4 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time. Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide.

The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity. Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

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Review: After listening to Shock & Awe, I jumped right in to Cross & Crown and was so excited to listen to it.  Maybe because I listened to them back to back, and because Shock & Awe is so focused on Nick and Kelly starting their relationship, I realized while listening to Cross & Crown that although they are together throughout the book and have some sexy times, it is definitely more mystery driven than Shock & Awe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and liked the mystery and treasure hunt aspect of the book, and trying to figure out if “JD” was a good guy or bad guy, but I love Nick and Kelly and wanted more of them than we got in this book.

As with Shock & Awe I think that Brock Thompson did a great job with the narration of the book. The dialog was clear, the voices were distinct, and for me, it fit with how I heard them in my head while reading the book.

So, overall, I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Cross & Crown here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Giveaways, L.B. Gregg, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The With This Bling Blog Tour with L.B. Gregg

WithThisBling_TourBanner

Today we’re so pleased to welcome author LB Gregg to on the tour for the newest installment in the Romano and Albright series, With This Bling. Enjoy LB’s guest post, and then be sure to check out the great giveaway! Details below.

Good luck!

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Hi. My name is LB Gregg and I write gay romance. I’m here with Riptide Publishing celebrating the release of book three in my Romano and Albright series—With This Bling. It’s an exciting time. I know it’s also been a while and I appreciate readers sticking with me.

Expectation is a tricky thing. It took years for me to get to a point where I felt comfortable writing a new Romano and Albright book and once I did, I had a few false starts. Figuring out where to pick up the thread of Ce and Dan’s story proved harder than I anticipated.

Keeping things fresh is a challenge for any writer, and in the case of Romano and Albright, more than half a decade has passed since I last visited the guys. That’s a long time to pick up where you left off. In everything from popular culture, politics, publishing, and city’s landscape— New York City has changed. There’s a new mayor in town. Smart phones are universal, as is texting in emoji. We finally have marriage equality. Citi bikes racks fill the side streets, and Hurricane Sandy left damage, resulting in roadwork and traffic snarls. Wheat is out. Farm-to-Table is in. Uber is a thing. And so is Tinder (and Grinder) and social media is unavoidable. The High Line opened and stretches across the lower West Side, alive with history, blooming gardens, graffiti art, and tourists. And now One World Trade Center dominates the Manhattan skyline.

With This Bling begins only a couple of weeks after Trust Me If You Dare left off. Long enough for Caesar’s wounds to have healed after the BMW hijinks, but for this tentative, hot new thing between Dan and Ce to still feel fresh. The guys are just settling into a routine, but they still have a lot of questions.

Caesar makes frequent references to the here and now of 2008 and 2009 in books one and two—from marriage, to popular culture, to electronics and technology, to fashion trends—and I wasn’t sure if I should place the new story in 2015, or keep the guys sealed in the past. I struggled initially with how to adapt all the changes in our real world, with the very narrow timeline in my Romano and Albright series.

However, Caesar Romano is still the same twenty-eight year college graduate who struggles with the same day-to-day realties of life in the big city that most twenty-somethings do. Finances. Balancing family and friends. Commuting. Debt. Growing his career. Getting laid. Those basics haven’t changed for Caesar.

Yes, he’s always been a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, but because he’s young, he’s not oblivious to pop culture. Ce is and will remain current. Keeping him in the here and now wasn’t quite so difficult, because the things that make him tick haven’t changed, despite the prevalence of free wifi, a iPhone, Siri at his finger tips, and a languishing Twitter account.

And while Dan Albright might be a little above popular culture (Justin Bieber and Mylie Cyrus aren’t really on his radar), there isn’t a forty something in NY who hasn’t taken a selfie. Dan’s a smart guy. He’s hip. He’s educated. He loves to text. And the former detective has a firm opinion about both Deflategate and the World Series. He adores gadgets and video games and Dan’s not above using new and old technology to get his way. Those things won’t change about him either.

Because Romano and Albright are character driven books, I let Ce and Dan decide what things to keep, and what things they wished to upgrade. Putting Ce and Dan right here, right now, in this present, is something I’ll continue to do with the next book—Gaydar Love. The guys adapt better and faster than the rest of us, apparently, and they can pick up exactly where they left off, leaping through time and space as only fictional characters can. And neither one of them has aged. If only I could say the same.

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With This BlingAbout the Book:

Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

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Author BioAbout the Author:

When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.

For more info on L.B., because surely one can never get too much of a good thing, you can follow her on her preferred social media, Facebook. You can also e-mail L.B. at lbgregg at lbgregg dot com, visit her website www.lbgregg.com, be her GoodReads pal or follow her sporadic appearances on twitter.

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of With This Bling, L.B. Gregg is giving away a Romano and Albright mug with swag, and a $40 gift card to Amazon! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 12, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, J.A. Rock, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: The Subs Club by J.A. Rock

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Subs Club (The Subs Club: Book One)

Author: J.A. Rock

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 297 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: A year ago, my best friend Hal died at the hands of an incompetent “dom.” So I started the Subs Club, a private blog where submissives can review doms and call out the douche bags.

A perfect example of the kind of arrogant asshole I mean? The Disciplinarian. He has a pornstache. He loves meat, stoicism, America, and real discipline. And he thinks subs exist to serve him.

But . . . not everything about him is awful. His Davy Crockett act just seems like a cover for his fear of intimacy, and part of me wants to show him it’s okay to get close to people. And, I mean, sue me, but I have fantasized about real discipline. Not role-play, but like, Dave, you’re gonna be thirty in four years and you still work in a mall; get your ass in gear or I’ll spank it.

Not that I’d ever trust anyone with that kind of control.

I’m gonna redefine “battle of wills” for the Disciplinarian. Or I’m gonna bone him. It’s hard to say.

—Dave

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Review: We all have preconceived notions of not just ourselves but the people and the roles they have in our lives. What happens when that reality is shattered and you are left to reinvent yourself inside a new paradigm? Like taking an old well-loved coat and repurposing it to something new and better than it was before – something that will grow with you and make you a better person. It hurts, but it is worth the transformation.

Dave. He’s complicated, witty, and a little immature (but trying so hard), loyal and an advocate for others. He’s a sub but he’s gonna make you work for it – especially if he feels you don’t deserve it. He is secure in himself as a submissive, and he knows what he needs and is convinced he will never find it or have the guts to ask for it, especially now. There used to be five of them, a circle of friends who are all subs. Now there are only four.  His best friend died at the hands of an irresponsible Dom, and it’s a wound that hasn’t healed for any of them. Their first night back at an event at Riddle, a local BDSM club—and the one where Hal died—Dave spies a man he nicknames Pornstache, and falls into insta-lust. “Come save me, Pornstache. But, I mean, don’t, because I’m not attracted to you and I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to reflect on how stupid-lonely I am, and how I prefer meaningless sex to relationships, and meaningless spankings to meaningless sex.”  Pornstache is actually Dave (yes, the main characters have the same name!), a Dom who goes by the name The Disciplinarian and, yeah, he noticed Dave too.  But Dave isn’t easy, and the wounds he carries for not just himself but for all of his friends, make this relationship painful and not just from the spankings.

This book really delves into a serious issue in the fet community—subs having a voice. Who is responsible when something goes wrong in a scene? Rules are there for a reason and should never be broken, and when they are, who do you blame?  Dave has an idea to start an online blog called The Subs Club where subs can go and talk about anything, and that includes the Dom’s they play with. It’s all about being safe, knowing who is playing safe and who isn’t and what kind of experiences they are having as subs. Sounds good, right? But what happens when people start talking about your new Dom on the blog?

This book is about moving forward from tragedy, wrapped inside the complicated world of discipline and submission. Brilliantly written, Dave is a man you truly want to find his HEA inside the domestic discipline relationship he craves, and Pornstache is just the Dom to give it to him! Dave finally realizes “Oh my fucking God.  Love really is the most dangerous game. And I want to play it.”

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy The Subs Club here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, L.B. Gregg, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: With This Bling by L.B. Gregg

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: With This Bling (Romano and Albright: Book Three)

Author: L.B. Gregg

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

At a Glance: Dan Albright and Caesar Romano are back and better than ever!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

Dividers

Review: Oh, Caesar Romano, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1.) ALL OF THEM

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Ce and his big ol’ sexy Private Investigator lover Dan Albright to return to an e-reader near us, doesn’t it? The humor, the sex in somewhat super conspicuous places (Dan and Ce are just a wee bit kinky that way), the mystery and danger—did I mention the hilarity?—they’re all back and then some in With This Bling, and I’m beyond ecstatic to say it was worth the wait. Okay, a little less waiting would’ve been nice, but who’s happy now? Me.

Ce is now out of the art business and contentedly ensconced at Posh Nosh with his pregnant BFF Poppy (my grumpy spirit animal), who happens to be carrying the offspring of Ce’s cousin Joey. Why is this significant? Because a seemingly cursed (and kinda gruesomely acquired) ring, an appearance on a schmaltzy New York morning show, and the single most hilarious cooking segment on television all leads up to what was supposed to be an epically romantic wedding proposal. Supposed to… The thing is, where Ce’s involved, what’s supposed to happen and what does happen rarely are one and the same—so much shenanigans ensue, I swear. Trust me when I say it always makes for great reading, though, and this installment of the Romano and Albright series is no exception.

Of course, then there’s the woman who keeps rubbing her girly junk all up against Dan’s fine-ass form. What the oh-hell-no is up with that? Well, she’s a nasty blast from Dan’s past, and her hygienically challenged husband is a tad on the stalkery side—though the smell, well, that may just be a second hand stench Ce was smelling. At any rate, the Lutzes are a couple of putzes, and one of them is making it awfully easy for a certain someone to try to get his hands on Dan. The interaction between Caesar and Blair, though, it’s priceless! On a scale of one to snark, it’s a total verbal bitch slap:

Blair: “Caspar. We meet again.”
Ce: “Blade. Are you enjoying the show?”

Okay, you had to be there, but oh my god, the only thing missing from this scene was shoulder pads and a catfight. No one should go up against Caesar Romano in a battle of snits, let me assure you, especially when that someone is trying to get with Ce’s man. But there’s so much more to the story than Blair Somerset-Lutz, skank extraordinaire, trying to sink her claws into one Dan Albright. I can’t tell you what it is, though, or it’d spoil all the fun. Just suffice it to say that L.B. Gregg is in top form here, and she did nothing but make me realize how much I missed her guys, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Romano and Albright back on my e-reader. This book doesn’t start off with quite the bang of the other two in the series, but that’s okay because it doesn’t take long before all hell breaks loose, and this time Ce gets to be the hero in the uber-tight suit. That poor suit… God.

For us dedicated fans of this sexy couple, Gregg also gives us a pretty sweet payoff in the romance department, and I loved every minute of it. Listen, our heroes aren’t ones for the shmoops and candy conversation hearts, that’s definitely not their M.O., but still, they find themselves in uncharted waters by the end of the story, and it was completely fabulous, and now I can’t wait for book four, just on general principle alone, but also to see how this new development develops.

With This Bling may have been a long time coming, but have mercy, it was worth the wait. I’m still cackling over that cooking scene. Comedy gold.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy With This Bling here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Holiday Romance, LC Chase, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Review: A Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Fortunate Blizzard

Author: L.C. Chase

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 179 Pages

At a Glance: Grab this book and curl up by the fire one weekend soon! You’ll be so glad you did!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: There are worse things than being stranded in a blizzard….

Artist Trevor Morrison has always appreciated the little things in life, treating each day as a gift. And with good reason: he’s been on the transplant-recipient list for too long now. When he learns just how numbered his days truly are, he resolves not to take them for granted. But he won’t be unrealistic, either—which means romantic commitments are off the table.

Marcus Roberts seems to have it all. He’s handsome, financially sound, and on the fast track to partnership at a prestigious law firm. In reality, though, his drive for success has meant no time for friends or relationships. Add in the fact that his family discarded him long ago, and he’s facing yet another holiday season alone.

When the biggest snowstorm to hit Colorado in decades leaves Marc and Trevor stranded at the same hotel, a chance encounter and a night of passion leads to more than either of them expected. Finding comfort in each other is a welcome surprise, but time is not on their side. Either they find a way to beat the odds, or they lose each other forever. 

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Review: A Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase was my first holiday read this year, and it was a fantastic way to kick the season off. I LOVED this story. As I was thinking about this book, and going back over my notes and highlights, I ended up reading the entire thing again, because it is just that yummy and swoony! As I was looking over my notes, though, I came across this highlighted quote:

“…the snow was beautiful to watch – peaceful in its silence, tranquil in its insistence that the world stop and take a breath, release its grief, cleanse its soul, and start anew.”

Not only is that exactly how I feel about snow, but it’s also a perfect summation of the story. Both Trevor and Marc are in need of ‘taking breaths, releasing grief, and starting anew.’ One of the central themes in the book definitely has to do with fresh starts – Marc letting go of his family angst and his drive to fulfill someone else’s dreams, and Trevor, obviously, quite literally needing a new lease on life –  this snow quote gave me feels and perfectly captured those elements in the book.

Trevor and Marc are fantastic together. And, sexy as hell. The immediate attraction between them – particularly Marc’s strong reaction to Trevor – is so well done. The tension in the beginning is perfect, and they are ridiculously hot together. The relationship happens quickly, but it completely works. The spark is there from the get-go, and they mesh so well with each other. I love how Trevor really sees Marc, and how he inspires him to seize life and rediscover his passion. Both characters are wonderful, but I found myself very drawn to Trevor. His story is extremely powerful, and the way he handles his dire situation – even his deciding to keep Marc at arm’s length – is so admirable. I completely adored him.

This story has all the components of a fabulous holiday read. It’s well-written, with a wonderfully easygoing style. It’s so romantic and swoony, but with the right amount of drama. The conflict is really well done – has you on edge but not wanting to throw your Kindle into the fireplace. And, there might be a few tears (I still can’t with Trevor’s letter to Marc!). Grab this book and curl up by the fire one weekend soon! You’ll be so glad you did!

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy A Fortunate Blizzard here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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All Romance eBooks

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4.5 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

TitleShock & Awe (Sidewinder: Book One)

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  3 hours and 59 minutes

At a GlanceBrock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

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Review: I absolutely loved this book when it came out, and I’ve read it multiple times since then, so I was excited to listen to this audio. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Cut & Run series audiobooks yet, but now I’m going to have to get them so I can listen to all of them in order.

Brock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. The different characters’ voices were distinct; I didn’t have any issue following along or knowing who was talking throughout the audio. I thought that the narration of the story was just as hot and sexy as the book itself—nothing was taken away from the story at all.

Usually I listen to audiobooks while I’m at work, not really my thing to listen in the car or at home, but some I just can’t stop listening to and have to have them playing wherever I happen to be, which was the case with Shock & Awe—I started listening at work, continued in the car, put my headphones on and listened while grocery shopping, then again in the car on the way home, and since there was only a little left at that point, I finished up sitting on my couch at home. In other words, I didn’t want to stop listening before I got to the end, and now I can’t wait to start Cross & Crown and continue listening to the guys’ story.

A highly recommended listen.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shock & Awe here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, HelenKay Dimon, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Stranded by HelenKay Dimon

StrandedTitle: Stranded

Author: HelenKay Dimon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 155 Pages

At a Glance: Oh heavens, this was a good book!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Brax Hughes lived hard and retired young to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Well, that was the plan, but before he can hang up his sniper rifle, he has one last mission: win back Kyle Cabe. Brax wants another chance, wants to come clean, but after months of lying to Cabe, he knows he could face a bullet — or worse — when they meet again. And they will meet. Brax made sure of that.

With a storm moving in and someone lurking outside the cabin, time is running out. Brax needs to talk fast and keep his weapons ready. And his best weapon is the truth.

* * * * * * *

NOTE: Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

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Review: Do you like military style men with intriguing stories to tell? Then you will love this book like I did!

How do you describe Cabe and Brax… They are intense, male, alpha, dominating, controlling, broken, fierce, passionate, powerful, and consuming. These two men NEED the truth they find in each other, but they both have trust issues and control issues, and it is painful but oh-so-worth-it to watch them work through them.

Kyle Cabe was a product of the foster system; if it taught him anything, it taught him not to trust anyone. Ever. It was that lesson that makes him such a great operative and keeps him alive. That is, until Brax Hughes, another operative, wormed his way inside Cabe’s walls. Of course, then Brax shot and tried to kill him. Now Cabe is retired, as retired as a man can be from the business, and he wants to fade into anonymity and find peace.

Brax wants to retire also. After all, he is supposed to be dead. But Brax has one last mission, and that is to make sure that Cabe knows the truth of what happened that day he shot him. How does he convince the only man he has ever loved that he shot him in order to save him? These men’s lives are built on carefully crafted lies, and to get to the heart of them is a convoluted story full of intrigue, with missions gone bad and good intentions gone wrong. The passion between the two is never in question and, oh my, the sex is hot, but these two men have big obstacles to overcome, and the largest obstacles are inside themselves. I highly recommend this book!

HelenKay Dimon has dipped her toe into the M/M genre before, even though she mainly writes M/F, but all of her books are intense romances about intense people, and the attention to detail is what makes them so freaking good. I hope she produces more for the M/M genre, as it is greatly enhanced with her presence.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Stranded here:

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Amazon US

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3 Stars, Genre Romance, L.A. Witt, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Rain Shadow by L.A. Witt

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Rain Shadow (A Bluewater Bay Novel)

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

At a Glance: All in all, another solid addition to the Bluewater Bay series.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jeremy Rose came to Bluewater Bay to work as Anna Maxwell’s bodyguard, not to escape his increasingly bitter relationship with his estranged kids. He just wants to focus on his job and be alone for a while. He’s done with love, especially now that three years after his long overdue divorce, he’s got a front-row seat to the rapid deterioration between Anna and her girlfriend. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Then Anna and Leigh’s attempts to reconcile put him in the crosshairs of marriage counselor Scott Fletcher. Scott’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now: gorgeous, hot, horny, single, and 100% uninterested in a relationship. The problem is, too much no-strings-attached sex — and too much time in each other’s company — inevitably builds emotional connection.

Except Jeremy refuses to seek counseling for his broken family, and Scott refuses to get seriously involved with men who work dangerous jobs. They both need to realize they can only hide for so long from the pain they came here to escape. They must face their pasts before they lose their shot at a happy future.

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Review: Normally I love mature romances – give me two older men in love every time.  I like that older men have more of a backstory to tell and that they have established lives, aspects that are generally not a part of the storyline for younger characters. However, when the “start of life” storyline is taken away, then you have to come up with a reason why these men are still single and what their particular angst is going to be. For this story, it is the death of a previous partner for Scott, and a divorce for Jeremy. The storyline with Scott is heartbreaking, and you can totally understand his unwillingness to get close to another man.

For Jeremy, though, his divorce haunts him every day, and I think it took over the book. And, not in a good way.  Jeremy spends too much time blaming himself for the condition of his family, and his ex-wife and children are happy to let him have all the guilt and responsibility. When I finished the book I felt like I could go on and on with just how much was wrong with the way those relationships were written. This book was a bit of a dichotomy for me.  I loved aspects of it and I hated aspects of it.

However, I loved the romance between these two men. Jeremy and Scott have both loved and lost, and they approach their “just sex” agreement in a mature, seemingly rational way. Unfortunately, the heart is rarely rational, and the comfort and sense of belonging these men find in each other is amazing. Neither wants a relationship, but they cannot deny the ease with which they fit, like two adrift puzzle pieces that are finally placed home.

I really wanted to like this book as I have read all the Bluewater Bay stories, and thoroughly enjoyed them, not to mention I am usually a big fan of L.A. Witt, but this one is a fifty-fifty for me.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Rain Shadow here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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3 Stars, Christine D'Abo, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Review: Rebound Remedy by Christine d’Abo

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Rebound Remedy

Author: Christine d’Abo

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 155 Pages

At a GlanceDespite the few misgivings I had about it, Rebound Remedy is a sweet holiday story that I think many will enjoy.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

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Review: Cole is having a shitty start to his holidays. Suddenly finding himself single two weeks before Christmas, he heads down to his neighborhood pub – McGregor’s – to drown his sorrows a bit. But, things quickly start looking up when he ends up unexpectedly flirting with the attractive bartender/owner, Owen. The two guys connect over helping a drunk into a cab, and after getting together for breakfast the next morning, form a fast bond.

There are some sweet moments between Cole and Owen. I liked them each individually – Owen especially…he had a very interesting story, that I wish could have been explored more – and, for the most part, their chemistry with each other was pretty hot as well. I had an issue with the pacing of the story, however, which took away from the overall enjoyment for me.

There is a place in romance for insta-love; I’ve read several books where it absolutely worked. In Rebound Remedy it alllllllmost works – I did find myself rooting for them, in spite of the fact that their relationship wasn’t entirely believable – but, unfortunately, it’s just not enough. Though the book wasn’t really all that short at 155 pages, it simply didn’t give us enough of their story. It felt like a novella that needed much more fleshing out in order to get us to fall in love with the guys, and fully buy their romance. It had promise…and there were definitely bits that were good, but, for me, it did miss the mark, mainly due to all the relationship stuff just moving too darn fast.

Despite the few misgivings I had about it, Rebound Remedy is a sweet holiday story that I think many will enjoy. Especially those who love the love-at-first-sight or insta-love tropes. I liked the backdrop of Toronto, and all of the Christmas-y stuff, especially the scene where they get Cole’s tree! And, I’ll be saying my little Christmas prayers that Christine d’Abo decides to write a book for Xander (one of Owen’s friends), because he sounds ridiculously hot. I would definitely be all ‘grabby hands’ for that book! Ha!

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Exclusive Cover Reveal: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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Title: Between Ghosts
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 226 Pages
Genre: Contemporary
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
Release Date: March 14, 2016
Pre-Order Link: Riptide Publishing

Blurb: In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

 

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane

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Title: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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Review: It is now 1921. Jonty and Orlando are in their forties, and it has been awhile since that business with the wooden cat. While working at the University is challenging, Orlando is beginning to think they will never have another case to solve… But then Jonty goes to tea and a case is presented, along with a particularly good nosebag.

I knew from the opening salvo, “Inspired by the many mysteries in real life that defy solution.”, that I was in for a great mystery with this book, and it did not disappoint! How do you solve a mystery that isn’t really a mystery on the surface? A mercy killing by a doctor, who then takes his own life in regret, two suicide letters explaining it all, and the whole scenario happening behind a closed door which was locked from the inside. What’s left to know? Well, a lot it seems. What they find is a case that stretches them morally and emotionally, and the decision has to be made whether to publish their findings to the world, or just to let sleeping dogs lie.

Each of these books has not only a mystery which has to be solved but a personal battle which must be fought, and in this book the power is in Jonty’s hands to right an old wrong and to realize sometimes the truth can help old sleeping dogs to lie more comfortably. This book, while still being an intense mystery, was a little lighter than some of the others have been. Lessons for Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorites in the Cambridge Fellows Mystery Series. All of Charlie Cochranes books are amazing, but being historically accurate sometimes means the emotions of two men can be constrained. This book has a warmth to it between Jonty and Orlando reminiscent of some of the earlier books in the series when they were sorting through the beginnings of their relationship. The two men are celebrating the sixteenth year of their meeting, and in my opinion, the mysteries and the emotions just keep getting deeper and better. As the pair say,

“Happy Anniversary. May there be many more of them.”

“Amen to that. More anniversaries, more cases to solve, more mattresses to put through their paces.”

“I agree on all three counts. Especially the last.”

If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you. You do not have to read these mysteries in order, just pick one up – it will not disappoint – and then you will go back for more!

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Reviewed by Jennifer, Riptide Publishing, VJ Summers

Review: Light a Candle by VJ Summers

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Title: Light a Candle

Author: VJ Summers

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 136 Pages

At a Glance: Enjoyable story with BDSM, former friends getting reacquainted, and a man desperate to show how much he’s changed.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Will broke Dusty’s heart their senior year. One unexpected moment of passion between them, and Will freaked out. Not only wasn’t he gay, but he wasn’t kinky either—or so he insisted to Dusty. Their long friendship ended, and Dusty was left with only bittersweet memories of their last movie night together.

Ten years later, out as gay and a Dom, Will auditions for membership at Club Deviant, only to find that he’s been assigned an all-too-familiar submissive. His scene with Dustin feels like fate, and he’s determined to get back what they once had—and more.

Dustin had buried the pain of rejection deep, but playing with Will conjures all his memories of that one electric moment they shared and the friendship it destroyed. He’s built walls around his heart high enough to keep out the Trojan Army, but together, he and Will may find the courage to move beyond their past and face their future together.

Publisher’s note: This is a heavily expanded and revised edition of Velvet Memories, previously published in 2011. 

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Review: I did not read the first edition of this book, from which this one has been expanded, so I cannot compare the two and discuss how much has changed. However, I can say that I did enjoy this one and felt it was well-written and just the right length.

Going back and forth from the past to the present, Light a Candle reveals the history of Will and Dusty’s relationship. From their senior year in high school where a small moment of passion leaves Will running in the other direction, to the present where Will is a confident gay Dom auditioning for Club Deviant, where Dusty is a submissive. The two are brought together on new terms. Will wants to prove to Dusty that he’s changed and that he made a mistake, but Dusty has a hard time accepting that. So, the two retreat to what they know best: Dominance and submission.

While the story might sound familiar, and perhaps overused, I felt it was well done in this book. I became invested in both men, and hoped they could overcome the past and look to the future they could build together. The inclusion of that past was also a nice touch. Not many authors will include past history because it takes away from the present or because the younger versions of the characters are too unfitting to be addressed in an adult novel. VJ Summers did a nice job of balancing everything that really kept me hooked. Just when I wanted to know more of what happened in the past, the author revealed it. When I wanted to go back to the present, the author did that as well. It truly is a fine balance that reveals all the reader could want to know.

If you enjoy novels with BDSM elements I recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for something a little on the shorter side.

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5 Stars, Larissa Ione, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Base Instincts by Larissa Ione

Title: Base Instincts (A Demonica Story)

Author: Larissa Ione

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages

At a Glance: Larissa Ione has once again turned our ideas of good and evil on an axis and challenged our thinking about what love means.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

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Review: Raze is a Seminus demon – which means he has to have sex to survive – but only with females. For a gay male this can be extremely hard. He has lived a solitary existence inside his own hell, forming a relationship with a succubus named Fayle, who feeds off his sexual energy as much as he uses her for the sexual release. But Fayle is not all she seems, and she keeps Raze tethered to her for her own selfish desires, never letting Raze form friendships or stay in one place for long.

Slake is a Duosos class of demon. Beginning life as a female, when he came of age he chose to undergo a spiritual ritual which changed his physical body into a male. Female Duosos demons are essentially slaves, and that was something that Slake could never be. Unfortunately for him – his rebirth did not change his desire for males. Knowing he would be dead shortly, he escaped his clan and has been on his own ever since. Charged with bringing Fayle back to her family, he never expected to be faced with Raze and the attraction they feel for each other.

If you have never read a M/M novel before, then Base Instincts is for you, especially if you love Larissa Ione’s Demonica universe. This book has cameo appearances with characters from Underworld General and frankly, Revenant steals the show. The forward to this book says that it is, “For the rule-breakers. Life, like imagination, has no limits, so find the loopholes and write your story the way YOU want it to go.” This is what Larissa Ione has done with Raze and Slake. The Demonica Series begins with Pleasure Unbound and has two installments in the 1001 Dark Nights novellas also. Base Instincts is a story written within this series of novels and is the only M/M addition so far.

I highly recommend Larissa Ione. She is an auto-buy for me and this story is no different. I highly recommend this book and this series—the writing is sharp and the characters are so well done, and the men are always wicked hot!

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3.5 Stars, G.B. Gordon, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet, Riptide Publishing

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon

Title: When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel)

Author: G.B. Gordon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 213 Pages

At a Glance: There is a complicated bit of character building that is skillfully done by the author, though I did have some issues with the time jumping around, and days passing with the POV changes.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Doran Callaghan doesn’t know when to fold ’em. His gambling has landed him in debt and in jail, and now it’s got him stuck in the sticks in a reintegration program. He wants to turn his life around, but old habits come knocking, and some creditors are harder to shake than others.

Xavier Wagner cares more about the National Park he works in than the people around it, until a stranger awakens desires he didn’t know he had. Doran’s natural submissiveness turns Xavier’s ideas of how to treat a lover upside down. But Doran doesn’t seem to know about boundaries—or even to have any—and Xavier’s not sure that Doran will say no if he needs to. Which means someone’s going to get hurt.

While Xavier struggles with his principles, Doran’s past comes calling. Trusting each other is suddenly a matter of life or death, but Doran has to decide whether counting on Xavier—or himself—is a gamble he’s willing to take.

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Review: When to Hold Them is another great story in the Bluewater Bay universe. Gordon is not a writer that I am very familiar with, and I can only hope there are more books coming from this author soon. This book grabbed my interest very quickly, and kept surprising me along the way. I loved that the focus was not pretty, and clearly showed the physical surroundings and glorious nature of this fictitious town.

The concept of a youthful (former) gambler, who is struggling so hard to get ahead, is unique. We really have to work to see his value, as he doesn’t see his own worth very well. Actually, we see both Doran and Xavier through the other’s eyes so much clearer than how they perceive themselves, and that is a complicated bit of character building that is skillfully done by the author. I didn’t mind the alternating POV, as it was clear who was speaking at all times. The problem for me was time jumping around, and days passing with the POV changes. I had to concentrate more on the individual paragraphs of the story to ensure that the flow was not interrupted.

The mystery based plot kept me enthralled as it unfolded with lots of conflicts and twists and turns. Events were explained very well, and the relationship between the MCs progresses in such a way that the reader is rooting for them long before they’re a couple, because we can see that they would work and could be happy before they can see it themselves. I enjoy being given that assurance by an author, as I feel it draws us into the story and keeps us invested in the outcome.

I think that one of the hardest things to do as a writer is to keep the continuity of tone in a multi-authored universe, while having set points of interest, or previously described characters appear in the current story, and stay believable. This is a strong draw for me personally, and was successfully accomplished while presenting a unique book in the universe for our enjoyment. Kudos to the author for a welcome addition to this particular universe. I look forward to trying more of G.B. Gordon’s work in the future.

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5 Stars, Alex Beecroft, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann, Riptide Publishing

Review: Blue Eyed Stranger by Alex Beecroft

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Title: Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues: Book Two)

Author: Alex Beecroft

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

At a Glance: An exquisitely written novel.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.

Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.

When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.

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Review: Blue Eyed Stranger is such an exquisitely written novel by Alex Beecroft. She writes with such emotion and passion, and I could actually hear the British accents come through in the writing; though I have to admit I had to check out the definition of some vocabulary, as well as the musical instruments discussed in this novel. The history about the different dances was also very interesting, and the county fairs, dancing, music, history and love really made this story come alive.

Both Martin and Billy have the issues that come with a new relationship. They also give support to each other in their own way, and they have their mutual like of the arts and history.

Even though Billy Wright deals with deep depression, he is an amazing character. He is a talented dancer with the Morris Dancing Group, and also plays the violin. As long as he is in costume he can handle his depression, and he gains self-confidence. Billy has accepted his being gay, and he never hid that fact.

Martin Deng is black and gay, two strikes against him, but he still tries to hide the fact that he’s gay. He’s an extraordinary teacher and tries to teach truth. He also has to deal with a degrading and controlling father. Martin performs as a Viking in his group, the Bretwalda Reenactment Society.

I also have to make mention of the musical group Steeleye Span’s “All Around My Hat”. Whatever I am reading, if an author mentions a group or a song(s), I make it a point to check out the music, which really sets a good tone for this novel.

Thanks, Alex Beecroft, for expanding my vocabulary and knowledge of music.

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Idle Tongues by Charlie Cochrane

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Title: Lessons for Idle Tongues

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 247 Pages

At a Glance: Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1910

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

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Review: How does she do it? How does Charlie Cochrane’s mind come up with this stuff? Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith are amateur detectives who are gaining quite a reputation for themselves and their ability to solve crimes. Lessons for Idle Tongues is book 11 in the Cambridge Fellows mystery series, and in my opinion, they keep getting better and better. Charlie Cochrane is a master at writing period appropriate stories. Everything about her characters, from dress to speech, is spot on to the time period. How Jonty and Orlando have to work to solve the conundrums they are presented with is totally believable—they don’t make leaps of faith or accomplish feats only someone in a later time period would know how to do. Cochrane’s stories are about the mysteries, the search for clues, the people you meet, the delicious bits you find along the way.

Each of the installments in the Cambridge Fellows series is a standalone book; however, you do really get a continuity of characters if you read them from the beginning. Many of her main characters, Jonty and Orlando and their friends and family – even the servants – all have their places in the timeline.

There’s a wooden cat, and the problem of having 13 to dinner – which is just not done – and rumors of a dead girl. There is lots of gossip, layers of misdirection, and could there even be more dead bodies? Of course, the answer always lies close to home. The next installment is due out October 12th and that is just too far away for the next mystery to arrive… I cannot wait for Lessons for Sleeping Dogs!

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Christine D'Abo, Reviewed by Jennifer, Riptide Publishing

Review: The Dom Around the Corner by Christine D’Abo

Title: The Dom Around the Corner (Escape #1)

Author: Christine d’Abo

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 111 Pages

At a Glance: For such a short book, one thing it’s not short on is angst and two hot men.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Simon is jaded. His bookstore is failing, his personal life is nonexistent, and he’s tired of the local scene. He’s desperate for a change, and hopes to find it at Escape, the hot new BDSM club in town.

What he finds there is Gavin. One look at the sexy submissive is all he needs to know that his trip to Escape was the right decision. And their night of no-holds-barred kinky sex feels like only the beginning . . . until his promising new sub vanishes with the dawn.

Then Gavin walks through the door of Simon’s bookstore—for business, not pleasure. To both of their surprise, he’s the consultant Simon hired to help save the store. As they work together, Simon realizes that he might have another shot at happiness, if only he can convince Gavin that he’s worth sticking around for.

Publisher’s note: This title is a heavily revised re-issue of a prior story, Commanding Acquisitions, originally released in 2010.

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Review: I’m a sucker for books about bookstore owners. Maybe it’s the part in me that hopes and dreams of someday owning a bookstore and café, but whenever I see a book where one of the characters is an owner? Well, count me in! Add to that a delicious helping of BDSM? Yes, please!

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this story, from Simon’s gruff attitude at the store and his clear sexual frustration, to Gavin’s expertise in handling business and his sweetly submissive nature. When the two of them connect, it’s great. But Gavin disappears and leaves Simon wondering, until he shows up to save Simon’s business.

Of course, try as they might, they can’t resist each other, and Gavin flees yet again, but he does start to grow. Even as he maintains his submissive side, he becomes surer of himself, which is great. Too often I’ve read books where the submissive is meek in every aspect of his life, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes a submissive is a strong person who needs to let off steam. That’s Gavin.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this book was that it’s the first in a series called Escape. The club where Gavin and Simon meet is called Escape, and it made me wonder a few things. I know future stories will somehow involve this club and the characters either meeting there or working there. But will Christine d’Abo write the future installments? Or is this a sort of open world setting where other authors will step in and add characters based on the location? I’m sure it’s the former, but the latter would also be really fun to read. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a series that did that!

If you’re looking for a quick read with BDSM elements, I recommend this book. Not only will it satisfy that craving, but if you want more, there will be at some point in the (hopefully) near future.

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Guest Post and Giveaway: The Blue Steel Chain Blog Tour with Alex Beecroft

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Alex Beecroft back to The Novel Approach today, on the Blue Steel Chain tour. Enjoy Alex’s guest post and then be sure to leave a comment to enter in Riptide Press’s tour-wide giveaway of a signed paperback from Alex Beecroft’s backlist (Any title which has a paperback edition, excluding Blue Steel Chain).  Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 1, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

And please be sure to leave your email address in your comment so we can contact you at the close of the competition.

Good luck!

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When False Colors came out in 2009, I still thought I was straight. I remember the furor that was kicked up by the marketing campaign for that book, which was released as part of a four book attempt to take m/m romance to the mainstream under the ill advised marketing slogan “m/m romance by straight women for straight women.” The four authors involved were somewhat startled by this because they were Erastes, Lee Rowan, Donald Hardy and me. That’s two bisexual women, a gay man, and an asexual person who really still isn’t quite sure about this whole gender business.

I’ve digressed. My point was that at the time I didn’t know that asexuality existed. I thought I was the token straight in that group. I’d always been aware that I’d never been very good at being straight. I’d always felt that there were vast areas in our culture that I just wasn’t getting. The whole business with sex, for example. What was the attraction? What was the point? I could see that it seemed to be a huge driving force in human interaction, and yet for me it was a blank space. Did that mean I wasn’t human? I sometimes felt that way.

I defined myself in negatives. I wasn’t a woman but I wasn’t a man. So I probably wasn’t trans. I wasn’t gay or bi or poly, but I really wasn’t very straight either.

How could a person who was so nothing ever actually exist at all?

That may not sound like an important question, if you’re the kind of concrete realist who can then go on to say “and yet I do, and my existence is valid.” But as an artist and an INTP, I’m a pattern maker by nature, and when I didn’t fit into any of the available patterns it did tend to lead me down the road of “then you must be a mistake. If there’s no space for you in this world, perhaps the world would be better off without you.”

An interesting thing that happened to me recently was that I began to go to a therapist (for non-writing related reasons). On one occasion I said to her “My depression hasn’t been so bad the last three years.” Another time I said “I found out about asexuality about three years ago, and that cleared up a lot of questions I’d had.” She was the one who said “You don’t think the timing of those two things is significant?”

I think it probably is.

I’m supposed to be talking about Blue Steel Chain, aren’t I? But this backstory is relevant to that book. By the time I discovered that asexuality was an actual thing, I had already lived for forty seven years. I had lived for 47 years not knowing that I wasn’t simply a failure at being a human being.

Asexuality is known as one of the ‘invisible orientations,’ because there is so little awareness in society that it exists at all. Asexual people can go their whole lives asking “what’s wrong with me?!” and never get an answer.

Naturally once I’d found this out, I knew I had to do something about it. I had to spread the news and let other people know that they too were not as broken as they might have thought. So I wrote Blue Steel Chain, a romance in which one of my main characters is asexual.

I thought I was writing it mainly for me – mainly for the thrill of thumbing my nose at all those people who assumed that I was writing romance for the sex. “I’ll show them what I really think about sex!” I thought. “That’ll teach them.”

(Because I’m clearly a very mature person these days.)

What I didn’t anticipate was that the moment I said I was writing a book with an ace main character, so many people would start saying “Yes! I feel represented. I can’t wait!”

I really hope I don’t let you down. There are as many different ways to be ace as there are people, and Aidan can’t be all of them. But I hope those of you who are ace can recognize something in him and go “Ha! Yes! It’s just like that.” And I hope those who aren’t will find it fun anyway, and useful for knowing how to deal with the Aces you meet in your life.

Judging from the latest surveys of slash writers/readers I think there are a disproportionate number of us amongst m/m fans. So the chances are you will meet one of us sooner or later. Be prepared!

~Alex

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BlueSteelChain_600x900Blurb: At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

Available from Riptide Publishing on July 27.

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About the Author: Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City PaperLA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Connect with Alex: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft | Goodreads

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5 Stars, Alex Beecroft, Genre Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft

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Title: Blue Steel Chain

Author: Alex Beecroft

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: This book challenges you to reconsider how you feel about love and companionship, your needs versus your wants in a partner and soulmate.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Summers is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

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Review: Aidan is trapped. Taken from the streets at sixteen by a psychopath, fear is something he lives with; it is a tangible thing for him. Yet, there is a curious detachment with Aidan and how he views his abuse. Being hit he shrinks from, but the rape he constantly is subjected to doesn’t seem to touch him emotionally – it is just something that happens, not something that can affect him. Alex Beecroft has written a moving picture of a man coping with what life has dealt him, and you WANT Aidan to be saved.

James has appeared in the other books in the Trowchester Series, and he is a truly likable character. The consummate nerd, James is curator of the local museum. He is tall and lanky, pushes his hands through his hair, constantly smudging his face with smears from his fingers, and loses his glasses regularly. James is a true gentle man. When he and Aidan meet by chance in his museum, James has a profound effect on Aidan, and Aidan is drawn toward the goodness he finds in James.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Aidan has to escape a psychopath, and James has to escape an ex-boyfriend, but the solid foundation for a happy ever after for the two is definitely laid as they each learn to stand strong as individual men coming together to make a whole. James and Aidan have more to overcome, and Alex Beecroft challenges you to accept a new picture of love…AND DOES AN AMAZING JOB OF IT! How do you make it work when one man is homosexual and one is asexual? But make it work they do, and it is awesome. We each love in our own way – there is no right or wrong way to love – thank you to the author for reminding me.

I am a big fan of Alex Beecroft and have read all the books in this series. You do not need to read them in order, as they each stand-alone. Each is filled with incredibly well written characters and plots that make you not want to stop once you have started reading.

TNA_Signature_Carrie







 

You can buy Blue Steel Chain here:

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5 Stars, Cari Z., Reviewed by Angel, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Where There’s Fire by Cari Z.

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Title: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis: Book Two)

Author: Cari Z.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 119 pages

At a Glance: Cari Z delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis!

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.
I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.
It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.

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Review: Cari Z. delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis! I will never look at Heroes and Villains the same way again, and neither will you. This is a most excellent thing, indeed.

When I saw this title go up as one of our choices, I jumped on it. I could not get enough of the first book in the series, and though it was only a little over a month ago that I read Where There’s Smoke, it felt like forever. It was so well done, I hadn’t forgotten a thing about the plot, and Fire picks up shortly after where Smoke ended. It is still the gritty, realistic fantasy that packs a well-placed punch to the gut when all is revealed in this installment.

Cari Z., Panopolis, Raul, and Edward do not disappoint. Like the first story, I couldn’t put this one down when I began reading, and I was ecstatic with the outcome even as I was saddened by it ending. I can’t wait for more of this verse by the author.

The storyline moves the characters along at a fast pace, but you are right there with them as the action happens. I found myself cheering Edward on as he struggled to find his place and rescue Raul. I hissed at the big, bad Villain each time he appeared, and fell for the newest characters introduced in this book.

Don’t get me wrong; I am still totally in love with Raul and Edward and their story, but I think I just might change my stance on Freight Train. I really didn’t like him in the first novel, but Cari Z. made me care just a bit about this Hero, even though I am a strict Villain-type woman. I want his story!

So much happens in such a short time, and I won’t spoil you here, but not one word was wasted. The economy made me savor the story, even though it seemed to just speed on by, and I craved more when it ended. I love that the author has turned this genre on its nose, and gives nothing but the best in continuity, character development and story in this book. If you haven’t read the first one, I highly recommend you do because while you are given the backstory in Fire, the experience is richer for having read Smoke first.

I am so on my toes to find out just what is happening in Panopolis, wondering who exactly SuperTruther is, waiting for Freight Train’s tale, and how Edward and Raul are going to survive this next stage of their lives that it just leaves me breathless with anticipation.

All I can say is read it and enjoy! Thank you, again, Cari Z., for such a fantastic and engaging tale in your excellently crafted world!

TNA_Signature_Angel

 

 

 

You can buy Where There’s Fire here:

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Giveaways, Heidi Belleau, Lisa Henry, Riptide Publishing

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Tin Man Blog Tour with Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

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Hi! Welcome to Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau’s blog tour for our new release, Tin Man. We’re visiting some of our favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Tin Man, and sharing some of our influences, our ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!

Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ecopy of Bliss, the first book set in this universe. Entries close July 25, 2015, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so we know how to reach you!

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Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Tin Man. In this excerpt, Ace is scoping out the headquarters of the Anti Terrorist Unit, hoping to see Soren again.

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The headquarters of the Anti-Terrorism Unit had been built on the site of the old Government House. Ace knew that because he’d seen the collection of faded old postcards his mom had kept in the back of the closet, postcards that showed stately, beautiful buildings along the riverbank. The war had changed all that. A decade or so of shelling and bombing—way before Ace’s time—had leveled all the grand old buildings of Tophet. They had been replaced by gray, concrete structures, smog-stained and windowless.

Ace told himself that he’d crossed the river just because he hadn’t done it in years, but that didn’t explain why he’d been drawn to ATU headquarters. He bought a lukewarm cup of tea from a vendor on the corner and stood around with the group of people outside the welfare office down the street from the ATU. The day was cold enough that he was able to pull the hood of his jacket up and keep his face hidden without it appearing unusual.

The welfare office was closed, the doors padlocked shut. The screens in the window were broken and flickering, but the occasional message scrolled along the bottom of the screens under the news bulletins: workers wanted in District Two, a factory opening in District Five, applications now open. Government mandated wage. No accommodation. No benefits. Citizens only.

Citizens only, Ace knew, meant only those without criminal records. You couldn’t be a citizen and a crim, and once you were a crim, there was no going back. He’d stood at this same welfare office back when he was a kid, listening to his dad beg the staff for a chance to get a job so that he could feed his family. They’d only left when the staff had threatened to call the police and have his dad arrested again.

Ace saw the same desperation on some of the faces of the men and women who studied the scrolling adverts. Most of them seemed resigned, though, weariness etching deep lines in their faces and bowing their backs.

A cold wind blew off the river as the afternoon softened slowly into dusk. He shivered, the rubbish littering the street scattering about.

Ace had told himself he hadn’t come here looking for Soren Lau, but it was a lie.

He just wanted to make sure the kid wasn’t dead, that was all.

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TinMan_600x900Blurb: Petty thief Ashoka “Ace” King knows better than to get in the way of Tophet’s Anti-Terrorist Unit. Rightfully feared in Tophet’s crime-ridden underbelly, a face-to-face encounter with an ATU is almost certainly a death sentence. But Ace has never been one to follow the rules.

Soren Lau might be an ATU rookie, but he’s not naive enough to believe everything his superiors tell him. Then again, he’s not stupid enough to disobey them, either. If he doesn’t shoot and kill as ordered, he might be next on their list.

But when Soren meets Ace, a moment’s hesitation is all it takes to put both their lives on the line. They don’t know each other, they don’t trust each other, and there’s no way in hell they can both walk away from this alive. But with suspicion and mortal danger mounting against both of them—and the forbidden attraction blazing between them—there’s nothing they can do but try.

Tin Man is out on July 20. You can order it now at Riptide.

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Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

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Heidi Belleau

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Connect with Heidi: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Email

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Cari Z., Giveaways, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Where There’s Fire Blog Tour with Cari Z.

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Welcome to author Cari Z. and Riptide Publishing’s blog tour for Cari’s new book Where There’s Fire. Check out the great guest post we have for you, and then be sure to leave a comment right here to enter in the giveaway.

The winner of the Where There’s Fire blog tour will work with Cari to name a character in the next Panopolis novella! Comment on this blog tour to enter in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 18. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Please leave your email in your comment so we can contact you if you win!

Good luck!

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I set the world of Panopolis up to be one of grandeur, with larger-than-life Heroes and Villains doing battle in the name of Good versus Evil, tempered by the fact that nothing is ever that clear cut. It’s fun to write the kind of narcissism and self-righteousness that leads a person to believe they’re always perfect and right, but it’s nothing more than a jumping off point for the characters that populate this story. I’ve delved into the dark and complicated world of Villains, and I’m pleased with what I was able to bring into the light.

But Panopolis is more than just its Villains. What about the mayor, who’s welcomed new businesses with open arms and an offer of Hero representation and product branding, regardless of whether the Hero wants it or not? What about the shadowy presence of SuperTruther, who seems to know so much about what’s going on behind the scenes? What about the Heroes themselves, covered with fame and glory but never allowed to be anything but Heroic, even when they feel like crawling under a rock to hide for a while?

In Where There’s Smoke, I introduced a Hero named Craig, aka Freight Train, who radiates a force field that doesn’t let much through. He’s the ultimate tough guy: powerful, untouchable and a comforting shield against villainy for the people of Panopolis. He’s also sort of a dork, awkward and gullible and far from perfect, who can’t be touched. Literally, he has no human contact with anyone, and by Where There’s Fire that trait is wearing for him. What would he do for the chance to touch someone again? How far, or perhaps how low, would he go?

Well, I’m not sure yet. But I’m working on it. Stay tuned for more in the Panopolis universe, my fair readers, and I hope you enjoy Where There’s Fire in all its heroic and villainous fun.

PS, I hope you noticed the prize for this blog tour, because if you win you get to help me name a character.

~Cari Z.

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WhereTheresFire_600x900Blurb: Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.

I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.

It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.

Buy Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Read Chapter One HERE

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About the Author: Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari: Website | Blog | Twitter

Cari is Riptide’s author of the month! Read her interview on Riptide’s website

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Aleksandr Voinov, Giveaways, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

Interview and Giveaway: On the Clock by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L.A. Witt/Aleksandr Voinov blog tour for the latest installment in the Market Garden series, On the Clock!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one eBook off each of our backlists (excluding On the Clock) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 18th, and winners will be announced on July 19th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Please include your email so we can contact you if you win!

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TNA: Welcome to TNA, L.A. and Aleksandr. Thanks for stopping by on the tour, and for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Let’s get started.

“Sex sells” is a well know refrain in the world of advertising. In the Market Garden series your characters sell sex. When it comes right down to it, why do you think there are more socially acceptable uses of sex at certain times and in certain situations than in others?

Mostly because I think sex is a social taboo, not a personal one. Meaning, society has declared what is acceptable and what’s not, and most people go along with it, but secretly, they have fantasies that they know would be met with horrified responses. I think that’s why erotica is so popular—it’s a chance to live those fantasies vicariously and harmlessly. Why does sex sell products? Because a person can be attracted to a particularly sexy model or some erotic branding, and buy the product, but then they can use the product to defend it—I’m buying it because I need/want it, not because they put Gerard Butler on the poster!

L.A./Aleks: As far as using sex for advertising and such, I have a hard time getting my head around why people get so bent out of shape over it, or why there are such double standards. Why female nipples are scandalous and male nipples are on everything. Why it’s okay to tap into that particular primal urge to sell things, but it’s not okay to actually tap into that primal urge to, you know, enjoy it for its own sake.

Market Garden is a place where sex is sold, blatantly and unapologetically. There’s no shame at Market Garden. There’s no deception—when they use sex to sell a product, sex is that product. So I guess for me, in a way, it’s thumbing my nose at the contradictory “sex sells, but don’t sell sex” societal norms.

TNA: One of the things I love about this series is that your characters aren’t working at Market Garden because they have no other choice. They’re all so well suited for the roles they play and are unapologetic for liking what they do… until they find the one person they’re willing to give it all up for. What do you find most interesting about creating these characters in their roles, and then bringing someone into their lives that can make them want to leave it all behind?

L.A./Aleks: To me, (L.A.) there’s something intriguing about someone who’s willing to buck societal norms and say, “No, this is what I want to do, and I’m not going to be ashamed of it just because you tell me to.” Sex is such a taboo, that to brazenly make your living from it takes a type of chutzpah that makes a really, really fun character. It’s entirely possible it’s subconsciously an allegory for brazenly making one’s living writing about sex, but I haven’t dug deep enough into my brain to figure out if it is. LOL

Of course there are absolutely sex workers who are forced into that line of work, and Market Garden isn’t an attempt to paint over them or pretend they don’t exist. This is just a different aspect of the sex industry, and one we chose to focus on for this series—characters who do what they do consensually and confidently.

Naturally, our guys are pretty strong and ballsy, and they make no apologies for what they do. So when someone comes along who rattles their foundation and makes them consider giving up their job, you know that connection has to be a powerful one. And what’s not to love about playing with two characters who can rock each other’s worlds like that?

As far as when they find someone who makes them leave it all behind, that’s the tricky part. It’s important for me that if and when a sex worker gives it up for a partner, it’s on his terms, not because his partner gave him an ultimatum.

I’ve received criticism before for having sex workers give up their jobs at the end of a story because they want to be with the person who accepted them as a sex worker in the first place. After all, if you’ve accepted that someone is a sex worker, why do they have to change to be in a relationship? I’ve also received criticism when a prostitute has continued to work as such even after deciding they want to be with that person because it’s disrespectful to the partner. When it comes to that, I think it really depends on the character if they’re going to stick with it or move on and why. A prostitute can be completely okay with his job, but once he’s got that really strong bond with one person, he might decide he doesn’t want to have sex with other people before going home to his partner. Or he might be the type who can completely compartmentalize—sex with a client is on a totally different plane than sex with his partner, so as long as everyone plays it safe, there’s no reason to give up one for the other.

It really, really depends on the person and on their partner. Just as some people are okay with open relationships and some aren’t, there are people who’d be fine with their partner continuing as a sex worker. I’ve personally known sex workers in real life who have partners at home, and everyone’s happy with the arrangement. I’ve also known sex workers who’ve retired from the trade (whether it’s porn, prostitution, stripping, or what have you) when they settled down with a partner. As long as everyone involved is happy with the arrangement, it works for me.

TNA: Finally, which has been your favorite couple(s) to write, and why?

L.A./Aleks: We both rather love Frank and Brandon from Capture and Surrender. As far as our favorites go, I’d have to guess (since Aleks is traveling while I write this) that his favorite would either be Frank and Brandon or James and Cal from If It Drives.

Mine would be, appropriately enough, Blake and Jason from On the Clock. I’ve been pretty attached to Blake since we first wrote him as Rolex in Quid Pro Quo, and every time he came back for a short story, I really, really wanted to write his happy ending. It’s hard to explain what it was about him that intrigued me, though. Maybe because we both have the same taste in watches.

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OnTheClock_600x900Blurb: When Blake Raleigh’s favorite rentboys retire from Market Garden, they’re sure their friend Jason will be a perfect replacement. Though Tristan and Jared are a tough act to follow, Blake returns to London to test out their recommendation.

Jason is right on the money. Negotiations turn him on. Getting paid turns him on. The higher the stakes, the hotter things get. Each trip to London is more expensive than the last, and the webcam sessions don’t run cheap, but Jason is well worth the sticker shock.

The more time they spend together, the more Blake wants, and not just sex and transactions. But Jason’s been burned before by men who thought they were in love with him, and he’s not making that mistake again. When the lines between personal and professional start to blur, it’s going to take more than money, jewelry, and sports cars to keep Jason from clocking out and walking away.

Buy Link: Riptide Publishing

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Author Bios:

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

Connect with L.A.: Website | Author Blog | Personal Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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EPIC Award winner and Lambda Award finalist Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as a financial editor. His genres range from science fiction and fantasy to thriller, historical, contemporary, thriller, and erotica. His books were/are published by Random House Germany, Samhain Publishing, Riptide Publishing and others.

If he isn’t writing, he studies hypnotherapy, explores historical sites, and meets other writers. He single-handedly sustains three London bookstores with his ever-changing research projects. His current interests include special forces operations during World War II, the history of chess, european magical traditions, and how to destroy the world and plunge it into a nuclear winter without having the benefit of nuclear weapons.

Connect with Aleks: Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

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4 Stars, Lori A. Witt, Reviewed by Sammy, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt

Title: The Tide of War

Author: Lori A. Witt

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 371 Pages

At a Glance: The Tide of War is straight up sci-fi at its best.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

Dividers

Review: Kyle lives in a society under attack. While there are constant small skirmishes between nations over petty things like border disputes, the real threat comes from the sky and a remote world inhabited by huge lizard-like creatures that need the earth for its resources after nearly destroying the atmosphere on its own. The Menarians are a race cloaked in mysteries that run constant bombing raids on the earth, resulting in devastating losses structurally, but thankfully minimal loss of lives. But, how can one count the cost of living in fear of being captured and destroyed by a menacing alien race?

Kyle is also gay and hiding it. Faced with a military that frowns upon anything but heterosexuality and, in fact, encourages its soldiers to marry, Kyle’s best kept secret are his lover and young son. On the surface it appears he is happily married to his elite gunner, Emily, herself a closeted lesbian. This amazing pilot/gunner team is continually sought after to join up with the elite fighting squadron who is space bound, fighting the Menarians on their own turf.

In the sky are another well-known fighting duo, Andrei and his wife Ogrufina. These two are the stars of the elite forces, and also hide secrets, namely that Andrei is bisexual and that his wife encourages him to pursue men that interest him. Don’t be fooled, theirs is a healthy and sexual love, but Ogrufina definitely allows what one might view as cheating on the side while understanding her husband’s needs for male companionship. This was a plot point I found a bit confusing, and also uncomfortable, because it was difficult to understand how the concept of what I believe was a touch of polyamory seemed to make this couple love each other more deeply. However, given what was about to happen in the story to both Kyle (who will lose his family in a bombing raid) and Andrei—this was a minor glitch in an otherwise disturbingly real and evolving story.

I say disturbing because what happens in this story could not only be plausible in today’s technological age but also even understandable, given the reasons that are discovered to be the motivation behind the horrible deception that is played out in the novel. I cannot go into further detail without giving away major plot points, but suffice it to say that all is not as it appears in this war, and when our dynamic and talented foursome finds out what is actually going on, it has devastating and lasting effects.

What I can describe to you is the amazing ability of this author to create a futuristic earth and the idea of alien forces that is so involved and convincing I could almost feel the force of exploding missiles and feel the taste of victory the pilots and gunners experienced when forcing back the enemy. This was an action packed novel that relentlessly pushed toward a mind-boggling conclusion that left one with their heart pounding and an uneasy feeling that Andrei and Kyle were not far from a new danger intent on destroying them.

The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt is straight up sci-fi at its best, and while there is a smattering of romance, this one is all about establishing a world in which real life heroes take risks that may endanger their lives. Fans of the military sci-fi genre will be delighted with this latest offering.

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