A Jeri Review: Like No One is Watching (Dance, Love, Live #1) by Jaime Samms

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Like No One Is WatchingDusty has finally landed a job he thinks he’ll be able to keep long-term, even with his broken brain and bum knee. He didn’t anticipate that cleaning a dance studio would reawaken his yearning to dance—even though he is no longer capable—or that meeting the studio’s director would rouse his dormant libido. Or his sleeping heart.

Conrad thinks his life is finally complete with his successful dance studio and a steady stream of students. When Dusty arrives, he rediscovers his thirst for a man who will let him hand over control and give him the undivided attention he’s never had. The trouble is, Dusty isn’t sure he’s worthy of the studio director’s submission.

To make their relationship work, Dusty will have to trust his ability to dominate the powerful and beautiful dancer, and Conrad will have to stop talking long enough to hear Dusty’s promise

Dusty is a custodian at a local dance school. He has resigned himself to jobs like this since he has a bad knee and a brain injury has left him “slow”. Conrad is a former professional dancer and owner of the studio. And he can’t stay away from Dusty.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the romance blooming between Dusty and Conrad, the way Dusty did the best that he could, determined to do his job. I also enjoyed the secondary characters- the dancers.

The issues I had with the book were that even though there were a few small instances of what Dusty’s limitations were, I felt like for the most part he didn’t have limitations. At least not with his mind- and that is what was stressed over and over again. He couldn’t do this because he brain was broken or he couldn’t do that because his brain was broken. But I really didn’t SEE that in the story. It was almost an after thought.

Dusty and Conrad also play with the idea of, not so much D & s, but at least a bit alpha and beta. But again- it almost seemed as an afterthought.

I realize I am nitpicking. But I wish Dusty’s disability was explored much deeper. More a part of his life rather than “I can only be a custodian”.  And apparently Conrad also had an injury which kept him from the professional stage, but again- we didn’t get too much of that.

So while a good book, a sweet story, I wanted more. When something big is hinted at but not really explored enough, I am left with questions. Dusty’s character seemed a bit like an actor who wasn’t taking his role seriously, slipping in and out of an accent.

The cover art is absolutely gorgeous and would draw me in immediately, but ultimately it would have been nice to see both characters represented.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 154 pages
Published November 11th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623807298 (ISBN13: 9781623807290)
edition languageEnglish
url
seriesDance, Love, Live #1

A BJ Review: The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5     ★★★★★

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim FieldingA sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage. 
A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed. 
A soldier releases a genie.

In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.

This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.

Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.

The Sacrifice – 5 stars

New for this anthology, and oh boy, does it ever kick this anthology off right! This is a lovely dark little gem of just the sort that originally brought this author to my attention. Rylo is a temple slave sold by his own parents. He’s chosen to give comfort to a soldier who’s scheduled to be sacrificed the following morning. The story grabbed me from the first paragraph and reeled me in. I loved it for several reasons. First off, I’m a sucker for long-haired, broken, or scarred guys and it delivered gave me that! Not only that, but in such a short number of pages, the author made me care deeply for both of these guys. I adored the dynamic between these two, the switch up between them given their sizes and role in the story. A most excellent short story that despite a very satisfying ending, still left me wanting more of these two. I will cross my fingers.

Treasure – 4.5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2013. It’d been on my TBR list for a while, but I’d not gotten to it until now. I’m glad I finally did. Sickly, book-loving Julian comes to the small town of Urchin Cover for a holiday, sent by his family who hopes the sea air will improve his health. He finds that, but also so much more when a storm washes handsome Kit Archer up on his private beach. This one is like a romantic swashbuckling fairy tale adventure! There’s dragons, pirates, imps, sprites, and magic. There’s hurt/comfort, sweet that will make your teeth ache, hot sexy bits, suspense and action. It has al that and more. It didn’t drag me in quite as fast as the previous story, and there is a much slower build between the two MC, which some may actually prefer. Overall, a heartwarming story that left me feeling good.

Three Wishes – 5 stars

After soldier Xolani accidently kicks an old bottle on patrol, picks it up and rubs it to remove the dirt, a genie emerges with three wishes to grant. But wishes granted do come with a price. I won’t reveal much more about this story, as you really should experience it for yourself. It’s quite short, but it’s perfect, too. Touching and sweet and full of hope… an exquisite little story.

