A MelanieM Review: Status Update (#gaymers 1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Status UpdateAdrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

If Annabeth Albert hadn’t already made me a fan with her previous stories,  this is the one that would have sealed the deal.  Status Update, the first in a new #gaymer series, proves to be a sweet, sparkling romance, with filled with endearing characters that grab at your heart. That holds especially true of the main couple, both men are unusual, layered, and real.  Throw in two irrepressible dog characters like Pixel and Ulysses that are a perfect match for their owners and I was in love from the moment the story rolled out in that campground’s off leash dog area in Utah.

The Capitol Reef National Park campground in Southern Utah is a strange meeting place for these two men to collide. Adrian Gottlieb, successful video game designer is on his way to his sister’s wedding in a rented RV with a man he barely knows.  Noah Walters, a geoarcheologist, is holed up in his camper, his home away from home,  trying to finish his book that will get him tenure at his conservative bible college in Texas.   But in a wildly painful yet could be expected turn of events, Adrian, 25, and Pixel are left stranded in the campground until Noah offers not only refuge but an passage to Denver and Adrian’s sister’s wedding.

Sounds so simple, but the men and story are so complex.  Noah’s upbringing has left him firmly in the closet, His choice of profession and job has kept him there.  Noah realizes that to come out would be losing his teaching job, which he loves and any chance at tenure in a profession where jobs are scare.  That choice has also left him a virgin and celibate at the age of 35 and up until he meets Adrian, Noah has accepted the limitations of his life and its loneliness.

If for no other reason  that the character of Noah Walters, this book would garner high praise for its author.  He’s an adult, with a mature outlook on his life, taking responsibility for the choices he has  made.  He’s rueful, awkward, gruff, and intelligent.  I found him to be so remarkable and wonderful.  Add to that he put away his sexuality and committed to a path of celibacy for the sake of his profession, that extra bit of unexpected vulnerability just makes you ache for him and gives Noah that one more twist to his already different persona.

But then comes Adrian Gottlieb, a character who is on par with Noah in every respect.  He too is complex, full of his own layers and unexpected depth.  His success and commitment to the popular videogame, Space Villager, has left him little time for a social life, which also helps to explain the disaster that led their meeting. That adage that ‘appearances can be deceiving’ certainly applies to Adrian as Noah finds out almost immediately.  Both men, highly intelligent, find themselves oddly compatible, as are their dog companions. Their relationship within Noah’s small RV, their time on the road as their explore each other boundaries…sexual, personal, emotional,  takes the reader on such an a rewarding journey along with these men to Denver and the wedding that you hope it will never stop.

Then it does.

And the story gets better.  Because when their trip stops, decisions have to be made.  Its reality time.  And Annabeth Albert takes these two serious men, the slow, sometimes painful journey they have been on and completes it in the most wondrous, satisfactory way.  It makes sense,  its real, and not without a prick or two of regret.  So yes, its perfect.  Except for one little detail.

Space Villager does not exist.  How I wish it did.  There was this teaser as the end…just no… it does not exist.  But I won’t take away any stars for that disappointment.

Book Cover was a delight.  I  loved that the dogs were included.  Great job.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 195 pages
Expected publication: December 7th 2015 by Carina
original title Status Update
ISBN 1459290593 (ISBN13: 9781459290594)
series #gaymers #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Story Review: Elf on the Beach by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryRoone is an elf who is on his one year elf mission during which he gets to decide if he wants to remain human forever, or if he wants to return to the North Pole to work in the “family business.”  It’s two weeks before New Year’s Eve, the last day of his mission, when he finds himself on the beach in Australia, taking surfing lessons from his gorgeous instructor, Kyle.

Roone has the hots for Kyle and is determined to learn how to surf. He’s equally determined to put a smile on Kyle’s face and help him find the magic of Christmas. Raised in foster homes, Kyle has no recollection of Christmas being anything but lonely and sad. He was never given anything he wanted, especially the gift of his mother coming back for him.

But Roone’s happiness and belief in the magic of Christmas is contagious, and Kyle begins to have little glimpses of what might be when Roone reveals he’s an elf.  The untrusting side of Kyle is dominant, however, and that may mean the end of Roone’s chance for a little more happiness before he leaves.  Or is it the end?  Readers will enjoy this tale as we see just how powerful belief can be.

