Hush by Tal Bauer

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.

Hush: by Tal Bauer
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 672 • Format: eARC
Published By: Tal Bauer
Purchase Links:
Amazon

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.

As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

four-stars

 

HA! Looks like I did like it more then Enemy Within. Its nothing like The Executive Office series, and that’s a great thing. Both guys were super sweet, and while it was action packed the romance was such a sweet balm to my soul. Bauer is very detailed oriented when writing. He explains things to clearly that you can learn so much about each position, branch of office, or civilian duty. I watch a lot of Law & Order: SVU and the prosecution office doesn’t explain nothing like this. Tom & Mike seem to awaken something in one another that they didn’t know they wanted. 

The first half of the story was really slow paced, a lot of buildup between the two characters, and the plot was pretty straightforward. I enjoyed Tom rebirth if you can say. He’s been along for so long that coming out for someone is extremely terrifying. Actions in his younger life impacted his future, and it allowed him to close himself off to love, people, and companionship. It was a little heartbreaking reading to be honest. To think of someone going so long without a hug, laughter, love, and friend. That’s lonely. I loved how Tom made the reference to not being only lonely but being lonesome. He’s basically lived a reclusive life for fear of him being gay getting out. Besides his lovely dog, his career is everything. He didn’t want to take a chance on that until his feelings for Mike couldn’t be ignored and they were reciprocated. Poor sweet Mike! He picks the losers, part of it is his fault seeing as he’s always been afraid to go after who he really wants. He wants the fairy tale and its nothing wrong with it. It was so sweet watching these two fall in love. So many things in common, and their love was genuine and showed across the page.

The plot was interesting. I figured out some of the deception, but didn’t see that ending come by a mile. Bauer does like to write his surprises. Everything was really well thought out and planned. Loved seeing the different facets to the story. A lot slow downed then his previous series, but still good. The ending was really good. Such a solid story, and definitely no cliffhanger. Not to say I wouldn’t mind seeing these two again in the future, and maybe a Kris story. Him and Villegas definitely seemed to know one another. A recommend from me! Bauer does a good job as usual!

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About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Guest Review: Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson

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.

Chasing Destiny: by Megan Erickson
Series: Silver Tip Pack #2
Release Date: July 21st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

four-stars

 

I really liked this second book in the Silver Tip Pack series. This one had a different feel to it than book one but was just as good.

This story focuses on Bay who is Dare’s brother. He’s the wise cracking and good natured one in their family but he’s struggling at the beginning of this story. Bay is grieving his second loss of Nash and he’s feeling restless. His were wants him to leave and look for something but he’s not sure what it is. As a result he offers to visit another pack to see if they can set up a trade pact. What Bay finds there turns his world upside down.

This story was more fast-paced and full of action than Daring Fate was. This one kept me on the edge of my seat from almost the beginning of the story. Bay and his pack mates are fighting other pack members as well as the zombie weres. (Can I just take a minute to tell you how much I love the fact that there are zombie werewolves in this series? Zombie! Werewolves!) All kinds of things happen and there are some shocking surprises.

The love story was also good. I love a good second chance story. I also love a good hurt/comfort story. Combine them together and I’m in reader bliss. Bay and Nash are just wonderful together and Bay is full of swoon worthy moments. Some of the stuff he says… *dreamy sigh*. These two are not fated mates as the couple in book one were, but they know they’re meant to be mates and their romance development was lovely.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this series other than the writer is not releasing them fast enough for me. This one hasn’t even been released and I’m already itching to get my hands on the third one. Looks like we know who the next book will be about but I’m not going to tell you. It’s going to be a big surprise.

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About Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.

The Layover by Roe Horvat

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

The Layover: by Roe Horvat
Release Date: July 19th, 2017
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either….

 

four-half-stars

 

Stop. Whatever you are doing stop and go grab this book.

New Author Alert!!!! Roe Horvat is a bloody good writer.

