Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Blogtour: Life On Pause by Erin McLellan

Welcome to the Life on Pause blog tour! Follow along as I stop off at several blogs this week to learn more about this small town m/m romance, which follows a nerdy museum worker and a high school choir teacher as they watch way too much sci-fi on Netflix, wear ridiculous historical costumes, and fall in love.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $20 Riptide Publishing gift card!

About the book:


Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.

Get the book:

About the author:

Release Blitz: Shattered Pieces by K.M. Neuhold

SP banner release blitz

RELEASE DATE: 10.31.17



SP Cover
“I was sure my heart had withered away years ago, but then you smiled at me and I felt it beat again.” ~Gage

Years ago, I fell in love with my best friend's little brother. Then, he took his own life, leaving me shattered and unable to piece my heart back together. I've been a zombie for nine long years. Until a crazy, gorgeous man walked into Heathens Ink and injected color back into my world of gray. No matter how hard I try to resist Beck he just won’t give up on me. I would need steel willpower to withstand his gorgeous long legs in his high heels, and his drawer full of lacy lingerie. But is this just a kinky hook up or does it have the possibility for more?

“We're both broken, but our jagged edges fit together well” ~ Beck

When you’re half of a whole you never contemplate what life would be like without your matching piece. Since my twin sister, Brianna, died last year, nothing I do seems to quiet my soul. I know there has to be some way for me to feel happy and whole again. And, when I look into the pained eyes of the tattoo artist at Heathens Ink I feel like I have a purpose. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I have to find a way to put him back together.

Shattered Pieces is book 4 in The Heathens Ink Series and can be read as a standalone.

Scattered Pieces Teaser 1

Scattered Pieces Teaser 2


“Dance with me.” Beck holds his hand out to me. His eyes spark with amusement at what I’m sure is the obvious horror in my expression.

“I don’t dance.”

“Come on, you’re supposed to be trying fun, new things. I’m not expecting Fred Astaire, just stand in my general vicinity and nod your head to the beat.”

I sigh in resignation and take Beck’s hand, refusing to notice how soft his skin is or how good it feels to touch someone, however casually.

Still clutching my hand, Beck starts to dance. He starts out tame, simply swaying to the music. But, before long he’s spinning and shimmying like a ballerina on crack. Even being goofy and over the top he’s utterly graceful. And the joy in his expression is heartbreaking in its beauty.

When he spins out and then into my arms like a tango dancer, a laugh escapes from my chest, too full of a warmth to contain it.

“You have a really nice laugh,” Beck says, smiling up at me.

My heart thuds violently against my ribcage. Some long-forgotten place in my brain wakes up from its long slumber and starts to make irrational demands like kiss him and make Beck mine.

I pull my arms back, forcing a smile as blood rushes in my ears. Beck isn’t mine. He can never be mine. I had someone who was mine and I broke him beyond repair.

“I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty,” I admit with chagrin.

Monday, October 30, 2017

ARC Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding

Ante Up
From the blurb:

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

Heather's rating:

A fun, easy paranormal book from Kim Fielding in the Dreamspun Beyond line from Dreamspinner Press.

I'm not crazy about the Dreamspun line, to be honest, as the more Harlequin-style books don't quite work for me. However, I am crazy about Kim Fielding, so I figured I'd give this a shot.

Ante Up was a fast-paced, light-ish story. Sometimes, paranormal stories are really heavy or super angsty, but this was surprisingly light, especially from this author. I liked that this wasn't a depressing read, and it was fun to read something that kept me on my toes with lots of action.

Audio Book Review: The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux

From The Blurb:
After leaving a trail of terror and death in his wake, the notorious “Missouri” Boone Jennings finally meets his match in San Francisco when US marshal Ambrose Shaw catches up to him. The story of his capture, and the marshal’s bravery, has already become legend back east by the time Pinkerton inspector Ezra Johns gets off the train from New York City to testify in the murderer’s trial. 
When Ambrose is unable to give witness to the evils he’s seen, Ezra becomes their lone hope for putting Jennings in a noose. But if Ezra thinks that’s his biggest problem, he’s got plenty to learn about life—and the afterlife—in the spirited West. 
Fortunately, Ambrose is there to assist, and more than happy to oblige Ezra—in the courtroom or the bedroom. He spent his life bringing justice to the Wild West, and if he has a say in it, that’s how he’ll be spending his death too. 
Listening Time: 3 hrs 21 min

Karen's rating:

'The Bone Orchard' it's a lovely ghost story or is that a ghostly love story...

I'm not a big fan of ghost stories but given that it's getting to that time of year...Halloween! Folks, it's just a few days away. I decided that it's good to have exceptions to every rule and besides this one's by Abigail Roux and seriously the woman knows how to write a story and Nick J. Russo was the narrator so it had strong possibilities and my guess-timate was correct.

At just over 3 hours this works well for an evenings entertainment. I loved this story of good vs evil as US Marsal Ambrose Shaw hunts down 'Missouri' Boone Jennings, there is no limit to what he'll do or sacrifice to catch this man and see him brought to justice. But it's up to Pinkerton Detective Ezra Johns to ensure that Ambrose's sacrifice isn't in vain. Ambrose and Ezra soon find out though that Jennings is an evil that even death can't stop leaving Ambrose and Ezra to spend eternity together...loving each other and keeping justice in the west.

'The Bone Orchard' was a fun way to recognize the time of year and Ambrose and Ezra were a pretty spooktacular pairing and while I enjoyed this story from start to finish it was the ending that I enjoyed the most but I'm not going to spoil it for anyone so I'm just going to say that the ending was definitely not what I was expecting and I really like how it brought things full circle.

ARC Review: Late in the Day by Mary Calmes

From The Blurb:
Second from The Vault 
Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing. 
The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Karen's rating:

It's time to take a peek at 'The Vault'...

'Late in the Day' is the second book in the Mary Calmes series 'The Vault' and this story belongs to one man, known as...Conrad Harris...Darius Hawthorne...Terrence Moss...Gold Team Leader and more recently as 'The Vault'. He's answered to all of these names at one time or another in his life.

While this character isn't new to anyone who's a fan of this author this is the first time that we are given his story. Conrad's floated around the periphery of several books but for me...'Mine' is the story that really brought him to my attention and got me wondering 'who is this man? and please can we have more of him?' Ironically it's probably the oldest of the books that he's appeared in...so, Conrad's been around teasing us for a long time and now at last we are given his story.

I loved this character in 'Mine'. The interaction between Conrad and Trevan Bean as they went from colleagues to friends was intriguing and oft times tinged with sardonic humor. While I've enjoyed his random appearances in stories over the years...I was more than a little excited to find out that Ms Calmes was finally going to give us the story behind the enigma that was Conrad...Darius...Terrence...you get my drift...whatever identity he was using I wanted to know and now I do.

This story worked for me from start to finish. Ms Calmes has given us the answers to so many questions and I loved having those blanks filled in and more.  Although a lot of this story focused on Conrad's past with Efrem not all of it did and all those little gaps that are filled in were just a whole lot of happy moments for me and while I loved all the glimpses of Conrad's connections to characters we've met in previous stories it was equally as enjoyable getting to see some new characters and potential new stories.

Blogtour: Cut Hand by Mark Wildyr

Many thanks to Sandra at My Fiction Nook for hosting a guest blog for my upcoming historical novel CUT HAND. (As she did for my previous book, JOHNNY TWO-GUNS.) Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

The stanza from my poem, “Echoes of the Flute” and the book’s blog state CUT HAND’S theme as clearly as anything.

The stanza:

Bearded men cast cold eyes upon lands our fathers left us.“Now it is ours,” they claim.The beat of drums turns angry.Beaded flutes go shrill.

About the book:

Far from the world he knows, he’ll find a home.

Among strangers, he’ll find acceptance.

And in the arms of an unexpected man, he’ll find love.

Young Billy Strobaw comes West to escape the stigma of his Tory family. In the Dakota Territories, he encounters the Yanube warrior Cut Hand. Billy’s attraction to the other man is as surprising as the Yanube perspective on same-sex love. Unlike Europeans, the Siouan tribe celebrates such unions. Billy and Cut Hand can live as partners and build a life together, which Billy agrees to do.

As Billy struggles to acclimate to a very different culture, quickly discovering the Yanube have as much to teach him as he has to impart to them, a larger struggle is brewing. The white man is barreling through the Great Plains, trampling underfoot anyone who stands in his way. As a leader of his people, Cut Hand must decide whether it will be peace or war.

In a historical romance taking place against the epic backdrop of the early American West, where a single spark can ignite a powder keg of greed, lust for power, and misunderstanding, one man must find his place in history and his role in the preservation of all he has come to value.

Before he was Yanube (a fictional band), Cut Hand was a Mohawk, a Comanche, and I don’t remember how many others. I carried him from childhood when—as a tubercular child—I lived in my small-town library among wonderful men, women, children, and critters of other people’s minds. John Fenimore Cooper was a favorite of mine… as was Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Upon reaching adulthood, I found that Cut Hand refused to leave my side, or at least my mind. The result is this book plus four others in this saga. The following excerpt comes early in the story at the end of Chapter 1. Billy joins two seasoned frontiersmen as traveling companions. The trio captures a young Indian warrior and holds him until they pass through his tribe’s territory. Billy is assigned the task of guarding the prisoner and finds strange things happening to him.

After we ate, Split sat cross-legged in front of our prisoner and talked gibberish for a while. Splitlip Rumquiller, who took his byname from an old hatchet wound, had pre-eminence among us by dint of superior experience. Nearing fifty, he spoke several dialects and knew the tribes to avoid and those who would do business with the white man. He had walked this particular route north of the Santa Fe Trail twice before. The Indians called him Splitrum.
At last the battered old frontiersman turned to us. “Name’s Cut Hand, because a that scar.” Split indicated a long-healed wound on the youth’s left hand. “Tribe’s sorta a cousin to the Sioux. The argot’s near the same. Understands me good enough, though some words is different. Calls his band the People of the Yanube. That’s a river off to the north. Pappy’s the misco, the headman. Cut Hand was off in another camp visiting a gal. Musta been good poontang, ’cause them others flat-out jumped him on the way back home. They kilt his pony, but he hightailed it for the hill country.” Split hawked and spat even though he’d used up his chewing tobacco a week past. “Been trying to shake them for half a day.”
Split turned to Red. “So’s you’ll rest easier, he’s gonna stay with us till we put some distance twixt him and his village. Won’t give us no bother less’n you have another go at him. When we’s satisfied, he’ll take his knife back and head home.”
Red was a small, grum man of rusty hair and crazy green eyes, who tended to rise at a feather. A shanty Irishman from somewhere around Boston, he reputedly had a wife and five carrottopped fry. No one knew why he had taken to the willows and appeared on the Santa Fe Trail five years back, although the set of iron ruffles that now confined our prisoner’s wrists might provide a clue.
“I say we just kill him,” Red proposed. “Ain’t no use taking chances. Then we’s free to worry about them others. Shoulda give them two a lead ball twixt the eyes when we had the chance. Now they knows about us, it’s bound to be harder.”
“Ain’t my way to kill without no need,” Split growled in a low voice.
Red gave in sourly. “Just don’t let him git in my way. And them irons stays where they is.” He shot a thumb at me. “You’re gonna have to watch him. You don’t git no sleep, that’s your plight.” He turned back to Split. “I’d feel better we git some water twixt us and his people. They a river anywheres close?”

Sunday, October 29, 2017

ARC Review: Off the Ice (Hat Trick, #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Off the Ice  (Hat Trick, #1)
Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Jewel's rating:

Warning: Gushy review ahead, because this book rocked my socks off.

When I read that Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn were starting a new hockey series, I was ecstatic! And I don't even think I could follow a game of hockey without someone talking me through it. But I do love me some sports romance, even if I don't really like sports. Something about seeing alpha males laid low by love just gets me going. Who could blame me, right? And add in a super toppy academic and I'm in lurve!

Sebastian Cruz is a professor of sociology. He's kind of jaded and grumpy and a bit of a hard-ass. He expects a lot from his students, but really it's because he expects a lot from himself. But as much as he talks about recognizing your own bias, he isn't immune to bias, himself, and that lands him into a rather embarrassing situation when he accuses the wrong student of plagiarism. But he also showed integrity in the way he addressed his own failure.

I had a lot of respect for Seb throughout the story. He could be a bit "black & white" in his outlooks, at times, but he was also open to reason so I didn't hold it against him. I liked that Seb owned his mistakes and the admitted when he was unreasonable, so in my book, that makes him a stand-up guy.

Tristan Holt plays hockey for the NHL team, Atlanta Venom. He knows, though, that assuming that hockey will be there for him for the next decade would be careless, so he's working hard to finish his degree in international business. I loved Tristan. He worked for everything he got, he treated people with respect, and he knew that he needed to have a backup plan. To not look beyond his hockey career would be short-sighted.

Tristan wasn't arrogant, or a jerk, but he wasn't afraid to stand up for himself, either. And he wasn't afraid to go after something he really wanted -- like a scowly professor who pushed all the right buttons.

Blogtour: No Filter by Nora Phoenix

No Filter Tour Banner

No Filter

No Shame Series Book 1

Nora Phoenix

M/M Romance

October 26, 2017

Cover Design: Sloan Johnson/Sloan J Design


No Filter cover
Indy will do anything to prevent his mobster ex from finding him. Their last encounter left Indy recovering for months in the hospital, and ever since he’s become an expert at hiding in plain sight. Determined to stay under the radar, he takes on a new identity and moves from place to place. His life has no room for friendships, let alone love, so he keeps his heart firmly closed. After all, he has nothing to offer but a damaged body and a broken soul. Plus, he’s so done with men. Until he meets the man who breaks through all his defenses.

Former Army Medic Noah came back damaged from his last tour—in more than one way. Between supporting his best friend who’s struggling with PTSD, dealing with his own issues, and the stress of his job as a physician assistant, rebuilding his life seems impossible. There's little time for what Noah needs, let alone for what he wants. When he meets Indy, Noah discovers what he wants more than anything: for Indy to stay. 
Indy never expected the strong, confident Noah to be as damaged and broken as himself. But what will happen if he starts letting Noah in? Indy knows he should run to protect himself and Noah.

Noah needs Indy to stay more than anything. But will what little he has to offer be enough to make Indy trust him and stay? 
No Filter is a steamy M/M romance that ends with a HFN, but with the promise of a HEA. It’s the first book in the No Shame Series, and is not a stand-alone novel. It contains hot sex, a hint of a ménage, lots of talk about hot sex, flashbacks of said hot sex, and…Oh well, you get the idea. Also: trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse.

Teaser No Filter 1


Dressed in a T-shirt and flannel PJ bottoms, Indy made his way downstairs. Autumn had started, setting the trees in the yard on fire in an explosion of red, orange, and yellow, and bringing cold nights, but downstairs it was comfortably warm. Noah was reading the paper in his usual spot, but Josh was nowhere to be seen.

“Morning,” Indy said, always a bit shy at first when it was only him and Noah.

“Hey. How are you feeling?” Noah never failed to ask Indy this, and it wasn’t a polite question.

“Good. Haven’t my felt my ribs in two days, so I’m officially pain free.”

Indy grabbed a bowl from the cabinet.

“Perfect. We’ll cut off your cast today. I didn’t think you’d want to do an official hospital visit for that, right?”

Indy shook his head, carefully cutting a banana on a cutting board with one hand and putting it in the bowl. He took yogurt from the fridge. “Not if I can avoid it.”

“Well, you’re lucky you have a highly skilled medical professional at your disposal, who’s willing to do a house visit.”

Indy grinned as he sprinkled crunchy granola on top of his yogurt. “Don’t know about the highly skilled part, but at least he’s free.”

“That hurt.” A smile tugged at the corners of Noah’s mouth. “My price just went up.”

“Double times nothing is still nothing, you do realize that?” Indy took a bite of his breakfast. He loved these verbal matches with Noah almost as much as not having to worry about what to eat for breakfast every day.

“Who says it was free to begin with? I only offered my skilled services, never said they were free.”

“So what’s your price?” Indy asked, expecting Noah to launch another joke.

“I want you for the entire day,” Noah said.

Indy frowned, quickly chewing to empty his mouth. “What do you mean?”

Book Blitz: ALL IN FEAR ANTHOLOGY: KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock, Steve Berman, Kris Ripper, Avon Gale

 Spotlight on: All in Fear! 

                             Currently on sale now through 10/31 for only 99 cents!

Authors: Steve Berman, KJ Charles, Avon Gale, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, J.A. Rock

Original Release Date: 12/1/16

All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Company by Roan Parrish

Nick Levy’s family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, The Face of the Vampire. Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous . . . and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper

Palmer's life is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he's found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.

When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the worldto other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.

How could he have possibly been so stupid?

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles

Johanna Oakley will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman

Joining Zeta Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale





Beauties by J.A. Rock

When Dr. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.

Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.

Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.

Excerpt from Company by Roan Parrish:

"Hello, Nicholas," he said. How the hell did he know my name? I ran through many possible responses and settled, naturally, on the worst one.

"Did my mom send you after me?" I asked, like a total loser.

Michel didn't respond, just cocked his head as if to say, "I am a beautiful and otherworldly creature. Where I come from there is no such thing as mothers."

"Are you real?" I asked then, congratulating myself on a slightly more pressing and practical question.

"Of course," he said.

He was just how I’d imagined him: graceful, and beautiful, and so, so lonely. I realized that I had returned his handshake without thinking and was now just standing there, holding his hand and staring like an idiot. At this thought, Michel smiled kindly, and lifted my hand to his lips in a soft, gentlemanly kiss. I'm not proud of it, but it was my first kiss, and even though it was just on my hand, I felt it everywhere.

Excerpt from Love Me True by Kris Ripper:

“Truth or dare, Palmer.” He lay back against the pillows of our bed, still idly playing with the band of his shorts.

“Does this game really work if we already know everything about each other?”

He grinned. “You think we know everything about each other?”

“Oh, come on.” I poked him in the chest. “Do you really have secrets from me, mister?”

“Maybe one or two things that haven’t exactly come up yet.” The grin turned into a smirk. “I don’t tell you everything I think about, Palmer. Aren’t secrets supposed to keep things interesting in a couple?”

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t think we need any help keeping things interesting. Plus, I want to know everything about you. Don’t you want to know everything about me?”

“Uh huh. I really do. So: truth or dare?”


“Okay. How about . . . when did you know you were in love with me?”

Excerpt from The Price of Meat by KJ Charles:

The doctor grasped her arm. Johanna stamped on his instep with everything she had, wrenched her arm free, and fled out of the terrible room, running for the stairs. Reynard gave a roar that might have been amusement or rage, and at the cry his men rose from the shadows with leering grins and stretching arms. Two moved to the base of the stairs. Johanna changed direction and fled for the other door, driven by the instinct of the hunted fox to seek any hole, and this time, nobody got in her way. She pulled it open, hurtled in, batted aside something heavy and cold that swung from the ceiling—

One of dozens of things, hanging from great hooks, cold and pale and heavy in the dim light from the door, white bone-ends showing where the inedible parts had been trimmed off. It was a meat store, full of carcasses. The one she’d shoved swung back at her and on its side, like a cattle brand, Johanna saw an anchor-shaped tattoo.

A shadow fell over her. Reynard, with ragged, grinning men at his side, loomed in the doorway.

“Not a bad idea, Miss Oakley. We leave meat here to tenderise, and this should soften you up nicely. A couple of hours should make you more obliging, don’t you think? I’ve got to gather the Freemen for a meeting, but I daresay we can let you out once I’m done, if you ask nice enough.”

He stepped back and shut the door. It slammed on her like the thud of a coffin lid; the bolt scraped on the outside; she was alone in the dark. She hammered on its unyielding surface with her fists, begging and weeping and screaming for release from this dreadful larder, while behind her the dead men creaked and swayed on their hooks, quietly, gently decaying in the dark.

Excerpt from His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman:

As I push open the trapdoor at the top of the ladder, a moist, thick heat trapped within the attic overruns me. The outside daylight seeps through the oddly peaked roof, enough that I can find the dangling cord of a single bare bulb. One pull and I see the attic is really an unfinished elevated crawl space. By the time I worm off the last rung and onto the floor beams, my face feels like a windshield in the rain.

Carl climbs after me. The brothers ordered me to retrieve last year’s Halloween decorations, but Carl volunteered to help. I almost wish he hadn’t because there’s not enough room in the attic for the two of us to move about comfortably. He ends up on his hands and knees beside me.

The cardboard boxes I brush with one hand are mottled with mold and coated with dust. I reach blindly into one box and pull out a cheap plastic devil mask, the scarlet streaked with thick crud.

“I hate Halloween,” Carl says. His pained face is inches away from my shoulder. Dark crescents bloom under his neck, his armpits.

“No one hates Halloween. There’s all you can eat candy. Free candy.”

He shakes his head like a thick-coated dog after a bath and the sweat flies in droplets. “My folks celebrated the ‘harvest’—”

I hold the devil mask in front of my face. The bits of Carl I see through the cut-out eyes look miserable. “That sounds spookier—”

“It’s just pathetic.” Carl reaches out and lifts the mask off me. “I was . . . quieter before I came here.”

Excerpt from Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gay Rom Lit 2017 Wrap-Ups~ Day 3!

Hi, guys, and welcome to the conclusion of my AMAZING GRL experience.

I woke up sort of late (again... I'm sensing a theme here) and got in a big breakfast before my favorite GRL event, the massive book signing gathering! It is the place to see ALL the featured authors, buy some books (and get them signed!), and nab some swag (my kids are rainbowed out with swag after GRL!), and basically get to know some authors that you didn't know well before.

So many people and books! *my precious*
I worked that room like it was my job, chatting with authors, seeing what they are working on next, and picking up a ton of books.

First up, the always wonderful, Jordan Castillo Price, who is mega talented and mega awesome.
Suuuuuuper excited for the latest Psycop book, Skin After Skin!! CRASH!

ARC Review: Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews

Kidnapped by the Pirate
Will a virgin captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?

Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, the governor of Primrose Isle, he’s sailing to the fledging colony, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain. Then pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life, but men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with Nathaniel’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. Although Hawk knows he must keep his distance, the desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. It’s not as though Hawk would ever feel anything for him besides lust…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented, and he sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. The crew has been promised the ransom Nathaniel will bring, yet as danger mounts and the time nears to give him up, Hawk’s biggest battle could be with his own heart.

Jewel's rating:

“I’ve determined that three-quarters of piracy boils down to theater.”

Kidnapped by the Pirate has so much deliciousness:

~~ Age gap
~~ Virgin -- determined to experience it all
~~ Pirate -- our swashbuckling anti-hero
~~ Adventure
~~ Angst
~~ Kindle-melting smexy-times
~~ An awesome little Princess Bride reference
~~ Well fought happy ending

Oh, yes, we have it all here, on the high seas!

I truly enjoyed Kidnapped by the Pirate. Keira Andrews knows how to make a historical romance sing. Not to mention how to make a teddy bear out of a big, tough pirate.

I loved both MC's, the historical setting and the lyrical language the characters used. Simply put, Kidnapped by the Pirate was right up my tree.

ARC Review: Soul Searching by A.J. Rose

Soul Searching
Something lurks within the walls of the house Trevor Mathews and his best friend Merrick Taylor share. It watches them and their friends. It needs them. It knows their weaknesses.

Trevor’s in love with Merrick and hasn’t got the nerve to tell him. Merrick’s relationship is already failing, but he doesn’t believe he deserves what he truly desires. And the dark presence enjoys their suffering.

The entity wants to exploit them, push Merrick’s boyfriend into fits of jealousy and possessiveness, encourage Trevor to avoid the man he’s stood by most of his life, and frustrate their friend Tempest who’s tired of knowing Trevor and Merrick are perfectly matched souls, but they’re too scared to try.

The entity needs them to fight, to hurt, to scream at each other in anger and pain. It thrives on their helplessness and targets their insecurities. And it won’t stop until it has devoured their joy, destroyed their hope, and eventually, shattered their souls.

Jewel's rating:

It's almost Halloween, so I think it is a good time for a spooky story!

Soul Searching takes place in Manchester, England and, at least from my American perspective, seems authentically British. The Author's wife is British and undoubtedly helped with the Brit-speak. Well done.

I enjoy the best-friends-to-lovers trope quite a lot, and I while I liked the progression that Trevor and Merrick took in becoming "more", a bit more romance would not have been remiss. I don't know that I'd call it a slow burn, exactly, because although we see plenty of pining on Trevor's part, Merrick is dating someone else for 60% of the book. Merrick did have feelings for Trevor, as well, but since Soul Searching is told from Trevor's POV, we don't really see it -- until they get together, that is.

Blog Tour: Rescued From Paradise by H.J. Perry

Book Title: Rescued From Paradise

Author: H J Perry

Publisher: LoveLight Press

Cover Artist: Resplendent Media

Genre/s: M/M Gay Contemporary Romance

Length: 58,000 words

Release Date: October 22


Two hot men. One deserted tropical island.
Carefree Adam Bennet comes from a long line of earthy people— gardeners, herbalists, hippies, and farmers. His grandmother taught him and his brothers to live off the land, to heal themselves, and above all, to trust their intuition about a person or situation.
Mr. Don’t-Touch-Me Wade O’Rourke wouldn’t dream of something so pedestrian as living off the land. His family is monied, and formal. Taking his place in his uncle’s company is the thing to do— never mind that he hates his life, and he has reasons to hate his uncle, too.

When Wade and Adam meet on an airplane they don’t quite hit it off. But they’re the only two survivors of a crash landing on an island paradise, they have to join forces to survive.
Will Adam take a chance on love with the seemingly straight man? Underneath Wade's business suit, which he once wore like armor against intimacy, is a hard body and a tender heart.

When love blossoms, can it survive the rescue and return to their American small town?

This full-length, standalone novel contains:
Tropical fruit too juicy to just eat. A man damaged by his homophobic upbringing. Steamy man on man love action and a happy ending.


The first thing Adam noticed upon waking was Wade wrapped around him again. He wouldn’t argue with an ideal and efficient way to keep warm, considering they hadn’t had a fire all of yesterday. It was comfortable and comforting.

The second thing he noted was that it had stopped raining.

A fact for which he was so very grateful. It rained so much the night before, they were both soaked, even though he’d managed to rearrange their roof leaves so that the rain didn’t leak through as much.

