Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best Book Covers of December 2015

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Best Book Covers of December

2015

Something Like A Love Song

 

So many books so many great covers.  From photographs to line drawings and paintings, we’ve seen them all.  Naked torsos to  the simplicity of a riding crop against a red background.  A great cover can make all the difference to a book, it can catch the eye of a reader, make them want to pick that book up and look some more.  It should tell us something about the story or characters. It should intrique us, and reach out to something inside of us, connecting us to whatever may lie within.  What a very large role we put upon the covers.  Here is a list of those we think did their job and then some.  Do you agree?  Who would you recommend?

 

Best Covers of December 2015

Blueberry Boys coverTheSubsClub_600x900Winter Oranges coverFish Stick Fridays

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North, artist LC Chase
The Sub Club by J.A. Rock, artist L.C. Chase
Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton, artist  LC Chase
Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay#1) by Rhys Ford, artist Rhys Notley

DomofAgesFSLoving and Loathing VegasThe Hot FloorSPECTR the complete series books

SPECTR: The Complete First Series (#1-6) by Jordan L. Hawk, artist Jordan L. Hawk
Loving and Loathing Vegas by Lex Valentine, artist LC Chase
Dom of the Ages (Collars and Cuffs #7) by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams, artist Paul Richmond
The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles, artist Lou Harper

CinderFirst Comes Marriage

Cinder: A CinderFella Story by Marie Sexton. artist unknown

First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony, artist Paul Richmond

Something Like a Love Song by Becca Burton, artist unknown

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best Books of December 2015

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Best Books of December

2015

 

Its has been a stellar month.  From the great advent stories to our regular reviews that have run the gamut from science fiction to contemporary romance with a kink to the supernatural and shifters in love, we have read and reviewed the lot and its been wonderful.  And so hard to pick the best of the month.  I had to narrow it down to the 5 star ratings with a  sprinkling of 4.75 stars which were rounded up.  I also divided them out as well into Advent Short Stories and Audio books.  Still there were many.  Take a look back, see what stories you may have missed and enjoy!

The titles are linked to our reviews.  As always happy reading!

Best Books of December 2015

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryAdvent Short Stories:

It Was Close…

Best Audiobooks of December 2015audiobook clipart bw

 

A MelanieM Review: First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

First Comes MarriageTheir marriage was supposed to be all business….

When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch: to keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal. In exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

A Dreamspun Desires title*

While I was gobbling up every book I could read growing up, among those countless paperbacks included untold numbers of romance novels, from the gothic to the regency to the contemporary.  My parents upper garage has shelves still lined with hundreds of yellowed paperbacks whose covers mirrored that of the one Paul Richmond designed for Shira Anthony’s First Come Marriage.  This is the first novel from Dreamspinner’s new Dreamspun Desires Romance line, with tales and covers guaranteed to bring back memories of those stories you may have read and loved so well.  I was so eager to dive into the story and find out what Shira Anthony and Dreamspinner had in store for us all.  Happily, I discovered a familiar and wonderfully romantic story certain to warm your heart and make the time fly joyfully by!

Shira Anthony picks that age old theme of a marriage of convenience (yes, a favorite of mine) and transforms it within the M/M genre.  I especially liked that she kept many of the old romance novel features…like a will clause, a specific time frame…moving within that prescribed romance novel format. It might seem similar to Harlequin and other romance publishers yet the author makes it her own with her characterizations, locations and dialog.

Taken outside of the prescribed romance novel format some of the character choices might have one snorting…a tad.  But remember the trope this story is mirroring with affection and those small irritations fly away as they did back when I was reading the original stories.  It was a conscious decision to take these romance novels as what they were…an adult wish for the best happily ever after, a contemporary Cinderella Story and if you have to take quite a few leaps of faith?  Well, so be it.

