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

Review: Blind Ride by BA Tortuga

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Title: Blind Ride (Roughstock: Vol. One)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages

At a Glance: Blind Ride is a story about the love and caring of family, good friends, and the love between two special men.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Jason Scott has everything a bull rider wants—success, money and traveling partner Andy Baxter. When he loses his sight in an accident, he stands to lose it all. Jason Scott is at the top of the bull riding game, on his way to a winning season. Along with his traveling partner, Andy Baxter, he’s riding hard on the circuit, working around the country with all of the other bull riders and bullfighters, living the good life. The only thing he wishes he had is Bax, but he’s afraid to take the step that would make them more than friends, worried that it will ruin everything. When a terrible accident leaves Jason unable to see, his whole life goes south. Jason decides to chuck it all, determined to go home and hide at his momma’s ranch. Bax has other ideas. He wants to make sure his best friend doesn’t give up, and he hatches a plan that stuns Jason and makes their friends and family think he’s crazy. With the help of the other bull riders and a very persistent bull fighter named Coke, Bax convinces Jason to give life one more try. With Jason cautiously learning to hope, and his relationship with Bax going to the next level, life gets pretty complicated. Everyone gets in on the project, from Jason’s strong-willed mother to an entire ranch full of children, all of them working to help Jason do what he loves.

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Review: I am such a fan of BA Tortuga. She has added another series to my collection of cowboy stories, and has created more than just a story about bull riders and rodeos; it’s about the love and caring of family, good friends, and the love between two special men. Blind Ride also takes us behind the rodeo scene with the hard work and life threatening injuries that bull riders face.

Andy “Bax” Baxter and Jason “Mini” Scott are just two wonderful cowboys who love the rodeo. They have been friends for six years but have never taken the step to become more than friends. They spend their days traveling the rodeo circuit and even compete against each other, but they hold no grudges.

When Jason is hurt, there’s so much worry. Living in darkness, never riding again, losing out on a career that he loves, and maybe losing Bax, he even thinks of taking his life. But Bax is there for him and he doesn’t let Jason fail. When Bax goes back on the circuit he gets hurt and is done for the season, but he’s back with Jason and starts a plan to get him back on the circuit as well. It was really heartrending to watch Jason struggle with losing his sight—I can’t even begin to imagine how that would feel. He also has to deal with overbearing help, and to try to do things on his own.  Bax and Jason have a great support system besides Jason’s family.  We meet Coke Pharras, Dillon Walsh, Nate, AJ, Missy, and a sweet little boy named Benji.

The only issue readers may find in Blind Ride is in the narrative and dialogue, but BA Tortuga chose to leave things a little unpolished (see: the Author’s Note).  As for me, I didn’t see this as a problem. It just made the story more down to earth.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

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

Review: And a Smile by BA Tortuga

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Amazon

Title: And a Smile (Roughstock: Book Two)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 197 Page

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

Reviewed By: Maryann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy And a Smile here:

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Thianna D

Guest Post: Discovery (Drakyl Ranch: Book One) by Thianna Durston

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Cowboys, Drakyl, Vampyr…and Things That Go Bump in the Night

In Montana there’s a ranch you might want to steer clear of. The men there are nice enough, especially the younger cousins, but these cowboys have a bit of a secret. They aren’t quite human. Have your attention? Humans, see, live blissfully unaware of a paranormal realm that exists beside our own. The cowboys at Drakyl Ranch did too. Once. Until they started to change. And gained a taste for human blood.

Welcome to my world where cowboys and vampires collide in interesting ways. To be honest, when I first even heard the idea of writing a vampire/cowboy romance, I giggled myself silly. Until the Plot Bunny hit five seconds later. The character Aaron began chatting in my head about being tired of his sickness, so tired of being allergic to the sun. And that’s how it all started.

I knew, of course, of the basic rules of vampirism:

  1. Can’t go into the sun or they fry
  2. They drink human blood
  3. Deathly pale
  4. Wooden stake to the heart can kill them
  5. Depending on which lore you look at either silver is deadly to them, or it’s the fact the silver is in the shape of a cross that is deadly to them.

But beside those rules, vampire lore goes a bit crazy. You have some people in history that would actually bury bodies face down with the belief that if the dead had been infected as a vampire, that they wouldn’t realize they were digging their way deeper underground when they tried to get out of their casket. You also have some of the newest lore – like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight vamps who sparkle in the sun.

Let me set this straight. Neither my vampyr nor my drakyl sparkle. And yes, I have two different types. Why? When you’re creating a new set of vampires, you have to think of the wheres, the whats, and the whys. Where can they go, what happens when they get there, and why does this new lore work? My drakyl, once they begin to turn are slaves to the moon. The sun, even before they turn completely, can give them a third degree burn. In many ways, they are allergic to the sun’s rays. This fits into the first vampire lore that mostly seems to have come from the beginning. Plus, it made sense to me that drakyl, vampyr-like creatures that are born human and through a strand of DNA turn into drakyl at around 20 years of age, might be a little more humane, more adept at acting human, though they have to also adapt to having some vampyric traits.

Do they drink blood? Yes. And they aren’t embarrassed about it. Well, Aaron tries to fight his desire for it – thank goodness for blood banks.

Their skin is incredibly pale, but if well fed (human blood especially), their skin can be a pale ivory.

Now, as for the wooden stake to the heart… I have never been able to buy into that one. The undead, it seems to me, would have hardy skin that would be hard to punch a stake through. Besides, the whole sleep in a casket thing is very much for old-lore vampirism wherein the vampire has to sleep in the dirt they were buried in during the day or they would poof and die. My drakyl sleep in beds. Their skin does harden, but especially their veins when they change. The only thing that can bust through their veins is iron and the only thing that can kill them besides the sun is silver.

I love the juxtaposition of creatures who have to live off the blood of others still being quite humane as the drakyl at Drakyl Ranch are.

But for those who are disappointed I left the evilness of vampire behind. Never fear. The drakyl have an enemy, the vampyr. True vampire-like creatures, they are made through death and poison, tortured into their undead state. They reek and have lost their teeth over time, their entire bodies stinking of rot. Vampyr live for three things: to drink blood, to attack and take over, and to murder drakyl.

Welcome to Drakyl Ranch where my drakyl cowboys somehow manage to find their Joined, their forever companion, even with vampyr attacking any chance they can get.

~Thianna Durston

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Discovery-Customdesign-Jayaheer2015-smallpreviewBlurbAaron thought he was dying, Jaret showed him how to live.
Now the only thing standing between them and forever
is an ancient enemy set on their annihilation.

Living in Montana and working the ranch is all Aaron wants to do for the rest of his life. Diagnosed as allergic to the sun thirteen years previous, every day is a struggle to get out of bed. Having to wear long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and even material to cover his face from the effects of the sun, just makes it all worse. Now, in his thirty-second year, he is sure this will be his last summer. While he hates it, he knows he needs to come to terms with the truth and put things in order for his younger cousins. Before he does so, he heads out for one night of pleasure before facing what’s coming.

Jaret loves excitement and new adventures. For over five hundred years, he has sought them out. In Montana on a whim, he comes across someone he doesn’t expect, someone who makes him feel things he does not understand and does not want to give up. In no time at all, he feels like he cannot live without Aaron. The only problem is Aaron doesn’t know who he is, what he is, nor that he isn’t going to die. Not on Jaret’s watch. With a plan to help the other man discover who he is in place, he only has one thing to worry about: whether an ancient enemy will come and destroy everything he now holds dear.

Warning: This book is a paranormal m/m romance with some horror elements. It also crosses cowboy and vampire genres. If you don’t think cowboys look hot with fangs, you’re missing out.

Buy Links: Amazon || Barnes & Noble

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Author BioAuthor Bio: Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

You can find her at: Thianna’s Website || Thianna’s Blog || Facebook Author Page || Twitter || Google+ || Goodreads

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4 Stars, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Maryann, Taylin Clavelli, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Dakota Skies by Taylin Clavelli

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Title: Dakota Skies

Author: Taylin Clavelli

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 350 Pages

At a Glance: Dakota Skies is an Old Western saga, an entertaining story with plenty of action.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Born in the wrong time…

In 1875 Dakota, Sheriff Jamie Carter has to hide his interest in men, even from his gutsy twin sister, Anna. On a good day, the truth can mean a bullet between the eyes, and on a bad, one in the back.

A man on a mission…

Jamie leaves Anna in charge of Blackrock and he hits the bounty hunting trail, along with his faithful equine companion, Houston. Five territories, scores of ‘Wanted’ posters, and many bullets later, his path unexpectedly converges with that of enigmatic loner, Kit Brooks.

Two men with one soul…

Will the smoldering fire between them rage into an inferno and break down protective barriers, allowing them to find love? Or will it separate and kill them?

Beneath Dakota skies…

Jamie and Kit’s story is a sweeping saga of cowboys, Indians, persistent broads, and vengeful villains, where the cowboys aren’t always the good guys, and love can’t be taken for granted.

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Review: Jamie Carter shares the title of Sheriff with his twin sister Anna. Anna can shoot, fight and ride better than any man. We learn a lot about how Jamie and Anna followed in their father’s footsteps.

Kit Brooks has a story of his own to share, which is much different than Jamie’s. Mason Lee Anderson, the gambler, card player and sharpshooter, will be a big part of Kit’s story. Mason has a very special connection to Kit, Kate, and the Sioux tribe.

Anna befriends Hayley, who teaches her how to cook, as well as the fine art of being a lady. Anna teaches Hayley the fine art of shooting. Poor Morgan Haynes, Jamie’s best friend and saloon owner… Anna has a plan for him!

We meet members of the Sioux tribe, who are a very important part of this story. Chief Wahchinsapa, Tala, Howahkan (the medicine man), Takoda and others, and learn the beliefs and ways of the Sioux, taken into the spirit world along with Jamie and Kit, where we meet Chenoa.

And, last but not least, there’s Houston, Jamie’s faithful companion, his horse. Not just any old horse, a very talented one. He will have you chuckling!

I think the cover of this book deserves a mention, it really reflects the story behind it, as well as the map inside the book, which gives us an idea of the places Jamie and Kit traveled. Dakota Skies is an Old Western saga, an entertaining story with plenty of action, good guys, bad guys, working girls, heartbreak, hijinks, love, and the mystery of the spirit world. The story centers on Jamie and Kit, but the other interesting characters and their stories deserved a mentioned.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy Dakota Skies here:

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Sarah Masters

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Outcast Cowboys Tour with Sarah Masters

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We’re so pleased to welcome first time visitor Sarah Masters to The Novel Approach today, as she tours to chat about her new novel from Pride Publishing, Outcast Cowboys. Enjoy Sarah’s guest post, then be sure to check out Pride’s contest for the month of August by clicking on the image below.

And now, here’s Sarah!

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I’m Hiding Who I Am Too

Joe, in Outcast Cowboys, is a surly man. He’s been through a lot. He’s been accused of a few things he hasn’t done—bad things—but lets everyone think what they like. He’s done with trying to make people like him for who he really is. And besides, who would believe he was soft at heart underneath it all anyway when his brothers act as though Joe is the devil himself?

In the following scene, Joe starts to thaw.

Ross had joined the workforce at the ranch in Texas with the belief he could finally be his true self. After finding that couldn’t be the case, he once again adopts a persona. He’s used to doing that—he was an undercover cop in London, UK. So he slips into yet another role, one that has Joe shirking off his gruff exterior and giving Ross a glimpse of the real man beneath. I loved watching Joe unfurl, blooming as the book progressed, and showing Ross that he wasn’t the asshat everyone perceived him to be. Here was Joe, a man forced to play a role, and here was Ross, forced to do the same. Somehow, they recognized that in each other, and defenses slowly started coming down. I eagerly looked forward to the point in the book where they could just be who they were—with each other—and know that no matter what, they’d be accepted.

These men, and the writing of this book, touched me profoundly. I grew to love them, to think of them as real people, and although I gave them many complex layers, what I wanted to show was that underneath whatever personality we present to people, there is a soul crying out to be loved and cared for. And the bottom line is, that’s all we really want in this mad game of life, isn’t it? We all just want to be loved.

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Excerpt from Outcast Cowboys: 

Tessa wasn’t alone in the kitchen. Joe was with her, his hand on the table, blood pooling in the palm. It reminded Ross of the time Musket had fought off a blade-wielding maniac when one of their drug meets had gone wrong. He and Musket had escaped, coming out on top. The blade owner had ended up a victim of his own steel, courtesy of Musket, and their reputations had been stronger for it. Ross’ stomach hadn’t been stronger, though. He’d had to sew the wound up.

“Shit, what happened to you?” Ross strode across the kitchen.

“Fucking chisel slipped,” Joe snarled. “What’s it to you?”

“I can fix it, that’s what.” Ross planted his hands on the table and leaned on them, inspecting how Tessa was trying valiantly to soak up the blood with balls of cotton wool.

“Fix it? What, are you a goddamn doctor now?” Joe scowled, his eyebrows darting down over his eyes, rendering them slits.

“Nope, but I’ve seen and done things you wouldn’t believe, and sewing someone’s palm back together is one of them.” He looked to Tessa. “Got a curved needle? The sort used for close work?”

“Yes.” She wedged a load of cotton wool into Joe’s palm. “Hold that down.” She walked to a sideboard with several drawers. Opening one, she produced a wicker box. “In here.” She plonked it on the table then rooted inside.

“I’ll need it sterilized,” Ross said.

“Just hang on a goddamn minute here,” Joe said. “I haven’t agreed to this shit yet.”

“Yet.” Ross backstepped to the sink to wash his hands. “But you will.” It was almost a relief to slip into this part, to be similar to Wes Drake again, the strongest of his previous aliases. “Give it a week or two and the stitches can come out.”

“A week or two?” Joe moved to get up.

Ross went to the table and pushed him back down. “I wouldn’t bother. If you’ve lost a lot of blood, you might faint. You may not enjoy us seeing you like that. Big bloke like you, you’re bound to be stuffed full of arrogant pride.”

Where the fuck those words had come from Ross didn’t know, but he’d said them now and they didn’t appear to have done any harm. Tess was pouring disinfectant into a saucer, and Joe, although still scowling, didn’t seem to have anything to say.

“Yep, a week or two.” Ross grimaced at the state of the wound. “Worried about having to take time off work?”

“Damn right I am. We’ll fall behind.”

“Must be something else you can do.” Ross shrugged. “Not the hand you use most, is it?”

“Nope, but—”

“Then once it’s bandaged you can groom horses, yeah?”

“Yes, but—”

“So then you don’t lose any wages.”

Joe snapped his mouth closed, his face darkening as if he wanted to blast Ross with a stream of expletives but had changed his mind. “Who gave you a personality transplant?” he muttered.

“No one. Wasn’t myself yesterday.”

“Sure as shit you weren’t.” Joe cracked what could be passed off as a smile. “And there was me thinking you had no balls.”

“I’ve got balls, I just choose when to use them, that’s all.”

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Outcast CowboysBlurb for Outcast Cowboys:

You can run but you can’t hide. Problems have a habit of following you, even if it’s only inside your head.

Ross decides to start a new life away from the grim belly of London, England, unable to stomach being a cop any longer. He tells himself he’s moving miles away to find himself a bed partner, but he’s lying. He has to. Facing up to the real reason he’s leaving isn’t something he can handle. His last undercover job proved too much—his life was at risk—and if he stays in London he’ll likely end up dead. Nightmares plague him, his subconscious unable to switch the past off. So he moves to a ranch in America, thinking the new surroundings and different lifestyle will help him to heal—and to forget. What he soon realizes is he’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire…

Joe’s passion—that of caring for the horses—is the only thing that keeps him sane. He’s a surly man, and for good reason—a reason he hasn’t told a soul. Folks think he’s mean and unapproachable and suspect him of committing murder. More than once. Locals assume that Joe got let off the hook. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Joe lets people think what they will. He’s done with their speculation and sly looks.

When Ross and Joe meet, tension is rife. The air between them prickles with animosity as well as sexual tension. Both have a past they can’t get over. Both have skeletons in their closets they wish would turn to dust. And both have to make a decision. Can they cast their fears aside and trust each other, or have the terrors they’ve experienced ruined them for love?

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of remembered non-consensual sex in a character’s past.

General Release Date: 18th August 2015

Like the sound of Outcast Cowboys? Buy it here.

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Author BioAbout Sarah Masters: Sarah Masters is a multi-published author in three pen names writing several genres. She lives with her husband, youngest daughter, and a cat in England. She writes at weekends and is a cover artist/head of art in her day job. In another life she was an editor. Her other pen names are Natalie Dae and Geraldine O’Hara.

Sarah also co-authors with Jaime Samms, and as Natalie Dae she co-authors with Lily Harlem under the name Harlem Dae.

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THE GIVEAWAY

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CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENTER

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5 Stars, BL Morticia, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Remmy Duchene, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Wounded Hearts by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia

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Title: Wounded Hearts

Authors: Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 256 Pages

At a Glance: What a terrific start to a new series.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Zane Ashford’s stint in the NYPD comes to an abrupt halt when he is injured in the line of duty. After waking up partially blind in one eye, all he wants to do is crawl into a hole, but his friends and family won’t leave him alone. Reluctantly, he lets his best friend talk him into time away on a ranch in Montana. But the moment he gets there and meets Cyrus Abrams, Zane begins to contemplate murder.

Cyrus Abrams is vulgar, ornery, stuck in his ways, and not about to change for anyone, no matter how good Zane Ashford looks in those jeans. The more they lock horns, the more Cyrus begins to see Zane in a whole new light. But Cyrus has a past, one that left him in big trouble and more broken than he cares to admit—a past no one told Zane about. Cyrus fears that when Zane finds out, everything will come to a screeching halt.

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Review: What a terrific start to a new series. Wounded Hearts is such a great collaboration by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia. I really loved this story; lots of humor, sexy talk, ranching, a cop, and a cowboy. And watch out for the mud wrestling! There’s no mysterious plot or outrageous secrets, just a young, beautiful man from the city, and a crazy, gorgeous, older cowboy, who get so wound up in each other they just keep putting those important conversations on hold. And that certainly leads to some head-butting.

Cyrus Abrams is such a wonderful character; older, grumpy but not vulgar. I just don’t like that word for him, though. Unrefined is more like it. He just says what he feels, and he is very funny at times. He is definitely from another decade, as his previous lover was a gangster, who took Cyrus from bouncer to shady businessman. Even though all that is in his past, Cyrus still carries a lot of grief and guilt about his lost love, and he thinks no one can replace him. When things start to heat up with him and Zane, that guilt becomes a big weight on his shoulders.

Zane is African-American and was adopted by a Caucasian family. After almost facing death, his good friend Renford (Renford is a district attorney, best friend to Cyrus, and like a brother to Zane. He spends some time at the ranch too, and I hope he’s going to get his own story as there seems to be something going on with him) talks him into going to the Montana ranch owned by Cyrus to recuperate. Zane is also very talented with his art, music and photography. He’s not without his issues: can he be a cop again? He feels like he’s not a whole man because of his his injury, and he really wants to find someone special to be in his life.

Brian Daystar is a Native American, younger, and adds a lot of sexy fun to the story. He works for Cyrus on the ranch, and has really bad timing! We also get to meet Cecily, Zane’s older sister, and who could resist Zelda and Woofer? They bring the sweetness to this story!

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Jamie Samms

Guest Post and Giveaway: Bound to Fall by Jaime Samms

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Jaime Samms this morning to chat a bit about her upcoming novel Bound to Fall, releasing on June 26, 2015 from Dreamspinner Press.

Jaime’s offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of the book on release day, to be delivered right to your Dreamspinner Bookshelf.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Good luck!

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I’m so very pleased that Lisa and Mary managed to squash me onto the blog today. Lisa for putting up with my last-minute-ness, you are a star. And Mary, you know, thanks for sharing your day with me. You so didn’t have to do that, and I love you for it.

I’m too tired to be funny. I’m too tired to be profound. I’m out of time to rest up so I can write something intelligent. I’ve decided I’m going to make a list instead. So this post doesn’t end up being a woe-is-me-fest of all the things I wish for every day (like time and energy and inspiration and the chance to sit In my garden and not see all the grass that needs cutting and weeds that need pulling….you see how fast that goes downhill?)

So my list is going to this: The things that make me happy right now.

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  • The mug Mary gave me at GRL last year with art by someone whose name I don’t know right now, about a show I don’t even watch (The Young Avengers). But it’s two boys kissing and there is a constant battle between my teenage girl and me to see who gets to use the mug for the day. Today I win, but I don’t even mind that the mug disappeared into her school bag and then her locker where she used it for tea at school every day for months, because it tickles me that we both love the idea of pretty art depicting two boys kissing like they’re in love. One small mug, many great discussions with my daughter about why it matters.
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  • The fact that as I type this, said daughter is sitting across from me at the table wearing Amy Lane’s Outbreak Monkey shirt, and the fact I haven’t seen that shirt other than in the laundry or on her back, since the day I wore it home from Orlando. I’m sad I don’t get to wear the shirt. But happy about the books we’ll get to talk about when she’s old enough to read them. (Or after she sneaks my paper back copies off the shelf and reads them because she thinks I don’t know she’s thought about doing that.)
  • The wild-flower meadow that is my thirty-by-thirty front yard. Because bumble bees. And song birds. And I don’t’ have to nag anyone to mow it. Or mow it myself, or waste water on grass that doesn’t like the desert-like conditions.
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  • The sound of Canadian Geese flying by outside. Despite their greasy poop and the fact they will be flying by in the other direction in a couple of months, there is something about the sound that reminds me of good summer things.

In the midst of deadlines and work and spring recitals, it’s easy to lose track of the things that make me happy. The more overwhelmed by the stresses in life, the harder it is to remember the little things.

Maybe a bit of that came out in Pike and Eddie. They got so caught up in the dark memories, for Eddie, and the failing friendships for Pike, they forgot to remember the things that made them happy in the now.

Eddie forgot that acting was his bliss. He let the shadow of past memories take that away from him. Pike stopped seeing the horses and his joy of them without looking at them through the filter of losing his best friend by slow increments.

It took the mirror of each other to see what they had begun to overlook in their own lives. Even when Pike got so caught up in that dying friendship he lost track of what he liked until Eddie accidentally showed him what he didn’t.

Alone in the afternoon sunshine pouring through the new sheer living room curtains, Eddie stared around, satisfied with his work. The walls were still builder’s white and the hardwood still needed refinishing, but a thick area carpet lay under the brown suede-covered couch and chest coffee table. The new television stood on a low stand made from reclaimed barn boards flanked by a pair of tall wrought iron candle stands that had been wired to make lamps.

As he stood there, admiring the culmination of his plans, his phone buzzed.

He pulled it out and glanced at the screen, ready to tell Caspiri off once and for all. The text splashed across his screen pleasantly surprised him and he chuckled aloud.

Pike: You okay???!!! O.o

Eddie smiled and nodded as he texted back.

AEM: Fine why all the drama?

Pike: Some kids just passed me on the highway with my couch in the back of their truck!!

“Shit.” What were the odds?

AEM: Don’t panic. I got them to help me get rid of it.

Pike: WHY??!!

AEM: So dramatic. Calm down. Because you don’t need it anymore.

Pike: Where the hell do you expect me to sit?!?

AEM: Are you texting and driving?

Pike: Red light.

AEM: Put your phone down. Drive safe. I’ll see you soon.

Pike: Not done, dude!

AEM: Phone down!!!!!!

Pike:—\/—

AEM: LOL! What is that?

Pike: *angryface*

AEM: Stop. Drive. Talk when you get here.

There were no more texts, so Eddie assumed Pike’s red light had changed. He sat on the new couch and waited for his lover to return, sucking on his soul patch and hoping he’d done something good.

He heard the echoing clomp of heavy foot treads on the stairs long before Pike came banging into the apartment.

“Why are people stealing my couch?” he thundered, slapping his gloves onto the kitchen table, then doing a double take. “Where’s my table?”

Eddie eyed him. “That table would never have held your weight.”

“My weight? What?” He looked around the place. “Where is my stuff?”

“Most of it is all still here.” Eddie got up and went to the TV stand. He pulled out the antique wooden box from underneath and lifted the lid to show Pike that all his CDs and DVDs were safe inside. “The other ones have your game console and controllers and headphones and everything. You didn’t have a turntable, so we put your records inside the chest, but they don’t have to stay there.” He gave the couch a good, solid shake. “See? No wobbles.”

Pike turned to him. “Where. Is. All. My. Stuff?”

“Pike?” Eddie took a step back. “I—”

“Who told you to get rid of all my things?”

“Well, I—” …thought I was doing something nice.

Pike wandered the apartment, running his hands over the new furniture, opening drawers, and feeling the fabrics. “You did all this in one day?”

“Anthony and Derrek and Tiffany did most of it.”

“Anthony? Marconi?”

Eddie nodded. “From the antiques shop, yeah.”

“They did all this.”

Eddie nodded. “And his friend and his friend’s girlfriend.”

Pike scratched at the back of his neck, gazed around, and rubbed his fingers over his mouth. “I—I have to shower.” He left the room, entered the bathroom, and shut the door. Eddie moved to follow him, but the lock snicked into place and he stopped.

“Well, shit.”

Dividers

BoundtoFall_postcard_front_DSPBlurb: With so many fences between them and happily ever after, two men wonder if it’s worth opening the gate.

Ten years ago Eddie Crane, an actor on the rise, loved his costar and dreamed of the day they could be together. But his love, with his submissive nature, couldn’t handle fame, and before Eddie could help him, he died in a car accident—with Eddie at the wheel.

Now, guilt-ridden, Eddie buries himself in bad decisions and prays that a stunt—on or off camera—will go wrong.

Teenaged fantasies about the actor on his wall distracted Arthur Pike from real life—his dead father, runaway mother, gruff grandparents, and his unrequited love for his cousin’s straight husband. Now grown and off the farm, Pike is a horse stuntman hired to teach a reluctant Eddie to ride.

Pike is drawn to Eddie’s dominant nature despite the sadness clinging to the actor. Eddie let one lover down, but in Pike’s submissiveness, he sees the possibility for redemption.

Pre-Order Link: Dreamspinner Press

Dividers

Author BioAbout the Author: Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she’s never come up with a clear answer.  Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Jupiter Gardens, and Total E-Bound.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, she’s probably spending crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!) or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all….

Website | facebook | Livejournal | Deviantart | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

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5 Stars, Hank Edwards, Historical Romance, Horror, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Wilde City Press

Hank Edwards’ “Blood & Stone” Kicks Things Up A Notch In Venom Valley

Title: Blood & Stone (Venom Valley: Book Three)

Author: Hank Edwards

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 229 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

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As Josh struggles to control his power to raise the dead, the group is pursued to the abandoned Fort Emmerick. There they make plans to take the battle to Balthazar’s cave, uncertain if all of them will live to see the light of day once again. Continue reading

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Angel Martinez, Freddy MacKay, Mathilde Watson, Mischief Corner Books, Silvia Violet, Toni Griffin

“Hot Off the Range” Is Hot Off The Presses


“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” – Amanda Cross



Title: Hot Off the Range

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Pages/Word Count: 443

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Riding and herding. Those spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle. What is it about cowboys that so doggedly fires the imagination? Join the Mischief Corner authors as they give you their own unique takes on the cowboy mystique and mythos, from the American West, to Australia, to outer space. The cowboy story will never be the same…
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Dreamspinner Press, Rowan McAllister

“My Only Sunshine” Offers Hope From Despair



“There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.” ― Joel S. Manuel


BLURB: Tanner Wallis is nearly at the end of his rope the night Mason Seidel finds him lying next to the mangled body of a cow on the back pastures of the Seidel family’s Wyoming ranch. Recently out of the hospital after he and his boyfriend were brutally beaten, Tanner is jobless, homeless, and almost penniless. His desperate hope is that Mason will believe he’s innocent of the senseless crime and give him a place to heal, both physically and emotionally, until he can get on his feet again.

But Mason already has enough on his plate. He’s only been back on the ranch a few months, ten years after his father kicked him out for being gay, and only because his sister begged him to come help after the man’s disabling stroke. With all his responsibilities—running the struggling ranch and keeping his sister and father off his back—Mason can’t really afford the distraction Tanner represents. But he can’t just abandon the attractive young man either. There’s trouble in spades on the ranch, but if they face it together, Mason and Tanner might find a future with a little sunshine.
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Dreamspinner Press, Zahra Owens

It’s Never Too Late To Reach For The “Moon and Stars”



“Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.” ― Oscar Wilde


BLURB: After an affair with a married DA led to scandal and disbarment, Cooper Nelson left his legal career in shambles, and found solace working as a hand at the Blue River Ranch. Eight years later, during a rare visit into town, Cooper bumps into Kelly Freed, a man he left behind fifteen years earlier when he started out as an attorney. Unfortunately, Kelly is running for sheriff and his wife is terminally ill, so Kelly can’t even consider rekindling their relationship. Cooper knows from sad experience that hiding the truth leads to lives being ruined, so for his part, he refuses to be anybody’s dirty secret.

In the meantime circumstances at neighboring Blackwater Ranch have taken a desperate turn. Gable’s friend Calley has breast cancer, and when Gable and Flynn take in Calley’s kids, they need help from their friends. Cooper and Kelly’s combined talents are put to work to ensure Gable can make a bid to become the legal father of his children, and that Calley’s affairs are in order if worse comes to worst. For Cooper, staying away from Kelly was never easy, and now with a common cause, Cooper finds he can’t stop himself from seeking the man out.

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