Audiobook Review: Love You So Madly (Love You So #2) by Tara Lain

Ben Shane has it all...and he'd like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America's wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old - no liquor, no sugar, and he can't even drive - the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?

He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben's perfect...and Dusty isn't. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he's only mad in love.

Listening Length: 4 hours and 36 minutes
Narrator: Ry Forest


Reviewer: Shee Reader


Ah this story was so great it made me smile for days! Ben is a charming guy engaged to a guy who doesn’t really seem to ‘get’ him. Ben loves his home that is mid remodel, but Alan wants him to sell it as soon as he can and live in his over-styled penthouse apartment. It’s almost like Alan doesn’t know who Ben really is, and anyway, what is Ben doing being engaged to a wonderful man and boggling the handyman at work. Clearly there isn’t a match made in heaven, but Ben and Dusty clearly are meant to be!

This is a lovely sweet tale that explores a few big issues and manages to resolve the relationship conflict without anyone doing anything terrible! It is low on angst and high on charm, with supporting families, outrageous philanthropists and a sweet as can be happily ever after. We also get to check in with the lovely couple from the first book in the Love You So series, which is great.

It’s a quick-quick-wish listen which is superbly narrated by Ry Forrest who brings all the characters sparkling to life.

Highly recommended.

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



Release Blitz + Giveaway: Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook


Help author Sarah Hadley Brook and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the JMS Books holiday release, Operation Toy Rescue! Learn more about the romance and enter in the back list giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 29,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books

Blurb

When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.


Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.


When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue the toys, and fall in love all at the same time?


Excerpt

He was surprised that no one else was in the building yet. Unless they were upstairs in the loft, or locked away in an office. He thought he’d seen Eve’s coat hanging from a peg up front.


Jules opened the laptop and logged in, ready to get started. He really wanted to take that trip to the warehouse with Felix and the quicker he finished logging things in, the quicker that could happen. As he carefully opened a rather large box, he heard a door open and turned to see Felix, Eve, and Zuzu hurry out of Felix’s office. All wore a look of panic and his heart jumped.


“What’s wrong?” he asked as Eve grew closer.


“The Big Guy is coming for a visit three days before Christmas! We just found out. He never does this. Never, Jules.” Her voice rose as she spilled the news.


Jules glanced at Felix and caught his eye, holding it for a moment. “Isn’t Santa coming a good thing?” he asked, confused.


“We don’t know. He never does this. Never,” Eve reiterated.


“She’s right. He doesn’t. What if he wants to make major changes? Or move us to the North Pole?” Felix asked.


Jules crinkled his brow. In his mind, moving to the North Pole would be great. Felix would be closer to Jules. “You don’t want to live at the North Pole?”


All three of them looked at him in shock, their mouths gaping open.


“What?” he asked.


“The North Pole is headquarters. It’s chaos,” Zuzu explained.


Okay, I’ll give them that. But there were good things, too.


“But you’d be closer to ...” he flicked his gaze to Felix and felt his cheeks heat up. “The main operation,” he finished lamely.


“But we like it here. Our island is beautiful and we’re like a family. What if we’re torn apart?”


“I don’t think Santa --”


“You don’t know, Jules,” Eve broke in. “Maybe he thinks we don’t do enough to help these toys.”


Felix was vigorously nodding his agreement, so Jules shut his mouth and sat down in front of his laptop, considering the possibilities. He finally glanced back up, his lips curving up into a small smile as he eyed all three. “Then I guess there’s only one thing to do, guys. We need to show Santa how important the island is to children all over the globe.”


“How do we do that?” Eve asked quietly, her brow furrowed.


“By developing a kick ass plan to get these ‘inadequate toys’ into the hands of kids,” he explained, using air quotes. It was really just expanding what he and Felix had talked about last night. But calling it a plan made it feel more real. More promising.


Again, they gaped at him. Well, all but Felix. He was grinning. Happiness filled Jules’s chest and his heart raced as he grinned back, warmth spreading through him. Their gazes held and Jules felt like Felix was peering inside of him. Like he was seeing the real Jules. Not the guy that always screwed up. Not the guy that only thought of himself. But the one that finally -- finally -- wanted to do something worthy. Something that would bring others joy.


