Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Wood, Screws and Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme ~ Audiobook narrated by Paul Morey


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

WoodScrews&NailsAUDMedAaron Costa allows his parents to talk him into spending the summer remodeling their lake home so that they can sell it at a good profit. Since he owns a construction company and can take the time to do this, he happily agrees. When he realizes his usual helper isn’t able to come along, he sees this as an opportunity to bond with his son, Julian Julian asks for his college roommate, Malachi, to accompany them since he knows Malachi has worked in construction in the past and needs to save money toward tuition and books for their senior year.

Malachi feels like his dreams have come true when he gets the job and then meets Aaron. The sexy, older man exceeds all of Malachi’s expectations, and if his gaydar isn’t broken, he expects that he and Aaron have a lot more in common than a love of working with their hands. The two quickly become friendly, and when Julian starts to find excuses to do other things, Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend even more time together.

Despite the age difference, Aaron finally succumbs to his lust for this sexy young man who he’s come to care for, and the two create amazing chemistry together. Paul Morey does an excellent job of narrating the story and vocalizing their interactions. Aaron’s major concerns about the age difference continue to bother him, though, and the fact that he’s never told Julian that he’s gay could be a major problem as well. He’s never even come out to his own parents, so speaking to Julian is very difficult for him, but he figures it’s his own business and what Julian doesn’t know can’t hurt him.

Unfortunately, one day Aaron and Malachi decide to fool around on the job site, and as readers/listeners might expect, Julian walks in on them. What follows is awkward and embarrassing, and in the aftermath, Aaron has to struggle to find a way to communicate with his son and to let Malachi go.

I enjoyed the audiobook version of this story, though there were quite a few scenes that seemed very trite and totally anticipated. In other words, there was nothing outstanding about the story, but it was a sweet romance and should appeal to those M/M romance readers/listeners who enjoy a hot age-gap romance. I’ve rated the story 3 stars with a boost of .5 for the narration.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is a good representation of the story, depicting the naked back of a young, muscular man wearing a hard hat and work gloves and holding an electric drill.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press    Amazon

Audio Book Details: Buy It Here

over Artist Paul Richmond
Narrator Paul Morey
Length 4 hours and 30 minutes
Categories AudiobooksPiper VaughnKade BoehmeHard Hats by Piper Vaughn
Book Type Audiobook, Other Formats eBook

A Mika Review: A Shot of J & B by Lou Sylvre


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 

A Shot of J&B 400x600Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.
When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

I really like this series and I thoroughly enjoy Lou Sylvre writing style.  While everyone might not like the “lack of romance” I enjoy it that too. I think it’s enough romance because the amount of love the guys have for each other and their families shines bright on the page. I was so shocked to see this appear on the blog because I totally forgot about it coming out. I immediately emailed Mel, and was hoping I get it first and I did. I’m so ecstatic that I did. I loved every minute of this book. Jackie is definitely one of my favorite characters ever, and I was amazed at his strength, and determination seeing as what he went through. He made sure he wasn’t going to be a victim to anyone and I applaud him for it. Brian is the perfect guy, I like that he didn’t second guess himself a lot, and what he said and put out in the world is how he felt.

The beginning of the book I kept thinking where is Jade?  But I totally forget this is the past where as Jade’s book was the future. I plan on rereading that as soon as I finish this review. LOL. I got to see Luki & Sonny a couple who I love for everything that they went through. Brian has moved to London, to finish studying and working trying to be a better constable. I liked that conversation he had with Luki, I thought it was endearing, honest and people should respect Brian for his reasoning on things. I would have never guessed we would have a Dom Brian but I was shocked, thrilled and coping with his ways of doing things. His reintroduction to Jackie you almost can see if you closed your eyes. They just work together. I fouind in this book Lou’s writing really didn’t change but maybe I see it as a little softer. She focuses on them first before the suspense and thriller. I appreciated that. They are definitely a different couple then Luki & Sonny and I liked it.

The crimes were different, and I actually enjoyed the coming together of all the whys, and how’s of the crime. All in all, it has become one of my favorite books of 2015. Why not 5 stars then? Well I felt like the ending was a little rushed, all the pieces fell into place wonderfully but I would have loved to see some things prolonged as far as finding the accomplice, and the whole recover & rescue aspect. I also wanted an epilogue of what’s next for these two. I mean I know what happens because of reading the previous story but I want to know from their perspective. I really did love this book.

Cover Art by Reese Dante. I think the artist did a wonderful job on the cover, it was such a brilliant, and beautiful rendition of Jackie. Goodness I love this cover, all the nice hair. I really liked this one.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback    All Romance (ARe)     Amazon   Buy It Here (other links to come)
Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: March 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues #2) by Alex Beecroft


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Blue eyed Stranger coverFor Billy Wright and Martin Deng, life presents very different but just as challenging obstacles to overcome on  a daily basis.  Billy Wright’s problem? He’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask, which is  fine as Billy performs at country fairs with his local morris dancing troupe. But when the dancing is over, Billy’s life is lonely and empty, made seriously worse by his crippling depression.

