Review: Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.



Strap in, kids, cuz this one goes by fast!

I took a chance since Hayward was an unknown to me and I believe this is her first foray into MM, though I would never know it had I not snooped. I am beyond pleased that I clicked that request button because this is a Cupcake book! A blistering pace is set from the start that carries through to the finish.

Where Death Meets the Devil flip flops between events that took place a year ago and present day between Jack and Ethan. It's told entirely though Jack but I still got a great sense of Ethan, who is a strange brew of childlike exuberance, especially when it comes to his beloved cars, a dry sense of humor that oddly makes him seem very approachable and a cold lethality that makes him very dangerous indeed.

Jack works for a government agency called the Meta-State which is a collective and secret spy network between Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries who share intelligence in an effort to combat terrorism. He's ex-military and has some demons from his missions that crop up in organic ways. I like him. I don't know if I like him as much as a like Ethan but I'm a weirdo who digs assassins. *shrugs* Sue me.

One year ago Jack was undercover working for Valadian in an effort to gain intel on his involvement with terror groups when he wound up bound to a chair in a torture shack. In walks Ethan Blade, number 7 on the list of most notable assassins, and he figures his time is up. That would make for a short story and not nearly as interesting as the unholy alliance they form to get through the Australian outback relatively unscathed after Ethan helps him escape.

Skip forward a year and Mr. Ethan Blade strolls right into the super secret headquarters of the Sydney Meta-State offices and asks to speak to Jack.

This gif sums up my feels about this book around this time succinctly.


I'm not going to sum up the plot because it's best experienced firsthand but I will tell you some things to expect.

Expect lots of action-fight scenes, car chases, gun fights, dingoes... 
Expect sophisticated writing with gloriously fleshed out characters, complete with backstories.
Expect a fresh voice when it comes to MM romance.
Expect sex scenes that are sensual, lush and build intimacy.
Expect numerous acronyms.
Expect to be kept guessing by the players involved and the plot.
Expect a rude and somewhat needy camel.
Expect to be amused... 

"I miss food." Jack moaned. "Like the thick, juicy steak I had last night. So good."
"For the right price, I can make it your last meal."


This book is hard to classify. It's set in contemporary Australia but there are elements that are almost sci-fi or maybe cyberpunk? It's a little bit opposites attract with a sprinkling of enemies to lovers and heaping of slow burn or whatever you get when you stir those all together. Enemies attract burning? New category! I WIN! Whatever it is, I liked it and I want more of it.

Now for the question I know you're all waiting for, the romance. I would call this romantic suspense. There is a romance between these two, but it's non-traditional. They're not entirely enemies but they are at opposite ends of the legal and moral spectrum, so to speak. They do not trust each other. There are secrets and lies and omissions of truths galore between them and though they make great partners, I think it would've been disingenuous to these characters to bridge that divide and give them a big fluffy HEA. They have something and they both know it but will it stand the test of time? Who knows.

However, I'd be more than happy to take one for the team and read another of their stories to see them get a leeettttllllleeee bit closer to their own version of an HEA, because I'm a giver. ­čśČ


My only quibble is something involving the case but I can't seem to muster up enough care to lower my rating over it.

Recommend to action, suspense, thriller and fans of gritty romance.




An ARC was provided by NetGalley.

Guest Review: Hidden Treasures (A Pinx Video Mystery #2) by Marshall Thornton

It’s about a dress. A valuable blue sequined dress worn by a famed actress in a film from the 1940s. For some reason everyone thinks video storeowner Noah Valentine has it. Which might not be a big deal except that it’s connected to the murder of a prominent Hollywood costumer.

In the second of the Pinx Video Mysteries, Noah attempts to solve the mystery of the dress. To do so, he must confront a legendary film icon Wilma Wanderly, hunky police Detective Javier O’Shea, the dowager Queen of Watts and a couple of bitter ex-friends.









