Audiobook Review: Promises: Part 1 (Bounty Hunters #1) by A.E. Via

Duke Morgan owns and operates one of the largest bail bond companies in Atlanta. Not only does he bond criminals out of jail, he and his notorious group of bounty hunters will also track them down and ensure they show up for court.

Roman ‘Quick’ Webb is Duke’s business partner and best friend. Both men are in their forties and have given up on the happily ever after with the ranch-style home, and white picket fence. They’d both tried it and failed miserably. But they have their friendship and they have the business.

When Quick’s son, Vaughan Webb returns – after seven years - from studying abroad with his law degree in hand, he’s back to claim what he’s always wanted…his fathers’ best friend… Duke Morgan. Vaughan has always claimed to be a classic gentleman with an old soul. He didn’t party and screw up in school like his buddies. He was focused and dedicated to becoming the man worthy of Duke’s love.

It’s a complex and messy situation as Duke and Quick figure out how to still be best friends when one of them is sleeping with his friend’s one and only son. But when Duke is hurt on the job, all the unimportant trivialities fall to the wayside and Vaughan and Quick put their heads together to save Duke.

Part I of the Promises story is about Duke and Vaughan and DOES NOT end on a cliffhanger. Part II is about Quick and Dr. Chauncey and their realization that it’s not too late for any of them to find love.

Listening Length: 7 hrs 31 min
Narrator: Aiden Snow

Reviewer: Shee Reader

This is the first story in a new series, but there are some common characters with The Nothing Special Series. I adore AE Via’s writing, she does Alpha Male Law Enforcement like no one else. They are all huge hulking men who rule the streets, so I was super excited to get the chance to review this one.

I absolutely love love love audio books, and Aiden Snow’s narration is perfect for the macho guys AE comes up with. This book should therefore be the perfect trifecta, but there are some elements that made me feel a bit strange. Vaughan has been ‘in love’ with Duke for years (so we are told) and *I know* the blurb tells us all about the secrets, but I found the secret-keeping a bit controlling and worrying. Aside from that little niggle, I really loved it.

Duke is a super alpha-male bounty hunter. Vaughan is the much younger, lawyer son of Duke’s best Friend Quick. This is an excellent premise for a romance novel. All the better that Vaughan’s love has been kept a secret from Duke until Vaughan is a grown man that Duke will accept. Vaughan takes himself off to study and work overseas until he thinks Duke it ready.

I get it, but the lack of any communication for years and years felt a bit odd. Anyhoo, Vaughan has accepted a job with the DA’s office in Atlanta and he’s ready to make his move. Poor old Duke was a bit wrong footed by Vaughan’s very full-on seductive approach, which isn’t really surprising since he hadn’t been a party to all the falling in love, unrequited longing etc, etc.

Unfortunately on the day of the first date, Duke is attacked on the job and is in hospital with life threatening injuries. Up-steps Vaughan with the “solution” to all the problems but Duke must never know! I didn’t like all the withholding of information, but could understand Vaughan’s reasons, but it felt even more unhealthy that Duke’s best friend Quick was involved in the subterfuge.

Back at the romance, lies abound until someone inadvertently tells Duke a key bit of information. Without risk of spoilers, there is a teeth-achingly sweet HEA as required, and good communication does eventually get the guys on a firm footing. There also is a splendid set up for the next book in the series which I cannot wait for!

The narration is stellar, and so perfect for the story.


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

Giveaway + Release Blitz: Better Than Beginnings (Better Than Series) by Lane Hayes

Join author Lane Hayes & IndiGo Marketing in their celebration of the release of Better Than Beginnings! Find out more about this collection of short stories, read an excerpt & enter in the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card! Good luck!

Title: Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection
Series: Better Than Stories, 5
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: January 30, 2020
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 105000
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, MM Romance, White Collar, Gay romance

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Matt Sullivan knows he met someone special the night he spots the sexy man on the dance floor. However, he doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. First of all, Matt is straight. Okay, maybe not, but he doesn’t think falling in love and spending the rest of his life with a hotheaded, unapologetically fabulous diva is an option.

Aaron Mendez is confident, smart, and very comfortable in his skin. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And though he might have reservations about falling for someone newly out of the closet, no one has ever looked at Aaron the way Matt does.

Navigating a relationship has its challenges, but both Matt and Aaron are willing to deal with difficult parents, holiday blues, and learning curves. They know their happy ever after is worth fighting for and that true love is better than good.

*This collection of short stories follows the lives of Matt and Aaron from my first novel, Better Than Good. The end of one chapter is the beginning of a whole new story from ordinary everyday life to an engagement, a wedding, and more. This collection is dedicated to Matt and Aaron fans and those who believe that the real love story happens after the first “I love you”.


Better Than Candy from Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection

Aaron gave me the silent treatment for a while, and I have to admit I didn’t mind the quiet. For an hour anyway. Then I did mind.

“Come on. You can’t not talk to me all day.”

“Oh, so now you want to talk?” he huffed.

“Yeah. Let’s talk. Come closer so I can touch you too. I’ll be good.” I perched on one of the stools at the island in our kitchen and swiveled to face the hockey game on the flat-screen across the room.