“Jules is right. We need to work together to show Santa we can handle the responsibility of taking care of the toys on this island. To prepare them for new homes. To convince him to take them with him on Christmas Eve.” Felix straightened his shoulders as determination flitted across his face and hope flashed in his eyes.


Jules couldn’t look away. The man was beautiful in every way.


Author Bio


Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.



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Guest Review: The Journalist and the Dancer by Liam Livings

Christopher, a quiet, reserved, British journalist, reviews restaurants and night clubs in Ibiza. After a painful breakup and nervous breakdown in the UK, he aims to live a more spiritual possession-free life on the Mediterranean island.

Lucas flees an abusive ex in Madrid to live his dream of dancing in Ibiza’s large prestigious night clubs.

They meet at a night club and both feel an instant attraction which soon develops into an emotional connection neither of them feels ready for.

Sharing their painful pasts with each other brings them closer together, though neither of them planned on being in a proper relationship. But when a family crisis pulls Lucas back to Madrid and a painful encounter with his abusive ex, Christopher deals with painful experiences of his own.



Reviewer: Shee Reader

I was drawn into the story from the outset. This was such an interesting premise for a book. The journalist has burnt out of his previously stressful and money-fuelled lifestyle and given up his life in London to eek out a living as a journalist reviewing nightclubs and such like in the party island of Ibiza. This was how he spots the intriguing Lucas who is trying to make it a nightclub dancer. Their eyes really do meet over a crowded room. It is the most perfect romance novel cliche! However, these are real men, each battling their own inner demons, and the circumstances of life that threaten to keep them apart.

The storytelling is quirky and realistic, clever and entertaining, but at times seems to lose momentum. There was a patch I had to keep myself reading before we got back on track and I read all the way to the end with no dawdling!

I rather liked both main characters, but was extremely charmed by Christopher’s unusual roommate! The ups and downs for the guys were rolling rather than jarring and the ending was sweet. I could easily see a sequel coming to life!

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



Audiobook Release Blitz + Giveaway: Brave for You (Oahu Lovers #1) by Crystal Lacy




Celebrate the Iggy Toma narrated audio book release of Brave for You (Oahu Lovers #1) with author Crystal Lacy and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the contemporary romance today and enter in the giveaway to win your own audio copy of Brave for You!





Length: 9hrs 4 mins

Narrator: Iggy Toma

Cover Design: Simply Defined Art

Publisher: Tantor 

Blurb

Less than a year after moving to Hawaii, construction foreman Nate Ellison's wife leaves him and their infant son for another man. Months into single-fatherhood, Nate meets Andrew "An" Hoang and is slowly drawn into An's life. Through An's friendship, he finds himself finally enjoying his new home in paradise.


An Hoang hasn't had a real relationship in years. With his pediatrics practice and a niece to care for on his days off, he doesn't have the headspace for more than a simple roll in the sack. But when he meets Nate - who just happens to be the gorgeous construction worker he encountered in the lobby of his apartment building - something about Nate makes it impossible for him not to care. When Nate needs An's help with his son, An doesn't refuse.


What happens when Nate's past and An's old-fashioned parents interfere just as the two men begin to fall for each other? Will they find the means to be brave and give their love a chance to flourish?

Crystal Lacy lives with her loving family in Hawaii, where it is always either drizzling or sunny and never snows—which is a shame, because she prefers being cold to being damp and hot unless it’s for Very Good Reasons. She writes queer romance, mainly M/M, but also some F/F. She has aspirations to one day write a YA novel about cats.


Crystal is a long-time fangirl and writes slash fanfiction for the Harry Potter and NBC Hannibal fandoms. She has a deep love for fandom culture, and can be frequently spotted on Twitter and Tumblr reblogging pretty fan art.


Join Crystal's readers group on FB for sneak peeks, bonus content, and ARC opportunities or subscribe her newsletter for monthly book giveaways, recs, news, and more! You can also follow Crystal on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


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Review: Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs

There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.

When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is Charles Whitmore, an old school acquaintance. Sam didn’t like him back then, for good reason, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.

Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with him, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.

With Christmas just around the corner, fate pushes them together, and they get on much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further, he needs to either confront Charlie about their past—a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely—or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but can’t find the right time to bring it up either.


