Saturday, November 28, 2020

Release Blitz: Operation Fake Relationship by Jay Northcote





Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh



Can a fake relationship between best friends turn into the real thing?

After years of estrangement from his parents, Nick is finally going home for Christmas, but not without backup. He wants moral support, so his best friend and flatmate, Jackson, agrees to pretend to be his partner so he can go with him.

It’s easy for Jackson to be convincing when his feelings for Nick are as genuine as ever. He put his crush on the back burner long ago, but acting out a role he’d love to play for real is harder than he imagined. Holding hands, kissing under the mistletoe, even sharing a bed for the sake of the charade... He can’t help wondering what he’s let himself in for, and whether his heart can take it.

Emotions run high as Nick grapples with family issues, and the sexual tension between him and his best friend becomes difficult to ignore. But if he and Jackson give into the temptation to be fake boyfriends with benefits over the holiday, what will it mean for their future as friends once Christmas is over?

Contains: best friends to lovers, pretend boyfriends, daddy issues, mistletoe, and a happy ending—of course.



About the author:

Friday, November 27, 2020

Blogtour: Welsh Witch by Kat Marlowe

 



Welsh Witch
A King's Obsession: The Final Hour of Anne Boleyn
by Kat Marlowe
Genre: Paranormal Romance


King Henry VIII's astrologer, a young Welsh witch finds the ultimate decision lies in her hands as one Queen falls and another rises as the history of England is forever changed.

A young Anne Boleyn captures the heart of the king. What begins as his distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction. Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny's stage.

Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment...the execution of a queen.




Excerpt

The Astrologer


Today is the third time the gentleman has been sent to me. Each time, the King has followed my instructions. Earlier in his life, I predicted that he would have daughters by his queens, Katherine and Anne. He said that I was the only astrologer he knew who truly has The Gift or The Power, as my mother called it. The King’s grandmother, Margaret Tudor, had been an associate of my grandmother. So it was with our ancestors, time immemorial. Their family had called upon mine whenever the need for a connection to the otherworldly was desired.

Lighting three candles to evoke the spirits, I say the words of magic taught to me by my mother.


Gofynnaf Y Dduwies bendithia heddiw

Bydded pob gweledigaethau fod yn bur ac yn wir 

Felly brycheuyn ei fod!


Next, I move to place a basin of water in front of the only mirror I possess. The flicker from the candles reflects a golden aura throughout my small room. The rustle of my dress fabric against the wooden floor seems to give a rhythmic pattern as I move. The spiral dance of our ancestors begins, brought from the place in the mists from whence they came. The rhythm fills my mind as a pain shoots through my temple. The spirits are arriving. As the water flows from the ewer, the number 3 passes before my eyes. Water has always served as a divinatory method for my art. Three will be significant, of that I am certain. The sunlight filters in my room as the fragrance of the springtime lavender from the small herb garden outside the window fills the room. I walk to my collection of jars, take a pinch of the powdered herb, henbane, and add it to a cup of ale left from earlier in the day. Reaching into my cupboard, I remove three pieces of paper and my writing instruments. As I seat myself at the small wooden table, I hear a rooster crow three times. The trance begins.

Release Blitz: Tic-Tac-Mistletoe by N.R. Walker

Tic-Tac-Mistletoe

by N.R. Walker
 
Publication date: November 27th 2020

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, LGBTQ+, Romance


Hamish Kenneally is moving from Australia to the US for a fresh start, starting with Christmas at his sister’s place in Idaho. When a snowstorm diverts his plane to Montana and leaves him stranded two days before Christmas, he hires a car and drives right into a blizzard.

Ren Brooks has always called Hartbridge, Montana, and his family hardware store, home. After a few failed attempts at love, he’s resigned to being single forever—after all, no guy wants to stay in his sleepy little town for long. And after his dad’s passing earlier in the year, Ren’s Christmas is looking bleak. But when a car runs off the road in front of his property, Ren pulls the driver out and takes him home to get out of the cold.

With the storm and the holidays leaving Hamish with nowhere else to go, Ren kindly offers a place to stay. Hamish is certain he’s crashed right into a Hallmark Christmas movie, despite more car delays and road closures and the prospect of not seeing his sister for Christmas. And with help from Hamish, Ren is beginning to feel a little Christmas cheer.

These two unlikely strangers have more in common than they first realise, and after two days of Christmas decorations, cookies, and non-stop conversation, it looks like Christmas might be saved after all.

