Danced Close by Annabeth Albert

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

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

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

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

three-stars

 

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

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

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

 

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About Annabeth Albert

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

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

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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

wrapped-together-coverWrapped Together: by Annabeth Albert
Series:Portland Heat #5
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links:
AReAmazonKobo

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

four-stars

My favorite Holiday read so far. Annabeth never disappoints me! This was such a cute story. It was really good. I loved the tone of the story, and ZOMG Hollis was Kinky Boots big time. This is a Christmas Story part of her Portland Heat Series. (Which I adore big time).

Hollis isn’t a fan of Christmas, he’s still grieving over the death of his parents. He’s anti-Christmas at this point, and doesn’t want to be forced to celebrate or be cheery. Wrapped Together is a friends to lovers story. Someone he’s know most of his life Sawyer seems to be the bane of his existence. I loved how meticulous Hollis was. I like seeing different qualities to different characters. He was suffering from being guilty about his parent’s death so he’s punishing himself. Along comes Sawyer, who’s so tenacious and won’t take No for an answer.

Sawyer is fun, flirty, open, and easy going. I really liked him. I liked him a lot for Hollis. I love the pacing of the story, and seeing them open up to one another. Albert doesn’t disappoint with the writing or the heat level in this book. No matter if Hollis tries to run away from Sawyer, in the bedroom they are super duper compatible. Hollis had some passion inside him. He just needed Sawyer to ease it on out. (Note to self: NEVER GOOGLE KINKY GIFS) You are going to see somethings that you shouldn’t. Gross. LOL.

Back to the story at hand, I really enjoyed this, and can see myself re-reading it again. Every time I finish a Portland Heat book, I always say I wish it was full length. This was no different. I want to see every milestone that they take as a couple. I think these two guys were damn near perfect for each other. They bring out the best in one another. Highly recommend this book. Really great holiday read, and Albert never disappoints!

About Annabeth Albert

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

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

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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Title: Wrapped Together

Series: Portland Heat #5

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Kensington Books

Release Date: December 6

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 35,000 words

Genre: Romance, contemporary, friends-to-lovers

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Wrapped-Together

Synopsis

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

Excerpt

This excerpt comes from chapter one of WRAPPED TOGETHER, when Hollis and his long-time frenemy Sawyer engage in a friendly bet sure to put their holiday cheer to the test!

****

I took a sip of my now tepid, almost-gone tea. Ugh. The good barista was on duty, the one who went with Ev from the knitting store and who always happily made my tea with the same care he did the fancy coffee drinks. I left the group, happy to have the excuse of needing a refill, but as I stood in line, Mary Anne joined me.

“Hollis Alcott, we almost never see you at these things!” Her voice seemed to ring out above the din. “Will you be participating in the contest this year?”

“I doubt it. My fall display is already set.” I tried not to sound too dour—she always had the best houseplants and had custom-ordered the rare fern I’d wanted.

“Ah, well, that’s too bad. You let me know if you change your mind. I’d be happy to lend you some poinsettias or other decor. I know you could do a splendid, tasteful window.”

It was my turn to order, so I gave her a smile as a reply before handing Brady my stainless-steel tumbler for tea and ordering a scone to go. I had to wait down at the other end of the bar for my order, and as I was waiting, Sawyer came loping over, a smile on his boyish face. His wide shoulders stretched the hoodie in distracting ways.

“Hollis! Did I hear you say you’re not decorating?”

“You did.”

He frowned. “I know how much you hate the holidays, but I bet you’d get an uptick in sales if you decorated. I heard Mary Anne offer to help. I could, too. I’ve got gobs of lights.”

“Thank you but no.” Truth be told, I could use the increase in sales, but it wasn’t enough of a motivator to get me ready for the onslaught of red and green.

Sawyer’s head tilted, considering. Oh no. I knew that look too well. A Sawyer who was scheming was downright dangerous. “We should bet, you and I.”

“No,” I said firmly. I stepped away from the coffee bar to let Mary Anne and others wait for their orders, but Sawyer kept step with me, effectively pinning me in between two tables on my path to the door. I sighed and repeated my objection. “No. The last time we bet, I believe you cracked a wrist.”

Sawyer waved a hand, dismissing my concern. “We were fifteen. We’ve had other bets since then.”

We had, but there was one in particular I was determined not to remember right at that moment. This was the peril of having known someone for almost two decades. “How precisely would one even bet on this?”

I let my inner musings escape before I could rein them in, and Sawyer smiled. He knew he had me. Whatever nervousness and shyness captured my tongue around large groups did not, unfortunately, extend to Sawyer. “Well, I was thinking whichever of us makes it into the top three is the winner of our bet, and then the loser has to do whatever the winner wants for an evening.”

Oh, I did not like this. “Anything?”

“That wasn’t a no.” Sawyer’s grin showed the sort of charm that made him so darn popular. “And I wasn’t thinking of something kinky. Trust me here, Hols.”

“Don’t call me that.” And I most certainly did not trust him. I was pretty sure the always-affable Sawyer didn’t have a kinky bone in his body, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t up to something. “But I could get you to do any task of my choosing?”

See, the thing about me that Sawyer knew was that I have a very hard time resisting a bet. Always have, hence the aforementioned bet freshman year of high school about jumping over auditorium seats during drama class. I’m also notoriously cheap. And as it turned out, I did have a job for him.

He nodded. “Anything.”

“I have a bathroom I want painted at my store. Including the trim.”

Sawyer, to his credit, didn’t look remotely pained. “That’s fine. I’m good at painting.”

“And you? What would you want?” I had no idea why I was asking. I certainly wasn’t planning on agreeing to this ridiculous plan.

“A surprise.” He winked at me.

“I don’t like those.”

“I know. Which is why you need one. But if it makes you feel better, I’ll specify no sex or nudity involved.” Sawyer had mercifully dropped his deep, clear voice to softer tones. I still bristled at the thought of anyone overhearing this.

“Or humiliation, public or otherwise.”

“Oh, Hollis, you know me better than that.” He held up his hands. They were big, capable hands, and I had to blink to get my eyes to look away. “Now, come on. I dare you. Bet me.”

Purchase

Kensington Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Wrapped Together Teaser 1

Meet the Author

annabethAnnabeth 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.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert

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

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Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Lyrical Press, Kensington
Purchase Links:
Kensington •  Amazon ARe B&N 

There’s no way he’ll shake this off…

Trevor Daniels is feeling aimless. A recent college grad, he’s not sure what to do with his useless degree, and his family all but abandoned him after he revealed the truth about himself. But a friend’s suggestion that he take his chances on a reality show aimed at finding the next big boy band strikes a chord with him—until the show’s producers convince him to act like he’s in a relationship with a guy who’s not at all his type. It isn’t exactly love at first sight for Jalen Smith either—but lust just might push them in an unexpected direction. If only their secrets weren’t even more twisted than their sheets, threatening to cost them the win—and each other…

five-stars

Annabeth Albert is quickly becoming a sure thing with me. I haven’t read a book by her I haven’t adored and Love Me Tenor will not be the exception. I loved this book. These boys made me hug my Nook to my chest and sigh numerous times. This was what I was looking for and I didn’t even know I was looking.

Having met Trevor in Treble Maker, we know a bit about who he is and the deal with his family. Well fast forward to Trevor about to graduate college and being weeks away from being homeless. He gets a call from Dawn about a new singing competition show that is different from what he had on Perfect Harmony. New Direction is all about the bands and a new kind of competition but there is a catch, the boy band Trevor is put on is all about the gay boys and sweet love. Say what now? Yeah, that’s what Trevor thought too but all he really heard was room/board and singing so he agrees. When we gets to Vancouver to begin shooting though, he gets caught checking out the hottie in the waiting room and surprise… the hottie is not only on Trevor’s boy band team but the hottie, aka Jalen, is to be Trevor’s pretend boyfriend.

You heard that right. Pretend boyfriends.  AHH YEAH!

So, the boys are not only told they have to be pretend boyfriends but they are told they are sharing a room since the other couple in their group, Carson/Carter, are sharing and I about died when they get their room. This book was so much damn fun I can’t control the smile that is on my face right now. It’s ridiculous and it’s almost as contagious as the virus that kept me from reading this sooner or faster than I wanted.

Trevor… that may be your angelic look on the cover but ooh boy, angelic you are not. You my dear boy have a deliciously dirty side to you and I loved it. I loved how strong you are even when you don’t see it and I love how deeply you love. How much you want and when you finally let yourself fly, in every way, it was stunning.

Jalen… what a surprise you were and I could not get enough of you. I adored your need to fix, help and take care of people. I loved that you were hooked on Trevor from the get go but attempted to make yourself hold back and I loved that you suck and holding back when it comes to Trevor.

You know what’s hard for me? When I love and click with a book so much, I can’t seem to get the words out to describe why I liked it so much. I will say that I loved the communication in this book. Holy Hell the communication was gorgeous; from song selections to sex to just everything, Jalen and Trevor talked and it was great. They are so young but have been through so much and they talk and they listen and it works so very very well for them.

The relationship was a joy to watch blossom and grow. Jalen and Trevor really complement one another in the best ways and while they hit a rough patch, that communication comes up again and they make it work.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the cover nor the blurb, I loved that this was an interracial romance that didn’t make a big deal about it even though it’s kinda a big deal. You know? In a time where folks are demanding diversity in their romance, this squeaks under the radar in a way that just says “Hey this is a book and both MC’s aren’t white and that’s just the way the story goes.” I loved that about the book and I loved how the boys talked about them being an interracial couple but when they talked… they were just them, no labels, simply Jalen and Trevor who were falling so deep in love even the Bee Gee’s would think it was sugary sweet.

Love Me Tenor kicked the idea of a sophomore slump to the curb and sent it on its merry way. This may just be better than the first with it’s maturity, sensuality, kink in the making, communication and just everything. Yeah, this was good and I am gonna go hug my Nook again and sigh over my highlights while I attempt to not become a stalker waiting for book three. I mean… we were made to think the boy was straight. *rubs hands* I need that book, like now!

 

About Annabeth Albert

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

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