4.5 Stars, Holiday Romance, Kenzie Cade, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story

Reindeer Games by Kenzie Cade

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Reindeer Games

Author: Kenzie Cade

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 68 Pages

At a Glance: If you are looking for a nice little story filled with Christmas cheer and sexy men, then definitely take a chance on Reindeer Games.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Dashing von Stride has one thing on his mind: winning the window display contest for the Miracle on Main Christmas Contest. His plans are set and ready—and then he walks into his toy store, Reindeer Games, to find a sleigh that shouldn’t be there. The mystery sleigh sparks a new plan, however, and now all Dash needs is the perfect Santa to model his display after.

This year, the pranks with his reindeer have gotten out of hand. Instead of preparing for the Big Day, Niklaus Kringle is hunting for his missing sleigh. Locating it should have been easy, but games easily won are seldom worth playing…

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Review: Cute, sweet, lighthearted: any and all of these words could be used to describe author Kenzie Cade’s Christmas offering, Reindeer Games. If you are looking for a well written bit of fluff to take your mind off the holiday and its mad rush, look no further. This little story is the perfect ticket to some much needed getaway time from reality.

Cleverly based on the idea that Santa has children and that elves are the magic that is Christmas, the story begins with the reindeer having played a trick on Nik Kringle by hiding his sleigh right before the “big day”. Found by a toy store owner who turns out to have a little magic of his own, Dashing von Stride (Dash) discovers the sleigh standing in his display room and immediately uses it as the inspiration for the window decorating contest held annually in the small town of (wait for it) Wassail. I was laughing so hard at these fantastic names and the tongue-in-cheek humor the author obviously used when coming up with them.

When Nik and Dash meet, there is an immediate sense of rightness—of everything finally falling into place for both of these fellows. Once Dash is clued in to exactly who Nik is and why he is in town, the story moves swiftly to an immediate and delightful happy ending.

Pure fun and a sexy happy-ever-after is what this novella is all about. Nik and Dash could not be more perfect for each other, or sweeter, and did I mention hot? But honestly, there was little to criticize in this story simply because you can sense the pure delight the author took in crafting this holiday offering. The two main characters sensed their immediate bond, and wasted no time in exploring exactly what that meant. The mischievous and aerodynamically correct reindeer only added to the fun. Perhaps the only criticism I might have is that the smarmy and nasty shopkeeper who always seemed to take first place in the window contest was under utilized in this story. I felt like a slight tussle with him, one that might have threatened Nik and Dash getting to know one another, would have spiced up the story a bit. However, that was more a matter of my personal taste than a real fault in the story.

If you are looking for a nice little story filled with Christmas cheer and sexy men, then definitely take a chance on Reindeer Games by Kenzie Cade.

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Giveaways, RJ Jones

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Indigo Road Blog Tour with RJ Jones

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Please join us in welcoming author RJ Jones today, on the tour for her new novel Indigo Road. Enjoy RJ’s guest post and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of this and one other e-title from her backlist.

Good luck!

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Christmas in Australia

Hi, thanks for having me.  Did you know it’s only a few weeks till Christmas? It’s scary to think how quickly it comes around each year. This season is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not.

On one hand Christmas in Australia means hot weather, BBQ’s and swimming, either at the beach or in the pool. It means cold cuts of meat, salads and icecream. I know this is hard for most of you to comprehend as I assume you’ll be having snow and horrible freezing temperatures. This is why I love Christmas in Australia. Snow may be pretty to look at but in reality, it’s awful to live in; it is for a sun-loving Aussie anyway. :)

On another good note, my husband will be home (he works away) so it’s great that the kids and I will have him here and no doubt the day will start super early for us; if you have young kids you’ll understand the pain.

On a not so good note, I have my father-in-law and sister-in-law visiting from Sydney and staying in my house. FIL is a decent guy and we get on okay, except for the fact that he’s a raging bigot and believes all gays should be put on the boats with the refugees and sent somewhere else. I try and overlook this for the sake of peace and harmony. I’m lucky my husband doesn’t think like his father. I guess if he did, I wouldn’t have married him. SIL doesn’t think like her father either but we don’t get on. She is single and has been ever since I’ve known her. She just turned 40 and there’s no partner on the horizon. She loves drama. Lives for it even, and anything that happens turns out to be a life and death scenario – according to her. She can be a little hard to take. So my husband is home for four weeks before he has to return to work and my in-laws are here for three.

So here’s to biting my tongue for three weeks for the sake of peace in our household. They don’t visit often (thankfully) but every time they do it gets harder to keep my thoughts to myself.

I hope everyone out there has a peaceful and happy day.

Merry Christmas :)

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Indigo Road CoverTitle: Indigo Road

Author: R.J. Jones

Genre: New Adult, Gay Romance, Contemporary

Length: Novel

Cover artist: Meredith Russell

Blurb: Two best friends take a year off to find themselves… and end up finding each other.

Joshua Simpson has just finished four years at Purdue University, but that’s not why he’s buzzing with excitement. Once they’ve said goodbye to their families, Josh and his best friend Alex are taking off to discover America in an old but reliable VW van, planning on not seeing snow for an entire year.

Josh has always considered himself straight—except for that one time in college—so when he and Alex are living in such close proximity on the road, he’s unsure what these new feelings mean. Is it because they’re spending 24/7 together, or is it something deeper? And does it really matter since Josh has only ever seen Alex with women?

While in Oregon, Josh meets Johnno, a sexy but confusing Aussie surfer. While having an impromptu surfing lesson, Johnno helps Josh realize who he is and what he wants—but Alex’s reaction leaves Josh confused.

From a Montana ranch to the bright lights and dangerous streets of Los Angeles to a dark and lonely deserted highway in Alabama, join Josh and Alex as they drive around the US, discovering not only who they are, but who they can be together.

Buy Links: Amazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon AU || Smashwords || ARe

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RJ JonesAbout the Author: R.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.

It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower…

R.J.’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work.  And still, they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.

Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.

R.J. Jones can be found atWebsite || Facebook || Twitter || Tumblr || Pinterest

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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

Review: And a Smile by BA Tortuga

Amazon

Amazon

Title: And a Smile (Roughstock: Book Two)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 197 Page

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

Reviewed By: Maryann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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4.5 Stars, All Romance Ebooks, Genre Romance, J.R. Gray, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Say Yes by J.R. Gray

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Say Yes

Author: J.R. Gray

Publisher: OmniLit/ARe

Pages/Word Count: 93 Pages

At a Glance: Say Yes is a gritty story of control, and ultimately, of letting go.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Charles holds the key to salvation, but James has to say yes.

James failed. He tried to be what they wanted. He tried to deny it. He tried to be a good Catholic boy…but it’s become too much. He craves pain, submission. He’s denied himself far too long, and it’s eating him alive.

Charles thrives off the exchange of power. He knows the world revolves around control. It’s given and taken like currency, in business and in pleasure. He won’t get attached, though, or so he tells himself, until James turns his world upside down. He’s defiant and snarky, but Charles can taste the submission on him.

All James has to do is say one little word.

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Review: James is young, strong, vulnerable, and was brought up in an uptight, wealthy atmosphere. He has a façade permanently in place that projects the man he wants the world to see. When his father dies and his mother cuts him off, his world becomes all about survival and straddling a line between the world he knew and the world he now resides in. He is the epitome of a young man denying himself everything in the name of keeping his head above water.

Charles exudes dominant sexual tension. Running into the enigma that is James piques his interest in a way not many things have. Oh, he wants James, wants him bad—but first he has to get James to say yes.  The sexual tension between these two men is almost ludicrous—the banter, the flirting, the emotions underneath are heady.

The magnetism of the characters J.R. Gray has created is palpable. There is tight, fast paced writing in this short story and because of that, we get a complete story arc and believable, well-rounded characters with plenty of relationship building. There is a BDSM element to the story, but it is not the focus, merely an element in it. James must learn to embrace himself even if no one else does, and Charles has to overcome past hurts and defenses to be what James needs. In the end, it takes courage for both men to say yes and to find their own power in the doing of it.

This was my first book by this author, but after this novella, I bought another book written by him because of the narrative power he developed in this short story. I hope this is the beginning of a new series for J.R. Gray, as I would love to revisit these two men and get another glimpse into their lives.

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4.5 Stars, Felice Stevens, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: Betting on Forever by Felice Stevens

Amazon

Amazon

TitleBetting on Forever (The Breakfast Club: Book Two)

Author:  Felice Stevens

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count:  231 Pages

At a GlanceIf you’re looking for a sweet and romantic book without a lot of angst or drama, just a nice story about two guys falling in love, then this book is for you.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  A weekend fling in Atlantic City couldn’t be more out of socially shy Zach Cohen’s comfort zone, but a bet with his best friends forces him to put aside the humiliation he’s hidden for years and step away from behind his computer screens and online world. When he meets Sam Stein, despite their spark, Zach expects nothing more than a night of passion and a kiss good-bye. Yet weeks later, he can’t keep the man out of his head.

After a split-second decision with tragic results ends his twenty-year police career at the same time as his relationship falls apart, Sam Stein is drifting through life. At his best friend’s urging, he agrees to a trip to Atlantic City to clear his head. What Sam doesn’t plan on is meeting Zach Cohen, whose sweet nature and honesty has him thinking maybe he could move forward, until Zach leaves him without explanation, reinforcing Sam’s belief that people can’t be trusted.

Well-meaning friends refuse to let Zach and Sam hide from each other, forcing them to realize their weekend was much more than a one-night stand. Before that can happen, Zach must come to terms with his past and stand up for his own independence, while Sam has to learn to take a chance and believe in himself and people again. All bets are off when dreams become reality, and forever doesn’t seem to be long enough.

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Review: When I read the first book in this series, Beyond the Surface, it was Zach’s story that I was looking forward to the most. I have a fondness for and can relate to those characters who are a little geeky, shy, and quiet; those who sit off to the side, observing and hoping not to be noticed.  Zach certainly fit that bill, and Sam did too, in some ways.

Things aren’t all sunshine and happiness throughout Betting on Forever. There were misunderstandings and issues that needed to be worked through, but they are dealt with without a whole lot of craziness. You can sit back and are able to enjoy some of the simple things going on between Zach and Sam while they are falling in love—we get to watch them stroll down the beach holding hands, laughing and joking and letting go while flying kites, or just relaxing at home. And it’s nice that the other characters in the series are still around, and we get updates on what’s going on with them without it taking over the story.

While I loved Zach’s story, and it was nice catching up with Julian and Nick, now I can’t wait for Marcus’s story to see how his HEA will work out. If you’re looking for a sweet and romantic book without a lot of angst or drama, just a nice story about two guys falling in love, then this book is for you.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Santino Hassell

Release Day Review: Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: Sunset Park (A Five Boroughs Story)

Author: Santino Hassell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages

At a Glance: Think Sunset Park can’t possibly live up to the beauty of Sutphin Boulevard? Think again…

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

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Review: Sunset Park is a book that had a lot to live up to. At least, it did for me. Santino Hassell set the bar in this series pretty damn high with Sutphin Boulevard, and I can’t lie: I was worried that Raymond and David would pale in comparison to Mikey and Nunzio. I shouldn’t have worried, though. While “Sunset” does have a different vibe to it (it’s lighter without being fluff), it’s a fantastic opposites attracts story in its own right, and what’s become true to form with this series, now I can’t wait for book three, First and First.

The differences between the two novels in this series begin with not only the fact that Raymond and David are night and day to each other, but that the drama in Sunset Park is different from that in Sutphin Boulevard. It’s also all kinds of good. Where Mikey and Nunzio went through hell apart and together, they went through it on equal footing, their lives so deeply intertwined, and they knew each other so well. But who saw Raymond and David’s friendship coming? Hassell explores some interesting cultural divides in Sunset Park through these two men—David, the privileged white guy; Raymond, the Puerto Rican man from the blue collar neighborhood. Watching their worlds converge and their friendship coalesce was sometimes a study in frustration (I wanted to thump both their melons on more than one occasion), but the emotional and physical affection between these two is off-the-charts. And eventually, as we watch their relationship grow and change, we see this night and day contrast is actually more Yin/Yang—opposites that complement each other—and it’s kinda gorgeous.

There’s a palpable undercurrent of tension that flows between Raymond and David in the way they feel about each other—David’s out, while Raymond isn’t sure of much of anything where his feelings for David are concerned. Ray’s trying to figure out what to do with his attraction to David, and all the while, the friendship and the frisson of UST that’s always right there on the surface is crazy-making and crazy hot when they touch and wrap themselves around each other. And then, when they finally start to resolve some of that tension… holy hell. I don’t talk much about sex in my reviews, but I have to say there aren’t many authors I’ve read who can write a sex scene like Santino Hassell does. Just sayin’.

There’s a lot more to the conflict between Raymond and David than just their attraction to each other, though; it goes way beyond sex and has a lot to do with not knowing how to ask the questions that need to be asked, let alone how to answer one of the biggest: how to deal with exactly what it is they want from each other. Hassell teases these problem out through the entire book, until it comes down to make-or-break time, and they each are forced to figure out how to deal with what’s going on between them. The one thing I can respect about these books is that they’re layered with so much realism. There are family and friendship issues, work issues—this book doesn’t read like an angst for angst’s sake story, it reads like a story about real people with real problems, and what it all comes down to in the end is that Raymond doesn’t want to stop being Raymond, nor does David want him to. Raymond just wants to be a better version of himself—and that better version of himself is the man David already sees. It’s kind of gorgeous in its complicated simplicity, really.

This author has such a great voice, which bleeds into his characters feeling raw and real and sweet and sincere, and since “Sunset” is narrated by both Raymond and David, we also get to see the author flexing his writing skills to their best effect by making both characters so completely individual. Some books you read with your head, some you read with your heart. This series is one I can’t seem to help throwing myself into, full immersion, and I can’t recommend it enough. Sutphin Boulevard is simply stellar, and Sunset Park finds its own place to shine just as brightly alongside it.

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Giveaways, Santino Hassell

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Sunset Park Blog Tour with Santino Hassell

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Hey, everyone, are you ready to have some fun??? Today we’re so pleased to have author Santino Hassell stopping by on the release day of Sunset Park, book two in The Five Boroughs series. As a special bonus, he’s also brought Raymond Rodriguez and David Butler along to play a little game. Check it out, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Good luck!

And now, here’s the host of our show, Santino Hassell!

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The M/M Newlywed Game with Raymond and David

At the start of SUNSET PARK, Raymond and David have known each other for about six months. They met at the end of book 1 of the Five Boroughs series, and became fast friends. But just how well do they know each other? Let’s find out!

Host: I’d like to thank everyone for coming to the first M/M Newlywed Game! Today I’m hosting Raymond Rodriguez and David Butler, the stars of Santino Hassell’s upcoming book SUNSET PARK.

David: We were also in SUTPHIN BOULEVARD!

Raymond: I don’t understand why we’re playing this stupid game.

David: Because it’s fun! And Santino created us, so we have to do what he wants.

Raymond: Yeah, we’ll see about that.

David: *rolls eyes* Just be nice.

Host: Okayyy. So, how long have you been together? Let’s start with that.

Raymond: Together?

David: Oh, we’re not! Sorry, Santino should have explained.  Ray is straight. We’re just friends.

Raymond: Does this mean I don’t have to play?

David: No. We already answered all the questions!

Host: Let me explain how this works to the audience. Traditionally, I ask spouses the same set of questions while the other is out of the room, and matching answers get points. They have to get at least fifty points to “win”. It’s a way to see how well newlyweds know each other. Or in this case how well these two friends know each other.

Raymond: Don’t put weird emphasis on words.

Host: *ignoring Raymond* On this round of the M/M Newlywed Game—

David: Newlyfriended Game.

Host: —we’ll see how well David knows Raymond. We’ll test Raymond on Tuesday, December 15th, at Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Teahouse.

Raymond: Holy shit, can you stop pimping Santino’s tour and ask the fucking questions? I have things to do.

David: *kicks Raymond*

Host: Okay David, first question—who is Raymond’s favorite singer?

David: Nooo, that is super hard! Bah. *bites lip and squints at Raymond* Ummm. I’m going to go with Big Pun? I’m probably wrong, but he always gets super excited and turns up the radio whenever a Big Pun or Terror Squad song comes on the radio.

Raymond: *flips up card saying ‘Big Pun/Terror Squad’* You’re lucky. I almost changed it.

David: *fist pumps*

Host: Okay, next up—What is Raymond’s favorite comfort food?

David: Pastelles! He always asks me to bring him some from the restaurant near my job.

Raymond: *flips up card that says ‘pastelles’* They make them good there, and my Boricua food resources are tapped out unless I go to visit my friend’s mother.

Host: What is Raymond’s favorite article of clothing?

David: Pssh. That’s easy. His Yankees cap. It gets all sweaty and gross after he plays handball too.

Raymond: So stop wearing my shit! *holds up card that says ‘fitted Yankees cap’*

Host: You two are adorable.

Raymond: *sneer*

David: You’re right. I am.

Host: Okay David—what’s Raymond’s most used curse word?

David: Fuck.

Raymond: *holds up card without comment*

Host: These are a little more challenging. Who are Raymond’s closest friends?

David: Oh! That’s easy. Chris, Sharky, Tonya, and Stephanie.

Raymond: *smirks and holds up card that says Chris, Sharky, Tonya, Steph, and David*

Host: Ohhhh.

David: Oh, wow I didn’t—

Raymond: Dumbass.

David: *scoots closer to Raymond on the couch until they’re pressed together* I knew you loved me.

Raymond: Oh, shut up.

Host: *grinning* Who would Raymond say takes longer to get ready—you or him.

David: Oh God. Totally him. His hair takes like fifty hours to comb or wash.

Raymond: That is some bullshit. *holds up card saying ‘David’* You and your seventy two pairs of shoes. He be paying like almost five hundred bucks for some ugly ass—

David: Don’t insult my shoes or I’ll get started on your assortment of hoodies and sweats. Who needs that many pairs of sweatpants or hoodies?

Raymond: Again—then don’t wear them when you come over!

David: Your clothes are more comfy.

Host: Riiight. So, David, what is one thing you do that Raymond claims to not like, but you do it anyway?

David: I cuddle him nonstop. And jump tackle hug him. He’s tall, okay? It’s fun.

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘stage five clinger hugs’*

David: He likes it. He’s such a liar.

Raymond: Whatever.

Host:  Who would Raymond say is the better catch out of the two of you?

David: He’d say me because he’s ridiculous and judges himself way too harshly.

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘David. He has a solid job + better social skills + is prettier’*

David: *blushing* The last one is a lie, and he knows it. When we walk down the street people stop to ogle Raymond. Eyes literally follow him wherever he goes.

Raymond: They fall out of people’s faces?

David: They’re going to fall out of mine if I keep rolling them at you.

Host: What’s the first body part Raymond notices when he’s attracted to someone? 

David: Umm. I don’t know. He never talks about being attracted to anyone! I guess… if I go by the stunningly gorgeous women he’s slept with in the past, I’d say their face?

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘smile’*

David: I totally get points for that! I am not missing another question.

Host: Close enough. Let’s hope you get this last question then: What would Raymond say is the moment when he first realized he cared about you? As a friend. 

David: *stares at Raymond and gnaws on lower lip again* I think… the only thing that makes sense is the first time I came over to the house in Queens. It was while his brother was in rehab, after the death of their father, and Raymond was there all alone. He was talking about… having no parents and how it felt to be alone in that house after everything that had happened, and—

Raymond: *puts an arm around David*

David: *presses into his side* Anyway, we um, I hugged him. And he let me. I thought he’d push me away, but he didn’t. After that, we talked to each other every day.

Raymond: *flips up card that says ‘the night we talked about my parents’*

Host: Well done, David!

David: Do we win?

Raymond: What happens if we win? Do I get money?

David: No, we do not get money.

Host: We won’t know if you win until Raymond finishes his round. Tune in next time for round two of the M/M Newlywed Game with Raymond and David!

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SunsetParkFSBlurbSunset Park

A Five Boroughs Story 

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || All Romance eBooks

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Santino Hassell imageAbout the Author: Santino is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Find Santino: Website || Facebook || Newsletter || Twitter || Goodreads || Amazon

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THE GIVEAWAY

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Cate Ashwood, Giveaways

Release Day Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: A Forced Silence by Cate Ashwood

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Cate Ashwood today, on the tour for her new novel A Forced Silence. Enjoy the sneak peek from the book, and also be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-book from Cate’s backlist and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Good luck!

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I am so excited to be here at The Novel Approach today. Thank you so much for having me!

Today is release day and I want to tell you a story about my cousin (no, really, it was my cousin). When he was a kid, his family decided they were going to take him to Disneyland. For a kid, nothing is a bigger deal than Disneyland, right? So they drive to the park, and everyone is super excited to get inside. They park the car, everyone gets out, and my cousin is so excited, he promptly vomits in the parking lot (he’s now 40 and still hasn’t lived this down).

Release day is a little bit like that for me. I am not one of those authors who forgets they have a book coming out. It’s marked on my calendar (unnecessarily, because the dates are seared into my brain) and I have butterflies in my stomach the whole day. When it gets to be close to 9:00 (midnight on the east coast), I sit at my laptop and refresh the new releases page over and over until I see my book pop into view. And then I feel like I am going to puke.

It’s totally the best.

There’s really nothing like seeing my book released into the world. It’s terrifying and exhilarating, and I am addicted to the rush. I can’t imagine a time when it won’t be just as thrilling.

So here’s to celebrating release day for Adam and Sam! Happy Birthday, Boys!

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ForcedSilence[A]FSBlurb: For paramedic Adam Carson, his world is lights and sirens and saving lives. Pressures at work keep him firmly in the closet, and life is too busy to contend with the complications that come with dating and relationships. When a familiar face from his past turns up where he least expects it, Adam starts to question whether or not there is room in his life for those complications.

The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.

Buy LinksAmazon || Dreamspinner Press || All Romance eBooks

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Excerpt: “Adam, John, this is Sam. Sam, these are two of the city’s ugliest heroes, John and Adam.” Ford made the introductions as John slid into a chair across from him, lifting his head in greeting.

Sam swallowed hard, barely registering anything other than the man still standing in front of him. Adam Carson. He watched as recognition dawned in Adam’s eyes and a slow smirk appeared on his face. It was the same familiar cocky expression he wore when Sam knew him a billion years earlier.

“You sure have grown up, Dexter,” Adam said, exercising the nickname he had used for him all through school.

Sam lifted one eyebrow. “It seems you haven’t.”

“You two know each other?” Ford asked, eyebrows lifted in question.

“Oh, me and Dex go way back,” Adam supplied, never taking his eyes off Sam.

“Dex?”

Sam rolled his eyes. Ford was his friend, but that didn’t mean he wanted to rehash the shit that happened back in high school. That name was one that haunted him right through the twelfth grade. When he moved, he tucked it safely away, but tonight, it seemed, it had followed him.

“Long story,” Adam said. “It’s good to see you. It’s been a long time.”

Sam nodded politely and tried to turn his attention away. He’d known Adam a lifetime ago. Sam wasn’t the same person he had been in his fragile teen years. Long gone was the shell of brittle aloofness that covered the core of deep insecurity. He had learned to be proud of who he was, and he owned it in every way.

But he’d be fucked if the familiar feelings of self-doubt didn’t set in the moment he realized it was Adam Carson strutting across the room toward them. He was always good looking, but since Sam had seen him last—graduation day—he’d definitely matured, physically at least. The handsome teenager had transformed into the type of man who oozed masculinity, his laid-back confidence potent enough that Sam could practically taste it from where he was sitting. The jeans Adam wore fit low and snug around his hips, and his soft gray T-shirt was tight enough for him to make out the well-toned muscles beneath it. Sam’s stomach fluttered as he felt Adam’s gaze bore into him.

Agreeing to let Ford drag him out was quickly becoming the worst move he’d made in a very long time.

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Cate AshwoodAbout the Author: Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where you can find CateWebsite || Facebook || Twitter

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THE GIVEWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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4 Stars, Loose Id, Madeleine Ribbon, Reviewed by Kim, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Faire Diviner by Madeleine Ribbon

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Amazon

Title: Faire Diviner

Author: Madeleine Ribbon

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages

At a GlanceI must say that I’m quite taken with the author’s storytelling.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Rosewood, the magical Renaissance Faire’s psychic and one of the business partners, has been single for over ten years—ever since he accidentally revealed his psychic abilities to the love of his life and lost him. He has devoted himself to the Faire and the magic within ever since. The last thing he expects when hiring a new business manager is for Oscar—the “one who got away”—to walk back into his life as the most qualified applicant.

While Rosewood tries to deal with Oscar as his new business partner, his abilities start going haywire. He senses danger coming, and it’s somehow tied to Oscar’s dark past. They will have to work together to recover Rosewood’s abilities, help Oscar heal, and save the Faire itself.

And if they can do that, then maybe, possibly, the “one who got away” will become his greatest catch.

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Review: Faire Diviner is the second book I’ve read by Madeleine Ribbon, Death by Dragon being the first, and I must say that I’m quite taken with the author’s storytelling.

Basically, Faire Diviner starts out with Rosewood using his psychic abilities to look for a potential replacement to fill his Uncle Jorvik’s job as head Manager of the Faire. He’s shocked to discover that the interviewee with the most potential is his first love, Oscar Moreno—The One the Faire wants for the job.

Now, after reading both sides of the story about how these two didn’t stay together when they were younger, I wouldn’t exactly call this a story about “the one who got away” as much as it’s that they both bolted from each other and went their separate ways. And, it would seem they were both at fault for what happened. Youth and inexperience strikes again!

I liked Anthony Rosewood. His character came off as somewhat lonely because of his isolated life from others outside the Faire, and his sensitivity caused by feeling others’ emotions. There’s an innocence about him that is quite charming in itself. As a teen, his mother hurt him deeply when, after his father died, she wanted to commit him to a mental institution because of his abilities. Running away before she could carry out that deed, he ended up at the Faire and under the protection of his Uncle Jorvik.

Vin is someone who Rosewood considers a friend-with-benefits, someone he turns to when he needs a cuddle, which I thought was kind of cute. Oscar is also someone I liked as a character, but he did come with a bunch of his own emotional baggage. He’d just escaped from an abusive long-term relationship. But there was one episode that I thought him quite the AH after he and Rosewood hooked-up. Again, I have to give him a little leeway since both men seem to have a communication problem with each other.

Now that I’ve read Faire Diviner, I went out and purchased the two books that preceded this one. I’m sure I’ll get more perspective on how the Faire operates, but Faire Diviner can be read as a standalone. It just made me want to read more about this alternate universe, and I’m looking forward to reading future stories by Madeleine Ribbon. I think I’ve found a new author to enjoy!

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

 

You can buy Faire Diviner here:

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4 Stars, Comedy, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Rob Rosen, Short Story

Review: Best Laid Trap by Rob Rosen

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Amazon

Title: Best Laid Trap (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Rob Rosen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 24 Pages

At a Glance: Fans of Rob Rosen will immediately latch on to his wickedly humorous writing style and slightly crazed characters.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Roy has a crush on Steve, so when a work-related ski weekend is offered, Roy jumps at the chance to finally lay a trap for his hunky coworker. An abandoned cabin nearby is perfect for his scheme, and Roy stocks it with champagne, rubbers, and lube. But fate intervenes, and it’s not Steve, but Ranger Josh, who ends up trapped in the cabin with Roy during an avalanche. Roy’s plan might be ruined, but there’s still a chance for a very happy New Year indeed.

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Review: It’s holiday time and Rob Rosen offers up Best Laid Trap, another offering form the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar: Sleigh Ride. I must admit I am a huge fan of Rosen’s acerbic wit and snarky repartee, and this little short starts out in typical Rosen style, replete with a near stream of consciousness from the narrator and star of the story, Roy.

The plot is a simple one: Roy has been crushing on a coworker and accidentally finds an abandoned cabin right off the bunny trail at the ski resort they are both staying. With seduction on his mind, Roy sets the trap for his amour and sits back to wait. Little did he know that Mother Nature, a randy forest ranger, and some karma would change his whole night–and perhaps his future as well.

Be forewarned, this short story is about as insta-lust as you can get, but with lots of humor and a fairly hot, lengthy sex scene to boot. This is a mere snippet, so if you are looking for a great deal of character development, or much past a short rendezvous with a hint of a happy-ever-after, then this might not be the selection for you. However, fans of Rob Rosen will immediately latch on to his wickedly humorous writing style and slightly crazed characters.

Roy is sweet and funny as he lays out his night of seduction for a coworker. When he finds that he is going to be left high and dry, he barely has time to be disappointed before the ranger of his dreams appears and he grabs opportunity with both hands! Barely a short story, Rosen still manages to pack this gem with soppy moments filled with inner dialogue from Roy’s head that will have you laughing. All in all, this was a fun romp that will leave you wanting just a little more!

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You can buy Best Laid Trap here:

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4 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Partnership in Blood Bundle by Ariel Tachna

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Partnership in Blood Bundle: Volume One

Author: Ariel Tachna

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:  1285 Pages

At a GlanceA massive and interesting take on wizards and vampires.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Book One: Alliance in Blood. Can a desperate wizard and a bitter, disillusioned vampire find a way to build the partnership that could save their world? In a world rocked by magical war, vampires are seen by many as less than human, as the stereotypical creatures of the night who prey on others. But as the war intensifies, the wizards and the vampires forge an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Two: Covenant In Blood. The wizards and the vampires have forged an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. A few wizard-vampire bonds are as successful as Alain Magnier’s and Orlando St. Clair’s, but some are much less so, leading to arguments, resentment, and outright fights between the allies despite their mutual goals. Following his best friend Alain’s example, Thierry Dumont determinedly forms a partnership with vampire Sebastien Noyer, despite the wizard’s discomfort with being so close to a vampire a man so soon after his wife’s death. But they find that desperation may be the key to forming a covenant that works: Thierry and Sebastien are almost immediately devoted to one another’s safety. With new strength behind it, the Alliance’s leaders move to announce its existence to the whole world, hoping to rally support against the dark wizards who threaten to destroy life as they know it. Struggling to find its way in the expanding war, the Alliance discovers that despite its advantages, the partnerships are affecting the balance of magical power in the world, which may be an even bigger threat than the war itself.

Book Three: Conflict in Blood. As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.

The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.

As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Four: Reparation in Blood. The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.

Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?

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Review: Partnership in Blood is an omnibus edition of four novels: Alliance in Blood, Covenant in Blood, Conflict in Blood and Reparation in Blood. In it, Ariel Tachna has created a massive world involving magic and the paranormal. The books are each rich in detail, and the world building is vastly impressive. There is also a fair bit of angst involved, and tolerance, acceptance, prejudices, sexual consent, and romance are themes throughout the series as well.

I enjoyed this take on the paranormal, and I like Tachna’s writing; however, there were so many characters introduced that I nearly got lost trying to keep all the relationships straight. Then I had a difficult time trying to remember the details of the war going on, too. I think if the author would have focused on one or two pairing per book, I wouldn’t have been so confused much of the time.

There are many pairings in this verse, not just the M/M, but also M/F and F/F couples. Each story adds more and more characters as the war progresses—this is one long story broken into very large and long chapters. If you enjoy detailed stories with a huge number of central characters, and you don’t mind f/f and m/f storylines and a good cry, you’ll find this series highly satisfying.

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You can buy Partnership in Blood here:

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Joe Cosentino

Guest Post: A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino

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Hello, the Novel Approach Readers! I’m visiting here today to tell you a bit about how I came to write my brand new holiday short novella, A Home for the Holidays from Dreamspinner Press, which takes place in gorgeous, romantic, and magical Capri, Italy!

After writing two Bittersweet Dreams novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart Series) published by Dreamspinner Press, and a comedy mystery, Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press, I needed a vacation. So like Kunta Kinte charting his roots, my spouse and I dipped into our savings—and dipped into the Dramamine, and booked a flight and bus tour from the US to Rome, Naples, Venice, Assisi, Lake Como, Milan, Florence, the Amalphi Coast, Pompeii, Tuscany, and Lake Maggiore. We were exhausted, but we had the vacation of a lifetime seeing the most gorgeous architecture, natural resources, and views of any of our trip. We also ate delicious food and reveled in the art, history, and beauty (noticing all the statues were of very muscular, naked men). The people were warm and friendly as was the weather. However, there was no site more gorgeous, magical, and romantic than the Island of Capri.

While on the boat ride to the Marina Grande, the sight of the enormous cliffs sitting majestically on the water literally took our breath away. From the funiculare (cable car) we marveled at the stunning views of the island below and Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. At the Piazetta (main plaza) we boarded an island bus that zoomed around harrowing, tight corners like a car in a Fun House. We travelled to Via Krupp in the southern part of the island, and we walked through what Italians call “the villas of the rich and famous,” underscored by the sparkling turquoise sea below. We swam in gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by artistic white stone formations like Marina Piccola. When we arrived at Mt. Solaro, our guide told us it was highest point on the Isle of Capri, five hundred and eighty-nine meters above sea level. As we looked out at the fog, the sun came up and the wind blew the vapors of fog upwards, crowning the clouds, and revealing stunning views of the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria in the distance. As we looked out over the turquoise water, white mountains, and azure sky, I felt like I was in heaven. However, the most magical of all was the Grotta Azzurra (the Blue Grotto). As our boat went through the tiny portal of the expansive cave, my breath was taken away by the water’s brilliant shades of iridescent sapphire and emerald from the sun’s reflection on the water in the cove. Capri also had the most amazing restaurants and shops on the water’s edge. And the people somehow all seemed beautiful and sensuous.

Upon arriving back in the US, I realized I had to write a romantic story taking place in Capri.

In my story, Bobby, a young, Italian American law student, travels to Capri to meet his quaint Italian relatives. Though they get off to a rocky start, he falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian third cousin, Paolo. Their relationship with highs and lows and some captivating surprises is the core of the short novella. Since I come from a long line of funny Italian Americans, I included a good deal of humor in the story as well with Bobby’s mother, who is loosely based on my mother, and Paolo’s eccentric family. Paolo’s grandmother is really a riot. She is loosely based on my grandmother who said, “A boy leaves home with a wife or in a coffin.”

