Flashback Friday, Giveaways

Flashback Friday and Giveaway: The Everyday Heroes Edition

Flashback Friday

Welcome to this week’s edition of Flashback Friday and our solute to the Everyday Heroes. This installment of our Friday feature highlights the Cops, Firefighters, Private Investigators, and Men in Uniform who fight for justice at the risk of their own lives.

Last week’s winner of our Halloween Spooktacular was Laura, who selected Rick R. Reed’s The Blue Moon Café, and L.A. Gilbert’s The Ghost on My Couch as her prizes. Congratulations, Laura!

And now, here’s what we have in store for you this week. To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of one of our selected titles, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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TNA_Signature_SammyThere are so many fantastic hero stories on the m/m market today, from cops to firemen, the list is extensive.  One author who definitely deserves a place on that list is RJ Scott. Her novel The Fireman and the Cop is a sexy, intimate love story that really blew me away.

Max Harrison is not new to the firefighting business, but he is brand new to the small town of Ellery and is therefore dubbed “probie” by his fire chief. Having recently left the city and his former homophobic fire department, Max was just looking for a quiet place to fit in. Little did he know that his first fire as a volunteer fireman would lead him straight into a burning building and leave him rescuing a policeman by the name of Finn Ryan.

Finn is gay—one of the three gay men in Ellery, or so it felt. When he opened his eyes in the hospital to see the hunky fireman who rescued him from the blazing fire, the last thing he remembered was just that, the rescue. He certainly did not recall the rather flirtatious conversation that took place near the ambulance where he confessed to being gay and lusting after—you guessed it—firemen!

Max, however, did recall the chat and was determined to find out if he and Finn could possibly still be attracted to one another. Author RJ Scott does not leave us hanging for long. The Fireman and the Cop keeps us immersed in the flames of a growing attraction between these two main characters. However, someone else is interested in Finn as well, and has murder on their mind—Finn’s to be exact.

This novel lights up the page with suspense, passion and remarkably in-depth characters that keep you turning the pages in anticipation. I really enjoyed this story. Not only did I feel that the two main men were likeable and believable in both their instant attraction and growing regard for each other, but Finn’s two friends, the side characters, were compelling as well, and I am eager to see if she gives each of them their own story at some point.

RJ Scott uses her descriptive passages to set the stage for the mysterious subplot of the man stalking Finn—a man who is going to great lengths to not only frighten Finn but also injure and nearly kill him as well. Our poor policeman barely recovers from one life-threatening accident before being immersed in another. All the while, Max pursues him relentlessly, determined to find out if the two of them can have a relationship that will somehow allow two first responders to actually fall and stay in love.

This was a gripping story—a mystery, a love story, a learning to trust story all rolled into one, and it was beautifully done.

The Fireman and the CopRescuing cop Finn Ryan from a burning precinct was easy; it’s keeping him alive after that which fireman Max Harrison finds difficult.

Ellery is a quiet town in the Smoky Mountains, at the base of Ellery Peak, and nothing ever happens. Max is escaping from his firefighting job in the city to take up a role as assistant to the Mayor whilst also holding the position of a volunteer fire fighter.

Finn Ryan is one of only three cops in the small town and it soon seems to Max that someone is out to hurt the sexy cop. Rescuing Finn from a burning precinct was the easy part; it’s keeping him alive after that which fireman Max Harrison finds difficult.

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TNA_Signature_CarrieSix Degrees of Lust is the first book in the By Degrees psychological thriller series.  There are two books in the series so far plus one novella that is a nice little cherry on the top of this incredible mystery.  Taylor Donovan is scary how she gets into the mind of a psychotic killer and translates that to the page – these books read like a real intense episode of Criminal Minds. Never do you doubt the veracity of these characters.

Samuel Shaughnessy is the FBI team leader whose team has been tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing a serial killer to justice. The team nicknames the killer Lev because of his penchant for writing bible verses from Leviticus and leaving them on the bodies of young gay men in New York that he has killed. Profiling Lev is something they are exceptionally good at, as Lev leaves all kinds of clues behind with the bodies—they just can’t find him, and more young men keep dying. On a personal level Sam is all kinds of closed off. He has a difficult past, and he is only emotionally available to one man—his best friend Logan—so when he meets the former firefighter from Houston, Machlan O’Bannon, Sam doesn’t know why he keeps breaking his own rules about getting close.

Mac isn’t any more emotionally open than Sam is. Mac comes from a political family, and to out himself would hurt his father’s political standing. Not to mention the timing is all wrong for both men, as one is in the middle of an investigation and the other is leaving the firefighting world behind and running a bar in Houston. But these two just can’t get enough of each other, even though breaking through personal boundaries doesn’t come easy. And Lev is out there… and boys are dying… and this mystery is woven around these men and their lives in intricate and inexplicable ways neither man is aware of yet.

Warning: this is book one, which means the story continues in book two, Six Degrees of Separation. There is a reason this book is still eight dollars on Amazon, even though it came out in 2011.  It. Is. Just. That. Good. The way Taylor Donovan writes sets her apart from other writers, as she is an expert at threading all of her plots together and leaving you feeling totally in awe and completely, emotionally invested in not just the main characters but the supporting cast as well.

So, when you finish reading this book, get the second one. After all, the Lamb has not atoned for his sin yet…

Six Degrees of LustNew York City F.B.I. team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his job and immediate family. Once upon a time he was a firm believer in love and happily ever after. Now he stays clear from personal entanglements and follows a very strict code of rules. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable works for him just fine.

A former Houston fireman, Machlan O’Bannon now manages a sports bar and is ready to become the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama free. His family wants to lock him in the closet, but he just wants to meet the man of his dreams.

One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. Mac has some decisions to make and Sam has a serial killer to catch. Their lives are not only different, but miles apart.

The timing is bad and intentions unclear. They don’t want to be involved… but can they stay apart?

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TNA_Signature_JulesEveryday heroes…If you guys are anything like me, I know some of your favorite book boyfriends fall into this category. Cops, firefighters, military men, private investigators, marshals…it’s hard not to love these guys. I have MANY favorites in this category. But, this week I wanted to highlight one that’s maybe not quite as obvious a choice as some others. I want to share the love for Luki Vasquez (and Sonny Bly James) of Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez & James series.

Luki Vasquez is an ex-ATF agent who now works in security in the private sector. He meets Native American weaver, Sonny Bly James, while working an extended job in Port Clifton – a small, fictional town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I loved so many things about this book (Loving Luki Vasquez), and this series. The settings and scenery are fantastic. The writing is beautiful – the description of the first time Sonny sees Luki, the reverence with which the author describes the landscape, and there is a sex scene in chapter seven which, my god. I will never forget it. It’s not just a beautiful romance, though; the action is honestly heart-stopping at times. So – we have fabulously sexy men, a thrilling plotline, and a wonderfully memorable romance.

I first read Loving Luki Vasquez about two and a half years ago, and fell totally in love with the characters, and with Lou Sylvre’s storytelling. I immediately knew that this was different than other books I had read – that Luki and Sonny were different than any other characters I had read. If you haven’t checked this series out, I highly suggest you do so!

LovingLukiVasquezReclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease.

While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.

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TNA_Signature_LisaOnce again, I’m stepping just a wee bit off the beaten path with my selection this week, because hey, I’m a rebel like that. But you see, reading books in the romance genre doesn’t often give us the opportunity to laugh–like, out loud guffaw laughing. Mostly we get angsting, yeah? So when a book can make me do more than just smile, when it makes me do more than just grin, that’s a book that works for me almost every time. The laughs begin in the opening paragraphs of my pick and don’t let up throughout the entirety of the book. They say laughter is the language of the soul. Well, I’m not sure whether that’s true or not, but if it is, then I want to be fluent in the language LB Gregg speaks.