Reviewer: Annika


I wasn't particularly fond of the first book in this series and pretty much decided early on that Night Drop was going to be both the first and last book I'd read of that series. But then, the last chapter happened and I just couldn't wait to know more. I needed to know more. So I was a happy little reader when Hidden Treasures arrived in my waiting hands.
And what can I say more than; I loved it! I was hooked to this book from the very beginning and enjoyed every page of it. I do believe that this book could work as a standalone, but you'd miss out on some of the details from the first book and I don't think it will be as engaging as it was. You need that background, but you don't need it to be able to follow the story, it will only add more depth and meaning to it.

Noah still struggles with everything going on in his life and the last thing he needs is to solve another mystery, let alone a murder. But then, when has things ever gone his way? Especially since he practically has a line of people demanding to sell them a dress he’s never seen. One they claim he has in his possession.

So far this series is not a romance story. Sure there is an interest there, but there are circumstances that prevents that interest to become more than wishful thinking. And by that, I don’t mean there shouldn’t be something building in the future, just that Noah is so far from anywhere near being ready that it’s not even on the map. That’s why there shouldn’t be anything more, at least not yet, it really wouldn’t fit. So no sexy times anywhere near these books (so if you’re looking for something hot and heavy, you are out of luck), they are more of a whodunit type of books. And I find them very refreshing.

I loved that we got to know Noah a bit more, and I just loved the fact that he was engaging the world again. He's far from a socialite, mind you, but he's a bit more present if you know what I mean. It was nice to see him opening up more to his friends, but also dealing with his past. He still has a long way to go, but he is moving forward and you can see the possibilities opening up before him. As for the mystery part of it all, I really enjoyed it. There were some twists and turns, many possible suspects and as many motives and hidden agendas. Who would've thought that one blue dress could cause so much trouble?

Hidden Treasures is very well written with engaging characters and interesting plot. But what’s more is that they have the feel of a cozy mystery but with a hefty dose of reality of it. They are incredibly atmospheric, they will take you back to the early 90's and everything that entails. You feel that atmosphere, almost taste it. Hidden among these pages is a tiny piece of time machine taking you back to the 90's, a place where you might just get asked if you want lube with your video rentals.
I can't wait to find out more about these characters, it will be interesting to know how the gang manages to find themselves in the middle of trouble next time. But now I’m going on another nostalgic trip; I’m going to dig out my old video tape of The Addams Family and have a nice walk on memory lane.

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



Review: Unexpected Christmas by Nell Iris

All alone, caught in a blizzard—without a coat—on Christmas Day. Would you accept a ride from a huge guy looking like a serial killer?

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on his turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into his car…hoping he won’t be ax murdered.

Axel Wilson—Ax for short, unfortunately—is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely, he’s not dangerous?

Thrown together by family drama, they spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient—and hot!—Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.

Right…?

This story is... nice. It didn't blow me away, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. At least, I enjoyed parts of it.

It had snow, which is always a good start for me with a holiday read! It had the badass-looking Axel, who is actually as soft as a marshmallow - and who doesn't like a character that isn't quite as they first appear? I have a soft spot for likeable characters, I think they're highly underrated - bad boys can be so much hard work, sometimes. Axel was lovely, how he cared for his niece was very sweet...

Except...

I couldn't get passed the fact that he did nothing when his sister left a four year old at home alone. I know this is just a short Christmas read but it horrified me. And it wasn't the first time it had happened. Sure, he stayed with her but after it had happened once it shouldn't be an issue again. Sister or not you report that stuff - if only to give the sister support to care for the child properly. I know this is probably just a me thing but I couldn't get passed it, not really, not even for fiction. Not even just to move the plot on. My heart broke for the sweet little honey-bee who'd been left alone.

Daniel was running from the blatant bigotry displayed at his Christmas meal. I felt angry for him. A part of me was angry at his mom for letting her brother spout his vitriol, but part of me felt sorry for her. She wasn't a strong person herself and standing up to a stronger force was extremely hard for her. I think her and Daniel could have acted together and been stronger as a twosome. 

