Guest Post: In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott

Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here at Oh My Shelves celebrating In Over Our Heads, my new release. In Over Our Heads is a second chance romance for Anthony and Walter—two guys who seem total opposites but truly complete each other.

I thought I’d share a deleted scene with you. In both versions of the story, Anthony and Walter get back together while Anthony is in Key West, and then are parted when Anthony returns to Boston. But in my first take, Walter isn’t so adamant about not being the one for Anthony and they have a sweet parting scene (instead of the angsty one that made it into the book).

Deleted Scene

Walter kissed Anthony like a drowning man. This was their last night, their last time together. He kissed Anthony over and over, wanting to brand himself on Anthony’s wide smiling mouth forever. The taste of salt on Anthony’s lips told Walter one of them had started crying again.

Why was love so hard?

Being this upset should have rendered Walter impotent (if one were to put stock in the science regarding mind-body connection). But his prick was as eager as it had been ever  since Walter had seen Anthony in the bar for the first time in 12 years. Walter had gone home and beaten off that night for the first time in a long time. He’d always assumed he had a low sex drive, but that wasn’t the case. His sex drive was directed at one person, and one person alone, and that one person was here with him.

“I’m sorry to cry so much, but I can’t stop.” Anthony’s voice was tear-clogged. “I want you inside me and I’m just gonna cry my way through it. Because you know I’m an overemotional mess and this is tearing me apart.”

Walter closed his eyes like that would somehow help him soothe his own conflicting mass of feelings: sadness, horniness, fear… he couldn’t distinguish all of them. He’d been adept at repressing his emotions, not at understanding them, and even less at owning them the way Anthony did his.

“Make love to me.”

Anthony’s whisper jolted Walter out of the morass he’d sunken into. He opened his eyes and did the mental equivalent of squaring his shoulders. Willing himself to stay present, Walter touched Anthony’s face, wiping away the tears with a gentle thumb. “How do you want it?” he asked.

“I want to see you.”

They ended up with Anthony sinking down on Walter’s rock-hard cock as they clasped hands. Inch by slow inch, Anthony claimed him. He already had. He always would.

Afterward, they lay holding each other and Walter watched the shadows on the ceiling, cast by the flickering candle Anthony had lit earlier.

“I wish you wouldn’t leave.” He hadn’t planned to say it. But it was true.

“I wish I didn’t have to. But if you come to my birthday party, we’ll be seeing each other in a few weeks.”

“I… uh….” How could Walter explain his aversion to ever setting foot again in Boston? “Maybe you can come back here soon. For Christmas?”

Silence. He cast an uneasy glance at Anthony. His unease grew at the grim expression on Anthony’s face. “Is there some reason you can’t come to Boston?”

Yes! Walter wanted to shout. “I… there’re a lot of bad memories.”

The light went out of Anthony’s eyes. “I see. And you and me—that’s one of the bad memories you’re running from?”

“No. Not any more. But the rest of it… I botched everything. My parents and I aren’t speaking any more. I didn’t tell you that part yet.”

“Oh babe.” Anthony stroked the back of Walter’s neck. It felt good. “So, I’m guessing—without us getting into the ‘talk’ about our future—that you coming to Boston to live with me is a no go.”

“Yeah.” But then he registered what Anthony was saying. “Wait. Are you sure you want us to live together? At all?”

Anthony’s smile was startling in the middle of this conversation. “Oh, yes. We’re meant to be, doll! Destiny didn’t bring us together like this just to have us screw it up. But I know you might not be there yet. And I’m going to wait until you are.”

“Oh.” Walter’s head started to spin with “how about’s” and “what if’s” and damn Anthony for his completely illogical insistence on… on fairy tale endings! Walter was no prince. Why couldn’t Anthony see that?

As if he could read Walter’s mind, Anthony kissed him and said, “You’re the right one for me. I trust you. You would never ever willingly or knowingly hurt me. But I can’t make you see this. It’s something you’ll have to do for yourself. Trust yourself and not that nasty voice in your head. And if you can’t do that, then trust me.”

Walter stowed those words away. He couldn’t deal with them yet but he intended to examine every last one again and again. Whatever it took to… trust? Trust was such a vague concept. But he was determined to study it, analyze it, and master it. Anthony was worth it.

Release Blitz: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2) by CJane Elliott


Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories from the Shore
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67,000
Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

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Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

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Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here at Oh My Shelves celebrating In Over Our Heads, my new release. In Over Our Heads is a second chance romance for Anthony and Walter—two guys who seem total opposites but truly complete each other.

I thought I’d share a deleted scene with you. In both versions of the story, Anthony and Walter get back together while Anthony is in Key West, and then are parted when Anthony returns to Boston. But in my first take, Walter isn’t so adamant about not being the one for Anthony and they have a sweet parting scene (instead of the angsty one that made it into the book).

Deleted Scene

Walter kissed Anthony like a drowning man. This was their last night, their last time together. He kissed Anthony over and over, wanting to brand himself on Anthony’s wide smiling mouth forever. The taste of salt on Anthony’s lips told Walter one of them had started crying again.

Why was love so hard?

Being this upset should have rendered Walter impotent (if one were to put stock in the science regarding mind-body connection). But his prick was as eager as it had been ever since Walter had seen Anthony in the bar for the first time in 12 years. Walter had gone home and beaten off that night for the first time in a long time. He’d always assumed he had a low sex drive, but that wasn’t the case. His sex drive was directed at one person, and one person alone, and that one person was here with him.

“I’m sorry to cry so much, but I can’t stop.” Anthony’s voice was tear-clogged. “I want you inside me and I’m just gonna cry my way through it. Because you know I’m an overemotional mess and this is tearing me apart.”

Walter closed his eyes like that would somehow help him soothe his own conflicting mass of feelings: sadness, horniness, fear… he couldn’t distinguish all of them. He’d been adept at repressing his emotions, not at understanding them, and even less at owning them the way Anthony did his.

“Make love to me.”

Anthony’s whisper jolted Walter out of the morass he’d sunken into. He opened his eyes and did the mental equivalent of squaring his shoulders. Willing himself to stay present, Walter touched Anthony’s face, wiping away the tears with a gentle thumb. “How do you want it?” he asked.

“I want to see you.”

They ended up with Anthony sinking down on Walter’s rock-hard cock as they clasped hands. Inch by slow inch, Anthony claimed him. He already had. He always would.

Afterward, they lay holding each other and Walter watched the shadows on the ceiling, cast by the flickering candle Anthony had lit earlier.

“I wish you wouldn’t leave.” He hadn’t planned to say it. But it was true.

“I wish I didn’t have to. But if you come to my birthday party, we’ll be seeing each other in a few weeks.”

“I… uh….” How could Walter explain his aversion to ever setting foot again in Boston? “Maybe you can come back here soon. For Christmas?”

Silence. He cast an uneasy glance at Anthony. His unease grew at the grim expression on Anthony’s face. “Is there some reason you can’t come to Boston?”

Yes! Walter wanted to shout. “I… there’re a lot of bad memories.”

The light went out of Anthony’s eyes. “I see. And you and me—that’s one of the bad memories you’re running from?”

“No. Not any more. But the rest of it… I botched everything. My parents and I aren’t speaking any more. I didn’t tell you that part yet.”

“Oh babe.” Anthony stroked the back of Walter’s neck. It felt good. “So, I’m guessing—without us getting into the ‘talk’ about our future—that you coming to Boston to live with me is a no go.”

“Yeah.” But then he registered what Anthony was saying. “Wait. Are you sure you want us to live together? At all?”

Anthony’s smile was startling in the middle of this conversation. “Oh, yes. We’re meant to be, doll! Destiny didn’t bring us together like this just to have us screw it up. But I know you might not be there yet. And I’m going to wait until you are.”

