A MelanieM Review: Sons of Devils (Arising #1) by Alex Beecroft

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

British scholar Frank Carew is in Wallachia to study the magic generator on nobleman Radu Vacarescu’s land. There, his party is attacked by bandits and his friends are killed. Pursued by a vampiric figure, he flees to Radu’s castle for help.

Unfortunately, this is precisely where the vampires came from. If allowed, they would feed unchecked and spread their undeath across the whole Earth, but Radu maintains a shaky control over them and keeps them penned in his tiny corner of the country.

As Frank recovers from his assault, Radu finds himself falling for the young man. But loving Frank and not wanting to lose him leaves Radu vulnerable to his demons’ demands. Can he bear to let them feed on the man he loves? Or must he give in to their blackmail and set them free to feast on his entire country?

I have mixed feelings about this story.  From the synopsis it feels as though it will be told from Radu’s pov.  Instead, its mostly from Frank’s and that gives this story an entirely different and for me disappointing perspective.  Think prey instead of predator because that’s mostly what Frank is here.  He’s the mouse the cats play with before they eat him.

Given that the story is seen from a very shaky Frank who never seems to be able to recover from the constant mental, emotional and physical shocks and attacks he’s under, you never get the chance to know Radu. Or understand the attachment forming between himself and Frank.  Yes, he yells out that “he’s mine” but I never got that was out of  love, more a sense of protection and possessiveness.  Honestly?  Frank’s a bit of a wash too.  There’s a neat bit about magic here but that’s quickly lost which was the most interesting thing about Frank.

Had the story been told from Radu’s perspective, I think I could have understood his feelings more.  As it was I felt that they were lacking. At least towards Frank.  His bitterness and rage about other aspects of his life?  Yep, got that in spades.  Wish his relationship with Frank was as easily laid out in this story or as powerfully felt.

Beecroft does a superb job with the location and foundation here.  You understood the role of the peasants, the culture, and the dire situation they were in.  The castle itself is absolutely hair-raisingly scary.  These are not your sparkly or nice  vampires.  These are your old-fashioned predators who see humans as food.  They are cruel and rapacious.  So if you are expecting anything else.  This is not the story for you.

The story starts to fragment when two other elements are brought in, that of magic (the reason Frank had come to the land) and a war that starts up in Istanbul against Britain that will pull everyone here in.  But you don’t fully get that until book 2.  Just a sudden switch in narrative which is jarring, then a switch back to Frank and then a switch again at the end.  It took me a while to remember where in the switheroo I was.  All ends on a bit of a question mark leading to Angels of Istanbul (Arising #2).  I suppose I will go there just to see what happens next to Frank and Radu.  I’ll let you know what I find.

Cover by: Simoné. Absolutely beautiful covers.

Sales Links   Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 232 pages
Published March 13th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626495548
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesArising #1

An Alisa Review: Nightsong by A. M. Leibowitz

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

Nate Kingsley is a master at messing up. Out of jealousy, he outed his best friend in a public and embarrassing way. Now he’s doing his best to make up for his crimes, but it’s left him empty and frustrated, unfulfilled even by his career as an opera singer and creative director. He enters an unsatisfying relationship he keeps hidden from his closest friends. When that ends on a disappointing note, he seeks solace in his crush on one of the drag queens performing at his favorite club.

 

Izzy Kaplan is an EMT by day, a drag queen named TaTa Latke by night. He hasn’t been in a relationship since his divorce from his wife, despite the best efforts of his mothers and his work partner. He avoids their suggestions in favor of attending the opera alone to see the gorgeous baritone who’s caught his eye. He knows it’s just a fantasy, but it’s easier than starting over.

 

A charity performance to benefit a local youth shelter and clinic puts them in each other’s lives in an unexpected way. They begin to emerge from their relationship disasters, slowly building trust. But unknown to themselves or each other, they are facing separate health crises that might be enough to send them both running the opposite way. It will take drawing on the love and strength of their friends and families to bring them back together again.

 

This was an enjoyable yet frustrating story.  Both characters seem to not want to admit what they want to others let alone to themselves while not seeking the support they both need.  They seem so absorbed in their own issues they have trouble seeing past themselves.

 

Nate doesn’t know what to do now that he has alienated his best friend and while he wants to heal that relationship he continues to be jealous and confused over his friend’s life and relationships.  Izzy has pretty much lived his life in limbo since his divorce and hasn’t moved forward which isn’t helped by his constant reminder from his mother and his ex-wife on how her life has moved on.  Both of them have shocking news that could break their budding relationship if they aren’t willing to try.

 

We get to see both of these characters’ points of view, which helped to understand their actions and feelings even if they frustrated me.  Nate keeps himself closed off from pretty much everyone; even his best friend doesn’t really know the real Nate.  Izzy has just continued his life without seeking out any change and while his best friend can read him like a book he avoids talking or admitting the truth.  I was happy that in the end they found what they were looking for even if there are some big bumps along the way.  This book was presented as part of a series but able to be read as a stand-alone, I’m not sure that is completely accurate and felt that I was missing a bit for awhile and the characters from the first story are important in this one.

 

Cover art is wonderful and gives a good background to the story.

 

Sales Links: Supposed Crimes | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages

Published: May 1, 2017 by Supposed Crimes

ISBN-13: 9781944591243

Edition Language: English

Series: Notes From Boston #2

 

A VVivacious Review: Fierce by Rob Rosen

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Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Lucas has superpowers or as he likes to call it, he is super. He was raised by wolves, is as hairy as one and is in love with his best friend Craig.  But as luck would have it Craig reciprocates Lucas’ love and also knows his super secret.
 
In the summer before senior year Craig and Lucas start a relationship and become a superhero duo that saves the world, but as they are superheroing the differences between Craig and Lucas become starkly apparent. Will things work out between these two or will this difference of opinions turn them into mortal enemies?
 
