Wednesday, March 31, 2021

ARC Review: Fandom (Famous #3) by Eden Finley

Fandom (Famous, #3)

Blurb:

DENVER

Everyone remembers the night the boy band Eleven broke up. Hearts shattered around the world, including my own.

I made a mistake, and I’ve been avoiding bandmate Mason Nash ever since.

At first it was hard, but eighteen months ago, he made it easier by leaving Hollywood and disappearing.

When Eleven reunion talks start, I’m against it completely. I could really do with the publicity, but I don’t want to face Mason again. I’m sure he won’t want to see me either.


MASON

I don’t miss LA or anyone in it. Not even the guys from Eleven.

So, when they turn up on my doorstep talking about reunions, the last thing I want to do is hear them out.

I hold strong too. Until my eyes land on Denver Smith.

My ex-best friend.

Two and a half years ago, he ghosted me, and I still don’t know why.

I want answers—I miss him—but I don’t want to let him back into my life if there’s a chance he’ll walk away again.


Todd's rating:




When I think of Eden's books, I generally associate them with banter, snark, steam, and plenty of humor, but this third book in the "Famous" series had all of that and... more.


That "more" came in the form of anger, bitterness, abandonment, hurt feelings, professional (and personal) failure, fear, and no small amount of pride.

In short, unlike the usual fluffy and sweet tone to which I've become accustomed, Eden pulled out the big guns, channeling her inner Amy Lane, and introduced her readers to some full-on, gut-wrenching, heartfelt angst. GAH!

And gurrrrrrrl, I have to admit that at around seventy-five percent in, the Maroon 5 "Memories" part had me on the absolute verge of tearing up, which honestly hasn't happened in quite some time.

The main focus on the story was Denver and Mason repairing their deep friendship, which had been obliterated after Denver ghosted Mason two and a half years prior, when Denver kissed his straight best friend, then fled the scene.

Right off the bat, the MC's weren't really in a place where Eden's usual snark and banter would've gotten them any nearer to their goal of becoming close again, maybe even closer than they'd been before.

Release Blitz: The Anti-Relationship Year by Katie Wismer

The Anti-Relationship Year

by Katie Wismer

(The Pact #2)
Publication date: March 30th 2021
Genres: Adult, New Adult, Romance

 

Johanna Palmer is very much over relationships.

After a scarring experience her freshman year of college, she’s decided she’d much rather have something fun than something serious.

Her best friend Miller has seen it all—the tears, the parties, the drunken phone calls at four in the morning when she needed a ride. In fact, there might be several things Miller saw that Jo herself can’t remember.

Things Miller can’t forget.

With the whirlwind of senior year underway, Jo just wants to move on, get her degree, and land her dream job. But her past might not be as easy to outrun as she’d hoped.

 

The Anti-Relationship Year is a friends to lovers college romance that acts as a companion to The Anti-Virginity Pact. Both books can be read as standalones.

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


EXCERPT:

“They’re seniors at Portland State,” Kayleigh hissed under her breath as the bouncer glanced at their IDs and ushered them inside. Miller wiggled his eyebrows as the three of them hurried through the doors. The bar was lively, but not as crowded as Jo had expected. The stage was just a small platform in the back corner with a few lights pointed in its direction. Wires and musical instruments were strewn about, but none of the band members had surfaced yet.

“I’ve never heard of them,” Jo admitted.

“They’re about to make it big,” Kayleigh insisted, raising onto her tiptoes to get a look at the line out the windows. “I can’t see Addie or Liv anymore.” She turned to Miller. “What are your roommates’ names again?”

Miller frowned and shrugged.

Jo stifled a snort. At least it wasn’t just her.

“You don’t know any of their names?” Kayleigh demanded.

Miller narrowed his eyes, considering this. “Pretty sure one of them is Alan—big guy with the goofy hair? And one of them might be Gatsby. Or maybe he just likes The Great Gatsby…” He shook his head. “Nah, he doesn’t seem like the kind to read. I think it’s his name.”

Kayleigh threw her hands up, her gaze now moving on to survey the rest of the crowd—a few people were wearing T-shirts with the name UNITED FATES scrawled across the front, but not many. She jutted her chin toward the bar and elbowed Jo in the ribs. “You should get the drinks. You look the most twenty-one of the three of us.”

Jo shot an uneasy glance toward the bar and adjusted the straps of her tank top. She already had the wristband from the front door. The hard part was over. She forced a smile and flipped her hair over her shoulders. She’d curled it tonight, and the tinted lights overhead were making it look more wine-colored than its usual copper shade. “I’ll be right back.”