Daniel was nice and the way he and Axel fell together in this short story was very sweet. The writing was great but the story just didn't really work for me as I had misgivings about the storyline all the way through.
A copy of this story was given in exchange for an honest review.



Review: Home is Where You Are (States of Love) by Emjay Haze

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….


I would say overall that this was a very easy read with a touch of hurt comfort, a nice dash of sexy, and a gentle giant for those who love such.

As per the blurb, Eric has been avoiding home for years in an effort to not think or relive some painful and traumatic incidents. Instead of moving on like he'd thought, he’s let it prevent him from returning to a place that he once loved quite dearly. However, when his dad falls ill and his help is needed on their maple/dairy farm, Eric returns to help out the family business. Little does he know that his absence has been acutely felt and is surprised to realize just how much he’s missed his childhood home.

What Eric finds is the farm a little outdated and in need of an overhaul to make things more profitable. He also finds old classmate Phil, whom he never took too much notice of and who’s pretty much managing the entire operation in his absence. What Eric doesn’t know is that Phil has long taken notice of him and has crushed on Eric from afar for years, and Phil knows Eric’s return is just what Eric and the farm needs.

As with most novellas, sometimes things just don't go as smoothly or progress as organically as one would want or expect. This is not overly a big deal because this was easy reading, but I noticed it a bit and there were some small personal niggles like irksome nickname use, grammar typo issues, and slightly off realistic situations. However, despite Eric's initial hesitance and very stubborn resistance, Phil is definitely the standout star here. Hard working, genuine, kind, and caring, this big guy only hopes Eric will decide to take a chance on him and the farm that needs him so desperately.

Again, this was a nice read about rediscovering ones roots, healing from past hurts, and loving the life you were meant to have. Bonus points for falling for the guy that was always in front of you and never left.


Thanks to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: Dant├Ęs Unglued (Ward Security #2) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott


Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott, along with IndiGo Marketing, celebrate the release of Dant├Ęs Unglued (Ward Security #2)! Check out the excerpt and giveaway! You could win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Title:  Dant├Ęs Unglued
Series: Ward Security Series #2
Author: Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
Publisher:  Drake and Elliott Publishing LLC
Release Date: January 26th
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 72k
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense,

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Synopsis

When private investigator, Shane Stephens, is hired by the mayor of Cincinnati to track down the hacker who has been threatening him, Shane is sure this is the opportunity to launch the Merleau Detection Agency into the big time. He even convinces Rowe Ward of Ward Security to loan him one of his best IT specialists, Quinn Lake.

Shane, a man who prefers casual intimacy, is surprised by his attraction to the moody computer geek, but when Quinn suggests they have fun for the month he’s on loan, Shane happily agrees. Both men are expecting nothing more than a good time.

But the investigation takes an unexpected turn and they quickly discover they are facing more than a hacker out to ruin the mayor’s re-election chances. And as they spend more time together, they realize their relationship may be a lot more than just a good time.

With only weeks until the election, Shane and Quinn race to gather the proof they need while dodging bullets and possibly…falling in love.

Excerpt

After one quick knock on Rowe’s door, he stepped inside without waiting for him to call since he was already expected. But he stopped short when he saw the tall man standing next to Rowe’s desk, his hands on his slender hips as he grinned down at Rowe. Quinn couldn’t stop his eyes from quickly sweeping over his broad shoulders and chest that tapered into a narrow waist. His eyes snapped back up to find a pair of brown eyes that twinkled as they finished checking him out as well.

“Sorry,” Quinn mumbled, instantly taking a step backward. “I can come back.” Rowe rarely saw clients. He had customer representatives that handled talking to the clients. Of course, with Rowe’s lack of a filter, it was better if he didn’t talk to the new clients directly.

“No, come in, Quinn,” Rowe said sharply. He stood behind his desk, drawing Quinn’s gaze to his shorter but broader frame. His dark red hair stood up slightly as if he’d been running his fingers through it. Quinn never took that as a particularly good sign.

With a quick jerk of his head, Quinn stepped in and shut the door behind him. The other man was smiling at him, that assessing look still in his eyes, and Quinn didn’t want to think about the fact that he was dying to take another longer look at him, but not with the freaking boss in the room.

“Quinn Lake, this is Shane Stephens. He’s a private investigator with The Merleau Detection Agency,” Rowe introduced.

Shane extended his hand to Quinn and Quinn clenched his teeth, trying to hide his discomfort at taking Shane’s hand. His own palms were sweaty, making the momentary contact awkward. Why the fuck was he always so damn awkward around hot guys?

“Rowe tells me you’re the best,” Shane said, releasing his hand.

Quinn couldn’t help the skeptical look he shot at Rowe, who only shrugged as he sat down again. “Well, I said you and Gidget are the best.”

“Is this about a job?”

“Sit, Quinn.” Rowe absently waved toward the two chairs in front of his desk. He shuffled some papers around without seeming to actually look at them, placing them in piles at the edge of his desk.

Shooting one last uncertain look at Shane, Quinn moved to the farthest chair and sat, his tablet clenched in both hands. His mind raced as he tried to figure out why he’d been called into this meeting. Clients didn’t meet with Rowe, and Quinn didn’t meet with clients unless they’d already been assigned a bodyguard. And while they’d worked with some private investigators in the past, Rowe wasn’t usually involved. He had a company to run.

“Shane recently acquired a client who is the victim of a hacker,” Rowe started.

Quinn looked up at Shane, who was still standing beside Rowe’s desk, his mind finally turning away from too many questions to a problem he could understand. “Identity theft? Bank accounts drained?”

“No, not yet.” Shane shook his head, some of his dark curly hair falling forward against his temple. “At least, not that we’ve uncovered.”

“Then how do you know this client was hacked?”

“There are other signs…but I can’t go into it.”

Quinn frowned for a second. That certainly wasn’t going to make his job easier. “Well, do you just need improved protection? Alerts on accounts? We’ve got a comprehensive list of things we can do to help shore up the client’s account protection and privacy.”

“Shane isn’t looking for protection from the hacker for the client.” Rowe paused until Quinn looked back at him. “His client has hired him to track down the identity of the hacker.”

“Whoa…” Quinn said on an exhale, sitting back in his chair. That…that was not an easy task. Most hackers were pretty damn good at not being found. You had to be if you wanted to survive as one. If you sucked, you were usually snagged by the FBI pretty damn fast. Quinn would know. He’d started hacking at a young age—not stealing other people’s money but just breaking through security systems because he could. It took the feds a solid five years to catch him. But his boss knew all this. Rowe knew everything about the people working for him.

“We’re not equipped to handle this level of…” Shane frowned at Rowe’s computer as if he blamed it for his problems. “Well, we’re not staffed yet to handle computer things like this. I can do some of the forensic research in accounting matters, but I need a computer genius like you.”

“That’s why I agreed to loan you to Shane and his business partner, Ethan, for one month,” Rowe announced.

Quinn was out of his seat in a shot, hovering over the edge of the desk as he looked down at his boss. Pain shot through his chest, and he was suddenly having trouble catching his breath. Panic clouded all of his thoughts. He loved working for Ward Security. He’d been there for just less than two years, and he’d never found another place where he’d felt like he fit so damn perfectly. This was home. These people he worked with, they were his friends. He didn’t have to hide or pretend or feel uncomfortable.

And Rowe…Rowe had always been amazing. Sure, he could be cranky and a little crazy. He was always loud and tended to speak before thinking. But Quinn always knew exactly where he stood with Rowe. He always felt like Rowe had his back.

But this…

“Are you getting rid of me?”

“What?” Rowe snapped. “Where the fuck did you get that idea?”

“You’re hiring another IT person. I saw the listing. And this? Putting me ‘on loan’?”

Rowe groaned and scrubbed a hand over his face. With a heavy sigh, he pointed back at the chair Quinn had just vacated. “Sit.” Grudgingly, Quinn followed direction while Rowe looked over at Shane. “Can you give us a minute?”

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Who are Drake & Elliott?

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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Review: Sweet William by Dianne Hartsock

William Wilkerson leads the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, he indulges to his heart’s content in the pleasures of the flesh with Boston’s finest young men.

That is, until he reunites with Fredrick: his former tutor and the one man who captured his heart.

But William’s father has declared Fredrick off limits. And Fredrick, himself, believes he’s beneath the attention of the Wilkerson heir.

After having lost his current pupil to graduation, and with no prospects of a replacement, Frederick is homeless, hungry, and easy pickings for the men on the docks.

When Frederick is shanghaied into service on William’s own merchant ship, will William discover his plight in time to rescue him?


I loved the premise of this. A tutor who falls in love with his student but class separates them from being together combined with a serration and reunion. It has all the proper checks of a beautiful romance and yet, something was missing.

For me, this was more porn than plot because there is a lot of sex and not a lot of pages.

I did like that we got both POV’s to see that the men were deeply in love with one another and wanted nothing more than to be together. I liked the mini reunion of Frederick our tutor and William his former student and love of his life. I felt the emotions between them after a three year absence and was eager to see them in a private setting where intimacy could be had. What I wasn’t ready for was William to go through all his fuck buddies in every form of sex other than penetration all the while thinking of his dear Freddie while on his way to meet him. I am not saying the dude can’t get it on with who he wants and I get that he is young, only 19 and has a remarkable recovery time but good lord dude. Keep it in your pants.

I adored Freddie and felt awful for him thinking that he was never good enough for William. The whole plot-ish deal at the end was odd and carried out even odder. Maybe this needed to be longer so we could fully see the direction the story was going? I am not sure but it seemed like along with the plot-lite porn we got, we also got a game of pinball tossing the story around and then everything was all tidy with everyone happy and… the end.

I am not sure what else to say. The author does deliver the romance and intimacy that is palpable with Frederick and William, I just wish we didn’t get William’s dick and tongue in everyone‘s mouth and he could have at least stayed celibate for one day for the love of his life.

But… that’s just me.



Review: Snow Falling by Davidson King

After running from a past destined to kill him, Snow has been hiding on the streets.
Tell nobody your name.
Tell nobody your secrets.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules of the streets.
His entire life changes when he saves an eight-year-old boy from a violent end.
Christopher Manos is one of the most powerful crime bosses in the country.
Don’t ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
Secrets can get you killed.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules he lives by.
When his eight-year-old nephew disappears, he never expects the boy’s savior to end up being his own.
A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow's life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher's best be enough to prevent Snow Falling?


This book could be called mafia-lite or mafia smuffy - it wasn't necessarily what I was expecting, but I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Snow is a fab MC, he really is. Despite his past and his lifestyle he is vibrant and kind and full of life. I adored how he was with Simon, he paid attention and listened to him and it was that friendship that won my heart as it did Christopher's.

Christopher was the big bad crime boss - except he wasn't really, not at his core. He wanted to protect those close to him, those he respects and loves. He wanted to keep Simon safe and happy and he opened up his home to Snow. Initially for altruistic reasons, but he kept him there because he became part of the home. I can say honestly that I enjoyed his character alot.

The dynamics between all the characters in this story worked well. This wasn't gritty crime drama - yeah, there was violence and fighting, but the heart of it wasn't this it was the relationships and friendships and fighting to save what is loved.

This debut novel isn't going to tick the boxes for everyone but I can say it worked for me!