I like the twist the author gave to the elves having their chance for a one year mission before deciding to work at the North Pole.  And I love the way the magic slowly happened in the story, and the ending was surprising and fun.  I also enjoyed the engaging characters and the non-traditional (no snow) setting.  This is a great little stocking stuffer to put a little magic in someone’s heart.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 41 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769594
edition languageEnglish
series Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

Get into the Game of Love with Status Update by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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9781459290594-COV

Status Update by Annabeth Albert
Release Date: December 7, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Carina Press
Cover Artist: Carina Press

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Blurb

Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

Book 1 of the #gaymers series

Pages or Words: 64,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Excerpt

Chapter One

Noah knew the dog was trouble as soon as he and Ulysses entered the campground’s off-leash dog area. The little guy—some sort of Chihuahua/mini-pin mix in a yellow-and-green checked coat—stood in the center of the scrubby grass, barking his fool head off. The only human in the dog area sat at the picnic table on the far side, completely absorbed in his shiny phone, oblivious to his dog strutting around like all eight pounds of him would be enough to keep potential threats out.

Ulysses gave Noah a look, like “you really expect me to ignore that?” Noah tightened his hold on the tennis ball chucker. Ulysses never did well competing with smaller dogs for his toys. He unclipped Ulysses with a stern look.

“Be good.”

Still yapping, the little dog rushed over to inspect his new enemy. Predictably, Ulysses wandered away to do his business. He was too old for these sorts of games.

Noah gave a halfhearted wave in the direction of the owner, but the guy didn’t look up from his phone. The young guy was a typical hipster tourist—thick tortoise-framed glasses, artfully messed-up dark hair, with a thick purple streak, falling over his forehead. Slim build, but his wide shoulders stretched his too-thin jacket, making the shiny fabric ripple with his motions. He wasn’t any more prepared for November in Utah than his designer dog. Still, he was a cute guy, if one was the type to notice things like that, which Noah was not.

Noah looked away, studying the sheer cliffs that surrounded the Capitol Reef National Park. Didn’t matter how much time he spent in Southern Utah, he never got tired of the view. Phone guy was missing the light shifting into one of those perfect late fall sunsets that made the early dusk worth the loss of daylight. Pink streaks mingled with gray sky to cast a rosy glow over the scrubby grass and low fence of the dog area.

Rowwwr. Ulysses flopped at Noah’s feet, a deep beseeching whine rattling out of his barrel chest. He was eighty pounds of unhappy. He’d waited patiently all afternoon while Noah worked, and now he was missing out on his ball time thanks to the teacup gatekeeper.

“Okay, but play nice.” Noah threw the ball hard with the chucker toy, going for enough distance to outstrip the tiny dog’s ability to keep up with Ulysses. Not surprisingly, the little guy was tenacious, cutting off Ulysses’s path to the ball. Ulysses gave a warning woof, and Noah broke into a run, heading after the dogs.

“Down,” he called out. Ulysses wouldn’t attack the smaller dog, but he wasn’t above a major tantrum. And despite the smaller dog acting as instigator, people would see the huge black dog and toss out the “aggressor” label. Noah preferred to exercise him late in the day—Ulysses simply didn’t enjoy playing with other dogs, and Noah wasn’t one to force his dog into uncomfortable situations.

The little dog stood over the ball, yapping up a storm while Ulysses barked and growled, ignoring Noah’s command to sit.

Finally, the owner hefted himself off the picnic bench.

“Pixel, baby, what are you doing?” the owner called in a melodic voice that didn’t inspire Noah’s confidence in the man’s ability to control his dog. “Did the big doggie scare you?”

Hah. Typical. Noah snorted. “Can you grab the ball?” He didn’t trust those little dog breeds—too quick to snap. He’d nearly been bitten trying to retrieve a ball more than once.

“Oh sure.” The guy reached under Pixel—typical cutesy name for an annoying dog—and delicately plucked the ball free, but instead of handing it to Noah, he gave it a toss, sending both dogs running.

Oh great. Noah let out a slow breath, little puffs of vapor in the crisp evening air that did nothing to defuse his tension.

“It’ll be okay.” The way-too-handsy guy patted the sleeve of Noah’s parka. “They just need to work it out. Pixel loves to play.”

Noah took a step to the side. Who did that? Touched complete strangers? But the guy kept up his friendly grin, not unlike his dog, who kept gamely chasing Ulysses. Ulysses won the race to the ball this time and hightailed it back to Noah. Not releasing his prize, he whined softly.

“Hey, boy. You got a toy?” The guy knelt to dog level and extended a hand, but instead of sniffing, Ulysses shook his head.

“Sorry. He’s not much on new people.” Neither am I. Noah’s voice sounded rough to his own ears—too many days with only Ulysses to talk to.

“It’s okay.” The guy straightened, then extended a hand to Noah. “I’m Adrian Gottlieb. You been at Capitol Reef long?”

“Couple of weeks.” He returned Adrian’s handshake, hating it when a little buzz shot up his arm. Unlike his own gloved hand, Adrian’s hand was bare, a hint of a tattoo playing peekaboo with his cuff, his grip strong and firm. And Noah had absolutely no business noticing anything more than the guy’s relentless friendliness.

Adrian smiled expectantly as he released Noah’s hand.

“Oh, I’m Noah. And that’s Ulysses,” he added, because dog people always wanted to know all about the dog. No doubt the guy was bursting to tell Pixel’s life story.

“Add-dreeee-an,” a heavily accented voice called from the gate. A beefy guy close to Noah’s age leaned on the fence, bald head gleaming in the setting sun. “I’m lonely. When are you coming back?”

“Coming,” Adrian shouted, then gave Noah a shrug with a “what can you do?” expression on his face. He grabbed Pixel and jogged across the field.

Noah nodded like he knew anything about handling demanding friends. Adrian greeted the mammoth dude with a quick peck. Okay then. Not a friend. He should have guessed, but he was a bit slow about relationship stuff. The country was changing, even way out here, but no one would dare try even that much PDA in his tiny West Texas college town. His stomach gave a weird flip—not quite discomfort, but something else he refused to name. Time to return his attention to Ulysses. He hurled the tennis ball as hard as he could.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Googleplay

RC

Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Where to find the author:

 

Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, 3 Chicks After Dark, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, V’s Reads, Jessie G. Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Divine Magazine, MM Good Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Just Love Romance, Mikky’s World of Books, Happily Ever Chapter, Book Lovers 4Ever, The Jena Wade, Charley Descoteaux, Louise Lyons, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Michael Mandrake, It’s Raining Men

 

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Giveaway

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

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Holiday Book Spotlight Continues with Home For the Holiday M/M Anthology (excerpts/contests)

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 Blog Banner

Home for the Holidays

M/M Romance Anthology

SJ Himes

 Jenna Kendrick

Heather C. Leigh

Liv Rancourt

Felice Stevens

 HomeForTheHolidaysCover

Cover Design: LateNite Designs

Cover Photo: StockPhoto

Release Date: 11.29.15

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1lOHE4h

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1OvvQ0e

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1lOHPN5

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1OkPsWI

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Home can be a person as well as a place. Everyone deserves a home for the holidays, as the stories in this collection affirm.

 Proceeds from Home for the Holidays are being donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City to help homeless LGBTQ youth.

 

 

*The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick

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Going home for the holiday only to find his parents have made other plans, Kai Meyers is thrilled to reunite with an old friend. Disowned by his religious family, Ari Fisher is used to being treated like a boy toy rather than a boyfriend, and now he only has eight days to reveal his secrets to Kai.

 

 TEASER

 JennaFinal

 

EXCERPT

The last thing Ari saw as the lights went out and the elevator jolted to a stop was Kai stumbling forward. Ari started to move closer to help him up, but his foot bumped into a piece of fruit or something, so he pulled back. Kelev barked, clearly upset by the chaos, while Kai called to the dog to make sure he was okay.

Ari, felt something sniffing at his pants leg. “Kelev, c’mere boy. Good boy.” He bent over to scratch his head. He was happy to see the dog was still alive; he had to be going on twelve or thirteen by now.

“You know Kelev? Well, obviously. I suppose you know my parents, then.”

Ari chuckled. “You could say that. But I know you even better. Well, I used to.” Apparently the dog remembered Ari better than his owner. He wished he could get a look at Kai’s face as he connected the dots. When he’d first spotted Kai in the corner, he’d been relieved to see the guy was too weighed down with Kelev and a metric crap-ton of grocery bags to notice him. He’d known there was always the chance of running into Kai. Ari might have even hoped for it subconsciously. Otherwise, he could have avoided the possibility by insisting Prescott and Thomas meet him at a hotel, as he did with some of his other clients.

“Wait a minute… Ari?”

“Long time, no see, Kai.”

“I can’t see you now, either.” Kai’s voice had matured over the past eight years, familiar and new at the same time. “Sorry, I was in my own world and didn’t notice you before the lights went out.”

“Hope you’re not still afraid of the dark.” Ari remembered them leaving a lamp on when they had sleepovers, but only until they’d hit middle school.

“Probably a hard sell after screaming like a teenage girl, but no, not generally.” Kai must’ve set the rest of the groceries down because Ari heard bags rustling and felt a can roll into the side of his shoe. “I don’t suppose you want to join me here on the floor. I’d try to get up, but I have a feeling I’d wind up tripping over an avocado and inadvertently turning it into guacamole.”