Could it be the season that made me love this? Could it be my hopeless romantic heart that rooted for Sam and Charlie to find their way to each other? Could it be that this was just a simple romance and exactly what I needed? Take your pick because they all worked for me.

I like stories like this; two people who vaguely knew one another when they were young but that somehow they impacted the others life. For Sam, it was what he thought Charlie did to his friend in school and for Charlie, it’s that Sam was a snitch on everything he did back then. The men, now 15 years after that time have become neighbors and while each begins to fancy the other, the both know there is something in the way.

I can’t explain why but while reading this, I had the Beauty and the Beast song stuck in my head. I think it’s the whole “Finding you can change, learning you were wrong” lyric that really hit home. Sam judges Charlie on who he thought we was 15 years ago as the man Charlie is today. But Sam, he doesn’t know the whole story of what happened back then and he will need to put away his grudge and see Charlie for the man he is.

I loved that this was told with both POV’s because I really like to see exactly what each man thinks of the other. Of course, they both think their neighbor is attractive, and when they acknowledge that they knew each other from school it gives the story a layer of angst because we know what Sam thinks. He thinks Charlie was some jerk who beat up his friend so badly he put him in hospital but is that really what happened? As the blurb says, there are two sides to every story.

Watching Sam and Charlie find their way to becoming friends was a pleasure to watch. The coincidence of Sam’s job giving them a chance to hang out was convenient but Charlie making cups and cups of tea for Sam was adorable.

Sam isn’t the only one coming into this story with baggage though as we have Charlie who has just left a long term relationship and is starting over. Charlie isn’t a one night stand/hookup kind of guy, he loves being in a relationship and the way he sees Sam makes me smile so big it hurts. I loved how he found Sam a bit weird when they were in school and now how he sees Sam’s quirks endearing.

The romance in this is a bit of a slow burn that left this reader absolutely satisfied with the payoff. I like that the author didn’t dive head first into the physical and even after the first bit of intimacy had our couple come to terms with the grudge Sam had been holding. It makes sense that they would need to get it all out before they could move forward and thankfully Charlie has a cat that really likes to hang out at Sam’s place.

Everything about this was perfect for me. Sam and Charlie has a realness to them that gave weight to the romance and made me fall in love with them. Dave, Sam’s best friend and Kath Charlie’s sister were lovely characters that gave each man support in their romantic endeavor and I wouldn’t mind more of Dave and his partner Louis as it seems there a story there.



A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Release Blitz + Giveaway: Only Love by Garrett Leigh


Celebrate the release of Only Love with author Garrett Leigh and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more today and enter in the back list eBook giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 355 pages

Cover Design: Book Cover By Design

Blurb

The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career. Then on the dusty streets of Kirkuk, an ambush gone tragically wrong decimates his team, and he returns to the US with a shattered leg and the memory of his best friend dying in his arms.


Life in his sleepy hometown proves intolerable until he finds solace in a lakeside cabin with vivacious young carpenter, Max O’Dair. In the shadow of the epilepsy that periodically plagues Max, he and Jed form an unspoken bond. After a late night episode, Jed realizes how much Max means to him, and life has taught him not to waste time.


But the lines between contentment and complacency are blurred. Things left hidden resurface to tear through their world, and before they can repair the damage, death comes to call again. Faces, past and present, rally around them to weather the storm, but before long, they are left with only love.




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 photographer Dan Burgess.


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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh



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Review: Under the Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris

The most wonderful time of the year is about to get even better. 

On a cold, rainy December morning, Finn’s beloved Grampa, his best friend and rock, makes a friend outside their home who he invites in for coffee. The last thing Finn expects is Nelson, a man with a painful past, who is beautiful and generous and turns Finn’s knees into jelly.

What starts out as a chance to get out of the rain, soon becomes more as Nelson helps Finn get ready for the Christmas market. They bond over coffee and fabric and Mariah Carey. Can handmade Christmas ornaments and an understanding heart give Nelson the love he’s been denied?


So much Christmas fluff packed into one little novella.

