Blog Tour & Giveaway: Enjoy The Dance by Heidi Cullinan

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Oh My Shelves welcomes Heidi Cullinan to the blog. We are excited to be apart of the Enjoy The Dance Blog Tour. Check out the post to find out LGBT Youth Homelessness and the resources you can find to help. Don’t forget to follow the tour to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!

Short Summary: Set against the backdrop of the marriage equality and immigration struggles of 2012, kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris and dance instructor Tomás Jimenez fall in love while helping a troubled youth, but the public spotlight their effort draws threatens their relationship, their careers, and their families.

 

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LGBT youth homelessness has been a cause I’ve addressed in my books before, and I’ve urged readers to consider donating to causes before in blog tours and other social media campaigns, but in Enjoy the Dance I’ve made the issue an integral part of the story in what I home is a way to put a more human face on the issue.

 

We hear the word “homeless” and think of old men in stocking caps with scruffy beards and women wearing too many sweaters with hair sticking up, pushing shopping carts full of assorted belongings on movie sets. The reality is much more complicated and all around you. It’s a lot younger. And a lot of that population is queer.

 

This is a three part fact series about LGBT youth homelessness. You can read more at Gay Book Reviews and Bayou Book Junkie, and of course check out the rest of the Blog Tour for other facts and behind the scenes information.

 

If you want to be part of the solution to stopping LGBT youth homelessness, here is a list of resources to get you started. If you know of more resources, email me, and I’ll add them to my list.

LGBT HOMELESS YOUTH FACTS, PART 3

The most frequently cited factor contributing to LGBT homelessness was family rejection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with the second most common reason of being forced out by their parents after coming out, according to the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, et al. At school LGBT students often face harassment, both physical and verbal, which leads to high dropout rates.

  • Gay and transgender students are two-times less likely to finish high school or pursue a college education compared to the national average.
  • 86 percent: The portion of gay and lesbian students who reported being verbally harassed at school due to their sexual orientation in 2007.
  • 44 percent: The portion of gay and lesbian students who reported being physically harassed at school because of their sexual orientation in 2007.
  • 22 percent: The portion of gay and transgender students who reported having been physically attacked in school in 2007, with 60% saying they did not report the incidents because they believed no one would care.
  • 31 percent: The portion of gay and transgender students who report incidents of harassment and violence at school to staff, only to receive no response. LGBT youth are also disproportionally homeless due to overt discrimination when seeking alternative housing – widespread discrimination in federally funded institutions frequently contributes to the growing rates of homelessness among LGBT youth. Once homeless, these youth experience greater physical and sexual exploitation than their heterosexual counterparts.

 

enjoythedance-digital_finalv3_highresEnjoy The Dance: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing #2
Release Date:October 11, 2016
Pages: 80,000 words • Format:Novel
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
AmazonAReBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Dance with your heart, and love will follow.

Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.

Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.

But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.

∗∗∗Rafflecopter Giveaway∗∗∗

Enjoy the Dance Prize Pack

Enjoy the Dance paperback, Dance with Me paperback, No House To Call My Home paperback, MIKA The Origin of Love CD, a box of Lady Grey tea, a bottle of Tajìn seasoning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Heidi Cullinan

heidiHeidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi@heidicullinan.com

 

Blog Tour – Short Stay by Heidi Cullinan

Short Stay Blog Tour

Oh My Shelves is beyond excited to be part of the blog tour for Short Stay by Heidi Cullinan. Our resident ginger loved this and is a HUGE fan of the Love Lessons and Special Delivery series! Check out the post to get answers to some must know questions, get a glimpse into lunch with beloved characters and a chance to win paperbacks in the Love Lessons series.  

* * * * * *

Why Did You Write This Story?

I hadn’t planned on writing this story at all. I’d meant to write something for my Patreon readers as a Christmas present, but it got long and complicated, so I asked them what they wanted in a short story from a known character universe. They voted, and Baz and Elijah won, though Walter and Kelly were only one vote down, and the Special Delivery series characters had a strong showing too, so I decided what the heck, let’s include them all.

