Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blogtour: Surrounded By Crimson by Lexi Ander




Please welcome Lexi Ander with 

Surrounded By Crimson





Blurb:

Tristan has agreed to bond with Ushna but there is still much to do and returning to Tribe Enkidu puts everyone on edge. Tristan is being stalked like prey all the while fighting depression as he mourns the loss of Nikita and enduring a battle of wills with the Elder Council over his birthright. The pleading of his adoptive daughter only adds still more stress to the situation.

Stumbling onto a secret prison while searching for Ushna leads Tristan to risk everything to free a lost God. But breaking the tie to his Flame has more repercussions than Tristan knew and the assistance of a forgotten Goddess and a centuries old lover may not be enough to save him.



Excerpt:


Ushna was out of the car and greeting his parents before I unbuckled the seatbelt. Hami wasn't as tall as his son but he was wide, very wide, barrel-chested with a set of deltoids on him the size of small children. His dark hair was cut above the ears and I'd never seen the man without at least three days growth of facial hair. It looked good on him. That kind of scruff made me resemble a bum.


Donya was tall and lean, one of those women who had a natural sway when she walked. Her blue-black hair fell to her waist in thick glossy waves. Her skin was a deep almond, darker than her husband's or son's, and her bright, emerald-green eyes were large and expressive.


They both greeted Ushna with festive exuberance, and why not? I'd kept him away from them for a very long time. I observed them for a moment over the hood of the SUV. Hami picked his son up in a bear hug, laughing loud and boisterous. Donya took his face between her palms as she gazed deeply into his bi-colored eyes—eyes that were forever changed by me. At that thought, I wondered how they truly perceived me. My stomach rolled with anxiety-induced queasiness.


With all the grace of someone my size, I made my way into the house, leaving Ushna to his family reunion. I had hoped we wouldn't see them until after the children were born. I'd entered the home stretch of my pregnancy. Even with the ring of illusion, I had a hard time hiding my condition. Early in my pregnancy, Gregori had fashioned a ring of magic, creating the illusion that hid my continually growing stomach and constructed a normal appearance.


A pregnant male wasn't something we wanted to explain to humans. With the looming threat of assassination, if my identity was discovered, we thought it best to continue to keep my birthright a secret until after the children were born. So I'd continue to wear the illusion even though the ring wasn't much help now. The giveaway was in the walk and the way I stood. People could see there was something different by how I held my body and it couldn't be helped. I was able to hurry, in spurts, and then I lumbered like an elephant—very National Geographic.


Neesie followed me into the kitchen. She was dressed differently than what I'd become accustomed to. Gone were the combat boots, black jeans, and white tees. She wore a pale blue silk blouse, a pinstriped pencil skirt, and knee-high black stiletto boots. She appeared fierce in a whole new way.


"Why didn't you wait and greet Ushna's parents?" she asked.


With a plate in hand, I inspected the cold cuts tray that sat on the kitchen counter. I was starved and wanted something quick to eat before everyone came in. When I didn't answer Neesie, she took the plate from me and started placing fresh vegetables on it.


"I thought I'd give them some time to catch up," I finally replied. It wasn't a complete lie. "They haven't had their son to themselves in quite some time. They don't need me hanging out in the background."


Neesie pinned me with her golden-brown gaze. "That is such bullshit and you know it. What's the real issue?"


I quirked a smile at her. "You know I love ya?"


"Yes, and you're the one who called me for dating advice because you suck at subtle. Your 'hey moron, get your hands off my sister' ranked right up there."


"I can't help it if Mr. Octopus Arms was oblivious to his audience."


"Go ahead and keep playing that song because I know you still refer to him as Lonnie Fucking-Fowler. Before you walked into the house, your face turned green and you practically sprinted in here."


"Ahh, stampede!" I gave mock crowd screams. Neesie was not impressed.


"Spill, jackass." She shoved a full plate into my hands and a chair under my ass. Neesie glared at me but her expression was filled with concern.


