Thursday, November 21, 2019

Author Of The Month - Lillian Francis - Week Three


Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the amazing




In this week's post, we're looking at Lessons Learned and Lovers Entwined, plus a personal story Lillian has chosen to share. There's also another chance to win one of her books.


First up, Lessons Learned


Blurb:

Drew Jackson is sick of constantly being on the move, running away from his mistakes, his desires, and a secret-filled past. He's decided his new teaching job in Cardiff is his chance to finally settle down. Perhaps here he can have a home, and even friendships that won't end in disaster. Like his growing rapport with history teacher Nathan Morgan.

Nathan has been careful to keep his sexuality a secret at work. He doesn't want that kind of attention from the student body. There's one body he would like attention from, though—the new science teacher, Drew. But it's much too risky to let Drew know how he feels. He won't gamble their fledgling friendship on an awkward confession of lust. And Drew's probably straight anyway.

Their friendship is derailed when a student's accusation forces a reluctant confession. Drew is tempted to run again until he comes face to face with the inescapable realisation that flight has ruined every relationship he's ever had. But maybe he's finally found someone worth staying in one place for.

Excerpt:

Checking the caller ID even as he connected the call, Drew couldn’t stop the grin that spread across his face.
“Nathan.” He greeted his friend ebulliently. Then he remembered the circumstances that had stopped them from speaking for nearly a week and sobered immediately.
“Drew. I’m sorry I didn’t get ’round to calling you. I know we had plans, but I’m going to have to cancel. I’m not going to be back in time to see the band tomorrow. Things really haven’t been good here.”
A shiver ran through Drew. He was wet and naked and the heating had barely had time to warm his flat. But the chill had more to do with the tone of desolation and loss he heard in Nathan’s voice. Another shudder ran through him and his whole body shook this time. He scrubbed the towel over his skin with little finesse in an attempt to chase away the moisture and return some warmth to his frozen skin.
“It’s fine. You can’t help it.” His teeth clanked together before he could stop them, an involuntary reaction to the cold.
“Are you okay?” Suddenly Nathan sounded alert and anxious.
“Sure.” Drew allowed the smile that formed at Nathan’s concern to seep into his voice. “I’d just stepped out of the shower when you rang and I’m dripping all over the carpet.”
“Oh.” It carried like a breathless whisper over the phone line and Drew prayed they weren’t about to lose the connection, the sound was so faint. He shouldn’t have worried, for Nathan’s next words were strong and clear. “Oh. Sorry. I’ll let you go then.”
“No! No, I’ve been drying myself as we were talking. I’ll get my bathrobe. How’s your sister?” Drew left the towel on the back of the sofa and padded naked into his bedroom to retrieve his bathrobe. The unmade bed looked comfortable and inviting and despite the early hour—barely nine o’clock—he slipped into the welcoming folds.
“Physically on the mend, emotionally, well, not so much. I can’t really speak. I’ve got one of the kids sleeping on my lap, but I’m not certain she is actually asleep. I don’t want to be overheard.”
“Of course I’m asleep, Uncle Nathan.” Drew heard a faint voice drifting to him though the phone. The voice was so very childlike and seemed to not be weighed down by worry like her uncle’s. If Drew remembered correctly, Nathan’s niece was about five or six. “Who are you talking to? Your boyfriend?”
Apparently Nathan’s sexuality wasn’t a problem for even the youngest member of his family. Drew realised he was smiling. From the mouth of babes. An adult would have hedged around the question for ages and then still wouldn’t have asked outright.
“No, sweetheart. Drew’s a friend.” Nathan’s voice sounded so tired and weary, and it made Drew’s heartache for the pain his friend was going through.
“But you said you were going out on Friday,” the young girl insisted.
“We go out a lot. We enjoy each other’s company. You go out with your friends, don’t you? Chelsea came with us to the zoo yesterday, didn’t she?”
As Nathan tried to explain the situation to the young girl, Drew found himself nodding along in agreement. In fact, he had been at a serious loose end all week without Nathan around. He enjoyed Nathan’s company and found it reassuring to discover the feeling was mutual, not that he had any reason to think otherwise, but it was still good to have it confirmed.
“Suppose.”
Drew chuckled at the girl’s tone and decided to join the conversation again. “You went to the zoo yesterday without me. I haven’t been to the zoo in years. I know you can’t see, but I’m pouting here.”
Nathan laughed and the sound warmed Drew from the inside out. It barely lasted more than a few seconds, but it gave Drew a great sense of achievement. “Fool.”
Nathan’s next words were directed at the child again. “Bethan, you’ve made Drew all sad because we didn’t invite him to the zoo. Whatever you do, don’t mention the candy floss.”
“Candy floss?” Drew asked in confusion.
“Pink, fluffy and full of sugar. Just like Bethan, here.” Nathan explained. “I think you’d call it cotton candy.”
Bethan giggled, the sound floating down the phone to Drew. “Uncle Nathan, you just did. Maybe Drew can come next time you take us to the zoo.”
“I’d like that,” Drew confirmed. He’d been joking before, in an attempt to lift the spirits of his friend. But as warmth wrapped around him that had nothing to do with his duvet, he realised he really would like to spend the day at the zoo with Nathan and his family.
“Seriously?”
“Seriously.”
“Come on, go and have a wee. It’s time to go to sleep in your bed.”
“Sorry!?”
Nathan chuckled this time. “Drew, I was talking to Bethan.”
“Good, because I had a wee in the shower and I’m already in bed.”
“Ach-y-fi!”
“Achy what?”
“It means gross. You’re in bed already?”
“Nothing to do without you here.” He closed his eyes in disgust; he hadn’t meant to say that out loud. “I sound pathetic.”
“No, you don’t.”
Drew snorted in disagreement.
“Well, maybe a little. I’m going to have to go. I’m sorry about Friday. You should go out anyway. Hopefully I’ll see you at school Monday. Hwyl fawr.”
Drew knew what that meant. “Night, Nathan.”