Chris Valentine is a struggling writer.  He’s sweet, adorable and clearly in need of someone to love him.  Along comes wealthy Jesse Donovan, in need of a spouse in order to maintain control of his company.  The men and their romance unfolds sweetly, gently and with the misunderstandings popping up as they should.  I liked both Jesse’s stepmother and Chris’ mom.  From the moment I picked it up, the story just flew by, bringing up all those happy memories of the romance stories of the past and intermingling them with this sexy, cheerful new M/M HEA from Shira Anthony and Dreamspinner Press.

I can’t wait to see what the next story in this series brings.  This is just so much fun!  Romance, sexy men, and a HEA!  You just can’t go wrong.  Pick up First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony, the first in the new Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner Press.  I think you’ll be as delighted and entertained as I was.

Cover artist: Paul Richmond does justice with total affection to those wonderful romantic covers of the past right down to the design.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Link to come

Book Details:

ebook, 262 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFirst Comes Marriage
ISBN139781634768443
Edition LanguageEnglish

*Dreamspun Desires is a series from Dreamspinner Press: “Dreamspun Desires are contemporary category romance novels, complete with your favorite heartwarming heroes, captivating plots, and exotic settings. These titles are all about happily ever afters that leave you with a satisfied smile for days.”

A Stella Advent Story Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw

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RATING 4 out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryFruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party.

Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.

But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Blame it on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw was my first story by this author and I was pleasurably surprised by it. Although it’s a short, the author did really great, especially with the character of Sam. I could feel his past, his hurts and his feelings. I cheered him on to find some family and forget about the one who abandoned him in a basket. I was so happy he met the sunny Jay and his delicious fruitcake, not a sweets but a truly drug (LOL).  I felt the loneliness in Sam, scared to be part of something because he had none in his life and someone like Jay, so different from his nature, doesn’t seem the right person.

I liked the writing, the reading flew easily and I liked the plot and the development of the story. Sweet but not too much, most of all, a real story, believable. There were some funny moments too, when Sam stole the fruitcake.

Another great addition to the DSP Advent Calendar.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is so cute and his style is unique and lovely. He’s one of my favorite artist so of course this one is a winner to me.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 36 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RUW5XO
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Bj Review: Souls in Bondage series (#1, 2, & 2.5) by Lex Valentine

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Rating:    4 stars out of 5 (for the series overall)

I’m reviewing this series together as they are all short and fit together like a glove.

Broken Bonds (Souls in Bondage #1) – 5 stars out of 5  ★★★★★

Broken BondsThe one thing Haven Noel wants for his Christmas birthday is for his master, Kellen, to love him. But the wonderful Christmas Eve Haven plans for his master goes awry and instead of receiving his master’s love, Haven ends up on the street without his collar. Heartbroken, Haven heads to the club where he and Kellen originally met, only to find it closed.

With a blizzard descending and nowhere to go, Haven curls up on the club doorstep, courting death. Hopeless and shattered, on the verge of losing consciousness, he makes a wish for Kellen to find happiness some day. Two angels with a vested interest in Haven and Kellen’s happiness hear his wish and conspire with Kellen’s family to save Haven’s life, bring love back to Kellen’s heart and give them both the best kinky Christmas ever.

A little bit of a Dicken’s redux, but I love retelling of fairy tales and beloved old stories! Read in one sitting! A Dicken’s classic within a D/s relationship? Heck, yeah. This well-written story captured my attention from page one and didn’t let go–I couldn’t stop reading except to wipe my leaky eyes, because it had tears rolling down my cheeks. I don’t care if it was a bit sappy, in fact, I loved that about it. The characters were perfect for me–broken boys are a big favorite. A darker sort of holiday story but with a HEA ending that was just right.

Then later, I purchased the audiobook and listened to it on a longish car trip. Warning, do not listen to this while driving… even if it is a re-read. Its even more poignant on audio! I had to keep blinking away the tears. Lovely story in both print and audio.

