5 Stars, Holiday Romance, Indra Vaughn, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Release Day Review: The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn

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Amazon

Title: The Winter Spirit

Author: Indra Vaughn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 125 Pages

At a Glance: Indra Vaughn played me like twelve drummers drumming and eleven pipers piping, and I adored it down to the story’s final words.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.

Although a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.

Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime–Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…

With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make this final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.

Love can conquer all, but can it beat death?

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Review: Indra Vaughn’s The Winter Spirit included a couple of firsts for me.

1.) This is the first book I’ve read by this author.
2.) This is the first holiday story I’ve read so far in 2015.

Speaking on both points one and two: yay, I win!

This short novel tells the story of a man, Nate O’Donnelly, who isn’t the six-pack-abbed-mega-stud-muffin we generally tend to see as the leading man in M/M romance. Nate is way better, in my most humble opinion, because he’s the guy you want to snuggle up next to under a blanket in front of a roaring fire. He’s the guy you know you can count on, can trust, and he’s thoroughly huggable, that Nate is. If you couldn’t already tell, I loved him.

Nate is the owner of a B&B in Michigan. In case you’re not familiar with Michigan, it snows there in the winter. A lot. Which makes for the perfect setting for this story. The snowy rural landscape is portrayed in the idyllic sort of way it can only be during the holiday season—pristine, sparkling, magical in a way that the other seasons just aren’t—and Vaughn uses this setting to its best effect as we wend our way through the storyline. Nate has been single for quite a few years, but even being single, he’s never been entirely by himself at the Lake House, not even in winter when guest bookings are at their lowest—and this doesn’t include the company of his best friend Elisa, either. No, the Lake House B&B is haunted, so Nate isn’t really alone at all…he’s just a little lonely.

Gabriel Wickfield has been dead a long time. He’s been haunting the B&B, on the land that was once owned by his family, since well before the day Nate inherited it from his uncle and restored it to its current beauty. I love the way the author portrayed Gabriel and Nate’s friendship, because, yes, it truly is that in many ways, but the real beauty of their relationship is watching it grow and evolve as Nate begins to see Gabriel, not even so much with his eyes but with his heart. When Nate decides to learn a bit more about his resident ghost, we learn as much about who Gabriel was and the tragic circumstances of his life at its end as we do about Nate, which is when we’re given the opportunity to embrace the wonder of this story. Gabriel isn’t an intangible, he was and is a man who still feels and thinks, so we’re able to see him as more than just a ghost.

With a guy from Nate’s past showing back up in town to stay on as a guest for the holidays, it begins to look like maybe Nate will be able to use a Christmas wish or two to his benefit, and that Gabriel could very well get up to a little holiday matchmaking, something he must do in order to rescue himself from this limbo he’s been residing in for so long. And this is the part of the storyline that reached right out and grabbed me by the heartstrings. Indra Vaughn played me like twelve drummers drumming and eleven pipers piping, and I adored it down to the story’s final words. Oh, the feels. I felt them.

There’s more than a little holiday magic afoot in The Winter Spirit, and I thought it was rather sublime, like the sweet mini-marshmallows to my warm cuppa cocoa.

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You can buy The Winter Spirit here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Indra Vaughn, Leta Blake

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Vespertine Blog Tour with Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

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Please join us in welcoming authors Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn today on their Vespertine blog tour. They’ve brought along a little tease from the book for your reading pleasure, and are also giving one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of a book from either of their backlists (**EXCLUDES Vespertine**). Just click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

Good luck!

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So, an out gay priest, huh? Isn’t that impossible? While it isn’t common, it definitely happens and the Pope himself has said “Who am I to judge?” For example, a Catholic priest in Ireland came out to his congregation to a standing ovation (Source: Huffington Post), and others are following his example. The key, apparently, to remaining a priest is, as with a heterosexual priest, celibacy.

Researching the limits of priestly celibacy for this book was interesting. We discovered that, due to the correlation between good prostate health and the male orgasm, some priests are prescribed masturbation by their physicians (up to three times a week), and thus by-pass the edicts against so-called self-abuse. They are able to orgasm in the name of health and not have to confess it as a sin.

This discovery inspired the following excerpt. We believed that our Catholic priest, Jasper, would not ascribe to ‘orgasms by prescription’ mainly because he would see it as a box of worms that, once opened, would be hard for him to close again. He’s maintained his celibacy mainly by cutting off his desire at the source. But the return of a certain Nicholas Blumfeld, childhood best friend and first love, has awakened parts of Jasper (*cough*) that have been asleep for a long time. 

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Excerpt: “Jazz? You okay?” Nicky’s voice came from the other side of the guest bedroom door.

“Yes. No. I’m…I don’t know.”

He heard the rustle of fabric and he wondered what Nicky was wearing. Just boxer shorts? Or did he cover up his tattoos even when alone in bed? Jasper closed his eyes and breathed.

“Come on,” Nicky said softly. “Talk to me, Jazz.”

“Nicky, it’s…” He covered his eyes. “We’re friends, right? I can talk to you about this? I don’t know who else—”

“Of course you can. What’s going on? You’re freaking me out, man.”

“I’m having—ever since you showed up—I’m having trouble sleeping.”

A gentle swishy noise filled the silence and Jasper imagined Nicky rubbing at the door between them. When Nicky spoke his voice sounded different, more intimate. “I think that’s totally normal, Jazz. It’s like we were talking about earlier tonight. Being around me makes you think of things you haven’t had to think about in a long time. What we did back then, it’s not…I could never say it was wrong from my point of view, but I understand if you’re having trouble dealing with it. I’d like to help you. Even if it means keeping my distance. I’m…I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I know that, it’s not…that’s not the issue. I never felt what we did was wrong, Nicky. Not then and not now. But it’s like something woke up and it won’t go back to sleep.”

“Oh.” Nicky fell silent for a moment. “Oh!” He laughed softly and Jasper cringed, shoulders rounding as he hid his face in the cup of his hands.

“Don’t laugh at me.”

“I’m not. I’m not. I’m sorry. So what are we talking about here? Are you getting, you know, boners? That won’t go down?”

Jasper appreciated Nicky trying to keep the amusement out of his voice, but he could imagine all too easily how wide Nicky’s grin would be. “That,” he whispered. “And I woke up half an hour ago, and I’d…” He trailed off.

“Shit, man. Are you having wet dreams? About me?” Nicky’s grin was so smug that Jasper could hear it through the door. “I’m not laughing, I promise. Because that’s not funny.” He let out a strangled laugh. “I’m not laughing. Okay listen, hold on. There’s this article I remember reading. I mean it could be a drug-infused hallucination but lemme look.”

Jasper listened to Nicky walk away, and his shoulders relaxed a little. He glanced down. His cock had abated a little, but not enough.  He made a frustrated noise and pressed the towel down hard into his groin. Not that it helped. Quick footsteps approached, and part of Jasper wanted to throw open the door and just get it over with.

“Found it on my phone! See? I knew I’d read it. Okay, you listening?”

“Apprehensively,” Jasper said, and Nicky laughed.

“No, man, this is super-important and it will change your life. So, it says that men, especially as they get older, should orgasm one to three times a week as a preventative measure toward avoiding prostate cancer. So there you go. You and your hand should get seriously reacquainted, because otherwise you might die, and I’m sure that’s not what God intended.”

Jasper laughed even though he tried not to. “I don’t think that’s how that works, Nicky.” He sighed and softly said, “Why is this happening to me?”

Nicky was quiet for a minute. He moved around a little, the fabric of whatever he was wearing shifting against the door. “You horny right now, Jazz?”

Pure hot want zinged up Jasper’s spine, and he pressed his fingertips to the door until they went white. “Don’t, Nicky.”

Again, silence but for Nicky’s breath. “You are, aren’t you? I bet you’ve been standing there talking to me with a boner that won’t go down. How long?”

“I’m not talking about this.”

“Just tell me. How long have you been hard?”

“The cold shower didn’t help.”

“Shit, man. This won’t take you any time at all. Just do it, okay? Why are you standing there suffering? For what? Just get it over with. You heard what the article said. You can do it in the name of medical necessity.”

Jasper laughed again but his eyes stung. “I don’t think I can.”

“You want me to come in?” Nicky whispered. His voice trembled a little and Jasper swallowed hard.

“I’m not…It’d be too much. I can’t.”

“Okay. I understand. I’m gonna go, and you do what you need to do. But let me tell you, talking to you has given me the biggest fucking hard-on. And I’m going to go back to my room, stick my hands down my pants, and think of you.”

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vespertine high res-2Blurb: Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

Available at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited

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About the Authors:

LETA BLAKE

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

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INDRA VAUGHN

In 2008 Indra Vaughn packed up everything but the kitchen sink… no, that’s a lie. She left everything behind apart from her books and moved from Belgium to Michigan. Then in 2015 she packed up nothing but a toddler and left far too many of her books behind to move from Michigan back to Belgium. Indra’s professional background is in Nursing and Chinese Medicine, but in the midst of the madness, she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

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THE GIVEAWAY

Leta Blake’s Backlist || Indra Vaughn’s Backlist

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Indra Vaughn, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

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Title: Verspertine

Authors: Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 396 Pages

At a Glance: This book blew me away.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

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Review:

“In the end, forgiveness was easy like a flowing river, like the tides in the cove. It came in and covered the worst sins and carried them away to the depths of the sea.” – Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

This book blew me away. Blew. Me. Away. It was surprising in the best way. I don’t know why I was surprised, really…I’m a big fan of Leta Blake’s books; and Indra Vaughn, though I hadn’t read her work previously, definitely has some popular titles, but I had no idea this one would be this good. The blurb intrigued me; I just didn’t know how the authors were going to pull it off. I mean, he’s a priest, you guys. Ha! But, pull it off they did. Vespertine is beautiful, emotional, raw at times, funny at times, definitely sexy, and just a gorgeous, gorgeous love story.

I fell in love with Jasper immediately. He’s such a gentle soul, so good-natured. It was also obvious that God truly did shine through him. He was so at ease in the priesthood that I couldn’t imagine him NOT being a priest – furthering my concern over how the authors were going to make this work! Jazz and Nicky’s relationship felt so organic, though, so meant-to-be, that when they fell back in love – not that they ever truly fell out of love – it was completely natural.

There were many, many beautiful moments in this book. Chapter one, when Jasper is getting dressed and preparing for Mass, the imagery is so vivid and breathtaking…chapter twelve, the scene where Jazz discovers and reverently touches each of Nicky’s tattoos, is unforgettable…the epilogue is fabulous…but chapter sixteen is one of the most beautifully perfect chapters I can remember reading. A couple of snippets…

“The rock under Jasper’s shoulders was hot, his skin dry, and deep inside his chest a warm comfort bloomed, a feeling of such safety and pure perfection it made the hairs on his arms stand on end. How could anyone not believe in God when moments like these existed? The bright light made his eyes moist. Love, he thought. Still. Always.”

“In reality the fort was nothing but a wooden square with a roof on it, a door, and a few windows. But I can still feel the magic. Like their happiness had permeated the sand and the rough grass and the trees, like their love and laughter had been life’s blood, soaked up into the roots of the island so that coming back here would be a step back in time. Lying in wait for them, no matter when they came.”

So, yeah…this is a fantastic read. There are too many kickass bits and characters to mention them all. Nicky’s story is hard to read at times – addiction is such an ugly thing, and a tough topic to tackle, but these guys did an amazing job. I wanted to squeeze him throughout the entire book. Jazz reminds him about all the best parts of himself, though, and together they are wonderful. The authors did an unbelievably brilliant job at making the story flow seamlessly and bringing all of the elements together. I wholeheartedly recommend this one! I will definitely be reading it again.

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You can buy Verspertine here:

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Indra Vaughn

Guest Post and Giveaway: Fragmented by Indra Vaughn

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The Novel Approach is happy to have author Indra Vaughn here with us on her Fragmented blog tour. Rather than talk about the book, though, Indra has brought something personal to share with you today, something that any of us who’ve ever owned a beloved pet will understand.

In light of that, however, Indra is still offering a giveaway for you as well. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of Fragmented, Book Two in the Shadow Mountain series.

Our best wishes to you, Indra.

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IMG_3429I wasn’t going to blog about this, but try as I might, I can’t seem to write—or think—about anything else.

I have this dog called Neo (named for his new start in life after being terribly neglected for years, not after the Matrix…) and he’s really special. I know everyone says that, it’s like thinking your kid is the cutest and the smartest. As it should be.

But he really is. He came into my life when I was at my loneliest and now he’s leaving at the end of a—maybe small in the grand scheme of things, but to me, important—era.

IMG_3453He’s sick you see. In fact, at the time you read this, I don’t know if he’ll still be with us. He lost 10% of his body weight over the course of a month, and then he lost 10% more over the last ten days. His vet is fairly sure it’s cancer. We could poke and prod him to find out, but since he’s 13 years old, she doesn’t think it will make any difference in the long run. So instead she has provided me with steroids, and hopefully they will give him some more quality—if not quantity—in life.

I’ve gone out and bought all his favorite foods. He has happily destroyed a new squeaky toy already. Tomorrow I will take him to the forest where we spent hours and hours and hours. Every day for years, we trudged at least six miles a day, snow or shine. We’ve been on so many adventures there together, some hilarious, some a little bit scary. And always he has been my quiet, gentle companion.

IMG_3481I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to lose him at this stage. I have a feeling to most of you I don’t need to explain. Loss is always terrible, but there is something about that silent acceptance in a dog’s gaze that breaks my heart. He knows. He knows and I just can’t…reassure him in any way.

All I can do is love him and be with him and make his final days as special as he made every single one of mine.

