Pride Publishing

Introducing Pride Publishing – The New Home for the Finest in GLBTQI Fiction

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PRIDE PUBLISHING – THE NEW HOME FOR THE FINEST GLBTQI FICTION LAUNCHES TODAY

Pride Publishing Blogger Launch_socialmedia_pride_0001_finalPride Publishing, a new house from the Totally Entwined Group, best known for its flagship erotic romance publishing house, Totally Bound Publishing has launched today – 7th July 2015.

This expansion and launch of Pride Publishing has been designed and implemented to give our GLBTQI authors and readers the platform and community they deserve to express themselves.

Pride Publishing will deliver publishing excellence with a passionate and personal approach, offering the best stimulation for the imagination.

The launch of Pride marks the division of all GLBTQI titles from Totally Bound’s backlist, allowing Totally Bound Publishing to focus more on and develop MF and MFM stories. Pride Publishing will kick off with a considerable backlist from authors you know and love including, Amber Kell, Carol Lynne, Bailey Bradford and NR Walker.

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Celebrate with Pride!

Pride Publishing Blogger Launch_250X250_finalTo celebrate the launch of Pride there is 25% off a selection of eBooks for this week only and lots of other promotions over at the website. Visit the website HERE

Moving forward Pride Publishing will also accept submissions that are not only romance focused. We are actively seeking submissions, so as long as your stories involve characters who identify as GLBTQI, we’d like to see them. Please send your submissions to Submissions at Totally Entwined

For more information please contact Holly Gunner or Heidi Blakey at Totally Entwined holly.gunner@totallyentwinedgroup.com / heidi.blakey@totallyentwinedgroup.com

rainbow dividerAbout Totally Entwined Group

Pride Publishing Blogger Launch_socialmedia_pride_0002_finalThe Totally Entwined Group is a leading eBook publisher in the UK and US and was founded in 2007 by Claire and Marek Siemaszkiewicz. It comprises of four publishing houses – Totally Bound Publishing (Erotic Romance), Finch Books (Young Adult), Pride Publishing (GLBTQI Fiction) and Evidence Press (Crime / Thriller). It employs 12 members of staff and publishes over 350 authors across UK and Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. Its flagship erotic romance publishing house Totally Bound Publishing, was winner of the “Best New Publisher Award” at the All Romance eBooks’ Best of 2007 Awards and was shortlisted for online retailer of the year at The Bookseller Industry Awards 2014. The Totally Entwined Group was recently acquired by Bonnier Publishing.

rainbow dividerAbout Bonnier Publishing Fiction

Bonnier Publishing Fiction is a division of Bonnier Publishing which encompasses the children’s imprints Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press and adult fiction imprints Zaffre and Twenty7. Bonnier Publishing Fiction combines brand new voices with established storytellers to bring a broad spectrum of high quality and innovative fiction to all ages.

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3 Stars, Carol Lynne, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: Welcome to Lobster Cove by Carol Lynne

Title: Welcome to Lobster Cove (Lobster Cove: Book One)

Author: Carol Lynne

Publisher: Pride Publications/Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 91 Pages

At a Glance: Short and at times slow, but a fairly promising start to a new series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: When following your dream lands you in Lobster Cove, Maine, anything is possible.

After gaining custody of his younger brother, Boone Jensen moves to a unique LGBT community on the coast of Maine. There, he hopes to find work as a stonemason, heal his broken heart and give his brother a safe place to call home.

Life was good in New York City for chef Dante Madia, until his business partner betrayed him. Determined to trust only himself, Dante risks everything on a new restaurant venture in a small fishing village built on acceptance.

Neither man is looking for love, but in a town like Lobster Cove, secret dreams have the ability to become realities.

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Review: Carol Lynne is not new to writing about LGBT communities. If you’re not familiar with her work, she has another series (thirty books) called Cattle Valley that is a safe haven for gay men. The community expands in this book to Lobster Cove, Maine. Now, I love Maine. It’s pretty much heaven on earth. And the idea of an LGBT community is perfect. I did like this book and the premise, but at times it was slow.

Boone moves to Lobster Cove with his younger brother Laddy, of whom he has full custody. He is to work as a stonemason at the new restaurant in town, and then find another job to support him and his brother so he can continue to live there. Dante is a chef from NYC who moves to Lobster Cove for a change of pace after he loses everything in NYC. Of course, we know the two men are going to meet and hit it off.

What really made the book for me, honestly, was Laddy and his relationship with his brother. Laddy has Down Syndrome, and his worldview is honest and sweet. He is portrayed in what I thought of as a positive manner, and the community really rallies around him once they get to know him. I loved that. And I loved that no one talked down to him because of his disability. They just accept him as part of their community and keep an eye out for him. His friendship with Ava is great, and even though she seemed pushy at first in going with Dante to Maine, I’m glad she did. She talks to Laddy and treats him like a regular person.

I guess the fact that I talk about the secondary characters more than the main characters says something simultaneously positive and negative about the book. The secondary characters are fully realized and developed, and they grow on you. The main characters are a bit lackluster, though, and I got kind of bored whenever Laddy wasn’t on the page.

I will continue to read this series; however, I hope the pace is better in the next book, and the main characters are more engaging.

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You can buy Welcome to Lobster Cove here:

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Jane Davitt, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: Life Under New Management by Jane Davitt

Title: Life Under New Management

Author: Jane Davitt

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages

At a Glance: Not for everyone, but I could not put this book down!

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Working for a perfectionist like strict, sexy-as-hell Ethan isn’t easy. Falling in love with him? No problem at all.

Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot new boss Ethan is strict, demanding and totally off-limits but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.

When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.

Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.

But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.

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Review: This book is not for everyone, but I adored it. In fact, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop, and I’m so glad I didn’t have to work the next day because I stayed up until nearly four in the morning in order to finish it.

This novel centers on a five star hotel, a floundering actor, and his new boss. Andy is an actor in Vancouver. and he can’t get a job. In order to pay the bills, he finds an opening at a hotel and tries out for the job. He pretty much fails at it, but Ethan is desperate to fill the position, and so he hires Andy anyway. Of course he’ll be on trial, but to Andy that’s all he needs to prove himself.

What follows is a tumultuous ride as they dance around their attraction for each other, their kinks, and then work out a relationship that will fit both of them.

As a fan of BDSM books of all flavors, this one was refreshingly different. Ethan doesn’t consider himself a Dom in the traditional sense. He doesn’t want leather, he doesn’t want a slave or a sub in the sense most people would. Instead, he wants to help a partner make sense of his life and organize it for him. He wants to tell him what to do and have his directions followed. It was interesting to see a man who is such a perfectionist also need that in his personal life. So many BDSM novels are twisted so that the perfectionist boss at work craves submission at home.

Then there’s Andy. He doesn’t even know he wants to submit to someone, or that he likes pain, but he discovers that with Ethan, and he thrives on it. His life is a mess and he wants someone to control every aspect so that he can find his footing and succeed. Really, it’s a match made in heaven. Except Andy does love to fight and push back sometimes, which Ethan hates.

This book had more of a domestic discipline flavor to it than actual BDSM, but there are elements of that as well. Thinking about it, I’m not really sure which category I would put it under, but I think that’s good. The book goes beyond the bounds of other BDSM fiction and shows a relationship that really could exist that blurs lines between categories. Both partners are consenting adults, and they crave what the other offers. What they do and how they act might make some readers uncomfortable, but I think that’s part of the book’s beauty.

I highly recommend this book to readers who are fans of BDSM, domestic discipline, boss/employee relationships, or anyone looking for something that pushes boundaries. I think, like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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You can buy Life Under New Management here:

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, L.M. Somerton, Reviewed by Lana, Totally Bound

Review: Testing Lysander by L.M. Somerton

Title: Testing Lysander

Author: L.M. Somerton

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 191 Pages

At a Glance: Testing Lysander is a solid adventure story that I enjoyed and recommend for a fun read at the pool.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Extreme photographer Lysander Brock is accustomed to challenging places and situations but nothing can prepare him for the journey that his dominant lover, Kyle Dawson, takes him on.

A commission to photograph the cloud forests of the Colombian Andes becomes the cover for a dangerous mission to expose a terrorist group. Kyle and Lysander must negotiate treacherous terrain, a hazardous climb and unexplored caves to achieve their goal.

When Lysander is captured and tortured, he has no expectations of rescue. He understands that his life comes second to the mission but Kyle has no intention of leaving his beautiful, submissive lover in the hands of a madman. Kyle can deal with the intense pressure of fighting lethal enemies but the guilt of pushing Lysander into a life he never asked for is much harder to accept.

Lysander and Kyle journey together into a life of adventure, Dominance and submission, and an uncertain future.

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Review: Testing Lysander is a follow up to the short story Picturing Lysander, and while this is a good second story, it wasn’t as fun and exciting as the first for me. It was definitely enjoyable and worth the read, and I was not disappointed, but I was not as wowed as I was by the first book.

This story picks up where Picturing Lysander left off. Brock and Kyle are getting ready for their photography expedition to South America, but it’s really a covert mission to gather intel on local terrorists. Brock is an adventure photographer, and Kyle is an undercover spy. I highly recommend reading the first story to get a feel for their history together, and why they are together in the first place. It’s pretty good. In this book, they get to know each other better, Brock needing to submit to Kyle and Kyle needing to take care of Brock. I like them as a couple and they are very believable.

The actual mission is a bit farfetched, so you have to lower your reality meter, but it was still fun to read. Kyle and Brock have their HEA, and it’s just what you’d expect. Testing Lysander is a solid adventure story that I enjoyed and recommend for a fun read at the pool.

I hope Kyle and Brock are back for more.

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You can buy Testing Lysander here:

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Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The GayRomLit Blog Tour Kickoff With Devon Rhodes

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I’m so happy to be here kicking off the GRL Blog Tour with The Novel Approach! October is going to be here before we know it. Can’t wait! Thanks to Lisa for having me on, and letting me talk about a topic near and dear to my heart.

