4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Samhain Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Crossing Borders by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: Crossing Borders (2nd Edition)

Author: ZA Maxfield

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 316 Pages

At a Glance: A delightful story of an unlikely couple who make us believe in the possibility of true love.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Two dudes walk into a bookstore…

Tristan knows he’s got issues. His latest ex-girlfriend knows it too. He can’t blame her for dumping him—even though she gets her brother to do it for her. Since he can’t stop staring at said brother’s package, he figures it’s about time to put a label on those issues. He likes guys.

He heads to a local bookstore with what he’s sure is a foolproof plan to find someone to show him what he’s been missing. But who should crash his little adventure? Officer Michael Truax, who gave him a really expensive ticket back in high school for skateboarding without a helmet.

Michael has been trying to catch Tristan for years…to give him a second ticket. Suddenly faced with “Sparky”, all grown up and looking to get laid, Michael’s protective instinct kicks in—and presents him with an opportunity that’s hard to resist. After all, the kid must know what he’s getting into, so why not?

But when a man with a plan connects with a man with a hunger, the result is nothing short of explosive.

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Review: So, first of all, I’ve already taken a LOT of crap from my friends because I hadn’t read this book until now. I know, I know *smh*. What can I say??? I have thousands of books in my library, literally, and my life keeps getting more and more chaotic, so I’m just doing what I can these days. :) In my defense, though, I have read eleven other Z.A. Maxfield books and I’m a HUGE fan. I knew I would love this book – even more than I loved the late lamented Borders. :(

When we first meet Tristan, he’s figuring out that maybe he has some exploring to do – as in, maybe he should be exploring guys and giving the whole girl thing a rest, since it doesn’t seem to be working for him. His grand plan involves setting up at the local Borders and trolling for a perspective “date” who can maybe show him the ropes, or at least a good time. The last thing he expects is to be co-opted by Officer Helmet – his nickname for the officer who gave him a very expensive ticket when he was in high school for skateboarding without one. A helmet, that is.

Turns out Officer Michael Truax (aka, Officer Helmet) has a nickname for Tristan too – Sparky – and not because of Tristan’s bright red hair. Michael is onto Tristan’s plan pretty quickly, and he’s not sure it’s such a good idea. He has a feeling Tristan has no clue what he is potentially setting himself up for, and he doesn’t like it. Especially when maybe Michael has another plan in mind.

Tristan is completely blindsided by Michael’s interest in him and at first, he’s really skeptical. But as he gets to know Michael, he cannot believe that this is the guy for him. They are incredibly hot together. Tristan may be a beginner, but he’s a smart guy and learns quickly. After spending a couple of nights and days together, it’s pretty obvious that this is really something special. While there are a few bumps in the road, mostly they get it right.

But Tristan has to be honest with his family – especially his mom, who is trying to hold everything together since her husband’s tragic and sudden death a couple of years before. The whole “Thanksgiving with the families” day is hilarious. There are some really funny moments with Tristan’s younger siblings, as well as some touching moments with his widowed mother, who is doing her best to keep moving forward.

Then a new tragedy strikes that casts a pall over Michael and Tristan’s love affair. There is a bit of interference from someone outside the relationship that may or may not be well-intended. Tristan is definitely overwhelmed by so many things that he’s not sure he can risk a future with Michael. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and plenty of support. And, he has Michael.

*Sigh* ZAM is truly a master of writing intimate family dramedy. As usual, her dialogue and the emotional IQ in this story is spot on. I so loved these characters and Crossing Borders sucked me in from the first page. Tristan and Michael, and their families and friends, feel like people you’ve known forever – and in a good way. :) If you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend you do it right away. I mean, you don’t want to get crap from all your friends for being the LAST one to read this book, do you? ;)

 

 

 

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4 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Deep Deception by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: Deep Deception (Deep: Book Two)

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 235 Pages

At a Glance: I liked this novel much more than the first, mainly because there was a great deal of action and intrigue.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: He’ll give up everything for his immortal lover…except his humanity.

Leave a note and slip away to Paris alone, Adin thought. It’ll prove to his vampire lover he doesn’t need 24/7 supervision, Adin thought. Instead, Adin lands in a surreal situation that isn’t going to endear him to Donte. At. All.

As he awaits an old foe, Ned Harwiche III, for a prearranged meeting, Adin is head butted, tossed into the back of a car…then gets the chance to acquire an artifact Harwiche had been bidding on.

Adin jumps at it, if only as payback for all the dirty tricks Harwiche has pulled over the years. To his horror, the “artifact” turns out to be an adolescent boy named Bran.

Sickened, Adin vows to help the boy out, but like Donte—like a lot of the world Adin never knew existed—Bran isn’t at all what he seems to be.

While Donte and Adin negotiate the meaning of the word “forever”, Bran is running out of time. Especially when tragedy and betrayal pit Adin’s long-cherished beliefs against Donte’s love.

