Guest Review: Inhabiting the Night by Carolina Valdez

LAPD Detective Trent Edwards’ twin brother disappears without a trace. While on medical leave for a work injury, Trent hunts for him, renting a house in the mountains near the only reported sighting of his twin. Martin Longhouse, who owns the local fitness center, takes Trent under his wing and introduces him to townspeople who might have seen the missing man. Soon, their attraction to each other flares into lust, and they come together in hot, passionate encounters that quickly settle into something deeper.

But Trent doesn’t know Martin has a secret, nor does he know exactly who lives in Little Grizzly Lake. Or who--and what--inhabits the woods at night.

When the secrets unravel, Trent discovers his rational cop’s mind has a choice--let go of his love for Martin, or open himself up to other realities, other possibilities for his life.

Note: This book was previously released by another publisher

Reviewer: Shee Reader

The story opens with a white tiger prowling the forest, seeing a man being attacked by a gang. He interviews and saves the man from more beating and a certain rape. Not sure what to do next, he drags and carries the unconscious man back to his den, changing back into his man and putting the beaten man in his bed to sleep and heal.

Hoda is a rare white tiger shifter who lives in a quiet mountain town along with a clan of bear shifters and vampires. Trent is a cop, on leave after a nasty knife attack left him seriously injured, who’s search for his missing brother brought him to Little Grizzly Lake.

Trent becomes aware of being dragged, his pain forces him unconscious again, but not before he feels the large hairy thing cuddling into him to keep him warm. The next time he wakes fully, Trent is in a bed, being watched over by a cat, and a large handsome man. Hoda keeps his true nature from Trent but offers some physical therapy at his gym, and on hearing about the missing brother, offers to aid Trent in his search.

There is an attraction between the men that is physical, but also a connection with more depth. Trent is entranced, but knows he must search for his brother, then return to work as a city cop many miles away.

There was plenty of intrigue and mystery in the story, but for me, there were too many loose ends. Trent made seemed to have some grasp of supernaturals, but freaked out at the idea of bear or tiger shifters. The reader never gets the detail on how the brother came to be in the current situation, and Hoda and Trent seemed to do the insta-love thing (that I usually really enjoy) but with too little dialogue and stilted sex scenes that felt incomplete.

On the whole, I liked the writing, and I wanted to get to the end, but it wasn't totally gripping. I felt a little like there should have been more. This is a shortish story and consequently, there are gaps.
I will look out for more work by the author, maybe a full length novel next time.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: This Fire Inside (Home is a Fire #3) by Jordan Nasser

Jordan Nasser is visiting the clubhouse for the first time to promote, his latest release, This Fire Inside (Home is a Fire #3)! Haven't tried this series yet? Have no fear, Jordan is giving away the first two books of his Home is a Fire series to one lucky person! Check out the information below!
Luke Walcott may have finally come out of the closet, but that doesn't mean there aren't shadows still lurking in the corners of his past.

Luke has never been happier now that his relationship with Derek is out in the open and their small Southern town has accepted them for who they are. But in an effort to get away from the commotion that arose after their relationship was revealed, Derek and Luke head to New York City for a well-deserved break. Little do they know that turmoil is waiting for them in those steamy city streets--and it will test the strength of their love.

This Fire Inside is the delightfully entertaining third installment of the Home Is a Fire series and invites readers back into the heartfelt world of Derek, Luke, Uncle Barry, and the Southern charms that shaped them all. Written with wit and warmth, This Fire Inside inspires readers to re-examine their own personal journeys.

As Derek and Luke find themselves redefining who they are together and what they might want apart, both men must fight for their own authentic truths. But through these trials, will their love survive? Will Derek and Luke find their happily ever after?




