A MelanieM Review: Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

DeliveredFast2Portland, Oregon, aka Hotlandia, where the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are ready to serve everything piping hot, fresh, and ready to go—like the hard-working, hard-bodied men behind the counters—with no reservations…

Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.

Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.

Then again, maybe it will…

After finishing Baked Fresh, the 2nd book in the Portland Heat series, I was curious to see if  Annabeth Albert could maintain the light and lively tone and endearing characters that have been a staple of her other stories in this series, stories I absolutely enjoyed.  In Delivered Fast, the author answers that question with a “Hell yes!”.

I fell hard for the bald, courteous baker Vic in Baked Fresh.   I also fell in love with his large, boisterous family that supported him.  So I was thrilled to find out that one of the main characters, Lance Degrassi, is Vic’s cousin, and while he is certainly a lovely, vital person on his own, Albert has, not surprisingly, imbued him with many of the believable and ingratiating characteristics that made Vic so deeply lovable and memorable.  Lance is full of life, intelligent and he knows what he wants.  That would be the tatted, bearded, flannel-wearing chef,  Chris O’Neal.  Problem is that life and his ex have left Chris wounded and walled off from new relationships.

One of the things I so admire about Albert’s stories is that while they have an easy flow to them that makes them a quick read, her characters are complicated men getting through life as honestly and responsibly as possible.  In fact, Chris is bemused that while preoccupied in his self isolation, his personal (and unchanging) style of tats, beard, and flannel has become hip, making him and his restaurant the hippest (or is that hipster) things around. I think many people will be able to connect with Chris whose trust was broken by someone he loved and still has to work with as they are connected through the two restaurants they still own together.  He’s has an authentic feel in every way, from his conversations (or lack of) to his brusk manner with all around him.  Yep, I adored him.

Change arrives in the form of Lance, vivacious, aware, intelligent Lance.  He’s sexy and sparkling, and that attracts Chris no matter how hard he tries to ignore it.  What follows is a realistic journey towards a loving and giving relationship for both Chris and Lance.  At times frustrating, rewarding, sexy and painful, I loved this slow take towards a deeply moving and supportive relationship.   It may be a case of instant attraction but actual love is something that arrives slowly here, achieved in baby steps and maybe one final leap of faith.  I’m telling you that Annabeth Albert and her Portland Heat series has me completely and throughly hooked.

I have been reading these out of order, and that works just fine.  Characters from the other stories pop up but know who they are isn’t central to your understanding and enjoyment of the story you are reading at the moment.  Although, having just said that Albert gave those of us who loved Baked Fresh, a surprise peak into Vic and Robin’s current relationship status.  Loved that too!

Love contemporary M/M romance?  Need a new series or characters to fall in love with?  Pick up Delivered Fast from Annabeth Albert, then go on to read the rest.  I hope there are more stories coming in this Portland Heat series, I am ready for more…more complicated wonderful men in search of love in Portland.  I highly recommend this story as well as the rest.

Cover art by Fiona Jayde is light and fresh, perfect for the story within.

Sales Links: All Romance (ARe) – Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 128 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2015 by Kensington
original titleDelivered Fast
ISBN 1601833946 (ISBN13: 9781601833945)
edition languageEnglish
seriesPortland Heat

Books  in the Portland Heat Series are connected by location, and loosely by characters, All can be read as standalone stories.

 

 

A Mika Review: Time Waits by C..B. Lewis

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Time Waits coverBadly wounded and on the run from his WWII Hungarian brigade, Janos Nagy stumbles through a temporal gateway to the future. Suddenly stranded in Manchester, England, 2041, Janos wants answers about a crazy world he doesn’t recognize.

Dieter Schmidt, flamboyant historian/linguist for the Temporal Research Institution has those answers, but the TRI is a neutral entity, set up to verify historical events under a strict code of noninterference. That doesn’t stop Dieter from taking Janos under his protection. Trust doesn’t come easy to Janos, who came from a time when revealing his secrets could get him killed, but the two men slowly build a tentative friendship with a possibility for more. But Janos’s continued presence in the future and Dieter’s persistence raise questions about the limits of the noninterference policy.

