A Stella Review: Reindeer Games by Kenzie Cade

Standard

RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Reindeer GamesDashing von Stride has one thing on his mind: winning the window display contest for the Miracle on Main Christmas Contest. His plans are set and ready—and then he walks into his toy store, Reindeer Games, to find a sleigh that shouldn’t be there. The mystery sleigh sparks a new plan, however, and now all Dash needs is the perfect Santa to model his display after.

This year, the pranks with his reindeer have gotten out of hand. Instead of preparing for the Big Day, Niklaus Kringle is hunting for his missing sleigh. Locating it should have been easy, but games easily won are seldom worth playing…

I discovered Kenzie Cade with the Portland Pack Chronicles series and when I saw this new holiday short, I was soon curious about it, especially cause… have you seen the cover? Impossible to resist.

Reindeer Games is the story of the toymaker and toy store owner Dash, who lives in a fabolous town, Wassail, where Christmas is highly celebrated and the annual competion of the best window display is coming. Dash is tired of his usual second place. This year he gets a surprise, a sleigh materialized out of nowhere in the middle of his store.

Niklaus is the Prince of the Kingdom of North pole, he comes to Wassail looking for his lost sleigh and  finds his mate. But is Dash ready for a future that it’s waiting for him to learn who he really is?

Reindeer Games (perfect title not just cause it’s the toy store name but for the role a naughty reindeer will have) is a great holiday short. It’s well written and engaging from the start. The dialogues are good and even if it is short, the author gave us some important background on the MCs and amazing second characters, like Tinsel and Pumpkin, the guard team, or Wendy, Dash’s best friend.  It is a sweet and cute reading, I’d have loved to have a couple of chapters more of course, but I felt pretty satisfied at the end, because Reindeer Games is traditional and original at the same time. It filled my heart with its good vibes.

If you’re looking for a magical story on your holidays, quick and dreamy, give this one a chance. Highly recommended!

The cover art by London Burden is what caught my attention first, it is super cute and well done.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 81 pages
Published December 9th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620046845
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingColorado (United States)

A Paul B Advent Story Review: Worth the Wait by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z

Standard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryTate Beckinsale is standing in line to get the autograph of his niece’s favorite author. Thinking he was smart leaving work early and arriving at 4:30 for the 5 o’clock event, he is dismayed to find that the line is already 4 blocks long. To make matters worse, a cold drizzle has started to fall. Things begin to look up for Tate when a handsome young man offers to share an umbrella with him. Brandon is also waiting for the author. When the announcement is made that the store is closing, Tate is disappointed that he has failed his niece. However, the young man with the umbrella, Brandon, takes him straight to the signing table and introduces Tate to his mother. After securing the autographs for Tate, Brandon asks Tate out the following day. Will this be a happy holiday season for the two men?

This is a cute story in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Sleigh Ride series. Through the Skype conversations that Tate has with his niece Addie, you can tell that he would do anything for her. I got the same sense that Brandon might become another doting uncle when his visits Tate during one of these conversations. The fact that Brandon did not tell Tate whom his mother is immediately is understandable as he wants to be liked for who Brandon is, not who is mother is. This is a good short story that feels complete yet I want to learn more about these two characters in the future. That too would be worth the wait.

The cover art is the standard cover for the Sleigh Ride event and will not be commented on.

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

Book Details

EBook, 32 pages
Published: November 30, 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-939-6
Language: English
Series: Sleigh Ride

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Sleeping ’til Sunrise (Mangrove Stories #5) by Mary Calmes

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleeping Til SunriseNumber five in the Mangrove series, this story features sexy fire chief, Essien Dodd. Essien moved to Mangrove when he took the chief position so that his precocious daughter, fourteen-year-old Ivy, would have a safe environment in which to grow up. His ex-wife passed away from cancer during the past year, and he stayed with her and Ivy to care for them until the end. Now he has full custody, and he wants to provide the best home life possible for his little girl.

Essien is a caretaker—from his job, to his family responsibilities, to his friends and neighbors— if someone needs to be taken care of, it’s a sure bet Essien will find out and be there to help. He had divorced his wife when he knew he was gay and needed to come out, and he’s enjoyed his freedom as a gay man since then, but now that Ivy lives with him full time, he doesn’t pursue relationships or one-night-stands because he wants to be available for Ivy 24/7. Ivy, on the other hand, seems to want him to find someone, so much so, that she actively seeks gay men her dad might like. After the match with the school counselor fell through because he was much too young for Essien and because he refused to let his daughter set him up, he finally told her that if he ever finds a man it will be a man, not a young boy, and he’ll find him all by himself.

