Review: Slow Pitch by Amy Lane

Tenner Gibson has a job he enjoys, a prickly ex-wife, and an adorable daughter he wouldn’t trade for the world. With no romance, no sex life, and no other hobbies, a rec league softball team is as close as he gets to hedonism.

But life throws him a curveball when cocky Ross McTierney sets his sights on getting under Tenner’s skin.

One explosion of lust later, Tenner wonders what possessed him to have a quickie with Ross, and Ross wonders how to do it again.

Tenner has eight weeks to convince his tiny modern family that Ross is what’s best for him. Ross has eight weeks to get used to the idea that complicated doesn’t always mean bad. Their sex life is moving at the speed of light, and everything in their relationship is coming at them too fast….

But together, they might make a connection and knock it out of the park.


Sweet, a little bit sexy, and very easy to read - the lighter side of Amy Lane in a nutshell!

Tenner’s life revolves around his daughter. With a troublesome ex-wife, Tenner doesn’t have much of a social life, and certainly not a love life.

Until he gives rec league softball a try. It’s great, except for the annoying player on the opposing team.

Ross makes it his mission to get under Tenner’s prim-and-proper skin. He not only succeeds, but sets his sights on more.

Neither man complains too hard when the irritation and rivalry explodes in a heated after-game hookup. Rivals-to-lovers always makes for some of the hottest scenes!

From that point onwards, the two men quickly forget about being opponents, and instead become friends with benefits on the DL.

Ross slowly inserts himself into Tenner’s life, recognizing Tenner’s boundaries but reminding the other man what it feels like to just have fun and go with the flow.

And that really is how the unlikely friendship becomes an unexpected relationship - by having fun together and taking things one simple step at a time.

The two men were very sweet together! They fit naturally in each other’s lives, and in each other’s families.

That being said, while ‘Slow Pitch’ is certainly low on the drama, there’s still enough angst for a sprinkling of heartache.

Because of the implied terms of his divorce, Tenner had to stay in the closet if he wanted to stay in his daughter’s life. So whatever he felt for Ross could never become permanent.

Luckily that roadblock doesn’t last too long! I was glad Tenner’s ex smartened up quickly.

The ending is cute and very well-deserved, giving Ross and Tenner the happy ever after they deserved!

Overall, though this book didn’t knock it out of the park for me, I did quite enjoy the easy read. If you’re looking for a sweet and simple MM romance, give ‘Slow Pitch’ a try.



A review copy was provided.


Release Blitz + Giveaway: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? (The Pizza Chronicles #2) by Andy V. Roamer



Author Andy V. Roamer and IndiGo Marketing returns to promote the latest release from the Pizza Chronicles, Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? (The Pizza Chronicles #2)! Learn more and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 50200
Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+, YA, contemporary, family-drama, interracial, gay, immigrant family, high school, mentor, coming of age, coming out

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Synopsis


RV, having successfully completed his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School, is hoping for a great summer. He’s now fifteen years old and looking forward to sharing many languid summer days with his friend Bobby, who’s told him he has gay feelings too. But life and family and duties for a son of immigrant parents makes it difficult to steal time away with Bobby.

Bobby, too, has pressures. He spends part of the summer away at football camp, and his father pushes him to work a summer job at a friend’s accounting firm. Bobby takes the job grudgingly, wanting to spend any extra time practicing the necessary skills to make Latin’s varsity football team.

On top of everything, RV’s best friend Carole goes away for the summer, jumping at an opportunity to spend it with her father in Paris. Luckily, there is always Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher, to talk to whenever RV is lonely. He’s also there for RV when he inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets, and Bobby is so angry RV is afraid he is ready to cut off the friendship.

Excerpt


Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Andy V. Roamer © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One—Summer Solstice
I used to love summer. The long, languid days. No school. No homework. Sleeping late. Going to the beach. Staying out later in the evenings and watching the sun set over the hills into the darkening glow of the horizon.

Wow. Am I starting to sound like a poet or just a pretentious a-hole? What’s wrong with the paragraph I just wrote? There are no pretentious words in it, are there? Well, maybe “languid” is. I like “languid.” I don’t know where I picked it up, but I think it perfectly describes summer. Where everything is a little more s-l-l-o-o-w-w-w and easygoing. Where life seems good and there’s no homework. Yup, I’ll stick with languid. Hey, there has to be a benefit to liking words the way I do. I’m not just a nerd, but a poetic nerd.

Ha ha ha. Maybe it has something to do with being bilingual. I never used to think about it much before, but I guess I am officially bilingual. Talking Lithuanian at home. English in the outside world. Just kind of always accepted it, didn’t I? But I wonder what speaking two languages does to someone. Kind of like being split into two people. My Lith life and my English life. Are there really two people inside me? Scary thought. One of me is bad enough.

Luckily, Bobby Marshall doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, so why should I be?

Ahh, Bobby Marshall. I still can’t believe we’re friends. Or should I say “special friends”? I’m still afraid to even think about it. Me, RV Aleksandravičius—nerd extraordinaire, spawn of Lithuanian immigrants, word lover, nervous worrywuss, possible gay person—friends with one of the biggest jocks in school. The world truly is an amazing place.

But, as I was saying, I used to love summer. That was before I had to work. This summer I’ll be toiling away like the rest of humanity. And I’m not just talking about working with the Computer Fix-It company I started last year with Carole. That business has been kind of rocky lately. I’ll blame it on the bad economy, since everyone always blames everything on a bad economy.

No, I’m working at my first real job. I turned fifteen last week. I used to love my birthdays. The end of school. The start of summer. But not anymore. Dad has a friend at work, Mr. Timmons, whose brother, Ed, owns a garage and gas station. Dad was talking to him and lo and behold (another pretentious choice of words?), Mr. Timmons told him his brother was looking for someone to help with chores around the place. Since I’m not sixteen yet, I’m not supposed to work in the garage itself. But I can dispense gas and work around the store that Ed has attached to the garage. Nothing heavy duty, Mr. Timmons said. Ed just needs someone fifteen to twenty hours a week helping in the store and cleaning around the place. A great way to earn a little pocket money.

Fifteen to twenty hours! Dad, bless his parental heart, volunteered me. Said it was a great way to learn about “real” life. And to “round out my skills.” What, my skills are too flat or something? But Dad doesn’t stop. “Too much time with your nose in a book isn’t healthy.” “Develop some skills.” “A young man needs more than book learning.” On and on and on. Says it in the Mother Tongue, of course, but that’s how it translates into English.

Except it sounds more serious in Lithuanian. “Per daug laiko praleidi su nosim knygose.” “Išmok ką nors naudingo.” “Jaunam vyrui ne tik knygos naudingos.” Wonder why that is. Because it’s what we talk at home? Our “real” language? To Mom and Dad, English sure isn’t real. Even though they speak it, Mom much better than Dad. What is real to me, then?

Oh, well. In whatever language, I think Dad wants to have a macho son like the other guys at work brag about. Well, sorry, Dad, not all of us can be macho. And not all of us can be like Bobby Marshall either. A jock. Smart. And nice. Yeah, nice. He likes me. I still can’t believe it sometimes. He says I’m fine the way I am. Okay, Bobby, if you say so. I’ll believe you. I have to believe you. Have to believe someone likes me the way I am.

Oh, RV, stop feeling sorry for yourself. There are people who like you besides Bobby. Mom, for example, though Mom doesn’t really count because moms usually love their kids no matter how screwed up they are. But then there’s Mr. Aniso, my Latin teacher last year. Good old Mr. Aniso. He’s been great, especially when I’ve told him my worries about being gay. We’re becoming real friends. But he’s an adult. Adults only go so far for a kid. We need our peers to like us.

So what about Carole? You’ve gone through a lot with her, RV, and she’s still sticking by you. Yeah, that’s true. She’s a good egg. No, a great egg! I love you, Carole Higginbottom!

And what about Ray? Brothers are usually close, aren’t they? But not Ray and I. Too bad. He’s just off in another world. I’m sure he thinks it’s a cooler world than the one his nerdy older brother inhabits.

So there’s Bobby. He’s a guy. A regular guy. Something I’ve always wanted to be, but will never be, alas! (Another one of those words! Where are all these pretentious words coming from?). Anyway, if Bobby really likes me that would be amazing. I still can’t believe it happened.

There I am thinking about him again. But that’s okay, right? I mean, after all, we kissed and everything.

!!$$#*&!! Did I just write that? Yes. GET OVER YOURSELF, RV! YOU KISSED A GUY AND YOU LIKED IT. What’s wrong with that? You’re not hearing thunder from heaven, are you? This computer isn’t blowing up because you wrote those words, is it? So you might be gay. Chill out. Or you might be bi. After all, you enjoyed making out with Carole until she started falling for that zit-faced Tim— Whoa! Whoa!

I have to stop worrying about everything. Maybe Dad’s right. Maybe too much time on the keyboard, writing down my thoughts, isn’t good. But I like keeping this journal. Helps me sort things out. When Mom and Dad gave me this computer they said they wanted me to make good use of it. I think I have. Maybe not the way they’d want me to, but I think they’d be proud of me for writing so much. And I kept it up all school year. That’s good, isn’t it? Even if Mom and Dad would be shocked at some of the stuff I wrote here. I hope I keep up the writing during the summer. After all, I should have more time in summer, even if those languid days are cut by fifteen to twenty hours a week.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo

Meet the Author

Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. This is his first novel about RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. He has written an adult novel, Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon, under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.

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Giveaway + Release Blitz: A Face without a Heart by Rick R. Reed


Happy Release Day, Rick R. Reed! Join him & IndiGo Marketing in celebrating the release of A Face without a Heart. Find out more about this paranormal suspense/horror, read an excerpt & enter in the giveaway for a $10 Ninestar Press credit too!


Title: A Face without a Heart
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 56700
Genre: Paranormal Horror, LGBTQIA+, photographer, drag queen, dancer, addiction, drug use, dark, suspense

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Synopsis





A modern-day and thought-provoking
retelling of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that esteemed horror
magazine Fangoria called “…a book that is brutally honest with its reader and
doesn’t flinch in the areas where Wilde had to look away…. A rarity: a really
well-done update that’s as good as its source material.”


A beautiful young man bargains his soul
away to remain young and handsome forever, while his holographic portrait
mirrors his aging and decay and reflects every sin and each nightmarish step
deeper into depravity… even cold-blooded murder. Prepare yourself for a
compelling tour of the darkest sides of greed, lust, addiction, and violence.

Excerpt


A Face without a Heart
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
GARY

There is blood on my hands. I look down
at a body, a body that’s become a thing—monstrous, ugly, inanimate. It could be
a sculpture, a figure formed from wax or porcelain. The soul inside is gone,
leaving a shell. I wipe a line of sweat from my forehead with a trembling hand,
trying to tell myself these things, trying to believe that what lies at my feet
is nothing more than an object, something to be reviled, something not worthy
of further consideration.

It’s not easy to believe. Although the
corpse does not have a twinkle in its eye or the simple rise and fall of a
chest, it’s hard to remove myself from the plain fact that the body possessed
those movements, those simple signs of life, just minutes ago. Distance, for
now, seems more a matter of location than of feeling. The body at my feet wears
the badges of its untimely demise—a dented face, a split-open skull, blood and
grayish-pink matter seeping out. The bruises have already begun to rise, ugly
yellow-pink things all over the body.

I stoop, plunge my fingers into the
deepest hole, the one on the belly, to feel the warmth and the entrails. Amazed
that the breathing has stopped. Amazed that I have such power.

I lift a finger to my mouth and slowly
run it over my lips, the blackish liquid warm and viscous, metallic to the
taste. I recall the vampire films I loved as a youth, never really believing
such a thing could exist.

Now I do.

I have stolen a life so that my own
might continue. There is something vampiric in that, isn’t there? Because
without this theft of a beating heart and an expanding and contracting pair of
lungs, I would be unable to live.

Isn’t that the real essence of the
vampire?

It seems too quiet here, deep in the
basement of a high-rise. A dull clanging is my only accompaniment, pipes
bringing warmth and water to tenants above, whose lives continue, ignorant,
untouched by my murderous hand. And that’s the amazing thing, the thing that
causes my breath, when drawn inward, to quiver.

Life goes on, in spite of this
monumental act, just a quick, surprised scream and a heartbeat away.

There is blood on the walls, spattered
Jackson Pollock-style. Who can say what is art and what is murder?

This so-called victim who now lies in
final repose on a cold concrete floor, staring vacantly at nothing or perhaps
at the hell that will one day consume me, can no longer chastise me, can no
longer beg me to drop to my knees with him and pray, pray for forgiveness,
imploring Jesus to lead me down the path of the righteous.

It’s not too late, he said before I
brought the mallet down on his skull, cracking it open like a walnut, slamming
it into his windpipe, his gut, an eye socket, his shoulders as he fell, anywhere
the mallet would ruin, destroying, sucking life.

He was wrong. The final irony of his
existence, I suppose, is that he thought he had the power to do anything, to
change another person, whom, I must admit, he cared very deeply about.

No, that power rests in my hand, the
death-dealing claw that changed him. And people whine about how change never
really lasts when it comes to others, how they always unfortunately revert to
their old ways, the ways you don’t want them to be. Anyone who has ever tried to
change another knows this to be true. Oh certainly, the change may last a week,
a month, even a year. But soon the real person comes back, the one who has been
waiting in the wings for just the right cue, the one that will allow him to say
“Ah fuck it, I’ve had enough.”

But the change I’ve wrought in my friend
can never be undone. He is dead and always will be. I have a power of which
psychiatrists and psychologists can only dream. And I accomplished my
transformation in a matter of seconds, behind a red-tinged curtain of rage.

Pretty sly, eh? For a man who’s spent
most of his life doing nothing but looking after his own selfish needs and
pursuing his own pleasures, it’s a pretty accomplished thing. Decisive. For
once, a man of action.

I nudge him with my foot and am amazed
at the heaviness my friend has taken on in death. His body doesn’t want to
give, to roll; it has become a body at rest…forever.

I turn and head back upstairs. There are
matters to attend to…clothes to be burned, an alibi to be concocted. People
will want answers. And conveniently, I will have none. Knowledge is a dangerous
thing. What was it my other friend once told me? “The only people worth knowing
are the ones who know everything and the ones who know nothing.”

I know nothing about this. And now I
must go back into the realm of the living to ensure my ignorance remains
secure.

But alone, I know that ignorance is one
of the few luxuries I can no longer afford. Alone, I have only the luxury of
time to contemplate how it all began.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo

Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.


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