Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Stay With Me by S.E. Harmon ~ Audiobook narrated by Michael Stellman

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

StayWithMeAUDMedMac (Mackenzie Williams) is a former cop, now private investigator who falls for his latest client—gorgeous lawyer, Jordan Channing. Jordan wants Mac to follow his fiancé who he suspects may be seeing another man. The problem is that over the course of the investigation Mac falls for Jordan, and it appears that the formerly straight Jordan feels the same about Mac.

Mac’s life is a bit complicated with past loves that he left each time he thought it was getting serious. His excuse? Everyone leaves him so if he chooses to go first, it won’t hurt. The reality is that Mac’s mother left him and it’s warped his sense of self-worth to the point where he can’t hold a serious relationship. His first major relationship with Nick ended when they were recovering from an auto accident which crippled Nick and left Mac with a bad knee. His next with Trevor, another attorney, ended when Trevor found a woman more attractive. The truth is that it was Mac himself who turned away from them, so no matter how he spins the tale and no matter what excuse he makes, the bottom line is that he’s the one who ran from commitment.

There’s a complex underlying storyline about both Nick and Trevor. In Nick’s case, he’s been trying to reconnect with Mac for quite a while. Now happily co-owner of an inn in Vermont with his partner Peyton, Nick really wants to be a friend to Mac. Trevor slides in and out of the story primarily because he’s in the same law firm as Jordan and because Mac feels that their dog, Finn, is more his dog than Trevor’s, and he wants him back. A little B&E toward the end of the story proves this point clearly.

Mac and Jordan seem to be on again, off again as Jordan finds himself struggling to come to terms with being attracted to a man. And Mac finds out that Jordan is still seeing his fiancé at various points in time, causing him to leap to his own conclusions about their relationship.

Listening to this story on audiobook was difficult for many reasons, primarily because there were so many past relationships and male characters in the story that it was hard to follow who was friend or relative and who was former friend or boyfriend. The narrator’s voices for both MCs were similar enough that it was difficult to pinpoint who was talking just by listening to the intonation. Added to that, the fact that Mac was such a whipping boy when it came to relationships that he took on the guilt for all the past breakups and for misunderstanding Jordan’s relationship with his fiancé was something I couldn’t wrap my head around.

It also stuck me as odd that in this story Mac’s old boyfriend left him for a woman, and now his new boyfriend is leaving a woman for him—that’s a bit too far-fetched to be believable. I also think the story would have been much more effective if the author had alternated POV’s so that we would hear Jordan’s voice. I’ve never read (or listened to) a GFY story which was not told from the POV of the straight man who goes gay. I just found it odd that Jordan fell so readily in lust with Mac and always seemed to know exactly what to do in each sexual situation.

So all in all, I didn’t care much for the story itself, though I didn’t hate it. I definitely found Mac to be in need of major mental health counseling, didn’t know where Jordan was coming from or what he really wanted until the end of the story, and didn’t feel that the narration added anything extra to the story.

If I was planning to recommend this one to readers, I’d say that it would be one for those who enjoy self-inflicted angst and an MC definitely in need of nurturing. And, since this is an audiobook review, I’ll say that I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook over the e-book or paperback simply because of the difficulty of following all of the characters as they weave in and out of the story.

Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska. I don’t see that it lends anything to the story at all.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press Audible    iTunes        Amazon

Audio Book Details:

Cover Artist Anna Sikorska
Narrator Michael Stellman
Length 10 hours and 5 minutes
AudiobooksS.E. Harmon
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats
eBookPaperback

A MelanieM Review: Getting It Right (Restoration #1) by A.M. Arthur

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Getting It Right coverDetective Nathan Wolf’s work is his life. At age 34, Nathan has only a series of failed relationships with women behind him.  Why? Because he’s afraid of his feelings about his best friend James and what they might mean.

Dr. James Taggert has two distinctly separate lives. One during the day as a psychiatrist who specializes in abuse cases.  The other a night time party-animal known for his drinking and casual hookups. As Tag, he’s the guy in the gay clubs who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James’s drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he’s close to becoming the worst version of himself.

After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn’t sorry for the kisses that James can’t remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.

When it comes to angst on overload, A. M. Arthur’s got it down pat!  In Getting It Right (Restoration #1), we have two main characters who between them have a whole host of issues and problems, including substance abuse.  Tag, aka Dr. James Taggert, is a character flowing over from Arthur’s Stand By You (Belonging #3), a scene from that story which is repeated here from another perspective.  James’ close friend is also someone he has loved “forever” but believes is straight.  That would be his buddy, police officer Nathan Wolf.  One drunken night, at least for James, finds the two sharing a kiss.  But that moment is hidden by Nathan’s lying about the events of that night, letting James think it was a dream.

This issue of miscommunication and outright deception looms over everything that happens to these two men.  James Taggert is a  prime example of that old adage “physician, heal thyself”.  Outside of work his communication skills are almost nil, and his drinking is a problem obvious to all except himself.  I found Arthur’s treatment of an alcoholic in denial especially effective.  James has a long pattern of soaking himself in alcohol, no matter the reason or moment.  But call himself someone with a substance abuse problem? Nope, he’s not going there, even if there is a niggling little voice in his head that recounts his past turbulent family history.

Nathan seems relatively drama free.  At first.  But this is an A. M. Arthur story and that means plenty of trauma and dramatic events to come.  Without heading into spoiler territory, let’s just say there’s a whole lot of pain heading his way.  Again, its well written and the aftermath is believable, hurtful, and again Arthur makes it easy for the reader to connect with Nathan’s anger and damage.  In fact, I found both characters to be relatable, well drawn and vulnerable, especially with their histories.

So, why did I find myself not totally connecting with this story?

After much thought I think it comes back to the issue of characters so overloaded with pain, trauma and personal problems that the romance got lost amidst the drama.  There is so much for each character to deal with, that overlaying it all with the miscommunication and sometime outright lies between these two (as they work towards a romance and relationship), well, it just seemed to me too much stuffed into one story.  Something, in this case, their love story, was cast into the background.

While that was it should be given what James and Nathan area dealing with, it also served to disconnect me somewhat from their story, at least that part of it.  The angst felt unrelenting (elements that were realistically handled) and it bogged the story down, at least for me.

For fans of A.M. Arthur, none of the issues that bothered me will be a problem for you.  Hey, it’s A.M. Arthur after all, and I have long suspected that A in the author’s name stands for Angst!  But for me?  I needed a little more lightness, or laughter to balance out the woe and this was just too heavy on the woe!

I wonder who will be popping up next in the second story in this Restoration trilogy.  Stay tuned, with a little break, I will head back to A.M. Arthur’s world and find out.  Meet me here!

Cover artist?  Not sure but that cover feels at little generic, could be any story out there. Where are the elements that tell you what Getting It Right is all about?  Sigh.

Sales Links:  Carina Press         All Romance (ARe)         Amazon          Buy It here

Book Details

ebook
Expected publication: March 16th 2015 by Carina Press
ISBN139781426899577
edition languageEnglish
seriesRestoration #1

Wash the Grey (Fifty Shades, that is) Away with Rules To Love By, a Riptide BDSM Anthology

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spotlight on books

In Our Book Spotlight:

Rules to Live By – a BDSM Anthology

featuring stories from

Heidi Belleau, Anah Crow, Dianne Fox, Lisa Henry, Cari Z, and Anna Zabo

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Four intimate tales of power exchange, discipline, risks taken, and pleasures earned.

A list of rules to live by.

In Cari Z’s House Rules, jealousy leads Jonathan to break the rules his lover has established. He can’t decide which he enjoys more: his punishment, or the reward afterward. Good thing he gets both.

A lesson in humility.

In The Harder They Fall by Heidi Belleau and Lisa Henry, spoiled college boy Tad hires a prostitute, but “Daddy” couldn’t care less about what Tad wants. Instead, he’s going to give his spoiled little boy exactly what he deserves.

A cage that means freedom.

In Master Key by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox, Marquis offers Navin the key to the most intimate of locks, hoping it will help them to prioritize their relationship. And it does—until work and insecurities threaten to drive them apart again.

A spool of rope and a desire to be bound.

In CTRL Me by Anna Zabo, a night out between friends turns hot and tempting when Gabe deliberately pushes Tom’s submissive buttons. Then Tom discovers rope in Gabe’s glove box—and not the type for securing luggage.

