Book Blitz: Sound of Us (Us #2) by A.M. Arthur

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Title:  Sound of Us

Series: Us #2

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher: Briggs-King Books

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 304 pages

Genre: Gay Romance

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Synopsis

Jake Bowden didn’t expect to be settling into a strong, loving relationship with another guy at only twenty-three years old—never mind with two. His chemistry with Cris is as strong as ever, while things with Charles are more like a simmer than a heavy boil. Charles says he’s perfectly content to go at Jake’s pace, but Jake isn’t sure slow is what he wants anymore. And when Jake wants something, he isn’t shy about going after it.

Cris Sable is head-over-heels in love with the two men in his life, and he’s vowed to do everything he can to protect the fragile, three-way relationship they’re cultivating—even if it means lying about his past. A dark past that resurfaces in an unexpected way and forces Cris to make the difficult choice between shielding Jake and Charles from it, or trusting them enough to help him face it head-on.

Charles Greenwood had forgotten what it felt like to be loved, until a feisty go-go boy and an ex-porn star fell into his bed, and then stole his heart away. He loves both men equally, but differently, slowly stoking the fire of the chemistry he shares with Jake, while passionately pursuing Cris—both in and out of bed. Their lives are entwining in the very best way…until Cris starts to pull away, distancing himself from the loving support of their triad. And after Cris disappears one night on a drunken bender, Charles vows to do whatever it takes to prove to Cris that he can trust them with anything—mind, body and spirit.

Three separate hearts will finally beat as one.

Note: This is the continuation of an m/m/m romance begun in Here For Us and is best read in order to fully enjoy the character and story development. The book also contains mild BDSM elements, including spanking.

Excerpt

Jake swallowed hard before facing Chet. “I want to move back to Benny’s apartment for a while, so I can prove I can function on my own and manage my meds, and that all of my progress isn’t going to go away if you guys aren’t here twenty-four-seven to prop me up.”

Chet’s frown softened into a fond smile. “I think that’s a very mature decision, Jake.”

“You do?”

“Very much so. In fact, I’ve been struggling with a way to bring this up myself.”

Jake edged backward a step. “You want me to leave?”

“Quite the opposite.” Chet invaded Jake’s personal space, trapping Jake between the island and his taller body. He hunched down to meet Jake’s eyes and planted both hands on the countertop behind Jake. “I love you here, in my house and in my bed. But I brought you here knowing it was temporary, and now that you’re managing your illness, you need to start managing your life again.”

“Yeah,” Jake said.

“So if you leave, I want you to leave knowing you will always be welcome back.”

“Thank you.” Jake’s lips curled into a sexy smirk. “Plus, us living in different places means we can go on, like, real dates. You and me don’t really do a lot just the two of us.”

“That’s true, and we can most certainly manage dates. I’d love to spend time with you outside of this house.”

“But what about other people knowing that all three of us are dating?” He squirmed enough that Chet stepped back, giving him space.

“What about it?” Chet asked. “Even if the three of us went out to a meal in a nice restaurant, no one would know we were together unless we began swapping kisses at the table.”

The mental image of the three of them dressed up and making out in a fancy restaurant made Cris’s dick twitch with interest. He’d never do it, but goddamn, he wanted to publicly claim these two amazing, passionate men as his, and no one else’s.

“I guess.” Jake didn’t sound happy about the idea of their threesome being discovered, and that hurt a little bit.

“Are you embarrassed to be dating two men at once?” Cris asked.

“Not really. I mean, it isn’t that I’m embarrassed by you guys. It’s just that this is so…abnormal.”

Cris flinched.

“Shit, that’s the wrong word,” Jake said. He pushed away from the counter and stalked to the kitchen table. Grabbed the back of a chair but didn’t turn around. “Chet explained polyamory to me and I get it. I do. But not everyone else will. Most people won’t.”

“That didn’t seem to be an issue when we started this weeks ago,” Cris said, confused by this new hesitation in Jake. And frustrated at talking to his back. “Will you look at us, please?”

Jake turned, arms crossed, a familiar look of defiance on his face.

“I think I understand,” Chet said. “Jake leaving moves this relationship outside of these four walls. It’s no longer protected. No longer hidden from outside scrutiny and criticism.”

“But that’s going to have to happen at some point,” Cris said. “We can’t hide forever, and we shouldn’t have to.” They’d already been hiding for weeks, and all Cris wanted to do was shout to the rooftops about how lucky he was.