I am utterly confused as to whether I liked this book, loved it or barely tolerated it. As I read this book there were parts that I barely tolerated, some that I liked and some that I loved.
 
Let’s start with the things about this book I barely tolerated and the first among those things would be Craig. Early on in the book I mistakenly made the assumption that Craig and Lucas were end game and this made the fact that I didn’t like Craig all that more disquieting. I think quite a few people reading this book would make that assumption, I know I did, but I feel like this book should be read as an adventure that follows Lucas’ life story. Craig falls more in the evil genius than superhero category in this book and his backstory does make him the perfect foil for Lucas’ Fierce (Lucas’ superhero name). 
 
I personally didn’t find the beginning of this book interesting to the extent that if I wasn’t reviewing this book I would have probably quit reading it at this point but having said that I do realize that if I hadn’t continued reading I would have missed the best part of this book.
 
The best part of this book was the dilemma of being a superhero. Almost in all superhero stories the people closest to the superhero are benefitted even if they are in the wrong because well that’s how the story goes and the same thing happens in this one to an extent. But what I liked about this book was that it took that example and made Fierce/Lucas face the truth that even when you do the right thing it will turn out be the wrong thing for someone good, someone who doesn’t deserve the punishment for the justice you have meted out. I think the best part of this book was bringing into focus that superhero stories make the world black and white when the world is rarely so. I loved this book for that and I loved the confused, struggling with himself and his superhero identity version of Lucas.
 
I liked Lucas’ character quite a bit and I understood and fully sympathized with his fervour to find out about his birth parents. But from here on the plot feels a little repetitive, it seemed like all these people did was go to Granite peak and back and up again and back and so on and so forth. Also the resolution of the plot isn’t as cut and dry as I would have liked. I didn’t understand the idea behind the whole revenge plan that happens post Fierce’s rescue and after that the story is all muddled up.
 
For me none of the side characters, except Craig, stood out much. I liked Todd and Lucas and their relationship though I think it is time that someone tells Lucas that he does a very bad job of hiding his superpowers.
 
This book has its moments but you will have to take the good with the bad.
 
Cover Art by Rob Rosen. I liked the cover but why Lucas is wearing glasses on the cover is beyond me a tribute to Superman perhaps?
Sales Links:
Book Details:
ebook, 225 pages
Published March 25th 2017 by JMS Books LLC admin@jms-books.com
ISBN139781634863599
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Book Release Highlight! Spritzer – A Sparkling Gay Romance by Jon McDonald (guest blog with a short story, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance

Author: Jon McDonald

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 27

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75300

Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, contemporary, enemies to lovers, humorous, romance

Add to Goodreads

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jon McDonald here today to celebrate the release of his new book, Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance.  He’s brought a remarkable short story along with him for our readers, in addition to an excerpt and giveaway.  Welcome, Jon!

✒︎

Jon McDonald: Here’s a short story from another of my NineStar books, Gotta Dance with the One Who Brung Ya.

Midnight Clear

   There was a seam on the roadway crossing the bridge, such that when a car passed over, it sent a thump thump echoing underneath. When it was busy during the day, the thump thumps came frequently, overlapping and creating a thunder that echoed along the riverbank. During the night, the sound came infrequently and accented the stillness.

   It was going to be a very cold Christmas Eve—with the scent of snow already in the air—and there had been a few flurries as the afternoon gathered into dusk before the clutch of night took its frigid hold.

   Rainbow and Gal were huddled around their meager fire, kept alive by scavenging the riverbank for anything that would burn—hopefully through the entire night. Their few belongings were stacked up like sandbags around a foxhole to help keep out the needles of icy wind. The tips of their fingers poked out through worn gloves as they fumbled with a dented pot to heat water so they could use the damaged Ramen Noodle Soup packet scrounged from a dumpster behind the 7–Eleven . Maybe Gal would wait till midnight to give Rainbow his gift—a short flask of brandy that Gal had saved for from a week of panhandling when Rainbow wasn’t around.

   In country, the coppers flew overhead like crazy-wheeling drunks—thump thump, thump thump. Rainbow was Corporal Edward Declan Connelly—Boston Irish. So raw he still thought they were fighting the enemy for the good of the country. He was called Rainbow because he was that way. His best and only buddy was Gal—short for Gallagher but also because he was perceived to be Rainbow’s gal. They had soon found each other despite the monsoons, the mud, the lousy food, the blood, the moans, the endless boredom, and the constant rain of shells—thump thump, thump thump. They managed, however, to get away together now and then for half an hour, hidden amongst the sacks of flour in the storeroom behind the mess. Time so precious and ever so brief, their hearts—thump thump, thump thump.

   After the slaughter was over, and they were shipped home and dumped on the streets of LA, they stayed together. Somewhat broken, keenly cunning, resourceful as two feral cats, together they opened a shop repairing typewriters and small business machines. Then came the computer. They struggled, tried to adapt, created more debt to stay afloat, and finally had to flee in the dead of night in their broken-down Pontiac to the Rocky Mountain west. Their car barely made it across the Continental Divide—thump thump.

   They never completely recovered. Too many demons. Too much alcohol. Inner wounds too tender. But they stayed together through it all. There was never one without the other through many decades, many journeys, many disappointments.

  * * * * *

   “Deck, oh Deck. I can’t believe you’re still abed. And this being Christmas morning and all.” His mother called him Deck, not Eddie. But he didn’t want to stir. The room was cold—the covers warm, scooched up tight around his head, cradling his ear. Only his susceptible eyes and nose were exposed to the bite from the window slightly ajar. He promised he’d get up at the count of ten.

   “Eight, nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters…”

  * * * * *

    “Soup’s ready.” Gal offered Rainbow the watery, soft noodles.

    “Thanks.”

    It was dark now. The fire glowed and sputtered. Gal put on a few more pieces of wood from a broken table someone had tossed onto the riverbank rather than take to the dump. They ate in silence.

   Thump thump. Rainbow’s mind wandered to the sleeper car his family was taking to Chicago to visit his grandmother; snuggled in his berth, eyes almost closed. Thump thump. The sound of the train lulled him toward sleep. Thump thump. He always watched for that moment when waking turns into sleep like a snake gliding silently into water. But he could never quite grasp it—it always just slipped away. Thump thump, thump thump.

   Gal always cooked. Rainbow always cleaned—tonight taking their few bowls and cooking pot down to the stream to wash up. With tonight’s cold, it was hard to find any running water, and Rainbow had to hack at some ice to find the little trickle to serve his need. Though poor and without much provision, they were both meticulous about keeping clean—their persons and their possessions. Rainbow carefully rinsed the pot and bowls and climbed back up the bank to their shelter under the bridge. He stored the utensils and scooted up close to Gal, sitting by the fire.

   “Here, let me warm you,” Gal whispered as he straddled Rainbow from behind, wrapping his blanket around the both of them. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his gift. “I know it’s not quite Christmas yet but thought you could use this now.” He opened the brandy and handed it to Rainbow. Rainbow bowed his head in gratitude and offered the first sip to Gal.

   They sat like that for some time, drinking quietly, the cars overhead passing less often now. Thump…thump.

   Rainbow was the first to notice the child—six, maybe seven. The way the boy stood at the edge of the bridge it looked as though he was lit from within, but of course, Rainbow thought, it had to be the play of the streetlight against the ice reflecting up from the river below.

   “Gal…” Rainbow breathed so softly it could hardly be heard. Gal looked up and saw the child now holding out both his hands filled with Christmas cookies.

   “For you,” the child said softly.

  * * * * *

   Eddie continued his countdown, “Nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters. Nine and seven-eighths…”

   “Edward Declan Connelly, I am not going to call you again,” his mother boomed from the kitchen.

   “Oh boy, she means business now.” Eddie knew that for sure. And for just a minute longer he savored the warmth of the covers trying to drag him back into sleep. But then he could smell the wafting scents of Christmas—oatmeal, apples, cinnamon, brown sugar. And there were tangerines, coffee, and bacon sizzling on the stove. He bounded up and out of bed, shut tight the window, and still in his pajamas with the fuzzy feet, faced the light pouring through the door and quietly walked toward his mother.

  * * * * *

   The police cruiser was parked on the bridge, the lights blinking and swirling. Thump thump. Two officers were responding to a call from a pedestrian who believed he had spotted something suspicious under the bridge. The officers scrambled down the riverbank and peered. It was dim and hard to see. There were the remains of a fire still smoldering, sending up curls of smoke like lazy spirits going home. And there, huddled together and covered with a thin blanket, were the bodies of two men locked in a tight embrace, drifted snow cradling their faces.

   “Oh jeeze,” one of the officers commented. “Looks like we got ourselves a couple of stiffs. Better call it in.”

   The second officer stared uncomfortably at the bodies. “Will you look at that,” he said. “Two guys in each other’s arms. So desperate to keep warm they had to resort to that.” Thump thump.

Synopsis

Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running of the winery by himself.

Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head.

Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream.

Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.

Excerpt

Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance
Jon McDonald © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Spritzer Vallier stood in contemplation, gazing at the strange sight before him—a couple of dozen or more folks, dressed mostly in black, standing at the crest of a hill overlooking a Sonoma vineyard. It stretched out below them as far as one could see in every direction; rows and rows of cultivated grape vines, marching neatly in their straight lines. The early morning mists slowly evaporated in the warmth of the climbing morning sun.

Spritzer ran a hand through his dark, curly, unkempt hair, distracted from the immediacy of the memorial service for his recently departed great-uncle Tom, as his mind wandered to the urgent need to be harvesting the glowing, ripe grapes spread out before him. There is a moment when the grapes’ sugars are at their peak, and any delay might harm a season’s harvest. Spritzer had checked the sugar levels in the grapes just yesterday afternoon and decided that they should start the harvest today. But Aunt Del, Tom’s sister, had already arranged for the memorial service to be held this very morning.

He shook himself free from those thoughts, and turned his attention back to the droning priest. Spritzer was standing between his great-aunt Del—short for Deloris—and his childhood buddy, and occasional girlfriend, Kan. He turned to his aunt and squeezed her arm, as the priest extolled her brother’s many virtues.

“Are you holding up all right?” Spritzer asked gently.

Del looked over and smiled. “It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.”

“I know.”

Kan—blonde, lean, and tomboyish—leaned into Spritzer and whispered, “Nice service, don’t you think?”

Spritzer turned to her and said, “Yeah, yeah. But look at all those fuckin’ grapes. The old man would kick off just when I need to start the harvest, right?”

Just then, a biplane approached from behind the gathering, flew low over the heads of the crowd, and began to spray the vineyard.

Kan looked puzzled. “Isn’t this an odd time to be spraying insecticide, for Christ’s sake?”

“That’s not insecticide, that’s Uncle Tom,” Spritzer answered, with a flash of his quirky grin. Kan looked at him questioningly. “Some people want their ashes at sea. Uncle Tom…” He gestured toward the vineyard.

“Yuck. It’s going all over the grapes. What’s that going to do to the wine?”

Spritzer thought about that for a moment, then answered. “Probably make the horrid supermarket plonk we produce a hell of a lot better than it was when he was alive.”

Kan laughed and turned back to the service.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Jon McDonald lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has seven published novels, a memoir, and three children’s books. His short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious publications. He considers himself a genre-bending author—he loves to take an established literary genre, play with it, and turn it on its head. He has lived abroad and traveled extensively.

