Audiobook Review: Devil Take Me by Various Authors

Temptation lurks around every corner in worlds sometimes dark, sometimes lurid. Giving in is both dangerous and satisfying, though never in the ways one expects. While these enticements offer a vast range of benefits and boons, the cost is a soul and the devil expects his due. Sometimes suave and charming or calculating and cruel, these devils have schemes and desires of their own. They can be creatures to run away from… or toward.

Join the most unique and celebrated authors of LGBT urban fantasy and paranormal fiction for a fast-paced and unpredictable ride, from a city on the other side of reality, to a world suspended in dusk, to a twisted version of the 1960s and 70s.

Meet devils in top hats and waistcoats, a defrocked motorcycle-riding priest, and a genderfluid antihero—among many more. Full of humor, romance, horror, action, intrigue, and magic, these stories have one common element….

They’re one hell of a good time.

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Listening Length: 18 hours and 21 minutes


4.5 Enthusiastic Hearts

Admittedly, I’m not a ready and willing reader of stories involving the devil because of the doom and gloom themes that are typically pervasive. However, since this is narrated by Greg Tremblay, I took a chance because sometimes I’m all about broadening my horizons right? Well, I came out the winner for this is probably the most consistent anthology I’ve ever read as it provides compelling stories about those trying to do the impossible for a second chance.

I started out a huge fan of four of these authors, and I am now officially a fan of the other two! Not one of these six gals drops the ball, each presenting their unique brand of creativity!

Again, I thought Greg Tremblay was fabulous to begin with, but he really showcases his talent for accents here, just further solidifying himself as one of the top narrators around!


Internal Affairs - Jordan L. Hawk - 4 Hearts

A sassy, quasi-rom/com look at the underworld and the crossroads demons who serve to capture souls.

Newbie demon Ralgath, makes the rookie mistake of giving a contract that’s too good to be true. He’s a lot blinded by lust and allows Chess to become a powerful paranormal slayer to fight evil. Such perks aren’t supposed to be given, and poor Ralgath’s relegated back to hell to serve all of eternity in the torturous department known as Administrative Intake. When the opportunity to redeem his reputation is offered, Ralgath must ask for help from the very person who made him stray.

Fun and funny, the attraction between Ralgath and Chess hasn’t dimmed. A fast paced adventure to solve a mystery and bonus points where they end up saving each other!

Collared - TA Moore - 4.5 Hearts

My first Moore and certainly not my last!

Gritty, brutal, this is a world where hell never rests at trying to corrupt, slowly and insidiously spreading its darkness.

Jack is a condemned priest who’s been serving the demon Math, for years. Understandably, he regrets his past decisions but can’t help being enamored by Math who basically holds him prisoner. When given the chance to get his soul back, it’s not a difficult decision to make - a decision he can’t say no to nor does he want to.

This was dark and violent and disturbing but not short on the eroticism as the moral compass is tested over and over again. Bittersweet, not quite a romance, this surprised me in a good way as a twisted reveal shows the potential of what could be unraveled should Moore choose to continue with this unconventional storyline.


The Counterfeit Viscount - Ginn Hale - 4.5 Hearts

My debut read with this author and I’m impressed!

Bridging historical and fantasy, this is a world where descendants of demons perpetrate the human world, always deemed less but always wanted and used for their extra abilities and magic. Here we meet Archibald, a human bastard who sells his soul to the charming Nimble, to enact revenge on an evil uncle. What slowly unravels is a plot that has far reaching repercussions, not just for Archibald but for the underprivileged and many more innocents caught in the crosshairs.

Full of mystery and intrigue, this smartly shows class and species divide and the carefully laid out plans that can all go awry. Effectively complex, along with an equally swoony sweeping romance (with nice smexy) and an ending that brought a huge smile to my face.


11:59 - CS Poe - 4 Hearts

Brilliant in execution, I’ve not read anything other than short stories from this author, but the lady sure can create quite the gripping tale, and this was no different.

On the cusp of death, Asuka agrees to sell his soul in exchange to battle a terrible foe and to never dream again. Reality is slowly being overtaken by an unrelenting force, killing those brave enough to sleep and succumb to their nightmares. For five years, Asuka’s been going through the motions of fighting an unwinnable war, slowly losing ground as the human world is being methodically destroyed.

When Asuka’s interest is sparked for the first time in a long time by an tenacious young man, he feels a tug that might compel him to care once more. Thus, when the devil asks for his help in return for a chance to desire and want again, Asuka has no choice but to take up the dangerous challenge.

Full of action with vivid imagery and an interesting take on time and realms, this makes a very ingenious, satisfying full circle.


Wonderland City - Rhys Ford - 4 Hearts

An extended look at the wonderful world of Wonderland, where Alice is long gone and the fate of the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts takes a different turn towards something so much worse.

Here, Wonderland houses those who trade their souls for a chance at a different life, and Xander has carved out a very very hard fought existence. Though he would love to be with the prince Jean Michel, too many extenuating circumstances (not to mention his own stubborn independent self) keep them apart.

However, danger threatens Wonderland's very existence when a devil makes a terrible mistake, and Xander must ask for Jean Michel’s aid to prevent the unthinkable. If he wins, he just might lose the very thing he wants the most.

This was classic Ford, who never fails for me when she writes fantasy with a grumpy antihero to root for. Action filled, high stake consequences but always with a rewarding win!


Dark Favors - JCP - 4 Hearts

No doubt JCP is original, as this envisioned world shows the many many people who have gotten ahead by owing and asking for favors - a form of currency to get what they want in exchange for their eternal soul.

After years of not playing the game, Johnny accepts the rare favor from the devil himself, longing to be blissfully ignorant again. What he doesn’t expect is the surprising high stakes task he’s agreed to do. When Johnny hesitates, it’s just the opening for someone to throw a wrench into his well laid plans… a very sexy wrench at that.

JCP does not fail on the eroticism here and definitely brings about an unusual conclusion to Johnny’s dilemma but one that is no less satisfying.



Thank you to the authors/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review




Release Blitz: Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote


Jay Northcote and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)! Learn more about the contemporary romance today!





Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK - Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 66,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design


Rainbow Place Series 

Book #1 - Rainbow Place - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Safe Place - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Joe deserves better. Meeting Dylan helps him see that.


After a recent redundancy, Joe takes a few months off to try and make it as a writer. His partner, Harry, is less than supportive but Joe is used to that after ten years together, just like he’s used to Harry’s controlling nature and his drinking habit.


Dylan, a server at Rainbow Place, is fascinated by Joe as he sits in the café and works on his laptop. His attempts to flirt are met with awkwardness at first, but gradually Joe opens up. Dylan is disappointed when he learns Joe isn’t single. As their friendship develops he begins to worry about the nature of Joe’s relationship, especially when he witnesses Harry’s behaviour in person. Abuse isn’t always physical, and Dylan knows that from experience. His concern helps Joe see his relationship for what it is, and gives him the courage to end things with Harry.


Free to act on their mutual attraction, Joe and Dylan dive headlong into something that becomes serious fast. Joe revels in the passion and intimacy he’s been missing out on for so long, but Dylan is worried that Joe is on the rebound. He puts on the brakes, knowing that they need to slow down to make this last. For this new relationship to work, Joe needs to show Dylan that he’s ready to move on from the past.


Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone and has a satisfying happy ending.



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


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


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


Website

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Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions


Blog Tour + Giveaway: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock


Author Beth Laycock and A Novel Take PR visit today on the Salute to the Stud blog tour! Learn more about the contemporary romance and enter in the giveaway for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Miracle On Three Kings’ Day!

Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Publisher: Rainbow Romance Press

Release Date: February 21, 2019

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Order here: Amazon only.
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NGRFKG9
US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NGRFKG9

The novella will be only $0.99 on ebook during release-week and tour, February 21-27!






Synopsis:

Jasper is licking his wounds in paradise after being dumped, according to his ex, for someone more adventurous. The romantic Hawaiian getaway for two he booked hadn’t featured his sister as his plus one, but sometimes real life sucks.
For the two weeks he’s there his plans include hot dates with a sun lounger and working his way through the local craft beers. Nothing more.
Until he receives a sext from a wrong number. A mystery yoga instructor offering a private session to teach him the plow, and maybe even get plowed. Jasper’s never had a hookup with anyone before, but perhaps it’s time to prove his ex wrong.
One night with Tamal, no matter how hot it is, isn’t enough, yet that doesn’t change the fact this thing between them can’t last. Because time is running out. Jasper has to leave, has to return to London and real life.

Excerpt #1:
"Well, now we've cleared all that up, I'd still like to
take you out to dinner tonight. What do you say?"
"Yes. I'd love to."
The serene smile morphed into a grin. "Excellent. I know just the place."
"Not at the hotel?"
He glanced over his shoulder at the sprawl of buildings that made up the resort before he looked back at me, his eyes narrowing. "Erm, no. There's this fantastic little place on the beach a mile or so further down. They sell the best seafood – whatever they catch on the day. You like seafood, yeah?"
"I do, and that sounds amazing."
Pushing his knees up off the sand to come into a squat, he dropped one hand to the sun lounger and then brushed his lips over my cheek. "I have another yoga class, but I'll pick
you up at the main entrance. Seven okay?"
I nodded, and he sauntered off all long strides and fluid moves.
I had a date.
With my stud of a yoga teacher.

Excerpt #2:
I had talked myself in then out of meeting up a thousand times. Then back in, because I wanted to see Tamal again – more than I probably should. But then the thought of seeing him again – of what we might do – had my breaths coming far too quickly and my skin itched like it had been stretched too thin. I knew nothing about the man I was meeting apart from the yoga and plowing bit if Tamal and the sexter were one and the same person. If they were then I was worrying unnecessarily because Tamal had been... A sigh escaped as the word 'everything' flittered through my mind. Stupid, getting carried away, and I
didn't know what to wear. What if Tamal expected to give me an actual yoga lesson? What if I'd misunderstood the whole conversation?
My sister texted me to let me know she was having a great time at the waterfalls. So I texted her I was going out for a wander down the beach and would see he in the morning. Not a complete lie but not the whole truth. But some things my sister didn't need to know.
My bare feet sank into the sand as I strolled along the water's edge. The waves crept up the beach and lapped at my feet. Goosebumps erupted up my legs, the water cool now the sun had disappeared. The tops of the waves glinted where the moonlight caught them, and a few stars twinkled like they were winking at me and in on my secret. The further I wandered the
quieter the sounds of the hotel became, to be replaced by the quiet rush of the sea and the high-pitched whistle of the frogs calling to each other that I still hadn't got used to. Once I passed the bar lounge, there was nothing but palm trees and beach until the sand disappeared beneath a stretch of rocks. I climbed over them to find a single wooden shack with a coconut-style thatched roof, and the only thing visible in the secluded cove. If it hadn't been for the window that glowed brightly against the inky night sky I'd have thought it was abandoned.
I hesitated. In or out? Told myself it was like a gay rite of passage – had to have at least one hookup in my dating life. And I wanted to see Tamal again. Fuck it. I strode up the beach like I owned the goddamned place. Like I would have done before Sam. Fake it till you make it, right?

Excerpt #3:
”Up on your feet."
I opened my eyes and looked at him.
"Up," he said again, one eyebrow lifting slightly.
With a grunt, I pushed back up off my knees as his hand stroked over my arse. The other swept down my spine and then underneath me and across my tightened abs, sliding dangerously close to the bulge filling my shorts, but not touching. If I tilted my hips—
"What exactly did you come here for this evening?"
"You," I panted. Then his thumb traced along the outline of my hard length. My teeth sank into my bottom lip, and I stretched up onto my toes as a slightly high-pitched whimper escaped. He started a steady rhythm up and down my cock with the pad of his thumb as his other hand dipped below the waistband of my shorts, fingers stroking over my bare arse cheek.
"On your knees."
The words sounded more like a growl and had me immediately obeying.


Author Bio:

Beth Laycock’s books are influenced by her time living overseas as well as the gritty, urban landscape of the north of England where she grew up. She has been reading romance since she was old enough to tell herself that line every book lover does—just one more chapter.
As a teenager, she attempted to write her first novel, and many more since then are still gathering dust on her bookshelf. It wasn’t until she discovered the M/M genre that her muse showed up and refused to quit telling her stories about beautiful men finding love together. She hasn’t stopped scribbling them down since. Beth’s muse usually shows up when she is in the shower, is allergic to cleaning, rarely lets her watch TV, and insists she drinks copious amounts of coffee so she can turn caffeine into words.
When not writing or reading, Beth can be found procrastinating on social media or being dragged around the English countryside by her dog Freddie.

Author links:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bethlaycockwrites
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beth.laycock.writes
https://www.facebook.com/bethlaycockauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2188017221465443
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18580707.Beth_Laycock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BethLaycock_
Website: https://bethlaycock.com

Newsletter: http://bethlaycock.com/newsletter

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/BethLaycockAuthor
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/beth-laycock

Giveaway:
Win a $10 Amazon gift card + an ebook copy of Miracle On Three Kings’ Day by Beth Laycock.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0385/?

Audiobook Review: A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony & Aisling Mancy

Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare's Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.

Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the eleven-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in the heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.

Listening Length: 10 hours 38 minutes
Narrator: Jim Pelletier



Reviewer: Annika

Story - 5 Hearts
Narration - 3.5 Hearts

A Solitary Man was an intense book. I kind of also want to say that it was horrible. But not in the way you might think - the writing was great, I loved the characters and the plot was a great one. An important one. But it's also what makes it so horrible. This book is very mystery focused, the romance is not the important part or does it play a huge roll. What does play a huge roll is human trafficking, rescuing missing boys believed to have been sold into the sex trade and smuggled out of the country. Dealing with the reality, the futility, the hopelessness, and the aftermath if it all. That's why I said it was horrible. Reading stuff like this, knowing that it's not fiction – oh the book is fiction, but sadly this kind of thing does happen every day and all over the world. It's scary and humbling and I admire the people who are out there fighting for the victims and putting their lives in danger, in the hopes to save just one. Because we never do get everybody home safe - do we?

Jim Pelletier wasn’t the best choice of narrator for this book. Sure he had different voices and even some accents. I do love different accents in narrations, they add another level to the narration - and it helps distinguish between different characters. It still wasn’t enough though. At times it felt like Pelletier was over-acting, it didn’t feel natural and was a bit much that it felt unbelievable. In turn it made the character unbelievable and it threw me off and out of the story. It made me focus on the narration instead of the story unfolding. Which was a shame, because the story truly deserves all the attention it can get – and then some.

A Solitary Man is well worth a read or listen, it is a heart-breaking story. But there’s also hope and a will to fight the evil in the world. So while painful, it’s a story that I highly recommend.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review





Blog Tour: Jordan vs. All the Boys by John Goode


John Goode is here today to promote his re-release, Jordan vs. All The Boys from Harmony Ink Press and he's brought a story of summer love that could very well transport you back to your own childhood. 

Check out our 4 ❤ review of the book here.


In everyone's life, there is a summer where everything in your life changes.

You know the one, where you and some friends hung out and did a bunch of stuff that, in retrospect, wasn't the smartest thing in the world but you loved it and you guys bonded over it and those people will always be in your life, even if they aren't? Well, maybe not everyone has them but a lot of people do and let me tell you, they are worth their weight in gold.

Mine was when I was sixteen. I was a nerd, still am, by the way, just putting it in perspective. I was a nerd and had a group of friends that were outcasts, just like me. One of us had a license which meant for the first time in our lives we would just get up and go somewhere without bothering our parents or answering a million questions about how important it was.

