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.

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GUEST BLOG: Jonah Bergans on Anonymity Online | BOOK GIVEAWAY

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In the Time Magazine feature “question everything,” (Sept 21st 2015, Pg 66), the question was posed “Should we let ourselves be anonymous online?”  The responders, Ellen Pao  (former CEO of Reddit) indicated “yes,” and Jonathan Taplan, (Director of USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab)indicated “no.” Their arguments were both sound but as is all too common in news media today, neither was able to provide a satisfying answer. It was a sound byte of a question, a sound byte of a feature and what they were able to provide was little more than a sound byte of an answer—leaving us with the sense that there is no answer—as if all thought is merely opinion. I disagree. There is an answer, but it cannot be found with the question asked. It is too great a topic for a sound byte of a question. It is not a philosophic question—it is not one of life’s imponderables, but rather it is a question of social responsibility and a question with a direct and immediate bearing on liberty and freedom of speech, and the free exchange of ideas that makes any society great.

Pau, being an entrepreneur and having had personal experience with innovative technologies answered “yes,” in favor of anonymity, and citied the personal stories of growth and the benefit of the open communication that often times does result from anonymity. “More voices expressing more ideas with more openness is a wonderful ideal,” Pao says.  She’s right of course—it is. She goes on to indicate that there are dangers, down-sides and the potential for misuse and so on, and she’s right about that too. But it isn’t a matter of personal stories, it’s a social matter. It is matter that effects the whole society—many societies, all of them and then every one of us within that society.

Taplan, an academic, cites Plato: “If we were shielded from the consequences of our actions, how would that change the way we act?” He insists, that as a result of anonymity online, we now know the answer, and he goes on to make some very solid arguments, including the argument that undermines the sense of any potential benefit from anonymity—that oppressive regimes can and likely do trace even anonymous users.  It’s a strong argument—rather, it is a strong response to an argument, and yet it fails to recognize that an oppressive regime is not necessary to silence a voice. A community standard can silence a voice. A commonly held belief can silence a voice. A belief that blacks should not marry whites can silence a voice. A belief that gay men are pedophiles and perverts can silence a voice.

As authors we all share in a long standing professional tradition of anonymity. Many of us use pseudonyms.  Some do this based on the tradition itself, while others use pseudonyms to shelter family and friends from the consequences of publishing what might be construed as controversial in their own local communities. We know that an oppressive regime is not the only reason anonymity is important and even necessary. We have, for the most part, learned the importance of using anonymity to introduce ideas into the public discussion, and those of us who have succumbed to sensationalism have suffered the consequences of doing so. Can you name a single author who supported slavery? Nazism?  No, it is not the anonymity itself that presents a social danger, but what we do with it, that determines its value to ourselves and to our society. Authors have learned to act responsibly even though many of us publish anonymously, and now so must the rest of the people in our society.

“Should we let ourselves be anonymous online? “  It’s a weak question. It’s a question with a faulty premise.  Recently, Facebook has begun banning authors who operate under a pseudonym. These are not authors of hate, but rather targets of hate. It works like this: Authors of LGBT fiction are sought out by the hateful and reported to Facebook for using “a false name.” They are banned. There is no recourse, no appeals process. Their access to what is arguably a public media is simply denied. Their access to their fans, coworkers and editors and to the public itself is eliminated as easily as that. Imagine the delight on those hateful faces as they take down (in their opinion) yet another pervert. Facebook, like a monolith of corporate indifference, does not respond to the emails, the pleas for assistance or even some reasonable accommodation. A voice is silenced. Then another. Then another. Do we “let ourselves” be anonymous? Ask these authors.

No, a better question might be:”What are your rights and responsibilities in a free society?”  We might ask that same question of a monolithic corporation (like Facebook) too. For the same reasons that we must tolerate Klan marches, for the same reason Tenure exists, for the same reason freedom of the press and freedom of speech exists in our country, anonymity online must exist—it must be permitted to exist. It is not a new question or a new argument. We must tolerate the Klan so the NAACP can gather and march—so gay people and all people with a less than majority voice can gather and march. We must have Tenure so a teacher can teach—even those subjects which are unpopular in a local community. We must tolerate the hateful and endure the tiny voices of hate and shame who may also act anonymously, so that the greater louder and enduring voices can speak. Anonymity allows that to happen, not just under oppressive dictators, but right here in America, and right now in our local communities. Maybe the question should have been, “If we silence the hateful, will we silence everyone?”

I am Jonah Bergan.

AboutTheBook

Off-World-Full-Front-CoverTitle: Off World

Author: Jonah Bergan

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks

Length: 240 Pages

Release Date: August 22, 2015

Blurb: What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taine’s a hunter. He’s a red-skinned, black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right what’s been set wrong. It’s a big galaxy and there’s always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?

Off-World is a M/M science fiction action/adventure set in F/M dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.

CommonExcerpt

“You his father?” Taine asked.

“Uncle,” the man said, glancing toward his wife. She looked away, a terse expression on her face. He looked back at Taine, bringing his chin up defiantly. “By marriage,” he said. “I did right by the boy.”

Taine shrugged. It made no difference—these backwater worlds, with their backwater cultures, none of that mattered to him. It was bad enough he had to ride in from the starport on horseback. Bad enough he had to dress the humble part just to avoid offending these rubes. Still, if he’d come blasting into town in his Hover, he’d have found half the doors shut to him, and the other half damned slow to open. Taine was a hunter, a Lowman—a red-skinned and black-eyed alien, and his kind wasn’t welcome everywhere, no matter how much they paid for what they bought. No point in making things worse by flaunting wealth in a place of such poverty.

Taine turned his attention back to the human he was here to inspect. He took a quick inventory of the boy. Pretty face, decent frame, all good starts, but the boy was un-groomed, pale and too lean for his age. Malnourished, Taine thought. Most likely in body and mind both. That might be correctable, might not. Sometimes that kind of damage can’t be undone no matter how much you pay to fix it. Still, the boy looked appealing enough despite the slight frame—long legs, long arms and a pretty face with a halo of wild blond hair like the rays of some golden sun. He’s young, but not under, Taine thought. Taine checked the boy’s teeth, running his finger under the boy’s lips and along the gums. He tugged a tooth or two—still solid.

“How old?” Taine asked.

“Nineteen now,” the boy’s uncle said. “Twenty soon. Been here more’n half that time.”

“Lazy?”

“Hard worker,” the man snapped. “Wouldn’t have lasted otherwise.”

“So why are you selling?”

“Hard times,” the uncle said, “and harder coming.” This brought a scowl from the missus, but she didn’t say a word. She’d had enough of the gambling, and the drinking, and she’d said so often enough that the words seemed to have lost all meaning. If her husband had saved his earnings, instead of squandering them, none of this would have been necessary. When he said, “It’s him or me,” she didn’t argue. After all, it wasn’t an ultimatum, it was simply true. She consoled herself by thinking about the money. It would help them get off-world before the aftermath of the war came upon them like some kind of tidal wave, and swept both of them away from her. Choose one or lose both, bane or burden. It had been an easy choice, at least until now.

Taine slipped his middle finger deep into the boy’s mouth. The boy closed his eyes, and his face blushed red, but he yielded, relaxing his jaw and taking the finger as though it were a cock. Taine moved his finger in and out, fucking the boy’s face, watching him blush and tear up. Taine had good reason for doing it, but he earned a sharp look from the missus anyhow. She nudged her husband and glared at him. He scowled, and turned back toward Taine.

“You buying or not?” he snapped.

“Maybe,” Taine said. “Hard to tell with him all covered up.”

The uncle grunted and stepped forward. He tugged at the waist of the home weave the boy wore. The coarse trousers loosened and then slid down the boy’s long legs. A gentle tug and the shirt came loose in front. The uncle slipped it over the boy’s shoulders and let it fall the floor.

“There,” he said. “No need to make a show of it. Buy, or get out.”

Taine felt the boy’s tongue start moving against his finger. It surprised him, and he drew his finger back, but the boy sucked at it, trying to keep it in him. Taine obliged the boy, sliding it in and out a few more times and smiling as he felt the boy’s tongue bobbing and dancing beneath his finger. The boy wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t make eye contact either. His uncle had taught him that well enough, but the boy doing what he was doing with his tongue spoke volumes. That’s him just about pleading, Taine thought. What must life in this little hell be like, for the boy to yearn for a sale off into the unknown?

Taine leaned forward, drawing in just a taste of the boy from the air around him. He sampled the first scents of the boy’s essence. Sweet, Taine thought. Like honey must taste. It was a thick and golden flavor, and it made Taine smile. That’s all he needed to know to buy any boy—that there was something either savory or sweet in them that was still strong enough to reach the surface. The rest would be up to the trainers—the professionals back at the Temple on Taine’s home-world. But the boy’s dancing tongue sparked Taine’s curiosity, and he wanted to know more.

He reached up with his free hand, taking hold of the boy at the back of the head and began slowly moving his finger in and out. He knew he was humiliating the boy before his family, but Taine closed his eyes, and drove his awareness deeper. There were other ways to open a human. Most of those were forceful, and some were downright violent. The uncle and aunt might not understand, but for a Lowman, this was an act of kindness. It was the gentlest way to break through to the only thing a Lowman truly valued.

Taine pressed his awareness into the boy, moving through the ebb and flow of the boy’s many complex flavors. He was careful not to feed, not to take any of it in. As was so with most humans, the boy was a stormy wash of conflict within. Taine found urges and desires and regrets, a mind in constant turmoil, and rife with fear—predominantly fear. Some of that fear had been earned, and some had been instilled and it lurked in the boy, like shadows in some dark wood. Taine pressed forward beyond all that and went deeper, reaching toward the source of the boy. Taine found his way blocked. It was expected, a barrier—an obstacle to turn him back. It had a scent and a flavor—something akin to the bitterness of burned toast, but its aspect was like a sharp blade bearing a dark stain, it stabbed at him, threatening him and warning him to turn back. Taine instinctively flinched away from it, slipping around and behind it, evading it, and driving himself closer to the wellspring. He found and followed the predominant scents—that of seaweed, dark and rich, and the flavor of saltwater, and he found himself standing on hot sand, feeling the sensations of an empty beach, and the heat of a brilliant and golden sun. It was a rich and delicate feeling, and a smell, and a taste—the smell and taste of sunshine. Yes, Taine thought. That is who he is. Sunshine.

Taine slowly opened his eyes and withdrew his finger. He wondered then, and not for the first time, why humans waste their children so, as though darkening them would brighten the world. Didn’t they know the world would be less hard with fewer hard people in it? It’s not an easy thing to change, it takes some real effort, but didn’t they know it could be changed? Didn’t they know those dark urges could be controlled and even used?

The boy had given him nothing but the idea of burnt toast between him and the seashore. Not much to glean from that, Taine thought. To learn more he’d have to feed, and that wasn’t something he’d be doing, not with an uncultivated and feral human. Still, he was curious.

“You about done?” asked the uncle. The aunt had turned away, and the uncle was glowering.

“Not by a long measure,” Taine said.

The uncle shook his head and waved Taine on. “Just get it over with,” he said.

Taine ran his hands across the boy’s chest and down his flat stomach. The boy’s breathing quickened as Taine fondled his cock, teasing it to life. It responded by thickening and rising, though maybe not as fast as it should. The boy never raised his head, never moved a muscle, he just stood there like Taine had every right to touch and use his body. Taine gave the balls a firm squeeze, and the boy tensed, rising on his toes a little, but he never once raised his arms, never once tried to defend himself. Good submissive spirit, Taine thought, that’ll be important if we’re gonna heal him up.

Taine took the boy by the shoulders and turned him around. He meant to plunge his finger into the boy, just to check for damages, and maybe make the boy’s cock grow up full-sized, but the two cheeks were crossed with welts, some fresh and still white where the switch had marked him recently. Maybe not born to it after all, Taine thought. Maybe all that submission was just beaten into him. No way they nurtured it, no way they cultivated it, not the way the Lowmen would have with such a delicate specimen as this one.

Taine considered the welts across the boy’s ass. There were older ones across his back, a few sores, in-growns and pimples across his shoulders; nothing that couldn’t be tended to, and probably should have been before they offered him. These people had no idea what they were doing, but that wasn’t a surprise either, was it?

Taine would’ve slipped his finger in right then, but by the scent of things they hadn’t cleaned him, so he traced his fingers along the welts on the boy’s ass instead, and then looked up at the uncle.

“Trouble maker?” Taine asked.

“No,” he said. “That’s just from his dailies.”

Taine nodded. “So, what’s your price?”

“Sixty,” the uncle said.

“Waste of time,” Taine said. He snorted and turned for the door.

“Sixty’s fair,” the uncle said, raising his chin. “More’-n-fair.”

“Yeah,” Taine said, “Not for that.”

“Now, don’t be disrespectful,” he said. “The boy’s family after all.”

Taine turned and looked the man squarely in the eyes.

“I’m interested, so you name me a real price and I’ll consider it,” Taine snapped, “but sixty is just plain fantasy.”

The man stepped close. That was a brave act, or maybe just a desperate one. Not many people dared approach a Lowman hunter, not with their alien looks and their reputation for violence. The solid black eyes and all that red flesh intimidated humans—something about their ancient myths. Still, Taine had gone to a great deal of trouble to make himself approachable to these backwaters, and now he wondered if maybe he’d done that a little too well.

“Boy sucks cock good as any,” the uncle said, keeping his voice low, as if keeping it from his wife.”He’s a good earner, and that backside’s got years of action left to it. I wouldn’t be selling if I didn’t need to, and I know you got your own expenses, so you tell me what’s fair.”

“Ten,” Taine said.

The man grimaced.

“Ten and you’re lucky to get it,” Taine said. “He’s nineteen, nearly twenty, easily a year past prime, and by my guess, he’s spent that time squaring up plenty of your debts. You’ve done nothing to develop him. By the time I’m done fixing what you’ve botched, I’ll be lucky to clear a slender profit. So that’s my offer, ten, or I’ll head over to Jenkins Creek where I hear there are a set of twins coming up prime.”

“I can’t take ten,” the man said, shaking his head. “I gotta have fifteen, and that’s a loss for me, Mister. I had him ten years under my roof. Fifteen don’t half cover it, but I’m willin’ to concede some, if you are. So there we are, it’s fifteen, or I’ll wish you a safe trip over to Jenkins Creek.”

Taine reached for the door handle, but hesitated. He thought about Shilandra, and what he had done to her. The memory returned, unbidden and heavy, like betrayal. He still had some of the boy’s scent with him, so he turned and looked back. The boy was standing there just about trembling—his head down, and face red, and his cock still jutting up. Would she even accept this one? He thought.

The boy was as lean a colt as Taine had ever seen, but the flavor of him showed promise. It’d take some work, bringing this one up, but there was something alluring about him—a hint of what might be found in him by skilled hands. He’d already found the boy’s name: Sunshine, and that was no small thing. Making him live up to that name, that’d be some hard work, and some expensive work as well, but if he did, if the boy did live up to that name, he’d be valuable well beyond his family’s reckoning of wealth, and well worth Taine’s time and investment. She’d recognize that at least, Taine thought.She’d see the value in him, wouldn’t she?

“I know I’m going to regret this,” Taine muttered. “You got his papers drawn up?”

“All but the price and date,” the man said smiling.

BuyLinks

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AboutTheAuthor

Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include a ten part serial, multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Please visit jonahbergan.com to learn more about him.

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Winner’s Prize: A Paperback copy of “Off-World”.

Runner-up’s Prize: An e-copy of “Off-World”.

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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….


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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

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https://authorkamitchell.wordpress.com/

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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


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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 –

|| Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews || World of Diversity Fiction || Tempeste O’Riley ||

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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.

|| Blog & Website || Facebook Page || Twitter || Tumblr || Email ||

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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

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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

Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

RJ Scott

August 20:

Bookaholic Confessions

Gay List Book Reviews

Hearts on Fire

August 21:

Bike Book Reviews

Prism Book Alliance

The Blogger Girls

August 24:

BFD Book Blog

Nautical Star Books

Divine Magazine

August 25:

Man2ManTastic

LeAnn’s Book Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

August 26:

Gay Media Reviews

Cia’s Stories

Carly’s Book Reviews

August 27:

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

MM Good Book Reviews

August 28:

Diverse Reader

Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews

Evelyn Shepherd

August 31:

A Celebration of Books

Sue Brown

Drops of Ink

September 1:

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Love Bytes Reviews

TTC Books and More

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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TourSchedule

August 26:

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

Evelyn Shepherd

August 27:

Loving Without Limits

Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews

The Purple Rose Tea House

August 28:

Love Bytes Reviews

MM Good Book Reviews

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

August 29:

My Fiction Nook

Jill Prand

The Land of Make Believe

August 31

Reviews by Jessewave

Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

Nautical Star Books

September 1:

The Blogger Girls

Divine Magazine

BFD Book Blog

Sue Brown

September 2:

World of Diversity Fiction

Amanda C. Stone

LeAnn’s Book Reviews

September 3:

Prism Book Alliance

RJ Scott

Diverse Reader

September 4:

Eyes on Books

The Novel Approach

Foxylutely Books

September 7:

Man2ManTastic

Cia’s Stories

Daydream Believer Book

Sid Love Writes

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COVER REVEAL: Better Than Safe by Lane Hayes | GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

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Lane Hayes reveals the beautiful cover art for the next book in her BETTER THAN series titled BETTER THAN SAFE.

It releases on September 25, 2015, published by Dreamspinner Press.

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BLURB

Paul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, he and doesn’t want to relive the heartache.

Seth Fallon is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept hat things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.

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PRESENTING

Cover Art by Aaron Anderson

BetterThanSafe

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Something inside me stilled. I couldn’t decipher his meaning. Safe. He was safe with me or I was safe with him? Why that word? How was this safe? It was reckless and foolhardy. Certainly not safe.

Read more exclusive excerpts on –

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|| Garrett Leigh || Bayou Book Junkie || World of Diversity Fiction || Evelyn Shepherd ||

||Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words||Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews||

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.

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