A Mika Review: Beyond the Scars by Louise Lyons

Standard

Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

Beyond the Scars coverAfter years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery.

Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem. Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out… at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.

After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.

Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?

I really like Louise Lyon’s writing style. I’m happy that one of the elements was domestic violence, it’s not something we see a lot of in m/m writing. Most guys who are victims of D.V are ashamed to come forward and get help, at least it seems that way to me.

At first  I was certain that Beyond the Scars was going to be a DNF for me because I did not feel like Tommy was acting like a victim. Then I had to stop and think as I’ve never been in this situation. I can’t judge him for how he decided to deal with himself after getting away from his abuser. I can only speculate on what I would do, but then again unless you are living with this then you really can’t speak on it. 

Tommy is a young guy, barely 23 and the last two years of his life has been hell. Being in an emotional and physically abusive relationship took a toll on him. He described his abuse in ways, and early on we got to see it. I’m happy he took his life back, and I’m glad that he was able to overcome his abuser when so many people can not. I really enjoyed Marcus. I thought he was a good guy, and I liked how the author described his emotionally abusive past as well. We can’t judge people based off their looks. Marcus was a man’s man and no one would have ever thought he’ll be a victim of domestic violence.

The story itself was okay to me. I wanted this story to pull more emotions from me, and that’s something the story wasn’t able to do. In fact, I feel like it did the complete opposite, and left me feeling contempt instead of compassion. I wanted Tommy to fight more, I wanted tears and anguish. I wanted emotional turmoil. I didn’t get that, and okay I’m happy that they were able to find themselves together. I just wish it  took more of a toll on the heartstrings.

Cover Art by: Jay Aheer, I really like this cover. First the model looks like the guy who plays Jimmy Durmondy from Boardwalk Empire. It’s very beautiful and eye catching. I like the natural light as well it’s the shifts of shapes as Tommy is reclaiming his life back.

Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

eKindle Edition, 176 pages
Published July 24th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
original titleBeyond the Scars
ASINB011H33IOS
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Lovers Entwined by Lillian Francis

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Lovers Entwined cover 2Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

Lovers Entwined by Lillian Francis is a moving, romantic story, one that I loved.  Based on the belief that true love has no boundaries, even that of time, it follows the deep love of Ewan/Owen and Trey/Tristan through centuries of tragedies until we find their latest reincarnations in Ewan, a leading genealogist, and surfer/playboy Trey, a groom whose future father in law is looking for reasons for his daughter to dump him.  Ewan has been hired to look into Trey’s family background for anything that could embarrass Trey’s fiance along with her father and his huge political aspirations.  But what Ewan finds soon starts to bind Trey and Ewan together, as odd facts, places and names trigger nightmares and recollections they should not be having.

As Trey spends more time with Ewan, it ignites the flashbacks to the other couples they once were and the tragedies that ended their lives but never their love for each other.  As each follow the other through death and time,  the names change only slightly as does the location and Francis connects them all in a manner that is logical and meaningful.  And heartbreaking.  Prepare to have the tissues close by when  each one meets their death once more. I was sobbing like mad several times in this story, even though I knew it was coming.  But the power of the descriptions and the emotional strength of those moments won through and I was lost.

There are some important, believable secondary characters too.  Trey’s grandfather, Pops, for one.  I adored him. And his nurse. Much harder to understand was Trey’s fiance who was more of a one-note character.  Her transformation from someone who Trey could love to the cold woman we met was never fully explained so she came off as just too one dimensional in a story with characters you believed in and a love that lasted through time.

Flashbacks can be a tricky thing, especially when going back not just one era but several.  But Francis handles each flashback and couple almost as a separate story, giving them the attention each is due.  She gives us a real connection to every reincarnation, and as that love is lost, all that affection and hope is transferred to the most recent couple…Ewan and Trey.

Lillian Francis is quickly becoming a “must read” for me.  I loved her “Theory Unproven“, and now her “Lovers Entwined”.  I highly recommend both of these stories and author Lillian Francis!