We drove to the arcade, which was small but always crowded with other kids. We drove to the bowling alley because it also had video games but fewer people. We drove to Jack in the Box, because the food was cheap and it had something we could all agree on. And we drove to Berkeley, a city five times larger than the one we lived in and had things we could never find in our small town.

I had a crush on a guy.

A straight guy of course because I was an, in the closet gay teenager who hadn't come out to anyone yet. His name was Chris and he was everything I wasn't. He had blond hair, skinny, cute, popular, well among us and a hopeless flirt. He was adored by the girls in our group because he was charming as hell and lived to drive people crazy. Though he didn't know it at the time he was driving me nuts as well.

After a while, he figured it out, but I'm not sure he got why. Which means he knew I was watching him constantly but I don't think he connected that to being gay. We had a game that no one else seemed to know we were playing. We would be in a room full of people and Chris would find a way to be somewhere that only I could see and then he's started doing a mogwai dance from Gremlins.

At first, I would make an eeep sound and then point at him with a, “Look at Chris!”

Which was when he would stop.

People would look at me like I was nuts and go back to what they were doing which was when he would go back to dancing. We did this for a month until I finally stopped trying to get other people to see it and just laughed.

My friend Andy had a small car which meant if we were going somewhere it was three in the back with at least one person sitting on someone's lap. Chris would sit on me most of the time. It was harmless in its own way but in another, it was my first actual contact with a guy I liked. Again, I don't know if he knew what he was doing to me but took great joy in  making me squirm.

The summer was epic in a lot of different ways but the centerpiece of it was the night we decided to chase the moon.

Whoops, sorry.

The night we decided to Chase The Moon!

Better.

So I got my grandfather's car, made a mixtape with nearly two hours of music and we took off into the California night. Our destination was the moon, and how close we could get to it. There was a beautiful full moon out and it looked like it was daring us to keep up. So at dusk, we took off, not knowing where we were going or when we'd be back.

We just knew this night would change everything.

There was a brother and sister in the group and they had been strained ever since the girl had started dating. He felt like she was going to move on and forget us and she thought he was being controlling. Andy was in a quasi-fight with his girlfriend at the time, hence why she wasn't with us and Chris...no one knew what was going on in Chris' mind.

We started with a little Who's Johnny which seguewayed into St' Elmo's Fire and then turned a corner into Shout. Andy sat in the passenger's seat with his hand out the window, lost in the moment. The siblings were sitting on either side of the back seat, doing their level best not to look at each other. Chris was in the center and when I glanced back in the rear view mirror he smiled and me.

Invisible Touch went to Why Can't This Be Love and Andy seemed agitated by the song choice. I turned the song up so they couldn't hear us in the back seat and asked him what was wrong. He explained that he wasn't sure what was going on with his girlfriend and that he thought they might be moving apart.

When You Belong to the City came on we knew it was singing to just us as we began to wind through the foothills of Northern California, the moon dancing in and out of the treeline, it's siren's call always right there. Glenn Frey faded into Jack Wagner and All I Need got a contented sigh from the sister.

Which pissed the brother off.

We pulled over for a break and they started to fight. Andy stayed to play referee while Chris and I laid on the hood and continued to listen to the music. Fortress Around You Heart came on and Chris said he liked my taste in music. I thanked him and he nodded, both of us gazing up at the moon, waiting for us to give chase again. He asked me how long I could be out and I explained I had the car all night as my grandfather expected me to crash at Andy's house.

“You can crash at mine,” he said, still not looking at me.

I glanced over at him but he still looked upwards.

“If you want to.”

“Sure,” was all I could trust myself to answer.

The song ended and A-Ha challenged us to take them on.

“Break's over,” I said sliding off the hood, “Back in.”

The car doors closed and we took off as the moon began to move again.

You Can Call Me Al moved to Your Wildest Dreams and then came to the high point of Living on a Prayer, a song that could only be sung at the top of our lungs as we dove deeper into the night. As we emerged on the other side of the valley the music began to wind down to Voices Carry then Broken Wings followed by I'm on Fire.

“I need to pee.” someone from the back seat proclaimed and I found us a pit stop.

With empty bladders and fresh Pepsi's we rushed back into the car, this time Andy sitting in the back so he could keep trying to get the siblings to talk. Chris sat down in the passenger seat and gave me a smile that could have doubled as high beams if the headlights went out.

“What?” I asked.

“Just happy, this is a good night.,” he said leaning back into the seat.

The moon laughed as she took off again, we were hot on her tail.

West End Girls turned into Rock Me Amadeus which then flipped to One Night in Bangkok before we got back into our groove. Dancing on the Ceiling bridged to Mad About You and we were all singing again. When Let's Go All The Way came on we all went for it, belting it out in five different off keys, I couldn't help but notice the way Chris sang it, little side glances at me here and there.

In a better mood Andy brought up the problem again and the back seat became engrossed in the debate as the music turned down to Small Town and then down again to I'll Be Over You. By the time we began to climb another mountain, the tape popped so we flipped it and got ready for the next part of our journey.

The Boys of Summer started us out as the conversation moved to another argument in the back seat. Glory Days became Kyrie which built to Addicted to Love which brought a small laugh from Chris.

“What?” I asked.

“This song is so me,” he said as he laid his head back, “I'm addicted to love.”

“Really?”

He nodded and closed his eyes, “I love being loved.”

It took everything not to say I love you.

Of course, I didn't but Chris was my crush and at 16 crushes have a lot of power. You couldn't call them love but you could call them something akin to it. I had no idea how narcissistic his statement was or how destructive of a sign it was, he was cute and I liked him. What else did I need?

Halfway up the mountain, we came to a little clearing and we got out to stretch our legs and to give the fight in the back a pit stop. “I am just growing up,” the sister said.

“Without us?” the brother asked, “Without me?”

Chris shook his head and sat on the hood, I had to join him.

“He is holding on too tight,” Chris said in a low voice.

“He's worried about losing their connection.”

Chris shrugged, “If he is afraid of losing it then they never had one.”

“People are scared of being left behind,” I said, no longer talking about the fight.

Chris looked at me with eyes so blue they could have been ice and said, “Why? What's so wrong about being alone?”

And I realized we were two different beasts altogether.

We got back into the car and Andy had moved back to the front seat.

Take My Breath Away soared into Holding Back the Years to Heaven and the car was silent now. A double shot of Phil Collins with One More Night to Separate Lives and Andy sighed again.

“Hey man, things will work out,” it sounded even lamer said out loud.

“You don't know that,” Andy answered, “You don't know that at all.”

I didn't, so I shut up.

Lay Your Hands on Me started to lighten the mood as it built to Stuck With You and then Party All the Time. The car was lighter now, happier, even in their moods everyone was tapping and swaying as Never came blasting through the speakers. Danger Zone to Take Me Home Tonight and we were flying. As we got nearer and nearer the top the moon became so large that it seemed to take up the whole sky.

We came to the end of the road and got out, we looked like we were right under the moon and it hovered there, congratulating us on our achievement. We all took a moment to appreciate our feat, Andy by the driver's side, brother and sister by the hood, Chris and I at the trunk.

“We did it,” he said looking up, “We caught it.”

I smiled and nodded, “So now what?”

He didn't stop looking up but I felt a finger touch mine. I looked down and he had looped one finger under mine.

“Now, now we just enjoy it.”

I moved my hand under his they came together, fingers intertwined, “I can do that.”

“Can you?” he asked looking over to me, “Because tomorrow it will be gone and everything will be different.”

He was right and I we both knew it.

“I can do that,” I said quietly.

He smiled and leaned into me, “Good.”

We spent a long time up there, on top of the world as the moon waved goodbye and went on her journey to places we couldn't follow. And though there were other nights, other boys and other cars, none of them will be that night with that boy. Ever.

Everyone has a summer like that. This was mine, read Jordan's in Jordan Vs. All The Boys by Harmony Ink.



Blurb: 

There’s a time when life changes, when childhood is left behind and the first fumbling steps are taken into adulthood. One group of friends sets out for a summer of adventure and discovery. Jordan, Brandon, Ethan, and Dominic are ready to grow up and test themselves. But will their friendship buckle under the strain as they face the inevitable misunderstandings and conflicts? If they can hang on to their bond, it will see them through to the ultimate victory….

Finding love.

Buy Link: 

Amazon

Connect with the author:

Facebook
Twitter: @fosterhigh

Guest Review: Good Boys (The Solomon Mysteries #1) by Keelan Ellis

Having risen through the ranks of the Baltimore City Police Department to the elite Homicide unit as an out gay man, Paul Solomon has always prided himself on his integrity and self-reliance. As the last vestiges of his failed eight-year-long relationship fall away, Paul finds himself adrift, forced to rely on others to help him find his footing again.

When Paul and his partner, Tim Cullen, are called to the scene of a double murder of two high school students on the city’s west side, Paul finds the lives and deaths of the two boys hitting closer to home than he’d expected. With his personal life in upheaval, he struggles with the perspective needed to untangle the web of secrets and lies that led to their demise.

While working his way through the complicated case, Paul starts getting his life back together. After a date with an enigmatic young man takes a dark turn, he reaches out to an old flame who brings some much-needed lightness to his life. But Paul finds that relationships, like murder investigations, are never as simple as he’d like.


Reviewer: Annery


Whenever I read a book by Keelan Ellis I find myself in a conundrum: I’m deeply satisfied by the story but somehow unable to intelligently or cogently articulate why? There are no pithy quotes or overwhelming tides of emotion; no ‘heart in the palm of your hand’ declarations of undying, forever love; no cinematic acts of derring-do or danger; no unimaginable evil, just the, sadly, pedestrian strain of evil. Instead she mines the quotidian slings and arrows that make up the lives of most functioning adults, the ups & downs, the ends & beginnings of love affairs, friendships, work, growing up, starting over, revisiting our past by way of our future, they all coalesce in a picture that has the width, breath, and feel of real life. Also, for those still reading, I’d say that this isn’t, nor do I think is meant to be, a romance, not in the genre sense, but the seeds are laid for what can be a love affair for the ages. We’ll see where it goes. Meanwhile the story lands where most of my favorite murder-mysteries do, with the mystery being tangential to the other things going on. I love that. The best mystery stories aren’t really mysteries in a ‘who done it’ sense at all, but rather use the genre as a canvass to show a range of humanity, not something easy to do without coming off preachy but Keelan Ellis succeeds in spades.