Website | Facebook | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/27    Hoards Jumble

3/27    Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

3/28    The Novel Approach

3/28    Zipper Rippers

3/28    Happily Ever Chapter

3/29    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

3/29    Stories That Make You Smile 

3/30    Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/30    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/31    Bayou Book Junkie

3/31    MM Good Book Reviews

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Release Blitz – Dirty Games by Barbara Elsborg (giveaway)

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Buy Links:

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2ngRgoH

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oyifgF



Length: 108,000 words


Blurb

The last thing Linton needs when he arrives home after three months in the States, is to find his beautiful flat is a squat, complete with his younger brother Dirk, who’s lying in Linton’s bed with a couple who’ve paid him for sex. Dirk isn’t even supposed to have a key. But after Linton throws Dirk out, life slams in hard and if his brother is to have any hope of a future, Linton has to play dirty. Or at least pretend to. What he hasn’t factored in is having to play the game to the bitter end.

Film star Thorne Morrisey has everything. Good looks, charm, seductive magnetism and a voice that could charm a snake from its basket. He can also be a real shit and yet people still love him – though he’d rather not have the love of his ex. Owen’s a suicidal wreck after Thorne dumped him in a very public and humiliating way and Owen’s wealthy brother has his own reasons for wanting revenge on Thorne. Max’s weapon of choice is his employee, Linton.

Linton and Thorne are on a collision course and in for the game of their lives. But who’s playing who?

Author Bio

Barbara Elsborg lives in Kent in the South of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they were to write.

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Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel (Angel Enterprises #2) by Sue Brown

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Cover: Meredith Russell


Angel Enterprises Series


Morning My Angel (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Callum Ross has a tough decision to make. After years of working for the covert ops agency in the UK and owning his own security firm in the US, he’s forced to choose between the business he loves, and the new fragile relationship with his partner, Josh Cooper.


A bottle of whiskey and almost being killed by a motorbike helps Cal make the decision, and he moves to the UK with plans to set up his own security consultancy. Then the head of the covert ops agency where Josh now works asks Cal for help. Agency operatives and their families are being injured or killed, including Cal’s friends.


Cal is asked to investigate with Josh’s assistance. As the number of victims increase, they’re aware either of them could be the next target for the killer. Josh wants Cal to back away from the investigation in case he gets hurt, but Cal refuses, putting a strain on their relationship.


Then they discover the motorbike incident wasn’t an accident. Who tried to kill him, and why?

 



April 3 – Diverse Reader, The Novel Approach, Books Laid Bare Boys, Sexy Erotic Xciting
April 5 – Making It Happen, Keysmash, The Way She Reads
April 7 – The Geekery Book Review, MM Good Book Reviews
April 10 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
April 12 – Bella’s Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Bonkers About Books, Padme’s Library, Love Bytes

Author Bio

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Come over and talk to Sue at:
sue@suebrownstories.com
http://www.suebrownstories.com/
http://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories
http://twitter.com/suebrownstories
http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.com/

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A VVivacious Review: The Poison Within (Inspector Skaer #1) by Kasia Bacon

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
Inspector Kayru Skaer has fallen in love with his aristocratic lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jann, an action he considers to be full of folly. Because as he rightly suspects their society will never be accepting of a love between two people from such different classes of society especially if the relationship were to show any sign of permanency. As things would have it this is going to be the least of his worries with his lover presenting with the early signs of a hereditary lung disease which has proven to be fatal and three viciously murdered dead bodies to contend with.
 
I quite liked this story. It is short and sweet but engages the reader in a way that you really can’t stop reading. I really love the way this author writes, because it never fails to arrest my attention and simultaneously gets me really invested in the characters and their story.
 
This is a paranormal established couple romance with elements of mystery though I think I should warn people that it is not much of a mystery as things get clarified pretty early on but I think that this was a decision in favour of the story because it helped bring the focus on Elly and Kayru.
 
I absolutely loved Kayru and Elly, their relationship is simply adorable and I know for a fact that their relationship is something that I want to know more about and I also desperately want to know more about these two. They made for such interesting characters, from different societal classes but despite all odds in love.
 
I think overall this story is quite commendable despite the fact that the author doesn’t try to draw out the mystery with suspense. This book had some really strong characters in Yben and Eryssa. I found both characters to be immensely interesting especially Eryssa considering she is a furia, a species I have never encountered. Also I wonder if there is any difference between the furia and the vampers and if they both need blood to survive. Also I loved how the author has drawn from current events to write this story it added a whole new dimension to this story which would have otherwise never have existed because I think somewhere along the way I felt that these events were not only relatable but something that gave a perspective to both worlds.
 
This story has managed to capture my interest and I am definitely hooked onto these characters. I can’t wait to read more.
 
Cover Art by Kudi-Design. The cover is amazing.
Sales Links   Amazon | Amazon UK
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 51 pages
Published March 18th 2017
ASINB06XFGX3BT
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesInspector Skaer #1
CharactersInspector Käyru Skaer, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn or ‘Elly’ settingRadvadur (the western province of the Empire)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rainbow Sprinkles (States of Love) by Anna Martin

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.

Drew Tanner, it turns out, is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin is a delightful fluffy romantic confection.  I breezed through it, easily absorbed in this lighthearted tale of love, adorable men and the California sun.  Oh, and ice cream of course!

Another story in the wonderful States of Love series from Dreamspinner Press, at 77 pages, Martin still captures a full romance and love story between two sweet, handsome men.  Its pretty much angst free but the author does manage to make me take another more serious look at a profession I would and have been too easy to write off in the past as just another seasonal job.  No, I’m not talking about ice cream making.  That another neat twist here in Rainbow Sprinkles, Drew’s profession.

