Review: Inheritance by Sean Michael

3rd Edition

Cash McCord’s life is pretty much perfect. He owns the family ranch, loves his work, and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. But everything is turned upside down when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian of the children, along with Val’s brother, Brad Rafferty—a man who couldn’t be more different from Cash if he tried. A Yankee, Brad is a video-game developer who works twelve-to-fourteen-hour days at his desk. They lock horns as soon as they set eyes on each other. Neither man is happy to have the other around, but neither is willing to give up custody of his nieces and nephews.

It’s up to these two polar opposites to keep the kids together and give them a family again. But first they’ll have to keep from killing each other.

First Edition published as Inheritance in Family Matters by Torquere Press, 2008.

Second Edition published by Torquere Press, 2013

The thing I most disliked about this story is that it was short. I really have no complaints about anything else. I think these two men deserve more page time, and I would be endlessly happy if there was a follow up.

For Cash and Brad, losing their siblings is devastating, but for the perpetually single men, they have to hold that in and figure out how they are going to agree on raising their six nieces and nephews that were left behind, after Cash’s brother Jack, and sister-in-law, Val whom was Brad’s sister, died suddenly in a car accident.

Trying to help six small people deal with their grief, while arguing quietly and privately about where and how they should raise them, turns into some fiercely passionate encounters between these two men.

I have to say, the underlying question for me was ‘why have these two men never had contact before now?’. It’s actually a question that is asked in the book. They seem to be the complete opposites but the conclusion I came to was that Jack and Val seemed to know something about their compatibility that they were keeping under wraps. It’s a bit weird and is never resolved.

Regardless, this story is sexy, sweet, and passionate. Cash and Brad want what is best for the kids. They just can’t agree on what that is. Meanwhile, the day to day handling of the kids and their routine seems to turn into a seamlessly coordinated effort with these two.

As with all Sean Michael stories, the erotica is hot, wild, and dirty. The characters were both solid and loveable, even in their gruffness and combativeness. The assumption that no matter what, the kids came first, is important and heartwarming.

This will be a re-read for me. While I pine for a follow up I know probably won’t appear.

I would recommend this to pretty much anyone who enjoys combustible sexual chemistry and a solid family dynamic.

A copy provided for an honest review

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Soul Struck (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #3) by Jacob Z. Flores

Like the electricity he commands, Pierce Blackmoor streaks through life on raw power and pure sexual energy. His conquests on the battlefield and in the bedroom form his foundation, but that bedrock crumbles when his younger brothers’ abilities surpass his own. Pierce finds himself at an all-time low, and clawing his way back to the top becomes his only concern.

Pierce's plan to reassert his dominance, however, takes a backseat when he wounds Kale Aquilo, an emissary of the Beast King, lord of all shifters.

Kale’s beguiling nature shoots like a lightning bolt straight to Pierce’s soul, and when the soft-spoken Kale relays that a virus is killing his people, Pierce abandons his quest for power to do something he has never done before—protect someone other than himself.

As Kale, Pierce, and his brothers struggle to find the root of the magical virus spreading plague across Aeaea, the shifter island, they face a gauntlet of old and new foes. Soul struck, Pierce and Kale must uncover the truth behind the conspiracy gathering in the shadows.

Let me start off by saying I am a bit biased with this series. I am so stupidly in love with it that I can’t take my heart glasses off to see anything, but how much freaking fun I have had so far. It’s not normal for me to read authors back to back let alone devour an entire series, but I can’t stop reading. I have to know… everything.

This truly is a series and I would read it in order. Lucky for you and for me, all the books are out so there is no waiting to see what happens next and for that I am thankful. I was kicking myself that I waited so long to read the series but now, I know it was the right thing because I could go from book to book and satiate my OCD.

Brief history of the series before we did into this book… Spell Bound was book one where we meet the Blackmoors, a warlock family of boys trusted to be one of the protector covens of the Gate. The Gate is the center of all magic for a simple explanation. In Spell Bound, we met the youngest brother Mason, who at the time hadn’t come into his power yet and big brother Pierce was the traditional oldest male with an attitude of arrogance to match. Mason meets Drake, his now boyfriend who is not magical, unless you count his bad ass free running as magic, but has an aversion to magic… it doesn’t affect him at all and we have yet to find out why. I adored the hell out of book one and just love Mason and Drake to pieces.

Blood Tied was book two where we get middle child Thad’s story. And boy is he on par for middle child syndrome, though Thad buries his nose in books to deal with his brothers. Thad is bitter and heart cold to the touch and it’s fitting as his powers have to deal with ice. But strange things are afoot at the Circle K when Thad rescues Adien, a fire fae who also happens to be a prince and sorts of stuff goes down between two worlds. I liked Thad and Aiden though I’ll admit to being confused with the “love triangle” in the beginning and kinda wanting the bad boy Ben to be with Thad. Now sure what that says about me now that I’ve read the book and really met Ben, but whatever.

So now we get to Pierce’s story. Pierce, the arrogant older brother who has no idea how to deal with the fact that his younger brothers are coming into more power than him and possibly becoming stronger. This is totally evident in how the book begins, with the brothers fighting with magic which leads Pierce to tap into more of his that he has no control over. Pierce’s magic deals with energy with a focus on electricity and when he loses control, he shoots a few things from the sky. But Pierce being Pierce gets all butt hurt about his mistake and takes off on his motorcycle where his meet cute with an adorable man named Kale packs one hell of a punch. *winks*

I knew that I would love Pierce’s story. I have a thing for redeemable assholes and that is what Pierce truly is. I wouldn’t say that all of his arrogance is a mask or shield he puts up to protect him from getting hurt but a good amount of it is. He has the pressure of responsibility of becoming High Priest of his Coven after his father and he wonders if he is up for the challenge. Pierce, also is terrified of losing what he loves after the death of his mother. None of the Blackmoor men have really dealt with the loss of the most beloved woman in their life and each of them has coping mechanisms, but Pierce has a few extra.

I hadn’t been looking for power. I’d been looking for Kale.

I loved that we know Pierce as the man whore who doesn’t pick between genders. Pierce is pretty fluid with his sexuality and if you turn him on, he’ll turn you out and forget your name but then he meets Kale and it’s Pierce who is the one being turned inside out.

Kale, yes that is his name and, no, I didn’t immediately go to the leafy green when I read it because this is a book about magic and magical creatures. Kale can mean slender in Gaelic which is how Kale is described, or if you read the Top Definition (and #3) in Urban Dictionary for Kale it totally nails his character! Kale was amazing, he is brought to the human world from his shifter island of Aeaea on a mission to save his kind from a deadly virus. And no matter how much he likes Pierce upon their first meeting, he must get to the Conclave and do as they is bid.

Good lord. The Conclave drives me up the wall. These hidden robed figures who pop in and out when they feel it’s necessary and all the damn secrets they keep and how they treat the protector covens of the Gate irked the hell out of me. So much that went down in all three books could have been prevented if they just talked to the families. The miscommunication meets blind obedience that they use as a standard is just not acceptable and yet, it kinda fuels the story arcs so I guess it’s okay. Doesn’t mean I didn’t flip them off numerous times while reading and yeah, that includes you too Gerald Wa!

Ugh and anyway.

The shifter aspect in this story is not one I have read before and I was entranced by it. I love how it’s not the norm of alpha/beta/omega pack politics but one of true spirit animal guidance with a side of OMG that is so freaking fracking cool! Yep, that’s all I am going to say about that.

How did this even happen? I lived my life according to my wants and desires. I did what felt right, when it felt right, and with whom it felt right. I didn’t give two shits about what anyone else wanted or needed, but ever since I met Kale, that wasn’t me at all. I was protecting him, believing in him, and wanting him to feel safe. It was like I’d unearthed my soul.

Goodness me! Pierces growth after meeting Kale was a pleasure to read. He not only opened up to the man whose adoration for The Backstreet Boys is truly epic, but he let himself feel the emotions he’d been bottling up inside. For a warlock who harvests and controls energy, stuffing your emotions down so far can only lead to a magical sort of backup that will explode and fates help us all if Pierce can’t control it. Wow. This book, I knew I loved it but as I sit and write this review I can’t stop the fangirling that is flowing through my fingers! I have to put it out there that the slow burn to the romance of Pierce and Kale was done so well! I wouldn’t have bought it if Pierce had gone for his norm with Kale. They both needed to take the time as the relationship was so new and important to them both. The slow burn was exactly what was needed and I loved the hell out of it.

It was time to let go of our old rivalries. With Adam, Edith, and me as the next generation of high priests, we had the potential to change the magical community into anything we wanted.

Now, I know I have already said a crap ton of nothing but rambles in the review but I need to add that I am loving the way the protector covens are coming together… finally. It’s about time the Proctors [White Magic = Witches], the Stonewalls [Gray Magic = Wizards] and the Blackmoors [Black Magic = Warlocks] begin to break down the damn walls that separate them and see that they are stronger together. This book gave us a glimpse into seeing the families start to see one another as allies and not the enemy. And I just hope that at some point, Adam Proctor gets a damn HEA because that boy needs one badly! *taps foot and waits*

Soul Struck was such a fun book. It had everything that I love about the series; hilarious banter, romantic declarations, exciting adventure, fast paced action and at the heart of the story, family. Such a fantastic series and now don’t mind me as I dive into the next book to see WTF the Conclave is so damn afraid of.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

See our previous reviews:

Spell Bound - Book #1
Blood Tied - Book #2

Review: Prior Commitment & Prior Affair (Priorities #1-2) by Raven de Hart

Old town, new flames

Casey Bridge knows what people are thinking, whether he wants to or not. When he returns to Pryor, Washington, he’s roped into helping with the town’s annual Christmas Carnival--as though they didn’t shun him and his entire family for years. But when he hears something worrying in a stranger’s thoughts, he can’t keep himself from jumping in to help--repeatedly.

Noel’s life is falling apart, and his last possible refuge is in little old Pryor, Washington. When that fails him, he spirals down into depression...and luckily lands in the arms of a local psychic. A very attractive local psychic with a very strong saving-people-streak. Will that be enough to save him or will they be waylaid by a prior commitment?

This was a really interesting story and I enjoyed quite a lot of it, but the main theme of the story was poorly handled in my opinion.

Casey is the middle son of a family mainly consisting of psychics, each have a unique ability. Casey can hear people's thoughts. Garrett, the eldest son, can see into the future. Patrick the youngest, doesn't have any powers and their mother can detect people's emotions. One night a few days before christmas, Casey unwillingly hears Noel's thoughts. Casey hears Noel’s intention of committing suicide later that night. Obviously he provides comfort and somewhere to stay for Noel, to help him out of this depression.