My Military Guys—When News Creates Inspiration

110527-N-OA833-014 ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 27, 2011) Newly commissioned Navy and Marine Corps officers toss their hats during the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 graduation and commissioning ceremony. The Class of 2011 graduated 728 ensigns and 260 Marine Corps 2nd lieutenants at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad Runge/Released)

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 27, 2011) Newly commissioned Navy and Marine Corps officers toss their hats during the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 graduation and commissioning ceremony. The Class of 2011 graduated 728 ensigns and 260 Marine Corps 2nd lieutenants at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad Runge/Released)

One of the questions authors get most often is, where do you find inspiration for your books? The answer is usually a nebulous “Everywhere.” As well as having a brain that never turns off, I’m also very visual, so many times photos or people I see lead to a runaway imagination as I begin creating a story for that character.

Many years ago (before DADT was repealed in 2010), I had been scrolling through news (ie, wasting time surfing social media) and saw a photo that brought a smile to my face…and an idea into my head.

It was the white uniform that originally caught my attention, and not just because of the obvious reasons (hello—man in uniform). I grew up as a Navy brat—my dad was a Naval aviator and spent over 30 years in the Navy. So anything to do with dress whites or flybys always catches my eye.

The photo was similar to this one from the Wikipedia page, and was followed by another photo of a Marine and Naval graduate embracing. Immediately I thought, “What if…?” What if they were secretly more than friends? What would happen if they did care for each other…and were about to be posted in completely different places that they had no control over? I moved on from that photo and created my own two graduates and started writing the hat toss scene that begins A Ring and A Promise right away.

By the time I finished their story and had turned it in to my editor, the repeal of DADT was becoming a reality, and during the last few weeks before ARAAP was published, I asked to change a few things in the story to make it current with the new military stance. Their story still had plenty of conflict without risk of dishonorable expulsion as well.

That was a while ago, and I had left Cary and Owen in a firm HFN, since anything else would have been impossible in that timeline. But I never forgot about them—nor did my readers lol—so this year I decided to pick up their story toward the end of their initial five years of service, and wrote A Ring and A Vow. When it begins, Owen is in the Middle East, while Cary is stationed Stateside in Virginia. Cary had been the one moving their relationship forward in the last book, so I decided to have Owen be the one to come up with an idea to take their relationship to the next level…and hopefully get on the same continent!

Here is the blurb and an exclusive excerpt for A Ring and A Vow:

aringandavow_800Every promise must someday be fulfilled, and the best way Owen knows how to reward Cary’s faith is with a vow.

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

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

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

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Excerpt: It wasn’t very often they could do a face-to-face, between their duty schedules and the time difference of eight and a half hours, but sometimes breaking up a night’s sleep was worth it. Some shifting around on both their parts and he could finally see Owen’s grainy image. “Are you in bed?”

Owen smirked. “Is this one of those kind of calls?” he teased. They both knew that it wasn’t feasible to do any sort of phone sex—there just wasn’t enough privacy for Owen in the desert base camp.

“I wish.” The thought was tempting. Cary had the benefit of being alone behind a locked door, and he palmed his semi-hard cock. The nightmare had taken its effect, but Owen’s voice—combined with how long it had been since he’d seen his man—had him hardening as the last vestiges of his dream faded.

“Are you okay?”

The video was a bit choppy, but the concern in Owen’s voice was clear.

“Yeah. Fine.” Owen’s eyebrow rose and Cary confessed, “Just woke up…from a nightmare,” he added reluctantly. “And don’t ask.” He wasn’t going to tell him about it—no way—but he knew Owen wouldn’t leave it alone until he admitted what had him off-center.

“You sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

“Definitely. I’d rather hear what you’ve been up to.”

Owen shrugged and sat back in the chair. “Same old. Really looking forward to heading back stateside end of the month. Everyone is. You can just feel it—short-timer’s. You know.”

“Yeah.” And that was the crux of it, really. Cary’s worst fear was that so close to being reunited—or at least on the same continent again—that something bad would happen…

No! Stop it.

“You seem distracted. You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine.” His voice sounded curt to his own ears and he twisted the Academy ring on his finger while he tried to enjoy the rare chance to talk to Owen face-to-face. “So, it’s about time to make some decisions,” he changed the subject. They were both nearing the end of their first five years of service, and though the decision to re-up wasn’t a difficult one—neither one of them had gone into this to do a five-and-dive—figuring out what duty stations to put in for and trying to end up close to one another was the real challenge.

Owen nodded and a little smile teased at the corners of his eyes.

“What? Did you come up with a plan?” That would be the best news ever. Cary’s deadline to fill out his paperwork was the following month and he was nowhere near knowing what to do. The options for a Naval aviator were somewhat limited—and so were Marine officer stations—and unfortunately there weren’t that many that coincided. Owen was a seasoned combat veteran, and Cary had been on and off carriers with his squadron. In the past four plus years, they’d spent a scant number of days together. He would miss the guys if he left for a different posting, but being close to Owen was a greater priority for him. “Tell me you’ve worked something out.”

Owen nodded—one quick tip of the head.

Cary frowned at the screen and scooted closer. “Well?”

“Um, hold on a second.” Owen rose and the view rocked and rolled a little bit as he moved the computer on his end. “Fuck.”

Cary snickered at the curse. “What’s wrong? Not one of those camel spiders again.”

“Oh fuck off. I’d like to see your reaction if one crawled into bed with you.” More vertigo inducing motion. “When I was planning this, I forgot how short the damn headset cord is. I don’t have much time left, and it doesn’t reach.” A huge, frustrated sigh.

“Reach? What are you trying to do?”

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A Ring and a Vow was originally released in the Semper Fidelis anthology, but also released this week as a single, and is currently only $2.10 on Amazon

Also at: Totally Bound | B&N | ARe

When I’m not lost in my imagination, you can find me in beautiful Oregon and at: My Website | My Blog | Facebook | Twitter

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THE GIVEAWAY:

aringandapromise_800THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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4 Stars, Alt U, Devon Rhodes, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Taz, Totally Bound

Review: Bonfire Heart by Devon Rhodes

Title: Bonfire Heart

Author: Devon Rhodes

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 65 Pages

At a Glance: If you are looking for a fun, quick read to satisfy your romance palate, this is a great book for you.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: Sometimes fires burn and destroy, but from the ashes, new growth can heal and cleanse.

Thierry Alexander is the deputy mayor of Chicago, a city he loves but can’t save on his own from the corrupt political system. His assistant and lover, Eduardo, is also known as Cesar, the head of the underground resistance movement. He has been working behind the scenes for years and finally gets what he needs—enough information to get the US government involved and take down the criminal elements strangling the city he loves.

But they need to act fast because legislation is about to be enacted that will give rise to social and ethnic purging in Chicago. Not knowing who they can trust, they will have to put their faith in one another and risk everything to save a city.

Publisher’s Note: This story has been previously released as part of the An Unconventional Chicago anthology by Totally Bound Publishing.

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Review: I have always been a big fan of Devon Rhodes. Not only a sunshiny person, but an author who knows how to deliver a story filled with depth. Shorter stories are usually hit or miss for me, mostly because with fewer words, there is less opportunity to develop plot, setting, and characters. While there was a small degree of that present in Bonfire Heart, I found myself drawn into the story from the opening pages. My only criticism: with more story I could have learned more about each character, the secondary characters, and the central problem in the story could’ve been fleshed out more deeply.

That being said, let’s get to what this talented author was able to deliver in such a short amount of space.

First and foremost, the two main characters, Thierry and Eduardo, are clearly in love. Their sex is piping hot, but more than that, they are clearly committed to each other. The central conflict in the story places both men in a dangerous situation, and they weather the struggle to persevere as a solid team. The tension within the story kept the pace fast and moving forward at all times. Even though I would have loved to learn more about the underbelly of Chicago and the sinister intentions of its corrupt leaders, the information would only have served to lengthen my reading experience (something I was yearning for but which the story certainly didn’t need). No part of the story was drawn out or disproportionate to other parts of the story, a difficult task when writing something under 15,000 words. What I mean by this is that Ms. Rhodes crafted an experience that gave us just enough to become invested, but avoided the pitfall of getting mired down on any one character or situation.

If you are looking for a fun, quick read to satisfy your romance palate, this is a great book for you.

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You can buy Bonfire Heart here:

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3 Stars, Amber Kell, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: An Omega’s Heart by Amber Kell

Title: An Omega’s Heart (The Under Wolves: Book Two)

Author: Amber Kell

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 68 Pages

At a Glance: Short story that, for me, fell short.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: When everything is lost, the only thing left to fight for is love.

Conley Elnon has been abused most of his life. He agrees to help the War Council in uncovering a vampire mole in exchange for having the opportunity to find his family. When he meets his mate Jacob, he leaves him in order to track a mad bomber intent on taking out shifter camps.

Jacob refuses to let his mate escape. He’s waited too long to find his fated mate to let him leave before he’s had a chance to say little more than hello. When he finds his mate in the middle of vampire territory, Jacob has to use all his skills to help his mate figure out the truth between vampires and shifters and how they are responsible for what happened to Conley’s family.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

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Review: I did not read the first book in this series, which I think would have helped me understand what was happening in An Omega’s Heart between the wolves and the vampires; however, even with that, I’m not sure I would have liked the book any more than I did. I’m a fan of shifters, especially the lower ranked shifters like Conley, but this book just fell flat for me and, despite being short, I struggled to complete it.

What I did find interesting about the book was the way the vampires were portrayed. They’re hideous creatures that are able to use glamor to get human victims, but the shifters aren’t affected by that. I hadn’t seen that in a book before, and I found it interesting.

The book starts with Conley trying to find Denel, who he thinks is a shifter with ties to the vampires that took his family. He meets his mate Jacob in the process, and though he wants a mate, now is so not the right time for him to find one.

I wanted to like Conley and Jacob, but I didn’t, not really. I felt that several times in the book their characterizations were inconsistent and things felt forced between them. There were other inconsistences in characterization as well, such as Conley’s mother and the things she said versus what happened. I was confused and it bothered me. Also other little things, such as Conley being attacked with his father’s ring, and later that was changed to a knife. I wasn’t sure which story to believe. Also, the villainous characters were just too over-the-top bad guy, and I couldn’t take them seriously. Conley’s father I wanted to punch, but I saw his fate coming the minute he was introduced.

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You can buy An Omega’s Heart here:

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4.5 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel, Totally Bound

Review: My Life Without Garlic by Bailey Bradford

Title: My Life Without Garlic

Author: Bailey Bradford

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 134 Pages

At a Glance: A funny and cute take on the vampire mythos.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Some things in life just might be worth giving up garlic for.

It was simple curiosity that led Augustin to the vampire dating site—he thought it must be a joke started up by a bunch of weirdos. Man, was he right—but it just so happens that those weirdos really are vampires, and when one shows up at his place, Augustin’s world is turned upside down.

First he’s got a psychotic vampire to deal with. Then he’s got one who is much more fun hanging around.

Except now that Augustin knows that vampires exist, he can’t be left alive. Or can he? When an alternative is offered up, Augustin doesn’t care for it, either. After all, he doesn’t want to be whisked off to some disgusting vampire den.

Tony’s the vampire next in line to lead the coven. He wants to be a fair man, and that means arguing against killing Augustin. If he’s also attracted to the sarcastic, adorable man, where’s the harm in that?

The attraction between Augustin and Tony is undeniable, but deny it is what they both try to do. Someone is going to have to bend or break.

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Review: Bailey Bradford is an author I have read and enjoyed before, and the blurb for My Life Without Garlic just spoke to me. I am always looking for new takes on the paranormal genre, and this was a fun one. My Life Without Garlic is cute, funny, and an insta-love story that I really enjoyed. There was snark and bad vampire puns and jokes, some even told by the vampires themselves, which made this short story all the more enjoyable as the characters poked fun at both the genre and themselves.

I liked how Bradford used some of the vampire tropes: the allergy to sun, sleeping in a coffin (ventilated ’cause you’d suffocate otherwise LOL!), and turning into bats. She also had the vampires laugh off some of the other well known things that were offensive, such as garlic and holy water. Though, Augustin’s idea of this might have just been a bit skewed since he ‘blessed’ the water himself. It is often said belief is the strongest defense against such things, and it was fun to see the vampire he tried to use this against find it humorous. It made the vampires seem all the more ‘human’ to see that living eternally wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but there were some good things.

I would have liked more on Bradford’s version of vampires, especially in one instance where Augustin is speaking with another vampire’s companion, and he warns him to make certain he is fully prepared to be happy with his mate, Tony. I liked Augustin’s moxie, even if it was defensive, and he did eventually admit his feelings for Tony. I also enjoyed the fact that Augustin wasn’t the perfect male form. He’s overweight and sensitive about it, but the thing I liked most was that Tony didn’t care one bit about that. Tony defended Augustin against a fellow vampire many times, often to the other character’s misfortune.

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You can buy My Life Without Garlic here:

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Guest Post and Giveaway: The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Belinda Burke today on her Undone blog tour. Belinda joins us to chat a bit about star crossed lovers, and you can also enter to win an e-book of your choice in Totally Bound’s June blog tour contest. Be sure to click on the “Giveaway” image below to enter.

Good luck!

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Star Light, Star Bright…Star Crossed

Some of the best (as in, my personal favorite) love stories are the ones that seem doomed from the beginning. Depending on the story, that seeming can come true, or not – but when the romance is drawn between characters who, for one reason or another, can’t come together, or can’t communicate their feelings, it becomes instantly much more poignant.

Whether a tale focuses more on the relationship that love entails, or the trauma of that love being taken away, or hovers somewhere in between, the fact remains. Love is the thing that motivates! In romance, that’s just much more obvious. Romantic love is special in the attention it gets and the way people are divided about it, especially as it’s presented in literature.

Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet as a tragedy, but because of the star-crossed lovers, it’s always the romance that catches the eye first. Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff is a horrible man, but the doom of his love with Catherine (the elder) makes him sympathetic.

The question of how to prove your love, how to make clear that it’s real and true… If it’s trouble in real life, how much more so in fiction – especially fantasy? We all know we’re taking a chance when we choose to open up about our feelings, trust someone with our hearts, but in a fantasy – especially a story about sidhe, the stakes are multiplied by magic.

From the very beginning, from their first meeting, Tighe and Faelan are both aware of how unlikely it is that any relationship between them will end well. Tighe is a prince of Summer, but he’s only half-sidhe, and his human blood makes Faelan’s power dangerous to him. Faelan is gancanagh, and he’s aware of the same danger. His nature is to entice mortals, to addict them to his power then leave them when he grows bored.

Tighe is very much aware of how easy it would be for him to get caught up in a web of seduction, infatuation, and obsession. At the same time, he’s had bad luck with relationships due to his own peculiar circumstances – so bad that he’s willing to give even a gancanagh a chance.

It’s a combination that begs for caution, but a healthy dose of hope and the promise of desire leads the two of them into a relationship whose end might be as inevitable as its beginning – but only might!

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Excerpt from UndoneMaybe because of the sun, maybe because of the silence that came to him on the breeze, Tighe fell asleep there by the water, and only woke to the sound of splashing and a sudden gasp. He jerked himself upright and blinked into wary wakefulness in an instant. There was a screen of brush between him and the water, and he peered between the leaves, still but for his stare.

He saw a stranger, shedding drops of water like shining scales, his hair dark with dampness and the silk of his trousers clinging to his skin as he came out of the deep water and into the shallows. Sleek as a seal he was, wore no tunic, wasn’t even carrying one. The lines of his body called Tighe’s gaze and kept it, even as the stranger turned his back.

Tighe saw more than just flesh. The curse of his gaze stripped that skin to a pane of clear glass he could see right through, a pane of glass painted with lust and beauty. That was all, endlessly mirrored, and nothing else.

Tighe knew all the same what this stranger was and swallowed thickly. Gancanagh. The stranger was a gancanagh. A dangerous one, and this a precarious moment. He knew it, and knew in the same instant he should leave. The gancanagh were the inciters of a terrible infatuation in anything mortal. Their skin was poison, secreted a dust half aphrodisiac and half addiction, and Tighe was half mortal, half vulnerable. Already, in the instant of his knowledge, he thought he could taste sex and sunlight on the air.

He knew all his own trouble, his own vulnerabilities. The ache of his love’s failure was a silver-lined grief in the shallow spaces between his ribs. The scent on the air was made more enticing because of that, even though he knew that no lust would be enough to soothe him.

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undone_800Blurb for UndoneThe first step on the road to addiction is desire…

Tighe is Summer’s prince, the second son of the Summer Queen. The blindness of his mortal father cursed him with eyes that see too much, and now he wanders the woods of immortal Summer alone. He is an outsider in his own country or at best a curiosity—never someone anyone truly wants.

Faelan is gancanagh, one of dark Summer’s most treacherous beings. Beguiling as he is beautiful, he, like all of his kind, was made to incite lust and longing, even as he seeks true love. For anything mortal, anything unprepared, even to be in his presence is dangerous.

When the two meet by chance, Faelan can’t help but be curious about this half-mortal prince—and the prince is more interested in a companion than questioning what kind.

Tighe has never seen anything but the lie behind love. Faelan is love’s lie and knows it. Is the beginning and end of everything between them inevitable? Which is stronger, need—or nature?

Publisher’s Note: This book is associated with the Eight Kingdoms series by Belinda Burke.

Like the sound of Undone? Buy it here.

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Eight Kingdoms

Eight Kingdoms series blurb: Strange alliances are forged among the fae as Macsen Cadoc and his fae allies attempt to defeat the Milesians, Irish huntresses who bear a grudge against the sidhe.

Failure will bring Macsen to his knees; success may do the same, unless he and Bran Fionnan, once a captive of the huntresses, can succeed in sowing seeds of peace.  Yet even while some attempt to find a middle ground and forge a place where tolerance can flower, a new power rises, a threat to them all.

The Church of Rome aims to win the earth from its immortal rivals, even if doing so comes at the price of magic itself.  It will be up to Macsen to make a choice that might save the fae and all that sustains them…but only Bran has the power to convince him to do what is right.

Can mortal and immortal overcome the conflicts that divide them when some must hunt others to survive?  Is love stronger than anything—even a Fae King’s pride?

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Belinda BurkeAbout Belinda BurkeBelinda currently lives on the New England coast with her fiancée, their room mate and her cat.  When she’s not writing, she’s working toward degrees in Philosophy and English, embroidering or reading.

Belinda writes in several genres, but a little lust and love always work their way into her stories.

www.belindaburke.com

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Enter Totally Bound’s June blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Historical Romance, Morticia Knight, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: Mastering Love by Morticia Knight

Title: Mastering Love (The Hampton Road Club: Book Four)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 197 pages

At a Glance: Fantastic fourth novel in a historical BDSM series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Evan sees a Master who could be his whole world and Ned sees a beautiful boy in need. But shattered trust and broken hearts could keep them apart forever.

Evan landed on his ex-Master’s doorstep after Master Gabriel dumped him for a virgin. He’d hoped Thomas would take him back, but he’s moved on with his new submissive, Linus. Evan has nowhere to go and barely a penny to his name. Fortunately, Master Aaron and his boy, Sam, invite him to stay at their guesthouse. Alone and abandoned, Evan aches for a Master who can give him more—if only he knew what ‘more’ meant.

Master Ned has finally decided to settle down in one place after traveling on the road for years. He’s always loved the Hampton Road Club—it’s a private sanctuary for men such as himself. The roaring twenties might be freer than ever, but the decadence of the sadomasochistic club could put its members in danger if they’re not discreet.

Ned’s on the lookout for an untried boy who’s ready to fully submit to him on a daily basis. In return, he plans to train and care for his submissive. If he can also find love, then his life will be perfect.

After Evan is introduced to Ned at the club, they have an intense encounter that catches them both by surprise. What should lead to a possible future for them as Master and submissive is destroyed when Ned mysteriously casts Evan aside. Evan wonders if he’ll ever be good enough to keep a Master, and Ned fears he may have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Shattered trust and broken hearts have to be repaired before Evan and Ned can find their way to each other—if it’s not already too late.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of exhibitionism. Publisher’s Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

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Review: While you don’t necessarily need to read this series in order (I still haven’t read book one, though I do now own it in paperback), I would recommend reading book three before book four, because Evan is introduced at the tail end of the third book. While the author does a great job of discussing his backstory in this novel so that new readers won’t be missing out, I think it just wouldn’t do it justice to not know exactly what transpired between Thomas, Linus, and Evan.

In April, I had the surprising pleasure of meeting Morticia Knight at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC. I was there with my publisher, and after wandering around looking for books to buy, I stumbled across her table and pretty much exploded in excitement. After chatting with her—she’s super nice—I bought the first three books in the series in paperback. Hurray! I was also excited to learn Evan and Ned would have their story next!

It’s interesting how everything is starting to really connect in this series. Ned is the man who initially brings Linus to Hampton Road Club in book two, and now he’s back, looking for his own boy. Evan is still recovering from the shock of finding Master Thomas taken after having been kicked out by Master Gabriel. Of course, you know what’s going to happen next.

It’s not easy for these men, though. Master Ned believe he needs an innocent man not yet mastered by a man. In other words, a virgin. Which is Evan’s greatest fear—Master Gabriel tossed him out because he found someone younger and “better.” My heart broke for Evan because of how tormented he was. Even though Sam, Linus, and the other submissives take to him, he still worries about finding the right Master for him.

Even though the story focuses on Evan and Ned, I did enjoy seeing how all the other boys are coming along. Of course, I STILL want Theodore and Francesco’s story. I love seeing Francesco practically crawling out of his skin every five seconds. And Kenneth is like the older brother sub. Seeing him—so much older—than all the others, and completely calm and collected, is kind of funny. During the lawn party, I just pictured him as this patient Golden Retriever, calmly sitting there and then going about his business while the puppies tumble all around him and get in the way. It made me laugh.

I really hope there is more to this series. My bet and hope is for Colin to be next, and he’s so different from the others. I’m not sure who the Dom would be, though the more the series goes on, the more I’m intrigued by Javier, who is always in the background. Maybe it’s time for him to have a chance? Or would he be a sub? No matter what happens, I hope this series is far from over.

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5 Stars, Reviewed by Jennifer, Samantha Cayto, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Review: The Captain’s Pet by Samantha Cayto

Title: The Captain’s Pet

Author: Samantha Cayto

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 134 Pages

At a Glance: While filled with non-con and dub-con, this novel offers up a great sci-fi world and is the promising start of a series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: When a distant planet’s ownership is in dispute, conquering aliens turn defiant human males into pampered sex slaves.

In a not-too-distant future, a lopsided war has led to aliens invading and occupying an Earth settlement. Wid is a young colonist who has been caught harassing the aliens. He and his friends are rounded up and sent to an alien warship patrolling the disputed space. His fate is to serve as a sex slave for the ship’s imposing captain. Wid, at first, fights against his enslavement, but soon learns that not only does he stand no chance against the much larger and stronger captain, he isn’t sure he even wants to.

Like all Travian males, Kell is bound by duty to defend his people. Having risen to the rank of captain, he nevertheless chafes against the boring and endless patrol of the space invaded by the humans. His misses his family and constantly guards against his scheming first officer. He sees his reward of a human sex slave as more of a nuisance. Yet the pretty, fair-haired human’s exotic allure is hard to resist. He finds far more pleasure in the use of his pet than he would like.

Kept naked and leashed, Wid’s days are filled with boredom, while his nights wrapped in Kell’s arms turn from fear into pleasure. Even as the humans plot their escape, Wid and Kell form a bond and their growing affection cannot be ignored. When tensions boil over among the aliens, Wid and his friends may be Kell and his crew’s only chance for survival.

Reader Advisory: This book contains sex scenes of both non-consensual and dubious consent, as well as scenes of violence, abuse and torture.

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Review: Before you purchase this book, please be aware of the reader advisory. This book has a lot of sex, and about 90% of it is non-consensual/rape or, at the very least, dubious consent. There is also a lot of violence in the form of abuse and torture.

That said, I liked this book way more than I should have, given the content, but the world was incredibly well crafted and the characters even more so. The non-con/dub-con, while difficult, serves the purpose of displaying how different humans are from the Travians. They hold very different codes of conduct.

In this novel, Earth is overpopulated and has sent humans to colonies on other planets. Wid and his family and friends live on the planet they call “Seven.” After arriving there and settling, they discover, while uninhabited, it belongs to the physically and technologically superior Travians. These aliens are humanoid but much larger, and with a different social structure. I loved that females were in charge of government and men served as the military. Girls go to school, boys are trained. It was nice to see women in a leadership role in a sci-fi novel. That doesn’t happen too often, especially in M/M novels.

After being caught misbehaving, Wid and friends are captured. The girl in their group is released, and you later find out it’s because she’s a woman, and the Travians respect her, even if she is a lowly human.

Again, pretty awesome.

What happens to Wid, Joel, Stuart and the others on the ship, however, is not awesome. They’re captured and as punishment, they are gifted as sexual pets for the Travian males. Gay or straight they are forced into beds every night, and while at first brutal, the rape (let’s not sugarcoat it) becomes less difficult. Their days are spent in relative leisure. Sure, they’re held captive, but they have all the food they could want, and healing waters. Doesn’t make what happens to them at night right, though.

Wid and Kell are fantastic. Wid is defiant and becomes the de facto leader of the boys. He also struggles internally. While he hates what happens to him, and his consent being taken away, he can’t help when his body reacts positively toward the Travian. And slowly he starts to warm up to him, even if he doesn’t want to.

Kell, on the other hand, is the captain, and he hates what he has to do, but he does it in order to keep control of his ship. If he didn’t, his crew would consider him weak, and mutiny. But he still manages to do his best for Wid, given their circumstances. He takes his requests into consideration, and when Stuart is mistreated, Kell takes him away from his owner and gives him to Narith, who is gentle with Stuart.

Even though it’s in the background, I really liked Narith and Stuart, and I hope to see more of their relationship develop. I want to know what happens behind their doors because, despite everything, they seemed so affectionate towards each other, and it warmed my heart.

There are some tense moments at the end of the book that involve a mutiny and rebellion, but it was awesome, and I don’t want to give any of that way. Just know that I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series. If non-con and dub-con doesn’t bother you too much, I recommend checking this one out.

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You can buy The Captain’s Pet here:

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5 Stars, Angel Martinez, Bellora Quinn, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Review: Quinn’s Gambit by Bellora Quinn and Angel Martinez

Title: Quinn’s Gambit (AURA: Book One)

Authors: Bellora Quinn and Angel Martinez

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

At a Glance: A fun read with an intriguing urban fantasy concept.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: An unregistered, human con wizard and a duty-bound, straightlaced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.

After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events—have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn’t the easiest city to make a living. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.

Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.

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Review: Urban fantasy was awesome when it first came out because it was so new. I devoured everything I could find. As the years have gone by, however, the newness has worn out, and while I still enjoy urban fantasy, more often than not I find the same ideas repackaged over and over. That is not the case with the first in the AURA series. While it does have the magic set in a major city, it’s a little different than the others. Due to a scientific accident, magical beings are pulled from their world into ours through a rift, and it’s a one way ticket.

I loved all of the characters in this novel. Each is unique and has their own personality that just shines on the page and adds to the plot. There’s Quinten, an untaught young mage who resorts to tricks to make a living. Then there’s Valerian, one of the AURA agents displaced through the rift. He’s struggling to live in our world and daily becomes darker and darker, even to the point where he contemplates suicide to escape the pain he’s suffering.

Even when the magic isn’t being used—or can’t be used—the novel just works. When there isn’t action, the authors spend the pages character building. I grew so attached to Quinten and Valerian that I cried several times through the book, aching as I saw them trying to just get by in a world that was beginning to reject them.

As an added bonus, there are interesting relationships and characters that will just make you laugh hysterically. The gay incubus who just wants to be left alone (anyone who knows what an incubus is will realize why this is just an utter fail for the poor guy), a centaur, and a drow and yeti in a relationship (bizarre, but too adorable for words, really).

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you absolutely must read this book. I know I cannot wait for the next book in the series to see where Quinten and Valerian’s relationship goes next!

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You can buy Quinn’s Gambit here:

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, T.A. Chase, Totally Bound

Review: Snap Decision by T.A. Chase

Title: Snap Decision (Delarosa Secrets: Book Two)

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 181 Pages

At a Glance: I am just totally hooked on this crazy-exciting Delarosa series.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Sometimes the only way to do your job—and discover love—is to trust your instincts.

D’Marcus ‘Snap’ Jefferson is a DEA agent who has worked hard to keep drugs from hitting the streets of Houston. So when Kenneth Santos walks in, claiming to have information about an upcoming drug shipment, Snap must make the choice whether to trust the stranger or not.
Kenneth Santos is a recovering addict and ex-con trying to clean up his act. Some mysterious informant has chosen him to act as the go-between with Agent Jefferson. It’s a precarious line Ken must walk because his life could be in danger if the cartels discover he’s working with Snap and the DEA.

Neither man expects to fall in love while playing such a dangerous game. Yet Snap always trusts his gut and it’s telling him that loving Ken could be the best decision he’s ever made.

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Review: D’Marcus “Snap” Jefferson works for the DEA in Houston. His main goals are to get the drugs off the streets and to get rid of Victor Delarosa, head of the Delarosa cartel.

Agent Amirez, Border Patrol, has shown up at the DEA and has brought something of interest for Snap. As Snap views the guy through the one-way glass, he sees something very familiar about him. Amirez explains to Snap that the guy wouldn’t give any information to the Border Patrol, and asked specifically to talk with Snap. Snap decides he needs to call in the Texas Rangers, one in particular, his friend Mac. When Mac enters the interrogation room, he can’t believe how much the guy resembles Tanner Wallace, his lover and Delarosa’s brother.

Kenneth Santos has no family, he’s an ex-con and has been clean of drugs for six months, but every day is a struggle for him to stay clean. Now, he’s just trying to get clean of one particular cartel. Ken explains to Snap that he used to transport small shipments of drugs, and now someone has tracked him down and wants him to start again. He has permission from a “mysterious source” to tell Snap when drug movements will be made. When Ken gives Snap and Mac the information on one drug delivery, and it holds true, Snap starts making plans to put Ken in a safe house.

Snap and Ken start to get close, and Snap really wants to build a relationship with Ken. Ken becomes a confidential informant for the DEA, and Snap worries about Ken being in danger. With so much danger, will they ever get to really know each other? Is there a connection between Tanner Wallace and Kenneth Santos? Just who is this mysterious person, now dealing directly with Snap? And just what is Victor Delarosa up to?

I am just totally hooked on T.A Chase’s crazy-exciting Delarosa series, and it ranks high on my list of favorites. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, which only keeps you wanting more. I highly suggest reading the first book, Borderline before Snap Decision, though, as it gives much more insight into Tanner, Mac, and the Delarosa connection.

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5 Stars, Faith Ashlin, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Review: To Stand Close by Faith Ashlin

Title: To Stand Close

Author: Faith Ashlin

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 223 Pages

At a Glance: Surprisingly deep and thought provoking.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Can love grow and survive for two men on opposite sides of the deepest of chasm—slavery?

In this world one country has cut itself off, and is closed and mysterious to everyone else. What’s the secret it’s hiding? Magic? Monsters? No, just the cruel reality of slavery. But inside its borders life goes on as normal, and it competes with the rest of the world at sport just like everyone else, just to prove that it’s the best.

Nicky accepts that, and is happy in his own small, simple life as a gymnastics coach. He accepts it because he’s never known anything else, but he stays as far away from the brutality of slavery as he can, until he’s given a present he doesn’t want and isn’t allowed to refuse.

As for love? Well, he loves his sport, isn’t that enough?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of slavery.

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Review: I was completely surprised by this book. The premise sounded intriguing, and I thought I was going to get a little angst, a lot of romance, and…something else. To be honest, at this point I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t a book that would leave me thinking about the characters and the world they live in well after the fact.

To Stand Close is a tough one to read because in this alternate world, a country has cut itself off from the rest of the world because it still practices slavery. When Nicky receives a slave as a gift from the mothers of the girls he coaches for gymnastics, he doesn’t want him because he doesn’t want to think about slavery. He doesn’t agree with it, but he doesn’t really care. He has his own problems to worry about, and slavery is not one of them. But when he sees the fear in the slave’s eyes at the thought of being returned to the preparation center, he agrees to take him.

It’s clear from the outset that Nicky is a good man. He isn’t going to use the slave for anything. Not even cleaning his home. But then, in this country, slaves are good for only one thing: sex. They can be used in any way their owner wants, and that’s it. They can even be passed around to others if the owner wants. And, more terrifyingly, if their owner isn’t around, they’re fair game.

The slave is Michael. He initially is a heartbreaking character. Every time he was on the page my heart ached for him, so unsure of himself and desperate to do anything not to go back to the slave prep center. And it becomes even more awful when you discover where he’s from and how he became a slave in this awful country. Nicky promises to do everything in his power to keep Michael safe because, at first, well, that’s his responsibility.

But it changes.

Throughout the course of the novel Nicky falls in love with Michael, and that’s where the questions start to come in. Nicky is, technically, his master, even if they don’t see themselves as master and slave. So how can Nicky ever be sure Michael really does want to have sex with him? He might say it, but how can he know? Because even though Nicky is a great guy, technically he could just take it if he wanted to. He has Michael’s paperwork.

Most of the time when I read books where there is angst and miscommunication, or lack of listening, I get frustrated, but with this book, it was completely believable and I understood the deeper issues at hand. Nicky is completely right in fearing Michael is doing it to keep him “sweet,” as he says. And while Michael doesn’t seem like that kind of guy, let’s face it, he really is at a disadvantage. If Nicky were to say screw it one day, he could very well end up in a terrible place. And for a slave in this country, he has it made.

I felt for these characters so much. And my heart broke. Often. The ending was good, but I would love more from Michael and Nicky. I want to know what happens to them next. And I want to read more set in this world. I know it might sound terrible, but I want to see how other people react to their slaves and what they do to try to change it.

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Giveaways, Lavinia Lewis, Totally Bound

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Blood Ties Blog Tour With Lavinia Lewis

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The Novel Approach welcomes Lavinia Lewis today on the Blood Ties blog tour. Lavinia’s here today to chat about Positive Female Characters in M/M Romance, so enjoy her post and then be sure to enter the giveaways from both the author and Totally Bound Publishing (details below).

Good luck!

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Positive Female Characters in M/M Romance

Hi everyone! I’d like to say a huge thank you to The Novel Approach for welcoming me as a guest on your wonderful blog today. And thanks to everyone who is taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this post and help me celebrate the release of my novel Blood Ties.To help me celebrate my release, I am giving away a free ebook copy of Blood Ties. Just leave a comment on the post to be entered into the competition (Contest deadline is one week from today). Good luck, everyone!

As everything in life seems to go in circles, so to do the talks that people have on social media with regards to M/M romance.

I’ve heard them all.

‘Should women be writing gay romance?’

‘Is the gay for you trope an insult to gay men?’

‘Is it wrong to have M/F sex scenes on page in gay romance novels?’

These are just some of the questions that crop up in M/M romance that people have strong opinions about. Another issue which I’ve seen mentioned repeatedly is the portrayal of women in M/M novels or more precisely, women portrayed as the villains in gay romance novels.

I must admit, I’ve read many M/M romance stories where the woman or women are the villains of the story or seem to be on the page solely as a plot device to cause tension between the male leads.

This bothers me.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a feminist, but as a woman I absolutely believe in the empowerment of women in all areas of life and I like to see women portrayed in a positive way. So why do a lot of female authors feel the need to show women in such a bad light?

One issue which I’ve encountered when writing my own stories is the length of the book. The fashion these days especially with regards toeBooks is for them to be considerably shorter than most mainstream novels. I myself am guilty of having written many novellas and of course there are only so many characters you can introduce in thirty thousand words. That means there is little page space for superfluous characters ― each has to have a reason for being there.Each character has to have their own goals and motivations or there is no room for them on the page. So are they just the baddies of the stories by default because of the need for brevity?

I’m not so sure.

Personally, I enjoy reading about strong women. I also enjoy writing strong female characters and even in my novellas, I try to introduce women who are positive role models. That being said, I’m not totally naive. I know that sometimes in life just as in fiction women are the villains. I know a couple of women personally who fit that mold perfectly. But this is not the norm, nor should it be represented as such.

Now, I’m not saying that writing a woman that way is something I have never or would never do. In fact, I do have one story in which a woman is the villain of the story, but that’s one woman in twenty something books that I’ve had published and I must admit, I struggled to write her that way.

So is it just me who has an issue with the women in these stories or are there other readers out there who would like to see more positive female characters in M/M romance? What do you think of the women you read about in M/M romance novels? Do you like to read about women in these stories at all?

There are a couple of women in my latest release, Blood Ties who have important roles in the book. Neither woman is without their faults, however. They are real women, but by the end of the story, I would like to think that they prove themselves and each come into their own.

If you are not familiar with Blood Ties, book one in my Vanderguard Vampires trilogy, it charts the lives of Thomas Vanderguard, a vampire prince and his once human consort, Daniel Alexander. From falling in love through to Daniel’s transition into a vampire, you’ll see them navigate life’s ups and downs all while fighting a war against the Gemmelli family and their bloodthirsty, soulless vampire Drones.

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bloodties_800Here’s the blurb for Blood TiesVampire prince Thomas Vanderguard has been alone for over two hundred years—ever since the death blow that killed his companion, Jacob. For centuries, Drones have sought to eradicate his family’s royal lineage so that a rival family may seize the throne and gain control of their territory. But Thomas’ self-imposed solitude comes to an end when Daniel Alexander walks into his life. After several months of refusal, Thomas finally gives in to Daniel’s request to change him into a vampire, even though he fears Daniel will meet the same fate as Jacob.
With a possible eternity of happiness stretching out in front of them, can Thomas keep his lover safe or is history about to repeat itself?

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Excerpt from Blood TiesDaniel slipped in the door behind Thomas then closed it behind him. The queen sat behind a mahogany desk near the window and looked up when they entered. A warm smile spread across her face. It slipped when she looked at Daniel, but there was no hostility in her expression, only curiosity and a modicum of surprise. Daniel was undoubtedly very different from how she had obviously imagined him to be. That was understandable. He was the opposite of Jacob.

“Mother, I’d like to introduce you to Daniel Alexander.”

She rose gracefully from her seat then rounded the desk. As she crossed the room, she was the embodiment of elegance and poise. At first glance she appeared calm and strong but Thomas could see beyond the façade she’d carefully constructed. She was as beautiful as ever, yet her movements were sluggish, a fact which likely wouldn’t be visible to the human eye. But Thomas could tell. He knew she was tired, weary even. She might have been an expert at hiding it from everyone else, but she couldn’t conceal it from him. When she stood in front of Daniel, she smiled and extended her hand. Daniel didn’t hesitate in reaching for it. To him, she probably appeared in the very height of her prime. At only eight hundred years old, she should have been. Thomas hadn’t admitted it aloud to anyone, but he was worried about her.

“Pleased to meet you,” Daniel greeted warmly. “Here, these are for you.”

When he handed over the bouquet, the queen’s mouth stretched into an even wider smile. Her eyes twinkled, creasing softly in the corners as she looked from the flowers to Daniel. Thomas suppressed a groan. He knew that look. He’d seen it in her eyes before. She was sizing up Daniel as a potential mate for Thomas.

“The pleasure is all mine,” she said smoothly. “Come sit with me, Daniel. Let’s get to know each other a little, shall we?”

If he’d thought he could have gotten away with it, Thomas would have grabbed Daniel and dragged him away. He didn’t need his mother interfering in his life. When the queen took hold of Daniel’s arm and led him through the room, Thomas decided to cut the meeting short at the first opportunity. He followed them to two brown leather Chesterfields that sat perpendicular to a wall of floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Books filled every shelf and many of the tomes were older than Thomas. The queen placed the bouquet on a tall side table then took a seat on the larger of the two sofas. She motioned for Daniel to sit beside her. Thomas rolled his eyes as he took a seat opposite.

“I haven’t seen you before, Daniel. Are you new in town?” the queen inquired. Her penetrating gaze flicked to Thomas and she smiled mischievously before returning her attention to Daniel. The playful expression was gone so quickly that Thomas wasn’t even certain it had been there at all.

Daniel nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but my parents grew up here and I was born here. They passed away a few years ago and I had a mind to see where they were from.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Death is a very sad event, yet it happens to us all, eventually. But please, less of the ma’am. I might be very old, but I don’t want to feel it. There’s no need for formalities. Call me Caterina.”

“Of course,” Daniel replied. “That’s a very pretty name.”

When he saw the faintest tint of a blush on his mother’s cheeks, Thomas’ mouth fell open. He couldn’t believe that Daniel had charmed her so quickly. Although he shouldn’t have been surprised—Daniel had won him over from their first meeting too. His warmth and openness was endearing. It would be enough to captivate anyone. Thomas had felt powerless in the face of all the goodness that shone from within Daniel. He sat back and listened to them make polite conversation, and through it all his mother’s smile became more animated.

The queen regaled Daniel with stories of her youth. Wars in Europe, important people she had known. Daniel listened with overt fascination.

“How long do you plan to stay in this wonderful little town of ours, Daniel?”

Wonderful little town?What the hell?

Because of the Drones, the town was a cesspit in which one took their life in their hands each time they ventured outside. It was time to get Daniel out of there before his mother sank her claws in any deeper. If she spent any more time with Daniel she’d have him moved into the palace. Thomas opened his mouth to interrupt, but he was just as interested in hearing the answer as his mother was.

Daniel glanced at Thomas before replying. “I haven’t decided yet, but I don’t have any family left out east so I’m not in any rush to head home.”

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Well that’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my ramblings. If you’d like to find me on any of the social networking sites, you can find the addresses below.

Have a great day, everyone!

Like the sound of Blood Ties? Buy it here.

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LaviniaLewis_BloodTies_BlogTour_SocialMedia_403_FinalAbout Lavinia LewisLavinia discovered reading at an early age and could always be found with her nose in a book. She loved getting lost in a fantasy world even then. When her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas at aged eleven, her fate was sealed. She spent hours dreaming up characters and creating stories. Not a lot has changed. Now when she is not writing you can find her enjoying a new release e-book.

Lavinia has lived all over the UK but currently resides in London, England. She has travelled extensively to places including Africa, Asia, Australia, America and most of Europe. Although some of her books are set in Texas she has never visited the state but plans to spend time there in the near future.

She is an avid reader and her favourite authors include J L Langley, Carol Lynne, Chris Owen and Andrew Grey. Lavinia particularly loves supernatural fiction and her favourite authors in this genre include Kelly Armstrong, Keri Arthur and Charlaine Harris.

Although Lavinia is a huge fan of the romance genre, she will admit to reading anything and everything. She loves horror, a good thriller and if a book has the capacity to make her cry, well, all the better. One thing she does insist on in a book however, regardless of genre is a happy ending, so you will always find one in the books she writes.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Blood Ties, you can find it on my publisher’s website HERE

For more information about me and my books check out my website HERE

Find me on Facebook HERE

Twitter HERE

And if you’d like to follow my blog you can find it HERE

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Enter Totally Bound’s May blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice! Not including boxsets or anthologies.

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3.5 Stars, Alexa Milne, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Chris, Totally Bound

Review: Sporting Chance by Alexa Milne

Title: Sporting Chance

Author: Alexa Milne

Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 256 Pages

At a Glance: Even though there are some things that didn’t work for me in this novel, I’d still recommend reading it for yourself.

Reviewed By: Chris

Blurb: Sometimes keeping hold of love is just as hard as finding it.

Dan and Iestyn are looking for romance. A school trip, a love of history, a wedding, a tango, the game of chess, and their friends and family all help the two men to realise that they’ve finally found true love with each other.

Iestyn thinks that he’s completely ordinary and that Dan is the only out and currently gay rugby player anywhere. Being gay can be difficult enough. Being famous also has its problems. But being gay, famous and a sportsman can make finding love complicated. So when Dan Morgan meets Iestyn Jones and gives him his phone number, their road ahead has more than a few bumps to overcome.

Will Iestyn and Dan overcome the obstacles thrown in their paths? Or will fame destroy their lives as well as their love?

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Review: Sporting Chance is the debut novel from author Alexa Milne. The set up for the story is an adorable ‘meet-cute’ between Dan and Iestyn. While on a field trip with his students, Iestyn is surprised by Dan flirting with him and giving him his card for later. Of course, the students are in awe because Dan is the only openly gay, currently playing, professional rugby player in the sport. They think it is super cool that Dan is flirting with their teacher.

Now, this is not the set up for a start to an easy relationship for Dan and Iestyn. Both men have issues they need to work through to be good for the other. While Iestyn is the person all his friends turn to when they need things fixed, to listen to them, etc., his own support system isn’t that great because those friends aren’t the reciprocating type to support him when he needs it. I will admit there are a lot of secondary characters in this story on both Dan’s and Iessie’s side. There were almost too many characters in the story. This, for me, ended up detracting from the time that should be spent on Dan and Iestyn, who I really did like and wanted to have an awesome HEA in the end.

As this was a debut story, I went in with an open mind, knowing there might be things that could pull me out of the story. Fortunately, those times weren’t excessive but enough that I lost the pace of the story for a bit. The story was well written but contained too much of an info dump to keep me solidly in the story. I don’t have a problem with a word heavy book; in fact, I love longer books. A book that dumps a lot of unnecessary information about things happening around the characters, though, tends to pull me from the story. Ultimately, I wanted my focus to stay on Dan and Iestyn, particularly Iestyn, because he was just adorable.

Now this is just my reader/reviewer opinion, and I recommend reading this story for yourself because what doesn’t work for me might work for you. I am definitely going to give future works by this author a try because I really did enjoy her main characters and the basis for the story.

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4 Stars, Elizabeth Coldwell, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: Taming the Lion by Elizabeth Coldwell

Title: Taming the Lion (Lionhearts: Book Two)

Author: Elizabeth Coldwell

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 148 Pages

At a Glance: A young, pouting lion shifter and a sexy archaeology professor. What more could you want?

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Will he sacrifice everything for the sake of his human mate?

Thwarted in his efforts to become head of the Amsterdam pride of lion shifters, Kaspar de Wit flees to England. He finds himself in Bath, home of the biggest English pride, and begins to make a new life among friends. What he doesn’t know is that he’s moved to a city steeped in bloody ritual. Destiny seems to have drawn Kaspar to the place where he’ll meet his mate–but does something more horrifying lie in wait for him, too?

Jon Fellowes, professor of archaeology at Bath University, is obsessed with the standing stones that dominate the Somerset landscape and the people who raised them. He’s heard tales of strange creatures, half-man, half-lion, that once roamed the land, but dismisses them till he meets the beautiful Kaspar and learns the bizarre truth of his nature. As an ancient rite is revived and terror stalks the countryside, can Jon and Kaspar overcome the natural distrust between humans and shifters to find true love? Or will one of them be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of voyeurism, MM orgies and bloody violence.

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Review: Disclaimer — I did not read the first book in this series. I didn’t know it was a series until I started reading, and have a sneaking suspicion some of the mentioned characters had appeared elsewhere before. (By now you should know my MO, haha.) That said, you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand the second. The characters are different, and while events are hinted at from the first book, they only play a passing role in the first few pages, because after that, Kaspar runs away to lick his wounds.

I loved Kaspar and Jon. They’re just really sweet and I feel for Kaspar. He expects to be made head of the pride until Arjan (from the first book) is welcomed back by his father. Kaspar is young and rash, and so he runs away from Amsterdam to try and make it in the pride in Bath, England. He’s not there long when things just go right for him, including meeting his destined mate, Jon, who happens to be human.

Jon is a sweet, nerdy professor who likes archaeology and local legends. He’s interested in standing stones, and has done research on pagan beliefs of half-lion beings. Little did he know he’d get so intimately involved with one.

I had to laugh at Kaspar. He’s young and he knows he can be foolish. He doesn’t think much about human mates, having just met Arjan’s human mate, Kees, and being confused by the whole thing. But when Jon walks into his life, he realizes fate has thrown him for a loop. His reaction to meeting Jon was hilarious to me, and I found myself laughing as he accepted everything. He was just so easy going about it all.

Of course, the book isn’t all fun and games. There’s a local…group(?) of men trying to resurrect an old god, and they think sacrificing men at the height of orgasm on the standing stones will do this. So, there is a bit of violence and dubious consent. I say dubious because the men are mostly willing for the sex part, not so much with the murder part. Also, giving later reactions, they’re probably drugged, so how much is actual consent at that point?

I’m definitely going to go back and read the first book in this series, and I sincerely hope there will be more in the future. I think I know who the next character will be, too, just based on the brief description, but we’ll see. I do want to read more about Jon and Kaspar, though. I just love their devotion to each other, and I want to see what the pride’s reaction will be when they actually meet Jon.

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Reviewed By Carrie, Sean Michael, Totally Bound

Review: Milling by Sean Michael

Title: Milling (Beer and Clay: Book Two)

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 32000 Words

At a Glance: The continuation of a great tale.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Toby and Damon’s whirlwind romance continues, but can they find a balance between love and work? Do they even want to?

Toby can scarcely believe that his life has changed so much in less than two weeks, but it has. His predictable little life has gone from routine to sexually adventurous in a matter of days. And to be honest, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Damon’s just as into Toby, more interested in exploring with his new lover than spending all his time at the bar. Luckily things are running fairly smoothly there with his hand only occasionally needed on the rudder.

Their idyllic love affair has a few bumps to withstand, though, in the form of an intruder with a gun. Can Toby and Damon survive what happens next?

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Review: Milling is book two in Sean Michael’s Beer and Clay series. The tale begins in book one, Malting, where bar owner Damon finally confronts the shy guy who has been coming to his bar every Thursday for the last three years. In book one, we get the connection and spark of new romance between Damon and Toby (oh, and really great, hot sex!). In book two, the relationship grows as the two men really start to explore what they mean to each other, and developing another layer of intimacy with the Dom/sub relationship they both crave (oh, and did I mention more really great hot sex?!). Toby is a treasure – so unsure of himself but so talented, and Damon is the perfect Dom for him – putting Toby first and truly taking care of the man.

The angst in this book comes from an outside source, not our main characters, in that someone is after Damon, and Toby is in the way. The police are no help, and Toby is sure that whoever broke into the bar and then Damon’s apartment – where he gets shot – is being motivated by jealousy of his and Damon’s incredible relationship. So what happens next? Hopefully more really great hot sex! Oh, and more of a story that is definitely worth your time reading! What more can I say? It’s Sean Michel, so you know there are great characters and a solid story. I will warn you though that this book is a continuation of the first book and leaves you hoping for the third. But if you want a snippet of these men’s lives, it’s just right – oh, and did I mention the great sex?

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Giveaways, Morticia Knight, Totally Bound

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Justice Prevails Blog Tour With Morticia Knight

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Morticia Knight today, with an exclusive excerpt from her latest novel Justice Prevails. Enjoy the tease, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback copy of Justice Prevails.

Good luck!

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Blurb: Never judge a sexy man by his cover.

Detective Beau Williams is hard-working, dedicated, and professional. He enjoys the finer things in life, but with his heavy caseload that includes what Beau suspects is a new serial killer, he has no time to enjoy much of anything. What the tall redhead needs is someone to shake him up a little.

Investigative Technician Austin Kent never met a snarky joke he didn’t like – or a set of stairs that couldn’t trip him up. One night after a devastating episode at work, Austin sees something else he likes – the handsome detective he’s seen around the station whom he’s always wondered about. But after he makes a drunken fool of himself in front of Detective Williams, he’s sure there’s no hope.

Beau and Austin’s worlds collide right away when Austin is sent to pick up some evidence at the station. Amidst a myriad of twists and turns in the troubling serial killer style murders of Vegas conventioneers, Austin and Beau discover that there’s more to the other than they’d originally thought. There might even be more they’d like to give – unless the killer has the final say.

Buy Links: Totally Bound | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt:  Beau waited until they were finished. Austin promised to come back in a few days to help Rich sort through boxes of clothing donations to decide what could be used, what had to be tossed and what needed to be cleaned. There was another pull at Beau’s heart. There was some more playful joking with Rich then Austin turned to Beau.

“Thanks, man. You guys were really great. I mean it.”

“It was my pleasure.” Beau was surprised at his unexpected bout of shyness. “Are you too tired to—”

“I’m never too tired for that.” Austin had blurted it out then seemed to catch himself. “Oops. You were probably only going to ask if I was too tired to give you a ride or something.”

Beau snorted. “You could give me a ride, but it wouldn’t be in a car.”

Austin’s mouth dropped open then he quickly recovered. “Detective Williams. I’m scandalized.” He put a hand over his heart. “You not only made a dirty joke but you’ve insinuated that I’ve fallen so hard for your charms that you can have me at your whim.”

“I…”

“And you would be right.”

“That wasn’t very romantic, was it?”

“No, but because you’re so fucking hot, I’ll forgive you.” Austin clapped a hand over his mouth. “Shit. It’s a good thing Rich didn’t hear me. I’m already the top contributor to the swear jar.”

“So he wasn’t kidding earlier. They’re really able to control the kid’s cursing with that?”

“Pphhh. Hardly. But Rich said I can out-curse everyone here ten times over and that I’m a bad influence.”

Beau leaned in to whisper in Austin’s ear. “You’re a bad influence on me, but in a very good way.”

“Hot damn. Let’s get outta here.”

Grinning, Beau laid his hand on Austin’s arm. “I do have to take Parker and Lonnie home first though, so I can’t get to your place for another thirty minutes or so. Is that too late?”

Parker called over right then. “Beau, Rich is driving us back to the apartment—that okay?”

Beau wondered how much of that had been spontaneous and how much had been for Beau and Austin’s benefit. As he walked over to his friends to say goodbye, Austin jogged ahead. By the time Beau had reached them, he caught the tail end of the conversation with Austin and Parker exchanging numbers.

“This is genuinely appreciated, man. I was sure we were fucked sideways.”

Rich grunted. “Pay up, Austin.”

“Aw, come on. There aren’t any kids around!”

Rich shook his head grimly. “You’re still in the building, dude. It counts.”

“Goddammit.” Austin reached into his wallet and pulled out a five.

“Ahem. And another five for the second one. Oh, and for the others earlier.” Rich held his palm up.

“You’re bleeding me dry, kid.”

“And we appreciate doing business with your potty mouth.”

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Morticia KnightAbout the Author: M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers – but they’re all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.
When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey’s story from Rockin’ the Alternative.

Where to find the author: Follow on Twitter: @morticiaknight | Add book on ‘to read’ shelf at Goodreads | Like Facebook Author page | Follow Morticia Knight’s Blog

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Totally Bound

Review: Rainey’s Release by Jenna Byrnes

Title: Rainey’s Release (Kansas City Heat: Book Six)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages

At a Glance: Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A madman targets gay drug addicts. Can the KCPD track down the latest serial killer before more blood is shed?

Detective William Rainey is the newest man assigned to the KCPD’s Homicide Division, having just relocated from St. Louis with his life partner, Joshua Wolf. When a murder with the same MO as several St. Louis crimes takes place, the similarities are hard to ignore. The investigation turns personal and soon hits close to home. A suspect comes to light and Will finds himself in a battle to solve the most important case of his life. Enlisting the help of Detectives James Dixon and Nick Peyton is tricky when the men don’t feel like they know him yet. Can he earn their trust before it’s too late?

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Review: William Rainey and his partner Josh Wolf have made the move to Kansas City. Will has gotten himself a new job as detective for the Kansas City Police Department. Josh has a new job too, at the Bright Horizons Treatment Center, as a therapy counselor. He also has plans to look for a Narcotics Anonymous group that fits his needs.

Will starts his job at the KCPD feeling nervous about his being gay, he’s still unsure of how others will react to it, and unfortunately for him he’s temporarily assigned to James Dixon (aka Dix—he won’t answer to anything else). Their first homicide assignment is that of a young man found dead in an alley, with all the signs that he’d been a drug addict.

But what really has Will upset is Dix. Dix not only refers to him as “rookie” but tends to make homophobic statements. Will gets a chance to work some cases with Peyton and Laura ,and notices how much easier it is working with them than Dix. Will approaches Peyton and brings up the issue of Dix’s gay bashing. Peyton doesn’t hold back and shows a picture of his better-half to Will. Will is totally surprised. Peyton then calls Dix into the break room and confronts Dix about the gay bashing. Will is then stunned when Dix admits to being gay and married.

Will doesn’t know how to react, he doesn’t admit or deny to being gay, and this leads to a devastating turn of events. Will he lose his job? Or worse, loose Josh? Will the killer be found? How does Will make things right?

I have been totally sucked into the Kansas City Heat series since the beginning. The series name fits too: there’s a lot of heat in these stories, and Josh and Will are hot, hot, hot! Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more, she creates characters you want to keep tabs on, so it’s nice to hear about them in other books in the series. I think you could read Rainey’s Release as a standalone, but if you want to learn more about the other characters, here is a list of books in reading order: Dixon’s Duty, Peyton’s Pursuit, Cameron’s Cove, Taylor’s Task, and Gage’s Gift. I recommend them all.

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Morticia Knight, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Totally Bound

Review: Justice Prevails by Morticia Knight

Title: Justice Prevails (Sin City Uniforms: Book Three)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 203 Pages

At a Glance: Justice Prevails is a suspenseful, and a little scary, murder mystery.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Never judge a sexy man by his cover.

Detective Beau Williams is hardworking, dedicated and professional. He enjoys the finer things in life, but with his heavy caseload that includes what Beau suspects is a new serial killer, he has no time to enjoy much of anything. What the tall redhead needs is someone to shake him up a little.

Investigative Technician Austin Kent never met a snarky joke he didn’t like—or a set of stairs that couldn’t trip him up. One night after a devastating episode at work, Austin sees something else he likes—the handsome detective he’s seen around the station whom he’s always wondered about. But after he makes a drunken fool of himself in front of Detective Williams, he’s sure there’s no hope.

Beau and Austin’s worlds collide when Austin is sent to pick up some evidence at the station. Amidst a myriad of twists and turns in the troubling serial killer-style murders of Vegas conventioneers, Austin and Beau discover that there’s more to the other than they’d originally thought. There might even be more they’d like to give—unless the killer has the final say.

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Review: Austin Kent works as an Investigative Technician for the DA’s Office in Las Vegas, delivering subpoenas to potential witnesses. Then one day he has to deliver one that leads to the tragic death of a childhood friend, and his co-worker, Kyle, being injured. Austin tries to search out friends who will give him the distraction he needs, but everyone turns him down. He winds up alone at El Lagarto, sitting at the bar and drinking just a little too much.

Beau Williams is a detective with the Las Vegas PD. He has a string of unsolved murders to deal with. He’s got dinner plans for the evening with friends, Parker and Lonnie. They also wind up at El Lagarto. As Beau makes his way to the bar, he accidentally bumps Austin and while apologizing, Austin recognizes him as a detective he delivered blood evidence files to for the Deuces Wild Motel killings. Austin strikes up a conversation with Beau but as soon as Beau’s order arrives, he heads back to his table, but over the course of the evening, he keeps watch over Austin, as he’s figured Austin is drinking because something bad has happened. When an argument breaks out between Austin and another customer, Beau steps in along with Parker.

Escorting Austin home, Beau discovers Austin is a little accident prone, lonely, and hides behind jokes and sarcasm. Beau is finding he has an interest in Austin, but is that what he really wants? Beau thinks he needs someone more refined, smart and sophisticated, better than his ex-lover.

Justice Prevails is a suspenseful, and a little scary, murder mystery in the Sin City Uniform series. Austin and Beau are such a great fit together, and it was also nice to revisit Parker and Lonnie in this book. If you’re a fan of Morticia Knight and the men of Sin City, I’d recommend reading Justice Prevails.

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4 Stars, Ethan Stone, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann, Totally Bound

Review: Small Claims by Ethan Stone

Title: Small Claims

Author: Ethan Stone

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: Novella Length (22k Words)

At a Glance: This novella is a quick and easy read, offering a great variety of characters.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Judge Shawn Rosen is about to take on the toughest case of his life.

Small claims judge Shawn Rosen is comfortable in his career, but his personal life is another story. His twenty year relationship ended two years ago, but while he accepts the end, he hasn’t even started to move on. He lives a generic life.

Everything changes when Jody Jacobsen walks into his courtroom and Shawn is attracted to him. Following the case, they have a chance meeting which leads to a wild night. Waking up to cold sheets should have been a sign, but instead Shawn keeps coming back for more and eventually falls fast and hard—so hard he might be missing the clues that the commitment isn’t mutual.

There’s trouble when the case that brought them together could also tear them apart. Will Jody give in to his tendency to run, or will he finally be the man that Shawn deserves?

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Review: Judge Shawn Rosen is about to hear his last case on a Friday afternoon. He’s ready for the weekend and to be away from the court, but still isn’t sure what to do with himself. Shawn and his partner of twenty years parted ways two years before, and Shawn is still trying to adjust to the change.

The court hearing is an interesting one. Mrs. Gioberti is suing a young man for loud and strange noises and men coming from his duplex. Unfortunately, she is more than just a nosy neighbor. Jody Jacobsen is a young and energetic man. He finds himself somewhat embarrassed when he has to clarify the activities going on in his duplex. After Judge Rosen listens to this case with much interest, he declares the case closed but gives fair warning to Mrs. Gioberti.

Judge Rosen finds himself at home, and his thoughts keep drifting to Jody. He realizes he hasn’t been interested in anyone like this in a long time. He is restless and decides to venture out to the Speakeasy. Once he gets in the club, watching all the twenty-somethings, it puts doubt in his mind. He knows he’s middle-aged, though in fairly good shape, but maybe this is not for him.—one drink for him and he’d leave. Then he sees a familiar blonde head, green eyes, and a gorgeous smile heading from the restroom…Jody Jacobsen.

Shawn and Jody enjoy themselves at the club, dancing, drinking and conversation. Shawn feels so good with Jody he asks him to go home with him. Jody agrees and follows Shawn home, where things get hot and heavy between them. Shawn wakes with his bed empty and is disappointed that Jody didn’t say goodbye or leave a note.

Poor Shawn, he just has so much to deal with! He has a blind date from hell, his step daughter Gabrielle has her own ideas about his life, and Monday morning gives him a surprising new temporary assistant. To top it off, Mrs. Gioberti is back, filing another crazy lawsuit, but Shawn is looking for just one important answer: will Jody be there for him?

Small Claims is a part of Totally Bound’s Sexy Snax line, and it’s exactly that: a Sexy Snak from Ethan Stone. This novella is a quick and easy read, offering a great variety of characters. Not to mention, Jody and Shawn are hot together!

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Faith Ashlin, Giveaways, Totally Bound

Guest Post and Giveaway: To Stand Close by Faith Ashlin

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Faith Ashlin today on the To Stand Close blog tour. Enjoy Faith’s article, then be sure to check out the giveaway details from Totally Bound Publishing below!

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The Best Way to Write Sex 

Once upon a time, a long, long while ago, I used to find it…tricky to write a sex scene. Maybe I was a bit embarrassed, even though I was on my own. But, hey, that’s fair, isn’t it? There’s a whole world of difference between reading a steamy scene and writing one yourself. If I write it that means the smutty stuff comes from my brain. There’s no saying, ‘oh, I didn’t realise the book was like that,’ because it’s all mine!

I soon got over the embarrassment – although I still have to be on my own when I write sex. I don’t even like someone else being in the house – and now I love writing sex.

Oh boy, do I love writing sex.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to get started. On a cold Tuesday afternoon, with the rain pouring down outside and a pile of ironing waiting for the end of writing-time, it’s really difficult to think sexy thoughts. I’ve tried lots of things: reading something good or watching sexy TV. But I was always worried I’d copy their scenes. I tried thinking about my favourite gorgeous man. Only trouble was I got more interested in him than the sex needed for the book.

Then, by accident, I discovered my perfect way to write sex. With a glass of cold Pinot Grigio.

The words fly off my fingers and all these different ideas seem to just suddenly pop into my head. I’m sure I never would have thought of putting his legs there or have them do that if it wasn’t for the wine!

It has to be the right amount of wine though, and at the right time. It has to be long enough after lunch or there’s still too much food in my belly and the wine doesn’t work. Too long and there’s no time to write.

Then the amount. Too much wine and I go to sleep – I’m great at parties. Three glasses and I’m asleep in the corner – too little and it doesn’t work. One big glass is about right. But even with that there’s a short window of opportunity. For about half an hour, I write almost without thinking (and most definitely without editing. That can be done later/sober.) The images flash in my mind as I fight to get them all down while more and more just flows.

Then comes the first warning sign that time is almost up. I want a biscuit. And a cup of tea.And a wee. After a visit to the bathroom sexy-writing-time is up and the sleepiness kicks in. At that point I might as well go and cook dinner or start on the dreaded ironing because writing becomes laboured and more like work than fun.

It does mean that I work on a different alcohol schedule to everyone else. But, hey, I think it’s worth it.

Later, when everyone else is either asleep on the sofa or shooting tanks on their computer, I can go back and read what I’ve written. Yes, it needs polishing, and the spelling/grammar/punctuation correcting, but usually I’m pleased. The magic of Pinot Grigio worked again.

My new book, To Stand Close which is out now, isn’t cover to cover sex but it did need some intense scenes. I used the Pinto Grigio method a couple of times!

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tostandclose_800Blurb for To Stand CloseCan love grow and survive for two men on opposite sides of the deepest of chasms—slavery? 

In this world, one country has cut itself off and is closed and mysterious to everyone else. What’s the secret it’s hiding? Magic?Monsters?No, just the cruel reality of slavery. But inside its borders life goes on as normal, and it competes with the rest of the world at sport just like everyone else, just to prove that it’s the best.

Nicky accepts that and is happy in his own small, simple life as a gymnastics coach. He accepts it because he’s never known anything else, but he stays as far away from the brutality of slavery as he can, until he’s given a present he doesn’t want and isn’t allowed to refuse.

As for love? Well, he loves his sport. Isn’t that enough?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of slavery.

DividersExtract from To Stand Close“God, so beautiful,” Michael said, appreciatively. “I knew you would be. I want this.” He crawled over Nicky, kissing his knee, his thigh, the line of his groin, the dip of his belly, then moved up his chest with one long lick of his tongue along Nicky’s sternum.

Back to Nicky’s mouth, the kisses deep, thorough, demanding and exploring, as he forced his way between Nicky’s legs to press their cocks together for the first time. “Want that,” he groaned. “Want all of it, all of you.”

“What do you want?” Nicky asked. “What now?”

“Want to fuck you, want to suck you down deep, taste you on the back of my throat.” He bit at Nicky’s throat, little nicks with the promise of more behind them. “What do you want?”

Nicky snorted. “When have you ever taken any notice of what I want?”

“Right now.” Michael stared him out. “You want this but you’re too decent or too scared to even hint at it, let alone ask for it. So I just took the pressure off you and gave it to you.” He pressed their hard, hard cocks together, circling his hips so the pressure was never the same, the pleasure constantly building. “Yeah, you want it.” He lapped at Nicky’s mouth again and this time Nicky bit back, taking. “But what do you want to do right now?”

“Now?” Nicky dug his fingers deep into Michael’s hair, twisting them tight. “Pretty much the same as you. I want to fuck you, suck you. Feel all that skin under me, between my teeth, as I pound into you.” He kissed up again, harder, more insistent, forcing his tongue deep into Michael’s mouth before pulling away so he could watch him. “I’m not going to get it though. You’re going to take what you want first, aren’t you?”

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Author BioAbout Faith AshlinWhen Faith was clearing out her attic many years ago, she found a book she’d written as a ten-year-old. On rereading it she realised that it was the love story of two boys. Over the years her fascination with the image of beautiful young men, coiled together as they fell head over heels in love, became a passion for her.

Since that first innocent book—written in purple sparkly pen—she has written many stories, set in varied worlds, but always with two men finding their way to happiness.

Still nothing much has changed because now she can be found in a daydream, wandering around the supermarket, or sitting in a meeting at work still dreaming up stories.

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Enter Totally Bound’s March blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies! (**NOTE: Contest Deadline Has Been Extended To April 3, 2015**)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Pia, Totally Bound, Willa Okati

Review: Give Chase by Willa Okati

Title: Give Chase

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 32000 Words

At a Glance: If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a bit sexy, with smart and stubborn men, then this book is for you.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Declan’s always been careful to guard his heart, but Isaac’s catching up at last. Some things are worth fighting for, even when they’re running fast.

Dr. Isaac Paliades has never been much for letting sleeping dogs lie, and he’s been intrigued by his colleague Dr. Declan Day from the moment they met. Declan’s a hard man to get a read on, one minute cool as snow and the next minute hot-blooded enough to give Isaac a run for his money. Though they work together, play together—and occasionally sleep together—Isaac has yet to get a good look at the man Declan is behind the carefully constructed masks he shows to the world.

But when the pair of physicians rescue an abandoned baby discovered while they’re out for a jog, Isaac sees cracks start to appear in Declan’s façade. He’s taking the care of their foundling more seriously than anyone imagined he would, and bringing Isaac along for the ride. He’s asking for dominance in bed, and a deeper friendship at St. Hawk’s.

Isaac thinks he’s finally found the key to unlocking Declan’s guarded heart. But even when the walls come down, can Declan find the courage and will to let Isaac in?

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Review: That feeling you get when you find a new author and want to read all of their books as soon as you can? That’s how I feel about Willa Okati. Yay!!!

In Giving Chase we meet Dr. Isaac Paliades and Dr. Declan Day. Both are doctors working at St. Hawk’s hospital. I have to admit it took me a bit to get into this book, not because it was bad but because for me, the characters took a bit to warm up to. Declan is a man who held his feelings close to the vest for most of this book, which is understandable when you find out why, but I would have loved to have had more of an insight into his background. As for Dr. Isaac, I love a man who won’t take no for an answer and am glad he kept pushing Declan to open up and share, when most people wouldn’t have taken the time to look beneath the surface to find out what was living underneath.

This is what happens when both doctors are out jogging and find an abandoned baby, who tugs at the heartstrings of everybody who gets involved with her. I’m not sure about anybody else but I love a grumpy, misunderstood guy who gets emotional over a tiny little baby.

While I loved this book, it left me with so many un-answered questions, such as what kind of home life did Isaac grow up in, where are his parents, and where did his sense of curiosity come from? How did both men come to work at St. Hawk’s, and how did being together change their lives? Those kinds of every day questions.

If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a bit sexy, with smart and stubborn men, then this book is for you.






You can buy Give Chase here:

Totally Bound

Totally Bound

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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