The bartender did a quick once-over as she approached. “What can I get you?” His hair was nearly as red as Johanna’s was, complete with a matching mustache. He also looked to be barely twenty-one himself.

“Three beers.” Her gaze swept the bar, and she pointed to a fish-shaped tap handle. “That one.” She had no idea if that one was any good, but the bartender turned away wordlessly and grabbed three glasses.

“Those all for you?”

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

ARC Review: Starting From TheTop by Lane Hayes

From the Blurb:
The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…

Johnny

A quiet place to live and some time to recharge before my band heads out on the road again sounds amazing. I wouldn’t mind a distraction too, but my new neighbor is off-limits. There are rules about not getting involved with your bandmate’s ex, right? And Sean isn’t my type anyway. He’s too bossy, too commanding, and he has way too much baggage. I’ve learned that it’s best to let go of the heavy stuff. So why am I so drawn to him?

Sean

Coming out later in life has taught me to protect my privacy at all costs. And while juggling a handful of businesses and two kids isn’t easy, I excel at the art of multitasking and keeping everything separate. But Johnny blurs those lines. He’s easy-going, sweet-natured, and cool. In short, he’s everything I’m not. I want to know all about him…starting from the top.



Ky's rating:





"Starting From the Top" is the fifth and final installment in the "Starting From" series.

It's a second chance age gap story and a friends to lovers/casual to serious romance.

Johnny is the guitarist of Zero. They're well on their way to the top. They haven't made it yet, but after their next album the prognosis says their fame is going to go way up.

During the few months of down time between the end of a tour and them beginning to record their next album, Johnny is trying to find something to fill his days. He has a new house and a cat, but he feels lonely.

Sean is a businessman, well established and with many connections. He's a divorced father of two and shares custody with his ex-wife. He also has an adorable dog named Lullah.

They have ran in the same social circles for years, since they have mutual friends, but whenever they happened to meet it was because they were part of a larger crowd. They were never friends, just casual acquaintances.

Blogtour: The Bookstore On The Beach by Brenda Novak



Please welcome Brenda Novak with 

The Bookstore On The Beach

a Harlequin novel


How do you start a new chapter when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?


Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.


Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.


For fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Kay Andrews, comes New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak's newest standalone work of women's fiction, a big, sweeping novel about family and the ties that bind and challenge us. In this novel, three generations of women from the same family share a house and work together at a bookstore in Colonial Beach over the course of a summer.

On Sale Date: April 6, 2021.


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Tuesday, June 8


Today her daughter was returning for the summer. Mary Langford gazed eagerly out at the street in front of her small bookstore, looking for a glimpse of Autumn’s car and, when she saw nothing except a large family going into the ice cream parlor at the end of the block, checked her watch. Three-thirty. Autumn had called at lunchtime to say that she and the kids were making good time. They probably wouldn’t be much longer.

“You’ve been quiet today,” Laurie commented from where she sat behind the counter, straightening the pens, tape, stapler and bookmarks.

Mary turned from the large front window she’d recently decorated with posters of the hottest new releases. “I worry when she’s on the road for so long.”

“She’ll make it, and it’ll be great to see her and the kids. They haven’t been back since Christmas, have they?”

“No.” She picked up the feather duster and began cleaning shelves—a never-ending job at Beach Front Books, which she and Laurie owned as 50/50 partners. Autumn lived in Tampa, Florida, far enough away that it wasn’t easy to get together when Taylor and Caden were in school. “And I doubt they’ll come back for the holidays this year.” Fortunately, they were more consistent about returning for the summer—except for last summer, of course, which was understandable. Mary hoped she’d be able to count on that continuing, but with the kids getting older, nothing was certain. Taylor had only one more year of high school before heading off to college. Caden had two. Mary feared this might be the last time, for a while, they’d all be together in Sable Beach.

“You could go visit them,” Laurie pointed out.

Autumn had invited her many times. Remembering the arguments her refusal had sparked over the years caused Mary’s stomach to churn. She wanted to go to Tampa, wanted to make it so that her daughter wouldn’t have to do all the traveling. Autumn had been going through so much lately. But the thought of venturing into unfamiliar territory filled Mary with dread. Other than to go to Richmond occasionally, which was the closest big city, she hadn’t left the sleepy Virginia Beach town she called home in thirty-five years. “Yes, but you know me. This is the only place I feel safe.”

Laurie rocked back on the tall stool. “Well, if the fear hasn’t gone away by now, I guess it’s not going to.”

“No. I don’t talk about it anymore, but the past is as real to me now as it’s ever been.”