Goodreads / Amazon


EXCERPT:

Hamish’s POV

A totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster.

What is a totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster, you might ask?

Let me break it down for you real quick.

My life, my relationship, my job, my plans, my future, and this whole damn trip.

So, basically me.

Me.

I am the totally catastrophic unmitigated disaster.

Hamish Kenneally, thirty-one-year-old Australian, who quit his shitty job and sold his shitty apartment and left behind his shitty life in Sydney, packed his said-shitty life into two suitcases, and boarded a plane to spend Christmas with his sister in God-knows-where, Idaho, USA.

Well, Christmas first. Then two years, at least, in America trying to unshitify his life.

And if the trip to said God-knows-where, Idaho, was any indication of just how spectacularly extra-shitified my life was going to get, I should have turned around and stayed right where I was.

Because if the flight from Sydney to LA was bad, which it was, then the second flight, LA to Spokane, made the first flight look like a joy ride.

Because I didn’t get to Spokane, did I?

Release Blitz: Protecting Tova by Havana Wilder

Protecting Tova

by Havana Wilder

Publication date: December 4th 2020

Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance


Escaping the tormenting demons of her past was all Tova wanted, but someone has other plans.

An Internally tormented girl
An Unexpected protector
One deadly hunt

Tova, sexually and physically abused as a child, lives in a territory protected by a thick forest and stone wall. She has no desire to leave, and not because of the savages and mutated beasts that roam beyond the walls…

On a quest to deliverance, her plan has always been to learn self-defense and to learn how to protect those who can’t protect themselves while overcoming the demons of her past.

Meanwhile, an unsuspecting heartthrob catches her attention. Not knowing the secrets that lay deep within, he anxiously wants to pursue her, but someone else has other plans for her.

In the midst of all the mayhem, does their relationship end before it can begin?

Protecting Tova is an exciting journey as Tova fights to forget her past in a dystopian world inundated by threats, mysteries, and treachery.

***This is an adrenaline rush novel with a mixture of fantasy and paranormal/supernatural. Perfect for fans of sarcastic heroines, protective males, and instant attraction.***

Goodreads / Amazon

About the author:

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Blogtour: Summer Warrior by Regan Walker

 


Summer Warrior
The Clan Donald Saga Book 1
by Regan Walker
Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction

Somerled’s parentage was noble, of the Kings of Dublin, the royal house of Argyll and the great Ard Ri, the High Kings of Ireland. But when the Norse invaded Argyll and the Isles, his family’s fortunes fell with those of his people. When all hope seemed lost, he rose from the mists of Morvern to rally the Gaels, the Scots and the Irish.

Sweeping across Argyll and the Isles like a fast-moving storm, brilliant in strategy and fearless in battle, Somerled began retaking his ancestral lands, driving away the invaders and freeing the people from the Norse stranglehold. In doing so, he would win the title Somerle Mor, Somerled the Mighty, Lord of Argyll, Kintyre and Lorne and, eventually, Lord of the Isles.

This is the unforgettable saga of his path to victory that birthed the Kingdom of the Isles and won him the heart of a Norse king’s daughter.



EXCERPT


The Village of Drimnin, Morvern, Argyll, late summer 1136 A.D.


SOMERLED SMELLED THE SMOKE before he reached the village.

A small community nestled around a crescent bay on the western shore of Morvern, everyone who lived in Drimnin was related either by blood or marriage. The villagers made a good life raising cattle and reaping the bounty of the sea. Somerled had passed this way only once, and then he had approached from the Sound of Mull in his galley. He remembered the villagers’ humble but generous hospitality.

Today, he and his men had traveled on foot along the coast, wending their way through the pine woods in search of the Norse rumored to be raiding the shores of Morvern, hoping to catch them before they could strike. His ships were still too few to take them on the water.

He stepped out of the trees, lush with ferns at their base, his hand on his sword hilt, prepared to fight.

A ghastly sight met his gaze, sickening his stomach.

Too late.

Bodies were sprawled upon the grass between the shore and the woods, struck down while trying to flee. Dreadful wounds revealed some had fallen to axes.

Acrid smoke rose from the cottages still burning, the flames leaping from the dry thatched roofs. He could see no longships pulled up on shore but the raiders could not have been long gone.