I meant the story to be short, but I don’t do short well. I was having too much fun playing with the characters and thinking of things to include I knew would delight my readers. I told them, as I wrote, that every time I got stuck I asked myself, “What would the readers want right now?” then tried to give it to them. I didn’t back down from anything cheesy, didn’t let any critical voices in my head.

The result was something I loved writing and my patrons loved reading. In truth all stories are written for readers, but this one really was. It wouldn’t have happened without them. It was designed with specific readers in mind, ones I’ve come to know and appreciate more deeply in the past six months. It felt exactly like it was meant to: a gift to readers I care very much about. And they enthusiastically let me share it with everyone else, so here we are.

You crossed the streams on this one big time, sending the Love Lessons characters into the Special Delivery characters’ world. Why did you do that?

It started as a lark. I’d meant for Baz and Elijah to go to Vegas in Lonely Hearts in an early draft, so I was eager to send them there now. And I thought, well, the Special Delivery characters have to say hi, since they live there. But I couldn’t resist sending them to Herod’s itself, and then everything snowballed. I should have known better. Randy always steals the show. But it’s okay, because he does it so well.

Will what happened in Short Stay become canon in either or both series?

Yes. It doesn’t change much in Special Delivery except now Randy wants a Tesla. For the Love Lessons series, though…well, I’m not giving any spoilers, but it changed a lot in what I had planned for the rest of the White House gang story arc. Which is fine, because shaking things up and making me scared always gives me good energy in a story.

What’s next in your production queue?

My muses have been fickle lately, and every time I make plans they thwart them. What I’m working on right now, for better or for worse, are two more after-HEA stories: Shelter the Sea, a novella in the Roosevelt series, and Enjoy the Dance, a short novel in the Dancing series. (Yes, Dance With Me is part of a series now.)

Shelter the Sea is still slightly amorphous, but essentially Emmet is trying to help a friend in trouble and doing a little more growing up in the process. Enjoy the Dance began as my attempt to chronicle what happened to Ed and Laurie between Dance With Me and when they appeared in Lonely Hearts, and how the radical change in the state of marriage equality affected them personally. We also find out what happened to Duon.

After that, I’m working on the next full novels in the Love Lessons, Roosevelt, and Clockwork Love series. As per usual I’m also working on several other things as well. What specifically comes next is difficult to say, but suffice it to say, something will float to the top.

* * * * * *

~Excerpt~

Lunch With the Boys

Walter and Kelly had left, as had Randy, but Mitch and Sam were still there, sitting in what Elijah had begun to think of as “Randy’s booth.” They welcomed him over when they saw him.

“Where’s your other half?” Mitch asked in his Texas drawl.

“Sleeping. I didn’t want to wake him, but I needed to get out of the dark for a bit.” Elijah had barely slid into his seat before the same waitress from the day before placed a Dirty Whiskey in front of him. He thanked her with a nod and took a sip. “What are you guys up to?”

“We’re waiting for my brother. He’s had a long day of rehearsal, and Steve’s deep into a project, so we thought we’d take Chenco out to pamper him at his favorite vegan restaurant.” Sam glanced at Mitch, who nodded. “You’re welcome to come along, with or without Baz.”

Elijah hesitated. “It sounds good, but I don’t know how long he’ll sleep, and I don’t want to be gone if he’s up and wants to do something.” He remembered the day before, their argument, and couldn’t help a wry smile. “Though if he were awake, he’d tell me to go.”

Sam leaned into Mitch. “I love how devoted the two of you are to each other. When are you getting married again?” When the question made Elijah shutter, Sam sat up, concerned. “I’m sorry, was that an uncomfortable question?”

How the hell should he answer? “We don’t have a date set, and whenever it is, I’m not going to look forward to it. Baz’s mother means well, but she’s a Momzilla on the best of days, and since she heard we were getting married, she’s been off the charts. There is no incarnation of our ceremony that doesn’t result in her taking over and turning it into some major social event for rich white people from Chicago. I can’t blame her, because this is her only son getting married. But it overwhelms me. I wish I could skip the ceremony and jump simply to being married to Baz.”

Mitch raised his eyebrows. “You can do that today, in Vegas. It’s called eloping.”

Elijah laughed bitterly. “Yeah, she’d be thrilled to find out we’d done an end run on her. But…even if I could know us running off to city hall wouldn’t mean she was gunning for my head on a platter, I kind of want some pomp and circumstance at our wedding.” He blushed, feeling ridiculous and exposed admitting it, but it wasn’t as if these people knew him or ever would. “I never thought I’d get married. I never thought anybody would feel that way about me. I still don’t always understand how I ended up with someone like Baz. You don’t get more opposite than the two of us, for family background.” His blush deepened, and he regretted not stopping his mouth on his first inclination. Damn Dirty Whiskeys.

Sam, unsurprisingly, turned soft and empathetic, a bottle-blond Kelly. “I never thought I’d leave Iowa, until I met Mitch. At best I hoped to get away to Des Moines. We aren’t so opposite as you and Baz, but we have other ways we’re different, I suppose.”

Mitch gave him an incredulous look. “Yeah, starting with our twelve-year age difference.”

Sam hushed him. “The point is, different can be good. You bring things out in each other, I think. Challenge each other. I didn’t want to move out to Las Vegas, but I wanted to be nearer to Randy and Ethan, and Mitch wanted to develop a relationship with his half-brother. Mitch likes to run cross-country jobs, but he’s driving local runs now almost all the time because we’re getting tired of not having a home base. Or rather, we want to be at the home base more.” He bit his lip, glanced at Mitch shyly, and added, “And because maybe someday soon we’ll make our own family.”

Yeah, this guy really was a Kelly. Elijah pulled the napkin from beneath his drink and shredded the edge absently. “I don’t know if I want a family beyond Baz.”

“It’s okay if you don’t,” Mitch said. “And it’s okay if you don’t now and do later.”

Chenco appeared, well-scrubbed and exhausted. Sam scooted out of the booth to break the news about the restaurant, which Chenco seemed pleased by, and once again invited Elijah to come along. Before Elijah could decline, however, Mitch leaned over to tap him on the arm and give him a heavy look.

“You come on out with us. We’ll tell Randy to take a break from party planning and bring Baz on over if he wakes up before we get back. Or Randy can keep him company, whichever Baz prefers.”

Mitch said this in such a rumbly, bossy way Elijah didn’t feel no was an option. And so he ended up piling into a sedan with the three of them, driving through the city into a residential area north of the city.

The restaurant was nice—fancy, but not formal, and the food wasn’t bad. Elijah ordered a fried tofu buddha bowl, which smelled delicious as it was placed before him. It tasted good too.

“My friends and I are eating more plant-based,” he said around bites. “We haven’t been doing it long at the White House, but we’re trying. We need to make stuff like this, though. It’s so good.”

Chenco raised an eyebrow. “The White House?”

Elijah always forgot how weird it sounded. “It’s this big house we all rent off Campustown. It’s white, and it’s a house, so…White House. Someone made the joke a million years ago, and I guess it stuck.”

“It’s so cool you get to live there with all your friends.” Sam looked jealous. “I lived with my aunt and uncle for most of college. My aunt and uncle who hated me.”

“My first year I lived in the dorms. My parents were…” Elijah stopped, the urge to share abruptly washed over with the urge to self-protect.

Mitch’s drawl was gentle, reassuring. “Randy told us your story. Glad you got out okay.”

Elijah poked at his bowl, appetite gone. “Some days I’m less okay than others.”

Sam put a hand near Elijah’s plate. “My mom died when I was seventeen after being sick all her life, and I had to live with the horrid aunt and uncle afterward. Mitch’s mom left when he was eight, meaning he was raised by his father who, from the sounds of it, would get along fine with yours. When Chenco was kicked out by his mother, he had to go live with their father—who then left the only home he had to the KKK when he died. We get it, Elijah. Trust me. We get it. And it’s okay. You’re okay. Even when you don’t feel it.”

Elijah moved his gaze around the table, taking in the serious but understanding and accepting faces of the three men. He felt exposed…but also seen, and in a way making something deep inside him unwind. The same place inside him Randy had touched. Randy, who had been kicked out in high school and done tricks to survive, same as Elijah.

“Family is essential. Find it, make it, seize it however you can. If it walks up to you and welcomes you home and you don’t have reason to doubt it’s real, don’t argue. Just go through the door.” Chenco winked and nudged Elijah’s bowl. “Eat your dinner. Anyone with that many hickeys on his neck had enough sex to require calorie replacement.”

Elijah ate. He also, on the drive to the hotel, got out his phone and opened Facebook again. Pulled down the still-unanswered friend request from Penny.

He didn’t know how to tell if the request was real or not, but he clicked accept anyway.

 


ShortStay_LargeShort Stay by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, Book Three Point Five
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Pages: 118 • Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
AmazonARe iTunes • Smashwords   Kobo

Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.

Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays? 

When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.

With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.

This novella is a continuation of a story begun in the novel Lonely Hearts in the Love Lessons series and was written at the request of Heidi’s Patreon readers.


Follow the tour! 

Follow along to learn more about the book and for chances to win prizes, including a paperback set of the Love Lessons series!

May 20th – Review and Giveaway at Lucy Marker

May 23Ticket To Anywhere

May 24Diverse Reader

SS Blog Tour VerticalMay 24Bayou Book Junkie

May 24Keysmash Blog

May 24Just Love Romance

May 24 – The Day Before You Came

May 25Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

May 25My Fiction Nook

May 26Oh My Shelves

May 26 Joyfully Jay

May 26Bike Book Reviews

May 26Sinfully

May 27PrettySassyCool

Rafflecopter PrizeMay 27Molly Lolly

May 27Just Love Romance

May 30Viviana, Enchantess of Books

June 2Prism Book Alliance

June 3The Novel Approach

June 3Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews

June 4Love Bytes

 

~GIVEAWAY~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Short Stay by Heidi Cullinan

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.

ShortStay_LargeShort Stay by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, Book Three Point Five
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Pages: 118 • Format: eARC
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
AmazonARe iTunes • Smashwords   Kobo

Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.

Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays? 

When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.

With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.

This novella is a continuation of a story begun in the novel Lonely Hearts in the Love Lessons series and was written at the request of Heidi’s Patreon readers.

five-stars

If I had to name an author as a favorite it would he Heidi Cullinan. I honestly do not know how she does it but with every book I read from her, I fall in love with her ability to make me feel. When the times come around that I don’t think a romance can hit me so hard, I read something from Heidi and am firmly sat on my ass. It’s amazing and I simply adore the words, the places and good lord these ultimately swoon worthy characters she gives me. Yes me. Back off now, kay?

How long are you in Vegas? Long or short stay, or flexible?

When I heard that she was writing a short with Baz and Elijah I was more than giddy. When I realized they were going to Vegas with Walter and Kelly I was ready to use every yoga move possible to fit inside someone’s luggage to go along for the ride and then I saw they were going to Vegas and my book boyfriend of all time, Randy Jansen came to mind and then it all came together.

Let me just say that seeing Ed & Laurie from Dance With Me in Baz’s book, Lonely Hearts,  was a gift but this… I don’t know how much my heart or libido can handle with all the men created by Heidi’s wickedly and deliciously dirty mind together in one story.

Oh boy.

So if you haven’t read this series you are warned; here there be spoilers.

Now… this starts with Elijah totes freaking out about the preparations for his upcoming wedding to Baz. The Ackers can be a bit overwhelming and instead of Elijah talking to his fiancé about WTF is stressing him out, he tries to put on a brave face and deal. But Baz loves Elijah and knows when he is on the verge of checking out and taking up residence in his own head so Baz makes plans.

This was just too much damn fun. I know that I knew what was going to happen and where they were going but I screamed and flailed and melted with each man from previous books showed up on the page. I mean, how could I not when I know them so well.

Family is essential. Find it, make it, seize it however you can. If it walks up to you and welcomes you home and you don’t have reason to doubt it’s real, don’t argue. Just go through the door.

I can’t take this book. I just can’t. The Special Delivery and Love Lesson’s series are so close to my heart that seeing everyone together was too much but then what the hell am I saying? It could never and will never be enough. Good Lord, I feel strung out but it’s how these men leave me… strung out in the best way possible. I think I need a trip up to the top of the Stratosphere to clear my head.

So back to the story at hand. Baz is so concerned about taking care of Elijah and making sure he has a good time in Vegas that he forgets to take care of himself. And you have Elijah who is so dedicated to Baz’s photophobia and simply taking care of him that he lets his concerns get buried under his insecurities but these boys… ugh. They are so well suited for one another and so ridiculously in love, I was holding my breath waiting for them to just talk it all out.

But they couldn’t just talk it all out without the help of their new friends and I loved seeing them all again. Loved getting Randy with his natural presence to predictably overwhelm you when he is on the page and the general story. It’s not to  step on the toes of Baz and Elijah but to nurture them and come on, having more Randy time is never, ever a bad thing.

I keep losing my focus with this review and I am getting overly emotional, I mean I happy cried through the majority of this… So I am going to stop and put it plainly. This was a love story from an author to her fans, asked for by the fans that love the author and the stories about true love she gives them. This was a gift, a wonderfully romantic and sexy AF gift that I can’t explain how much it means to have experience it.

Short Stay… if you’ve read the Special Delivery Series and the Love Lessons series to their current stopping point, this is a must read. If you haven’t read the two series, do it now.

Kay?

Thanks.

 

 

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Love #1), by Heidi Cullinan

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.

clockwork-heartClockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan Series: Clockwork Love
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 248 • Published by: Samhain Publishing  • Format: eARC
Purchase Links: Samhain  Amazon • ARe

Love, adventure and a steaming good time.

As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.

Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.

When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.

Warning: Contains tinkers, excessive clockwork appendages, and a cloud-sweeping tour of Europe. A little absinthe, a little theft, a little exhibitionism. Men who love men, women who love women, and some who aren’t particular.

five-stars

Wow. I feel so star struck right now. Like starry eyed and happy. This book is awesome. I would have never picked up a steampunk book. Or I think steampunk is for me if this is what I’m going to get. Heidi Cullinan you rock. I don’t even have all the words to get out how much I really enjoyed it. This is such a great cast of characters. I loved the concept from beginning to end, and it really is well written. Immediately after finishing my first thoughts were for me to re-read it again and Valentin & Crawley better be book two. Ugh you can feel all the UST from them.

Cornelius and Johan two guys who make love look almost easy . Their coming together wasn’t easy, but it doesn’t matter because we see the love between the two. Johan seems so much older than he is, he embraced this gift that Conny gave him and was fantastic. I like the way the story molded together. I also really enjoyed that I wasn’t able to figure anything out. I read it in one sitting, it’s hard to step away from it. I can’t even explain in words how Conny & Johan were. Just read the book people. Their personalities definitely matched each other.

I can’t really say anything without spoiling it, but the way these two came together is still so beautiful. I felt like I was watching an action movie. That is how good it is, every little sequence kept me on the edge of my seat. We had the espionage, historical facts, love, the steamy sex scenes, the laughter, and the villains. The villains were perfect, as well as all of the females in the story. Every one of these ladies were such bad ass women.

**Special Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this in exchange for an honest review**

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.