Since the rules have been bent once, one agent sees no reason why he can’t push them further, and he travels back to 1914 to make a few changes of his own. Under Janos’s guidance, Dieter must leap back in time to stop the rogue agent from changing the past and risking everyone’s future—if he can survive history

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I got this book. I don’t read many sci-fi books, time travel is something I’ve never been interested in. However, I’m so happy I read this book. I liked it a lot. It was different from my comfort zone reads, this was also a new author to me as well. I think the author did a good job with the WWII facts pertaining the history part of the story. I thought the concept was really good, and executed well.

For a story that was based on the future I didn’t see as many futuristic elements in here as I had hoped for. The blurb says it’s 2041, but nothing was very different from now until then. I think the only noticeable thing was the pod cars. My thing is, if you’re going to write a story based on a futuristic time, I’d like to see some of those elements throughout the setting; other then that, I liked everything else, including Dieter and Janos. Each guy had different qualities about themselves that made them better with each other.

From the first meeting of the two, until the last moment on the page I was happy. Sure they had a very rocky beginning. I can’t blame them, Janos is from early 1900’s, and everything he knew was gone, blown out the water. I thought it adapted very well. He was a very quick study. My favorite thing about Janos was him accepting that this present world he lives in does not care who he loves. He was cautious about showing his intentions with Dieter and I get it, he’s from a time where even the thought of sodomy had the person killed. I liked his reactions at the end of the story when Dieter was doing his own Jump. His emotions came full circle. Dieter was amazing as well. I love that he was super confident in his sexuality and how his approach to the story was handled.

For me Dieter grew the most in this story. He had countless hurdles to get across, he was not an aggressive person, but he had to put on a strong face numerous of times. 

As for the plot of the story, I really liked that as well. I wish for me that the historic event could have been more familiar to me. When I was reading it, I had to stop and Google to see if this information really happened. LOL, it did. I enjoyed those scenes a lot. All in all, I think the author did a very good job on this book, and I liked it a lot.

Cover Art by Catt Ford. I liked the cover. I think both models are good descriptions of the main characters.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press  –  All Romance (ARe)  –  Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details: 

ebook, 330 pages
Published May 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632168535
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

Like Your Romance Served Up Fresh? Check Out Delivered Fast by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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DeliveredFast2

Delivered Fast (Portland Heat #3) by Annabeth Albert
Standalone  Story. Each book is connected by the city, and loosely by characters
Release Date: May 26, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

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Sales Links:  Amazon  – Barnes and Noble

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Portland, Oregon, aka Hotlandia, where the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are ready to serve everything piping hot, fresh, and ready to go—like the hard-working, hard-bodied men behind the counters—with no reservations…
 
Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns. 
 
Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt. 
 
Then again, maybe it will…

Pages or Words: 45,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

From Chapter One of Delivered Fast

The delivery boy had sweet buns. Not to mention prize-winning rolls. He wore a pair of those fancy over-the-ear headphones and shimmied around the white bakery truck, his hips and ass working in time to what was apparently a killer beat. Even the way he climbed into the back of the truck was a choreographed dance. I wasn’t usually one to get distracted by eye candy, but that ass . . .

I’d propped open the service door at the rear of my coffee shop about fifteen minutes earlier, hoping to coax a cool breeze into the stuffy storeroom where I’d been working. I leaned against the door frame, appreciating the unexpectedly fine view in the alley.

When the guy emerged from the truck—headphones around his neck, carrying a stack of pink boxes—I pushed away from the door and met him at the edge of the concrete steps. I tried to play it cool, like I hadn’t spent the last five minutes perving on his world-class bubble butt.

“You’re not Vic,” I said as I ushered him into the hallway that led back to the kitchen and storeroom.

“Nope. I’m Lance, Vic’s cousin. I’ll be handling your deliveries from here on out.” His smile—a wide, toothy grin—was almost as adorable as his butt. The only resemblance he had to my usual beefy delivery guy was in the chiseled facial features and light olive skin. He looked like he’d be right at home playing World Cup soccer for Italy with his wide shoulders, lean torso, muscular thighs and legs. And that ass.

Which I was going to stop thinking about right the hell now. He was too young—I could see that even more clearly under the fluorescent lights of my kitchen. Early twenties, if that. His gelled-up black hair fell across his forehead in artfully bleached strands. Too high maintenance for my taste.

“I’m Chris O’Neal. Here, let me help you with those.” Taking part of the stack from him, I showed him the metal racks where I stashed recent deliveries.

“Nice setup you’ve got here.” Lance looked around the cramped but efficient kitchen area.

“Thanks.” Most of The People’s Cup square footage was devoted to the coffee bar and seating area in the front, so I made do in the back with my organization system, which bordered on the obsessive. I’d installed floor-to-ceiling shelving on every wall, including over the cooktop and counters. The center prep table was where most of the action happened, and its broad expanse was covered with the beginnings of several dishes for tomorrow’s Sunday brunch.

“I’ve been here before with friends from PSU—for your Sunday thing. And during the week once or twice to study.”

I made a noncommittal noise. Great. A college kid. As if I needed to feel like more of an old, cranky perv.

“Let’s get the rest of the boxes.” I herded him back out to the alley. I was eager to get him and his distracting ass on his way. I had several more hours of staging work ahead of me to prepare for Sunday’s buffet. During the week we were just another coffeehouse, but we were known all over Portland for our Sunday brunch.

“So are you the owner? This all yours?” Lance asked as he got another load of boxes from the truck.

“Yeah. Mine and my partner’s. Business partner.” I fumbled the stack of boxes he handed me. Why had it felt so necessary to make that qualification? Like the kid would be in any way interested in my messed-up business relationship with my stubborn bastard of an ex.

Despite his pretty-boy looks, the kid was probably straight; he had a confident swagger girls his age likely found irresistible.

“I’ve been to your other place, too—the one in Northwest. Did the delivery there earlier. I like this location better.”

“Me too,” I said, my voice drier than gin. “Randy give you any issues?”

Randy had his location; I had mine. Our relationship had turned into something out of a bad chick flick, except there wasn’t any cute ending coming.

“Randy? Nah. It was some girl named Becky, with a nose ring and huge gauges.”

I nodded. That sounded about right for Randy’s taste. And I was not going to care whether he was banging her or how long she’d last as an employee. His shitty employee turnover wasn’t my problem. I’d washed my hands of what happened at the 23rd Street store.

“You want a cup of coffee for the road?” I asked before I could stop myself. It was the same courtesy I’d always extended to his cousin and to most of our other delivery people, but somehow my offer felt tinged with more than politeness.

“What do you have on offer today?” His grin was more than a little wicked.

Wouldn’t you like to know? I bit back the flirtatious retort. And what the hell was up with that? I did not flirt. Hell, anything other than bitter and grumpy hadn’t been my MO for months now.
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Can Lance bring out the softer side of this cranky chef? Find out in DELIVERED FAST!

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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Tour Dates & Stops: May 26, 2015
Prism Book Alliance, Parker Williams, Multitasking Mommas, Bike Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Divine Magazine, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie,
Dawn’s Reading Nook, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Molly Lolly, Tara Lain, 3 Chicks After Dark, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Carly’s Book Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Velvet Panic, Charley Descoteaux, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, The Hat Party

 

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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.   Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon gift card
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Books in the Portland Heat Series to Date:

  • Served Hot (Portland Heat, #1)
  • Baked Fresh (Portland Heat, #2)
  • Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3)

Its Cover Reveal Time for Lane Hayes’ The Right Time (cover reveal, except and giveaway)

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The Right Time (Right & Wrong Stories #3) by Lane Hayes
Release Date: June 26, 2015

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

 

Its time to reveal the cover for The Right Time (Right & Wrong Stories #3) by Lane Hayes.  We have a cover for you all to check out, an excerpt to read, and a giveaway to enter.  Let’s get to it!

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 The Right Time Blurb:

Workaholic Nate Erickson is a successful real estate developer who thrives on long hours and stress. When a Los Angeles project prompts him to relocate to Santa Monica, he welcomes the change of scenery. Nate has always considered romantic entanglements trouble, but his sexy next-door neighbor isn’t easy to ignore. Which makes no sense, because Nate is straight… or so he’s always thought.

Alex Reyes is a retired professional soccer player turned West Hollywood business owner with an insatiable lust for life. He loves his family, friends, and work. But there’s one life challenge left to accomplish: coming out publically. Respect for traditional Latino values has kept him in the closet, but Alex begins to think he and his new neighbor might help one another combat their fears. As Alex and Nate forge a strong friendship, they soon realize facing their personal demons will take more courage than either man bargained. The reward is immeasurable… if the timing is right.

Pages or Words: 225 pages, 80,000 words

Categories:
Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance

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Excerpt for The Right Time by Lane Hayes

I hadn’t worked out with a professional in years, and it felt foreign to wait for someone else’s direction.

“Any issues with your shoulders or arms? Any injuries I should know about?” he asked, handing me the weights.

“No, I’m good.”

“Great. Start with your palms facing your thighs, lift them both over your chest, then lower the left. Good. And now the right.”

He stood over me diligently, making slight corrections when needed. My supine position gave me an interesting perspective. When I looked up, I noted how his strong brow offset his twinkling eyes. I swallowed uncomfortably and turned my head, only to find myself staring at his crotch. His dark shorts seemed to hint they were covering a generous package.

Holy fuck.

“You doing okay?”

“Uh yeah. Hey, weren’t you going to tell me about your Friday night?” I needed him to talk. I didn’t trust my thoughts anymore, and I was stuck in my current position crazily aware of a man in a way I hadn’t been in over fifteen fucking years. Diversion in any form was welcome.

Alex snorted. “I already told you. I went dancing, and oh yeah, I did get lucky.”

He added the last part with a hearty chuckle, no doubt catching my wide-eyed expression. I hadn’t expected that.

“Oh.”

“You asked.”

“Right.” I did? The strong flash of jealousy took me by surprise, but I pressed on. “Did you go back to the beach to get those girls’ numbers last weekend?”

He looked confused for a second, but a slow cocky grin soon spread across his handsome features as he crouched so his face was close to mine.

“No, I told you they weren’t my type.”

I gulped and watched his eyes lower to my throat. He licked his top lip and reached out to adjust my wrist.

“Lift ’em both at the same time, Nate. That’s it. Push it. Harder.”

I sent up a quick prayer I wasn’t sporting a tent in my shorts. Alex’s voice, touch, and yeah, the unintentional innuendos were making me nuts. And horny. I felt terribly out of my element. I wasn’t sure what we were talking about anymore, but the potent silence made me more uncomfortable than speech. Keep talking, I thought.

“So a dance partner?”

“What? Oh. Yeah, I think so. I can’t remember. It was just one of those things, you know? Sit up. Let’s give your arms a break.”

“Just one of those things?”

“Yeah. One night. No numbers exchanged. No hassle, no fuss.”

I had no words. Literally.

Alex chuckled gleefully as he led the way to a leg machine. He gave instructions and stood back to observe me for a moment.
“It’s not necessarily my favorite kind of sex, but hey….” He shrugged his shoulders with his hands outstretched as if to say “what’s a guy to do?”

I recognized this cue. It was my opportunity to commiserate about the trials and tribulations of being a single man with a healthy sexual appetite. Now was my chance to admit it was nice every once in a while to have sex of the nonsolo variety with someone who knew the score. But I was tongue-tied and equally aware of a completely different undercurrent. One I wasn’t brave enough to explore.

“You can stop having fun at my expense any time.”

Alex squeezed my shoulder and smirked playfully. “You’re easily rattled.”

“How so?”

“You seem like someone who has a place for everything and likes everything in its place. You have a routine, and you don’t appreciate any deviation. I should be flattered you came to the gym with me at the spur of the moment.” He paused, running his tongue over his plump bottom lip. “If you’re not careful, I’m gonna think you like me.”

The air between us crackled. Alex leaned forward so his handsome face was mere inches from mine. His proximity alone seemed to issue a challenge. Daring me to confess I was more than I appeared to be. I doubt he expected any revelations, but his intent was certainly to… how had he put it, rattle me. And damn, it was working.

 

About Lane Hayes:

Lane Hayes is finally doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel, Better Than Good, was a 2013 Rainbow Awards finalist. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and their very old dog in an almost empty nest.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: Lane Hayes
Facebook Author Page: LaneHayesauthor
Twitter: LaneHayes3 https://twitter.com/LaneHayes3

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Tour Dates & Stops: May 26, 2015

Parker Williams, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, BFD Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Carly’s Book Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, 3 Chicks After Dark, Andrew Q. Gordon, Chris McHart, Cate Ashwood, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Love Bytes, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, TTC Books and More, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Molly Lolly, Charley Descoteaux, Divine Magazine, Velvet Panic, The Hat Party, Mikky’s World of Books, My Fiction Nook, Carly’s Book Reviews

Giveaway

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 gift card

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