Aghast at what he saw, he was suddenly aware there were no birds to be heard, save the hooded crows pecking at the blood-soaked bodies. “See if any live,” he said to Domnall and started forward.

“Aye,” said his cousin and swung his arm in silent command, pointing to the fallen. The men hastened to obey.

Both old and young had been killed by the merciless Norse. Seeing the women who had been violated, Somerled ground his teeth. Their tunics had been ripped from their bruised bodies before they were killed. “Cover them,” he said to one of his men. “Cover them all with whatever you can.” The men closest to him hurried to accomplish the task.

He walked through the village, assessing the carnage. The doors of the burning cottages stood open. Goods, taken in haste, had been discarded like so much rubbish. So, too, had the Norse raiders considered the lives of the people. He knew they would see judgment in the next life but Somerled wanted justice in this life. He did not hate the Norse. How could he when his mother was one of them? But these were lesser men, ruthless pirates, some ostracized from their own people to prey on others.

When his men returned with reports that none lived, Somerled faced the woods and in Gaelic said in a gentle voice, “If you live, come to us or make a sound. We will help you.”

Two boys staggered out of the woods, their fearful expressions and tear-stained cheeks bearing witness to what they had seen. From the look of them, they were brothers, close in age, both with dark brown hair and wide eyes. To them, Somerled’s sun-gilded fair hair would mark him more Norse than Gael.

Kneeling before them, he said, “I am Somerled, a man of Argyll, and these are my men. You will be safe with us.” When he saw relief on their faces, he said, “We will return to bury the dead but now we must go in haste to exact vengeance on those who did this. Do you come with us?”

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Blogtour: Round Of Applause by Marilyn Barr

 


Round of Applause
Strawberry Shifters Book 2
by Marilyn Barr
Genre: Paranormal Romance


Aurora Turner embarks on a post-graduate adventure to find her forever family only to be captured by the Sluagh, soul-sucking Fae exiles. While she is grateful to be rescued by the Strawberry shifters, her Prince Not-So-Charming is a little hasty when he starts picking out their wedding china.

Destiny gives James Martin a second chance at love. Aurora may prove to be more of a hazard to herself than the Sluagh ever were. He has the daunting task of keeping her away from sharp objects, and from ogling his best friend, Nate.

Nate Wagner is shocked when Aurora passes the prophesized shifter smell test identifying her as his mate. The beta male competes against the mature courtship skills of James with his own modern twist.

However, will his devotion to James keep her out of his arms or will they create their perfect family—one they never dreamed of?




EXCERPT

“Thank you for the offer,” I say after taking a deep breath, “but I decided to go through with the surgery. I need to own this. I hope you both understand.”

“I have been advising everyone the surgery is what you needed. I knew what was best for you,” James says placing his hand on my shoulder. Something about the gesture makes me feel suffocated. I shrug his hand off and push Nate’s hands away.

“You don’t get to do that,” I say looking James in the eye. “This is my consequence for my actions.”

“Of course, we both will comfort you as you grieve—” Nate starts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Release Blitz: Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Ruinsong

by Julia Ember

Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux

Publication date: November 24th 2020

Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult


In Julia Ember’s dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Her voice was her prison…
Now it’s her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Cadence

I allow Lacerde to dress me without turning to examine myself in the mirror. I don’t want to see how I look, how they’ve fashioned me. In my mind, I already see stains of blood on the muslin fabric of my skirt, dotting the white leather of my gloves. Lacerde adjusts my skirt and smooths my hair. Then, with a grunt, she bends down and buffs my new shoes to a gleam.

She opens the door for me so I don’t get my gloves dirty and leads me down the dark corridor. My dressing room is the only one in use. All the others are boarded up, so that no one will use them to hide.

I imagine what the Opera Hall must have been like years ago, when so many singers performed here together for more willing audiences. The corridors would have been filled with the sounds of laughter, rustling taffeta costumes, and a chorus of warm-up scales. Above, the audience would be straining to get inside the house, clinking glasses together at the theatre bar, speculating on the wonders to come.

If I strain my ear, I can still hear the echo of their merriment in the walls, obscured by the more recent cacophony of despair and pain. The smell of thousands of spellsongs, layered atop one another for centuries, lingers in the musty air. It’s been eight years since this place functioned as a real theatre, but the Opera Hall remembers.

We climb the stairs up onto the stage. Elene and Lord Durand, her newly elevated pet footman, stand together on the edge, shouting instructions down to the conductor in the orchestra pit.

