Release Blitz & Giveaway: Boy’s Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan

Title:  Boys Don’t Cry

Author: J.K. Hogan

Publisher:  J.K. Hogan

Release Date: May 25th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70,000 words

Genre: Romance

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Synopsis

Mackenzie Pratt is having the worst luck of his life. His apartment building is being torn down, and since he’s jobless and just weeks away from graduating college, he can’t find anywhere else he can afford to live that isn’t a critter-infested dump. As he’s lamenting the very real possibility of job hunting while couch-surfing, he gets an offer from the coworker of his best friend.
An in-demand mobile app developer and heir to his parents’ fortune, Laurent Beaudry is literally an eccentric billionaire. Even though Mackenzie realizes he’s basically living the plot of a cheesy romance novel, he takes the proffered room in Laurent’s Baltimore mansion. He finds his new housemate to be grumpy, brooding, and, at times, incredibly kind and endearing.
Raised by his brother after their father’s death, Mackenzie spent his formative years plowing headlong through school, focusing on little else beyond earning his teaching certification. He’s never taken the time to explore love and relationships, much less sexuality, so when he finds himself being courted by another man, he has no idea what to do. And when he realizes he might actually return those feelings, his life takes a whole new direction.

Excerpt

The house was dark so I couldn’t see much, but what I could see was immaculate, contrary to what Taylor had said. The hardwood floors gleamed in the moonlight, the furniture looked expensive and perfect, and there wasn’t a dirty dish or dust bunny in sight. “I thought you said it was a sty,” I whispered.

“Oh, this? Not this. He only uses a fraction of the house, the suite with his bedroom, living room, library, and office. All of this is just for show,” he said with a sweeping gesture toward the big empty parlor we were facing. “And why are you whispering? He knows I’m coming.”

“I don’t know. It seems so quiet and…undisturbed.”

Taylor’s chuckle had an evil ring to it. “You want disturbed? Follow me.” He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled. “Mr. Beaudry! It’s me, Taylor. Morrison. From Mindstream. The place you work.”

He made his way down a dark corridor with me dogging his heels. “He doesn’t remember who you are? Where he works?”

“Oh, he knows. But when he’s been staring at code for hours on end and not sleeping, sometimes basic stuff slips his mind. Details like that can be hard for geniuses like him.”

Genius? I didn’t think I’d ever heard that term used to sincerely describe someone. “What does he do again?”

“He’s a mobile app developer. Highly sought after, but right now he works exclusively for us. That was a huge coup for the company.” He stopped in front of a heavy, ornately carved door made of some kind of dark hardwood. He rapped his knuckles on it three times before barging on in, while I hovered in the doorway.

So this was the suite. Taylor had been right. What a mess. We stood in what I assumed was the living room, but it was hard to tell because every available surface was covered in wrinkled clothing, pizza boxes, and empty dishes. A huge fireplace was installed in the far wall, surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. More books than I’d ever seen in one place outside a library. The fire blazed in the hearth, and I was honestly surprised there wasn’t any garbage close enough to it to catch fire. As beautiful as the house was, the mess made my skin crawl. I usually lived in shitty apartments, so I was a bit of a neat freak to balance the universe.

“Beaudry? You in here?” Taylor called. There was no answer. “He must be in the bedroom suite.” He headed to a door on the left, like it was no big deal.

Wait! You’re just going to barge into the guy’s bedroom?”

Pausing in his tracks, Taylor looked over his shoulder. “This is no ordinary bedroom. Just because there’s a bed in the corner doesn’t mean it’s some intimate setting. It’s just a giant workspace.” With that parting shot, he burst through the door, once again calling the man’s name.

Trembling from too much alcohol and not enough nerve, I stepped inside the room. I was stunned speechless by the scene before me. Taylor had one thing right—it was no ordinary bedroom. It was the size of three average rooms lined up in a row and probably had double the square footage of the apartment I was getting booted out of. There was indeed a bed, a California king canopy bed off in one corner of the room. A fire was blazing in this suite as well, only I realized that it was the same fire in the same fireplace, which apparently connected the two rooms.

Taylor stood next to what had to be the man’s workspace. There was a giant U-shaped desk adorned with four widescreen computer monitors and various other gadgets typical of an office. However, on one leg of the U, there was a collection of what looked to be every tablet, PDA, smartphone, and any other mobile device known to man. I supposed he had to test his software on each gizmo that was likely to employ it.

Behind the office area was a ginormous TV screen—at least seventy inches—that looked like it would be more at home in a movie theater. Several fluffy couches were set up in a semicircle facing it. It would be amazing to have a movie marathon in this place. And of course, there was every gaming console imaginable to go along with the screen yardage. But…despite all the cool stuff, there was some very weird stuff about the place as well. Besides the office setup and the movie area, all the furniture in the suite looked like it had been bought from a garage sale at Versailles. It was expensive-looking, obviously, but very gilded and frilly. There were also several racks flanking the giant TV that displayed the man’s sword collection.

And then, the murals. The murals were creepy. On at least a couple of the walls above the wainscoting, there were huge, garish wall paintings of nudes in various scenes. Men and women, sometimes in sexual situations, sometimes just hanging out or whatever. But they weren’t like Renaissance or fine art nudes or anything; they seemed to be done by just some random modern artist. I had no idea how the guy could manage to look at them all day every day. Though if it weren’t for those, I’d never leave a place like this either. Speaking of the guy, though, there was no sign of him.

“Where is he?” I was whispering again. It just seemed like the thing to do when you snuck into someone’s bedroom at night. Not that we were really sneaking, but still.

As if in answer to my question, we heard a toilet flush, and a door to my right that I hadn’t even noticed swung open, startling me. The person who came through was pretty much just as unbelievable as the house he lived in. He was tall—very tall—and lanky, but with wide shoulders and well-defined musculature. His hair was just a little too long, like maybe he’d forgotten his last couple of haircuts, and very dark, shot through with a tiny bit of gray. It had to be premature because I doubted he was much more than ten years older than me. His facial features—though thrown in deep shadow because of the low light in the room—were chiseled and angular, too handsome to be fair to the rest of the world. Wire-rimmed glasses perched on the tip of his straight nose, slightly askew. Despite the handsomeness, he had dark circles under his eyes and frown lines around his mouth, as if he hadn’t slept in weeks. And he was wearing Angry Birds pajamas.

When he saw me, his deep-set blue eyes widened and he flinched like I’d snuck up on him. “Who the hell are you?”

I let out a squeaky gasp and backed away toward Taylor because the guy looked fucking scary when he turned on the full force of that scowl.

“Jesus Christ, Beaudry, relax,” Taylor said. He picked up his briefcase and pulled out a legal-size envelope. “This is my friend Mackenzie. I was driving him home, and I just popped in to drop off these contracts from Harrelson.”

Beaudry grunted and crossed the room to sit at his desk. He waved a hand in the vague direction of a stack of shelves. “Just put them in the inbox. I’ll deal with them later.”

“If you look them over now, I can take back any questions or return them…”

He glared at Taylor over his shoulder, and Taylor wisely shut his mouth. Then the man’s gaze settled on me. It wasn’t the scowl he’d given me earlier, but it wasn’t exactly a…nice expression either. It was more of an assessing glare than anything. “Welcome to Chatham House, Mackenzie. What do you think?” he asked.

I had no idea what he meant. What did I think of the house? The room? Him? “It’s…impressive. The artwork is…unusual.”

He let out a belting laugh that I hadn’t been expecting, so I jumped, but then the rich baritone of it made my toes curl. It was an odd reaction, as I wasn’t usually affected by such things.

“Unusual is a kind way of putting it. The artwork came with the house, along with much of the furniture. I just haven’t gotten around to redecorating.”

“Oh, that’s…” . “How long have you lived here, then?”

Beaudry turned back to his computer and began typing furiously. “About five years,” he answered without turning back around.

I choked on air, and Taylor snorted. “I think by ‘haven’t gotten around to it,’ you mean ‘just don’t give a shit,’” he muttered.

“Touché, Mr. Morrison. Is there anything else you need?”