Like Harold in An Infatuation and Jonathan in A Shooting Star, Bobby is sweet, sensitive, and smart. As a law student, he has buried his head in his books. As the novella begins, he is ready for an adventure—and ready for first love. Like Mario in An Infatuation and David in A Shooting Star, Paolo is handsome, muscular, charismatic, and like many people in Italy, much more interested in love than in work. He is also a gifted artist. Unlike Bobby, Paolo is very experienced in matters of the heart. Paolo loves the finer things in life, but doesn’t want to work for them. He is quite concerned about his body, clothing, and social life. That is a foreign (no pun intended) concept to me. He is loosely based on my cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy.

After reading A Home for the Holidays, people have said they’ve taken a little trip to Capri and had the romance of a lifetime. I hope readers will pick up this short novella. It’s a lot cheaper than a trip to Italy, and is bursting with the sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and romance of the magnificent island of Capri!

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HomeFortheHolidayscoverBlurb: Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian Island of Capri to meet his eccentric, extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || All Romance eBooks || Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt: “Bobby, every Christmas your father and I buy you a nice gift and you return it. So this year before we go shopping, I’m asking you. What do you want for Christmas, exactly?”

I was tempted to answer, “How about the new Zeb Atlas DVD, Mom?” No longer reading my law textbook, I pressed the cell phone against my ear and responded, “My red sweater is getting frayed. I guess I could use a new one, Mom.”

“I don’t like red on you. I’ll get you a green sweater. It will go nicely with your eyes. You’ll be twenty-four in June. Nobody ever caught a husband wearing red clothes, except for Mrs. Klaus, and then look how overweight he was.”

I adjusted the heavy book on my knees and leaned back against the headboard of my narrow dorm room bed. Since fall semester of my third year of law school was over, my roommate had already gone back to Utah to be with his father and three mothers. Normally I would go home for the holidays.

As far back as I can remember, every December twenty-third through the twenty-fifth my mother works herself to exhaustion while forbidding anyone to help her. Since I am not married, I am seated at the kiddy table, where I dodge meatball and manicotti grenades courtesy of my little nieces and nephews. Then the gifts are bestowed with price tags on them so we all know “How many hours your father and I had to work to be able to buy our children such beautiful things.” This is followed by “oohs” and “ahhs” for every gift except the presents from me, which garner comments from my parents and two sisters like, “Oh well, I can wear that for dress-down day at work… if I keep on my coat.” After the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins arrive for dessert (cannoli grenades at the kiddy table), my mother’s side (the Mascobellos) eat the pastries, and my father’s side (the McGraths) drink the liqueurs, while I sit upstairs in my old bedroom reading law case decisions on the Internet.

This Christmas is going to be different. Throughout my childhood I heard stories about my mother’s now deceased father who had a first cousin in Capri, Italy. Mom, “too exhausted from taking care of all of you to survive such a journey,” had recently spoken on the phone to her deceased father’s cousin’s daughter-in-law (got that?), and the two women had arranged for me to spend this Christmas with my Italian relatives. This led to my Christmas in Italy with my Italian cousin, Paolo Mascobello.

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Author BioAbout the Author: Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming releases in 2016 are The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads || Amazon

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Scotty Cade

Review: Veiled Loyalties by Scotty Cade

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Veiled Loyalties (Bissonet & Cruz Investigations: Book Two)

Author: Scotty Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 148 Pages

At a Glance: Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Halloween is Beau Bissonet’s favorite holiday, from carving pumpkins to decorating his yard to donning a costume and scaring the neighborhood kids. But this year his Halloween is about to take a different turn, one that will challenge his skills as a detective and his commitment to his partner in work and love.

A year since Beau and Tollison solved The Royal Street Heist, found love, and formed Bissonet & Cruz Investigations, they are thriving personally and professionally. That is until Tollison’s ex, Bastien Andros, shows up out of the blue. Naturally, Beau’s suspicious, but two days after Bastien’s arrival, he goes missing, and Tollison worries his past may catch up to him.

A mysterious package makes clear who has Bastien and what’s at stake. With both Bastien and Beau’s lives now at risk, Tollison has only one option: travel to Zurich, Switzerland, secure and deliver the ransom, keep both men safe, and stay true to himself at the same time.

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Review: Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet, former Detective of the New Orleans PD, and Tollison Eduardo Braga Cruz, former art thief and Lloyds of London insurance investigator, have now opened their business—Bissonet & Cruz Investigations in New Orleans. Tollison’s thieving past comes back to haunt him when his ex, Bastien, shows up, and Heinrich Fussli DeMatteo contacts Tollison.  DeMatteo has threatened Beau’s life and is holding Bastien hostage for the return of a historical painting. Tollison feels a heavy responsibility to protect Beau and save his ex. Along with Tollison and Beau, Auggie and Bruce are off to Zurich with a plan to steal the Titania erwacht, von aufwartenden Fairies.

Scotty Cade takes us on a whirlwind adventure to Zurich, and into the intricate planning of the theft of the artwork.  Cade provides us with historical facts about the painting, and we see Tollison’s brilliance and expertise as a former thief, along with the support he gets from Beau, Auggie and Bruce. There are some very emotional moments from Beau and Tollison as their views of trust, lies, and past decisions threaten their relationship. Cade also gave Beau a “big kid” persona, as it’s his favorite time of year, and Tollison is just confused and amazed at Beau’s excitement. Iona Ball is back too, as assistant to Beau and Tollison. She is quite the character!

Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jeff Erno, Reviewed by Lynn, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Baggage by Jeff Erno

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Baggage

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages

At a Glance: Overall, this is a sweet love story. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: At thirty-eight years of age, Chandler finds himself single and caring for his brother Raymond, who suffers numerous health problems.

Mired in grief from the multiple deaths of close family members, he recedes into himself, crippled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Early one morning Chandler’s life is flipped on its end when he encounters his neighbor, twenty-five year old Marcus.

Nothing about a relationship with this young man makes sense. For one thing, Marcus is… well… YOUNG. He’s also biracial and has all kinds of tattooed muscles!

The streetwise Marcus introduces Chandler to an entirely different lifestyle, pulling the would-be hermit from his shell, albeit kicking and screaming. But how long can such a relationship last, and what about Raymond? Chandler fears a guy like Marcus, seemingly perfect in every way, won’t be able to truly accept Chandler with all his baggage.

An unexpected bombshell detonates and Chandler learns some unsavory details about Marcus, who he really is, and what he’s done in the past.

Finally, it’s Chandler who must decide if he can accept Marcus’ baggage.

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Review: I’ve read this author before and have enjoyed his stories, and Baggage is no exception. What I loved most about this story was the real life concept: two men finding each other when they least expect it. Chandler and Marcus are polar opposites. These are two people I would never in a million years put together, but fate, destiny, divine intervention, or whatever you want to call it, pulls them towards one another. And you know what? It worked and it was lovely.

When we first meet Chandler, he exudes loneliness, taking his lot in life with grace and acceptance. You see, he’s taking care of his older brother, a brother who has a slew of medical conditions, as well as being bi polar. It’s a full time job. Then we have Marcus. He’s a lot younger than Chandler, thirteen years younger, in fact, and seems to have taken a shine to Chandler. Here we go folks.

We get Chandler’s POV for the entire story. Usually when this happens, I feel like I’m missing something from the other characters; not so with this one. Mr. Erno does such a wonderful job of presenting Marcus that we really don’t need his POV. We know exactly what he’s thinking and feeling throughout the story. His intentions towards Chandler are very clear from the get-go. I loved watching Chandler’s reactions to Marcus. He really didn’t (or couldn’t) believe this young man was interested in him. But Marcus was bound and determined to change Chandler’s way of thinking.

I really enjoyed these two characters. At first I was a little leery about Marcus. I guess I was going by what Chandler was thinking, which was that Marcus could find someone his own age, and what does he want with Chandler? As I got to know Marcus better, his sincerity shined through. His humor and carefree manner was just what the doctor ordered. But then something happens (which I won’t go into because that would be a spoiler) and because of Marcus’s background, I thought the worst. Of course, when the truth comes out, I felt like an ass right along with Chandler. The lesson learned here is to never judge a book by its cover. Oh, and never assume anything.

What I loved most about this book was its simplicity. And by simple, I don’t mean boring—far from it. I love a great love story, and this is definitely one of those. Chandler and Marcus’s relationship was about overcoming stereotypes, accepting each other’s flaws, differences, and yes, baggage. I loved the realism the author gave us with these two. It wasn’t love at first sight, everything didn’t fall right into place. At times it was a struggle with miscommunication, self-doubt and worry. But when all the pieces were put together, it was beautiful.

Overall, this is a sweet love story. It has bittersweet moments, heartbreaking and sad moments, but a happy ending, for sure. Highly recommended.

TNA_Signature_Lynn

 

 

 

 

You can buy Baggage here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, J.A. Rock

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Subs Club Blog Tour with J.A. Rock

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Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release The Subs Club—Book 1 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win your choice of two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card!

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The Subs Club Supporting Characters

At other stops on the tour, you’ll meet the four main Subs Club members: charming, snarky Dave; uptight perfectionist Miles; big-hearted dudebro Kamen; and super shy Gould. At the start of the series, they’re still reeling from the death of their fifth friend, Hal, but are steeling themselves to go back to playing at Riddle, the dungeon where he died. Here’s a look at some of the supporting characters who populate Riddle, and the Subs Club universe in general:

Bill Henson: The dom who was playing with Hal at Riddle the night Hal died. Bill was charged with second-degree murder when Hal strangled to death after Bill left him tied up, alone, in one of the playrooms. Bill was later found innocent in court—though the kink community has been less forgiving. Prior to the Hal incident, Bill had a reputation for being an arrogant, sometimes careless dom who exaggerated his experience level. This makes him an easy target for angry, grieving kinksters looking for someone to blame. But Bill might not be quite the monster everyone thinks he is…

Cinnamon the Ponygirl: The Subs Club’s mortal enemy, Cinnamon is famous in the pony play world, but far less popular at Riddle. Rude, self-centered, and fond of stirring up trouble, she was also the only witness to Hal’s death—and she spoke in Bill Henson’s defense at the trial, incurring the Subs Club’s further wrath. Dave, who has an irrational fear of furries, is particularly uneasy around her, because he considers pet players a little too close to furries for comfort.

Kel and GK: The owners of Riddle, one of two kink clubs in the city, GK and Kel are a married couple who had a dream: to run a dungeon together. But three years after that dream became a reality, things went to shit when Hal died at Riddle, causing kinksters to question whether GK and Kel are capable of maintaining a safe play environment. Kel and GK struggle to keep their club afloat in the wake of tragedy, making questionable decisions along the way. They also seem to have a real thing for Gould.

Ricky Chuy: The smoothest, twinkiest, innocent-est newbie imaginable. The Subs Club sometimes lets him tag along with them to Riddle to learn about the scene. Dave describes it as “like taking the goddamn Little Mermaid to a bondage club.”

Rachel, the Human Menorah-Maker: Okay, Rachel’s a bit elusive. But other clubgoers look fondly upon her annual Hanukah rope work, where she creates rope candleholders on people’s arms and turns them into human menorahs.

Regina: “Biggest hair I’ve seen outside a Winger video,” according to Dave. A Riddle staff member, Regina loves to play matchmaker at the club, introducing players with similar kinks. Regina can usually be found tending the dry bar, working the front desk, or else DM-ing.

