Tag Team Review: Devil Take Me Anthology by Various Authors


Temptation lurks around every corner in worlds sometimes dark, sometimes lurid. Giving in is both dangerous and satisfying, though never in the ways one expects. While these enticements offer a vast range of benefits and boons, the cost is a soul and the devil expects his due. Sometimes suave and charming or calculating and cruel, these devils have schemes and desires of their own. They can be creatures to run away from… or toward.

Join the most unique and celebrated authors of LGBT urban fantasy and paranormal fiction for a fast-paced and unpredictable ride, from a city on the other side of reality, to a world suspended in dusk, to a twisted version of the 1960s and 70s.

Meet devils in top hats and waistcoats, a defrocked motorcycle-riding priest, and a genderfluid antihero—among many more. Full of humor, romance, horror, action, intrigue, and magic, these stories have one common element….

They’re one hell of a good time.



Infernal Affairs by Jordan L. Hawk

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4 Hearts

Cheeky Fun!


My first experience with this author and I snortled my way through it, but before I knew it I had invested in Ralgath and Chess, too. The author's voice shined through especially with Fluffpaw. Fluffpaw kinda stole the show for me. Cute widdle pooch.

The suspense element held my interest and kept me rooting for them to find a loophole so they could be together. There was quite a bit of action but the overall theme was lighthearted and fun or maybe tongue in cheek is a better descriptor. There were genuine feelings that were developed between these characters along with mounting chemistry as the story evolved. The ending was super sweet and I *may* have even aww'd aloud.

Peachy - 4 Hearts

This one was a pretty fun read and the “lightest” of the collection. The author knows how to make characters come to life by showing them rather than just describing them and that was pretty important for this story. Ralgath and Chess are very unique and their distinctive voices made their banter fun to read. Ralgath’s demotion to “customer service” and his descriptions of his underworld workplace, as comparable to top side, were pretty amusing. Chess is a treat, they are badass and sentimental at the same time.

I really wanted these two to end up together and find a loophole somehow to make it be a thing. It’s a pretty romantic story actually. The two MC’s are obviously in love and even though they haven’t completely figured it out, it’s obvious to the reader. Fluffpaw is truly the standout here though, I have to say, that hellhound was the absolute best and I was just as invested in her as I was Chess and Ralgath.

Collared by T.A. Moore

Peachy - 5 Hearts

Collared is fascinatingly dark and and takes the reader on one hell of a ride. It’s the kind of story where you know there isn’t going to be any kind of traditional HEA, happiness is relative here, so the scale of satisfaction for the MC’s is completely skewed.

The backstory of Jack, the ex-priest, and Math, his personal demon is doled out in small bits throughout the story, so if you pick this one up and put it down more than a couple of times you’re going to get lost. It’s definitely one to read in one sitting so that you can follow and appreciate the flow of the story and the language.

The world building is top notch and is reminiscent of Derry, Maine where everyone’s favorite clown resides. Everything about the town is just “off” and while an outsider might see the obvious strangeness, the evil itself is able to mask it to the residents, so no one questions why the neighbors have disappeared or why entire blocks of businesses are now shuttered. They just are and people go on with their lives. Questioning things takes its toll, mostly on law enforcement and that’s where Jack comes in. He helps with the cases that don’t have logical answers and takes the burden off those who still have souls.

I was totally sucked into this story and I love when an author can make me care about a character who is completely flawed or born from evil. This is a true halloween story that will make you uncomfortably committed to its outcome.

Counterfeit Viscount by Ginn Hale

Peachy - 4.5 Hearts

I would categorize Counterfeit Viscount as a character driven romance above the plot based action/adventure that took center stage in the first two stories of the anthology. Nimble and Archie are so well crafted and even though the story is told through Archie’s POV, I felt like I knew Nimble just as well as I read him through Archie’s eyes. I was enamored of Nimble as much as Archie was. And even though I didn’t have Nimble’s POV I could see his affections for Archie clear as day (even if Archie couldn’t).

The world building is great and this could be an amazing series if the author ever decided to go that direction. There’s so much to work with as the Prodigal devils venture away from Hell’s Below and begin to live alongside the natural borns. It was a pretty fascinating setup and I would love to read more about it all.

The ending was perfect and gave me some much needed traditional romance after reading Collared, so the balance was perfect.

11:59 by C.S. Poe

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4 Hearts

The start of this story drew me in immediately what with Asuka falling to his death at 11:59. Asuka is an enforcer in this dystopia (possibly post-apocalyptic?) world that's plagued by nightmares. I don't really understand how this came about but the more the story evolved the less I cared. It's about the journey and the destination rather than the genesis.

The world building was top-notch and I believe heavily influenced by Dante's Inferno, though I've never read it so I couldn't say with certainty. What I liked about it, besides the sumptuous visuals, was that even though Asuka has to go it alone Merrick, through his dedicated bookishness, lent his knowledge to Asuka which played a pivotal role in his successfully navigating the underworld.

The romance between them could've been stronger but it had a lot of ingredients that I liked: age and size difference, ginger protag who is very persistent, a grump and opposites attract. Side note: I loved that Merrick, though totally impractical, totes around a stack of books. So cute.

Peachy - 4 Hearts

I feel like I keep saying this, and I’m not even sorry a little, but this is another story where the world building is aces. All of these authors are so strong in that regards and it makes for some great atmosphere when the devil is the theme you’re working with.

