Review: Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Darkest KNight coverMarcus Prater and his lover Benjamin Danvers have never been happier.  Marcus has reconciled with his brother Frankie and now Frankie and Frankie’s kids are now frequent visitors to his home.  His own wounds have healed as has Ben’s and now they are preparing for their first Thanksgiving as a couple.  What could go wrong?

Well, that would be everything.  Wick Templeton is missing along with his boyfriend Ned.  Archer calls, asking if Marcus has read that morning’s paper. Young, gay men are still turning up tortured and dead, including the twins mentioned in the headlines this morning.  Twins wearing medallions that hold a special meaning for Archer, Marcus and, of course, the missing Wick.

And when one of Marcus’ old contacts on the street, an underage prostitute called Brady,appears bruised and bleeding before Marcus with a startling request, one connected to Ben’s dead friend Travis.  Well, Marcus can’t say no and ends up bringing Brady home with him to keep him safe and to attend to his wounds.   So many painful memories arising, so many hidden secrets starting to come out.  Where will it all end?  Will this truly be the darkest night for Marcus, Ben and all those they love?

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, it surges into a whole new realm, expanding the storyline to incorporate more mysteries, hidden depths to characters we have already met, and exploring the new connections in old established relationships, adding texture and layers to already terrific characters and their bonds with each other.   Of all the books, Darkest Knight is the one that brings all the other men and their lovers together in one place, all but one.

Everyone has gathered together at Marcus and Ben’s place for Thanksgiving.  It starts out as a time of joy and  reconciliation then it turns  painful and bitter with one phone call.  Every  the buried emotions and old pain rushes out, first in Marcus and then in the others, leaving the new lovers to handle the situation.  I loved how  the author brings Jeremiah, Rory, and Ben into their own in this story.  Each demonstrates a new found strength and depth of character that is not only surprising but disarming.  It’s unexpected and finally grounds each man not only in their relationships to their lovers but with each other as well.  It’s wonderful in so many ways.  It redefines how we look at all the relationships present, it exposes old past histories while providing a new avenue of thought with regard to the mysterious deaths of young rent boys in the city.

I loved that T.A. Webb chose Thanksgiving as the occasion to bring them all together.  Its our traditional family holiday and these men have been each other’s family for over 15 years.  And the fact that one of them is not only missing but has kept secrets from some of them all that time is doubling their feelings of hurt and betrayal.  It’s a marked contrast to the new found love that most of the original members  have now found, with those lovers present and now incorporated into that tight band of men.

Then Webb adds Brady, an resilient, underage rent boy and Frankie, Marcus’ brother, to the mix and things really start to bounce out of control.   Brady is a wonderful little portrait of a kid thrown away at a hauntingly young age but has who succeeded in surviving the streets and the predators that hunt there, if only just.  I love Brady and want more of this amazing kid.

Here is a small excerpt as Marcus comes across Brady on the street:

And in every face, every kid standing there with all the false bravado, in every potential target, he saw his love.

He had to focus on their job tonight, though. One young man hadn’t made it, and it broke something in Benjamin when Travis had been murdered. Oh, he still went to school, and made love with Marcus, and joked with Jeremiah. But he’d tried to help the boy and it blew up in his face. And Wick…he’d said he would help and the boy slipped away and now he was dead. Goddamn it, Marcus needed Wick and that crazy Bayou or Banyon or whatever the hell his name was to help him find Travis’s killer.

The feel of his heart racing in his chest and the tension in his jaw from grinding his teeth made him stop, close his eyes, and take a couple of deep breaths. Getting mad at Wick wouldn’t do him any good right now. Now, his Benjamin needed him. So fuck Wick, he’d deal with him later. But that made him feel guilty for being mad at his brother, and then he was right back in the same loop.

“Mister Marcus?” He almost didn’t hear the small voice and walked past the kid hanging outside the alleyway leading up to the Zesto’s and McDonald’s. Glancing around, Marcus stepped in the space and nodded for the young man to walk with him.

“Brady. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. I was worried about you, son.” The boy—he was one of the younger ones Marcus had tried to keep his eye on before he’d been shot, and he’d lost track of him—was skinnier than he remembered, and his hair hung in greasy hanks around his face. He walked stiffly and slightly bent over, and all of Marcus’s red flags went off.

His head nodding as if he heard music no one else could hear, Marcus saw the sideways glance Brady gave him, and then looked around like he was scared of either being overheard or seen. Part of Brady’s twitches were affectations, so people would leave him alone or think him helpless. The fact of the matter was he’d been on the streets since he was twelve, and was alive now at the ripe old age of seventeen only by the grace of God and a buttload of tricks he’d learned over the years. If he was patient, Brady would tell him what he wanted or needed.

What happens next is both heartbreaking and startling in its intensity.  You really have to read it all to get the full benefit of Webb’s realistic descriptions and spot on dialog that brings this young man and his pain so vividly to life.  More than a few tissues will be needed before all the mysteries are solved and bonds can be knitted back together.

City Knight, of which Darkest Knight is the fifth book,  is one of four interconnected series.  The others are Triple Threat by LE Harner, Chances Are by Lee Brazil and Wicked’s Way by Havan Fellows.  You can read each series by themselves.  But read together, you will enter a rich world inhabited by strong, intelligent men, a gritty band of brothers and their lovers.  Grab them all up, and read them one after the other, starting with book one in each series.  Each is remarkable in their own right, but together form a Pulp Friction universe you will never want to leave.

Here are the books in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and their relationships and the events that occur:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 60 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
edition language English

Review: Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Knights Out coverMarcus Prater and Benjamin Danvers are having a wonderful morning when they are interrupted by a phone call.  It’s Zachary and he needs their help.  An old friend of Jeremiah’s, NIck, has gone missing and Jeremiah wants to know what has happened to him.  Since Ben also knows Nick from his time as a rent boy, Marcus and Ben are quick to agree to join a growing search for a young man known for his kindness and help to those on the streets.

Their investigation takes a darker turn when more boys turn up missing. This investigation reminds Marcus that he also has someone he wants to find, his younger brother who Marcus hasn’t seen in years.  Their current search renews Marcus’ resolve to find his brother and make amends for all the lost time between them.  The shocking resolution of both investigations will change everyones lives forever.

Knights Out, the fourth story in the City Knight series, is a wonderful installment in this Pulp Friction group offering.  Here Webb continues to weave the clues to the mystery that runs through all four series, that of the increasing number of missing young men and the culprit behind their torture and subsequent deaths.  In Knights Out two more young rent boys disappear, both of which the readers became familiar with in other stories.  Now we are faced with uncertainty about their fate and the indication that a serial murderer is at work.  Webb builds our tension and anxiety in small but increasingly fearful steps.  Soon we are afraid not only for the missing men but for all the main characters that we have come to love, especially those like Ben and Jeremiah who fit the profile of the men the killer is targeting.  The fact that Ben and Jeremiah have just found happiness just increases our alarm.

But T.A. Webb balances that worry and concern with moments of laughter and love, especially when it comes to Marcus and his brother.  That is such a lovely element in this story.  It made me laugh as well as cry.  As much as I wanted to include that excerpt with Wick here, I just can’t bring myself to spoil the enjoyment of reading it as part of the whole chapter.  Trust me, you will love this moment for so many reasons, one of which is the rare scene of seeing the unshakable Wick throughly discomforted (in a funny way of course).

By balancing a man’s love for his brother and Ben against the horror that is coming., Webb shows just how fragile a state happiness can be.  Nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever guaranteed except death, so grab your love and happiness while you can.   It’s a message that some of the characters are just beginning to accept, however much they may fight it.  The author spreads tension throughout the series, like butter on bread.  Whether it is Marcus’ health, Wick’s relationships, the mens past histories emerging into the present day events, all bring a certain amount of tension and uncertainty to all the investigations and relationships.

All the other characters from the  other series are starting to appear with regularity.  Here Wick and Chance are an integral part of the search for the missing rent boys with implications for both men and their past histories.  And while there is not a cliffhanger to be found in this story, the path is laid for more investigations and more revelations to come.

Tom Webb is certainly bring his love of Pulp Fiction alive with this story and his City Knight series.  None of these books and related series are to be missed.  But you must start at the beginning with City Knight in order to understand the main characters backgrounds and relationships and the events to come.

Here they are in the order they were written and should be read:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301563555
series City Knight
buy link All Romance, Amazon Kindle Books

Book Contest and Guest Post by T.A. Webb, Pulp Friction Author of the City Knight series

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Scattered Thoughts (that’s me) has loved having all the authors here this week.  And we still have another surprise day to go where I will announce the winners and the Pulp Friction authors will have one last post together.Darkest KNight cover

So, don’t forget to leave a comment, either at the end of today’s post or on the review post.  Either way, we will count that as an entry.

And now for our fourth and final Pulp Friction author, T.A.”Tom”  Webb and his City Knight series. *offers up a chair and a cup of coffee*:

TW: Thanks for having me, Melanie. Well, me and my guys Marcus and Benjamin. Now, these two men are rather mouthy and will tend to jump in and say what’s on their minds before you or I know it. So, bear with us and I’ll try to filter it all into something that makes sense for us all.

ST: *sinks into her chair, pets the pups*

TW: When Laura, Lee and Havan and I started talking about some kind of series that would be like the old pulp fictions, what immediately came to mind for me was the Doc Savage pulps I read as a kid. I loved Doc Savage with hathim, and always thought he was kind of like me, in that he was different. When I put a name to it—gay—I realized he never was with a person of either sex, but I could easily imagine him as mine.

So, when we put the series here in Atlanta, we talked about each of us putting out six stories. My first idea was to write two sets of three stories—a trilogy—for two sets of characters. Then Marcus whispered in my ear, and he was this mature cop who patrolled the area around his home. I asked him why, and the whole story came out about his doctor lover who was shot and killed senselessly, and how he made a promise to protect the neighborhood. Kind of Doc Savage meets Batman.

A man like that deserves a happy ending, so I imagined who would crack through a man like that’s shield? Because Marcus, he deserves someone who would make him laugh, someone who would light up his dark nights and make his heart beat again.

Enter Ben.

Now Ben, or as Marcus calls him, his Benjamin, isn’t a slam dunk. He has a past of his own that tried to keep him away from Marcus. He’s younger, smart as a whip, but so closed off from his own feelings because of his own soul-crushing experience—he was raped—that it was a challenge for him to connect to Marcus for more than sex.

But he does. And the trilogy follows how they two men circle each other and gently open up despite all the horrible things in their pasts, and the bad things coming after them in their present. But, they make it.

So, when it came time to write the other two men I had in mind, Marcus and Benjamin said they weren’t ready to step aside. Plus, we—Laura, Lee Havan and I—had started interweaving Chance and Zachary and Archer and Wick with my boys, so how could I leave them hanging?

ST:  You can’t, that obvious, plus it would make your fans cry. Not a good thing.

TW: Plus, slowly but surely, the fans caught on and would have killed me if I let them go. And we had to find out who killed Travis, and then Marcus’s brother Frankie showed up with little Marcus, and they have a loud voice too.

My plans, now that all five books are written as well as the final book we all will co-author, are to write a small holiday story for Marcus and Doc_Savage_plus_Five_by_SilvreBenjamin called “Christmas Knight”.  And at some point there will be a novella for Frankie and Brady, because they are screaming in my head that they need their story told.

ST:  I am so happy to hear that because I fell in love with Brady and Frankie!  They do need a story of their own. Oops,  sorry to interrupt.

TW: This has been such a fun process, and I have learned SO much about how to write from these three talented friends of mine. I almost hate to leave Atlanta behind, but Flagstaff calls and that makes my creative juices flow.

ST:  Hmmm. Flagstaff…..more stories perhaps?  Another secret for another day.

TW: Thanks to everyone who’s read City Knight, and it’s on sale for $0.99 for everyone on Amazon and ARe.

Please, leave a comment, and you can have your choice of any book in the series in a drawing especially for Melanie’s blog. She’s been so wonderful about reading all 20 of the books and reviewing them, and Marcus and Benjamin have her in a big hug for liking them. They have no words, and neither do I!

ST: Aww, shucks.   *hugs back*  Plus you mentioned Doc Savage.  I remember seeing plenty of those paperpacks on my dad’s shelf near his chair.  Oh that did bring back the memories.  Thanks for the great guest post and wonderful stories, Tom.

TW: Thanks all!  Remember to leave a comment and win!

Tom

Here are the books in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and their relationships and the events that occur:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Review: Duplicity (Triple Threat #5) by Laura Harner

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Rating; 5 stars out of 5

Duplicity coverOn the surface, everything and everyone seems happy and settled in the home of Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah.  They have discarded Jeremiah’s contract and now have a loving threesome partnership. But only on the surface and when young, distraught Clarenda Harris enters their office to ask for their help, she triggers a set of events and emotions that none of them saw coming, not even Archer.

Clarenda Harris is the mother of twin baby boys and the father of her sons, wealthly Dwayne Cashman, is missing, presumed dead in a plane crash.  Dwayne Cashman, also a twin,and his brother were inseparable and now that brother is set to inherit all Dwayne’s money and estate, leaving nothing for Clarenda and her sons.  But Clarenda is certain something is fishy.  She thinks Dwayne is alive and wants Zachary, Archer and Jeremiah to prove it.  Usually, Zachary would turn to Wick Templeton for research and help but Wick has disappeared, leaving all Zachary’s phone calls unanswered.

Zachary is left to deal with his feelings of betrayal over Wick, Jeremiah is hiding his grief over the loss of a friend and Archer is trying to balance the needs of his men with his own feelings to master.  Duplicity is in the air and the tension is rising.  Everything is feeling unsettled.  Can Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah discover the truth behind Dwayne Cashman’s disappearance before the will is read and the estate settled?  Or will all the hidden feelings and complications cause a breakdown in communications and relations that will threaten their happiness and that of others close to them?