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Review: In book two of the Deep series, Deep Deception, author Z.A. Maxfield returns us to the enticing couple we have grown to love and, yes, hate, Donte and Adin. Adin, refusing time and again to give up his hold on all things human, finds himself in a bit of a pickle when his arch nemesis in the collecting field uses him as a switch and bait to retrieve a priceless artifact. That artifact turns out to be a boy, barely in his teens, but who is a changeling of a sort, able to delve into the minds of others, and then some. He also happens to be toxic to vampires, a real problem when your boyfriend happens to be one.

From this point, the novel becomes one twist and plot turn after another as secrets are revealed not only about Bran, the mysterious boy, but about Donte, Adin’s friend Edward, and that delightfully snarky bodyguard, Boaz. However, with each new revelation it is uncertain as to whether Donte and Adin can weather one more storm and still remain lovers. Both will have to give up something precious to them and each will have their very life threatened with death before the story ends.

I liked this novel much more than the first, mainly because there was a great deal of action and intrigue. Poor Adin seemed to be thwarted at every turn as he tried to unravel the mystery that was Bran, and the reason why he would be so sought after by less than savory opponents. Bran grew on me with every page, and I found myself quite concerned for his welfare just as Adin was. I loved that Adin’s best friend Edward, and Edward’s lover Tuan, were featured in this story—there is much more than meets the eye with these two, and I would love to see a prequel about them and how they met.

Donte, whom I alternately loved and hated, was not nearly as present in this story as the first. His love for Adin was very apparent, but he was often away for long periods of time, either brooding or hiding—I felt the story was unclear as to which most of the time. This was a prevalent theme in this story, bits and pieces left dangling, uncertainty as to Adin’s future by novel’s end, and some very confusing dream sequences where Bran was delving into Adin’s memories, which often managed to pull me out of the story and left me rather unsure if I had misread or if they were just too jumbled for me to understand.

All in all, Deep Deception gave us much more insight into Adin’s reasons for his reluctance in giving himself completely to Donte. That, coupled with a real coup as to who the true bad guy was in this novel, made for a very entertaining read.

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You can buy Deep Deception here:

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3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa, Samhain Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Deep Desire by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: Deep Desire (Deep: Book One)

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages

At a Glance: Not my favorite of Z.A. Maxfield’s books, but has me looking forward to Book Two in the series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: There’s no leverage like seduction…until love takes a bite of his plans.

As the Indiana Jones of historical erotica, there is no document existing—or just rumored to exist—Adin Tredeger can’t unearth. Why he would risk the biggest coup of his career to join the mile-high club is beyond him. But the disarming, dark-eyed man who somehow enters Adin’s locked airplane washroom has him completely nude and coming apart. All without a whimper of protest.

From that moment, Adin and Donte Fedelta engage in an international battle of wit and cunning. The prize—a priceless, 500-year-old journal with illustrations so erotic it could make the Marquis de Sade blush.

Yet Donte’s desire for the journal goes far beyond simple possession. The undead nobleman wrote it. And he’s not above using every trick in his otherworldly arsenal—including seduction—to get it back.

Chemistry draws them together even as fortune tugs them apart. But when a third party joins the chase, they must unite to fight an enemy with a deadly goal—to erase Donte from history.

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Review: One of the hallmarks of a good book for me is memorable characters. Considering I read Notturno, which is the original version of Deep Desire, back in 2010, and remembered not only the characters but the plot too, says something for the book. I’ve read a lot of books in the last five years, and let’s be honest, some aren’t always so memorable. So, was Notturno memorable for good or not so good reasons?

My honest answer would be more for the good than the not so good. Is this my favorite Z.A. Maxfield book? Not even close. If you read Notturno, is it worth reading Deep Desire? I have to be honest and say, no, not if you’re expecting a significantly altered story. If you didn’t read Notturno, is Deep Desire a good investment of time? That’s a subjective question, but I can say I made it through its near 200 pages in a day, so that may say something for how it drew me in and kept me on the hook until I’d finished.

One of the things that bothered me the first time I read this novel wasn’t that Dr. Adin Tredeger fell in love with Donte Fedelta with nearly no relationship exposition. It’s easy for the romantic in me to understand how Adin could fall for Donte after reading the vampire’s private journal. How many of us have fallen madly in love with a character after reading a book, after all? But if you don’t enjoy epistolary storytelling, you might put a check in the minus column for Deep Desire because much of the story is told this way. In Donte’s diary, he waxes poetic, and passionately, chronicling a forbidden love affair that began and ended five-hundred years before Adin had unearthed the long-lost text. The love Donte had found centuries ago wasn’t diminished in his memories or soul by the passage of time, but like a Shakespearean tragedy, when Donte’s secret passion for Auselmo was discovered by his shrewish wife, well, to mix centuries, playwrights and poets, “nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” and both men paid a steep price for that fury.

What bothered me in Notturno, and still does in Deep Desire, is the start of the novel and the beginning of Adin and Donte’s association. I feel there’s a leap of logic Adin makes in identifying Donte and then accepting him as a vampire. It’s done with few questions and what seems to be little difficulty. Why is this true, if Adin’s never met a vampire before? It ends up reading like an easy means to bring Adin and Donte together quickly, only to then have Adin backpedal in fits and starts. It’s not until later, once Adin begins to realize the full consequences of having Donte’s journal in his possession, and being awakened to the fact vampires—plural—exist, that his feelings and behavior are more aligned with the supernatural and the danger it represents, specifically for him, as a sudden magnet to every vampire in the city.

Reading my way past what I felt was that hiccup in construction of the storyline, however, I will say Maxfield then leads readers along to the end of this sexy and sensual urban fantasy with some exciting twists and turns. Her immortal undead don’t detour overmuch from the Stoker archetype—they’re top of the food chain, dangerous predators who glamour their human prey when it suits, taunt and torment and abuse them at will—and Donte in particular is a contrast of passion and ennui, as the vampire who swears he’s lost his humanity yet still succumbs, with a great deal of reluctance, to Adin’s charms. Adin bewitches Donte, flipping their predator/prey roles. Add to that the van Helsing-esque overtones peppered into the latter part of the story in Adin’s friends Tuan and Edward, and you’ve got yourself a contemporary vampire tale, with characters who generate a little heat together.

Having already read the sequel to Notturno, I’m looking forward to reading it in its reincarnation. As I recall, I liked Vigil a lot, more than Notturno, and I’m looking forward to seeing if my memory serves me well.






You can buy Deep Desire here:

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4.5 Stars, Amy Lane, Anne Tenino, Anthology, Holiday Romance, L.A. Witt, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing, SE Jakes, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid! An Anthology From Riptide Publishing

Title: Lights, Camera, Cupid!

Author: L.A. Witt, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, Anne Tenino, Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 226 Pages

At a Glance: Instant gratification in five satisfying pieces

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

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Review: If you’re like me, going into an anthology with the anticipation that there’s going to be one “weak link” story which then makes for an imperfect reading experience, I think I can safely say you can put that expectation away for Lights, Camera, Cupid!, a collection of stories set in the Bluewater Bay-verse and centered around Valentine’s Day.

Whether or not you’ve read every book in this series, or just a select few, it shouldn’t affect at all the ability to enjoy this collection for what it is: a glimpse into the lives and loves of its characters on the one day of the year dedicated to romance. In fact, at publication time, only L.A. Witt’s and Z.A. Maxfield’s characters have been introduced in Baywater, Washington, home to the popular TV series Wolf’s Landing, so enjoying the remaining three stories in the anthology is based solely on the talent of the authors and the strength of their writing.

Fittingly, L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day kicks off the collection with Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels, as they were the first men to be introduced in the Bluewater Bay series, in Starstruck.

Levi feels a lot like I, and many others do, about Valentine’s Day and the poor excuse it makes for picking a man’s pocket every 14th of February. Being in a relationship, however, means thinking not about himself but about the man he loves. Carter doesn’t want grand and ostentatious shows of commercialism. He just wants his and Levi’s first Valentine’s Day to be special.

And wow… does Levi deliver.

There’s a bit of conflict thrown into this day founded on the idea of romance, but it’s that conflict’s sweet and satisfying resolution that is the true definition of the word romantic.

Nascha, Amy Lane’s contribution to the anthology introduces characters who have yet to be discovered in Bluewater Bay, and won’t be until The Deep of the Sound is released in June 2015. Cal McCorkle’s introduction, that novel’s MC, is peripheral to the story told in Nascha, that of Cal’s aging granduncle and how Cal and his brother Keir came to live with Nascha.

This story is told in the present and through flashbacks, plucked from the mind of a man whose lucidity ebbs and flows. For this brief moment, Nascha relives his past and recalls the love he shared with a man and woman with whom he’d intended to spend the rest of his life, but for the fact that fate and circumstance intervened, then the system declared his relationship an unfit environment in which to raise a child—his niece Beth.

There is a strong sense of longing woven throughout this unexpected tale, threaded with the sharp sting of regret and the pain of lost years, and, without giving any more of this story away, it ends with an unapologetic tug at the heartstrings, which is probably not altogether unexpected from an Amy Lane story, is it?

SE Jakes’ addition to the collection, No Easy Way, is, I must say, my favorite novella in Lights, Camera, Cupid!, and that’s saying something because I found all the stories engaging.

At the age of sixteen, Cary Teijan lost the love of his young life. Dylan James disappeared without a word or a backward glance, so when Dylan turns back up in Bluewater Bay, working security on the set of Wolf’s Landing, not to mention returning with the intent to claim Cary—finally and irrevocably—the stage is set for six years of anger and resentment to throw plenty of roadblocks in the way of their journey to reconciliation.

There are secrets that Dylan’s been keeping from Cary which, coupled with the fact he saw nothing of his future but the possibility of following in his own father’s miserable footsteps, is why he enlisted and is what kept him from returning to Bluewater Bay until he’d worked to become the man Cary deserves.

Jakes mixes just the right amount of emotional conflict with sexual tension, unresolved anger, and regret to deliver a great second-chance love story.

Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand wins the award for story most in need of a sequel, and I’m hoping Lucas Wilder and Gabriel Savage are set to have their own novel in the series.

This story has a bit of a different flair to it, as it’s a coming out/coming of age story. Lucas has always been the odd piece in his blue collar family’s puzzle, and he’s just been accepted into the California College of the Arts, but first he has to break the news to his parents. Which he does…right about the same time he also announces to them that he’s gay.