Nell Iris is a master of the fluff and Under the Felt Mistletoe embodies that skill. The MC’s are delightful and I loved them. I’m usually not one for overly sweet stories but around the holidays, all that gets thrown out the window and I devour it like Nelson’s perfect gingerbread.

Finn lives with his meddling, heart-of-gold grandfather who is his best friend and his rock. It’s a two way street as it’s obvious Grandpa feels the same about Finn. When Grandpa invites a stranger, who was trying to visit a neighbor, in out of the rain for coffee, the meet-cute commences.

The beauty in this story is the shy flirtation between Nelson and Finn. I don’t seem to read that often enough these days and it’s just so pure and warm. They both did their fair share of blushing and stuttering, but not overly so. It stayed charming and I loved reading their banter.

All the obligatory Christmas accoutrements are present, so Under the Felt Mistletoe is literally the complete package for holiday fluff lovers. Christmas markets, family, gingerbread, mistletoe, stars and so much love you could just about drown in it. If it weren’t a Christmas story it would be too much sweet, but embracing all the cuteness this time of year totally worked for me.




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

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Love Blooms by Stephanie Hoyt


Celebrate the release of holiday romance, Love Blooms with author Stephanie Hoyt and IndiGo Marketing! Learn more about this unique tale and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Love Blooms
Author: Stephanie Hoyt
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 10, 2018
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 61800
Genre: Fantasy, Santa, elves, magic, holiday

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Synopsis

Nico Hamuri┼či is the one and only son of Santa Claus. All his life, Nico has known he’s expected to fall in love and find lifelong commitment by the Christmas of his thirtieth year—like every other heir before him. But knowing and accepting are vastly different things, and as the final countdown begins, Nico has yet to embrace his fate. His once great enthusiasm for eventually becoming Santa has been dimmed by uncertainty over how the Santa Line will be affected when he marries a man.

With only a year left, will Nico have time to find love and commitment all while learning how magic will transform the family line to accommodate who he is and who he loves?

Excerpt

Love Blooms
Stephanie Hoyt © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The sun hasn’t even begun to brighten the sky when Nico reaches the family estate. He shuts his car’s engine off in front of his childhood home and waits, staring at his watch as the seconds tick by. The hour hand strikes five and snow starts to fall. His father must have made his first delivery right on time. Nico sighs, relief washing over him at having successfully avoided the annual Christmas conversation for the next twenty-something hours. For the moment, no matter how fleeting, he can go inside without bracing himself for confrontation.

The snow falls soft and cold on his face as he walks to the door, and for an instant, Nico thinks it may have been worth coming home earlier to avoid the snowfall. He laughs, short and bitter, as last year’s predelivery family dinner flashes in his mind and he remembers what avoiding the snowfall entails. He’d much rather deal with this cold, wet mess than the disappointment in his father’s eyes at another year passing by without him fulfilling his obligations as heir apparent. If last year was bad, this year will be infinitely worse. His father had been disappointed then, but now with the deadline looming so close, Nico can imagine how his father’s mood will have shifted to something far worse than disappointment.

He wipes his feet on the welcome home mat and opens the door. He takes a deep breath as he steps inside and tries his best not to let this place get the better of him. It stopped being home years ago, but he can do this. He can. Except, the utter lack of even a shred of welcoming quality fills him with dread. This house has been the site of nearly every argument he’s ever had with his father and he knows he’s opened the door to yet another lecture on the expectations and obligations that come along with being the son of Kristoff Hamuri┼či.

This year won’t be any different, especially since the final year of the countdown begins at midnight. If he’s being realistic, which he hates to do, any discussion of his failings is going to be much more tense than they’ve ever been before. But for now, the lights inside are off, save for the Christmas tree, his father is out for more than a full day’s worth of deliveries, the rest of the house seems to be fast asleep, and Nico can slip upstairs to his childhood bedroom without being noticed.

At least, that’s what he was counting on.

Unfortunately for him, someone had different plans for his arrival. He opens his bedroom door to a lit room and a ball of limbs and hair curled up in the middle of his bed. He sets his suitcase down with a loud thud and the ball moves, revealing the face of Noelle, the youngest of his four older sisters.

“My dear little Santicholas,” she says, words and laughter both swallowed in a yawn. “I can’t believe you thought you could sneak in here unnoticed.”