Taylor sighed, probably realizing that the man was not going to look at whatever was in the envelope while we were still there to relay any messages back to Mindstream. He clamped a hand around my wrist and started dragging me toward the door. “All right, we’re going. Remember, drinks at the King’s Shield next Friday.”

“I don’t think I’m going to be—”

Taylor spoke right over Beaudry’s muttering. “You already said you would. No backsies. I can pick you up.”

“I think I’d enjoy driving my shiny Lotus instead, but thank you very much for the offer,” Beaudry growled. “Nice meeting you, Mack,” I heard him call through the open door.

“Nickname basis already?” I laughed to Taylor.

“That has nothing to do with nicknames and everything to do with your name being too long for him to remember.”

“I heard that, Morrison!”

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J.K. Hogan | Amazon

Meet the Author

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.

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Faking It by Christine d’Abo

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.

Faking It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #2
Release Date: May 8th, 2017
Pages: 238 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

four-stars

I read this book in sitting. Faking can be read as a standalone in my opinion. Max was in book one, but he stands on an island by himself in this book. He has everything he could ever want, on second thought he knows he’s missing that other half. Grady has everything one can ever want or need. Its all material things of course, he’s by himself on an island by his self. His island deals with self rumination is the name of the game for him. Both guys have problems with their father for different reasons. They need a hug. I’m just saying. Trying to escape from under his father’s hand Grady escapes to Toronto trying to keep a low profile, but fails miserably when it leads him to Max’s bar Frantic.

The chance meeting starts a slippery slope for the two. This is a opposites attraction trope. Grady is a rich beyond means, and never told no of any kind. Max is a regular guy who lends a helping hand just to about anyone. Grady finds how what his father has in store from him, and makes Max an offer. Max really doesn’t need to take the offer, but its something about Grady that calls to him. Its definitely not all physical. I think they are able to get under each other skins means something to both. No one hasn’t even effect each other quite like the other. I liked how Max is so resistant to Grady, but the minute someone oversteps their boundaries he’s this big protective teddy bear. The same with Grady. He realizes Max is something so much more.

They don’t talk much to learn things about one another. They really don’t have the time to properly get to know one another, but the steamy side of the relationship is A-OK. Max & Grady mesh well together in the bedroom. It was hot and steamy at times. When it wasn’t that they were trying to steer things together. But before we know it both guys think that something is happening here, and aren’t ready for it to be real. It takes a while for them to realize what they want. By the end of the story, I’m happy where they are at.

This was a good story. Can’t wait to read Eli’s book! I even despised Justin and wouldn’t mind seeing him with someone. Not Eli though. This was a good addition to the series. Even got to see Zack & Nolan as well. Can’t wait for more!

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About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Stage Two by Ariel Tachna

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.

Stage Two: by Ariel Tachna
Series: Lexington Lovers #3
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Love has a steep learning curve.

Assistant high school principal Blake Barnes has everything he wants—a chance to help troubled students and an outlet for his passion for theater. Well, almost everything—he still goes home to an empty apartment. Then his high school crush explodes back into his life, the unexpected guardian of two boys in Blake’s care.

Thane Dalton has always been a bad boy through and through. Not much has changed, including his mistrust of authority figures, and no amount of institutional bureaucracy will keep him from protecting his nephews from the bullies terrorizing them. If that means butting heads with Blake, so be it.

Blake and Thane have lessons to learn: that they both have the boys’ best interests at heart, that the tension between them isn’t just confrontational, and that sparks can fly when opposites come together.

 

three-stars

This would have been better if the beginning hadn’t dragged as much. I had a hard time getting invested. I have a love/like relationship with the Dreamspun Desires line, but overall I like the chessiness of the stories. I never read the romances that its based off or watched soap operas as well. So, who would have thunk it that I’ve been reading these books? This was a good opposites attract. Blake being the authoritative figure in Thane’s nephews lives. How to navigate a relationship without breaking the morality clause for Blake. Its all good to see that Thane wants a relationship instead of one-offs when it comes to Blake.