(scroll down to read)

School was out and so were we. Literally. Somehow my super-closeted football coach boyfriend had decided to take the leap and publicly declare his love for me, his fellow Parkville High School staff member. The reaction from the community was swift, and decidedly unfriendly. Even worse, his sister Lana, along with his former high school sweetheart Amber and her son Jett, had been at the forefront of an intense reactionary campaign against us. Thankfully our other family members and friends rallied to our defense, but it took a few backroom deals and surprise revelations to tie up all the loose ends. Ultimately we were able to keep our jobs, but was that what we really wanted? I was pretty sure I didn’t, after the way we had been treated.
Luke and had I talked to each other about leaving the school, and we decided to look for other options. My Uncle Barry’s friend, Lloyd Barton, had let it slip that he was considering selling his catering company, Lloyd’s. He was tired of the hard work and he wanted to spend his twilight years playing around, like his pals in the Bears’ Club. He asked Uncle Barry if he wanted to buy the whole thing as a turnkey business, but Barry was enjoying his own retirement, so he passed. Lloyd then suggested that Luke and I might like to try our hands at something new. It was an easy decision for me to quit teaching, but it was harder for Luke to walk away from coaching. Instead of saying yes or no right away, we decided to splurge on a summer trip to New York to clear our minds and get back to the question at hand when we returned. We went ahead and set up a meeting with Lloyd in two weeks. It wouldn’t hurt to get all the details before we said no, right?
Luke’s place…I mean, our place…was located near the university campus. A hidden gem in a sea of run-down Victorians, it had somehow escaped the wrecking ball that had turned so many colorful dollhouses into concrete parking structures and mini marts. It was home for now, and we were both working hard to make it a place that felt just as comfortable to me as it did to him.
To a Southerner, home is everything. When I came back to Parkville from my decade-long adventure in New York, I moved back in with my mom, Audrey, and her brother, my Uncle Barry. When my long-lost dad, Johnny, reappeared and swept her off her feet again, she moved in with him, and we all hoped their relationship would last this time. My uncle didn’t react well at first, but now that Mom has fully settled in at Casa de Johnny, Barry has taken the opportunity to turn Mom’s old place into the gay bachelor palace of his dreams. Did I mention that he finally came out after 60?
I pulled my old junker into Barry’s driveway and took a look at the chaos. Lovingly nicknamed Willie Nelson thanks to the “Honk if you love Willie Nelson” sticker Mom had placed on its bumper years ago, my car was the least out of place thing here. The men from the local construction crew milled about with Styrofoam coffee cups in hand, walking between well-ordered stacks of lumber and bricks. There was even a small bulldozer parked in the yard. Barry, this isn’t a teardown. What are you doing?
I stepped out of the car and walked up the small, wobbling wooden gangplank that led into the house, using my hands to part the thick sheets of plastic in front of me. My friend Tommy, clipboard in hand, gave me a quick nod as he directed a small group of men. I’m glad he was here to act as the foreman of this circus and to keep Barry on track. They were definitely in the mid-demolition phase.
“Barry?” I called out. “Where are you?”
“Over here, Dolly!” he answered. I was rarely “Derek” to my Uncle Barry. He preferred “Dolly” or “nephew” or even “kid.” I took this as a sign of love; especially coming from a man who called himself “Beret” while he was lip-syncing show tunes in sparkly drag gowns at the Bears’ Club downtown.
“Watch your step, kid. They’re taking this wall down today.” He walked over and gave me a hug, and then handed me a plastic construction helmet to wear. His headgear was bedazzled of course, but this simple yellow plastic one would just have to do for me. “This house has never seen so much action. Just wait till we’re done! Ha! Come on. Let’s take a walk out to the front. It’s pretty safe out there.”
We stepped gingerly over a few two-by-fours and walked out onto the front porch. He pulled the glass door tight to silence the noise from inside, and the screen door shut itself, squeaking softly along the way.
“I thought you were just putting in a hot tub?” I said, staring amazed at the chaos.
“Oh, you know me, Dolly. Diamonds and sequins on feathers. Once I started I couldn’t stop. When your mom moved out I realized that I finally had the chance to make something of my own. I feel invigorated. The bitch is back!”