Guarded – 5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2014. I’d already read it when it came out, but re-read to refresh my memory since it’s been over a year. Originally rated it as 4.5 stars but I enjoyed it even more the second time around so I’m bumping that up. This is another dark one, and those are my favorite kind it seems. Prince Berhanu shuns guard Volos because of his Kozari blood, but its Volos who comes for him when he captured by the enemy. This story has some brutal parts, and those who have rape triggers should beware. A story with so many of the elements I love: long-hair, hurt/comfort, UST, hot sex, sweet bits, a harsh past, and much more. The prince’s ordeal was hard to read but this story show love’s healing power.

Mato’s Tale – 3.5 stars

This is the sequel to Guarded in which we get to see more of Mato, the lonely but brave innkeeper that assisted Vollos and Berhanu. This was released as a freebie some time ago but I hadn’t yet got around to reading it. While I didn’t really connect very much to the couple in this, I was glad to see Mato and his mother both find their someone special and for Mato get his adventure. Also pleased to find out that Volos and Berhanu were to wed. All around a bunch of lovely HEAs.

The Downs – 4 stars

A dark fairy tale set in a fascinating dystopian world where those convicted of a crime are taken from the city, across the Reach and pitched over a cliff into the Downs where they are told they are being given to the demons for their pleasure.

Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged wakes to find himself in the tender care of a scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing, and their backstories are very developed for a story of this length.This story had many elements I enjoy: dark, dystopian, hurt/comfort, scarred/broken characters, and a sweet love story. This one isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages.

Chasing Away Cold – 5 stars

New in this anthology. Daku creates an ice sculpture of the god Jarli which his tribe will sacrifice in order to ensure the end of winter. Oh my, what a perfect little parable. Had the tears falling down my cheeks as I read. Am I an emotional sap? Maybe, when reading Kim Fielding. Sigh. What’s the magic more powerful than Gods… love, courage… and what this says to me, hope. This is a perfect little gem of a story, and just the right ending for this anthology.

If I figure out the exact stars for this anthology based on the numbers, it comes to something around 4.57. But I’m giving it a big, firm five stars, because very rarely have I ever enjoyed an anthology so completely. Each story is a gem for different reasons, but together they are an impeccable whole.

COVER: I really admire drawn covers done specifically for a story, and this cover captures the feeling of the first story, The Sacrifice, perfectly. Love the dark in the background to the portrayal of Rylo with his attire and tattoo, and long hair, which always, always grabs my attention. But also that outstretched hand that invites the sacrifice in for his last night of pleasure but at the same time invites us readers in to join them. Worked for me!

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2015
ASINB0180W71RY
edition languageEnglish404 pages

Published November 27th 2015 by Kim Fielding

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: The Fitzwarren Inheritance by Chris Quinton, RJ Scott and Sue Brown

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Trilogy Cover for The Fitzwarren InheritanceThis book is actually three books in one, all with a common theme: the curse on the Fitzwarren family, a curse made by a distraught Jonathan Curtess as he was about to be burned at the stake by Sir Belvedere Fitzwarren in the 1600’s. “I curse you and your children’s children, that you shall all live out your allotted years, and that those years shall be filled with grief and loss and betrayal, even as you have betrayed and bereaved me.”

The first book, The Psychic’s Tale is by Chris Quinton. When his grandmother’s new interest in genealogy reveals that Mark Renfrew, a psychic, is a descendent of Jonathan Curtess, she urges him to investigate the Fitzwarren family curse personally, hoping he’ll be able to bring it to an end. It seems that this curse isn’t just folklore; the Fitzwarren family has lost more than their share of family members to death over the centuries, and the family coffers have virtually run dry.

Mark not only meets one of the surviving family members, he also meets an archaeologist, Jack Faulkner, who is doing preliminary research in the area for a potential dig. Intrigued by the man, their plans are aborted when the rest of the Fitzwarren clan discovers he’s in town, and they virtually run him out of town. Intrigued, his research shows that there’s a possible cure for the curse that starts as “When the one who reads the earth joins with he who sees beyond.” It’s apparent it could be a psychic and an archaeologist, so he contacts Jack, and the two head back to talk to the Fitzwarrens to attempt to convince them to let Mark try to help them.

This begins a tale in which Mark and Jack do make some inroads toward not only a lasting relationship with each other, but also toward lifting the curse, though there are further steps and more people to be involved, but at least the Fitzwarrens are now tolerant of Mark, and he and Jack can only wait and hope that the others needed to break the curse eventually show up.

The second story is The Soldier’s Tale by RJ Scott. This story focuses on Corporal Daniel Francis, a young man injured in the line of duty when a roadside bomb his demolitions team was working to defuse exploded, killing most of the team. He not only suffers from nightmares, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt, he lives in extreme pain from a knee which was so badly injured, it was almost irreparable. He hates taking his pain meds and goes to great lengths to avoid that sickening fuzzy-headed, loss-of-control feeling they give him. He prefers to walk off the pain, an action that gets him into trouble one night when he’s walking along a road and is nearly run over by Dr. Sean Lester who was speeding along in his Audi while trying to work off his anger with his father.

Having briefly met before, this accident gives the men the opportunity to talk and for Sean to see beyond the façade Daniel puts up—enough to reach out and help him in more than a professional way. Sean helps Daniel change the meds he’s on so that he can manage his pain but not feel so helpless and drugged up. They also find themselves drawn into the Fitzwarren family curse when it’s discovered that the old knife Sean carries—a knife handed down through his family for centuries—is the knife that someone threw at Jonathan Curtess as he was being burned at the stake so he wouldn’t suffer the agony of the flames. When Sean and Daniel meet up with Mark and Jack from The Psychic’s Tale, Mark determines that this couple fulfills the second half of the prophecy: “when the warrior and the healer stand to seal a sacred bond.” Could it be that Sean and Daniel standing up for their best friend Will at his wedding to Diana Fitzwarren fulfills that requirement?

This was also a wonderful story in and of itself, but the way it entwined with the first book was seamless and added to the enjoyment of the romance and intrigue surrounding the curse. At this point, I could hardly bear to put the book down.

The last book, The Lord’s Tale, is by Sue Brown. Phil Fitzwarren, the family accountant and single gay man in the cursed family, is the most skeptical of the remaining Fitzwarrens. Both Diana and their older brother, Charles, have come to accept that what Mark has done so far to lift the curse seems to be working, but it’s far from finished and Phil is starting to resent the hope the others are carrying. He’s not going to fall for a psychic’s story like they all are. The one way he can safely work off his anger and his need for danger and adventure is by rock climbing. And of course, due to the damned curse, he can’t do it on a real mountain, so he goes to his favorite rock climbing facility where he meets a young man who supposedly has been watching him for weeks while Phil has been focused inwardly on his family’s circumstances.

Lee Curtis is far younger than Phil, only twenty-two to Phil’s twenty-eight, but he’s alpha all the way through and more or less manhandles Phil into a relationship, whether he wants one or not. And he does. He just always thought he’d be the top, but Lee is the one to inform Phil that they are together and always will be. During dinner at Lee’s family home one evening, it’s revealed that Lee’s first name is Jonathan. Phil, realizing that Lee is a descendent of Jonathan Curtess, starts to freak out until Mark and Jack, who happen to be there, see the connection to the curse and the possibility of having found the last key to breaking it. The final phrase, “when the one who seeks in danger is sworn to the landless lord” fits the couple perfectly.

I really enjoyed this segment as the author instilled a bit of humor into the relationship between these men, and it was easy to see how happy they made each other. The final chapters of putting all the pieces together and finding the final clues which lead to not only resolving the curse, but also restoring the family fortune were exciting and fast-paced.

It’s evident that these authors worked closely together to match personalities as they brought characters from one story into the next, and they worked together to create an intriguing action/adventure that didn’t slow or lag at any point. I devoured this story, and I highly recommend it to all who enjoy a multi-character MM romance with humor, intrigue, danger, and lots of loving.

~~~
Cover Art by Meredith Russell depicts three men who represent the MCs: the psychic, the soldier and the lord. I can easily imagine the MCs looking exactly like these men. I love it when cover artists create an authentic representation of the characters in a story.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 29th 2015 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published December 14th 2011)

Help Out Doctors Without Borders by Jumping Into Kim Fielding’s World of Fantasy with The Sacrifice and Other Stories (special guest post and giveaway)

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The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding
Publisher/self published and release date: self-published, Nov 27, 2015
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair

Buy It Here at Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kim Fielding here today to talk about her latest short story collection and the charity that she is donating the all the proceeds of the sales of this special fantasy anthology.  Welcome, Kim, please tell us more about this collection of stories  and your connection to this charity.

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Hi, I’m Kim Fielding. I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. My healing abilities are limited to Band-Aids, ibuprofen, and Neosporin. So although I really want to help my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers, I can’t very well go jetting off to provide medical services to people badly in need of them.

In case you’re unfamiliar with them, DWB is a nonprofit organization that provides medical care around the world. They go to places where people are suffering from conflict, disasters, epidemics, or extreme poverty. They’re independent and politically neutral. Basically, they provide critical, life-saving services to the people who need them most. You can read more about their work here.

Several years ago, I cast about for a way to help DWB. I came up with the idea of donating all the royalties from my self-published books to them. This has amounted to several thousand dollars per year—much more than I could have managed without my readers’ support.

This year I decided to do something special as a fundraiser. I’ve gathered together three of my fantasy novellas and two short stories, then added two brand new shorts. I’ve packaged them together in one volume with a beautiful cover by Catherine Dair. And I’m donating all the royalties. The book is called The Sacrifice and Other Stories.

The novellas in this collection have already received lots of rave reviews, and I think that having everything in one volume may be handy for those who’d like to reread. Maybe some of these stories are new to you. Plus I got to write two brand-new stories that had been bouncing around in my head. One of them is about a temple slave who has the job of giving human sacrifices one last good day. The other is set in prehistoric times (I promise, no T-rexes) and tells the story of a man who must sculpt a god out of ice in order to save his tribe. I really enjoyed writing them.

The book is available in Kindle and print editions. You can indulge yourself, but it would also make a wonderful gift for your romance-reading friends. And you’ll be helping a truly deserving organization.

About The Sacrifice and Other Stories

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim FieldingA sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage.

A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed.

A soldier releases a genie.

In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.

This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.

Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.

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Available now from Amazon.

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About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

You can find Kim
On her blog: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites
On Twitter: @KFieldingWrites
Or via email: kim@KFieldingWrites.com

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For more on Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers or to donate directly to them: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

***

Excerpt (from “Chasing Away Cold”)

She knelt, scooped a handful of snow, and stood to hold it before her. “This is nothing special—simply water that has frozen and melted and frozen again. But sometimes something very important may come from nothing at all. It depends on the heart of the maker.” She dropped the snow and pressed her hand against Daku’s chest. “The contents of a heart can change everything.”
Although he didn’t understand, he nodded. Then he gave her the cup and turned to complete the ice man.
He took particular care over the face: a narrow chin and broad cheekbones, far-set eyes with a slight downward tilt at the outside, a strong nose, and lips stretched in a wide smile. The ice man’s hair was straight, falling well below his shoulders.
“You’ve made him beautiful,” Yalamay said. Daku couldn’t say whether she’d gone and returned or had been standing there the entire time.
“He is beautiful. I only… I only tried to show that.”
Yalamay nodded as if this made perfect sense. “I knew you were the right one for this.”
Aside from Daku’s mother, people rarely praised him, and Yalamay was always sparing with her commendations. Daku should have preened under her rare words. But he was too preoccupied with what he had created. The ice man looked so real, so joyful. And in a few short hours he would be destroyed.
Daku swallowed with difficulty, but he managed a small smile when Yalamay patted his back. “Thank you for letting me do this,” he said.
“I won’t always be here, my boy. And none in the tribe but you could make Jarli so well.”
“Don’t go!” Daku cried, as if she could somehow stop death.
She chuckled. “I am pleased to be appreciated. But Daku, everything changes eventually. Winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes autumn becomes winter. Youngsters grow old and babies are born. Even hard stone is worn away”—she gestured at the rock on which the ice man stood—“but new plants grow.” She gestured toward the forest. “Someday this world will see changes that are so far beyond the tribe’s dreaming. But a few things remain unaltered. Do you know what those things are?”
“The gods?”
Her laughter startled a nearby crow from its branch. “Oh no, my boy. Gods and goddesses change too. More slowly than humans, perhaps, but no less inevitably. But the world contains magics even more powerful than gods, and the strength of those magics never changes. What are they?”
At first his mind was as blank as a fresh layer of snow. But Yalamay looked at him expectantly, and Daku remembered the conversation he’d had with his mother earlier in the day. “Love and courage.”
“Very good! There are others too, but I think those are an excellent start.”

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Giveaway

Enter to win below.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Good luck and happy reading.  Link and prizes provided by the author.

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Getting Personal with Liam Livings of ‘The Guardian Angel’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel by Liam Livings
Release date 27th November 2015
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Cover Art by Meredith Russell

Buy Links to follow

Welcome, Liam, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. We’re happy to have you here today.  Tell us something romantic, about yourself and for our readers. I know that plays a part in your story.

Best place for a first date?

To Paris, under the Eiffel Tower. Have I been on a date there? Yes I have. Was it my first date? Strictly speaking no. I think Paris is such a romantic city. In The Guardian Angel, Richard has a few romantic escapes although one of them doesn’t turn out to be as romantic as he’d thought, but I won’t say any more or I’ll spoil the story.

Best night out you’ve had?

You know when you have one of those nights when the gods, or your guardian angel or whoever you believe in, is smiling down on you, when everything comes together to make a perfect night? Well, one night a few years ago, a friend had come to London from up’t North and we were going to have a quiet night in – Ab Fab box set, few bottles of wine, Chinese takeaway, you know. But once we got to eight o’clock we realised it was a bit of a waste for this friend to come all the way from Yorkshire / Derbyshire / Lancashire, wherever it was, down to London to only see the inside of the flat. So we jumped on the tube, went to a club called Fiction – used to be around the back of Kings Cross station, has since been pulled down to make way for a block of penthouses – which was a series of brick arches, converted into a night club. We got straight in, my friend charmed the doorman, as usual, deposited our coats and within minutes were in one of the dance floors throwing shapes and having it large with the rest of ’em. We met other clubbing friends once inside, having managed to whip up a Saturday night from thin air and a few hours’ notice; much hugging and dancing and  sitting putting the world to rights and philosophising occurred. The club had an outdoor area and I talked to a group of lovely random people over cigarettes and philosophical life talk. We stayed right to the end, at 6 o’clock the next morning, dancing until our limbs ached, catching up about the last time since this friend had visited London and sitting to rest our sore feet. There was an enormous queue for the taxi rank and at that time of the morning all we wanted was a comfy sofa in the flat. Somehow, as we approached the queue a taxi appeared next to a man with a clip board and we were whisked into the car and thence back to the flat. That taxi journey will go down as the most ridiculous, rude, hilarious and surreal journey I’ve ever been on. Because we were all a bit the worse for wear from the club, we were in a jokey mood. I won’t go into details for fear of offending sensitive readers, but suffice it to say our jokes veered more towards the blue end of the scale and when one of my friends apologised to the taxi driver who’d been huffing and puffing at us, I replied, ‘No you’re not, you’re not sorry at all.’ To which he turned to the taxi driver and said, ‘He’s right you know,’ and promptly started telling the next filthy story. At the time, The Last King of Scotland was at the cinema, and we were discussing how sexy James McAvoy the male lead is, and then there we started to play on the name of the film, twisting and turning it until it was much ruder and didn’t make any sense at all. As you can imagine, at the time we thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world.

Richard has a few ‘memorable nights’ resulting in a lot more than an x rated taxi journey and some laughs. He’s definitely searching for something in his life, but sometimes it’s not clear where you have to search, and whether what you’re looking for is what you actually want or need. These are things Richard is grappling with during The Guardian Angel.

Most romantic thing someone’s done for you?

It probably will sound very pedestrian, but a few years ago, when I was saving up for my Mazda MX5, I had stopped buying any non essentials – no clothes, no music, films, books anything. Because Himself knew I was near to my saving target the Christmas before he bought me a Liam care package: most of the music, films, books and toiletries I had wanted over the previous 2 years of saving frantically, and hadn’t bought myself.

Richard doesn’t have much experience of romance as he’s not really done relationships before. He’s less moonlight and roses and more hook up app and takeaway with a friend; until he meets someone he wants to be in a relationship with

Buy links here

Blurb

What happens when a man falls in love with his guardian angel?

Richard Sullivan is plagued by white feathers turning up at the oddest moments. Amy, his best friend, suggests his guardian angel is trying to contact him, but he dismisses the idea out of hand as nonsense.

Until, that is, he meets Sky. Six feet of muscle in a man skirt with white feather wings.

What exactly is a guardian angel? And what happens when your guardian angel takes leave and sends in a temp to cover? Do you wait for a perfect boyfriend on the off chance you may be able to touch him, to be with him, or do you grab happiness with another human? And, why the hell has Richard’s life suddenly become so complicated?

Excerpt

It all started on my way back from the wrong job. I’d just turned it down because I couldn’t stand to listen to that lot going on about sustainability this and putting bees on the roofs of houses that. I just wanted them all to fuck off. I didn’t need their job offer. I had a good feeling the law firm application would get me onto their graduate scheme. I knew it. I could feel it in my water.

The law firm sent me a letter thanking me for the application. And good luck with my other job searching.

Fuck it.

I returned to the office just west of Liverpool Street station to do my last week of temping—my last week temping there, after a long series of temping jobs, some of which had made me want to jump under the train some mornings, others I could just sail through with my brain in neutral. And now this one. Well, this one was fine.

It had been fine. At first I thought it was quite interesting to try to do what New York City had done with its unloved, unknown areas, and name them. Like their SoHo was the area south of Houston Street. TriBeCa was the Triangle Below Canal Street. All this was interesting and news to me when I’d started at the Between Town Partnership. They were trying to make the area between the City of London, Liverpool Street, and the West End, happen. At the moment it was a sort of nowhere between the proper shopping of the West End and the financial district—a sort of no man’s land. No one had reason to go there specifically, unless they worked there, as I had for a variable three months.

I turned on my PC, went to the kitchen to make myself an instant coffee, but not Nescafé because they were doing something nasty about bottle-feeding in Third World countries. I had listened at the time, a bit, but had just internally rolled my eyes. No, this was all free-range, organic, preloved coffee. Shame it still tasted of shit, though.

I sat at my PC and noticed a white feather next to the mouse. I picked it up, looked at it closely, noticing it was pretty perfect as far as feathers went, and then threw it in the bin.

The morning passed without incident: spreadsheets about the CO2 output of various buildings, some brainstorming for this new area, and another offer of an extension to my contract.

“I’ll think about it, thanks,” I said, folding the offer letter into my bag and leaving for lunch.

I sat on a bench in a little park. The grass was covered in office workers, each eating their lunch and grabbing some air and sun for a moment in their day. I pulled out the offer letter from my bag, and another perfect white feather fell into my lap. This one was a bit larger—as big as my index finger—and still perfectly white, still not bent or dirty. I folded it back with the offer letter, then rang Amy at work. She’d know what to do.

“Good morning, The Music and Video Shop, how can I help you?”

“It’s me. How’s your morning?”

She swapped her phone voice for her proper, slightly Welsh accent. “Busy as it goes. I can’t believe people still actually come into a shop to buy this stuff.”

“Just be thankful they’re trying to close down Pirate Cove. And there’s plenty of people who don’t know how to use it anyway, playing it safe, buying DVDs and CDs from you lot.” I paused, thinking about my morning, my situation, and the feathers; she’d want to hear about those. “So, white feathers, what do they mean?”

About the Author

About Liam Livings

Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.

He has written since he was a teenager, started writing with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.

 You can connect with Liam

Giveaway

Win a $15 Giftcard from Amazon or ARe, plus 2 further prizes of an ebook from Liam’s catalogue. Competition closes 11th December – midnight GMT.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Love Lane Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Direct link is http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f922301b64/?

A Stella Review: THE WINTER SPIRIT by Indra Vaughn (a two review novel)

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Rating 5 stars out of 5  ★★★★★

Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.

The Winter Spirit coverAlthough a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.

Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime–Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…

With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make this final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.


Love can conquer all, but can it beat death?

I already read some Christmas stories this year and so far The Winter Spirit is my favorite. It was unexpectedly beautiful and emotional. I simply loved it! It is the perfect Christmas novel for these cold days, light and cuddly.

Nathaniel owns a bed & breakfast left him by his uncle twelve years ago. He is living his quiet, happy and a bit lonely life in the middle of nowhere with a resident ghost called Gabe, dead one century ago, who appears in all the mirrors in his perfect three piece suit. A matchmaking ghost who likes to close Nathaniel and his friend/coworker Elise in the pantry and switch on “Love is in the Air” on the stereo. But it’s on time, he has hundred years to make someone, Nathaniel now, fall in love. And the curse is ending this Christmas. What if he falls in love with Nathaniel?

I don’t have words to say how much this book warmed my heart, it was magical and sweet. I loved the characters, each one except Owen, I laughed and I admit I cried a little at the ending part. The story went exactly where it was supposed to go, where I wanted it to go, it didn’t disappoint me a bit. It’s what I love to read, so perfect, well written and engaging I had to read it in a one standing because I couldn’t put it down. The novella’s idea was not just great, most of all was beautifully developed in a slow burn, friends to lovers story that left me satisfied through all of it.

This was my first book by Indra Vaughn and I need to check out her previous works soon. The Winter Spirit was a well done surprise! Highly recommended.

Cover art is as perfect as the story.

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

Book Details:

Published November 16th 2015 by Indra Ink
Kindle Edition, 93 pages
ASIN B0184I7U2U
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: A Guy’s Thanksgiving (The Guy #3.5) by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

A Work in The Guy Series

A Guy's Thanksgiving coverTwo proposals. One giant dog. Reunited lovers.

Welcome to Glamour, Arizona, where the holidays are never dull. Glamour may be a small town, but the surprises keep coming.

Everybody’s looking forward to Thanksgiving. Only Mac Sharma is a reluctant guest. Even as Anthony and Dean make him feel welcome at the Carrino table, Mac feels awkward among the close-knit group of friends. Life gets even more complicated when Conor Harvey shows up in town.

Mac has been in love with Conor since his university days. Too bad Conor broke his heart—right before he fled to his hometown in Ireland without explanation. Conor’s still a wild artist and as sexy as Mac remembers. But they’re no longer kids. This Thanksgiving, Mac must decide if he can give Conor a second chance.

You know that meme “You had one job”?  Here cover artist Maria Fanning had one job and nailed it. I saw the cover and knew I wanted to read this story.  That was it.  From that table above the title that you knew was going to be laid out full of food for Thanksgiving to that soulful pup gazing out at you below the title, I was hooked.  I’m a sucker for stories with dogs in them anyway, add to that a holiday story other than Christmas?  I’m in.

A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates turned out to be such a heartwarming and lovely story, perfect for this Thanksgiving season or anytime you are looking for a sweet romantic contemporary romance to read. Its the first in the series for me but I don’t feel that it worked against me here.  The author did a nice job of bringing all the couples of the previous books together in short little sketches, enough to let us know something about each of them and their relationship and their part in the group.  I have to say that the 126 pages flew by and made the town of Glamour warm and inviting, enough so that I’m going to be backtracking and picking up the rest of the stories.

There are several main story lines, not just one.  The first involves Mac Sharma, art dealer and Irish artist Conor Harvey.  Their past history is one of broken hearts and miscommunication. I liked the interracial relationship, especially Mac searching for his mother’s recipes to bring to the table for Thanksgiving.  The dog?  All I can say is that it involves Henry and Locke from The Last Guy Breathing (The Guy #3) in a heartbreaking, very real way.  And yes, it was my favorite part of the story.  But there was also Anthony Carrino (The Guy From Glamour (The Guy #1) trying for the perfect Thanksgiving for Dean and his loved ones even though, dare I say it, he was sick as a  dog.  Who couldn’t relate to that?  All the couples from the previous stories are united here for Thanksgiving in Glamour.

My only issue here was that this story had so much heart, so many great couples and story lines that it should have been much longer to give them all their needed time and length to shine.  I wanted just that bit more of each of them in this book and feel they all got cut a tad short.  Still the author’s writing is lively, concise and the sex scenes are pretty darn hot.

In all, A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates is 126 pages of sweet, heart-felt romance and a quick read at this time of year when so many other things are grabbing at your attention and time.  I was so happy that cover stopped me in my tracks and made me read this story.  I mean really how can you pass that face up?

Cover art by Maria Fanning did the job.  It made me read the book without the blurb, without the title, just the cover.  You had one job and you did it perfectly! Grade A.

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

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627985034 (ISBN13: 9781627985031)
seriesThe Guy #3.5

The Guy Series:

 

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Easy Evenings (Mangrove Stories #4) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

easy evenings coverContinuing in the Mangrove series, Mary Calmes brings us the story of Lazlo Maguire, part time rent boy, part time Mangrove Florida business owner, and his lost love, Attorney Britton Lassiter.

Readers of the series may recall that Laz’s best friend, Mia, had decided to expand her law practice by bringing on a new attorney—an attorney whose name happens to be the same as the man Laz once loved but refused to give up his escort career for. Well, Laz’s worst fears are realized when it turns out that Britton is one and the same, and he no longer wants Laz. In fact, he’s put out a restraining order against him.

Lazlo Maguire works as an escort in NYC for six months of every year then heads to Mangrove, Florida for the rest of the year where he hones his metalworking craft and sells his unique sculptures to townsfolk, and collectors. He’d love to do this work full time, but he’s supporting his mother and sister, ungrateful though they may be, and he can’t afford to do that without the money he makes as a rent boy.

The only time he’d ever let his guard down was with Britton Lassiter, a gorgeous work-driven attorney who found that Laz was the only person who could meet his needs and get him to relax. Laz never acted as his escort; they met on an even playing field and fell in love. Unfortunately, Laz felt he couldn’t put himself first due to his need to support his family, and he broke Britton’s heart when he left town. No wonder Britton is hurt when he sees Laz again—he thinks Laz followed him to Florida but is going to run off again.

Enter one sweet three-year-old girl and the attorney escorting her who informs Laz that he is not only a father, but he now has custody of his child since her mother passed away. After the initial chaotic feelings run rampant through his system, he wholeheartedly embraces being a father. First stop is to his friend Mia’s law office so that he can get an ironclad agreement that once Kitty is his, she can’t be taken away. And who happens to be working that day instead of Mia? Britton, of course. Despite his antipathy toward Laz, Britton helps him with Kitty, and that action proves to be the first step toward getting back together with his lover.

The two men find themselves revealing their hurts, their past misunderstandings, and their innermost feelings, and they very quickly realize that the only way forward for either of them is together.

This is a fairly short story, no more than a novella length, but it’s typical Mary Calmes in that there’s hot, hot sex scenes, heartwarming love declarations, and a touch of alpha action in the bedroom—this time from the physically smaller man. There were some instances and experiences in the story that I felt required a stretch of my imagination, and I would have loved to have had the time to explore more about their past and to have allowed more time for Britton and Laz to get back together, but that wouldn’t have been possible with the length of this book.

Overall, I found this MM romance very satisfying and sweet. It would be an excellent beach read or the book you’d want to curl up with on a cold winter day.

~~~
Cover Art by Resse Dante is very bright and colorful, depicting a young man smoking a cigarette while leaning on his deck which overlooks dense Florida greenery. Though attractive, I don’t feel the cover represents the character as portrayed in the story. It looks more like what Laz may have been before the story started, but nothing like the Laz depicted as a young father in this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 77 pages
Expected publication: November 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634765915 (ISBN13: 9781634765916)
edition languageEnglish

Series Mangrove Stories with links to our reviews:

A Ali Review: The Werewolf of Grey Lake Inn (Paranormal Days) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Vector illustration of wolf howling at moon in night forest in green tone.

Astor is tired—tired of his family and the way they never listen to his advice, and tired of being in love with his agent, Tennyson, who after a one night stand made it clear he preferred to keep things professional. The only thing Astor’s not tired of is his job researching haunted inns and hotels to prove just how haunted they’re not.

His latest book is about a notorious inn in the middle of nowhere, and a haunting he suspects has more to do with real werewolves than fake ghosts. It will provide fodder for an excellent non-fiction book, the novel he’s secretly writing, and be so distracting he’ll finally be able to get over Tennyson.

Except when he arrives it’s to find that Tennyson is already there, with every intention of keeping Astor company through the holidays.

This was an enjoyable story that follows Astor as he tries to debunk the myth of the ghost at Grey Lake Inn. Unfortunately what he finds are werewolves. He also finds that his agent Tennyson has followed him to the inn and this is a problem because Astor has strong feelings for the man. Feelings he doesn’t think are reciprocated. As it turns out they are and the two men end up having not only a dangerous encounter with a werewolf, but a sexy and romantic weekend.

The writing style in consistent with this author’s other works so if you’re a fan you should definitely check this out. It is also a good starting point for people who have not read this author before. The story is pretty short and just shows us a snapshot of the two men’s time together over the course of a few days. I would have liked for it to have been a bit longer so I could have gotten to know them better but that aside I did enjoy the book.

Cover art is perfect for the story.

Sales links:  Pre-order Link at Less Than Three (save 15%)| All Romance (ARe) | Amazon| coming soon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: December 23rd 2015 by Less Than Three Press
original titleThe Werewolf of Grey Lake Inn
ISBN139781620046883
edition languageEnglish
seriesParanormal Days

Note: This was originally published in the Bad Moon Rising anthology. It hasn’t changed significantly for the solo release

 

A BJ Review: Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings #1) by Lyn Gala

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Claimings, Tails and Other Alien ArtifactsLiam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

Wow, this story blew me away. Not only is it extremely well-written but also totally original and unique! It was so such fun reading that I read it all the way through in one day without putting it down! I know some people do that regularly, but I seldom can manage it. But watching these two very different men learn to communicate on intimate issues was so thoroughly fascinating.

This is a sweet, gentle romance with a unique take on submission/dominance that I just adored. I enjoy sci-fi and one of my fav tropes is alien lovers—however, so very often the alien’s anatomy disappointingly similar to human. That’s one of the things I adored about this book–Ondry is truly alien in that his physiology is completely different from our. Thus their lovemaking is unique… tender, sensual, but also hot.

But don’t read it just for that. The plot is outstanding and tightly drawn, the love story is sweet and beautiful, the characters are nuanced and easy to connect to. And the structure of Ondry’s world and social system is outstanding and complex. Ondry’s Rownt world is a matriarchal society governed by older/wiser women called “grandmothers.” The way the males are treated as their seed is um… taken, is quite harsh. But overall this is absolutely stunning world building, just beyond awesome! For anyone who enjoys hot m/m sci-fi, this is highly recommended.

The cover has all the elements to mark it as sci-fi as well as its hot (and I love the tail!)

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

Book Details:  

ebook, 104 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Loose Id
original titleClaimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts
ISBN139781623001926
edition languageEnglish
seriesClaimings #1