What he didn’t tell her is that he has his eye on the gorgeous Dr. Roark Hammond. And Roark seems attracted to him as well, but Roark has a secret, and it’s one that Roark feels will put any hope of a long-term relationship into the impossible-to-have category. Will Essien settle for being put off? Will Roark be able to allow Essien to be his caretaker? Will they sleep together ’til sunrise and wake to greet each new day with hope?

I really enjoy this series, and this one has one of the author’s trademark heroes in Essien—the nice guy who doesn’t realize how much others admire and like him and care about his happiness. Essien deserves to find his man, and the man in this story equally deserves a guy like Essien. There’s nothing about this story to dislike. It’s fairly short, a very light read, and a very sweet romance. Another great bedtime story for the holidays.

~~~
Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a gorgeous black man, sans shirt, standing against a picturesque sunrise coming up over the Atlantic. It’s perfect for this story.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 90 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627984712 (ISBN13: 9781627984713)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Mangrove Stories with links to Barb the Zany Old Lady’s reviews:

A BJ Review: A Policy of Lies by Astrid Amara

Standard

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

A Policy of LIes coverTwenty years ago, Levi Kaszeri survived a brutal rebellion on the mining colony of Tarus 9. Now as an aspiring reporter, Levi has a mission: to expose the massacre to the public, and bring the men responsible to justice. But after a violent attack, he is rescued—then seduced—by Tiergan Seoras, a young doctor with a dangerous past and a slave tattoo. Soon Levi finds all of his investigations leading him back to Tiergan. And he begins to fear that the best lover he’s ever had may also be his worst enemy.

Let me start by saying the title is VERY apt. This author came on my radar when I read and adored Song of the Navigator earlier in the year. That book impressed me so much that I nominated it for several categories in the M/M Romance’s member awards. Then I read an anthology, Charmed and Dangerous, and wouldn’t you know my favorite story of the group among a stunning cast of authors was Astrid Amara. Of course, I had to read more.

Nice world-building (some of the details were great, like the domed biospheres), sucked me in pretty quickly and kept me hooked with its fast pace, enjoyable female character, seriously sick-ass bad guy(s), and some serious twists. Plenty of action.

The POV character, Levi, is nuanced and well-drawn. We see the whole story through his eyes, and it was amazing to watch all the details coming together for him. Levi seemed stupidly trusting and a mite unobservant in some cases given his status as a investigative reporter and all he’d survived in his past. His single-minded quest for revenge perhaps put blinders on him at times.

Despite (or maybe because of) his mystery, Tiergan fascinated me from the start and that just kept growing as I learned more about him, his strength and sensitivity, his need to help others, his delighted love of birds, and all that we learn about him in the end just about broke my heart.

The characters had chemistry and heat, and would have enjoyed more interaction between them outside of the sex. What was there, I liked a lot, but more would have built up the emotional connection a bit more for me. And the way they jumped right into sex the same night together after Levi had been mugged and beaten pretty badly enough that Tiergan had to do some surgery on him seemed a bit rushed. Despite that, I couldn’t put this down. Highly recommended.

The cover is sexy but it doesn’t do anything to tell me that the genre is sci-fi or much else about the story.

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


Book Details:  

ebook, 181 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Loose Id (first published September 2008)
Original TitleA Policy of Lies
ISBN139781596327689
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://www.astridamara.com/pl.html

In Our Contemporary Romance Spotlight: When It’s Right (Mile High Romance #1) by Aria Grace (excerpt and contest)

Standard

Title: When It’s Right (Mile High Romance #1)
Author: Aria Grace

Genre: M/M Romance

Published: December 23, 2013

When Shane Greenly left his home in Casper Mountain, Wy, he was leaving more than just the closet. He needed a fresh start to pursue his dream of running a dog training ranch without having to deny who he really is. 
Meeting Alex was one of the best things that could have happened to Shane. They were at the beginning of a wonderful relationship when the unthinkable happened and Shane had to leave. The consequences of his past mistakes could not be hidden any longer.

“once again Aria has blown me away with another great book! “ ~5 Star Review (by Amy Hertzog on Amazon)

“If you love a good M/M book that is well-written, precise, and adventurous – this book is for you. Two thumbs up and 5 stars!” ~5 Star Review (by Ricky M. Hansen Jr. on Amazon)

“It is a heartwarming story that leaves the reader knowing that things really can work out for the best, and love truly does prevail.” ~5 Star Review (by wtcdean on Amazon)

Finally looking at the texts that came in throughout the day, I see one from Steph from early this morning.
Looks like you’ve been replaced

There is a photo attached of Shane on the lawn with Stormy. She is trying to grab something from behind his back and he’s laughing. He has a perfect smile. Seeing him so happy warms my heart. His dark eyes are so sexy and he looks damn good on my lawn, with my dog and… in my shirt. That is my shirt, right? I can feel little Alex starting to twitch just thinking about how that happened. He fills it out better than I do.
I wore that on Thursday. Why would he put on my dirty shirt? I know why I would put on a guy’s dirty shirt but that couldn’t be his reason… Well, maybe I was wrong about that country boy.
Pulling a couple bottles from the mini bar, I lie back on the bed debating whether to call him or not. I empty the small whisky bottle into a can of Coke that was only half full and grab my phone. He’s wearing my shirt for god’s sake. A straight guy wouldn’t do that.

Before I lose my nerve, I thumb out a quick text to Shane.
I see you met Stephanie.
Not two minutes later, I get a response.
Yeah. She seems nice.
Nice, hunh? That doesn’t give me much. I’ll have to go the more direct route.

She is nice. And single. She’d come over if you called her. She probably even has a hot girlfriend 4 a one nighter if you’re looking 4 something casual.
No way for him to be vague about that. If he responds, I should have my answer.
Thanks but not really my style. LOL

Damn, he’s good.
Which part? The hot girlfriend or the one nighter.
Please say girls, please say girls, please say girls.
Both.
Thank you, sweet baby Jesus!
I guess we have more in common than a love of dogs.
Okay. That was lame. I need another drink. Opening up a bottle of vodka, I drink the shot straight. Just enough to warm me up. It’s been several minutes so I might have spooked him. I try him again.
Is this a bad time?
No. Just took Stormy out one more time and now we’re in bed.

Oops. Forgot to ask about my dog. The whole reason he’s at my house. What a bad daddy I am! Ah well, all the more reason to find her a new daddy. Whoa, I think I feel those shots already.

So are you seeing anyone right now?

No. Very single.

Maybe we can get a drink sometime next week?

Sounds good.

So you’re in bed now? In my bed?

LOL. Yes.

Me too.
Is trying to sext too trashy for our first flirt session? I’m gonna have to assume yes so I’ll let the poor boy go. As hard as it is to do it. And as hard as I am for him.
I’ll let you get comfortable and go to sleep.

OK. Good night Alex.

Good night Shane. BTW, you look fucking hot in my shirt.

Okay, I couldn’t resist that last part.

Born and raised in beautiful California, Aria enjoys the year round sunshine and laid back environment of the west coast. Her career started out in tech writing and web development and has evolved into all things marketing with fingers in everything related to book publishing. 
She lives with her husband and two children and more pets than she can keep track of. Despite her crazy schedule, she loves the time she carves out to read and write. Whether it’s on the beach or on the couch at 2am, she is a woman obsessed!
She loves to hear from readers so please feel free to drop her a note or visit her at www.ariagracebooks.com.
If you’d like to know when Aria’s next book is coming out or where she’ll be signing, join her mailing list at: http://bit.ly/AriaGraceFanList

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Title: When I’m Weak
Series: Mile High Romance #2
Author: Aria Grace
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 19, 2015 
Jamie presents a flamboyant and slutty attitude to the world because he’s been hurt before. Even though it’s mostly an act, he hides behind his persona to keep people at arm’s length. With only a small group of trusted friends, he’s vowed to never allow a man to have power over him again. Power to hurt him. Power to take away his freedom. Power to label him as a predator for the rest of his life.
Reed and his sister run a home preschool for toddlers. His focus is on getting credentialed so he can take some of the burden from Abby. He doesn’t have time for friends, much less a lover, but when he meets Jamie, he recognizes something in the man that makes him want to get closer. 
Unfortunately, Jamie’s past prevents him from truly integrating into Reed’s future. It’s not just a matter of the heart. It’s a matter of the law.

HOSTED BY:

Want Kink and Romance? Get it with Morticia Knight’s ‘Safe Limits’ (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

safelimits_800

Safe Limits ( Kiss of Leather #2) by Morticia Knight