I think this was my major issue with the story, the way Noel’s suicidal thoughts were handled. Maybe the book was too short to really give suicide and depression the amount of time it deserves to express it properly. Then again I have see some authors do it well with only a few words. Some of it is OK, like Casey not having sex with Noel the night of his attempted suicide because he felt it was too soon (nah duh). Generally though it was kind of pushed to the side or joked about. Casey even told his whole family, when it wasn't really their business and even if they could detect emotions, I don’t think it was his place to share Noel’s struggles with strangers.

Then Noel’s depression just wasn’t done right. This book is set over three days and Noel goes from wanting to commit suicide to being just fine. There was no depth there and considering that's what the story was about, it made everything feel much more shallow, like Casey and Noel’s relationship for example. That didn’t work for me at all, I felt no chemistry between the two and thought the romance lacked any sort of passion.

What I did really really like was the interaction and friendship between the three brothers. That was fun to read and the banter felt like how real brothers would talk to each other.

“His brain is hard for me to get into. I can only get a little bit past the surface most of the time. So I know what he’s thinking right then, but that’s about it.”
“Weird,” said Garrett. “Maybe it’s fading, and you’re going normal.” I focused in on him without ever looking up from my coffee cup and spoke his thoughts as I got to them. Or the ones I could before they zipped past. “I miss this. I should see these guys more. Especially Patrick. He lives so close. Guess he’s not losing it. Casey, you’re a jackass. Pineapple. Asparagus. Seventy-three.” I grinned at him. “Bite me.”

I would’ve enjoyed this story a lot more if the major theme had been done a bit more carefully, that may have even improved the connection between Noel and Casey. I did enjoy seeing psychics in action and I definitely enjoyed these brothers together, they get my 2.5 hearts all to themselves!

Find Prior Commitment (Priorities #1) on Goodreads!

Old town, new flames

Garrett Bridge can see the future. Not when it’s convenient for him, of course, but when its important. So when he sees a man getting out of a car, he can’t help but wonder why he needed that information. But when he does, it starts a whirlwind romance full of fun. And full of a lot of nearly avoided disasters.

Smith Meyers has always been intrigued by problems, puzzles, and mysteries. When a young man saves him in the street one day, it’s the beginning of a new enigma for him to try and unravel. Wrapped up in that enigma is a whole mess of lust and other emotions to cloud his inquisitive mind. Which side of him will prevail?

This is Garrett's story and starts straight after Prior Commitment ends. Garrett is the eldest son of his psychic family and a clairvoyant. On Boxing Day, he has a vision of a man named Smith, puzzled by the vision he goes to find out more about him. They have an immediate attraction and get it on.

Unfortunately I was just not feeling this book at all and although it didn't frustrate me as much as prior commitment did, I still am giving it a lesser rating because I felt nothing. I had no interest in the characters, their relationship or where the story was going. I didn't feel the connection between Garrett and Smith, it felt forced and their dialogue was stilted. At the end of the story they had this weird fight which I didn't understand the point of, like at all! The plot didn't hold anything exciting or emotional and the sex was... well all I can say is, average.

I wish I could say more about what worked and what didn't, but honestly when I think of this book, nothing but a big flashing sign saying 'blank’ comes to mind.

The brothers were still great to see interact, but there was even less of that in this book... so... boo.

Not a winner for me, sorry. I think I'll leave the series there.

Find Prior Affair (Priorities #2) on Goodreads!

All copies provided for an honest review.

Review: How the Other Half Lives (London Lads #2) by Clare London

Compulsive neat freak meets chaotic slob: Can their living space survive the conflict?

Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his Central London flat as neat as a new pin. Maybe he should loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in his mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building and look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s travelling for his work.

A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. He also joins the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighbourly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.

For a while, the very dissimilar men never meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’s flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way.

Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last.

How the Other Half Lives is opposites attract done right. You really aren’t going to find two dudes more different than the MC’s in How the Other Half Lives. And I don’t mean the extreme tropey differences where one guys a biker and the other is a baker. Martin and Russ are both pretty regular guys living pretty regular lives, it’s just that the details in which they live their lives are total and complete opposites. Martin is a neat freak, Russ is a slob, Martin is a planner, Russ wings it, Martin is compulsively organized, Russ is a lesson in chaos. The two should drive each other completely nutters.

What the author got so right in this one is, they do drive each other a little nutters and the lust doesn’t make everything alright and the differences aren’t immediately written off as charming quirks. Nope, these characters are written as regular guys, so they react like real people and I appreciated that reality.

The meet/cute these guys have takes some time to develop and each chapter is told from a different perspective. One chapter is Martin’s and the next belongs to Russ and it worked well for this story. Each of their voices was completely unique and I liked getting both of their perspectives. I don’t think the story would have been nearly as charming without it. For a quick read, the development of the relationship was not at all rushed and I could believe that Martin and Russ were actually getting to know each other, irritate each other charmingly and slowly but surely falling in lurve.

The moments where the guys found themselves compromising by accident were my favorite. It made the whole story feel more real as Martin let Russ make his mark on his kitchen and Russ began to actually make his apartment a home rather than a storage facility. I don’t think either of them made the changes consciously, but just really wanted to make the other happy, and the honest reactions were worth leaving their respective comfort zones.