Elene glances up and nods to Lacerde, who positions me at center stage without releasing me. It’s as if they think I will run, even though there is no where to go.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bookblast: Midas Touch by Alex Hall

Book Title: Midas Touch: A Christmas Romance

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Madison Place Press

Cover Artist: Rebecca Slather

Release Date: November 9, 2020

Genre: F/F Romance

Themes/Tropes: Christmas, childhood friends to lovers

Heat Rating:  3 flames   

Length:  75 000 words/ 208 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 


Gwen Cook has returned to Williamsburg, Virginia, after more than a decade away from her family estate. Frankie Porter has spent the last year renovating that same estate, turning the dilapidated Cook mansion into a showpiece. Gwen and Frankie shared a childhood full of hard secrets and ripe with first love. Now adults, their paths cross again and sparks fly.

A HEA with content warnings for PTSD and implied child abuse.

Excerpt 

The boathouse had barely changed in twelve years. The creek ran quite a bit deeper and wider. Brown water had swallowed up much of the far bank and licked in pools about the base of the boathouse itself. Frankie had to shove back kudzu and sumac as she walked. The soles of her boots sank inches into mud. Tiny pink-and-white wildflowers grew up between the trees, and here and there she spotted a drooping hedge bright with red berries.

She made her way cautiously through the undergrowth until she could touch the old building. Standing against the foundation, she cocked her head and squinted up along brick walls. The boathouse seemed as sturdy as she remembered. Two stories high and crumbling on the outside, it was ruler straight and strong except for the roof, which still sagged but hadn’t given in to the elements and fallen.

“Used to be, they knew how to build to last.” Frankie patted the warm brick.

The structure didn’t tower the way it had in her childhood, but she supposed it wouldn’t. She had grown—her bones had lengthened into adulthood. She’d managed to top five feet, barely. At sixteen, she’d feared she would be stuck forever just above four.

Frankie hesitated, glancing up into the sky. The trees had grown tall, and she could see less of the sun than she remembered. The place was definitely cooler, definitely shadier; but on a warm summer afternoon, shade wasn’t such a bad thing.

She leaned against the boathouse and untied her boots. Stripping off her shoes and socks, she stood barefoot in the mud, regarding the brick walls. Twelve years gone and she was no longer a child. Could she do it?

Of course she could. Was it wise?

Blogtour: Surrounded by Silence by Eric Huffbind

Book Title: Surrounded by Silence

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age

Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.

Heat Rating:  4 flames 

Length:  71 000 words/259 pages

This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links  - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU  |  Amazon UK   

 

Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, 

has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, 

but can he handle a romance for a gentleman 

whose entire world is surrounded by silence?


After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”

Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?

Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.

Excerpt 

Coming through the front door of their apartment, Jason called out, “Honey, I'm home. Where are you?”

Poking his head out, Christopher announced, “I'm in the kitchen making dinner.”

Strolling into the kitchen, Jason gave Christopher a kiss, and asked, “How was work today?”

“Oh, it was okay, same old same old. Not particularly exciting. How about you?”

Jason took a small step backwards and began rubbing his eyebrows. “Well, an old friend of yours came to see me today, without any forewarning, of course!”

“An old friend of mine? I can’t imagine what old friend of mine would come to see you.”

“I'm being facetious,” Jason said. “Calling this man a friend is a bit of a stretch, and he’s someone I wasn’t happy to see.”

Christopher's eyes narrowed as he squinted. “Please, tell me it wasn't Sam Barron?”

“I'd be happy to tell you it wasn't Sam Barron… but I would be lying. Yes, it was Sam. Admittedly, I was floored! And as you can imagine, especially since he showed up unannounced, I was less than ecstatic to see him.”

“Dear God, almighty! What in the hell did he come to see you about?”

Release Blitz: Glove Save And A Beauty by K.R. Collins

Title: Glove Save and a Beauty

Series: A Sophie Fournier Holiday Story

Author: K.R. Collins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 23, 2020

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 31400

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, seasonal, sports, asexual, hockey, goaltender, Thanksgiving

Add to Goodreads


Synopsis

Gabrielle grew up in the shadow of Five-Hole Billy. When she becomes a goaltender, she carries two important lessons with her. Don’t rely on the fans for support and always protect the five-hole.

Isolated by the nature of her position and her personality, she struggles to fit in with her team. On the ice, she guards the net, the last line of defense when their efforts fail. Off the ice, her team views her as a girl, not a teammate, as if she can’t be more than one thing at once.

She doesn’t have the patience for their lack of understanding. She resigns herself to a quiet, lonely career set apart from her team. And then she gains a new teammate, someone outgoing enough to overcome her social awkwardness but who always respects the boundaries she sets. He meets her where she is, and she does the same in return.

Excerpt

Juniors marks her first Thanksgiving away from home. She lives with a billet family, because her team is too far to make the commute from her house. It’s close enough to Quebec to drive home for the holiday, because it’s a long weekend, but she doesn’t have a car, and Coach made it clear he expected them to celebrate together.

“Team is family,” he said and that was it, no discussion required.

She calls home to break the news as gently as she can. When she first left for this next stage in her hockey career, her mom cried. Her dad’s eyes grew misty. Gabrielle, uncomfortable with open displays of emotion, doesn’t want a repeat.

There isn’t one. She talks to her dad who says he understands and, later, after she’s hung up, she wonders if maybe he does understand and that’s why he was upset when she left. He knew it was a long-term departure. She won’t be home for holidays, and when she’s home in the summer, her days will be filled with training for next season.

And, provided everything goes well, when she’s finished with Junior hockey, there will be another level, one which will demand more of her time. She isn’t sure what level it will be yet. Playing Junior hockey meant giving up her college eligibility. The boys all have their sights set on the North American Hockey League.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Release Blitz: Christmas Crackers by Jay Northcote


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh

Christmas Crackers: An MM Holiday Romance Collection

Three sweet and sexy MM Christmas stories in one great collection!


Best friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?

Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.

Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.

As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.

***

When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

***

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.


About the author:

Release Blitz: My Ticket Out by J.N. Marton

Book Title:  My Ticket Out

Author: J.N. Marton

Cover Artist: 100Covers

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance,  Coming-of-age

Tropes: Forbidden love(ish) and friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, Embracing who you are

Heat Rating:  2-3 flames 

Length: 260 pages

It is a standalone story.


Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 


A senior basketball player. A mysterious new girl. A secret romance…


Charlie Baker wants out. She wants out of her small, southern hometown of BluHaven and she has her sights set on a basketball scholarship to a college as far away as her dreams can take her. Everything is going according to plan until she moves to town.

Aspen Sullivan is breathtaking. She is beautiful, smart, talented…. She evokes feelings in Charlie that she hadn’t thought possible. When their friendship blossoms into something more, Charlie discovers a new truth about herself. But with Aspen’s mysterious past, they must keep their relationship a secret.

Will their love be strong enough to endure the trials of deceiving those closest to them? Do they have what it takes to escape the constraints of the south and the closet together?

My Ticket Out is a Young Adult, LGBT story about love, and self-discovery. If you enjoy stories that include romance, heartbreak, and embracing who you are, then you will definitely love this book by author J.N. Miller.


Excerpt 

Chapter 1


“We did not come this far to roll over like a bunch of pigs! Take the ball and put it in the damn basket!”

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

Twelve seconds left on the clock.

One more shot.

One more play.

One last chance.

Twelve seconds is all the time we need.

Defense pounces the second the ball is inbounded like a leach latching itself to the only available life source.

The fast break is swift--over before it even started. One hard dribble towards the middle and the ball is launched to the center of the court.

Seven seconds left.

What comes next is second nature. A hard cut to the basket and back out to the wing, my hands raised in the air as I catch the ball before defense has time to adjust.

Four seconds left… Three seconds… the ball rolls off my fingertips.

Two seconds… it swirls around the rim.

One second… and falls to the ground.

The sound of the buzzer erupts through the gymnasium, solidifying our defeat. Final score thirty-six to thirty-seven.

I inhale the musty stench of sweat, perfume, and hairspray as we sulk into the locker room and take a seat while we wait for the aftermath that is Coach Stewart. I lean forward, resting my elbows on my knees and focus on the sweat dripping from my forehead, plummeting to the ground, leaving a minuscule puddle between my shoes.

One shot.

That’s all we needed. And I blew it.

My main priority from the second this year started was getting a basketball scholarship out of this small town. From our very first game, it’s felt like my life has been dependent on one specific goal. A single accomplishment--like making the game winning shot--is going to make or break my future.

Coach Stewart charges through the door, letting it slam against the concrete wall as he steps in front of us. His gaze is intentional and cold, his demeanor full of discontent and indignation. His eyes trace over us, one by one, pausing just long enough for us to feel the misery set in.

He dips his head, slowly shaking it back and forth, before he holds up his index finger. “One shot. One damn shot. That’s all we needed to be undefeated this season.” He lifts his head, settling his hands on his hips. “We made mistakes tonight. And sometimes one mistake is the difference between winning and losing. The season’s not over yet. We’ll just have to practice a little harder to end it on a high. We’ve got a few games left, don’t give up now. Practice tomorrow after school. Bring it in.

Falcons on three… one… two… three… FALCONS.”

I shuffle to my locker, ignoring the hushed conversations happening around me, and begin gathering my stuff.

“That was a nice shot, Charlie,” Riley says as she pulls off her jersey, tossing it to the growing pile on the floor and retrieves her tshirt from the locker next to mine.

“Thanks,” I mutter, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” and sling my bag across my shoulders, heading for the door.

I get about three steps away from the locker room when I’m cut off by Ben. He’s wearing faded jeans, a red and black flannel over a plain white shirt, and boots with dried mud on the sides. The typical wardrobe of the boys that live around here. He’s taller than me by about three inches, with chocolate brown hair falling in his face, and forest green eyes that can’t seem to focus on what’s in front of him. “Hey, Charlie. Nice game.”

“Thanks,” I say, trying to brush past him.

He takes one long stride to the right, blocking my path. “I was thinking about checking out that new movie this weekend. Thought you might like to join me?”

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Review Tour: Cupcakes & Christmas by RJ Scott





Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 67,000 words approx.

The story of long nights in a wintry mountain hotel, a baking show with secrets, a snowman called Jeremy, and finding the greatest love of all.

After winning season four of ratings hit the World’s Best Baking Show, Brody Thomas had become a sought-after cake maker to the stars. Happily married, he dreamed of a bright future, but his perfect life imploded when he discovered that his husband had done nothing but lie to him. A year later, Brody is mid-divorce, and his life has been turned upside down, so being part of the WBBS charity event is excellent timing. He’s sure it will give him time away from home and space to get his head straight, only he never expected to meet the man of his dreams in a snowy Alberta.

Winning season one of WBBS gave Justin Mallory a chance to outrun the demons of a childhood lost in the foster system. He’s a social media influencer, with millions of followers, and works every hour to make money that equals security for the rest of his life. His marketing team signs him up for the WBBS Christmas charity show, but he’s convinced he’ll fall at the first hurdle. Only, after a few days in the competition, his worry isn’t that he’ll be the first to leave, it’s that he’ll lose his heart to a rival baker, Brody.



Karen's review:




There are a number of things that can make a story or break it for me…of course there’s the plot, the location, the stories flow and the characters…are they likeable, do the play well off of each other and honestly the list goes on.

‘Cupcakes and Christmas’ worked all of these points really well. The plot was cute and festive and sweet and the location…holy crap!!! Ms Scott you nailed. Like you I’ve been to Banff, in the summertime but it’s still a hella’ beautiful place as is Lake Louise. While I didn’t have the chance to stay at the Fairmont hotel in Banff, I have been fortunate to stay in some of their other establishments and trust me people we are talking the lap of luxury and opulence. But I digress. The true subject here is the story that Ms Scott has created amongst one of Canada’s most beautiful and scenic tourist attractions. 

Jeremy won season one of the Worlds Best Baking Show, Brody won season 4 neither man missed watching a episode of the others show and it wasn’t for the baking tips. Fate has brought them together in the WBBS’s Christmas charity show’.

I admit I’m abit of a fan when it comes to baking/cooking, home décor,  just about any of  those shows you can sit me down and plug me in…it’s probably why my television stays off most days unless I’m sick…seriously it’s an addiction. So this book was turning out to be right up my alley…a baking show, being filmed in Canada at a location I’m familiar with this was just feeling so cozy for me. 

Audiobook Tour: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

1

Boy Shattered 

by Eli Easton


Narrated by Tristan Josiah

BoyShattered Audiobook Cover2

Brian 

You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon 

Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

Universal Audio Link

Audible US
Audible UK
Universal Book Link

Goodreads

3

5

Special Audio Release Excerpt:

“Yup.” I almost said bullet dodged. But the words stuck in my throat. You don’t realize how many idioms have to do with guns or being shot until you’ve, well, been shot. Stupid English language.

Landon’s gaze kept meeting mine, then he’d look away again, then he’d look back into my eyes.

I grabbed the top of the railing and twisted my hands around it, just to keep from reaching out for him. God, I’d missed him. We’d been spending so much time together, it felt unnatural being apart. Like missing a limb. But now that we were together, there was a tension between us that was almost unbearable.

Unbearable. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

I knew what I wanted, but it was complicated. It was like the potential thing between us was a polyhedron in shape. No matter what angle I tried to approach it from, there were all these pointy bits that looked dangerous. Would he want to be with me if I was closeted? Was it rude to even suggest such a half-assed deal? What if it screwed up our friendship?

Did he want me as much as I wanted him? ’Cause I did want him. So much it hurt. I looked at him, and I’d never seen anyone so breathtakingly beautiful in my life.

“What?” Landon asked with a puzzled smile.

“Nothing.”

He cleared his throat and took out his phone. Probably checking his Twitter account.

“More new followers?”

Friday, November 20, 2020

Blogtour: A Soldier Under Her Tree by Kathy Douglass



Please welcome Kathy Douglass with 

A Soldier Under Her Tree

a Harlequin Special Edition title


Tis the season…for a second shot at love. Could a fake boyfriend be her real hero this Christmas?

When her ex-fiancé shows up at her shop—engaged to her sister!—dress designer Hannah Carpenter doesn’t know what to do. Especially when her former fling Russell Danielson sees her plight and rides to the rescue, offering a fake relationship to foil her rude relations. The thing is, there’s nothing fake about his kiss… But when things get real, will the sexy soldier once again stop short of commitment?









Excerpt

“Why do you have to be like that? I tried to resist. We both did, for your sake. That’s why we didn’t get married right away. We were considering your feelings. But Gerald and I are in love and want to be together.”

Hannah managed not to throw up the yogurt she’d grabbed for breakfast. Respect for her feelings wasn’t the reason Dinah and Gerald hadn’t gotten married three years ago. They hadn’t tied the knot because Dinah hadn’t been divorced yet. Her ex-husband hadn’t been in the mood to give her half of what he’d earned, so the proceedings had dragged on and on. Of course, had Dinah been as much in love with Gerald as she’d claimed, she would have just walked away from her then eight-month marriage and a huge settlement. But Dinah had absorbed their mother’s teaching quite well. Never leave a dollar behind.

“I’m not stopping you. Get married. Have the biggest wedding the state of Virginia has seen. Heck, all of America has seen. But leave me out of it.”

Gerald stepped forward then. Hannah had hoped to never see the weasel ever again. Yet here he was, standing right in front of her. He was average height with hair that was beginning to thin and cold, calculating eyes. Hannah wondered what she’d ever seen in him. When they’d worked together at his father’s architectural firm, she’d been impressed by what she’d interpreted as his drive and desire to make a name for himself. Now she realized that had just been a mirage.

“Hannah, we weren’t right for each other.” Was he trying to sound sympathetic? If so, he was failing miserably. But then, true feelings weren’t included in his limited repertoire. “I know you feel the same way.”

“You got that right.”

“I know you’re hurt and disappointed,” he said as if he hadn’t heard a word she’d said. Apparently he’d prepared this speech and intended to recite every word of it. “But don’t hold it against Dinah.”

“You’re unbelievable. Please, all of you, just leave.”

“Not until you agree to make my dress,” Dinah said. Clearly trying to make nice was putting a strain on her and she was reverting to type.

Hannah had a business to run. A customer could come in at any moment. She needed to put an end to this now.

“You know, I can always call the chief of police. He’s a friend, too.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Eleanor said indignantly, pressing a manicured hand against her chest.

“Actually I would,” Hannah said, hoping her mother wouldn’t call her bluff. Hannah didn’t want anyone in town, especially her friends, to know about her messed up family. She’d never told a soul about them or how Gerald had betrayed her. And she never would. But Eleanor didn’t know that.

“There’s no need for that,” Eleanor said hastily, trying to get back on script. “Hannah, just consider what’s best for the family. And for you.”

“How would it look if you, a successful dress designer to the stars, refuse to design a wedding dress for your only sister? It could harm your reputation if anyone ever found out how petty you’re being,” Dinah added.

Release Blitz: Starting from Somewhere by Lane Hayes

Title: Starting From Somewhere

Series: Starting From, #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: November 20, 2020

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31k

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Rock star and nerd, Opposites attract, Age Gap

Add to Goodreads


Synopsis

The guitarist and the geek…

Bobby J-

What can I say? I’m a man of many tastes. I know what I like, and I’m not afraid to go for it. And I like the adorable geek from the bar. A lot. He’s smart and sassy…and he doesn’t seem to know or care that I’m in a hot up-and-coming band. However, I just found out he’s the new intern at Scratch Records. Uh-oh, this could get tricky.

Cody-

Confession…I’ve flubbed my mission. My quest is to research cool things and interesting people before I start my job as aerospace analyst—not fall for a rock star. My internship won’t last long if I can’t control this infatuation. Bobby J might look like a bear, but he’s fun and sweet and…oh boy, I think I’m in over my head. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Starting From Somewhere is a MM, bisexual romance with some rock and roll and a little nerdiness! Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a stand-alone.

Excerpt

Cody nodded as he pulled out his cell and typed a few notes. “Got it. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Give me one shot before I go.” I motioned for him to start talking.

“A flirting shot. Okay.” He licked his lips nervously, then shook his head. “I can’t. Everything I’m thinking is…rude.”

I barked a quick laugh. “You have my complete and undivided attention. Bring it on.”

“Um…your jeans look tight. I can’t wait for you to stand up so I can see your ass. But I’d love to see your ass out of them too.”

I bit back a grin. “Okay. That was direct and kinda hot, but do not under any circumstances try that with anyone else on planet Earth.”

“Too much?”

“A tad.” I squeezed his shoulder as I stood. “Keep practicing. It was nice to meet you, Cody.”

“You too. I’ll walk out with you. I’ve done enough research tonight.”

I nodded, then led the way to the exit, holding the door open for him. I stepped outside and gazed up at the fast-moving clouds drifting over the half-moon before turning toward my new acquaintance. Cody pulled his keys from his pocket and smiled.

“Where’d you park?” I asked.

“Over there.” He gestured at the black Mini Cooper at the far end of the lot mostly hidden in shadows.

My chivalrous side kicked in out of the blue. “I’ll walk you to your car. I’m heading that way.”

Cody beamed at me. “Thank you. Are you working early tomorrow?”

Thursday, November 19, 2020

ARC Review: Harrisburg Railers #10: Baby Makes Three by RJ Scott & V. L. Locey

From The Blurb:

When baby makes three, Christmas will never be the same for Ten and Jared. 

There's not much that Tennant Rowe hasn't accomplished, and all before reaching thirty. Hoisting the Cup, marrying the man of his dreams, and becoming a spokesman for LGBTQ2+ athletes' rights have filled his world with great joy. While his successes on and off the ice have been beyond his wildest expectations, he's now wondering if it's time to add one more tiny addition to his already wonderful life. 

Being a dad to Ryker and marrying Ten are the two of the best things in Jared's life, only something is missing. He always wanted more children, but with Ten and the Railers riding a wave of success, how could he even broach the subject of adoption or surrogacy with the man he loves? Jared would give the moon and the stars to his husband, so when Ten reveals his desire to be a father, they start a journey that will fill their Christmas with a new and special kind of love.


Karen's rating:



Fans of the Harrisburg Railers and especially Jared Madsen and Tennant Rowe are going to want to read this one. I'm a total sucker for a good holiday story and this one is good...really, really good. Jared and Tennant are about to take the next step in creating the life they want and we all get to go along for the ride. 

Things are going well between Jared and Tennant. They've been together for a few years now and with each passing year they seem to be more in love, so what comes next is a natural relationship progression for a lot of couples. 

I think the title pretty much says it all about this one. "Baby Makes Three" is a delightful holiday interlude...actually there's more than one holiday that happens in this one but it's no surprise that we get a good portion of the story happens during 'that most wonderful time of the year'. 

I'm definitely a fan of this writing duo...their Harrisburg Railers/Owatonna U Hockey/Arizona Raptors series have all been solid must haves on my reading list and I'm not seeing anything about that changing anytime soon. 

For me 'Baby Makes Three' is a wonderful way to head into the holiday season...It's got hockey, family, friends and lots of love all wrapped around one of the most amazing things that any couple can do as Jared and Ten prepare to rearrange their lives to include a new family member. 

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