Cover art by Meredith Russell.  This cover really works.  It  establishes the characters of  Ewan and Trey as well as their counterparts of Owen and Tristan.  I loved it.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd edition
Published August 3rd 2015 by Smashwords Edition
(first published December 6th 2012)
ISBN139781310580345

 

 

 

 

A Jeri Review: Undercover Lovers (Bodyguards Inc. #4) by R.J. Scott

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Even if Ross and Kyle make it out of this alive, will the secrets in Kyle’s heart stay safe?

undercoverlovers_cvrKyle gets caught up in a case that is entirely unrelated to Bodyguards Inc. Not only does he abruptly need time off, but he has to have absolute trust and complete support from Ross without being able to tell Ross a thing.

CIA Agent Stefan Mortimer needs Kyle’s help with a case of a geneticist and a missing formula. Trouble is being led right to Kyle’s door, endangering the life of the team he has built and the man that he loves.

Going undercover, with Ross as his fiance, is the worst kind of torture in so many ways, but it is the only answer. Kyle and Ross may well live through this but Kyle is convinced his heart won’t survive.

Kyle is ex Army Ranger who owns Bodyguards, Inc. Ross is his PA and office manager. Although they have worked together in the same office for several years, each harbors hidden feelings for the other. So when one of Kyle’s friends needs a client “babysat” while he is in the hospital recovering, he calls in a favor to Kyle.

For Kyle to do this job undercover, he needs a spouse. Preferably a husband because they will be staying in the Honeymoon Suite of a charming artsy B&B. With all of his other employees either on the job or injured, he has no choice but to ask Ross to step up. Both are incredibly nervous about this job. Not because it is dangerous, but because their cover story is secretly what they both want.

I love watching two guys who are pretty oblivious to each other’s feelings. The sidelong glances, the kicked up heartbeat, the not so innocent touches. And when it has gone on as long as Kyle and Ross have been dancing around each other, it makes for a pretty hot moment when they finally get together.

The romance between these two is fun. They’ve known each other in work for so long, but doing this undercover job lends them to learn more personal things about each other. And even with that, they keep up the humor that has always been between them. Because if love and sex aren’t fun. Why bother?

The story is definitely a little “fluffy”, pretty low on the angst scale overall. There is a bit of action at the end which was welcome. The sex scenes were definitely hot and I really liked these two guys together. I also appreciated that, even though this is book four in a series, I was able to read it as a stand alone. But it also made me want to go out and read the first three.
A fairly light, quick, but hot read with some real feelings and humor. Put this on your list to read!

Cover art by Meredith Russell.  It’s ok but says nothing about the story inside or the characters.

Sales Links:  Love Lane Books | All Romance ARe | Amazon  (other links to come)

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: July 31st 2015 by Love Lane Books Limited
url RJ Scott’s website
seriesBodyguards Inc. #4

Bodyguards Series in the order they were written:

 

Music Is the Key to Love with Annabeth Albert’s Treble Maker (excerpt and contest)

Standard

TrebleMaker_6 (1)

Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert
Release Date: August 4, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Kensington
Cover Artist: Cora Graphics

Banner300x250

Sales Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

STRW Author BookSynopsis

On Perfect Harmony, the ambitious competitors heat things up on stage and off…

Cody Rivers is determined to be a rock star, but couch-surfing between bar shows gets old fast. Joining an a cappella group for a new singing competition show could be his last chance at real fame—unless the college boy from the heart of the country messes it up for him. Lucas Norwood is everything gothy, glittery Cody is not—conservative, clean-cut, and virginal. But when a twist in the show forces them together, even the sweetest songs get steamy as the attraction between them lights up the stage. Lucas wants to take it slow, but Cody’s singing a different tune—and this time it may be a love song…

Pages or Words: 100,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The bass singer was gay. Cody wiggled his hips in an exaggerated move that always got him company on dance floors, waited a beat, and … there. Right on cue, the curly-haired singer gave him another sidelong glance.

A straight dude might grant Cody the occasional double take because, yeah, it was damn hard to ignore Cody’s style of fabulousness. Today, for example, the style gods had smiled on him—his hair was the perfect combination of deliberate spikes and casual falls, the silver specks in his eyeliner complemented his studded leather belt, and his red skinny jeans showed off his ass. So when the bass’s double take had turned into something more like a quintuple take, Cody knew what those lingering glances meant. Knew it despite the fact that the bass looked fresh off the farm, all wholesome and rosy-cheeked and wearing a tie/sweater vest combo perfect for performing in a church choir.

Crash. The bass missed a step, sending a speaker skidding across the stage. One of the camera guys groaned. On second thought, maybe the bass hadn’t been checking out Cody. Maybe he had trouble controlling his big blue eyes the same way he had trouble controlling his big-assed feet.

Whatever the dude was, he was screwing up Cody’s big break. Twitchy farmer boy and the rest of his all-boy group had screwed up multiple run-throughs of the opening number for the new season of Perfect Harmony. No one would notice Cody’s singing if the other groups kept crashing into one another and losing the chorus. He’d worked damn hard to earn this solo, and he didn’t need farmer boy messing it up with his clodhopper feet that kept tripping over thin air.

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

Where to find the author:
https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbertauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Tumblr: https://www.annabethalbert.tumblr.com
Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

BannerTemplate


Tour Dates & Stops: August 4, 2015

My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, 3 Chicks After Dark, Just Love Romance, Happily Ever Chapter, Divine Magazine, Bayou Book Junkie, Velvet Panic, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Bike Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Boys on the Brink Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Jessie G. Books, Inked Rainbow Reads,
Foxylutely Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Multitasking Mommas, Charley Descoteaux, Parker Williams

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 gift card, must be 18  years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and  Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Final

In the Book Spotlight: Spurred On by Jon Keys (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Spurred On-highres

Spurred On by Jon Keys
Goodreads Link
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Cover Artist: Tibbs Designs

Sales Links:  Amazon | All Romance (ARe)

Banner300x250

About Spurred On:

Kegan’s new stepfather and stepbrothers are out to make his life miserable. Between the bullying and being overworked, he’s nearly at his wit’s end. When his mother leaves on an annual cattle buying trip for the ranch, he’s determined to suffer through. He must, if he expects to protect her like he promised his dying father.

When the family of a young man he’s been infatuated with holds a rodeo, Kegan can’t see a way he can compete. Not until a mystical medicine hat stallion walks into his life. It’s not long before they are the talk, and mystery, of the rodeo.

The only thing more daunting than keeping his identity secret is how Kegan is going to balance all this with his draw to the man of his dreams. Will Cole end up being his magical prince, or is Kegan going to find himself left in the dust?

Pages or Words: 29,490

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, M/M Romance, New Adult, Western/Cowboy

Excerpt:

An hour or so later, Kegan stood in the driveway watching Alec drive away in the final rays of sunshine. Alec had offered to give him a ride to the rodeo, but he’d turned him down. Once the pickup disappeared from sight, he walked into the house and worked his way to the dark back room he called his bedroom. He flipped on the light and clenched his jaw at what he found.
His clothes were strewn across the room. Some were ripped, but all of them looked and smelled like they’d been stomped on by someone who’d just walked through the holding pens after they’d worked cattle. They were smeared with mud and cow shit.
“Dammit to fucking hell! The assholes!”
He stomped through the room, kicking piles of clothes out of his way in a blaze of fury. Everything he touched needed to be patched, washed or, more often, both. This settled it. Brent and Seth were out to make his life miserable. The question had become, what was he going to do about it? They seem to have done a good job of taking away his choices.
He began to straighten the tiny basement bedroom. A few minutes later, the job became so discouraging he dropped to the bed and sighed. Kegan lost track of time as he thought through the last months. The sound of a horse nearby shook him from his desolation.
He forced himself from the bedroom, tired of being the one who was crapped on around there. He stomped through the empty house, his anger as fierce as ever. Another nicker drifted to him, and his focus shifted to the present. He opened the door to find a horse standing beside the porch. A beautiful Paint stallion with classic medicine hat markings.
Kegan eased down the steps and held one hand toward the horse, watching him closely. The animal leaned forward, sniffed him, and then snorted.
“Hey, big guy. Where did you come from? If a medicine hat had appeared in any of the BLM herds around here, we’d have known.”
The horse tossed its head, the black and white markings shimmering in the sun. He didn’t shy as Kegan moved closer. The horse’s only reaction was the rippling of thick muscles as it shifted its weight.
“Easy, boy. You’re awfully tame.”
The horse froze in place, studying Kegan as he moved closer. He reached out, resting his hand against the stud’s silky skin. It nickered at the touch but didn’t move. As he ran his hands over the animal, he marveled at how calm the stallion was. This was one of the steadiest horses he’d ever come across.
“Fella, you must belong to someone. Where’d you come from? I know if I was missing a horse like you I’d be having a fit.”
He turned to go into the house and put out the word he had a mystery horse. When he did, the horse stepped in front of him.
“Hey, guy. I gotta let people know you’re okay.”
Kegan tried to step around him again, but the horse’s hooves shot out and stopped him. After a third attempt earned him the same results, he threw his hands up in surrender. “Okay, so you don’t want me to go into the house. What are we going to do?”
The stallion stuck his muzzle in Kegan’s face and snorted. He turned and started down the driveway toward the river. The river had become Kegan’s favorite place to escape his problems, especially after his dad died, and they scattered his ashes there. He had spent a lot of time watching the snowmelt flow past. In the past couple of months, he’d stopped going to the river. But the mysterious horse headed directly toward a large boulder marking his favorite spot.
The stallion threaded its way through aspen thickets that looked tight for a goat, but he slipped into them without disturbing a leaf. The sound of the river grew as they passed through the mix of evergreen, aspen, and willow. He cleared the final clump of trees to find the horse standing among boulders larger than he remembered.
Kegan took a step and froze in mid-stride. A neatly folded set of clothes was perched on the nearest flat rock. He stepped closer and touched them. The deep-blue jeans and the heavily pressed white shirt were obviously new, not some freak occurrence. He glanced around, wondering what was happening.
“Horse, did your rider fall in or something? You don’t seem concerned about finding anyone though.”
He searched up and down the riverbank to see if someone was trying to swim, or in trouble. He checked for a good distance in each direction and found nothing to indicate the source of either the horse or the clothing. He made his way to the boulder holding the pile of clothes and ran his hand over them.
The Paint stepped close and pushed them toward Kegan. He flared his nostrils and snorted again. With the horse fixed squarely in his sight, he pulled the jeans from the boulder and held them in front of him.
“They’re my size. How the hell….”
The horse struck his hoof across the rock and the wind gusted, sounding like the low note of a Cheyenne flute. The tone drifted away, but not before leaving Kegan with a lingering sense of peace. He looked again to find a cowboy hat, hand-tooled belt, and a pair of boots in the mix with everything else. Each of them appeared custom made. He studied the stallion again.
“You know, I never put much store by the whole medicine-hat-horse-having-magic thing, but I’m starting to change my mind.” He paused for a minute to consider. “Does that mean you’re going to let me ride you, too? I need a horse to do the rodeo thing.”
The stallion slipped beside him, pressed his nose under Kegan’s backside, and shoved him forward. His nudge was enough to send Kegan stumbling across the rocks.
“Okay, got it. I’ll change already.”
He stripped quickly, splashing the crystal-clear water over himself to wash off the day’s dust and sweat. As he slipped into the clothes, he found he’d been right. Each piece was a custom fit. The boots came to just below his knees and stitched across the uppers were patterns of horses and aspen leaves. The jeans hugged his butt, emphasizing his ass until even he had to admit it was toned and muscular. By the time he fastened the silver buckle and situated the hat, he was transformed. The ugly duckling feeling he always had, evaporated. With a final brush of his hands, he fixed his gaze on the horse.
“All right. It’s time to see if this is going to work out. We need to get to the stable and find a saddle to fit you. The big question is, are you going to let me ride you? I guess now’s as good a time to find out as any.”

Author Bio and Contacts

About the author:

Jon Keys’s earliest memories revolve around books. Either read to him or making up stories based on the illustrations, these were places his active mind occupied. As he got older the selection expanded beyond Mother Goose and Dr. Suess to the world of westerns, science fiction and fantasy. His world filled with dragon riders, mind speaking horses and comic book heroes in hot uniforms.

A voracious reader for half a century, Jon recently began creating his own creations of fiction. The first writing was his attempt at showing rural characters in a more sympathetic light. Now he has moved into some of the writing he lost himself in for so many years…fantasy. Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to drawing and cooking, he uses this range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jon.keys.773
Twitter: @Jon4Keys
Other: http://jonkeys.com/

BannerTemplate


Tour Dates & Stops:
Parker Williams, Prism Book Alliance, Divine Magazine, Havan Fellows, Molly Lolly, Full Moon Dreaming, Happily Ever Chapter, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Mikky’s World of Books, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Multitasking Mommas, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Hearts on Fire, MM Good Book Reviews, Dawn’s Reading Nook,
Velvet Panic, Michael Mandrake

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Razor – a novella published through Decadent Publishing. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway