A MelanieM Review: Dirty Secret (Cole McGinnis #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dirty SecretyLoving Kim Jae-Min isn’t always easy: Jae is gun-shy about being openly homosexual. Ex-cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis doesn’t know any other way to be. Still, he understands where Jae is coming from. Traditional Korean men aren’t gay—at least not usually where people can see them.

But Cole can’t spend too much time unraveling his boyfriend’s issues. He has a job to do. When a singer named Scarlet asks him to help find Park Dae-Hoon, a gay Korean man who disappeared nearly two decades ago, Cole finds himself submerged in the tangled world of rich Korean families, where obligation and politics mean sacrificing happiness to preserve corporate empires. Soon the bodies start piling up without rhyme or reason. With every step Cole takes toward locating Park Dae-Hoon, another person meets their demise—and someone Cole loves could be next on the murderer’s list.

Rhys Ford’s Dirty Secret takes all the relationships (family, romantic, partners) that we learned about in the first story Dirty Kiss, complicates them even further.  Some by deteriorating what little stability they had attained,  some by dredging up old relationships gone cold and making those feelings and grudges and passions alive once more.  Within these stories and characters, history is not a dusty educational subject or leather bound tome but the present in the cultural rigidity by which whole families of Koreans live their lives.  Its preserved in the business, marriage, every day affairs of Korean life no matter where that life may be lived.  Even to those living their lives on the edge of prescribed of Korean societal limits like Kim Jae-Min and Scarlet know exactly where they fit into the strata of lives of the Korean families around them.   And the pain that the knowledge brings to them.

Once more Rhys Ford’s ability to get beneath the surface of the bland face that most Koreans show towards non Koreans around them, Americans and otherwise and project just how all consuming that culture is and how its rigidity is strangling those that can’t conform, mostly because of their sexuality.  Most authors would have just one character carry the pain and angst represented for his culture.  That approach can’t work here.  Ford is talking about a societal cause so multiple characters are called for and multiple characters are brought in.

Here the spark that ignites an investigation, murders, and so much more old pain brought back to light is Scarlet, a beautiful Korean drag queen and a wedding.  The request?  Locate a gay man who disappeared two decades ago whose son is getting married. Simple and yet the firestorm it causes triggers further pain, old heartache and antagonisms reignited that will touch not only Cole and Jae-Min, but spread even further to touch those they love.

Ford introduces so many characters and yet keeps each one fresh, interesting, and sometimes quite chilling in their impact on each other and the storyline.  Or should I say storylines.  There is never just one going on at a time.  Cole has one investigation, the police have another, Jae-Min’s family has another drama going on and somehow, somewhere they will all intersect.  And not in a good way.

One strength of Ford’s writing is that you never double guess her choices in plot or relationship obstacle.  You may not like the way things are going within the relationship dynamics but given each character’s past history, you can certainly understand how slowly things may or may not be working out between the main characters.  Things happen at a rapid pace (just not in the relationships) in these stories.  When they slow, down, you know its not because happiness is around the corner.  Usually its bullets or knives or something else to draw blood or end a life.  This series is all about the small victories.  Making it through another day.  Hope.

In the end, that’s what Rhys Ford delivers. Hope and love.  For Cole and Jae-Min.  For a few others as well.

This is a seriously addictive series.  From the characters to the location and its settings within the constrictive culture of the Korean community in California, this is a series to binge on, to luxuriate in, one by one.  I simply can’t believe I missed them the first time around.  But I’m catching up.  If you missed them, catch up with me.  If you found them the first time, go back and enjoy them again.

I highly recommend this book and the first in the series.

Cover art by  Reece Notley.  I love the covers.  Great job with the tone and matching it to the rest in the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Published September 28th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleDirty Secret
ISBN 1613727763 (ISBN13: 9781613727768)
seriesCole McGinnis #2

Series:

A Wynter Review: Secret Funding (Secret Agreements, #1) by S.M. May

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Secret Funding coverYoung, handsome, sometimes cruel. Noah Kress is a hardened broker, skilled enough to bring success to his company and determined to face the ever-growing challenges of the venture capital market. In his private life he is Master Noah, a very popular dominator at the Circle, one of the most exclusive private clubs in Boston. For him, at work as well as in the dungeon, people and events are just variables to be interpreted, numbers to be broken down, combinations to consider and evaluate.

But when the latest, most difficult deal threatens to make his company sink without trace, his only chance seems to be the large investment fund managed by the mysterious Martin Scheer. And in order to provide credit, Martin demands a very special guarantee.

For both of them it’s just business. Yet, what was supposed to be a mere contract might just shatter the perfect surface of their lives.

And will talented player Noah be willing to gamble following brand new rules?

I find novels that try to reach for depth inspiring, and this novel certainly gave it to me. While I didn’t feel that it made it completely to where I believe it was trying for, I would say the success rate was 85%. That’s not to say that it failed. On the contrary, I believe it sets up the stage for a second book very well.

This novel is originally written in Italian. The version I read is in English. “Lost in translation” and all that aside, I felt that it took a long time for me to accept Noah Kreuss. A character in his late thirties who describes himself as having started out in life old and stern, his maturity level wasn’t a day past a college Freshman. Arrogant and egotistical, Noah truly believed he had a lot more to offer than he did. Believing that people and life couldn’t possibly teach him anything else, anything that went wrong was the fault of others lying or his personal rules weren’t being obeyed and followed to the letter.

Naturally, a character like that just draws others in who can teach him a thing or two about his flawed philosophy.

I like that May’s characters are real – each have his flaws and a backstory that can be very interesting, like Martin Scheer and Red Ludwig. I love Ludwig and all that he represented – the strong voice for all the right things about BDSM. I appreciated how Martin Scheer’s experiences helped shaped the man that he is – not perfect, but he learned from a lot of his mistakes when he was younger. I also love that May showed her readers just how badly things can go when people step outside the zone of rules.

However, the contract and all that it entails breached my comfort zone on multiple counts and drew a lot of emotions from the depths – some good, some not so good. Numerous “What’re you doing Martin?” questions later, I find myself thinking Martin and Ludwig had all the right reasons in the world but the methods, methodical as they were, ignored some what seemed like “hard limits” for Noah. While we undoubtedly learn something about ourselves, as Noah obviously did about himself, when one steps outside the rules that kept all the players safe, blurring the lines between bdsm and a business’s future did make me feel uncomfortable through some of the portions.

I’m unsure about how I feel towards the business lingo in the novel. On one hand, it felt a bit too much. On the other, I think removing it from the story would detract from the novel a great deal. It provided valuable insight to the world that these men tread, but it also feels like business made these men a lot colder and crueler.

Therefore, as a precaution to potential readers who are uncomfortable with the Master-Slave relationships or the lack of safe words in this novel, it is advisable to tread with caution.

Despite my reservations, I enjoyed the story. I think the greatest potential in any story-telling is giving the readers the space and direction of seeing it grow and something new to look forward to. This is intended to be a series, so I believe it’s a great start for the players. I do look forward to Book 2 and would be happy to read it following this one. While Noah may not be a character I cheered for, Martin and Parker were.

Corenlia Grey, the translator of this novel, did a great job targeting the English speaking audience. So, I encourage you to pick up the novel and give it a chance.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day among the falling leaves!

Cover design done by Liliana Marchesi; Images copyrighted by “captblack76” and “Dreaming Andy.” I think the cover looks pretty. I like that it’s plain and simple enough for me to want to pick up the book to find out what it’s about instead of turning me away due to the cover being too busy.

It may be more captivating towards people like me who enjoy having our own imaginations be the judge. For others who prefer the art on the cover to catch their attention, it may not be inspiring enough.

However, whatever the cover doesn’t make up for, the title certainly does.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

  • Author: S. M. May
  • Length: Kindle Book, 170 pages.
  • Language: English (Translated. Original in Italian)
  • Series: Secret Agreements, #1
  • Published: English edition October 15, 2015
  • A SIN: B016C6D90I

Special Guest Blog: Viki Lyn’s ‘Perceived Love (character interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Perceived Love by Viki Lyn
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Loose ID
Cover Artist: April Martinez

Ever wanted to ask questions of a character in a story?  We got the chance . Dr. Will Ryner from Viki Lyn’s Perceived Love is in the interview chair today.  Here is the interview.

Dr. Will Ryner’s Interview from Perceived Love by Viki Lyn:

Q. What is your biggest fear? I thought my biggest fear was not living up to my parent’s dream that I would make something of myself. I strive to be the best in my profession. But I learned that my biggest fear is losing Nate again. Now that I have him back in my life I never want him to leave again.

Q. What is your most prized possession? My, no, our home. I bought a floating house in Sausalito. It’s a converted ferry and still has the original wooden paddle wheel. Owning one of these gloried houseboats had been a dream of ours when we were first together. I’m so happy that Nate and I can share this dream.

Q. What do you enjoy doing on your day off? Spending time with Nate. Our work schedules are hectic and we rarely have quality time together during the week. So the weekends are important to us. We like to go kayaking on the bay, wine tasting, and take walks along the Presidio. There’s always something to do in the city.

Q Where do you hope to be in five years? Married. I also would like to have children, but I haven’t discussed this with Nate yet. I think he’s of the same mind as me. At least I hope so. I already have the rings hidden in the back of the dresser drawer. I’m waiting for the right moment to pop the question.

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Blurb

When psychic Nate Coleman dreams of a murder, he knows it’s a premonition. He can’t forget the image of his ex-lover with a bullet hole through his chest. Nate has no choice but to confront Will and face the skeptical scientist’s ridicule.

Dr. William Ryner doesn’t believe in what he can’t prove. When Nate comes back into his life, it’s not to rekindle their love, but to bring up more of that mumbo jumbo that split them apart.

Despite Will’s refusal to listen, Nate can’t ignore the premonition. And, Will can’t ignore Nate. Before the gunman strikes, Will must either trust in Nate’s ability or rely only on the facts, but if he does the latter, pride could be the death of him.

NOTE: This story is a do-over, and has almost tripled in size! This book was previously published but has been revised and edited in this edition.

 

 

Excerpt

Nate woke with a start, his heart pounding. He reached for the water glass on the nightstand and almost dropped it. Rarely did he dream of death, but when he did, he took notice. That it was Will he’d seen in his nightmare made it more complicated.

No matter. Nate had a responsibility to explore the possibility that this was a precognitive dream. Beyond that, he didn’t want to think about the consequences of taking action.

Nate grabbed his sketchbook from his nightstand. He picked up a charcoal pencil and sketched the dream images before they vanished from his mind—the gunman had worn an orange baseball cap and dark hoodie. Nate recognized the oval-shaped plaza with its pruned elm trees and classical bandstand. Will and Nate used to jog the trails throughout Golden Gate Park, and Spreckels Temple of Music had been one of their favorite places to see a concert.

There would be no reason for Will to be on a stage, especially a bandstand in San Francisco. He had moved after their breakup and now lived in London. Yet Nate couldn’t shake off the sense of dread. Maybe he had substituted Spreckels for a place in London? Sometimes his dreams were hard to interpret. Images were often metaphors.

But this nightmare… Shit. The man with the gun could be a metaphor for himself. He did own an orange baseball cap stuffed away in the back of his closet.

Pages or Words: 28,000 words
Categories: Gay fiction, Fiction, M/M Romance

Buy the book: Loose id

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Meet the Author

Rainbow Award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of sexy romance, both gay and straight. She likes a challenge and at times breaks the rules of her genre. But always, it’s the romance that drives her stories to their happily-ever-after. You can also find her at Viki Vina Romance – the site of her books co-authored with Vina Grey. Check out their popular Orbus Arcana m/m vampire series!

 

 

Where to find the author:

 

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Tour Dates & Stops:

2-Nov: Jessie G. Books, Havan Fellows

3-Nov: Love Bytes, BFD Book Blog, Parker Williams

4-Nov: Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

5-Nov: Lee Brazil, MM Good Book Reviews

6-Nov: Bayou Book Junkie, Mikky’s World of Books

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Loose ID Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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ISO A New M/M Contemporary Love Story? Check out Tempted in Texas by Sara York (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tempted in Texas
Author: Sara York
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2015
Rusty Briggs knows his chance of finding a man while living outside of Sweetwater, Texas are slim to none. Few know about his little secret, but his ranch hands have run out on him and the folks in town aren’t as hospitable as they were before the incident. He’s resigned himself to the fact that working his ranch will have to be enough or he will need to sell and move to the big city…that is until he meets Trent Anderson. 

 

On the outside Trent appears to be a man with full access to silver spoons and caviar dreams, but his parents cut him off and tossed him out once they discovered he was gay. After living on the street, selling himself, then ending up in a destructive relationship, Trent pulled his life together and came out on top, all by using his compassion and intelligence—or so Trent thinks. Recently, Trent’s grandfather passed away and left him his ranch, as long as he meets a few conditions, like living in Texas for ninety days. But Trent’s secret benefactor, Reed, is dissatisfied that Trent isn’t living in Atlanta and wants him back. The only issue for Reed is that Trent is involved with Rusty.
Money, greed, lust, and power work to keep Rusty and Trent apart. They are forced to trust each other when life falls apart, but can they actually become close enough in ninety days to create a solid, trusting relationship, or will old relationships come between them?

Writing is Sara’s life. The stories fight to get out, often leaving her working on four or five books at once. She can’t help but write. Along with her writing addiction she has a coffee addiction. Some nights, the only reason she stops writing and goes to sleep is for the fresh brewed coffee in the morning.
Sara enjoys writing twisted tales of passion, anger, and love with a good healthy dose of lust thrown in for fun. Almost a quarter of a century ago Sara met her lover, falling for him after knowing him for ten minutes. Sara’s passion for him comes out in her stories, mixing with her passion for life, love, and good times, flowing onto the page and becoming tales from the heart.

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Open Call For Writers for A Free New Anthology From Love Lane Books

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Hi Everyone. We all love to read but perhaps some of you love to write as well.  Would you like to have a story of yours published?  Please check out this notice from RJ Scott that she asked us to pass on from her and Love Lane Books.

http://lovelanebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/open-call-for-free-anthology-malemale.html

Ever so often I want to give a chance to new authors, and those with maybe only two books or so, to get a short story out in a free anthology. Love Lane did this with a Christmas Anthology nearly 2 years ago, and it was lovely to see loads of new authors write for the first time. It’s also a good way to have newbies finding out more about the publishing process. I know of three of those authors who went on to have novels published which was awesome to see.

LLB doesn’t make money – this is all done for free… we run it as a project, matching volunteer editors to writers, we also do the cover art.

Open Call for free anthology – Male/Male romance Valentines

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Our Christmas 2013 Antho

When I went to UK Meet last weekend I spoke to one of the authors who took part in the antho of short stories that Love Lane created Christmas 2013. The author is now writing for a publisher and said he’d felt so proud when a publisher included his story in the anthology. He’s now a published author and I couldn’t be prouder.

I also talked in the fan fiction discussion to two aspiring authors. We decided that sometimes to get over nerves it’s all about learning how to create, polish, submit, and publish.

At LLB we’re all about sharing the love, and as such I think I’d like to do another project like this to give authors the chance to create a short story to be included in a new authors male/male romance anthology out Valentines Day, 2016.

These are the details:

The finished anthology will be available FREE to everyone and released on All E-Romance on or around Valentines Day 2016. Love Lane will provide a cover. Editing is the responsibility of the author. There is no financial payment for any of this work.

This call is open to any new and aspiring author. Also to any author with, up to and including, two published stories.

The closing date for fully completed and edited submissions is 31 December 2015.

The story should be a short story – 3,000 to 6,000 words based around Valentines Day.

Sign up for more information which will be sent out when we have your email from the form.

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