“Oh.” Walter’s head started to spin with “how about’s” and “what if’s” and damn Anthony for his completely illogical insistence on… on fairy tale endings! Walter was no prince. Why couldn’t Anthony see that?

As if he could read Walter’s mind, Anthony kissed him and said, “You’re the right one for me. I trust you. You would never ever willingly or knowingly hurt me. But I can’t make you see this. It’s something you’ll have to do for yourself. Trust yourself and not that nasty voice in your head. And if you can’t do that, then trust me.”

Walter stowed those words away. He couldn’t deal with them yet but he intended to examine every last one again and again. Whatever it took to… trust? Trust was such a vague concept. But he was determined to study it, analyze it, and master it. Anthony was worth it.

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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Release Day Blitz: Leaning Into Touch (Leaning Into Stories, #4) by Lane Hayes

Title:  Leaning Into Touch

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher:  Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k words

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Second Chance, Friends to Lovers, San Francisco, Office

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Synopsis

Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.

Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.

Excerpt

Finn smiled and fell into step beside me. It seemed quieter on the street than it was earlier; there wasn’t as much foot traffic. Typical for midweek, I supposed. I breathed in the refreshing night air, loving the faint smell of the ocean. I shivered and crossed my arms. So much for enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was cold as fuck out here. I picked up my pace, but Finn pulled at my elbow to stop me.

“Are you daft? Where’s your coat?”

“I f-forgot it at the last bar. It’s okay. I’m cl-close.” I visibly shook when the wind whipped up the sidewalk, sending a scrap of newspaper flying by us like a paper airplane.

“Let’s go back and get it.”

“No, my friend will give it to me later. Or her friend will. I’m almost h-home so—what are you doing?”

“Put this on, then.”

Finn shrugged his suit coat off and set it over my shoulders like a cape or a cloak. He was two inches taller than me and far more muscular. It was like being wrapped in his warm, cologne-scented embrace. The gesture was so chivalrous, it left me speechless for a moment. I knew he was just being kind, but I couldn’t contain my smile.

“Thank you,” I said. “Are you sure you won’t be too cold?”

“Where I’m from, this is a summer breeze. You need it more than I do. Now tell me about your mates. I’m relieved to know you weren’t out drowning your sorrows on your own tonight.”

I snickered at his paternal tone. “I’m not above it, that’s for sure, but no…I was with my work crew for one last happy hour. Marley insisted. She was the redhead with the awesome curls I was with this morning at the museum.”

“I remember. She’s the one holding your jacket for ransom, eh?”

“Yeah. She’s on a mission to find the perfect man for me,” I huffed, making sure he saw my eye roll before we turned the corner to my street.

“Has she ruled out women? You’re bi, aren’t you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what I am anymore. I had girlfriends in high school and even in college but after the first time I was with a man, I haven’t been interested in anything but dick.”

Finn laughed. “Good to know.”

“What about you?” I asked, leading him down a brick path and up a short flight of stairs.

I leaned against the bright red door as I fumbled for the house key in my front pocket. In my head, I was planning a cinematic-worthy good-bye. Something lighthearted but sincere before we parted for the last time. It would have been a helluva lot easier to concentrate if he wasn’t standing so close and looking at me like I was the last brownie on the buffet table. I cocked my head and waited for him to break the spell.

“I like it too,” he said in a husky voice I hadn’t heard in far too long.

I gulped and licked my bottom lip as he moved in, bending slightly to brush his nose against mine. He surrounded me in every possible way. The heat of his body and the warmth of his coat draped me in a seductive cocoon. I felt woozy with a rush of desire so intense, I would’ve swayed on my feet if he hadn’t been standing so close. I set my right hand on his hip to steady myself and leaned in…just as he pushed away.

Finn let out a ragged breath and swiped his hand over his stubbled chin. “Fuck. I forgot how bloody difficult it is to walk away from you.”