Adam didn’t move, staying huddled against Wade. Both arms pulled in as the other man covered him protectively. Wade’s breathing was deep and soft. As he watched Wade sleep, he took that time to really study Wade’s face. How the lines of concern that seemed so permanently etched on his face when he was awake vanished while he slept.

At first, Adam estimated Wade’s age at around thirty. Watching him sleep, Adam realized he could possibly be younger than that. It was hard to put an age on him. Judging from when Wade said he graduated, he was most likely only a few years older than Adam.

What worries weighed Wade down while he was awake?

Blogtour: Drama Detective by Joe Cosentino

Joe Cosentino interviews Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver from his
Drama Detective,
the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel

Joe: Welcome, Nicky and Noah. Thank you for chatting with me today about the fifth novel in your popular mystery series.

Nicky: We’re always chatting with you, Joe. This time it’s not all in your head.

Noah: And it feels good to get out of there for a while. It’s a wild and wacky place.

Nicky: I’ve been meaning to ask you, why did you start writing?

Joe: I thought I was asking the questions.

Nicky: Hey, we gave you five hit novels. Can’t you answer my question?

Joe: Okay. After majoring in theatre in college, I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards(Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Moving on to playwriting and ultimately writing novels came next working with Dreamspinner Press, NineStar Press, Lethe Press, and The Wild Rose Press. Along the way I received two master’s degrees and became a college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mystery series). I do lots of writing there, but it’s nowhere near as fun as writing with you two guys in my head.

Noah: I have a question. If there was a Nicky and Noah Mysteries television series, who would you cast as us?

Joe: Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris. I also think Nathan Lane as Martin Anderson’s (the department head’s) spouse. I want to play Martin Anderson! Wanda Sykes would be a riot as Martin’s office assistant, Shayla.

Noah: Joe Manganiello would be perfect as Nicky’s brother, Tony (or in any role). And I can see Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis playing my parents,

Nicky: I can also see Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as my parents.

Joe: Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers!

Nicky: Joe, why did you decide to write in the mystery genre?
Joe: When I was a kid I had terrible insomnia. What finally cured me was reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries and Agatha Christie novels. I became absorbed with analyzing the clues, sifting through the red herrings, and marveling at the brilliant detectives’ powers of deduction as I sharpened my own little gray cells. Even at a young age, I suspected that Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson were more than roommates, which made reading the series even more fun. Unfortunately, given the times in which those books were written, none of the characters were openly gay. I decided to change that.

Nicky and Noah: And we’re happy you did!

Nicky: We say the same thing sometimes. It’s a cute couple thing we do.

Noah: Why did you write a gay cozy mystery/comedy/romance series?

Joe: The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: hysterically funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! There aren’t a whole lot of books like that out there. I’ve been told the series is unique and I agree. As my parents will tell you, I’ve never been one to follow the pack. For anyone who hasn’t read them (and they should!), tell the readers about your mysteries.

Nicky: The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza (that’s me!) and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver (that’s my man!). The characters are wacky, surprising, and endearing.

Noah: In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while Nicky directs the college play production), and Nicky and I must figure out whodunit and why. In the second book, Drama Muscle(Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016), Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring other college theatre professors from across the US and me. Complicating matters are our both sets of parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. (There are terrific audiobooks of the first three novels!) In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort and he and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In each book Nicky and I eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending.

Nicky: Until the next book.

Noah: Has the Nicky and Noah mystery series been well received so far?

Joe: Reviewers called the books hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read. The awards have also been amazing.

Nicky: They like us. They really us!

Joe: Who could resist such a handsome and charming couple?

Nicky: No argument here.

Noah: Is it challenging writing a series?

Joe: I feel as if I am visiting with old friends.

Nicky and Noah: You are!

Nicky: There we go again.

Joe: I also enjoy watching the leading characters and their relationships develop. As you two guys fall more deeply in love with each other in each book, I and the readers fall more deeply in love with you. Watching your marriage expand to include a son has been so emotionally gratifying. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben, into major characters in later books. Ruben was especially a blast since we get to see his dry and wonderful sense of humor, devotion to Martin, and mystery solving chops. Finally, I enjoy creating new characters/suspects in each book to relate to the regulars.

Noah: I’ve always wondered, since you are a college theatre professor/department head, Joe, are you Martin Anderson, and is the series based on your life?

