Review: Monster by Soren Summers

Bloodied corridors. Mangled bodies. Deranged test subjects. Just another day at Vertex, a corporation devoted to perfecting humanity by any means necessary. It's up to Jarod Samuels to keep the hallways pristine and safe, but scrubbing bloodstains and bagging bodies is losing its luster.

Then someone new joins his department, this man with a huge ego and an even huger mouth. Gabriel Anderson is infuriating but intriguing, as brash as he is beautiful, and almost enough to keep Jarod preoccupied. Almost.

But between workplace hazards, psychic sociopaths, and a mysterious formula that alters the human body, Jarod's doubts are surging. Should he stay with the corporation, or run like hell? This is Vertex, after all, where the walls watch with glass eyes, the laboratories groan with secrets - and employee termination ends more than just careers.

This romantic horror story is approximately 88,000 words in length.

Dear Soren Summers, 

When I first came across your book Monster, I was intrigued. I love a good dark story and the blurb along with the cover checked off a few boxes for me. When I began reading, I took it nice and slow to blend in with this world Jarod Samuels was showing me as he went about this day. When Mr. Perfect shows up, I grinned. When he became snarky Gabriel I liked him but when he became the guy who loves stove top mac and cheese and drools while he sleeps, he became so adorable he needed to fit in my pocket. When Gabriel does the unthinkable, but the only thing he could have done for Jarod, I couldn’t turn the page fast enough and damn work or sleep, I needed to read. But all of this, was only at HALF of the wonderfully imaginable, creative, sexy and twisted story about two men finding love in a truly hopeless place. The rest, it sat me on my ass and blew my mind. So for that, I have to say thank you for this story, for Jarod and Gabriel’s story. Soren Summers, you now have a ginger reader who is now a big fan. 



This book. It’s way different than I expected and that is such a good thing. I don’t really know what I expected but I expected things to be dark for the entire book. They ARE dark, don’t misunderstand but there are these moments where I hugged my Nook, I laughed, grinned and simply swooned over it. AND there are the moments where I was glad I stopped reading while I ate my lunch so that it wouldn’t come back up.

Let’s see if I can tell you a few things.

Told from the third person present tense POV of one Jarod Samuels, we meet him as he is going about his day at work as a garbageman at Vertex, a research facility. You get the feeling that the world Jarod lives in is not like ours, it’s a sort of dystopian world where we are left to our imagination as to what happens outside the walls of Vertex and Jarod’s apartment. The early glimpses with the research that goes on inside Vertex is vague and the form of Jarod’s job as in waste management comes into play when a call goes out that there is a runner on level 12. A runner, yup a runner is a medical test subject at Vertex who has decided they are done but one cannot be done when they have signed on the dotted line to participate. Jarod, being the fastest runner in his department comes up short when the patient is taken down before he can get there and Jarod isn’t happy about being shown up. The new guy, whom Jarod dubs Mr. Perfect is one hell of a snarky but good looking young kid who immediately rubs Jarod the wrong way and possibly the right, but Jarod doesn’t have time for getting attached to anyone or anything.
...Jarod Samuels. A little bland, a little bleary, five years a garbageman. Maybe even for the rest of his life.
Jarod is a quiet man. He does his job well and keeps to himself. He’s learned the importance of when to listen, to speak and when to agree and states the company’s motto verbatim. The only real person he interacts with other than Esther the lunch lady or briefly with the other Ether, is Vanessa “Nessa” Wong who is Jarod’s best friend. Nessa is a lab technician, a researcher and currently in charge of her own project for a drug called Paragon. Paragon is a new formula create to make the body perfect, to heal all that ails or would kill you and it’s important to Vertex. In Nessa’s own words; “Paragon can heal the body and fix everything that’s wrong with it. It’ll take the disease away, but it won’t make you invincible.” Paragon itself has a paradox within in the story but I won’t spoil that for you. It’s far too interesting to let it get rancid.

When Jarod is called up on by his boss and given the privilege of showing Mr. Perfect aka the new guy aka Gabriel Anderson the ropes, the story begins to open up as well as the characters themselves.

When we first meet Gabriel, he’s cocky and snarky and you wonder how Jarod will ever be able to deal with him. But when Jarod begins giving him a tour of the facility, we get the opportunity to see a different side of the men. We learn that they have a common ground, a schooling at Bairston Public under the guidance and pseudo mothering of Coach Bennet the track coach. Both men are fast, Jarod held the school record for until Gabriel beat it. It’s a sore spot for Jarod but it leads to a sense of camaraderie with the men and provides for excellent banter. With that banter, we see that Gabriel’s cockiness does have a vulnerability and we see that as Jarod shows him into the “white room”. Man, Vertex is one crazy place and these two, they are going to need someone to vent with when the shit gets crazy because, you know it will.

None of Vertex’s training could have prepared any of them for this. Gray, white, orange, black, it doesn’t matter. Tonight, the colossus runs red.

As the story unfolds, we get character development and growth with Jarod and Gabriel. From secrets that lead to friendship, friendship that leads to saving and saving that leads to the care of another person, the man have obstacles yet the small things begin to bring them closer together. The secret Gabriel keeps drives Jarod crazy! He’s come to care for this drooling-in-his-sleep, spider monkey who loves stove top mac and cheese and takes exactly three minutes to dry off after a shower and all he wants to do is help. Jarod begins to recognize that the way Gabriel acts, his self-preservation is like looking in a mirror, but he needs to know why. When he follows Gabriel one night after work, he gets a visual for what keeps his new friend away from home for hours but still doesn’t know the truth and he needs it. That need? It’s translated from words to feelings to one hell of a first kiss to a whole lot of truth spilling and it had me engaged and swooning so much that I read that entire chapter over again.

But Jarod is paranoid and cautious with Gabriel after his confessions though he wants to have blind trust in him. His past mistake in high school gnaws at this conscious but he really needs to let that go. Sure, what Gabriel told him could lead to a world of trouble and maybe injury and possibly death considering how Vertex operates but what can Jarod do? What does Jarod do and what happens to those Jarod trusts and loves?


Yeah, this is a twisted and dark book but the romance elements sat me on my ass and did it with gusto. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of feelings I would get with Jarod and Gabriel. They really are an amazing couple but I also wasn’t prepared to become attached to other characters or even test subjects either.

“I don’t know how much you know about Vertex, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill research outfit.”
“You don’t say.”
I know I have given details to the story, a lot of them actually and yet I am not even scratching the surface to what is in this. It’s one of those times when I want to sit down and tell you all about Monster, show you all my highlights but I also want to keep those hidden away as the things with suckers and tentacles on level 18. They aren’t ready to be shared so I’ll keep them under lock and key for now.

I will tell you to that this story doesn’t let up. It feels as if you’re given a break but the surprises come out of the dark shadows all the way until the end.

This story, it’s a stellar debut from the author and I cannot wait to get more from this universe. The world building was amazing and I slid into it like warm butter. There was no confusion, just this place that existed and the people with it. I have learned a few things from reading it though like never to deny an anomaly pudding, don’t get attached to the test subjects, the most important people who monitor Armory’s visitation or food are named Esther, and that risking everything for love, even among monsters is worth the risk.

***End Note: If you decide to pick this up, do not pass on the offer of the free companion book, Siren, to read once you are finished as it takes place in the same time line as Monster. I will tell you, it's quite possibly everything I wish I knew while reading Monster and it was a wonderful surprise.

Book link:

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Blog Tour: Cemeteries by Moonlight by Hunter Frost

Hunter Frost is here today talking cemeteries. Be sure to tell her what you think of them in the comments!


Taphophile: someone who takes an interest in cemeteries, tombstones, or memory of past lives.

I’m not sure when my fascination with cemeteries began. Probably around the same time I discovered my love of horror movies, teen thriller novels, and anything black. I’d say my pre-teen years were fairly indicative of what was to come. That’s not to stay I stepped out in black lipstick and safety-pinned sweaters from the get-go. No, my goth tendencies were (and still are) mostly on the inside – though they come out at Rocky Horror shows, Halloween parties, or…casual Fridays.

I received my Master’s in British history and once upon a time planned to go on to get a PhD, my research to be focused on burial practices and rites of Victorian Britain. I’m the first one to stop if I find a cemetery during a road trip or when traveling abroad. I like to take note of where they are in a city, how big they are, the types of graves and tombstones they have, and who is buried there. And that was even before I started my studies in graduate school. I am particularly enamored of the older cemeteries back East and in the South. Those graveyards can be so diverse – from small and quaint (and sometimes hidden) to huge and magnificently decorated. For me, there is something incredibly satisfying knowing I’m sharing the same space as someone buried there hundreds of years ago. Maybe it’s the writer’s imagination that begins to envision what those people were like and how they lived, or maybe it goes deeper than that. Who knows?  

Above ground cemeteries, like the ones in New Orleans, are my favorite. From my first visit, I was hooked. Even during a cold February, I forced my friend to put on his gloves and scarf, braving the icy wind, and go exploring with me. We made our way through the maze of vaults, mausoleums, and tombs of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 – admiring the sculpture and appreciating the time and expense made for the deceased. Families were together, gifts left, and epitaphs etched in stone. Like museums, telling us about a different time and place and the people that thrived there.      

In my book, Cemeteries by Moonlight, Finn Murphy works for Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc., running the Cemetery tour. He knows quite a bit about the cemeteries in New Orleans as well as burial practices in general. I loved writing about him and throwing some knowledge near and dear to my heart out to all the taphophiles out there.

I know cemeteries aren’t for everyone. How about you? Do you enjoy roaming the rows of tombstones? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.

A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour. 

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Release Date: January 18, 2017

Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.

Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.

Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.

Group Review: Watching and Wanting (Housemates #4) by Jay Northcote

Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied...

Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.

Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.

Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Length: 52,000 words approx.
Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Sara - 5 Hearts

The journey of sexual discovery is wonderful to read. The journey of sexual discovery out of a character's comfort zone or normality is a joy and the sexual discovery of realizing you are not just bi-curious but bi-sexual and want your roommates D is nothing short of pure erotic pleasure. Oh yeah. This was hot. Dirty, fuckhot, sensual and way emotional. Just how I like ‘em!

Told in Dual POV’s, we meet Shawn as he has recently broken up with his girlfriend Beth after their relationship went south. The two tried everything to save it including spicing it up in the bedroom but what Beth wanted confused Shawn and the two decided to end it and go their separate ways.

Shawn lives in a house full of roommates, mostly folks we have met in previous books including Jude who is gay and Shawn has a strong reaction to his roommates. After a night of feeling sorry for himself and getting wasted, Shawn says some awful homophobic things and spends the next day making it up to his housemates. When he goes to return a hoodie to Jude in his room, he opens the unlocked door while unlocking whole new side of Jude and of Shawn he tried denying existing but decides to explore. Even if the exploration is only on his laptop, in his locked room watching Jude get off for money.

It was amazing what an effective barrier denial could be.

Jude, he has a cam show to make money. He’s okay with selling himself this way and we know his liberal morals and values are passed down through his mom and why. But Jude, he does this cam show and does it well but when he is interrupted by Shawn during a show, things change. Jude already has a crush on his straight roommate and has no idea that Shawn went down to his room and decided to watch after the interruption. Oh the things Jude says about Shawn while he’s stroking his cock… sigh. Shawn has an insight to Jude in a way and gets to hear all that Shawn says. Again, sigh.

When Shawn does a bit of online exploration and decides if he is going to try this dude on dude action out it should be with someone like Jude, someone he knows and has come to think of as a friend and do it well, on camera. LORD! This book is so mother effing sexy I can’t stand it. I’ve read a few books where you have the straight dude doing things on camera for the first time but this was MY first time that felt a connection and true emotion through Shawn’s first experience with a guy. From the first time on camera to the moments of building a true friendship, I was falling hard for Shawn and Jude. I loved their camera time, their gym time, their game time and just all the times they are together. But my favorite was so sexy, so emotional and so just UNF that I can’t even put real words together to describe it.

This was all about the journey. Jude was in charge and that knowledge made him feel safe.

Yeah, this book was sexy AF but it had the elements needed – for me – when a character is exploring sexuality. This isn’t porn without plot, this is plot with porn. Literally. I loved that we got both POV’s to know where the boys were coming from and what their intentions were. The growth of both Jude and Shawn with their relationship was a pure pleasure to read and even the bits of angst wondering when true feelings would be revealed and how was so good. The title though… ugh. I love it when titles actually make sense with the book.

I won’t go into much more about what happens because it’s too good to spoil and man when the moments come (pun intended) and when they do they are worth the wait. That end is SO worth the wait and good lord was it swoony and I agree with the purple-haired girl.

This is a great addition to the Housemates series (and man what a magical house it is) and Northcote is amazing at writing sexual experiment and journey. He’s captured the vulnerability of wanting something new while trusting someone with the knowledge and your wellbeing. Jude and Shawn were made for one another and I am so damn glad that door was opened, in every way possible.

Adam - 2 Hearts

When Shawn walks in on his roommate during a sexy webcam session, it ignites feelings in Shawn that he’s never looked at too closely. When he can’t get Jude out his mind, Shawn proposes that the explore the spark between them on Jude’s cam show. Jude’s more than happy to indulge Shawn. But it doesn’t take long for the lines to start blurring.

Shawn hasn’t been particularly popular in the previous books. He’s the jock roommate who’s given the other couples grief at times. Turns out that he was hiding something underneath the bouts of homophobia - Shawn’s sexually submissive and likes dick just as much as boobs.

I thought Shawn’s discovery of his sexuality was realistic. He slowly comes to terms with what he feels for Jude, and why he had acted out in the past. Plus, he makes appropriate amends for his past behaviour.