Overall, completely adorable and highly recommended for all the book hugs.

For more info on How the Other Half Lives, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Growing Pains (Toronto Connections #3) by Cass Lennox

Cass Lennox is introducing the third installment in her Toronto Connections series today & be sure to enter the giveaway below!

About Toronto Connections

The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.

For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.

About Growing Pains

Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.

Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.

It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.

Available from Riptide Publishing.

About Cass Lennox

Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.

Connect with Cass:

To celebrate the release of Growing Pains, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O'Shea

It was her special day... but his worst nightmare.

A rekindled romance wasn’t part of the plan.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend—who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations cost him his future with August—one he hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

Well this was a disappointment. Honestly, I really wasn’t expecting much from this, as in I was hoping for some ridiculously cheesy ‘The Wedding Planner’ type story, nothing amazing but fun nonetheless. Unfortunately it didn't really do that for me either.

August and Christopher dated for three years in college (at oxford), Christopher is from an upper-class English family and August is a middle class American. Christopher's parents pressure him to break it off with August, which he does, telling August he needs someone more suited to his ‘type’ of people. Eight years later they meet again when August is hired to plan Chris’s best friends wedding.

Chris and August’s reunion and tentative reconciliation was the best part of the story. Chris has to make up for the hurt he caused August and August slowly starts to trust Chris again. The build up was realistic, but...

I was seriously seriously struggling to get through this and I skimmed a lot in the end. While I struggled with the boredom, I didn't hold that against the story. I could still tell that it was me and not the writing or plot until…. their ridiculous break up at the end. I hate stupid break-ups near the end of a story! I can forgive them if its a legit reason (no miscommunication), or helps strengthen the relationship. This was absolutely neither. It was one of those predictable juvenile break-ups where 30 year men suddenly start acting like 14 year girls and not talking! It seems they thought the best way to ‘work out’ their issues as adults was to storm off, avoid talking to each other for weeks and then move…... What the hell! Grr anyway, that sealed the deal for me. 2 hearts!

Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for this book, lots of other people enjoyed it, but I just couldn’t. It was boring, then it was frustrating so even though the relationship build-up wasn't terrible, I just couldn't rate it any higher.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

If a stalker doesn’t kill them, the heat between them might.

Christopher Vincent is desperate enough for a job that he accepts an offer to entertain as a psychic in a friend’s nightclub. Jackson Whitman, one of the club’s co-owners, is less than thrilled by the new act. To him, psychics are ridiculous and a liability. But when they come face-to-face, attraction flares to life between them.

Someone is watching Jack and Chris from the shadows. What starts as a series of creepy encounters leads to deadly attacks.

Jack and Chris must set aside their differences and work together to survive a homicidal stalker. But can they survive their explosive connection?

Have I told you that I adore the Dreamspun Desire series? I am sure you are sick of hearing me say that but whatever. I love these damn books. They are my happy place and I can’t get enough of them.

This was another fun installment with a twist of the paranormal given that Chris and his mother both have psychic abilities.

When we meet Chris and his mother aka Madam Melina, who is on the mend from a recent stroke and Chris is taking care of her. When his mom gets an ominous vision of his best friend Angie, she asks Chris to deliver the message to her and the only place Chris can find her is at her new club, Carnival W. Of course, Chris doesn’t want to run into Angie’s older brother and the keeper of a hot one time kiss that is seared into Chris’ memory, Jackson Whitman but he does run the new club with Angie and poor Chris is out of luck.

I love that Jack and Chris have a semi past and all that we know is they’ve kissed, they both thoroughly enjoyed the kiss but they both also rub one another the wrong way. When Chris takes a job at the club as its resident psychic, the UST between these two gets turned way up and way fast. Chris thinks Jack is hot, too hot for his own stuck up, proper image presenting good and Jack thinks Chris is sex on a stick but can’t stand that he “scamming his customers.” Ugh. These two.

I love that we get both Chris and Jack’s POV in this one. We get Chris from the beginning with his ominous dream and then we get his moms prediction for Angie that kinda seem related. We get Jack and his amazing ability to be an ass but it’s nice that we get inside his head to know what’s up and where he is coming from. Add in a third POV of some creeper who is stalking Angie and Chris and who and this story gets hella fun.

I had so much fun reading this on a Sunday where I needed to smile. The push and pull between Chris and Jack was pure joy to read and I truly adored how they fell in love with one another. The love doesn’t come all that quickly as Jack needs to trust in Chris’ psychic ability and Chris needs to trust that Jack wants him regardless of the Whitman image Jack has been trying to uphold for years.

The addition of Connor McCord was interesting but I wanted to know more about him being a childhood friend of Jack’s and the way he was with Angie kept me wondering just which of the Whitman siblings he really wanted to experiment with.

The mystery of who was stalking Angie and Jack was a tad over the top but it led to a whole bunch of fun and chances for the men to be protective over one another. I would say it was unbelievable that they would get it on the way they did under the circumstances that were present but I am married and know that a dude could be have serious injuries and if he could get it up, he could get it on so I was totes okay with those moments. Also, sex in stressful situations like Chris and Jack were in along with the adrenaline, yeah I can see it happened and plus, it was hot so… again, totes okay with it.

I have to say I loved the idea of Carnival W being a grown up version of a traditional carnival. It would be a blast to go to and being attached to a hotel makes it that much easier to get home after a few drinks and games.