Martin delivers here, her secondary characters are believable, she brings that Dreamy Creamery to life including behind the scenes drudgery, and what it takes to make ends meet in Los Angeles on a tight budget and still date.  The author does all that within 77 pages.  Then gave me an Epilogue that still has me smiling. Yes, this is a story I love and will love to recommend.

Want a lighthearted, delightful romance?  Pickup Rainbow Sprinkles!  I guarantee it will fill your order for a sweet love story.

 

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh.  Cover art is just as adorable as the story and characters within. Perfect!

Sales Links

 

Book Details:

ebook, 77 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRainbow Sprinkles
ISBN 1634778626 (ISBN13: 9781634778626)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series States of Love settingCalifornia (United States)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Counting Down (Counting #2) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

It’s been a week since a Christmas Eve blizzard changed the course of Marcus Winnamore’s life. Plan A is now Plan B, and the first item on his new agenda is taking Henry Auttenberg on a date. They’ve been invited to a New Year’s Eve party, and Marc is counting down the hours until midnight… until he can kiss Henry in front of his colleagues and friends.

Things don’t quite work out to plan. Finding the elevator out of service, Marc and Henry check the stairs, only to choose the wrong door and become locked in the basement. Close quarters once again make for close conversation, and as they explore every avenue of escape, they also explore the deepening attraction between them. For Marc, this isn’t an experiment. Will he still feel that way when he has to admit to someone other than Henry that he’s gay?

First of all, I admit I read this as a standalone, so I have no backstory on Marc and Henry’s back history here.  I’m not sure that it matters all that much.  For a short story, Jensen gives the reader a solid setup and really good characters.  We know who Marc and Henry are in their core and something about the situation of the evening as things go terribly wrong. Or right depending upon your perspective.

At first, I must have felt like them on a bad date, the rush of information, feeling a tad claustrophobic but as they talked, exploring avenues of escape and started getting to know each other better, I settled down and enjoyed their conversations and predicament.  Henry comes off as the more genial and accessible of the two men.  That he is at  ease with his sexuality and Marc isn’t helps with the connection.  Plus Marc comes off more of a bulldozer of a personality….if he runs through it or over it, it won’t be so painful… to him at any rate.  So I’m not so sure what Henry sees in him.  Maybe that’s in the other story.  At any rate.  I definitely liked this enough to go back and pickup the first story Counting Fence Posts . I’ll let you know what I find.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  Works for the characters and for branding the series.

Sales Links

 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 63 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635333466 (ISBN13: 9781635333466)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCounting #2

Its Mystery, Humor and Love at Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (Cozzi Cove #4) by Joe Cosentino (character interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (Cozzi Cove #4)
by Joe Cosentino
N
ineStar Press

Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Release date: March 27, 2017

Available for Purchase at

NineStar Press

and at

http://myBook.to/CozziCoveNB

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cozzi-cove-joe-cosentino/1125994867?ean=2940154062005

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711162

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Joe Cosentino back with us today. Joe’s series Cozzi Cove has another story, book 4 in Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings! Joe has a character interview and a giveaway for all our readers. Welcome, Joe!

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Interview with Andrew Urban in Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, the fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove beach series

by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press

Joe: Welcome, Andrew, a new mysterious guest at Cozzi Cove in the fourth Cozzi Cove novel, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings.

Andrew: It’s my pleasure.

Joe: And the readers’ pleasure too. Since they can’t see you, I’ll tell them you are a tall, lean, very cut, young man with blond hair and aqua blue eyes.

Andrew: You created me, so you should know.

Joe: You’re a flight attendant who lives with your sister, another flight attendant.

Andrew: Yes, Annibel joins me on my vacation at Cozzi Cove.

Joe: Where you meet the muscular, gorgeous, sexy travel agent, Nijad Hadad.

Andrew: Who is bisexual and can’t decide which Urban sibling he prefers.

Joe: But nothing is what it seems in the magical, romantic place called Cozzi Cove.

Andrew: I found that out.

Joe: You joined us in the fourth book. How do you like Cozzi Cove?

Andrew: It’s amazing. There’s no place like it.

Joe: Agreed! When I was a kid, my sister and I spent our summers at my aunt and uncle’s bungalow on the New Jersey shore. We swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy, and jumped up and down on trampolines until we (literally) saw green. As you know, all those places and experiences are in the novels set in the fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit again and again.

Andrew: How did the readers and reviewers like the first three Cozzi Cove beach novels?

Joe: They loved them, even though you hadn’t arrived in Cozzi Cove yet. After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Many readers begged for a return trip to Cozzi Cove, so I wrote Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. As with the first three books, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters in book four. And with you joining the cast, readers will love this new book even more!

Andrew: Shouldn’t we tell any new readers about the cove?

Joe: Go for it.

Andrew: Cal’s bungalows on Cozzi Cove are set on a stretch of cove formed when softer rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.

Joe: Care to tell the readers a bit about the storyline of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings?

Andrew: Sure. Cal and Michael open the bungalows for the fourth summer. There are five interwoven stories about Cal, his family, his houseboy, and his guests, including Annabel, Nijad, and me.

Joe: Tell us more about the main character, Cal Cozzi, and the developments in book four.

Andrew: Cal is a handsome and sexy ex-football player. In book four, Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise. After getting married in book three, Cal and Michael are expecting a baby in book four! And Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Paris as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to Cal. And she loves getting under Michael’s skin. Taylor’s wife, Carla, is the surrogate for Cal and Michael’s baby. And Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them away from Cozzi Cove. New houseboy, Billy Dean from Alabama, comes to work at Cozzi Cove. The young bodybuilder carries a chastity card, but of course that doesn’t last long at Cozzi Cove.

Joe: I’ll never tell. How about the other guests in book four?

Andrew: An occult enthusiast guest, Jonathan, encounters a sexy vampire named Vlad at the cove.

Joe: As usual, nothing is what it seems as secrets are revealed and romances blossom in the magical place called Cozzi Cove. Andrew, what do you think is the moral of the story?

Andrew: Don’t you know? You wrote it?

Joe: I think the moral is that we are all connected to our past, present, and futures.

Andrew: My sister and I are certainly connected, and now I’m connected to Nijad, which I adore. Joe, which one of the characters was the most fun to write? 

Joe: Your sister’s British expressions cracked me up, as did Billy Dean’s southern expressions. Of course Taylor is always hysterically funny. Her wife, Carla, gives Taylor a run for her money in book four. I laughed out loud many times while writing her.

Andrew: Which character was the most difficult to write?

Joe: Guest Vlad was difficult with his vampire persona, but as a huge fan of the old Dark Shadows serial, I was up to the task. 

Andrew: Are you Cal? Is Michael your spouse? And is Taylor your sister?

Joe: Cal is more like the person I’d love to be. One of the guests in book four, Jonathan the tax auditor, is a great deal like me. I want to play him in the movie. I’m also like Harold (An Infatuation), Jonathan (A Shooting Star), and Bobby (A Home for the Holidays). Stuart (An Infatuation) and Barry (A Shooting Star) are based on my spouse. Taylor in Cozzi Cove is very much like my sister, though my sister won’t admit it—in public.

Andrew: Who’s like me?

Joe: You’re unique. As Annabel might say, “You’re more fun than a good shag.”

Andrew: Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels? Please don’t leave us dormant in your brain!

Joe: If I can keep waking up at 3am with new ideas, there will be more novels. So get busy and start whispering ideas in my head. I love writing quirky and endearing characters in scenes full of emotion with lengthy dialogue. By the way, I wrote a screenplay version of the first novel. Come on, producers, make me an offer! Couldn’t you see Matt Bomer as Cal? Actually, I could see Matt Bomer as anybody in anything. Now let me ask you, Andrew, how did you do with your love scenes in the book?

Andrew: Nijad is an amazing lover.

Joe: Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. I have been told the scenes are character-driven, sweet, and sexy.

 

Andrew: Joe, do you react like a reader when you read your own books?

Joe: Totally. I just reread Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings and laughed, cried, gasped, and felt romantic. I was shocked at the ending of each storyline.

Andrew: As a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write?

Joe: I write at night after my spouse has gone to bed. I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat overlooking the woods like Martin Anderson, the department head in my Nicky and Noah mysteries. When I complain about my schedule, my mother says, “Just think how hard you would work if you had a real job, like your sister.” What do you think of the readers of our books?

Andrew: They have great taste, and clearly crave being swept away by the stories and becoming part of the novel. And they relish beautiful locations and captivating characters. Finally, they clearly love humor, romance, mystery, and a good surprise ending. Joe, tell us about your other gay romance releases.

Joe: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. They were so popular as individual e-books, Dreamspinner Press published them together in one paperback. I got my own anthology! I still receive comments from readers that those stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. They say your first is your most precious. Just ask my mother about my sister.

A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press) is my cherished holiday short novella about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin.

The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press) is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen. Joel Leslie did the incredible audiobooks.

Andrew: And about your two mystery series.

Joe: My Nicky and Noah mystery series (Lethe Press) are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine Readers’ Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel and Humorous Novel) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. In Drama Luau, muscular male hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts as Nicky directs the Luau show. It’s up to Nicky and Noah to figure out whodunit and why.

In the Jana Lane mysteries (the Wild Rose Press), with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, where she is faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art on the set. The novels are full of mystery, romance, humor, and theatricality. Since they take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Andrew: But I’m not in any of those books. Everyone should read them anyway.

Joe: Well, everyone, Andrew and I had a blast. I love hearing from readers! You can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Andrew: So everyone grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal, Michael, and I have a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!

COZZI COVE: NEW BEGINNINGS

The fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove series

by JOE COSENTINO, published by NineStar Press

https://ninestarpress.com/product/cozzi-cove-new-beginnings/

Welcome back to the romantic and magical place called Cozzi Cove, seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer, Cal and his new husband Michael, along with sister, Taylor and her wife, Carla, prepare for the first in the next generation of Cozzis. To add to the action: Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise; Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them far away from Cozzi Cove; red-letter Christian and new houseboy, Billy Dean, gets his wish when meeting Jesus and John at the cove; summer guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling he prefers—Annabel or Andrew; and Jonathan, an occult enthusiast, encounters a sexy vampire. As usual, nothing is as it seems when romance blossoms once again at Cozzi Cove. What secrets, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold? Find out in Book Four of the Cozzi Cove series.

Language: English
Length: 55,600 words, 174 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-945952-77-7

About the Author

 

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll of 2015 for Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, and Best LGBT Contemporary Novel of the Year. He wrote the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Favorite), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards!

Excerpt of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings:

The sun rose like an erupting volcano filling the sky with shafts of violet, magenta, and gold, which ultimately turned to clear blue. Cal Cozzi stood on the white sand and gazed at the old lighthouse in the distance. At thirty-three, he was in the prime of his life, with thick auburn hair, clear green eyes, and a trim athletic build. Life was good, and as he smiled at the foamy waves teasing the craggy shore, Cal basked in the morning sun and in the beauty of his home.

Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built the resort at Cozzi Cove and had had a big hand in the development of the town of Cozzi. It had always been home for Cal, and proved to be a solid oasis when as a young man his football and later restaurant careers failed, and nine years ago when his parents died in a car accident. He’d especially felt its comfort when he later lost his husband of five years to cancer. Like the bay water rejuvenated by the golden rays of each sunrise, Cal had put his life back together by managing Cozzi Cove and marrying Michael Rodgers.