Jude is Shawn’s complete opposite. He’s outgoing and confident, and very in touch with his sexuality and desires. Plus, he’s got a dominant streak.

As expected, Jude and Shawn burned up my tablet screen. The two brought the heat from their first cautious jerk-off scene on webcam. There’s a delicious sprinkling of kinks - exhibitionism, voyeurism, bondage, and some light D/s.


Shawn and Jude have an undeniable sexual chemistry. But what I didn’t get a sense of was their emotional connection. What I most like about this series is that while it leans strongly to the steamy side, the books still provide well-developed romances. That wasn’t the case here.

There’s little relationship development. I didn’t get why Jude and Shawn fell for each other beyond the hot sex. The two didn’t really strike up a friendship or have common ground.

Also, the drama at the end was off-putting. I could understand why Jude wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a closeted man, but the urgency of it didn’t make sense to me. If I’m getting the timeline right, only a couple of weeks pass between the first cam show and Jude putting his foot down. That’s a pretty short time for Shawn to finally come to terms with his bisexuality, begin exploring it, and take the huge step of coming out to everyone in his life.

In the end, I wasn’t convinced that Shawn was really ready to come out as opposed to him feeling pressured to do it. There’s a HFN, but Shawn and Jude definitely have a long way to go.

Overall, this was an okay read for me. It’s a very hot read, but I didn’t really buy Jude and Shawn as a couple.

Chelsea - 5 Hearts

I’m not going to be able to add anything different or unique to the other reviews out there for this book, so this’ll be short and sweet…. oh, and a lot sexy. This was smokin hot!

“Or are you fucking yourself with your fingers or a dildo and wishing it was my cock you were sitting on? Your arse feels so good, so tight. You’re gonna make me come….”
Shawn’s brain imploded. That image made fireworks go off in his head and his balls. He pressed two fingers against his hole, gasping as his whole body tensed and released.

The story was full of interesting characters that were equally fun and frustrating!

But the idea of telling all his friends and his family that he was in a relationship with a man seemed impossible. He was torn, his heart pulling him in one direction while his fear pulled him in another.

There were some subtle kinks which I adored, exibitionism, voyurism, bondage and dominant/submissive roles. yum yum yum.

Fingers dipped into his crack and Shawn shivered, legs going weak. He felt needy, desperate. He wanted to bend over the desk and spread himself open, beg for Jude to touch him more.

I love this whole series and even though this wasn’t my favourite so far, I’m giving it 5 hearts as a reflection of how much I adore all these books.

I highly recommend this whole series to everyone. There's a lot of sex, a lot of friendships and a lot of sneaky, surprise emotions.

Lorix - 4 Hearts

I have really enjoyed this series of books by Jay Northcote, he knows how to write sexy characters, that's for sure. More than that though, Northcote writes characters I find very relatable, and that adds to my enjoyment of his writing. Maybe it's because they are British so instantly I feel at home but that aside I feel the characters are always well rounded and have their own tale to tell.

This is possibly the steamiest book in the series and it appealed to my (theoretic) voyeuristic side. Cam shows from flatmate as you're finally admitting your bi-side? Yes please! There is no denying the sex in this story is hot; the sexual coinnection between Shawn and Jude is immediately apparent and, as someone who can take or leave sex in a story, it was much appreciated in this book. I did feel the emotional connection in this story wasn't quite as strong as some of the other couples from this series and quite often I can skim books with more sex less emotion. NO skimming here though because Northcote is a great writer. I really would recommend this series; it's fun, sweet, sexy and a great read.

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Don't miss today's release blitz tour stop here!

Release Blitz: Watching and Wanting (Housemates #4) by Jay Northcote

Jay Northcote and Signal Boost Promotions are blitzing everyone to celebrate the release of his latest in the Housemates series, Watching and Wanting. See our unicorn group review here 
Check out the NSFW excerpt and info below!

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh

Length: 52,000 words

Housemates Series - though a series, each book can be read as a standalone. 
Helping Hand (Book #1)  Amazon US | Amazon UK
Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied...

Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.

Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.

Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

NSFW Excerpt

A couple of days later, Shawn was still doing his best to be a better housemate and friend. So after he’d finished his dinner—late because he hadn’t left work till six and had then been running again—he washed up lots of pots in the kitchen that other people had used and tidied up some things left lying around in the living room.

“Is this either of yours?” He held up a hoodie that was slung over the back of a chair.

Jez and Mac, who were on the sofa watching TV, both glanced his way.

“Nope,” Mac said.

“I think it’s Jude’s.”

Being helpful, Shawn decided to take it up for him.