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 credit at Riptide Publishing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 22. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Rules To Live By Anthology Riptide Book Page: 

Book Details:
Authors: Heidi Belleau, Anah Crow, Dianne Fox, Lisa Henry, Cari Z, Anna Zabo
eBook ISBN: 9781626492516
eBook release: Feb 16, 2015
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 9781626492523
Print release: Feb 16, 2015
Word count: 66,400,Page count: 248
Cover by: L.C. Chase
See more here!

In Our Book Spotlight: When in Bloom by Nicole Dennis (Book tour and contest)

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When in Bloom (Southern Charm #4) by Nicole Dennis
magnifying glass and bookRelease Date: February 20, 2015
Goodreads Link

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Nicole Dennis Answers a few questions…

Q. How do you deal with interruptions from family and friends – how do you find the balance and mark the space you need?

I only have a Fat Cat at home, so life is fairly quiet.

Q.  What inspired you to write in the first place?

I never thought about doing anything else. From the moment I read, I wanted to create my own stories for my dolls. Then different characters started talking. It helped me get away from reality and a rough time in school.

Q. What’s the hardest step for you as a writer? Planning? Writing? Editing? Something else?

Planning. Plotting. Editing – yuck, I have a tendency to repeat the same word dozens of times (sometimes on the SAME Page!)

Author Nicole Dennis Bio:

Ever the quiet one growing up, Nicole Dennis often slid away from reality and curled up with a book to slip into the worlds of her favorite authors. Over the years, she’s created a personal library full of novels filled with dragons, fairies, vampires, shapeshifters of all kinds and romance. Always she returned to romance. Still, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told and she began writing them down whether during or after class. She continues to this day. Only recently has it begun to become fruitful, spreading out to let others read and enter her worlds, meet her characters, and see what she sees. No matter what she writes, her stories of romance with their twists of paranormal, fantasy and erotica will always have their Happily Ever Afters.

She currently works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her characters and worlds to escape reality from time to time. At home, she becomes human slave to a semi-demonic tortie calico.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleDennis.Author
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nicoledennis.author/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nicoledennisaut/books-n-promo/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/nicoledennisauthor

Publisher: Totally Bound
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis

Sales Links:  Totally Bound

More About When In Bloomwheninbloom_800

Will the personal challenges of a former Army doctor and a brilliant florist get in the way of a chance at life and love?

Fighting type one diabetes since childhood, Jude Sebastian runs to prove he can live a normal life, until epileptic seizures begin to change his life. Even with Dawson, his medical alert Golden Labrador, at his side, Jude finds daily life difficult. He owns the floral shop Flowers in the Breeze, and designs everything from simple bouquets to elaborate themes for weddings and celebrations.

At the Shore Breeze Clinic, Jude comes across a man clearly suffering with a PTSD episode. A new arrival in the small town, Doctor Elliott Sheffield, a retired Army Ranger doctor, is looking for a second chance after what he saw in the Middle Eastern deserts.

Wanting a normal relationship, Jude tries to deny his disorder, but something is happening. He can’t regulate his sugars and his disorder worsens. When he returns to the clinic, Dawson alerts Jude to an oncoming seizure.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes referencing PTSD, seizures and diabetes.
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance

When In Bloom Excerpt

Cursing under his breath as the sky turned orange with another incoming sandstorm, Dr. Elliott Sheffield hated the situation. Though they’d tried to tie down the damn tent, the ferocious wind tugged the straps, causing openings everywhere to expose the critical care unit to the elements. Why had he ever agreed to come to this desert hell in the Middle East?

After struggling through several storms like this one, he knew the clouds could turn the sky black for at least seven hours. Pushing out the noises of men calling out in pain and fearing for their lives, he concentrated to save the man on the operating table. His hands and forearms were covered in blood as he searched for the damned bleeder in the man’s belly.

“Come on… Come on… Where the fuck are you?”

As the winds howled, Elliott felt the grit of the fine layer of sand digging underneath the scrubs and within any openings of his uniform. Along with the sweat dripping down his nape, the sand mixed with the moisture and aggravated him. Damn stuff could get through any crack and crevice of tent, Humvee or building. This place sucked when it came to performing delicate surgery, but he didn’t have a choice. The soldiers were here. He needed to be nearby to care for them.

“Shit… Got it,” Elliott said and made the necessary stitches to close the nasty bleeder. He scrambled to put the soldier’s innards back in place, flushed everything with saline to cleanse, and stapled the exterior wound.

