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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Dreamspinner | Amazon

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

(Website, Facebook, Goodreads)

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 –

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Bitten by Desire by Annabelle Jacobs

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 78,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Regent’s Park Pack Series
 
Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Two lovers from rival packs. Have they come together only to be forced apart?


Alec Knight, a beta in the Regent’s Park pack, guards his heart carefully. Ghosts from his past keep him alone and angry, any hope of a relationship impossible while guilt from the pack wars still haunts him. With the anniversary drawing near, Alec needs a distraction.


As a lowly member of the Primrose Hill pack, Mark Appleton isn’t used to having his alpha’s attention. Lately he’s had more than his fair share, and not for the right reasons. Despite growing suspicions that all is not well, Mark tries hard to do better, but constant criticism leaves him desperate for a stress outlet.


Sex is a good way for shifters to let off steam, and while their packs attack each other with accusations and lies, Alec and Mark work out their frustrations in bed. Pillow talk and shared secrets lead to a closeness neither was expecting, but when pack relations reach an all-time low, any future for them seems out of the question.


If they want to be together, they’ll have to go against their alphas’ wishes—except Alec won’t and Mark can’t.

 

 
Excerpt

Mark’s scent might have been lost to him before, but standing this close to him, Alec had no trouble picking it out—a light citrusy undertone to the spicy edge he’d detected earlier with just a hint of the tequila working its way out of his system. Even with the alcohol, he smelled good.

Alec took a deep breath in, not bothering to be subtle about it. Might as well put the offer out there. He wasn’t in the mood for games tonight. Maybe he hadn’t consciously gone in there with the intent of hooking up with Mark, but he liked what he saw. Dark hair and blue-green eyes had always done it for him.

It was a bad idea; the worst one Alec had had in a while probably. But like it had done on the street outside, Mark’s scent stirred Alec’s interest, making his wolf perk up and take notice. He didn’t always get that with people he fucked. When it happened, it boded well for the night ahead.

And it was just sex, right? After Cam’s accusations, Alec couldn’t make relations between their packs any worse. Cam might disagree, but Alec needed to get all this tension out of his system if he was to be any use to his alpha over the next few days. And both he and his wolf had decided on Mark.


Author Bio

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Leaning into Touch 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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Tender with a Twist

Series: Rainbow Cove #2, but stands alone well

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: October 2, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 79,000 words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, May-December, BDSM (light), Small Town

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Synopsis

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Logan

The crazy woodcarver was shirtless. Again. It was a sleepy Thursday in January on the Oregon Coast which meant most sane people were in flannel and jackets and bundled for the sharp bite of the wind. I was wearing fleece-lined bike pants and a long-sleeved cycling jacket myself as I celebrated the first good ride of the year, and I was still chilly when I stopped my ride near the jewelry store on 101—the main highway running through Rainbow Cove. I told myself that I’d stopped for some water from my bottle, but I knew it was a weak excuse. Really, I’d been transfixed by the sight of Curtis Hunt carving up a giant tree trunk with his chainsaw.

For all that rumors flew about his eccentricity, the man was an unparalleled artist, and watching him do his thing was a true pleasure. Sweat dripped from his head and back despite the cool temperature, and he worked like a man possessed, moving this way and that around the piece, dancing almost as his chainsaw flitted about with the sort of grace I’d expect from the jeweler, not this buff lumberjack with heavy machinery.

He wore sawdust splattered jeans, heavy boots, safety googles and ear protectors, but his red flannel shirt lay discarded on a nearby sculpture of a falcon, showing off his shimmering muscles and tats that even from a distance were impressive. For all that the guy had probably fifteen years on me, he was in amazing shape. Hell, if I had ink and muscles like that, I wouldn’t keep my shirt on, either. All the muscles made something warm unfurl in my gut, but I dismissed the low thrum of arousal as a never-happening-in-this-lifetime thing. Chances were very high that he’d laugh at any of my fantasies, especially the ones involving him, some rope, and his usual intense stare replaced with something closer to supplication.

But, a guy could still look. And want. So I took my time drinking my water, watching as the outline of a bird slowly emerged from the raw tree trunk.

In a town as tiny as Rainbow Cove, the rumor mill worked overtime, and I knew all the rumors about Curtis. Knew he’d lost his longtime lover a year or two ago and that the two of them had been mythic fixtures in the area. Curtis had apparently gotten more eccentric since the other guy had passed, moving into the old gas station he used as a gallery for his carvings, growing his own food, and going notoriously cranky about change.

And change was what had driven me to Rainbow Cove. Change was what my restaurant represented—hope that the area economy could find a new foothold in tourism. So it wasn’t surprising that Curtis didn’t seem to like my friends and me any. Probably wouldn’t appreciate me looking at him like he was a lumbersexual Tumblr all queued up for my viewing pleasure.  But damn, those muscles…

I gave myself last look before I pedaled away, heading away from the center of town, taking the turnoff that would lead me to the narrow residential road that skirted the beach to the south. I was alone on the road, glorious, vast gray skies and sprawling blue ocean my only companions. This was what I’d come to Rainbow Cove for, the space to be alone, the quietness that I’d only ever found before in a dojo. Portland was crowded, and not just with people. My parents’ expectations always loomed large, as did past mistakes and hurts, and the general hustle of the area made it hard to catch my breath, hard to think and breathe and simply be. The traffic. The noise. The demands. All of it had gotten to be too much for me, and when my friend Mason had proposed the idea of the bar and grille here on the coast, I’d leapt at the chance to start fresh, especially since I’d loved the coast from some of my earliest memories of family weekends away.

Eventually, my ride returned me to the tavern where Mason was signing off on a meat delivery from a local farm.

“Chef!” The driver greeted me with a wave as I locked up the bike. “We’ve got some new fillets in. Think you might want some for a special this week?”

My mind immediately flitted away the shirtless woodcarver and back to my real passion—cooking. I loved being the chef here, the guy who made the decisions and the specials. I’d had years of sous chef positions in Portland, growing ever more eager for my own menu, one where I could play with sauces and presentation and choose my own local ingredients.

“I’m picturing a peppercorn crusted fillet with red wine reduction.” I inspected packages Mason was loading into the freezer and fridge. We’d do most of our business with the endless stacks of burger patties, but I loved changing things up with my daily specials, too.

“Don’t know if anyone will pay fillet prices.” Mason shook his head. The slow winter season was starting to wear on my friend, who also served as our business manager. “You can try it as a special, but let’s not over-order.”

I reluctantly took a small order of fillets, ceding to Mason’s wishes, and rounded out my weekly specials plan with cheaper options like shepherd’s pie.

“How was your ride?” Mason asked after the delivery guy was on his way.

“Fine.” I didn’t feel the need to report on my perving of the woodcarver. It had been a little personal indulgence. Not to mention the fact that Mason’s police chief boyfriend, Nash Flint, was close friends with Curtis, which meant I’d be in for double the teasing if I let on that I’d let my eyes wander in that direction.

“You’re not too lonely, are you?” Mason pressed. “It’s your first winter on the coast, and I know that can be hard.”

“Not lonely,” I said, truthfully. I was so happy to be free of all the voices of Portland—my well-meaning parents, my ex, my aikido master, my many opinionated friends, the executive chefs and restaurant managers who hadn’t seen fit to promote me. The silence of the off season meant that for the first time in my life I was finally free to figure out my own direction, and I intended to seize that. I wasn’t telling Mason, but that was my New Year’s resolution—be the person I’d been reluctant to embrace in Portland. It was high time I took a chance on myself.

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Meet the Author

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Release Day Review: A World Apart by Mel Gough

Source: NineStar Press

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: A World Apart by Mel Gough
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Pages: • Format: Kindle e-arc (196 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links: •NineStar Press Amazon US

Synopsis: Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.

When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.

With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.

two-half-stars

I would describe reading this book as getting into a vehicle where the author took me on a high-speed car chase where I was hoping it would end well but my heart was in my stomach a lot.

It started with a very dramatic courtroom scene. The entire book, I kept waiting for the courtroom scene to tie in, but it didn’t really impact the story as I thought it would. There was such potential but it wasn’t realized here as there was no real foundation laid for this romance nor real chemistry between the characters.

The main characters met when Police Officer Ben Griers saw his best friend and fellow officer Jason being overly aggressive with a suspect. Ben stepped in and insisted that Jason release the suspect Donnie Saunders since Jason had no evidence connecting Donnie to an alleged hit-and-run accident. Donnie was grateful and went on his way. It seemed that something passed between them although it felt like sympathy, a bit of pity and gratitude.

Later at an AA meeting, Ben ran into Donnie and there was a recognition of sorts. Two struggling people trying to find their way out of their predicaments. Ben was having problems in his marriage so the reader was supposed to understand why and how Donnie evoked feelings that seemed dead in Ben. Other than having substance abuse issues that they were working through, I don’t see anything these two had in common. The author didn’t really set a foundation of loneliness for Ben, though it was clear that Donnie had a very troubled past and no real support system. Ben quickly stepped into Donnie’s life and started helping him with his illness with no hesitation. Considering he has a daughter and a wife, it was unbelievable that he didn’t even give a second thought to how this would affect their lives. Ben’s wife seemed like a reasonable person. I am not entirely sure what was the real problems in their marriage and why it couldn’t be addressed via counseling and effort.

There was a very heavy subject with serious issues all around, but they weren’t worked in carefully. The subjects of bisexuality, addiction and severe health condition should have made for a great hurt-comfort read but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. Ben’s wife, daughter and even best friend Jason were all relationships that I didn’t really comprehend because there was no real depth to the dialogue nor real expression of emotion amongst these characters. They all seemed to be good people at heart, but seomthing just wasn’t right so they were glossed over. The writing was so uneven that it felt like I was holding on for dear life through this rather shallow journey of the character’s lives.

  I had high hopes for the book based on the enticing blurb but I was disappointed.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Circle by Garrett Leigh

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Roads Series
 
Slide (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Rare (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

I love him…but he’s forgotten why.


A lot can happen in six years, and Ash and Pete have seen their world flipped upside down more times than most. Being parents to Pete’s young nephew wasn’t in their plan, but life happens to them and they roll with the punches. Or at least they did, until new heartache rocks their hard-won happily-ever-after.


Ash loves Pete as much as ever—more, in fact—but Pete battles alone with a burden that weighs heavily on his heart. Ash is no stranger to dark clouds, but the secret Pete keeps from him is a storm that could break them.


Despite the fierce love that once buoyed them, they’re both drowning until a new friend throws them a lifeline. His wisdom offers insight—for better or worse, real love is rarely a smooth journey. For Ash and Pete to come full circle once more, they’ll have to hit the road and chase it.

Excerpt



Okay, so feline-themed clubs were definitely not my bag, but I couldn’t deny that it felt amazing to be out and proud with Ash. I sank into a couple of beers, and the dark cloud that had become my constant companion lifted a touch, chased away by neon lights, glitter, and the swathes of naked man skin all around us.


Not that I took much notice of any man but Ash. He was never going to take his shirt off in public, but he didn’t need to. The fucker turned heads wherever he went, and the fact that he had no idea made me love him even more.


Made me want him even more.


We didn’t dance. Ever. But clubs had always made us horny in the past, and this one was no exception. The music ramped up and the heat seeped into us. The crowds thickened, pushing us ever closer. I pressed myself tight against Ash, so absorbed in him that I forgot to glare at anyone who dared look his way, and backed him into a nearby wall. “I like this club.”


“Yeah?” Ash hadn’t touched any booze, but his face was as flushed as mine felt, his eyes as hooded, and his skin jumped when I slid my hands beneath his T-shirt and over his chest. He licked his lips. “Do you think we’re gonna be here long?”


I doubted it, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’d cut loose early to run home and bang. But we weren’t at home now, and as I kissed Ash, it occurred to me that we’d never fucked anywhere that wasn’t our home. If tonight went the way most of our club adventures had before, where would it end? Would Ash fuck me in a hotel? I honestly had no idea. And whose fault is that? If I’d come with him when he’d first started traveling two years ago, I’d know, and perhaps would have even persuaded him that we could fuck anywhere we damn well pleased.


We kissed for hours in the club. The fact that Ash made no move to hustle me out clued me in to how he felt about banging in our hotel room, but I didn’t let that stop me enjoying him. Because, fuck, I’d missed him, even though he’d been right there from the moment I’d met him. Ash was my home, my family, my everything. We didn’t need to screw for me to know that.

 
 

Author Bio

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

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, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock sitemoonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

 

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

Scorpio Hates Virgo: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love #2
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Pages: 245 • Format:eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Anyta Sunday

Blurb

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
It can be read as a standalone.

Excerpt

The image of Cal in his shower stuck in his head like a nasty thorn, following him back to his place an hour later. It took a concentrated effort and a ton of porn to knock it from behind his retinas.

It really didn’t help when, on the edge of coming a second time, he realized he was sliding the soles of his feet over the sheets Cal had given him.

It knocked the generic porn-dude out of his head and he found himself imagining Cal’s form through lightly fogged glass.

Cal stroked himself, his thick cock sliding through a slickened hand. He choked on a groan, his head rolling back. His eyes widened when he glimpsed Percy on the other side of the door watching but his hand didn’t stop. He stroked faster. His voice was mellow and dripped of sarcasm. Sarcasm and curiosity. “Perseus.”

“Callaghan.” Percy entered the shower, straining and naked. He walked through the mist spraying off Cal’s gently coiled muscles and pushed him against the wall. “You’re not meant to star in my sex-fantasies.”

Cal set those measuring eyes on his, bottom lip parting, the slick sound of his working hand growing louder. On every upward stroke, his hand grazed Percy’s stomach. “Sex in the shower is one of your fantasies? How highly imaginative of you.”

“Since your favorite weapon is your mouth, I think that’s what you should use.”

“To what?”

“Ruin me for any other man.”

Cal dropped to his knees, looking up smugly. “Like my mouth doesn’t do that already.”

Percy’s toes curled and pinched the sheets, and his cock unloaded hot and heavy, the orgasm wringing through every damn inch of his body.

Well. Wasn’t this peachy?

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Author Bio

Slow burn romance that quickens the heart.

Anyta is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French. Member of Romance Writers of America. You can find me at these places:

Website ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert

Title:  Trust with a Chaser

Series: Rainbow Cove, Book 1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: 08-01-2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75,000

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Law Enforcement, Small Town, May/December

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Synopsis

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Mason

When Adam stepped inside the glorified closet I was using as an office, eyes all twitchy and hands wringing a bar towel, I knew I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth.

“Sheriff Sexy just walked in. He’s your problem.”

Fuck. I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. “Please don’t call Police Chief Flint that. He might hear, and I’m pretty sure he’d find a citation for you. And I am not bailing your ass out.”

“You’re just worried that one of these days you’re going to slip up and call him that.” Adam grinned at me. This was an old argument—he’d been calling Flint that stupid nickname since we were in high school. The hard-nosed cop wasn’t one to cut teen drivers any slack—especially if they were in any way associated with the name “Hanks.” “Anyway, you know he freaks me out. I’ve got no idea what he wants—all our permits are in order, right?”

“Of course.” Standing, I grabbed the folder with the permitting paperwork. I prided myself in the organization I was bringing to the bar and grill that I co-owned with Adam and our friend, Logan. Flint wouldn’t find anything to complain about, not with me in charge. “I’ll go deal with him. You go back to the bar in case we get a rush.”

Adam snorted. Despite it being opening weekend, traffic had been embarrassingly light. We’d worked for weeks transforming the old tavern—a Rainbow Cove institution for decades—into the newly renamed Rainbow Tavern. The gay-friendly bar and grill was our vision for pulling our sleepy little coastal town into the twenty-first century. Logan had crafted a new menu of upscale bar food ready to go, and Adam had innovative drinks specials at the ready. All we needed were customers. And to not run afoul of Nash Flint on our first day of operation.

Flint was a Rainbow Cove institution himself—born and raised here, same as Adam and me, but unlike me, he’d never left, sliding into his father’s shoes as police chief and apparently fitting the role as easily as a pair of broken-in jeans. He’d been Officer Flint last time I’d seen him, almost ten years prior.

Guess I could have seen him had I come down for Freddy’s trial, something I still felt niggles of guilt over, and I told myself that was why my stomach fluttered on my way out to the tavern’s dining room. Unlike Adam, I’d never found Flint particularly…

Sexy. All my thoughts fled as I took in the man sitting in front of the plate-glass window. He dwarfed the small wooden chair, one of dozens that Adam and I had painted bright colors. Broad shoulders stretched the confines of his uniform shirt, biceps bulging under the short sleeves. His cut-glass jaw was firm as ever, as were those hard hazel eyes. But what had been frankly terrifying to my teenaged self made my twenty-seven-year-old libido sit up and take serious notice.

Flint blinked as I approached, head tilting to one side. I’d been getting a lot of that since I’d been back in town. “Mason…Hanks?”

“The one and only.” I stuck out my hand. “What can I do for you, Chief Flint?”

He returned my handshake with a sure grip, only a moment’s hesitation. I guessed he wasn’t all that used to shaking hands with a Hanks. Oh well. I was out to prove to the whole damn town that I wasn’t like my father and brothers, and if I had to start with Flint, so be it.

“Nice place you’ve got here.” His eyes swept around the renovated room—restored antique bar on the far wall where Adam wasn’t bothering to conceal his nosiness, dance floor beyond that, colorful tables and chairs in the front of the bar, only a handful occupied despite the dinner hour.

“Thanks. Our permits are all in order.” I held out my folder. “Liquor license is on top.”

He waved the folder off. “Not worried about that.”

No? Then why the heck was Flint in my establishment? “Good. We’re on the up-and-up. You won’t have trouble from us—”

“Glad to hear it,” he said levelly, eyes skeptical, reminding me that I was, after all, nothing more than a Hanks. “Cheeseburger?”

“Pardon?”

“That Ringer kid didn’t see fit to give me a menu, but I’m trusting you all offer something approximating a burger? Salad, no fries, and an iced tea.”

“You want to order?” I was still struggling to keep up with him.

“This is a food establishment, right?” He shook his head as if he hadn’t expected more from me, and that rankled.

“Of course.” I crossed the room in long strides, grabbed an order pad from the bar, ignoring Adam’s gaping. As soon as I returned to Flint’s table, I added, “Anything you want. On the house.”

“None of that.” He sighed like my very existence was tiring. “Got my meals from the old tavern for years. They kept a tab open for me.”

“We can do the same—”

“Let’s see if you can cook first,” he said, voice drier than yesterday’s toast. “I thought I’d come by, check the place out.”

“Appreciated,” I said and meant it. Business, any business, was good, but people in Rainbow Cove trusted Flint. If he gave us the seal of approval, more locals might give us a try, make us less dependent on the tourist trade that we were going after. Tourism took a while to build, and our grand plans of making Rainbow Cove an LGBTQ travel destination weren’t going to happen overnight. We needed every customer we could get, Flint included, even if he was the unlikeliest of allies.

“You still haven’t brought me a menu.” He shook his head. “But whatever you’ve got passing for a burger is fine. Nothing vegan though.”

“We’ve got local grass-fed beef, third-pound patty on a brioche bun with a pesto mayo and local gouda. Or—”

“I reckon that will do fine.” Flint always had a bit more country than coastal in his voice. Not Southern, but you could tell he was rural Oregon through and through, and I liked the slow, deep rumble of his words. What I didn’t like, however, was the implication in his tone that he wasn’t expecting much from us.

“Sure you don’t want fries? We have hand-cut sweet potato as an option with a chipotle dipping sauce. As far as salads, I’ve got side, Caesar, spring berry and pecan—”

“I’m on duty here. Kind of pressed for time. The burger and a side salad are fine. I don’t need anything fancy.”

Yeah, well, maybe I want to give it to you. I quashed that thought, same as I had the one about how hot he looked in his uniform. Wanting to impress Nash Flint wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

“I’ll put a rush on it.” I made a note on the order pad, not that it was really needed since Logan hardly had a packed house to worry about.

As I walked over to the window to put in Flint’s order, I noticed more than one table giving him curious glances. Hell, maybe I was wrong about any business being good business. Last thing I needed was Flint scaring away what few customers we had. Not that he was known as a gossip or anything like that, but he was awfully…old school. Traditional. The last kind of guy you’d expect to find at a gay bar, that was for sure, and even though we were attempting to attract a mixed clientele, he stood out.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

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Release Day Blitz: Resurrection (Redemption Harbor #1) by Katie Reus

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(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: InkSlinger PR

Today we have the release day blitz of Resurrection by Katie Reus! We’re so excited to share this fantastic new release with you—check out the festivities and grab your copy today!!

About Resurrection:

From USA Today bestselling author Katie Reus comes the ALL NEW Redemption Harbor series where sparks fly and so do bullets…

She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Colt banged his fist against the door, fear and the smallest bit of hope punching through him. “Answer the fucking door,” he snarled. “Open, or I kick it in.”

“Maybe you should take it down a notch.” Next to him, Brooks shoved an agitated hand through his hair, his Stetson held loosely at his side.

“And maybe you should be freaking out more.” One of their best friends had been holed up in his home for weeks, refusing to talk to anyone, to see anyone. Colt didn’t know exactly what his friend was going through, but he’d lost a lot of damn friends in the sandbox and the only woman he’d ever loved had died too. Something he couldn’t think about right now. He couldn’t focus on his own pain when he could help his friend, when he had a damn purpose.

Mercer had recently lost his wife, and the man wasn’t handling it. The guy had been in love with Mary Grace since he was fifteen. They’d been each other’s world. And two months ago she’d been killed in Mexico, a victim of cartel violence. Allegedly.

Colt hadn’t been in love with Skye since he was a kid, but eight months with her sure felt like a lifetime. Hell, when she died it felt like he’d lost part of himself. The only part that mattered. He had to force himself out of bed every day, to shove back the emptiness. So on one level, he understood how Mercer felt. He shoved that thought right back inside where it belonged and ignored it. He couldn’t fix his own problem, but he could help out Mercer.

Panic swelled through Colt as the seconds ticked by without any response from inside—until he heard cursing on the other side of the door. Good. If his friend was cursing, he was alive. A solid minute later the lock snicked loudly as it twisted open.

Colt grabbed the handle and shoved it open, pushing past his best friend in case he tried to slam the door closed in his face.

Mercer, wearing boxers and nothing else, had grown a full black beard and his dark eyes were glassy. “What the hell are you doing here this early?”

“First, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Second…” Colt hauled off and punched him right in the nose. He needed to wake Mercer the hell up. Violence was pretty much the only way to do that now.

“Ah, hell,” Brooks muttered as Mercer flew back and fell on his ass with a grunt.

He held a hand to his nose, looking more alert than he had in two months as he glared up at Colt and Brooks. “What the hell, man?” His voice was muffled as he tried to stop the bleeding.

“I believe this is called an intervention,” Colt said, stepping into the foyer, cringing at the stench. “God, it smells like old pizza and cow crap in here. Mary Grace would kick your ass if she saw you living like this.”

“Don’t say her name!” Mercer shoved to his feet, letting his hand drop. Blood dripped down his face as he snarled at Colt. His teeth were toothpaste commercial white against his dark brown skin. Right now he looked like a rabid wolf baring his teeth at them.

“I’ll say her name if I want.” Yeah, he knew he was being harsh, but this was what Mercer needed. He needed to feel something, to wake the hell up. And making Mercer angry was the only way Colt knew how. Because the guy sure wasn’t going to talk about his fucking feelings. He needed to get out of this rabbit hole he’d let himself fall into. “We all lost her. Every single one of us.”

Most days Colt couldn’t believe she was gone. They’d all grown up together, and in his case, he’d been friends with Mary Grace since they were five years old. She was like a sister to Colt. Hell, he was still holding on to the hope that she wasn’t actually gone. It was why he was about to get on a plane in two hours and see if the tip he’d received was right. But first he had to make sure one of his best friends didn’t do something stupid while he was gone.

“Mary Grace.”

“Ah, hell,” Brooks said again, clearly not going to intervene. Just muttering his standard curse.

“Fuck you,” Mercer snapped, taking a step toward Colt.

That was it. Get angry, he silently willed his childhood friend. Mercer needed anger to replace the grief. God, or at least mute it. Just for a week. That was all Colt needed. Because if Mary Grace was alive, he was bringing her home to his best friend. He just couldn’t give Mercer the hope she was alive. Because if he did and it turned out she wasn’t… It would destroy him. “Mary. Grace.”

Mercer rushed at him like a bull.

About Katie Reus:

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

Connect with Katie:

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About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.