"Fine, you tyrant. I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted to be able to show them that I am a strong partner and worthy of their son's love and devotion. But right now I'm huge, and miserable, and swollen, and hungry. Why did you give me carrots? You know I hate carrots. You're trying to torture me, aren't you? I'm an elephant, not a rabbit. I get like peanuts or something, not Bugs Bunny hand-me-downs." I threw the carrot at my cackling sister. The woman was not remorseful.


"Tristan."


I threw another carrot at Neesie before turning to see who called for me. I swallowed a curse as I faced Donya. She stood in the doorway, her large green eyes soft and liquid as she searched my expression.


"Ma'am?" Embarrassingly, my voice cracked like I was fourteen years old.


"How can we not be proud of you, son?" Donya crossed the room in a smooth glide and gently took me in her arms. "We've always been proud of you, Tristan, don't ever believe differently." Tentatively I embraced her in return and ignored Neesie's sniffles.


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Monday, July 27, 2015

ARC Review: Cheeky Hipsters & Jocks, by Posy Roberts

From the blurb:

Jack has a secret hidden in his pants, and Eli thinks he knows what it is. Jack Cox has a secret he’s kept hidden for years until a fellow hockey player discovers a scrap of silk and lace hiding in his pocket. Elijah Mitten notices how anxious Jack is as the hot-pink fabric makes its way around the locker room, and when Jack throws it in the trash like it means nothing, Elijah guesses what’s beneath his stoic fa├žade and possibly his pants. When Elijah shows up on Jack’s doorstep looking for answers, Jack won’t admit anything. But when Elijah takes matters into his own hands, Jack has to make a decision: share his secret and risk losing hockey or keep it hidden forever.



AnnaLund's rating:




All in all, some 50 pages (this is a short story in the series The Secrets Collection, which is written by a bunch of hilarious and sexy authors), and just as the other two I have read, this one was awesome.

I love the premise of somebody having a sexy little secret, and here it is the love of lace that a hockey player tries (unsuccessfully) to hide. Sexy times ensue, and it is both fun and happy. And sexy. And pink lace. Tons of it.
Just sayin’.

ARC Review: Bitter Taffy (Candy Man 2) by Amy Lane


Blurb:
Rico Gonzalves-Macias didn't expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam's boyfriend, Finn, haven't just been house-sitting—they've made his once sterile apartment into a home.

When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet.

Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.


Dani's rating:





"Is your life always this ... I don't know — "

"Tide of chaos washing ashore on the beach of what the fuck?"

Oh, Amy Lane, you do have a way with words.

Flufftastic Lane stories have a special place in my heart, and I j'adore this series.

I was very glad to visit with Adam and Finn once again. Adam's come a long way, even though he's still vulnerable around the edges. And Finn is ... pure joy, like his big, boisterous, giving family.

Now Adam has not only Finn but Rico. The two cousins have a special bond, which is good, because Rico comes home early, unannounced, and is almost taken down by a rather scary, half-naked Finn wielding a weapon.

I expected this to be Rico and Ezra's story. But this isn't a story about first love.

It's a story about REAL love, the kind that takes you to baseball games and holds your hand in public.


ARC Review: Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1) by Santino Hassell

Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1)Blurb:
Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.


Todd's rating:




"Dissenting Opinion, party of one. Dissenting Opinion, your table is ready."

Yeah, sorry, I just raised my hand and took that table. :(

I was really excited to read this one, my first by Santino Hassell, and it started out really great.

I absolutely loved the idea of Michael and Nunzio being absolute best friends for 20 years, then expanding their old friendship into something more.

And the 3-way scene, where Michael and Nunzio take David home, Lord, that was some insanely hot shit, let me tell you.

And I enjoyed the progression of the story, quite a bit -- until Michael loses his fucking mind. For me, the reasoning behind that felt a bit contrived.

** WARNING: The rest of this review is rife with spoilers, so you've been warned.

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