He passed his own bedroom on the middle floor and went up the second flight of stairs to where Dev’s and Jude’s rooms were. Jude’s door was shut, so Shawn tapped lightly on it. There was no reply, so assuming Jude was out, he turned the handle and pushed. The door opened quietly.

It took a moment for his brain to register the information from his eyes.

Jude wasn’t out.

Jude was definitely in.

He was sitting in a chair with his back to the door, shirtless, dick out and jerking off in front of… fuck, was that Skype? Maybe he had a long-distance boyfriend Shawn didn’t know about.

But the screen didn’t look like Skype; there was a distinctive logo that even from the door, Shawn could see read “Boyz on Cam.” And—Oh fuck. The guy on the screen looked remarkably like Jude himself. Surely he couldn’t be…?

“Shit, sorry, sorry!” Shawn blurted out.

“What the fuck?” Jude wheeled around, simultaneously managing to whip his sweatpants up and slam the laptop shut. “Oh my God, haven’t you heard of knocking?”

“I did knock,” Shawn said helplessly, trying not to stare at the bulge in Jude’s trousers. Eyes up. Jesus Christ, don’t make this any worse than it already is. “You didn’t answer.”

“I didn’t fucking hear you. But you just barged in anyway.” Jude covered the tent in his sweatpants with his hand.

His face was flushed. It was hard for Shawn to tell how much was embarrassment and how much was anger. “You should have locked it,” he said unhelpfully, then mentally kicked himself for his lack of filter. Bit late to point that out now.

“I thought I had!”

“I’m sorry,” Shawn said again. “I didn’t… I mean….” Sensible words eluded him. There was no script for this. “I found this. It’s yours. I’ll go now.” He threw the hoodie at Jude, turned, and fled, shutting the door firmly behind him.

Back in his own room, Shawn paced back and forth.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He scrubbed his hands through his hair, stopped pacing, and glared at his laptop where it lay on his desk, a threatening presence.

No. I can’t.

He threw himself down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.

But what if he was wrong? Maybe he’d misinterpreted what he saw? Maybe Jude was just watching another guy on camera who happened to look a bit like him? Shawn tried to tell himself that it was none of his business anyway, but he needed to know.

He got up and locked his door—learning from Jude’s mistake there—then sat at his desk and opened his laptop carefully, as if it was an unexploded bomb he had to defuse. He pulled up his web browser and typed in the words burned onto his brain: Boyz on Cam.

After an 18+ warning, the site loaded quickly and Shawn half covered his face with a hand, as though peeking through his fingers could make this better. He scrolled past a few photos of half-naked guys with nice abs and inviting smiles, but none of them was Jude.

Then he noticed a link at the top reading “Live Shows.”

Mouth dry and heart racing, he clicked on it. He didn’t think it was possible for his heart to beat any faster, but when he saw Jude’s face grinning suggestively at him from a thumbnail image, he seriously wondered if it was possible to have a heart attack at the age of twenty-one.

He knew he shouldn’t look, didn’t even know why he wanted to go any further. He’d confirmed his suspicions, and that was all he needed to know. Yet, with a shaking hand, he clicked on the link anyway

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
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Review: Complexity (The Kinky Connect Chronicles #4) by Harper Miller

Fairy tale endings weren’t made for people like me. Happy for now usually ain’t in the cards, either.

The dents on my wall from where my headboard kept knockin’ against the same spot was the first clue that I needed to calm my ass down. At the rate I was racking up notches and plowing through hookups, I wasn’t ever gonna find nothing real. Guess I kinda jinxed myself. I created my circumstances. You can’t get what you want if you keep falling back into the same pattern of bad habits. But then things changed. I stumbled onto somethin’ I never in a million years expected to happen. You gotta understand, I’m never the guy who wins. It was supposed to be just sex, but that shifty, rhyming and scheming bastard, Cupid, pulled a fast one.

I may have changed some stuff to protect a couple of people. But before you go believing the tabloids, make sure you understand that you’re gettin’ the lowdown straight from the source.

I needed to get this off my chest and it’s only fair that you at least get my side of it all. At some point, I might regret telling you any of this, but for now, you need to know.

*Disclaimer* This is a novella. Not a short story, novelette, or novel. This tale features an M/M pairing. If gay erotica/erotic romance is not your cup of tea and you are offended by same-sex relationships or crass language, you should bypass this story. Content is intended for a mature audience, 18+.

Complexity is the fourth installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. The Kinky Connect Chronicles are short erotic stories/novelettes all wrapped up in neat little bows. These stories are standalones. No cliffhangers in the lot!

Docking and pigeon peas!