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Kendrick writes male/male new adult and contemporary romance, her favorite genre to read. She lives in Upstate New York, where she spends the better part of the year trying to stay warm and dry. When she’s not writing, she reads, watches The Princess Bride and The Avengers far too often, spends time with her husband and friends, and drinks more coffee and tea than she’d care to admit. She shares her home office with her dog, Tally, and her cats, Loki and Tamiris.

Jenna spent most of her class time in high school writing bad poetry and short stories in which her teachers were the villains. She began writing in earnest in college, putting it aside for a few years to work as a teacher and product manager for several online services. In addition to writing fiction, Jenna also writes nonfiction technical books under another name.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/jennakendrickauthor

Twitter — https://twitter.com/jennakendauth

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/jennakendrickauthor/

Tumblr — http://jennakendrickauthor.tumblr.com

 

 

*24-Hour Hold by Heather C. Leigh

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Detectives Damon Porter and Anderson Malloy are now partners at Denver’s Major Case Unit. The problem is, they used to be boyfriends, and now they’re feeling anything but friendly towards each other.

TEASER 

HeatherCLEigh 

 

EXCERPT

“Still drinking enough coffee each day to keep Seattle’s coffee houses running for a year?” I ask, leaning back on the counter while Damon turns on the tap, rinsing his hands and attempting to wipe off the spill on his shirt with a wet paper towel.

He scowls, his dark brown eyes locking on mine. “Fuck you, Anderson.” Thoroughly annoyed with me, I watch, fascinated, as my ex-lover’s hands clench into tight fists. Damon tosses the used paper towel into the garbage can before whirling back around in my direction. His mouth opens, no doubt to tell me off, then snaps back shut.

My eyes drop to that full, red mouth—a mouth I’ve tasted hundreds, maybe thousands of times before—and molten heat spreads out from my groin.

I’m in the middle of imagining a detailed scenario that involves kneeling down on the hideous linoleum of the kitchenette and yanking down his perfectly pressed dress pants to suck on his cock when I realize he’s gone.

Shit.

It takes me a few minutes, but I finally find Damon in the conference room, quietly stewing while he sets up his laptop. He has the files open on the table.

“So,” I close the door behind me and his head of brown hair twitches as he ignores me. “Show me what you’ve got.” I drop into the swivel chair closest to him and snap my gum while spinning back and forth.

“Do you mind not doing that?” Porter scowls and turns away, fiddling with his computer. Fascinated, I watch the muscles of his back tense up under his starched button-down.

“Doing what?” I ask innocently, popping the gum again. Nothing turns me on more than riling up Damon Porter. Watching him go from cool and collected to hot and bothered makes my dick hard.

“Listen, D. I—”

The beautiful man beside me jerks around, practically snarling in my face. “Don’t. Call. Me. That.”

“Whoa!” I hold my hands up defensively, noting the way his hands are fisted at his sides. “Calm down, Porter.”

“Fuck you.”

“Jesus, Porter. Hold a grudge much?”

His eyes close and I recognize the way his entire body shudders. Damon Porter is close to losing his carefully crafted control.

“Sorry,” I mumble. “I didn’t expect this,” I motion between the two of us, “to be so uncomfortable.”

Those big brown eyes of his pop open, dark lashes fluttering wide as my words sink in. “Wait,” he says. “You knew I worked here?” Oops. I can practically see his sharp mind working to quickly put the pieces together. “Did you… Did you come to Denver, to this department specifically, knowing you would be working with me?”

My skin heats up from his dead-on conclusion. Damon leans close, the familiar scent of his aftershave hitting me hard. “What’s your game, Anderson?”

I can feel the heat coming off of him, even through the multiple layers of both his perfect white dress shirt and my rumpled old blue one. My throat is tight and I have to work to swallow in order to speak. “I don’t have a game. I moved back to Denver, applied for a job, they assigned me to your department. It’s temporary, so don’t get your starched boxers in a bunch.”

It’s the truth. Stretched, but the truth nonetheless.

Damon’s molten brown eyes narrow, his nostrils flare in anger. When he speaks, the formal, uptight man I know does the unthinkable. He cracks a joke.

“Still chewing that shitty gum, huh?”

I swallow again when his gaze drops to my mouth. Desire rushes through me, sending blood pulsing to my groin. “Yeah.”

He nods, as if confirming some thought in his own head, before turning to face his laptop. His professional façade slams into place like a thick steel door. With one long, elegant finger, Damon points at the files in front of me. “I guess you’ll have to start at the beginning. You read the reports and familiarize yourself with the cases, I’ll continue trying to find a link between the robberies.”

“Sure, D. Whatever you say.”

Porter’s mouth twitches, but he doesn’t correct me for calling him D. That little victory gives me enough confidence to grin, snapping my gum as I pull open the first file.

If I can just get past the four hundred fifty-three other layers of protection my ex has put up to keep me out, I’m golden.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon bestselling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.

Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: https://www.heatherleighauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherCLeighAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomHeather_Leigh

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherLeigh_8

Instagram: http://instagram.com/heatherleighauthor/

 

 

*Learning to Love by Felice Stevens

BLURB

Returning home for the holiday, caterer Gideon Marks tried hard to push away his high school crush. But Rabbi Jonah Fine wouldn’t let him run again, or keep the secret Gideon’s tried so desperately to hide.

TEASER

LearningToLoveFinal 

EXCERPT

The bells above the shop tinkled and Sean glanced over my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, sir but we’re closed.”

“I’m not here to buy anything, I came to talk to Gideon.”

I spun around to face Jonah. “I’ve got nothing to say to you.” I walked behind the register, putting the expanse of the counter between us. Jonah had changed from this morning and now wore a heavy sweater, corduroy pants and a black leather motorcycle jacket. He looked tired, windblown and utterly desirable. Despite my words, I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his face.

Ten years away hadn’t changed the irrevocable fact that I still wanted Jonah, now more than ever. There were some people who got under your skin and no matter what you did to erase them from your mind and heart, they remained, clinging to your soul.

“Gideon, please.” He darted a quick look at Sean who’d apparently forgotten about his hot date and was intent on having a ringside seat to my sex life. “Can we please go somewhere and talk?”

“Go ahead, boss. I’ll close up.”

Rico leaned against the doorway, his dark eyes fixated on Jonah. I knew my obvious attraction wouldn’t bother Rico; we hadn’t been together in years. The deep friendship and mutual respect between us was rock solid.

Jonah hadn’t taken his eyes off of me, his face an unreadable mask. If I said nothing, I could let him think Rico and I were lovers and he would no doubt leave me alone.

“Gid, go on, man. Give the guy a break.”

Rico’s urging broke me out of my deep thoughts. “Okay,” I said begrudgingly. “Let me get my jacket and I’ll be right back.”

I hurried to my office, pulled on my jacket and shoved the contracts Rico had worked on earlier into my backpack. By the time I’d returned, Sean had finally left and Rico and Jonah were discussing the demise of the kosher deli in New York City.

“Have a good one, guys.” Rico shook Jonah’s hand and gave me a swift hug. “Don’t fuck it up man.” His breath tickled my ear. “I got a feeling this one’s for real.”

I pushed him away, giving him a funny smile and a shake of my head. “See you tomorrow. We need to plan the wait-staff for the party and then go through the other orders. Plus I need to contact some of the people I met last night, who said they wanted to maybe hire us for their small dinner parties.”

“Will you get out of here already and stop talking business?” Rico shoved me toward Jonah. “Take him and feed him so he’ll shut up.”

Jonah held the door for me and side by side we walked down the block. Christmas lights had already gone up on the lampposts and in store windows and happy people walked with bright red and green shopping bags stuffed with their purchases. The entire city was seized with holiday cheer, yet all I felt was depressed.

“Have you eaten dinner?”

We stopped at a corner waiting for the traffic light to change. “No, but it’s Saturday night. Why aren’t you out on a date or something?”

Jonah’s sweet smile disarmed me. “Um, I thought I was.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter:https://twitter.com/FeliceStevens1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/felicestevens/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens

Instagram: https://instagram.com/FeliceStevens

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor?ref=hl

*Saving Silas by SJ Himes

Paramedic Gael Dominic wasn’t expecting much from the holidays. Blood, death, and loneliness were constants. So when tragedy puts a wounded Silas in his path, Gael takes a chance on his alleyway angel and love.

TEASER

SJHime

EXCERPT

“Find my son! He was shot, for Christ’s sake, he can’t make it too far. Does this place even have security? Morris, call the local department, I want my son found.” Warner sounded mad, but there wasn’t a frantic component to his tone that most worried parents had when their kids got hurt. He sounded…aggravated.

Gael looked up, eyes searching. This was a split in the Recovery level, the hall to the right swinging around to more patient rooms, the hall to the left leading to the surgery suites, exam rooms, and x-ray….and the elevator to the staff exit. It emptied out in the sequestered lot the doctors and staff used.

He headed in that direction, eyes peeled, making swift work of his search. He kept his actions subtle, not wanting to clue anyone in to the fact he was looking for someone. He smiled at the people he knew but kept going, and passed a cart full of clean scrubs, the plastic lid ajar. The pressed piles made it apparent that a pair of pants and a shirt were missing. Someone took them before the cart made it back down the hall to the doctor’s lounge.

Gael stopped at the elevator, and was about to hit the button, but the staircase several feet away was the better option. No one used the stairs in a hospital.

He entered the stairwell, letting the door swing shut soundlessly behind him. Gael listened, eyes shut, head tilted to the side. A scuffle, the faintest hint of a quivering breath, just below him.

Gael opened his eyes and took the stairs down fast, keeping his footfalls as quiet as he could. He found his quarry the next level down, huddled against the wall, tears running down his bone-white cheeks, hands shaking as he tried to push the door open. He was wearing the purloined scrubs, and the dark blue color merely accentuated the pallor of the young man’s skin. Gael moved just as Silas started to fall over, and he caught him about his waist, holding his angel to his side, keeping him upright.

Silas’ head fell back on his shoulder, and Gael found himself forgetting what he was about to say when a pair of the truest green eyes locked on to his. Every muscle in his body thrummed with electricity, and Gael held him tighter, taking his whole weight.

“Hi, handsome,” Silas breathed out, giving him a tiny twist of a smile, eyes watering. “I’d love to make out in the staircase with you, but I kinda need to escape right now.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m a thirty something bisexual cisgendered woman with way too big an imagination, but that comes in handy when I’m writing. I have been writing since I was a child, when I took a four page assignment on what I was going to do on summer vacation and turned it into a 100 page fantasy epic all written by hand…in crayons. No joke.

I work a day job, but I can’t share for who, since the Old Man isn’t as liberated as the people who read my books. I’m married, I have furbabies, and I live with loved ones. I adore a certain show about a British consulting detective and his grumpy army doctor, and that spawned an addiction to Johnlock fanfiction, which then evolved into me writing it. Gawd, that’s embarrassing. Put this down in the TMI section of my Bio, okay? I enjoy martial arts, movies where things blow up, and I wish I lived in a Marvel movie.

I live in the beautiful and lonely Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and I see way more wildlife than I care to on a daily basis (bears!). My perfect day is reading surrounded by friends and family who don’t think it’s odd I want to hang out but not talk, and my favorite scent of all time is a cool fall evening with leaves burning….less a scent, and more of an experience.
My writing is focused on gay and lesbian people, who are more than interesting side characters that hang out with the heterosexual MCs. My wish for the future is that when people ask me what I do for a living, I can say, “I write gay romance,” and NOT get weird looks.  Also write under pen name Revella Hawthorne.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Amazon/SJ Himes: http://amzn.to/210nIeU

Amazon/Revella Hawthorne: http://amzn.to/210nW5P

Blog as SJ Himes: http://www.wherethewolvesrun.blogspot.com/

Twitter : @WriterSJHimes

Facebook/SJ Himes: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/

Facebook/Revella Hawthorne: https://www.facebook.com/Revella-Hawthorne-742177039236198/

*Christmas in LaLa Land by Liv Rancourt

For a Danaan sidhe like Aron, touching a human has consequences, while Damian’s hiding some serious scars behind his smile. A holiday trip to LA forces them to choose between acting on their attraction or giving up on love because of the past.

TEASER

Liv Rav 2

EXCERPT

“I’m sorry. The hotel is closed for a private party.” Blondie stalked over, making the most of her Heels from Hell. The huge lobby had a high arched ceiling and fabric drapes covering the walls. And every possible surface was hung or draped or covered with something red, green, or glittering.

“Um, Ophelia?”

The ploofy redhead almost dropped the string of stars she’d been draping over an enormous pearl chandelier. “I’m Ophelia.”

Her eyes were the same gray as the murk rolling in off San Francisco Bay before the sun rose. Soft, but cold. Spooky. I took a couple steps further in, trying not to let my hopes get ahead of me. “I’m Aron, Connealagh’s younger brother.”

“No shit!? Are you as big a bitch as she is?” The blonde’s shriek immediately turned into laughter.

Ophelia scrambled down off the ladder, freezing me with her ice-vision. “Connie has a brother?” She came at me fast. No time to duck. Only my face offered bare skin, so that’s what she reached for, cupping my cheek with her palm. “Aron.” Her whisper held confirmation, as if she’d been able to verify my story with a touch.

“Oh.” I started to giggle. Her fingertips held so much joy she fizzed. I turned into her, inhaling a hippie-princess mix of roses and patchouli and sweat. Love ran under the fizz, heavy and deep, the emotion tempered by danger and fear. Thoughtlessly I reached out, finding a firm, pregnant belly under her swirling, embroidered caftan. “She’s beautiful.” I smiled into my cousin’s frightening eyes. “Your Leah is a lovely little girl.”

“Um…” She raised an eyebrow. ““Not born yet.”

“Crap. I’m sorry.” I eased out of her grasp. “I can feel emotions and stuff. Sometimes. I didn’t know…”

She exhaled, puffing out her cheeks and shaking her head. “How ’bout you let me tell Gabriel we’re having a girl before sharing, okay?” Without breaking our connection, she pointed at Blondie. “Shut up, you. My cheeks will not freeze that way.”

Behind us, Damian made a choked sound. The jewel-tone fabric on the walls seemed to dim, though that had to be my imagination.

“Who’s your friend?” Ophelia took hold of my gloved hand.

Grateful for even that little display of support, I suddenly didn’t think I could deal with the say-goodbye-to-Damian thing.

“Damian Jones.” He crossed the tile floor, coming closer. I didn’t turn around. Ophelia didn’t leave my side.

His hand, extended to shake, crossed the corner of my vision.

“Sorry Damian,” Ophelia said, wrapping a protective arm around me. “It’s nice to meet you, but I don’t shake hands, okay?”

“Must be a family thing.” His footsteps retreated, and I wanted to whip myself for driving all the sunlight out of his voice.

Gathering as much courage as I could muster, I pivoted, staying within Ophelia’s circle of safety. “Thank you, Damian, for giving me a ride down here, and I’m sorry…” For knowing my limits? For caring too much to entrap you? For being afraid? If I didn’t like him so much, I’d treat him like that poor sucker in the night club bathroom. If I didn’t respect him so much, I’d try to explain. “Just, sorry.”

“Yeah? Well, all your stuff’s out on the steps. You have a happy holiday, okay?”

Ophelia’s gaze was positively balmy compared with the deep freeze in his tone.

He disappeared, leaving me with my cousin and her freakishly blond friend.

“Well, fuck if I don’t suddenly have a taste for chocolate.” Blondie squealed. She had tiny star tattoos and glitter sprinkles down one cheek and a skirt so short it should be illegal. Something triggered my memory of Ophelia’s only visit to Mari-Elle’s. Her friend, a serpent deity named Suzie or Sandy or something, had been shot on our doorstep. Nothing really kills a deity, though, so maybe this was the same girl.

“Shut up, Sally,” Ophelia said.

Yep, serpent deity.

“No way, sister-mine.” A man appeared on the other side of the ladder. Just, like, appeared. “That cocoa crisp plays for my team.” He disappeared before his voice trailed away.

My face must have asked what the fuck without words because Ophelia started to laugh.

“You have the ghost of Jason Patrick living in your lobby?” I asked.

“Jason Patrick is not dead.” The man appeared on the near side of the ladder. “But thank you, sweetie.”

“No living with him,” Sally muttered.

Ophelia left off laughing long enough to introduce me to Jimmy. “You had the ghost part right, anyway.”

“Aren’t you a pretty little fruit.” Jimmy appeared right next to me. He draped his arm around my shoulders, cool and surprisingly peaceful. “Did you invite him specially for me to play with, Ophie?”

“I didn’t invite him at all.” Keeping hold of my hand, Ophelia drew me over to an antique love seat that could have belonged to Marie Antoinette. She and I sat, and Jimmy perched on the arm next to me. Sally scooted her butt onto a large mahogany desk right across from us.

None of them looked particularly threatening. In fact, staying here could be fun. I grappled my twittering nerves and dove in. “It started because Mari-Elle and I—”

“Oh yeah, how is Mother?” For the first time since I’d met her, Ophelia’s effervescence dampened.

“Gorgeous, frightening, and kind of mean.” Wow! Did I just say that? Because slandering someone’s mother is such a great lead-in to a favor.

Ophelia snickered. “You’re giving her too much credit.”

Well at least my cousin didn’t act insulted. I relaxed against the couch. “I decided I wanted a break from the life for … reasons, and I’ve always wanted to visit L.A.” The next part was the scariest, so I spit it out fast. “I’m hoping I can crash here for a while.” I clasped my hands so tightly the leather on my palms squeaked. “I mean, I know it’s rude to just show up, but I kinda hoped I could rent a room here in the hotel.”

Sally hissed a laugh. “It’s not that kind of hotel.”

“He can totally stay,” Jimmy said. Between his square chin, curly mullet, and micro-skinny tie, he really did look like ‘80s-era Jason Patrick. “How ’bout 312? It’s right at the top of the stairs.”

A broad staircase curled up from one corner of the room, opposite a double set of very black doors.

Ophelia finger-combed red ringlets away from her face. “You know, I think that’ll work.” She fixed me in her cold-slate gaze. “You know what this place is, right? I’m not kidding when I say it’s a gateway to Hell. Couple times an hour Hell’s escorts bring in the souls of the damned, and I send them down. You can’t freak out when that happens, and you absolutely cannot go through those doors.” She pointed at the black doors, and while I generally love a good dare, this seemed like a stupid time to take up a challenge.

“You got it. I’ll even help”—I glanced around at the Christmas insanity “—decorate.”

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

For sneak peeks and previews and other assorted freebies, go HERE to sign up for my mailing list.

Come find me. We’ll have fun!

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Blog: www.liv-rancourt.blogspot.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt

Twitter www.twitter.com/LivRancourt

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Get A Roadmap to Your Heart with The Deepest Blue by Christina Lee (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Deepest Blue Cover

The Deepest Blue (Roadmap to Your Heart #2 ) by Christina Lee
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 12-4-15

Book/Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon |

Book Blurb

Lee exchanges skyline for swampland in the next book of her male/male romance series, Roadmap to Your Heart.

Rugged and conventional Callum Montgomery enjoys running Shady Pines hunting preserve, except for the secret that’s eating him alive. When his sister brings a date for a family wedding, he can’t stand the arrogant city slicker with the stick up his perfectly fine ass. He doesn’t understand his draw to Dean, who pushes his buttons at every turn, but he’d never dream of betraying his sibling over some lust fueled fantasy.

Handsome and conscientious Dean Abbott is a research assistant in his university’s biology lab. When his roommate, Cassie, begs him to be her pretend date in front of her meddling family, he begrudgingly agrees to help. He doesn’t anticipate being enchanted by the countryside, the colorful cast of characters, or her sexy and brooding straight brother. 

When contempt turns to passion and leads to stolen moments in a sugar cane field, Callum can’t help longing for the kind of connection he believes he can never have. But not even the world’s most heart-melting kiss can bridge the vast philosophical differences between the men.

Dean’s return to his urban lifestyle leaves him restless, his mind continually wandering to the charming setting that spoke to something missing deep inside him. Because you can take the city boy out of the country but you can’t make him forget the intriguing man he left behind.

Genre: LGBTQ Romance
Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Heat Level (1 being no sexual content, 5 being erotica): 4
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 250 pages

Excerpt

“Isn’t there some law about killing snakes in this state?” I heard our company say. Even out of the corner of my eye I could see that the guy was one of them pretty city boys. He was walking beside my sister, Cassie, who was busy filling him in on rattler containment on personal property. He must’ve been the guest she’d mentioned bringing.
Did he need to be that handsome? Too bad he had to go and open his mouth.
“We can always walk away,” I said. I didn’t dare take my eye off the rattlesnake for a second time. “But that leaves you out here with no protection.”
I heard him gulp at the same time Grammy snickered. “Sounds like our Cassie might’ve brought home some tree hugger.”
Grammy gripped the heavy rock in her fingers, ready to bash the rattler’s skull at a moment’s notice.
“They say when a rattler strikes, your blood turns to fire. Like the venom is boiling away in your veins,” I said and I could hear whatshisname’s breathing change. “You’ve got about a ninety-minute window of time before the poison spreads.”
“And then what happens?” he asked, and I could just imagine his pulse throbbing in his neck. I heard his one foot scrape across the other as if rubbing some imaginary dirt from his spotless shoes. Either that or it was some nervous tick.
I shrugged. “Then you’re dead.”
“Callum. Knock it off,” Cassie said and I could hear the tightness in her voice. It pained me that we hadn’t been in touch for a long while and I certainly didn’t want to piss her off even further.
The snake retreated toward its hiding spot and disappeared without a second glance at the mouse. Damn.
Now I looked our new guest square in the face while my irritation bubbled over. Grammy had banked on making a fresh batch today. Lately I left the hunting to my brother, Braden, but he had a full plate, so I agreed to be a stand-in. “You Cassie’s date for the wedding?”
“That’s right. I, uh, attend the same college,” he said and I couldn’t help my gaze from snagging on the deepest set of blue eyes. Not quite as dark as that tangle of hair that swept in a high arc away from his forehead. Wearing a pair of fancy designer jeans that showed off his trim form, he was smaller than me, but most guys were. And now I felt shitty for checking out my sister’s guest. “The name’s Dean Abbott.”

About the Author

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Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M romance. I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.

Visit my WEBSITE.
Or my FACEBOOK author page.
You can also find me on TWITTER.

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Giveaway

A $10 gift card to your favorite ebook retailer: Amazon, iBooks, or B&N. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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12/7/2015
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