We all know I’m a fickle reader. I’m loyal to my authors to a fault, even when they are write less then my expectations. Sadly, I’ve had a few of those happen in the last year and its only 2 authors at the #1 stop. Stop distracting me. Last year I read a book by a new author on the recommendation by Josh Lanyon, and loved it. If you haven’t picked up Dal Maclean’s Bitter Legacy then you’ve been sleeping under a damn rock or just stupid. Either option is fine with me. What I’m trying to state is this author came out of nowhere with a big recommendation by a really big named author in the genre for support, and her work was brilliant. When I requested this book I had no idea what I was getting. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly I was dreading reading it. I had all these thoughts in my head about how bad it would be. Well color me surprised when it was the EXACT opposites of those thoughts. It was beautiful, endearing, inspiring, and lovely. It was about pain, fear, real life and love. It was eloquent and I wish it would have been a full length novel. I mean you can’t give me this scrumptious morsel, and cut me off. I need more woman. Roe Horvat came so left field for me, that I was gobsmacked at how much I would like this book. I literally just finished and haven’t reviewed a book  in 2 weeks, and this got me back on the horse so pleasantly.

The first thing that I realized that I love was the setting. I don’t read too many books in this part of the world. I enjoyed the authenticity feeling  I get while reading this. I can close my eyes and picture parts of the book. I really liked the cultural difference that each guy has. Its easy to fall for someone in a similar situation, but from a different walk of life is hard. Its hard to compromise, to explain, to enjoy, and to try to mend worlds. Trust me, I’m married to an Irish man who morals & values are just as important as my African American Baptist roots. Its hard, its invigorating, and scary. 

I don’t know which character I’ve enjoyed more Ondro or Jamie. Both were really good, and I’m going to beg the author for another update with these two. 128 days later wasn’t enough. I’d like to see them 529 days later or more & more. Ondro, poor sweet Ondro. He’s kind, cynical, fearful and brave. He’s from Slovakia, a place that isn’t kind to him based on his sexuality. Not on the place but his family. Leaving at 22 was the one way that he thought he would gain some semblance of happiness. Years later he realizes that running has done nothing but let me win. Running has not helped in his love life, and some part of him wants to come to terms with his past there. Jamie is the sweetest ever. He’s fiery once meeting him, and I thought his stands & values were so endearing. Ending up together longer then their expected layover wasn’t in their plans but they made due with it. I don’t want to go to much into the plot, but I got this feeling while reading this book. It wasn’t about the physical aspect of the book, but all the emotions, tears, fears and hope. My favorite trope ever, realistic fiction is the best. The circumstances that they both go through can be someone you know, love, spouse, brother, father, or friend. Right now I feel like I’m rambling because I can’t put in words what made this book magical. It just felt raw, it felt real. It felt like people still have morals, dreams, and people don’t know the difference between lonesome or lonely. 

I’m going to end my review now, and say just buy the book. I’m looking forward to more writing from this author. If you want to try a new author, with a brilliant love story then try this. Try this for love, try this for Ondro & Jamie. Highly recommended!

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About Roe Horvat

Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. They love Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

The Rancher’s Son (Montana #2) R.J. Scott

Series:
Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

 

 
Narrated By: Sean Crisden
Length: 6hr 25mins
Cover Design: Meredith Russell 
 
Blurb: A man without memories and the cop who never gave up hope.

When he wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a brutal beating, John Doe has no memory of who he is or who hurt him. The cops can find nothing to identify him and he can’t remember anything to help…except the name Ethan and one recurring place from his dreams. Two words, and they’re not much, but it’s a start: Crooked Tree.Detective Ethan Allens has never stopped searching for the two boys who vanished. When a report lands on Ethan’s desk that may give new leads, he jumps at the chance to follow them up. The man he finds isn’t his brother, but it’s someone who could maybe help him discover what happened 12 years ago.What neither man can know is that facing the very real demons of the past could destroy any kind of future they may have together.
 four-stars

In Book 1, we met Marcus Allen, who tended to the financial aspects of Crooked Tree Ranch, the 300 acre land in Montana shared with The Todds (see book 1) and The Starachs. We also got a small glimpse into his strained relationship with his son Ethan especially regarding the disappearance of the youngest son Justin.

