A MelanieM Review: The Broken Road Cafe (The Broken Road Cafe #1) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Broken Road Cafe coverFor years Daniel O’Leary worked hard to have it all.  Determination and a ruthless focus on his goals saw him  through college, law school and a job at a prestigious law firm where he made partner in a meteoric rise to the top.  All before the age of 35.  Along the way he remained close to his college best friend and found  love with an artist.  Now 10 years later, Dan has been feeling unsettled, as if having everything he wanted was not enough.    The fates heard him and in one day time, Dan lost everything.  His lover, his best friend and his job and partnership at the law  firm.

Vowing to use the shocking events of the day as a springboard to something new, Dan heads out to a small town near Stone Mountain, Georgia.  From the moment Dan steps into the town of Blue Ridge, he feels free and at home.  A new life beckons with the purchase of a local cafe,  which Dan renamed The Broken Road Cafe.  Blue Ridge’s  Sheriff, Nick Oliver,  is gorgeous, irritating, and also deep in the closet.  Surprisingly (or not) Dan finds himself falling for the Sheriff, the town’s people and life lived at a slower pace.

But people and problems have a way of refusing to be left behind as Dan learns to his dismay.  Dan wants a new start, a new life and perhaps even a new love. Now If only Dan’s his past will let him go forward into his future.

How do I love this story?  Let me count the ways!  The  outstanding characters, the intimate location and settings, the humor and of course, the wonderful plot…all courtesy of T.A. Webb, a masterful storyteller at it again with this latest release and new series.  T.A. Webb is an automatic must read, must have author for me.  And this new story, The Broken Road Cafe is a shining example why he should be yours as well.

Starting with one of the main characters,  Daniel O’Leary, Webb pulls us into the mind and life of this intelligent, moral, if somewhat ruthless lawyer, a man who worked relentlessly through the years to obtain his law degree,  earn a stellar reputation as a lawyer, and partnership  by the age of 35 at one of the most prestigious law firms in Atlanta.  His support consists of his amazing assistant, Charity, George his best friend of 20 years and George’s partner and not much else.  Oh, and his live in love too.  The author brings Dan’s emotional and mental state alive on the pages as Dan muses over his recent irritability with his job and life.  Still, Dan is going through his normal routine, when a moment of spontaneity and surprises start the avalanche that will destroy Dan’s life in just one day.   Webb makes us feel every shocking moment of every minute of the events that break up Dan’s life and perceptions of the people around him.  It’s raw, and painful, and sobering.

Then as Dan begins to gather the courage to move away and go forward, we are next to him in the passenger seat of his beloved Mustang as he heads out of Atlanta and finds himself in the small town of Blue Ridge, a place that will change his life as it works itself into our hearts.  T.A. Webb knows small town life and its all here, the pluses and the minuses, the intimacy for good and bad.  And its exactly what Dan needs.  What a believable journey this becomes for Dan and the reader.  It’s full of humor, self depreciation, wise cracks and the caring the pops up when you least expect it but need it the most.  I heart this town and its people.  And it rings with an authenticity that anyone who lives in or is familiar with small towns, especially those in the South will recognize.

Another huge piece of this heartwarming, complex story is town Sheriff Nick Oliver.  Nick is the town’s “hero”, that one person who is the town’s moral compass and go to guy no matter what the crisis.He is also just happens to be hiding the fact that he’s gay.  From everyone, including his huge and loving family.  One initial encounter with Dan upsets Nick’s carefully crafted status quo.  As you can imagine, any relationship between a man proud to be out and gay with someone deep in the closet is one strewn with problems, arguments, and adjustments. Especially as each man has erected their own barriers against love and another relationship.  It’s a marvelous dance that will ensure that the reader enjoys it almost as much as the men involved.

But it’s not just the dynamics between Nick and Dan, but all the other towns people as well that draws the reader in.  The Mayor of Blue Ridge and local real estate goddess, Patsy, is as warm, intelligent and complex character as Charity, the wry, brilliant, and scary personal assistant. I love it when the female characters are as well written and deeply layered as the men.  And with these two gems, the reader has two strong women to fall in love with as they add luster and depth to each scene they appear in.  In fact, this story and series is chock full of delights, in characters, plot surprises and a dialog that  snaps and sizzles with the verbal sparring southerners are so  good at.

I highly recommend The Broken Heart Cafe to all readers, lovers of romance, crystalline characterizations and a addicting setting that will have you wanting to make travel arrangements.  T.A. Webb’s title came from a well known country song, “God Bless The Broken Road”:

“Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars

pointing my way into your loving arms” – Robert E. Boyd, Marcus Hummon

Its so perfect for the story, for the characters, and for this series that works its way into heart to stay.  Pick it up and begin your journey to Blue Ridge, Georgia and The Broken Road Cafe.

Cover art by Laura E. Harner.  Sexy, hot, but I miss a sense of location and characters.

Sales Links:     All Romance eBooks (ARe)        Amazon        Broken Heart Cafe

Book Details:

ebook, 143 pages
Published November 3rd 2013 by A Bear on Books (first published November 2nd 2013)
ISBN139781310557057
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Broken Road Cafe #1

The Broken Road Cafe series to date in the order they were written and should be read:

The Broken Road Cafe #1

Brothers In Arms, Broken Road Cafe #2

Book Blast: On Tour with Garrett Leigh and Slide! (contest & Interview)

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Welcome, Garrett Leigh, to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords and for agreeing to sit in our interview chair.  Garrett has brought along an excerpt from Slide (Roads,Book1) and a contest to win an ebook copy.  See the Rafflecopter link and details at the end of the post.

ScatteredThoughts Garrett Leigh Interview

STRW•  This sounds like an established lovers who need to reconnect, a favorite trope of mine.  Why chose this option?

Garrett Leigh: Slide is told a little out of sequence. The prologue opens with Ash and Pete as established lovers, but chapter one takes you back to when they first met. The prologue was the first scene that came to me, so it felt right to have it open the book.

With the trope of established lovers, though, I find it as fascinating to dissect a partnership as it is to bring them together.

STRW.  Your main characters are a tattoo artist and a paramedic.  Those seem to be favorite professions of m/m authors.  How do you make your characters stand out  from the crowd?

Garrett Leigh:  For Ash, his tattooing…his art, meant something. There isn’t a drawing or sketch in the whole series that doesn’t tell you something about him. For Ash, drawing is how he communicates. In Slide in particular, he struggles to express himself verbally.

Pete’s paramedic role suited his personality. He’s a natural caregiver, and I think his work helped develop his character on the page.

STRW.  Your setting is Chicago, a fantastic city (and the site of GRL this year).  Why choose Chicago?

Garrett Leigh:  Chicago is a beautiful city and one I’d love to visit, so researching it was a lot of fun.

STRW.  This book is the first in a series titled Roads.  Is a journey the overall theme?

Garrett Leigh:  For sure, though I reckon every book is a journey, especially in romance.

STRW. What came first?  The idea for this story or the series?

Garrett Leigh:  Slide came first, but the story didn’t feel over until I’d written Freed.

STRW.  Do you have this series planned out through the last story or will the series grow along with the characters?

Garrett Leigh:  The series is done, finished and published. Slide is out on tour again to celebrate the release of the series in audiobook. But to answer the question as best I can, the characters dictated the series, rather than the plot. Most of my work is character driven.

STRW.  That’s your cover design for Slide and its very emotional.  Is it easier for the artist to be the author as well?  Does  that help plan out the design for the cover because you know the story and what you want the cover to portray?

Garrett Leigh:  In some sense it’s much easier. Like you say, I know exactly what I want and I have to tools to produce it. On the other hand, it can be really hard to get the cover right when I’m so emotionally invested in a book/the characters.

STRW. Favorite medium to work in as an artist?

Garrett Leigh: Gritty thrillers.

STRW. Favorite genre to write in as an author?

Garrett Leigh:  For now…MM contemporary angst. Watch this space.

STRW. One last question.  What do you find sexy? And which character embodies that the best?

Garrett Leigh: Sonny Valentine from the Blue Boy series. He’s my little pocket rocket. Compact and sexy, he knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid to say it.

I’m a little in love with Jed from Only Love too, though. He has a quiet confidence I really enjoy.

STRW:  Thanks, Garrett, for stopping by and delivering such an insightful interview.  Please come back when your other books are ready to be released!  Now take a close look at Garrett Leigh and Slide below, complete with blurb and excerpt!

Book Name: Slide (Roads, Book 1)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18487180-slide
Author Name: Garrett Leigh
Author Bio:

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh.

  • For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com
    Author Contact:
    Social media:
Website,  Twitter , 
Facebook
    Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

SLIDEORIGTitle:  Slide (Roads, Book 1) by Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:             Dreamspinner Press         Amazon

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
Categories: Gay Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance, Fiction

 Slide Blurb:
Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Excerpt from Slide by Garrett Leigh:

Ash was Texan by birth, but his southern roots only laced his speech when he was too tired to repress them… too tired to block out all the horrible shit that kept an invisible barrier between us.

He was just seventeen when his friend Ellie found him drawing on the streets of Philadelphia. He was homeless and drew comic book characters on the sidewalk for money. The way she told it, he was one of the best street artists in the city, but he said he just did it to survive. Ellie was in college at the time, and she spent the next three years trying to get him to go to a shelter. Eventually, she got her way, and when she moved back to Chicago a few months later, she asked him to come with her. It took him a year of procrastination and pulling his shit together, but after finishing his tattoo apprenticeship in Philly, he did just that.

Living together was a huge adjustment for both of us. Some days I thought we’d cracked it, but others….

I draped the comforter over us and tucked it around his shoulders. He settled against me with his arm stretched out across my torso. I ran my hand absently along his bicep and enjoyed the rare moment. Though he could be tactile when his mood was right, he rarely cuddled up to me so freely. Most times, he preferred our positions reversed—him on his back with his arms around me.

Curious, I pressed a kiss to the top of his sweat-dampened head. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just missed you.”

I smiled into the darkness. “I missed you too.”

A light hum was his only answer, so I held him a bit tighter and made the most of having him curled against me. After a while, I felt him shift. I opened my eyes and quirked an eyebrow, too mellow to speak. He just stared at me, but his blazing eyes told me what I knew he found so hard to articulate.

I put my hand to his head and nudged it back down with a sad smile.

SlideBadgeTour Dates/Stops:
9/12: Rainbow Gold Reviews, Nephylim, Iyana Jenna
9/19: Parker Williams, Velvet Panic, Jade Crystal
9/26: MM Good Book Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Cate Ashwood
10/3: EE Montgomery, Inked Rainbow Reads, Regular Guys, Hot Romance
10/10: My Fiction Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
10/17: Emotion in Motion, Queer Town Abbey, Foxylutely Book Reviews
10/24: Fallen Angel Reviews, The Blogger Girls, Love Bytes
10/31: Amanda C. Stone, Prism Book Alliance, The Novel Approach

 

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book copy of Slide.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter, Use the Rafflecopter link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.
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Go Behind Closed Doors with Andrew Q. Gordon and his release, A Closed Door (book tour and contest)

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Andrew Q. Gordon is here today with his latest release, A Closed Door.  Be sure to read the blurb and  excerpt today and don’t forget to enter the contest for a $10 Amazon gift card.  Link provided below at the end of the post!

Book Name: A Closed Door
Author Name: Andrew Q. Gordon

Author Bio:

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Author Contact:

Twitter: @andrewqgordon
https://www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon

A Closed Door CoverTitle: A Closed Door by Andrew Q. Gordon
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Cover Artist: Lily Velden and Jay Aheer
Sales Links:   Wayward Ink Publishing  Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon Australia  Amazon DE  Amazon CAN

A Closed Door Blurb:

Outted at thirteen, Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become. Ten years later when a tornado destroys his childhood home and kills his parents, Orin finds himself in an entirely new nightmare. One he can’t run away from.

Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one-time best friend, Thomas Kennett.  Thomas not only rejected him when Orin came out, he led the group that tormented Orin into leaving.

As he struggles to deal with his grief, Orin also labors to fulfill the pledge he made to his parents before their death.  In the process, Orin learns that sometimes when you go away to find yourself, you leave the answers you’re looking for behind.

A Closed Door Excerpt:

“Orin, I won’t.” Thomas stood a bit straighter and his eyes lost the sad, pleading shine. “I won’t hurt you again.”

“You can’t promise that. Things happen.” Orin watched as his words dragged Thomas back from the brink of hope.

“If you truly believe that, then there’s nothing I can do. You have to believe there’s a chance or else I can’t prove it.”

“That’s not what I’m telling you.” He locked his gaze on Thomas’s. “If I say yes, I’ll have to take down the walls I surrounded my heart with to keep it safe. Once it’s gone, I won’t be able bring it back if I get hurt. Not now.

“So what I’m saying is, think about what you’re asking me to risk. If you really love me, ask yourself if are you willing to risk what will happen to me if you can’t keep your promise.”

He knew how unfair he’d been, but self-preservation had been a skill he’d honed over the past fifteen years. He needed Thomas to know just how serious the repercussion could be for his actions.

“Orin, I . . . I . . . how . . .?” Their faces were inches apart, and Thomas moved in for another kiss.

This felt different than the first—less urgent, but no less intense. Orin trembled at the leap he was about to take. When they stepped back, Thomas rubbed his thumb across Orin’s cheek.

“I do love you, Orin. More than I can say. So much, that I’m not willing to risk what will happen if I fail you again. I don’t have that right.”

Thomas’s lips quivered and the tears welled at the bottom of his eyes. He kissed Orin’s forehead gently.

“Good-bye, Orin. Please be happy.” Without looking back, Thomas walked to the front door, opened it, and walked away.

ACDBadgeTemplateTour Dates: October 10, 2014

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Love Bytes, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Cate Ashwood, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Full Moon Dreaming, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Multitasking Mommas, Regular Guys, Hot Romance, Nephylim, Louise Lyons, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fallen Angel Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Jade Crystal, Amanda C. Stone, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Iyana Jenna, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Smoocher’s Voice, Michael Mandrake, Rebecca Cohen Writes, BFD Book Blog

Contest: Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided to enter and for all additional contest details.

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In Our Author Spotlight: RJ Scott and her latest release, Last Marine Standing (guest blog & contest)

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In Our Author Spotlight:

 RJ Scott on Heroes,

Schedules and the

Last Marine Standing!

 RJ Scott is here today to talk about her latest book, Last Marine Standing.  She brought along an excerpt to read and a contest to enter! Now for a closer look at Last Marine Standing…

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The second in my Heroes series, Last Marine Standing, was released yesterday. I think this is about my 68th book (think of the celebration for book 69!). I sayLast Marine Standing cover I think this is book 68, because there have been some shenanigans in the past with publishers, and I’ve also pulled a couple of my stories. Anyway I digress.

Yesterday my book came out, tomorrow I fly to GRL (or the day after depending when this is posted!). I had someone say to me the other day that they thought I didn’t get nervous when I have a new book out, because hey, I’m on book 68 (is). Someone else mentioned that at last year’s GRL I looked confident, if at times quiet. I should imagine the quiet times were when I had wine and a quiet corner, ROFL.

I can address all of this. Every single release I get nervous about. Every one. I worry people will hate, I worry people will laugh, I worry that I should have given up a long time ago. Will the book sell? Will it get into the 100 Gay on Amazon, will it go top 50, top 10. And even if it gets there will it stay there? So yeah, worrier = RJ Scott.

Then GRL. I can quite happily ‘do’ confident. I can stand up in front of people, although I can’t be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth. I can make jokes (at Amber’s expense), I can laugh, I can talk coherently for a while. Doesn’t mean that inside I’m not bricking it (English term = terrified). So yeah, terrified = RJ Scott.

But, I wouldn’t swap these experiences where I am dragged out of my comfort zone. I love being a writer and all that this entails.

I’ll love meeting every one of you at GRL, even if I am crap at putting names to faces, and I’ll love to talk.

By the time you read this I’ll be over my release day nerves. I’ll be in my happy place with wine and packing and excitement. Just the one day mind you, then I’ll be inconsolably nervous about GRL… it never stops.

How do you relax when you get stressed? Are you like me with a glass of wine?

Last Marine Standing

Book two in the Heroes series. Book 1 – A Reason To Stay

For all buy links when they become available click here:

http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/SEALHeroes2.html

Author Bio

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Author Contacts:

 

Last Marine Standing

Last Marine Standing Blurb:

Last Marine Standing cover

 

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

Former Marine Recon, Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson has secrets. The things he did for his country, the things he saw, must never be spoken about. Until that is, his team is targeted.

A shift in political alliances means one particular mission undertaken by Mac and his Fire Team needs to be wiped from the history books. Starting with the team itself.

Forest Ranger, Samuel Larson III wants to find the Marines who saved his life. He just wants to say thank you. What he can’t know is that he’s walking into a firestorm of betrayal and murder.

When Samuel arrives at Mac’s place he throws Mac’s plans for hiding out of the window. Abruptly Mac has to protect a man that threatens his heart, only this time he can’t be sure he will succeed in keeping Sam alive.

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

 

 Last Marine Standing Excerpt

Bear put his hand on his hip and sashayed a little, which looked ridiculous.

Mac shoved him. “I will kill you.”

Bear squared his shoulders and smirked. “You could try.”

Mac weighed the pros and cons. Bear certainly lived up to his nickname—broad, strong, straining the damn fatigues—but Mac knew his teammate’s weaknesses. He estimated he could take him in about five minutes, but he’d probably get a few broken bones in the process. He relaxed his stance, ready to go toe to toe with Bear, but Spider put a hand between the two men.

“The kid’s crying,” Spider pointed out helpfully.

Mac shot his friend a shocked look. Did Spider really think the best thing for the poor kid in the bed was to have some idiot go in and tell him everything would be okay? “That doesn’t mean he needs one of us to talk to him,” he asserted.

Bear crossed his arms over his impossibly broad chest. “You saw what they did, heard what he said. One of us should say something. Threaten to go kill someone or something.”

“We already killed everyone who hurt him,” Spider said evenly. “No one left to shoot.”

 

Word count: TBC but around 54,0000
Cover Art: Meredith Russell
Editor: Erika Orrick
Copyright: RJ Scott

Book two in the Heroes series.

A Reason To Stay Heroes 1 coverLast Marine Standing coverBook 1 – A Reason To Stay

 OUT NOW  For all buy links click here:
Giveaway prize:  $10 Amazon/Are gift card, and prizes of free e-books, must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  For all the contest details and entry form please use the Rafflecopter link provided below:

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OR direct link is:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f922301b27/