Although the store had been busy earlier, what with the influx of tourists for the season, foot traffic had slowed. When that happened, they often talked more than they worked. Beach Front Books wasn’t Laurie’s sole source of income. Her husband, Christopher Conklin, was a talented artist. He painted all kinds of seascapes, and while he wasn’t in any prestigious galleries, he sold his paintings in a section they reserved for him in the store as well as online.

But Mary, who’d never been married, had no other support. Beach Front Books didn’t make a large profit, but no one loved the escape that books provided more than she did, and the store garnered enough business that she could eke out a living. That was all that mattered to her.

“Autumn gets so mad that I won’t go out and see the world. Visit. Travel. That sort of thing,” she murmured, wishing she didn’t have the scars and limitations that had, at times, put such a strain on their relationship. “She keeps saying I’m too young to live like an old lady.”

“She has a point.”

Mary sighed. “I’m not young anymore.”

“What are you talking about? You’re nine years younger than me. Fifty-four is not old.”

That was true, but she’d had to grow up far sooner than most people. “I feel ancient.”

“Next year, you should go to Tampa, if they ask you.”

She shook her head. “I can’t.”

“Maybe you’ll prove that you can.”

Mary couldn’t help bristling. She didn’t like it when Laurie pushed her. “No.”

“Autumn doesn’t understand, Mary. That’s what causes almost every fight you have with her.”

“I know. And I feel bad about that. But there’s nothing I can do.”

Laurie lowered her voice. “You could tell her the truth…”

“Absolutely not,” Mary snapped. “Why would I ever do that?”

“There are reasons. And you know it. We’ve talked about this before,” Laurie said, remaining calm, as always. That was one of the many things Mary liked about her—she was steady and patient, and that steadiness somehow helped Mary cope when old feelings and memories began to resurface.

In this instance, Laurie might also be right. Mary could feel the past rising up from its deep slumber. Maybe it was time to tell Autumn.

But there were just as many reasons not to—compelling reasons. And the thought of revealing the past, seeing it all through her daughter’s eyes, made Mary feel ill. “I can’t broach that subject right now, not with what she’s been dealing with the past year and a half. Besides, it’s been so long it’s almost as if it happened to someone else,” she said, mentally shoving those dark years into the deepest recesses of her mind. “I want to stay as far away from that subject as possible.”

Laurie didn’t call her out on the contradiction her statement created. And Mary was glad. She couldn’t have explained how it could be real and frightening and always present and yet she could feel oddly removed from it at the same time.

“Except that it didn’t happen to someone else,” Laurie responded sadly. “It happened to you.”

* * *

The scent of the ocean, more than anything else, told Autumn she was home. She lowered her window as soon as she rolled into town and breathed deeply, letting the salt air fill her lungs.

“What are you doing?” Taylor held her long brown hair in one hand to keep it from whipping across her face as she looked over from the passenger seat.

Autumn smiled, which was something she knew her children hadn’t seen her do enough of lately. “Just getting a little air.”

“You hate it when I roll down my window,” Caden grumbled from the backseat.

“I’m hoping I won’t be so irritable anymore.” For the past eighteen months, Autumn had been mired in the nightmare that had overtaken her life. She almost hadn’t come to Sable Beach because of it. But when her children had each pleaded with her, separately, to ask if they could spend the summer with “Mimi” like they used to, she knew they needed some normalcy in their lives—needed to retain at least one of their parents. Her grief and preoccupation with her husband’s disappearance had probably made them feel as though she’d gone missing, too—at least the mother they’d known before. She hoped by returning to the place that held so many wonderful memories for them all, they’d be able to heal and reconnect.

It wasn’t as if she could do anything more for Nick, anyway. That was the ugly reality. She’d exhausted every viable lead and still had no idea where he was. If he was dead, she had to figure out a way to go on without him for the sake of their children.

The second she spotted the bookstore, the nostalgia that welled up—along with memories of a simpler, easier time—nearly brought her to tears. When she was a little girl, she’d spent so many hours following her mother through the narrow aisles of that quaint shop, which looked like something from the crooked, narrow streets of Victorian London, dusting bookshelves or reading in the nook her mother had created for her.

She’d spent just as much time at Beach Front Books when she was a teenager, only then she was stocking shelves, ordering inventory, working the register—and, again, reading, but this time sitting on the stool behind the counter while waiting for her next customer.