Family tensions run high in this story, but not nearly as high as the sexual tension between Lu and his brother’s friend Gabriel. One moment of passion between the two leaves us with an inkling that Gabriel’s not half the ass he lets Lucas believe he is, and left me wanting more—Lu and Gabe, the post college years.

Tenino wrote this story with humor and heart, but if you’re not a fan of loose ends, well, just be prepared.

Finally, providing the bookend to L.A. Witt’s piece, Z.A. Maxfield treats readers to another taste of the delicious that is Nash Holly, first introduced in his and Spencer Kepler’s novel Hell on Wheels.

I’ll Be There finds the men hundreds of miles apart in the days before Valentine’s Day, with a snowstorm bearing down on the Midwest that threatens to keep them apart on their first February 14th together.

For all you readers who attended GRL2014, be prepared to recognize the setting of the convention Spencer’s attending, and be prepared to smile at the tenacity and ingenuity Nash uses to make sure he makes it to Bloomingdale, Illinois to be with Spencer, come hell or high water. Or feet of snow and treacherous road conditions, as the case may be.

This is the one story in the collection that I’d suggest might be best appreciated by reading Hell on Wheels first—to know these guys is to love them—but as sweet and romantic gestures go, Nash’s is just about the sweetest and romantickest. If not the dangerest.

If you’re looking for a little variety, solid storytelling, and some romance to round it all out, Lights, Camera, Cupid! is instant gratification in five satisfying pieces.






You can buy Lights, Camera, Cupid! here:

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Giveaways, Riptide Publishing

Giveaway: The Lights, Camera, Cupid! Blog Tour With Riptide Publishing

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Thanks for joining us on this tour! Check out the great Valentine’s Day stories from Bluewater Bay and comment to win a Valentine’s gift basket sent to you or a Valentine!

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Lights, Camera, Cupid! (A Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day Anthology)

Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

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LightsCameraCupid_400x600About Bluewater Bay: Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by ten award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Aleksandr Voinov, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, and G.B. Gordon. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Buy Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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GiveawaysEvery comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a Valentine’s gift basket sent to you or a Valentine! We’ll send anywhere local delivery is available (and offer a $40 store credit in the event that delivery is not available in your country.) The winner will pick the type of basket they want (either fruit, flowers, or candy/snacks) and we’ll send your basket out!

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Giveaways, Samhain Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Guest Post and Giveaway: Deep Desire by Z.A. Maxfield

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The Novel Approach is thrilled to welcome author Z.A. Maxfield today on the Deep Desire blog tour. Enjoy what ZAM has to say about her vampires, then be sure to check out the great giveaway below.

Good luck!

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Hi! I’m Z.A. Maxfield, better known as ZAM. I want to extend my sincere thanks to The Novel Approach for helping me celebrate my latest release, Deep Desire, book one of The Deep Series.

These books have been edited. They’ve been retitled. There are new, cool covers. They’ll be available simultaneously in ebook and print.

Things that I never realized about vampires!

When I started thinking about writing a vampire novel, I had to ask myself a lot of questions. What would my vampires be like? What would they care about? How would they dress and act? Would the world be aware of their existence? Would they have lost their humanity or retained some sense of who they were?

All of this falls under the category of World Building, which, when you’re very new to writing…can sometimes be problematic. On the one hand, you really want your vampires to be different from everyone else’s. On the other, you don’t necessarily want them to sparkle.

And then there’s the physiology of vampires. Do they have to make themselves breathe when they want to talk? What about circulation? If the heart doesn’t beat, there can’t be circulation, and if not, how do they—er—do that thing we love to read about in erotic romance…?

Because without a blood supply…This could be problematic!

At some point, I had to accept that my vampire stories are more about humanity and loneliness. About living so long you lose everyone you care about. They’re about an insatiable hunger, and not simply for food. In the end, I chose to make the story more of an emotional journey, than a scientific one.

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deep-desireBlurb: As the Indiana Jones of historical erotica, there is no document existing—or just rumored to exist—Adin Tredeger can’t unearth. Why he would risk the biggest coup of his career to join the mile-high club is beyond him. But the disarming, dark-eyed man who somehow enters Adin’s locked airplane washroom has him completely nude and coming apart. All without a whimper of protest.

From that moment, Adin and Donte Fedelta engage in an international battle of wit and cunning. The prize—a priceless, 500-year-old journal with illustrations so erotic it could make the Marquis de Sade blush.

Yet Donte’s desire for the journal goes far beyond simple possession. The undead nobleman wrote it. And he’s not above using every trick in his otherworldly arsenal—including seduction—to get it back.

Chemistry draws them together even as fortune tugs them apart. But when a third party joins the chase, they must unite to fight an enemy with a deadly goal—to erase Donte from history.

This book is a rerelease of a previously published book, with substantial rewrites.

Warning: This product contains one cocky college professor, one centuries-old vampire who is out to show him who’s at the top of the food chain, and red wine. Because it goes so well with humble pie.

Buy Links: Samhain Publishing | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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Here’s a snippet:

As usual, Vin was packed; even late at night, a crowd thronged the bar. Adin figured they’d have to wait for a table, but Donte turned on the full power of his charm and the electrified host sat them at a lovely, private table immediately. Adin noticed others staring hard in their direction, no doubt wondering who they were that they got the star treatment. Adin shrugged, and Donte took it as his personal due, nodding regally at those who gazed at him.

“Noblesse oblige?” asked Adin.

“It never hurts to be kind, Adin.”

“Said the aristocrat vampire pornographer.” They sat in silence until it was time to order wine.

“Hartford Court Pinot Noir 2005,” Donte told the sommelier. “If you have it.”

“We do,” the man said. “A good choice.”

Donte returned his attention to Adin. “He’s thinking, ‘not an excellent choice,’ and wondering why I would order a small California wine here, in a restaurant famous for its cellar.”

“So, you read minds?”

“No, I read faces. And to be honest, they are all beginning to look remarkably similar. It puts me in rather a quandary. For instance, how much of my attraction to you is because of you, and how much is because you remind me of a certain French portrait artist named Gilbert who completely rocked my world during la Terreur?”

“I can see the dilemma.”

“Can you? Do I remind you of anyone?” Donte asked idly.

“No, Donte,” Adin admitted. “You are like no one I’ve ever known in my life.”

The wine arrived, and the sommelier enacted the wine drama that never failed to make Adin wish he’d just ordered a Bushmills. Donte didn’t play along much, refusing the cork, then simply breathing in the aroma of the wine in the glass. “Fine.” He smiled. “Thank you.”

The sommelier retreated.

“This wine is delicious, but to be honest, I picked it because it goes very well with—and I hope you won’t take this wrong—you.”

“Ah.” Adin was almost speechless. “Well. I was going to order the roast pork.”

“Oh, that has a cherry sauce. You’ll find that dish goes with the wine as well, as there’s a complex cherry-berry note that comes right through. Taste it if you want. You’ll notice it right away.”

Adin lifted his glass and took a small sip. Donte was right. In its dry elegance, it had a definite note of cherry, and something indefinable and sweet, like winter food.

“It tastes like Christmas.”

“Ah, that’s the allspice. You noticed? You have a good palate.”

“Not really,” Adin demurred, absurdly pleased.

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Vampire novels. Revamped. Here’s your New Title Cheat Sheet:

Original title            New Title
Notturno     Deep Desire coming Feb. 3 2015
Vigil             Deep Deception coming July
Matins         Deep Deliverance coming December

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Z.A. MaxfieldAbout ZAM: Z.A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.

If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Readers can visit ZAM at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

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Giveaways ZAM will be running two giveaways for this tour! At the end of the tour, she will draw a winner from the comments section of each blog to win a copy of Deep Desire! There is also a tour-wide Rafflecoptor where readers can enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Contest Begins: February 2, 2015
Contest Ends: February 10, 2015

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, J.A. Rock, J.E. Birk, Jess Buffet, Keira Andrews, Liam Livings, Lisa Henry, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Sue Brown, Z. Allora, Z.A. Maxfield

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak PeekHappy Sunday, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week. We’re starting off February in a great way, with more guest authors, great posts, outstanding giveaways, and, of course, more reviews to share with all of you.

Now here’s a look at what’s up in the week ahead.

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MondaySue Brown is first up, helping us kick off the week on the The Next Call blog tour

Liam Livings is also helping us start the week off right on the Escaping from Him blog tour

TuesdayRhys Ford’s Black Dog Blues blog tour makes us a stop today, and I hear there be dragons

WednesdayKeira Andrews joins us today on the A Clean Break blog tour

J.E. Birk is also with us to do a little release day celebrating of the new Dreamspinner Press novella Depending on You

Thursday RJ Scott drops in today for a visit on The Bucket List blog tour

Z. Allora also joins us today with a guest post and giveaway on the Transgender Romance blog tour

FridayJess Buffet makes TNA a stop on the Always Been You blog tour

The writing team of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock also stop by on their Merchant of Death blog tour

Saturday – And finally, Z.A. Maxfield closes out the week on the Deep Desire blog tour

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That does it for this week, folks. Until next Sunday, happy reading!

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Giveaways, The Year In Reviews

Simply The Best 2014: Round Four – The Year In Reviews and a Giveaway

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Hi, everyone!

We are thisclose to the end of our best of the best selections for this year. In case you missed the earlier selections, Sammy’s and Tina’s can be found HERE, Jackie’s, Lana’s, and Jules’ can be found HERE, and Lynn’s and Chris’s HERE.

Since Kim and Kathie are the audio connoisseurs in our group, today’s feature are their top picks in the audiobook category, and guess what? TNA is going to give you the chance to win TWO of the listed titles. And guess what else? If you’re selected as the winner, you get to choose which titles you’d like in either audio or e-book format. Continue reading

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Giveaways, Self-Published, Z.A. Maxfield

Guest Post and Giveaway: My Cowboy Homecoming by Z.A. Maxfield

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“A cowboy’s heart has room for anything…”

My Cowboy Homecoming is the newest release from bestselling m/m romance author Z.A. Maxfield. It’s part of the Cowboy Hearts series, stories of men who love the land where they live and the animals they care for. Stories of men who love men. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay: Book Three)

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Nash is the reliable one in the Holly family, the guy everyone counts on to keep things going. His genius twin brother is off at university, so Nash runs the family’s auto repair business and cares for his partially-paralyzed little sister while his crackpot father invents. His life seems mapped out for the foreseeable future, however much that might chafe. Continue reading

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Riptide Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Interview and Giveaway: The Hell on Wheels Blog Tour With Z.A. Maxfield

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So good to be back here at the Novel Approach on this stop of my Hell On Wheels Blog Tour. For those following along, my Blog Tour giveaway plan is as follows:

1.) Comment here for the chance to win an ebook. My assistant William will randomly pick a winner for each blog I visit, and that person will win an ebook of their choice from my backlist. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Self-Published, Z.A. Maxfield

Audio Review: Family Unit by Z.A. Maxfield – Narrated by JP Handler

Title: Family Unit

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Narrator:: JP Handler

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 8 hours, 38 minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: A retired marine, Logan is methodical and conservative. Richard is a liberal pacifist who is pathologically afraid of guns. Yet the minute Logan sets eyes on Richard, his heart turns over like an old car engine and it isn’t long before his motor is revved and Richard is in the driver’s seat—even if it seems like each man is driving a different car. Continue reading

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Deanna Wadsworth, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Jamie Lynn Miller, LE Franks, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Five

1237Greetings, everyone, and welcome back for round five of our Countdown to GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaways. In case you’ve missed the previous baskets still up for grabs, here are the links to Baskets Three and Four. We have another great basket on offer today, so without further ado, have a look at what’s up for grabs.

RJ Scott: A $10 Gift Card for Amazon or All Romance eBooks
The Novel Approach: A $15 Gift Card for Dreamspinner Press
Ethan Day: An e-copy of Sno Ho
Ethan Day: An e-copy of Life in Fusion Continue reading

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Deanna Wadsworth, DH Starr, Edmond Manning, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Jamie Lynn Miller, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Four

1237Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to day four of the GRL Virtual Gift Basket Giveaways! We have more great goodies on offer for you today, so have a look at what’s up for grabs:

Rhys Ford: A $25 Gift Card to the e-tailer of the winner’s choice
DH Starr: An e-copy of Meant for Each Other
RJ Scott: An e-book of choice from her backlist
Ethan Day: An e-copy of To Catch a Fox Continue reading

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Charlie Cochet, Deanna Wadsworth, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Three

1237Hi, Everyone! We took a day off yesterday, but we’re back again today with Round Three of our Countdown to GRL Virtual Gift Basket Giveaways.

Just in case you missed them, you can enter for a chance to win Basket One HERE and Basket Two HERE .

Now, here’s what’s up for grabs in Basket Three! Continue reading

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Edmond Manning, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, J.K. Hogan, Lex Chase, Rhys Ford, Sophie Bonaste, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Two

1237Greetings, everyone! Day One of our Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway went so well, how about Round Two?

We’ve got another great selection of prizes in Virtual Gift Basket Two today. Here’s the list of what’s up for grabs:

Lex Chase: A $25 Gift Card to an e-tailer of the winner’s choice
Rhys Ford: An e-book choice from her backlist
Edmond Manning: An e-copy of The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds: Book 3)
Continue reading

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lynn, Riptide Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

A Man Reconnects With His Past In Z.A. Maxfield’s “Home the Hard Way”

Title: Home the Hard Way

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 324 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide. Continue reading

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GayRomLit, Riptide Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Z.A. Maxfield Is Here Today To Celebrate “Home the Hard Way” With A GayRomLit Giveaway

2014GRL_BlogTour_sq200x200Hello from Southern California, where it’s been really warm and sunny lately! A great Big thank you to The Novel Approach for letting me talk about my new release, Home The Hard Way, a romance with mystery elements set in a small town called Palladian, Oregon.

You’re going to want to follow along the whole blog tour, Here.

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So I guess the question a lot of people are going to ask is, why did I set Home The Hard Way in Palladian, Oregon? Continue reading

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BJ Sheppard, Brita Addams, Edmond Manning, GayRomLit, Lloyd Meeker, Morticia Knight, Rain Carrington, Rick R. Reed, Rory Ni Coileain, Silvia Violet, Sneak Peek, Z.A. Maxfield

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, thanks so much for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week. Besides more reviews, that is.

We’ve got some great guests and giveaways on tap for you, so have a look at what to watch for.


MondayZA Maxfield kicks off our week with a Countdown to GRL Celebration and giveaway for her latest novel Home the Hard Way

TuesdayRory Ni Coileain drops by on the SoulShares Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Brita Addams will also be here today with another guest article to share

WednesdaySilvia Violet is our guest, with a giveaway on the Unexpected Trust Blog Tour

Rain Carrington is also here today with an excerpt and giveaway of Pappy Don’t Preach (Apishipa Creek Chronicles: Book Three)

ThursdayRick R. Reed is our guest today on the Bashed Blog Tour, with a giveaway

FridayEdmond Manning stops by with another Countdown to GRL Celebration and his new book Filthy Acquisitions

SaturdayLloyd A. Meeker is our guest today on The Companion Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Morticia Knight does a little Rocking the Alternative with us as well, with a giveaway

Sunday – To close out the week, our very own BJ Sheppard is our guest today on the Rainbow Connection series Blog Tour, with a giveaway

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Loose Id, Reviewed by Lisa, Z.A. Maxfield

“Grime Doesn’t Pay” But Reading The Second Book In ZAM’s The Brothers Grime Series Does


“Shame is always easier to handle if you have someone to share it with.” ― Craig Thompson



Title: Grime Doesn’t Pay (The Brothers Grime #2)

Author: Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 241 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Grime Doesn’t Pay

Continue reading

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Loose Id, Z.A. Maxfield

The Brothers Grime: Grime and Punishment by Z.A. Maxfield – Hello New Obsession

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past – Percy Bysshe Shelley

I have a savior complex. No, not the kind where I think I’m the Messiah or something. I’m talking about the kind of savior complex where I think, “Oh look, a book about a couple of damaged men who have to overcome a tragedy and a broken past so they can fall in love. I can fix that.” And then I buy said book and think, “Phew, good thing the author did all the work for me so I could sit back and fall in love with the men in the book who overcome a tragedy and a broken past and fall in love with each other.” It’s such a great relationship we readers have with these writerly types, isn’t it? It’s like being a second-hand savior, which is so much less work.

Z.A. Maxfield has begun another series, as if I weren’t already obsessed enough with that of the St. Nacho’s variety, but now I get to start obsessing all over again on a new one, The Brothers Grime, and the first book, Grime and Punishment, the story of ex-firefighter Jack Masterson, a man whose disability suffered in the line of duty has forced him to leave the job he loved and turn his talents in a new direction—crime scene clean up.

Jack doesn’t do much field work himself these days, having become successful enough to hire a team of workers to handle the hands-on part of the business. But when his friend, sometimes buddy-with-bennies, and full-time closeted police officer Dave Huntley, calls with the news that Nick Foasberg has committed suicide, well, Jack has no choice but to rush to the scene. Love and loss and lies and pain and a purgatory of self-denial have an uncanny way of motivating a man to revisit a past he’s never overcome.

Ryan Halloran did what he could to help his cousin, but there’s only so far a man can go before every effort merely ends up leading one step closer to the inevitable. Nick committing suicide in Ryan’s bathroom stole the man’s home and sense of security from him, which is why Ryan needs what Jack is there to offer—his company’s talent for erasing the stains of violence left behind for the survivor to bear. It’s not as easy a decision as it sounds, though, for Ryan to make. See, Ryan knows full well—or at least he thinks he does—the history Jack and Nick shared. But when the past comes clean with all its secrets and truths, secrets and truths that weren’t anyone’s but Nick’s to tell, they threaten to collapse the bridge the two men have begun to build between the past and the present.

Grime and Punishment is a story of redemption and second chances in all its humanly complicated finery, especially if you love flawed characters who seem determined to keep wrecking their own chances at peace. Not only is there plenty of emotional substance to sink your heart into, but there’s also the very simple fact that ZAM has come up with another great couple of MCs whose verbal skills rival the non-verbal for a practically perfect validation that they should continue to investigate what’s happening between them. There’s also the added benefit of a potentially interesting character in Dave Huntley, which, when all’s said and done, has put me on full alert for round two.

You can buy Grime and Punishment here:

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Chris Quinton, J.K. Pendragon, Leta Blake, Z.A. Maxfield

What’s Coming Up In The Week Ahead

I hope everyone has had a great weekend! Here’s what’s happening this week at TNA.

Monday – Z.A. Maxfield has a new series, so we start the week with a review of Grime and Punishment

Tuesday – Kiera Andrews’ The Chimera Affair and The Argentine Seduction are being featured

Wednesday – Is all about Chris Quinton and her futuristic vampire series Fool’s Odyssey, with a review of the third book Fool’s Rush

ThursdayThe Gentleman and the Rogue by J.K. Pendragon is on tap

and finally,

Friday – is all about Kiera Andrews and Leta Blake’s fairy tale Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales, Book One)

Have a great week, and happy reading!

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Loose Id, Z.A. Maxfield

Fugitive Color by Z.A. Maxfield

Revenge is barren of itself: it is the dreadful food it feeds on; its delight is murder, and its end is despair. – Friedrich Schiller

Someone has robbed Max Lancaster of his Muse, in a most brutal and permanent way. Young Elena Genovese, ballerina and the inspiration for some of Max’s most brilliant and celebrated work, was found murdered. And Max Lancaster, as it turns out, is the prime suspect in her death.

Why wouldn’t he be, after all? Max is single, a bit of a loner, is largely irresponsible and perhaps mildly eccentric, and is a man who has spent hours upon hours obsessing over capturing the grace and form of a sixteen-year-old girl on canvas. His art is as close to proof of an open love letter as one could get, using color and images rather than words to express the awe and admiration he has for the beauty of and dedication to her craft. It is suspect at best, proof of his fascination with the girl at worst; not to mention the fact he has no alibi, and is hiding from a secret and tortured past that has come back to haunt him, a past—and now a present—in which nearly everyone, including Max himself, has questioned his sanity. But not everyone believes Max is capable of cold-blooded murder.

Sumner Ellison is a forensic artist who has been assigned the job of capturing a rendering of a young man who was seen with Elena just before her death. Sumner has also been assigned the job of engaging Max in an effort to draw him out and to, hopefully, lure the man into a false sense of security that will cause him to err into confession. But the more time they spend together, and it doesn’t take long as there is already a small piece history between them, the more Sumner becomes convinced, in spite of his own growing fears, that Max is innocent. Proving it, however, may be next to impossible, especially when all the damning evidence seems to prove otherwise.

Fugitive Color is a story of crime and confession, served up in a catch-me-if-you-can fashion. It becomes evident fairly early on who the true perpetrator is, but half the fun of that is then watching, waiting, and wondering when everyone else is going to catch up to what is so evident to the reader.

As Max begins to psychologically unravel to the point that he begins to question his own innocence, as his art begins to morph into something exceedingly disturbing, and as Sumner’s belief in Max’s innocence is tested over and over again by what seems to be overwhelming evidence to the man’s guilt, the tenuous grip on their budding relationship falters and fails. It becomes impossible for Sumner to fight against the will of a man who has already condemned himself to a fate that circumstance seems determined to deliver. But it’s only a matter of time before the true killer prepares to strike again, and this time it’s Max who will be the victim.

This was a fast paced read, one I made it through in just a matter of a few hours, and I thought it was time well spent. I might have liked to have more of an opportunity to see the relationship between Max and Sumner develop, but I liked what I got, which also counts for me. And I’m just going to say that I’ve learnt not to be a huge stickler on editing issues, but I will also say that there were a few instances in this book where characters were referenced by the wrong name in a scene, so if those sorts of things bother you, and let’s face it, there’s nothing right about being pulled out of a story so you can try to figure out who should be where and when, just be forewarned it’s there.

You can by Fugitive Color here:

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Samhain Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield

If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things. – Confucius

This book took me to my happy place, a book that’s the perfect amalgamation of a knotty romance and characters I fell immediately in lurve with, characters with charm, warmth, personality, faults and foibles, and Kelly Mackay… Kelly, who was a combination of all those things, as well as being afflicted with OCD and agoraphobia, but the beauty part is that Kelly is not merely a prisoner of those afflictions; he is a sum of more than those parts. He is warm and gentle and compassionate, and he has secrets that he’s not willing to share with many people, most certainly not the general public.

After a psychologically altering event, a horrific tragedy that was the catalyst for the person that Kelly would become, he wrote a book called Doorways under the nom de plume Kieran Anders, a critical work that would come to serve as the touchstone for every young man who read it and was, at the time, attempting to come to terms with his own sexuality. It was Kieran Anders’ crowning achievement, and the only book he ever penned. And it is also Kelly Mackay’s deepest secret, one he never intends for anyone outside of his minuscule circle of confidantes to know.

But journalist Jae Fields has gotten a righteous anger on and now nothing is safe or sacred, especially not Kelly’s right to privacy, or to his multiple identities.

Kelly Kendall, has written a book called Windows, a pornographic satirization of the hallowed Doorways. So, why would Kelly purposely defile the book he’d written as a serious catharsis for his own damaged emotional state, all those years before? Simple, he lost a bet to Will Lanier: houseboy, factotum, and general all-around slut, and the best friend-with-benefits Kelly has ever had. (P.S. Will is seriously in need of his own book. Just saying.)

Windows is like the proverbial red flag waved in the face of the angry bull. Jae has taken it on as his personal mission to out this Kelly Kendall hack, who is obviously a woman, no less, for desecrating the one book that helped him survive his own coming out a decade before. Where there are secrets, Jae Fields is the man who will stop at nothing to get to the truth, even if it means posing online as a Kelly Kendall fangirl to discredit the author and reveal her true identity.

It is a tangled web Kelly has woven, not as a practice of deliberate deception but to protect the privacy he so desperately needs. Kelly begins an email correspondence with SberryFields, one that begins as a personal crusade to unearth Kelly’s true identity, but quickly becomes something more, especially after Jae and Kelly unintentionally meet at the funeral of Jae’s ex-lover, a celebrity who happened to have been outed by the tabloid paper Jae works for, and a man who died with a copy of Doorways at his side. Oh, synchronicity, thy name is twisted matchmaker.

Watching Kelly and Jae fall in love was a pure joy while, at the same time, it was a dangling-carrot-of-doom knowing their relationship was little more than a minefield of lies by omission and half-truths and unknowns just waiting to be unearthed. When the house of cards finally tumbles, it’s not an easy thing to witness; nor is it any easier, after all those cards are laid out on the table, realizing it might be too late to overcome all the duplicity that underscored the entirety of their relationship to that point. But boy, it was sure fun being a bystander to the story of these two men and all the colorful characters who helped them tell their story.

ePistols at Dawn has definitely made its way on to my All-time ZAM Favorites List. It’s a story that pits journalistic integrity against a public persona’s right to privacy, and is a story that turns the tables on the journalist, who suddenly finds himself the object of scrutiny by that same media. I loved this one a lot and wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to recommend it.

You can buy the book here:

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