I had to google one. I'll let you guess which. *exaggerated wink*

Manny is the narrator of this novella. Manny is a bisexual, Puerto Rican, personal trainer, struggling to make ends meet in New York who likes sex. A lot. He isn't picky about gender or how many people are getting served at a time and he's model hot, so... there's not exactly a shortage of people in the greater NYC area willing to climb into his bed or a bathroom stall or the gym... you get me. I'm actually wondering if underwear doesn't just disintegrate when one gets within a certain distance of Manny. Like the sun. Only for underwear.

Being inside Manny's head... was an experience. I couldn't say whether or not his voice is authentic being neither Puerto Rican nor from New York, but he holds no punches and his verbiage made me cackle, I'll say that. Many of his reactions I didn't understand. He'd get pissed in a nanosecond but I was still at the starting gate trying to figure out why, but the characterization is consistent. Consistently had me scratching my head but consistent nonetheless.

More often than not he explains himself and it mostly boils down to him getting bent over something I wouldn't ever think to, some of which may be cultural, others of which are probably gender, all of which held my interest mainly because I don't get in a bind about much. He's like a fucken rubik's cube and puzzles are in my wheelhouse. Occupational hazard.


Manny's thirsty one night, alters his profile on the kinky site where he's a member to reflect his desire for cock and through a series of events meets Chris.

Chris is a pretty well known TV star and DEEP in the closet. They have chemistry in that fuck and fight way but the closetedness becomes an issue after they've been together about 6 mos.

The way the story is put together worked for me. I like flashing back to their first meeting but then there is a big time jump where Manny fell in love with Chris. I have trouble with the 'take my word for it they're in love' gambit. I like to see it and feel it for myself, and while I understand that's a tall order within the span of a novella, I still think the relationship could've been better developed.

The way Chris and Manny interact speaks to their chemistry and David seems to be able to decipher Manny, so in that sense it's clear they have a connection. Do I think they'll have longevity? Eh. Maybe?  

The sex is medium hotness with some dirty talk, bossiness and the aforementioned docking. I know it says "kinky" in the series title and they meet on a "kinky" website but... can we just agree to disagree? 

Manny's family dinner scene was one of the things I liked best about this story. The support they give him is heartwarming. The ending is both tiddy and surprising. It definitely leaves the possibility of a sequel but doesn't leave you dangling from a cliff. 

Recommend to MM erotica fans.

A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: His Needs by Kris T. Bethke

When State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.

As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.

When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?

***Sings from highest mountain***
 Friends to lovers, friends to lovers..... That's my jam!

Ha ha! seriously, it is my favourite trope, for many reasons, so I love when I pick up a book where the MCs are friends. Strictly speaking, Travis is best friends with Noah's brother, Joe, but he's almost like one of the family. In fact, he's so much part of the family that it causes problems as their relationship develops.

This is a perfect holiday story (and don't we need a little of that in our lives now that the January gloom has hit?) The sweet romance, friends-to-lovers, a bit of angst and upset but love conquers all. Well, not all, but it starts to win the way. Sometimes this is just the kind of book I want to read. The whole, family-centric core of the story really floats my boat. Travis doesn't have a family - Joe's family is his family. Joe's mom bosses him around like one of her own children. The children banter like siblings or close friends, I love it.

I also loved how, something that has been hidden/unseen for twenty-odd years suddenly blossoms. I loved Travis's relationship development with Noah. It was a little corny, but I liked the whole he suddenly realises how Travis feels in front of the Christmas tree. It brought a soppy smile to my face. I liked how it didn't diminish the friendship between Joe and Travis - but it still challenged it a little. Anything like that is going to change the known boundaries of friendship or brotherly love. I also had a love/hate relationship to Noah's mom's reaction. It felt extreme in a way... but I could understand, from her characters POV, how she felt. I didn't agree, but to me it showed how much she considered Travis part of the family.

So, yeah, I liked this story, it was just gooey enough.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

For more information, see Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads.

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt

The Afraid to Fly tour is buzzing the clubhouse tower today. Don't miss out on the Riptide Credit Giveaway below! Win $10 in Riptide Publishing credit and two books of choice from L.A. Witt’s backlist!

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

About Afraid to Fly

Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.

Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.

It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

Afraid to Fly is available January 16th from Riptide Publishing.

To celebrate the release of Afraid to Fly, one lucky winner will receive $10 in Riptide Publishing credit and two books of choice from L.A. Witt’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: Boyfriend Goals by Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid

What happens when a nerd and a jock pretend to be dating for the summer? Social justice whiz Trev needs to convince his parents that his bisexuality isn't a phase, and swim team star Lee needs somewhere to stay until the new semester starts. Forced together for three months at a Vermont lake house with Trev's family, the boys influence each other in unexpected ways, and despite their differences, a real bond begins to form. What will it take for a fake odd couple to become a real one?

Aw, well aren't Lee and Trev just the cutest. 

Trev came out to his family as bi and they kind of brushed it off as a phase. Trev is not the kind of person to take things lightly and will not have his family thinking his sexuality is nothing more than a phase. He decided to take a fake boyfriend back home to convince his family of the validity of his bisexuality. That fake boyfriend is Lee. They meet through a mutual friend and since Lee needs a place to stay over the summer, fake boyfriends seems like the perfect solution.  

I always love a good fake boyfriends trope. There's good tension as the lines between fake and real start to blur. I loved the way their relationship grew over the summer and how they understood each other. They were so adorable and there was snuggling. Lots of snuggles. I'm a big fan of the not-so-innocent snuggling.

Trev isn't exactly a people person. He could be a bit harsh and found his foot in his mouth more than once. But Lee learned how to see through that and really knew Trev. Lee had his own burdens and found support with Trev and his family. Trev's parents aren't exactly the most loving, but they have good intentions and were there for both guys when it really mattered. I do wish there was more showing instead of telling. There was a lot of talk about Trev's lack of people skills and struggles with forming real relationships. Don't tell me all about it, show me. But it wasn't enough to take away my enjoyment of their story. 

I loved all the sweetness this NA romance had to offer. Highly recommended for something low-angst to pull on your heartstrings. 

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

Review: The Unlikely Prospect (States of Love) by Lex Chase

In Prospect Harbor, Maine, lobsterman Harper Cook has always loved the sea. He and his two brothers work the harbor waters, in a fishing village of one thousand where everybody knows everybody else’s business and nobody wants to be different.

When it’s time for the annual Men of Maine pinup calendar, Harper’s brothers eagerly volunteer him. Harper isn’t thrilled to bare it all to raise money for an elementary school playground—until he meets out-and-proud Los Angeles out-a-statah Sean Blackburn: the highly available first-grade teacher with Hollywood heartthrob looks.

Harper has no desire to ever stand out from the crowd, but Sean persists and earns Harper’s friendship. Through Sean, Harper opens up to new possibilities. Things get steamy, but Harper still protects his heart. Though the right pressure in the right place might crack even a loner lobsterman out of his shell.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Like shedding lobsters, it was time for Harper Cook to come out of his shell.

Harper Cook is a simple man, he lives in a small simple Maine town working on his family’s boat as a lobsterman. Harper is a man who is loyal to his family and when his brother Joe signs him up for the Men of Maine Calendar to raise money for a new playground at his niece's school, Harper agrees. When his brother tells him that he’ll have to go see the new 1st grade teacher who is putting the calendar together and I who is “like” Harper, he gets frustrated. When Harper learns that he’ll be Mr. December in the calendar and that he’ll be sporting his birthday suit… well Harper doesn’t back down.

I adored Harper. He’s a good man but socially awkward in the most endearing way. I loved being in his head as he accepted yet wrestled with his sexuality. From his dreams of love at first sight to his “high school hormones” and vast amounts of conditioner he goes through, Harper is a 40 year old man who has never explored his sexuality… with another man. BUT when he meets Sean Blackburn, the 1st grade teacher and wrangler of the Men of Maine calendar, Harper decides to open up and see where things go.

Harper Cook never had a damned thing to be embarrassed about. As far as anyone knew, anyway. His mumma—God bless her resting soul—she’d taken his quiet ways as dignity instead of awkward shyness. He’d open up when it was time.

Sean was a fantastic character. He’s so patient and accepting with Harper that you can’t help but fall for him and fall fast. Their trip out on the boat was so much fun. From Sean posting pics of Harper to what happens before they get rescued, I was on board and ready for more. Sean, he sees Harper and gets not only his awkwardness but that Harper is a virgin and needs a few lessons… yep, lessons.

“You’re fascinating,” Sean said, and Harper met his gaze in confusion. “Don’t think I don’t see it.”

Harper's brothers really are amazing. I loved how Joe gave him the push by saying Harper would do the calendar and basically set up his brother with Sean. The scene after the rather detailed lobster cracking (a bit that I skimmed because my stomach and heart couldn’t take it) when Danny and Joe show up and how they instantly included Sean in the ribbing warmed my heart. They are always in the corner of their brother and only want the best for him.

Yeah, this was sweet story and also, sexy as hell! *whistles* What Sean and Harper get up to; what Sean does, what he makes Harper ask for and what Harper needs was nothing short of sexy. Sean has a dirty mouth and even Harper has a few moments. But again, while it was really sexy there was so much intimacy and emotion that felt so true for the romance.

This book is a sort of sexual coming of age with a 40 year old man and it’s wonderful. Not only the exploration of Harper and his sexuality but the character exploration of Harper as a man with a creative mind. Goodness, I am rambling.

I will just say, I have the biggest, cheesiest and sappiest look/grin on my face from that end. What a wonderful and romantic way to end a story about two men with such character finding their way to one another. Just… perfect. Le sigh.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Finding Your Feet (Toronto Connections #2) by Cass Lennox

The Finding Your Feet tour is here today! Be sure to enter to win the $15 Riptide Credit Giveaway!

About Cass Lennox

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

Connect with Cass:

About Finding Your Feet

While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though—he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.

Available from Riptide Publishing.

To celebrate the release of Finding Your Feet, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: The Dom of Peculiar Places (Sons of Outlaws #2) by James Cox

Twenty years after the Outlaw MC Series…

their children may not know the cost of war but they will know terror when mars starts to reject humanity... Roark is Mayhem’s son and earned his place in the club. He’s a dominant that has a constant eye on the new prospect, Henry. Roark is horny and needs to pound something, be it flesh or a warm hole. He’s looking forward to bossing the new guy around. It all goes to hell when the quake rocks mars and they’re trapped underground. As if being trapped isn’t bad enough, they overhear a plot to kill an MC member. This Dom of Peculiar places has limited time to get free, get laid and save the day.

A prospect that joins the club for unexpected reasons meets a biker that has an unhealthy obsession with him and things will get dirty. Get the lube, bring the blindfold, don’t forget the restraints. Roark doesn’t play, he takes control. And when Roark finally gets Henry under him, not even a dying planet will stop him from finding his sticky, happy ending.

The Dom of Peculiar Places is the second in the Sons of Outlaws series and the second series set on Mars with the Outlaw MC. The Sons of Outlaws picks up with the second generation of badass bikers and I’m digging on this series as much as I did the original. So far, it’s not as intensely hardcore as the Outlaw MC’s, but that makes sense since we were dropped in with the original Outlaws in the middle of a revolution. But the tension is building in this series as Mars itself seems to be rebelling against its inhabitants. I like how the pacing is different in the second set so the series feels familiar and unique at the same time.

In the Dom, we get to know Roark, Mayhem’s son and the prospect, Henry. Roark has become enamored of Henry but has kept him at arm’s length because Roark is really not a relationship kind of guy. Or so he tells himself at the beginning. That doesn’t mean he can’t ogle those sweet prospect buns though. And, oh Roark. He’s exactly the kind of alpha character I love to read about. Like the rest of the Outlaw MC, both first generation and second, Roark is a total badass. Imagine if Mayhem and Whip could mix up their DNA, they would get a Roark. Mayhem is still Mayhem and thankfully there’s Torrin, who’s all reasonable and parental giving Mayhem the balance he needs to be a big softy underneath all the badassery.

That’s what I love, the big softy underneath. Roark definitely seems to be the one in control here, but in reality it’s his feels for Henry that end up being the driving force in Roark’s life. It was really cute actually how Roark kept trying to talk himself out of his feelings for Henry, like, as if that could be a thing. Roark is still all tough guy and Dom-ish, but his actions are sweet as pie when it comes to Henry’s care and comfort. I swooned repeatedly over the little moments and Henry is a pretty smart cookie and he could see through Roark pretty easily too.

Henry was a great character. He’s had a tough life and his health is suffering with the environment on Mars. An earthquake puts the two together alone initially and while I wouldn’t necessarily call a natural disaster a meet-cute, that’s basically what it is in the world of a James Cox book and it works for these characters perfectly. Roark and Henry would have gotten together eventually, I’m sure, but there’s nothing like a catastrophe to put your shit into perspective. I don’t think Roark could manage a relationship with just anyone, he definitely needed someone like Henry, tough yet tender with a snarky, smart-ass wit that kept Roark on his toes. I loved their banter and Henry loved getting ‘punished’ for that smart mouth of his. James knows how to keep a reader on their toes by taking a scene and turning it 180 and giving the reader an unexpected (and highly enjoyable) moment. For instance, the scene in the cave, near the beginning; it wasn’t what I was expecting and I loved it all the more for not following a formula.

I was a really big fan of the chemistry between these two. While Roark is the dominant one during playtime and Henry eats up every minute of it, the care and concern outside of those moments showed how much Henry had Roark wrapped around his little finger without even trying. The balance gave their relationship a lot of depth for a 108 page book that also has the planet falling apart at the same time.

I’m all set for the next in the series, “Suck the Savage Beast”. Have you read the blurb for that one??? The Sons of Outlaws series is a deliciously entertaining escape and I can’t recommend the trip enough.

For more information about the Dom of Peculiar Places and all the Outlaws, check them out on Goodreads.

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