“I don’t trust you,” he grumbled, crossing his arms and glaring at me.

“Come on. I’ll behave. Give me a kiss. Please?” I gave him my best “You can trust me” look.

Aaron sighed dramatically before shuffling over to stand between my thighs. Directly in the way of the hockey game.

“Are you going to make it up to me? Or are you going to watch the Steelers?”

“Okay, funny guy, let’s start with a little re-education. The Steelers are a football team.” I pulled him into my arms and squeezed him tightly, burrowing my chin into his shoulder and blowing raspberries on his neck. “Sadly, their season is over, but thankfully it’s basketball and hockey season now. You’re currently blocking a hockey game, but not my Penguins, so I’ll let you off the hook.”

“Excuse me?” he huffed irritably.

“You heard me. If you’d like to take some time to make up for my hour in hell, I will more than gladly join you…on the sofa, in the bedroom, or even in that green guest bathroom with the cool new towels we just bought. What’s it gonna be?” I held him even tighter and tickled his sides.

He laughed, his eyes twinkling with restored humor as he stepped out of my reach and peeled off his T-shirt.

“First of all, the color is eucalyptus, not green. Hockey and basketball are only marginally better than football and…” He furrowed his brow when I smacked his ass for sheer blasphemy. “And, you are making up with me. Not the other way around. You behaved like a five-year-old. I had no idea you were such a brat.”

“You promised not to torture me, but you did anyway. Even that lady at the store agreed you should have gone alone,” I singsonged.

He stepped between my thighs and rested his arms over my shoulders.

“She called you my husband. That was kind of funny.”

“Yeah.” I kissed his nose and pulled him closer to squeeze his ass.

“It didn’t freak you out?”

“Nope. And you wanna know why?”


“ ’Cause I’m gonna marry you someday.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just do. You’re my person. And even though I can think of about ten other things I’d rather do with you, going shopping wasn’t the worst ’cause I still got to be with you.”

Aaron bit his bottom lip and nodded. “Oh, that was good, Matty. I almost can’t remember why I’m mad at you.”

“You’re not mad. You love me. You just don’t know it yet.” I scooped him over my shoulder in a fireman’s hold before he could protest. “No more talking. You have some making up to do.”

I carried him into our bedroom and tossed him onto the bed before kicking off my shoes and pulling my sweater over my head. Aaron undressed quickly, then folded the duvet back and got on all fours in the middle of the bed. I gulped when he shook his ass in invitation. Fuck, he was sexy. I stepped out of my jeans and boxer briefs in a hurry and immediately reached for my cock. I was so hard it hurt. I approached the bed and kneeled behind him, running my fingers along his spine and over the curve of his hips.

Aaron turned to give me a seductive look. “What are you waiting for?”

“Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here with you.”

He frowned before straightening and scooting toward me, wrapping his arms around my neck. “But here we are. And I think this is the way it’s supposed to be,” he whispered.

I brushed my lips over his and closed my eyes for a moment. “Mine.”

Purchase at Amazon

BETTER THAN GOOD is on sale for just 99 cents. Available HERE.

Other books in the Better Than series. Get them all HERE!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Re-Release Series Blitz + Giveaway: Sex in Seattle series by Eli Easton

Join author Eli Easton and Signal Boost Promotions as they celebrate the re-release of the Sex in Seattle series! If you're new to the series or want a revisit, check out today's blitz and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited 

The Trouble With Tony (Book #1) - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under cover with one of his suspects. He can’t help it—Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely-eyed hero Tony goes for. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.

Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?

The Enlightenment Of Daniel (Book #2) - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Business tycoon Daniel Derenzo lives for his work until his dying father reminds him life is short. When Daniel starts to reevaluate his world he experiences a startling revelation—he’s attracted to his business partner and best friend, Nick, even though Daniel always believed himself to be straight. In typical type-A fashion, Daniel dissects his newfound desires with the help of the experts at the Expanded Horizons sex clinic. He goes after Nick with the fierce determination that’s won him many a business deal.

Nick Ross was in love with Daniel years ago, when they were roommates in college. But Daniel was straight and Nick patched his broken heart by marrying Marcia. Two kids and fourteen years later, they go through the motions of their marriage like ships passing in the night. But Nick’s kids mean the world to him, and he’s afraid he’ll never get joint custody if they divorced. If he can trust his heart to an awakening Daniel, they all might find their way to a happily ever after.

NOTE: This novel can be read as a stand-alone.

The Mating Of Michael (Book #3) - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it's cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.

James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he's lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.

Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.

NOTE: This novel can be read as a stand-alone.

About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Her website is

You can email her at

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Blog Tour: Starfall Ranch by California Dawes

Author California Dawes and A Novel Take PR visit on the Starfall Ranch blog tour! Learn more about the queer science fiction today!

Starfall Ranch by California Dawes

Series: Standalone

Release Date: October 26, 2019

Subgenre: Sci-fi Romance

Synopsis for Starfall Ranch:

Two women seeking refuge from trauma on an alien world meet in a storm under the unlikeliest circumstances. At the edge of the galaxy, under the apple boughs, can they reach out and take hold of their happily-ever-after?

Thisbe Vandergoss is a London socialite on the run from her controlling family. With all her assets frozen and her friends on Earth just as likely to sell her out than help her out, Thisbe signs up to be a mail-order bride on the lush moon world, Sirona.

Shiloh Kerridan left Earth five years ago, seeking to put a galaxy between herself and the people who hurt her. Shiloh has thrown herself into the creation and maintenance of Starfall Ranch, a cozy piece of farmland that boasts juicy apples and the best goats cheese on Sirona. She’s vowed never to let anyone in again, and she certainly has no patience for rich off-worlders who show up on her doorstep unexpectedly.

Especially when Thisbe shows up in the middle of a streak of bad luck: her fruit trees have succumbed to disastrous blight, her farm bots keep mysteriously malfunctioning, and a local mining company is breathing down her neck to parcel out her land. If Shiloh’s bad luck keeps up, she’ll have no choice but to sell her beloved farm and sanctuary. Thisbe is determined she won’t let that happen, but will Shiloh open her heart enough to trust again?

Order here:






Thisbe slipped on a pair of sunglasses and got back in her car. She noticed a shopping bag in the back seat, carelessly left there from a lunchtime retail therapy session two days prior. She pulled the bag into her lap and examined her purchases: some fine jewelry, a small fortune in makeup, and a pair of vibrant red and teal leather stiletto shoes.

Thisbe bit her lip and pushed her a strand of curls out of her eyes. She loved those shoes, and she hadn’t even had a chance to wear them out on the town yet. They were dinosaur leather, made from authentic, lab-grown agilisaurus flesh. The stilettos (which were utterly glorious) had been a limited-edition design, exclusive to an invite-only pre-order mailing list, and Thisbe was one of only a hundred lucky women in London who'd managed to snag a pair. Still, desperate times...

She pulled a U-turn back onto the road and headed for the shop at a high-end mall where she had picked up her pre-order. The sales rep at the returns counter gave her a massive side-eye of disbelief when she opened the box.

“You do know that these shoes are made from dinosaurs?” She asked, not daring to touch the treasures until she was certain Thisbe wasn't going to change her mind.

Thisbe pouted as though this were all the universe's fault. Which, if her parents were correct about their central role in the universe, it kind of was.

“Can you believe they don't fit? I think this pair must have been mismarked or something. This should be my size, but it feels about two sizes too small for my poor toes.”

“If it were me, I'd just cut my toes off,” the rep laughed. Thisbe laughed with her.

“If only. I don't suppose there's a chance of an exchange?” She did her best to look hopeful, knowing full well there wasn't a chance in any dimension of there being a spare pair just lying around for exchange.

“Afraid not, love. Do you want the sale back on the card you used?”

“Cash is fine,” Thisbe said quickly.

She pocketed the fifteen thousand in cash and returned the jewelry and makeup in much the same way. By the time she got back to her car, she had just under thirty thousand pounds in her pocket. Enough to lay low and figure out her next move, at the very least. But she still had a few more errands to run.

About the author:

California Dawes is a lover of romance, fantasy, mystery, and the allure of the open road. Her romances are always set in queernorm worlds where complex characters explore the depths of their desires, pursue the truth of their hearts, and sometimes fight some demons along the way.

She lives in the San Francisco area with two highly opinionated cats and the sweetest dog in the universe. When she's not writing swoon-worthy romances, California enjoys RPGs, running, road trips, and good coffee shops.

Twitter: @inkyfirelight
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Guest Review: Love You So Sweetly (Love You So Stories #4) by Tara Lain

Reading his future in a glass of sweet tea.

The youngest son of one of America’s richest families, Remy Merced is so busy trying to save his family company from collapse, he’s never taken time to figure out if he’s gay, much less if he’s happy. Then his meddling mama hires him an assistant who’s everything Remy thinks he doesn’t want. Cute Harper Treadwell, from rural Arkansas, is a brilliant business prodigy… and openly gay. His wit and charm could confirm Remy’s suspicions about his own sexuality almost instantly—if they weren’t both already partnered.

When Remy’s girlfriend and Harper’s boyfriend get a little too friendly, Remy finds that the path to happiness requires a long drive in an old Prius, a growing appreciation for small towns, and a whole lot of sweet tea. But before they can forge a future—they have to let go of the past.

Reviewer: Shee Reader

Remy is a lovely character, but his mom is even more so! She’s an amazing matriarch who has held on to her roots despite huge wealth. When she hires Remy a new assistant she’s clearly up to mischief, and Harper is EXACTLY what Remy needs. Of course, Remy resists all Harper's charms and the (often present) existing relationships that are doomed, there is lots to work out before these two lovely men can find their happily ever after.

It was interesting that Remy was acting the part so much that he has lost sight of where his mom and dad came from. Theirs was a great love, but the beginnings were humble.

The story is a nicely written, sweet and rolling tale with intrigue but not too much angst. It’s a lovely addition to the Love You So Series, with a sweet as sugar HEA!

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

Release Blitz: Bound to Liberty (Bound #5) by Kai Tyler

Check out today's release blitz from author Kai Tyler and Vibrant Promotions for contemporary queer romance, Bound to Liberty (Bound #5)! Discover more today!


Title: Bound To Liberty
Author: Kiru Taye writing as Kai Tyler
Series: Bound, Book 5
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Queer Romance

Bound to Liberty-NewCover600pw

TAGLINE: James isn’t ready to lose his heart again. Will Ethan fight for his love?

As if life isn’t tough enough for James Coker, rejected and nearly killed by family, he is also a closeted gay man in a country where being gay is outlawed. So when the first man he's ever loved gets engaged to a woman, James’s solution to heartbreak is to indulge in a holiday fling.
In contrast, Ethan Eze has had life relatively easy. Born in the 'Land of the Free' and nurtured within a family where he can be whoever he wants to be, he's a military veteran who is not afraid of going for what he wants. When he meets James, Ethan wants him.
Desire burns between them and soon blurs into devotion. But James is not ready to lose his heart again. Ethan has fought for his country. Now will he fight for love?
Bound to Liberty is a story about breaking free from mental chains and living a life of boundless love.
Content Warning: homophobia, threat of forced outing, depictions of anxiety,

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black man posing at the night club

Ethan let the men out and locked the door. When he turned around, James wasn’t in the living room.

“James?” he called out as he strode across the space. Getting no response, he knocked on the closed door to the younger man’s room. “Can I come in?”

“It’s not locked,” James’s muffled voice came through.

Ethan pushed the door and stopped at the threshold.

His ward paced the room manically, muttering to himself. Although the AC was on, sweat beaded his hairline and his hands were clenched.

The sight of James’s distress undid Ethan. His job was to keep James physically safe and find his stalker. His professional remit didn’t extend to dealing with emotional baggage.

Nonetheless, he’d be damned if he just had to stand guard while the young man hurt. He stepped into the room without a second thought. Nothing else mattered but taking away the suffering. Neither his misgivings about getting personally involved with his ward nor the risk of losing an influential client if he cocked this up stopped him.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” He halted in front of James, blocking his pacing path.

James shook his head and tried to swerve past him.

He reached out and settled his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Talk to me.”


As a lover of romance novels, Kiru wanted to read stories about Africans falling in love. When she couldn’t find those books, she decided to write the stories she wanted to read. She writes sensual African stories as Kiru Taye and writes queer romance as Kai Tyler.














Release Blitz + Giveaway: Soul Burn by Brenda Murphy and Megan Hart

Authors Brenda Murphy and Megan Hart collaborated on new contemporary paranormal release, Soul Burn! Don't miss today's promo with IndiGo Marketing! Plus, they're hosting a $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Soul Burn
Author: Brenda Murphy and Megan Hart
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 27, 2020
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 66700
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal, LGBT, Contemporary, paranormal, interracial, erotic romance, BDSM, shifter, wolf, pain play, screenwriter, author, pro domme

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A mistress, a werewolf, a screenwriter and a shapeshifter walk into your heart in these two sexy paranormal stories of love and redemption.

Shifting Flames by Brenda Murphy
The Fire Inside by Megan Hart


Shifting Flames by Brenda Murphy

Shunned screenwriter Eve Perez has something to prove. Shut out of the industry after a scandal, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to climb back to the top, even if it means working with notoriously difficult author Celeste Quon.

Reclusive best-selling author Celeste Quon is adored by a generation of fans, but would they love her if they knew her truth? Under pressure from her fans, Celeste agrees to bring her best-selling novel to the screen but on her terms.

After a freak spring snowstorm strands Eve at Celeste’s home she discovers Celeste’s incredible secret. Amid their fiery attraction should she let their relationship burn out, or surrender to the flames of their desire?

The Fire Inside by Megan Hart

For Clara, crafting pain into pleasure is her job. For Selena, it’s her salvation. When submissive Selena hires Clara as her Domina, it seems like the best of business arrangements. But when their emotions infiltrate what was meant to be only professional, both women are rocked by the possibilities that their relationship might be changing into something… more.

Selena has given her submission to Clara for months, but faced with the idea of giving her heart, she runs. Loving Clara means revealing her secret, the one that sent her seeking pain in the first place, and it’s a risk Selena can’t take.

Clara, confused and terrified by the glimpse she had of Selena’s true self, can’t keep herself from wanting more. And, as Selena’s Miss, she’s not afraid to demand she be given the chance to take it. Snowed in at Clara’s mountain cabin, the women must face the truth about themselves and about each other.

Can true love grow from a business relationship, and can it conquer even the darkest of fears?


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

Meet the Authors

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

Blog | Website | Facebook

Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use bad words, but most of the other words are okay. Some of them hit bestseller lists and win awards and some don’t, but that’s the way it goes. She can’t live without music, the internet, or the ocean, but she and soda have achieved an amicable uncoupling. She loathes the feeling of corduroy or velvet, and modern art leaves her cold. She writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance, though she’s best known for writing steamy fiction that sometimes makes you cry.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


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Blog Tour: The Right Move by B.L. Dayhoff

Welcome author B.L. Dayhoff as she shares an exclusive look at her new adult romance, The Right Move from JMS Books!