“Cover him up tight. We’ll come back and make it nicer.” He stepped back to let the other physician and nurse finish. He peeled off and tossed the gloves. Removing the sweat-soaked mask, he left the curtained-off operating theater and went back to the main infirmary.

When the blasted Taliban insurgents had overrun the garrison stationed at the American base, Elliott had transferred with most of the surgical team to the Canadian–British combat hospital at the Kandahar airfield.

It wasn’t any better here.

Elliott shoved a weary hand through his hair. He scratched at the heavy bearded growth. Since his boots had hit the sand, he’d adapted to the crazy, never-ending situations, difficult in the best of conditions, but aggravated in the worse. He’d figured out ways to suture and clean some of the most devastating wounds he’d ever seen in his career. He could never get around the constant issue of infection from the damn sand.

“Fucking sand…”

The thump-thump-thump of helicopter blades surrounded them. Everyone within the base knew the meaning behind those blades. It was never good.

“We have incoming patients,” someone called out.

“They’re not friendlies! Take cover!” another soldier shouted as bullets flew through the sand and darkness
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Crouching, riveted as soldiers rushed around, Elliott thought about the patients. He knew their lives were at the most risk, unable to defend themselves. When dark figures invaded the tent, Elliott covered a nearby patient.

Several loud blasts blew through the base as bombs went off in rapid succession. He called out when searing heat scored through his shoulder.

Blood and gore rose in front of his mind. Within seconds, all the time it had taken to save these patients was destroyed.

“Doctor…”

“Doctor…”

Elliott blinked. He tasted the fine grit of the sand.

“Doctor…”

“Dr. Sheffield? Are you okay?”

When fingers touched his wounded shoulder, Elliott screamed and pushed back until he hit something hard then plopped his ass on the ground. The intensity knocked Elliott out of the intrusive flashback from his five years spent in Kandahar. He was home in the States. Having left Afghanistan and his ten year military career, he had now lived and worked in Florida for the last nine months.

He lowered himself until his scrub-covered ass hit the floor. He pressed his hands flat on the cool tile of the emergency room to ground himself in reality. He looked around, goggled as other staff fought to save a patient with a vicious belly wound. Two others moved toward him. He held up a hand and hyper focused on the blood-covered blue latex.

“Are you with us, Elliott? Can you rise?” another doctor said in a calming tone.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m here.”

“Where were you?”

“Kandahar.”

“Do you know what set you off?”

“Insurgents overran the base and hit the clinic and caused so much destruction among the patients and created more. It was the appearance of the wound. I took care of so many of them. Most were ruined by the fucking sand.” Elliott knocked his head against the wall.

“Easy. Can you stand? I’ll get you back to the lounge.”

“I’m okay, Harry, take care of the patient.” Elliott pushed himself to his feet and stripped the gloves from his hand. He wobbled out of the room and down the hall.

“Dr. Sheffield?” a nurse called.

He held up a hand. “Taking ten.”

“But…”

Something toppled with a harsh clatter. The broken glass caused Elliott to crouch again in a protective corner and cover his head.

“Dr. Sheffield!”

Lost again in the sand, heat and blood, Elliott stayed put in his cover position. What the hell was he doing here in civilian life? He couldn’t avoid the truth of how he suffered from PTSD.

“Dr. Sheffield… Major…”

He lifted his head at the sound of his Army title. Another doctor crouched in front of him. Through the haze of blood and sand within his memory, he almost didn’t recognize the fellow soldier. James was a friend, a psychiatrist and military officer with the Air Force.

“Major, are you with us?”

“Not an attack…” Elliott knew his gaze would be dead and haunted since he saw it so many times in the mirror after one of the dreams woke him.

“No, Major, a tray filled with containers crashed,” James said. “Major, I need you to stand and come with me. We’ll have a chat.”

“Yeah, guess I need to do that,” Elliott said as he looked beyond James. “I kinda lost it there.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time a soldier covered his ass,” James said as he rose.

Elliott followed James, who chose to find someplace quiet and separated from the chaos of the ER.

Pages or Words: 52,000 words

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Tour Dates: February 20, 2015

Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, Inked Rainbow Reads, Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine, BFD Book Blog, MM Good Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Havan Fellows, Lee Brazil, Fallen Angel Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Andrew Q. Gordon, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Hearts on Fire, The Hat Party

 

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: ‘E-copy of When In Bloom’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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In Our Book Spotlight: Theory Unproven by Lilian Francis

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Theory Unproven by Lilian Francis

Love Lane Books

 

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About Theory Unproven…

Working with elephants in their natural habitat has always been Eric Phillips dream. Getting what he’s always desired introduces him to Tyaan Bouwer, the bush pilot that flies in his supplies, and Eric discovers the allure of South Africa goes beyond the wildlife and the scenery.

But in an area where bushveld prejudices and hatred bleed across the borders, realising their love will be a hard fought battle. Keeping hold of it might just kill them.

Theory Unproven by Lilian Francis
Love Lane Books
Cover Artist :  Meredith Russell
Sales Links can be found here at Love Lane Books

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About Lillian Francis

An avid reader, Lillian Francis was always determined she wanted to write, but a ‘proper’ job and raising a family distracted her for over a decade. Over the years and thanks to the charms of the Internet, Lillian realized she’d been writing at least one of her characters in the wrong gender. Ever since, she’s been happily letting her ‘boys’ run her writing life.

Lillian now divides her time between family, a job and the numerous men in her head all clamouring for ‘their’ story to be told.

Lillian lives in an imposing castle on a wind-swept desolate moor or in an elaborate ‘shack’ on the edge of a beach somewhere depending on her mood, with the heroes of her stories either chained up in the dungeon or wandering the shack serving drinks in nothing but skimpy barista aprons.

In reality, she would love to own a camper van and to live by the sea.

You can read more about Lillian here:
Blog:  http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lillian.francis.100
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LillianFrancis_

Theory Unproven Excerpt

Preparing to ask the stranger his name, Eric opened his mouth to speak, when he was interrupted by a doleful bleat. Startled, he glanced over his shoulder, scanning the airfield expecting to find signs of a wayward sheep. The forlorn stuttering cry came again, and Eric whipped back round, suspiciously eyeing a crate that was securely strapped to the internal wall of the plane.

“Goat,” said the pilot—Eric had decided that’s what he was—as he came back down the ramp.

The deep timbre of that one word surprised Eric. It was rough and low, with an unfamiliar accent Eric’s subconscious demanded to hear more of. That wasn’t likely to happen, though, because the pilot was already surveying his cargo with his back to Eric. He bent to hoist a crate into his arms, leaving Eric to stare dry-mouthed at the enticing pull of khaki for several seconds. Then the pilot straightened and carried the crate into the plane.

Eric wondered if he should offer to help, but despite the ease with which the crate had been hefted into the air, Eric thought they would probably be too heavy and he didn’t want to make a fool of himself. Not in front of this man.

The blond wore the almost obligatory light khaki bush clothes similar to his own uniform The Foundation had provided. Eric hadn’t noticed a logo on his shirt, but he could hope. If this man worked for The Foundation, Eric could at least enjoy the view, since it was unlikely he was gay. He hadn’t even looked twice at Eric. Not that Eric considered himself drop-dead gorgeous or anything, but he was used to getting his fair share of interest back home in England.

Eric caught a glimpse of Akibo gesticulating wildly at the cab driver. His holdalls were piled at Akibo’s feet, Eric noticed thankfully. At least if the altercation didn’t go well and the cab driver took off, he wouldn’t abscond with Eric’s luggage.

The hollow echo of footfalls on the ramp drew Eric’s attention back to the pilot. Tiredness was pulling on Eric’s nerves, leaving him out of sorts, and the lack of conversation was doing nothing to ease his irritability.

Taking the bull by the horns, Eric graced the pilot with the brightest smile he could muster. “So, do you work for The Foundation too?”

“No.” The man’s stride didn’t even falter as he continued toward the next crate.

Not chatty, then. Downright rude, in fact.

The firm slap of a hand on his back caught him just off centre, almost pitching him forward, and Akibo’s fingers curled over his shoulder and squeezed.

“I see you’ve met Tyaan. Tyaan Bouwer. He’s the local freight pilot. He’ll run your supplies into the research station every week.”

It was almost as if the pilot finally saw Eric as anything other than an annoyance for the first time. Tyaan stepped toward him, straightening to his full height, and Eric resisted the urge to check out the breadth of his chest, instead raising his gaze the few inches’ difference in their height to meet Tyaan’s eyes head-on.

“Tyaan, this is Eric. Eric Philips. He’s the new researcher out at olifant velde.” Akibo turned back to Eric. “That’s the local name for your part of the reserve. It means elephant fields.”