“Then don’t.”

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Release Day Review: Building Forever (The Rebuilding Year #2.5) by Kaje Harper

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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: Building Forever by Kaje Harper
Series: The Rebuilding Year #2.5
Release Date: October 15. 2017
Format: e-ARC (80 pages)
Genre: novella, gay contemporary romance
Published By:

Four years ago, Ryan and John decided they’d wait to get married until it came with full legal equality. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, that historic moment has finally arrived. But two hundred miles separate Ryan’s hectic residency from John’s busy campus job. With a son in college, a daughter choosing her future, and a rambunctious Irish Setter needing attention, planning a wedding isn’t simple.

Of course, even the most perfect ceremony can’t solve all their problems. What does it take to build forever?
three-half-stars

It’s time for John Ward and Ryan Barrett to be married legally

See my review of Book 1: Rebuilding Year. I was really giddy that John and Ryan were finally at this point. After all, the state courts have cleared the way for same-sex couples to be have equal rights and protection under the law. But the week of their exciting and life changing event, the highest court in Wisconsin put a halt/injunction to same sex marriages. Now gay couples everywhere sat on pins and needles while the biggest fight was being waging behind within Supreme Court. This book chronicled this couple’s inner musings and fears as they wondered if they would ever get to call each other husband legally.

My feelings regarding this novella are torn because there are aspects I really enjoyed parts and there are instances that I didn’t enjoy. There was a happy ending, but it was an emotionally bumpy ride to the altar. I love John and Ryan and thus I found all the drama in this book unnecessary. Here was a passionate couple who had overcome a lot, including their current long-distance relationship arrangement. As Ryan said “we learned together…love was just love, and when it was this real, this true, then fighting it was like a crime against the heart.” They were still so sweet on each other and the love was strong as ever. But the mood or tone of the book just felt gloomy. Their inner musings were a tad disheartening.

It was sad to me that their life together was still wrought with uncertainty and ambiguity. Can they get married, where to leave etc? I wanted to be excited and ecstatic for John and Ryan, but the series of unfortunate events just left me feeling fatigued.

The injustice of their story is well chronicled so the continual expounding on the unfairness of our justice system felt like more preaching to the choir. I didn’t think John and Ryan had to go through the trials of Job in order to have a wedding day. I kept thinking, what else will go wrong? I was just ready for a little bit of a smoother sailing. But the most heartwarming  gestures like John bring soup and taking care of a fatigued Ryan made my heart melt. They made think of the scripture “Love is patient, love is kind” because John and Ryan had that kind of commitment to each other.

Ezi

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –

Audiobook Review: Lost and Found (Twist of Fate #1) by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy

Series:
Narrator: Michael Pauley
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Lost and FoundTitle: Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Series: Twist of Fate #1
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Format: 9 hrs 25 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: SKLL Books LLC

He promised to never leave me. But when I needed him the most, that was exactly what he did. Wilderness guide Xander Reed has spent fifteen years trying to forget the night he turned to his best friend in his darkest hour, only to find the young man who’d sworn to always have his back was turning his on Xander instead. Two thousand miles and fifteen years of building a new life in the quiet backcountry of the Rocky Mountains should have been enough to put the memory of Bennett Crawford out of his mind forever, but old wounds run deep and when Bennett suddenly reappears in his life as part of a wilderness expedition Xander is guiding, the scars he thought long healed break wide open.

two-half-stars

I found this book to be quite disappointing. The characters were not developed well and the plot was quite flimsy. The narrator was spot on but that wasn’t enough to save the slow paced story.

The main characters Xander and Bennett were best friends growing. An unfortunate event (and miscommunication) led to a 15 year grudge by Xander against Bennett. As the story unfolded, I found it Xander’s behaviour immature, bitter and irrational in that he wouldn’t even give his best friend an opportunity to explain himself. When the event was finally revealed, I rolled my eyes like nobody’s business. It seems like Xander never gave his best friend the benefit of the doubt despite the many things Bennett did to show his love and loyalty. Also, Xander took our his hurt over life’s painful lumps on a convenient target, the one person who really had his back. Talk about a bunch of big babies. Xander was a like a big kid for most of the book, and Bennett was the sympathetic friend trying to defend him or make things better. I actually thought Xander was self-centered and ungrateful. It’s not Bennett’s fault for Xander’s family situation but Bennett kept trying to compensate.

Then there was the added new bestie Aiden, whom alternated from being Bennett’s protective friend to a jealous ex while trying to mediate between Bennett and Xander. I didn’t feel Aiden’s character because I wasn’t sure what his true motivation was. It felt like he was waiting in the wings to be the clean up man.

The story ended in a reconciliation but since I never felt invested in the relationship, it didn’t create that satisfaction I normally get when all ends well. I just felt relieved that these two grown men finally put on their big boy panties and acted like adults.

Ezi

View all my reviews

About Sloane Kennedy

Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until March of 2015 when she released her first novel as an independent author. Since then, she has released more than a dozen books including the Amazon best-selling “Barretti Security” series, “Finding” series and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and all four of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and Freeing Zane, her final book in the Barretti Security series, made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany and grew up in Virginia and Wisconsin. Although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. Although she is unmarried, a menagerie of 2 dogs and 3 cats keeps her busy enough and 3 young nieces take care of the rest of her free time. Sloane loves being able to share her passion for romance with readers and she is truly humbled by all the support she’s received from fans and fellow authors alike.

Audiobook Review: Olive Juice by T.J Kline

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Title: Olive Juice
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Derrick McClain
Release Date: August 30, 2017
Category: Contemporary Gay Romance,
Length: 5 hours, 11 minutes

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:
I want to see you.
He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.
David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.
Phillip offers redemption.

three-stars

Derrick McClain did an outstanding job in this one. He really embodied David’s inner turmoil and Philip’s cajoling voice.
I am thankful that the author tackled this very important subject. The narrator and the actual event at the heart of the couple’s hurt was the only saving grace in this melancholy read for me. I kept hoping the story would get on to actually dealing with the pain but it was slow trot to the end. The narrator bumped up my rating to a three stars.

In the beginning of the book, I thought the main character David was having a breakdown, a blurring of what was real and imaginary. Being privy to David’s thoughts and feelings for most of the book was depressing and miserable. I felt like I came into the middle of the book and the author would slowly drop crumbles leading me slowly through the stages of grief journey. David and Phillip had a traumatic event that created a rift between them. For most of the book I was trying to get a handle of what happened, what was said, and at the end when everything was out in the open, I was left still feeling unsatisfied. I felt sad for the couple but I didn’t really connect with their character. I did feel sad and I was hopeful that they would find comfort but I think I came in expecting romance and happiness. The constant flashbacks didn’t evoke feelings of love so I didn’t really feel the couple’s connection.

It is hard to say more without giving away the meat of the story. I will just say that I didn’t enjoy this book and felt unfulfilled after reading it.

Question for those who have read it: What was the point of the character Mateo (the bartender)?

Ezi

About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

ARCstravaganza Monday: Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti

Thanks to #ARCstravaganza Monday is a weekly meme started by our friends at YA and Wine Blog! We show off an advance reading copy that we are excited about!

The ARC that I’m most excited about this week is Twisted Truth by Rebecca Zanetti. It’s the fourth installment in the Blood Brothers series. I ❤️ this series. Have you tried it? If not, I highly recommend it as one of the best romantic suspense stories out there. See my reviews of Book 1: Deadly Silence and Book 2: Lethal Lies by clicking on the book titles.

< u>Publication Date: November 14, 2017 by Forever Publishing

Grievous (Scarlet Scars #2) by J.M. Darhower

Grievous (Scarlet Scars, #2)Title: Grievous by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars
Narrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Release Date: July 20, 2017
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 23 mins)
Published By: Tantor Audio

Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in fairytales after her innocence was stolen.

Morgan Myers is tired. So damn tired. Most people either push her around or brush her off, and she’s not putting up with it anymore. Determined to reclaim the life that had been stolen from her, she puts her trust in the last person she ever expected to: the notorious Scar. Morgan sees a side of him that few people seem to know – the man, not the myth. Lorenzo. And what she sees, she likes, a lot more than she thought she would.

But fairytales aren’t real, as life likes to remind her. Some dragons, you just can’t slay, no matter how hard you fight them. And when hers comes back around, breathing fire, she’s forced to face some unimaginable horrors. But lucky for Morgan, there’s a white knight in combat boots out there that isn’t afraid of monsters.

You see, it’s impossible to be afraid of something you face every day in the mirror.

three-stars

I had to start this one as soon as I finished the first book due to the cliff hanger. I liked the characters more in this book than I did book 1. Lorenzo Gambino and Scarlet (Morgan Myers) were more fleshed out as well as their motives for their not so legal actions. I also liked the fact that this book had less angst because it didn’t quite work in the first book. I also liked that Lorenzo seemed less of a random sociopath and more of calculated mobster. The villain was more prominent and definitely abhorrent, so it was easy to root for Lorenzo and Scarlet.

In book 1, there was a lot of suspense and for most of the book I was trying to figure out what was going on and who the players were. In this sequel, that suspense was gone and it was a matter of figuring out how Lorenzo and Scarlet would win this battle. The tone of the book shifted and the characters seemed less broken and more hopeful. The author dragged the story out a bit but the conclusion was sweet and satisfying.

The Epilogue was definitely my favorite part to the novel and painted a picture scarred people who were healing as a unit as Lorenzo’s kindness towards the child showed that he did in fact have a heart.

I wanted to like this series as Sempre is one of my favorite series but I found this series underwhelming.

View all my reviews

Review: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

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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: by Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker
Release Date: June 27th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: • •
3.5 stars
This book is hard for me to rate because the writing was like a 5-star but my enjoyment was more like 3-stars.

I chose this book because K.A. Tucker past stories have been raw, gritty and mesmerizing authentic. This one was slower paced, methodical and well developed. It just lacked that gritty angst that I was hoping for.

The heroine Catherine Wright was a young student who made a mistake with her teacher that shadowed her life for a long time. This story was the growth, maturity and reconstruction of Catherine’s life.

As a single mother Cat works as a waitress in a diner owned by the only person in town who gave her safe place. She found support and even friendship at the dinner. On her way home she came upon an car accident. Cat rescued the occupant to only discover he was a famous hockey player Brett Madden.

The author slowly begins Catherine’s journey to reclaim her sense of self worth and trust in others. I really liked Catherine, her daughter, dad more than mom, her brother Jack, friend Keith and her boss Lou from the diner. Even with a good supporting cast, this story was the same cliche famous guy falls in love with poor downtrodden girl and saves her. I appreciate the systematic development of the Heroine but I found the pace too slow and frankly boring.

I lost interest about 60% into the story and struggled to finish it as the end was so predictable. The best part for me was that the teacher got his just due. At the beginning of the book, I disliked Catherine’s mom but by the end, I saw her for what she was, a mother trying to protect her daughter Catherine the only way she knew how. They paid a price but in the end, I truly comprehended what she was trying to do as a mother.

KA Tucker is a great writer but this one just lacked excitement and angst for me. I would recommend it to those who enjoy chick lit as it’s still a good story.

About K.A. Tucker

K.A. Tucker is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water.

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Cover Reveal: Bountiful (True North, Book 4) by Sarina Bowen

⭐ Amazon http://geni.us/BflAmazon

⭐ iBooks http://geni.us/BFibooks

⭐ Kobo http://geni.us/BFkobo

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.