Marcus’ wife died and his son Justin disappeared 12 years ago with his best friend Adam when they went swimming. Marcus’ oldest son Ethan Allen never accepted the “death” of his brother Justin and best friend Adam, and left his family’s ranch and joined law enforcement.

In this sequel, Marcus still struggles with his health and still doesn’t believe Justin is alive. His relationship with his son Ethan was still strained and the return of Adam absent answers to what happened twelve years ago added to the tension. As a police officer, Ethan had put out feelers and one day got a call about a John Doe asking for Ethan and Crooked Tree Ranch. At the hospital, Ethan comes face to face with Adam, although, now Adam is an amnesiac. Ethan brings Adam back to the Ranch to help jog his memory.

This book was more emotional and angst than book one, but I love it just the same. Ethan was a really great guy. He was so hopeful, steadfast and patient with Adam as the families tried to figure out what happened those years ago. Again, the narrator gave a masterful performance as he returned the reader to Montana with the same families, giving more detail to the subplot of the Allen’s family. RJ Scott does a great job slowly building these characters and their stories. These characters feel like people I could relate to and I definitely rooted for their happiness. I had a hard time deciding which couple I liked best, Ethan & Adam or Nate & Jay. Plus, Gabe (Nate’s middle brother) & Ashley (Jay’s sister) was an added extra dose of sweetness to this story. While this particular love story ended well, some other threads remain loose and I look forward to the author’s next book.

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

Ezi


 

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.

Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt

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.

Mascara & Bandages: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #3
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

three-half-stars

Left wanting more. That is my initial thought after reading this. I didn’t feel like it was finished at all. Felt like it left off in the middle of the story except it ended. I enjoyed this a little bit more then book 2 in the series. It starts off with a brutal attack. Both guys kinda deal with heavy life choices in this book. I do enjoy reading Witt’s writing because I always get the most vulnerable and realistic feelings while reading his work. I love that he puts so much emotion into his writing and character development. My only downfall is that this book ended about 50 pages to short.

Zachary is alone. He’s young, both parents are gone, and his own redemption is being Ariel Merman. While being Ariel Merman, Zachary’s insecurities and self-esteem is completely gone. He doesn’t have to think of his life, he doesn’t have to think of his future, he just has to let Ariel take over and enjoy it for the time being. He’s attacked and its left all his doubts, fears and insecurities come swimming to the surface. The only plus is meeting Dr. Teegan Chau. He’s a gay man, but not out and proud. Instead he’s swimming through murky waters since coming out to the people that matter a few years ago. The plus side is a boulder is lifted off his shoulders. He can live his truths and care for the people most important in his life.

I did like the two of them together. It was nice to see the relationship grown on page. I liked the nervous energy that each guy had. It is super new for the both of them, and I liked the realness of it. I could see these two being something in the future. I think with each other’s personality they work well together.

Its really no surprise that I liked this story. I do enjoy Witt’s writing alot. I love the series and can’t wait for more. I think if you love reading about real problems, guys persevering, and falling in love then picking up the Mary Boys books shouldn’t be an issue. Its a recommend for this series.

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About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Infected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed

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.

o-infected-epitathInfected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed
Series: Infected, Book Seven
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Pages: 330 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSPAmazon Kobo

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective solving crimes involving other infecteds.

Tiger strain infections start showing up all over Seattle, much to Roan’s dismay, and worse yet, they may have a personal connection. Meanwhile, Roan gets hired to look into the puzzling death of Dee’s former lover. Then the FBI wants him to investigate a new apocalypse cult of infecteds pushing for a violent revolution against normals. All around Roan, events are spiraling out of control.

