REVIEW: Valor on the Move by Keira Andrews

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.51BwE+hbQzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

TITLE: Valor on the Move

AUTHOR: Keira Andrews

GENRE: LGBT Contemporary, Romance

TAG LINE: “He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.”

 

RATING: 1 Stars

SUMMARY:  Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

BUY LINKS: Amazon

 

REVIEW:

 

I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile. I was putting it off because I know I’m one of the few that didn’t like this book, and well, I hate saying bad things about novels, especially when I have nothing good to say about it.

I did finish it—so hey, that’s something—but I skimmed a huge chunk of the book. The writing wasn’t terrible. Keira Andrews has a style that’s very simplistic, not really igniting much spark, but still painting a basic enough picture that you get an idea of the characters and the environment. I’ve never read anything else from her, so I don’t know if this is a-typical of her writing, but I will admit, it was on the lackluster-side of things.

Going into Valor on the Move, I had high hopes. I love me some age gap, some forbidden love, and some interracial love. This book seemed like a tri-fecta. This is one of those situations where, when you think it’s too good to be true, you’re right. I’m going to try to break this down as succinctly as possible.

My first biggest issue was the writing. There was nothing that drew me in. I wasn’t eager to read the next page. I could set the book down, not come back, and even skip paragraphs and feel like I hadn’t missed anything. This also says much about the plot. There really wasn’t much of a plot, other than Rafa being whiny/sad. I get his plight, I do, but it didn’t make for an interesting read. There was some side plot about Rafa wanting to cook and not being able to. I didn’t understand why his parents thought it was too feminine to cook, especially since there are a lot of famous male chefs, a large chunk of who are heterosexual (since that’s the only reason I could glean from them being anti-cooking). It was a weak attempt at adding conflict and just didn’t really hold.

These weak conflicts carried on throughout the book. Towards the end, when Rafa is kidnapped, none of it made sense. The motive was poor. While I’ll give nod to the fact that Keira Andrews did do a good job of foreshadowing, it still came off as a stretch, and the execution was really messy.

I think what frustrated me most was that she had an opportunity to really make the story exciting, and she decided to go the safer route. Instead of giving us an amazing action scene with Shane, we had to read about Rafa being in a box. Personally, I believe that if you can’t write fight scenes, don’t set yourself up for them. Because you’re only going to let your readers down.

The characters were all really flat. I didn’t like any of them. None. Rafa was alright, but he got on my nerves. And he acted so much younger than his 21 years. Shane wasn’t much better. He was the opposite and came off very old. And while I don’t mind huge age gaps, it is an issue when your characters aren’t acting their appointed ages.

I didn’t get Rafa’s parents. I didn’t get the other agents. They all came off as shadow people, just background characters to fill in the void between Rafa and Shane’s interactions. When Rafa and Shane were with other characters the story really took a dip in the boring direction.

This brings me to my third issue. There was no chemistry between Rafa and Shane. I’ve said it throughout, I like age gaps, but only when it’s consensual and when both characters are also emotionally mature. Since Rafa had the mentality of a sixteen year old, this just felt weird and awkward between them. They never fully developed into a relationship.

After Rafa gets kidnapped, when they’re stuck in the cavern, we get the “big moment” which was nothing more than some blow jobs and such. Honestly, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t romantic. They’re stuck. Rafa is emotionally upset about being kidnapped. He isn’t in the right headspace. He was in no way in a state of mind to consent to anything. Shane also knew how much Rafa cared about him. Shane should have been the adult and said no, because neither needed to be giving out blow jobs or handies.

Plus, it’s dirty, they’re sweaty, and bloody, and they have limited air supply. They should be conserving energy and focused on getting out. And yes, they decide to sit and wait because rescue is coming, that doesn’t mean they should reek up the place with spunk. Because the scent of sex would have lingered, especially since it was closed off, and people would have noticed.

After that we get a time jump and Rafa finding Shane in California, being kind of stalkerish. I actually did stop there (so okay, I guess I didn’t finish). I just didn’t care if they finally had penetrative sex. I didn’t want them to be together. I didn’t like them. And their relationship was weird.

TL;DR: Did not like. Did not ship. Would not read.

REVIEW: Put A Ring on It by K.A. Mitchell

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. My receiving this book in no way affects my opinion.

PutARingOnItLGTITLE: Put A Ring on It

AUTHOR: K.A. Mitchell

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

TAG LINE: “Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms…”

 

RATING: 1 Stars

SUMMARY:  Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via a NYC Times Square Flash mob.
BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

REVIEW:

 

I’m going to tell you right now that this book got shelved on the DNFR (Did Not Finish Reading) shelf. I grew so frustrated and angry with this book that I finally threw it down (figuratively) and gave up. I did skip to the end to see what happened and wasn’t happy with the resolve, so I stand by my decision with not finishing the book.

I’ve read K.A. Mitchell’s work before and enjoyed it, so I’m a fan of her work. But this book I just could not enjoy. I made it about 80 pages in (a little under halfway?) before I threw in the towel. Now I don’t want to say that my decision to quit reading was because of the quality of the writing.  K.A. Mitchell is a talented author, and as I stated before, I’ve enjoyed previous stories by her, but this particular one just chaffed me the wrong way. On a technical level the story was great. It wasn’t the quality of the writing, but the characterization and the actual plot of the story I didn’t enjoy.

This story had a lot going for it: pre-marital drama, which is always fun, and a nice little age gap between the two characters, a personal kink for me. I was completely psyched to read this. But things got really confusing from the get-go. The first thing we’re introduced to is a scene years before the actual story about Theo interacting with a group of college friends (characters who will appear throughout the series). This threw me off, because it felt really out of place. I understand the author was trying to set us up for the series, and while Theo’s friends play a crucial role to the plot, it felt out of place. It was meant to build Theo’s friendship with his college buddies, but all it did was feel like an unnecessary prologue. The information we gleaned from the first chapter could have easily been integrated into the story.

The second chapter we get to meet Kiernan and see him interact with Theo. This gets into the heart of the story. I immediately didn’t feel any chemistry between them. Kiernan didn’t seem as interested in his relationship with Theo as Theo was. It was obvious Theo adored Kiernan, but Kiernan felt aloof towards his emotions with Theo. This is an ongoing problem throughout the story. Kiernan’s lack of feelings towards Theo, despite the author’s attempt to show that Kiernan does indeed love Theo, made it hard to really root for them. I honestly wanted Theo to kick Kiernan to the curb and go find someone else.

Now I want it to be noted that I don’t agree with how Theo proposed to Kiernan (spoilers ahead). It was stupid of him to make a public display of a very intimate proposal towards someone who has social anxiety, so shame on Theo for that. But Kiernan also failed to explain his feelings properly and only made a bad situation worse.

There was way too much drama in the story. I was frustrated from the beginning. It was like the author took several ideas and then threw them all together, unable to decide which route to go. Where I left off as where Kiernan was agreeing to have one of Theo’s meddling friends help him break off his relationship. It was a childish choice and neither party seemed to have Theo’s best intentions in mind.

Books aren’t meant to stress you out and this book did just that. Because I couldn’t finish it, had no investment in the characters, and felt no chemistry between the main couple, I’m giving this book 1 star.

EXCERPT: Put a Ring On It by K. A. Mitchell |

PPutARingOnItLGut a Ring on It

Ready or Knot

Book One

K.A. Mitchell

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Date of Publication: September 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63476-380-6 Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-63476-381-3 eBook

Number of pages: 204

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed-slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet, until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via an NYC Times Square flash mob. Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms….


BUY IT HERE

Dreamspinner Press   ARe


EXCERPT

KIERAN’S PHONE buzzed incessantly in his pocket, and he glared at his khakis as if he could see through to the caller. What part of ‘away from my desk’ is confusing to you people?

It was his own fault for violating his core principle: Success invariably leads to diminished returns. He’d done one job well because it was interesting, and now everyone in the building wanted the Korean IT Guy With the Hair to be the one who showed up when they yelled for help.

He sank down against the wall until he sat folded, head on his knees. He’d hide out in the server room, at least until the afternoon sleepies hit around two and they all started playing their Facebook games. In fact, as long as they could get online to Facebook, probably no one would notice if everything else on the servers went dark.

This room had a consistently cool temperature, perfect humidity control, and top-of-the-line filters. His nose and eyes never itched when he was in here. The constant rush of the fans blotted out any outside noise.

The phone buzzed again, a steady rhythm. He should have put it on silent.

Just audible over the white noise of the fans, keys jangled outside, then scraped against the door. Not a lot of people had keys to the server room, but most of the ones who did could fire him. He rolled onto his knees and slid across the floor, pulled out a screwdriver, and prepared to look busy.

A voice came to him now—Shanara, the office manager. As bosses went, she wasn’t a bad one, but Kieran still figured hiding and ignoring his phone would probably get him reported to the head of IT, who was a total dick.

“Someone said they saw him headed this way.”

“Thank you for all your help, Shanara.”

Kieran dropped the screwdriver. What the hell was Theo doing here, thirty blocks away from where Kieran thought he was? His brain raced through multiple possibilities. Theo had met Kieran’s family, but why would Theo have been the one to come if something had happened to one of them?

“My pleasure, Mr. Medina.”

“Theo, please.”

The door opened. Kieran straightened from picking up his screwdriver and caught Theo’s wink square in the chest.

There it was again. That funny jolt that Kieran was sure his sister, the epidemiologist, could explain resulted through neurotransmitters, conditioned responses, and hormone dumps. But since Siobhan had been in Sierra Leone for the past eight months working to contain the latest Ebola outbreak, she was a little busy for stupid questions about why Kieran’s heart jumped when his boyfriend looked at him like that.

As cheerful as Theo usually was, Kieran was pretty sure Theo wouldn’t wink if something bad had happened. It didn’t explain why he was suddenly next to Shanara in the door to the server room.

Hi seemed like a safer bet than What the fuck are you doing here? so he went with that.

“Hey, I wanted to take you to lunch.” Theo’s smile didn’t affect Kieran’s nervous system like that look could, but it was definitely an autonomous response that made Kieran smile back. “I planned to do it tomorrow, but it’s the understudy’s first matinee and I need to be there.”

“You’re so lucky, Kieran.” Shanara had a smile a bit brighter than her usual professional one. Theo had the same effect on other people. “My boyfriend probably won’t even remember.”

Kieran was already in the same boat with Shanara’s boyfriend. Then he saw the rose Theo produced from behind his back, and Kieran’s brain latched on to the significance. Valentine’s Day was this weekend.

Theo turned and offered the rose to Shanara. “If you can spare him.”

She held the paper-wrapped stem in the space between them. “I thought this was for Kieran.”

Theo sighed. “He’s allergic to flowers. And romance. But I’m working on him.”

Kieran shoved his glasses up on his nose and glared, only to get smacked with another Theo wink, which induced a helpless shake of his head.

“It might take some time….” Theo trailed off and glanced at Shanara.

Her smile was broad, sharpening her cheeks. “You have personal leave banked, right, Kieran?” Barely pausing for his agreement, she said, “I’ll write you as out for the afternoon, let Todd know.”

Kieran nodded. The less he had to deal with the asshole director of IT, the better. Especially now that Kieran was in high demand.