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

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Contour (Shape Of You #1) by Meg Harding


Meg Harding and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of Contour (Shape Of You #1)! Learn more about the new book today and enter in the giveaway! You could win an eBook from Meg Harding's back list!




Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/ContourMH

Length: 52,000 words approx


Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design


Blurb


Jamie “Roxy” Albright has one great love in his life and room for no other. He lives and breathes makeup. Men are nothing more than temporary distractions and romance… well, that isn’t worth his time. With a burgeoning career as a YouTube makeup artist opening doors to never before dreamed of opportunities, time isn’t something Jamie has and distractions aren’t something he can afford.


Instagram model and shirtless wonder Tyler Jackson is quickly falling for elusive Jamie. How it went from a seemingly innocent message to feelings, he’ll never know. Their chemistry is instant and fiery hot, and Tyler’s never been that good at self control. The challenges are endless, though. There’s Jamie’s walls to break through and a country worth of space between them. And just when things are starting to look up, life throws a wrench in the works.





Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.


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Review: The Mistletoe Kiss by Ruby Moone

Widowed bookseller Lawrence Fenton has spent a lonely lifetime hiding who he is. He has convinced himself his feelings for his far too young, gorgeous, but troubled assistant Christy Shaw are nothing more than pride in his prot├ęg├ę and concern for his plight. 

Christy’s life involves walking fine lines: one between his mother and his abusive stepfather, one where he must keep his needs hidden, and hardest of all, one where he must keep his feelings for his serious employer to himself.

Lame since birth, Lawrence cannot imagine anyone wanting him, least of all Christy. But when Christy’s life threatens to spiral out of control, Lawrence steps in. Then Christy’s emotions spill over into a kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas. Will Lawrence be able to face the long-buried truth about himself and keep Christy by his side?




I am absolutely ridiculously in love with historical holiday romances so I had to snag The Mistletoe Kiss when it came through. It completely delivered on every little nuance that speaks to me and I ate up the atmosphere and the characters the author created. 

Lawrence is a stoic widower with a sad history. He’s now owns a small neighborhood bookshop and while he comes across as a solid businessman, he doesn’t really seem to be as strong on the customer service side. Not that he doesn’t do everything for his customers they ask, he just doesn’t have that charisma that customers in a close community love. He hires an assistant, Christy, who turns out to be just what the shop (and Lawrence) needed. Christy has a tough life, he’s dirt poor and has to be very careful trying to support his mother while avoiding his abusive drunkard of a stepfather. 

I enjoyed reading the dynamics between Lawrence and Christy. Technically, there’s a May-December thing happening, but the balance between the two of them never felt off with the power tilting too far towards the older of the two MC’s. The only way that came into play was that Lawrence was Christy’s employer, but that made sense. Christy held his own with his ambitions and loyalties, Lawrence gave him the warm fuzzies from tops to tails, but he also had his pride as a grown ass man, and was plenty mature for his years. I think what really made the thought of a relationship between them work for me was the respect they had for one another. The author did an excellent job of showing me the admiration beyond just the physical and it gave the story more depth beyond Christmas fluff. 

The little moments between the two came along with more frequency and the bookshop provided safe common ground for them to connect. Lawrence gave Christy more responsibility and Christy ran with it. He brought warmth to the shop and to Lawrence and it was so sweet to read as they slowly opened up to one another. 

There was a prominent subplot happening the whole time, Christy’s mother and the aforementioned stepfather from hell are constantly on Christy’s mind so naturally Lawrence gets pulled in as well. That brought plenty of ugly moments into an otherwise relatively angst free story. It did add some grit that kept the story from being too pretty-perfect. My only complaint was that line of the story didn’t end up being resolved. I wouldn’t expect it to be completely wrapped up in a story of this length but I would have liked it to be at least solidly heading in a direction of resolution. 

The MC’s are heading towards a pretty solid HEA though and that makes me exceptionally happy. They really found their footing with one another and when they took their relationship to a physical level they were verrrrrry compatible and I love, love, loved their potent connection and romantic banter. It was exactly why the holiday books get to me so hard.






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

Review: A Temporary Situation by H.L. Day

Personal assistant Dominic is a consummate professional. Funny then, that he harbors such unprofessional feelings toward Tristan Maxwell, the CEO of the company. No, not in that way. The man may be the walking epitome of gorgeousness dressed up in a designer suit. But, Dominic's immune. Unlike most of the workforce, he can see through the pretty facade to the arrogant, self-entitled asshole below. It's lucky then, that the man's easy enough to avoid.

Disaster strikes when Dominic finds himself having to work in close proximity as Tristan's P.A. The man is infuriatingly unflappable, infuriatingly good-humored, and infuriatingly unorthodox. In short, just infuriating. A late-night rescue leading to a drunken pass only complicates matters further, especially with the discovery that Tristan is both straight and engaged.

Hatred turns to tolerance, tolerance to friendship, and friendship to mutual passion. One thing's for sure, if Tristan sets his sights on Dominic, there's no way Dominic has the necessary armor or willpower to keep a force of nature like Tristan at bay for long, no matter how unprofessional a relationship with the boss might be. He may just have to revise everything he previously thought and believed in a chance at love.


It's easy to make assumptions about people. To have a first impression and not revise it - and that's exactly what Dominic did in this story.

A Temporary Situation is many things I don't normally like in a book; cliched, rich boss/PA, nasty cow of a fiancee, a git of a colleague, a bit of a paint-by-numbers plot, caricature characters, miscommunications...

And yet...

And yet... I did like it. It was all of the above, but it was also sweet and funny and entertaining. Tristan is the boss but he's all heart. A really likeable guy who is witty and kind and clever. Even though he had a fiancee before falling for Dom, the heart of his character was trying to do the right thing.

Dominic was trying very hard not to fall for Tristan because he believed something about the man which he didn't like.  He sees a different side to Tristan (than the one he believes exists) as he works with him, though, and slowly his feelings change. He's reluctant to let this happen and fights it all the way, but it wouldn't be an office romance without a romance, would it?

On paper this book hits a lot of bum  notes for me, but in practise I really enjoyed this author's style and this story. I will not shy away from another read by HL Day.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Dream (Skins #1) by Garett Leigh



Garrett Leigh and Signal Boost Promotions release blitz Dream (Skins #1) today! Check out the book's information! Enter in the giveaway to win an eBook from Leigh's back list!




Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/DreamGL

Length: 60,000 words approx.

Cover Design: GDLeigh @Black Jazz Design

Cover Photo: Dan Burgess @Moonstock Photography

Blurb

I can’t sleep…


When unrequited love leaves Dylan Hart sleepless and nursing his wounds, instinct draws him to the one place he's found mindless respite in the past—Lovato’s. It’s a place for every fantasy — for crazy-hot encounters — where a night of insane NSA sex brings relief to Dylan’s fragile feelings.


It should be a perfect escape, and for one magical night it seems that way, but then worlds collide, and reality bites when his hookup desperately needs a friend. Surely Dylan can’t trust his instincts when friendship has bruised his heart so badly before?


It’s burying me alive…


The deck is stacked against former ballet dancer Angelo Giordano ever finding real love. At least visiting Lovato’s offers respite from a life defined by illness; a glimmer of light in the dull grey of his so-called life without dance. But then he encounters Dylan — a glorious ray of the brightest sunshine — who makes his heart pound once more with purpose.


Angelo’s mind is blown by this man, but the disease that ended his career won’t let him bask in new love. He’s drowning, and Dylan can’t save him while insecurities swamp them both. The only way to make it means confronting their demons.


If Dylan can turn his back on the past, and Angelo can face his uncertain future, maybe they can chase their dreams together.







Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.


When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.


Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh


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