11:59 brings in some Greek mythology alongside the devil and also makes the city a character in its own right. Dreams can be deadly here as a nightmare can follow its dreamer to the conscious world and turn into a monster of apocalyptic proportions. Asuka sold his soul years ago to save his life so that he could continue to help others. Selling his soul had more consequences than he realized though, he literally couldn’t dream but he also couldn’t dream conceptually and I loved how the author worked that into the story and his character.

Asuka became a shell of a hero, going through the motions of slaughtering monsters but with zero hopes for the future. Until he meets Merrick. Merrick was a delightful bit of sunshine in all the doom and gloom. Asuka didn’t have to have a soul to recognize that and for the first time in a long time, he wants to dream again.

The resolution is very Greco in it’s stylings and I had flashbacks to Clash of the Titans with Asuka as Perseus battling demons to save his world from Hades. The twist is that by slaying the demon Asuka not only saves the mortal world, he saves the underworld as well and restores balance to both. I would have loved more between Asuka and Merrick, but what I did get actually balanced well with the story overall so I have enough to know they are together and in my head got their HEA.

Wonderland City by Rhys Ford

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 5 Hearts

A feast for the imagination!

If you thought Tim Burton's telling of the classic Alice in Wonderland was freaky, try this on for size. It's really just set in Wonderland rather than a retelling. Ford took liberties to create this lush and vivid landscape to make it uniquely hers. And wonderful. I cannot overstate how incredible the world building is; everything from the pawns uniforms to the usage of magic by the Red Queen was vibrant and folded seamlessly into the narrative rather than being info-dumpy.

Another girl (Naomi) has made her way into Wonderland City accidentally and the devil strikes a bargain with Xander: find her and he'll return his soul. I loved how this world was woven together to include the devil and the soul selling aspect that pervades this anthology as well as his limitations within this Wonderland City. However, retrieving Naomi proves to be a tall order that requires the aid of Xander's trusty pooch, Blue, as well as his ex, Jean Michel.

It's focused primarily on the adventure but the romance snuck up on me and punched me right in the feels. I'm a sucker for second chances and it seems Jean Michel has been biding his time waiting for a chance at not only reconciliation but redemption. Nonetheless, the action sequence at the end was a battle royale! Literally. Somewhat gruesome but so worth it. Every time I turned the page something more awesome was happening!

There wasn't anything I didn't like about this story other than when it ended. If there were to be a continuation, I would be over the moon about that.

Dark Favors by Jordan Castillo Price

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4.5 Stars

One of my mom's favorite movies is The Big Chill. If you've never seen it, it's worth a watch if for no other reason than to get some insight into the 60s, 70s and 80s as college friends reunite for a friend's funeral via suicide. Had my mom not made me watch this repeatedly introduced me to this film I probably would never have known what a quaalude was. But she did so when this story started off in 1961 then jumped to 1979 and JCP threw in a quaalude reference I was feeling smug. Thanks mom! The usage of flashbacks to 1961 did their job in developing Johnny and fleshing him out.

I loved this story not just because of the quaaludes and associated smugness, but because it really built something between Adam and Johnny. I could wax on and on about them but the bottom line is I liked all the intricacies of these two characters and how their differences draw them together and forge a bond against all odds. This was also the sexiest of the stories I read; their chemistry was off the charts!

The concept of the favors and how those affect the Chosen I found very interesting especially when it cropped up at the end, an end which I found not just heartwarming but honest. Were there to be a follow up I would be all over it.



ARCs were provided by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

Blog Tour: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson


Help author S.J.D. Peterson and Dreamspinner Press celebrate the release of her new Dreamspun Beyond novel, Calculated Magic! Find out more about the paranormal romance below!


DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

     As I wrote the title to this blog, that song popped into my head. “Do you believe in magic,” La La La. “Young boys heart” La La La. Don’t you hate when a song you don’t even know all the word to gets stuck in your head? “Do you believe in magic?” UGH it’s going to be there all day, but I’m totally off topic *Focus Jo*

     I can’t remember at what age I stopped believing in magic. I don’t mean the seeing your child take its first breath or a beautiful sunset kind of magic. I’m talking the wand-waving, nose-wiggling, genie in a bottle kind of magic.

      At six, I was sure I could fly. Superman did it all the time. All I needed was a cape and a running start. Unfortunately, the towel around my neck as I jumped off the garage roof taught me, I was no superman. I was eight or nine when I gave up rubbing on the old lamp my grandmother kept on the shelf. I nearly rubbed my fingertips raw and not so much as a puff of smoke. Teenage years were a blur and I’m pretty sure by the time I had my children, Bewitched, was nothing more than an entertaining show.

      In my new novel, Calculated Magic, I am a lot like Richard. Except, I suck at math, my dog’s name is not Albert (Agnes is a girl) and I don’t avoid people or hate small talk. Okay, I’m nothing like Richard except we share a disbelief in magic. We both look for the logical explication when something strange or eerie happens. Yet, unlike Richard, I want to believe and still holding out hope that one day, I’ll wiggle my nose and suddenly be sitting on the beach with the sun beating down on me in the dead of winter.

     What about you? Do you remember at what age you stopped believing in real magic? If you could cast a spell with the twitch of your nose, what kind would it be?

~Hugs~
Jo



Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn't believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

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SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can't cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) by Beth Bolden


Author Beth Bolden and Vibrant Promotions visit on the Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) blog tour! Learn more about the contemporary romance and enter in the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway!