Joe: My faculty colleagues kid me that if anybody at my college ticks me off, I kill him/her in the series? Hah. To be honest, I like my colleagues and students too much to murder them in my books. Martin Anderson, your department head, is based on me. As you know, he’s a loyal, hardworking department head and professor who fully supports his faculty colleagues, office assistant, and the students in his department. Like me, he is also a little bit, well quite a bit, of a gossip. His spouse, Ruben, is based on mine. The other characters are a conglomeration of people I’ve met, spiced up by my vivid imagination.

Nicky and Noah: So that’s how we were born.

Nicky: And we did it again.

Joe: Do you guys like working at Treemeadow College in Vermont?

Noah: Treemeadow College is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and Cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

Nicky: And it’s very romantic. Right, Noah?

Noah: (giggles)

Joe: Tell the readers about the storyline in Drama Detective. But no spoilers please!

Noah: Nicky is directing and ultimately starring as Sherlock Holmes opposite me as Dr. Watson in a Sherlock Holmes musical premiering at Treemeadow College, Is Holmes a Homo?, on the road to Broadway. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky and I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we get half-baked on Baker Street.
Nicky: As usual it’s a laugh riot, and also a good puzzle with an ending you won’t see coming. You’ll love it more than an anti-gay politician loves a dark corner at a gay bar.
Joe: Noah, since the readers can’t see you both, how would you describe Nicky?

Noah: Nicky is incredibly handsome with a Roman nose and dark hair, muscular, with long sideburns that get me every time, and an enormous…manhood.

Joe: Does that help him solve the murders?

Nicky: It doesn’t hurt. Well, maybe it hurts Noah.

Noah: (blushes)

Joe: Nicky, please describe Noah.

Nicky: Noah is gorgeous with porcelain-like skin, long golden hair, and soft blue eyes.

Joe: Do your good looks help you solve the murder mysteries?

Nicky: Sometimes I have to flirt a little for information.

Noah: But just a little.

Nicky: Even more, Noah and I use our theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues.

Noah: Most of all, Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective. And as in the third and fourth novels, we get some help from Martin and Ruben, joining in with hysterically funny role plays to nab the killer. Those are my favorite scenes.

Joe: I love your parents in the novels. Do they crack you up as much as they do me?

Nicky: I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers.

Noah: And both sets of our parents accept their son’s spouse as part of their family. Kudos to them.

Joe: Noah, who is your favorite character in Drama Detective?

Noah: Nicky is so adorable. I love his never say die attitude, wit, smarts, and perseverance in the face of adversity. He is genuinely concerned for others, and will do anything to solve a murder mystery. Finally, he is a one-man man.

Nicky: And I’m proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver who is sweet, kind, and my rock.

Joe: Awwww. Who is your favorite new character in book five?

Nicky: Mark Melody, the creator of the Sherlock Holmes musical who talks in musical theatre talk and has a wild crush on Corey Sundance a young stud actor member of the company. How about you?

Joe: You’re all my beloved creations, but Ruben and Martin are special to me, since they are based on my spouse and me. I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward you two guys, his sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line. Finally, it’s wonderful to see an older couple so much in love (uncommon in the entertainment field).

Nicky: I like how Martin and Ruben can read each other like a book (no pun intended).

Joe: Which character do you like the least in book five?

Nicky: I started out not liking handsome Rev. Tommy Hawk for his discrimination against Noah and me under the guise of Hawk’s “religious freedom.” However, when things took a turn in the story, my feelings changed.

Joe: How about you, Noah?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Gay Rom Lit 2017 Wrap-Ups! Day 2!

Hello, my friends, and welcome to day two of my 2017 GRL experience! I hope I didn't lose you after my recap of day one, because things just get more and more exciting from here on out!

I *meant* to wake up for the Author Q&A with T.J. KluneKendall McKenna, and K-lee Klein, but a 9:00 am panel sooooo wasn't meant to be on my mini GRL vacay. After a quick cup of coffee (aka, mainlined Starbucks), I headed over to the panel consisting of three awesome writers: one of my favorite authors, Kaje Harper, the wonderful Taylor V. Donovan, and GRL organizer, Carol Lynne. I got to hear all about Taylor's newest book (set in Puerto Rico!) and what Kaje and Carol are working on now.

These ladies are giving us the real scoop! 
After an hour of listening to the panel, I hung out in the hallway and socialized (it's what I do best, baby!). I quickly found one of my favorite narrators, the awesome Greg Tremblay. He is the man behind the voice of some of my most beloved books! (You can check out his whole backlist on Audible.) I always hug him and talk his ear off, and this year was no different.

We like to touch sexy men! Who could blame us!?
Aww, we look so normal! (psst- it's all a ruse)

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