Take it away, B.L.!

Here’s an excerpt from The Right Move. Chase and Trevor are on their way back from a snack run and are low-key flirting with each other:

Ultimate Flirting Fail: Chase. Or perhaps he’d been too successful without even trying. Either way, his cheeks were hotter than his cocoa and he wanted to fall into the earth. What had he been thinking? Well, aside from the fact that Trevor was cute and Chase would like to… It had been a horrible idea, and now Trevor either felt led on or, worse, relieved that Chase had dropped it.

I’m not supposed to be getting distracted by boys. Graduating is top priority, remember?

Honestly, it was hard to remember while walking beside Trevor, some energy cracking between them, although he couldn’t be sure if it was tension or attraction. Maybe both. Maybe neither.

Chase wished Vee was here. Not that he couldn’t pick up guys on his own. But she was so much better at telling when he was barking up the wrong tree. In the wrong park. Hell, was he even in the right state?

“So what kind of games do you like to play?” Trevor asked a little too loudly beside him.

Ah, sweet awkward topic change. “Oh, you know, the classics: Shoots and Ladders, Candyland, Memory…” He side-stepped the elbow Trevor was making no effort to conceal jabbing at him.

“I feel like in college those would all be used as drinking games, somehow.”

“Don’t make a match in Memory and you take a shot?”

Trevor shrugged. “Or if you make a match you take a shot. More of a challenge to win if you keep giving yourself a handicap.”

“True. Though, I won’t be playing if drinking is a requirement.”

“Don’t drink?”

“I did once. Not my thing.” Chase held his breath, wondering what type of reaction Trevor would give. Playful teasing? Aghast astonishment? Bully levels of pressure? Questions about alcoholism, religion, or—

“Gotcha. We don’t usually drink during club activities, so that won’t be a problem.”

Oh. Casual acceptance. That worked too. Chase blinked and nodded, giving himself a moment for his brain to catch up to the conversation. “Uh, what about outside of club activities?”

“Oooh, we’ve been known to get plastered playing Magic: The Gathering—but only with our shit decks, in case we...uh, mess them up.”

Chase wrinkled his nose. “Ew.”

“I didn’t say it was our best idea. We’ve only done it three times.” After barely more than some serious side-eye from Chase, Trevor added, “Finals hit and we make some stupid decisions. And conveniently forget our regret from the year before.”

Chase laughed.

“Oh, come on! Like you’ve never made stupid choices with your friends.”

Still laughing, Chase nodded. “Yeah, see aforementioned decision to never drink again. Oh, the stories they could tell you.”

Trevor grinned. “I want to hear them all.”

To see the boys geeking out about board games, fandom, and TV shows, check out The Right Move, available now at all major retailers!

Buy links: JMS Books - Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo

The Right Move by B.L. Dayhoff!
Length: 56,013 words
Cover Design: Written Ink Designs |
Release date: January 25, 2020

Trevor can never leave good enough alone. So when he meets model-gorgeous Chase who has an aversion to being touched, he spots a challenge. After all, no one wants to go through life not being touched by anyone, right? Despite a friend's plea not to, Trevor sets his sight on fixing Chase.

After being forced to transfer his senior year of college, Chase just wants to avoid drama, pass his classes, get his degree, and move on (and back to his friends). He's not looking for new friends, and his attitude gives him a reputation that makes it easy to accomplish. At least until he meets Trevor.

Despite an awkward beginning, common interests -- and Trevor's persistence -- draw Chase and Trevor together. It's almost inevitable that their friendship develops into something else. But when secrets come out, it might end the game early.

About the Author:
BL Dayhoff is working on coming out of her shell. She's always had an interest in writing, but only recently has done it for more than just her own personal amusement. She loves to fill her time with too many things, and her initials really are "BL" but unfortunately do not stand for Boys Love. Although maybe her parents knew something about the future...

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Guest Review: We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer

Running from a scandal that ruined his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter.

When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for the school's literary magazine, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair—until Simon arrives.

Isaac's violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John's life. His PTSD triggered, John must come to terms with that bloody day on College Green while Isaac must accept the heartbreak his secrets have wrought.

Reviewer: Annery

If you’ve been alive in America for the past 20 years the scenario of this story is an unhappy reality. A grim one. Still Sara Dobie Bauer has managed to create a little pocket of hope. Make no mistake, she hasn’t trotted out some fantastical cure-all for what ails us as a society, or even for the woes of the MCs, but she has written a story that, to me at least, felt vital and important. Is it perfect? No, not by a long stretch, and yet those loose ends, that true-to-life floundering, is what lends this book a real life flavor, with all of its jagged edges, unhappy truths, and uncertainties.

Isaac Twain has come to Hambden University in Lothos, Ohio trying to outrun his past. Foolish man. He crashes, head first, into his future. Said future is John Conlon, a fellow creative writing professor at Hambden, a wildly popular author of YA LGBTQ books, and as of the tragic event of the previous summer, much to his displeasure, he’s known as The Hambden Hero. John is unabashedly gay, almost faery like in build, with a mass of longish dark hair, soulful eyes, and a gregariousness that belies how broken he feels inside after the incident. He’s not the kind of man Isaac ever saw himself attracted to. Isaac is tall, blond, almost hypermasculine, and still negotiating how to comfortably navigate being out. He has valid reasons. None of these differences, nor the school injunction against staff fraternization matter when it comes to their attraction, one that almost verges on the obsessive for Isaac, or maybe it’s just the first time he’s been able to love someone as his authentic self.

The romance between John and Isaac worked like gangbusters for me. Isaac might have been perplexed at first but it made absolute sense. Their parts fit together in more ways than the physical. John’s house is full of music, friends, and good food, all things that are almost alien to Isaac’s existence. I loved how the gravitational pull between the MCs was undeniable but the author never lost sight of who they were: smart academics. I loved that as their love story progresses throughout the book regular life doesn’t just disappear. The events of the summer, and it’s repercussions on all who lived through it remain ever present in their everyday existence. Likewise Isaac’s past is present as the past always is, and comes calling.

I’ll say no more about the plot, but I’ll mention some of the things I loved: John’s students, his friends, and colleagues; the frank, unflinching, and non-judgemental handling of mental illness; the necessary witnessing of a horror that visits our schools and public spaces with an alarming regularity; the joy, life affirming, aspect of good sex without making it a magic bullet to solve all problems. There were things I’d’ve tweaked, all having to do with Isaac, who’s perhaps the weakest character. Some of his past could’ve remained off-stage, and other parts I would’ve appreciated seeing and knowing more about. Maybe an accompanying novella? All of these quibbles are negligible. I’d recommend this to everyone. It feels urgent.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Halfway to Someday by Layla Dorine

Layla Dorine & IndiGo Marketing are promoting the release of Halfway to Someday. Find out more about this hurt/comfort romance, read an excerpt & enter in the $10 Ninestar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Halfway to Someday
Author: Layla Dorine
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 27, 2020
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 110300
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, PTSD, musician, ex-military, insta-love, contemporary, gay, rock star, hurt/comfort

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Rocker Jesse Winters just wants to be left alone. If he could melt into oblivion, he would and bid farewell to the wild child of rock n’ roll so many had dubbed him in recent months. Truth is there was never anything reckless, wild, or even deliberate about most of the things that had happened on Wild Child’s last tour, but had anyone cared to listen? No! Which was precisely why he was sitting in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains, hoping the incoming blizzard would bury him forever.

Ryker Jorgensen left the VA hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and pamphlets on how to deal with reentering the civilian world, not that he’s in any hurry to do so. His nightmares still keep him up at night, and every new limitation he discovers gives him more reason to believe that he’s hopelessly useless now. Better to drive up to his cousin’s cabin and lick his wounds. Come spring, maybe, he’d look into being around people, if only for long enough to make the kind of money he’d need to buy his own secluded place.

The last thing Ryker ever expected to see was the man whose face had been plastered in his footlocker and his dreams for the better part of the past six years, but Jesse Winters is nothing like he imagined. When trying to leave Ryker out in the storm doesn’t work, Jesse resorts to ignoring him. But two wounded souls trapped in a snowed in cabin have little choice but to reach out for one another when emotions get frayed. His only hope is that Jesse will trust him enough to let him drag him back from the edge before he’s just another burned out star in the legacy that is rock n’ roll.


Halfway to Someday
Layla Dorine © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Firelight flickered against the stone mantel of the fireplace, yet despite its warmth, Jesse shivered and huddled in the blankets he’d wrapped around his shoulders. The winds outside had picked up as the sun sank lower in the sky. Now, as the minutes ticked closer to sunset, they howled like the crowds in the stands at every show he’d ever played. Staring into tear-blurred flames, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever climb up on a stage again. His fingers itched to touch his guitar, but what was the point in creating anything with the way his bandmates had turned their backs on him.

“Way to go.”

The sarcasm in Tish’s voice was unmistakable. Whirling, Jesse turned to glare at her.

“You think I ruined the concert on purpose?”

“What are we supposed to think!” she spat, crowding into his space. Didn’t matter that she was shorter, she had a way of getting right in his face. “The way you played tonight was abysmal. The fans didn’t deserve that. We didn’t deserve to have you out there ruining the set like that. You let everyone down tonight, so instead of making excuses, why don’t you tell us what the hell you’re on so you can get the treatment you need!”

“I’m not on anything!” he roared; then Kyle and Griffin were there, crowding him back against the wall.

“You garbled half the words to songs you wrote!” Griffin shot back.

“Not to mention how many times you were off-key and singing in an entirely different pitch than you were supposed to!” Kyle rebuked, staring into his eyes. “Were you drunk up there? High? Are you high now?”

“It was a bad night, okay? Why the hell can’t you all leave it at that?”

“One night is a bad night,” Tish hissed. “Hell, even two nights out of an eight-month tour, but this was what, the eleventh, twelfth time you’ve fucked everything up?”

“Fourteen,” Griffin said. “You’re forgetting the show he had to cut short in Reno, and the one we had to cancel in San Diego when he called and said he couldn’t perform. Couldn’t even bother to come tell us to our faces, he was so strung out.”

“I. Don’t. Use,” he snarled, exhausted, throat hurting as they’d loomed over him like vultures ready to pick him apart.

“Then tell us what the fuck is going on!” Kyle snapped.

Jesse shook his head, defeated, as he stared up into the eyes of his oldest friend. “I-I can’t.”

“You mean you won’t!” Tish chided. “And you’ll drag all of us down with you as our band, our dream, fizzles and burns.”

“It’s not like that. That’s the last thing I want.”

“Could have fooled me,” she snapped, sidestepping him and walking away, leaving the others to follow her.

“I just need time to work a few things out,” he called after them, cringing at the burn in his throat any time he tried to get loud. None of them even so much as turned back to look at him.

Pain sliced through his insides like broken glass, and he cringed and curled inward, rocking in the hopes of easing the ache. It wasn’t fair—he’d never set out do anything that would hurt the band or their music, never meant to get up there and fail or worse, not make it up there at all. But he’d screwed up both his personal and his professional life in all the worst ways possible…well, all except the ways they’d thought. He wasn’t stupid. He’d never use any of the hard stuff; he knew what it could do to bands, and he didn’t drink to get drunk, despite how free-flowing the whiskey and liquor got. Pot was different; it came from the earth, and besides, he only smoked it in the states where it was already legal recreationally. It mellowed him out when his brain was racing a mile a minute, and sometimes, that hazy silence was the only way he could relax enough to sleep. They knew him; they knew how deeply he loved the music, how it was all he had aside from them, and yet…

Did he even have them anymore?

Not knowing the answer doubled his pain, leaving him desperate to make it stop shredding his insides. The wind screamed and he raised his head, stared out the window, and watched the trees wave like angry shadows across the sad, gray sky, before turning his attention back to the song he’d been struggling since morning to write. The half-filled page in the journal on his lap taunted him with all its unfilled lines.

Too soft. It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t anything but another feel-good fluff piece like the rest of the shit he’d been writing for the past year. With a growl, he ripped the page out, crumpled it, and tossed it into the flames. Orange licked around white, curling the edges, blackening them before devouring it completely.

Good riddance.

Glaring down at the previous song, he skimmed a couple lines, then yanked it from the journal and hurled it into the fire too. The sound of tearing paper brought some sick kind of satisfaction, so he ripped out several more and consigned them to the flames, leaving nothing but the darker pieces he’d penned earlier in the week. Now those words he could connect with.

“Holy shit, guys, do you know what this means?”

They all turned their attention toward Kyle, who was still bent over the contract on the table, rereading every line of the document they were preparing to sign.

“Yeah,” Griffin called out. “It means no more ramen-noodle stew and day-old Bolivian creams. We can finally buy the fresh ones instead of the stale fifty-nine cent kind.”

They all broke into laughter then, the energy level in the room so high everyone was vibrating with it. Tish moved to stand behind Kyle, hugging him and rereading the contract over his shoulder.

“Means we beat the odds,” Tish said, her voice trembling with awe. “We really did it. We got a record deal.”

“Hell yeah, we did!” Jesse laughed, high-fiving Griffin, who caught him by the wrist, yanked him into a headlock, and proceeded to muss up his hair, which turned into a wrestling match that Jesse had no chance of winning. He’d resorted to tickling Griffin instead, their drummer writhing on the carpet as Tish decided to get in on the action and tickle him too. Of course, that had led to Kyle tickling her and all of them eventually collapsing into a laughing pile beside the couch.

Now, as he poured all his angst and rage onto the page, he found it impossible to remember when they’d last laughed together. Back in the studio, maybe, when they’d recorded their last album before the tour? He tried to think back that far, tried to temper the darkness of the would-be song with thin tendrils of lightness and hope, but the only images he could conjure in his mind were angry ones. Bitter accusations hurled at him the way he was hurling sarcasm and ire at the page, dotting it all with a heavy dose of scorn and a metric fuckton of guilt.

Snarling, he scrawled a few more words in the journal then tossed it aside, kicked a blanket off to the side, and squirmed around until his back was against the couch and his fingers were beside his pillows. For several moments, he caressed one of the soft, fluffy pillows before jamming his hand underneath, fingers fumbling below the plush overstuffed feathers, brushing against the coolness of the blade he kept tucked there. He curled his fingers around it, pulled it from its hiding spot, and let the firelight glint off the sharpened steel, the sparkle mesmerizing him for a moment. The flashing red-and-orange hues reminded him of strobe lights. He ran the blade up the back of his hand and arm, watching the tiny lines of blood well up and drip over the scars. Old white lines, angry red raised ones, an endless pattern that disappeared beneath his sleeve. If the photographers ever saw, they’d have a field day selling those shots to every music magazine they could find, which was why he never went sleeveless on stage. Here though, in the solitude of this borrowed cabin, he’d left his scars uncovered, if only to make it easier to carve in more.

Turning his hand over, Jesse pressed the blade against his wrist, traced the sharp edge along his flesh, but didn’t part it. Not this time. It was so tempting though. Maybe later when he dreamed of all his failures and woke up crying again.

How long he sat that way he’d never know, firm grip pressing the knife to his arm, body poised for action, muscles tense, beginning to ache from being held on edge so long. The voices in his ear warred, screamed, raged, one telling him to do it, the other pleading with him to think. All he wanted was the shame to stop and the heavy pressure in his chest to ease up enough to let him breathe.

The wind raged, and he longed to go out in it, throw his head back, and howl until his voice was shot. It wasn’t fair. He’d been scared and sick and struggling with what to do, choking on feelings of inadequacy and rage, a whirlwind of words in his head, and yet he hadn’t been able to string them together. Each time he’d attempted to stammer out something, they’d hit him with another accusation; if anything, that had hurt more than what Troy had done.

His fingers shook, so he pressed the knife deeper into his arm, trying to still the shaking. Pain shot up the back of his neck, throbbing in his temples and behind his eyes, his body coiled so hard it hurt.

There was no one left to believe in him, so why keep fighting? His band was the only family he’d had since his folks died. Without them, why keep playing? Why write another song? Why even bother to live another day? It would be so easy to give in, become another statistic. There was no one to stop him, no one to find the body until spring, and by then it wouldn’t matter—they’d have already replaced him anyway.

Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly, the vicious voice in his head telling him to get it over with.


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Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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Review: Changes Coming Down (Changes #1) by Kaje Harper

For three gay men in love, opening the closet door could be a risky move.

Sheriff Casey Barlow has a slick, media-savvy challenger out to beat him in the upcoming election. Casey's damned good at his job, but he hasn't kissed the right asses, and early polls suggest voters like his opponent's style. Coming out now, let alone revealing his relationship with two men, could sink any hope of keeping his badge.

Scott Edison has a real shot at the NHL. He's playing the best hockey of his life. Whenever he can, he travels home to his gruff sheriff and their laid-back cowboy, but there are no out gay players in the NHL. As a rookie working his ass off to be called up, he can't afford to make waves.

Will Rice always figured he'd live alone, managing Graham and Annmarie Slater's cattle ranch, but a hot, young hockey player and a compact, muscled lawman rearranged his plans. Even though he's older and lanky and ordinary, he's been sharing their lives and their beds. He doesn't need to be out— isn't sure he ever wants the Slaters to know about him. Life's good the way things are. 

Then Graham and Annmarie are killed in a hit and run that may not be an accident. As Will grieves, and Casey investigates, the coming changes will shake all their lives.

I’ll be the first to admit I can be a big ol’ baby when it comes to books sometimes. I love me some horror, thrillers, the whole mess. I like to read them late at night alone to amp the freak out factor. But, my romance? I need it to be swaddled for me in fluffy clouds and baby bunnies. Some of my absolute all time favorite books are heavy on the angst, but I really have to work myself up to them. I never regret reading them in the end, but struggles in love are tough for me to deal with.

I am obviously a huge fan of LGBTQIA romance, and there are a few plot points that kill me to death and I turn extra Pollyanna about reading them. One of the biggies that hits me hardest is the characters who live in the closet, for whatever reason. Reading about the injustice of anyone not living their best life because of the potential fallout is tough for this big ol’ baby. And that’s just my privileged self sitting on my couch, reading about a struggle I will never know but want to learn to empathize with.

So, reading the blurb for Changes Coming Down, I was thinking, “Ann, this is so going to kick your sorry ass.” And it did, but honestly, I’ve read enough Kaje Harper to know that she is going to hit me with way too many feelings, but they’ll be really well balanced with some humor, hope and MCs that have me hooked from the first page I meet them.

Three closeted guys in a committed relationship is a tall order of a story. Throw in some murder mystery and that’s a lot of real estate to tie together and make flow comprehensively. But the author did it and it read so smoothly, I kind of forgot there were so many separate elements going on. Because all those elements ended up tied together very logically, the book read smoothly and it was truly hard to put down.

The biggest strength of Changes Coming Down is the bond between Scotty, Will and Casey. They all have very strong and distinct personalities, but their conversations and inner musings showed how much they cared for and needed one another. They were already established when the books starts and their history is told in bits as the story progressed, which worked completely fine for me because I already was sold on the three of them being together.

There are plenty of tense moments as their futures shift them out of their comfort zones, and there were times when I wanted to put my Kindle in the freezer to save me from potentially heartbreaking scenes, but the guys supported one another so well, since they had each others back, they basically had mine too.

They each had their moments to lose their cool too and that helped keep the story grounded. Casey had a temper that got him into trouble on more than one occasion, so Will and Scotty knew how to deal with him well. They had each others numbers througout and that strength made it all work.

The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it does end with some major changes for the three of them that sets up the second book coming soon. And thankfully it’s coming soon, because I am all kinds of invested over here. I need to know what’s going to happen with all the things, and there are A LOT of things I need to know and read more of.

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