Release Date: December 22, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh

Blurb

The men from Kiss of Leather gather together to rescue a terrified young sub. But it’s Master Derek who wants to keep him for good.

Master Gavin and his boy, Kyle are celebrating their newly established bond when Master Josh calls requesting their help. Josh’s sub, David, needs the men to help his best friend from childhood while they’re away at a BDSM convention in San Francisco.

Corey ran away from his Master after a horrible scene, but he blames himself for everything that happened. No Master would ever want him if they were to find out what he did. Corey’s not sure if he’ll ever feel safe enough to give himself to a Master again anyway, even if all he’s ever wanted was to belong to somebody.

Master Derek agrees to watch over Corey until Josh and David return from the convention. All he needs is another pretty twink messing with his head and his heart, so the older, growly bear of a man determines to keep his distance. But when Corey wakes up screaming after a devastating nightmare, Derek is more drawn than ever to the young sub – the need to keep Corey safe from whatever or whoever has hurt him becoming his main priority.

Kyle and Corey develop a friendship when Corey assists Kyle in the dungeon furniture workshop. Kyle has his own fears – the ones that make him feel he’s broken because of the things he desires to do with Gavin. Through helping Kyle, and receiving his own help through Derek, Corey decides he’s ready to let go of the demons from his past and move forward into a new life.

Now if Corey can only get Derek to believe that he’s ready – and to finally do something about it.

 

 

Pages or Words: 51,265 words, 164 pages
Categories: BDSM, Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Not a standalone, Series should be read in order

Excerpt

Derek was not one to live with mystery – especially with someone under his roof. He respected Corey’s boundaries and his need to keep certain things to himself, but he didn’t think it was completely unreasonable to at least attempt to be friendly with each other. Corey finally answered him.

“I’m usually up pretty early. I can’t sleep much past seven, even when I was going to school and it was the weekend.” Corey’s eyes tracked everything in the kitchen that wasn’t anywhere near Derek. “Plus, I get really tired at night. I used to be the one who fell asleep on New Year’s Eve.”

“Used to be?”

Corey finally looked in his direction. “Tony was more of a night owl. He insisted I stay awake the last few New Year’s.”

“Tony your Dom?”

Corey actually appeared to shrink into himself even more. “Ex-Dom.”

“Hmm.” Derek shut off the burners then pressed the lever down on the toaster. “Hungry?”

“Yeah.” Corey nodded with an enthusiasm that made Derek wonder about the kid’s recent circumstances and whether he’d had enough to eat. He finally lifted his gaze to Derek. “Can I set the table for you? Or…something?”

“I’m not that formal here. You can grab the orange juice and butter from the fridge though. I already have plates and glasses.” Derek wondered if he could draw Corey out of himself a bit more. Mundane topics seemed to be relatively safe. The mention of the Dom had caused him to shut down instantly. “Hope you like chorizo and eggs.”

Corey brought over the items Derek had requested. He set them down then moved quickly away.

“Anything you have is great. I meant…” Corey swallowed, his expression pained. “I meant to say thank you to you last night. I should’ve said it to Gavin…” Corey’s eyes flashed up at him with panic. “Um, Master Gavin and Kyle, but they left before I could tell them. This is really cool of you to do. So, thank you.”

Derek offered him a smile. It wasn’t an expression he employed often, but he sensed that Corey needed some reassuring. “Sure. You’re welcome.” He finished pouring the juice then handed the tumblers back to Corey. “Here you go. Have a seat and I’ll get the rest.”

Corey nodded and did what he was told. Derek found himself intrigued by the young man. It was the absolute last damn thing he needed at the moment, but he couldn’t help it. Corey was too young, too pretty – but he didn’t seem to be too spoiled. Derek ached to know more. All he had to do was figure out how to approach Corey without scaring the shit out of him.

Buy the book:

Pride Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Barnes & Noble

Banner300x250

About the Author:

Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Novel Approach, Divine Magazine, The Hat Party, Happily Ever Chapter, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, V’s Reads, TTC Books and More, 3 Chicks After Dark, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, MM Good Book Reviews, Nephy Hart, Bonkers About Books, Jessie G. Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Alpha Book Club, Velvet Panic, Gay Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of book one: ‘Building Bonds’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js