But anyway.

This was a fun, fluffy and sexy story about two men who needed to put everything else aside and just focus on what’s in front of them to find love. Oh, and it’s totally a story about trusting your gut, your dreams and listening to your psychic mother.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Gods of Vengeance by Thom Collins

Thom Collins is here today talking about his new book and he's also giving away a copy too! Don't miss your chance to win below!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Thom Collins and I live in County Durham with my husband and two cats. I’m originally from Northumbria but came to Durham twenty years ago. I write MM romance, sometimes a little dark, sometimes scary. Gods of Vengeance ticks both of those boxes. When I’m not writing I work part time in the criminal justice system. I feel I get a nice balance from the two careers. The bustle of a busy office contrasting with the solitude of writing.

Tell us about Gods of Vengeance.

This is a contemporary revenge thriller, my favourite kind. I love the theme of revenge, of someone righting a wrong, whatever the genre. I think it goes back to my love of westerns. All the great ones are about a hero getting even. In this book, the brother and best friend of a murdered man join forces when the police fail to bring his killers to justice. The two men have always had an unspoken attraction to each other, and it’s something that develops further as they set out on their quest for revenge.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

It’s always different. For this one, the title came first, followed by the characters. It was originally written for inclusion in a military themed anthology (Brothers in Arms from Pride Publishing) so I knew one of the guys had to have a military back ground. I also wanted to set it in the kind of rural area where I live. Through the day job I’m pretty familiar with rural crimes and criminal types. So this book was born out of all those elements.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t procrastinate. Get on with it. Decide the story you want to tell and do it. And once you start, don’t stop. No one will read an unfinished book, so you have to keep going to the end. Some days are harder than others but don’t get distracted by new ideas, stick to what you’re doing. If you have another great idea in the middle, make a note of it, but keep going with the current story. You can write the other story once you’re finished.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I have no idea. My first story was published in an erotic magazine in 1993 and I wrote for hundreds of others in the 1990s and 2000s. None of those magazines exist today. The readers of gay fiction back then were mainly gay men, now it’s mostly ladies. The market is changing all the time. As much as I love ebooks, I’d like to see us re-embrace physical books. Vinyl records have made a slow but steady come back and I hope publishing follows that trend.


United in passion. Driven by vengeance.

Owen Hazard, a young farmer is dead. Murdered while he tried to prevent a robbery on his land. His older brother, Captain Mark Hazard, returns home for the funeral. Owen’s best friend, Riley runs the local pub. He has information about the night Owen was killed – he knows who was responsible. The police are doing nothing. Vengeance is their only option.

United in their passion for each other and a thirst for revenge, Riley and Mark must take the law into their own hands if there’s to be any justice for Owen.

General Release: 21st March 2017


Pride Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

His novella Silent Voices will be published by Pride in May, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is making plans for the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.


Blog: www.
Twitter: @thomwolf and @realthomcollins

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Review: Fair Catch (Players of L.A. #2) by Leigh Carman

A Players of LA Novel

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

Told in dual first person POV, Fair Catch is a new adult romance (I use that term in the loosest of terms) between 22 year old yoga instructor, parkour enthusiast, genius techie and millionaire 5' 6" Tobias "Toby" Bennett and 25 year old Superbowl winning, best NFL wide receiver in the league, 6' 6" alpha male Sullivan "Van" Archer.

That's a lot of hats these main characters wear. Usually when I read a story that give their MC holds many titles, it's used as the depth and characteristics that story lacks.

So is the case with Fair Catch. It was the equivalent of reading about paper thin types play acting a romance. I'm not a fan of those.

Also this story doesn't have trigger warnings, so let me get those out the way: domestic abuse, gay bashing, attempted rape and domestic violence.

The story starts out roughly, Toby (the smaller, beautiful owner of crystalline eyes) is herded into an office but a club owner (best friend of Van) for closeted Van Archer's pick of ass for the night. Toby was celibate and allegedly wary of others since his last relationship, one with a controlling abusive older, larger lawyer. So what does young Toby do when grabbed and told to go into the room? Why he drops to his knees and hooks up with the intimidating stranger's friend. Makes sense.

This monumental hookup is mentioned in the blurb, however, there is no description of this life changing scene, just exaltation of why the MC is so beautiful and smaller, there's a foot difference in height, don't you know?

The story jumps around to Van winning the Superbowl but getting an owwie. Then we jump to a yoga class with Toby as the teach. And it continues to jump all around to make for a bumpy transitions, declarations of not doing an action and then doing it either before or a few paragraphs down the line. The disjointed brand of story telling continues throughout. And the thing is, though weeks and months pass, the main characters basically spend a handful of days together, with no meaningful events written and shown to the reader.

Oh, there is sex. Repetitive sex that I could write the script for you: big hulking guy manhandles the little guy, calls him "beautiful" two finger probe into the "little hole", condom, lube, insert dick, thrust, "mine", cums and falls on top. Rinse and repeat.

Fair Catch was swimming around the 2.5 mark until the repeated attempted rapes plot line. Actually it's right around when the unnecessary villain/ex-boyfriend with the extremely weak blackmail twist was thrown in. After that, the story went onto an over the top tangent with a lot of bruises, tears, possessive behavior and and stereotypes.

The best things about the novel is the concept and the readability. It's very simple to read and you can quickly zip through.

The negatives outweigh the positives however.

The writing style - Too telling, contradictory and relies on stereotypical characters to make the story "interesting" and for added drama. The telling is so heavy, an example is that a character would need to look in the mirror to tell the reader they were horny and describe to you, instead of just writing it and letting the reader figure it out on their own. To say the book needed a through edit, content wise, is not wrong. There are too many examples of this writing style where it fails to showcase the character. More descriptive and time were spent on the superficial things rather than letting the character have a hint of depth. And key scenes that could have actually used a thorough description were ignored.

All of the character could instantly know what the other characters were thinking, been through, etc. Maybe clairvoyant is an unofficial hat to add to the list of jobs they all have.

The stereotypes - I really was not a fan of the way Leo, Toby's best friend was written. He was nothing more that a loud color wearing, cock hound who went into hysterics at a drop of a hat.

The abuse/domestic violence - I am always on the side of an abuse victim. However they react is their right. This book minimizes abuse (also again the characters can just tell what happened to each other):

"My last boyfriend. He was... not nice."
"What do you mean?" Then Leo gasps, gripping his shirt over his chest. "Oh My God, Toby. Did he hit you?"
"Not exactly. Well, sort of. I don't know, Leo. It was abusive, I know, but it all built up over such a long period of time, I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late."

Toby can't tell if he was abused? It was just last year when he described being raped and beaten. Or the fact Toby stated he felt worse for his friend being called homophobic slurs than suffering through actual physical abuse and being raped. Both are horrible, let me be clear, but they are not equal.

And in case the past rape wasn't used enough, the attempted rape plot device was added... TWICE!

To create dramatic effect? The last one made no sense, nor did it add to anything other than it gave the alpha hero a shot to flex his muscles and allegedly save the day. The thing is Van wasn't there the first time the attempted rape card was brought to the table and he didn't seem as cut about it afterwards.

Van - I know he's supposed to read like a good guy. But the way he was written was not as effective, He realized his true self as being a gay man by not wearing sweats and sneakers but rather tailored, designer clothes. Seriously? Or how about the fact he knows about Toby's abused past but didn't care when he got mad at his lover and started to go apeshit on him? Or manhandling Toby in the heat of sexy times so soon after Toby gets beaten again.

If an abuse victim closes himself off from others, why would Van be the one to break their celibacy on? Nothing was shown to support that. The reader is told they're horny for one another, told they're soul mates, told they love each other...but nothing is shown.

This book has the potential to appeal to certain readers, if you rather not learn main characters' life stories, just want a beginning and middle and end with some sex thrown in and a lot of drama, then Fair Catch might be the book for you.

For me:

I'm sure this is my last Leigh Carman I'll read.

Not recommended.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Fair Chance (All's Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon

Elliot Mills comes face-to-face with evil in this follow-up to Fair Game and Fair Play from bestselling author Josh Lanyon

One final game of cat and mouse…

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot's hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn't acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner's gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it's the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer's twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

Elliot Mills’ life is going pretty well. However, his continuing work with the FBI on the Sculptor case is putting some strain on his relationship with Tucker. But Elliot insists he has has everything under control. The illusion shatters when the Sculptor decides to drag Elliot and Tucker into his games. The Sculptor has an accomplice who won’t let Elliot get away with taking down the madman.

By this point in the series, Elliot and Tucker’s relationship is a done deal. The two are completely in love with each other, and worked out most of wrinkles in their romance over the course of the previous two books.

So I wasn’t expecting significant relationship development. But I was expecting to go all heart-eyed at least a couple of times, and that definitely happened.

Tucker and Elliot just fit together so perfectly, and they really are two halves of a whole. I loved seeing how protective Tucker is of Elliot, and how he just understood what Elliot needed.

And though Elliot can be a bit hard-headed at times, he’s more than willing to make reasonable compromises if they will make Tucker happy.


Plus, the D/s vibe that Elliot and Tucker have going on in the bedroom is incredibly hot!

What sets this couple apart from another one of Lanyon’s popular couples (*cough* Adrien and Jake *cough*) is that there’s no doubt that Tucker and Elliot’s relationship is built on mutual respect. The two may have their differences, but they approach each other as equals, and give and take equally as well.

Given all of this, I was lulled into a false sense of security when disaster struck. Seeing how close Elliot came to falling apart after Tucker disappears was gut-wrenching. But Elliot catches himself just in time and sets out to get Tucker back.

The mystery in ‘Fair Chance’ goes back to the Sculptor from book 1. At the end of book 1, there were still some loose ends and unanswered questions. Turns out that the Sculptor had an accomplice, who wants to make Elliot pay.

As always, Lanyon is a master at writing a murder mystery page-turner. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.


I guessed the accomplice correctly around the halfway point, but the motives and connections between the Sculptor and his accomplice were a complete mystery right until the end. The twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat.

The book ends on high notes. The mystery is wrapped up tightly, and Elliot and Tucker get their happily ever after. Book 3 is supposed to be the last in the series, but there’s room for more if Lanyon ever wants to visit these two again. I wouldn’t say no to that!

If you’re looking for MM books that balance entertaining murder mysteries with a sweet romance, give the All’s Fair series a try!

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Blog Tour: Unspeakable Words by Sarah Madison

Sarah Madison is here today to talk about her re-release of Unspeakable Words. Be sure to check out the excerpt below.

I’m really glad Dreamspinner Press allowed me to revisit and expand Unspeakable Words, the first story in the Sixth Sense series. I wanted to do it because the rest of the stories in the series were novels, but the first was only a novella. But I learned a lot from the process in and of itself.

     1. Plot bunnies need to be allowed to mature. When I first began publishing original stories, I just blithely put them out there, with very little thought about what I was doing in terms of structure or process. I was having fun, and I think it showed. Along with a lightness of storytelling, though, there were a lot of mistakes. Once I began reading books and articles on ‘how to write’, I discovered I was doing everything wrong! The newly gained knowledge hampered my writing process for quite some time, until I learned which bits of information and advice worked for me and which did not. But the one thing that was the hardest for me to let go of was being hypercritical of an idea early on. You can’t do that. You have to let your plot bunnies romp freely in the garden, eating everything in sight. They need to play, they need to grow into fat healthy bunnies that can withstand the scrutiny of a critical mind. There was a point in writing the Sixth Sense series in which I considered dropping the paranormal aspect of it. That would have been a mistake. The paranormal, superimposed on the very ordinary, is what makes these stories different, and distinguishes them from other hot FBI-guy stories. I thought about molding this series into the same kind of stories already out there because I started criticizing my plot bunny. Don’t do that. First drafts are not the place to kill your bunnies.

     2. Go with your gut. I submitted Unspeakable Words for publication on a whim. It was the first major story I ever submitted to a press and I was flabbergasted when it was accepted by Dreamspinner! My initial reaction was to snatch it back because I didn’t think it was ready, and you know what? I was right. But I was such a newbie author that I was terrified to question anything. I was afraid if I asked for more time to write out the scenes I still pictured, I would be patted on the head and told to come back when I grew up and knew what I wanted. Of course, I know now all I had to do was ask. But at the time, I didn’t want to be seen as one of those authors—you know the kind I mean. The ones that are difficult to work with and are never satisfied with anything. Or worse, lose the contract, and in my mind, my only chance of ever getting published. So, words from experience here: don’t be afraid to ask your publisher about ways you can make your story better, and always trust your gut on things like this.

     3. Writing a series is harder if you’re a panster versus a plotter. Yikes, did I ever learn this the hard way. I am a heavy punster, and do very little note-taking or outlining. In fact, outlining a story too heavily has ended up being a story killer for me in the past. But my method of weaving in plot lines and enhancing themes is to re-read my own material frequently while writing, and to layer ideas into the work as I write. This may be a cumbersome way of writing (and it definitely is slower than most writers) but it’s how my brain works. But while this works well for a single story, it becomes problematic over a series. Pansting took the series in unexpected directions, paths that could have been paved better in the first story. So revisiting Unspeakable Words allowed me to throw in some breadcrumbs, as well as put in some things that link with the remaining installments. Most of the people I know who write series are FAR more organized than I am, with notes, and Scrivener, and white boards, and the series has largely been written before the first book is published. Um, yeah. Not me. So memo to self: take better notes if you ever get the notion to do a series again.

     4. I don’t suck as much as I thought. No. Really. Going back and reading something you’ve written several years ago can be truly cringe-making, and I was prepared for just that. Sure, there were newbie mistakes I’ve since learned to correct in advance. I’ve also learned—like with the publisher—how to work with an editor and ask for guidance. I’ve also learned when to fight for my version and when to let it go. Over the years, I’ve been working with some great editors and an awesome critique group. I think my current writing reflects this. So I braced myself for the probability I would find a re-read excruciating. But after flinching a few times, I found myself enjoying revisiting meeting the characters for the first time and watching the process as they slowly fall for each other. And while I will never be the kind of person to sing my own praises, I can nod and say, ‘Huh. Not half bad.’ Believe me, if you knew me, you’d know that’s practically unheard of! So I say to you, don’t be afraid to revisit your older stories.

     5. Sink or Swim: Just Put it Out There. Maybe it’s because this is a relaunch rather than a true new release, but I’m very calm about releasing this version of Unspeakable Words. Truth be told, I’ve gotten less wound up about releasing stories over time. I love a great review as much as the next person, but I also understand not every story is going to resonate with every reader. I’m happy just to tell my stories and have fun doing it—which is a full circle turn around for me. That’s what I did when I first began publishing original stories—until I let too much self-criticism stymie the flow of words. I hope you enjoy them, but even if you don’t, that’s okay too.

The revised and expanded version of Unspeakable Words will be re-released on March 10th, 2017.

I’m currently working on the fourth and final installment in the series, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil. Current release date sometime in 2018. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the relaunch of the series, or coming to the party for the first time. I think you’ll enjoy it.



Jerry abandoned his conversation with Flynn to look for the owner of the voice from his past. His heart squeezed painfully to a halt at the sight of Derek standing on the sidewalk behind him, only to restart at double-time.

Jesus. Talk about running into your ex.

Derek wore a brown blazer over a tan turtleneck, with a brightly colored scarf carelessly thrown around his neck. Jerry had a momentary spurt of irritation for the affectation and then felt his heart sink. There was no way he could avoid speaking to Derek without looking churlish, and he didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

“What are you doing down here?” Derek’s voice was inappropriately coy as he raised an eyebrow in Flynn’s direction and gave him the once-over. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

His sun-bleached hair was overly long and curling at the collar, and Jerry was secretly amused that it appeared to be getting thin on top. Derek had creases at the corners of his eyes as well. Too much time in the tanning booth, no doubt.

He must be having a cow over that.

It must be harder now for Derek to catch the attention of some sweet young ass, unless the young thing was desperate for a sugar daddy.

“Derek Collins,” Jerry said smoothly, “my partner, John Flynn. We’re here on business, Derek.”

This is the guy that I thought I loved once. Boy, was I an idiot.

“Partner?” Derek glanced swiftly at Jerry’s left hand and then gave a little laugh. “Oh, partner,” he repeated without explanation, shooting a sly smirk at Flynn.

Jerry felt Flynn go rigid with tension, like a dog with his hackles up.

Relax. Gayness isn’t catching.

Flynn shot him a wounded look, and Jerry felt ashamed when he realized Flynn wasn’t embarrassed by Derek’s innuendos, he was pissed off on Jerry’s behalf. That was just…. Wow. Warmth suddenly flooded him, and he was both embarrassed and comforted at the same time.

Inexplicably, Flynn’s face relaxed, and a lazy smile appeared. “Yes, partner.” He practically purred as he placed a hand on Jerry’s arm. “Come on, Jer. We don’t want to be late for that interview.”

He guided Jerry away with a decidedly possessive hand on the small of his back.

“What was that about?” Jerry hissed as they left Derek openmouthed behind them.

“That asshole,” Flynn growled. “I can’t believe he cheated on you with a twinkie.”

Jerry stumbled and then laughed. When he quickly glanced over his shoulder, he saw Derek staring at the two of them speculatively. He laughed even harder and clapped Flynn on the back.

“It’s ‘twink’ if you really want to be cool,” Jerry corrected him.

“Asshole.” Flynn repeated the epithet for good measure, sounding pissed off again. “I wanted to punch him, but then I realized what would jerk his chain.” He appeared insufferably pleased with himself.

“You’re an idiot,” Jerry said with amusement. “A nice one, but an idiot all the same.” It’ll be all over town by this evening that I have a hot boyfriend. He fixed a sharp look on Flynn to check his reaction, but Flynn merely whistled innocently. “Come on,” Jerry sighed, not knowing what to make of the gesture. “We’ve got work to do.”

Blurb: 2nd Edition

The Sixth Sense: Book One

Special Agent John Flynn is everything Jerry Parker is not: dangerously handsome, coolly charismatic, and respected by his peers. Special Agent Parker is dedicated and meticulous, but his abrasive personality has given him a reputation for being difficult. When new information on a cold case appears, Parker is assigned to work with Flynn, and the sparks fly as their investigative styles clash. Contact with a strange artifact changes everything when it bestows unusual and unpredictable powers on Flynn… and the two men must learn to trust each other before a killer strikes again.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase


Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she's not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she's at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Fool’s Gold was voted best M/M romance in the 2016 PRG Awards.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

See our review of Unspeakable Words HERE.

Review: Adrift (Staying Afloat #1) by Isabelle Adler

Some jobs are just too good to be true.

Captain Matt Spears learns this the hard way after a mysterious employer hires his ship to hunt down an ancient alien artifact but insists on providing his own pilot. Ryce Faine is handsome and smart, but Matt has rarely met anyone more obnoxious. With tensions running high, it isn’t until they are attacked by the hostile Alraki that Matt grudgingly begins to respect Ryce’s superior skills, respect that transforms into a tentative attraction.

Little did he know that their biggest challenge would be reaching their destination, an abandoned alien base located on a distant moon amid a dense asteroid field. But when Matt learns that Ryce isn’t completely who he says he is and the artifact is more than he bargained for, he is faced with a difficult choice. One that might change the balance of forces in the known galaxy.

Matt doesn’t take well to moral dilemmas; he prefers the easy way out. But that might not be possible anymore, when his past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. When faced with a notorious pirate carrying a personal grudge, the fragile connection Matt has formed with Ryce might be the only thing that he can count on to save them both.

As a Sci-Fi story, Adrift was a fun action adventure story. I really enjoyed the world building of this intergalactic piece. The characters were clean cut and well defined, including the secondary characters on Matt’s ship. Everyone had distinctive personalities and roles within the story. There was no pointless dialogue that didn’t lead anywhere. Character development was good for a short story.

I really liked the pacing, and the way this story gave pieces when needed but didn’t blow the whole story too soon. I had fun with Matt’s personality, and his antagonism of Ryce. Ryce appeared to be a bit of a stick in the mud, and I appreciated how Matt just went ahead and teased him anyway. We eventually find out more about Ryce and his purpose in the story, but not for a while, which makes Matt’s teasing, wicked thoughts, and antagonism important. It kept me engaged with Ryce as a character.

The plot was interesting and detailed. There were some elements that weren’t perfect but it wasn’t overly noticeable. Some questions were left unanswered but they were hinted at throughout the journey.

While this has adequate action, and lots of adventure (and really cool concepts), it isn’t a romance. While there is a thread, or a suggestion, there isn’t any action for Ryce and Matt. Readers who are okay with this, and are mostly about the adventure, will enjoy the story. I certainly did. I will be looking out for the next book in this series.

Recommended to Sci-Fi readers, or someone looking to branch out into this genre. Not recommended for those who must have a romance story within the plot of their novels.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

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