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Second in our line-up this week, Lovers Entwined


Blurb:

Ewan Matthews is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey Capell is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past.

Excerpt:

“Why only five minutes?” Did Trey sound disappointed?
“‘Cos I’m knackered and I want to go home.” Ewan flicked his gaze up to the dark slick of hair, straight and pushed back from Trey’s forehead, and tried not to wrinkle his nose in distaste. All the life and colour was gone from the normally wayward, but temporarily tamed tresses. To deflect from his aversion to the hairstyle, he indicated the high-fashion shirt Trey was wearing. “Anyway, it looks as if you’ve got somewhere to be yourself.”
“Dinner and drinks at the polo club.” Trey glanced down at himself. “D’ya like it?”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review Tour: Nothing Special V by AE Via




Narrated by: Aiden Snow

Length: 12hrs 29mins


Nothing Special Series


Book #1 - Nothing Special - Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Embracing His Syn - Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - Here Comes Trouble - Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 - Don't Judge - Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Atlanta's notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine Edwin Steele - who's been blacklisted from his Oakland department - to join the team.

Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn't respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle - City Councilman Rasmus Steele - shows him a video of God's team in action, he knows right away it's where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.

Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God's technology specialist/computer genius, "Tech", he's willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.

Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there's no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to surprise him...surprise all of them.





Karen's review:






While I’ve had some touch and go moments with this series each story has given me something that I’ve really enjoyed and/or found compelling enough to make me want to keep reading, so for me if I can come away with at least a few memorable things from a story it’s a win from there all that remains to be determined is ‘how much of  a win’. 
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that for me this series seems to be on a roll as each book is becoming successively more enjoyable and while the last two books have gotten 3.5 stars from me this one gets a solid 4 stars from me.
I think in many ways this book was just what the series needed for me it felt a bit more relationship focused rather than police story. While I enjoy a good mystery or crime drama I also enjoy a story that gives me relationships that I can watch and enjoy the progression of and I got that in spades with ‘Nothing Special V’ plus there were some wonderfully humorous moments as God and Day prepared to tie the knot and the team gets a new member or two while other members of the team make a bid for changes to their job description. It may be all in a days work but even God’s got limits on how many days he can work with out rest (I hear it’s around 6). 
When Edwin Steele’s uncle, councilman Rasmus Steele shows him a video tape of God’s team, knowing that this is the team that he needs to be on if he’s ever going to find his faith restored, Edwin’s a little more dubious about his uncle’s convictions. But one look at Tech the team’s technology/computer genius he concedes that maybe he needs to at least give things a chance. 
Tech is left speechless when the gorgeous RECON marine greets him and when he finally remembers how to use his words, the words he use may be meant to impress but what comes out causes a world of hurt for Edwin Steele as Tech blurts out more information about Steele’s past than he should possibly be able to find out. 