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SAVOR ME
KITCHEN GODS, BOOK 3
BETH BOLDEN
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 10.02.18
Savor Me Cover
COVER DESIGN: AngstyG
BLURB
When Chef Xander Bridges leaves the warmth and safety of his car on a cold, stormy night and approaches a stranger, the last thing he expects to find is a future. He’s wanted to leave his job for a while, but with no good opportunities on the horizon, he’s been stuck in a long, painful rut. But when he befriends the stranger viciously tearing up his own vineyard, Xander discovers something inexplicable. Maybe he’s not the bitter, sarcastic man that everyone, including himself, has endured for years.
Maybe, with someone like Damon in his life, he could be something more. Something better.
Damon Hess doesn’t just want more, he demands it. With his alcoholic past, there are no gray areas for him. Only black and white. In love or not. Sober or drunk. But the chance meeting with Xander opens Damon’s eyes, and gives him a vision full of something he hasn’t experienced in years: hope.
Hope that he can expect companionship and affection, hope that he doesn’t have to grapple with his family’s questionable Napa legacy any longer, and most importantly, hope that there’s a future worth believing in. But the longer he and Xander spend cultivating that future, the more Damon realizes that the key is so much simpler than he ever imagined--it’s Xander.
Savor Me is an 80,000 word contemporary m/m romance starring an irascible man with a soft, gooey marshmallow center and another who knows he likes men, but has never been with one before. It is third in the Kitchen Gods series, but can be read as a standalone. 
 
Universal link: mybook.to/kgsavorme

best of series
good luck
perfectly imperfectly
EXCERPT
Hands down, it was one of the best meals Damon had ever eaten. Even though he’d watched Xander prep it with his own two hands, it was a marvel that he’d done it with only those hands. It was a far better meal than any he’d ever had at Terroir, and that was prepared by an entire staff and countless pieces of expensive equipment.



Xander had come to his house with a bag of groceries and a knife, borrowed a pan and a pizza cutter, and had made an astoundingly delicious meal. It was talent and drive, all wrapped up in one package.



A cute package.



Damon had been telling himself not to notice—or if he was going to notice, then he should just ignore the attraction. But sitting across from Xander, staring at him in the candlelight, it was much harder than he’d imagined. Especially when he looked relaxed and much more at peace than he had that night a year ago.



At first he’d been too worked up himself to notice the anxiousness that Xander wore like a cloak. Or a very difficult-to-scale wall complete with archers equipped with fiery arrows and soldiers pouring boiling oil.



But tonight his guard had fallen a little, and despite everything, Damon wanted desperately to believe it was more than just quitting a job he’d really hated.



Damon wanted to believe the smile on Xander’s face had something to do with him.



“Thank you,” Damon said. “If that was an audition, you nailed it.”



“I know.” He was a little smug, and it was more than a little adorable. The way his nose scrunched up, the eye crinkles, the expressive look in his dark brown eyes.



Damon had imagined he might be in danger, hanging around Xander all the time, especially considering the impression he’d made on him in such a short time, but this was Trouble with a capital t.



“You’d better watch yourself. Not sure your head’s gonna fit back through the back door,” Damon teased.



“You wanted a chef,” Xander said, spreading his arms. “You got one.”



“They’re sort of thick on the ground in Napa,” Damon softly insisted, “but it turns out I’m particular.”



“Imagine that, a Hess particular.” The sarcasm in Xander’s voice cut through the dreamy romantic quality of the candlelight and let in a little of the real world. Specifically his family.



He couldn’t exactly tell Xander he didn’t ever want to talk about his family. After all, this land was their legacy, and his trust fund was making the restaurant a reality. Truth was, he really didn’t want to talk about them, and it felt like Xander brought them up as some sort of defense mechanism. Damon still didn’t understand why, and this was definitely not the first time it had happened.



“What’s your deal with the Hesses?” Damon asked. Might as well be honest, at least before Xander walked back in the house and signed the contract that would tie them together for the near future. Of course, that also meant the question had barely made it out of his mouth.



Something ugly churned deep in his stomach, exactly the opposite reaction he should have had after that incredible meal.



What if he changes his mind?



“Nothing,” Xander said, but his chin was jutting out again, and his fingers were drumming anxiously against the wood tabletop. It sure didn’t look like nothing.



There was a definite voice in his head, begging him to leave it, to make sure he didn’t drive Xander away with his insistent questioning. After all, Xander wasn’t signing with Hess Vineyards, he was signing with Damon, who stayed as far away from his family as possible.



But Damon’s last name was still Hess, and it wasn’t going to change.



“Really?” Damon asked.



Xander sighed. “I said it was nothing, and it is. It’s stupid.”



“I don’t want it to interfere,” Damon offered. “Not with what we’re about to build.”



“It won’t. I promise. I know you’re not your family. And to be honest, that’s what it is. I’ve had a few run-ins with Hess employees. But you’re not like them.”



The thing Damon had discovered before coming back to Napa, and definitely after returning to the Valley, was that he could run as far and as hard as he could, but his family was still his family. Time and distance couldn’t alter his blood, no matter how much he wished otherwise.



Beth Bolden Logo 2 

Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.

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Guest Review: Us Again by Nell Iris

When Alex gets a call in the middle of the night telling him his ex-boyfriend is in the hospital, he only hesitates for a second before rushing to Sammy’s side. But the Sammy in the hospital bed is fragile and not the same man who told Alex to leave seven months ago.

Alex wants to help Sammy get better and is desperate to find out what went wrong between them. Maybe he’ll even get a second chance with the man he hasn’t been able to get over.

But will Sammy let Alex back into his life?











Reviewer: Annika


Quote… You're so cuddly, Care Bear
... and so is this book.

Us Again is a sweet short story about that second chance. It's emotional at times, and other will have you smiling and sighing dreamily.

When Alex gets a phone call in the middle of the night he is far from happy. When the caller identifies himself as his ex's brother and asks him to come to the hospital Alex doesn't know what to think. On the one hand he's still in love with Sammy. On the other, Sammy made it abundantly clear that he didn't want Alex around. Unable to stay away Alex goes to the hospital to see the man he can't forget. Maybe, just maybe, things have changed from all those months ago.

I wish this story had been longer. I enjoyed reading about Alex and Sammy and would love to have seen much more of them. More of that first meet-cute, their path of falling in love. The feelings and connection were there throughout the book, but greedy me wants more. I wanted to explore more of Sammy and his issues, his road to recovery and not to forget their road back to each other. What we got of these guys were sweet and beautiful, just not enough.

This short little story about forgiveness and finding your way back to each other is a great read when you want something sweet, a little emotional, but don't have a lot of time. And when it ends you might find yourself wishing for your very own bear hug.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.



Review: Gray's Shadow (Kings of Hell MC #4) by K.A. Merikan

--- There can be no shadow without the man to cast it. ---

Gray. Lost his twin. Will never be complete. Works alone.
Shadow. Monster? Human? Exists to be Gray’s one true companion.

After losing his twin brother, Gray has devoted his life to the Kings of Hell MC. He will do anything to protect his family and that means anything.

Even sell his own shadow to the devil.

Following a fire that left him without one arm, Gray feels pushed to the sidelines. In order to prove to his club that he is still capable of completing dangerous tasks, he will have to team up with the strange creature from the Other Side. Tall, inhumanly strong, and menacing despite the handsome exterior, Shadow is just the tool Gray needs.

The moment Shadow lays his eyes on Gray, he wants to crawl under Gray’s skin and make the human his.

Gray on the other hand isn’t willing to get attached to a monster destined to do the devil’s bidding and disappear once his time is up. Rejected, Shadow has to do everything in his power to convince his human that they belong together.

But as the clock ticks away precious minutes of Shadow’s existence, Gray will have to choose between his loyalty to the Kings of Hell MC and responsibility for the creature he brought into this world.

*

“Do you feel me running through your veins?”
Gray nodded.

*

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, monster, tattoos, secrets, crime, gothic, grief, mourning, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, fish out of water, opposites attract, demisexuality, gentle giant
Genre: Dark, paranormal M/M romance
Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
Length: ~150,000 words (Book 4 in the series)

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters.


I really need to stop doubting these two authors. I open the book up, see how long it is and think..


...but I start to read and suddenly it's like…


Seriously! Everytime I start one of their books!

Gray's Shadow ended up being soooo different to what I expected and Shadow was definitely sooo different to what I had imagined. Shadow ended up being one of the sweetest characters of the series, that's including Laurent, and he looks like this…


So yummy!

Gray was difficult to begin with and he did annoy me because Shadow was such a sweetie, I felt very protective of him. However I felt I understood Gray's struggles and while he did act like a bitch at times, I liked how it all ended.

The sex is off the charts, which you'd expect nothing less from KA Merikan. The magical aspect wasn't as creepy and previous books and everything is slowly coming to a head.

Obviously for those who don't know, this is a series that needs to be read in order. This book is not a standalone, but the rest of the series is just as good as this book, so well worth the read!




Blog Tour + Giveaway: His Instant Family by Rheland Richmond


Welcome author Rheland Richmond and Vibrant Promotions on the His Instant Family blog tour! Learn more about the contemporary romance, enter in the $10 Amazon gift card giveaway!

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His Instant Family
Rheland Richmond
M/M Romance
Release Date: 10.04.18
His Instant Family


Cover Design: Jay Aheer


Blurb
Shy and awkward Teo Wright, a brilliant young author, has met the man of his dreams in much older Michael, a widower, and father of three. The man has fired up his fantasies and refuses to let go. Discovering they are both single sets them on the road to forever.
“I want to wake up to this every morning.”
Dr. Michael Ashworth has been focused on his work for too many years and although now he is one of the best doctors in his field, it has been to the detriment of his family. But when Teo comes into his life, Michael knows the young man is his future. Teo has made him feel alive and whole again. However, Michael’s in-laws are not thrilled to find the ‘straight’ son-in-law they have known and loved for many years, is in fact bisexual.
Dating a man is not the only issue threatening the life he and Teo are building together. Michael’s teenage son is also not a fan of his father having a boyfriend that is so much younger.
A rebellious teenager and bigoted relatives are hurdles Michael and Teo must overcome before they can find their forever, but nothing good ever comes easy… especially when there are kids to consider.

His Instant Family Teaser 1
His Instant Family Teaser 2

Excerpt
Michael wasn't sure what just happened, but thankfully years of galas and fundraisers had given him a world-class poker face. Unless he was losing his mind... he was apparently attracted to the husband of one of his patients. He knew that was exactly what it was. He knew that feeling. That spark of attraction and that sense of potential. He had only ever really felt that once before, with Sierra. His late wife.