It had only been a year since the greatest day of Cal’s life, the triple wedding on the cove sands, attended by family and friends. Cal and Michael had been joined by two other couples in exchanging their vows: Cal’s brother George and his longtime boyfriend, Aaron; and Cal’s sister Taylor and her longtime friend, Carla. Though the Cozzi family was growing in numbers, Cal and Michael had wanted to start their own family right away. They did the happy dance on the sand when Carla offered to act as surrogate for their baby. With Carla’s due date fast approaching, excitement, like the scent of the sea, filled the air at Cozzi Cove.

Michael, clad in a T-shirt and shorts like Cal, appeared at the front doorway of the main bungalow. His stocky build, caramel-colored skin, exotic eyes, and warm smile still caused Cal’s heart to beat faster.

“I’m hungry.”

“Then you’d better make breakfast.” Cal enjoyed playing with Michael.

Michael liked it too. “If you make blueberry buckwheat pancakes, I’ll give you a massage.”

“You massaged something pretty well last night.”

They shared a knowing smile.

Michael said, “I know how to get you inside.”

“How?”

“The guests will be arriving soon.”

At these words, Cal hurried inside the glass-enclosed porch, scooped the twenty-two-year-old into his arms, squeezed Michael’s bubble butt, and gave him a good morning kiss. Then Cal went through the living room, passing the doorway to their front bedroom, and into the kitchen, glancing through the entrances to the rear bedroom and bathroom on the way. Cal was glad his brother’s renovations of the bungalows had kept his great-grandfather’s layout while expanding the rooms, including cathedral ceilings lined with white pine beams. As he gazed at the white wicker and oak furniture laden with flower-print cushions, Cal was thankful his great-grandfather’s heavy nautical-themed furniture had found a home in a local museum. He smiled proudly at his own additions: the prints on the walls depicting lighthouses, seashells, and rocky beaches.

As usual, Michael leaned on the granite-topped island while Cal made breakfast. “Aren’t you going to put more blueberries in the batter?”

Cal raised the mixing spoon. “Do you want to make these yourself?”

“I prefer to critique.”

Cal mixed the buckwheat flour, buttermilk, egg, honey, coconut oil, and blueberries in a large bowl. “Your college degree is in photojournalism, not the culinary arts.”

“A lot of good it did me.”

“Your degree?”

Michael nodded and his soft chestnut bedhead fell into place. “Four years of college to be a bartender.”

“You’re only a bartender while Tommy is in New York City.”

“Yeah, and when Tommy comes back from visiting Blue, it’s bartender’s assistant time again for me.”

Cal poured the batter in circular mounds on the warm oiled skillet. “What about that gay magazine?”

“It was one freelance job!”

“Something else will turn up.”

“Tell that to my resume on the web. It’s beginning to feel like a wallflower at a party.”

“It takes time. Photojournalism is a specialty field.”

Michael pouted. That turned Cal on every time. He wrapped his arms around Michael and squeezed him into his chest. After a few wet kisses, Cal said, “You can always help me around Cozzi Cove.”

“I thought you hired a new houseboy when Connor and his husband opened their bed and breakfast in town.”

“I’m interviewing him this morning.” Cal smelled the pancakes starting to burn. He grabbed the spatula and quickly flipped them.

Michael licked his lips. “You flipped me over like that last night.”

“And you loved it.”

They kissed again.

Cal felt Michael’s erection pressing against his own. “I’d better concentrate on these pancakes.” He slapped Michael’s backside. “Instead of these cakes.”

“That’s not what you said last night.”

Cal giggled and served the pancakes. They sat at the white oak kitchen table, feeding each other and intermittently licking maple syrup off each other’s chins.

Just as they were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”

“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.

“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”

“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.

Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”

“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.

After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”

“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.

Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”

“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”

“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”

She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”

Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”

“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”

Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”

Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”

“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.

Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”

“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.

“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”

“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.

“If I get any more milk in me, my breasts will explode.” She took a sip and swallowed as if drinking fish oil laced with liquid soap.

Cal asked, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”

Carla nodded. “Maybe that’s why this kid has been jumping around inside me like a Mexican hat dancer. Do either of you have any Mexican blood?”

“African and Scandinavian,” Michael replied.

“Scottish and Italian,” Cal said.

“Well, maybe he was doing a tribal dance and the tarantella.” Carla flicked back her long dark hair. “While I was lying awake in bed, I did the baby’s astrology and numerology charts.”

Michael asked, “How can you do that without knowing his birthdate?”

Carla glared at him. “I decided if he doesn’t come out of me by the end of the week, I’m pulling my nephew out with tongs.”

“What did the charts show?” Cal didn’t believe in the occult, but he was thankful to get Carla’s mind off her discomfort.

Carla smiled. “He’s going to be kind, strong, fair, honest, and quite successful.”

“Of course he is. He’s our son.” Cal kissed Michael’s cheek.

“Let’s hope he’s kind enough to make an appearance soon.” Carla ate more of her breakfast.

Michael asked, “How is Dotty doing running the restaurant during your maternity leave?”

“Fine.” Carla sat back. “I should never go back.”

Cal grinned. “You wouldn’t leave Carla’s.”

“You’re right.” She winked at Cal. “That restaurant is as much a part of me as Cozzi Cove is a part of you.”

A month ago, complaining more than a right-wing politician at a Planned Parenthood meeting, Carla had moved into Bungalow One so that Cal and Michael could help take care of her. She had also insisted that she wanted to have their baby at Cozzi Cove, assisted by a midwife, and not in a hospital. It had seemed the perfect solution; however, since sound carried between the two bungalows, it meant inadvertently sharing their more intimate moments.

Michael seemed miles away.

“What’s wrong?” Cal asked.

Michael shrugged, his head hanging down.

Carla said, “Don’t be shy, Michael. You know I’m family now. I married Cal’s sister. Remember? You were there, marrying this guy.”

Since Michael wasn’t talking, Cal asked Carla, “When is my dear sister coming for a visit?”

Carla sighed. “Taylor said she’d be here after her business meetings in Paris and Rome, but before her meetings in Washington, DC and New York.”

“What does that mean?” Cal asked.

“It means Taylor and the conservative big-money boys are making sure the top one percent stay that way.” She turned to Michael. “You’re not off the hook so easily about your pouting. What’s up?”

“A lot, last night.” Michael patted Cal’s crotch.

Cal put his arm around his husband. “We know something’s wrong, Michael. Spill it.”

“And feel free to spill my milk while you’re at it,” Carla said, pushing away her glass.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“But?” Cal asked.

Michael rested his chin on his hand. “Cozzi Cove has been in your family for generations, like Carla’s Seafood Restaurant has been in Carla’s.”

“So?” Cal asked again.

“So you both belong here. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the man I tried to gay bash.”

Cal took his hand. “Michael, you’re my husband. Cozzi Cove is as much your home as it is mine.”

“It doesn’t feel that way.”

Carla groaned. “Did my wife say something obnoxious to you the last time she visited?”

“Taylor said lots of obnoxious things to me the last time she visited, but that’s not it.”

“Then what is it, Michael?” Cal asked.

Michael bit his lower lip. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I can’t think of a place I’d like living more than Cozzi Cove. But this is your land, your inheritance, and your soul. Sometimes I feel like an outsider.”

At that moment, there was a knock at the front door. “That must be my new houseboy,” Cal said, getting to his feet.

Carla leaned on the table and pushed herself off the chair. “I don’t want anyone seeing me like this. I’m going back to my bungalow.”

“Take this for the road,” Michael said, handing her the glass of milk.

She downed the milk in one gulp and cringed. “If I don’t come out of my bungalow in a week’s time, send in the bulldozer.” Carla left out the back kitchen door.

Cal paused at the kitchen entry, looking on as Michael cleared the table and started stacking the dishwasher. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said.

“It’s fine, really.”

Unconvinced, Cal left for the living room.

Giveaway

Giveaway

Giveaway: Post a comment about why you think the beach is a romantic and special place. The one that breaks our waves the most will win a gift e-book of Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, the first Cozzi Cove novel, by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press. http://myBook.to/Cozzi_Cove_BB

Make sure to leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Praise for COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT:

“But it’s not just about the Cozzi’s and the webs they weave, it’s also about the Guests that check-in and check-out. But they never check out of our hearts.  We as readers, remember every one of them – they are the real beauty of Cozzi Cove together with this author’s amazing talent – he makes these OTT characters stay with us, his characterization is just phenomenal and therefore great fun to read, I never chuckle as much as I do as when I’m reading a Cosentino.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“With love, romance and the big reveal of so many secrets, COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT is perhaps the most important novel in the series so far. With so many of the recurring characters getting a huge chunk of the storytelling time, I couldn’t have asked for a better exploration of the Cozzi family and their chaotic summers at Cozzi Cove. Thanks to the perfect ending, I really hadn’t expected there to be more…but, YES! There is an excerpt at the end for the next book. And I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

“Spending a week in the sun with the permanent and transitory residents of Cozzi Cove makes for a superb, unputdownable, read. There are laugh out loud moments, lots of chuckles, some very heartwarming as well as heart wrenching moments, lots of gorgeous men and women, love, lust and even some tears. Joe Cosentino has a brilliantly unique sense of humour, and a masterful way of writing stories containing farce, larger than life men and women, and often over the top characters you’ll fall in love with. For all that his characters come across as completely relatable and realistic. His books are one of a kind and utterly addictive. I have yet to read a Joe Cosentino book that was less than 5 stars, and this book is no exception. Do yourself a favour and grab this book with both hands. I guarantee you’ll be very glad you did.” Divine Magazine

“Tons of action, drama, love, and secrets to keep readers hooked….beautifully written and highly engaging….Humor, mystery, and romance…Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out is indeed a must read for all. I highly recommend it.” Urban Book Reviews

Praise for COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD:

“Who knew that 7 bungalows set surrounding a beautiful cove, could hold so many secrets, love and intrigue?” “The humour, whether subtle or not-so-subtle was superb, the timing delivered with perfection, Joe Cosentino is a natural comedian and another reason why I love reading his books. He is also very clever, he weaved moral messages throughout the entire storyline,” “Great fun entwined with the Cosentino romantic magic that brings his books alive, I loved it.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“visiting Cozzi Cove is like coming home or revisiting a beloved holiday destination. I know everyone, by now, who is a permanent fixture and I sincerely hope that Cosentino continues this series forever. As before, the characters are a hoot. They’re a mixture of funny, quirky, sad, lonely individuals who come together to make a riotously brilliant cast.” Divine Magazine

“Imagine a beautiful getaway where the hot, sexy, and wealthy gay men go…it’s a place where there’s never a dull moment. Every page of this new title brings readers nothing but excitement, intrigue, and an intensity that will burn away the night’s quiet. Most novels offer readers one journey in which readers travel upon, however, readers are brought not one but several journeys that will leave them breathless and hooked. As with all of Joe Cosentino’s novels, humor comes in abundance and fits in perfectly with all of this stunning characters.” “Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. It’s easy to get lost in it all. The book automatically captures your heart from page one and forever holds it. After reading the story, readers will be begging for the next grand adventure. Funny, heart melting, and swoon worthy, readers will finish reading this in one sitting. I loved reading this riveting tale, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.” Urban Book Reviews

Praise for COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK: Book of the Month at The TBR Pile, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention, 3rd Place Best Fiction Book of 2016 on Urban Book Reviews

“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger.  The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay