Tag Team Review: The Doctor's Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan

Sequel to The Doctor's Secret
The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

Averaged!


Lost in a Book - 3.5 Hearts

The Doctor’s Date is the second installment in Cullinan’s new series and I’m glad that I gave it a try. After the first book I was hesitant to dive in but this book has a little more depth to the characters. It’s still sweet with low angst but doesn’t flatline like the last one did for me.

The story starts off with Erin’s childhood background story that provides context on his behavior as an adult. Erin’s in charge of human resources for the hospital. He’s skittish, isolated, and has had a long life of intimidation and neglect from his father (who is also the president of the board). He has never done anything with another person (not even a kiss) and has been starved for affection, touch, and kind words. Erin has been looking for a mighty ogre to rescue him since he was boy and the ogre has a name, Owen. It’s always been Owen. Always.

Owen’s an anesthesiologist that has quite the reputation within the hospital as pretty much being an asshole. His glower sends the gossiping nurses scurrying but, with those he loves, he's loyal and a protector. His favorite past-time is rubbing up against Erin until they are both breathing fire… not in a sexual way, that comes later. Much. Much. later.

My thoughts on Erin and Owen are a little confusing. I liked them together sometimes because there’s respect, patience, and a connection of building a deeper friendship. As I was reading though, I kept wondering if some chemistry would appear- I don’t think it ever really did. This lacking of chemistry has nothing to do with sex. I’m not sure where Erin falls on the sexuality spectrum but I would guess closer to asexual than not. I appreciated that they didn’t rush to sex and instead took little steps that added some depth to their friendship. The sex scenes are fade to black which doesn’t really bother me if the characters have a great connection and chemistry.

Owen’s a natural leader that takes charge and that’s no different when it comes to Erin. It takes a while for Owen to reveal himself and his childhood trauma because he’d rather be helping others. Erin lets himself be rescued with his backbone appearing a few times in his role as HR director and the auction. Other than that, Erin just goes along and enjoys the fruit of his ogre coming for him and fully caring for him (almost helpless at some points). There’s not many medical situations taking place in The Doctor’s Date but there’s an underlying mystery to solve that adds some suspense.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed this installment and will possibly continue with the next book. If you’re looking for a really sweet, low angst M/M romance, with a little bit of humor, this could be your cuppa.
Trigger Warnings for abuse.

Adam - 3.5 Hearts

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are notorious for their bickering and public battles. Owen goes out of his way to push Erin’s buttons, and Erin responds in kind.

That is until Erin bids $25K for a date with Owen. Erin’s father is shocked. The hospital is shocked. The town is shocked. Erin and Owen are..kind of shocked, but mostly down.

So begins the transformation of their relationship from enemies to friends, and eventually lovers.

Suspecting that Erin bid on him to escape his borderline-abusive father, Owen goes into protective overdrive mode, moving Erin into his home and telling the town that the two have been lovers all along.

And Erin, swept along in the moment, finds himself unable to tell Owen the truth - that he bid that much money because he’s been half in love with Owen since they were teenagers.

I thought the initial set-up, though definitely OTT, was very cute. The men put aside their previous animosity pretty quickly, with Owen making it his mission to look after Erin.

They’re cute and sweet. And when things move from friends to romantic, it’s fairly seamless.

But this is a very slow burn romance. As in, the heat is almost non-existent. It makes sense to an existent, given Erin’s inexperience, but I would have liked more physical chemistry.

Similar to book 1, the relationship itself is fairly low-drama. Yes, both men have their baggage and that affects how they approach love. But they aren’t huge insurmountable obstacles.

I loved seeing how Erin and Owen worked through their issues together, and how being together gave them the strength to be happier people.

The relationship develops in parallel to Erin and Owen’s investigation into the hospital’s shady board of directors. The plot was pretty interesting, and kept me entertained for most of the book.

My main issue - the damsel-in-distress routine got old pretty quickly. Erin, like Simon in book 1, was a bit too helpless for my liking at times.

Even so, I really liked ‘The Doctor’s Date’. Though I would have liked more heat, it still gave me the small-town romance feels that I always enjoy. If you like a slower pace and UST with a low heat level, this is the series for you!



Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Dragon’s Rebel by Jacqueline Rohrbach



Jacqueline Rohrbach and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of fantasy romance, The Dragon’s Rebel! Learn more today and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!



Title: The Dragon's Rebel
Author: Jacqueline Rohrbach
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 24, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 62100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, magic, slavery, dark, gods, enemies to lovers, royalty, dragons, shifters

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis



Cheron, former rebel leader and newly crowned king, comes to Wren Gardens on a holy mission to free his goddess from exile and bring peace to his kingdom, but he’s distracted by an unholy and very beautiful concubine, Ekos.

Ekos may be more than a simple love slave, though. The King of Wren Gardens seems afraid of the strange and often blasphemous concubine and swears the man is cursed. Cheron agrees, especially when Ekos mocks and taunts Cheron’s sense of honor. But the urge to distance himself from Ekos can’t compete with the desire to remain close. Nor is it as strong as the urges in his body—urges he hasn’t felt in years.

As Cheron tries to refocus on his mission, Ekos throws him off again—this time by offering to help him in his holy quest. Cheron knows he shouldn’t trust a man who’s in the employ of a rival king, particularly not one who seems to know all Cheron’s deepest secrets. But he can’t ignore the signs from the goddess telling him to entwine his fate with this tricky, captivating man.

He prays the signs aren’t simply wishful thinking, manifestations of his very unholy desires. Time is running out, and Cheron is falling deeper for Ekos—and deeper into danger of another betrayal. One that could cost him his life.


Excerpt

The Dragon’s Rebel
Jacqueline Rohrbach © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One


Half parted in invitation, the concubine’s painted red lips teased the possibilities for Cheron’s sole benefit, for his sole pleasure, for his sole use. At least that was the intended impression, but who knew the actual number of men the concubine had truly pleasured? Many, Cheron assumed. Undeniably gorgeous, the pampered little house pet had all the markings of a palace favorite. Jewels hung from his earlobes, fine silks concealed his thin but muscular frame, and his body had been rubbed down with musky oils. Minus the golden, diamond-studded collar at his throat, he appeared to be a member of court.

“Is Ekos not to your taste, Majesty? He is personal stock, in case you are worried. No low-born has touched him.”

The emphasis had Cheron grinding his teeth. While Sinnac politely used the proper title while addressing him, there was always a lilt to his pronunciation, a gentle reminder that Cheron had only recently became a king. Before, he’d been a lowly soldier—a servant. To men like Sinnac, men who’d been born into power, he would never be anything other than a lucky usurper playacting at greatness.

Sinnac continued, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to see him from a different angle?”

King Sinnac tilted the concubine’s face upward to give Cheron a better look. Ekos lowered his crystal-blue eyes demurely, as was proper, but Cheron swore he saw a flash of mocking defiance in the depths before his lashes lowered. In a second, the brazen glare vanished. Ekos bowed his head, allowing his golden-yellow hair to fall over his shoulders. The posture gave Cheron a clear view of the concubine’s long back and the enticing dip of his ass.

Suppressing his disgust, Cheron kept his response to King Sinnac formal. “He is most pleasing. I am recently sated and do not require sexual services just now, Your Excellence. Perhaps later.”

“I heard you Northern men needed no pause between sessions. That you were an insatiable lot.” Sinnac, a severe man who resembled a long tendril of smoke with his long white body, steel-gray hair, and gray eyes, raised his bushy eyebrows and took a drag from his hookah. Foul-smelling mist coiled around his head, momentarily canceling out the masculine, sweet smell of the concubine’s body oils.

Cheron gave the characterization a breathy laugh. “I’m afraid all men must submit to biology.”

“Of course. Of course.”

Truthfully, Cheron’s carnal needs hadn’t been satisfied recently or even in the past year. His aversion to touching Ekos had nothing to do with lack of desire. Perhaps the young concubine served freely now, but at some point in his life, he’d been brought here in chains and trained in the arts of pleasure. The very thought made Cheron’s skin crawl. Not too long ago, he’d been enslaved under the reign of a cruel king who raped and tortured to stay in power. He had no intentions of following the same path.

After he took control of Broken Maw, servants continued to exist, but they were compensated for their work. No one was compelled to offer sexual services. Those who sold themselves demanded money, certainly, but also equal pleasure. Ekos’s circumstances were much different.

Sinnac, as if stressing those differences, commanded the concubine to attend to Cheron’s needs. “Show our guest your skills, my pet. Seduce him.”

The concubine pouted. In a spoiled voice, he said, “My treasure, I do not believe he wants me.”

A hard glint in his eye, Sinnac returned, “Nonsense. Help him settle in to Wren Gardens. I’ll not have my guests frustrated. And if the rumors I hear are true, he is quite congested with lust.”

Gossip between courts wasn’t uncommon. Certainly, Cheron heard his fair share of stories from Sinnac’s lands, especially tales of the financial troubles of Wren Gardens. It didn’t upset Cheron to learn he was the subject of discussion among Sinnac’s people, but his temperature rose at being so directly contradicted by another monarch.

“What do you know of my frustration, Excellency?”

His laughter croaked as he took another puff from the hookah. “I hear you haven’t had any pleasure since Aethel. His betrayal must still sting, yes?”

Honesty roughened his voice to an almost inaudible, harsh whisper. “Betrayal burns more than it stings, Excellency. Afterward, the smoke blinds us.”

Sinnac raised an eyebrow. “Dramatic. Betrayal also chokes us, apparently, though I heard your lover made good kindling for fire.”

Cheron swallowed down the memory before it overwhelmed him. Sometimes, in the dead of night, he still woke to the sound of his lover’s screams as he twisted on the pyre and the king’s executioner’s grim pronouncement that justice had been done. Now that Cheron had overthrown the king in a successful rebellion, there would be no such burnings. Never again.

Cheron kept his voice level. “His crime was nowhere near as severe as the punishment.”

“Hm,” Sinnac responded. Supposedly, the price for his displeasure ran higher. This marked Cheron’s first time visiting Wren Gardens, but his father told tales of a ruler obsessed with revenge to the point of madness. If the stories were true, Sinnac’s gardens grew on human blood.

Cheron tried to smile. “At any rate, that is in the past.”

“Well, then. My pet can make you forget the traitor existed. Perhaps he can make you forget your own treason.”

It would be unwise to answer the bait, so Cheron kept quiet on the matter. “I have no doubt of Ekos’s skills, but they are wasted on me at the present.”

“We’ll see.” Sinnac waved his graceful fingers, an order for Ekos to proceed.

The concubine’s crystal-blue eyes lowered again. Looking into their depths was akin to jumping into ice-cold water. One could drown, but he’d feel the sting of cold as he sank. Just the same, Cheron barely kept from gasping out loud as Ekos’s long fingers stroked the outer folds of the long robe he wore. Beneath the clothes, his body was taut, ready for a lover’s touch.

“Majesty,” Ekos simpered, his full, round mouth set in a pout. “I can’t please you through so many layers of clothing.”

In Wren Gardens, sex servants weren’t allowed to remove the clothing of nobility. Such a task was reserved for only the most trusted of servants, those who’d been with households for generations. Poisons that seeped through the skin were common here; the precaution made sense.

Ekos’s own dress confused Cheron. Station required servants to wear only thin scraps of fabric that advertised their wares and marked them as slaves. The concubine was swathed nearly head to toe in a loose-fitting, semitransparent silken frock that was embroidered along the hem by a skilled hand. Somehow, this enticed Cheron’s interests far better than any scant loincloth.

As if sensing his increasing desires, the concubine formed his full mouth into an aware smirk. The arrogance took Cheron aback and made him worry for the concubine’s safety. The man’s voice was strong and confident when he said, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to undress me first?”

Sinnac guffawed at Cheron’s horrified expression. “Forgive Ekos, my royal brother. He is overeager to prove his affections.”

Once again, Cheron ignored the overt slight. For now, Cheron had to be content another monarch had even stooped to meet with him. Smiling, he said, “He hasn’t been tested already?”

Sinnac’s countenance darkened. Without thinking, Cheron had insulted the other man’s virility, which he touted with great pride. In the short time Cheron had been a guest at Wren Gardens, Sinnac boasted as many as fifty lovers, all of whom couldn’t get enough of their lord and master.