God, it was good to be back. As hard as she could be on her mother for her unreasonable fears and idiosyncrasies, she couldn’t wait to see her. Until this moment, she hadn’t realized just how much she missed her mother. So what if Mary was almost agoraphobic with her unwillingness to leave her little bungalow a block away from the sea? She was always there, waiting to welcome Autumn home. Maybe Autumn had never had a father, or the little brother or sister she’d secretly longed for, but she was lucky enough to have the enduring love of a good mother.

“There it is.” She pointed to the bookstore as she slowed to look for a place to park.

“We’re not going to the beach house?” Caden asked, looking up from whatever he’d been doing on his phone.

“Not right now. First, we’re stopping to see Mimi and Aunt Laurie. Then we’ll take our stuff over to the house.”

A glance in the rearview mirror showed her his scowl. “I hope it won’t be too late to go to the beach,” he said.

“I’m sure we can manage to get there before dark,” she responded as she wedged her white Volvo SUV between a red convertible and a gray sedan and grabbed her purse.

Taylor spoke, causing her to pause with her hand on the door latch. “You already seem different.”

“In what way?” Autumn asked.

“Less uptight. Not so sad.”

“Coming here makes me happy,” she admitted.

“Then why were we going to skip it again?” Caden asked.

Autumn twisted around to look at him. “You know why.”

A pained expression claimed her daughter’s face. “Does this mean you’re letting go?”

“Of Dad? Of course she’s letting go,” Caden answered, the hard edge to his voice suggesting he considered the question to be a stupid one. “Dad’s dead.”

“Don’t say that!” Taylor snapped. “We don’t know it’s true. He could be coming back.”

“It’s been eighteen months, Tay,” Caden responded. “He would’ve come back by now if he could.”

“Stop it, both of you.” Autumn didn’t want them getting into an argument right before they saw her mother. They were at each other’s throats so often lately; it drove her crazy to constantly have to play referee. But she could hardly blame them. They’d lost their father, and they didn’t know how or why. And she had no explanation. “Life’s been hard enough lately,” she added. “Let’s not make it any harder.”

“Then you tell her,” Caden said. “Dad’s dead, and we have to move on. Right? Isn’t that the truth? Go ahead and say it—you are letting go.”

Was she? Is that what this trip signified? If not, how much longer should she hold on? And would holding on be best for them? She couldn’t imagine her kids would want to spend another eighteen months swallowed up by grief and consumed with seeking answers they may never find. Taylor was seventeen, going to be a senior and starting to investigate colleges. Caden was only a year behind her. Surely, they would prefer to look forward and not back.

Regardless, Autumn wasn’t sure she could continue to search, not like she had. She was exhausted—mentally and physically. She’d put everything she had into the past year and a half, and it hadn’t made a damn bit of difference. That was the most disheartening part of it.

“I’m continuing to hold out hope,” she said, even though everyone she’d talked to, including the FBI, insisted her husband must be dead. It was difficult to see the idyllic, two-parent upbringing she was trying to give her kids—something she’d never had herself—fall apart that quickly and easily, and the heartbreak, loneliness and frustration of looking for Nick, with no results, created such a downward spiral for her. She knew it had been just as painful for her children. That was why maybe she should let go—to provide the best quality of life for them as possible.

“What does that mean? Are you going to keep looking for him?” Caden pressed. “Is that how you’re going to spend the summer?”

He could tell something had changed, that coming here signified a difference, and he wanted to reach the bottom line. But Autumn wasn’t ready to admit that she’d failed. Not with as many times as she’d tried to comfort them by promising she’d have answers eventually.

She opened her mouth to try to explain what she was thinking in the gentlest possible way when she spotted her mother. Mary had come out of the store and was waving at them.

“There’s your grandmother,” she said.

Thankfully, her children let the conversation lapse and got out of the car.

“Hi, Mimi.” With his long strides, Caden reached Mary first. Although he wasn’t yet fully grown, he was already six-one. And Taylor was five foot ten. They were both tall, like their father.

Mary gave each of the kids a big hug and exclaimed about how grown-up they both were and how excited she was to see them before turning to Autumn.

“You’ve lost weight,” she murmured gently, a hint of worry belying her smile before they embraced.

“I’m okay, Mom.” Autumn could smell a hint of the bookstore on Mary’s clothes and realized that was another scent she’d never forget. It represented her childhood and all the great stories she’d read growing up. She’d once hoped to read every book in the store. She hadn’t quite made it, thanks to new releases and fluctuating inventory, but she’d read more books than most people. She still considered books to be a big part of her life. “It’s good to be home.”

“Laurie’s dying to see you. Let’s go in and say hello,” Mary said and held the door.

As soon as the bell sounded, Laurie hurried out from behind the register. “There you are! It’s a good thing you came when you did. I was afraid it would drive your mother crazy waiting for you. She’s been so anxious for you to arrive. We both have.”

Taylor allowed her aunt to give her an exuberant squeeze. “I’m glad we got to come this year. Where’s Uncle Chris?”

“Probably on the beach somewhere, painting. You know how he is once the weather warms up—just like a child, eager to get outdoors.”

They took a few minutes to visit the small section of the store dedicated to Christopher’s work so they could admire his latest paintings. Autumn was especially enamored with one he’d done of the bookstore that portrayed a child out front, hanging on to her mother with one hand and carrying a stack of books with the other. That child could’ve been her once upon a time. She almost wondered if his memory of her had inspired it, which was why she decided, if that painting didn’t sell before she left, she’d buy it herself and take it back to Tampa.

Fortunately, she had the money. As a corporate attorney, Nick had always done well financially. After the first few years of their marriage, which he spent finishing school, they’d rarely had to scrimp. But it was what he’d inherited when his father passed away that’d really set them up. After Sergey’s death, Autumn had quit working as a loan officer for a local bank and, for the past ten years, had focused on her family, her home, gardening and cooking. Her financial situation was also one of the reasons she rejected the idea that Nick might’ve left her for another woman, a possibility that had been suggested to her many, many times. Why would he leave his children, too, and walk away without a cent? Sure, they’d had their struggles, especially in recent years, when his work seemed to take more and more of his time and attention, but neither of them had ever mentioned separating.

“This is amazing,” she exclaimed as she continued to study the little girl in the painting. “I love Chris’s work.”

“The last original he donated to charity went for six thousand dollars,” Laurie announced proudly.

“Who bought it?” Autumn asked. If whoever it was lived in Sable Beach, chances were good she’d know him or her.

“Mike Vanderbilt, over at The Daily Catch. He was drunk when he got into a bidding war for it, and now it’s hanging in his restaurant. I think he’s glad to have it, but I imagine he also sees it as a reminder not to raise his paddle when he’s been drinking.”

They all laughed to think of the barrel-chested and good-natured Mike letting alcohol bring out his competitive nature.

“His wife must be doing well, then,” Autumn said. “She’s still in remission?”

Laurie shot Mary a surprised glance, and it was Mary who answered. “I’m afraid not. She was when he bought that painting, but they received word just a couple of months ago that Beth’s breast cancer has come back.”

“Oh no,” Autumn cried. Everyone knew the owners of The Daily Catch. They did a lot for the community. And it was her favorite restaurant. When she was home, she ate there all the time. “What’s her prognosis?”

“Not good. That’s why Quinn has moved home from that little town in upstate New York. He helps his father with the restaurant these days. I’m sure he’s also here to spend time with his mother before…well, before he has to say goodbye to her for good.”

“Quinn’s home?” Autumn said. She wasn’t expecting that; the mention of his name knocked her a little off-kilter. When he was a senior and she was a junior, she’d given him her virginity in the elaborate tree house that was in his backyard, even though he hadn’t been nearly as interested in being with her as she was him. And then he’d broken her heart by getting back together with his girlfriend, the same woman he married five years later. “So his wife and kids are here now, too?”

“No, he doesn’t have any kids,” Laurie said, chiming in again. “And he and Sarah—what was her maiden name?”

“Vizii,” Autumn supplied.

“Yes. Vizii. They divorced almost two years ago. You didn’t know?”

“How would I?” She’d seen nothing about it on social media, but then, Quinn had never been on social media, and she’d never been able to find Sarah, either—not that she’d checked recently because she hadn’t. “I haven’t seen him since he was working as a lifeguard at the beach after his first year of college and he had to swim out and save me from drowning.” She didn’t add that she’d faked the whole episode just to get his attention. She was mortified about that now and cringed at how obvious it must’ve been to him.

“I’m surprised the gossip didn’t reach you all the way down in Tampa,” Laurie said. “For a while, it was about the only thing anyone around here could talk about.”

But who would tell her? Her mother wasn’t much for gossip, which was ironic, considering she’d lived in Sable Beach for so long. The town where Autumn had been raised took talking about their friends and neighbors to a whole new level.

“Why would his divorce be such big news?” she asked. Besides being one of the most popular boys in school, Quinn had been handsome, athletic and at the top of his class—undoubtedly one of Sable Beach’s finest. But still. Divorce was so commonplace it was hardly remarkable anymore. And Quinn was thirty-nine. He’d been gone from this place—except for when he visited his folks—for twenty-one years. How could what was going on in his life be such a hot topic?

Monday, March 29, 2021

ARC Review: Perfect Matcha by Erin McLellan


From the Blurb:
After years of focusing on his career, Theodore Punch is tired of being alone. But landing a good man isn’t easy. When Theo needs a date for an ex-boyfriend’s wedding, he knows just the solution—a matchmaker. And there’s no better matchmaker than his social butterfly best friend, Camden Ray.

There’s only one problem: Camden has been in love with Theo for half their lives but doesn’t have the guts to come clean. Camden will do anything to make Theo happy, even if it hurts, and he already has a match for Theo in mind—his boss, the handsome owner of the local adult novelty shop.

Now there’s another problem: Theo has zero experience with toys. Luckily, Camden is only a phone call away and more than happy to walk Theo through naughty gadget lessons. Spicy phone calls, a dash of role play, and a load of pesky emotions brew between them. It’s not the match either of them intended but could be the perfect solution to all their problems, if their friendship can survive the infusion of feelings.

 


Ky's rating:




The third book in the "Bold Brew" series is a sweet friends-to-lovers romance.

Theodore is a shy, introverted guy that rarely meets and connects with new people. He's been focused on his career all his life and now that he feels he's in a good enough place in that aspect he decides that it's time to look after his personal life. His only serious ex's upcoming wedding is a big motivation too.

Camden is his best friend since they were kids and, socially, he's basically the exact opposite. He makes friends everywhere he goes, knows everyone and he isn't affraid to try new things and explore as much as possible. He dropped out of college, he has worked many odd jobs to make a living and he's in love with his best friend for years but affaid to do anything about it. He cares about Theodore so much, though, that he offers to set him up with a great guy in order to finally see him happy.

Release Blitz: First Impressions by C. Koehler

Title: First Impressions

Author: C. Koehler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/29/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 90200

Genre: Contemporary, "LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, gay, family-drama, humorous, comedy of manners, ex-porn star, store clerk, resort hotel, mother/son relationship"

Add to Goodreads

Description

When Henry Hughes and Cameron Jameson meet for the first time at a Coming Out Day party, it’s anything but love at first sight. In fact, it’s an unmitigated disaster, despite a scorching physical attraction.

Henry, whose social anxiety gets the better of him, humiliates Cameron, and when Cameron finds out about Henry’s past in adult films, he assumes he dodged a disease-covered bullet. Yet as Henry runs into Cameron again and again, he realizes he might have misjudged the younger man. He also realizes that Cameron won’t let go of his own initial view and thinks Henry is an unmitigated ass. First impressions are lasting impressions, and Cameron seems to misinterpret all of Henry’s words and deeds.

It’s not until Henry confronts Cameron that Cameron realizes just how wrong he’s been, but he thinks he’s lost his chance. Yet when disaster strikes Cameron and his friends, Henry rides to the rescue. Will Cameron be able to put aside his pride and shame to accept Henry’s help and his heart?

Excerpt

First Impressions
C. Koehler © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Henry Hughes nudged his Tesla Roadster into the second of his assigned parking spots beneath the Capitol Towers, the one in which he’d had a charger installed, praying he didn’t dent or scratch the pricey plaything.

He struggled to leverage his muscular frame out of the door, and finally just climbed out the top. There was no way this would work long-term. He was way over six feet tall and built like a linebacker. Maybe the other space was larger? He’d already noticed his assistant’s more serviceable SUV parked there. He made a note to talk to her about it, but then he realized if he did, she’d relinquish the larger space without a peep, or worse, buy a smaller car. Then he thought about the hassle of moving the charger. It’d be easier to keep climbing out of the top of the car.

The parking was a pain in the ass—and not the good kind—but to keep a place in Sacramento. Since it wasn’t his primary residence, a house with a yard simply wasn’t practical, not even one of the adorable bungalows in the neighborhoods east of downtown. So, there he was with a condo and the adventures in parking.

Even with the occasional headache, Sacramento still beat San Francisco, and it was the only city of any size close to Alpenglow, his spread near Lake Tahoe. What was his alternative, some village of less than fifty people on US-50? Now entering, now leaving!

The door opened at his touch, and he sighed. There could be only one explanation.

Lillian.

She had arrived early to freshen the place up for him.

It was thoughtful and so like her, and so unnecessary. He wasn’t helpless, just an emotional wreck. He lied to himself and pretended the joke was funny.

“Hello?” he called, shutting the door behind him. He walked into the foyer and through the French doors that led to the formal living space beyond. “Lillian?”

