Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

Title:  Enemy Within

Series: The Executive Office, Book 3

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 3/28/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 176K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Excerpt

The sounds of the convoy coming alive in the frosty morning started clattering through their patch of snowy forest. Grumbled Russian, slamming doors and squeaky metal hinges, the crackle of logs in a fire, and the clang of pots and pans that Vasily insisted on bringing from Volga.

Jack nuzzled at Ethan’s neck, and the roughness of his beard, grown thick in the five days they’d been on the road, scratched over Ethan’s skin just before Jack dropped a kiss beneath his jaw. “Morning, love.”

Ethan smiled down at him, de-cocked his pistol, and slid it into his hip holster beneath their blankets. He wrapped both arms around Jack as Jack turned and faced him. “How are you? Are you warm enough?” As Ethan spoke, his breath clouded the air between them.

“I’m good.” Jack peeled off his gloves beneath the blankets and snaked his warm hands up under Ethan’s jacket and sweater. His gentle, searching fingers found the long line of ragged stitches in Ethan’s side.

Ethan flinched.

“Sorry. You know we need to check them.” Carefully, Jack felt around the stitches, testing the skin, and then rested his palm over the top of the mostly-healed wound. “No heat. No swelling. No pus. No infection.” He smiled. “You had me worried after yesterday.”

Ethan ducked his head, his cheeks warming. While rummaging through an abandoned barn, he’d walked right through a rotted-out baseboard and fallen into a cellar, into the rough, loose earth. Not his finest moment. They’d wrangled some supplies, but he’d come away filthy and bruised, his ego smarting. Jack’s worried eyes and his gentle ministrations after they’d stopped for the night had helped sooth the ache.

Jack’s gaze darted over Ethan’s face, searching. He frowned. “Did you get any sleep?”

“Some.”

“Liar.” Arching an eyebrow, Jack sat back but kept his hands under Ethan’s clothes and on his skin. “You should let me watch over you at night, too.”

“I’d rather do it. I have you close to me.” He patted his hip and his holstered weapon. “I have constant protection on you all night long. There’s no way anyone can get to you. Not without going through me.”

“Literally.” Jack smiled, but it faded fast. “I’ll drive during the day again. Rest, and let me watch over you.” He squeezed Ethan’s hip as if to emphasize his point.

Ethan nodded, and the corners of his lips quirked up. This was new, this give and take of caretaking and watching out for each other. In DC, at the White House, there had been their jobs and their duties and the world to react to. They took care of slights and wounds inflicted by the press, their suits and ties a kind of armor against the world. Out in the wilderness, in the forest, they’d fallen into a different kind of caretaking. A sharing of two lives, each supporting the other’s existence. It was primal, in a way, how they had fused together. Half of his life was in Jack’s hands, and instead of feeling vulnerable, it was the most natural feeling in the world. “Deal.” Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to Jack’s lips.

A question hovered in the forefront of Ethan’s mind, weighing on his thoughts. Every morning, he felt the weight of his secret resting over his heart: two rings, made before the world fell apart around them. Some moments, asking Jack was on the tip of his tongue, ready to tumble from his lips with his next breath. He forced himself to swallow the words. Not yet. It wasn’t the right time. Not yet.

Jack leaned into Ethan, and his hands wound around Ethan’s back beneath his sweater. “At some point, we won’t be sleeping in this jeep anymore,” he whispered into their kiss. “We’ll have room to stretch out… share a sleeping bag…”

Smiling, Ethan pulled off his gloves and brought his hands up to Jack’s face, his thumbs caressing Jack’s cheeks. “We don’t need a sleeping bag…” One hand snaked around Jack’s neck, and the other dropped to his hip.

In a flash, he flipped Jack, laying him on his back across the bench seat. Jack wrapped his legs around Ethan’s waist as Ethan slid his hands through Jack’s blond strands.

Jack grabbed his shoulders and pulled Ethan closer, his legs tightening and holding Ethan in place. He captured Ethan’s lips, kissing greedily as his hips rocked upward. Even through the layers they wore, Ethan felt Jack’s hard cock, pressing against his own.

“I want you,” Jack breathed.  “I want you to make love to me.”

