Single Malt by Leyla Rayne

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.

Single Malt: by Layla Reyne
Series: Agent Irish & Whiskey #1
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 194 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonKobo

The heart’s a resilient beast

Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits.

Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable.

Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.

three-stars

 

11 days to finish this book.

Yep, I just needed that to be known.

This had major potential for me. I love feds-spooks-spies stories. I like age-gap stories. Two guys with different backgrounds get together to a case that’s interesting enough. I’m still not sure on how much of it can be real for actual FED’s, I mean driving a new benz, stating in the rich digs, and the amount of facetious was a bit much. I did like book characters and some of the side characters.

I like when the case is involved with the story line as well. What I don’t like is the case taking up most of the atmosphere. The case overpowered the potential relationship between these two. I mean, I wasn’t sold on them from the beginning. It seemed forced. I don’t think Aidan should have been pushed so much into Jameson because he is still grieving, and its not fair to the other person if you aren’t going to give them your all. On Jameson’s part, I didn’t really think it was an attraction. They never seemed to meet before being partners so I guess throwing them together created some semblance of him being attracted to Aidan. Can I just say the nickname thing was cute for the first few times, it just got on my nerves by the end of the book. Hopefully book two will tone it down. It was a ton of information about each guy separately, the case, and little things here and there that distracted the shit out of me. I don’t even know who is who’s brother/sister/cousin at this point. It was too much. Add the writing really not working for me, but I was able to push through. I will say I liked it enough to give book 2 a try.

Once I got over the various actions involved in the plot it was pretty good. It of course was connected to Aidan’s husband and brothers’ death. A little far fetch but this author is able to keep me interested the rest of the story. It ends on a cliffhanger, but the possibilities of book 2 are greater for me by the end of the book. I think this was an okay book for the author’s first published book.

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina but now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Snowblind by Eli Easton

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.

Snowblind: by Eli Easton
Series: Dreamspun Desires #29
Release Date: March 1st, 2017
Pages: 196 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Snow, steam, and secrets.

The latest snowstorm carries something unexpected to the doorstep of Hutch’s secluded Alaskan cabin: a stranger named Jude, the most beautiful man Hutch has ever seen. Jude says he’s in the area for a ski trip and that he fled a domineering lover, thinking he could make it into town. But Hutch is a suspicious SOB and treats his unwanted guest warily. The problem is Jude isn’t just gorgeous, he’s funny and smart and flirtatious.

Two gay men snowed in for three days—things happen. Really good things. By the time the storm clears, Hutch finds himself a little too attached to Jude Devereaux, San Francisco-based male model. But is Jude what he claims to be? Or is he entangled in the secrets Hutch moved to Alaska to escape?

three-stars

 

 

Ummm.. Where is the Dreamspun Desires fluff that I’m use to? I am missing all the chessiness, fluffy sugary sweetness that I’ve come to like from this series. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I feel cheated big time. I would have thought that the whole spy needing help would be right up my alley, but I didn’t like it at all. It was going well in the beginning for me, and after a while when everything came to light I just didn’t like it. Of course the tone of the story changed, and it was working for a while. I mean it took a while for me to warm up to Hutch, and I liked Jude but once Jude mentioned a kid, I kinda wanted it to be an instalove, kidfest and them running off to play family with Hutch falling in love with Jude’s daughter. It did not go like that at all.

It took me a while to like Hutch. I get why he is the way he is, but I didn’t really enjoy him as a character. Hutch has been trying to stay under the radar. What’s under the radar then by being in Alaska during a winter storm or winter season? He is fine being who he wants in this wilderness. Along comes Jude escaping from a guy during the storm trying to get back in town. Well of course a California boy isn’t going to know that you don’t try to out run a storm like this. After saving Jude, they hit off. Its days of sex, food, fun, and learning about one another. I’m really enjoying it up until 27%. A lot of unexpected things happen at this point. I had to put it down, and try to figure out what was bothering me about the story. It was the lack of fluff, the sweetness, the insta-love and care that I’ve come to know from this series. Totally lacking.

The rest of the book is action and adventure, and my face is still upturned because it wasn’t what I expected. I did not like the direction it took. Overall I think it was an okay story. The CIA tie-in into both of them as characters was good. It was very adventurous. I think Eli could have done better with this. I’m a big fan of hers. I want my fluff Eli, please give me my fluff.

About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: MoMo: My Everything by Posy Roberts

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Labyrinth Bound Press

Length: 27,000 words

Cover Image: Igor Madjinca

Photo Editing: Posy Roberts

Cover Typography: Natasha Snow

Blurb

William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?


*Extensively reworked from the short story, The Measure of a Man.


Author Bio

Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.

Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting.


Facebook Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/757618490928296/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/6YnZL
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/posy-roberts/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/posy-roberts
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550149.Posy_Roberts
Website: http://posyroberts.com
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/posyroberts
Twitter: http://twitter.com/posyroberts

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Until You by T.J. Klune

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

Until You: by T.J. Klune
Series:At First Sight #3
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Pages: 149 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • AmazonKobo

Sequel to The Queen & the Homo Jock King

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster

and

Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

 

four-stars

 

Well now, this is the end of an era. Not really. Atleast I don’t think so. LOL. What can I say? I first want to say thank you to T.J. Klune for writing these amazing stories with these amazing characters. Thanks for the tears, the laughter, the emotionally eating, and for the swoon that comes after. I really am a fan of your craft, and I sincerely thank you.

Sexy Paul is ah-mazing! I don’t think I laughed this hard in a very long time. He was hilarious, and I swear I could picture every bit of those shenanigans in my head. The time has come for Paul & Vince to get married, and well it would be this crew without OTT situations happening. Paul & Vince are more in love then ever. I loved the opening sequence of Paul pov. It was funny. I can’t say that enough.

Vince is Vince, until Vince blows you away. His vows were spectacular and I didn’t think he had them so eloquently in him. I was surprised, but I should not have doubted him. I loved his little speech to Paul’s family, and year it brought a few tears to my eyes. Loved seeing the growth of each character in this series. It has come full circle for most of them. I really hope a certain couple get a story, I mean I think that little nugget at the end wasn’t enough. I definitely need to see what happens next.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. I laughed and really enjoyed seeing them all again. I think they are at peace with themselves and have all the happiness that they could. T.J. did a really good job, and I can’t wait for more of his work. A definite recommend for fans of this series!

About TJ Klune

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

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

Review Tour & Giveaway: Imago by N.R. Walker

Review Tour: February 21st until March 13th!
Buy Links: Amazon US| Amazon UK
 
Length: 45,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bowties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bowties, and butterflies.



 

February 25 – Foxylutely Books
 
Author Bio
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since… You can find me at these places:

Facebook Fan Page
Facebook Group
Twitter
Google +
Amazon Author
Authorgraph
Blog

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Married for a Month by Cate Ashwood

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.

Married for a Month: by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: February 10th, 2017
Pages: 171 • Format: eARC
Published By: Cate Ashwood
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Best friends since high school, Chase Bradley and Alec Montero are opposites in almost every way. The one thing they can agree on, though, is that marriage is for suckers.

Everything is going their way until a drunken bet leads Alec and Chase to the altar. Their temporary “I Do’s” aren’t as amusing in the sober light of day when they find themselves thrown into married life and everything that goes with it.

The question they have to ask themselves now is, can their friendship survive being married for a month?

 

three-half-stars

It’s my second Cate Ashwood story, and I liked it. I wasn’t always sold on the characters, for them to be best friends you’d think they would know each other a little bit better then they acted. I tell my best friend everything. It’s no holds barred with us, from sex, to work, school, kids, family, gossip. It’s nothing she doesn’t know about me except my social security number, and we’ve been friends for 16 years. So for me, when they have the history as such, I’d expect them to show it a little more then they did to one another.

I liked the friends to lovers trope. It’s one of my favorite. Chase and Alec are best friends, who seem to be the yin to each others yang. I did like the pace the author took for the characters to progress from friends to lovers. They had to come to terms with lusting after one another for so long. That lust station was amazing. It felt so real in the moment. Their reactions to one another was great as well. In the bedroom they were super compatible.

For me, outside of the bedroom the guys just didn’t seem real at time. Chase from the beginning to the end seemed to change as well. At times he seemed so submissive and its just not how I would picture him at all. His personality seemed so loud, fearless, and fun. I felt like when he was realizing his feelings for Alec that became first, and more important. I guess, I’m saying it seems like he lost himself during portions of the story. Alec gave me whiplash. He was someone that I didn’t think he would be like. I guess he seemed so aloof during the beginning of the story, and as it progressed his character was kind of an asshole. Not bad necessarily, but it didn’t feel as loving as Chase felt. Maybe it’s because Chase thought of him that way so long ago. Who knows? I don’t, I do know betting of this sort doesn’t end up well ever.

It did have that pesky MISCOMMUNICATION TROPE that I despise. I didn’t feel like it was needed. I mean, again if they know each other so well then it shouldn’t been a problem. I do know when feelings get involved that things change so it’s understandable. It wasn’t my favorite, but I enjoyed it.

About Cate Ashwood

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

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.

Hard Wired: by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove #3
Release Date: February 13th, 2017
Pages: 260 • Format: eARC
Published By: Megtino Press
Purchase Links: Amazon

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

 

four-stars

 

This book should come with a strong warning that ANGST CENTRAL is coming straight ahead. I had no warning, and if I did I would have prepared myself big time for it. I’m not one for the angst, and can deal with it in small portions. Basically the gist of this rambling is to stay, I needed help and no one was there to hold me.

Now that it’s out of the way, whatever comparisons you are making towards the firs two in the series STOP IT. This book is way more darker, morose, sad, then the other two stories. I do feel like the formula of a broken home/childhood has been done in book one and two. I was hoping for something else. It works for the story, but I’m a little over it. I kinda wanted Ian to be somebody completely different, but I totally get Cerise is him 100%. I’m not going into a lot of detail plot wise, but Ian was a harder character for me to grasp more. I feel in love with Jesse right away. Sure he had his problems, minor that they were dealing with his parents. I guess for me, everything was out in the open with him. I didn’t have to guess or wade through his life as much as I did with Ian’s.

I truly love this duo writing team. I mean, Ilona Andrews is still my favorite, but they are #2 in my book. I always describe their writing as Hassell being the emo, hard living, hard life characters, and Erickson is always the optimism, easy going, kinda being effortless in love. They mesh well together, and it’s been like that since book 1. Not in the same way that I stated above, but its how I perceive their characters and writing style.

I will say their love story was exhausting at time. It felt very Carrie & Big-ish. Not a bad comparison, but we all know how that was. The main thing was Ian being scared to depart with his safety net. It’s something that he created at a young age, and stay with him. It’s his comfort, his first love, and something apart of him. Him letting Jesse in is a huge deal. He wants Jesse to accept him with flaws and all. It was a mental game, that Jesse didn’t even know how to participate in.  I really how Jesse dived heart first when it came to Ian. This was something extremely new to him, but he knew that Ian was someone he can be devoted to. Physically they were off the charts. I don’t think either of these character can write a bad sex scene. It’s just no way possible.

I overall enjoyed the story. Loved the new characters being introduced, and my heart was pumping when Garrett’s little dialogue was included. These authors write from such a passionate place that their work always shows the dedication and strength they put forth into writing these amazing stories. I liked that the epilogue was realistic enough to see them maintaining a relationship. Can’t wait for more in this series!

About Megan Erickson

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

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

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Release Day Blitz: Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Hard Wired

Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Release Blitz

 


Title: Hard Wired
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymers

Blurb:

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

Purchase Links

Universal Global Link: books2read.com/hardwired

 

Follow Cerise on Tumblr: https://artboycerise.tumblr.com/

Check out All the Books in the Cyberlove Series

Strong Signal

books2read.com/strongsignal

Fast Connection

books2read.com/fastconnection


About the Authors

Megan Erickson

 

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group

 

 

 

 

Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group | Patreon

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 
THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse
 

 

An earl hiding from his
future . . . 
 Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man
arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.
A swindler haunted by his past . . .
Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember. 

Excerpt

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

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Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

The Black Sheep & the Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan

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

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple: by K.A. Merikan
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Pages: 471 • Format: eARC
Published By: Acerbi & Villani ltd
Purchase Links: Amazon

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

four-stars

 

 

Whoa. This book was super freaking long. I mean it seemed like it was never going to end. It was a good story, but I think it could have been cut my at least 50 to 60 pages at least for me. In the middle of the story I feel like I stalled out a bit. It definitely changed the pacing of the story, and I got kinda bored an felt like the skimming bug was going to hit me. It didn’t, and I’m glad for that sake, but yeah that’s a warning to some folks that it does get slower in the middle of the story.

Now where to start? For a first time historical fiction from these two, I think they did very well. I really liked the authentic feeling to the time of the story. I really like when authors do their research and bring authenticity into the story. You can tell they did their research by the tone of the story, the elements, and the way the characters talk as well. This duo did a fantastic job on these two.

Sir Even Penhart and Julian Reece were good characters. Each bringing a difference of background into the story. Evan is the last surviving heir to his family’s home. While it is ruin, it’s something in his soul that won’t let him depart from it, out of a sense of duty more then loving memories I’d say. He has no money left due to his brother’s wastrel ways, and the only that he knows how to make some is by becoming a highwayman, a modern day robber. On one unforgettable night he approaches Julian’s carriage looking to make away with their money & trinkets. Julian is looking for a way out of an arranged marriage. He’s young, likes to drink & gamble, and fantasized about becoming a published author. His father is tired of supporting the young lad, so he waits until he’s incapacitated himself enough and ships him out, along with his older brother to his suspected bride. Long before Julian can understand the circumstances, a robber in all black and a pistol happens upon them.

The chemistry between the two were just right from the beginning. Both skeptical of one another, and not knowing where to go from there. They do come up with a plan to ransom Julian by hoping his father cares from him enough to send money. They both learn things from each other. They are different in a lot of ways. We see Julian loves words, poetry, writing, his wine, and he’s a easy going guy. Evan is more reserved, believes himself to live a life of destitute. Sparks fly in the most inopportune time it seems. While they seem to have a different of a opinion on the matter of the physical attraction, it’s not something you can deny. This duo does have a way with pulling on your heartstrings. There was plenty of times where I found myself really connecting with these guys. I like how expressive Julian was. I liked how he thought out so many things, and thought about his emotions as well. Evan is so used to not winning in life, that small things brighten his day. It’s been a long time since he was able to feel something for someone, so he was willing to go above and beyond for Julian.

I will say the plot got to be a long winded journey for me. I get we needed it, but because the book was so long when the plot settled into something at the end it left me frustrated. I had doubts on the end for these two. I hated Pascoe with a passion, but someone needed to be a villain.

All in all I think this was a good, solid historical romance. It felt authentic for the time period. I loved the development of the relationship. That didn’t feel rushed at all, and I appreciated the authors letting the characters find themselves together in their own way. A definite recommend from me.

About K.A. Merikan

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.