Duplicity is a perfect title for a story full of hidden agendas, false identities, and layers of deceit that cover the actions and events connected to Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah and their band of brothers.  It all starts with a case involving twins and more twins that causes reverberations through the closely bonded group of friends that includes Archer, Zachary, Wick, Marcus, Chance and their significant others, especially when  another set of twins turns up dead with connections to the missing Wick.   There are dangers and conflict doubled at every turn and Laura Harner does an excellent job of leading the reader through the maze of troubled relationships and past histories that have come back to upset all involved.

At the heart of the series is the loving menage of Archer, Zachary, and Jeremiah.  They are settling beautifully into a happy threesome and the sex scenes in this story are white hot and kinky.  There are elements of D/s and bdsm here but the manner in which Harner uses them to enhance and better understand her men and their needs makes not only for some very intense, loving sex but also makes their relationship understandable and accessible. This applies even to those readers who don’t normally read books with this content.

Harner also discloses aspects of the mens past, especially where it involves Wick Templeton, that starts to shed light on the origins of this band of brothers.  This provides us with a better understanding of the depth of Archer and Zachary’s feelings towards Wick.  It also gives Jeremiah a chance to step forward with his issues with Zachary’s dependance upon Wick and its intrusion into their relationship.  So many emotions in flux, including Jeremiah’s grief over the heinous torture and death of his friend, Nick.

Harner has created a story with all the right elements in play to create an atmosphere of suspense, mystery, angst that combined with the incendiary sexual and loving partnership of Archer, Zachary and Jeremiah makes Duplicity a must read for lovers of all genres.   Triple Threat is a dynamic, engrossing series, one of four interconnected series, that you should put on your lists of books needed for 2013 and every year after.

As with the others, if you are new to this series, go back and start with the first story, Triple Threat#1.  I have listed them all in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men, their relationships and the events as they occur.  Run, don’t walk, to grab them all up.

This is how it all starts:

“Nice to meet you, Clarenda. I’m Zack. If you’ll follow me, Archer and Jeremiah are waiting in the study.” As had become our custom, I greeted our newest prospective client at the door and used the opportunity to size up any potential threat. Although it was possible for a weapon to be hidden almost anywhere, it seemed unlikely that this harried-looking woman was armed with anything more dangerous than the sticky-looking Tickle Me Elmo that stuck out from the top of the oversized canvas bag slung over her shoulder. Standing not much more than five feet even, her long dirty-blonde hair pulled into a messy tail and dressed in khaki capris and a blue and white striped tee shirt, the woman could pass for a college student. Until you looked at her face. Dark circles under her eyes and hard lines etched into her cheeks added ten years to her looks.

Entering the study, I made the introductions and, after handshakes all around, led her to a wingback chair that faced the delicate looking couch Archer favored when we had a client. As usual, Archer got right to the point. “You understand how our business works, Miss Harris? You must have lost something of significant monetary value, and if we are successful, our fee is half of what we recover. Do you think what you’ve lost merits a fifty percent commission?”

“Is sixteen million dollars worth your time, Mr. Wilde? Because if I’m right, that’s what I estimate my former employer’s estate is set to pay to his twin brother in fourteen days.”

Triple Threat Series in order:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat, #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat, #4)
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5)

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and the series.

Buy links:  All Romance EBook, Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 118 pages
Published September 27th 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252601
edition language English
series Triple Threat

Book Contest and Guest Post by Laura Harner, Pulp Friction Author of Triple Threat series

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Pulp Friction 4 covers

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Laura Harner stopping by for a chat about the Pulp Friction series and how it alDuplicity coverl came about.  Remember, lovely readers, all you need to do to be entered into the contest, is leave a comment at the end of a author post or at the end of one of the Pulp Friction reviews.  Its that simple.  Now back to our guest this morning.

ST: Good morning, Laura, pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable.  Now, tell me how it all got started.

LH: Thank you Melanie!

It’s so wonderful that we are doing this blog in October, because it was a year ago this month that I took a nostalgic trip through an old Raymond Chandler book and decided I wanted to know more about the origins of pulp fiction. After a very little research, I knew I had to write short stories using the pulp fiction formula, with the hard-boiled attitudes and a down and dirty mystery. One of the key elements of pulp fiction was the “To be continued” nature of many of the stories, along with the rapid releases, so readers weren’t left hanging too long. Other PF books resolved the crime in every story, but gave the reader a relationship with the protagonist, revealing a little more with each subsequent installment. I loved the whole idea, but…

I realized there was no way I could manage serial fiction on my own…so I spent a long time thinking about who I might sucker into this crazy scheme.

0.237 seconds later, I had my answer. Havan Fellows, Lee Brazil, Tom Webb and I already had a permanent chat window open in Facebook anyway, and I couldn’t imagine better writing partners.

I gave them a very brief outline of what I was thinking, and for the next twenty minutes, I didn’t say a word as they took off and ran with the idea and made a vision we could all embrace. Four separate series, a new release every two weeks, and there would be crossovers between the series.

For those unfamiliar with the history of pulp fiction, the popularity of the genre ran from 1896 to approximately 1955, and you can read a history of pulp magazines here at the Pulp Magazines Project:

Excerpt: Originally, a pulp magazine was one that was printed on paper made directly from wood-pulp which rapidly yellows and becomes very brittle leaving a shower of confetti on the reader. …

…Another factor that distinguishes the pulps from other magazines was the lack of any bulk advertising. The pulps were produced cheaply and sold cheaply (initially 10 cents, occasionally only five cents, and seldom more than 25 cents, even in the later years) and relied wholly on revenue from sales. Another distinguishing feature is that the pulps ran almost entirely fiction.pulp_20

So Why Pulp Friction?

Why Pulp Friction? Why MM (or MMM-since I’m greedy)?

We wanted to pay homage to the golden days of story telling, when talk was cheap and so were the women…. Okay, not exactly, but close. We all loved the idea of telling a great story for a fair price. We also know that readers love a well-developed character, and when that character steps out of his own book and into another—double bonus.

The characters we created have taken over our stories, become good friends—no more than that—they’re family. With that comes the ability to love and to hurt each other in the way only family can. Havan, Lee, Tom and I have grown into that type of family, as well.
The one thing the characters know above all else, family keeps coming back. So while going into this last book, it may appear that certain relationships are broken, we all know—there are just some bonds that can’t be broken.

ST: What a great way to end this morning.  Thanks, Laura.  I can’t wait to find out what happens next with Pulp Friction.  I have grown to love all the characters and each series.  It’s lovely to see that the closely bonded group of characters is mirrored by their authors.

Thanks for stopping by today and I can’t wait for the final group post on Friday.

Laura Harner’s Triple Threat series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat, #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat, #4)
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5)

Review: Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Chance In Hell coverAaron “Chance” Dumont, owner of Chances Are bar and restaurant, doesn’t know what to do.  Chance has just retrieved his missing boyfriend, Rory, who disappeared after a huge argument.  Granted the argument was about Chance and his old flame, Cannon, who returned determined to reclaim Chance as his.  Plus Rory, still trying to recover from his rape, is uncertain of their relationship and his status in Chance’s life.  But now that Rory is home and Chance is sure that Rory is the one he loves, things are still unsettled.

Why do things never stay the same?  Even his sanctuary, his bar Chances Are, is going upscale because of his new bartender and his chef.

While Rory agreed to come home, it was also on the condition that there was to be no sex between them.  That this was their chance to really get to know one another before a deeper commitment could be made (and sexual relations resumed).  Now Chance is determined not to screw up a second time, to show Rory that he is loved and treasured above all.

But fate has a messed up sense of humor. Cannon appears, shaken and badly needing Chance’s help.  Someone is stalking him and making threats.  Is there a connection to other unresolved deaths in the area? Soon Cannon is sleeping on their couch, and a killer is circling around the bar and his friends.  Chance is determined to save his new relationship but feels obligated to help his first love.  If there is a chance in hell that someone can keep them all safe, then Chance is the man for the job.

Chance in Hell, the fifth book in the Chances Are series, finds Chance finally committed to his love, Rory, but unsure of everything else in his life.  Everything is changing and Chance is the last person in the world who likes change even when it is for the better.  Lee Brazil does an outstanding job of making the reader understand just how flustered and uneasy Chance is over the changes in his life.  He is happy Rory is home but is tentative about moving forward in any part of their relationship, afraid to make a wrong move.  His bar, Chances Are, has always been a haven for Chance, no matter  the circumstances in his life but that is changing too as his bar has become popular with everyone, not just his old friends and the gay scene.

Even Chance’s band of brothers, his non blood relation family, is at its most variable, with new members and expansions of relationships.  With each description and scene, Brazil makes Chance’s new life seem incredibly authentic and real for the reader.  We feel his unease and the tension that all the changes are bringing about. We understand that Chance knows just how fragile his second “chance” at love with Rory is.  The author also takes the character of Rory and makes him into a  warm, intelligent and yes, endearing young man, a far cry from the troubled, passive “twink” he was portrayed as in the previous stories. Rory is that person that we love unconditionally.  The growth of his character brings out the best in Chance. Finally, even those readers who were not committed to this relationship, can understand the attraction and root for their love to succeed.  We even feel for Cannon, a less than relatable personality whose broken relationship with Chance almost destroyed him and almost demolished Chance’s new one with Rory.  Now Cannon becomes someone worthy  of our sympathy and concern, instead of someone we disliked and was disconnected to, a very nice turnaround by Brazil.