Audio Blitz: Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes



Title: Starting From Scratch
Series: Starting From, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Original Release Date: October 17, 2019
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Enemies to lovers, Rock and roll, Hurt-comfort, Opposites attract

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis


Charlie Rourke is an ultra fabulous human whirlwind on a mission to launch the next biggest band in the world. However, he might have taken on more than he could handle when he signed on to manage Zero. Promoting a rock band and finding gigs shouldn’t be hard. They’re a talented group with a ton of star power. If Charlie can find the right record label, he’s sure he can help them get to the next level. The only problem is the skater boy slash bassist with a quirky sense of humor. He’s annoying and silly, and he’s exactly Charlie’s type. Except he’s straight.

Ky Baldwin isn’t afraid to switch things up. He loves a challenge as much as anyone, but Charlie doesn’t make things easy. Zero’s manager is a force of nature with a razor sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a no-nonsense attitude. Ky can’t stop thinking about him. Winning over Charlie becomes Ky’s pet project. But when the ice between them thaws, neither is prepared for the intensity of going from enemies to lovers. They’ll have to decide if they’re willing to start from scratch and take a chance on the unexpected.

Listen to a Sample

 

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Blogtour: Interpretive Hearts by Amanda Meuwissen



Please say hello to Amanda Meuwissen with 

Interpretive Hearts 

a Dreamspun Desires title


Blurb:

Love is easy once you learn the steps.

In the competitive world of dance, Teddy was a flawless performer and hardass choreographer who students feared and admired in equal measure. But hip surgery ended the glamour and drama, and now Teddy is recovering at his beach house, lost and listless.

Until he meets Finn, his neighbor, who is too perfect, gorgeous, and kind to exist—but very ill timed. In a seaside town as small as theirs, they can’t avoid each other, especially since Finn is also Teddy’s new physical therapist. But Teddy isn’t the man he used to be, and though Finn flirts shamelessly with him, Teddy can’t believe a has-been dancer is worthy of someone so young and full of life.

Finn’s sunny smile is also hiding heartache. Pursuing Teddy challenges both his professionalism and his self-preservation, but if he can convince Teddy to trust him, maybe they both can heal.



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Engaging Fans in an Author Group
Thanks to a fellow author friend of mine – K.L. Hiers, whose work (Cold Hard Cash being a recent release) you should also check out – I decided to dabble in creating an author group on Facebook rather than only focusing on my Facebook page. 
The group is private but open to new members who might want to request joining and is an opportunity for me to better engage readers. 
In the spirit of fostering conversation and sharing sneak peeks into my work, I decided on posting four days a week, with specific themes each day. 
SCENE STEALING SUNDAY – for discussion on settings, plots, and all things that inspire my titles
TEASER TUESDAY – with info on upcoming books and works in progress
THIRSTY THURSDAY – photo posts and sexy interludes with new and familiar characters
SNIPPET SATURDAY – to play with prompts and potential future story ideas
I think what I love most about this is how it gets me talking with fans about things I might not normally consider, lets me know what they think about future ideas I want to work on, and allows for critical feedback and insight that all in all can only help me become a better writer. 
And from a marketing standpoint, the best way to ensure future sales is by staying top of mind with your target audience. 
I also just really enjoy talking with readers about the things we have in common – a love of my genre, M/M Romance, and often some very geeky topics. 
I’ve mentioned many times how important fan interaction is for me in particular because conversations with fans have sparked countless ideas, many of which turned into legitimate novels of mine. My current release, Interpretive Hearts, is no exception, as another friend and reader helped me decide on the title, and the book is dedicated to her (check out the dedication page!). 
If I siloed myself away to just write and never had a community presence, I would have missed out on that and much more. 
I think the general advice I can give fellow authors about starting a private group is to:
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