4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Like a Lover by Jay Northcote

Title: Like a Lover (Housemates: Book Two)

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 143 Pages

At a Glance: Like a Lover is a sweet and sexy addition to the Housemates series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

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Review: When Josh Morley was introduced in Helping Hand, book one in the Housemates series, the picture we got of him as the bar hopping party boy is more than a little different from the reality we see in Like a Lover. Josh is guarding a secret that only one of his housemates knows—that he’s been paying his way through school by selling sex. Life as a rent boy is his way of guaranteeing he’ll graduate free of debt. It’s the choice he’s made, it’s the choice he’s happy with, and it’s the choice that’s worked from him. Right up until he meets Rupert Blanchard, who charms his way under Josh’s skin, makes him feel things he ought not to feel for a client, and makes Josh start to wonder how long the motions of sex can remain separate from the emotions of it.

Googling “student sex workers,” because I’m curious like that, scored 18.6 million hits on the subject, so Josh’s story is not only a relevant one but might even be somewhat more prevalent than any of us imagined. Like a Lover is reality meets fiction, and in it, Jay Northcote explores many of the complications we’d anticipate when a paid escort happens to come across that one person who makes them begin to question everything: the issues that are inherent to Josh’s line of work when it becomes complicated by the growing bond with Rupert, finally coming to that point when being paid for sex begins to feel less like a business transaction and more like an insult, and then fearing there can be no compromise for a relationship to grow from what began in such a compromising proposition. The thing that elevates Like a Lover isn’t that it’s full of twists and the unexpected but that its heart and soul resides in the two men I loved spending time with while they themselves were busy falling in love with each other.

Josh and Rupert transcend their story because their thoughts and feelings are so honest, and the two of them are just so completely endearing I couldn’t help but want them to be together. But how can a relationship work if sex with paying clients is still on the table? That’s the proverbial elephant in the room, and we empathize with everything that’s stirring and growing between them, and understand how complex it all is, to the point of asking ourselves if we could share someone we love with anyone else, let alone a string of random anyones, which is the very question Josh and Rupert have to find the answer to before they can move forward—or decide to end what had barely had the chance to begin.

As much as I liked Mac and Jez in Helping Hand, I must say I liked Josh and Rupert and Like a Lover even more. It’s sweet and sexy and I found it impossible not to root for these guys to find their way to a happy beginning.

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You can buy Like a Lover here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Link: Riptide Publishing

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Author Bios:

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

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

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

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

Connect with Aleks: Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

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JL Merrow, Samhain Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: Raising the Rent by JL Merrow

The Oldest Profession

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Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Raising the Rent blog tour!

Giveaway: I’m offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See HERE for a full list of the blogs I’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any) 

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday, 27th October, GMT. Good luck! :D

Never fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling – Raising the Rent

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 Prostitution. It’s well known to be the oldest profession (actually, I hear midwives dispute this, although it sounds a bit chicken-and-egg to me!). But just how old is it? Specifically, when did the first rent boy loiter on a street corner, plying his trade?

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2.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Ryan Loveless

Love Overcomes All Obstacles In Ryan Loveless’s “Last Chance Charlie”

“Sometimes a “mistake” can end up being the best decision you ever make.” – Mandy Hale


Title: Last Chance Charlie

Author: Ryan Loveless

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 198 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Charlie Corcoran is the best thing about twenty-five-year old Zach Prentiss’s life. Sure, they’ve never met. Charlie’s never seen Zach from the neck up, but because of Charlie, for a few hours Zach can forget about his sick father, his falling grades, and his dwindling clientele who don’t like that he’s a rentboy who ages. With Charlie, he talks online about comics, cars, and movies. Then a new client arrives. It’s Charlie wanting sex tips… for a date with Zach. Zach goes through with the appointment, convinced it’s over if Charlie recognizes him. However, he doesn’t have long to nurse his broken heart or worry about Charlie’s before Charlie is back, wanting to take him out, introduce him to Mom, and treat him like he’s decent. Continue reading

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5 Stars, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

JL Merrow Tugs At Your Heatstrings In “Raising the Rent”


“This thing about you that you think is your flaw – it’s the reason I’m falling in love with you.” – Colleen Hoover


Title: Raising the Rent

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 88 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Rent boy rule number one: Never fall in love with a customer.

Life as a rent boy is not a long-term career goal for Nathan, who’s determined to get an education. But when he turns up for his first day at college he’s horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice for his educated, honeyed tones. Continue reading

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5 Stars, K.A. Mitchell, Reviewed by Jackie, Samhain Publishing

K.A. Mitchell’s “Bad Influence” Makes Being Bad In Baltimore Very, Very Good – Reviewed by Jackie


“There is no such thing as a good influence. Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul.” — Oscar Wilde


Title: Bad Influence (Bad in Baltimore: Book Four)

Author: K.A. Mitchell

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 295 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.
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J.P. Barnaby, Wilde City Press

J.P. Barnaby’s “Charlie, Rentboy” Is A Keeper



“Secrets are more powerful when people know you’ve got them.” – E. Lockhart



Charlie is an engineering student in his last year of college. He has a partial scholarship, but how is he going to make ends meet for silly little things like rent and food? He could always work fast food for minimum wage, but when he finds out about a different kind of job that pays SO much better there isn’t really any other option for him. Charlie loves sex, he loves to top, he loves to bottom, and he loves to give and get oral, so why not get paid for it?
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Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

“Capture and Surrender” To The Men Of Market Garden

“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”– Ulysses S. Grant



Capture & Surrender is the fifth book in the successful “Market Garden” series by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov. The series centers around a rent boy club that caters to upper class men in London. Each book in this series seems to surpass the one before it. I inevitably anxiously await the release of the next installment!