My pick this week is LB Gregg’s Catch Me if You Can, Book One in the Romano and Albright series.

Caesar Romano seems to have a knack for attracting people who not only outright lie but also like to keep a variety of secrets as well. He has an ex-boyfriend who’s keeping a big one, a boss who’s keeping a somewhat bizarre one, a private investigator following him who’s keeping a rather significant one, and that’s just to name a few. In the meantime, he’s also got a job so financially inadequate that he’s forced to live with his Nana. There’s also his large Italian family—some of whom are a bit on the shady side—and he’s also dealing with the theft of a bust of Justin Timberlake sculpted entirely of watches. Oh, and don’t forget the whole blackmail thing, too.

No one ever said Ce’s life was a walk in the park. Sometimes it’s more like a whizz in a back alley, but it’s most definitely never boring.

Caesar is a person of interest in Detective Dan Green’s investigation of a stolen painting that reveals a plot to extort rather unorthodox sums of money from various sources. Ce’s also a person of interest on an entirely personal level for Detective Dan, but Caesar’s not particularly interested in anything Dan has to offer. Dan’s not exactly the kind of guy to just give up and go away, though—what kind of a detective would he be, after all, if he did? And, let’s face it, Dan most definitely has a way with words. Certain words, at certain times, that make it very difficult for Ce to keep his wits about him. It’s really a gift is what it is. A sexy, sexy gift.

Detective Dan and Caesar are approximately a metric ton of awesome, and the laughs just keep coming in Trust Me if You Dare, the second book in the series. I came thisclose to choosing another book entirely this week, but given the fact that book three, With This Bling, is set to pop soon, and given the extreme glee that’s flourished in my heart over that bit of news, I want to introduce you to this series and these characters so you can love them too.

Catch Me if You CanThe fear of getting caught is half the fun.

Lowly art gallery assistant Caesar Romano is freely out of the closet. Now he’d just like to get out of his Nana’s guest room. Everything—his reputation and his financial freedom—is riding on the success of tonight’s gallery opening. If only he could shake free of the past so easily.

A mysterious gatecrasher, Dan Green, looks like a promising addition to his pending new life—until Caesar’s ex shows up and suddenly the opening disintegrates into a half-naked dance melee. When the glitter settles, a missing sculpture of Justin Timberlake has Caesar up to his eyebrows in extortion, intrigue and a wild sexual adventure underneath, inside, and on top of a variety of furnishings.

As the cast of suspects piles up, so do the questions. Like who’s really blackmailing whom? And what does a stolen paint-by-numbers clown matter when Dan is so outrageously capable of blowing Caesar’s resistance to smithereens?

Warning: This book contains graphic language, sex, lies, intrigue, clowns, kleptomania, anal sex, oral sex, mutual masturbation, bad driving, good cooking, and the missing head of a Justin Timberlake statue. Not for the sour of disposition.

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4 Stars, Cat Grant, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Only One Who Cares by Cat Grant

Title: The Only One Who Cares (The Only One: Book Three)

Author: Cat Grant

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 129 Pages

At a Glance: A solidly delivered epilogue to David and Josh’s relationship.

Blurb: Committed couple David Flint and Josh Walker are long past the injuries, separation, and chain-of-command issues that plagued their early years together as Navy SEALs. Now, with David embarking on a new career as a therapist, the future looms bright and promising…

Until Josh, now recovered from the post-traumatic stress that kept him sidelined for two years, goes back to active duty. David dreads the long weeks of sleepless nights and radio silence ahead—and wonders if Josh is really as recovered as he claims to be.

Counseling other traumatized vets fills David’s days and helps him find a new purpose, but it’s his act of kindness to a homeless teenager that may end up changing everything, for him and for Josh.

(Previously published in the Unconditional Surrender: An M/M Military Bundle anthology.)

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Review: The Only One Who Cares is a short novel in Cat Grant and L.A. Witt’s successful The Only One series, which tells David Flint and Josh Walker’s story and leads readers from the beginning of their relationship, through the turbulent times of service to their country, through injury and post-traumatic distress, to the time where they are now—settling into a solid and committed relationship. I’ll confess that I haven’t read the first two books in this series but will also say that I don’t feel as if I was denied the full scope of what these men have been through together to get where they are. While that’s not at all a recommendation to read this story out of context, I will say Cat Grant does readers the favor of detailing just enough of David and Josh’s background to make this chapter of their lives stand well on its own.

Told in the alternating first person, the story succeeds in allowing readers to connect with both of these men as they’re beginning to adjust to the changes duty has instigated. This grounds us firmly in a place of empathy for what they, and all military couples, must face when one is deployed. The stress of separation, the long days and weeks of missed phone calls, if not complete silence, and the danger Josh faces as a Navy SEAL all serve to throw into sharp focus not only how much courage it takes to serve but how much courage it takes to be the one left behind. All of these changes and challenges, however, are contrasted by the one thing that marks a brighter future for both of them, and, considering the cover image, I don’t believe it’s a spoiler at all to say David and Josh are given one very important reason to count their blessings by story’s end.

David’s injury has forced him to embrace a new way of serving—of counseling men who’ve come home from war with psychological scars every bit as crippling as the physical wound David himself suffered, which means he will try to move forward after a bullet causes the nearly twenty years he’d served to become a quick footnote on his past. Meanwhile, Josh is at the end of a leave of absence and is set to return to active duty, even though he is still tormented by fears and doubts. The Only One Who Cares is not only a Men in Uniform romance but is also a statement book that takes to task the government’s and military’s shortcomings when it comes to caring for our men and women who are failed by Veterans Services. It’s a true and sad testament to how much is owed to those who have and are suffering, and I loved the dose of reality it leant to David and Josh’s story.

I’m not sure if there are more books planned in this series but can say that The Only One Who Cares reads very much like a solidly delivered epilogue to David and Josh’s relationship. For fans of this series who’ve been waiting for this couple’s HEA, it appears this may be it.






You can buy The Only One Who Cares (The Only One: Book Three) here:

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Anthology, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Totally Bound

Review: Semper Fidelis – A Totally Bound Anthology

24058781Title: Semper Fidelis

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 213 Pages

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: ‘Anomaly’ by S.A. McAuley

Warning: Untested chemical reactions in process…

When Staff Sergeant Galen Welc is handed Temporary Additional Duty orders that move him to the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, he thinks he’s prepared for what’s to come. Known for his uncanny ability to spot improvised explosive devices, he’s pitted against the latest in defense technology. He trusts his instincts and his training, but they may just be leading him somewhere—and to an explosive reaction with someone—he could never see coming.

‘Always Ready’ by T.A. Chase

Making a living on the Bering Sea is hard enough, but throw love into the equation, and things can blow into a hurricane.

Senior Chief Dean ‘Jake’ Jacobson loves his job as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. Saving lives is the second best thing he could ever do. The first is loving Phil ‘Rhody’ Rhodes.

Phil is a third generation crabber who fishes the Bering Sea. Being gay and in love with Dean isn’t something he talks about, especially not with the six men he lives with on the Angela Kayla for weeks on end. But he’s been happy with his life.

Until one day the Bering Sea reminds them that she is a dangerous place to work. As her icy waters surround them, they discover one truth. Dean and Phil must always be ready to love each other because life can be taken so easily when one works on the sea.

‘A Ring and a Vow’ by Devon Rhodes

Every promise must someday be fulfilled, and the best way Owen knows how to reward Cary’s faith is with a vow.

It’s been nearly five years since Owen went down on one knee with his Academy ring and promised Cary he’d someday do it for real. With Cary being a Naval aviator and Owen a Marine officer serving in Iraq, they’re rarely on the same continent, let alone together.

About time for them to fill out paperwork to re-up, Owen realizes that if they were married, they’d have a much better chance of being stationed nearby. But time is not on their side, so he’s forced to compromise on his proposal in order to make it work.

Cary has been waiting for Owen for years—there was no chance he’d ever say anything but yes. Owen is coming home at last, and wants to make a home with him. However, between the chronic nightmares he’s been fighting and the ever more complicated wedding plans, the next month could be anything but a dream.
Publisher’s Note: This book is the sequel to A Ring and a Promise.

‘My Marine’ by LE Franks and Sara York

For a man who made his career in intelligence, falling for an Afghani national in the middle of a war zone wasn’t the smartest thing a Marine could do.

Marine Captain Sean Kelley loves his country and the men he serves with, but when he meets Akim, he’s tempted to throw it all away for the mysterious man. He knows better than to chase after a local, but repeat encounters culminating in a moment of passion leave him reeling—he’ll do almost anything to figure out how they can be together.

Akim Bijan has a secret of his own—one large enough to get more than just himself killed if it’s revealed. But from the moment he first lays eyes on the handsome Marine, he’s tempted to do just that rather than hide his growing attraction to the man. Being a translator allows him access to the base and he finds Sean alone one night. They take things farther than he ever intended. If only he could tell Sean everything, but his lips are sealed.

When tragedy strikes, Akim is afraid he’s lost Sean for good and he’s forced to make a decision that will change both their lives. Will love win—or will Sean and Akim be separated forever?

‘Soul Sick’ by Kendall McKenna

Jamie thought he made it home to Tucker, leaving war behind. Now, each day he battles to fit into his own life, and save the love that saved his life.

Jamie is a captain in the US Marine Corps who carried a photo of Tucker with him throughout his deployment. His body and his heart both make it home, but he isn’t sure about his sanity. It no longer feels as if his own life even fits.

Tucker is a reformed bad boy who has an advanced degree and an important job but still sports long hair and tattoos. He missed Jamie while he was deployed, but he couldn’t stop living his own life. Now, they’re struggling to learn to live with each other again, and things are going downhill fast.

Jamie wants everything to be the way it used to, but his anger and self-destructive behavior begin to push Tucker away. Too much alcohol and a night of violence inside their home take them nearly to the brink. Tucker is willing to fight alongside Jamie to keep it all from falling apart, if Jamie can learn to accept the help he needs…before it’s too late.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence.

‘Safe Shores’ by Morticia Knight

Kirk’s Coast Guard lover, Shane, is the only person who can save his son from a vicious storm—if he’s not too late.

Fishing is the only life Kirk has ever known. Born and raised in a small town on the Northern Oregon Coast, coming out of the closet was a struggle. Fortunately, he’s been lucky to find an amazing man to be with who serves in the Coast Guard. But he can’t help but wonder whether Shane wants more than just a shore leave romance.

Shane loves the Coast Guard, loves the sea. That’s one of the main things he has in common with his fisherman lover, Kirk. He just needs to make sure that Kirk knows how serious he is about their relationship and what he plans on doing about it.

Shane and Kirk’s joyful reunion is interrupted when an unusually vicious gale storm threatens the coast. Kirk has to stand by helplessly and wait while his lover battles the raging seas to save his son. In an instant, Kirk could lose everyone he holds dear.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of BDSM.

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Review: Anomaly by S.A. McAuley

Staff Sergeant Galen Welc has a nickname—Magneto. He has this strange ability to uncover IED’s before they take out his brothers in arms. When he is sent to a training facility to pit his abilities against that of new military drones, the last thing Galen is expecting is to meet a man who pushes all his buttons in just the right way. When he finds out that the man he has just met is the scientist behind the creation of the latest drone, sparks fly!

While I liked the promise of this story, it was so short that I found myself wondering who these guys were and how they could ever really match up beyond their love for the challenge of being the fastest man to uncover IED’s. The romance element never went beyond a seeming one-night stand and I had to make the leap from that to a potential relationship by story’s end. I just really wanted to get to know these guys more, and we ran out of story before I could do that. 2.5 stars

Always Ready by T.A. Chase

Jake is part of the Coast Guard whose one job is to save lives on the open sea. Phil is a crabber—on the Bering Sea where storms and gale force winds are not uncommon. One man lives for the danger, the other for the rescue. Each lives for the other. But Phil is in the closet and afraid to tell his family that he is deeply in love with Jake. Two years of hiding and torrid, fast hookups on a rare weekend a month have left both men wondering about their jobs and the distance it forces between them and whether they can go on living so far apart.

For a short story, I felt there was such depth to these characters. Their love for each other was as apparent as was their love for their jobs. How to rectify the great distance between them that gave them only a weekend a month to be together was an overwhelming concern for both of them. I felt the real pull that Jake felt for his job versus his lover, Phil. Jake rescues people for a living and he loves his job—despite the real fact that sometimes mother nature wins and Jake cannot save everyone. Phil is poised to take over a many generation boating legacy and already feels strongly for his crew—viewing them as a captain would. But Phil is so tired of hiding his love for Jake and while Jake would never push Phil to come out, his own disastrous coming out story shadows how he thinks. Well written, the story of love and respect that these two men have for each other is palpable and told in such a way as to also prove to be a loving tribute to those who keep our waters safe. 4.5 stars

A Ring And A Vow by Devon Rhodes

First, let me say that reading this short sequel has made me go off and purchase the original novel this short story is based on. Secondly, I am hoping that a major plot point is somehow addressed in the initial book, as I felt it was the only weak spot in an otherwise lovely finish to the tale of two young men so very much in love.

Cary is a pilot in the navy, Owen is in the marines, and at the opening of the story is deployed in enemy territory. They have spent the five years since the academy, where they met and fell in love, being stationed apart and longing for each other. During that time, Cary has been plagued with violent nightmares of Owen’s death. One month prior to coming home, Owen finally makes good on his promise, given years before, and asks Cary to marry him. Cary accepts and the rest of this story describes their time together in small vignettes leading up to their actual wedding day.

I was smitten with these two young men right away. The story balanced both their inner thoughts and fears against their love and support for each other. I felt so drawn to them and enjoyed how each chapter seemed to be another peek at their whirlwind wedding preparations and their new assignments in their various branches of service.

However, I never felt that the near paralyzing nightmares that Cary had been experiencing were fully addressed and indeed, they just seemed to disappear altogether. While I know that having Owen home would and should relieve Cary of his dreams, I also know the author chose to have Cary plagued by a last nightmare after Owen was home and in his arms their first night. For me, never really stating that Cary’s nightmares were gone left a major plot point unfinished and was, absolutely, the only flaw in an otherwise lovely story. 4 stars

My Marine by LE Franks & Sara York

Sean Green has seen the Afghani interpreter, Akim, come and go on the base and has taken notice of him. If only he could speak with the man, find out more about him. But this is wartime and while the interpreter is aiding the US, he is also the enemy. Then one chance meeting, and lust and yearning take over, and suddenly Sean knows that when he is finally sent stateside again he will do everything in his power to bring Akim with him. But what if Akin is not who he says he is? What if he is hiding a secret that will tear the two men apart?

My Marine was a sweet story with a few interesting twists and turns. When Akim’s secret was revealed I must admit I was pretty surprised and to be honest, understood Sean’s reactions completely. And it was just here that the story fell apart a bit for me. Sean began with strong sentiments about how Akin had lied to him. He admitted to himself that it was like he never really knew Akim, so why the sudden and swift capitulation at the story’s end? I felt that both men should have worked a little harder at reestablishing trust and not moved into intimacy immediately. There had, up to that point, been a plausible and very interesting story—if only the ending had been just a bit more drawn out. 3.5 stars

Soul Sick by Kendall McKenna

Jamie brings more than external scars from shrapnel home from deployment. Inside he is still trapped on the battlefield, and he is rapidly losing ground. Tucker has been waiting a year for his lover, but the man who comes home bears little resemblance to the one who left, and Tucker is worried that if Jamie doesn’t seek help soon, more will be lost than their partnership.

This was a very raw look at the effects of PTSD on a returning soldier. Jamie simply comes unraveled, going as far as physically threatening Tucker. Jamie wants to have everything as it was, but even the smallest of things picks at him, making him bleed a little more each day. It is both sad and scary watching Jamie devolve into a madman who cannot always be reasoned with before he lashes out.

My only regret with this story was the way it jumped, seemingly without a segue, into the future, where Jamie was apparently beginning to turn things around with the help of counseling. Admittedly and wisely, author Kendall McKenna did not allow Jamie to be instantly “fixed”; rather, we saw his ongoing turmoil right up to the end. But it was the abrupt way in which we were thrust into this future time of recovery that jangled a bit. Suddenly we were there and made to understand that during this unmarked time, Tucker and Jamie had actually been sleeping apart. Because the ending seemed to thrust us into a future that had no explanation, I felt the story rushed to the end and we never had a sense of healing or, more importantly, rebuilt trust between the two lovers. 3 stars

Safe Shores by Morticia Knight

Months go by before Kirk, a small time fisherman, and his lover Shane, a coast guard diver, are able to see one another. But their relationship has only gotten better over the last two years, and this visit finds both of them contemplating saying those three little words that every one yearns to hear. But Kirk is older than Shane by ten years and has a son by a long dissolved marriage that keeps him tethered to the small town he grew up in. Can these two make a go of it when distance and time seem intent on keeping them apart?

Safe Shores is a full out love story between two men who are ready to take the leap at a future they both desire. Even though both feel deeply for the other, saying I love you does not roll easily off the tongue, and both Shane and Kirk are worried that the other may not be ready for such a huge commitment.

I really enjoyed this story. I felt immediately drawn to these characters and felt completely invested in their story as a result. I particularly liked how both the men were very strong in their own right—while BDSM was a brief part of this love story, it was done with strength and truth, making it very erotic. All in all, Safe Shores was a nice way to end this well done anthology. 5 stars






Semper Fidelis is currently available for purchase only from:

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4 Stars, Annabeth Albert, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Resilient Heart by Annabeth Albert

Title: Resilient Heart

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 118 Pages

At a Glance: Resilient Heart asks its readers to bring our empathy to the reading of this story

Blurb: NOTE: This is a previously published work. The title, author, and/or publisher may have changed. Originally released as part of the Unconditional Surrender bundle, now available as a stand-alone novella complete with BRAND-NEW 10,000 word short story/epilogue.

When a wounded soldier is forced to accept help from his former best friend, both men discover the true strength of their entwined hearts.

Army IT specialist Xander keeps his emotions wired as tight as his NETCOM gear, but when he’s seriously injured by an IED, his whole life unravels. Running out of options, Xander must accept help from his ex-friend-with-benefits, Mackey. However, Xander’s had feelings for Mackey for years, and close quarters only complicates his emotions. Further, Xander doesn’t know which is worse: combating his inner demons or dealing with Mackey’s guilty kindnesses.

Mackey’s always kept his emotions close to his chest, but now he’s got a secret that could destroy his one chance with the man he cares far too much for. Both men will have to heal their wounded hearts to ensure a future together.

Entwined Future (Bonus Epilogue): In this new short story, Mackey has news that could change everything for him and Xander, but a visit from Xander’s family jeopardizes Mackey’s plans–and forces Xander to confront some harsh truths.

Dividers

Review: Annabeth Albert digs deep and comes up with a healthy dose of emotion in Resilient Heart, a story that portrays the physical, psychological, and all too human impact of war.

Xander and Mackey are two soldiers who served their country post-DADT but still toed a cautious line, keeping their stolen trysts a secret and guarding their feelings for each other behind the pretense of a best-friends-with-benefits label, all while they were both beginning to feel so much more than a simple physical need for each other. These details are offered in retrospect through the narrative, as the story begins well after their affair had started. Xander and Mackey have a longer history than is fleshed out in Resilient Heart, but we get enough back-story to know that somewhere between sex and friendship, love took root and grew in a fertile soil of silence and lies of omission.

This story takes place following Xander’s discharge from the Army, after an IED exploded and changed the course of his life. The author explores the fallout not only of Xander’s physical and emotional injuries but the effects and psychological impact of those injuries on Xander and on his relationship with Mackey. PTSD, physical impairment, and depression inform Xander’s life now and have a direct effect upon Mackey as well. Nearly losing Xander, not to mention the unspoken guilt he harbors for the unforeseeable role he played in all of it, has caused Mackey to do what he didn’t have the courage to do before—admit he needs Xander in his life as something more than a convenient means of scratching a sexual itch. Once Mackey steps up to help Xander through his recovery, Albert lays the groundwork for the conflict: every interaction between the two men becomes a trek through an emotional minefield, Mackey never knowing when the next sentence will set Xander off.

Being a novella, we get just a small glimpse of the greater part of Xander’s recovery, focusing on the bitter reality of his having survived only to come out alive but altered. It took time for Xander to appreciate the fact he lived after the explosion that changed him in tangible and intangible ways, going through the motions while fighting his demons. It took a confession from Mackey and bringing all his secrets and lies out into the open to push Xander to the brink, forcing him to make a decision about his future.

Resilient Heart asks its readers to bring our empathy to the reading of this story, to invest ourselves in the cost of serving in the military and imagine the sacrifices both Mackey and Xander made in order to hide their relationship, then to feel our way through the conflict and the impact Mackey’s confession made. Both of these men made mistakes but, in the end, resolved to correct them together, and the bonus epilogue, which wasn’t available in the Unconditional Surrender bundle, gives us a sweet and satisfying resolution to their romance.






You can buy Resilient Heart here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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4.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Torquere Press

Torquere Press Shows A Little Love To “Men in Uniform”

Title: Men in Uniform

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Torquere Press

Pages/Word Count: 166 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: There’s just something about a man in uniform, no matter what kind of uniform it happens to be. In “Best Laid Plans” by M. Durango, Craig gets a blast from the past when his new delivery man turns out to be his college boyfriend, Ryan. In “Seven Steps To Heaven” by Emily Moreton, stripper Steve finds that hooking up with a hot police officer is easy, but navigating what comes next, that’s the challenge. In “UPSex” by Rob Rosen, Don loves a man in uniform, especially Ernie, his brown-clad UPS man with the ample empty space in the rear of his truck. Gunshots rip through an idyllic neighborhood and soon Rick and Gabriel are combing the mountains for a kidnapped child in a search that becomes much more, in “Crossfire” by Jon Keys. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Lisa Worrall, Reviewed by Lisa, White Stiletto Press

Snow, Rain, Heat, Gloom Of Night – Lisa Worrall’s “U.S. Male” Swiftly Delivers


“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.” ― Tierney Gearon


Title: U.S. Male

Author: Lisa Worrall

Publisher: White Stiletto Press

Pages/Word Count: 10 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: This short was originally in the Dreamspinner Anthology, Uniform Appeal.

Uniforms didn’t do it for Rick. A firm ass in a tight pair of jeans rang all his bells. But uniforms? Not a single tingle. At least that’s what he thought.

Then he opened the door to the new mailman…
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