Paul Solomon is 38, tall, dark, and handsome secular Jew, who’s a Homicide Detective with the Baltimore Police Department and his life is suitably a mess. Over a year after breaking up with his partner of eight years, and after much cajoling (read ultimatums) from Andy, his ex, he’s finally moving out of the home they shared. Moving out of course means begging his work partner, Tim Cullen, to put him up on his couch until he can sort something out. Paul isn’t necessarily a procrastinator, rather he’s just surrendered to the humdrum of daily life, letting his love life wither away, not making the effort to look below the surface of other relationships, and is just a bit paralyzed at the crossroads. As luck would have it, on the day Paul is moving to Tim’s couch, they also land the case of two teenage boys found murdered in a car and yet somehow this the least compelling of the things that come Paul’s way that week.

Though he’s been partnered with Tim for almost two years, it can’t be said that Paul knows him in any real way, and it’s not Tim’s fault. But all of that is about to change. I loved how the author avoided the ‘GFY cop partners syndrome’, I loved that Tim was such a non-stereotype and kept confounding Paul, and that could pretty much sum up the overarching theme of the book, IMO, how people and things are not always what they seem, how they’re mutable, and much more than the sum of their parts.

Tim is the first of these ‘surprises’ for Paul. He’s a 43 year-old Baltimore native, a red-headed Irish, a divorced cop and he doesn’t give a flying fig about Paul’s sexuality, asks questions because he’s genuinely interested, and has no ulterior motive or buyer’s remorse when he offering his bed (with him in it) to Paul, because the sofa is too short and so is his daughter’s bed. Paul begins to get an inkling of the beautiful friendship he’s been missing out on by being blind to what’s right in front of him or letting preconceptions cloud his judgement.

Added to the list of people confounding Paul or, rather just being humans, are the murder victims themselves, who flip the social/racial roles scripted for them, as do at least two of the murder suspects. Jimmy Pratt, in particular, had me filing his name away for future reference. He was a character that went from “who is this a$#hole” to “can we get a short story about him? Please?”

The biggest surprise, hurdle, or spanner in Paul’s worldview is David Haygood, a 28 year old recent arrival to the city. A kind of baby doe with a dark past looking to be redeemed or perhaps even reborn. He’ll make you think about the nature of forgiveness, faith, what do you really stand for, when it counts, and what is love in the larger sense of the word. I won’t get into David’s story but suffice it to say that not only is it Greek-style tragic, but it’s also, depressingly topical.

The unifying thread to all these characters is Paul Solomon, who in spite of sometimes being aloof and maybe a bit obtuse, also cares deeply about people, is immensely empathetic, and has a huge heart. I for one am going directly to the next book because I know it will be time well spent. I don’t want to miss a minute.

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


Audiobook Review: Vanilla Clouds by Roe Horvat

“I could spend days listening to you talk about chocolate.” 

Sex and chocolate are the two pleasures Michał enjoys most in life.

His sex life has been nonexistent for some time, though. After a particularly bad hookup, he keeps mostly to himself. That leaves chocolate. Luckily, he works surrounded by the most delicious, extravagant produce in Gothenburg. Beside his job at the chocolaterie, his main source of excitement is his online friend, Magnus, whom he stubbornly refuses to meet in person.

A customer turns up at the chocolaterie one day—tall, shy, and charming. He could be just the right man. If Michał can step out of his overly safe shell, there might be not only chocolate, but sex, too. Maybe chocolate-flavored sex. And if he’s lucky, maybe even love.

Warning: This book contains explicit scenes, adult language, and obscene amounts of chocolate.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Narrated by Vance Bastian




After I finished listening to the audio for Vanilla Clouds, I listened to it again and then bought a copy for a friend, and then I bought the book so I could pretend like it was all new again.

That’s a lot of things for a 3 hour, 45 minute audiobook/132 page book.

But. But. Oh. My. God. You guys. This is such a little nugget of a treat and I didn’t want it to end.

I loved the approach the author took to tell the story. Michal and Magnus are online buds who have never met in person, but have a real connection virtually. They want to meet, don’t want to meet, push, pull, push, pull. From the inside, they are both a little clueless in a sweet, vulnerable way, on the outside, from the readers view, it’s obvious from the beginning that these two are meant to be. Which makes for a wonderful setup, because I got to enjoy the ride while still sailing on the optimistic high of their relationship evolution.

The story moves along via messaging and then when Michal meets a tall, shy, mysterious stranger in his chocolaterie, path forks a little, but it’s the most adorable deception ever. It’s actually a necessary little bit of tension that allows the rest of the story to be its sweet self without apologies.

I loved the setting, the uniqueness in comparison to so many other things out there added a layer of interest that made me accidentally learn things (which is my favorite kind of learning) and the city of Gothenburg was a character itself. I even Googled stuff and the story made me want to travel.

If you haven’t ever listened to Vance Bastian narrate a book, you are missing out. I love his tone, his character voices and the emotional nuance he brings to every interaction. Everything is just enough without ever being too much. He’s both relatable and swoonworthy which makes him the perfect person to read this book to me. And you.