“Thank you so much, Shanara.” Theo handed her a business card. “Just present that at the Will Call window any time and they’ll take care of you.”

“Thank you, Theo. Be sure to lock up the server room, Kieran.”

Shanara shut the door, which had an auto lock, so Kieran was puzzling over her order when Theo put his hands behind Kieran’s neck and kissed him.

A typical Theo kiss, warm, open, inviting Kieran to decide if it was going deeper.

Kieran put his hands on Theo’s back, under his coat, touched the velvety fleece, and breathed in the rich leather scent from his shoulder. The heavy wool coat Theo had been wearing when they met vanished immediately when Kieran confessed his allergy to it.

When Kieran drew back, Theo released him with a leer. “Cozy in your little den, here.”

Kieran shook his head. “The servers are sensitive to humidity. I’m pretty sure that includes jizz.”

“I’m insulted. I never spill a drop.”

Theo said it mockingly, but the reminder of how incredible Theo was at sucking dick stirred a tingle in Kieran’s balls.

“Yeah.” Theo leaned to brush his forehead against Kieran’s. “You’re thinking about it now.”

He was right. Because Theo was damned good at reading Kieran. The first person ever who bothered to pay enough attention to figure out—and offer—what Kieran wanted.

A nooner sounded interesting, but they certainly weren’t doing it in the server room.

“Thought you said we were going to lunch?”

“I did. Are you hungry?”

Kieran shrugged. He could eat, but he didn’t want Theo to think Kieran expected a lobster dinner just because he was peckish. Theo liked making people happy. He wasn’t a pushover or anything. Kieran had heard him get pissed enough to snap at people on the phone. Once when he met Theo at the theater, Kieran had heard him go off in a rage about a delivery of light bulbs. So scratch that. Theo was nice to most people, but he liked trying to make Kieran happy. And that didn’t suck at all.

The look in Theo’s eyes did that thing to Kieran’s circulatory system again as Theo tugged him toward the door. “Come on, then.” 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Chip and Ken made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was surprised to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.

K.A. loves to hear from her readers.

She is often found talking about her imaginary friends on Twitter @ka_mitchell

http://www.kamitchell.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2746690.K_A_Mitchell

https://www.facebook.com/authorkamitchell

https://authorkamitchell.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/ka_mitchell

http://kamitchellplotbunnyfarm.tumblr.com/

GUEST BLOG with D. River | GIVEAWAY

Hello, I’m D. River, author of Moon Born, Feral Hearts Tales #2. Today I thought I’d talk dirty to you. Wait, that came out wrong. I meant I’d whisper dirty things…

I’ll come in again.

In any book with a romantic element, sex is pretty much a given. As a reader, I know I like to see when the two romantic leads finally, after challenges great and small, get it on. Er, that is, they finally bond in a beautifully emotional and spiritually satisfying way.

When I wrote my first M/M book, “Wild Horses,” I was coming to it from years of experience with erotica and friends telling me I wrote really good sex scenes and that I should write erotica for a living. No, really, my friends said that. It wasn’t the voices in my head.

As time has passed and I’ve read even more gay romance, in particular paranormal romance, I’ve seen sex handled well and seen it handled badly. With a romance novel, it could be argued that sex is the whole point of the book, that getting to that moment with the characters is the story’s climax, as it were.

However, with a paranormal story, there’s other stuff going on. As with the Feral Hearts Tales, while certainly the point at which the straight friends give in to their mate urges and have sex is important to the story, they had a whole lot of other things going on. So that creates the interesting dilemma that this post is all about:

How much sex is enough? How much is too much?

A very clever review of a shifter book (not mine but not naming names either) remarked that the sex scenes felt like “commercial breaks” in the story. The reviewer hit it right on the nose with that one. Of course the sexy times are fun and all, but if they are actually causing a pause in the story, that seems like a problem. And I’ve seen enough feedback from readers to suggest that a lot of people are getting tired of books with a lot of sex in them.

What I like to read, and what I try to write, are sex scenes that forward the characters’ growth. In that way, they mesh with the story and become a part of the plot. Put another way, they’re not just a part of the story that you can skip. If that means a book only has one or two sex scenes, that’s fine with me. If that means a book needs a dozen (there is one shifter title in particular I can think of where this is true) then by all means, have at.

Anyway, that’s how I feel about sex scenes in books. How about you fine folks? Do you like your books with a little or a lot of sex in them?


moonbornMoon Born

Feral Hearts Tales

Book 2

D. River

Genre: Shifter/paranormal romance/gay romance

Publisher: Lightbane Publications

Date of Publication: 9/14/2015

ISBN: 978-1-4675-7745-8

Word Count: 90,000

Pages: 332

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

Tucker and Ryder figured that the worst was over. They’d gotten used to being lycans, they’d managed to not get killed by werewolf hunters and they’d stopped a crazy magician from trying to unleash Armageddon.

However, as they try to get back to their lives, they find a whole host of new problems awaiting them. The government has established a task force to deal with paranormal threats and lycans are at the top of that list. There is a monster prowling the dark places of New York City. And the Moon Spirit has an agenda for them to fulfill.

Moon Born continues the story of Love Bites, with new characters, new dangers and new complications for Ryder and Tucker’s relationship.


EXCERPT

Ryder awoke very slowly, and only because there was an obnoxious ray of sunlight trying to burn a hole through his eyelid, undoubtedly seeking to find a way into his brain. He grumbled and swatted uselessly at the sunbeam and then rolled over to get away from it.

After three nights of glorious hunts, he and his pack were all thoroughly done in. Ryder wasn’t even sure where they were, other than the Wild Wood somewhere. He didn’t really feel inclined to care, either. The Wild Wood had been strangely hospitable to them, which made him resent it a little less even while he suspected the trees were just biding their time.

Having escaped the sunbeam, Ryder now had a twig under his ribs. He sighed and surrendered, sitting up and looking around. Tucker was already awake, standing nearby and examining a tree. Ryder didn’t ignore the fact that Tucker was gloriously naked, but after the last three days, sex was not his primary interest.

“You were twitching a lot in your sleep,” Tucker said. “It was kind of adorable.”

“I was having a good dream.” Ryder looked over at Trey, who was sleeping on his stomach and snoring peacefully. “We really need to find him a mate, you know.”

“Do they have a dating app for that sort of thing?”

“No, I don’t think anyone’s created ‘Wolfr” yet.” Ryder smiled and yawned. “It’s just…. I mean, we had so much fun these past few days and he had only his hand.”

“Which he used liberally.”

Ryder stifled a giggle. “It was hard to miss that. But anyway…. We need to look into it.”

Tucker nodded. “I think we’ll need some advice on that, though.”

Ryder cocked his head to one side. “Oh?”

“Yeah, we should head to the lycan cave, get the Moonstone and talk to the Moon Twink about his crazy idea for making more lycans.”

“You’d be willing to consider doing that?”

Tucker shook his head. “It sounds like a terrible idea. But I’m willing to hear what our friend has to say.”

Trey started to twitch violently in his sleep. Low, unhappy moans spilled from his lips. Ryder was just about to poke him awake when the younger lycan started awake. He looked around with wild eyes for a moment that were full of terror. His auburn hair was a fright, sticking up at all angles and full of leaves and twigs.

“Trey?”

For a long, unsettling moment, the young man just stared blankly ahead. Then he shook himself and rubbed at his eyes. “I’m fine.”

Tucker eyed him. “That seemed like one bitch of a nightmare. And I’ve had my share.”

Trey pulled his knees to his chest. “It…. It’s fine.”

Ryder sighed and looked skyward. “Why am I doomed to be surrounded by guys who can’t talk about what’s going on with them?”

Tucker smirked at him and then went over to sit beside Trey. Even as the younger lycan stiffened in a defensive posture, Tucker slipped an arm around his shoulders and gave him a firm sideways hug. Trey looked down at his knees, his eyes clouded with misery.

“Hey, dude, look, I get it. More than you know.” His expression grew somber. “When I was growing up, my asshole old man beat the shit out of me too. So I get nightmares of my own.”

Trey relaxed a tiny bit against his Alpha. “It’s not that. I’m used to those.”

Ryder wished he could live in a world where no one ever had to get used to that sort of thing. “Then what was it?”

“It’s hard to explain…. When I wake up, the dream sort of dissipates like smoke. But in the dream, I’m somewhere dark and someone’s hurting me….” He swallowed hard. “I think it’s Matchitehew.”

Ryder frowned. “Maybe it’s just because of that horrible place we raided?”

Trey nodded. “I think so. I mean, that’s what makes the most sense. It just…. It feels so real.”

Tucker eyed him sidelong. “Well, we’ll add it to the questions for the Moon Twink.”

“I wish you wouldn’t call him that. He might turn us into wereturtles or something,” Ryder said.

Trey giggled. “Wereturtles….”

Tucker gave Trey a pointed look. “No more keeping secrets from your pack, puppy. If something’s bothering you, you tell us.”

“Yes, sir,” Trey mumbled.

“Hey, you get all grumpy with me when I call you ‘puppy,'” Ryder complained.

“You’re not the Alpha,” Trey said.

Tucker laughed. “He’s got you there.”

“I suppose. So, homeward?” Ryder asked.

Trey nodded and stretched mightily. “Absolutely.” He smacked his lips. “I could use some coffee first. And maybe some eggs.”

“You’re not full from last night?” Ryder asked. “I’m still stuffed.”

“Well, you two hogged most of that deer, so yeah.” Trey frowned. “Not sure when I stopped thinking of raw meat as icky, but whatever.”

“Well, Clif bars will have to do.” Ryder looked around. “Now, where did we put that pack we brought?”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

River has been writing for many decades, and most of it is filthy, dirty stuff that you absolutely shouldn’t read. Highly-trained experts have successfully quarantined most of that work to keep save innocent bystanders from debilitating cases of blushing.

River started putting out books for sale with Wild Horses. Since no one told him to stop, he went on to publish other novels, including the popular Love Bites. The men in white coats caught up with him, though, and he vanished off the face the of Earth. Having made his escape and having set up shop in an abandoned adult toy factory, he is now ready to unleash more paranormal romances/adventure stories on an unsuspecting world.

http://lightbane.com/driver.html

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4123971.D_River/blog


GIVEAWAY

D. River will be giving away 1 $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader! Enter via rafflecopter.

I AM HOPE OUT NOW!

ES_IAmHope

BUY IT HERE | GOODREADS

Topher, Jesse, and Sawyer thought their greatest threats were the Infected and Mutated that roam the world. As they struggle to reach the Concentration Center in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina they discover that the monstrous mutations of the undead are the least of their problems. Something else, something far more intelligent and lethal, is hunting them.

Topher knows that the only way humanity will survive is to find a cure for the strange infection that’s ravaged civilization. He’s on the brink of discovering it, but the further his research goes, the more he realizes that curing the world may mean losing Sawyer.

In order to stay together, all three men will have to battle for their lives and Topher will have to make the ultimate choice: cure the world or save his lover?

EXCERPT

“You stupid bitch!” Richey shouted. Chloe was hitting him, throwing everything she had into her punches and slaps. Richey punched her in the face, and Chloe fell limply to the side.

Reality snapped back.

Nash scrambled for the fallen gun. I dived for another. I grabbed the shotgun and fired a shot at Stu, hitting him in the stomach. He dropped the AK-47 with a scream.

Jane’s gun went off. I craned to look. Jesse had her hand raised in the air, twisting her wrist so that she dropped the pistol. He slammed his knee into her gut. She collapsed to her knees with a groan.

I climbed to my feet and grabbed the AK-47 from Stu, keeping my shotgun aimed at his head. He lay on the ground, clutching his stomach. There was a dampness that seeped through his fingers. Stu stared up at me, but it was too dark to read his expression.

“Help over here!” Nash shouted.

I jerked my head up. Nash was on the ground, struggling with Richey. There was a flash of silver mixed in the tussle, and then a succession of gunshots. Nash and Richey froze, and my heart leaped into my throat. Nash shoved Richey, who fell back lifelessly.

“Bastard,” Nash spat. He stood, holding the gun.

A hand locked on my ankle and pulled my foot out from under me. The world tipped sideways; all the stars spilled out of the galaxy. My head slammed into the ground. I dropped the guns. The grass smelled damp and musky. I groaned and dug my fingers into the dirt. When I looked up, Stu had a gun pointed at my head. Blood poured from his mouth. He didn’t have long. A few minutes, maybe only seconds.

I tipped my head back and looked over at Jesse. At some point, the tables had flipped again. More of Jane’s guards had come, corralling Jesse, Sawyer, and Rio over with Chloe, who lay motionless on the ground. Jaden clung to her. His tiny whimpers punctuated the night.

Nash stood off to the side, his newly proffered gun pointed down. He glared mutinously at Jane.

“Enough games,” Jane said viciously.

I inched my fingers toward the AK-47. Stu kicked the gun out of my reach. “Don’t move,” he wheezed and then coughed wetly.

“You’re going to die,” I whispered. “Do you want these to be your last moments of humanity? Killing innocent people?”

“Shut up!” Stu roared. He towered over me, all muscle and rage.

I closed my eyes. A cool breeze stirred through the grass and kissed my face. I opened my eyes and looked back at Jane.

“Abominations must be destroyed,” Jane said, as if it were a mantra. If she said it enough times, would it make everything that happened here okay?

“Do it,” Jesse challenged. “Kill us. It won’t make a difference.”

Jane took a gun from one of the guards and aimed it straight at Jesse.

My eyes widened. I clawed at the grass, trying to compel my body to move. Jane’s arm trembled. Her convictions shook.

“Please,” I croaked. Her head snapped in my direction. “Don’t. This isn’t the answer. This isn’t the way to save the world. You do this, and you destroy all hope of ever stopping the infection.”

“What do you know?” she sneered, her teeth dark with blood.

“I know that if we kill one another, we’re no better than the Infected.” I pushed up on unsteady arms. “Life isn’t over. It’s only evolving—”

Jane scoffed. “Blasphemy.”

“No, reality. The ability to adapt, to expand, it exists inside us. We can overcome this, but we have to stop killing one another first.”

Her gun turned on me.

“You think we can overcome this? This hell on earth?”

“Do you think this is the first time we’ve faced extinction?” I rose to my knees. Icy fingers of fear inched down my spine. My blood pounded between my ears. I had to force myself not to look away. Somewhere, deep inside Jane, was a little girl scared of the monsters. I had to find her and show her that we had hope. “I know how to save us, but if you kill us, then you destroy any chance of stopping this.”

“Liar,” Jane said. “How could you know?”

“Just kill them!” Stu shouted.

“Jane, please,” I whispered.

Beyond her, a crowd huddled together. A few guards had been left to keep watch. Past them was the tree line, which was nothing more than a formless shadow stretched across the horizon. The world continued on, beyond this camp, beyond any other camp that struggled to get by.

From the trees, shapes emerged, black figures that staggered and stumbled toward our camp. They pressed into the perimeter, a deluge of undead that would soon wash over us.

A gunshot cracked open the night with a thundering clap. I caught the glimmer of blood spray before Jane fell forward and face-planted the ground. Bruce stood behind her, a revolver aimed at where she’d stood.

It was like a bomb went off. The three guards who stood by Jane began to fire. I lunged for the shotgun and turned around, shooting Stu before he could get off a round. His head exploded into a congealed mess of blood. I scrambled to my feet.

Three guards lay on the ground with head wounds. The wall collapsed, toppling over as easily as a house of cards, and the Infected flooded in.

Bruce stood over Jane, chest heaving. “I… She… This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I…”

“We don’t have time—” I was cut off by the foghorn bellow of an Infected.

They were right on us. Their rotting shapes grew solid. I pumped the shotgun and fired off a shot at the barreling Infected, hitting him in the shoulder. The Infected’s body twisted, and he staggered, but he didn’t stop. He came, ravenous and wild.

Bruce craned his head around. He started to scream, but it was knocked out of him as the Infected tackled him. I lunged for Bruce, but someone caught me around the waist.

“Let him go,” Jesse shouted. “Grab the guns, and let’s go!”

“You can’t— He’s—” What? Dead. Bruce’s screams grew wet and gurgled, like so many others we heard all around us. I pushed off Jesse and collected Stu’s weapon.

Everyone grabbed what guns they could. Screams erupted in the distance. The purging was over, and all that was left was another broken camp. Nash carried Chloe into the RV with Jaden following behind. I shoved some guns into the front of the truck. Rio climbed into the driver’s seat of the pickup and started it up.

I glanced toward the Infected. They were running for us, closing in fast. I spared Bruce one final look and then rushed into the RV. Sawyer started her up, and we peeled around the church, barreling through the rest of the flimsy perimeter.

I shoved past Jesse and ran into the bedroom, where I raised the blinds on the single window. I watched as people scrambled to pull themselves together and escape. Now, with death pressing in, it didn’t matter who was a sinner and who was a saint. We were all food.

Time and time again, we watched civilization fall, and it always felt like a bitch slap. I bit back the misery, told myself to move on, but how long would we keep going? I pressed a hand against the window. The Infected came down on the fence, the numbers too great for the plywood and sheet metal to hold. They slammed into the barricade, and like the rest of the world, it fell.

I swore Bruce looked up and watched us as we drove away. Impossible, I knew. He was lost to the infection and to the inevitable fate of mankind. But in the thickness of the night, I saw a faint glimmer. Most likely it was my mind playing tricks on me, but there was a small part of me that saw moonlight reflecting off his eyes.

A hand slid over my shoulder. I turned to Jesse and pressed my face into his shoulder with a shudder.

“I…” What? I hated this? So did he. I didn’t finish the sentence. I wrapped my arms around his neck and savored the feel of him against me.

“We can’t save them all,” he whispered into my ear.

I nodded, because really, that was all I could do.

REVIEW: Through Adversity by Amelia Faulkner

I received this book for free by the author for an honest and impartial review. My receiving the book in no way affects my review.

Through-Adversity-0TITLE: Through Adversity

AUTHOR: Amelia Faulkner

GENRE: Historical Romance, LGBT

RATING: 4 Stars

SUMMARY: Tortured German fighter ace Lt. Siegfried Krämer has a terrible secret which could ruin him: he prefers men. Hurried, loveless encounters have armed him with a sardonic wit and a bleak outlook, and he faces a life in which his only companion is his dog, Eike.

The young and talented Lt. Valentine Westbrook should be considered an ace, but most of his victories are unconfirmed, and now that his squadron is relegated to bombing missions the chances of him ever reaching the magic number are dwindling. When he encounters an equally-skilled enemy pilot during a terrible storm, Valentine is unable to resist the hunt.

Both men soon abandon all common sense and – with a protracted dogfight at their backs – crash-land in the midst of the German Empire’s last great offensive push. Injured, stranded, and with no idea which side of the Line they are on, they must work together if they are to survive. One of them will become the other’s prisoner just as soon as they figure out where they are, but until then they are stuck with no food and no shelter in storms which don’t seem ready to end. But worse still, their mutual respect blossoms into something dangerously intimate, and their lives are about to become forever intertwined…

BUY LINKS: Lovelight Press | Amazon

REVIEW:

Through Adversity is a historical romance that tells the story of a British pilot and a German pilot falling in love. It’s the kind of forbidden romance that we can all get on board with, so I was eager to read this story. All together I was really happy with the book, but there were still some points that I think could have used some work.

The beginning was slow and it almost turned me away from the story. It took about three chapters for me to really grow invested. As soon as Valentine and Siegfried met, though, I felt an instant chemistry and was pulled in. While Valentine and Siegfried interacted naturally, some of the conversations Val and Siegfried had with others around them felt artificial and forced.

I was pulled in once we into the meat of the story, when Valentine and Siegfried have to trek across the countryside, not sure where they are, and slowly falling in love. It only took me a couple days to read the book. The nice thing was that when I did set it down (not because I was bored, but because life interrupted or I had to go to bed), it was easy to pick back up where I left, as if I’d never even set it down.

Ms. Faulkner crafted wonderful characters. There was an authenticity to Valentine and Siegfried that a lot of m/m novels lack. They were human. It was refreshing to read about two male characters falling in love and neither being pigeonholed into an “Alpha Male” status. They reacted to their situation appropriately and their romance felt real. Watching it unfold was heartbreaking, because you knew that things wouldn’t end well, but you hoped they would get their happy ending.

Ms. Faulkner’s style is gorgeous. She weaves in the descriptions beautifully so that you feel as if you’re stuck in the French countryside right along with Val and Siegfried.

My only other issue was that I wanted more at the ending. While it was touching and had me choking a bit, I really wished that the story had an extra fifty pages where she expanded on Val and Siegfried’s separation. I wanted to hurt while reading this. I wanted to feel their pining and the distance, and I wanted to see them suffer because of it. I feel a little cheated that we didn’t get this moment, especially after the great build up of their relationship. It would have made the reunion (which was so sweet) much more emotional.

I went back and forth on how I should rate this one by about ½ a star. While Through Adversity has some faults and parts that could use work, for the most part the story was engaging and beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In the end I settled on four stars, because despite some cons, all together this was a very entertaining read and I would recommend it to other readers.

I AM HOPE COVER REVEAL | GIVEAWAY

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Evelyn Shepherd reveals the beautiful cover art for her next book in her THE METEORA TRILOGY series titled I AM HOPE.

It releases on September 8, 2015, published by Loose Id Publication.

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BLURB

The undead were only the beginning.

Topher, Jesse, and Sawyer thought their greatest threat were the Infected and Mutated that roam the world. As they struggle to reach the camp in Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina, they soon discover that the monstrous mutations of the undead are the least of their problems. Something else, something far more intelligent and lethal, is hunting them.

Topher knows that the only way humanity will survive is to find a cure for the strange infection that’s ravaged the world. He’s on the brink of discovering it; but the further his research goes, the more he realizes that curing the world of the infection may mean losing Sawyer.

The three will fight to stay together, and Topher will have to make the ultimate choice: cure the world or save his lover?

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PRESENTING

Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

[Please insert the assigned excerpt here]

Read more exclusive excerpts on –

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evelyn Shepherd lives in Columbus, Ohio with two fat cats. Her time is split between writing and running a book/writing blog. She’s the author of the Theo Bourne Series, the best-selling Last Canticle, and the award-winning Meteora Trilogy.

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Winner’s Prize: E-copies of I AM HERE (Book 1) and I AM ALIVE (Book 2)

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT! Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts by Charlie Cochet | GIVEAWAY!

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AboutTheBook

BewareOfGeeksFSTitle: Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts

Author: Charlie Cochet

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Length: 86 pages

Release Date: August 19, 2015

Blurb: Julian “Quinn” Quinetro, a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer, has been injured on the job, and all he’s looking for is a little peace and quiet to recover—difficult to achieve with his large Cuban family. An adventure in picking up his prescriptions puts him in the path of his geeky, brownie-baking neighbor, Spencer Morgan. Spencer sweeps into Quinn’s life like a tropical storm of sunshine and rainbows. Not surprisingly, it’s chaos at first sight. Quinn’s in need of a little tender loving care, and Spencer decides he’s just the man for the job. Their very different lives might clash, but they might also find some common ground—and maybe more.

Excerpt

Danny shrugged. “There are a lot of retirees here.”

“And a lot of douche bags.”

“You could have stayed in Jersey.”

Spencer removed his apron and hung it up on the hook by the fridge. “I couldn’t stay there and let my mom move down here on her own. You should have seen how excited she was about living in the land of perpetual sunshine. She’s happy here.”

“And you’re miserable.”

“I’m not miserable. I’m just… having trouble adjusting. I went from having four seasons to living on the surface of the freakin’ sun. Thank God for air conditioning. Do you know how hard it is to put Christmas lights on a palm tree? My mom had me help her decorate last Christmas, and I almost broke my neck. Not to mention it was eighty degrees in the shade.”

“Quinn could help you adjust.”

Danny wriggled his eyebrows, and Spencer groaned. His friend never let up.

“Yeah, adjust my face with his fist,” Spencer mumbled. Just because Spencer had accidentally stumbled across Quinn sucking face with some guy leaving his apartment a week after moving in next to him, it didn’t change the fact Quinn was out of his league. At the time he’d thought it was Quinn’s boyfriend, but he never saw the guy again after that. The new guys he occasionally saw coming out of Quinn’s place never seemed to stay very long. Spencer’s stupid crush on Quinn didn’t mean he was looking to be Quinn’s next one-night stand. He’d learned a lot about the guy over the past year, which made the whole thing even sadder. Quinn didn’t even know Spencer’s name. He’d never been rude, and he said hello when he saw Spencer, but it was clearly an ingrained courtesy rather than an actual acknowledgment of Spencer’s existence.

Danny stared at him. “You saying he’s gonna punch you in the face for saying hi?”

“Why don’t you date him, then?”

“Because he’s a dude. Now if Quinn was a sexy lady cop, I’d be over there in a heartbeat.” He held his wrists out with a wide grin. “I’d be all, ‘Cuff me to your bed, baby.’”

Spencer arched an eyebrow at his friend. “Don’t you have a job to go to?”

“I’m on the evening shift, remember?” Danny checked his watch. “Damn. I promised my sister I’d pick up her Chihuahua from the groomer. Hate that little turd. It always bites me. You should see it—it looks like a loaf of bread with tiny legs.”

BuyLinks

Dreamspinner Press (eBook)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

AboutTheAuthor

AuthorPicCharlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

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TourSchedule

August 19:

The Novel Approach

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August 20:

Bookaholic Confessions

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Hearts on Fire

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August 24:

BFD Book Blog

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Man2ManTastic

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Gay Media Reviews

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August 27:

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

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Diverse Reader

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August 31:

A Celebration of Books

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Drops of Ink

September 1:

Rainbow Gold Reviews

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Bayou Book Junkie

GUEST POST: Sandrine Gasq-Dion on Writing | GIVEAWAY!

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When people ask me if I ever thought this is what I would be doing with my life, I just smile. Did I? No. If someone had told me ten years ago I’d be writing gay male romances, I would have thought they were doing some pretty good drugs. After watching my gay friends for years, it occurred to me that I wasn’t watching two men, I was watching two human beings in love.

I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, from American Airlines reservations to Security Guard on Fort Riley. This job, by far, is the most rewarding. I love what I do and I have no plans to stop. I’ve got five books total in the Rock Series as well as one heterosexual book in the works. I’m hoping to bring more readers to the M/M genre. Hopefully, if they like my writing style, they’ll check out my other works.

My love for M/M will keep me writing for years to come. I’m planning on writing the next generation of the Assassin/Shifters and there are more books coming in the 12 Olympians. Two more books are slated in the Men of Manhattan and the Santorno Stories are multiple books coming your way.

Stick with me! There’s more to come!!

AboutTheBook

Fret_Sandrine_FSTitle: Fret

Author: Sandrine Gasq Dion

Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis

Length: 48,000 words

Release Date: September 01, 2015

Blurb: Former Navy SEAL Axel Blaze lives a solitary life. He doesn’t do emotions, and he doesn’t do babysitting. Used to being on his own, his job consists of Wetwork (a charming term coined by the KGB) for his former Master Chief, Mac. When an out-of-the-ordinary job lands on his doorstep, Axel heads down a path that includes a famous heavy metal rock band and one quiet, vulnerable, guitar-shredding virtuoso named Gareth Wolf.

Gareth Wolf’s life changed in an instant when a car he was a passenger in crashed, hurting his brother’s best friend and the band’s lead guitarist. They created the band, Skull Blasters, as kids. Gareth had always been happy in the background, playing roadie. With the lead guitarist’s injury, Gareth is suddenly thrust into the limelight and into a frenzied life he never imagined for himself. Finally fed up with living a lie, Gareth comes out as gay in a newspaper interview and finds himself in the bulls-eye of a crazed stalker. Somebody wants Gareth hurt – or worse – and Mac has been hired to be sure that doesn’t happen. Babysitting duty is NOT Axel’s strong suit, but Mac won’t be budged.

Enter Axel Blaze. Against his better judgment, the big man takes the job to protect the shy musician. The more time he spends with Gareth Wolf, the more he admires the man. Where’s a simple assassination when you need one? The situation becomes more volatile for each man as the attempts on Gareth escalate just as Axel finds himself falling for the quiet lead guitarist.

Strong, funny, smart-ass — and kinda sweet Axel is everything Gareth has ever wanted in a man. Too bad he’s off limits. As the stalker grows bolder, Gareth and Axel move closer emotionally – but is it too late? All Axel knows is that they don’t stand a chance if he can’t find the maniac trying to kill the man he’s come to care about. A lot.

Everyone knows that relationships that begin in pressured or volatile situations eventually fizzle out.

Or do they?

Excerpt

Thumping music was shaking the walls of the Dome as I headed for my designated spot. I guess I’m meeting Paul, the band’s manager.

I took mental notes as I passed through the crowd of screaming, jumping people. The band was rocking it out and I sought out Gareth Wolf. There were two guitarists, but I found him right away. Black hair touched his shoulders and his lean body moved with his guitar.

He was in his element.

The song was wrapping up and the floor was shaking from the bass drum. The floor-to-ceiling speakers pumped out the last notes of the song. The crowd immediately went wild as Ransom Fox leaned over the stage.

“Let’s hear it for the best lead guitarist on the planet!” he shouted.

Gareth shook his hair back and bowed with one hand out. Again, the crowd screamed, shouted and whistled. Ransom went on to give some love to the other members of the group.

I rolled my eyes and pushed my way through the crowd toward the side of the stage. A large man eyed me and then nodded as I walked by. Again, I could have been wearing a ‘Hello, I’m God’ tag and security wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. As it was, my tag faced backwards; he couldn’t even see my name or credentials.

Security for the Skull Blaster band was sorely lacking.

I sat through another hour of bone-jarring hardcore metal before the band finally left the stage. I scanned the area for their manager, but no luck.

I walked right behind the curtain and fell into step with the band members as they trudged toward their dressing rooms. They didn’t even notice me — and I’m really hard to miss.

They stepped into the dressing room; I followed and slammed the door shut behind me. Ransom turned and his eyes widened.

“Who the fuck are you?!”

“Nice of you to finally notice me,” I pointed out.

“Paul!” Ransom thundered. He immediately moved in front of Gareth, shielding him.

“Oh for fucks sake.” I arched a brow.

The door behind me opened and a startled man looked me over from head to toe. He flipped my name badge over and sighed audibly, clearly relieved.

“It’s cool, Ransom. This is the guy I was telling you about.”

“You could have mentioned he was a semi-truck.” Ransom’s eyes narrowed.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you,” Paul apologized to me. “I ran into some media and couldn’t get away.”

“Not that this isn’t fun — because, oh so much fun — but I’m here to do a job. So I need to speak to whoever is in charge of ‘security.’ Now.” I leaned very slightly — but effectively — in to Paul’s face.

“Why?”

I turned to see Gareth peeking out from behind his brother’s broad shoulders. His eyes were a shade of green I’d never seen before, and with his pale complexion and dark hair? The guy was a looker and then some.

“Because band security royally sucks. I walked right on back here with them and not one person noticed or stopped me. That is not acceptable.”

“Who are you?” Gareth gaped.

I pinned him with a hard look. “I’m your bodyguard.”

Ransom chuckled.

“What the actual fuck?” Gareth stepped in front of his brother. “Is this a joke?”

“Nope.” Ransom shook his head.

“Jinx, Harley, Rebel. Give us a few, eh?” Paul opened the door and tilted his head toward the hallway.

“Sure thing, boss.” Rebel tipped his hat and winked at me.

I leaned against the wall as the members walked out. I overheard one of them, not sure which, talking to another.

“Did you see the size of that guy?”

“How could you miss him?” another one answered.

Paul shut the door and turned to Gareth with an apologetic smile.

“I knew what you’d say if we told you beforehand,” he admitted.

“Oh, did you now? You had to get me Conan the Destroyer? Jesus Christ!”

“Gareth,” Ransom warned.

“What? This is stupid! I don’t need a human shield!”

“You’re going to play nice and allow this man to watch your back, Gareth!” Ransom shouted. “You’re getting threats since you came out! I insist you be kept safe!”

“Gareth, why don’t you go clean up? Then you and Mr. Blaze can get acquainted.”

“Seriously? Blaze?” Gareth snorted.

I narrowed my eyes at the kid. Well, to me he was a kid, after everything I’d seen in my life. Gareth was almost twenty-three and I was pushing thirty. We locked eyes for a few seconds before he turned away.

AboutTheAuthor

AuthorPicBest-selling author, Sandrine (Sandy) was born in Inglewood, California. Raised by “Old School” French parents, she later moved to Tucson, AZ. It was there that writing became a hobby. Always told she had a great imagination, Sandy wrote short stories for her friends in High School. In college, she took more writing classes while working on her Criminal Justice degree, but it wasn’t until a soap opera caught her eye that she got involved in male on male romances. On the advice of a friend, Sandy dipped her toes into the world of M/M Romance. Sandy takes the writing seriously and has had countless conversations with gay men as well as hours of research. She’s been involved with the military in one way or another for over twenty years, and has a great deal of respect for our men in uniform. She’s traveled the world, but has finally returned to Arizona.

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August 26:

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

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Love Bytes Reviews

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The Land of Make Believe

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Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

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September 1:

The Blogger Girls

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