In any crowd Martin Deng would stand out but he is that more startling as a member of a historical reenactment troop . After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, Martin is  lonely and harried. The headmaster as the school he teaches at doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.  Or coming out to his family.

When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.

The village of Trowchester crept into my heart with the first story in the Trowchester series, Trowchester Blues.  I fell whole heartedly in love with the layered characterizations, and richly textured story set within a fictional town so memorable and believable that I never wanted to leave. I knew another story was coming but wondered if it could possibly live up to the story that preceded it.  I shouldn’t have worried.   Blue Eyed Stranger is just as moving and rich as the first, perhaps even more.

Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues #2) by Alex Beecroft is not a continuation of Finn and Michael’s story.  In fact, Finn, and his book club make only scant appearances here, along with Trowchester’s archaeologist James.  No, this story belongs totally and gloriously with the characters of Billy and Martin, a duo so odd and compelling that I wondered how Alex Beecroft came to think of them at all, let alone as a couple.

Billy Wright has so many layers to his character.  We meet him in the throes of a deep depression attack.  He is unable to move, even if its to save himself from the cold and exposure.  The thought that finally creeps through the  blackness enveloping him is the county fair his Morris troop, Griffins, is to dance at and we begin to understand how important dancing is to Billy’s survival.  The music, on my what  incredible music,that exists in Billy comes later.  With Billy, its at though he is enveloped in an invisibility cloak, one that oddly enough disappears once Billy dons the makeup and yes, cloak of a Morris dancer.  And then he flies, and takes our hearts with him.

I didn’t really understand that much about Morris dancing, the various types (Border, Cotswold, etc) and apparel and facial makeup the dancers put on.  But as Billy explains it to Martin, the knowledge and history (as well as misunderstandings about the black face  makeup), flow as naturally in the dialog as it would in a conversation with someone new and interested in what you were doing.   Beecroft gave me a nice foundation of knowledge that sent me off to Youtube for examples of all types of morris dancing and music.  But its not just in the explanations but in the descriptions of Billy and his troop as they whirl and jump and the clash of their wooden staffs that make this element of the story come alive!  I felt that not only could it see it happening, I could hear the various instruments played and the crowd react with glee and appreciation.

On the other side of this unlikely pair is Martin Deng, a phyically impressive man, whose biracial appearance sets him apart (father is from Ethiopia and an English mum).  His profession is to teach history in school but his passion?  To bring it to life as an active member and founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society.  Martin is not only passionate about being historically correct in appearance and actions but as a black Viking he calls attention to himself just in his presence alone.  Martin is also gay, a fact he hides from almost everyone, including his family.  His small group, Bretwalda, is a splinter group from a larger more restrictive society and Martin is buried under the pressure of a new troop, obtaining new recruits and managing their increasing fair/event schedule while maintaining his job. It a precarious position, and becoming more so by the minute.   Martin may appear to be the opposite of Billy but underneath, that simply isn’t true.  Both men care deeply and passionately about history and representing it accurately.  While Billy is out with his sexuality, but unless he has his true self cloaked behind his Griffins attire, then Billy is less than assured about his attractiveness and appeal.

Their romance is believably full of obstacles, including Billy’s depression which is handled realistically and authentically and Martin’s fear of being ostracized if his homosexuality were known.   Both Bill and Martin need to address issues within themselves before they can move forward as a couple together and the manner in which Alex Beecroft understands this and makes the reader a part of their process elevates this narrative even higher.

Bily and Martin’s journey is fraught with misteps, fear, and ignorance but the trip they take together is gripping, emotionally rewarding, and results in what is one of my favorite books of the year to date.  You don’t have to have read the first story, Trowchester Blues, to read this one.  It does beautifully as a stand alone.  But together?  The portrait of an amazing small village full of people you would love to meet becomes richer and, quite frankly, more addictive.

Need a new passion or several?  Pick up Blue Eyed Stranger by Alex Beecroft, its my of my finest reads to date this year!

Cover art by Lou Harper.  I love the cover, but the inclusion of the gun (a minor element) surprises me other than to brand the series.  Give me a hearpe or a true Viking helmet instead!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing   All Romance (ARe)   Amazon coming closer to April 6th.

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Expected publication: April 6th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original titleBlue Eyed Stranger
edition languageEnglish

Books in the Trowchester Series

  • Trowchester Blues
  • Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester #2) Expected publication April 6, preorder now
  • Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues, #3)Expected publication: July 27th 2015

In the Spotlight: Rick R. Reed’s IM – a Thriller Crime Drama (contest)


STRW In The Spotlight Header

IM by Rick R. Reed
Release Date: March 10, 2015


A killer’s on the loose, now invite him  into your house.

A new thriller from  Rick R. Reed has arrived.  Read the excerpt and prepare for the killer who lurks within.



STRW Author BookSynopsis

The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon.

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?

For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene.

Pages or Words: 280 pages

Categories: Thriller, Crime Drama, Mystery

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Lake Shore Drive at night has its own excitement, especially when one is hurtling toward a rendezvous with an unknown destiny. On one side of my car, Lake Michigan bears silent witness to the streams of traffic heading north and south, headlights like glowing insect eyes piercing the night. The other side of the highway is crowded with high-rises, their glass, chrome, and concrete rising into the sky, hives of activity within, quiet sentinels without.

I have a cold bottle of Samuel Adams between my legs, a Marlboro burning in the ashtray. Normally, beer and cigarettes are not my vices. I care about my health, you see. But these are props, the same as the deeper-pitched voice I use, same as my word choices, which are much less sophisticated than someone with an MA in English from the University of Chicago. The beer and cigarettes are part of my costume. Tonight I wear faded, ragged Levi’s 501s, the crotch faded, the buttons moving in an inverted question mark, emphasizing the bulge in my crotch.

When did gay men turn into no-charge prostitutes? Has it always been this way?

Whatever. I’m also wearing a Bulls T-shirt, the sleeves cut off raggedly, the neck cut low.

I take a swig of the beer, letting its cold bitterness snake down my throat, and turn up the tape player. Ironic. Leonard Cohen is singing, “Ain’t No Cure for Love.”

I press down on the gas; ahead is my exit: Irving Park Road.

When I arrive, I see the apartment is a red brick six flat, identical to others all over the city. I ring the buzzer, and the guy doesn’t even bother to ask who it is. No difference. We never exchanged names anyway.

Trudging up the stairs, waiting for the shotgun-cocking sound of a lock being turned, a chain sliding back into place. Someone waits to admit me. Someone I don’t even know.

What a friendly world this is.

A door opens above.

What waits upstairs?

I round the bend and I see him. Nothing like his description, but who expected different? I am nothing like what I told him. No matter. As long as you’re male and reasonably young and acceptable, you’re in.

The guy has a good body, and his lips curl into a grin as I head toward him, dragging on my Marlboro. He’s wearing a pair of black bikini briefs. His moment of glory, this is what he’s worked for all those long hours at the gym. Finally someone to appreciate the shaved and defined pecs, the smooth washboard belly, the bulging biceps I just know he will somehow maneuver to flex for me.

But he’s much older than what I had expected. Midforties probably. His reddish-brown hair is thinning, and the blue eyes are framed by crow’s feet. A bottle of “eye-revitalizing” cream is in his medicine cabinet, I bet. The goatee, a desperate ploy to make himself look younger and hip, is embarrassingly ineffective. A cougar tattoo snakes down one of his arms.

“How you doin’?” I exhale a cloud of smoke and pass him as he opens the door wider to admit me.

“Great. Now that you’re here.”

The apartment is small, crowded with “contemporary” furniture: a black leather grouping in the living room, chrome and glass tables, spare jagged-looking twig and dried flower arrangements. On the walls, Herb Ritts posters of absurdly pumped-up young men in various settings: a garage, on the seashore.

The guy leads me into the bedroom. Platform bed, comforter thrown back, striped sheets. The nightstand holds the tools of his true trade: a plastic cup full of condoms he probably never uses, a couple of little brown bottles filled with butyl nitrite, a leather cock ring, a metal cock ring, and a large pump bottle of Wet. On the lower shelf, a stack of neatly folded but ragged white towels.

A dresser faces the bed, and atop it, a color TV and DVD combination. On the screen, a wildly muscled dark-haired guy tries to sit on one of those orange traffic cones. Amazingly, he’s beginning to succeed.

I grin.

The guy drops the black briefs and sits on the bed. Hoarsely, “Why don’t you get undressed, man?”

“Why don’t you do it for me?”

Instantly supplicant, he’s on his knees before me, working the buttons on my jeans. I’m sure his eyes are glistening. Already his breath is coming faster.

I push his hand away. “Hold on.” I lift the goateed face up to my own and look in his blue eyes, where nothing but desire and trust mingle. “I want you to lie down on the bed. Lie on your stomach.”

He gets up and does as he’s told. The half moons of his ass practically glow in the darkness. A thin whiter line disappears in his crack, where his thong was. The definition in his arms shows up perfectly as he raises them above his head to clutch the pillow.

His legs are parted, waiting.

“I just need to do something real quick. You stay right there.” I look back at him as I exit the room. “You’re a good boy, right? Do what you’re told?”

“Yes, sir.”

In the kitchen, I go quickly through the drawers until I find the one with the knives. For the first time, I get hard, and I think of the blood pumping, filling the spongy cavities.

The blood. Essence of life.

I strip down, leaving my clothes in a pile on the kitchen floor. I hope I don’t bring any cockroaches home.

I hold the butcher knife I chose to my side, concealing it with my arm, and head back to the bedroom.

He still lies there, waiting and trustful, thinking he’s about to be penetrated.

And he is.


Goodreads Link
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links:

DSP Publications ebook:
Amazon Kindle

STRW Author Bio and Contacts
About Rick R. Reed

RRR author photo orange check

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever”at work on another novel.”

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops: 


The Novel Approach, Nic Starr


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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Third Eye’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes to be provided by Pride Promotions.

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In The Spotlight: 2 Books – 1 Series/Ed & Marchant (Frankie’s #2) by Sue Brown


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 Ed & Marchant  (Frankie’s #2) by Sue Brown


Anthony & Leo ( Frankie’s #3) by Sue Brown

Published by Dreamspinner Press


Sue Brown has 2 new releases!  It’s Ed & Marchant, the second in Frankie’s Series and Anthony & Leo ( Frankie’s #3).

STRW Author BookSynopsis


Ed & Marchant (Frankie’s #2) – A Novella in Frankie’s Series

Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work.

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him.

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.

Length: 120 Pages
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Release Date: November 12, 2014

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press – Amazon Amazon UKAll Romance(ARe)


Anthony & Leo ( Frankie’s #3) by Sue Brown

Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not averse to Tony’s lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys.

When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for… until he catches him kissing another man.

Title: Anthony & Leo ( Frankie’s #3) by Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 30000 words approx.
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Releases Date: March 25, 2015

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press


STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt


Excerpt from Ed & Marchant….

FROM THE isolation of his cubicle, Ed Winters watched over the top of his rimless glasses as two members of his staff twirled around the office, and his lip curled. “One day soon, Mr. Mason, you will get what you deserve.”

It was wishful thinking on Ed’s part. Frankie Mason was Teflon-coated. He could waltz in late, flirt with all the women, and screw up, but nothing touched him, and everyone worshipped the ground he walked on. Even the bitches in management thought Mason had golden balls. The bollocking Ed had received for snitching on Frankie still rankled bitterly.

Ed hated his job… and his staff, including Frankie Mason. Especially Frankie Mason.

Of course the feeling was returned in spades. Ed knew exactly what his staff at the insurance company thought of him. He had once heard Frankie describe him as a 1950s Tory poster boy who disliked “women, black people, anyone from the Indian subcontinent, curry, the French, the Irish, dogs—” and after that damning (and stunningly accurate) indictment, Frankie had minced across the room with a limp wrist, enunciating “—hom-o-sex-uals.”

Frankie was a screaming queer (his words) and didn’t give a flying fart what Ed Winters thought about him (also his words).
Ed despised him.

It’s not as if anything Frankie said was incorrect. Ed hated all those things and more. If anyone had asked him what he did like… well, no one asked him. No one talked to him at work unless they had to, which was exactly the way he preferred it, and he didn’t have any friends or family.

In Ed’s pristine ivory home, nothing and no one disturbed his peace. He could shut the door behind him, place his shoes neatly in the shoe rack, hang up his jacket, and forget about the idiots and lowlifes that infested his existence.

No one knocked at Ed’s door or called his phone. His flat was his castle, and there he found peace. His sanctuary soothed his soul. It kept him going through the eight-and-a-half hours of the miserable drudgery of work.

If he lived close enough, he would escape back home at lunchtime, but it was just too far away to make it feasible. Instead Ed ate his spinach salad and sparkling water at his desk every day, looking out the window to the park beyond and wishing he was there. Not in the park. The park was fine, but the other occupants—the screaming kids, filthy dogs leaving their shit over the paths, and shrill mothers—were the bane of his existence. But the park was on his route. A place of joy at five thirty in the evening and doom and despair at eight thirty in the morning as he approached the office.

Ed looked down at the files on his desk, and his lip curled. “How on earth did I end up here? I had plans.”

He’d planned to set the world on fire with his dancing. Instead he’d ended up in a dead-end job that drained his soul. Not just his job. His life. Ed refused to admit, even to himself, the soul-sucking loneliness of his existence.

Ed looked over at Frankie now engaging in an obscene tango with that slut, Charlotte, also a member of his team.

“You think you can dance?” he muttered. “I can dance. I could make you cry with my paso doble.”

But the world was never going to weep tears over his paso doble, and Ed was going to shuffle papers, hating his life until he died, bitter and alone.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Author pic

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

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Contact/Follow Sue Brown at:
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Contest:  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes and Rafflecopter link provided by Creative Minds Promotion.
Winner’s Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card
2 Runners Up get: An e-copy set of – Frankie & Al (Book 1); Ed & Marchant (Book 2)

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