Nico rolls his eyes. “You know I hate when you call me that.”

She untangles herself and pushes up on the tips of her toes to wrap her arms around Nico in a big, tight hug. “It’s hard to believe you do when you’re smiling so big.”

Nico’s words get muffled by her hair and his own laughter. “Yeah, yeah. I missed you, too.”

She lets him go, shaking her head as he starts to yawn. “You should’ve come home at a decent hour if you wanted to be well rested.”

Nico narrows his eyes. “If it’s such an indecent hour then why are you up?”

Noelle lets out a short huff of air, annoyed. “I wanted you to see a friendly face before…”

Nico closes his eyes. Here it comes. He should have known better than to think he could avoid confrontation, even for a moment, even from his closest friend and sibling. When he opens his eyes again, Noelle’s sitting on the edge of the bed and her face has softened in a way that makes Nico feel worse.

He smiles but it does nothing to wipe the gentle expression off her face; she knows him too well, knows he wears it as a shield.

“You don’t have to pretend with me. I know failing is what worries you.”

“Failure isn’t my concern here, Noelle.” Not entirely true. “I’m worried about what will happen if I don’t fail.” Unbearably true.

Noelle raises her eyebrow, confused, and Nico’s stomach clenches. Am I actually doing this? He plows on before she can interrupt and he loses his nerve. “And I’m angry! I’m so incredibly angry I even need to be concerned by all this shit in the first place. I don’t want to think of heirs and continuing a family legacy and everything else riding on me falling in love when I don’t even know how who I love will affect any of this.”

Noelle blinks, breathing out a barely audible “Oh.”

Nico’s heart skips, his pulse is erratic.

“I’m gay.”

Noelle blinks again, and again, and again, and then, after what feels like an eternity of his stomach turning over in knots, she smiles. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yes, okay.”

She motions for Nico to sit next to her, and he does, knocking his shoulder against hers. “I was expecting a little more than an okay, if I’m being honest.”

Noelle laughs, embarrassed. “I didn’t think I should start quizzing you on if you’re seeing anyone, so okay seemed, well…okay.”

Nico smiles, and this time it’s not a shield. He feels lighter and more at peace in this house than he has in years. It’s such a relief to have finally shared such an important part of himself with such an important person in his life.

“Who all knows?”

Nico doesn’t answer immediately, and Noelle asks, “Oh, am I the only one who knows?”

“No, it’s not exactly a secret. I mean, everyone I know who doesn’t know this family knows. So work and friends from college and yeah. I’m basically out to everyone except the family.”

Noelle appears confused and curious. “Not even Joy? She knows how—”

Nico cuts her off. “No, not even our dear lesbian sister knows. Only you.”

Noelle hums an acknowledgment but doesn’t say anything else for a long while—Nico can tell she’s working through what to say next.

He has an idea of what she might be thinking and supplies an answer, “I haven’t told Mom and Dad because, even though it wasn’t a thing when Joy came out, what if… I mean it’s got to be different when you don’t have to produce an heir.”

Nico can’t keep the disdain out of his voice. For as long as he can remember, the heir has been his biggest concern regarding his father and, in turn, his mother finding out his sexuality. “There’s all this added pressure surrounding me finding someone to love. I know they don’t have a problem with queer people, but what if they have a problem with me being gay. There’s a lot riding on my love life.”

“Okay,” Noelle nods. “Well, yeah. I can’t deny there is a lot of pressure put on you falling in love. But I’ve got your back here. No matter what happens, I’ll help you find out how this affects you being the heir apparent to the Crimson Sleigh.”

Nico bursts out in laughter. “God, shut up. Why do you insist on calling it that?”

Noelle smiles, pleased as can be. “Because it makes you laugh.”

Nico purses his lips, trying to stifle his laughter. “You’re ridiculous, you know?”

“Yes, obviously. But I am also wonderful and magical and dearly beloved by you.”

“I guess.” He draws the word out, teasing, and Noelle shoves him, laughing. “Though I wouldn’t consider magical one of your finer qualities since we all are.”

Noelle crinkles her nose. “If you got it, flaunt it.”

Nico sighs. He wishes he was pleased with the extra magic they have, but it’s different—like everything else—when the full extent of his own powers is contingent on falling in love. “I’d much rather have no magic at all, but that’s probably just me.”

“Yeah, it’s got to be just you.” She pauses, furrowing her brow in thought. “Is it even possible to have no magic, though? Everyone’s got some when it comes down to it, even the Immunes. Magic’s everywhere little bro; it’s a fact of life.”

“I’d gladly trade with anyone who doesn’t have a love stipulation placed on their magic.” He doesn’t mean to sound so wishful, but so much of his life since college has been spent wondering how his life would be if he didn’t have all this extra pressure resting on his shoulders. He’d much rather be gifted with any other sort of magic; no need for the frills of Santahood. “Besides, I’m not much more powerful than anyone but Dad as it is. Since love eludes me.”

Noelle’s eyes light up. “So you’re not seeing anyone?”

Nico shakes his head, chuckling. He can always count on Noelle for poor segues and making him laugh. “Have you been waiting this whole time to ask me?”

“No, of course not; that’d be absurd. But since you’ve brought it back up…”

“I didn’t exactly bring it up.”

Noelle waves her hand, dismissing his words. “Yeah, yeah. But you gave me the perfect opportunity to ask, so.”

“So, what?” Nico knows what she means, but he wants to mess with her, make her work for the answer.

“So”—she draws the word out, her warm brown eyes twinkling with familiar mirth—“are you or are you not seeing anyone?”

“No, not at the moment.”

Noelle seems surprised, and Nico supplies an answer before she can ask, “It’s not necessarily a coincidence I pursued a career in something that affords me the opportunity to travel so much—I’m not entirely sure I want to settle down or fall in love.”

It’s the unfortunate truth of his life, but Noelle’s face falls. She isn’t pleased with the answer.

“Oh, Nico. You can’t deny yourself love because of the things expected of you. That’s not fair to yourself.”

Nico shrugs. He wishes it were that simple, but his obligations are always at the back of his mind, and it only gets worse when he meets a man who has the potential to be something more. Noelle smiles, soft and sympathetic. She gets up and ruffles his hair like she has since they were children; her fingers catch at the end where it’s starting to curl, and she clucks her tongue. It’s annoying and comforting all at the same time, as it always has been, and more of Nico’s tension slips away. Noelle’s always been such a good friend. “Mom will be up soon enough, and the rest of the house won’t be much longer after that.”

Nico yawns and Noelle continues, hand on the door, ready to leave, “The kids missed you last night so you might want to nap and get a story ready for why you didn’t arrive with everyone else because I’m sure they’ll pester you for one. Especially Timmy. Belle says he’s become quite the inquisitive little boy as of late.”

Nico motions for the door. “Will you stop fretting over me and go already. You said I need a nap. So let me nap.”

“Okay, okay. I’m going,” she says, but before she closes the door, she peeks her head back through and says, “I’m going to help you figure this all out, Nico. I promise.”

She shuts the door and Nico, for the first time in a long time, feels calm and relieved and a tad hopeful since he’s told Noelle. She’s right: he shouldn’t deny himself love. There might be a deadline and a world of responsibilities, obligations, and powers that come with being the heir apparent to the sleigh, but at the very least, he can’t let this change what he wants. He can’t let a part of his life he has never had a say in control his happiness.

He wants to fall in love; he wants to settle down; he wants to open his heart and build a life with someone else. And honestly, Nico thinks, as he starts to doze off, Santa be damned if being gay will change any of that.

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Meet the Author

Thematically, Stephanie likes magic and spies and magical spies. Aesthetically, she likes glitter and gold and pineapples. She wants to put more soft, sweet bi representation into the world so that people like her teen-self can see themselves in their favorite genres and know that who they are is nothing to be ashamed of.

She currently lives in the Great White North (Wisconsin) with her husband, daughter, and three dogs. The only thing getting her through these Midwest winters is the soothing sound of Tim Riggins saying “Texas forever” and the prospect of one day moving back there.

She loves a good astrology twitter but ultimately only believes in it when her husband calls her stubborn and then her response is: “Well, I am a Taurus.”

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Audiobook Review: Love Happens Anyway by R.J. Scott

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what can go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

Narrator: Sean Crisden
Listening Length:3 hrs 42 min


Very much so like the snowman on the cover, this book is cute and full of Christmas fluff.