Ethan’s blood burned, searing through his body from his head to his toes, and part of him wanted to tilt Jack’s head back and ravage his throat, work his way down, unwrap him like a present until he found his cock. Suck him deep. Work him open with his tongue until Jack begged for more, and then sink his cock into Jack’s warm, tight body. Jesus, he wanted Jack. So much.

The springs on the jeep’s suspension squeaked with their rocking, and the tires groaned and crunched against the snow on the ground. In the distance, low chuckles sounded, and one catcall.

Deflating, Ethan dropped his forehead to Jack’s chest. He rode Jack’s deep, heaving breaths and listened to his racing heartbeat. “I don’t want an audience when I make love to you again.”

Jack’s legs dropped, one falling over the back of the front seat, and the other squishing against the window. His hands stroked over Ethan’s back and tangled in his hair. “I don’t want to have to be quiet.”

“Jesus.” Ethan gripped Jack and surged against him, thrusting against his hard cock once more. “That’s not helping.”

Smiling, Jack rocked his hips up once and then scooted backward, propping himself up on his elbows as Ethan sat back and tried to straighten out his clothes. A prominent bulge strained the front of his cargo pants. He ached, nearly painfully hard for Jack.

From the center of the camp, Scott called, “Coffee’s ready if you are!”

Rumbling laughter, deep and throaty, from nearly all the men.

Shaking his head, Jack started to pull himself together next to Ethan and fished out his balaclava from the pocket of his cargo pants. Outside of the jeep, he wore a full-face balaclava and, on their drive, he kept everything but his eyes covered. Ethan insisted, and Scott and Sergey both backed him up. The members of their convoy, of course, knew who Jack was, and just after Jack had shown up, Sergey had delivered a scathing speech in Russian to his people that had had even Ethan flinching, though he didn’t understand a word that had been said. But, they were traveling through a war zone, parts of Russia that were contested in the coup, under attack from Moroshkin’s forces, and that had been bombed by the United States and other nations, all trying to stop Moroshkin.

Who knew what was out there, or who was out there. Jack was, to the world, brain dead in Bethesda Naval Hospital. A front-page picture of him alive and well in Russia would go over as well as a nuclear bomb.

“Scott came by?” Jack tucked his undershirt into his pants, taking a moment to readjust. His cheeks were dusted crimson, a faint flush that Ethan wanted to nibble.

“Yeah.” He tore his eyes away from Jack and fanned the bottom of his sweater, trying to cool his body.

“How’d the scouting go?”

“The route is clear for the morning. More abandoned villages. They found fuel and some supplies. Vasily is cooking eggs.” Ethan reached out, and his fingers traced Jack’s spine through his sweater and jacket. “And you should talk to Sergey.”

Turning, Jack stared at Ethan.

“I think Scott’s worried about him.” A tight, strained smile, curved his lips. “And that’s saying something.” Scott’s trust in Sergey, and in their Russian allies, extended from meal to meal. Day to day, hour by hour. If everything came apart, Scott would be the first to say “I knew it”.

“He hasn’t wanted to talk to me.” Swallowing, Jack leaned back with a sigh. His hands dropped to his lap, and he picked at the wool fibers of the balaclava. “He’s kept his distance since Volga. I’m not sure I’m the person he wants to see right now.”

Nodding slowly, Ethan frowned. Sergey’s harsh accusations, thrown at Jack at Volga air base, had been the last direct contact the two had. “After all this time, you think he’s pulling away because of…”

Because of their love? Because he and Jack were together? Because Sergey had been loved by a gay man? Was this some kind of reaction, a fear that falling in love with another man “was contagious”, as he’d hurled at Jack?

“He’s pulled back before.” Jack sat forward, slipped the balaclava over his head. He tugged it down around his neck. “I want to do the right thing by him. I don’t want to piss him off.” He frowned, deep lines furrowing his brow. “But, no matter what else is going on, he’s devastated about losing Sasha. I remember what it felt like when I thought you were dead. I can at least try to talk to him about that.”

Ethan’s chest constricted, and his heart almost seized. Was it only a week ago that he’d thought Jack was dead and gone as well? Never, ever, again. He’d do everything in his power to keep Jack safe, keep him from ever coming to harm. And, he’d never lose faith like that again, either. The darkness that had swallowed him on his race from Saudi Arabia to Russia. The emptiness, the silent scream within his soul. The way he had wanted to die, had begged the world to kill him.

Together. They’d face everything together from now on. No matter what.

Adjusting the balaclava, Jack leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Ethan’s lips. “Time to face the music, love.”

Ethan pulled out his own balaclava, tugged it down around his neck, and gripped the door handle. They piled out of the back of the jeep, and Ethan caught the smothered grins and barks of laughter sent their way. Scott raised a dented metal mug toward them both. Jack headed for him, and for the small fire on which Vasily was cooking.

One of the Russians who went out with Scott every morning, Aleksey, slid up to Ethan. Middle-aged, Aleksey had been a federal police officer in Sochi and had fought back with Sergey against Moroshkin and Madigan’s forces the night of the coup. Now, he was one of Sergey’s officers in the insurgency. He had a small beer gut and a thick salt and pepper mustache beneath ruddy, pockmarked cheeks, a quick, sharp smile, and perpetually messy hair.

His eyes glittered as he clapped Ethan on the back. “You are good Russian lover!” he crowed. “Quick!”

Others laughed, and Ethan spied Jack smothering his grin and rolling his eyes as he took the coffee Scott offered. Scott shrugged and hid his smile in his next sip.

Ethan clapped Aleksey on the upper arm, smiling along with the others. When he and Jack had first met the men in Sergey’s insurgency, they’d worried about how they would be received. Two men in love in a country where only months before, Sasha had almost been killed for being gay. Another man, Evgeni Konnikov, had been murdered.

Sergey’s men, however, had been nothing but accepting. They were believers in Sergey’s government, after all, and Sergey had made equality a foundational platform of his politics and administration.

They just showed that acceptance through good Russian ribbing and teasing. The more ribald the better.

“If we had actually got going,” Ethan began, winking first at Jack and then sending Aleksey a grin, “we’d be here for days.”

More laughter. Aleksey wagged his finger in Ethan’s face and squeezed his elbow before handing him a cup of bitter, sludgy coffee. Vasily waved him and Jack over, and he scooped the last of the eggs into a scavenged plastic bowl they shared. “I save for you,” Vasily said, pointing to them both.

Jack thanked him. As they ate, Ethan spotted Sergey standing in front of his jeep, his hands resting flat on a spread-out map of Russia draped over the hood with his head bowed low. He looked up, and his piercing gaze fell on Jack. There was a moment where his face flickered, something dark passing through his eyes, but it was gone before Ethan could catch it.

And then, Sergey folded up his map and climbed into the driver’s side of his jeep. He kept his eyes downcast, not once looking at Jack again.

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Meet the Author

Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Pronouns: They/them & he/him

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Strays by Garrett Leigh

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Strays: by Garrett Leigh
Series: Urban Soul #2
Release Date: March 27th, 2017
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

four-half-stars

 

 

Oh my goodness, this book was amazing!!!! I loved every single minute of it. Leigh packs a healthy punch of angst in her for those lovers, but it was non-angsty enough for me to enjoy it. I mean let’s be honest here who does flawed characters like Garrett Leigh? NOBODY! She is Reigning Queen and this book solidifies it. I thought I could pick it up to start reading to take my mind off things, but I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. (NTS: go back and re-read Misfits)

Lenny & Nero were so good together. I can’t stop gushing about it. What is it about grumpy ass men? I’m so attached to them. At first grump glance, Nero was mine. He just wants to be in the shadows and maintain a kitchen, but he can’t. LOL. Well he can, but he realizes really late in life how amazing he is. He is the team of a-holes, but with his past its no wonder why. Realizing his sexuality and never acting on it is driving him part mad when in flounces Lenny. Pretty Lenny, who I adored and who adapted to this new situation. I really loved Lenny. He was going through a traumatic experience but was able to mold into something new for himself. The attraction to one another is pretty obvious. Its definitely a waiting game to see who is going to fold first. I didn’t care at this point. Feelings were being made, angst was being dropped, but when moves were made and action was had in this story. It was great seeing Cass, Tom & Jake from Misfits. Loved how they all fitted so well within this book.

Both guys have some sort of trauma that they are dealing with. Lenny’s is most recent, and Nero is in the past. How can he help Lenny, and still deal with his monsters in the dark? I like that Lenny kinda reinforced to Nero that the communicating is a 2 way street. If you want to know all of my flaws, and scares then give up yours. It was a lovely for me to have the emotions that I did have, but I think once again its why I like Leigh’s books. They are definitely realistic and very much you can know these characters off hand in one way or another.

Strays is a definite recommend for me. You can read it as a standalone, but why do that? If you are looking for great writing, and an equally amazing story then pick this book up. You will not be disappointed!

 

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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title:There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Release Date: March 17th, 2017
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

three-stars

 

 

This was extremely difficult for me to read, get through and wait two months to review. Let’s review here: In my head I have a really close relationship with Rhys Ford, and this rating or review won’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve dreaded writing this review since I finish reading it. I haven’t felt this letdown in a long time. She’s one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t like it.  I was finding it hard to get my words out without stabbing myself in the heart during the first place. If this was Rhys idea of a contemporary romance, then I prefer her murder mystery books. This was angsty, slow burn on the romance, and difficult to read for me.  The relationship was completely one – sided for me, and it never felt like a romance. Hell, the story felt like I was wading through quick mud while reading it. While I did like Jake & Dallas as characters, I still didn’t quite like the story as much as I would have liked.

Jake comes from a super abusive childhood. The abuse is so deeply twined into his soul, that he is not able to see the good in people. He’s so scarred from his childhood, and even worst that his tormentor is his father. A father is who sick, but still is able to keep his hooks into Jake. Dallas is the complete opposite, yeah he knows what love lost is, but he is more free spirited and able to open up at love. Their careers is what leads them to a chance meeting. Soon after it’s like fate stepped in and interceded.

This point on their was an excessive about of literary things happening that my brain wasn’t able to understand. Plenty of times, I had to step back and think why?? We all know how I feel about angst. A little is okay, I like people to work for it, but too much throws the story completely off. I really wanted the book to end at those points, I didn’t care if they did or did not get together. Dallas had these grand gestures for Jake about love, and friendship, but they were NEVER reciprocated. I literally hate with a passion, a one-sided relationship. I’m all for being someone’s backbone, but I was really waiting on Jake to open his eyes and realize what he wasn’t doing. How do we get this grandiose love story where I didn’t feel anything. At best a friendship is started and Jake can start healing, at worst nothing. I felt Nada, zip, zilch, NOTHING. In fact by the 75% I was waffling on calling it quite. Its something that I never felt while reading a Rhys Ford book. After reading it, I was straddling the fence on my rating.

The only thing that saved me was Celeste. She was a fun character, and the writing. Ford knows how to write, but the overall product was not something that I enjoyed personally. It had its moments, but they were very small and far in few in the story. I think fans of slow burn romance, angst, and heartbreaks will most likely like this.

 

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About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

Sophie by J.P. Barnaby

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sophie: by J.P. Barnaby
Series:Survivor Series #5
Release Date: March 15th, 2017
Pages: 108 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

It’s amazing how a single word from a tiny girl can change your life.

Spencer Thomas’s world turns upside down when his beloved Nell dies and leaves custody of her three-year-old daughter to him. Her “Spenna” comes when Sophie needs him most, but his boyfriend, Aaron, can’t be a parent. He just can’t. Neither of them expected a baby to fall into the lives they’d finally just settled.

When Nell’s ex comes to claim Sophie, Aaron needs to make a decision: man up or walk away as Spencer faces the fight of his life.

 

 

four-stars

 

I don’t want to say goodbye to Spencer or this series. I am smitten with the man that Spencer has become. From the very beginning in Aaron’s book I adored this series. I fell in love with the writing, the trauma, the characters, and the will to overcome everything that has been thrown at the Downing & Thomas family. It’s bittersweet that I’m writing this, because while its the end of a great series (minus book 2, sorry that’s how I feel) its also the end of J.P. Barnaby’s writing career. I don’t know what she’s going to do, but I want her to know readers will definitely miss her voice, her talent, and her characters. Thank you for writing so many books, but for me this series resonate so clearly within myself.

I thought book 4 was a dozy in the emotions department, but I was not ready for this short book to hammer at me so hard. We see all of the characters come together to help Aaron & Spencer at their most critical time. Told from both guys pov’s, but I feel like Spencer didn’t have enough page time to me. I really enjoyed seeing Anthony, and his family. We have followed this family from the hardest of times to the joyous of occasions. Spencer has a huge responsibility now that he has custody of his 3 year old cousin Sophie. He didn’t realize until it was there in his face how much he wanted kids.  Of course a dilemma occurs between Aaron & Spencer. One wants kids, and the other doesn’t. They don’t really have time to talk this through because an accident happens and leaves Sophie with Spencer. There is happiness in the story between the two guys, we see them come full circle and its a beautiful thing.

If I had to talk about the downside is that it felt rushed. It didn’t seem like Spencer got enough screen time for me. I want issues and things to be talked through on page, and instead it shoots to another scene. I’m left feeling unsettled because it doesn’t seem complete. Listen if it was up to me, I’d have a Spencer book each year. I love him that much.

All in all it’s still a really good story. An okay conclusion for me, but fans of this series will definitely be happy regardless. I wish JP all the best in her next journey in life, and thank her from the bottom of my heart for this incredible series. A definite recommend from me.

 

 

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About J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.

True Colors by Anyta Sunday

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

True Colors: by Anyta Sunday
Series: True Love #2
Release Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 226 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.

But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.

Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.

Afraid of falling in love.

Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?
~~~~***~~~~
“True Colors” is an enemies to lovers, boy next door, first time, slow burn M/M romance with a generous helping of UST. This no-cliffhanger, HEA book can be read as a standalone.

three-half-stars

I am not a fan of the angst. She is not a fan of the angst. We are not a fan of the angst. I.HATE.THE.ANGST.

I got that out of my system. I don’t go looking for angst, because I always get so ragey made by midway through the book, but end up enjoying it. I don’t want to feel that way towards my books. I really liked Leo Loves Aries, and wanted to read more of this authors’ work. It’s a big difference of slow burn romance, and angst central. I can deal with slow burn romance, because the buildup of their love & devotion is so beautiful to watch. Angst is some hard core b.s. While I felt like the story was angsty enough, I also felt like March was over melodramatic. Put your pitchforks away and let me explain.

Marco went through a traumatic experience. I applaud him for having the strength to succeed in day to day things. During this traumatic time he was betrayed by someone he trusts. I get all of this. 16 is a hard age to adjust to and deal with. I think whatever happens during the time is life changing, but for Marco the one thing he didn’t expect with his fallout with his best friend Oskar. Someone he counts on, depends on, and loves deeply. Oskar has been his life force during this troubling time. But the betrayal came from Oskar. Marco hasn’t allowed himself to heal internally, and his hatred it seems for Oskar is damaging everything around him. His and Oskar’s family is friends/neighbors/family together. They’ve been in each others lives forever, and by the boys not being friends anymore its hard to adjust to. Fast forward to the present. Both guys are 20. Adults in every sense of the word. Oskar is moving back home after being away for 2 years. Marco is moving out of his home, and finding the independence that he needs. He doesn’t take into account Oskar moving back throws a wrench into his mental plan. Here’s my thing when they communicate or start to build up to where they were or could have been, I feel like Marco was stagnant in this sense. I get him being upset and mad. I get Oskar doing what he did. What I don’t get is an educated, smart person who plans to be a high school teacher, and was once a teacher holding a grudge for this long. At times I felt like every time Oskar was on page, and Marco didn’t like it was very melodramatic. Oskar practically begging for his forgiveness, and Marco defiantly holding his past against him. This is all my take on the situation. Its very easy for me to say these things, and not have it been about me.

I will say out of my melodrama comment, I did enjoy the story. I loved the author’s take on the chapter titles and meanings. It was super fun to see what each meant. This was an angsty friends to lovers romance, and outside of my quips on a certain situation I did enjoy it. I really am glad that I gave this a chance. I did fans of Sunday will love Marco & Oskar’s love for one another. It’s the best kind of romance when its a near friend of yours. I really loved Oskar as a character. He seemed so mature for his age, and even Marco who I felt could be lenient sometimes, but I understand it was a defense mechanism. It can be read as a standalone and a definite recommend.

 

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About Anyta Sunday

Anyta Sunday – New Zealand writer in Berlin, Germany.

A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.

My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!

When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my sons around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.

Danced Close by Annabeth Albert

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Danced Close: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat #6 
Release Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 132 • Format: eARC
Published By: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links:
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Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town …

Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart …

three-stars

 

After careful consideration I bumped my rating up to a full 3 stars. I’m not happy with the overall product, but A.A is a very good writer. I always say I want more out of this series, and after each novella I’m like it should have been more pages. This was one time that I think it read needed to be long. The beginning was to slow, and choppy, I’m not convinced Todd knows himself well enough, because we surely didn’t get enough about him. It was frustrating trying to put together a background with no help. It would be little information about him, but nothing substantial as to why he is who he is. I thought this was careless on Albert’s part when every book in this series has been outstandingly thorough up until now. I feel the same exact way for Kendall. It’s little information but nothing really big.

After all of that is being said, once we got passed 35% the story got interesting. I think these two lonely guys who needed acceptance for different reasons learned to trust themselves to open up to one another. I will say that I did like that for all of their internal flaws there wasn’t nothing like the uplifting that they did for one another. Kendall for all his assurances about his appearance was a little hesitant about Todd’s feelings about himself. I think Todd realized that if Kendall a person who probably get judges daily for his appearance, then Todd can start uplifting him as well. It’s the same for Todd, he lacks the confidence at work and in his personal life. I like the idea that dancing has brought them together, and much closer.

I think it was a cute story, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other novellas in the series. I wish this would have been a full length story then it could have went a different way for me. It’s still Annabeth Albert, and I like her books. I think fans of this series will really like an added book to this series.

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fair Chance: by Josh Lanyon
Series: All Fair’s #3
Release Date: March 13th, 2017
Pages: 336 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
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Elliot Mills comes face-to-face with evil in this follow-up to Fair Game and Fair Play from bestselling author Josh Lanyon

One final game of cat and mouse…

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot’s hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn’t acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner’s gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it’s the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer’s twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

four-stars

First thing first, these two guys on the cover is super hot. Its not accurate at all, but I did like the cover. Tucker is a ginger, don’t disrespect his awesomeness by this. LOL.

Now that it’s been established that I’m a little cray, I really enjoyed this book. It was pretty face pace, and the only objection I have is the lack of screen page Tucker gets. It’s their last book, and I figured out quite a bit. I think this was the easiest of Josh Lanyon’s series.

Elliot & Tucker are enjoying life, they don’t have to hide, their love is professed to each other and equally felt. Roland and Elliot aren’t in their best space, but Elliot doesn’t seem to be as bothered as I thought he would be. Of course it could be the case from book one is taking over their lives.

As much as the blurb gave away stuff, I’m choosing not to. This book was really well written, I enjoyed it tremendously. I thought Elliot & Tucker grew so much from the first book. I really liked Tucker and his reassurances to Elliot when things hit the fan. The love both guys have for each other is really prevalent by the end of this story.

Well, you are thinking if you enjoyed it so much, why the 4 stars? Because Tucker wasn’t involved as much as I wanted him to be. I know for the setup of the mystery it needed to be that way but I wanted more screen time for both guys.

I am glad I found this series. Lanyon continues to write some of my favorite mystery/thrillers. I cannot wait to see what she does next, and I think fans of her series as well as this one would really love it. Definite read!!

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About Josh Lanyon

Bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, JOSH LANYON has been called “arguably the single most influential voice in m/m romance today.” Granted, that was yesterday.

Today Josh’s work has been translated into nine languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondari, the largest romance publisher in Italy. The Adrien English series was awarded the 2nd Annual All Time Favorite Male Male Couple by the Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for Gay Mystery, and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

Who We Are by Nicola Haken

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Who We Are: by Nicola Haken
Release Date: March 9th, 2017
Pages: 271 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

four-half-stars

 

 

I did not expect this amount of emotions

 

Nicola!!!! Goodness, warn us! Would you??

I was a wreck after reading this. No scratch that I was a hot ass mess while reading this, and up until I finish. I mean, it’s a HFN in the contents of a realistic fiction. This was my second Nicola Haken book, and I’m rethinking why I haven’t read anything else by her. I love British stories, the humor, love, tears and the feelings that I’m able to convey with these characters. Can I say I’m not an animal lover at all, but I loved Marvin Daye. Oh my goodness it left me in tears every interaction between Sebastian & Marvin. The humor was such a great aspect to this love story.

I like being able to relate to characters I read about. In any way, shape or form it’s nice to see some comparisons between fiction and real life. I think Nicola has the perfect antidote on writing realistic fiction. Her characters can be you, your family, spouse, and friends. Its the same reactions through all the tears, joys, love and laughs. I knew next to nothing about this book when I requested it. I saw the cover and a little of the blurb and wanted to read it. Did I expect the read it in one sitting? Absolutely not, but I did. I might not have the best words to describe the story, but I really thought it was a love story between two guys who were each hiding something about themselves to the world. Sebastian has seem to given up on love when we meet him. He’s sure of himself and being bi-sexual but none of the past partners or future to him were able to be okay with it. It has left him cynical and not really looking for love. Oliver hasn’t been himself in years, his love life sucks. His personal life doesn’t seem to be much better. Left custody of his younger brother at a young age himself hasn’t left Olli time to experiment with dating and love. Every little minute is left is dedicated to his brother Tyler who is at the age when he’s a little shit. Oliver’s only freedom is when he’s able to turn into Miss Tique, his drag persona who he evolves into, and lets all his inhibitions a loose while performing. A chance meeting between these two guys turns into something magical. The physical attraction is right their on the page and its not hard to see the love grow & blossom. I love both of these guys for all their faults & flaws. Both guys are hesitant to tell each other about the children in their lives. For different reasons they are scared to show each other their true selves.

I really didn’t expect this book to pack so many emotions. I couldn’t believe where it went with the plot, it was times in the story that I had to stop because the tears were following so heavy. I fell in love more and more with Olli & Seb. I think people will appreciate Haken’s canny sense of realism. I thought the pacing, the length and gradual increases of tone were perfect for the tone of the story. I think fans of the M/M Genre will be surprised by how great this is. I think you should give it a try, and great job Nicola. I so look forward to more of your work. A definite recommend from me!

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About Nicola Haken

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉

Shadow’s Seduction by Kresley Cole

Shadow’s Seduction: by Kresley Cole
Series:The Dacians #2
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Pages: 248 • Format: e-book
Published By: Valkyrie Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

In this scorching Immortals After Dark/Dacian novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole brings together a wicked vampire prince used to getting everything he desires and a demon warrior who always felt like an outcast.

A night of debauchery . . .
Prince Mirceo Daciano and his new friend, Caspion the Tracker, comb the streets of Dacia, drunkenly seeking out pleasures of the flesh. In what should have been a typical night, they coax a bevy of nymphs to bed. To impress their females, the demon and the vampire kiss on a dare.

Changes them forever . . .
Once they finally break away from their soul-searing kiss, they find themselves alone—and shaken. Had they imagined their explosive chemistry? Obstacles—ranging from a death sentence to exile in a war-torn dimension—threaten to destroy their lives . . . and the vulnerable promise in that one kiss.

How long can they resist the fire that blazes between them?
Even if Mirceo can accept Caspion as his fated mate, the seductive vampire still must convince the stubborn demon that their bond is forever. And any royal Dacian union must receive the blessing of King Lothaire, an unpredictable and savage killer…

 

three-stars

Dear Kresley Cole,

You could have done so much better.

Okay rambling ragey review to commence.

First, I would like to know why put the first 8 chapters of a book that’s coming out in the next month or so. What’s the fecking point? I didn’t read the 8 chapters because I feel CHEATED that this book was over at 80%? Come on Kresley Cole. You should have known better. If you had some fear or backlsh from your inbred fans who is going to lash out about you writing a M/M book then you should not have done it unless you was going to GIVE IT YOUR BEST. This was freaking subpar at best. I mean, it ended. Just like that. Do we have to wait another 5 years to get a conclusion to their story? Or will you somehow write something that is worthy to us M/M folks. I am going to be really honest hear, I was so skeptical of you writing a book in this genre. I really loathe the m/f writers jumping on the band wagon of this genre just to make money. Now, I don’t believe that’s you because you have 2 successful series, and you didn’t need to write these characters. Whatever compelled you to do it, kudos to you. Hopefully it’ll convince Illona Andrews to write a Barabas & Christopher story without fear of ugly mofos protesting it.

Here’s the thing, Its a damn book. If you don’t like the subject then don’t read it or rate it. Damn, it’s so fecking simple. All you had to do was ignore it, but its completely unfair to rate a book 1 star and your dumbass didn’t read it.

The first 25% of this story was disjointed and choppy sentences. I don’t know what happened with you, but I take offense completely to you writing this. I take offense that not only was it not your best content, but you decided to leave the damn story as a cliffhanger. Why? Why not make it full length seeing as I don’t think their sequel will be a priority for you. I will straight up compare it to Sweet Ruin, oversexed and not enough plot. Its as best as I can describe it. Will the potiential problem be in the next novel coming out in April? I think not, its about a new couple we don’t know anything about. At this point, I would rater the series to be over then to drag it out and have mediocre ass writing. I’m disappointed because I’m a fan of this series, and you decided to take a genre that was everything to me, and make it absymal at best. The only position thing that saved me was that I enjoyed both characters. I really liked Mirceo & Caspion together. It’s the only reason why it got its 3 stars.

I don’t even know if I’m buying your next book.

Sincerely,

A pissed off Mika

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The Mystery of Curiosities by C.S. Poe

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Mystery of Curiosities: by C.S. Poe
Series: Snow & Winter #2
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSP PublicationsAmazon

Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter, is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind, that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.

Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that’ll bring him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases.

It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line—it’s his very life.

four-stars

Yay, I enjoyed it!!!

So I have a little backtracking to do. The first book in the series sent me into a ragefest. I was very admanant about this author ripping off Josh Lanyone’s Adrien English series. My review is all snarky gifs, and reasons why Calvin can’t say the word Baby, because its Jake word. No one says Baby like Jake does. Throughout my entire review I went into how the autor completely sucked the life essence out of Adrien & Jake and made Sebastian & Calvin. I mean its eerie how paraelle their universe is. Well after all of that, and a week later I find out that the author thanked Josh Lanyon for being her inspiration, and this was her ode to the series. Yep left me looking like this:

My Bad.

Got over my feelings and decided while I hated it for copying one style, I loved it for its angst free, cheesy over the top goodness and so much fluff that it was. Ha!!! My thoughts are so judgy. Straight into book two Sebastian and Calvin are officially together. They are good, and seems to be in love with one another. We get to see another facet of Calvin. He’s struggling bit time with his actions and things that he’s seen from being in the military. He’s reluctant to deal with his issues and doesn’t want to talk about them. I get it, but I think Sebastian being a sounding board and able to talk to his father helps out alot. I loved the snarky humor between Seb & Max. I thought their parts were hilarious. It’s nice being back in Sebastian’s head. The plot was pretty intersting. I do like the history elements in part with the case. Of course Sebastian can’t help himself to some good ole sluething. He doesn’t have anything better to do, and he figures he can get all the answers to any of the questions. Sure he isn’t a cop, but not even the shooting and craziness from a few months ago can stop him. I did find out easily who the person/s behind this was. Pretty easy, but I thought everything overall was good.

I think I will continue to enjoy this series. Its easy, care free, sugary sweet and could be considered a comfort read to some. The complete opposite of the two mentioned above. Poe did a good job with the case, and can’t wait to see what shenanighans these two get up into book 3. A recommend from me!

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About C.S. Poe

Is an author of gay mystery and contemporary romance. She believes that happily ever after is an attainable goal for any character, given enough elbow grease and legwork is provided.

C.S. lives in New York City, but has called a host of different locations home in the past, most recently being Ibaraki, Japan. She regrets no longer having easy access to limited edition candy, capsule toy machines, and clean trains, but over ten years in New York has proved to her there is no place quite like it.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats, in no particular order. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. Poe’s first publication was Love Has No Expiration, by Dreamspinner Press in 2015. Her debut novel, Snow & Winter: The Mystery of Nevermore is scheduled for release in summer 2016 by DSP Publications.