That flash, and those tingles of fierce attraction that made goose bumps pop out all over your skin. But that wasn't... couldn't be possible? He wasn't gay. Not that he had any problem with being gay, far from it, but he just had never been attracted to a man before. Sure, in college, he'd noticed some guys were attractive, but he'd been married to his wife, Sierra, for eleven years before she passed away. Damn it, here came the crushing guilt. He couldn't even think of her without the guilt and regret overshadowing everything.

He hadn't thought about anyone in that way since he’d met her. He did not want to think of anybody in that way, either. He'd not had that feeling since forever ago. And, truthfully, he was shaken to the core. He’d been seeing Mrs. Preston since she transferred into his practice. But, this was the first time he was meeting Mr. Preston. Michael put on his most blank look to conceal what he was feeling. He couldn't very well tell the expectant parents they were having a daughter while imagining what the father looked like under his clothes.

Matteo was a beautiful man, and those were the only words to describe him. With the slightly too long dark locks, and the stormy gray eyes that made him even more striking to look at. With his coloring, they just stood out in contrast. He was shorter than Michael. All-around leaner too, with a body he would describe as fit without being overly muscled. Maybe he just needed to get laid. It had been almost a year, maybe longer, since he had ended his liaison with Addison. She was a lovely woman. Stunning in fact, but she'd started making comments like, “Where is this going?” and, “Why haven't I met your children?” Immediately he had known that it was time to end things.

He just knew that she could never compete with Sierra. It was unfair, and he shouldn't even be comparing them. He knew this, but he couldn't stop. Once she'd mentioned meeting his kids, he'd known their time together was up. He ended things so fast he may have left blazing skid marks while leaving her apartment, like the DeLorean in Back to the Future. It was unfortunate, honestly, because she would have made a lovely wife, just not for him.

Focus, Michael. Finish this appointment and leave this room as quickly as possible without being impolite or unprofessional.

Rheland Richmond Logo
Since she was a little girl, Rheland Richmond entertained herself with any book she could get her hands on. She has written as long as she can remember, and now she finally gets to share some of those stories with other people.

She loves a good happily ever after. Because she believes love and light should touch everything. She is an obsessive reader and would never have considered writing if it wasn’t for all the authors that inspired her and the thousands of books she has devoured along the way.

When she’s not reading she’s caught up in all her guilty pleasure TV Shows. Or catching up with her sibs wherever they are in the world, which usually involves long distance calling. She’s an introvert that will take a night in before anything else.

Made in Nigeria and Raised in the UK she’s an interesting mix of both cultures and appreciates both equally.

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Guest Review: Ride or Dye (Curl Up and Dye Mysteries #6) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Gabe and Josh Roman-Wyatt have been living life in the fast lane. Demanding jobs, precocious twin toddlers, an ever-growing circle of friends, and a menagerie of pets means their home is filled with love and laughter but very few quiet moments for the happy couple. Gabe’s solution is to plan a surprise vacation at a perfect hideaway where the two of them can slow things down and reconnect.

Tarlington House, a historic home located on Edisto Island in South Carolina, hosts an annual murder-mystery event which will allow Josh to use the skills he learned from his all-time favorite television detective to solve the case. The serene setting is perfect for fun days in the sun, passionate lovemaking under the stars, and a healthy wager between husbands to see who can plan the best date. But when the other guests arrive, the guys find themselves surrounded by liars and cheaters who will say or do anything to win, reminding them there’s no place like Blissville.

When a guest is killed during a vicious storm that knocks out the power and phone lines, Josh and Gabe’s murder mystery role-playing becomes a real-life whodunnit. Serve and protect will take on a deeper meaning for Gabe when he’s torn between upholding the law and protecting his husband from a ruthless killer.

Ride or Dye includes sexy sunrises, snarky banter, and swoon-worthy romance. It is the sixth and final book in the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries, which must be read in order. Ride or Dye contains sexually explicit material intended for adults 18 and older.


Reviewer: Annika

Quote… You're my personal sunrise and sunset
When I saw that the final book in this series was released, I couldn’t wait to read it. I just needed to know how Gabe and Josh's story ended. I've followed them for a long time, and watching them being happy, having their happily ever after.

I haven't kept up with the spin-off series Road to Blissville so I was a bit lost in the beginning in regards to the timeline, some of the characters were also new. But that was only in the beginning, as most of the book focused on Gabe and Josh and their weekend away.

Gabe wanted to surprise Josh with a vacation at a beautiful historical home in South Carolina. And this vacation included a twist; during the stay all the guest would take a part in the annual murder mystery event. So their vacation is filled with intrigue and strange guests and them trying to figure out their secrets before the games begin. As usual their plans were foiled when one of the guests is found murdered. Being trapped in a hotel with a murderer and in the middle of a storm was not what Gabe had planned.

Ride or Dye was just about what I expected from the book. At times sweet and kinda sappy. Gave and Josh outdoing each other in romantic gestures. The drama and intrigue surrounded the guests at the hotel added another layer. I'm glad that Walker didn't create drama between Gabe and Josh for the drama's sake, all the drama came from outside sources. These two stayed strong throughout.

This was the last book of the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries and while it didn't really bring something new to Gabe and Josh, it was really nice to come back to visit with them. To know what they've been doing since we last left them. So in part this book could be considered an epilogue of sorts, to let us know how the guys were doing when they were settled, no ups and downs, only loving bliss. Recommended to all of Gabe and Josh's fans.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: Out in the End Zone (Out in College #2) by Lane Hayes


Celebrate the release of Out in the End Zone (Out in College #2) with author Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing! Learn more about the new adult romance and enter in the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!


Title: Out in the End Zone
Series: Out in College #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: October 10
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 44000
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

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Synopsis

Evan di Angelo is an upbeat, good-natured goofball who loves his friends and family… and football. A traumatic accident may have ended his hopes of playing professionally, but he’s made the most of his four years on the field at a small Southern California college. He’s learned the hard way to embrace change, take chances and try things outside of his comfort zone...like agreeing to play fake boyfriends for someone else’s senior project.

Mitch Peterson knows that being his authentic self is the path to true happiness. He’s grown from a shy, quiet kid from a broken home to an out and proud budding internet sensation bound for grad school. An awesome senior project is the key. It’s unlikely anyone will believe the hunky, straight athlete is Mitch’s new lover, but it’s worth a shot. However, as their tentative friendship blossoms into unexpected attraction, the lines between reality and fiction blur for both men. Evan is forced to face old demons and decide if he has the courage to take the next step and come out in the end zone.

Excerpt

Mitch scoffed. “Cooperate, please. This is your intro. Maybe you should put your arm around me and kiss my cheek.”

“Now?”

“Yes. This is a rehearsal, so…go for it.”

I moved to his side, slipped my arm around his waist, and kissed his cheek. His scruff threw me off stride. It wasn’t noticeable because his facial hair was blond, but I could feel it. He smelled and felt different from anyone I’d ever kissed before. Sure, I’d kissed male relatives. I was part Italian. No one in my family shied from physical contact. But a hug and kiss on each cheek from my Uncle Gianni was different from kissing an attractive man. I caressed his cheek impulsively and then leaned in to sniff him the way I’d wanted to since the party. “Mmm.”

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“You smell good. I’ve never kissed a guy I wasn’t related to who had a five o’clock shadow.”

Mitch gave me a funny look. “You kissed me yesterday at lunch.”

“Yeah, but you haven’t shaved since this morning, right? The texture is like sandpaper but in a good way. I like it,” I assured him.

He looked flustered for a second but recovered quickly. “Well, that’ll make the real kiss easier then.”

“Right. When do we kiss, and what’s the intensity level supposed to be? G, PG, PG-13? Or are we going straight to the nasty?” I teased.

“Ha. G is peck on the cheek, which we just covered. PG is peck on the lips. So somewhere in between that and PG-13 works.”

“Got it. Maybe we should practice first,” I said.

“Um…sure.” Mitch turned around and gestured toward the bar stools at the island. “We can sit there, and I’ll set up the tripod a foot or so from where you’re standing now.”

“We don’t have to be in exact position. I just need to get used to touching you. It would be the same with anyone. Guy or girl.”

Okay, fine. I wanted to do it again. I’d thought about him nonstop since the party last weekend. And that throwaway kiss yesterday at the restaurant had opened a Pandora’s box. I was consumed now. I didn’t want to practice kissing him. I had to or I’d go crazy.

“Maybe you’re right. Um…okay. You can kiss me,” he said in a low voice.

“Well, you have to participate,” I chided as I stepped into his space.

“I’m…yes. Do you want to go first? Like…” Mitch set his hand on my hip and inched closer still. “This?”

I lifted my right hand and hovered it above his ear for a moment before threading my fingers through his hair. He suddenly looked nervous, which somehow worked in my favor. I held his gaze, then moved forward and gently pressed my lips to his. And fuck, it felt amazing to be here again. I tilted my head slightly, loving the intoxicating contrast of his soft lips and scratchy chin. Mitch closed his eyes and hooked his arms around my neck so we stood toe to toe and chest to chest. All the ways this felt different no longer applied. I knew what to do here. I was practically a fucking expert.

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Meet 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 well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: A Dance of Water and Air (Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante


Welcome author Antonia Aquilante and IndiGo Marketing as they promote A Dance of Water and Air (Elemental Magicae #1)! The author chats about the new series in today's visit and you could enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!




Title:  A Dance of Water and Air
Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One
Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher:  NineStar Press, LLC
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 83600
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers


Synopsis

Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.

When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.

Excerpt

The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund swam, long limbs slicing through the clear, warm water. His mind quieted in the repetitive motion, in the weightlessness and the comfort of being surrounded by his Element. Everything washed away, leaving him calm and relaxed, the only time he ever was lately.

If only he could stay there.

He imagined it for a moment. Spending his life swimming and sailing. All his time in the soothing embrace of the water, or at the shore or bank, feeling Water’s power, learning to use its magic. It was a lovely dream. A lovely, impossible dream. With that thought, tension—the tension his morning swim had briefly dispelled—came flooding back. He stopped swimming and flipped onto his back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before letting it out in a long sigh.

The sigh had barely left him when he heard the scrape of a shoe against stone. He bit back another sigh and flipped over again to straighten and tread water in the center of the large pool. His secretary stood on the tiled terrace. Peregrine knew better than anyone that this time was Edmund’s and wouldn’t disturb him unless it was urgent. Disaster or grave injury were top of the list.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, Highness.” Peregrine would never call him by name when someone else might hear, and Edmund would never try to convince him otherwise. Edmund was far too aware of the dictates of his own position. And far too grateful to have found a friend in Peregrine to quibble overly about how they had to behave in public. “I apologize for disturbing you, sir, but the king has called for you.”

A summons from Father certainly counted as a valid reason to disturb him, especially with the rising tensions between Thalassa and their neighbor, Tycen. It seemed Edmund would be cutting his swim short this morning. He struck out for the terrace where Peregrine waited, swimming with steady but unhurried strokes. He wouldn’t dawdle, but if there had been reason to rush, Peregrine would have said.

Soon enough, he reached the terrace and pulled himself up to sit on the edge. Peregrine handed him a towel. He wiped his face first and stood to strip off his soaking wet swim pants and dry the rest of him. Peregrine wouldn’t care about Edmund’s nudity, and he didn’t worry that someone else would come upon them. The pool he chose for his swims wasn’t the largest of the many on the palace grounds, but it was the most private. The terrace they stood on was the only one that connected to the palace, and it was shaded from view. The rest of the area was screened with trees and shrubbery. The smaller terraces on the side opposite them were even more secluded. He’d spent much time in the pool, which was fed by the same underground spring as the rest of the palace waterways, and on the terraces over the years.

Once Edmund was dry, Peregrine handed him the robe he’d left hanging over the back of a chair when he’d arrived. He’d also left a book there—he’d been far too optimistic about his time when he came down here, apparently. He thanked Peregrine and shrugged into the blue-green silk. It was new, something he hadn’t really needed, but he liked the color against his brown skin and the feel of the smooth, cool silk.

“Any idea what my father needs?” Edmund stepped into his sandals and picked up his book from the table.

“None.”

He raised his eyebrow at Peregrine in surprise. Edmund could always rely on Peregrine for more information than seemed possible about everyone from the maids to the king. He’d long since gotten over any misgivings about Peregrine’s seeming omniscience and begun to rely on it. For Peregrine not to have an inkling of what was brewing… Odd. And slightly disturbing.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Not immediately, of course. A summons through official channels called for more formality. Edmund couldn’t appear in the king’s presence in nothing but a thin robe and sandals. Peregrine kept pace as Edmund walked to his rooms, informing him of other court news and gossip that he might find interesting or useful as they walked.

Edmund’s rooms were a floor up from the garden pool. A guard stationed near the door jumped to open it for Edmund as he approached. He nodded but didn’t slow as he sailed through the door, Peregrine at his heels. His sandals made soft tapping sounds on the green and white tile of the entryway. His sitting room opened up in front of him, curtains fluttering in the breeze blowing in off the ocean below. He had no time to relax there or even to eat the breakfast that was sure to be laid out in the dining room. Instead, he turned left, taking the short hallway leading to his bedchamber, dressing room, and bathing room.

He went directly to the bathing room. Wide windows let in sunlight over the large tub, empty because he usually bathed after breakfast. There was no time to fill it, let alone soak. He settled for rinsing the salt from his skin with water from the basin and briskly rubbed a towel over his shoulder-length hair. Having it drip all over his clothing while he met with Father just wouldn’t do. When he’d squeezed as much of the water from it as he could, he left the towel and went to the dressing room.

Peregrine was there, laying out clothes.

“That isn’t your job,” Edmund said.

“I’m aware.”

“I can select my own clothing.”

“I’m aware of that as well. Put them on anyway.”

Edmund laughed and did as he was told. Peregrine was only saving him time and knew what would be appropriate for him to wear, considering the meeting with Father and the day ahead. He pulled on undergarments and slim gray pants and dropped a sleeveless white shirt over his head. Peregrine held out a dark teal jacket for him, helping him shrug into the embroidered silk. Edmund murmured his thanks and fastened the jacket over his chest, fingers working quickly over the row of little silver buttons. When he was finished, he stepped into shoes and fastened the silver and aquamarine drop earrings Peregrine had just pulled from their box into his ears. It was the only jewelry Peregrine had chosen, and as he looked in the mirror, Edmund had to admit he was probably right in that. The clothing didn’t need more.

“Thank you,” Edmund said.

“My pleasure, Edmund.”

“Perhaps I should have you dress me every day. You have an eye for it. Much better than anyone else. Do you think you’d prefer it to being my secretary?”

Peregrine sent a stern frown at Edmund. “Funny.”

It was, for any number of reasons. Only one being that Peregrine was frighteningly efficient in his present position and far too good at it to do anything else. In fact, he was far too skilled to be anything except a royal secretary, and it was Edmund’s good fortune to have him.

“Shall we?” Peregrine didn’t mention that Edmund shouldn’t keep Father waiting, but he didn’t have to.

“Yes. Catch me up on any changes to my schedule as we walk.”

Peregrine did so, barely consulting his notebook. Edmund listened carefully as they left his rooms and strode through the palace corridors. His own wing, reserved for the rooms of the royal children, was quiet as it was only occupied by him and Kerenza. His sister would still be abed—she preferred to rise late when she had the opportunity—and he had no appointments that might bring anyone to his office until later in the day. When they passed out of the wing, the entrance marked by a three-tiered fountain decorated in mosaics of blue and green tiles, the corridors became more populated. But everyone gave way for the prince and his secretary, bowing as Edmund passed them.

Father’s office was near the council chambers and other administrative offices in the main block of the palace. He worked sometimes in the small private library attached to his rooms, but all his official meetings took place here. If Edmund had any doubt that today’s summons was serious and formal, it would have been dispelled by the location of the meeting.

Peregrine knocked when they arrived, and a moment later, the door was opened by Father’s secretary, who bowed and stepped aside. Edmund bowed slightly as soon as he entered the room, then walked closer to Father’s desk. Peregrine remained back near the closed door. Father looked up from the papers he was examining to study Edmund with a keen eye. Edmund was sure Father was cataloging every detail of his appearance from his attire to his still damp hair.

Father was dressed formally, as Edmund would expect. His jacket was green, heavily embroidered in gold and white, the color vivid against his dark skin. The circlet of his rank sat on his head amid black curls now streaked with gray. Edmund had not worn his own circlet, deeming it unnecessary for the day he had planned; he hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision. The set of Father’s features caused Edmund’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“You called for me, Father?”

“Yes. Come sit down. I need to speak with you.” The seriousness of his tone did nothing to alleviate Edmund’s sudden concern.

Edmund took the chair across from Father’s desk, hoping he properly concealed his anxiety. He’d been trained all his life to mask every emotion, so he’d best be able to. He looked at Father and waited for him to speak.

“As you know, we’ve been pursuing an alliance with Aither,” Father said.

And, of course, Edmund did know, though he hadn’t been involved in the negotiations. Aither sat at their western border. Theirs was generally a friendly border to begin with, trade flowing freely between the two countries, but Father and his council had hoped that the looming threat of Tycen’s aggression might worry Aither’s young queen as much as it had them and would tempt her into an alliance. Edmund hadn’t been informed about the state of the negotiations in some time. Had they gone horribly wrong?

“We’ve come to an agreement with Queen Hollis.”

“You—” Edmund stopped. He’d been so sure Father was going to say just the opposite that he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. “That’s wonderful, Father. Did the final agreement go as you’d hoped?”

“We got what we needed from it.”

“Good.” And yet the relief Edmund should’ve been feeling didn’t come. Father didn’t look as if he’d just concluded a successful negotiation, didn’t look as if he was pleased by the outcome. Or…no, not as if he was displeased, but too serious. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. However, the promises of increased trade and mutual protection were not enough on their own to secure the alliance we needed.”

Edmund wasn’t surprised, though he hadn’t been privy to the particulars of what Father wanted, aside from Aither standing with them should Tycen press their aggression. “What did they ask for?”

“Queen Hollis and her advisors required more assurance of our compliance, and truth be told, I wasn’t upset to have more of theirs. They’re Air wielders, so they’re different from us, but Water and Air are compatible. Even if I would have preferred an alliance with no deeper entanglements.”

“Father?” A rush of cold spread through Edmund’s veins.

“You and Queen Hollis will wed with the expectation of a child being born within two years. The alliance will be secured by blood and all the stronger for it.”



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Author Visit

Hi, everyone! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and I’m here to talk with you about my new book, A Dance of Water and Air, which came out on October 1st from NineStar Press. A Dance of Water and Air is the first book in the Elemental Magicae duology. It’s a fantasy romance duology with a story that continues over the two books. Edmund and Arden’s romance is left happily at the end of Dance (though they play a big role in book 2, so you’ll see lots more of them in addition to a new couple that will be introduced), but there are plot points that carry over and must be resolved in A Harmony of Fire and Earth, which will be out in March 2019.

The inspiration for Dance was actually a dream. After all this time, I don’t remember the details of it, but I wrote down what I remembered at the time, and the core of it remained the same: what would happen if a prince had to marry a queen because of an alliance and ended up falling for her brother instead? The dream gave me that, but it didn’t give me too much about my characters. I had so much fun getting to know them before and as I wrote—I’m not a huge planner; I’m always learning about my characters and my story as I write.

One of the main characters in Dance is Edmund, heir to the king of Thalassa. In order to seal an important alliance between his kingdom and the neighboring kingdom of Aither, Edmund is told he must marry Aither’s queen. Edmund puts his duty to the kingdom he will one day rule ahead of his own happiness and agrees to the match, though he isn’t without misgivings. And those misgivings are only heightened because Edmund is demisexual (though the word isn’t used on page), and the idea of marrying and spending his life with someone he’s never even met is anxiety-inducing. It’s the only thing his kingdom has asked of him that he really wants to refuse, but he knows what is expected of him. He is also thoughtful, empathetic, and intuitive. And is a strong wielder of Water magic.

Edmund meets his perfect match in Arden, brother of the queen of Aither, though of course that doesn’t make it easy for either of them. Arden grew up knowing that his sister would one day be queen and that he would be at her side as her advisor—though he assumed he would have years to spend with his books and his Air magic beforehand. He never expected her to become queen so soon, but after their father is killed, they are thrust into those roles. Arden is sharp and witty and used to working court politics, and he does all of that as his sister moves ahead with plans to marry Edmund. He doesn’t expect the immediate attraction he has for Edmund or the deep friendship and love that grows up between them as they’re thrown together over and over.

I had such fun with all of my characters, including Edmund and Arden’s secretaries and friends, Peregrine and Ciaran, who develop a romance of their own (not at all planned when I started writing!). I adore Edmund and Arden and their friends, and I hope you will too when you read Dance.


Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.



Tour Schedule

10/8     Mirrigold Mutterings and Musings    https://mirrigold.com/
10/9     Love Bytes Reviews     http://lovebytesreviews.com/
10/10   Bayou Book Junkie      http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/
10/10   Divine Magazine         http://divinemagazine.biz/
10/11   Boy Meets Boy Reviews          http://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com
10/12   Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author     http://www.valerieullmer.com
10/12   AL Boyd           https://alboyd9.blogspot.com/

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