Mrs. Pell: Kamen’s mom. She’s been in the scene for years, but she usually plays at Cobalt, the “White Castle of BDSM clubs.” So as long as Kamen sticks to Riddle, he can usually avoid, y’know…running into his mom at a dungeon. Much to Kamen’s mortification, Mrs. Pell is very frank about and comfortable with her lifestyle, and loves to show off the string of hairy-chested play partners she doms.

Bowser: A big, burly, Viking-esque man with a ginger beard, an extreme medical play fetish, and a laugh that sounds just like Bowser’s in Super Mario 64. Apparently he and the very masochistic Miles have a bit of a past together.

Fucktopus: A mysterious “tentacle furry” who shows up on the Subs Club message board to talk about his eight robotic tentacles of fun. Dave’s absolute worst nightmare.

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TheSubsClub_600x900About The Subs Club (The Subs Club #1): 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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About The Subs Club Universe: After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

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Author BioAbout the Author: J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Website || Blog || Twitter || Facebook

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Giveaway

Don’t forget! To celebrate the release of The Subs Club, J.A. Rock is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $10 Amazon gift card! 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! And don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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Giveaways, Silvia Violet

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Professional Distance by Silvia Violet

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Professional Distance CoverProfessional Distance: Thorne & Dash Book 1

Author: Silvia Violet

Cover Design: LC Chase

Release Date: 11.28.15

Buy Links: Amazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon CA

BLURB: Thornwell Shipton is wealthy, uptight, closeted, and an incurable workaholic. A tragic love affair left him terrified of relationships, so he tells himself sex is better scheduled and paid for.

Riley Dashwood is young, easy-going, and comfortable in his own skin. He’s a passionate baker and an aspiring chef, working as an escort to save up for culinary school.

They’re clearly made for each other.

When Thorne hires Dash, it’s lust at first sight. After a few scorching nights together, both men start to wonder if what’s between them is more than physical, but their age gap and resistance to romance make them afraid to change their professional relationship to a personal one. Dash pushes Thorne to admit he wants things he’s denied himself for years. Kinky things. Soft, caring things. Things that force him to open his heart, not just his body. To move forward, one or the other must take a risk and ask for what he really wants.

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TEASER

Professional Distance Teas

EXCERPT: Thorne’s workweek was just as bad as he’d expected it to be. At least, the memories of Dash and the anticipation of what was to come once he was back in town on Friday made it bearable, more than bearable actually. He’d jacked off every single night in the hotel, thinking of Dash while he finger-fucked himself and pretended it was Dash’s cock inside him.

That afternoon, he’d had a final tedious meeting with the client who claimed to want his advice but argued with him every fucking step of the way. A delay at the airport did nothing to ease Thorne’s annoyance. His neck and shoulders ached with tension by the time he landed in Atlanta. He couldn’t wait to see Dash. After coaxing, pushing, and manipulating clients all week, he wanted to let go and concentrate on nothing but pleasure. He was so eager to be held down, forced, and used that he had to move his jacket in front of him to hide his hard-on as he stood in the taxi line.

He reached home with barely time to clean up and change before Dash arrived. When he emerged from the shower, he slipped on his plush terry robe, another one of the luxuries he afforded himself. The robe had cost more than some of his colleagues’ suits, but he had the money, and he loved the feel of the soft fabric against his skin. He figured there was no need to dress since he hoped to be naked within minutes of Dash arriving. This time he wasn’t going to let Dash distract him. He was going to get down to business right away.

The buzzer alerted him to a visitor before he had a chance to pour himself a cocktail, but that was fine—even the best bourbon was no match for Dash.

“Mr. Dash is here to see you, sir. Shall I send him up?” Michaels asked.

“Yes, thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sir.”

Thorne frowned at the agitated state of his stomach. Butterflies. Fucking butterflies. He’d hired this man, and he was—oh fuck, why’d he have to think of that—twenty years younger.

Dash knocked, the same two sharp taps as last week.

Once Thorne let him in, Dash eyed him appreciatively. “Dressed for the occasion?”

“And why shouldn’t I be?” Thorne asked as he pushed the door shut.

“It’s a good look for you.” Dash’s gaze traveled down Thorne’s body. “You have beautiful feet.”

“Is that a thing for you?” Thorne asked, wiggling his toes.

Dash laughed. “So you can be playful after all.”

Thorne snorted at his impertinence.

“And my thing is whatever my client wants.”

Thorne raised a brow, challenging him.

“It’s not a particular fetish of mine—though I appreciate beauty in all forms and places—but I aim to serve my clients’ needs.”

“Or to tell them what those needs are.”

“Is that what you’d like me to do today?” Dash asked. He seemed to grow a few inches taller as he let the commanding persona settle over him.

Thorne ignored him. Dash had his messenger bag with him again, but he was also carrying a white paper bag that smelled of cake—rich cake.

“What’s that?” Thorne reached for the bag.

Dash slapped his hand away. “It’s a surprise for later.”

Thorne frowned. “Why do I feel like you wanted to tack ‘if you’re a good boy’ on to that sentence?”

Dash laughed. “Maybe I did.”

“I told you I—”

“Don’t do submissive. And I told you I wasn’t so sure you didn’t.”

Thorne hated how right Dash might be. “Look—”

Dash held up a hand. “I have an idea for tonight. Would you like me to run with it and see where it takes us, or are you going to wrestle control?”

Why the fuck did that sound so sexy—grappling with Dash, fighting for who would be on top. “Is both an option?”

Dash grinned. “We’ll have to see.”

“Worried about an old guy’s stamina?”

“You don’t seem the least bit old to me.”

Dash’s statement caught Thorne off guard, because it wasn’t made in the same playful tone. It sounded serious, heartfelt. Or maybe Thorne’s brain was too clouded by lust to tell. “I’d like to hear your idea.”

Dash set the paper bag down on the coffee table and unzipped his satchel. He pulled out a plug—not the giant vibrating one that had caught Thorne’s attention the week before—a basic one that was large enough to make a man really feel it but not scare him.

Thorne inclined his head toward the plug. “I like it so far.”

“Then turn around.”

Thorne almost protested. But he was the one who’d insisted they get right down to business.

“Kneel on the couch and brace yourself on the back.”

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Silvia VioletABOUT THE AUTHOR: Silvia Violet writes erotic romance in a variety of genres including sci fi, paranormal, alternate history, and historical.

She can often be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to. When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinful chocolate treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading children’s books to her wickedly smart offspring.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Newsletter || Facebook || Twitter || Tumblr || Pinterest

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THE GIVEAWAY

Enter for the chance to win a $20 Gift Card to either Amazon or ARe, winner’s choice!

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Cardeno C., Giveaways

Audiobook Tour and Giveaway: Just What the Truth Is by Cardeno C.

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Cover - Audio Just What the Truth IsJust What the Truth Is

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrated by: Alexander Collins

Length: 6 hrs and 19 mins

Series: Home, Book 5

Release Date:10-23-15

Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC

Blurb: People pleaser Ben Forman has been in the closet so long he has almost convinced himself he is straight, but his denial train gets derailed when hotshot lawyer Micah Trains walks into his life. Micah is brilliant, funny, driven…and he assumes Ben is gay and starts dating him. Finding himself truly happy for the first time, Ben doesn’t have the willpower to resist Micah’s affection.

When his relationship with Micah heats up, Ben realizes he has a problem: His parents won’t tolerate a gay son, and self-confident Micah isn’t the type to hide. If Ben wants to maintain his hold on his happiness, he’ll have to decide what’s important and own up to the truth of who he is. The trouble is figuring out just what that truth is.

©2013 Cardeno C. (P)2015 Cardeno C.

AUDIBLE US

Audible UK

Ebook Linksgoodreads-small
All Romance eBooks / Amazon / Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords
Smashwords Coupon: VU38T

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About the Author: Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

WLK Giveaway

Win an audio copy of Just What the Truth Is !

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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3 Stars, Audio Book, BA Tortuga, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Ever the Same by BA Tortuga – Narrated by Paul Morey

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Ever the Same

Author: BA Tortuga

Narrator: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 hours and 32 minutes

At a Glance: Overall, I liked this story but felt it was missing something.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

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Review:  I’m a big fan of BA Tortuga’s writing, and own several print copies of her books. I was excited to listen to this story—I’m definitely drawn to stories that are unconventional. Dixon was a great character, and he was put through some really trying times. When we are introduced to him and Audie, they meet because their children get into a fight at school. From then on, you meet a whole slew of characters—from Randi and Granger (the kids), to their respective families, and finally, the animals. The animals played an awesome part in the story.

The children really brought this story home for me. They are the glue holding it together, and without them, I feel this book wouldn’t have been successful. They were what was right about this story. But unfortunately, I felt that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the plot, and I had a hard time with Audie and Dixon’s families. These two men are not your conventional twenty-year-old guys. These are grown men facing very serious issues, yet they acted like they were very young, and they let their parents walk all over them.

Dixon was a great character whose growth is visible throughout the story. However, I really wanted to see him flourish as a blind person. Overall, I liked this story but felt it was missing something. The thing I think it’s missing is the actual romance. I felt like I didn’t get to see Dixon and Audie fall in love. It just was.

Narration: Ever the Same is performed by Paul Morey. That’s all that needs to be said. Morey is a consummate professional who does an excellent job narrating this book. He did a great job speaking for the children, which I always feel is a difficult thing to do as a narrator. He is absolutely fabulous.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Ever the Same here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Pat Henshaw, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw

Small Gems

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Blame It On The Fruitcake (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015

Author: Pat Henshaw

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 36 Pages

At a Glance: Blame It on the Fruitcake is a sweet and funny love story. A perfect morsel of yummy goodness for this holiday season!

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Fruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party.

Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.

But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.

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Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw is another delightful story from the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Package entitled Sleigh Ride, a swiftly moving short story that brings together what seems like polar opposites and solidifies the idea that the heart knows what it wants despite what seems like insurmountable differences.

Sam McGuire has lived most of his life knowing that he is not the kind of guy anyone would choose to love. For years, as an orphan, he watched others be snatched up into middle class happiness by beautiful people who barely gave him a second glance. Now, as a successful mechanic and shop owner, he still believes that he is hardly a catch for some well-educated college boy who cleans up way better than he ever would.

Very much a loner, he is shocked when a small package appears on his doorstep containing an amazing piece of fruitcake and an invite to his neighbor’s party. After suspiciously and grudgingly tasting the cake–after all, everyone knows fruitcake is literally scraping the bottom of the holiday treat barrel–Sam decides to attend the party…in order to get more cake! Little does he know he is about to meet a guy who will challenge all his tightly held low opinions of himself, and of his certainty that he will never be worthy of being loved.

Author Pat Henshaw is a new author for me and I can honestly say, based on this little gem of a story, I will be looking up her backlist ASAP. Sam is such a sweet guy under his gruff exterior. Everything about him, from the way in which he dresses to his rough dialogue, was just so right and realistic. I honestly felt both these main characters were the perfect example of guys I’d be likely to meet in real life. There was such a genuine air about this author’s writing that made this instant attraction between Sam and Jay so understandable and believable.

Sam’s past created such a deep well of loneliness within him that it lent credibility to his automatic decisions that he would never be good enough for Jay. Jay’s admissions of feeling like he was pretending to be something he’s not allowed Sam to understand that appearance really is not all it’s cracked up to be, and it’s what lies beneath the exterior that really counts.

Blame It on the Fruitcake is a sweet and funny love story. A perfect morsel of yummy goodness for this holiday season!

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Blame It on the Fruitcake here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Brandon Witt, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Jules

Audio Review: Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt – Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Then the Stars Fall

Author: Brandon Witt

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Run Time: 12 Hours and 21 Minutes

At a Glance: Definitely check this one out, guys!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.

Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away – the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.

Life, it seems, has other plans.

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Review: Then the Stars Fall is a gorgeous piece of writing by Brandon Witt. It was the first of his stories I’ve read – or, listened to, as the case may be – and it certainly will not be the last. It’s a big story. Very heavy at times, though there is also a good amount of levity to help balance it out. The story is beautiful, and complex; as such, it needed a certain kind of intensity brought to the narration, and I have to say that Andrew McFerrin does a superb job with the performance.

Wesley is trying to settle into his new life in El Dorado – the home of his beloved grandparents, who left him their house – and definitely is not looking for love. In fact, the plan was to swear off men entirely, for the time being anyway, after his recent, painful breakup. The plan was not to fall for a local, widowed father of three. Wesley never even saw Travis Bennett coming. Of course, the same can definitely be said of Travis…He absolutely did not see Wesley coming.

This book covers a lot of ground…family, loss, friendship, small town small-mindedness, homophobia, and ultimately, romance, love, and second chances…and has a variety of fabulous characters for you to love or hate (mostly love). Witt created a villain in John Wallace, whom McFerrin voiced with such venom that I actually cringed a few times when hearing him come into a scene. Without question, this is a book that will make you feel. Here are some of my actual notes from the audio about my feelings while listening!

Chapter 6 – I don’t like that he is downplaying the attack from John Wallace. I think he was right to feel threatened – there was a VERY aggressive advance, if not a full out sexual assault.

Chapter 8 – Wendy is hilarious, saying ‘to make your brown eyes pop and look a little sinister.’ Win win. – about the red glitter eyeliner.

Chapter 10 – I do love this narration. I looove his Wesley voice.

Chapter 10 – the end. So good. (The talk in the barn before the kiss. And, the kiss.) “They kissed. Animals slept. They kissed. The barn continued to stand. They kissed. Maybe a few stars fell.” Sigh.

Chapter 11 – Wesley talking about how hot Travis is…So funny.

Chapter 15 – God I love Wesley – berating himself for not being able to stay away from Travis.

Chapter 21 – Iris Linley – such a fabulous busy body… “You’re both nice men. And, those Bennett children need a mother.” *diez*

I actually ended up listening to it twice. The narration got better and better the more I listened. Good, good stuff. Definitely check this one out, guys!

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy Then the Stars Fall here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Giveaways

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: Home for the Holidays Anthology

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HomeForTheHolidaysCover

Home for the Holidays – Featuring authors SJ Himes || Jenna Kendrick || Heather C. Leigh || Liv Rancourt || Felice Stevens

BLURB: Home can be a person as well as a place. Everyone deserves a home for the holidays, as the stories in this collection affirm.

Proceeds from Home for the Holidays are being donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City to help homeless LGBTQ youth.

Release Date: November 29, 2015

Buy LinksAmazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon CA || Amazon AU

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BLURB The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick: Going home for the holiday only to find his parents have made other plans, Kai Meyers is thrilled to reunite with an old friend. Disowned by his religious family, Ari Fisher is used to being treated like a boy toy rather than a boyfriend, and now he only has eight days to reveal his secrets to Kai.

TEASER

JennaFinal

EXCERPT: The last thing Ari saw as the lights went out and the elevator jolted to a stop was Kai stumbling forward. Ari started to move closer to help him up, but his foot bumped into a piece of fruit or something, so he pulled back. Kelev barked, clearly upset by the chaos, while Kai called to the dog to make sure he was okay.

Ari, felt something sniffing at his pants leg. “Kelev, c’mere boy. Good boy.” He bent over to scratch his head. He was happy to see the dog was still alive; he had to be going on twelve or thirteen by now.

“You know Kelev? Well, obviously. I suppose you know my parents, then.”

Ari chuckled. “You could say that. But I know you even better. Well, I used to.” Apparently the dog remembered Ari better than his owner. He wished he could get a look at Kai’s face as he connected the dots. When he’d first spotted Kai in the corner, he’d been relieved to see the guy was too weighed down with Kelev and a metric crap-ton of grocery bags to notice him. He’d known there was always the chance of running into Kai. Ari might have even hoped for it subconsciously. Otherwise, he could have avoided the possibility by insisting Prescott and Thomas meet him at a hotel, as he did with some of his other clients.

“Wait a minute… Ari?”

“Long time, no see, Kai.”

“I can’t see you now, either.” Kai’s voice had matured over the past eight years, familiar and new at the same time. “Sorry, I was in my own world and didn’t notice you before the lights went out.”

“Hope you’re not still afraid of the dark.” Ari remembered them leaving a lamp on when they had sleepovers, but only until they’d hit middle school.

“Probably a hard sell after screaming like a teenage girl, but no, not generally.” Kai must’ve set the rest of the groceries down because Ari heard bags rustling and felt a can roll into the side of his shoe. “I don’t suppose you want to join me here on the floor. I’d try to get up, but I have a feeling I’d wind up tripping over an avocado and inadvertently turning it into guacamole.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Kendrick writes male/male new adult and contemporary romance, her favorite genre to read. She lives in Upstate New York, where she spends the better part of the year trying to stay warm and dry. When she’s not writing, she reads, watches The Princess Bride and The Avengers far too often, spends time with her husband and friends, and drinks more coffee and tea than she’d care to admit. She shares her home office with her dog, Tally, and her cats, Loki and Tamiris.

Jenna spent most of her class time in high school writing bad poetry and short stories in which her teachers were the villains. She began writing in earnest in college, putting it aside for a few years to work as a teacher and product manager for several online services. In addition to writing fiction, Jenna also writes nonfiction technical books under another name.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKSFacebook || Twitter || Instagram || Tumblr

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BLURB 24-Hour Hold by Heather C. Leigh: Detectives Damon Porter and Anderson Malloy are now partners at Denver’s Major Case Unit. The problem is, they used to be boyfriends, and now they’re feeling anything but friendly towards each other.

TEASER

HeatherCLEigh

EXCERPT: “Still drinking enough coffee each day to keep Seattle’s coffee houses running for a year?” I ask, leaning back on the counter while Damon turns on the tap, rinsing his hands and attempting to wipe off the spill on his shirt with a wet paper towel.

He scowls, his dark brown eyes locking on mine. “Fuck you, Anderson.” Thoroughly annoyed with me, I watch, fascinated, as my ex-lover’s hands clench into tight fists. Damon tosses the used paper towel into the garbage can before whirling back around in my direction. His mouth opens, no doubt to tell me off, then snaps back shut.

My eyes drop to that full, red mouth—a mouth I’ve tasted hundreds, maybe thousands of times before—and molten heat spreads out from my groin.

I’m in the middle of imagining a detailed scenario that involves kneeling down on the hideous linoleum of the kitchenette and yanking down his perfectly pressed dress pants to suck on his cock when I realize he’s gone.

Shit.

It takes me a few minutes, but I finally find Damon in the conference room, quietly stewing while he sets up his laptop. He has the files open on the table.

“So,” I close the door behind me and his head of brown hair twitches as he ignores me. “Show me what you’ve got.” I drop into the swivel chair closest to him and snap my gum while spinning back and forth.

“Do you mind not doing that?” Porter scowls and turns away, fiddling with his computer. Fascinated, I watch the muscles of his back tense up under his starched button-down.

“Doing what?” I ask innocently, popping the gum again. Nothing turns me on more than riling up Damon Porter. Watching him go from cool and collected to hot and bothered makes my dick hard.

“Listen, D. I—”

The beautiful man beside me jerks around, practically snarling in my face. “Don’t. Call. Me. That.”

“Whoa!” I hold my hands up defensively, noting the way his hands are fisted at his sides. “Calm down, Porter.”

“Fuck you.”

“Jesus, Porter. Hold a grudge much?”

His eyes close and I recognize the way his entire body shudders. Damon Porter is close to losing his carefully crafted control.

“Sorry,” I mumble. “I didn’t expect this,” I motion between the two of us, “to be so uncomfortable.”

Those big brown eyes of his pop open, dark lashes fluttering wide as my words sink in. “Wait,” he says. “You knew I worked here?” Oops. I can practically see his sharp mind working to quickly put the pieces together. “Did you… Did you come to Denver, to this department specifically, knowing you would be working with me?”

My skin heats up from his dead-on conclusion. Damon leans close, the familiar scent of his aftershave hitting me hard. “What’s your game, Anderson?”

I can feel the heat coming off of him, even through the multiple layers of both his perfect white dress shirt and my rumpled old blue one. My throat is tight and I have to work to swallow in order to speak. “I don’t have a game. I moved back to Denver, applied for a job, they assigned me to your department. It’s temporary, so don’t get your starched boxers in a bunch.”

It’s the truth. Stretched, but the truth nonetheless.

Damon’s molten brown eyes narrow, his nostrils flare in anger. When he speaks, the formal, uptight man I know does the unthinkable. He cracks a joke.

“Still chewing that shitty gum, huh?”

I swallow again when his gaze drops to my mouth. Desire rushes through me, sending blood pulsing to my groin. “Yeah.”

He nods, as if confirming some thought in his own head, before turning to face his laptop. His professional façade slams into place like a thick steel door. With one long, elegant finger, Damon points at the files in front of me. “I guess you’ll have to start at the beginning. You read the reports and familiarize yourself with the cases, I’ll continue trying to find a link between the robberies.”

“Sure, D. Whatever you say.”

Porter’s mouth twitches, but he doesn’t correct me for calling him D. That little victory gives me enough confidence to grin, snapping my gum as I pull open the first file.

If I can just get past the four hundred fifty-three other layers of protection my ex has put up to keep me out, I’m golden.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon bestselling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.

Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKSWebsite || Facebook || Goodreads || Twitter || Instagram

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BLURB Learning to Love by Felice Stevens: Returning home for the holiday, caterer Gideon Marks tried hard to push away his high school crush. But Rabbi Jonah Fine wouldn’t let him run again, or keep the secret Gideon’s tried so desperately to hide.

TEASER

LearningToLoveFinal

EXCERPT: The bells above the shop tinkled and Sean glanced over my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, sir but we’re closed.”

“I’m not here to buy anything, I came to talk to Gideon.”

I spun around to face Jonah. “I’ve got nothing to say to you.” I walked behind the register, putting the expanse of the counter between us. Jonah had changed from this morning and now wore a heavy sweater, corduroy pants and a black leather motorcycle jacket. He looked tired, windblown and utterly desirable. Despite my words, I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his face.

Ten years away hadn’t changed the irrevocable fact that I still wanted Jonah, now more than ever. There were some people who got under your skin and no matter what you did to erase them from your mind and heart, they remained, clinging to your soul.

“Gideon, please.” He darted a quick look at Sean who’d apparently forgotten about his hot date and was intent on having a ringside seat to my sex life. “Can we please go somewhere and talk?”

“Go ahead, boss. I’ll close up.”

Rico leaned against the doorway, his dark eyes fixated on Jonah. I knew my obvious attraction wouldn’t bother Rico; we hadn’t been together in years. The deep friendship and mutual respect between us was rock solid.

Jonah hadn’t taken his eyes off of me, his face an unreadable mask. If I said nothing, I could let him think Rico and I were lovers and he would no doubt leave me alone.

“Gid, go on, man. Give the guy a break.”

Rico’s urging broke me out of my deep thoughts. “Okay,” I said begrudgingly. “Let me get my jacket and I’ll be right back.”

I hurried to my office, pulled on my jacket and shoved the contracts Rico had worked on earlier into my backpack. By the time I’d returned, Sean had finally left and Rico and Jonah were discussing the demise of the kosher deli in New York City.

“Have a good one, guys.” Rico shook Jonah’s hand and gave me a swift hug. “Don’t fuck it up man.” His breath tickled my ear. “I got a feeling this one’s for real.”

I pushed him away, giving him a funny smile and a shake of my head. “See you tomorrow. We need to plan the wait-staff for the party and then go through the other orders. Plus I need to contact some of the people I met last night, who said they wanted to maybe hire us for their small dinner parties.”

“Will you get out of here already and stop talking business?” Rico shoved me toward Jonah. “Take him and feed him so he’ll shut up.”

Jonah held the door for me and side by side we walked down the block. Christmas lights had already gone up on the lampposts and in store windows and happy people walked with bright red and green shopping bags stuffed with their purchases. The entire city was seized with holiday cheer, yet all I felt was depressed.

“Have you eaten dinner?”

We stopped at a corner waiting for the traffic light to change. “No, but it’s Saturday night. Why aren’t you out on a date or something?”

Jonah’s sweet smile disarmed me. “Um, I thought I was.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Twitter || Pinterest || Goodreads || Instagram || Facebook Author Page

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Blurb Saving Silas by SJ Himes: Paramedic Gael Dominic wasn’t expecting much from the holidays. Blood, death, and loneliness were constants. So when tragedy puts a wounded Silas in his path, Gael takes a chance on his alleyway angel and love.

TEASER

SJHime

EXCERPT: “Find my son! He was shot, for Christ’s sake, he can’t make it too far. Does this place even have security? Morris, call the local department, I want my son found.” Warner sounded mad, but there wasn’t a frantic component to his tone that most worried parents had when their kids got hurt. He sounded…aggravated.

Gael looked up, eyes searching. This was a split in the Recovery level, the hall to the right swinging around to more patient rooms, the hall to the left leading to the surgery suites, exam rooms, and x-ray….and the elevator to the staff exit. It emptied out in the sequestered lot the doctors and staff used.

He headed in that direction, eyes peeled, making swift work of his search. He kept his actions subtle, not wanting to clue anyone in to the fact he was looking for someone. He smiled at the people he knew but kept going, and passed a cart full of clean scrubs, the plastic lid ajar. The pressed piles made it apparent that a pair of pants and a shirt were missing. Someone took them before the cart made it back down the hall to the doctor’s lounge.

Gael stopped at the elevator, and was about to hit the button, but the staircase several feet away was the better option. No one used the stairs in a hospital.

He entered the stairwell, letting the door swing shut soundlessly behind him. Gael listened, eyes shut, head tilted to the side. A scuffle, the faintest hint of a quivering breath, just below him.

Gael opened his eyes and took the stairs down fast, keeping his footfalls as quiet as he could. He found his quarry the next level down, huddled against the wall, tears running down his bone-white cheeks, hands shaking as he tried to push the door open. He was wearing the purloined scrubs, and the dark blue color merely accentuated the pallor of the young man’s skin. Gael moved just as Silas started to fall over, and he caught him about his waist, holding his angel to his side, keeping him upright.

Silas’ head fell back on his shoulder, and Gael found himself forgetting what he was about to say when a pair of the truest green eyes locked on to his. Every muscle in his body thrummed with electricity, and Gael held him tighter, taking his whole weight.

“Hi, handsome,” Silas breathed out, giving him a tiny twist of a smile, eyes watering. “I’d love to make out in the staircase with you, but I kinda need to escape right now.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m a thirty something bisexual cisgendered woman with way too big an imagination, but that comes in handy when I’m writing. I have been writing since I was a child, when I took a four page assignment on what I was going to do on summer vacation and turned it into a 100 page fantasy epic all written by hand…in crayons. No joke.

I work a day job, but I can’t share for who, since the Old Man isn’t as liberated as the people who read my books. I’m married, I have furbabies, and I live with loved ones. I adore a certain show about a British consulting detective and his grumpy army doctor, and that spawned an addiction to Johnlock fanfiction, which then evolved into me writing it. Gawd, that’s embarrassing. Put this down in the TMI section of my Bio, okay? I enjoy martial arts, movies where things blow up, and I wish I lived in a Marvel movie.

I live in the beautiful and lonely Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and I see way more wildlife than I care to on a daily basis (bears!). My perfect day is reading surrounded by friends and family who don’t think it’s odd I want to hang out but not talk, and my favorite scent of all time is a cool fall evening with leaves burning….less a scent, and more of an experience.

My writing is focused on gay and lesbian people, who are more than interesting side characters that hang out with the heterosexual MCs. My wish for the future is that when people ask me what I do for a living, I can say, “I write gay romance,” and NOT get weird looks. Also write under pen name Revella Hawthorne.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKSAmazon/SJ Himes || Amazon/Revella Hawthorne || Blog as SJ Himes || Twitter : @WriterSJHimes || Facebook/SJ Himes || Facebook/Revella Hawthorne

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Blurb Christmas in LaLa Land by Liv Rancourt: For a Danaan sidhe like Aron, touching a human has consequences, while Damian’s hiding some serious scars behind his smile. A holiday trip to LA forces them to choose between acting on their attraction or giving up on love because of the past.

TEASER

Liv Rav 2

EXCERPT: “I’m sorry. The hotel is closed for a private party.” Blondie stalked over, making the most of her Heels from Hell. The huge lobby had a high arched ceiling and fabric drapes covering the walls. And every possible surface was hung or draped or covered with something red, green, or glittering.

“Um, Ophelia?”

The ploofy redhead almost dropped the string of stars she’d been draping over an enormous pearl chandelier. “I’m Ophelia.”

Her eyes were the same gray as the murk rolling in off San Francisco Bay before the sun rose. Soft, but cold. Spooky. I took a couple steps further in, trying not to let my hopes get ahead of me. “I’m Aron, Connealagh’s younger brother.”

“No shit!? Are you as big a bitch as she is?” The blonde’s shriek immediately turned into laughter.

Ophelia scrambled down off the ladder, freezing me with her ice-vision. “Connie has a brother?” She came at me fast. No time to duck. Only my face offered bare skin, so that’s what she reached for, cupping my cheek with her palm. “Aron.” Her whisper held confirmation, as if she’d been able to verify my story with a touch.

“Oh.” I started to giggle. Her fingertips held so much joy she fizzed. I turned into her, inhaling a hippie-princess mix of roses and patchouli and sweat. Love ran under the fizz, heavy and deep, the emotion tempered by danger and fear. Thoughtlessly I reached out, finding a firm, pregnant belly under her swirling, embroidered caftan. “She’s beautiful.” I smiled into my cousin’s frightening eyes. “Your Leah is a lovely little girl.”

“Um…” She raised an eyebrow. ““Not born yet.”

“Crap. I’m sorry.” I eased out of her grasp. “I can feel emotions and stuff. Sometimes. I didn’t know…”

She exhaled, puffing out her cheeks and shaking her head. “How ’bout you let me tell Gabriel we’re having a girl before sharing, okay?” Without breaking our connection, she pointed at Blondie. “Shut up, you. My cheeks will not freeze that way.”

Behind us, Damian made a choked sound. The jewel-tone fabric on the walls seemed to dim, though that had to be my imagination.

“Who’s your friend?” Ophelia took hold of my gloved hand.

Grateful for even that little display of support, I suddenly didn’t think I could deal with the say-goodbye-to-Damian thing.

“Damian Jones.” He crossed the tile floor, coming closer. I didn’t turn around. Ophelia didn’t leave my side.

His hand, extended to shake, crossed the corner of my vision.

“Sorry Damian,” Ophelia said, wrapping a protective arm around me. “It’s nice to meet you, but I don’t shake hands, okay?”

“Must be a family thing.” His footsteps retreated, and I wanted to whip myself for driving all the sunlight out of his voice.

Gathering as much courage as I could muster, I pivoted, staying within Ophelia’s circle of safety. “Thank you, Damian, for giving me a ride down here, and I’m sorry…” For knowing my limits? For caring too much to entrap you? For being afraid? If I didn’t like him so much, I’d treat him like that poor sucker in the night club bathroom. If I didn’t respect him so much, I’d try to explain. “Just, sorry.”

“Yeah? Well, all your stuff’s out on the steps. You have a happy holiday, okay?”

Ophelia’s gaze was positively balmy compared with the deep freeze in his tone.

He disappeared, leaving me with my cousin and her freakishly blond friend.

“Well, fuck if I don’t suddenly have a taste for chocolate.” Blondie squealed. She had tiny star tattoos and glitter sprinkles down one cheek and a skirt so short it should be illegal. Something triggered my memory of Ophelia’s only visit to Mari-Elle’s. Her friend, a serpent deity named Suzie or Sandy or something, had been shot on our doorstep. Nothing really kills a deity, though, so maybe this was the same girl.

“Shut up, Sally,” Ophelia said.

Yep, serpent deity.

“No way, sister-mine.” A man appeared on the other side of the ladder. Just, like, appeared. “That cocoa crisp plays for my team.” He disappeared before his voice trailed away.

My face must have asked what the fuck without words because Ophelia started to laugh.

“You have the ghost of Jason Patrick living in your lobby?” I asked.

“Jason Patrick is not dead.” The man appeared on the near side of the ladder. “But thank you, sweetie.”

“No living with him,” Sally muttered.

Ophelia left off laughing long enough to introduce me to Jimmy. “You had the ghost part right, anyway.”

“Aren’t you a pretty little fruit.” Jimmy appeared right next to me. He draped his arm around my shoulders, cool and surprisingly peaceful. “Did you invite him specially for me to play with, Ophie?”

“I didn’t invite him at all.” Keeping hold of my hand, Ophelia drew me over to an antique love seat that could have belonged to Marie Antoinette. She and I sat, and Jimmy perched on the arm next to me. Sally scooted her butt onto a large mahogany desk right across from us.

None of them looked particularly threatening. In fact, staying here could be fun. I grappled my twittering nerves and dove in. “It started because Mari-Elle and I—”

“Oh yeah, how is Mother?” For the first time since I’d met her, Ophelia’s effervescence dampened.

“Gorgeous, frightening, and kind of mean.” Wow! Did I just say that? Because slandering someone’s mother is such a great lead-in to a favor.

Ophelia snickered. “You’re giving her too much credit.”

Well at least my cousin didn’t act insulted. I relaxed against the couch. “I decided I wanted a break from the life for … reasons, and I’ve always wanted to visit L.A.” The next part was the scariest, so I spit it out fast. “I’m hoping I can crash here for a while.” I clasped my hands so tightly the leather on my palms squeaked. “I mean, I know it’s rude to just show up, but I kinda hoped I could rent a room here in the hotel.”

Sally hissed a laugh. “It’s not that kind of hotel.”

“He can totally stay,” Jimmy said. Between his square chin, curly mullet, and micro-skinny tie, he really did look like ‘80s-era Jason Patrick. “How ’bout 312? It’s right at the top of the stairs.”

A broad staircase curled up from one corner of the room, opposite a double set of very black doors.

Ophelia finger-combed red ringlets away from her face. “You know, I think that’ll work.” She fixed me in her cold-slate gaze. “You know what this place is, right? I’m not kidding when I say it’s a gateway to Hell. Couple times an hour Hell’s escorts bring in the souls of the damned, and I send them down. You can’t freak out when that happens, and you absolutely cannot go through those doors.” She pointed at the black doors, and while I generally love a good dare, this seemed like a stupid time to take up a challenge.

“You got it. I’ll even help”—I glanced around at the Christmas insanity “—decorate.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

For sneak peeks and previews and other assorted freebies, go HERE to sign up for my mailing list.

Come find me. We’ll have fun!

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKSBlog || Facebook || Twitter

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Check out the tour-wide giveaway which includes Gift Cards and E-books!

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
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Kate Hill

Guest Post and Excerpt: Blow by Blow by Kate Hill

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Kate Hill today on the tour for her latest novel Blow by Blow. There’s an excerpt for you to check out, too, so enjoy!

And now, here’s Kate.

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Blow by Blow – What You Didn’t Know

Every book has its share of unique ingredients–a pinch of imagination, a tablespoon of research and a cup of change.

I thought I’d share a few behind the scenes details that went into the recipe for Blow by Blow.

  1. The second to last sex scene was one of the first scenes plotted.
  2. In the first draft, Theo was named Ally.
  3. As part of my research for the book, I tried Jiu Jitsu classes–quite a change from the Shotokan and kickboxing I’ve practiced over the years.
  4. The original title was Raven’s Rapture.
  5. The original version had a very short prologue that I deleted because I thought it read too much like a book blurb. The information in the prologue was worked into other parts of the story instead.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Blow by Blow.

Thank you!

Kate

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blowbyblowmedBlurb: A hunky former heavyweight champ and an ass-kicking beauty fight for their lives and their love in a futuristic world of MMA.

Theo “Little Raven” Fisker, is a bantamweight with attitude who plans to make a name for himself in the Radical Warrior Tournament, a prestigious mixed martial arts event. The problem is no team will sign a male fighter who walks out in silver and pink with nail polish to match, until he meets Master Jesse.

Impressed by Theo’s talent, Jesse welcomes him onto his up and coming team. Fists and sparks fly when Theo meets gorgeous Valentin Merrickson. Theo draws Valentin out of his protective armor and sparks hope for a life the tough heavyweight never imagined possible. Their love grows, but threats from extremists and an injury that ends Valentin’s career in the cage might tear them apart.

Buy Link: BookStrand

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Excerpt: “Oh wow. Where did these come from,” Theo said, squatting by the pot. He let go of his bags and reached for the attached florist’s card. He read it, smiled, rose, and slipped his arms around Valentin’s neck. “Thank you.”

Valentin hugged him back a bit awkwardly since grocery bags filled his hands. “Didn’t know what else to give you as a welcome gift.”

“I love blueberries.”

“Kinda figured when you ate half my supply during breakfast yesterday morning.”

Theo stepped back, his hands still cupping Valentin’s neck. “Are you saying I’m a blueberry hog? Don’t answer that. Come on.” Theo opened the door, picked up his grocery bags, and stepped inside, Valentin close behind him.

They were quite hungry, so after putting away Theo’s shopping, they sat down to lunch. When they finished, Theo did some quick housecleaning, not that he had much to do. The house was impeccable. Debra and her parents obviously took a lot of pride in their property. Valentin volunteered to help. While Valentin tidied up the lunch mess and opened the windows in the house to let in the fresh spring air, Theo cleaned the bathroom and unpacked his belongings.

“I know this hasn’t been much of a date so far,” Theo said.

He and Valentin stood in the bedroom where Theo was about to put the new sheets he’d bought on the bed.

“Fine with me,” Valentin said, helping Theo tuck in the fitted sheet. They both reached for the top sheet at the same time and Valentin closed his hand over Theo’s. He tugged Theo closer.

Even with the thick heels on his boots, Theo still had to tilt his face up to meet Valentin’s gaze. Valentin dipped his head toward Theo to cover his mouth with a kiss.

Closing his eyes, Theo surrendered. He pressed even closer to Valentin.

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Author BioAbout the Author: Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets. Kate also writes under the pen name Saloni Quinby. She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Visit her online at kate-hill.com.

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Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Lane Hayes

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: A Kind of Truth by Lane Hayes

A Kind of Truth

Title: A Kind of Truth
Author: Lane Hayes
Series: A Kind Of
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 82k words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary Romance, Humor
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Pre-Order Links: E-book || Paperback
Blurb: Rand O’Malley dreams of superstardom. He hopes to one day sing the blues like a rock god. Moving to New York City and hiring a new manager are steps to make his dreams a reality. But nothing moves as fast as Rand would like, and everyone has opinions, which include he keep certain pieces of himself quiet if he plans on making it in the Big Apple. Like his bisexuality.

Will Sanders is a gifted musician who dazzles Rand with his ability to coax gorgeous notes from an electric guitar one moment and play the piano like a professional the next. He’s a geek, but Rand isn’t concerned about Will’s pressed exterior clashing with his tattoos. His focus is music. Yet there’s something about Will that makes Rand think there’s much more to the quiet college student than he lets on. As Rand’s dreams begin to materialize, he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and find his own kind of truth. One that might include Will.

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Excerpt: Watching Will’s face turn pink then red was extraordinarily entertaining. I nudged his elbow playfully and tried to gain control of my smile before it threatened to take over my entire face.  When I couldn’t take the building pressure of emotion, I winked at the girls then leaned in and kissed his lips, loving that I took him by surprise.  The elevator doors slid open a moment later.  Will stepped into the empty corridor and gave me a wide-eyed incredulous stare.

“I cannot believe you just did that.”

“What? Kissed you on an elevator?  It’s not like farting, ya know.”

Will huffed a sigh that clearly said he thought I was hopeless before turning to walk down the hall.  “I was talking about the underwear comment but yeah, the kissing part was awkward too.  No one wants to watch two people going at in a confined space.  And besides, we’re supposed to be playing this strictly straight while we’re in public.”

He stopped to unlock the door to the classroom then pushed it open, pausing to give me a perturbed look before he moved inside ahead of me. I barked a quick laugh as I set my guitar on the back table and shrugged my jacket off.

“First of all, that was hardly going at it.  It was a peck. You were the one advertising I left my clothes at your place in front of a couple cute girls.  And who said anything about playing straight?”

“Were we not in the same room two mornings ago talking about this?”

“We were.  In fact, we were naked in your bed.  Decidedly un-straight. But the way I remember it, I was one who was holding back the gay while you were the one going for it.  But let’s go back to the elevator. I think you purposefully blew my cover back there with those girls.  Were you jealous?”

He snorted and rolled his eyes.  “You’re unbelievable.”

“Thanks.”

“It wasn’t a compliment,” he quipped as he made his way to the piano.

“Well, the next time you announce you’re holding my underwear hostage in a crowd, all bets are off, baby.” I gave him a lascivious once-over and waggled my eyebrows before tightening the strap on my guitar.

Will chuckled.  “I’ll keep that in mind. But I’m pretty sure your tighty-whities never came up. My comment was perfectly innocent. There’s a big difference between hats and underwear.”

“I’m on to you, Will.  You wanted those girls to know something’s going on between us.  They’re probably talking right now.  Bet they’re wondering if we’re in here having sex.  Hell, they could be outside that door listening.  Maybe we should give ‘em something to talk about.” I made a show of unbuckling my belt and the top button on my 501s.  “Is there a camera in this room?”

“Keep your pants on. I’ve got two months left till graduation and I’d prefer not to get kicked out of school, please,” Will said primly, smacking my hand away.

“You won’t get kicked out.  I doubt we’d be the first anyway.”

I rezipped my jeans and started to back up, but at the last second, I reached out to cup his chin between my thumb and forefinger.  I traced his jaw and let my thumb roam higher to caress his cheekbone just under his glasses. His eyes fluttered shut.  I loved the contrast of his fair skin and darker lashes and eyebrows.  He was so damn pretty.  And those lips.  They were sensuous.  That was the word. I leaned in and brushed my nose against his.  I could feel his breath on my lips.  The urge to plunge my tongue inside and take what I was very sure we both wanted was strong, but I waited for his permission.

When he didn’t respond, I let my hand fall to my side and started to pull back.  Maybe he really was serious about propriety in the classroom. I wasn’t used to curbing my impulses to suit someone’s else’s sensibilities. I’d spent twenty-five years doing only what I wanted.  Screw anyone else.  Now here I was, attempting to hide my gay side publicly while trying to follow Will’s lead in private. It felt strange, I thought, just as Will launched himself at me.

I grunted in surprise when he wrapped his arms around my neck and crashed his mouth over mine. He softened the connection and tilted his head as he raked his fingers through my hair.  I responded but let him control the tempo. Until he tentatively licked my lips. Fuck, he tasted sweeter than I remembered. Like peppermint candy or hot chocolate.  I pulled him flush against my chest and slid my tongue alongside his, twisting and colliding in a passionate fusion.  When he gasped for air I pulled back only to have him grind his hips into mine and lick my jaw. He swayed into me with a moan and lost his footing.

“Steady there.”

Will was sexier than he knew, which spelled potential danger for me.  It was better to let the music take over for now.

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Author BioAbout the Author: Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time!  It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel.  An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters.  These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men.  Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked.  Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards.  She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab ever in an almost empty nest.

Where to find the author: Facebook || Facebook Author Page || Twitter: @LaneHayes3 || Goodreads Link

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5 Stars, Astrid Amara, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed by Kim

Review: Crash Plus Expenses by Astrid Amara

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Crash Plus Expenses

Author: Astrid Amara

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 94 Pages

At a GlanceI love these types of romances!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Dan Lewinski would follow his subject Connor Katz to the ends of the earth. It’s what he’s paid to do. Apparently this also includes following his subject Connor Katz as they plummet to earth, because their plane is going down. And Dan likes living so that’s a problem.

It’s also a problem because he knows there’s a secret behind Connor Katz’s past, a reason the man’s sister is paying beaucoup bucks to have him followed, a reason Connor appears so quiet on the outside, yet seems lit like a fire from within. Dan needs to know Connor’s secret.

But if they survive the crash, how on earth can Dan get to know the mysteries of a man he’s been in love with from afar without admitting he’s a private eye who’s watched his every move?

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Review: I’m a big fan of Astrid Amara’s contemporaries. I love her brand of humor and the way her MCs are thrown together so that they have no choice but to get to know each other. Crash Plus Expenses doesn’t waste any time, starting as the plane is about to crash. This part was kind of intense and reinforced the very reason why I avoid flying in planes. But, as the plane prepares for its quick downward landing, there’s a brief summary as to why Dan is on this particular flight. He’s also got a bit of a crush on the man he’s been paid to follow for the last year.

I’m going to spoil things by saying, “Yes, they both survived the crash,” buuuuut now comes the fun part—surviving the wilds of Alaska as they wait for rescue.

I love these types of romances! I loved Dan’s character and how human he was when he let the cat out of the bag about things he shouldn’t know about Connor (oops). Dan really has it bad for him, and the letter he eventually writes to Connor had me giving it a great big aaaaaaah, how sweet.

As for Connor, Dan is his hero…until he learns more about Dan and why he was on that flight (that was an interesting fall out). Connor did have some pretty good secrets from his past, and it’s quite understandable why he was suspicious in nature.

I had trouble putting Crash Plus Expenses down. It just hit all the right buttons for me, and I made the mistake of starting this one before bedtime, then ended up going to work the next day, tired! I will add, if you’re one who doesn’t believe in coincidences (because there are some things that are a little unbelievable that occur throughout the story), this may not be your cup of tea.

I definitely see a sequel…and, lo and behold, as I was getting ready to start this review, I found out there is one (Hanukkah on Retainer)! Guess who went to ARe and bought it without hesitation?

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

 

You can buy Crash Plus Expenses here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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