Review: A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra

Nature made them adversaries, but one glance ignites a lust stronger than the need for blood.

After 200 years, the nightlife has lost its allure for Reese. A leader among his kind, owner of a nightclub that serves as a banquet of nubile flesh and hot blood, he is bored out of his mind.

His heart hasn't stirred in over a century.

Born to a line of vampire hunters, Will ventures out every day after dark to track down those creatures who have crossed the line from feeding to murder, and destroy them.

All he wants is one night off to drink and dance and maybe get laid.

Too bad it's not his lucky night. Or maybe it is?

Not even witnessing Will stake one of his brethren is enough to quell the lust that Reese feels from his first glimpse of the gorgeous hunter. And though Will knows how dangerous it could be to take the sensual invitation in Reese's dark eyes, he can't resist.

Why fight when they could fuck instead?


I have history of loving the enemies to lovers’ trope and when you have vampires and hunters wanting to get it on, I am all in. I mean from Buffy and Angel (or my favorite Spike) I’ve loved the angst of wanting to fuck or fight and all the play that comes before, during and after. This was right up my dark alley leading to… well, wherever it is vamps are gonna  hang out these days.
That’s all it ever took; a single heartbeat could change a life. End it. Begin it.
Reese is a double century old vampire who is tired of the scene. After the first few or 8 decades the haze of all he can get as a vampire has worn off. Now he is part owner of the hippest new club in town, Sang, and all he wants to do is chill. But when he spots a blond boy in leather dancing as if it were sex on two legs, he lets himself feel the pull of lust and of his heart.
Will, is a vampire hunter by night and while his friends don’t know about his nighttime activities, they know Will needs to unwind. When they find a way to get into Sang, he decides that a night of dancing and letting go is what he needs. As he begins relax, Will feels someone watching him as he dances, and meets the gaze of one hot man who makes his blood run hot. It could be a good thing the man watching him has a thing for blood, eh?
This was fun, sexy and at times totally cheesy but the cheese was called on by the characters so it made it funny instead of cringe worthy. The way Will and Reese met was interesting and how they both decided they meant one another no harm other than the chance to fuck each other stupid was delightful. Yup, a vampire and a vampire hunter decide that the only thing long and hard that will be sunk into anyone will be… you know? *grins*
“Ahh, hunter,” he murmured into the dark. “You are dangerous.”
I like that we get both POV’s with this so we know how each man feels about sleeping with the enemy. It was sweet how Will gave in and how much Reese wanted more than just a chance to taste a hunter’s blood. There was no need for Reese to coerce Will into anything they did in bed or the elevator or behind the club; it was as natural as can be and while they did pause for a second to question what they were doing, pure lust and want won and I was so happy that it did.
For me though, this was way too short and I sincerely hope the author is considering writing more about Reese and Will. The morning after note was enough to have me giddy, excited and hopeful.





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Blog Tour: Letters From Cupid by Ari McKay


Ari McKay are here today talking writerly things to promote their holiday novel, Letters From Cupid.


Writers are notorious eavesdroppers.

Maybe not all writers, but I dare say most of us have a tendency to listen when we’re alone in a public place. Perhaps even when we aren’t alone! A snippet of conversation floats over from the next table, and we make a mental note – or even write it down – for later use because it’s catchy or fascinating. Something about it has potential, and so we want to remember it.

Just this weekend, I was in an elevator with a fellow writer and two or three other people who were carrying on a conversation. One of them said something that was both funny and uniquely phrased, and I made a mental note to remember her line because it would make a great piece of dialogue. As soon as we were out of the elevator and away from the other group, my writer friend turned to me, quoted the exact line that had gotten my attention, and said, “Don’t let me forget that quote because it’s great.” I’m not sure which one of us is going to use it – maybe neither of us – but it’s both telling and amusing that we latched on to the same line.

I think writers tend to listen – okay, eavesdrop – because so many of us are introverts. It’s in our nature to listen rather than speak. We’re content to sit quietly and take in what’s going on around us. Our external stimulus serves to enrich our inner world. So if you are an extrovert who ever wonders if their introverted friend is really listening when they’re smiling and nodding, wonder no more. They’re listening. And if they’re also a writer, they’re probably taking mental notes for later use as well. Don’t be surprised if some little element in their next short story or novel sounds awfully familiar.

