title: The Pill Bugs of Time

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

At a Glance: The Pill Bugs of Time is a funny little gem!

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle Monroe as a lover, partner, and friend.

But life in Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues, and… time travel?

If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries worth…

Dividers

Review: First off, this is a sequel but can honestly be read as a standalone. Secondly, it is funny, clever, crazy and just the best kind of weird paranormal one has come to expect from this marvelous author, Angel Martinez. The Pill Bugs Of Time carries us back to the 77th Precinct, where life is far from normal and the inhabitants all have a touch of paranormal gifting that cannot always be controlled.

On a routine call (well, routine if you are from this Philadelphia squad), Vikash picks up a bug that has the ability to send him to an alternate reality and put him into a coma-like state. Still struggling with being romantically involved with his partner Kyle, Kash wakes up to realize he was just privy to a future where Kyle is no longer, and this adds to his already heavy laden guilt about being so deeply in the closet he cannot find the door.

As the two of them pursued the source of these weird time travel bugs, Kash and Kyle would face a tougher problem—whether they can realistically stay together when Kash cannot acknowledge in public that they are a couple. Lots of things hang in the balance as these two fight this new paranormal baddie, not the least of which is the potential ending of a relationship that barely had a chance to begin.

There were times in this sweet little story that I laughed till my sides hurt. Such a clever premise combined with fast paced action, unbelievably delightful characters, and a fascinating plot line. The cast of characters was just so eclectic and surreal that they absolutely worked, somehow making them a realistic team of cops in a wacky setting. With Kyle and Kash as the leaders of a hodgepodge of crazy fellow investigators, hilarity ensued as this group somehow managed to work together despite their individual paranormal gifts, which often got them all into trouble.

However, all was not fun and games in this novella. My heart just broke for poor Kash as he struggled to find some way to break through his own fears. He was hyperaware that Kyle deserved so much more than a boyfriend who lived with the irrational worry that he would be outed to colleagues and family. He grappled with the sure thought that Kyle was eventually going to wake up to the fact that Kash himself was sabotaging their floundering relationship. By refusing to even allow Kyle to talk about the fact that they practically lived together, much less physically display any type of affection in public, Kash drove Kyle further and further away, and essentially killed any hope of them remaining lovers. Right up to the end of this clever and witty story, we were uncertain if the two main characters would be together at the end.

The Pill Bugs Of Time by Angel Martinez was just a delightful story of love and friendship. Underlying all the fun was the profound message that we can lose that which we love in a heartbeat, and that reality should remind us to keep what we hold dear close and never take it for granted.

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5 Stars, Amber Allure, DJ Manly, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: The Stonewall Inn: Settling by D.J. Manly

Title: The Stonewall Inn: Settling

Author: D.J. Manly

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 38000 Words

At a Glance: There is fact and fiction melded together in this story, just a little touch of a mystery too, and it’s very well done!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Sam owes his and his mothers’ jobs at the Stonewall Inn to a violent, closeted mobster, so he puts up with a lot of things, including the man’s abuse. In fact, when rookie cop Luke Delany meets him for the first time, Sam’s face is black and blue.

In general, Sam doesn’t care for many white men, especially cops who are constantly harassing nonwhites and homosexuals like himself. But Luke is in great turmoil over his own sexuality and needs Sam’s help. Is Sam willing to aid a lawman whom he considers an enemy?

Dividers

Review: D.J. Manly has written a heartbreaking and heartwarming story set in 1969. There is fact and fiction melded together in this story, just a little touch of a mystery too, and it’s very well done!

Samuel Brooks works at the Stonewall as a bartender. The bar caters to a gay clientele, and to anyone who is labeled as different. Here, the customers can be themselves. The bar is owned by a violent mobster by the name of Lewis Marconi, and Sam, in a way, feels indebted to Marconi. The man gave Sam a job at the bar, got his mother a good job too, and promised a decent place for his mother to live. Besides being gay, Sam is also interracial, with blue eyes and straight brown hair, just another reason for the police to harass him. And, he pays a dangerous price in his job—he is abused physically by Marconi.

Luke Delany comes from a long line of police officers: his grandfather, father, brother, and now, himself. He has his own personal issues with his father’s domineering attitude and his Mother’s questionable happiness. Luke wants to make the best of his career and maybe, someday, make detective. He also struggles with the fact that he is gay.

When Charlie Waters, his partner, takes Luke to the Stonewall Inn, he not only meets Samuel for the first time but also becomes suspicious. He doesn’t like the fact that the people in the bar fear the police, and that Charlie is talking with Lewis Marconi, a well-known mobster. Luke starts to get sick and tired of the crude remarks from Charlie and the other officers, the raids and harassment, and the fear reflected on people’s faces. But finally, when one last raid takes place at the Stonewall, we see a change in the people; they are no longer afraid and they fight for their respect and freedom.

The Stonewall Inn: Settling is a well written story of two men—one who already knows he’s gay, the other just facing that realization, but both struggling with telling their families. There’s also a little bonus in the Author’s Note by D.J. Manly. Stonewall Inn, of course, is now a landmark in New York City and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 28th, 1999. Besides the historical facts within the fiction, this novel gives us a look at an “ideal world” for Luke and Samuel.

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, Christiane France, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: The Replacement by Christiane France

Title: The Replacement

Author: Christiane France

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 54 Pages

At a Glance: This is an interesting short story of a broken heart and second chances.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: When Noah loses his life partner to kidney failure, he not only grieves personally, but he also needs a replacement to help run his restaurant business. After a couple of tryout failures, Noah eventually interviews the stunning Gavin Murray. Gavin has everything needed to become the perfect general manager.

He has the education, the experience, and the polish and sophistication required in a top executive. The only problem, however, is that Noah finds the man sexually attractive in a way that borders on pure obsession. He wants Gavin, but he tells himself that he can’t have him. He’s still mourning Brett and he’s far from ready to move on with his life. If he had any sense, he’d turn down Gavin’s application and send him on his way.

Instead, Noah eventually agrees to give Gavin a three-month trial period by convincing himself the man is his only option to fill the position and that business comes first.

But will Noah be able to resist the daily temptation he now faces with Gavin in such close proximity?

Dividers

Review: Noah is alive, but he’s not living. Since his partner, Brett, has died, Noah is going through the motions. He gets up, works, goes home, goes to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s been quite some time, and he really needs help running his restaurant business, but he is loath to replace Brett in that capacity as well.

He finally interviews Gavin Murray, who is not only perfect for the job, but pushes all of Noah’s buttons personally too. Though he finally feels attraction to Gavin, Noah feels a sense of guilt more than anything. He just cannot be disloyal to Brett in any way. If he gives in to his feelings for Gavin, he won’t be able to live with his betrayal of his love for Brett. He does realize that he has a business to run, though, so he takes Gavin on a trial three month period.

Noah also has some friends who decide to meddle just a tiny bit to try to get him out of his mourning melancholy. While he is enjoying his first foray into being social since Brett’s death, he has a chance encounter with Gavin that is completely unexpected. Noah can no longer deny his attraction, but he also drowns himself in guilt again.

Gavin does his best on the job, and he also tries to get Noah to see that they could really be good together. He also is sympathetic to Noah’s loss and tries not to push him. The question is, can Noah get past his loss and maybe learn to live and love again? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I enjoyed this bittersweet story that exposes the difficulty of grief, loss and moving on. Noah’s loss of the love of his life – his business and life partner – knocks him for a loop, and he’s not sure he can ever be normal again. All his plans, both professionally and personally, have to be rewritten, and he’s consumed with guilt – all normal reactions to such a traumatic event. If I have any complaint, it would be that we don’t get to know Gavin well enough in this short story, but it’s an enjoyable and satisfying read that is perfect for those who love stories of second chances.







 

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Shawn Lane

Review: Just His by Shawn Lane

Title: Just His

Author: Shawn Lane

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13,000 Words

At a Glance: This is a really nice follow up story for Geoff from Unconditionally His that provides a much happier ending.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: After his boss at the hospital suggests he take a sabbatical for a much-needed rest, neurologist Geoff Spencer ends up at his friend’s cabin in Big Bear, California. But to Geoff’s surprise, his former lover is also there—his friend’s brother, the beautiful Adrian Michels, a brooding artist and a “commitment-phobe” who broke Geoff’s heart years earlier before leaving unexpectedly for Europe.

Now, Adrian suggests a no-strings affair while Geoff is with him in Big Bear. Although torn, Geoff eventually agrees. But what he really wants is for Adrian to be his—just his—for eternity.

Dividers

Review: Dr. Geoff Spencer from the previous His series book is kind of an ass. He’s had an affair with nurse Micah and has dated a fellow doctor who ends up with Micah. He’s jealous and not too nice about it – so much so that his inappropriate behavior has gotten the notice of his boss. He’s sent on a “sabbatical” to get his head together.

He heads to a friend’s “cabin” in Big Bear, where he is surprised to see his first true love – the brother of his friend. Geoff has never really gotten over Adrian, and his heart is still a little broken from when Adrian left him to “find himself.” At the time, Adrian was a young artist, and he didn’t want to make the kind of commitment that Geoff needed.

Both men have changed, but will those changes be compatible now, at this time of their lives? Adrian really hopes so as he’s grown up a lot since he left Geoff. Geoff tries to take what Adrian offers without getting his hopes up.

I really enjoyed this story and getting some of the answers to why Geoff was such a jerk in the previous story. Adrian is a very cool character, and we also get an explanation for his actions that led to Geoff’s broken heart. Overall, a good addition to this series and a nice short and worthwhile read, but I would recommend reading Unconditionally His first.







 

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, K.M. Mahoney, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Dragon Herder by K.M. Mahoney

Title: Dragon Herder

Author: K.M. Mahoney

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 82 pages

At a Glance: Short, but with an interesting mythology and adorable baby dragons.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Torgny may be a burly, uncivilized mercenary, but even he has his limits. Hired to rid a village of a dragon, Torgny gets quite a shock when he finds the marauding menace is a tiny pink dragon named Jezebel, who takes one look at him and decides she’s found a new best friend. Much to the annoyance of her handler, Noel, who seems to believe most people are prejudiced idiots.

Torgny’s not sure Noel’s wrong about people, but he would really like to be the exception to that opinion. Noel is tall and attractive, and Torgny falls into a case of instant lust.

When Noel decides it’s time to move the dragons to safety, Torgny tags along, determined to explore this attraction between them. It’s a journey fraught with danger, interfering gods, and rambunctious baby dragons, but if they can survive, they might just find a life for which neither realized they were seeking.

Dividers

Review: I really wish this story had been longer because I wanted to explore the mythology of the world more. Plus, I really liked Torgny and Noel as characters, and, well, Jezebel. You really can’t get much cuter than a pink baby dragon that just barrels around like she owns the place.

Torgny is a mercenary hired to exterminate dragons, but he has a heart. When he finds Jezebel, he can’t kill her because she’s just too cute. As a result, he puts Noel and his dragons in danger when the townspeople think dragons are the cause of a fire. Because of this, he decides to help Noel move the dragons, whether Noel wants the help or not.

Noel is understandably skeptical of this. He lives alone with the dragons, only sometimes getting a visit from his parent, the god Skandi. But, the two quickly fall for each other, and no one is getting left behind.

I was thrown off at first by how quickly Noel and Torgny fell for each other. I mean, the story takes place over the course of about three or four days, so I did kind of roll my eyes at it, but despite that, I still liked the characters. Also, Noel is hiding a big secret, but I can’t give that away or it would ruin a major plot point! Suffice to say, I wasn’t really expecting it.

There aren’t many other characters—the rest are townspeople or unnamed attackers. The only other person to show up is Noel’s parent, Skandi, who is pretty funny. I wish he had been present longer, or showed up again before the end of the story. In fact, I would read a book on his antics alone.

If you’re looking for a quick read and you like dragons, give this book by K.M. Mahoney a read. If nothing else, you’ll love Jezebel!

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3 Stars, Amber Allure, Christiane France, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Finding the Truth by Christiane France

Title: Finding the Truth

Author: Christiane France

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 45 Pages

At a Glance: This is a sexy short story that brings Marcus and Jake together to find answers about a case, and maybe their future.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: P.I. Marcus D’Angelo thought he’d solved the mystery surrounding the rumors of shakedowns and extortion in Little Italy involving Sal Ravello. Now he’s worried he could be wrong.

His boyfriend, magazine reporter Jake Reilly, suggests that Marcus’ informant was feeling a little bitter after his friends sold up and moved away from the old neighborhood. Was the man’s information more self-serving than true? Marcus realizes this is possible, and also realizes he’ll have to go back, recheck everything and find confirmation.
But there’s something else that worries Marcus more—there’s a chance Jake’s new job could mean him being sent to the Far East for several months. Can their relationship survive a long separation?

Dividers

Review: This is technically the fourth story in this series, although the third book is more of a companion novella rather than a story about the main characters in the first two books. This book won’t make much sense, however, without having read at least the first two stories of this series.

At the end of the second book in this series, Looking for Answers, Marcus thinks he has the answer to the question about how Mitch Ravello, son of Sal Ravello, has been accused of loansharking and shakedowns in Little Italy. Since Mitch is the boyfriend of Pete Latouche, the son of the Chief of Police, there are definitely several interested parties who wanted to get to the bottom of these shadowy accusations so that Mitch and Pete can get on with their lives.

As Marcus reconsiders what he’s learned about Sal and his fellow Italian neighborhood residents, something doesn’t smell right. He thinks that maybe he’s fallen hook, line and sinker for a story that is more about misleading him from the truth and most likely away from the real story. His relationship with Jake is still new, and he doesn’t want to put Jake off, but he really feels he needs to pursue this further.

For his part, Jake wants to be supportive, but he also doesn’t want Marcus to get so wrapped up in this that he loses sight of the rest of his life. But as Marcus grows more and more certain that he’s missed something obvious, Jake does back him up in his pursuit of a different avenue of searching for the truth. Without trying to arouse suspicion, Jake and Marcus set out to see if they can find out what really happened between Sal and the other men in the neighborhood.

In addition to the stress of trying to find the truth for Sal and Mitch, Jake receives a call that he may need to leave town for months on an assignment. Since he’s the new guy, he may not have a choice and neither Marcus nor Jake is excited about the possibility of a separation, considering they have just moved in together. They are really enjoying being together and this feels like a big sword hanging over their heads.

They doggedly pursue this new line of questioning, and while at first it seems like there is no one left to provide any more answers to Marcus’s questions, they finally find an unexpected ally. Turns out that maybe the answers were right there all along and the Ravellos may finally get closure after all.

I enjoyed what there was to this story. Jake and Marcus are very hot together, and it’s nice to see them working as a team to try to find the truth. This series is a quick read, and since all three books are out now, they can be enjoyed best read in order all together.







 

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, KC Kendricks, Reviewed by Jackie

Review: Hot August Comes by KC Kendricks

Title: Hot August Comes

Author: KC Kendricks

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 24000 Words

At a Glance: One thing the author does well is give us a HFN ending that hinted at a HEA.

Reviewed By: Jackie

Blurb: Leo Corbin shook the dust of Westfall off his shoes to pursue opportunities among the bright city lights. When his mother suddenly dies, Leo returns home to settle her estate. His grief at her passing quickly turns to shock at what she left behind and rekindles old questions about the identity of his father.

Harrison Wade stuck by his father to help run the family farm. Life for a gay man in Westfall has limitations, but Harrison knows how to make the best of them. When Leo Corbin returns to town, Harrison’s quiet existence tilts. Leo is the guy who put an end to the high school bullying Harrison endured so many years ago. Harrison quickly discovers his old boyhood crush on Leo has matured into an adult attraction.

As the mercury rises, Harrison and Leo’s friendly buddy arrangement heats up. When hot August comes to Westfall, they discover home is more than where a man hangs his hat. It’s where he gives his heart.

Dividers

Review: I hadn’t read a KC Kendricks book in a while, so when I saw Hot August Comes up for review, I snatched it up. I have always loved this author’s characters, and I wasn’t let down this time.

The story begins with Leo Corbin returning to his hometown to bury his mother and settle her estate. Not only was her death sudden, but Leo realizes, too late, that he may not have been the most attentive son in her final years. When he left Westfall, he never planned to stay away forever. It just kind of seemed to happen.

On his first day in town, he sees that not much has changed since he left, except for the fact there is now a bar downtown that wasn’t there before. When he ventures in to have a cold one, he runs into Harrison Wade. He doesn’t remember Harrison, but the man sure does remember him.

Harrison Wade was picked on in school, and there wasn’t much he could do about it. He suffered through it until the day Leo saved his bacon at the bus stop. Leo had no idea he’d changed a guy’s life that day, but it was something Harrison would always remember.

When these two meet up again in Westfall, there is an instant spark of attraction, and they can’t do anything but act on it. With everything that is going on in both of their lives, it isn’t an easy road to love, though, that’s for sure. While Leo’s sorting through all his mother’s possessions, he comes across an item that could very well answer the question of who his father is. Add that to the surprise Leo got when going over his mother’s accounts, and the mystery just seems to get bigger and bigger.

Harrison has his very own demons to contend with. After his mother passed away, his father took to the bottle to take the pain away, and Harrison has taken over the parenting role in their relationship. He is working a job he doesn’t love, and feels like he will never get out of Westfall.

Over the course of the story, Leo and Harrison seem to take two steps back for every step forward, until they both come clean about the issues in their lives. This story was definitely a tale of overcoming your fears, facing your past, and living in the now.

I loved both of these characters and thought they fit together very well. One thing the author does well is give us a HFN ending that hinted at a HEA. The story was just too short to make the HEA believable, and I like that it wasn’t forced. Leo and Harrison are on their way to happiness, and I loved being there with them for the beginning of their journey. These guys are a wonderful couple, and I hope we get to see them continue their journey sometime soon.

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