“My apologies, Excellency.” Cheron spread his hands in contrition. “I understand your prowess is legendary.”

Sniffing, Sinnac got to his knees and began undoing the knot keeping his robe together. Seconds later, he was nearly naked except for his white linen undergarments. Covered in a network of impressive scars, his body flaunted a lifetime of war. “Turn around,” he commanded Ekos.

Immediately, Ekos obeyed. Cheron swore he saw a flash of disgust in the man’s crystal-blue eyes. Soon enough, the meaningless and practiced smile fell back into place. The young man dipped forward, raising his hips. “Enter if you dare,” he mocked.

Sinnac growled at the challenge.

Stomach lurching, Cheron realized the other monarch’s intent. Baring witness to rape immediately quashed his previous desires. He knew it was a typical practice in Wren Gardens, but Cheron failed to control a wave of pity. This was no way to treat another human being.

“Excellency,” Cheron said, interrupting the looming sexual encounter. “I have been an ungracious guest. I would love to indulge in Ekos’s sweet attentions privately. But how can I enjoy him if you put me to shame? Will he even consider me adequate after you?”

“I’m sure I would, Majesty,” Ekos softly assured him. “A man as magnificent as you must be bliss to touch.”

Sinnac ran his hands up and down the length of the concubine’s body, slapping and prodding as he went, but eventually sat back against the cushions without penetrating, much to Cheron’s relief.

His gaze hooded, almost fully concealed, Sinnac said, “Please retire to your quarters, Majesty. We’ll attend to matters of state after dinner. I will have Ekos sent to your rooms. Treat him gently. I paid a high price for him.”

As equals, they stood and formally bowed. The concubine, head still bent toward the ground, his expression concealed by a long flow of honey hair, remained prostrated. His fists clenched and unclenched. When he lifted his head, he smiled serenely and said, “You have yet to pay the full price for me, Excellency.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Rohrbach is a 36-year-old creative writer living in windy central Washington. When she isn’t writing strange books about bloodsucking magical werewolves, she’s baking sweets, or walking her two dogs, Nibbler and Mulder. She also loves cheesy ghost shows, especially when the hosts call out the ghost out like he wants to brawl with it in a bar. You know, “Come out here, you coward! You like to haunt little kids. Haunt me!” Jackee laughs at this EVERY time.



She’s also a hopeless World of Warcraft addict. In her heyday, she was a top parsing disc priest. She became a paladin to fight Deathwing, she went back to a priest to cuddle pandas, and then she went to a shaman because I guess she thought it would be fun to spend an entire expansion underpowered and frustrated. Boomchicken for Legion!


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Blog Button 2

Review: Between Points of Light by Lore Graham

After years of uninspiring findings, Harlon's position on a survey ship has lost its appeal. Vaulting to unseen star systems to investigate their potential for mining and terraforming sounds exciting in theory, but in practice it's just another corporate job. His life outside of work isn't much better.

When the crew's astrobiologist quits, Harlon arrives for his mission to find that he knows the replacement, Dexter—from a recent one-night stand. As they begin their mission thousands of light years away from any colonized star system, Harlon tries to keep things professional, but Dexter has other ideas.










For space loving readers of MM romance!

As per the blurb, Harlon is a lot jaded, seemingly stuck in his static life of work and solitary play that he doesn’t see a way out of it. Harlon is employed by big corporate and is in a constant cycle of going out into the vast reaches of space to discover viable planets. This sounds fabulously interesting and adventurous but in reality, quite mundane, and Harlon finds very little in his life that is professionally, or personally, fulfilling.

When a rare, wonderful one night stand becomes a surprise awkward work situation, Harlon doesn’t know how to reconcile his mortification with his desire to want more than his boring lonely existence. His new coworker Dexter, is full of enthusiasm regarding all the possibilities of space exploration, and his earnestness for the job and desire to continue his and Harlon’s recent intimacies slowly starts to rub off. Harlon resists and resists, but Dexter and surprise discoveries bring about a much needed and wanted change.