Just when his singular abilities are needed most, Roan develops new symptoms that might signify dire consequences if he doesn’t stop shifting at will. Roan finds himself at a crossroads and must make a difficult decision about his future.

four-stars

 

You guys, I’ve made it to the end! I’m not celebrating because its over. I’m celebrating because I DID NOT CRY. Not once. I expected heart wrenching tears while reading this. I expected to be in pain by the end of this series. I was okay. It might have been because I waited 9 months between book 7 and this to read it. I couldn’t take the pain that I was feeling while reading this.I don’t know if I’m okay with everything overall. No scratch that, I’m okay with it. I just would have liked to see the ending spread out over 50 more pages. Its just me wanting more Roan.

I really liked the mysteries in both parts of the book. I think everything came full circle with Roan. It has been an emotional journey with these characters. It bothered me when I started reading it that it was no physical sex on page. After book 2 trust me, you won’t even need it. I’ve had a range of emotions and I can say Roan is one of my most favorite characters ever. He is flawed, loyal, funny, smart, and heart breakingly sacrificial. That last one might not my a pro for more, but for me it is. He’s real in every sense of the word. At best he’s amazing with the skill set and life he is given, at worst he is an idiot. That’s the easiest way for me to put it. I hated those moments of the pain for everyone around him. Everyone around him suffers and is in pain because of his pain. It takes him a long time to realize that people love and care for him. I mean only Roan can find a bunch of misfits and they move the earth for him.

I guess feeling melancholy is normal after reading this. I don’t know quite how to review this. So many thoughts and feelings are swirling in my head. I can say, Dylan has definitely grown on me. I was one of those fans who didn’t want him in the picture. Not because he wasn’t a good person, but because Paris left such a huge impact on my heart. For the short time he was here, he was amazing in the very short time that I’ve read about him. Its not me not wanting Roan to be happy, but the departure of such a character stings for quite a while. Dylan doesn’t compare. Its not something I want to do, but Dylan paves the way for himself. He creates his own lane, he requires his own respect and is flayed open just as much as the rest of us when it comes to Roan.

Its so nice to see a lot of people show up in the final book. I’m happy with Roan’s peace. I can say that without reservations. I’d like to point out that I wanted to see Kevin. Yes, his minor role was missed to me. Hopefully I’ll see him in spin offs or such. I don’t know about Holden. We all know his issues. I’m trying to figure out if I can read a series featuring Holden without Roan. I feel like with all his cynicism, I’d be able to.  This series should be read in order, and favored. One of the best urban fantasy series ever!

 

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About Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Lying Eyes by Robert Winter

Title:  Lying Eyes

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books (self-published)

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84300

Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …

Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?

Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.

While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.

Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.

Purchase

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

 

Excerpt

Saturday rolled around, and Randy headed to town early to make sure everything was ready for Mata Hari’s busiest evening of the week. Although the bar officially opened at five-thirty, it was rare for anyone to wander in much before seven o’clock. Randy was surprised when the front door opened at six to admit a good-looking man.

The stranger was probably about five foot nine or ten, and wore a three-piece suit that seemed tailored to accentuate a lean build. His dark hair was cut stylishly short on the sides but thick and swept back on the top, and his mustache and full beard were closely trimmed. A brightly colored necktie contrasted with the somber gray of his suit. Randy had trouble assessing the man’s age, but he would go with thirty. European, though—Randy would stake the bar on that guess.

The newcomer contemplated the walls of Mata Hari, passing almost dismissively over the art on display. He studied each piece for no more than a second before moving to the next, but Randy had a distinct impression the man sought something in particular. As he completed his survey, he kept turning and eventually met Randy’s eyes across the bar.

Immediately desire flared in the man’s face as his hungry gaze drifted over Randy’s tight white shirt and up to his face, lingering on his mouth. Shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly as he drew himself to his full height, yet Randy recognized a softening of hard edges. He lazily ran his own eyes to the stranger’s luxurious beard, and he imagined stroking the softness there. He sensed something accommodating. Something potentially submissive, yet more subtle than the wanton displays of obedience and posing he was used to on Mondays at his private club.

Something he would enjoy channeling and rewarding, in the right circumstance.

The man started toward the bar. As he moved, Randy had the odd sense that the suit he wore was ill-fitting, even though it seemed perfectly tailored. A step away from the bar, his face just—closed. That was the only word for it. One instant he was cruising Randy; the next he was stone.

Randy sighed to himself. The guy was probably a closet case on his first night at a gay bar. That usually meant an unsatisfying encounter, even if the newbie didn’t rabbit. In any case, it wasn’t Randy’s thing. He’d had plenty of virgin ass over the years, and preferred his men experienced.

Fine. Nothing for me here. He waited at the bar, vaguely disappointed.

“Sir, good evening.” The man’s accent was English, his words precise and elegant like his hair and his clothes and his beard. Probably from London. Up close, Randy could see his eyes were a deep shade of brown graced with streaks of gold around the pupils that caught the lights over the bar. “I’m looking for a Mr. Randall Vaughan.”

Despite forswearing his immediate attraction to the stranger, that honeyed voice caused Randy to smile slowly and show his teeth. He registered the slight widening of the eyes behind the stranger’s mask as he focused on Randy’s mouth.

“I’m Randy Vaughan. And you are…?”

The man blinked in surprise. “Oh. The Mr. Vaughan I was seeking is an art collector.”

Shit. Just another jerkwad, making assumptions right away. Randy was a big man so he couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about art, could he? Well, fuck that noise. One more chance.

“I wouldn’t use the term collector, but…” Randy gestured at the walls.

“Quite so,” the man said distantly, and turned to sweep his gaze over the works on the nearest wall. “Neither would I.”

Randy’s back stiffened immediately. The stranger—no, the asshole—turned his attention back to Randy and held out a hand. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d just royally pissed Randy off. “My name is Jack Fraser. I’m from the Kensington Museum in London.” Fraser paused as if waiting for Randy to be impressed. “I sent you a letter recently.”

Randy willed himself not to think further about Fraser’s whiskey-colored eyes or the luxuriousness of his beard, and he didn’t take the offered hand. Instead, he wiped a small spill on the counter before him. “You did,” he agreed in a bored tone.

Fraser dropped his hand. “Ah, yes.” A pause. “My secretary didn’t hear from you to set up an appointment.”

“Which was my answer to your request,” Randy said, letting some snarl appear as he met Fraser’s eyes. They were still guarded and closed off, but Randy could see embers burning deep inside. In the right setting, and with proper motivation, he could imagine making those embers flare and ignite in the slender man before him. For the moment, though, the eyes just narrowed in calculation.

Before Fraser could say anything, Randy turned away. “If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

“May I buy a pint?” Fraser asked, desperation shading his smooth accent.

Randy considered calling Malcolm over to deal with it, but stopped in front of the beer taps. He was annoyed at his lingering attraction, and he decided to push back on this prick a bit. “Fine. What’s your pleasure?”

“Guinness. If you have it.”

“Of course you’d drink Guinness.” A little scorn curled Randy’s lip. “Well, the closest beer I have is a stout from Flying Dog.” He let his sneer turn feral. “It’s called Pearl Necklace.” He dropped his eyes to Fraser’s necktie, as if he could picture that very thing replacing the colorful silk.

Fraser blinked nervously. Probably he could picture it too. Maybe he even imagined Randy’s hot jizz splattering his chest and neck as his reward. Well, he shouldn’t have been a condescending shit out of the gate then. Randy waited, one hand on the tap, the other idly scratching his ear to make his bicep flex under his white shirt. Fraser focused on his arm and swallowed audibly.

“That’ll be fine,” he said. “A, uh, Flying Dog then.” Randy drew the pint to set before Fraser on a coaster. He didn’t wait for the man to take a sip or comment, but headed to the other end of the bar to check inventory.

He stayed busy but somehow noticed that Fraser lingered at the bar for several minutes, apparently hoping Randy would come back and let him ask again about the piece Randy had purchased from the Gates Gallery. When Randy deliberately kept his distance, Fraser took his beer (which, Randy was pleased to note, was more than half gone) and wandered around the room to examine more carefully each painting displayed. Sometimes he moved on quickly to the next piece of art. Other times, he gave a slight shake of his head.

Randy’s ears burned, and he considered throwing the guy out. Since he’d opened Mata Hari no one had given him grief about his collection. To be honest, no one had studied it the way Fraser did, but still. Each piece had been acquired because Randy connected to something in it. To have this handsome English stuffed shirt look down his nose offended Randy in a way he couldn’t even articulate. He seethed inside the longer Fraser spent on his dismissive tour of the room.

When Fraser reached a landscape that was hung over a small settee, he gave a distinct snort. He set his empty beer glass on a nearby table and Randy swooped over to pick it up, ostentatiously swiping the wood as if it had left a ring. “Another Pearl Necklace?” he snarled.

“Ah, no. Thank you.” Fraser seemed surprised to find Randy standing so close, though his eyes remained closed off and stony. “But it was a quite nice stout after all. Thank you for the recommendation.”

Randy gestured at the landscape with his chin. “Is that painting offensive to you for some reason? You’re practically laughing at it.”

“What? Oh no, it’s…fine. Competent. It’s the presentation, the arrangement of the art, that I find amusing.”

Randy ran his gaze over the pieces arranged on that wall of the bar. He’d decided where to hang each and every work over a long stretch of time as he’d readied Mata Hari for opening. He revisited the collection frequently and rotated different pieces in and out of prominent positions. Most of his customers were oblivious but Randy took great satisfaction in presenting something unique in the atmosphere of his bar.

“What’s amusing about it?”

“Well, there’s no story, is there?” Fraser answered him.

“What do you mean?”

“Individually each piece is presentable. A few are even intriguing. But see here,” he gestured at the landscape, “this is a nicely executed pastoral, yet it’s positioned between a Japanese scroll and a watercolor of a monarch butterfly. The pieces say nothing about each other, and have no intrinsic relationship.

“But over there,” he indicated the wall opposite, “is a modern landscape. Change the frames to something complementary, place them side by side, and the two landscapes together suggest a conversation in, oh, quite a lot actually. Painting techniques, the subject and tonal changes in works separated by two artistic traditions. You see?”

Randy did see, but he’d be damned if he’d admit it. “Two landscapes here wouldn’t fit,” he said stubbornly.

“Ah. Art as furniture. Of course,” Fraser said with a smirk, and that did it.

“No charge for the Pearl Necklace,” Randy barked. “Since you made the trip for nothing.”

 

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

 

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Force of Nature by J.K. Hogan

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.

Force of Nature: by J.K. Hogan
Series: Coming About #4
Release Date: July 4th, 2017
Pages: 276 • Format: eARC
Published By: Euphoria Press
Purchase Links:
Euphoria Press
Amazon

Everyone knows that bonds formed under extreme circumstances never last.

Harbor Patrol officer Neal Hesse has had his life turned upside down by a sudden break-up with his partner of ten years. After sleeping his way through Seattle failed to take his mind off his broken heart, he decides to take a leave of absence from work to find himself again. He hires a professional wilderness guide to take him up into the mountains, so he can get away from everything and live off the grid for a few days.

Travis “Rock” McCreary, ex-Army Ranger turned survivalist, hates doing guided excursions, but it’s his primary source of income while he’s working towards getting his own survival show. Working in such a testosterone-fueled profession has forced him so deep into the closet, he feels like he might never see the light of day again, which makes it even harder to put on a friendly face for his happy, normal clients.

When Rock is hired by clumsy city-boy Neal to take him up into the North Cascades for a survival adventure, his patience and his resolve are tested at every turn. He has to teach Neal to survive in the wilderness while fighting an attraction he can’t allow himself to act on. When their trip doesn’t go as planned, Neal’s getaway turns into a true survival situation, and he and Rock are forced to rely on each other to stay alive. If they make it out of the wilderness, can their newfound connection survive in the real world?

two-half-stars

This was a disappointment for me. I really enjoy reading this series and seeing real people connect and fall in love despite their past histories. It is stated in the blurb about dubious consent. I for one am okay with it. Or I thought I was, but when the scene came out of nowhere I was about perturbed. See, I didn’t see ANY kind of connection between the two guys, and it seemed so out of Neal’s character that I was blown away. No it isn’t the reason for the low rating, the characters played that part all on their own.

I did not connect and see any connection between the two. I’m really surprised because all the rest in the series have featured some heavy topics and I was able to deal. My issue is even at the end of the story I still didn’t see it. I didn’t think I was one of the girls who needed a HEA, hell I’m okay with a HFN and I truly am. What I’m not okay with is forcing the two together for the sake of a story. I just didn’t buy it. Rock is so far in the closet he’s damn near in Narnia. Its not a bad thing per-say, everyone has to live their own truths at their own time. For me, Rock was an even harder person to like. How can he fall for someone when the reader can’t seem to like him. I know in my head that there are people like him in everyday life, but when reading and trying to escape I tend to want the guys romanticism to be real for a bit. Neal doesn’t seem in the correct head space in even of the story. I understand why he took the trip, but from the beginning to the end Neal doesn’t seem like Neal. I feel like everything physical that they did together was way outside of Neal’s energy and comfort zone. In my head, everything about them seemed forced. Its not how I like my characters or story.

We can see that I’m upset that it didn’t go out the others did. The one reason that I like this series is because of the realistic feeling I get while reading it. I like that every book had to deal with something from each guy’s past. Yeah they had issues as well, but between the missed connection and the ABUNDANCE of wilderness information it was no way to learn about each other deeply, or grow into something for the future. I can’t recommend it in good conscience.

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About J.K. Hogan

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit the contact page.

The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian

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

The Ruin of a Rake: by Cat Sebastian
Release Date: July 4th, 2017
Pages: 352 • Format: eARC
Published By: Avon Impulse
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboItunes

Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.

Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.

five-stars

 

Bloody Brilliant. Loved every single minute of this.

Cat Sebastian, where have you been all my life? I fall in love with your writing more and more with each book. I seriously would like you to lock yourself up and just churn out historical romances! You are fantabulous!

I seriously want to swoony sigh all over the place. Courtenay and Julian gave me so much feelz. Along with the feelz, and steamy goodness you gave an amazing plot as well. So different then the other two, but amazingly good as well as the other. I loved the whole enemies to lovers trope, and these two played it well.

Julian Medlock is a meticulous mad. He is a gentleman, thinker, always plotting his next move. Never one to be surprised, but boy was he in for it was Lord Courtenay. Lord Courtenay is a rake, a wastrel, whose reputation is shot. Neither guy is who they really are deep down. I will not spoil it for you guys, but it is a must read. I loved the development of the relationship between the two, as well as the side character development and the plot. It was endearing to see them go circles over how they were feeling for one another. A few surprises that I truly enjoyed.

He remembered what Courtenay had told him, that love required trust, letting your heart be exposed and vulnerable.”

I really want to pick it up again and re-read it. Its that good. I loved Julian’s clever mind, and Courtenay devilishly handsome ways. He’s so honest, its heartbreaking to see at times especially when his reputation doesn’t account for the man he is. Julian is so protective over him, that its a shame everyone else could see the love but it took some hurt for them to figure it out. I really loved seeing the other couples make an appearance. I would love to see a novella featuring all the couple together at Carrington Hall. You can’t go wrong with this series, and so far Sebastian has gone above and beyond my wildest imagination on what this series could be. I really love her writing, and she’s become an auto-read and buy author. Highly recommend this book, and it’s definitely going on my Best Books of 2017 List!

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About Cat Sebastian

Cat writes steamy, upbeat historical romances. They usually take place in the Regency, generally have at least one LGBTQ+ main character, and always have happy endings.

Before writing, Cat was a lawyer and a teacher. She enjoys crossword puzzles, geeking out over birds, gardening badly, and–of course–reading. In high school, her parents went away for a week, and instead of throwing raucous parties, Cat read Middlemarch. Even worse, Cat remembers little of a trip through Europe because she was busy reading Mansfield Park. Her proudest moment was when she realized her kids were shaping up to be hopeless bookworms too. Currently, her favorite genres are romance, mystery and fantasy.

Cat lives with her husband, three kids, and dog in an improbably small house. After growing up in the northeast, she now lives in a part of the south where every body of water seems to contain alligators or sharks, and every restaurant serves biscuits and gravy. She likes the biscuits, but not so much the alligators.

A Destiny of Dragons by T.J. Klune

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.

A Destiny of Dragons: by T.J. Klune
Series: Tales from Verania #2
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
Pages: 400 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

(The first book in the DESTINY FUCK YEAH! Trilogy (because sometimes, having a destiny is the stupidest thing ever).

 

four-half-stars

 

Highly anticipated sequel to one of the funniest books ever! I swear I will see a page count for Klune at times and groan really loudly. He’s that best friend in my head who is extremely long winded and never knows how to get to the moral of the story quickly. Ha ha! Its Klune, I know with him that I’m going to be put through the ringer before any amount of happiness is warranted. This book was no exception. A lot more emotional then the first. A lot of details about the future of the series is brought up, and yeah that stupid word destiny is here. Sam totally should have been at Hogwarts. He would have killed it. Pay me no mind, its my wishful thinking. Here’s what I had to say!

Its almost a year later and Sam & Ryan are happy. Everyone is well, and the people of Verania are seemingly safe. Its all we can hope for with this crew of misfits. Sam realizes not everything is what it seems. He’s heartbroken by his mentor. Someone he worships, loves and trust. He’s devastated but Sam won’t allow anyone to tell him Ryan isn’t his cornerstone or use that stupid word Destiny against him. Of course, Gary, Tiggy, Ryan and Kevin won’t allow Sam to wallow. They decide that Sam is going to be just fine and surround him with love. I don’t know if I trust Vadoma or Ruv. I’m keeping my eyes open on those two. I like the gathering of the 5 dragons and determining if Sam is going to stay on the righteous path. Very Lord of the Rings and that’s a plus. With Kevin being, Kevin I didn’t know what to kind of dragon to expect.

ZERO!!! Oh my goodness. I loved him and wanted to cry at the same damn time. I must do emo people justice because he was such a breathe of fresh depressing air. I really enjoyed him as a character and those moments when it was just Sam and him were some of my absolute favorite. For all the joy, happiness, and laughter at times it does feel out of place. He created this wonderful character in Zero and I cannot wait for the next book to see more of him.

This journey is a lonely one for Sam. Sure he has his people with him, but so many secrets he is keeping and I’m wondering what is his boiling point going to be. He is sure to explode and most likely do some damage to the folks around him, but it wouldn’t be a me against the world trope if it was. Klune’s way with words gets better and better as I read them. Yes its humor, and jokes. Its more then that in this book. It is putting the joys of all before the love of one person. They can never say Sam isn’t about his country. Even if said country is lead by a bunch of idiots and that heifer Tina DeSilva!

If I’ve said it once, then I’ll say it again Klune is a wizard at his craft. He is able to gather all these emotions within his readers and I don’t think it has anything to do with the genre. Its his pen game as simple as that. I’m a fan for life. I cannot wait for more writing this year, and equally dreading the last BOatK book 4! Its not about that right now! Highly recommend, and go read the book people!

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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.