“I know that, okay?” Jake snapped. “I just…I’m a go-go dancer, you know? People hear that and automatically assume I’m some kind of slut, so what will they think if they know I’m seeing two guys at once? Uber-slut dancer, aisle threesome?”

“You know you aren’t a slut, so why does it matter so much what other people think?”

Jake took three strides forward, hands balled at his sides, unexpected anger blazing in his eyes. “That’s easy for you to say. You’re this big, buff dude who can shut people up with a glare, and you’re comfortable with people looking at you. You did porn, for fuck’s sake. And maybe I dance half-naked for money, but that doesn’t mean I want people staring at my personal life and dissecting it. It’s too private for that.”

Cris frowned. “Just because I did porn doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with people getting up in my personal life either. Why the hell do you think I used a stage name? Yeah, I showed off my naked body, but Dane wasn’t me, Jake. Internet subscribers don’t get the real me. You guys do.”

“So if you don’t want people up in our business, either, why don’t you get what I’m saying?” Jake was coiled tight, one wrong word away from bursting into tears.

Cris had to fix this. “I do get what you’re saying. I guess I see our relationship differently. I don’t see it as this weird, bizarre thing that people are going to examine under a microscope like we’re a new strain of bacteria. I’m so goddamn proud to be with both of you, and I want to show it. I want people to know you guys are mine and that I love you. I can’t do that if we’re hiding in this house.”

A single tear slipped down Jake’s cheek, and the sight of it broke Cris’s heart a little bit. He swept Jake into his arms, grateful that Jake didn’t struggle or protest the hug. “I’m sorry,” Cris whispered. “I’m sorry I can’t say the right thing, I’m sorry.”

“You said the right thing,” Jake said into his armpit. “I’m the emotional mess who gets weepy over the way you say ‘I love you’.”

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Meet the Author

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

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About A.M. Arthur

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt: Beneath The Layers, a NineStar Anthology

Beneath the Layers, a NineStar Press Anthology.  Eight stories of men who like a little satin and lace.

A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci
This ex-linebacker is impossible for his friend to resist.

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic
Sometimes secrets are better when they’re shared.

Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell
Tonight he has the chance to live out his dream.

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel
When one finds two partners, it helps to dress for the occasion.

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill
A gender-fluid prince with a penchant for gowns finds his unlikely match in an arranged marriage.

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn
Sometimes happily ever after requires a pretty frock.

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke
One sweet secret shared—and a spicy one returned.

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea
Sometimes love can be found behind a feather boa.

RELEASE DATE: April 17th

Beneath the Layers is our first multi-author anthology and to celebrate, we decided to do something a little different for its release. A scavenger hunt!

An excerpt from each one of the stories in the anthology will be posted at each blog stop along the tour.

The questions for the hunt are listed below and the answers to the questions will be provided in the blog posts. Be sure to visit each stop on the tour to gather all the answers for a chance to win a $15.00 gift code for NineStar Press site!

Once you have all the answers, send them in an email to Raevyn@ninestarpress.com. Make sure BtL Hunt is in the subject line.

Two winners will be randomly chosen from readers who email the correct answers by May 1st, 2017

Look for the answers to these questions at each of the blog stops.

  1. What color were the first panties Arliss showed Brent?
  1. What was Gavin wearing under the sweatshirt?
  1. Why was Oliver seeing Mia?
  1. What did the perfume Delaware smell like?
  1. What costume did Darian wear?
  1. What did Frances long to do?
  1. What did Tommy shave?
  1. What is Barrett’s stage name?
  1. Which author’s answer surprised you?

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A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci

Brent likes wearing lace underwear, but it’s not something he plans to reveal, and he never thought he’d meet a guy who shared his kink. So when Arliss approaches him at a bar and mentions he can see lace underwear peeking out from his waistband, Brent is embarrassed—until he finds out Arliss has got a thing for guys in lace.

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic

When Dr. Gavin Addison answers his doorbell, instead of the delivery guy he expected, he gets Officer Lex Turner, who takes Gavin’s invitation to step in out of the cold a little too far. Before he leaves though, he investigates the satin lace peeking out between Gavin’s shirt and pants. Will what he finds be the only secret revealed?

Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell

Dancing cheek-to-cheek with his lover while wearing a beautiful gown has always been Billie’s dream. But how can he persuade a sympathetic teacher that he needs to learn how to dance backwards—like a woman—so he can make that fantasy come true?