I had to laugh. Barry’s coming out wasn’t a major surprise, but he was embracing it with full gusto after he had seen Luke and me survive the town pitchforks. His generation may have led the way historically, but now he had some catching up to do, and he was tackling it with all the glitter he could find.
“So,” he started, excitedly, “first I was just going to put in a hot tub, but then I sat down with Tommy, and things just kind of escalated. We’re taking down the dining room wall and making more of an open plan layout here on the first floor. The kitchen will flow into the living room and eating area. Better for entertaining, you know? This happy gal plans on throwing a few parties! Then Tommy suggested opening up the room a bit more by putting in a double sliding glass door to the terrace. Great idea, right?! The hot tub will go over to the left on an extended deck. We’re putting in a line of tall shrubs to create a little privacy hedge, if you catch my drift. We’ll have a fire pit, grilling station, the whole enchilada. I’m so excited!”
“Do you have the money for this?” I asked.
“Well, your Aunt Janey and I always were good with our finances. We saved up a healthy nest egg for our retirement. After she passed, I had enough saved for two, and well, now there’s just me. I’m pretty sure she’d like me to have some fun.” He didn’t speak with an air of sadness. It was honest, and he was right. Janey would be pleased with the new Barry.
“It sounds great and I can’t wait to see it,” I said, reassuring him. “Listen, I came over to ask a favor. Is it all right if I borrow that designer duffel bag I brought you from Chinatown? Luke just has gym bags and they won’t let me back into New York City with one of those. I’m afraid they may even have velvet ropes at the airport now.”
“Even if they did they’d still let you in, kid. You’ve got that look on your face that says step aside. I know what I’m doing. You always have. And I have no idea where you got that,” he said, winking. “Come on. The duffel is in my old room.”
We made our way back through the maze of plastic tarps and sheetrock and up the stairs into Barry’s former bedroom. He dramatically flung open the double doors to his closet while I removed my construction hat and sat on his bed, watching the show. This was a free ticket, and no matter how many times I had seen it, I loved it, every time.
“Now, let’s see,” he said, pushing his way through a sea of sequined gowns, “I just used that bag the other day. Oh, yes! Here we go.” He opened the faux leather duffel, emptied it of a few brassieres and a pair of shiny red patent heels, and then handed it over. “Good as new! And I expect that back, by the way. Actually, I could use a new tote bag, too, if you happen to see one.” He grinned.
“No problem,” I said, smiling. “If I can still find my sources. I’ve heard Chinatown isn’t the same since I left. I’m afraid a lot of New York won’t be the same.”
“Do your best, nephew. No worries. Oh, you’re gonna have a blast,” he assured me. He sat next to me on the bed and carefully placed his sparkly helmet beside him. “And Luke will love it. Help him come out of his shell, a bit. I think you’ll be surprised.”
I hadn’t even thought of that. Luke had spent his whole life here in Parkville. He was the local football hero turned coach, with a secret that he couldn’t share, until I showed up and turned his head. He had a lot of amazing qualities, but I like to think that I brought out his best side.
“Yeah, that’s true. Luke’s knowledge of gay bars includes Bottom’s Up, and that’s it. We haven’t even trekked down to Atlanta for a weekend. He’s barely been exposed to anything.”
“Well, watch out for him, then,” he counseled me. “That country hunk of yours is bound to attract some attention, wanted or not.”
“Oh, we’ll be fine,” I assured him. “I’m taking him to some of my favorite old haunts. If they’re still there, that is. It seems each consecutive mayor of New York decides to ‘revitalize’ more and more of the seedier parts of town that I loved so much. CBGB is now a designer clothing store and Mars Bar is a bank. Punk is dead, long live punk.” I flipped my middle finger into the air in a mock salute and stuck out my tongue.
“Who are you trying to kid, kid? You were never punk. Spunky, sure, but punk?”
“Hey, gimme a break! I saw some things,” I said, defensively. “Maybe I didn’t do as much as I wanted to, but I definitely observed.”
“That’ll make a great headstone.”
“Well, at least I left Parkville for a few years.” I knew he was just teasing me, but sometimes I did feel a bit defeated, considering I eventually left the city of my dreams to return to the scene of my fumbling youth. “I’m so happy I lived in New York. I needed that time away, you know?”
“Of course you did, Dolly. And I’m proud of you. I wish I’d had the courage to move up there for a few years. My situation was a bit different of course, with Janey.” He grew quiet for a moment as he collected his thoughts, and I could feel his emotions shift. “I’m really glad you stopped by today, actually. Now that I’ve granted you a favor, your fairy god-uncle needs to ask one of his own. You up for it?”
“Sure,” I said, cautiously. You never knew what to expect with Barry.
“I made a few solo trips of my own up to New York back in the ‘80s, you know. I had a buddy there I used to visit. Just a friend, nothing more, so don’t give me those eyes. But we did have some crazy nights together. He did drag, of course. I guess you could say he was my inspiration.” He paused, and then launched directly to his request. “I was wondering if you could look him up for me? We lost touch years ago. We were friends before e-mail and cell phones and all that social media hoopla that you’re into. Back then, we actually met people. In person. And if you said you’d be there, well you actually showed up. Crazy, I know. Anyway, it was one of those interminably hot summer months. Janey and Mabel were going to spend a week in Florida so I decided to take a bus up to New York for a few days, on my own. Some me time, you know? It took forever. I think we stopped in every podunk town along the way. When the bus pulled into Port Authority I could just feel the electricity in the air. It was early in the morning but the city was just buzzing with life. I got my bearings and walked down a few blocks and over a few avenues and checked myself right into the Hotel Chelsea. I had seen Lance Loud on that American Family documentary on PBS and I was kind of hoping I would run into him, if you want to know the truth. I never did, though. Can you imagine?! Ha! I could have had a totally different life.”
He shifted his body on the bed and used the palms of his hands to smooth his trousers. Uncle Barry had lived through some amazing times. My respect for him grew every day of every year, and definitely with every new story.
“I spent the day exploring the town, and then came home to clean up for my nighttime adventures. I was alone in the city, after all. Far from home, with no prying eyes from Parkville. I was free to be me and to have some fun, with Janey’s approval, of course. AIDS was ravaging New York City at the time, but I was informed enough to make smart decisions. At least, the best decisions I could with the limited information that we had then. Those were scary times. Anyway, I had freshened up and I was just stepping out of my room at the Chelsea to go dancing when I bumped into Charlie in the hallway. He smiled. I smiled. And, well, you know how it goes, Dolly. We theatre folk just seem to find one another. He asked if I was alone and I said yes, and before I knew it, we were running down the stairs to catch a cab to the Village. He took me everywhere. Places I’d never seen and things I could never have imagined even existed. Midtown, downtown, discos, the bathhouses! It was a different scene then. Trust me. We stayed out until five in the morning, only coming home to nap for a few hours and then we went out and started all over again. You know how it goes. Charlie performed in drag on the weekends so I tagged along to see his shows. He had real star power. Such a following! Young boys just threw themselves at him. Ha! His female illusion was just tops. The best. He had gowns and sparkles and heels. And the wigs! Oh! His room at the Chelsea was just chock-full of fantasy. He was really living his life to the fullest. Charlie took advantage of everything that city had to offer, and he loved every minute of it. Even better, kid, he was out. Out and proud, out. I have to admit, I was so jealous of him, and I couldn’t help but wish that I could do the same. But some things just weren’t meant be, at least not in the same timeline. My moment came later, of course. Hell, I didn’t even come out officially until this year. But here’s the thing. That queen showed me what I could be. Who I could be. He was my goal and my inspiration…and then I lost him. I just know he went on to do great things. I do.” He turned to look at me, very seriously. “So you think you can find him for me, Dolly? I can’t even imagine the exciting life he is leading now, after all these years. I just need to know what he has done with his amazing gifts.”
“Absolutely, Uncle Barry. I’d be honored. Charlie, right?” I made a mental note. “Do you have any other info on him? His last name? He can’t still be living at the Chelsea?”
“Oh, sorry, nephew. I don’t know why I did that. Old habits. I met him as Barry, not Beret, so my pronouns are all messed up. I don’t think you can find him. But you’ll definitely find her. He never went by Charlie. She was fabulous, after all. I’m sure you’ll be able to find her. Just go to the best clubs and ask around for me? There must be someone who knows the amazing Chinois Zarée.”


About the Author

Jordan Nasser left his dream job behind and took the opportunity to re-examine his life—an experience he highly recommends if you ever have the chance. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, he was raised in the South before moving to New York City. He currently lives and writes in Stockholm, Sweden and Nice, France.

In his debut novel, Home Is a Fire, he drew upon his experiences growing up in the South. Outstanding reviews placed the book on the Amazon top ten rated LGBT fiction list. That story continues in his second novel, The Fire Went Wild.


The author is going away eBook (Kindle) copies of the first two books in the Home is a Fire series to one lucky person-- (Book #1) Home is a Fire & (Book #2) The Fire Went Wild

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends 4/1/17 12AM EST Good luck!

Audiobook Review: What’s in a Name? (Foothills Pride #1) by Pat Henshaw

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it's a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Saloon rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender's first name since he's worn a different name tag every time Jimmy's seen him. "Guy" Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he's distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.

Listening Length: 2 hours and 49 minutes
Narrator: David Ross

Jimmy Patterson has dumped his boyfriend for cheating on Jimmy’s birthday, and seems to have attached himself to a bartender who wears a different name tag every night at Stonewall. This was a pretty intriguing concept. Jimmy has to guess what the guys name is in seven guesses, each name to be guessed after a date with “Guy”.

I enjoyed the way this relationship developed and the way “Guy” was a stable support for Jimmy while things were going wrong in his business life. Jimmy is trying to open up another Coffee shop but he is getting resistence, and what appears to be a hate crime is perpetrated on his existing shop.

What I loved most about this, is that Jimmy still managed to stay upbeat about everything and had fun with “Guy” while organising his life without his ex in it. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he got all stormy about his ex being a cheater, or his shop being trashed, but he picked himself up quickly and got on with succeeding. That’s not to say he was unaffected, he just gave off the impression that sometimes shit happens, and it shouldn’t stop him from doing what he set out to do.

The guessing game was fun, if a little cheesy. Their chemistry was beautiful, regardless of whether a real name was known. “Guy” was still authentic and passionate, real and practical. There was no subterfuge or mystery with anything else about him. What was presented was honest, and refreshingly straightforward.

David Ross, of course, is a wonderful narrator, and gave depth to the characters in this story. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of his voice as a storyteller. Great voice acting is a skill I would never be able to master, and he does a superb job of bringing life to even the most mundane character in this book.

Fun and flirty, with some serious content thrown in for depth, this was a great short story to listen to while I did boring cleaning chores around my house.

Recommended for all MM romance readers.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long

Jordan Price is used to the boring wait in airports, given that he practically lives on business trips. He's all set for this to be more of the same, until he meets a self-described power bottom on Unzipped—a guy who happens to be in the same airport. It seems like a perfectly good way to kill time until his flight, but soon Jordan realizes that Heath, his newfound friend on Unzipped, will be taking the same flight, and the wheels in his head get spinning. Jordan is determined to test Heath's bottoming skills himself, and if he has his way, the flight will be anything but boring.

Another hot more porn than plot Unzipped Short from this author and I am not complaining one bit. Actually, these shorts remind me of the Letters to Penthouse books I used to sneak read as a young girl… did I just out my pervy side? As if that was ever closeted. *grins*

When Jordan Price is waiting to board a connecting flight for business, he gets bored of the mundane social media and decides to check his neglected Unzipped account. Unzipped is basically Grindr for this series so you get why it could be fun, eh? Anyway, as he scrolls through who is close he lands on a slim hipster with a nice cock from his nude shot and starts up a chat. When Jordan laments about his flight and where he is going, Mr. Hung Hipster informs him they are on the same flight and he’s seated in 7D… hence the title.

It was fun to get the flirty conversation via the Unzipped app and then get Mr. Hung Hipster aka Heath being a bit flustered by Jordan’s whispered compliment as they boarded as well as his audacity to ask the man in 7E to switch seats. It’s not that Heath wasn’t turned on but it’s one thing to chat on an app, even one such as Unzipped when you know nothing is going to happen and then have the dude who sent you a dick pic, seated next to you for a three hour tour, I mean flight.

“What exactly do you think we’re going to be able to do here? We’re on an airplane, for Christ’s sake. I don’t think we can have all that much fun.”
“You’d be surprised,”
“We’ll get caught,”
“Isn’t that part of the fun?”

What Heath and Jordan get up to on the plane was hot and fueled my exhibitionist needs. What they decide to get up to when they get off the plane and at the hotel was even hotter and that end? Well it left it wide open, like gaping for the possibility that these two could be something more than sex. Or at least that’s what my romantic heart hoped for because you know…

This series is fuckhot and I like that it is. I like my romance and I like my porn and when you mix those and toss in possibility, I get a nice buzz. Yup. This was a good one.

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Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Before I even start reviewing the book, I have to say how much I love the cover. It is beautiful and definitely went towards me wanting to read this story.

The story inside the beautiful cover was pretty darn good, too! The fact that the MC's were both older, with their own responsibilities was great. I appreciated the lack of angst in them admitting their feelings for each other. It wasn't a completely easy ride, but they were honest with themselves and lacked the drama that younger relationships seem to thrive on in literature. It was a refreshing change.

In fact, I have to admit to loving both Aaron and Larx. They worked really well together and were the kind of couple that I wish were real, that I wish I knew. The book was written with an underlying message of inclusiveness and acceptance of oneself. It was written with the understanding that this is not always easy, or possible, but that self-acceptance is where the journey starts.

At times I was quite frightened by the truth of people's hate, especially how that hate can ripple out and affect many people in different ways. It scared me because this is a reality for far too many people still, even in this (so called) enlightened age. The murder storyline that gave the book its mystery element just served to highlight how far hate can reach and how many it can affect. It also showed the opposite of this though and how love and understanding can reach out and affect more people than one may realise.

I have to admit - sometimes I find Amy Lane's writing confusing. I'm not sure if it is because of cultural differences and references I don't always get at first, but oft times I have to stop and re-read a sentence to make sense of it. I don't think this is a reflection on the writing though, more a reflection on how different my life is from the author's. I always get a feeling of small town America from Lane's books, a place I've never been, but I like that I feel that I'm there when I read them. Part of what I love about reading is the escapism into the lives of others.

A great book that I enjoyed and am glad I read.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads

Blog Tour + Giveaway: A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove

We're happy to have first time author Jennifer Cosgrove and IndiGo Marketing to the clubhouse! It's the final day of 'A Boy Worth Knowing' blog tour! Don't miss the interview, excerpt and NineStar Press eBook giveaway!

Title:  A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Publisher:  NineStar Press - SunFire Imprint
Release Date: March 20
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 62200
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, bisexual, romance, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, coming of age, ghosts, family drama, high school, bullying

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Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.

Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.

Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.


A Boy Worth Knowing
Jennifer Cosgrove © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I loved autumn mornings.

The October air was just cold enough to set my lungs on fire, my breath visible in clouds of condensation, forcing all of the crap clogging up my head into the recycle bin. Bonus, I could pretend I was a dragon. Nothing could touch me; my morning run made everything go away, lost in miles at a time. Down an isolated country road.

Everything changed when I was twelve, and not for the better. That was when I started running. Five years of road I’d put behind me. My mom worried about me the first time I took off alone. Well, when she used to worry about me. I wished she was more worried about the reason I was running instead of the fact I was doing it down an empty road.

I turned the corner about a mile after leaving home, and that was when I saw him. Samuel was always lurking among the sunken headstones. Most people had no clue there used to be a cemetery out there. Looking closely, some of the stones that made up the foundation of the chapel could still be seen. No one else ever paid that much attention to it. Samuel glared at me as I got closer. He was a surly one.

My life was like the horror movies I loved. I talked to the dead. Well, technically dead. They were really spirits, or whatever. Whatever was left behind when people died. And they talked to me, for some reason. There was nothing like sitting in math class and having a ghost whisper in my ear while trying to take notes.

It happened all the damn time. I didn’t know how to handle it at first. And no one wanted to hang out with the crazy kid in the back of the room, muttering away to himself. I got used to it. Really. And the lack of a social life helped me get all of my homework done on time; all of the teachers loved me. That was good. Talking to ghosts wasn’t all bad.

I waved at Samuel as I ran by the cemetery. He shook a fist at me in return. Samuel wasn’t evil or anything, just grumpy. Couldn’t blame him, though. I looked him up one time and found out he’d died in the late eighteen hundreds. The cause of death on record was a heart attack. But Samuel told me his brother-in-law had poisoned him because he wouldn’t sell him his prize mule. I had no clue what was so special about that mule, but his brother-in-law evidently thought it was worth killing him over. I’d have been pretty surly myself.

Past the forgotten cemetery, a few miles to the McGregor farm, and then I’d swing around for home. Yes, I said McGregor farm. Small-town life— I couldn’t have made this stuff up if I’d tried.

There was another house just past the farm where I had to watch out for their beast of a dog. Dogs weren’t huge fans of mine. My Nana had a theory they could sense a bit of whatever it was that let us chat with those who’d “passed on.” I had no idea how that was even possible, but cats loved me, so yay.

Speaking of which, Aunt Susan’s overly fluffy cat waited by our mailbox. Arthur did that every time I went out for a run. He would sit there and then fall in behind to follow up the driveway until we got to the house. Then, it was a shady spot on the porch in the summer or, if it was cold like that day, into the house in front of the fireplace. I loved predictability.

The house used to be my grandmother’s. It was a standard farmhouse, old and creaky just like dozens more all around us, and it could have stood a little paint. But we called it home, and we liked it. It became Aunt Susan’s home. It had been left to her after Nana died, since my mom already owned one. It was a little out of the way and a long drive to the hospital where my aunt worked. But it was paid for, and that meant a lot.

I had to be quiet going in because Aunt Susan was not a morning person, and the floor squeaked just inside the back door. I was very much a morning person, and I followed the same routine each school or work day. Flipping on the coffee maker, I headed to my room to get ready for school. I got the shower running, since it took a while to heat up in an old farmhouse, and took a sniff to make sure a shower was actually necessary. Oh, yeah. I was gross.


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Interview with Jennifer Cosgrove, author of A Boy Worth Knowing

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Probably leftover Chinese food and juice boxes! Oh, and milk. My kids go through lots of milk.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would want the ability to beam my thoughts into my computer and turn them into words! Seriously. That would save so much time! If it could also level up my World of Warcraft character, that would be great.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I would trade places with Aunt Susan in A Boy Worth Knowing. She is the fly on the wall watching these two boys dance around each other. She’s right there with us wanting to smash their faces together and tell them to kiss already! She’s also the one that is the trusted person that Nate can go to with his problems and I like the idea of that.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

Honestly, I would find a nice hotel room with excellent wifi and stay there. If I can have peace and quiet, the environment is not nearly as important. Unless the choice is London. Then I would always pick London.

What's the one thing, you can't live without?

Wifi. I know, I know! I am constantly online but I don’t think I would be a writer without it. It’s where I fell in love with fandom and fanfiction and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

What internet site do you surf to the most?

Twitter. I’m always on Twitter. It’s where all of my writing friends live.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Stephen King, for sure. I started reading his books at a young age, probably too young, and they’ve been a huge influence. A friend gave me his writing book and I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend it to any writer.

Anne McCaffrey, if she were still living. The librarian at my very rural elementary school handed me Dragonsong and that began a lifelong love of sci-fi and fantasy. It changed my life.

Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files series is a favorite and I love the world building that he does in it. Harry Dresden is such an interestingly flawed character and I would love to pick Jim Butcher’s brain on character development.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was at work when I got the email, so I had to do a lot of internal screaming. I called my husband first and had a very intensely whispered conversation. I was so excited!

Meet the Author

Jennifer has always been a voracious reader and a well-established geek from an early age. She loves comics, movies, and anything that tells a compelling story.

When not writing, she likes knitting, dissecting/arguing about movies with her husband, and enjoying the general chaos that comes with having kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/20 - My Fiction Nook

3/20 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/20 - Just Love

3/21 - Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews

3/21 - Diverse Reader

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3/22 - V's Reads

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3/22 - MM Good Book Reviews

3/23 - Liz's Reading Life

3/23 - Stories That Make You Smile

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3/24 - Boy Meets Boy Reviews

3/24 - Love Bytes Reviews


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Review: Inheritance by Sean Michael

3rd Edition

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

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

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

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

Second Edition published by Torquere Press, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A copy provided for an honest review

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugh and anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

See our previous reviews:

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

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

Old town, new flames

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find Prior Commitment (Priorities #1) on Goodreads!

Old town, new flames

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find Prior Affair (Priorities #2) on Goodreads!

All copies provided for an honest review.