I adored Graham’s Under the Midnight Sun, and I had no hesitation in reading this story because of it. Now granted, the former was all about Nordic lore and this was seriously grounded sci-fi. I admit I didn’t love this as much, perhaps due to the very nature of the hardcore science and Harlon’s initial surliness, but Dexter’s open emotions and absence of cynicism were a big win here.

Overall, I still found this story very smart, with a romance to root for, some nice smexy, and a satisfying happy ending - all the reasons I’ll continue to explore Graham’s backlog, as well as be on the lookout for future works!




A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Blog Tour + Giveaway: Ramen Assassin (Ramen Assassin #1) by Rhys Ford



Please welcome Rhys Ford back to BMBR! She takes over the blog and makes our mouths water today with a delicious blog tour for new release, Ramen Assassin (Ramen Assassin #1) new from Dreamspinner Press! Don't miss her recipe share or her $20 USD Dreamspinner Press gift card giveaway! 

Take it away Rhys!





Hi! I am Rhys Ford and I would like to welcome you to this stop on the Ramen Assassin Blog Tour!

I am looking forward to introducing you a new series as well as two very fun characters I enjoyed writing, Kuro Jenkins and Trey Bishop. The first book, Ramen Assassin, came to me as a nebulous idea but then really pushed into the forefront of my brain while I was beginning to write Hellion, the third book in the 415 Ink series. Unfortunately, I scared TA Moore with a very bad habit of mine called staring into space while thinking. I was contemplating the ins and outs of a series called Ramen Assassin and she took my crazed, unfocused look as the possibility of a spider of the wall behind her.
There was no spider. But what did come out of it was a murder mystery about a former government operative turned ramen chef and the recovering drug addict, former child star he saves from certain death and eventually falls in love with.
This book allowed me to combine two things I love — killing people and cooking. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. On this blog tour, I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite dishes as well as a how to throw together ramen with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Please be sure to hit up every single stop on the blog tour for a different recipe at each stop as well as that blog’s giveaway!
Be sure to enter to win a twenty dollar gift certificate from Dreamspinnerpress.com! One for every stop!
And now, onto the food…
Pork Adobo

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds pork butt, belly or shoulder, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces, pat dry
1⁄2 cup distilled vinegar
1⁄3 cup water
1⁄3 cup shoyu
1⁄2  head of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1⁄2 teaspoon Whole black peppercorns
2  bay leaves

Instructions
In a thick gauge pot, heat to medium high. Add in the oil and brown the pork in batches.

When the meat is browned, combine with the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer.

Cover and then continue to simmer (approximately 40 minutes) until the meat is tender.

You may serve as is or slightly thicken the sauce with a little slurry of cornstarch and water.
Serve over rice.

Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford
When life gives Kuro Jenkins lemons, he wants to make ponzu to serve at his Los Angeles ramen shop.

Instead he’s dodging bullets and wondering how the hell he ended up back in the Black Ops lifestyle he left behind him. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of thugs in the middle of the night, he knows it’s time to pick up his gun again. But it seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either the gun or Trey Bishop.

Trey Bishop never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After a few stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle but not his reputation. The destruction of his acting career and his relationships goes deep, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run and try to murder him, Trey is grateful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner he lusts over—not just for rescuing him, but also for believing him.

Now caught in a web of murders and lies, Trey knows someone wants him dead, and the only one on his side is a man with deep, dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro Jenkins will stick around to see what the future holds for them once the dust settles, but from the looks of things, neither of them may survive to find out.

You can buy Ramen Assassin at:

Follow the Blog Tour Here:


About the Author

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and is a two-time LAMBDA finalist with her Murder and Mayhem novels. She is also a 2017 Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Awards for her novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Harley, a grey tuxedo with a flower on her face, Badger, a disgruntled alley cat who isn’t sure living inside is a step up the social ladder as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.

Rhys can be found at the following locations:
Blog: www.rhysford.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/rhys.ford.author
Twitter: @Rhys_Ford
On Your Alexa device on the Alexa Skills at: https://www.amazon.com/Witlingo-Rhys-Ford-Casting/dp/B07N7MJ7C8/





a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can win a $20 Dreamspinner Press credit giveaway, courtesy of author Rhys Ford. Giveaway ends June 30th, 2019 Midnight EST! Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!