“Howzit.” Tyaan stuck out his hand. Eric extended his own automatically, and Tyaan pressed their palms together, enveloping Eric’s fingers in warmth. He gave Eric’s hand a short, sharp shake before releasing him from the firm grip. “The elephant man, hey?”

Eric smiled. “I know I’m no oil painting, but I hope I’m not that bad.”

Tyaan’s top-to-toe appraisal was so fleeting that Eric thought he’d imagined it. An expression skittered across the pilot’s face. Interest, curiosity—Eric wasn’t sure. It manifested itself as a bright spark in his eyes and the faint quirk of his lips, as if he were biting the inside of his cheek. The look vanished before Eric could really work out what it meant, but the amber-coloured eyes still seemed to hold a welcome within them.

“Tyaan’s a man of few words, but you won’t find a finer bush pilot. He’s reliable too. He’ll never leave you wanting.”

Wanting. Despite the pilot’s brusque manner, Eric wasn’t surprised he already wanted to press Tyaan up against the shiny metal body of his plane.

“I’m going up front,” Akibo said, blissfully unaware of the thoughts rampaging through Eric’s head. At least Eric hoped that was the case, since he followed that statement with “Coming, Eric?”

In his dreams, maybe.

Journey Into the Darkness with Louise Lyons “in Darkest Peru” (author guest post and contest)

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Synopsis

Shy and geeky Rhys White, has recently been ditched by his boyfriend of five years. On top of that heís been made redundant from his job as a computer programmer.

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Tired of being boring and unadventurous, he throws caution to the winds and buys a plane ticket to Peru.

Rhysí adventure in Peru starts out well, but then disaster strikes. All of his belongings are stolen. Everything is goneópassport, wallet, phone, clothing, the lot.

Stranded in Cuzco, not too far from the famous Machu Picchu, Rhys tries to find someone to help him. He’s about to give up, when a sexy Brazilian named Rafael, comes to his rescueÖ

Buy links

Giveaway

Prizes:  $20 WIP Gift Card,$5 Amazon Gift Card,1 x eBook copy of In Darkest Peru and1 x eBook copy of Conflicted or†Second Bite of the Cherry (winnerís choice)

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Cherished childhood memories and my early writing attempts by Louisa Lyons

One of my best memories of being a small child, was something that I believe had a bearing on me becoming a writer. My grandmother (known as Nana) on my mother’s side lived about 5 miles from where I lived with my parents, and every weekend we went to spend the day with her. But at Christmas, my dad would fetch Nana and she’d stay with us for a few days, sleeping on the sofa.

As most children do, I’d get up early in the morning and creep into the lounge where Nana was sleeping, and she let me sit under the blanket near her feet while she told me fantasy stories. Usually they were about me, but with magical powers. Imagine a little girl who could grow wings when she wanted, and fly off with the birds, looking down at everything below and going to visit anyone she wanted?

Stories like this inspired me to make up some of my own, and by the time I reached 8 years old, I learned to use my mum’s old manual typewriter so I could put the stories on paper rather than keep them in my head.

From 5 years old onward, I had horse-riding lessons and every Sunday without fail, my dad would drive me to the riding school a few miles away from our house. I remember one bad winter where we had so much snow, Dad couldn’t get the car out of the drive, so rather than let me miss my riding lesson, he went to the local farm and borrowed their 4 wheel drive vehicle so he could get me to the riding school. No one else’s parents did that, so I had one-to-one riding fun that day, and I was able to choose which horse I wanted to ride. I learn to groom it, tack up and then got to ride as well that day. I think the session was way longer than the usual hour!

My horse-riding featured in my writing in the early stages, and the first stories I churned out on that old typewriter, were about little girls and ponies, and eventually teenage girls with horses.

I had a great love for animals, and still do, and I seem to remember writing not only about horses, but other creatures too. Aged about 12, I entered a writing competition in my English class and my story about a fox cub and her adventures in the wild, imaginatively titled “A Nature Hole of Survival” won the competition. I didn’t handle my 15 minutes of fame too well at the time, however. My English teacher called me up on stage in the drama hall to receive my prize, and I was so embarrassed I stood there laughing hysterically and was unable to say anything! Hopefully things have improved since then.

About the author

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the Church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered Fan Fiction in her late twenties.

Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing ìhobbyî more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

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