In Capture & Surrender, we meet Frank, the owner of Market Garden. Up to this point Frank has been in the background, but this book gives him his time in the sunshine. In the previous volume, Frank’s BDSM “specialist” found his HEA and has left the Market Garden. This leaves a hole in Frank’s ability to provide a full range of services to his clients. The hole is as big as the one in his heart that has been there since his partner died eighteen months ago.

Raoul, Frank’s long time bartender at the Market Garden, knows the perfect replacement. Stefan seems like he will definitely be able to meet the needs of the Market Garden’s clients when he walks in the door like a wet dream. Stefan is former US Military, he is big and hot and dominate. He also immediately sets his sights on Frank. Unfortunately for Stefan, Frank has a strict policy about not getting involved with the rent boys.

As Frank first thought, Stefan does well at the Market Garden. The clients love him and his camouflage wearing, bossy attitude and “services.” Frank is feeling strange about the situation though. He’s not sure what the feeling is that he has every time he sees Stefan go out the door with a client.

A couple of times a month, Frank and a group of friends have a paintball tournament which always ends with sex in one form or another. Either a player is captured and has sex with his captor, or there is a group getting together or partners are watching one another get off with another man. All the participants are gay. Since Frank’s partner dies, he hasn’t participated in the game or the post game sex, he has only served as an referee for the games.

Frank asks Stefan to accompany him to the game, explaining clearly the rules of the game and Frank’s personal no contact rule with the rent boys. Stefan immediately proves that he has no regard for the rules of the game or Frank’s personal life. He sets out to win Frank in both arenas.

As Frank & Stefan get to know each other, it becomes obvious that they have a huge important commonality. It is also clear that they have a lot of obstacles between getting to know each other and getting to love each other. Stefan is determined to get through those obstacles to get to Frank.

The Market Garden series has always been unbelievably hot. The sex is off the charts and leaves the readers fanning themselves. Capture & Surrender was no different on that front. What struck me as very different was the emotional aspect of the story that developed with these two men. There is a depth of feeling and sharing that we haven’t seen before from this series. The combination of the physical and emotional that Witt & Voinov created is perfect. They balanced the pain Stefan and Frank had to overcome and the trust required to do so with the super hot sex scenes we expect and love from them.

The journey Frank & Stefan take is rocky and strewn with landmines, but it is one I was grateful to be able to take with them. Raoul’s intentions in bringing Stefan into the business in the first place are eventually revealed and realized. That crafty bastard needs his own story, and soon!

I was so pleased to see a depth of emotion in Capture & Surrender. It was unexpected, but very gratefully received. It gave Frank’s story a gravitas that he deserved as the owner of the club, not just one of the boys. All this while continuing to keep the heat at an almost constant boil. Witt & Voinov are an amazing team. Although I have a feeling I am not alone when I say, PLEASE can we have more Tristan and Jared? Please? Knowing the sadistic nature of these two exquisitely talented authors, they will make us wait until the final book in the series for our Tristan and Jared fix. I don’t know how many books are planned. I am torn between wanting to get to the last one for T & J and waiting years because the intervening books are so damn good. Hotly, heartily, heavily recommended.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Capture and Surrender here:

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Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

If You Don’t Think Doms Need Safewords, Think Again – If It Flies by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

One must do violence to the object of one’s desire; when it surrenders, the pleasure is greater. – Marquis de Sade

Nick is perhaps the baddest of the bad boys at Market Garden, the man who doesn’t mind at all doing a little violence—for the right price, that is. He’s introduced briefly in the first two books of the Market Garden Tales series as one of the kinkier men who services the johns looking for a little, or a lot, of pain with their pleasure, and let me assure you Nick is a Dom and a sadist who really, really loves what he does. He is a master of his craft in much the same way an artist excels in transforming a once unmarred canvas into something that begs to be appreciated for the sweat, tears, sometimes even blood that went into creating it, but how much of what he does is simply part of the act he’s being paid to perform? Oh, there’s no mistaking Nick is a sexual dominant in every sense of the word, but there’s a difference between playing a role because the money dictates it, and fulfilling a need because the mind and body demands it.

That difference is a line Nick has never toed before, but all it takes is one man, a man whose needs as a purely trusting and giving submissive causes Nick to err on the side of fear and caution, because Spencer is the one man who has come along and unintentionally erased all the boundaries of sex for money and sex for the pure and unadulterated want of another human being who is more than simply an outlet for a fantasy. Spencer is the man who blurred those lines with a single kiss, in turn causing Nick to immediately and unflinchingly redraw them; not as mere intangibles but as a wall of silence and distance between himself and the temptation Spencer represents.

L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov are exploring the Gordian knot of sex and love, and sex in which there is no emotion involved at all, only the physical act of pleasure that’s separate from the emotional act of being connected to someone else because it’s a choice and not a career obligation. Jealousy is not a factor in this equation for Spencer; possession is everything in this equation for Nick. For the sub and his Dom, it adds up to the promise that they’ve each found something they want beyond a simple business arrangement.

If you haven’t found the love for the Market Garden boys yet, then don’t start here. Get to know Tristan and Jared in Quid Pro Quo and Take It Off first; they’re very well worth introducing yourselves to. Whenever you do choose to impose yourself upon this world of high priced, top shelf rentboys, I will only say to be prepared for an extreme ride of the erotic variety, in which sex is a game of strategy and is played for maximum effect.

To quote the ever eloquent George Takei, “Oh myyyyy.” That’s pretty much it. Well, that and “Have mercy.” I don’t know who first said that one, but I did, at least a half dozen times while I was reading this book.

You can buy If It Flies here:

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