Vanilla Clouds is a low drama romance that is perfect when you need the fluff, but want thoughtfulness and authenticity. This book is forever and always on my reread, all-time-favorites shelf.


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

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Devil's Bargain (King of Hearts #1) by Kathryn Sparrow


Join author Kathryn Sparrow and Indigo Marketing in the Devil's Bargain (King of Hearts #1) blog tour. Find out more about the MLR Press paranormal romance, read an excerpt and enter in the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway today!


Title: Devil's Bargain
Series: King of Hearts Book 1
Author: Kathryn Sparrow
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: January 3
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67500 Words
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis

Seth Griffin is forced to live out his
wildest dreams at the expense of his best friend, the man he loves.

Seth Griffin's life was basically on
track. Attend Cornell, double major in Mechanical Engineering and Astronomy,
play basketball, and room with his best friend, Kevin. So what if he had a
hopeless crush on his gorgeous, straight friend.

When Maynard Frederick Winthrop IV buys
all of Seth's family's debt and threatens to foreclose, everything Seth has
worked for is in jeopardy. Winthrop offers Seth a deal: spend a week at his
mansion, a place that seems to defy logic and violate the laws of physics,
performing challenges of Winthrop's choosing. If Seth succeeds, all will be
forgiven.

But can Seth do as Winthrop asks,
especially when Kevin is the one who will pay the price?


Excerpt

“There’s one thing I don’t understand about you. You’re gay. You’re out. You live in a liberal state, but you rarely hook up, no boyfriends, nothing. What gives?”

What? Why did Winthrop know he was gay or care?

“Excuse me. I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”

Winthrop’s brows climbed. “Believe me. It’s my business. Everyone has needs, but you live like a monk.”

“I’m a double major across two colleges and a varsity athlete. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, and I’m done with hookups.”

Winthrop shook his head, a frown marring his face. “That’s crazy. There are even a couple guys on your team who have offered to blow you, bottom, top, whatever, but you keep refusing. Even on those away games, alone, in a hotel.”

“Look. Enough of this.” Seth slammed his hand down on the table. “I came here. I sat through this meal. It’s done. You clearly have my family and me over a barrel. Isn’t it time to tell me what this is all about?”

“As you wish.”


Purchase

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Meet the Author

 
Kathryn Sparrow has had stories spinning around in her head her whole life and finally decided it was time to write them down. For twenty years, she worked in the Software Industry as a Software Quality Engineer, so she gets a particular thrill including geeks in her stories. Now, she is a stay-home mom although she thinks that’s a terrible name for the job since she spends so much time driving her kids to their various activities. She lives in Massachusetts with her geek husband and adorable, infuriating daughters, who are too smart for their Mommy’s own good. If she had spare time she would spend it knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, and doing any other handicrafts that caught her fancy.


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Review: Trusting Jack (MC Securities #1) by Ruby Moone

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.


For such heavy material, Trusting Jack is surprising light on the angst. I was surprised and pleasantly so. But also a smidge disappointed because the lack of angst also made for a lack of memorability. The story is basically hurt/comfort gold, but it’s hurt/comfort-lite and I was expecting more of a visceral reaction to the characters and their stories (Jack especially, obviously) than what happened. 

Both Jack and Michael are likable characters, the kind you root for and want all the HEA action for. Michael is a regular guy, but more, so regular-guy-who-is-worthy-of-being-an-MC kind of guy. Everything about him is just a little better than your average. He has a shy, unsure side that was appealing and more him more accessible though. He needed that and I needed that from him. I didn’t want him to be a knight in shining armor for Jack, that wouldn’t have worked for Jack’s personality.

It was cool seeing him be all heroic and badass when he needed to be, but his unassuming side was what was so appealing about Michael. Jack has seen some shit. He’s been through a lot and has a lot of secrets he’s hiding as he works to get his life together. Michael is curious about Jack’s story and his curiosity gets the better of him. It’s easy for him to indulge though (even though he says he doesn’t want to - methinks he doth protest too much) as Jack is his employee and another employee is concerned. Jack’s story is tough, which is to be expected, but the bad guy didn’t make a lot of sense for me, and in the end, it still didn’t make a lot of sense.

Jack was a good guy in a bad situation. The whole thing was a little too black and white though, I needed a little gray nuance to make the drama work. Honestly, Jack could have just been down on his luck and the story could have spent more time in the development of Michael and Jack as a couple, built some imperfections in there, simplified the story arc by leaving the bad guys out. Michael and Jack had plenty to work with, their setup had me hooked, their personalities were intriguing and I wanted to get to know them without the noise of the villain(s).

I know this reads like I’m bagging on this story, but, I am a huge fan of this author and her historical novels. My expectations were high and while it wasn’t necessarily what I had hoped for, I still enjoyed the story and the characters and I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series.



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

Giveaway + Release Blitz: Ostakis by Angelica Primm


Join author Angelica Primm and Indigo Marketing in celebrating the release of Ostakis! Find out more about this sci-fi read, enter the giveaway of a $10 Ninestar Press gift code and read an excerpt too!


Title: Ostakis
Author: Angelica Primm
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: February 18, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: M/NB
Length: 52600
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, sci-fi, action, intersex

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Synopsis


The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. But in the twenty-five hundred years since Earth lost contact with Ostakis, the people of that colony have dramatically changed. Kaj is tasked with finding the reason for these changes while he forges trade links between the HPC and Ostakis. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees the arrival of Kaj as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.



 Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide from the homeworld and the HPC. The Curse of the Unspoken, wrought through the unspeakable acts of the First Colonists, afflicts all Ostakians, but some more strongly than others. Arlan is totally Cursed, considered born sinful and he lives without legal rights or property. He is scrutinized by Sharr who is enraged that Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit Arlan to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes increase when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship that Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the power of his Church.


Excerpt


KAJ

Dearest Marta,

You would ask if I’m upset with my new
posting. No. Not that. Discomforted. Yes. That is the correct word. You know I
am a man who likes his routines, the stuff that meshes you to the pleasurable
aspects of living. A delicious cup of coffee in the morning. Grilled vegetables
on the barbecue and a nice glass of wine on the terrace in the evening.
Everyday things.

Where I head is not ordinary…

Landfall is the most dangerous part of
the journey.

The transport shook and rattled as it
descended to hit the atmosphere of Ostakis. Flames flared from the heat shield
and now I know why the pilot told me to pull the shade on my seat window. It’s
terrifying watching the flames of friction ignited ionized gas shimmer outside
the window and engulf the ship. To take my mind off my impending death I mulled
over my last briefing with Director Kotel.

“How terraformed is this planet?” I had
asked the director. We both paged our copies of the sparse notes and reports on
Ostakis on our government issued readers. Survey had just turned in the
information, and I was eager to see it. But, at the director’s request, I had
to wait until this meeting to go through it thoroughly.

“Not quite Earth normal,” said Director
Kotal. “Ten percent of the original plant and animal forms still survive. The
Ostakians fight the planet’s encroaching desert sands. The shield wall the
colonists built is in disrepair.”

That was an interesting bit of
information. “Any reason why?”

“Our survey found abandoned population
centers. Grey and Jacobs in Analysis think the number of people is shrinking.
They may not have the workers to maintain it.”

“So, after all this time, it has begun.”

“Yes. It had to, didn’t it?” She stood
and stared out of the port window that revealed the desert planet beneath us.
“If any planet needs what the HPC offers, it is Ostakis.”

A silence hung between us. The urgency
of the mission weighed more heavily.

“And another thing,” she said. “The
scout team reported rumors, or myths, of aboriginal tribes hiding in the
desert.”

We looked each other in the eye. The
first hope of Earth had been finding indigenous sentients, but to our disappointment
found none.

“Our lack of knowledge of the basis of
the Faith Progressive Church hampers us. They didn’t send literature on their
precepts.”

“Odd. Religions like to proselytize.”

“Exactly. So we can only assume that
there are things they don’t want us to know. Be careful of Thyenn Sharr, Kaj.
He’s the church’s head man. I can’t impress this enough on you. Their highly
conservative religious movement does not condone much that isn’t praying and
preaching. The hardest part of this assignment is conforming to the societal
norms of the planet.”

“Until I otherwise need to.”

“Yes,” she said with a nod of her head.
“Until that. So tread carefully.”


Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Born in a century far less progressive than how her brain is wired, Angelica engages in occupations now considered now less than reputable, one of them being a ghostwriter of erotic and romance fiction. Since time travel is not an option, in her off time she contents herself with writing about people and places in a far distant future with the twists that only come with traveling to the stars.

Angelica lives in Connecticut with an odd assortment of cats and humans and putters at hobbies ranging from art to bird watching when she’s not turning a phrase for her supper.


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Audiobook Review: Red Fish, Dead Fish (Fish Out of Water #2) by Amy Lane

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Listening Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
Narrator: Greg Tremblay







Reviewer: Annika


This book was intense! And I loved every minute I spent reading it. It drew me in from the start and held me in an iron grip and wouldn’t let go until it was all said and done. Or well, until I reached the last page of the book that is, because there are more lose ends for Jackson and Ellery to find and tie up and more adventures to be had.

Red Fish, Dead Fish is not a standalone story, it is a continuation of the first book, where Jackson and Ellery is doing everything they can to track and stop Owens, the big bad from Fish Out of Water. And boy is he bad, truly depraved in every imaginable ways. So squeamish people might want to be careful reading certain parts of this book, cause they are graphic and paints images that will stay with you and possibly make you a bit green around the gills. I honestly didn’t mind that, it made the hunt for him so much more intense, made me invested to really want to stop the SOB once and for all. And preferably in a permanent way….

Again, the relationship between Ellery and Jackson took a backseat to the hunt, but it was always there. They moved forward – Jackson kind of kicking and screaming, but they still moved forward. They grew into something more, something deeper. It was nice to see Jackson coming out of his shell and starting to trust, starting to want, to hope. He’s suffered so much in the past and being there for some of the happy times was really wonderful.

I did have one problem though, and that was that no matter how banged up he got (and that was more than his fair share) he was up and about in no time, ready to start hunting again. I’m not a fan of übermenches so it was a bit much. But since that’s probably the only thing that don’t work for me in this series, I count myself lucky.

As mentioned at the start, even when we reach the end of this book the story doesn’t end. Sure, Ellery and Jackson takes some huge steps, saved a few people but there are still bad guys to find and stop, and something tells me that it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review