Book Details and Sales Links:    Amazon | All Romance (ARe)

Kindle Edition, 84 pages
Published December 24th 2012 by Amazon Digital Services
ASINB00ASZC00U
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSouls in Bondage #1

Bitter Bonds (Souls in Bondage #2) – 4 stars

Bitter BondsDominant Jake Conrad isn’t going to get involved in another relationship with a submissive. Burned by two former submissives, Jake vows never to collar one again. Then his best friend Ray brings him a sub like no other. Finn is damaged and bitter, although not as bitter as Jake. The white haired submissive has secrets and talents Jake never dreamed of and the lure of Finn’s need to submit calls to Jake’s soul.

Everyone Finn has ever loved walked away from him. He fears caring for anyone when he knows the outcome will shatter his heart again. When Finn falls for Jake, he gives his lover the ultimate gift, a chance to have the dreams he set aside years before even though he knows that if Jake accepts the gift, he’ll walk out of Finn’s life forever. A slave to his love for his Dominant, the submissive finds his true strength in easing Jake’s bitterness even at the cost of his own happiness.

After book one blew me away, I had very high expectations for this story. First off, I was delighted to get a re-visit and almost a follow-up with Kellan and Haven which tied things up even more nicely. YAY.

This sweet story centers on the angels helping Jake and Finn. The BDSM elements are pretty mild, there is plenty of delicious angst, and there’s a slight paranormal slant. But this one is not at all the total heartwrencher that book one was for me. I enjoyed seeing inside the insecure Dom who thought he’d failed his other subs. I’d have liked to seen a bit more exploration of the two characters as I didn’t quite connect with them as deeply as I had with those from the first book. If you like angsty stories with BDSM and damaged guys, then this one should fit the bill nicely.

Sales Links :   All Romance (ARe)   |   Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 10th 2013 by Winterheart Books (first published June 9th 2013)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Subs for Lunch (Souls in Bondage #2.5) – 3 stars

Subs for LunchBest friends Micah, Haven and Finn find a new sandwich shop called Mouthwatering Subs. When they talk the owners into selling them some T-shirts, naughtiness ensues. The three submissives invite their dominants out to their favorite club, Darkness, for a night of fun jumpstarted by the suggestive T-shirts. A worried Finn just wants Jake, his overworked dominant, to relax. Haven is looking to bring some laughter to his usually serious Dom, Kellen. And mischievous Micah has the tallest order to fill. He’s hoping for a public spanking. Will his normally possessive Dom, Nick, bare Micah’s ass in the club for all to see? It’s a night of fun and frolic for the three subs and their sexy Doms.

Although we revisit the characters from books one and two, the tone of this book is entirely different from books one and two. This one is playful and light revisit to the couples. It was cute, and the subs get a bit bratty for those who enjoy that. We get to explore the friendship that has developed between the three subs we meet in the prior books. But it ended before the talk between Micah/Nick that I’d been waiting for, darn it!! I don’t feel that it moved the storylines forward much. There are three couples in this series: Kellan/Haven, Nick/Micah and Jake/Finn. There hasn’t really been a book dedicated to Nick/Micah as MCs yet, but I hope that there will be in future.

Sales Links:  Amazon | All Romance (ARe)
Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Winterheart Books
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSouls in Bondage #2.5

The first two covers in this series are different from the final one… I love the black and white of the first two with the red accent and they are both hot. The final one rather sticks out as different, which for me was disappointing.

A Stella Advent Story Review: Talk Turkey By Bru Baker

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Talk TurkeyCarson is a California transplant settling into life in the Windy City. On his first Christmas away from home, he assures his worried family he’ll be having a real Christmas dinner.

Recent culinary school graduate Tom Stockton earns some extra money giving out cooking advice at the Talk Turkey hotline. Tom’s honeyed voice and sharp sense of humor are attractive to the lonely Carson, and Carson finds reasons to call the hotline again and again. But on Christmas Eve, Carson’s call is less playful and more panicked with the big meal looming. Carson is just looking for advice, but Tom has a surprise in store that might lead to much more.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Talk Turkey by Bru Baker was probably one of the funniest I read among the DSP Advent Calendar stories I read this year. And surely the most developed in the MCs’ relationship. If you’re looking for an original plot, give this Holiday short a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

Carson has just moved to Chicago and in his first Christmas alone, away from his family, he promises his mum he is still going to celebrate with someone and cooking. The only little problem? He knows nothing about gravy, pot and what size of turkey to buy. Luckly he can count on Tom to save him from a frozen turkey called Terry.

It was a great pleasure to read this story, it was engaging and hilarious, I laughed so much. A lovely surprise by an author I’m soon going to read more about.

Cover art by Catt Ford is perfection.

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

BOOK DETAILS

eebook, 58 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RVC1LO
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Wild Heart Gets A Chance at Love with CJane Elliott’s ‘There You Are’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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There You Are (Wild and Precious #2) by CJane Elliott
Release Date: December 23, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing CJane Elliott, author of There You Are. Hi CJane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi there! Thank you for having me on the blog today to share about my new novella, There You Are, which is the second book in the Wild and Precious series. There You Are picks up the story of Cody Bellstrom where we left him in Wild and Precious. He moves to Portland, Oregon, and meets the man who is to become the love of his life, Phineas MacDonald. But they both have issues to work through before they can get to their happy ending.

By the way, those who have read my novella, Mercury In Retrograde, will recognize a cameo appearance of one of the main characters, Alex Harrison, toward the end of the book. It’s a short but key scene which proves to be a turning point for Cody.

  • Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.

Phineas sucked his thumb until he was five. Cody doesn’t mind Phineas’s oral fixation.

Cody started his music career with clarinet lessons at age six because his father was a jazz drummer who loved classic jazz music and wanted Cody to be the next Benny Goodman. Cody quit clarinet after his dad left them.

  • Have you ever written something that made you cry?

Many times! I tend toward writing angst so there’s a vein of melancholy running through most of my writing, even though my characters get to their happy ending. I don’t want to make it too easy on them, though!

  • Have you ever co-written with someone before?

No. It appeals to me from the standpoint of having someone else be involved in the writing. But that’s also why I’m leery of it, because what if we proved incompatible? What I’d really like to do is team up with some fellow writers and do an anthology of some kind.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

It’s different things at different times. These last few months the most difficult part has been continuing to write at all while working almost fulltime, preparing for the holidays, and preparing for this book release. Usually the most difficult part is starting something new, although I’ve been using outlines and other tools to create plot and characters ahead of time and that makes it easier.

  • Name your four most important food groups.

Pasta, chocolate, red wine, and coffee.

Thank you, CJane, that was perfect. Now more  about There You Are (Wild and Precious #2) by CJane Elliott

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Blurb

Bisexual musician Cody Bellstrom is a free spirit, easygoing and unattached. On a cross-country trip, Cody befriends young Sandy Nixon and gets him safely to Portland and his uncle, Phineas MacDonald. Beautiful Phineas turns Cody’s life upside down, and Cody learns he’s not as unattached as he aspires to be. With the hard-won knowledge of what lies underneath his need to be free, Cody wins a chance at real freedom and true love.

Ever since his longtime lover Allen died, Phineas MacDonald has lived a circumscribed life. He stopped performing as fierce drag queen Phanny Hill and works part-time in a bookstore. Phineas never expected to find love again. But when sexy and caring Cody Bellstrom turns up, Phineas feels his orderly life slipping out of his control. Cody brings him alive again, but now Phineas must find the courage to let go of his grief over Allen and give love a second chance.

 

Pages or Words: 33,000 words
Series should be read in order to best appreciate this book
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt:

“YOU SURE about this?” Bette’s pointed glance packed a world of meaning as she maneuvered the car through the DC traffic and Union Station came into view.

Cody shifted, touching the door handle to ready his escape. “Yes, I’m sure. Didn’t we go over this?” In excruciating detail, he added silently but didn’t dare say aloud. Not with the mood Bette was in.

“I’m giving you one more chance to come to your senses.” Bette pulled up outside the train station, frowning, and turned off the engine.

She looked so unhappy, Cody wanted to change his mind. I can’t, he thought.

Won’t, you mean, said the Bette in his head. He reached over and laid his hand on top of hers. “You’ll get along fine without me.”

“That’s not the point.” She nailed him with a baleful scowl. “We don’t want to get along without you. Dang you, Cody Bellstrom, you have no idea who you are to us.” At his puzzled expression, she turned away and stared stonily through the windshield.

“Well… I guess this is it.” Cody waited, but she didn’t respond. “I love you, girl, you know that, right? You and Aurora.” He meant it. He, Bette, and Aurora had been friends since they were college freshmen ten and a half years ago. Cody sometimes found it hard to believe that he’d known them since before Bette and Aurora had become a couple. It seemed like they’d been together forever.

A barely perceptible nod.

“Come on, Bette, don’t be mad. I’ll be back. I swear.”

“Sure you will.” She sighed and turned a softer face toward him. “Goddammit, you better. We love you. If you gotta do this, of course we can’t stop you. All we want is for you to be happy.”

A car honked behind them, and a uniformed officer motioned them to get moving.

“Shoot,” Bette muttered. “All right, babe. Get outta here.”

Cody leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek. “I’ll text. And call. And Skype.”

“Okay. Send us a postcard from every stop, and take a picture of yourself in Powell’s Books when you get to Portland.”

“Will do.”

Cody opened the door and unfurled himself from the passenger seat, then hauled out his luggage, such as it was. He traveled light; always had. A knapsack, one rolling suitcase, and his guitar, and he was good to go.

He stood on the curb and waved as Bette pulled away, then strode into the station, his spirits lifting, while Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” played on a loop in his mind.

WildAndPrecious_postcard_front_DSP

Aspiring writer Brent Granger has good friends and a great job at an arts magazine in DC, but he’s batting zero in the arena of love. Brent begins to get a clue why things aren’t working with women from his strong attraction to his gorgeous, gay, and already attached boss, Graham Stoneford. When he sees a personal ad from a man that quotes his favorite poet, Brent decides to do something wild and answer.

Enter Cody Bellstrom, easygoing bisexual musician, who is happy to initiate Brent in the ways of gay sex. Brent now has a new problem: he realizes he’s gay and no one in his life knows it. Cody tires of hiding their relationship, but Brent finds it challenging to come out to family, friends, and especially to Graham. In the end, Brent must confront the truth of where – and with whom – his heart lies.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon

Buy the book:

Dreamspinner |  ARe |  Amazon |  Apple |  Kobo |  Barne&Noble |  Google Play

 

Meet the author:

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.

In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

Where to find the author:

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Tour Dates & Stops:

23-Dec

Book Lovers 4Ever, Louise Lyons, Joyfully Jay, The Hat Party

30-Dec

Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes

6-Jan

Unquietly Me, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, A.M. Leibowitz

13-Jan

Havan Fellows, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Divine Magazine, Jessie G. Books

20-Jan

Happily Ever Chapter, Bonkers About Books, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance

27-Jan

The Novel Approach, Alpha Book Club, Bayou Book Junkie

3-Feb

Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10-Feb

BFD Book Blog, TTC Books and More, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Up All Night, Read All Day

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Any book from CJane’s backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize   provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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When One Book Isn’t Enough! The Sky People Trilogy book blast for D.C. Juris (excerpt/contest)

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The Sky People Trilogy by DC Juris
Release Date: December 30, 2015

Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Blurb

Driven by visions of his soul mate, Tristan, Jinsu steps through the portal to Earth, leaving all he has ever known behind.. Seven months into their fairy-tale romance, and Tristan and Jinsu couldn’t be happier. But when Jinsu falls ill with a mysterious, lingering condition, everything changes. Jinsu’s magic is dying and taking him with it. Suddenly the couple’s desire to find a way back to Jinsu’s home world is more than just a dream–it’s a necessity. With Jinsu’s time quickly running out, Tristan is forced to seek help from someone he’d hoped to never, ever lay eyes on again.

Tristan awakens on Torottu, but the portal wasn’t meant for humans, and he’s been near death since his arrival almost ten months ago. Even worse, Jinsu has no idea who Tristan is—the return trip through the portal erased his memory of Earth, of their relationship, or Tristan himself. Winning Jinsu’s heart again won’t be easy, especially if Kelan, Jinsu’s twin, has anything to say about it. Kelan loves Jinsu, too, and he won’t be put aside for Tristan. Not again. Tristan knows his only chance for happiness—and the only chance for Jinsu and Kelan—is to follow his heart. Previously published by Breathless Press.

 

Pages or Words: 33,000 words
Categories: M/M Romance, Ménage/Poly, Romance, Science Fiction, M/M/M Romance, Twincest

Excerpt

After taking Jinsu home and grabbing a light dinner for himself, Tristan drove across town, up and down streets once all-too familiar, to see the only person he could think of who might be able to help him. He pushed open the office door, taking note of the little faded metal welcome sign and the open 9 to 5 banner hanging crookedly underneath it. He’d arrived just in time.

“Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in. How you doin’, sugar?”

Tristan smiled at the petite platinum blonde behind the desk. He’d always liked Nancy. Despite the fact that she looked like something out of an old mobster movie—big hair, low-cut blouse, gaudy makeup, chewing gum and all—she had that rare work ethic that made her more than just a receptionist. “I’m good. Is Bryan in?”

“Sure, hon. Have a seat. I’ll let him know you’re here.”

Tristan sat on the edge of a metal folding chair—god, Bryan was such a cheapskate—rested his left foot on his right thigh.

Before Nancy could stand up, the door behind her opened to reveal a tall, heavy-set man with closely cropped dark hair just beginning to thin. Older than Tristan, Bryan had started to show his age. “Nancy, do me a favor and—”

Nancy nodded toward Tristan. Tristan stood, the scrape of his chair on the tile far louder than he would’ve liked.

“Tristan?” Slight upward inflection in Bryan’s voice, as if he couldn’t believe Tristan was actually there. Well, that made two of them.

“Long time no see, huh, Bryan?” It was a lame way to break the ice, but how did one approach his former lover when he showed up at said former lover’s work, out-of-the-blue after three years?

“Hold my calls,” Bryan said, with barely a glance at Nancy. “C’mon in, Tris.”

Tristan cringed at the old nickname and followed Bryan into his office. The place was surprisingly neat—neater than Tristan had ever seen Bryan’s surroundings before.

“I’ve gotten better at housekeeping, as you can see.” Bryan gestured to the chair opposite his desk. “Have a seat. At the risk of sounding clichéd, to what do I owe this honor?”

“I need your help with something.” Tristan took a deep breath. Best to get right to it. He didn’t want Bryan getting any ideas or false hopes. Leaving out as many personal, private details as he possibly could, Tristan filled Bryan in on the events of the past seven months: Jinsu’s arrival—he didn’t mention the part about the dreams that had brought them together—his subsequent illness, and what Tristan had learned of Torottu.

“So…that brings you up to now,” Tristan finished. Bryan had sat quietly and listened throughout his speech, fingers steepled together in front of him, elbows resting on his desk, with that just-this-side-of-predatory gleam in his eyes that most people found alluring but Tristan had always hated.

“Huh. Well…it’s not really my line of work.” Bryan leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms.

“What do you mean it’s not your line of work? You investigate the freaky and abnormal.”

Paranormal, to be specific. This…” Bryan shrugged. “I’m not saying I won’t help you. You know I’d do anything for you. I owe you after what I put you through.”

Tristan ground his teeth. Damn him for bringing up their past. Patience was a virtue when it came to dealing with Bryan, but Tristan could hit below the belt too. “I need your full efforts and attention. You can’t half-ass this. It can’t be like Detroit.”

Bryan straightened and curled his lip, looking away quickly. “Detroit wasn’t my fault.”

“You may not have caused it, but you did nothing to help. Understand, I won’t let Jinsu fall to a witch hunt.”

“What happened in Detroit—”

“What happened in Detroit didn’t have to. You involved the wrong people. You hung innocents out to dry; you threw your partners under the bus and nearly caused a citywide riot. I won’t let you sell Jinsu’s story and I won’t let you endanger his life. You keep the press out of this one. No glorious headlines, understand?”

“You’ve been back to the alley?”

Tristan bit back a conceited chuckle at Bryan’s change of topic. “Several times. There’s nothing there. Everything’s perfectly normal.”

“That may be and it may not. There are things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.” Bryan turned and pulled a book off the over-stuffed shelf behind him, thumbed through it quickly and then tossed it down on his desk. “You know that.”

“Jinsu’s certain he would be able to feel the magic if it were there.” Of course, that was only a theory, but having Bryan second-guess him was annoying.

“Sure, but you said he’s sick. That could be affecting him. I assume you’ve done some other research of your own?”

Tristan nodded. “I’ve been over every book of mythology and the occult that I could get my hands on.”

“Bah. We won’t find what we’re looking for in there. This kind of stuff doesn’t get listed in the public record.” Bryan folded his hands together and gave Tristan a long, lingering, thoughtful look. “I made a mistake with you.”

“Yeah, you did. Look, I didn’t come here for this. This isn’t about you and me. This is about someone’s life. It’s far more important than any petty bullshit.” On the verge of insulting, and definitely risky, but Bryan had never been good with subtlety.

Bryan quirked an eyebrow. “So we were petty, were we?”

“One of us was. I don’t want to argue about the past. Are you willing to help us?”

“Of course I am. I’ll need to gather my resources, make some calls. It may take time.”

Tristan sighed. Time was one thing they didn’t have.

Buy the book:  Torquere Books

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Meet the author:

Romance author, sic-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we’re talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake making, football watching, rubber duck collecting, drag show loving, full of fabulous with a Capital F kinda gal. She’s also an Ordained Minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate NY with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching “Star Trek” and “Supernatural” repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops: December 30, 2015

Parker Williams, A.M. Leibowitz, The Hat Party, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Molly Lolly, Nephy Hart, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Andrew Q. Gordon, Velvet Panic

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘The Sky People Trilogy.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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A MelanieM Review: New Lease of Life by Lillian Francis

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

New Lease On LifePhillip used to laugh a lot, back when his friends called him Pip. However the good deed that left him hospitalized not only marred his body, it stripped him of his good humor too. Ever since, he has pushed his friends away and shut out the world. Donating his vintage clothing to a charity shop should have been the final act in a year-long campaign to sever the links with the man Pip used to be, but the stranger on his doorstep awakens feelings in Pip that he hasn’t experienced since the incident that left him angry at the world and reliant on the cold metal of the hideous hospital-issue crutch.

Colby forces his way into Pip’s life, picking at the scab of his past. Colby isn’t interested in Pip’s money or his expensive address. He has only one goal: to make Pip smile again. With every moment in Pip’s presence, Colby chips away at the walls Pip has built around himself. Pip knows it’s impossible to fight his attraction with Colby’s sunny disposition casting light into the darkness in his soul.

Once again, Lillian Francis has written a story and characters guaranteed to capture your heart.  From the moment you and Colby meet the broken Pip,  something about this damaged man will call out to you. So much so that, like Colby,  you’re pulled through that door and into the wreckage of Pip’s life.

As the second chime faded away, Colby heard an odd thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse that got progressively louder the longer he stood poised with his finger still hovering near the bell press. Dropping his hand back to his side, Colby leaned closer to the door, hoping to make out the individual sounds, but they were muffled by the thick wood.

“You only need to press the bell once,” said the angry young man whose face appeared in the gap as the door was opened. “I should get a plaque saying ‘Cripple lives here. Be patient.’” This last part appeared to be muttered more to himself before he returned his brusque attention back to Colby. “What d’you want?”

What follows is an angry, sad, sharp, concise little conversation that makes you want to know that young man banging about inside his place, a place you’ll find out that all but screams of happier times and abandonment.

And suddenly you want to make it better, you want Colby to make it better.  Later it becomes to help Pip make it better for himself.

What an amazing story which is all the more so because there isn’t a lot of drama or angst.  That has already happened.  This is about healing, the recovery.  And it happens in stages just as it should.

Phillip Longhampton had once been an astonishing man, a dandy as it were, well known for as the flamboyant Pip with his vintage impeccable dress, his clothes blog, his outgoing nature, all destroyed by one good deed gone horribly  wrong.  Now Phillip once more, he hides away with his disability,  having removed himself from his old life, clothes included.

Lillian Francis’ vivid descriptions and thorough research make both the old and present Pip come  alive for us.  We see him through the photographs Colby sees of his clothing, the care and quality as well as the deep affection in which Pip still hold his valued collection, whether he will admit it or not.  The portrait we gather together of the man is one we see a piece at a time.  First snarly and in pain, and then as more and more of his past is filled in, we see the man he was and is slowly becoming again.

As the character of Pip fills in, the one of Colby fleshes out as well  The reader gets to know both men as they get to know each other.  Its a lovely technique and it deepens this romance to one quite out of the ordinary.  Of course there is nothing ordinary about either of these two.  I could see the clothes but how I wish I could visit the shoppes as well.  And yes, I want that cane.

The relationship builds to the perfect climax, and although I could see it coming, it didn’t spoil the wonder and joy that I knew that scene would bring.  Really, so, so, marvelous.

Oh, and don’t miss out on that fun glossary at the beginning.  I had no idea what the traditional definition of a cockney was, I do now.  Bow Bells and Cheapside indeed.

This is a story to treasure and Lillian Francis an author to put on autobuy.  This is just so well written, its entertaining and just such a lovely romance. I so highly recommend them both.   Make it your New Year’s resolution to seek them both out and find out why!

Cover art Paul Richmond.  I never thought I would say this.  But this cover absolutely doesn’t work for the characters especially, how could anyone think they would represent Pip or Colby is beyond me.  When you read the book you’ll be shaking your head along with me.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published December 25th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634766913
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

 

 

 

A Stella Advent Story Review: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever by B.G. Thomas

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Rating: 4,25 out of 5 stars

The Beary Best Holiday Party EverBefore he discovered the Heartland Bear Clan, Ron Corbin figured no one could ever love a “fatass” like him. But the big group of big men accepts him, and likes him just the way he is. Having finally found a place he belongs, he works hard to get elected president of the club—and wins. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.

But Paddy Brennan, a sexy bear cub who blew into town and became Mr. Popular overnight, is elected vice-president. Ron doesn’t think Paddy has earned the honor, and now he’ll have to work shoulder to shoulder (and belly to belly) with the guy for a year.

Ron will do what’s best for the club even if that means setting his personal feeling—that Paddy is a jerk—aside. But then as the two men get to know each other, Ron reluctantly finds he not only likes the guy, but is growing more and more attracted to him.

Deep down, Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but maybe Paddy can show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever was a great surprise, well written and so realistic. Finally a story with normal characters, physically imperfect like us. The dialogues were all true and believable and I soon connected with Ron and his funny mind. The whole short was really awesome but I want more, I want Billy’s book. The bootylicious drag queen took my heart.

If you’re looking for a quick but well developed story, full of humor and sweet times, this new one by BG Thomas is highly recommended. I already have my eyes on a couple more of books by this new to me author.

The cover art by Catt Ford is really well done and fitting. Cute too.

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

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RVC1NW
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calenda

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AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Beary-Holiday-Party-Advent-Calendar-ebook/dp/B018RVC1NW

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