By the end of the story, things seem, at least on the surface, to be settling down.  I love Chance Dumont and his singular voice, all gravely, sarcastic, and knowing.  Rory is a wonderful complement to him and he knows it.  But a mystery is lurking around the edges, and the clues are to be found in the other series.  A Chance in Hell is well named indeed.

This is how it all starts:

The flamboyantly sexy Sin mixed drinks with smiles and laughter and his usual flirtatious banter behind the bar. Gerry cast him a dark glance every now and then, but seemed too busy with the harried waiters, managing the kitchen, and rubbing up against Darrin to actually approach the bartender.

It was Friday night and the crowd of boys in blue and the quiet gentlemen of the neighborhood had been replaced by a bevy of gay men who ranged from suave to eager, all drawn by the lure of our sexy new bartender, all spending big and most having to be sent home at the end of each night in cabs. Tomorrow was weekend brunch, and tonight’s crowd would seem even more incongruous when compared to the tourists and families who came for the brunch buffet.

Chances Are was changing, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. Gerry couldn’t be blamed for all of it either. It began with me hiring Blake, who should have been working in a grand establishment, to cook. A trained chef who’d once prepared food for the elite of New York society, he was out of place in my bar. He’d amped up the food, which had seemed safe enough. Then Gerry hired Sin, who despite his vibrant attitude behind the bar, I had yet to see actually follow through on the promise in his name, and crowds came, drawn by his personality. The bar was no longer a refuge, and I really needed one right now.

Why the hell doesn’t anything ever stay the same?

If you are new to the series, then return to the beginning and start there. Here are the stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, their relationships and the events that occur:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2)
Fifty, Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are, #3)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are, #4)
Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5)

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and to brand the series.

Book Details:

ebook, 14,500 words, 51 pages
Buy Links All Romance EBooks, Amazon
Published August 30th 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English
series Chances Are

Welcome, Lee Brazil, author of Chances Are Pulp Friction series

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Author Spotlight and Chat with Lee Brazil, author of the Chances Are series.Chance In Hell cover

Good morning all and welcome to Pulp Friction Week. This week I am happy to have all the authors of the Pulp Friction series in to talk about their characters, and their series…and well whatever they want to discuss with us. Happily for my readers, each author is offering a copy of one of their books in their series as a giveaway. Just leave a comment at the end of each day’s post and you will be entered.

Yes, its that easy. Now on with our chat!

It’s Pulp Friction Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and we are excited to welcome Lee Brazil to pull up a chair and have a chat with us.

STRW: I have to tell you that I just love Chance Dumont and the Chances Are series. Can you tell everyone a little bit about the Pulp Friction series and yours in particular?

LB:: Good morning everyone! *sips coffee* For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Pulp Friction, Story Orgy, Breathless Press, etc. I’d like to thank Melanie for inviting me over today to talk to everyone. As is usual in such a circumstance, I find myself tongue tied and unable to come up with a single thing of value to say.

Isn’t that the way of things?

ST: Let’s start with the Pulp Friction series and Chances Are.

LB: Pulp Friction has been a blast to write, and it’s morphed in ways I never quite imagined when it started. When we first discussed it, the stories were supposed to be no more than 8K apiece, which is why my first story, Chances Are is so short. After I got started, well. It was quite a different tune. Each story grew longer and longer, it became harder and harder to incorporate a little character growth and development in with the need for some sort of mystery/adventure, and sex. Can’t forget the sensual rapport between the two main characters, and the growing emotional attachment as well.

Add in to that the seemingly irrepressible urge our characters had for interacting with one another across the whole series, and yeah. Size was a big challenge.

Size isn’t everything though, *waits for snickers to die down* even though each story is longer than the one that preceded it. All the stories in each series create a big picture of the relationship between a couple, or triad. Then, when you put all the series together, something even bigger is revealed.

And by that roundaboutation, I guess I’m saying that then end has not yet arrived for Chance and Rory and all the Pulp Friction 2013 guys. Look for something special in December.

For everyone who managed to hang in over here, through my sad little excuse for a blog post, I am enclosing a coupon code for Smashwords for you to download Chances Are for free.

Chances Are coverCoupon Code: FM25N
Expires: November 1, 2013

So click on over to CHANCES ARE at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/277629 for your free copy.

That’s my Treat for all of you today…Here’s my Trick. Leave me a comment, telling me whether you’re ever at a loss for words, or if you always have plenty to say, and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Second Chances Are, book two in the series.

ST: Trust me, lovely readers, you won’t want to miss out.  This is a terrific series and gets got me addicted to the characters and their relationships.  Thank you, Lee, for stopping by today and for the surprise gift for all the readers.

Review: Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #05) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked Truths coverWicked Templeton is not happy.  Usually he is in total control of his life and that’s the way he likes it.  But lately things are happening all around him that make him feel edgy and unsettled.  First of all Ned has disappeared.  No calls, no friendly break-ins at his home, no dinners or worst of all no sex.  Plus someone is still targeting young gay men, torturing and killing them, putting many of his friends lovers at risk.

Then Wick finds out that his past has returned and is behind Ned’s disappearance.  All Wick’s secrets have come back to play and that is a wickedly deadly thing to happen.  Wick must first save Ned and then his  circle of friends but at what cost to himself?  When all the secrets are revealed, Wick’s life changes forever.  Who will be left standing at the end?

Wicked Truths is the fifth in the Wicked’s Way series and is a marked departure from all the stories that preceded it.  In those stories, Wick Templeton is  almost supernaturally great at  everything he does.  He is quick with a quip or a gun, knows where the bad guys plan before they do and how to outsmart even the smartest criminal. Wick is also seemingly impervious to pain, angst and any form of commitment outside of friendship.  A kind of James Bond outlook  but much grittier and, of course, definitely gay.

But in Wicked Truths, many of the carefully crafted images we have of Wick is shattered.  With Ned’s disappearance, we see cracks in the hard veneer Wick has created for himself over time.  He misses Ned and hates that he does so.  And as his life starts to spiral out of control, we get to see not only Wick Templeton’s beginnings but how that history has created the man Wick Templeton is today.  True to form, this is not a happy past but one so torturous and twisted that everything about Wick and his personality becomes understandable.

Havan Fellows does a terrific job in bringing the horror and banal evilness that is Wick’s past to life.  Her descriptions are succinct and perfectly reflective of the depraved personality at work behind the events that occur.  Wick’s desperation is made all the more real because we have never seen the character in this mental and emotional state before.  It’s a revelation as the truth about Wick shatters our assumptions about him and his character is created anew from the rubble around him.

The ending of the story is heartbreaking but leaves a path open for more.  It’s realistic, grounded in Fellows characters and the lives they have built for themselves.  And now I want more.  So will you.  What a tremendous series, what a compelling character! If you are new to the series, start at the beginning.  Its necessary to understand the characters and all the events that follow.

Here is a small excerpt:

Wick opened the fridge and grabbed one of his hard ciders. In the middle of his second long swallow, he heard a strange ringing noise. Bottle still upturned at his mouth, he briefly glanced around. It came from the corner of his counter reserved for those uni-tasker appliances that he never messed with. If it wasn’t a toaster or coffee maker, he had no use for the damn things.

After setting the half empty bottle down, he walked across the kitchen to the ominous corner and moved the electric can opener—wasted appliance when he had a perfectly good handheld one.

There, tucked back in the corner, was a landline phone. When the fuck did he get a landline phone installed? He picked up the cordless phone and stared at the face of it as it rang for the umpteenth time. The whole thing lit up with each ring, and he could honestly say he’d never seen this damn thing before in his life.

He set it down ringing and took the three steps over to the other counter, leaning against it as he took another sip of his drink.

He watched that black piece of electronic plastic as he tilted the bottle to his lips, eyeing it like he expected it to do some sort of trick or something.

“That’s thirty,” he whispered as it kept with that damn annoying eighties ringtone. Either it was defective or someone who had a number he never even knew he had wanted to talk to him really badly.

Cover Art by Laura Harner.  Perfect for the conflagration that is this story.

Wicked’s Way series in the order they were written and should be read:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #1)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #2)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #3)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5)

Book Details:

Buy Link:
All Romance EBook, Amazon
ebook, word count 16, 649, approx. 55 pages
Published September 13th 2013 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN HFPF000004
edition language English

Book Contest and Author Guest Blog with Havan Fellows, Pulp Friction Author

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Two women talking clip art pencil drawing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Author Spotlight and Chat with Havan Fellows

Good morning all and welcome to Pulp Friction Week.  This week I am happy to have all the authors of the Pulp Friction series in to talk about their characters, and their series…and well whatever they want to discuss with us.  Happily for my readers, each author is offering a copy of one of their books in their series as a giveaway.  Just leave a comment at the end of each day’s post and you will be entered.

Yes, its that easy.  Now on with our chat!

Today Scattered Thoughts is happy to have Havan Fellows back with us.

ST: Havan, take a comfy seat, shoo off the dogs and lets have a chat.

Havan Fellows: Well hello…thanks for having me back, Melanie. *kneels down and pets the puppies* And thank you too *sneaks a few treats over*.

Wow…I don’t get asked back this quickly—my babbling normally needs space in between bouts…*winks* But oh boy, it feels like so much cool stuff has happened since my last visit that I can’t wait to cop a squat and answer a few questions that have crossed by me.

So let’s start with the thing I’ve been contacted about the most: Is Wick gone for good?

ST:  Nooooooo….say it isn’t true!

HF: Um…do you think anyone could get rid of that boy that easily? Trust me I’ve tried—he’s like a boomerang coming back for more more more. He heard what had to be said to him, he weighed his options, made a cute little bar graph and pie chart…then threw it all away and did what he wanted to anyway. *big smiles* Yep, that’s our boy. lol

But he is also human and did some understanding things but in the wrong way. Facing Simon down hurt him, that altercation forever changed his way of thinking. To need time and space is understandable…to not confide in his brothers about why he needed time and space BEFORE taking it…well have you met Wick?

ST: So this has been on my mind as I love that boy. Will we see Kyle again?

Here’s the thing…there is one more official book in the Pulp Friction 2013 year…and I’m a pantser not a plotter. (I’ve tried to be a plotter but the characters *glares at Wick & Ned* tend to do their own thing anyway so I growl and they laugh and I sigh and they celebrate…it’s an old waltz that we—they—like doing…) So can I say for sure you will or won’t see him again—no. Chances are you probably won’t in the PF ’13 year…but if I’m lucky (and my Pulp Friction family—Lee Brazil, Laura Harner and Tom Weeb—agree) PF has many more years ahead of us and the possibilities are endless! *big smiles*

ST: Sigh.  I guess I will have to wait with all the others to find out about Kyle. So here are two biggies that I think people want to know.. Why is Wick such a jerk? –and– Who is Ned really?

HF: First, he prefers the term ass. He has also approved: asshat, asshole and whole-ass…but he doesn’t appreciate the word jerk. Evidently there is a subtle difference of meaning. Well—I only write him I don’t try to understand him…do you want to pay for the shrink I’d need if I went down that rabbit hole? lmao

To answer that question I believe reading book five is in order. It is called Wicked Truths for a very very good reason. Does it answer completely why Wick is who Wick is—or even the history of the enigma that is Ned? No. If it did that would be a much longer book. But it covers the bases and gives an insight that I think will shock you if you haven’t read it yet. Just remember; it does behoove you to read the books in order…easier to keep up with the special characters that jump from series to series in the Pulp Friction world. *big smiles*

ST:  Yep, Wicked Truth answers a lot of questions, but *shakes finger* it also asks  a lot more.  How I love this series.  Oops it look like Havan is waving goodbye.

HF: Sooooooooooo…thank you all for hanging in there and enjoying my own little form of answering people’s questions about the Wicked’s Way series. The fact that I had reader questions to answer makes me all smiley and blushy and yeah—happy!

Now…if you could leave a comment—whether it is how much you’ve enjoyed this series *hip bumps* hint hint…lol…or how you’d like to give it a go…I’ll be giving one lucky commenter a free Wick book. It can be any of the Wick books from 1-5…that way if you have read some you can pick one you don’t have. Now—if you’ve read all the Wick books and win…when I contact you just let me know…I might—just might—be able to arrange something having to do with the next book in the PF ’13 series that isn’t even released yet! *winks*

ST: Thanks, Havan, for a wonderful Q & A.   I can’t wait to see what is in store next!  Remember everyone, leave a comment and be automatically entered into the book contest!

Now Available at All Romance and Amazon in eBook format.  See my review later this afternoon.

Publisher Blurb:

Wicked Truths coverA man from Wick’s past knows Ned’s secrets and is after their future…wicked truths are coming…

Wick Templeton is not dating Ned. At least that’s his story—period. But when someone decides that Ned’s time on earth is over, Wick doesn’t bother with the semantics of it…his boyfriend is in danger and that’s unacceptable.

What happens when the person targeting Ned just may be the only person Wick can’t defend against?

Secrets are revealed, people are hurt, and a very shaky relationship is tested. When the dust clears nothing in Wick’s life will be the same.

Caution: This is the fifth in the series, and while you can read this by itself…you know what? Forget it…no you can’t read this one by itself and miss out on all the stuff that makes Wick so darn awesome, go back and start with the first one.

Winner

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Good morning all.  Thank you, Sarah Black, for your wonderful posts on Wild Onions and The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari (The General #2).  It was great having you here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. The General and the Elephant Clock cover

The winner of the eBook of The General and  the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari is Andrea M.  Andrea M, I will be passing your name on to Sarah and she will contact you  about your book.

Thanks to all who participated and visit here next week where the Pulp Friction authors will be offering up free reads and copies of their books from their series all week long, each day a different book and contest.