So yes, I have a new book out and there’s a giveaway. All you need to do to enter is grab your nearest pet and give them a good long cuddle. Love them for me, since I won’t have mine to love for much longer.

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FragmentedFS-200x300Blurb: The capture of the Tattoo Murderer has demanded a heavy price. Doctor Tobias Darwin is dead, Lieutenant Hart is back in Riverside licking his substantial wounds, and he needs to gather his courage and tell Isaac he made a mistake. Isaac will forgive him—he knows that—but he can’t promise Isaac an easy life. Being a cop comes with its own risks, after all.

When they finally reach the same wavelength, their idyllic reprieve is cut tragically short. Hart doesn’t know yet that Isaac is terminally ill, that he will take off to find the Phoenix to heal him as a last resort. This time, it will be Hart who pays the price.

In the meantime, a new killer roams the streets of Riverside. He kidnaps, tortures, and kills gay men in horrific ways, and he has the newly healed Isaac in his sights. Hart’s time is running out on every level.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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Author BioAbout the Author: In 2008 Indra Vaughn packed up everything but the kitchen sink… no, that’s a lie. She left every-thing behind apart from her books and moved from Belgium to Michigan.

She now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with her dog who thinks he’s a toddler. Indra’s profes-sional background is in Nursing and Chinese Medicine, but she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

Social Media: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up at The Novel Approach in the coming week. The bottom line is: LOTS. We’ve got a really great roster of guests to bring you in the next six days, so here’s a look at what’s on tap.

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Monday – Author KJ Charles kicks off our week with a guest post and giveaway on the tour for her latest novel The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

We’ll also have Amy Lane with us today as she tours the interwebs to chat about her new book in Riptide’s Bluewater Bay series, The Deep of the Sound

Tuesday – Dropping in today, we have author Devon McCormack joining us with a blog post I’m looking so forward to sharing with you, as he shares a bit about the beginning of his writing career

We’ll also have your favorite drakul and mine joining us today—yes, Gray—and his creator, Jordan L. Hawk, with a special interview to celebrate the new book in Series 2 of the SPECTR-verse, Mocker of Ravens

Wednesday – Author Leta Blake is our guest today on the Training Complex blog tour, to talk about keeping the drama on the page

Indra Vaughn also joins us with a special and quite personal blog post on her Fragmented blog tour

And, as if that weren’t fantastic enough company, we’ll also have authors Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin with us to chat about their new collaboration In the Distance

Thursday – Today we’ll be hosting Shira Anthony as she tours in promotion of her new book in the Mermen of Ea series, Running with the Wind

Author Perie Wolford also joins us with a giveaway of his new audiobook Encounter

FridayParker Williams will be our guest today to chat about the paranormal on the tour for his new novel Scent of the Heart

We’ll also welcome the organizers of next month’s Rainbow Con to tell you all a bit about the event

Saturday – And finally, to close out our week, we’ll have author Iyana Jenna joining us on the Just Desserts book blast tour

As well as author S. Joy P. to talk about her controversial new historical novel We, King Henry VIII

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And that puts an end to a busy week. Until next time, happy reading!

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Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Indra Vaughn

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Fragmented (Shadow Mountain: Book Two) by Indra Vaughn

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Title: Fragmented
Series: Shadow Mountain (Sequel to Fated)
Author: Indra Vaughn
Publishers: Dreamspinner Press
Releasing: June of 2015
Length: 266 Pages
Categories: Paranormal, Murder Mystery
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Blurb: The capture of the Tattoo Murderer has demanded a heavy price. Doctor Tobias Darwin is dead, Lieutenant Hart is back in Riverside licking his substantial wounds, and he needs to gather his courage and tell Isaac he made a mistake. Isaac will forgive him—he knows that—but he can’t promise Isaac an easy life. Being a cop comes with its own risks, after all.

When they finally reach the same wavelength, their idyllic reprieve is cut tragically short. Hart doesn’t know yet that Isaac is terminally ill, that he will take off to find the Phoenix to heal him as a last resort. This time, it will be Hart who pays the price.

In the meantime, a new killer roams the streets of Riverside. He kidnaps, tortures, and kills gay men in horrific ways, and he has the newly healed Isaac in his sights. Hart’s time is running out on every level.

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Excerpt: “How’s your shoulder?” Hart asked.

“Not bad. I get a twinge every now and again, but it’s healing up nicely. How about you? I guess spending the night is out of the question, huh,” he asked, running his fingers lightly over Hart’s aching side.

“Unless you want to sleep beside a drug-induced snorer, probably yes,” Hart said. “I don’t think I can even stand up long enough to shower.” Isaac had a smear of paint on his cheek, and Hart wiped at it with his thumb but ended up spreading it around more. He grinned and took Isaac’s face between his palms. “Did you have time to think?”

Isaac touched Hart’s shirt, pressing his fingertips lightly against the center of his breastbone. “Like I could stop.”

Hart put his hand over Isaac’s. It trembled. “So you ready to have a go at this, then?”

Isaac laughed and ducked his head. “You know how happy it makes me to hear you ask me that?” he said, voice low. He put his arms around Hart’s shoulders and drew him carefully near, pressing his nose against Hart’s neck. “So fucking ready,”he mumbled, kissing the soft skin above Hart’s clavicle lightly.

Hart drew back a little, just enough so he could kiss Isaac on the mouth. Outside the night chirped with the last of the cicadas, and he thought how strange it was to stand in his dimly lit garage, which smelled of spilled oil and turpentine, feeling happier than he could ever remember.

The kiss deepened and Isaac gently squeezed Hart’s shoulders. He made a hoarse noise when Hart gathered up his T-shirt at the small of his back and palmed his skin, but as soon as Hart needed to take a deep breath, his aching body protested unkindly.

Reluctantly Hart let Isaac go. “You have no idea how badly I wish I was up for this now.”

Isaac rested his fingertips against Hart’s sternum. “Can I see?”

Hart took a small step back, but Isaac didn’t allow the contact between them to break. “I don’t—it’s not pretty.”

“I don’t expect it to be. I’ve got a wild imagination.”

Hart breathed carefully, then held his hands out palms up as if to say “go ahead.” With a touch so gentle he could hardly feel it, Isaac lifted his shirt, then ran light fingers around the puncture wounds on his side.

“That’s not so bad,” he said, and then his eyes narrowed. “Where’s the stab wound?”

Hart turned around and Isaac lifted the shirt, slowly higher and higher, until the scars were bared. He didn’t say anything for the longest time, but Hart could feel him swish his thumb back and forth over his left shoulder blade. Isaac turned him around again, eyes shimmering.

“We’ve got matching scars now,”Isaac said, trying to make light, but his bottom lip quivered. “Oh, love.”

His eyes were so sad Hart thought he’d break in half. He reached out and cupped Isaac’s face, so he could pull him close and rest their cheeks together.

“I’m all right now, angel. I’m all right. I wish I could show you how much—”

“You go rest,” Isaac said, gently rubbing his hands over Hart’s arms and kissing him lightly one more time. “Like you said, we’re in no hurry. I’ll come see you tomorrow. I’m glad I can say that now. I’m so happy you’re back.” He smiled bashfully, and Hart watched him go through the open garage door.

Across the street where Isaac lived with his mom until he returned to school, one of the upstairs curtains moved. One of the three nosy brothers? Hart turned around and grinned. He had a box full of unsolved murders and his body felt like it was a hundred years old, but he couldn’t remember ever feeling this light.

It was well after midnight when Hart fell into bed, limbs lax and mind swimming from a painkiller. He imagined he could still feel Isaac’s mouth on his like a promise of more to come. The thought made his dick swell and Hart stuffed a hand down his boxers to tug at his balls, just to feel that sweet ache. His body felt too boneless and weak with fatigue to really do much about his growing arousal, but it didn’t matter. The heat in his blood was enough.

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Giveaways

In honor of the upcoming release of Fragmented, Indra Vaughn is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of Fated, Book One in the Shadow Mountain series. To enter for a chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget.

Good luck!

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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FatedFATED: Two towns flank the looming Shadow Mountain. A dark myth of the Predator drifts through the dense trees, a tale Police Lieutenant Hart never paid much attention to. When one unresolved death follows another—some people dying without discernible cause while others are clearly, and often brutally, murdered—he can’t ignore it any longer. Truth may lie in myth, but this one is spread to deceive everyone. The Predator exists, but he’s not entirely human. Hart will have to find the connection between the mysterious figure and victims with only one thing in common: a faint tattoo on the backs of their necks, a mark left when someone healed their incurable diseases.

Isaac Lasko has been in love with Hart since he moved in across the street seven years ago. He’s been helping Hart renovate his home, and their friendship grows more intense with the years, but Isaac can’t help wishing for a deeper bond. When he finally breaks through the lieutenant’s armor, the mystery surrounding the Predator threatens them both. Help will come, but at a price.

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for a look at what we have in store for the week ahead.

Among the guest posts, giveaways, and reviews, we’ll also be bringing you a very special Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia story that I’m excited to share with you.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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Monday – Kicking off our week, we have a cover reveal for Indra Vaughn’s new novel Fragmented, book two in her Shadow Mountain series

Also joining us is author VJ Summers on the Light a Candle blog tour

TuesdayTeegan Loy will be with us today on the Love Complicated blog tour

And we’ll also be revealing a very special and exclusive Sinner’s Gin ficlet from Rhys Ford, starring Miki, Damie and the boys, in honor of the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia

Wednesday – Author Jude Sierra joins us on the Hush blog  tour

We’ll also welcome Lavinia Lewis today on the Blood Ties blog tour

ThursdayInes Johnson is our guest today to chat a bit about her new novel The Loyal Steed

We’ll also welcome back guest author and honorary TNA family member Brita Addams

Friday – Today marks author Astrid Amara’s first visit to TNA, as she joins us to talk about her upcoming novel Song of the Navigator

Saturday – And closing out our week, we’ll have author Joel Skelton here to talk about his newest novel Beneath the Palisade: Justice

Dividers

And that does it for another fun-filled week. Until next time, happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, Indra Vaughn, Reviewed by Tina

Indra Vaughn’s “The House on Hancock Hill” Is An Emotionally Engaging Read


“That casual kiss on my cheek would have meant nothing until recently; I realized I was in love with him. Not that ‘I love you, man,’ type of love. Nope. I was ass over teacup in love with my best friend. The ‘let’s get married and grow old together’ type of love.” – Summer Michaels


Title: The House on Hancock Hill

Author: Indra Vaughn

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Pastry chef and bakery owner Jason Wood bakes a mean chocolate soufflé, yet his love life keeps falling flat. He’d blame his past if he wasn’t trying so hard to avoid it.
Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Indra Vaughn

Indra Vaughn Is Our Guest Today, Sharing A Recipe, A Giveaway, And “The House on Hancock Hill”



TNA: Hi, Indra, and welcome to The Novel Approach. We’re happy to have you here with us today. Let’s start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself, hobbies and interests and other odds and ends things that make you, you.

Indra: Hello, Lisa, I am absolutely thrilled to be here. I adore your site and find a lot of the books I read through your reviews, so this is kind of a big deal!

Okay, what could I say that makes me sound marginally interesting… I was born in Belgium and lived there until I was twenty-one. I took a Bachelor in Nursing-Midwifery, then moved to England where I earned a Bachelor in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I lived and worked there for a few years, then moved back to Belgium where I met my husband. (Who is Irish and moved to Belgium when I moved to England, so what are the odds!)

In 2008 we packed our bags and moved to Michigan, and we’ve been here ever since. As for hobbies I love horse riding, snowboarding, and anything with speed really. There’s no roller coaster I won’t go on! I hate exercising on any kind of gym equipment but love hiking, I read a LOT, write a lot (or if you’d ask my beta-readers they’d tell you I whine a lot about writing).

TNA: Your latest novel, The House on Hancock Hill was just recently released by Dreamspinner Press. When I read the title, before reading the blurb, I have to say I thought it was a mystery, or perhaps a historical novel, but it’s far from that. Will you tell us a little bit about how the book won that title? What’s the significance of the house and its location?

Indra: Jason, who is the main character, has some deep running ties to the house on Hancock Hill, even though he doesn’t admit it for a long time. It’s his family’s vacation home, and the one place he remembers being happiest, before his father died and he began to lose everyone he cared about. For a long time he tried to forget it even existed and when his story begins, he is going back there for the first time in over a decade.

While he managed to build himself a good life—he has a thriving bakery in Traverse City, Michigan, and another one opening soon in Detroit—when he is in Hancock and reconnects with Henry, he realizes he hasn’t been living his life to the fullest. He has just been functioning, really. So going back to the house on Hancock Hill—or what remains of it—will not so much change him, as reawaken something inside him he’s been denying himself for years.

TNA: Your MC, Jason Wood, is a pastry chef. What made you decide he needed to excel at that particular career? Is the exact and orderly process of baking a metaphorical contrast of the disorder of his life?

Indra: I saw an anthology call for food-related stories while I was feeling a little bit homesick.

One thing (amongst many *ahem*) Belgium does well, is chocolate. Truffles, dark, milk, white, chocolates filled with anything you could possibly imagine, you can literally find them at every street corner. We also do the best pastries (usually with some kind of chocolate in or on them), and I used to be able to just walk out of my door on a Sunday morning and go to the bakery on the corner.

I wanted to recreate that. I think a bakery like that would thrive in a place like Traverse City, so I thought I’d write a short story about a pastry chef who felt homesick for something much more than a particular place.

Only it turned out I couldn’t keep the tale confined to short story length.

As for the process of baking being a contrast of the disorder in Jason’s life, you are absolutely right. He lost both his parents at a young age, he had boyfriend troubles, he lost touch with all his friends. To Jason it felt like he had no control over his life at all, so the rigid and demanding pace in a bakery counters that. It also helps with his insomnia, and it keeps his overactive mind occupied so he doesn’t have to think too much about the things he’s missing.

TNA: Do you enjoy baking as well? Would you describe yourself as a foodie?

Indra: Eating healthy has been ground into me by my mom from a very young age. We ate homemade soup and a cooked dinner every single evening, even though she had two kids and worked a full time job. My dad worked even more, so she had to do all that by herself. Now, if I don’t cook one night I actually feel guilty and I buy as much organic as I can. I’m far from a chef, but I can follow a recipe.

As for baking, my talents are sadly lacking, which is why the recipes on this blog tour are mostly “how to cheat your way around complicated recipes”.

Flour-less cookies (with a vegan option)

This is my greatest baking secret. I love these cookies more than anything, and trust me, if you make them, you will be blown away.

In a saucepan, combine:

• 1/2 cup of milk (for vegans, replace with a non-dairy milk of your choice)
• 1/2 cup of butter (or vegan shortening)
• 2 cups of sugar
• 4 tablespoons of cacao powder (the good stuff)
• roughly 1/2 cup of your favorite peanut butter

1. Over medium heat, and stirring frequently, bring to a rolling boil. (And for those of you who are like me and had no idea what a rolling boil meant: it’s when you stir the mixture and it doesn’t stop boiling.)

2. Let it boil for 1.5 minutes. This is VERY IMPORTANT! Any shorter and you will have liquid cookies, any longer and you will break your teeth. And who wants to spend time with a dentist. (I’m looking at you, Melissa) 90 seconds will give you the perfect gooey goodness you want.

3. Remove pan from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and peanut butter. Mix thoroughly. Do not eat the mixture. It smells like heaven, I know. Yes, the scent will lure you like a… lure-y thing, (you are all impressed with my way with words, I just know you are,) but you will burn your tongue. What do you mean how do I know?

4. Add the one minute oats – I use Quaker oatmeal.

5. Spoon the mixture into lumps onto waxed paper and let them harden. Now hide them from the rest of your family and eat them all by yourself. I recommend a nice hot cup of coffee to go with it, but that’s entirely up to you.

TNA: Would you say Jason is a pessimist? If so, would you say you put a little bit of yourself into the character, or do you see yourself as more of an optimist than Jason is?

Indra: He’s a bit of a pessimist, yes. At least in the beginning of the book. He’s been hurt a lot throughout his life, sometimes deliberately, sometimes because such is life. So he doesn’t believe anyone can be 100% happy, he’s content in life and he thinks that’s already more than he could ask for.

I’d like to think I’m a cautious optimist. I have my bad days, just like he does, but I tend to bounce back and keep going.

Jason thinks there is no such thing as ‘being happy’, while I believe if you chase happiness, if you can’t find at least some contentment in what you have, you never will be happy.

TNA: Tell us a little bit about Jason’s love interest, Henry McCavanaugh. What makes him the perfect man for Jason?

Indra: Ah Henry. I love him. He is the strong, silent type. He works hard and he doesn’t care what people think of him. He’s not perfect, because underneath it all he has a bit of a smoldering temper, and he’s not the kind of man to forgive and forget easily. And I think it’s his flaws more than his good side which make him so right for Jason. Jason needs someone to call him on his shit (excuse my French) and the fact that Henry takes it badly when Jason inevitable hurts him, will be an extra incentive not to take love like this for granted.

TNA: If you asked Jason and Henry to describe each other in just three words, what words would they choose?

Indra: Jason would call Henry hot, kind (to a fault) and reliable.

Henry would call Jason strong, brooding and sexy (which would surprise them both, because Henry isn’t the kind of man to say things like that, while Jason doesn’t see himself that way at all.)

TNA: Authors sometimes use real-life models as their inspiration for their characters. Did you have a couple of men in mind after whom you styled Jason and Henry? If so, who are they?

Indra: Hmm I generally don’t base my characters’ looks on real-life models because it never fits quite right and it tends to throw me off.

But if I HAD to pick a resemblance I’d say Henry is a bit of mix between Ryan Reynolds and Joe Manganiello. Does that make sense? I bet that makes no sense… Someone should do one of those ‘if these two guys had a baby’ things. (Actually, please don’t. I bet it would look terrible!)

As for Jason, he’s a bit more Hugh Dancy’s type. But taller. And thinner. Because Jason needs to eat some of his own pastries.

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from The House on Hancock Hill with us?


Blurb: Pastry chef and bakery owner Jason Wood bakes a mean chocolate soufflé, yet his love life keeps falling flat. He’d blame his past if he wasn’t trying so hard to avoid it.

When his family’s farmhouse burns to the ground, he’s summoned to identify a body found in the ashes. Jason returns to Hancock, Michigan, and reunites with a childhood friend, small town vet Henry McCavanaugh. After fifteen years apart, their rekindled friendship soon develops into much more. But Jason’s baggage threatens their blossoming romance, and he leaves town unannounced to escape his feelings—and Henry’s feelings for him. He has learned the hard way if something seems too good to be true, it’s best to run for the hills. Jason stress-bakes more confections than he knows what to do with before wondering if he’s running in the wrong direction.

Excerpt: The most difficult part of working through the panic attack was breathing without making any noise.

At 5 a.m. Henry was deeply asleep, but there was no way he’d understand me creeping around, gathering my things one by one as I tried not to gasp for breath. I didn’t quite understand it myself. All I knew was I’d awoken half an hour earlier, quietly working my way up to the panic that ultimately had me clawing my way out of the sheets, nearly falling out of bed in the process. I had to get out of Hancock right that minute. Every soft breath I heard Henry take had stolen oxygen from my lungs, leaving me high-strung and persuaded I was ruining his life just by being there. Irrational, in hindsight, as only anxiety could be.

There wasn’t much to take from Henry’s bedroom. The new clothes still in their plastic bags I’d leave here; I didn’t need them in Traverse City. All my painkillers were in the kitchen, but I’d leave those too. If I was in agony on the flight, it was nothing more than I deserved.

I was glad for the darkness, for the moonless night, because if there had been enough light to show me Henry’s serene face, I might’ve lost the willpower to go through with this. As it was, the shadows for once held no doubts: I couldn’t spend another waking moment with Henry without doing myself a permanent harm when the time came to say goodbye. Wearing the clothes Henry had found me in, I stood in the doorway and whispered the words burning feverishly through my veins just once. Henry didn’t move, not even a hitching breath. He hadn’t heard me, and he’d never know. My leaving like a coward in the dark would surely have him forget whatever feelings had been stirring from his side. I hoped he’d have an easier time of it than I would.

TNA: Are you currently working on any other writing projects you’d like to share with us?

Indra: I am currently editing the first book of the Shadow Mountain series, which is a paranormal mystery, and I am working on an entirely separate stand-alone novel about a Belgian boy who is a nurse and recently returned from a tour in Pakistan with Doctor’s Without Borders.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Indra: I am attempting to decipher the mysteries of website building, hopefully it will be up and working soon. You can find me at:

www.indravaughn.com
or on
Twitter
Facebook
Tumblr (which is NSFW)
Goodreads

TNA: Many thanks again for being here with us today, Indra!

Indra: Thank you so much for having me!

The Giveaway: Click on the Rafflecopter Icon to enter for a chance to win:

* A signed copy of The House on Hancock Hill, a choice of books from my backlist, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a selection of swag

* A signed copy of The House on Hancock Hill, a $10 Amazon gift card, and a selection of swag

* An e-copy of The House on Hancock Hill and a $5 Amazon gift card

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A.F. Henley, Algenon Lusch, Brita Addams, Cate Ashwood, Indra Vaughn, Jaime Reese, Jess Faraday, Johnny Williams, Rhys Ford, Skylar M. Cates, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week, and are looking forward to good things in the week to come.

Speaking of great weeks, we’ve got one coming up here at TNA: guest authors, blog tours, giveaways, and, of course, lots of reviews. Here’s a look at who and what’s on tap for the week ahead:


MondayCate Ashwood and Skylar M. Cates make The Novel Approach a stop on their Five Ways a Boy Can Break Your Heart Blog Tour, with an article about and exclusive excerpt from the book, and there’ll be a giveway.

TuesdayAlgenon Lusch stops by on his Seeing DOUBLE Blog Tour, and he’ll be offering a giveaway of the book.

Brita Addams is also here for her monthly visit, with an article that’s near and dear to my heart.

WednesdayRhys Ford pops back in on the Clockwork Tangerine Blog Tour, and ::bad pun warning:: gears up for a great and totally unique giveaway.

ThursdayIndra Vaughn stops in today on The House on Hancock Hill Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway of the book.

FridayJaime Reese drops by on the A Better Man Blog Tour and will be offering a giveaway of the book.

Jess Faraday will also be our guest today on her Turnbull House Blog Tour, and she’ll be giving away the two book set of the series, The Affair of the Porcelain Dog and Turnbull House, either Print or E-book (reader’s choice), to one winner.

Saturday – Author Johnny Williams dances his way to TNA to introduce his new book, Klub Kids, and give away an e-copy.

Sunday – To round out the week, A.F. Henley flies by on the Second Star to the Right Blog Tour, with an interview and a chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of the book.

Have a great week, and happy reading!

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