Thane & Blake went to high school with one another, but one didn’t know the other existed. Blake had this worldly crush on resident bad boy Thane since he was a freshmen and a theater geek. Fast Forward 20 years and Blake is assistant principal at their same high school. By a happenstance Blake is in charge of Thane’s nephew when bullying ensues. When they do meet, they are both kinda brisk with one another. Not knowing the history or what to expect Thane was kinda a jerk-off. It could be how he is with most initial meetings. I doubt it, seeing as his nephews have been through hell and back and he’s only protecting them.

It got good after a couple of meetings. It was nice seeing them flirt with one another unknowingly.  I still had a hard time seeing them together. I don’t know what it is, it just seemed not to mesh well as the others in the series. They both do a bit of growing up by the end of the story, so maybe it was me. It just didn’t have that feeling that I get when I read this series.

Fans of this series will definitely like this! An opposites attract trope so there is that! It was cute, but I wish I could have started on a better note. It was probably just me though.

 

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About Ariel Tachna

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Laurent and the Beast by K.A. Merikan

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 135,000 words


Cover: Natasha Snow


Blurb

Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself. 


1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.


Excerpt 

Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”


 
 
Author Bio


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.

 
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Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt

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

Vodka & Handcuffs: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force.

Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

three-stars

Yeah, Bunk that’s exactly how I feel.

I took a few days off from writing my initial thoughts and feelings for this book. The blurb and the Vahin had me really excited to read his book. I liked him a lot in book one. My rating is very generous because I like the author, and know how great his stories can be. This was a total letdown for me. I feel cheated because they couldn’t even build up to a relationship without all the outside interrupting them. Some might classify this as a HFN, but I can not. They spend literally a blink of eye together, and it was nothing that I read that seemed like they connected. It was not good. There, I said it.

I enjoyed Vahin as a character in book one, but in this book he kinda seems lost. I guess that has to do with his past playing heavy on his mind. I don’t know if it took away from his character, but it definitely posed a bigger mystery to him? I thought it would be some resolution for him at the end since his past was presence so much, but it was none. I don’t know how to write this when I feel like pieces of the story were so disjointed.

Marlon, Marlon Marlon. Why?? Two people of color as main characters and their story was not good. I don’t really get Marlon. I guess he never seemed into Vahin. I felt like Witt forced them together, I didn’t feel the steam, love, lust or any connection between the two. Marlon had to deal with his horrible partner as a Denver Police Officer. One could ask why he is still a beat cop at 38, but that just randomly flew out of my head. Kudos to Witt writing some realism in this story. He always is able to deliver some realistic fiction in his stories. The subject is very much true and happening so prevalent in this day and age.

It had a few funny laughs, but nothing to wow me about the book. I really wish it was light hearted, smutty with this side of drama like book one, but I digress. I’ll still read Witt’s forthcoming book. This just didn’t work for me.

 

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About Brandon Witt

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

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

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

Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet

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.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

 

four-half-stars

 

So close…..

Oh Charlie, you don’t know how close I was to parting ways with your series. I got so tired of Dex & Sloane taking over everyone’s stories, tired of the cliffhangers and tired of the other couple playing side characters in their stories. I was just tired. It would have been sad for me, but I would have no other choice. Along the way, the series has gotten so big that at times I forgot who is who, and what is what.

But Ms. Cochet, you’ve redeemed yourself to me. Big time. I’m not an easy series reader to please, and this felt like one of the beginning books in the series. I really liked this. It was an actual story with no cliffhangers, the minimalist of Dex, and Seb & Hudson finally gets to tell their story.

A really big reveal comes into play. I mean, I kinda figured it out, but I definitely like the direction it went in. Hopefully this means Seb & Hudson gets to play a bigger role in this series as well as a potential spin-off series. I did forget the reason for the breakup, but I did like seeing an established couple work through their problems. Is was very up and down at one point, but I understand both points of views.

This is not a standalone, and reading the series helps a lot. We get to see the main characters in their everyday lives, and how well they are able to work to one another. I got a feeling that the series is almost over for some of these people, but its a couple of people that I’d like to see have a story or novella before we leave. Zachary first and foremost, didn’t forget about him. Austen, Dom, and Alfie ;). Have to read the story to find out about that last name folks.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. Nice plot, decent amount of heat, passion, love, and angst. Yes it was a bit angsty in my opinion, but it had me sucked in from the very beginning. Charlie has redeemed herself in my eyes. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crew.

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About Charlie Cochet

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

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.

Rainbow Sprinkles: by Anna Martin
Series: States of Love
Release Date: March 29th, 2017
Pages: 77 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.

Drew Tanner, it turns out, is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.

 

three-stars

 

 

Meh.

That is my overall feeling of it. You can really take it or leave it at this point. I’ve read it close 2 weeks ago and hardly remember anything. I do remember that I felt nothing for it. Both guys are kinda unforgettable. I find myself with Anna Martin’s books either really loving them or this Meh feeling.

Unfortunately it was the latter feeling. The biggest problem to me was that it lacked spark. It was not steam, spark or passion to the story. I enjoyed the playfulness in the first half, but the second portion to a nose dive. Signals definitely got crossed. The little disruption between the two took up a significant portion that could have went towards being together. We all know I hate miscommunication for no reason and I felt like it was just through in here for the sake of it.

I’ve been hit or miss lately with the States of Love series. I mean its a cute, potential HEA but I’m still unsure of the two together. Fans of Martin will most likely enjoy it, but I need more funk in my stories.

 

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About Anna Martin

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

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.

Breaking the Ice: by Tali Spencer
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Pages: 86 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better — until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart — and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

three-stars

 

Breaking the Ice is a cute enemies to lovers story. Heavy on the ice fishing, low on the steam, and plenty of sass. I loved Matt’s sass. Being the poster boy for out & proud in this small Wisconsin town doesn’t even matter to Matt. He likes what he likes, does what he does and isn’t going back in anyone’s closet for anybody. John is new to town, and with all new people they find the popular people and try to fit it. Its what he did here, regardless of the homophobe taunts could have been aimed back at him, he just wanted to fit in.

I know next to nothing about fishing. Its not in my wheel house and I’m okay with that. Matt explained enough for the both of us. I really enjoyed his style and delivery on such things. He was a forgiving person even though he didn’t want to. I don’t really know if I liked John personally. I feel like we got to see the glimpse of him in a bad way, but post making up and setting amends it kinda flew passed. I didn’t get a feel of him like I would have liked to. This book is very much low on steam, which was another downer for me. They did move pretty quick together for my liking, or it could have been the second half of the book was rushed in my opinion.

It wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked it to be. The relationship growth was all on page, and majority of the book was spent talking about Ice Fishing. I would have liked too see them work things out together and definitely on page. It kept me interested enough to finish so there’s that. I think people would like it.

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About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

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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How To Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall

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.

How To Bang A Billionaire: by Alexis Hall
Series: Arden St. Ives #1
Release Date: April 16, 2017
Pages: 384 • Format: e-book
Published By: Forever Yours
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayiBooksKobo

The first book in an all-new m/m romance trilogy by RITA Award-winning author Alexis Hall!

Rules are made to be broken . . .

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

two-half-stars

DNF @ 67%

ARGHHHHHHHHH

It’s only so much you can take! Goodness, I really tried. I tried Alisa, oh pudding pop I tried. LOL.

I literally want to take a bat to ARDEN’S head and shut him the hell up. It was TOO MUCH internal monologuing. I liked the premise of the story and the reversal of the FSOG saga, but it was too much for me. Honestly, I read up to 67% and put up with alot. I couldn’t deal with a few sentences of dialogue between Caspian & Arden, and then 5 long pages of internal yammering from Arden. It was this way the entire book so far. Then Arden would go on extended rants about things that were so left field. I really feel like he had ADHD. It is okay to admit it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Arden a lot. I even liked Caspian, and certain parts of the story were good and funny. Both characters were likeable, but to many words and not enough execution left me bored and pissed off. I wish it was maybe dual pov’s. Maybe it would have flowed more easily reading from Caspian’s pov.

This is a bummer for me. I don’t find myself reading this author that much but I do like a couple of his stories. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this persay, but people seem to read enjoy it. There reviews are a lot more positive in energy about the characters. It didn’t work for me, but it might work for you. Try it. 

 

 

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About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune-teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth-century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hot-wire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.