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel

Stranded at a nightclub, Beau thought he’d have a long, solitary walk home. He never expected to meet two gorgeous strangers willing to give him a different kind of ride instead.

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill

Prince Darian is prepared to set aside his scandalous preference for gowns and take a wife to benefit his royal brother’s treasury. Henry is resigned to the fate his outward sex dictates and determined to follow through with an arranged marriage to the prince, rather than risk his father’s threat of an asylum. But he will enter this union with the truth known—or not at all.

In each other, they find unlikely kindred spirits and realize they may finally get the acceptance for which they’ve always longed.

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn

Mechanic Frank Dixon knows his unrequited love for the boss’s son, Charles Quinn, is an impossible dream, even after he and Charles work together on a special project and become friends. When Charles confides his parents are going to force him to choose a bride during an old-fashioned ball, Frank’s roommate uses his influence to help Frank fulfill his wish to attend the ball in a pretty frock. But after the dance, will his heart be broken, or will all his dreams come true?

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke

When Michael told Tommy of his nerdy secret life as a Dungeon Master, after a few months of casual dating that seemed to be heading for serious territory, he didn’t expect anything in return. He certainly didn’t expect his new boyfriend to join him for a game session, and he definitely didn’t anticipate Tommy divulging his desire to dress up en femme. Thankfully, the surprise comes out well—for both of them.

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea

Barrett leads a double life—builder by day and drag act by night. Having successfully kept this from his colleagues, he’s stunned when he spots his boss, Keith, at a performance. Unlike Barrett, Keith is still completely in the closet. And though he promises not to reveal Barrett’s secret, the sight of Barrett in dress and feather boa awakes hidden desires, and he may not be able to keep them at bay.

 

 Exclusive Excerpt

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea

Once he’d shut the door behind him, Barrett undressed, tossing his T-shirt and jeans carelessly over the back of the chair. Then he moved to the clothing rail and perused the garments. Red tonight, he decided, with gold accents. He eased the dress from its hanger and stepped into it. The silky fabric sent a pleasurable shiver through him as he slid it over his hips and slipped his arms through the spaghetti-strap sleeves. It zipped at the side, pulling the fabric taut across his chest, squeezing his pecs into the semblance of a bosom.

He moved to the mirrored dressing table, sank into the chair, and reached for his makeup. The crimson lipstick was a perfect match for the dress and complemented his dark skin. The fake eyelashes and eyeliner highlighted the whites of his eyes, making them appear larger and brighter than usual.

A knock sounded on the door. “Ten minutes, Miss James,” the stagehand called, before dashing off, his footsteps fading.

Barrett reverently lifted the blonde wig from its stand, set it atop his head, and fixed it in place. He arranged the curls and assessed his reflection. Only one thing was missing. He rose, turned toward the rack, and selected a gold feather boa from amongst the vast selection. With it draped around his shoulders, the transformation was complete. Barrett James was gone, and in his place stood Betsy James, blonde bombshell.

Unlike some others in the show—slender “pretty boys” who lived their personas off stage as well as on—no one would ever mistake Barrett for a woman. His biceps bulged, making the dress straps look insubstantial, and his thighs strained the skirt’s seams. It didn’t matter though. Not to him. This wasn’t about deceiving others, but for his own pleasure. The patrons didn’t seem to mind either. His boss, Grant, said his appearance pleased those looking for something a little more masculine and macho amongst the twinks.

Barrett had fallen into this weekend profession by pure chance. He’d never before evinced a fetish for women’s clothing; it wasn’t a secret from his teenage years or the result of childhood trauma. It had all started with his brother’s bachelor party when they’d decided to dress in drag for a lark as part of the evening pub crawl. To his surprise, Barrett had enjoyed the experience. He’d loved the caress of the feminine fabrics against his bare skin. The heels had been a pain at first, but he’d come to like the way they made him walk, straight and tall. When the rowdy revellers rolled home in the early hours of the following morning, he’d spent ages in front of the mirror, staring at his reflection and pondering how different he looked in a wig and lipstick.

For several weeks he’d thought back to that night with fondness and longing. He knew he wanted to do it again, but unless someone else in his set got married, he saw no opportunity. Eventually he purchased a few items and dressed up in private at home, never daring to venture past the front door. Until he received a leaflet in his junk mail one morning. The pamphlet advertised a new drag club opening in the city, and they were looking for acts.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Tour Schedule

4/17 ~  Erotica For All

4/17 ~  Love Bytes

4/18 ~  Boy Meets Boy Reviews

4/18 ~  Zipper Rippers ­

4/19 ~  Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

4/19 ~  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

4/20 ~  Oh My Shelves

4/20 ~  The Novel Approach

4/21 ~  Stories That Make You Smile

4/21 ~  Happily Ever Chapter

 

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Falling For Him by CL Mustafic

Title:  Falling for Him

Author: CL Mustafic

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Female/Male (No Male/Male interaction)

Length: 116000

Genre: Romance, attempted murder, coming out, divorce, hate crime, law enforcement, medical profession, MFM, OFY

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Synopsis

Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

Excerpt

Falling for Him
CL Mustafic © 2017
All Rights Reserved

“How much paperwork we got tonight?” Grady asked. He turned on his computer and started digging through his desk drawer, looking for god knows what.

“Not too much. Gotta finish up that report on the doc’s vandalism, and you need to write up that accident report. Then we can get back out there for another fun-filled night,” Lex said, making Grady wrinkle his nose.

“That damn woman makes for a lot of fucking paperwork. I’ve got half a mind to handcuff her to her water heater and forget her,” Grady said with a smirk for his own cocky bravado. “Don’t know how a nice guy like the doc got mixed up with a crazy bitch like that.”

Lex sat back in his chair. That was the question, wasn’t it? The doc seemed like a decent enough guy. Why his ex, one Cassandra Addison, would want to make the poor guy’s life hell was beyond Lex. It was even more fucked up when you added in the fact that, from what Lex had gathered, she’d cheated on him. He just hoped they wouldn’t end up with a Fatal Attraction–type ending with this case.

“Yeah, well, sometimes they hide the crazy until they have you in their clutches; then, bam presto chango, psycho chick is in your bed, and you’re fucked in more ways than one,” Lex said.

“Sounds like you got some experience in that area.”

“Don’t we all?”

Grady’s gaze shifted to something over Lex’s shoulder. “Speak of the devil,” Grady whispered.

Lex turned around, hoping that Cassandra Addison was not, in fact, standing behind him. Nope, not the bitch, but Gavin was, and he didn’t look thrilled to be in Lex’s humble workplace. Lex cast an appreciative look over the handsome doctor. He was one fine-looking man, with blond hair that curled wispily around his head and those deep-brown eyes, where you expected to see crystal blue, got Lex every time. Gavin had the greatest smile, and the dimples that peeked out at the slightest grin made Lex want to dip his tongue in them. He shook his head to clear away the thoughts of what he would like to do to the doc, if the doc was so inclined, that was.

“You got him, Grady. You know you’re better with this kind of crap.” He didn’t tell Grady that he got tongue-tied around Gavin and was afraid he’d make a fool of himself.

Grady stood up, smiled, and gestured for Gavin to take a seat by his desk. “Hey there, Doc, what’s up today?” he asked as if Gavin’s was a social visit.

Color rose on Gavin’s cheeks as he flushed a little before answering. Lex was glad he was sitting at his desk because the doc blushing like that did things to his body that weren’t acceptable in polite company. “There’s been another incident. I can’t be one hundred percent sure she did this, but I can’t think of anyone else who would want to humiliate me so much.”

“So what did she do this time?” Grady asked, “Or allegedly do?”

Gavin handed Grady a little slip of paper. “If you punch that into your web browser, you can see for yourself.” Grady took the paper and turned to his computer to type in the web address. He waited a second, and when Grady’s brow furrowed at what he saw on the screen, Gavin’s blush deepened. Lex itched to see what was on that screen but stayed in his seat.

“Why do you want me to look at your personal ad?” Grady asked.

“Because I didn’t post it, and that little sticky note was stuck to a computer at the nurse’s station on the fourth floor surgical unit where I happen to do rounds every morning. Everyone at the hospital now thinks I’m some kind of kinky pervert,” Gavin explained, visibly upset.

Lex had to see what was on Grady’s screen. He got up to look at his partner’s computer. He instantly understood why the doc had turned pink when he handed over the little piece of paper. Lex shook his head; that woman was pure evil.

 

Exclusive Excerpt from Falling for Him by CL Mustafic

The frickin’ doc was one of those people who called back even when they didn’t know who was calling them. “Is this Dr. Addison?” Lex asked, though he’d recognized the voice immediately.

“Yes, this is he. Who’s this?”

“This is Officer Turner. You left a message for me to call.”

“Oh yeah, I mean yes, I did. I um thought you would…I mean the cops, the police would want to know that Cassie’s parents called me this morning,” Gavin said, stumbling over the words. Lex wondered what had made him stutter like that. Maybe the parents had threatened him? He bristled at the thought.

“That may be helpful, but really you should call Detective McDaniels with any information since he’s handling your case,” Lex said, repeating what the front desk officer had told him.

“Yeah, I…um… Woo…uh…could we…um… I mean…wouldyouwanttogetadrinksometime?”

“Huh?” Lex couldn’t believe his ears; they must be playing tricks on him. The doc surely hadn’t just asked him out?

There was a nervous chuckle on the other end of the line and then a few deep breaths. “Would you want to go out and get a beer with me sometime?” Gavin asked slower this time.

“Um…I guess…” Stuttering was contagious, and it didn’t help that Lex’s mind was running wild. He had to get a grip and play it cool. Gavin wanted to go out for a beer. That was all. He took a deep, cleansing breath. “Sure, we could do that. When’s good for you?” Lex was proud of how normal he sounded.

There was an audible sigh from the doc’s end. “Um, any night, really. I’d, ah, prefer sooner, rather than later though.”

“Tonight?” Lex asked and then quickly added, “I’m off tonight, and then I have three midnight to noon shifts, so I wouldn’t have another free night until Sunday.” There was what seemed to Lex an extremely long pause, and the dead air made him nervous. Maybe he’d been too eager? “Doc, you still there?”

“Yeah, I’m still here,” Gavin said. He didn’t say any more than that though, which left Lex pondering what the doc was thinking.

“It’s fine if tonight doesn’t work. I didn’t mean—”

“No, no, tonight’s fine, I was just…um…Stucky’s? I mean do you want to meet at Stucky’s?” Gavin interrupted to ask.

“Depends on what you have in mind,” Lex said.

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“I mean, if you want to talk, somewhere without the loud music would be better,” Lex said. “There’s a little pub on Washington. I’ve been there before. It’s quieter and not quite as busy.”

“Yeah, okay, that sounds fine. Do you have an address? I don’t think I know which bar you’re talking about,” Gavin asked. He didn’t sound excited by Lex’s choice of venue. Lex wondered if he’d made the wrong choice by suggesting it.

“I could pick you up,” Lex offered.

“I don’t think so. I’d rather drive myself if that’s okay.”

“Yeah, no problem. So it’s Carlson’s Pub, next to the appliance store. You can’t miss it. Is seven okay? I’m not sure how late I’ll be able to stay awake. I haven’t been to bed yet,” Lex said.

“Oh crap, really? I’m sorry if tonight’s not going to be good. We could wait.”

“No, it’s fine. So, seven?” Lex asked again.

“Yeah, seven. I have to go. Patients to see, you know?”

“Yeah okay, see ya tonight then,” Lex said. He couldn’t keep the smile out of his voice because he had a date with the doc.

“Okay, bye.”

Lex fell back on his bed. Who’d have thought after what had happened that night with Rachel that the doc would be the one to call him and ask him out? He tried to contain his excitement by reminding himself Gavin was still the same straight man who had refused his kiss. God, he was stupid; Gavin probably just wanted to be friends, or maybe Lex had gotten it completely wrong, and the doc actually wanted to talk about his case. But why out of all the cops, would he pick Lex for that?

Lex let his thoughts drift with fantasies about Gavin. He couldn’t wait to see the doc again and was glad that it was only a few hours wait.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

CL Mustafic is a born and bred American mid-westerner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here: it was the lack of television channels in her native language–and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence, she decided to give her life-long dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Email

Tour Schedule

4/17 – Stories That Make You Smile

4/17 – MM Book Escape

4/18 – Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

4/18 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

4/19 – Oh My Shelves

4/19 – MM Good Book Reviews

4/20 – Slashsessed

4/20 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

4/21 – Happily Ever Chapter

4/21 – Love Bytes

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Saved by Karrie Roman

Title:  Saved

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 10

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70000

Genre: Romance, gay, kidnapping, law enforcement, criminals, PTSD, thriller

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Synopsis

Detective Jack Mitchell is not a people person. After fourteen years dealing with the monsters of society, he has learned to keep people at arm’s length. Failing is his biggest frustration, and on the case of his career, he is having no luck hunting down a copycat serial killer…or the one man who survived the original case.

Six years ago, Will Blaikie was taken by a monster who changed his life forever. Narrowly surviving, he has become a prisoner in his own home. Friendless and alone, he watches in horror as a new monster emerges who only wants to copy the murderous deeds of Will’s monster…including taking Will.

When these two men are thrown together, and the monster comes for them both, one must learn to feel safe and protected, and the other must learn to feel love and peace.

 Exclusive Excerpt

Saved
Karrie Roman © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Every now and then Jack murmured nonsense into Will’s ear as though he could feel when Will’s anxiety rose. Perhaps he could.

“Do I…do I need to answer some questions, Jack?” The thought of talking about the attack left Will cold, but he knew he had to tell the police whatever he could to help as soon as possible, while it was fresh in his mind. He watched strangers moving through his home in their easily recognizable crime scene technicians’ jumpsuits. They were the good guys, and Will had done nothing wrong, yet their presence still felt like a violation. He could hear Henley whimpering outside, unable to come into the house in case he contaminated their crime scene.

“When you’re ready, Will, but the sooner you can, the better. We can do it here or go down to the station if you would feel better. Whatever you need, okay?” Jack continued rubbing small circles into Will’s shoulder as he spoke.

It had to be done, and he knew he could do it with Jack there. “Okay. Let’s do it now.” There was something he wanted first though. “Jack, would I be able to go out to Henley?”

Jack turned his head towards the sound of Henley’s whimpering, looking slightly startled. Obviously, in the commotion, he had forgotten about the dog. “Shit. Yeah, of course. Sorry, Will, I didn’t even think.” Jack seemed abashed at the oversight though he shouldn’t.

They moved towards the patio door, watching as Henley just about shook his body in half with the excitement of his master’s approach. Jack slid the door open far enough for them both to squeeze out before the excitable pooch could launch himself in to the middle of a crime scene. Will immediately dropped to the ground, pulling the dog into a fierce embrace. He was rewarded with copious amounts of slobber from the constant canine kisses bestowed upon him. Will could hear Jack chuckling as he stood above them, watching the affectionate spectacle. Reaching up with his free hand, Will pulled Jack to join him on the ground. The irrepressible Henley seeing fit to bestow a few of his kisses on Jack, whose disgruntled noises made his displeasure clear. Until tonight, Henley had merely tolerated Jack, but his part in reuniting Henley with his master must have upped him in the friendship stakes.

After what had happened to him years ago, Will had learnt to relish the joyful times. Watching big, tough Jack Mitchell covered in slobber, trying to disentangle himself from an over-exuberant mutt, was one of those times.

Once Henley had wriggled and slobbered and cavorted himself to exhaustion, Will sat with his back to the side of the house, Henley lying contentedly with his big furry head on Will’s legs. Jack sat on the opposite side of Will, clearly trying to stay out of range of the big, slobbering tongue. “He never saw it coming, Jack.” It was harder than he thought to get the words out. “He was at the door with a big smile on his face one minute and the next minute…”

“It’s okay, Will. Take your time.”

“It’s a bit of a blur. I remember coming out of the kitchen just as Nathan was opening the door. Jim was standing there about to walk in, and then there was this bang and Jim was falling. By the time Mosley got to me, the monster was there, and he just stepped over Jim’s body. How does someone do that?” Despite witnessing the worst of it, human nature still baffled Will. “Mosley just grabbed me, and we ran, and the next thing I knew I was in the bathtub.”

“Did you get a good look at the guy?”

“Not really, just a passing glance. I couldn’t take my eyes off Jim, and then I had my head down in the tub. He seemed average-looking. It’s just an impression more than anything, but nothing about him stood out.” It amazed Will that real monsters looked so normal rather than the malformed imaginings of childhood monsters.

Jack was sitting motionless, staring out at the night sky. He was calm and that gave Will courage. “What happened once you were in the bathroom?”

“I had my head down, and then there was a gunshot, and it was so loud. I looked up and Mosley was standing in front of the tub, guarding me. He stood there solid as a rock with his gun, but his hands were trembling. He was so brave, Jack, and he’s so young.” Will was in awe of the courage it took to stand so stoically in the face of danger.

“He did very well, Will. Thank God.” There was a tiny unmistakable wobble in Jack’s voice.

“After the gunshot, there was a thud on the door. I think the monster was trying to break in at that point, but that’s when we heard the sirens.”

“Why do you call them ‘monster’?” Jack’s voice pitched up at the end of his question, and Will suspected that hadn’t been what he intended to ask.

“What else are they? I can’t think of them as human. They don’t deserve it. We’re not supposed to be like that.”

 

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

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Tour Schedule

April 10th – MM Good Book Reviews       

April 11th – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words          

April 11th – The Novel Approach  

April 11th – Oh My Shelves

April 12th – Love Bytes      

April 12th – MM Book Escape       

April 12th – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents           

April 13th – Urban Smoothie Read

April 13th – Erotica For All

April 14th – Happily Ever Chapter

April 14th – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews   

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At Attention 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.

At Attention: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 209 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Carina Press BooksAmazonKobo

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

two-half-stars

 

You know, I’ll admit I waffle if I should give this book 3 stars for the author, or the actual story. I had to go with my gut on this. This was a disappointing read. I struggled throughout the entire story. My biggest thing is that we’ve read this scenario before. There was nothing new or exciting for the same thing again and again. I love Annabeth’s work tremendously but it took everything in me to power through and read it. I seen all the high rating, and love for it. I had to wonder was we reading the same book. The general formula of a widower and a crush getting together was just it. There was nothing significantly interesting to me. Not one point. If I read ten pages then I forgot what the first 5 were. I even put it down for a while to read something else, and it still didn’t draw me in or give me a glimpse of hope that it gets better.

I liked Apollo from book 1. I guess in his book he lost all the sparkle and excitement that I wanted to read about. Yes he was a caring father, and a tad overprotective but that’s human nature. He’s grieving and still in the mindset about Neal. I don’t know how he feels about Dylan honestly. Even at the end, I sort of was not buying his feelings. I guess they feel forced to me. On Apollo’s side it just felt physical. I didn’t see the attraction outside of that, and I’m bothered by this mostly.

I know Dylan has always liked Apollo so I can believe his attraction. He does some classic stupid things, but they are classic and one reason this trope is so popular. Trying to only stay physical without getting their emotions involved is dumb. One because Dylan’s emotions were already there and they just came back full fledged. This was really a contemporary novel nothing really major happens outside of the story.

I tried and tried to read and get involved with the story but it just seemed liked missed connections to me. I will read book 3 because I know Annabeth’s stories work well for me. I just didn’t like this one at all.

 

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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.

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: At Attention by Annabeth Albert

Title:  AT ATTENTION

Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well–different couple for each book)

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: April 10, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS

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Synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

Excerpt

**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

****

What will Apollo do when he discovers that Perfect Butt guy is his best friend’s little brother? Find out in AT ATTENTION!

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

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.

Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

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Enemy Within 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.

Enemy Within: by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office #3
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Pages: 445 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
AmazonSmashwords

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

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

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

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

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

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

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

three-half-stars

 

Dude, I’ve been dreading writing this review. It took me close to 11 days to finish the book. I know his previous 2 in the series have been long but it felt very different from this book. This was the last book in the series, and it wrapped up and answered alot of questions in the series. I didn’t necessarily enjoy it as much as the second book. I want to say the romance took a back seat to the actual plot, and all of the copious amounts of information was an overload for me. I like that Tal did his research but, I didn’t NEED to know every single detail. At best, I was disgusted with all the different pov’s, I didn’t need to read it from there I would have been okay with the knowledge coming from Ethan & Jack or just letting things play out by ear. I’m a little let down, and I’m not going to lie. I wish I could cut 100 pages out of this adventure and get some future insight on Ethan & Jack post world showdown.

Don’t get me wrong. I did like certain parts of the story alot. I liked seeing the good guys plan evolve and come to fruition. I liked seeing things happen back home in D.C. So much espionage and treachery was in this story, but I did SUSPEND all my SCANDAL beliefs while reading this. For me, it was lacking that magical feel that I got from the other books.

I don’t want to give away any plot so I won’t even talk about who is with who in this review. I did learn a bunch of new things, don’t know if I will ever use them but I’m glad it went to my mind palace.  I will say Tal does an amazing job with the love conquers all theme for me. Him putting Jack & Ethan through the ringer in this book. I like that his characterization never changes throughout the series.

This book was overwhelming. Not a bad thing, but I did take several breaks while reading it. It’s a lot to handle and I might needed to create a pie chart, but I excelled through. I look forward to seeing some of these people in novellas or one shots if the author see fits. I still recommend the series big time. Tal is an excellent writer, and story teller which equates to good reading from me! A definite recommend.

 

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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.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

Title:  Enemy Within

Series: The Executive Office, Book 3

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 3/28/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 176K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

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

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

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

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

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

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

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

Ethan flinched.

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

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

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

“Some.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How’d the scouting go?”

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

Turning, Jack stared at Ethan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meet the Author

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

Pronouns: They/them & he/him

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

Title:  Enemy Within

Series: The Executive Office, Book 3

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 3/28/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 176K

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

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

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

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

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

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

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

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

Ethan flinched.

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

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

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

“Some.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How’d the scouting go?”

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

Turning, Jack stared at Ethan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase

AmazonSmashwords

Meet the Author

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

Pronouns: They/them & he/him

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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Here For Us (Us #1) by A.M. Arthur

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: IndiGo Marketing & Design

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: Here For Us by A.M. Arthur
Series: Us #1
Release Date: 3/17/17
Pages: • Format: 94k words
Genre: Romance (Male/Male Menage)
Published By: Briggs-King Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US
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four-half-stars

Cris Sable doesn’t walk into popular gay bar Big Dick’s expecting to find more than a casual hookup, so he’s surprised by his instant attraction and intense chemistry with go-go dancer Jake. Jake’s sexy as hell and a firecracker in bed. The sparks between them are undeniable, and what starts as a hookup evolves into something deeper, possibly permanent—until Jake dumps Cris flat on his ass for no good reason.

Angry and confused, Cris finds comfort with his longtime friend and employer Charles “Chet” Greenwood. Cris’s emotional state stirs up Charles’s long-buried feelings for Cris. Feelings he’s denied for eight years, because Cris is his employee and therefore off limits—not to mention two decades younger than Charles. Cris admits he has feelings for Charles, too, but he’s still getting over Jake and both men agree nothing can happen between them while Charles is still Cris’s boss.

Jake Bowden knows he doesn’t have anything to offer a guy. He’s a go-go dancer with no degree and no real career aspirations. He’s also used to everyone who loves him leaving, so it makes sense to cut Cris loose before things get too serious. Cris is kind, passionate and totally deserves a guy like Charles—wealthy, owns a home, successful businessman. Jake can’t compete so why bother? They’re better off together. But when Jake has a serious personal crisis, Cris and Charles unite to pull him back together, and the three men discover it’s possible—maybe even inevitable—to fall in love with more than one person at a time.
Man, I loved this one. It had all the things I love in a love story except little kids. It had damaged characters, a love story not overshadowed by sex, and growth by the main characters. This was a story of some guys that found refuge in each other as their various life journey converged into one lane.  It felt like going through a storm and coming out on the other side to basking in sunshine.

I really liked Cristian “Cris” Sable. I wasn’t sure what he found so intriguing about Jake Bowden, but I suppose a sexy and unpredictable guy is just too much sauce to for a stable guy like Cris to pass up. Cris and Charles “Chet” Greenwood is one of those relationships where the time was never right, until it was. Cris and Chet felt like the joy I get while unwrapping a Christmas present. The author laid a proper foundation and that relationship felt like it was rooted in much more than physical attraction and curiosity. Cris and Chet had an enduring respect, affection and trust created from years of working together. These two really made the book for me because they were both caretakers and selfless men. That’s probably what drew them to Jake because he definitely need taking care of.

I’ll admit that I didn’t care for Jake. He alternated between abrasive and sharp-tongued to overly emotional and dramatic. I am glad he got counseling for all he had been through but at times I kept thinking he wasn’t worth the effort Cris and Chet were putting forth. In caring for Jake, Chet and Cris showed the depth of their loyalty and their capacity for patience and love. It made me love them that much more.

The chemistry between the three was palpable though I liked Cris as the connection, not Jake. I didn’t feel the attraction between Chet and Jake as strong because it felt more like compassion than passion.

My only complaint in this book was that the author introduced so many characters. Some of the secondary characters were necessary as it was clear they would be getting their own books in the future. But it was too many new people and I got annoyed trying to remember them as I didn’t know what role they would play in the threesome’s relationship down the road.

Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. I was so impressed with the way the author layered this romance. It wasn’t quick and insta-love, but it wasn’t so slow that I felt bored. It was just a steady pace of attraction, friendship and love. I can’t wait for the next book which I really hope is Taro and Dell.

Ezi

About A.M. Arthur

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.