I’ve listened to Sean Crisden’s audiobook narrations before, so I knew I’d have no reason to worry. He always manages to keep me engaged and entertained. The audiobook for ‘Love Happens Anyway’ is very well done.

I had no trouble just relaxing and listening to this sweet holiday novella.

High-powered yet lonely marketing exec Derek offers to pay Luke twenty thousand dollars to pretend to be his fireman boyfriend for the holiday season.

Luke, who needs some cash to finish renovations on his family bar, agrees to go along with the ruse despite his misgivings.

What starts off as a business transactions quickly turns into something more.

I’m a fan of the fake boyfriend trope. The set-up in this book was pretty funny - Derek had already spun a background story for his parents well before he’d met Luke. And poor Luke had to keep track of the story while playing Derek’s lover.

But Luke was more than up to the challenge. He was definitely a sweetheart, so willing to put up with Derek’s demands.

Derek’s likeable too, but his uptight personality did get to be a bit much at times. I also wasn’t entirely sure why he was so tense about his parents. Their meddling in his life didn’t seem to be that excessive at all.

But regardless, the transition from fake boyfriends to real boyfriends was adorable. Between holiday engagements and parties, Derek developed a respect for Luke, and Luke’s protective side started to come out.

And neither man could deny that he found the other very attractive. This isn’t a particularly steamy book, but the sexy times didn’t leave any doubt about the MCs’ physical chemistry.

The story progressed in a fairly predictable manner, ending with a cute happy ever after (with a mistletoe on top) for Derek and Luke.

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Overall, I enjoyed ‘Love Happens Anyway’. If you’re looking for an easy-to-listen-to holiday MM audiobook, give this a try.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: Trusting Jack (MC Securities #1) by Ruby Moone


Author Ruby Moone and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the holiday romance release, Trusting Jack (MC Securities #1)! Learn more about the boos/employee tale and enter in the back list eBook giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Blurb

With only a few days to go until Christmas, Michael Cross has to admit there is something amiss about his latest employee, Jack Whelan. Quiet, jumpy, thin… he never seems to eat. He is also incredibly gorgeous with dark spiky hair that Michael aches to touch. But as his boss, Jack is off limits. And when it comes to relationships, he…well, he sucks.


Jack Whelan is at the end of his tether. He’s living rough in the middle of winter, and paying off a massive debt, so getting a job with MC Securities is a lifeline. His new boss is also the hottest guy ever. Geeky, broody, and scarily clever.


When Michael stumbles upon the reality of Jack’s life, he offers to help. But as Michael’s feelings deepen, and Jack’s terrible past catches up with him, Michael has to decide between believing in the awful truth that is staring him in the face, or trusting Jack.




My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head...he probably has a point!


Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter - @RubyMooneWriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/


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Audiobook Review: Set Ablaze by KC Burn


California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 48 minutes
Narrator: Darcy Stark



Reviewer: Shee Reader

Hayden is the big loveable lug who doesn’t realise he’s tolerating a lot of ‘low-grade’ homophobic behaviour from his so called friends until his new roommate (and best friend’s brother) the altogether fabulous Jez gives him a short sharp wake up call. By the time this takes place, Hayden is already more than halfway in love with the beautiful dancer, and it’s not a one-way affection either!

This story is a lovely coming-to-terms-with-himself love story where the two guys Hayden and Jez are exactly what the other needs, but the crazy stalker, awful ‘friends’ and learning to communicate with each other leads to plenty of interest. Plus there is a secret puppy. I mean, who doesn’t love a secret puppy!

One of my favourite bits of the story is Jez coming home to find Fang has escaped from his room and got who knows where. Before he can completely hyperventilate, Hayden comes home with Fang and half the contents of the pet store! The idea that Jez could be jealous of the love and affection Hayden showered on the puppy is adorable.

There is plenty of working through stuff to make this a thoroughly engaging tale, but it is relatively low angst with good communication on the whole. I do really love a book where the is good development of relationships and the characters, but I’m not sobbing myself to sleep!

I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a buff and sweet firefighter hero, and gorgeous and sassy talented partner.

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