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Release Blitz: I Do (Not) by Anni Lee

Title: I Do (Not)

Author: Anni Lee

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/22/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, fake marriage, love triangle, billionaire, feel-good romance, romance comedy, brothers, office romance, Vegas wedding, boss-and-employee romance, enemies to lovers

Add to Goodreads

 Description

 

Jacob Conner is never getting married.

 

Not now, not “someday,” and certainly not when he’s black-out drunk at his sister’s wedding in Las Vegas. The whole “waking up in an unfamiliar hotel room with a ring on his finger” thing was probably just a coincidence. Definitely.

He doesn’t have much time to dwell on it anyway, as Aaron Craig, his boss, assigns him to be the glorified baby sitter for his older brother for the week. 

Trevor Craig is as obnoxious as he is handsome, immediately pushing all of Jacob’s buttons and all of his boundaries. 

With one brother trying his patience, and the other acting unusually friendly, Jacob’s starting to wonder if he’s going to survive his work life long enough to find who put that ring on his finger. 

Excerpt

I Do (Not)
Anni Lee © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Beep beeep beeeeeep

“Shut up,” I groaned through the throbbing pain permeating my skull. My eyes were still crusted shut, dried out from not nearly enough sleep, leaving me to locate the offending alarm clock through blind flailing.

Wait. When did I set an alarm? Better yet—when did I buy a clock? I forced my eyes open, barely managing more than a squint as my body protested this early rise. My hand instinctively blocked sunlight poking through the blinds, my only chance to continue this act of defiance.

The room didn’t look familiar. Cream-colored walls, a chocolate-colored bed. I was more of a black and white kind of guy myself. The silhouette of tall buildings teased through thin window shades, and the unmistakable scent of champagne stuck to my clothes.

I lifted my hand to rub my eyes, trying to defeat the last of my lingering exhaustion, when the sensation of metal unexpectedly touched my eyelid. I looked at my hand, startled and confused. It was as it always was. That scar I had gotten as a kid still crossed my palm, traces of glitter, undoubtedly from some stripper’s backside, sparkled from my fingertips. But there was one glaring problem. On my finger sat a ring. Silver and smooth and impossible to miss.

It was all coming back now. The shots. The chiming of slot machines. The shots. The bars filled with eye candy. The shots. The strippers filling my mouth with whipped cream. The shots. The battle with gravity as I stumbled down the strip. The shots. The…chapel?

Saturday, March 27, 2021

ARC Review: Schooling the Jock by Eli Easton and Tara Lain

Schooling the JockFrom the blurb:

Only an unfair universe makes a guy who’s that gorgeous so damned obnoxious.

A-hoe! 
Poindexter! 
Snarky, superbrain Dobbs and snooty football star Jesse stare at each other from their rival frat houses on opposites sides of the street -- and opposite sides of everything else.

Alpha Lambda Alpha and Sigma Mu Tau have been sworn enemies for decades. Then one disastrous prank proves to be the final straw, and the college dean blows his cork!

Work together or lose both your houses.

Question - -How can Dobbs win his coveted Quiz Bowl championship when he’s forced to put a dumb jock on his team? Answer -- Lots of personal schooling.

But when personal becomes very personal, Jesse risks causing his overtaxed family one more huge worry and the running back starts running.

Will Dobbs give up on the shocked jock, or show him that the answer to the big question is, Yes?


Heather's rating: 




It's been a very long time since I've read a Tara Lain book, but I was excited about her collaboration with Eli Easton in Schooling the Jock. And while it wasn't perfect, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up liking this story.

I don't think I'll ever get sick of the geek jock pairing, no matter how overdone. There is just something about it that works for me. However, I'm drifting farther and farther away from new adult romances, and so I wasn't sure about how I would receive Schooling the Jock.
 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Blogtour: When Heart Becomes Home by Pat Henshaw


Please welcome Pat Henshaw with

When Heart Becomes Home


Is there a time limit on love and forgiveness?

When Heart Becomes Home - Pat Henshaw
Fifteen years ago, Manny didn’t show up to take Wes to the Shelby High School prom as he promised. Instead, Wes found Manny’s letter jacket at their meeting spot without a note or any explanation.

From college to his current job in Monterey, California, Wes has carted the jacket around as a memento of his teenage love and rejection. This year he decides enough is enough. He’s attending the high school class reunion, returning Manny’s jacket, and going home free to find the real love of his life.

When Manny sees Wes at the reunion tour of the new high school facilities, he’s determined not to let his teenage lover leave without them clearing the air and possibly getting back together.

Through reunion activities such as a quiz bowl, meet-and-greet meals, and a formal banquet with a prom-like ball as well as outside activities like the quinceaƱera of Manny’s niece, Wes and Manny work through the lies and misunderstandings of the past.

With so much to reconcile and forgive on both sides, will they end up together? Or go their separate ways with only memories of the past?

Universal Buy Link | QueeRomance Ink


When Heart Becomes Home meme - Pat Henshaw


Excerpt:

Manny and I had never talked about college or the future. We’d been too centered on sex.

Because of all my wanderings through the past, it took me a few seconds to process what he’d told me. He’d written me a letter, and on the night of the prom, he had put it with the jacket at our prearranged meeting place.

He’d left the jacket—for me. He hadn’t crushed it into the ground in some undecipherable message. He’d left it with a note for me.

What had happened? Who’d come along and taken the note? And tried to blot out the jacket? Why hadn’t he or she taken it, too?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

ARC Review: Naked Weekend by Roe Horvat


From the Blurb:
It was supposed to be a casual threesome. Yeah, right. Those kisses are anything but casual, and the third guy is nowhere to be found. Neill should have known their friend set them up. But even as he ends up naked in the tall stranger’s arms, he can’t find any reason to regret anything. 
From the first moment, Danny knows he could easily fall for Neill. All these little contradictions fascinate him: Neill’s passionate and playful one moment, and the next second he withdraws into himself, cautious. What made him that way? And how can Danny convince the beautiful boy to stay?

 




Ky's rating:





Naked Weekend is an erotic novella with romantic undertones. The plot is exactly what the title suggests: a weekend where the mcs decide to spent their entire time naked together.

Danny and Neill get set up by a mutual friend, Curtis, but Neill is reluctant because of a bad breakup a few months ago. He's still dealing with the aftermath of that abusive relationship and trying to find himself again, so he's very cautious about putting himself out there again.

After some scheming on Curtis's part, Danny and Neill get together for a casual hook up, but quickly the plans change.

Blogtour: Tristan by Jennie Lynn Roberts

Tristan

by Jennie Lynn Roberts

(The Hawks, #1)
Publication date: February 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance


His redemption might be her downfall…

Tristan has nothing left to lose. His best friend’s betrayal cost him everything. Now, he’s going to take it back. All he has to do to get the Hawks reinstated to their rightful position at the palace is track down the traitor’s younger sister and turn her over for execution. But Nim’s not the girl Tristan left behind years ago; she’s a stubborn, loyal, beautiful woman, and he can’t stop himself from wanting her.

Nim fled with nothing when the king’s favorite came for her. All she has left is the conviction that her brother is innocent—and her determination to free him. She’ll do anything…even if it means convincing Tristan to help her. But the man he’s become is a far cry from the boy she fell in love with so long ago. He’s formidably stern and deeply untrusting. She’ll just have to hope he still has a heart under that battle-scarred exterior.

When love and duty collide, will Tristan follow his orders or follow his heart?

Tristan, book 1 in The Hawks series, is a sexy, steamy, adult fantasy romance full of swords, shifters (kind of), and tons of action. But fair warning: This book is intended only for readers who love slow burn romance, fast-paced adventure, soul mates and found family—and characters who curse when they fight for survival. If that’s you, happy reading.

Goodreads / Amazon

What/Who inspired the main characters in your book?


Tristan is a fantasy romance with two main characters – Tristan and Nim.


Tristan was the captain of the palace guard until the old king died in a terrible massacre—a betrayal that Tristan’s best friend, Val, has been accused of masterminding. 


Tristan is a strong commander, deeply honorable and loyal to his squad and his friends, but he has grown jaded by war and is bitter about Val’s treachery and the loss of his position in the palace. Tristan does make mistakes, but he works hard to fix them. 


He wasn’t inspired by any particular person although he has some elements of characters that I have loved over the years. There is something of Strider/Aragorn in him, as well as the Witcher and even Jon Snow—strong, honorable men prepared to fight for what they believe in.


Nim, the heroine, is an apothecary who had a stable life caring for her father but is thrown into danger when her brother is accused of betraying the king. She’s kind and empathetic, but she also has a core of remarkable inner strength. She never falters in her loyalty to the people she loves and will fight for them to the bitter end, whatever it takes. 


Thinking about it now, I would say that she has some of Eowyn in her (from the Lord of the Rings), maybe some of Belle too (from Beauty and the Beast), but mostly she’s inspired by all the amazing real women in the world who are out there, every day, fighting for safety for themselves and their families. 

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