5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Giveaways, Morticia Knight, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer

Release Day Review and Giveaway: The Safe Limits Blog Tour with Morticia Knight

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TitleSafe Limits (Kiss of Leather: Book Two)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 171 Pages

At a Glance: Strong follow-up to the first Kiss of Leather book.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: The men from Kiss of Leather gather together to rescue a terrified young sub. But it’s Master Derek who wants to keep him for good.

Master Gavin and his boy, Kyle, are celebrating their newly established bond when Master Josh calls requesting their help. Josh’s sub, David, needs the men to help his best friend from childhood while they’re away at a BDSM convention in San Francisco.

Corey ran away from his Master after a horrible scene, but he blames himself for everything that happened. No Master would ever want him if they were to find out what he did. Corey’s not sure if he’ll ever feel safe enough to give himself to a Master again anyway, even if all he’s ever wanted was to belong to somebody.

Master Derek agrees to watch over Corey until Josh and David return from the convention. All he needs is another pretty twink messing with his head and his heart, so the older, growly bear of a man determines to keep his distance. But when Corey wakes up screaming after a devastating nightmare, Derek is more drawn than ever to the young sub—the need to keep Corey safe from whatever or whoever has hurt him becoming his main priority.

Kyle and Corey develop a friendship when Corey assists Kyle in the dungeon furniture workshop. Kyle has his own fears—the ones that make him feel he’s broken because of the things he desires to do with Gavin. Through helping Kyle and receiving his own help via Derek, Corey decides he’s ready to let go of the demons from his past and move forward into a new life.

Now if Corey can only get Derek to believe that he’s ready—and to finally do something about it.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a flashback scene of rape by multiple aggressors.

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Review: I’ve been a fan of Morticia Knight since reading The Hampton Road Club series, which is BDSM historical fiction. Love it. And I loved the first Kiss of Leather book as well, so when I saw this book came out, I knew I had to read it to see what happened with the club and the men involved.

Before I start the bulk of the review, I will say that this is a series you need to read in order. While the meat of the story involved Derek and Corey, and doesn’t require prior knowledge of the first book, the first chapter is about Gavin and Kyle, and it’s set immediately after the events of book one. I’d also recommend maybe going back to reread the last chapter of book one if it’s been a long time, or if you can’t remember what happened with those boys.

That said, once Corey is safely deposited with Derek, they are the focus of the story, but in order to get there, Kyle and Gavin need to be present.

Corey is a friend of David, and when he gets into trouble, he calls David for help. Of course, David will do anything to help his friend, so, being out of town himself, he enlists the other people he trusts—Gavin, Kyle, and Derek—to help Corey out until he and his Master, Josh, get back. Having had a Dom who hurt him, Corey struggles to trust anyone. He shies away from Kyle and Gavin, and when he sees Derek for the first time, he’s intimidated. Not only is Derek huge and his body language screams Dom, but to Corey he’s gorgeous.

Derek doesn’t really have time for a sub. He’s drawn to young, pretty twinks, and Corey is all that and more. But, he doesn’t want to get involved with someone again, especially not when that person is coming out of a relationship he refuses to talk about. One that has clearly left him afraid. Derek doesn’t even know if the man wants another relationship with a Dom, and not having BDSM in his life is a deal breaker for him. When Gavin and Kyle leave Corey with him, the two have to figure out how to navigate around each other and come to terms with their mutual attraction.

What I love most about Morticia Knight is her ability to create such deep characters. Not one of her characters is alike, and each story is different from the last. While they might have some things in common, that’s what makes them great friends rather than too similar to be interesting. Derek is a gentle giant who likes to work on his Harley. Corey isn’t too sure about wanting a fulltime D/s relationship, unlike Kyle and David, and he loves how big, hairy, and protective Derek is. The insight into Derek’s past is interesting. Readers learn he used to wrestle, and that he has anger management issues. While that might seem like a bad combo for a Dom, he’s fully in control with subs, and his anger stems from people taking advantage of others.

If you’re a fan of Ms. Knight’s writing, I recommend this series, especially if you like her Hampton Road Club books. I eagerly await the next installment! I’m hoping for Marshall, since he was conspicuously absent from this book. Fingers crossed!

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Morticia Knight is giving away an e-copy of Building Bonds, book one of the Kiss of Leather series, to one winner.

Good luck!

THE GIVEAWAY

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Morticia KnightAbout the Author: Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Where to find the author: Facebook || Twitter

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Novel Approach, Divine Magazine, The Hat Party, Happily Ever Chapter, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, V’s Reads, TTC Books and More, 3 Chicks After Dark, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, MM Good Book Reviews, Nephy Hart, Bonkers About Books, Jessie G. Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Alpha Book Club, Velvet Panic, Gay Book Reviews

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*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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4.5 Stars, BA Tortuga, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Blind Ride by BA Tortuga

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Title: Blind Ride (Roughstock: Vol. One)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages

At a Glance: Blind Ride is a story about the love and caring of family, good friends, and the love between two special men.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Jason Scott has everything a bull rider wants—success, money and traveling partner Andy Baxter. When he loses his sight in an accident, he stands to lose it all. Jason Scott is at the top of the bull riding game, on his way to a winning season. Along with his traveling partner, Andy Baxter, he’s riding hard on the circuit, working around the country with all of the other bull riders and bullfighters, living the good life. The only thing he wishes he had is Bax, but he’s afraid to take the step that would make them more than friends, worried that it will ruin everything. When a terrible accident leaves Jason unable to see, his whole life goes south. Jason decides to chuck it all, determined to go home and hide at his momma’s ranch. Bax has other ideas. He wants to make sure his best friend doesn’t give up, and he hatches a plan that stuns Jason and makes their friends and family think he’s crazy. With the help of the other bull riders and a very persistent bull fighter named Coke, Bax convinces Jason to give life one more try. With Jason cautiously learning to hope, and his relationship with Bax going to the next level, life gets pretty complicated. Everyone gets in on the project, from Jason’s strong-willed mother to an entire ranch full of children, all of them working to help Jason do what he loves.

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Review: I am such a fan of BA Tortuga. She has added another series to my collection of cowboy stories, and has created more than just a story about bull riders and rodeos; it’s about the love and caring of family, good friends, and the love between two special men. Blind Ride also takes us behind the rodeo scene with the hard work and life threatening injuries that bull riders face.

Andy “Bax” Baxter and Jason “Mini” Scott are just two wonderful cowboys who love the rodeo. They have been friends for six years but have never taken the step to become more than friends. They spend their days traveling the rodeo circuit and even compete against each other, but they hold no grudges.

When Jason is hurt, there’s so much worry. Living in darkness, never riding again, losing out on a career that he loves, and maybe losing Bax, he even thinks of taking his life. But Bax is there for him and he doesn’t let Jason fail. When Bax goes back on the circuit he gets hurt and is done for the season, but he’s back with Jason and starts a plan to get him back on the circuit as well. It was really heartrending to watch Jason struggle with losing his sight—I can’t even begin to imagine how that would feel. He also has to deal with overbearing help, and to try to do things on his own.  Bax and Jason have a great support system besides Jason’s family.  We meet Coke Pharras, Dillon Walsh, Nate, AJ, Missy, and a sweet little boy named Benji.

The only issue readers may find in Blind Ride is in the narrative and dialogue, but BA Tortuga chose to leave things a little unpolished (see: the Author’s Note).  As for me, I didn’t see this as a problem. It just made the story more down to earth.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

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5 Stars, BA Tortuga, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: And a Smile by BA Tortuga

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Title: And a Smile (Roughstock: Book Two)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 197 Page

At a GlanceI just loved Dillon’s character–he made this my favorite story in the Roughstock series, so far.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: All Coke Pharris wants is for his cowboys to be safe—all of them. When rodeo clown, Dillon, sets to prove that there’s more to the bullfighter, people could get hurt.

It’s Coke Pharris’ job to save bull riders from bulls, and he takes his work very seriously. Which is why he’s devastated when one of his favorite riders gets hurt, and he’s determined to help the young man ride again. Dillon Walsh is the arena entertainer for the bull riding tour, and he wants to help. He also wants Coke, has been admiring the man for a long time. He hasn’t made a move on Coke for fear of messing up their friendship, but when he finds out Coke might feel the same way, Dillon has to try to win Coke over.

Coke thinks he’s too old for Dillon, too beat up and scarred, but he can’t resist when Dillon finally makes a play for him. Dillon is like a wet dream for Coke, and the two of them have a great time getting to know each other better, at least until the danger of their job threatens to come between them. Will Dillon and Coke be able to help their friend and weather the problems that blow their way?

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

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Review: BA Tortuga takes us back on the rodeo circuit with the Roughstock series in And a Smile. Coke Pharras, Dillon Walsh, and the bullfighters give us rodeo action packed with dangerous bulls, the bullfighters taking risks to keep the riders safe–and it seems like the bulls are winning.

With Jason “Mini” Scott and Andy “Bax” Baxter’s injuries weighing on his mind, Coke is keeping watch over his bullfighters. Coke is a good man, and takes on the role of the senior protector, father, advisor. He perceives himself as being old and worn out, since he’s been on the circuit forever, and he thinks his days of meeting that special someone have passed him by. The funny thing is, Coke really isn’t that old, and Dillon Walsh doesn’t want Coke calling him son.

Dillon, the rodeo clown, has his eye on Coke. He’s been curious about Coke for a long time, but he’s just not sure when to make his move.  He even has doubts about Coke being gay. Dillon picks up on something not being right when Coke makes mention of Bax and Jason in rehab. As Coke and Dillon get closer, Coke confides in Dillion about Jason’s blindness, and how Bax has come up with a plan to get Jason back on the rodeo circuit.  Dillon also has a special connection with Jason and his situation.

I just loved Dillon’s character–he made this my favorite story in the Roughstock series, so far. I love his interaction with Coke and his attentiveness towards Jason. I found it strange that his fellow bullfighters think he’s odd and that they seem to want to protect Coke from Dillon. It definitely causes drama between Dillon and Coke. I saw Dillon as a ball of nervous energy and just a fun-loving character, always moving, dancing and making the rodeo crowd enjoy themselves.  But I also saw his vulnerability and confidence wane every so often. There’s not a lot about his life growing up in And a Smile, and I hope at some point BA Tortuga shares more about him.

** Note: A Sip: The New Guy and Cowboy Christmas are a couple of quickie stories featuring Dillon and Coke, if you want a sweet and fast read**

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4 Stars, Mythology, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, T.A. Chase

Review: Pestilence by T.A. Chase

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TitlePestilence (The Four Horsemen: Book One)

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 170 Pages

At a Glance: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in a romance novel? Yes, please!

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: For Pestilence, the White Horseman, love becomes the most powerful cure.

Having lost his wife and child during the Black Death, Pestilence accepts the fate destiny has given him as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. For centuries, Pestilence did his job, spreading plagues and disease around the world. He does it to keep the balance between good and evil, yet he hates every minute of it. He longs to be left alone, but suddenly fate seems to have a different plan for him.

When Bart Winston stumbles into an Amazon clearing, he’s terribly ill and sure he’s going to die. A tall white-haired man with unusual black eyes catches him in his arms and Bart’s life takes a turn into the unbelievable. Blaming the whole situation on his illness might have worked, but as he gets better and learns about the strange man who heals him, Bart must accept there are more things in the world than he ever guessed.

Pestilence and Bart heal each other, and begin to wonder if there can be a future for the White Horseman and the mortal he’s fallen in love with.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

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Review: It’s not often you find new books about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but every time I find one, I have to snatch it up. I’m not sure why exactly, but the mythology/legend/whatever you want to call it about the Horsemen has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s my love of post-apocalyptic fiction or dystopian societies that draws me to them, but I know when they show up, the end is near and everything is about to go from bad to worse, and I’m thrown into the societies either collapsing from their presence or struggling to overcome them. A few years ago I read a fantastic YA series that reimagined the Four Horsemen by drawing teenagers suffering from different problems into the roles. I adored it. I never thought I would find m/m fiction with the Horsemen. But here we are!

This first book is about Pestilence. In life he was an Italian doctor during the bubonic plague. After losing his wife and son, he commits suicide and is thrust into the role of Pestilence. He exists to bring plagues to mankind in order to maintain the balance between heaven and hell. But after several hundred years of doing this, while Pest is settled in his role, he’s far from happy. How could he be with what he does? Spreading plagues is the exact opposite of what he did when he was alive. When Bart literally stumbles into him in his home in the Amazon, Pest is drawn to the man suffering from an unknown disease. While he first attributes the attraction to the potential for finally helping a human, the attraction changes into desire, and soon he is lusting after his ward. And the feeling is mutual. Despite his illness, Bart is drawn to the white-haired, black-eyed man named Pestilence.

What follows is a story of love and redemption. Pestilence needs to find a way to forgive himself before he can let himself love—and be loved.

As the first book in the series, it clearly follows the first of the four horsemen who ride. Now, in religious mythology the first horseman on a white horse is more frequently known as Conquest, but there have been some changes, and he is more often known in pop culture as Pestilence. War and Famine do not make an appearance at all, but Death does, because Death rides with them all as the “de facto leader” of the Horsemen as Pest calls him. Also involved is Lam, one of the lambs of God. He’s the messenger for Death, and is more or less unwillingly dragged into helping Bart.

Each character is well developed and I loved reading about them. They each display distinct personalities. Though he isn’t in the book too long, I loved Lam and his desire to both help and please as well as fight against Death’s request. Pest does his job well, but when he’s not needed, he retreats to the Amazon, obsessed with finding cures for diseases in the undiscovered flora of the jungle. Even if he can’t cure people, he still needs to maintain his role as a doctor. And poor Bart, dumped in the jungle—literally—by an ex who used him for his research and then left him to die from an unknown disease; he unwittingly bumps into the one person who literally causes disease in anyone he touches with his hands, and has to rely on him for help. Of course, he doesn’t know Pest’s true nature, and it takes a long time for Pest to reveal it as it goes against the rules of the Horsemen. Then, when this unknown disease starts to spread, it’s up to Pest and Bart to stop it before it reaches epidemic levels that will upset the balance of the world, and the rider of the white horse must use his abilities for good rather than ill.

If you’re like me and you find reimagining mythology great reading, I highly recommend this book. I’m thrilled that I’ll also be reading and reviewing the next three books in the series. So watch out for them!

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4 Stars, Edward Kendrick, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Reaper by Edward Kendrick

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Title: Reaper

Author: Edward Kendrick

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: Reaper has action, suspense, and two very likable MCs.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Leading a double life can be challenging, as Reaper well knows.

Take one self-styled vigilante—Reaper. Add his alter ego, successful forty-one-year-old, investment counselor, Zack Ward. Then throw in Dallas Comstock, thirty-two, a beat cop, Zack’s lover and the only person who knows Zack is Reaper. The result is men on a mission. They protect homeless kids living on the streets while trying to find a new building for a soon-to-be demolished shelter belonging to Zack’s mentor, Brian Foster—the man who helped Zack get off the streets.

Someone seems to be kidnapping streetwise young girls. Reaper pulls together a team of street kids—Zip and his boyfriend, Colly, Raven and Sway—to stop the predator. At the same time Zack, with the help of his business clients, sets up a charity ball to raise money for the new shelter, Off-the-Street.

What happens next may strengthen Zack’s and Dallas’ love—or destroy it.

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Review: Edward Kendrick’s Reaper is a unique story that I could see as a graphic novel that would appeal to young adults, with a few minor changes. Reaper and Wrath are definitely the superhero types, and the setting seems to take us to another place and time, even though the Rockies are mentioned. This story has action, suspense, and a sense of safety and empowerment.

There are two very likable MCs, Zack Ward and Dallas Comstock, and there’s lots of warmth, humor and love shared between them.  Zack is an investment counselor during the day, and has a very comfortable life, but growing up wasn’t anything like it is now. He lived on the streets as a young teen, and did what he had to do to survive. With the help and encouragement of Brian, he got his life together, and now strikes out to help others who are less fortunate.

Dallas comes from a different family lifestyle.  He’s a police officer and is dedicated to his job. He worries but also understands Zack and his plight to take care of the homeless and the young people who have to survive on the street. There are very few people that know that Dallas and Zack are partners in more ways than one.

There are a lot of supporting characters in this story, especially all the young teens who befriend Reaper and Wrath.  We get to meet these colorful characters:  Zip, Colly, Raven, Sway and many others. Our superheroes also have a special friend in Brian, who runs “Off-the-Street” a shelter for homeless youth, where Reaper recruits Nate Brown to teach self-defense to the young people and helps to empower them to also be protectors for others.

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3 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Retrograde by Bailey Bradford

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TitleRetrograde (Southwestern Shifters: Book Eleven)

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Page/Word Count:  242 Pages

At a Glance:  I found myself skimming through some of the pages of Retrograde, and just couldn’t get into it for most of the story.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Letting go of the past to embrace the future…

Things are changing for Marcus and Nathan, in more ways than one. Nathan is still trying to deal with the action he took in order to save Marcus’ life. It isn’t easy to do, and sometimes he fears he’ll give in to all the doubts and fears plaguing him.

What they need is some time alone, without guards shadowing their every move, no one to interrupt. Because soon, they’ll be busier than ever.

A short vacation before the annual gathering of Alpha Anaxes at the compound, that’s what they decide to do. But their vacation isn’t so private when they discover a wild pack of young shifters barely surviving.

Changes are coming.

A strange young shifter with abilities neither Marcus nor Nathan have ever seen before. Alpha Anaxes and attitudes. An intruder in their midst. And with the help of Shania, the pack doctor, the most important event of Marcus and Nathan’s shared life is about to happen.

Changes are coming, and they’re coming fast.

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Review:  When I first found the Southwestern Shifters series (not that long ago), I read all eleven books back to back. I couldn’t get enough and was looking so forward to this one, but was somewhat disappointed. I love Marcus and Nathan, but as I was reading, I actually kept hoping for a little less of them. Retrograde isn’t my favorite book in this series. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite.

Things seemed so repetitive in this story, with a lot of details included from the previous book, and I found myself skimming through some of the pages and had a hard time getting into it.  Once we meet Asher and the other younger shifters, though, it got more interesting. But, then I found myself wishing they had been more of the focus instead of Marcus and Nathan.

Now, let me say that I enjoy sex in the books I read, and I have no issues, the majority of the time, if there is an abundance of sex, but as good as Bailey Bradford is at writing those scenes (each was awesome), there was a lot of Marcus and Nathan going at it. It was hot but there were just so many and I found myself wanting to skip them.

With it being close to the end of the series, there were some loose ends being tied up to set things up for what is coming in the final book, which I’m anxiously awaiting, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: VanDoren’s Vice by Jenna Byrnes

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Title: VanDorens Vice (Kansas City Heat: Book Seven)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 115 Pages

At a Glance: Murder, Danger, and lots of suspects makes for a fast-paced read.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A detective and the head of security at a casino have something in common, don’t they? Perhaps more than one thing.

Detective Mike VanDoren isn’t much of a gambler, but the ongoing embezzlement at Kansas City’s newest casino definitely has his interest. So does handsome Cole McKinney, the head of security at the Time and Tides. Mike dives head first into the case and a relationship with Cole, who can’t believe that any of his trusted employees and friends could be guilty. Mike knows differently, and it’s up to him and his team to figure out who’s behind the elaborate scheme. When a casino employee turns up dead, the case takes a bizarre twist, leaving Mike scrambling to save the people he cares about most.

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Review: VanDorens Vice is the seventh book in the Kansas City Heat series by Jenna Byrnes, where the author takes us into the interesting and fast-paced world of the casino and security operation. Murder, danger and lots of suspects, along with the creative use of the looping technique from Speed, are all built into an embezzlement scheme.

The two MCs, Detective Mike VanDoren and Cole McKinney, hit it off quickly and the attraction between them is powerful. They both have strong feelings about the jobs that they have to do, and hit some bumps along the way as the embezzlement scheme becomes entangled with murder. Cole’s character is trusting of certain staff members and believes no one would commit such crimes, but Mike has to consider everyone a suspect, even Cole. Eventually, doubt and suspicion start to take a toll on their relationship.

As supporting characters go, Ms. Byrnes developed a great partner for Mike in Lisa Chen. She’s not only smart but has a really fun sense of humor. There is an abundance of characters in this story, as many of the characters from the Kansas City Heat series are brought back, which I really enjoy.

VanDorens Vice can be read as a standalone, but the author does give enough tidbits about the other characters that it may tempt you to read the previous books in the series.

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Morticia Knight, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Negotiating Love by Morticia Knight

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Title: Negotiating Love (Sin City Uniforms: Book Five)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 198 Pages

At a Glance: A power play dynamic between two powerful men – it’s a scorcher!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Can the kinky billionaire owner of the Dark Fantasy resort casino capture the heart of a muscled SWAT officer with a secret fetish?

SWAT Team Hostage Negotiator Steve wonders why he can’t stay away from the spoiled, rich Allistair, owner of Dark Fantasy Resort Casino. They have mutual kinks—ones Steve can’t find with other lovers—but there’s something else about the emotionally detached, beautiful man that calls to him.

Billionaire Allistair stays alone in his luxury penthouse apartment at the top of Dark Fantasy, terrified of the real world and of opening himself up to genuine emotions. He takes lover after lover, all of them allowing him to do whatever he wants to their bodies, in the hopes that they can scam something from him.

One night is all he ever shares with a plaything—he knows they only want the money and luxury he can offer them and nothing more. But the down to earth Steve is different. They share the same kinks and are explosive when together. But could the muscled law officer ever want more than the lust-filled encounters that have become such an addiction?

As they grow closer, they discover they also have to find a balance between Steve’s everyday world and Allistair’s entitled world before they can truly find an ever after. They also have to make sure Allistair stays safe. Filthy rich playboys are too tempting to those who seek the ultimate payday—and who aren’t afraid of hurting someone to get it.

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Review: Steve is a hardnosed SWAT negotiator whose job is killing him from the inside out. He’s heavy into BDSM, the release he gets from being a submissive the only thing that keeps him going some days when the hostage situations go bad.

Allistair lives in his penthouse – a jail of his own making – his wealth and own insecurities keeping him prisoner.  He craves a real connection with a partner, and Steve is the only sub he has ever done a scene with more than once. He knows they could connect outside the playroom, if only he could muster the confidence to approach Steve as a man instead of just a Dom.

I enjoyed this book, didn’t love it but enjoyed it. Steve and Allistair together are a very kinky couple, and the sex is hot. I just needed more characterization to go around the scenes.  I enjoy Morticia Knight’s writing and usually she hits it spot-on with her characters, but this one just felt a little one dimensional to me. It’s a great and easy read. The little nuggets we get to see of these men – like Allistair lacing a corset around Steve for the first time – were beautifully written, and it’s these glimpses that keep you reading to the HEA. Though I think the storyline of the relationship between Allistair and his brother (our antagonist in the story) would have been a little more believable if it were fleshed out more.

Negotiating Love follows Held Hostage, and is the fourth book in the Sin City Uniforms series. The books do overlap somewhat, but you do not need to read them in any kind of order, as each story is individual. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting an interesting power dynamic between two men who really can’t get enough of each other.

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3 Stars, Elizabeth Coldwell, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Into the Arena by Elizabeth Coldwell

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TitleInto the Arena (Lionhearts: Book Four)

Author:  Elizabeth Coldwell

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 146 Pages

At a Glance: The book starts off strong, but some parts were too much of a stretch.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: He will fight for the one he loves, no matter what it takes.
Cesare Bianco is a shifter without a pride. Exiled from his home town of Padua after losing a leadership fight to his corrupt, self-serving uncle, he travels to Rome in search of a new beginning. A chance meeting sees him taking a job on the catering crew of a Hollywood blockbuster. When he meets the movie’s handsome lead actor, Hayden, he knows he’s in the presence of his mate. But Hayden is human. Even though he offers the possibility of lasting love, Cesare must fight all his instincts to make it happen.
Hayden Skarz is on the verge of the big time. Landing the lead in sci-fi adventure Thrown to the Lions has put him on the road to stardom. Filming in Rome is a difficult new challenge for him, though being around Cesare, the hunk who works in the catering truck, makes his job much sweeter. Sex between them is passionate and wildly inventive. But Hayden has a stalker, who’s tired of being ignored in favor of other men. When what started as a crush turns into murderous obsession, can Cesare help Hayden make it off the film set alive?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and bondage.

Dividers

Review: So far I have really enjoyed the Lionhearts series by Elizabeth Coldwell, and I was looking forward to this next installment. And while it is a good book, it did not live up to the other books in the series. It started off strong, but by the time the big reveal came for Cesare, I was pretty incredulous.

You do not need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this book. They all work as standalones, even if other characters are briefly mentioned. The main character from Vintage Pride is mentioned in about two sentences in this book, and then never is brought up again. Cesare and Hayden are new, as is the location. When Cesare is forced to leave his pride after a failed attempt at taking over, he travels to Rome where he helps Gail feed actors on a movie set. When he meets Hayden, he knows he’s met his mate.

I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, for the most part, but there didn’t seem to be much at stake for them. Yes, if they got caught together they’d be the talk of the set, but Hayden is already out as an actor, so it’s really not that big a deal. And while he has a stalker, it doesn’t turn really dangerous until the end. I never felt the tension I did during the other books. What bothered me the most was Cesare’s reveal to Hayden that he’s a shifter. Hayden mentions in passing that he felt a connection to the lion that was on set (Cesare after a forced shift), and when Cesare reveals it was him, there’s a page, maybe two, of Hayden not believing him, and then he’s suddenly accepting and, “Hey, I guess it makes sense.” Reading that threw me off. It just didn’t feel right, and I even backtracked a bit to see if I had missed pages. Likewise, the danger at the end was over so quickly, and easily resolved. I never felt that Hayden and Cesare were really in danger.

As a final note, the publisher warns of violence and bondage. Is there violence? Yes, but I’ve read worse in books without a warning. Is there bondage? Yes, to a small extent, but with a warning on it, I was expecting much more. Do I honestly think it was necessary to put either there? No.

If you’re a fan of the series, I’d be interested in seeing what you think of the book after reading it. If you’re new to the series, I recommend reading one of the first three books prior to reading this one.

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3.5 Stars, Erotica, Historical Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Lisa, Scarlet Blackwell

Review: Stand and Deliver by Scarlet Blackwell

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Title: Stand and Deliver

Author: Scarlet Blackwell

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 102 Pages

At a Glance: A lusty and erotic guilty pleasure read.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A tale of dark, dangerous highwaymen and the man they take captive.

When Lucien Mayer, 14th Earl of Ravensberry is taken hostage by a gang of highwaymen, he is drawn to the damaged, reclusive Ambrosius and the dangerous, brooding Dante. Torn between escaping and satisfying his body’s needs, his life will never be the same again.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been published under the same title. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Dividers

Review: Scarlet Blackwell’s Stand and Deliver was originally published back in 2009 by Total-e-Bound, before they were Totally Bound, before they were Pride Publishing. I read the book in its original incarnation way back when, when I was still a relative newbie to the gay romance genre but was more than familiar by then with Blackwell’s work. And to that I’ll add that my experiences with this author’s work over the years have been both hit and miss. If you’re familiar, then you know she has a formula. She has a tendency to write at least one of her protagonists as a bit of…dare I say…I’ll whisper it…an arse? But, there’s usually a good enough reason for his behavior, and then, of course, she sets about making him fall in love—at which point he usually redeems himself, if not entirely endears himself, to readers by the end of the book.

I wanted to get my hands on this reworked version of Stand and Deliver because I remember liking it the first time around, and I wanted to see what had changed, or whether the book had changed enough, that I’d recommend it to readers who’d already read and liked it in its original format. More on that in a moment, though.

First off I’ll say this novella is Erotic Fantasy—no apologies, no denying it. Not fantasy in a supernatural way but fantasy of the sort where one imagines themselves as the hero/heroine of a story, being kidnapped and ravished by a handsome marauder who falls madly in love with us (see: my pirate fetish), helpless against his charms. This fantasy, in particular, involves a band of land-bound pirates–highwaymen, to be more precise–who travel under cover of darkness, chasing down horse-drawn carriages, preying upon the wealthy with demands of, “Stand and deliver! Your money or your life!” If one was lucky, one surrendered a few baubles and coins, then was set free, virtue intact.

Lucien Mayer, 14th Earl of Ravensberry, the robbery and kidnapping victim in the story, is hardly a damsel in distress, nor is he hardly concerned about his virtue, as he is instantly drawn to and insanely in lust with two of his captors—one he could potentially love, the other he despises in spite of the fact he shares his body with Dante time and time again—with Ambrosius in the bed and without.

Though there isn’t much plot woven in with the erotic content of Stand and Deliver, there is a certain poignancy to the story which plucks at our empathy and helps to perhaps soothe a few of our qualms about accepting that Lucien falls so quickly for Ambrosius, with little supporting reason behind it. Lucien lives a lonely and seemingly aimless existence, Ambrosius is in deep mourning, Dante’s hiding a rather explosive secret, and both Ambrosius and Dante are warring with their emotions—Ambrosius with grief and guilt, Dante with grief and anger and bitterness and regret. Lucien doesn’t make it easy on himself either, being drawn to these two men, one emotionally and the other in a purely physical way. But, that’s Lucien’s story and he’s sticking to it, come hell or highwaymen.

Now, back to the story’s revisions. Has Stand and Deliver changed enough to purchase and read it again, if you’ve already read it in its original format? No, I don’t think so. Other than perhaps some polishing of the prose, which I noticed as I skimmed through my original copy of the book, this story is the same. If you haven’t read the book, would I recommend it? Well, as always, that depends upon the individual: do you like a little plot with your sex, or a little sex with your plot? Do you fancy historical erotica? Do you like threesomes? And snarling and sexy, slightly difficult to like men, two of whom do get their happy ending, with the third looking as though he may get his own sequel? If you don’t mind a little plot with your sex, among all those other things, then Stand and Deliver is a guilty pleasure read that stands and delivers.

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4 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Angel

Release Day Review: Sunshine Is Overrated by Bailey Bradford

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Title: Sunshine is Overrated (The Vamp for Me Series #3)

Author: Bailey Bradford

PublisherPride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 112 Pages

At a GlanceAn excellent addition to a fun and sweet series.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Life with vamps is never easy.

Abernathy Meyers is already mated to a vamp, Zebulon. It’s just too bad that Zebulon doesn’t give a darn about him. Abbie’s stuck with the man for eternity—or until they die. Some days, Abbie thinks that can’t happen soon enough. He’s tired of being treated badly, yet he doesn’t really want to make his earthly exit yet.

Because he’s longed for another man—another vampire—for years. Forbidden love—is anything more compelling, or more heart-breaking?

There’s a twisted past, a hidden story linking Abbie, Zebulon and the coven leader, Claude.

Claude lives with a fear of turning to dust at any moment. It isn’t reasonable, but he can’t shake it. He’s let his own fears impede his potential happiness, and instead he puts the needs of his coven first, ignoring his own. But if he’s deliberately blind to one particular human’s needs because that human is a mate to another vampire, then is Claude truly leading to the best of his ability?

It’s a tough question for him to answer and soon, he’ll have to make a choice that will affect him and Abbie, forever.

Dividers

Review:  Bailey Bradford is a comfort author for me. I love reading her always happy, everyone is gay, and sometimes silly stories. The Vamp for Me series is classic Bradford, and I have loved seeing it evolve. I feel a bit guilty jumping on one particular author’s books when they come up for review on the site, and I try to give others a chance to try them first, but it’s like a guilty pleasure compulsion I can’t resist.

Sunshine Is Overrated is Abernathy Meyer’s and Claude’s story, and the blurb tells you everything you need to know without spoiling it for the reader. I was thoroughly intrigued by Abernathy from the beginning book, My Life Without Garlic, when he warned the protagonist about being mated to a vampire. I read and enjoyed the sequel, despite there being very little to do with Abernathy. Still, I waited, albeit a bit impatiently, for Abernathy’s tale, and finally it arrived. Can I just say I love being able to review books like this before they are out to the public and opinions and spoilers hit the internet?

Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. I loved Abernathy and Claude’s story when I finally was able to get my greedy little hands on it. Oh, the pining and the drama! I live for Bradford’s version of it because it’s fun, and sometimes you just need that in a story. Not real fond of the nicknames used, but meh, it’s a minor thing for me, and it adds realism, I think, because almost everyone has a nickname they use with a loved one, whether they want to admit to it or not. And, Bradford’s vampires are real, to an extent, in this verse—not undead nightmare savages, but also they aren’t overly brooding, sparkling antiheroes either. Just regular ‘people’ who happen to need to drink blood to survive.

The backstory of these two men is riddled with longing, desire and miscommunication, and like typical men, these vampires know how to mess up a relationship good. Bradford is known for her happy endings, and I love how she winds up a tale. In Sunshine Is Overrated, she takes the typical tropes of men in romance and adds her own supernatural flair to them. I have mentioned before that Bradford twists the normal genre staples for her verses, and I really enjoyed that. She also has real consequences for her characters that normally aren’t hand-waved or brushed off to get their happily-ever-after, and I adore her all the more for this particular brand of writing.

Sunshine Is Overrated also expands the world Bradford has created by introducing other supernatural creatures to this verse. Vampires and their mates are a given in Bradford’s world, but demons, and zombies are added in this tale, both with Bradford’s individual spin on each. This book is a complete tale, with an explosive conclusion, and I highly recommend you read the other two books before starting this one just to get the full-on experience of the series. Bradford also leaves an opening for herself to continue this series, and I hope there will be more to come.

Thank you for sharing another sweet and fun tale!

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Morticia Knight, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: Building Bonds by Morticia Knight

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Title: Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather: Book One)

Author:  Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 162 Pages

At a Glance: A solid start to a new, contemporary BDSM series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Kyle’s a natural sub who builds dungeon furniture, yet has no interest in BDSM. It takes a hunky Dom to show him just what he’s been missing.

After Kyle’s partner of five years leaves him for another man on the night of their housewarming party, the shy, early-thirties carpenter needs to do a major reassessment of his life in addition to raising some serious cash. With no one to help him pay the lease on his Los Angeles condo, he worries how he’ll survive. His best friend sets up a meeting with one of the Doms and partners at Kiss of Leather, a gay BDSM club being built as a premier destination for those who want the best of the best.

Master Gavin not only wants the best—he demands it. When he meets Kyle, he assumes that part of the builder’s reticence to share anything personal with him must be due to his experiences with an abusive former Master. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin determines to break through the walls surrounding the beautiful man he can’t get out of his mind. He’s hopeful that once he convinces Kyle to sign an initial contract, Kyle might be the first sub to open up his heart.

Misunderstandings and accusations almost destroy everything between them before they have a real chance to begin. However, the true obstacle becomes not only whether Kyle will embrace BDSM as a lifestyle, but also whether he can handle a full-time D/s relationship with a big, bad, scary Dom who’s as sexy as hell.

Dividers

Review: When it comes to books with BDSM themes, there are some authors who are hit or miss, and there are others who build such wonderful worlds every time that I don’t even check to see what the blurb of the book says before digging in. That’s the case with Morticia Knight. As a fan and reviewer of her Hampton Road Club historical BDSM series, I was excited to see this new book out. When I grabbed it for review, I hadn’t even realized it was contemporary, so I was a bit surprised when I started reading. That didn’t deter me, however, because Morticia Knight knows her subject and she writes it well.

If Building Bonds is any indication, the Kiss of Leather series is going to be another great set of books. Set around a contemporary club just being built, this novel follows Kyle, a carpenter who builds BDSM furniture but isn’t in the lifestyle, and Master Gavin, a man without a permanent sub but wanting one. When the two meet, they are attracted to each other, but misunderstandings arise. Master Gavin assumes Kyle is a man abused by his former Dom, when Kyle is just shy and hesitant to speak about his past. Kyle, on the other hand, has never used any of the equipment he builds, and while he says he isn’t into the lifestyle, he is a little curious. When the two finally get together, it’s hot.

I loved the build of their relationship. Yes, it does seem to move fast, especially given Kyle’s reservations and shy nature, but I still enjoyed it. I loved meeting some of the new characters in this series, especially Liam. He might have been on the page for only three of them, but I enjoyed his interaction with Kyle, and I hope he gets his own book. Having him show up and comfort Kyle about his need to safeword just made the book that much deeper for me.

As an added bonus? The Hampton Road Club is mentioned briefly in this book. I thought it was a great homage to the first series. While the location is different, as well as the time period (obviously), I still enjoyed it and was happy to see the author didn’t forget about the series that drew me to her.

If you’re a fan of Morticia Knight, you should give this new series a go. If you’re a fan of BDSM novels, you’ll likely enjoy this book. Check it out!

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie, Sean Michael

Release Day Review: Brewing by Sean Michael

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Title: Brewing (Beer and Clay: Book Four)

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 130 Pages

At a Glance: We finally get to the HEA for Toby and Damon in this fourth installment of the story, and I recommend this series.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: As the love between Toby and Damon deepens, the man intent on destroying their happiness increases his efforts.

Toby and Damon are back in Brewing, their relationship deepening more despite the continuing efforts of a stranger to bring them down.

Helping in their efforts are their best friends Peter and Christian. Peter’s new investment in a three-story building on the same block as Damon’s bar offers Toby the opportunity of having a studio close to home. It also gives Peter and Christian a home they’ve made together, which Peter hopes will bring them closer together.

A former soldier, Christian has a hard time letting go and finding his subspace. It’s going to take a lot to break the conditioning he’s learned in the Army. Peter is stubborn, though, and he’s seriously falling for his strong sub.

Will yet another attack bring down two couples this time?

Dividers

Review: What was started in Malting, and continued in Milling and Mashing, has finally reached a satisfying conclusion in Brewing. You cannot read any of these books separately as this is an ongoing story, but buy all four and read the series from beginning to end; you won’t regret it.

Toby is really coming into his own as a sculptor and a submissive.  He is growing and maturing, and we really get to see glimpses of the man he is becoming. Being able to trust in the love and support from Damon has allowed him to gain a confidence in himself and his art that he would not have ever given a try on his own.

Damon is the steady rock.  The sexy and stable bar owner is the perfect fit for his excitable sub. The care he gives to Toby, making sure he does not lose himself in his art or inside his own head, gives Toby a place to call home.

We also get to see more of Peter and Christian in this story, as the two couples learn that having friends to rely on can be a powerful and good thing. I hope that Sean Michael writes Peter and Christian’s story and that we get to see Toby and Damon again!

I recommend this story – which is all four books. It’s an easy read and a great way to spend an afternoon.

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3.5 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: A Subtle Breeze by Bailey Bradford

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Title:  A Subtle Breeze

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count:  94 Pages

At a Glance: For me, there just wasn’t a whole lot that stood out one way or the other in this book.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Ezekiel Matthers and Brendon Shanahan are about to find out that sometimes all it takes is a subtle breeze to shift the winds of fate.

Ezekiel Matthers is a reclusive man, forcing himself into the exile of his ranch after a violent assault left him wounded. While the scars on the outside have faded, the damage inside is much harder to conquer. Zeke resigns himself to a solitary existence, aside from his sister Enessa and, of course, his mama’s occasional visits.

Brendon Shanahan has a very meddling cousin, Gloria, who is best buds with Enessa Matthers. When the two women convince Brendon that he should hook-up with the reclusive Zeke, a plan is hatched that sets a series of events into motion – with potentially deadly consequences.

Can Ezekiel conquer his fears and accept what Brendon is offering? Or will Brendon walk away, giving up on the love he has waited for? And will the visits from Zeke’s mama – deceased for four years now – help the two men find their way to each other?

Only time will tell, and that may be the one thing the lovers don’t have, because someone is out to destroy everything Zeke and Brendon hold dear – and this time, the bad guy just might succeed.

Dividers

Review:  Alright…so, this book wasn’t great for me. It was good, it was alright, I was entertained, and now, this is me struggling a little with the review because for me, there just wasn’t a whole lot that stood out one way or the other in this book. I finished it and was just kind of like, “Eh, okay, it was alright.”

If you don’t like the whole insta-love thing (that doesn’t really bother me much, so no issue there for me), then this book will definitely not be for you.  There is a lot of sex, like from two-and-a-half minutes after they meet, through the rest of the book…again not really an issue for me. Sometimes that’s exactly what I am looking for, and the sex was good.  The issue was that I don’t think we got enough background on the characters, especially Brendon, so I never really felt like I got to know him.

There were also a couple of things that came up that we don’t get answers for – like Zeke’s sister. She’s married to the preacher and is crazy. Okay, that works for me, but then her harassing the other sister her whole life, to the point she had to leave town…but harassing her about what? Was this to just point out that the sister has always been crazy and evil? It just left me confused.  And then there is the spirit, I thought it was done well, it isn’t crazy and over the top, but I guess I just expected that to be a bigger part of the story than it was.

With all that said, will I continue reading the series? I’ll probably give the second book a shot and see if it does a little more for me, but, unfortunately, I am just not as excited about it as I was before going into A Subtle Breeze.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, N.R. Walker, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker

Title: Taxes and TARDIS (2nd Edition)

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 94 Pages

At a Glance: All in all, Taxes and TARDIS is a really cute story about how good it can be when opposites attract.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Brent is a jock, Logan a geek, these men are a world apart. But if opposites attract, maybe it’s the differences between them that make it worth the fight.

Brent Kelly is a laid-back tradesman whose only concerns are drinks with friends and which man to bed next. In need of a new accountant to sort out his nightmarish shoebox of tax receipts, he’s referred to Logan Willis.

He doesn’t expect to be intrigued by the science fiction-loving, geeky guy with dark-rimmed glasses and a TARDIS-blue shirt. So his fascination with the soft-spoken Englishman surprises him, and their mutual attraction is completely unexpected. He most certainly never expects to fall in love.

One a jock and the other a geek, both men know the differences between them are vast and could cause problems. But in this opposites-attract erotic drama, maybe it’s the differences between them that make staying together worth the fight.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Dividers

Review: Yup I am a sucker for a jock and a geek story, and this one is a sweet, entertaining and steamy little short.

There wasn’t a whole lot of drama or angst, which is just what I was looking for when I started reading this one, though the Doctor Who stuff was a little lost on me since, honestly, I have never seen a single episode. But, it didn’t take anything away from the story for me (although, now I do want to watch it. After I do will probably go back and do a reread of this book to see what, if anything, I may have missed out on).

Brent and Logan’s embarrassment and fumbling around each other was pretty adorable and made me like them together even more. I thought the epilogue was awesome and really brought the whole story to together, seeing their HEA. I haven’t read a lot of N.R. Walker, but I am sure I will be adding more of her books to my TBR list after reading Taxes and TARDIS. I am not really a huge fan of shorter stories since I read pretty quick and find myself, regardless of how good the story is, wanting more. It was no different with this novella, but, all in all, it’s a really cute story about how good it can be when opposites attract.

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3.5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, T.A. Chase

Review: Bulls & Blood by T.A. Chase

Title: Bulls & Blood (Blood and Thorn Ranch: Book One)

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 101 Pages

At a Glance: I do think this particular story could have been a bit more polished, as you do have to read between the lines a bit, and, of course, not take it at all too seriously.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Breaking the rules has never been Wesley’s way…until he meets Mino.

Rule Number Two that the Thorn brothers live by is that employees of the ranch are off-limits. Wesley has always followed that rule, never stepping out of his comfort zone to do more than talk to one of the cowhands that help run his family’s ranch. Being a vampire makes it easier, since he doesn’t go out during the day.

Mino’s been interested in the youngest Thorn brother since he began working at The Blood & Thorn Ranch. It’s those stupid rules that hold him back from making the first move. Well, those and the fact that Wesley could kill him in a blink of his eye. Being human in a world of supernatural creatures makes living difficult, since he’s considered prey.

These two males, from different species and societies, must find a way to meet in the middle of their worlds if they have a chance at love.

Dividers

Review: Bulls & Blood introduces us to modern day, business minded, ranch running vampires, where we meet the five Thorn (not blood related) brothers—Wesley, Phineas, Loman, Amadeus, and Reginald—who own the Blood & Thorn Ranch, and also happen to be the most powerful of all the vampires, or of any species, for that matter.

Wesley is the youngest (though still hundreds of years old) of the brothers. He keeps track of all the ranch’s finances, and tries to keep his brothers in line. Wesley is the enforcer whenever punishments need to be handed out, and he doesn’t blink an eye when doing what’s necessary. He also doesn’t like to break the rules that are in place, but here is where I found there to be a slight contradiction. Wesley thinks being involved with a human is not worth it because they don’t live as long as vampires; however, he’s hot for Mino…who is a human and a pretty good guy. He gets along with everyone.

Now, some might say that Wesley and Mino fall into bed just a little too fast, but Mino’s been a cowhand on the ranch for five years, so I assumed they’ve been skirting around the idea of being together for a while. Wesley and Mino do have some friction between them, Mino knows how dangerous Wesley can be, and I got the idea he had some uncomfortable feelings about that.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a vampire/shifter/human story, and T.A. Chase used some ideas in this book that worked okay for me. The brothers get their blood from a bottle—no feeding from humans because of a parasite that could end a vampire. All the ranch employees are protected—whether human, shifter, or a different species. And, besides dealing in cattle, there are contracted hunts that take place on the ranch, for those vampires who want to pursue their prey and feed the old way; though the prey are not forced. In fact, they’re paid to participate in these hunts, but none are killed or turned. Then, there’s also the big, bad Council that would like more power over the Thorns.

If you are a big vampire/human/shifter fan, Bulls & Blood is probably something you’ll want to check out. There are enough brothers and ideas to get some decent mileage out of the Blood & Thorn Ranch series, but I do think this particular story could have been a bit more polished, as you do have to read between the lines a bit, and, of course, not take it at all too seriously.

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5 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, L.M. Brown, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Angel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Tempestuous Tides by L.M. Brown

Title: Tempestuous Tides (Mermen and Magic: Book Two)

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages

At a Glance: An engaging sequel that furthers and enhances the amazing world L.M. Brown has created.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Bound by a curse, two mermen find the greatest love of their lives, but can they keep it?

Justin is a merman who has been raised on land. He hates his fins and wants nothing to do with his heritage.

Lucas is an ambitious merman who has lived his whole life in Atlantis. He has spent his adulthood hiding his sexuality because homosexual relationships are forbidden in the underwater city. Now he has been sent on a mission by King Nereus to locate his oldest son and bring him back to Atlantis to take his place as the heir to the throne.

Although his mission seems impossible, Lucas finds help from the Atlantean Goddess of Love, little knowing that she has her own reasons for bringing Lucas and Justin together.

Justin is no stranger to immortals, having been raised by two of them, but he has no idea of the consequences of angering the Goddess of Love. When he insults her, she curses him to find love only to lose it forever shortly after. As the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, Justin isn’t overly concerned, at least until Lucas enters his life and he sees how the curse will end.

Together they could have the greatest love of their lives, but only if they can appease the furious goddess before their time runs out.

Dividers

Review: I have read L.M. Brown before, and I really enjoyed the worlds created and the author’s writing style. Tempestuous Tides is another book that follows the same pattern.

Tempestuous Tides isn’t a standalone story, as this book picks up soon after the first one, Forbidden Waters. I loved this sequel that furthered the original story and introduced wonderful and new characters. Once I began, I was immediately sucked back into this underwater world of gods and mortals, and read it straight on through. Hopefully, this review will entice you to try this series without overly spoiling the fantastically created and wonderful details of the series.

Tempestuous Tides returns to the world of Atlantis and its mer citizens. There are ancient gods and goddesses at work here in Brown’s world, reminiscent of the legends of the Greek gods and the Fae. The rules of the Atlantean world and modern society mix with the tropes of the shifter genre with an interesting outcome. I really loved how Brown weaves the legends of our world into the society that she has created.

The story is rich with details about both mortal and mer society, and I couldn’t wait to read about the citizens of this verse again. I was thrilled that Brown had several return characters play a part in this new story. It was wonderful to see how they had progressed, but the story is completely about Lucas and Justin.

While book one set the stage and background of the mer society, book two is more about how the mer people continue on when they are slowly dying out. Mortals are encroaching on the oceans, even though Atlantis is hidden, and there are the other inherent dangers of the oceans. Ancient rules and laws are stifling the society, and there is dissension in the ranks of the people because nothing is changing.

The King sees this and begins to make changes, but he needs his heir to continue on. An heir that possibly doesn’t even know he is royal. Lucas is appointed to find the King’s heir with only select knowledge about where he is going to attempt his mission.

Justin knows he’s mer, and wants nothing to do with the society he believes abandoned him and his mother. Enter Lucas, and all sorts of sparks fly, changing both men to a surprising degree.

Lucas and Justin’s story is similar to the old tales where the Fae or Greek gods interfered in mortal lives for entertainment. Ultimately, this book and verse is about acceptance, tolerance and compromise. There’s give and take in both worlds, and the old gods are waking, and no one is pleased about it; mortals or immortals.

The happy ending is hard fought for and won, and I loved how things worked out for Justin and Lucas. There is still the undercurrent of the society falling apart, but things are changing. Whether it is for the good or bad remains to be seen. I hope that Brown continues this verse, as I am eagerly looking forward to finding out how the mortals and immortals work things out.

Thank you, L. M. Brown, for another fantastic read!

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You can buy Tempestuous Tides here:

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, M/M/M and More, N.R. Walker, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Three’s Company by N.R. Walker

Title: Three’s Company (2nd Edition)

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Three’s Company is a successful re-release of what was already great book.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When he started looking for someone to help heal his broken heart, Wilson Curtis never dreamed he’d find two someones. Love isn’t always conventional.

After being publicly outed leaves his restaurant business in tatters, and being dumped by his closeted boyfriend, Wilson Curtis goes to Key West alone where he meets Simon and Adam. Fascinated by this couple, he strikes up conversation and is soon invited into their bed for some holiday fun.

But once isn’t enough, and the offer is extended for the remainder of his stay. As they get to know each other, in and out of the bedroom, sparks fly and ten days is all it takes to change their lives.

When it comes time for Wil to leave, with outside tensions closing in and time running out, tempers flare and emotions fray. Beneath the misunderstandings and lack of communication is the realization these three men aren’t ready to say goodbye.

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Review: Simon and Adam like to play. Alike as night and day, personality wise, they both do have unconventional ideas about their relationship, and they occasionally like to bring a third into their tightly knit cocoon. But, you only get the invite once; they may like to play, but they are committed to one another and their relationship stays first and solid.

Simon is the serious one, the manager of a hotel in Key West. Adam is the laughing half of the relationship, but he’s the fragile one too, with an abusive past. Adam needs Simon to be the one in charge, and it is a roll Simon loves. Simon is fiercely protective of Adam. Then Wilson Curtis comes to stay at the hotel, and for the first time, a one night deal becomes two, then ten. Wil is from a small town in Alabama, and he has never been open about his sexuality for a reason. Meeting Simon and Adam is just as overwhelming for him as walking down the street holding the hand of man for the first time.

These characters are so well written, they come off the page as real men with real interactions: the way Wil must come to terms with coming out, and not just that but accepting a polyamorous relationship; the way Simon has to relinquish a little control and lean on the two strong men around him; the way Adam becomes the glue that holds all three men together. It will tug at your heart as it gets you hot and bothered because the sex scenes are VERY well written.

“I bucked at the sensation. So powerful, so perfect. Underneath me, on top of me, inside me, inside him. It was a pleasure like I’d never known. So….. complete. There was no other word for it. Complete. Always.”

Be aware this is a rework of a book that came out originally about three years ago. It’s been revised, given it a new cover, and the story has been expanded somewhat from the original. I really liked the expanded parts of the story, as we get to see into the lives of these men a little more clearly, and it makes the book into more of a romance HEA than just a ménage storyline. I would recommend getting the expanded version. This is just one of those books that once you start reading you become invested in these characters and don’t want to put it down until the very end. That N.R. Walker has gone back and given us more of these men and their lives – BONUS!

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GayRomLit, Morticia Knight, Pride Publishing

Guest Post and Exclusive Excerpt: The Countdown to GayRomLit with Morticia Knight

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Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Morticia Knight to help us continue the countdown celebration to GayRomLit 2015 in San Diego. Morticia’s giving attendees a sneak peek at some of the cool swag she’ll have available for us, and she’s also sharing an exclusive excerpt from her new novel Building Bonds.

Enjoy!

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A big thanks to Novel Approach for hosting me today for one of my stops on the GRL blog tour! In a shocking development, I’m more organized than I’ve ever been for a Con. Even the amount of swag I have prepared is crazy. Swag is a funny thing. The amount of free items we gather when we attend an event such as this can be overwhelming. As a fangirl reader as well as author, I have a fair collection that I’ve amassed from every event I’ve gone to.

I know there’s been a bit of a backlash against paper swag because so much of it gets tossed, but I’ll confess I still enjoy getting a bookmark or postcard – particularly if it contains a blurb or tag as a reminder as to what the story is about. I’m sure most readers are like me in that they hear about tons of books on a continuous basis that they’re interested in reading, but only remember a smattering of them. I’ve added books to my wish list or had a sample sent to my kindle as a reminder – but sometimes that physical representation is a better reminder. And yes – I still use bookmarks!

But there have been many other fun and interesting goodies that have sprung up in recent years (I promise that’ll be the only double entendre I use in this post). Hunting for the premium swag might become an Olympic sport soon. From an author’s point of view, it becomes a challenge to figure out what might be cool, fun and not too expensive to buy a ton of to give away. With the pricier items it comes down to taking a big financial hit, having a severely limited first come/first served amount (Dammit. Second one.), or a free with purchase item.

All Fired Up bookmark swag

I’ve opted for the latter with my bookmark charms. The first time I saw these things I about had a meltdown, they’re so cool. They feature a book cover charm, matching beads and charms that relate to the book characters. For example, for All Fired Up, there’s a fireman’s axe and a cop’s badge. What I’m doing is offering the corresponding bookmark for free with purchase of the paperback. I had to – these things are crazy expensive, but in my opinion, too awesome not to have.

BuildingBonds flogger keychains

But I also have plenty of other items that I’ll be giving away to whoever wants them. I have some Morticia Knight ribbon bookmarks, and magnets that feature the covers of most of my books. The most popular item though, has been the mini flogger keychains. I have brand new ones for GRL that are specifically for Building Bonds, as well as Building Bonds necklaces. I can’t take credit for any of this – not even the ideas – they were all made for me. Stop by my table and grab some while you can! I’m curious, what are your favorite swag items?

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buildingbonds_800Building Bonds: Kyle’s a natural sub who builds dungeon furniture, yet has no interest in BDSM. It takes a hunky Dom to show him just what he’s been missing.

After Kyle’s partner of five years leaves him for another man on the night of their housewarming party, the shy early thirties carpenter needs to do a serious reassessment of his life in addition to raising some serious cash. With no one else to help him pay the lease on his Los Angeles condo, he worries how he’ll survive. His best friend sets up a meeting with one of the Doms and partners at Kiss of Leather, a gay BDSM Club being built as a premiere destination for those who want the best of the best.

Master Gavin not only wants the best – he demands it. When he meets Kyle, he assumes that part of the builder’s reticence to share anything personal with him must be due to his experiences with an abusive former Master. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin determines to break through the walls surrounding the beautiful man he can’t get out of his mind. He’s certain that once he convinces Kyle to sign an initial contract, Kyle might be the first sub to open up his heart.

Misunderstandings and accusations almost destroy everything between them before it has a chance to begin. However, the true obstacle becomes not only whether Kyle will embrace BDSM as a lifestyle, but whether he can handle a fulltime D/s relationship with a big bad scary Dom who’s as sexy as hell.

Buy links: Pride Publishing || Amazon || Amazon UK || All Romance

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Exclusive Excerpt: Gavin shut off the water then straightened. He undid what Kyle surmised was a silk dress shirt then began to remove it. There were a few spots from when he’d rubbed his face on it as he’d cried. Kyle cringed. He had no idea how expensive an item it was. Based on the whole ‘I must provide for you in all ways’ thing, he doubted he’d be allowed to replace it if it was ruined. Would he get punished for those kinds of offenses instead?

“Kyle. I don’t want to have to prod you every single time there’s something churning in your mind that you’re either wondering about or is causing you stress. I expect you to ask me at least three more things of your own accord tonight. If you don’t, I’ll add that to your punishment tomorrow.”

Damn.

“Okay. I want to replace your shirt if it’s been ruined by me crying on it, but I don’t think you’ll let me.”

Gavin nodded, his eyes narrowing. “You’re right. I won’t.”

He waited, but Gavin didn’t elaborate. “But what if I want to do it? What if it makes me feel bad if I don’t?”

“Did you do it on purpose?”

“No, of course not. I just…” He frowned. “I’m a responsible person. I like to think I own up to my mistakes.”

“I’m very happy to hear that and I believe you. There’ll be many opportunities as we work together for you to discover the veracity of that. But in regards to the shirt? I doubt it’s ruined, it likely only needs a professional cleaning.” Gavin held his hand up, undoubtedly using his super psychic Dom powers to know that Kyle was about to protest. “And I would’ve taken it to be cleaned with or without the crying. But I’m a responsible person too, Kyle. I embraced you knowing that you were crying, knowing that there might be some spots. That was my choice.” Gavin stroked his cheek with the back of his hand. “Being accountable for your actions is an important attribute, one I treasure. But don’t take responsibility for something that’s not your fault.”

“That was… Thank you.” Kyle sucked in a big gulp of air then let it out slowly, Gavin’s words lightening him somehow.

“Been blamed a lot in your life?”

Gavin lifted his tank over his head and Kyle momentarily lost his concentration. Men with broad, perfectly sculpted chests that topped defined abs had never shown him any interest before. Of course, he supposed leaving the house and socializing would’ve made it more likely to occur, but the fact remained that he’d never been with a man who was shaped like a god before. He narrowed his eyes at Gavin’s generous sized nipples.

“Boy. I asked you a question.”

“Oh. Right.” He glanced up at Gavin as he quickly ran the topic of their conversation through his mind. “Actually, now that you mention it, yes. Definitely by my dad, Roger, oh, and Dean, another guy I went out with for a while.”

“Hmm.” Gavin’s remark had come out rather growly. “You can tell me about him later.”

Kyle went back to staring at Gavin’s torso, stepping a bit closer. He’d assumed that every time Gavin had held him close that his arousal had been what had made his nipples so big and hard. However, it appeared that the barbell piercings had more to do with his pebbling than anything.

“Do you like them?”

Kyle couldn’t look away. It was so sexy. He’d never before thought that he’d want to be with a lover who had anything pierced.

Then again, BDSM used to be on the never, ever, ever list too.

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Morticia KnightAbout the Author: M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers – but they’re all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey’s story from Rockin’ the Alternative.

Follow Morticia at: Goodreads || Amazon || Facebook || Facebook Author Page || Twitter

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie, Willa Okati

Review: Breathe Deep by Willa Okati

Title: Breathe Deep (St. Hawk’s Medical: Book Three)

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages

At a Glance: In my opinion, this is the best book of the series.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: A golden-hearted mountain man. A nursing tech with a secret. Life and death are on the line—and they’re running out of time.

Shepherd knows what people think of him. He’s too big, too tall and too broad not to be scary. But though he looks like a grizzly bear, he’s all teddy on the inside. He’s dreamed of finding someone to love. Someone who can help him break through his shyness and who he can shower with all the affection in his heart.

Kit knows what people think of him. That he’s young, good-looking and kissed by luck. He survived leukemia as a teenager, and he thought he had his entire life ahead of him. But now, the cancer might be recurring—deny it though he might—and Kit’s world has come crashing down. He needs someone like Shepherd. Someone kind and caring, who’s strong enough to lean on.

Kit’s falling fast for the big mountain man—but he hasn’t told Shepherd the truth. He’s afraid that knowing he may be sick will be more than Shepherd can handle. And now, after delaying treatment, he thinks he may be running out of time.

Secrets can be life or death—and when it comes to telling the truth, they can make all the difference.

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Review: Breathe Deep is the story of Kit and Shepherd. Kit is a nurse tech at St. Hawk’s Medical. He survived a bout of leukemia when he was fifteen, and knows what it’s like to be told you only have a year to live. But he beat it then, and now he has plans to graduate nursing school, maybe get a master’s degree, travel and see the world. The timing is just all wrong to meet the love of his life, especially since he suspects the cancer has come back. Kit is afraid, terribly afraid that he won’t make it out alive with this go round, but fortunately, he finds that sometimes fate puts just what you need in front of you when you least expect it.

Shepherd is a large, blond Norse god of a man, with the heart of a teddy bear. He is shy, and as such, doesn’t date at all. When Kit crosses his path, Shepherd can’t help being drawn to the man despite knowing that there is something not quite right going on with Kit.

If there is one thing Willa Oakati does well, it’s chemistry. The chemistry between these two men is incredible. Even though we spend the first part of the book dancing around the elephant in the room (Kit’s cancer), we end up with a sweet HEA between the two men that leaves you with a warm and understanding heart.

This is the story of two really good guys who deal with what life has thrown at them, and realize that the hard times are easier with a good man at your side.

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4 Stars, Carol Lynne, Erotica, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Solo by Carol Lynne

solo_exlarge_PNG-180x288Title: Solo Grave Diggers MC: Book One)

Author: Carol Lynne

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

At a Glance: This novella was worth the read despite the flaws.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Sam “Solo” Braun lives by one truth, the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club above all. The creed has served him well, giving him the only real family he’s ever known.He would die for his brothers and them for him, but they don’t know he prefers men over women. Coming out to a group of men who fear no one isn’t high on Solo’s priority list, especially because he’s never indulged in more than one night stands.

Everything changes after one night with Eric James. For the first time, Solo can’t stop thinking about a single night he’d spent with a man. When fate intervenes, Solo comes face to face with his blue-eyed obsession only to find out Eric is a cop. Solo hates cops, and so do his brothers in the club. However, Solo decides to gamble everything and spend more time with Eric under the guise of getting information.
Falling in love with a cop is a very dangerous proposition for a man in Solo’s position, so why can’t he walk away?

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Review: Carol Lynne’s book Solo has it all: insta-love, tough men skirting the law, bikers, cops who are tired of the system not always being just, and sex—lots of it!

Sam “Solo” Braun has lost much in his life. His father—who disappeared when he discovered his drunken wife was cheating on him—his youth—when he was bounce from place to lace and landed in juvie to do time, on an off—and his sister who, at the age of twelve, began using and died early. When he joined the hardcore biker club, the Grave Diggers, he was looking for a family of sorts, and found it—as long as he maintained his secret and appeared to be like all the other guys. Only his friend Rowdy knows that Solo is gay, and he intends on keeping it that way. So his life is a series of one-time hookups for rough sex, and that’s it. No love, no commitments, no playing nice. Until he meets Eric. Or, as he calls him, Blue.

Eric is a cop. With a similar background to Solo, Eric is looking for a better life; he just doesn’t realize it may be in the arms of a distant, unyielding biker who skirts the edge of the law most every day. With a common goal of keeping drugs away from the schools in their area, the two men decide to throw in together for the purposes of sharing info and getting the dealers off the street. Little do they know just what that will mean when they begin a dangerous relationship that threatens to be more than its original fuck buddy status.

Solo is a swift moving story that hinged a great deal of its development on the intimate moments that Blue and Solo shared, from the first chapter on. In fact, there were times when the plot depended more on the sex scenes than any storyline to keep it moving. This was hard for me to understand, as I felt the author had developed solid characters that I wanted to understand and get to know better. Solo, in particular, was more than met the eye; so love starved and affection deprived that the moment he began to even consider allowing Blue to get under the wall he’d built around his heart, it was lovely to read. Unfortunately, rather than develop that plot point, the author used sex to indicate the growing relationship and, I must admit, at times I just rolled my eyes and waited for it to be over. Also, the timing of their intimacy was sometimes really strange and unbelievable, like after Blue was released from the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound, and after Solo had crashed his bike and was really chewed up physically. These were times when the sex seemed rather contrived and ill timed.

Understanding that this was a novella, and therefore unable to plumb great depths, either character or plot wise, the story managed to hold together well and create two guys who were so darn likeable. You found yourself rooting for them despite the huge hurdles they would have to leap to even consider being together out in public. Solo was in a close-minded and rough biker club that did not brook its members playing nice with the cops, or being gay. Blue had to maintain the law but seemed to continually be stretching it when it came to Solo. Theirs was a relationship headed for disaster and yet, there was just enough character development to make you want to root for these guys to the very end. I do wish that there could have been more to the story itself because all the elements were present for a really solid novel.

All in all, this story simply lacked good development and relied way too much on sex to push it along to the rather obvious ending, but Carol Lynne is undeniably a gifted storyteller, and this novella was worth the read despite the flaws.

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Solo is available for early download only at:

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4.5 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Angel

Release Day Review: Don’t Stake My Life on It by Bailey Bradford

Title: Don’t Stake My Life on It (Vamp for Me: Book Two)

Author: Bailey Bradford

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 113 Pages

At a Glance: A sweet and funny follow-up to My Life Without Garlic.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Stakes, kilts and holy water—Andrew Meyer is in for the time of his life!

Radney’s tired of being the coven oddball. He had his reasons for being the way he was, and he let those reasons rule his life for centuries. Another mistake—almost harming a human he’d been sent to keep an eye on—has sent Radney on a mission of self-improvement. He’s going to conquer his issues and be the best damned vamp ever!

Maybe.

Andrew Meyers has the term paper from hell to write. It needs to be original and intriguing. What could be more so than people with a vampire fetish?

But when that fetish turns out to be one he has, for a very sexy, kilt-wearing, neurotic vampire, the tables are turned. Andrew isn’t prepared to find out that vampires are real, but he learns it anyway. With help from his twin brother, Erin, he just might be able to find a happy ending—or an ecstatic beginning—for him and his hot as hell red-headed vamp. If he’s careful, and patient, he might even find the vamp for him.

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Review: This sequel, which takes place at the same time as Bradford’s novel My Life Without Garlic, is a sweet and funny addition to the Vamp for Me series. I enjoyed this tale, but was slightly disappointed that Bradford chose Radney to continue the series instead of one of the other vampires who had been more involved in the last book.

Stake begins with Claude, the coven leader, confronting Radney about his actions in the previous book, and reprimanding him. It is said that Radney is a bigot and not quite the brightest bulb in the bunch, and I think that rather does the vampire, who is supposed to be centuries old, an injustice. He is a bit immature and uncouth, but I wouldn’t say he is stupid. Radney changes greatly over the course of the book, especially after he meets Andrew, and it’s all for the better.

Andrew is a studious young man who, along with his hyper-sexual twin, Erin, manages to discover the common theme of this series: a vampire dating website and that vampires are real. Add in vampire hunters, some school boy humor and a bit of danger, and you have one entertaining and fun story.

I remember Radney from the first book, and while his story is cute and fun, his backstory isn’t. The book has touched on some issues about abuse and learning to let go, which are dealt with delicately in spite of the humor throughout this novel. Bradford also continues the quirkiness of twisting the vampire mythos with reality to an interesting degree, and I really like her take on the genre.

I am looking forward to more of her verse, hopefully with many more tales, especially Claude and Abernathy’s story. Thank you, Ms. Bradford, for an enjoyable read!

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You can buy Don’t Stake My Life on It here:

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann, Sarah Masters

Review: Outcast Cowboys by Sarah Masters

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Title: Outcast Cowboys

Author: Sarah Masters

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: I was not disappointed in this page-turner at all.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: What’s His Passion?

You can run but you can’t hide. Problems have a habit of following you, even if it’s only inside your head.

Ross decides to start a new life away from the grim belly of London, England, unable to stomach being a cop any longer. He tells himself he’s moving miles away to find himself a bed partner, but he’s lying. He has to. Facing up to the real reason he’s leaving isn’t something he can handle. His last undercover job proved too much—his life was at risk—and if he stays in London he’ll likely end up dead. Nightmares plague him, his subconscious unable to switch the past off. So he moves to a ranch in America, thinking the new surroundings and different lifestyle will help him to heal—and to forget. What he soon realizes is he’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire…

Joe’s passion—that of caring for the horses—is the only thing that keeps him sane. He’s a surly man, and for good reason—a reason he hasn’t told a soul. Folks think he’s mean and unapproachable and suspect him of committing murder. More than once. Locals assume that Joe got let off the hook. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Joe lets people think what they will. He’s done with their speculation and sly looks.

When Ross and Joe meet, tension is rife. The air between them prickles with animosity as well as sexual tension. Both have a past they can’t get over. Both have skeletons in their closets they wish would turn to dust. And both have to make a decision. Can they cast their fears aside and trust each other, or have the terrors they’ve experienced ruined them for love?

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Review: Sarah Masters is one of my favorite authors, so I decided to see where she was going with Outcast Cowboys since cowboys and ranches are not usually what Ms. Masters writes. I was not disappointed in this page-turner at all. Outcast Cowboys is heartrending, with a dark psychological feel, and is a little eerie too, as death seems to be a part of this ranch—along with a horse that has a mysterious role. The book does have a warning about non-consensual sex, but it also contains several suicides, which might be disturbing to readers as well.

When the story begins, we meet Ross Jones arriving in America to start a new life on a ranch—which is extremely different from being a cop in England. As a former police officer, he doesn’t scare easily, and he’s out spoken and suspicious. As the story goes on, it takes us into Ross’s world: him working undercover, the intolerance he faces because he’s gay, and the realization he’s never felt safe. He fights to face his demons too.

Ross arrives at the ranch and meets Grenadier, Joe, and Limmy, and learns of a fourth brother, Mike. The brothers are hiding terrible secrets, and Joe is always at the center of all the trouble at the ranch. Jealousy, threats, guilt and harassment, it was heartbreaking to see brothers treat each other so badly.

When Ross first meets Joe, Joe’s rude and mean. The more we learn about him and his brothers, we see Ross’s feelings change towards Joe. Ross did have his doubts about Joe at times, but he also defended him, struggling with his cop-side and wanting to do the right thing, especially when he begins to fear for Joe’s life and comes up with a plan to take him out of this ugly environment.

l feared for both Ross and Joe throughout the story, especially Joe because of his brothers. Sometimes I even doubted Joe’s innocence. And even towards the end of this story, tragedy prevailed, but Ms. Masters did leave me feeling that Ross and Joe had an HEA and found closure in their lives.

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3.5 Stars, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Valentina Heart

Review: Two Hearts One Voice by Valentina Heart

Title: Two Hearts One Voice (Mending the Rift: Book Three)

Author: Valentina Heart

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 95 Pages

At a Glance: The long-awaited ending to a series that should satisfy fans of Merin and Rin.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: They are at war, fearing for each other, both carrying the upbringing of their children and the survival of their country. They are kings.

With the future of the throne secured, Rin and Merin still have little time to rejoice for their children or the unity of their kingdoms. Stuck in the middle of a battlefield, their lives prove to be once again at risk, Rin heads out on a long journey home with his heirs, leaving Merin to lead their army.

Rin receives his rightful title of a king from the Kari council and for once feels as if he belongs on the throne without Merin there to guide him. Missing his husband, he raises their children the best he can, but there’s no end to the war in sight and, after months of futile conflicts, Rin sees Merin cut down in battle.

Distraught and with no patience for his council, Rin threatens the Riki, making even his own men fear him.

Can Rin cope alone and still win the war, or will his sorrow mark the end of his reign?

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Review: Note: This is the final book in the Mending the Rift series. It is definitely recommended that they be read in order.

Finally! I remember when I read the first book in this series – I was having a 7 hour test at Northwestern Hospital to determine if I would have to have surgery, and between the times I was strapped to a machine I had time to kill, so I started this series. I had totally missed the part where it was the first in a series, and was so mad at the ending! But then book two came along, and I was somewhat mollified. Then the long wait – but not the author’s fault. This series was left in limbo, thanks to the original publisher going under and leaving a huge mess in its wake. Luckily, Pride Publishing came to the rescue, and we finally have an ending to this saga.

Two Hearts One Voice takes place immediately after the end of Owner of My Heart, the second book in the trilogy. Rin has finally given birth to the new heirs, and they all seem to be thriving. While the birth takes a toll on Rin, he is recovering nicely and has help to care for the children. Rin has needed to stay close to Merin during the pregnancy and birth to recover his health and strength, but now there are too many dangers as they remain in the battlefield, and it’s time for Rin to take the children back home.

Once Rin and the children arrive home, Rin assumes his rightful place on the throne and truly serves as an admirable ruler. His daily communications with Merin, raising the children and dealing with the running of the kingdom at home, seem to agree with him, and he is more confident than ever. The children are adorable and a handful, but he does have competent help.

While Merin continues to lead his men in battle, things are never stable at the front, and when Rin sees Merin wounded during their daily communication, he cannot get through and has no idea if Merin is dead or alive. This drives Rin into action, and he vows to either broker a peace or engage in a scorched earth policy. He demands a meeting with the Riki king, and won’t take no for an answer. His power and his magic seem to surge with his fury over Merin’s attack, and he simply refuses to accept defeat. However, he’s unprepared for the price of the potential peace, and he’s not sure he can make the required sacrifice for his husband, his family, or his kingdom. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I will leave the synopsis here, because it’s an interesting dilemma that is best not revealed too soon.

I really liked seeing more of Rin on his own, with his children, and running the kingdom at home. He’s been through so much, and with the love and confidence gained through his true marriage to Merin, he finally is comfortable with the mantle of power that he has rightfully earned. Merin is, as usual, pragmatic and thoughtful and still deeply in love and full of admiration for the strength and beauty of Rin. He dotes on his children and never forgets his duty to his kingdom. He is in awe of the steely determination he sees in Rin. They are a perfect combination and deserve every happiness together.

I’m a little sad that the series is over because I’d really love to see what happens with the next generation. Maybe we’ll get a new series starring those characters sometime in the future.

 

 

 

You can buy Two Hearts One Voice here:

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