We’re also hoarders. Not of things, but of people, places, dialogue. Or perhaps we’re magpies, constantly picking up little shiny things we see every day that we want to take back to our nest. We see random people on the street and realize their outfit would be perfect for a character’s fashion style. We overhear conversations and save bits of it for dialogue. We visit a new place, fall in love with it, and decide to set a story there.

I’d say it’s probably rare that a writer doesn’t have a physical notebook or a notepad app available most of the time for jotting down the random things we see or hear that we want to remember for use in a current or future story. It’s inevitable that we’ll experience a blinding flash of inspiration as soon as we aren’t anywhere near something to take notes with. The “inspiration striking in the shower or while driving” concept is cliché, but it’s also true.  

A writer eavesdropping on his colleague is what sets the plot – and the romance – in motion in our newest release, Letters from Cupid. Macon is a tenured professor who teaches creative writing, and he’s also a writer and an introvert. He doesn’t mean to eavesdrop on his colleague’s conversation about a recent breakup, but their offices are adjoining, so he just can’t help it.

But rather than writing a short story about it, Macon is inspired by what he hears to help Derek find love again, and so he writes a letter from Cupid and leaves it on Derek’s door. He’s surprised when Derek responds, but he writes back, and the two of them begin communicating more honestly to each other through the letters than they do to anyone else face to face.


I’d like to thank Boy Meets Boy Reviews for letting us guest post as part of our blog tour. We always enjoy being able to share our thoughts about our works, our writing process, and writing in general. Letters from Cupid is being released on February 14th by Dreamspinner Press. Ari and I hope you enjoy this light holiday romance!

Blurb

2nd Edition

After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?

Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2015.


Cover Artist: Bree Archer

DSP Buy Link
Amazon Buy Link
B&N Buy Link

About the Authors:

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

Tag Team Review: An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities #1) by K.J. Charles

A slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery bind two singular men in the suspenseful first book of a new Victorian series from K. J. Charles.

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship...

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding... it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

Averaged!


Chelsea - 5 Hearts

They were two such odd-shaped men, and they fit together so naturally, he and Clem...

Gah I so adored this book! No one in my eyes can replace Crane and Day, that's just a fact. But this series….. guys, this series is going to be one of my favourites! I can already tell!! This book was so much better than I was expecting. The blurb states this is a slow burn romance, but these two get together so early on and this book was all about them. The mystery was fun and exciting, but Clem and Rowley were centre stage, which is exactly what I want in my ‘mysteries’.

We have Clem, a lodging house manager who has Dyspraxia (not that they knew that in those times), and one of his tenants, Rowley Green, a taxidermist who works next door. Both men are drawn to the others quiet and kind nature, and they have formed a friendship over the past 8 months. As I said before, their relationship starts quite quickly and I was all gooey squishiness for these two men! They are totally adorable!!

Anyway as with most KJ Charles books something ghastly has to happen, and that occurs in the form of another of Clem’s tenants being tortured, murdered and dumped on his doorstep. I really liked this mystery. It was clever, quick and just scary enough to keep my heart pounding.

The side characters in this are pretty great. I’m excited to see some of their stories coming up! Clem’s brother is a rotten, arrogant swine and I hated him with the passion Rowley did!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “Yes Chelsea, I can see it's got a sweet romance and some scary bad guys, but is the sex hot?” Well if you weren’t thinking it, I certainly was. YES! Little Mr. Green has a tendency towards edging… and being used.

It was simply that, while he enjoyed a climax as much as the next man, they came and went. The exquisite agony of anticipation, of abnegation and self-denial and feeling his blood pounding in his stiff stand without relief, the bewildering, all-encompassing thrill of being Clem’s subject and his object and entirely at his pleasure . . . that could last for hours.

Clem certainly was happy with the arrangement.


“If we had all morning, do you know what I’d do?” Clem propped himself on an elbow and trailed his fingers between Rowley’s legs. “I’d have you do that again, toss yourself to almost there, and then I’d stop you, and— I don’t know, have a cup of tea? And keep doing it, maybe even till I came again, not letting you spend, but keeping you nearly there—”
“Jesus Christ.” Rowley’s voice didn’t sound like his own.

I won’t lie, I’ve read more panty-melting stuff, but this sex was hot, sensual and plentiful! And quantity is a pretty important aspect for me.

This story ends on a pretty good HEA for Rowley and Clem, but there is an overarching story-line across the three books, so there are some loose ends that will be tied up in the later novels.

I loved this book! Seriously! My first thought when I finished it was actually “Damn I won’t be able to buy this on paperback” (because Loveswept don’t do paperbacks). I loved it that much!!


SheReadsALot - 4 Hearts

K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.

"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."

Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!

"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."


I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.


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Review: Club Raven series (#1-3) by Julia Talbot, Kiernan Kelly and BA Tortuga

Fantasy Living reviews the entire Club Raven series! American historical psychics here she comes!

Happy Medium (Club Raven #1) by Julia Talbot

Andrew is out to debunk Max as a medium, not make love to him...

A Club Raven Novel

Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he's the real thing.

Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman's club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?






Set in 1870’s Baltimore, the first book in the Club Raven series follows Max Bellame as his business as a Medium is intercepted by Andrew Meechum, who works for Club Raven.

Club Raven is a gentlemen’s club that caters to men with paranormal gifts. Andrew is sort of a psychic ability debunker. His own talent is knowing when someone is using a paranormal gift. This is why he has been following Max, but instead of simply calling Max out on his lack of Medium ability and trickery, he is intrigued by the perceived gift Max has, and brings him to Club Raven to find out more about it.

I liked these two men together. I found Max to be a pretty gentle character. While he wasn’t exactly honest about his ability, he still had a moral code of honor. They fit well together, and had lots and lots of sex. (Lots!).

The mystery surrounding Max’s gift, and the passion Andrew and he share opens up a whole new world, and life for Max. Club Raven seems to have an endless supply of weirdly gifted men to be in the company of, and I have to mention Giles, because I heart him so hard.

While only a secondary character, Giles was pretty fascinating, and someone I would love to get a story. He was one of those weirdo’s I absolutely needed to know more about. Completely outrageous, and apparently a reclusive scatterbrain, the interactions with him were a joy for me.

This isn’t overly heavy on the historical detail or language. It is easy enough to read if you’re someone like me who isn’t particularly excited about historical romance. It was enough to read as authentic in a way that isn’t pinned down by stuffy details. I don’t really care about those, as long as it feels real enough to me. For someone who is more of a history buff, well, I don’t know how they would feel about it, because like I said, details aren’t really important to me (unless they are wildly inaccurate and I know it).

Maybe I’m not the best person to recommend this story to die hard fans of historical romance, so I’ll just say, for people like me, this was fun with the seance, pompous rich folk, and erotic content (there was a lot - did I say that already?).

I would recommend this to people who enjoy paranormal in their historical romance.

Find Book #1 on Goodreads!

Wishful Thinking (Club Raven #2) by Kiernan Kelly

Sometimes doing the right thing requires otherworldly help.

A Club Raven Novel

Tony Brazzio, part-owner of Club Raven in Baltimore, is gifted with a psychic talent that allows him to influence the behavior of others. His first project, to rehabilitate hoodlums Bull and Dandy, fails when the lure of fat wallets ripe for the picking is too great for them to ignore. After Bull and Dandy fall into serious trouble beyond simple petty theft, Tony takes it upon himself to bail them out.

Charged with making a pair of blackmailing pickpockets “disappear,” Detective Thomas Arthur Clare is determined to get the job done. He doesn’t count on Tony’s interference, or his attraction to the mysterious, handsome man, to sway him.



This is book two in the Club Raven Trilogy and I would in no way call this a romance. It is definitely filled with erotic content though, so if this is okay with you, then go ahead and enjoy.

Told from multiple points of view, and sometimes what appeared to be omniscient POV this story jumps around a fair bit.

In the beginning we meet Tony who is a part-owner of Club Raven, but was once from a poor family. Tony wants to prove that bloodline does not make a gentleman, and that anyone, no matter how poor, can become someone if given the opportunity. He travels to Five Point, Manhattan, where his humble beginnings began, and finds a pair of thieves and compels them to come back to Baltimore with him to start his experiment of turning them into gentlemen.

Of course, Dandy and Bull don’t particularly want to be controlled by some rich snot, so they go out of their way to sabotage the situation by stealing wherever they can. Tony may have compelled them to join him using his gift, but once they are there, they are unwilling to continue to do his bidding.

There was a lot of problematic content, and it just didn’t seem to have a solid plot line. I spend more time reading about Dandy and Bull, and their mischief than Tony. While the basics of each personality was provided, I didn’t feel connected with any of them.

I think if it hadn’t have deviated so far from the original story line, by introducing what appeared to be an endless cast of side characters who got their own POV, and more focus and attention was given to Tony, the club, and the supernatural, this would have been a tighter story.

I wasn’t particularly engaged with the story, and the supernatural element of Club Raven, which made it a fascinating club in the first book, was sort of lost.

There is some light BDSM content, so if you’re looking for historical BDSM erotica then this would be something that may suit your tastes.

Find Book #2 on Goodreads!


Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by BA Tortuga

Patrick's loss is Remy's gain.

A Club Raven Novel

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.



Patrick is an anomaly. After a head injury caused by a bullet on the battlefield, he seems to have developed telekinetic abilities that he is unwilling to connect to and which are wildly untamed. Finding himself at Club Raven, in the clutches of Remy, whom is anything but shy about his desire, is causing feelings Patrick has been taught is a sin, but the comfort he gets is something he longs for.

This was the sweetest. I really loved Patrick and the way he connected with Remy. Remy is equally charming, and exactly what Patrick needs to help him harness his powers. This story really brought together the mystery of the club, and familiar characters from book one, and dove into a deep, equally gratifying relationship between these two men.

This story appears to be set before Happy Medium. Max doesn’t appear in this book, but Andrew makes a small appearance. Other characters are present and accounted for. A small cameo of Giles (Giles!!!) and Samuel and Joseph, who have a brief appearance in the first book get more time in this one. I found that they are all richly unique, and well developed for the small amount of time they have on the page.

The feeling I got from the beginning of this story was a sense of magic and wonder. Patrick is, of course, in a pretty fragile state when he is brought to Club Raven for care, so from his point of view things are fuzzy and time disappears. This is really well portrayed by the author. There wasn’t any real time jump, as we switch to Remy’s POV to fill in the blanks, but the feeling came across in those moments strongly.

This is a D/s story, focused on sexual service from the submissive. Patrick is also a virgin, and was raised in a strictly religious household, so Remy has to take more care to introduce these elements. I thought the pace worked really well. Remy used submission as a focus to help Patrick control his telekinesis. He did things slowly, and allowed Patrick the room to get used to his own needs and wants before taking it up a notch. There is no real punishment in this story. It is mostly about praise and positive reinforcement, which is needed for Patrick, who is recovering from trauma and needs a solid foundation.

As always, this author makes me happy with her writing. I’m usually all over the contemporary western stories B.A. Tortuga writes, and this was a nice opportunity to see this author’s talent in other genres.

The erotica in this story is delicious, prevocative, and engaging. There is a fair bit of it, so readers who prefer there sexy stories on the sex-lite side may find this to be too much.

I would have liked a little more with discovering what Patrick can do, and I’m disappointed we weren’t given more background on Remy, and his talent, but since this is a romance, and is heavy on the sex, I’ll have to make do. There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding Club Raven, and I think it definitely has room for continuation with more authors or the current author trio to expand and fill in.

Recommended to readers of Historical Paranormal and fans of BDSM D/s and erotica.

Find Book #3 on Goodreads!



All copies provided for an honest review via IndiGo Marketing

Review: Daily Grind (Takeover #4) by Anna Zabo

A man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N'At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn't have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he'd become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob's visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?


Coffee shop owner Brian Keppler is struggling to keep his business going. The last thing on his mind is a relationship. That is until tech whiz Robert Ancroft walks into his shop, making Brian wants things that he’s never acknowledged before.

Both Rob and Brian want the same thing - a serious relationship. But Brian’s business troubles and reluctance to accept help puts a wedge between the two before they get a chance at their happy ever after.

Coffee enthusiasts will probably love this book. There’s coffee everywhere - the shop, Brian and Rob’s own love for coffee, and the numerous coffee-related puns and jokes. I thought it would get stale at a point, but I didn’t mind the coffee-mania.

description

I had no trouble connecting with either Brian or Rob. Though it was clear from the beginning that Brian’s business troubles would lead to problems, he’s a genuinely likeable person who cares about his friends and customers.

I really appreciated that the author didn’t bury Brian’s bisexuality, which is often too common in MM romance. There’s definitely no bi-erasure here.

Rob, a ginger-haired techie, was smooth and suave from the first time he stepped into Ground N’At, Brian’s coffee shop. But underneath the polished exterior was a lonely man looking for someone to love who would love him back.

The connection between Rob and Brian is immediate. They have similar interests and both are happy to explore where the spark between them goes. What I liked most was that they instinctively understood one another.

Plus, they were killer in the bedroom. Brian jumps right into the joys of man-on-man sex. And if you like dirty talk, you’ll be pleased.

description

The relationship moves along very quickly. It’s not insta-love, but it’s close. I thought the “I love yous,” which pop out in the middle of a sex scene, came way too soon. It made me wonder whether that was just the great sex talking, particularly because Brian and Rob had both been alone for so long.

Also, I didn’t really like that Brian’s coffee shop was the third party in the relationship. It was certainly realistic, as a failing business can definitely impact relationships. But it was always there. It got to the point where I started feeling the stress myself.

The drama with the coffee shop ended up distracting me from the actual romance. At a certain point, I just didn’t care what happened to the shop, so long as Brian and Rob could move on.

Even so, ‘Daily Grind’ was quite enjoyable. The business drama took up way too much of the book in my opinion, but Rob and Brian’s romance still delivered on the sweet and sexy. If you’re looking for a contemporary relationship-focused MM book, give this a try.

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Guest Review: Rip Cord: The Ever After by Jeanne St. James

Rip Cord, the infamous Bad Boy of the NFL, ends up on Gil Davis’ front porch drunk as a skunk. Not only has he been fired by his franchise, but also his sports agent. His last brawl on the football field during a prime time game was the final straw.

Accounting geek Gil Davis hasn’t seen his on-again, off-again lover since the summer when the professional football player whisked him away for a kinky sex-filled getaway weekend. But immediately after, Rip returned to the NFL and was on the road leaving no time for Gil.
 Now Rip wants to come back into Gil’s life one more time, this time to not only make a future with him, but to finally admit who he really is deep down inside. After hiding his sexual preference since he was a teen, Rip realizes he’s made too many bad choices along the way. It’s time to make the right choice with Gil.


But is Gil ready to forgive Rip for keeping him at a distance? And more importantly, after two false starts, can they finally live happily ever after?



Reviewer: Shee Reader

Before I begin I should confess that I hadn’t read the previous books in the series before I read this novella length epilogue, but I have read them since. Well worth the read!

Rip (Ripley) is a professional football player that just got cut from his NFL team and went on a drinking binge to drown his sorrows.

Rip comes off as a bit of an asshole, and who doesn't love a bad boy who learns how to put someone else before their selfish asses?

Rip finds himself being slapped awake by the very pissed off roommate of Gil, his sometime lover and “friend” from high school. Katie is disgusted with Rip for treating Gil (the nice-guy nerd) like a piece of shit, but nonetheless helps him inside, putting him in Gil’s bed to sleep it off.

The tension in the story increases in increments once Gil comes home from work and the talking begins. There is obviously a good load of unfinished business between the two men, and super hot chemistry, but will Gil forgive Rip, and is Rip capable of love?

This is a shortish story, but was enough to get me clicking on the previous ones. There are some decent apology moments, and some excellent closure at Rip’s childhood home. The ever after is happy, as we’d hope, but I would have loved a bit more football in the closure. What can I say? I love a bit of hot sports action with my MM romance.

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
.

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Review: Revolutionary Temptation by Silvia Violet

1777 New York City

The American colonists are fighting for their independence, but the battlefield is not the only place to wage war. When General Washington’s head of intelligence asks Captain Jack West to spy on the British in New York, Jack agrees, despite reservations about this ungentlemanly pursuit.

Jack’s contact in the city recruits bookshop owner Elias Ashfield, an impeccably dressed sensualist who flaunts his desire for both men and women and seeks a place in high society. Jack longs for a simple life guided by clear principles. Eli is a risk-taker who knows how to get what he wants. And he wants Jack in his bed.

Events in Jack’s past have made him fearful of acting on his secret craving for a man’s touch, but Eli intrigues Jack as much as he infuriates him. As Jack and Eli search for the information the rebel army needs, they realize there’s more between them than mere lust. But finding a way to be together may prove more difficult than defeating the British Empire.





Alright, let's do this thing!



There are a couple things that will be dealbreakers for some, so let's just get those out of the way so I can squeal, k?

Eli is bisexual. He makes no secret of enjoying both genders and he is a bit of a libertine. There is no MF on page sex but there are MF interactions. Readers who are sticklers for their MCs only sexing up the other MC will probably balk. I'm in the "they were on a break" camp in this Ross/Rachel debate or Eli/Jack, as it were, but there you have it. 

Also, there is a considerable amount of push/pull between Jack and Eli which annoys me in contemporary reads, but when actual hanging is likely for one's sexual proclivities, I give latitude.

If I haven't lost you then let's get this party started!




This was my first experience with Silvia Violet and I am hooked! I've no idea if historicals are her usual fare, but this was SO GOOD and I tend to be persnickety when it comes to historicals. I get fussy if the verbiage and details get too lax. My goal is to immerse myself in the time period, in this case the American Revolutionary War and I did. If you're a fan of TURN, you should pick this up.

Eli is a dandy who owns a bookshop that also serves as a front for his smuggling business. Do not mistake him as superficial. There's more to him than meets the eye. He's an outgoing, genial, an opportunist, exceedingly observant and approaches life with gusto. Yes, he's a bit devil may care at times and once recruited as a rebel spy he plays the game fast and loose, but he's just so damn charming! It's hard to hold it against him. He's got any number of people willing to share his bed but relationships he shies away from. Until he meets Jack.

Jack is his opposite. Jack is honorable. He's honest to his core and the most basic, fundamental thing about himself he's forced to perpetually lie about, so he'd rather keep busy and to himself. He's harder to warm up to but his characterization was subtle, compelling and I ended up loving him and Eli equally. He's suffered a fairly severe leg injury which precludes him from the battlefield where he'd much rather be and puts him in New York under Constance Sullivan as a spy.



You catch the gender of that name? Yerp, Constance is at the top of the spy game food chain. She's sharp, canny and has a panache about her that draws people in-all the hallmarks of a master spy. Can I just say how much I love when women aren't portrayed as the catty/bitchy friend/ex/sibling/parent and/or shallow and vapid? Cuz I do. A lot. 

Anywhat. Constance trains Jack who's a quick study and eventually they recruit Eli. The references to Washington, Hamilton, the rampant smuggling and how information was conveyed to the military were but part of why I loved this so much. I've said before how much I love thrillers but espionage and the inherent guessing game that brings gets my blood pumping and keeps me engaged. Marry that to historical accuracy, likeable characters and smart writing and I was glued to the kindle.

The character development was above reproach. They aren't infallible and that's what I like in my characters, makes them more relateable than the plastic people. The story is also nicely paced with a balanced division between the romance and espionage plot lines.

Lastly, THE SEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





"I want you to hold me down while you drive into me. I want you to wreck me."
*squeaks*

Eli and Jack like it rough. They also have dirty mouthes and are a little kinky. The frantic need they have for each other was something I found extremely sexy. Seriously, I'm glad I was not in public when I read this because the gasping, grunting, squealing and pancake eyes surely would've landed me in the ER by some benevolent soul had I been.

The conflict and resolution were both believable and irresistible. Even Constance got an HFN! The entire narrative was like butter and the next thing I knew it was over. I am holding out hope that there will be a sequel because this was so gorgeous and also because I want to know who was in those woods. Either way I can envision rereading this in the future.


Recommend to historical and espionage fans.




A review copy was provided.

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Audiobook Review: First and First (Five Boroughs #3) by Santino Hassell

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

Listening time: 8 hrs 40 mins 
Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo






Recently an author essentially called me a hardass reviewer and I was all... huh? wut?



Here I thought I was middle of the road but I'm about to be a hardass reviewer because there is no nice way of saying you don't like someone's voice, is there? I wish there were because I take no joy in saying it.

Ferraiuolo's voice for Caleb is nowhere near the register I heard in my head nor is his interpretation of him. Oli is marginally better, but the overwhelming feeling I got from both of them was disaffected and that is not a word I'd ever think to use for either of these characters. Maybe it's a New York thing? I'm not sure and to be fair to Ferraiuolo just because our interpretations didn't align doesn't mean it's not a worth a listen. He does a decent job of varying some of the voices, though I couldn't tell the difference between Aidan and Oli or Ashton and Charles and as the narrative evolved I noticed more frequent lapses in character differentiation.

It's entirely possible that if I hadn't had such a strong reaction to both Caleb and Oli when reading First and First it would be a non-issue, but I did. Hells bells, read my term paper review of it. Talk about wordy. But that's how strongly I invested in and attached to them so maybe my expectations were too lofty.

I tried to get past it. I even went to Home Depot to got some wood but my bridge was... shoddily crafted.



I'd get so far and then one of those scenes that I'd recall with perfect clarity just how much I connected to them would happen and make me all, who the hell are you and what have you done with Caleb? I need for someone to blink twice if Caleb's being held in a basement somewhere so rescue efforts can commence forthwith.

Still, he did a commendable job of conveying their sexual compatibility and their intensity, but I will think twice before listening to this narrator again.

Even though it was a bust for me I would recommend the audiobook to those who've not read the book or didn't invest as much in the characters or maybe New Yorkers? Hell, IDK maybe he's spot on. He certainly pronounces a whole bunch of words nothing like me or anyone I know does so... *shrugs* What I know is it was not what I heard in my head and I felt like I was swimming upstream the whole time trying to connect to two characters I thought clicking with would be instantaneous.



A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

See our eBook review here!

Review: Rip Cord: The Reunion & The Weekend (Rip Cord #1 & 2) by Jeanne St. James

The Reunion:
Gil Davis hated high school. Ever the geek, he has no intentions of attending his 10th year class reunion. The last thing he wants is to relive the taunting and teasing he received during his teenage years. However there is one thing he misses from high school: the star Varsity football player. The one he had a crush on from the first day he laid eyes on him. But the last thing he expects is the now pro football player to come back to their home town to attend a lame high school reunion. Known as the Bad Boy of the NFL, Ripley “Rip” Cord, not only shows up, but shows up without a date and an eye for Gil.

The Weekend:
Geek extraordinaire Gil Davis hooked up with his long-time crush Rip Cord, the Bad Boy of the NFL, during their tenth year class reunion. It was a dream come true for Gil, so when Rip surprises Gil with a trip to the pro football player’s cabin on the lake two weeks later, Gil looks forward to their weekend alone. Since Rip is still deep in the closet due to his career, Gil will take any stolen moments they have. Little does Gil know, those moments will be filled with a blindfold and ropes, as well as a bad tumble down the mountain.

But a few bumps and bruises won’t stop Gil from spending precious time with Rip and his toys. However when the weekend ends, will Rip disappear again? Or will Rip want to take their relationship to the next level?


The Reunion –
Gil Davis was a nerd in high school who loathed his time there as he was made fun of and constantly bullied. He really did not want to go do his 10 year high school reunion but his best friend and roommate Katie talks him into it. When it’s about time to get his table assignment he hears that Rip Cord will also be attending and it spikes Gil’s anxiety and attraction. You see Ripley “Rip” Cord was the captain of the football team and the captain of all Gil’s high school fantasies. Gil followed Rip through his professional football career after school and never thought he’d see him again, let alone that Rip would remember who Gil was and more.
This moved pretty fast but it was pretty hot so I am just going to go with the flow. It really helped that Rip knew not only who Gil was back in high school, he knew Gil liked him and Rip liked Gil right back. What made it bittersweet is Rip being in the closet because of his bad boy reputation both in high school and now in his professional career that he doesn’t quite know how to rescue Gil or simply just be with him.
“I feel I still have a reputation to live up to. I’m the Bad Boy of the NFL. That’s who I am. Who I’m expected to be. I don’t know how to be anyone else.”
“Can you be yourself with me?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just don’t know myself anymore.”

The Weekend – 

Only a few weeks after the reunion and Rip calls up Gil, telling him he has an hour to get ready for a weekend in the mountains. Gil of course is still on a high from fucking his high school crush and “NFL Bad Boy” that he starts packing immediately. When Rip shows up on his motorcycle and tosses just about all the essentials Gil needed for his trip out, Gil is a bit confused but he is dick drunk and just goes along with all Rip wants.
I get the Alpha male deal but Rip was starting to bug me at this point. If he likes Gil and wants to spend any amount of time with him, you’d think he would let Gil bring what he wants and not try to control every damn thing. It’s guys like Rip that were abundant in M/F romance and why I stopped reading it. You can be an Alpha male and still be a decent human being. I am not even going to go into their first time up at the cabin and what Rip did and did not do before he tied up Gil and fucked him… just ugh. Consent is more than asking someone if they are ready and then calling them a liar after they only nod. 

I hoped it would get better, that Rip would become softer at least with Gil and we do see bits of it, of his vulnerability with his career, his reputation and how it all conflicts with his sexuality and coming out. We do get an even softer Rip when he takes care of Gil after the hike and when he expresses his wants and why he can’t have them. It was sweet that you could tell Rip likes Gil for more than just the fuck he promised but what will Rip to do and change what he can?

This ended pretty abruptly and while it was a possible HFN with the second story, I am going to read the next and hope for a much softer Rip, a totally confident Gil and a HEA that these two deserve.




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Blog Tour: Warlock in Training (Studies in Demonology #1) by T.J. Nichols


TJ Nichols is here today playing devil's advocate for... demons. Pay attention, kids. 


Demons Can Be Heroes Too

Demons are usually seen as bad…but what if they’d just received a lot of bad publicity? They have magic and can tempt you into do doing all kinds of things, but they can’t force you to do anything so really, blaming a demon is an excuse.

In the world that Warlock in Training takes place in (which is like our world, but warped by magic) demons are blamed for all kinds of things, from the coming ice age to the rampages that happen through the streets forcing the college to kill the rogue demons. They can trick unsuspecting young warlocks into all kinds of debauched rituals. And warlocks should never, ever, get intimate with a demon (and there are most definitely no sex magic rituals in this book, because who wants to read about Saka and Angus making out and doing other things that would require a rating on this blog post…and I most definitely did not have a lot of fun writing those things that shouldn’t happen between warlocks and demons ;) ).

Saka is the demon hero of Warlock in Training. Much like the human, Angus, he is a magic user to his people and he is greatly concerned about the drying out of his world. There’s less rain, the desert is spreading and less babies are being born.

He makes the choice to connect with a human warlock knowing that warlocks have been killing demons for their magic. Many demon mages won’t take that risk. When a tear in the void between the human and demon worlds opens Saka steps through and meets Angus for the first time. That scene is from Angus’s point of view as he is desperately trying to fail the class and not summon a demon.

If it were from Saka’s point of view it might go something like this…

Saka felt the ripple on his skin as the void tore open. He hesitated even though he knew what he should do. Most mages would turn away the opening so some other demon was forced to go through—only mages had the skill to avoid that first summoning.

But he believed that the best way to fight the death of Demonside was by educating the warlocks. That mean he had to accept the call and cross the void.

This wouldn’t be his first warlock. He knew what to expect.

He drew in a breath and welcomed the cold touch of the void. It shimmered open in front of him.

There was a chance that if he stepped through he wouldn’t come back. The warlocks doing the summoning might try to kill him. But if he didn’t try he was doing nothing to save his home and he couldn’t do that either.

So he stepped through and found himself in a weak circle that he could break with barely a thought facing young man who looked like he’d rather be anywhere else.

His skin was pale and freckled and his hair was red…he was a pretty would be warlock. And for a moment Saka was distracted by the thoughts of how he’d like to rebalance some of the magic taken from Demonside with the warlock who’d summoned him. His gaze slid down the young man’s body and a smile formed on his lips.

He could do nothing, and wait for another summoning to happen, or he could take this warlock in training and show him Demonside and what the warlocks were destroying by not rebalancing what they took.

He didn’t have long to decide.


Would the college retrieve this warlock or leave him to die? It was a risk. One he was willing to take. 

Blurb

Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.
Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.

Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

DSP 

Bio

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.

With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com
Twitter: @TobyJNichols
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author/