A Stella Review: Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow


RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Out!When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.

His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.

Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.

Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have another winner from the amazing JL Merrow! She is one of my favorite authors and The Shamwell Tales series is really great. Out! was a great addition to an already well done series. It was engaging and English like all JL’s works.

Out! was a light story, there was really nothing too heavy, making it perfect for a pleasurable reading time. As always the characters were all well defined and enjoyable, but it’s probably the first time with this author, I have to admit that I liked the secondary characters, Lex and David especially, more than Mark and Patrick.  In fact I’d like to beg JL to please, pretty please, write Lex’s story. They deserve it.

What I particularly appreciate in Out! is that I felt everything about the story was real and authentic, in Mark’s struggles with his teenage daughter Fen, in the development of his relationship with Patrick and in their different points of view of important things. The funny dialogues often reflected the ones I have in my RL, so it was easy to empathize with their lives and everyday issues.

I want to highly recommend this story and the whole series, it’s fun, light and easy. Don’t miss it!

Just a note: all books can be read as a standalone.

The COVER ART by Kanaxa is not my favorite of the artist and in the Merrow’s series. Most of all I can’t see my MCs in the model on the cover. But it’s clearly well done.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 322 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Samhain Publishing
Original TitleOut!
ISBN 1619229935 (ISBN13: 9781619229938)
Edition LanguageEnglish

The Shamwell Tales series – with links to Stella’s reviews:

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Pain Slut (The Subs Club, #2) by J.A. Rock


Rating: 4.5 stars  out of 5

PainSlut_600x900Miles is a pain slut. In fact, he’s the resident authority on pain among members of the Subs Club, a group formed a few months before in “an attempt to give submissives a private place to discuss safety concerns in the kink community.” As the story opens, Miles is participating in a scene with one of his favorite sadists. The scene is explicit and uses medical props so those who are squeamish and not able to read about masochism will be able to test their tolerance early in the story. But for Miles, it’s what he wants and needs, and he’s still suffering the aftereffects (swollen testicles) when there’s an emergency at his business, and he has to go in to take care of it.

He’s dressed in loose-fitting sweats and a T-shirt and slinks in the back door because he doesn’t want anyone to see him. Of course, that’s when the customer at his custom shirt design company spots him. Miles looks up, and up, to the six foot seven inch tall, gorgeous, long-haired, blond man who smiles back at him with shiny, sharp-pointed teeth. And, yes, it turns out his customer, Drix Seger, is a vampyre—a member of a community who believe in feeding on the prana, or life force, of others. He tells Miles he’s a sadist and he likes blood play, but his real kick is in feeding on persons with a really powerful life force.

Miles has met the perfect man for him. Drix is not only a sadist, but he’s willing to train with Miles’s favorite Dom so that he can meet his need for pain. But Miles is in a quandary—he’s just been approved for adoption, and he’s fearful his lifestyle will interfere, causing the agency to turn him down. Staying involved in the Subs Club as they extend their meetings to include community outreach to college campuses and other groups, and staying involved with Drix, knowing he’s risking the adoption with this relationship have Miles’s head spinning. And the more he spins out of control, the more he needs to submit to pain.

At a deeper emotional level, Miles has never learned to share his feelings with others. He keeps them bottled up and rarely shares with his family, his friends in the Subs Club, or even with Drix. He wants to— especially now that he’s beginning to feel so much for Drix, but he can’t seem to force himself to do it. He doesn’t realize it at first, but all of his carefully erected emotional walls are starting to crumble as he learns valuable truths about himself. Can he leave the Subs Club behind? Will he be able to adopt? Can he find his HEA with a vampyre?

I really enjoyed this story for a number of reasons. The author presented sadism and masochism in a straightforward and enlightening way, giving both a definition and demonstrations. Note—this book is not for the faint of heart or those looking for mild BDSM. There’s hardcore sadism in this one.

What I most enjoyed while reading the book was meeting Miles— being treated to a glimpse of his psyche as he moved from a serious playtime pain slut who took control of his scenes to a totally wrecked and blissed-out pain slut whose heart and mind are placed totally in the hands of his sadist, his lover, his man, Drix. Add to that, his insights into his ability to be a good parent, his fears that his inability to make a decision will make him a bad parent and poor role model, and his awakening love for and dependence on Drix, and I was totally wowed.

I recommend this to all lovers of BDSM, and especially to those with an interest in sado-masochism. And if you like a story in which the MC grows and matures and realizes his self-worth over the course of the book, this one is perfect for you.

Cover Art by Kanaxa shows a small surgical knife against a teal blue argyle background. The background, using different colors, is being repeated throughout the series, and a different BDSM-related symbol will be displayed on the cover each time. I like the way the general look of the cover links all the stories in the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon  coming soon| Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Published January 30th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitlePain Slut
ISBN 1626493456 (ISBN13: 9781626493452)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesThe Subs Club #2

Love Fantasy? Check out J. Scott Coatsworth’s ‘The Autumn Lands’, a new MM Romance/sci fi/fantasy (excerpt)



The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay

Release Date: 1/27/16
Goodreads Link


Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.

But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.


Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer’s Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain’s Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn’t slow down and didn’t dare glance back.

The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.

His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:

The kiss.

The unexpected shock of it.

The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man’s golden eyes.

At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.

It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.

Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.

Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.

He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.

Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith’s own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.

His eyes were wide and golden, and they’d met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to ‘prentice to the blacksmith. The man’s gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.

Then he’d been gone.

Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.

The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.

Sent home at last well after nightfall, he’d heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist’s shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.

The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he’d returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.

Buy Links

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon  | KoboBookstrand | ARe | iBooks


Author Bio

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Love and Kink Returns When The Sub Club Continues with ‘Pain Slut (The Subs Club #2)’ by J.A. Rock (giveaway)



Pain Slut (The Subs Club #2) by J.A. Rock
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist Kanaxa

Read an Excerpt/Purchase a Copy Here

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release Pain Slut—Book 2 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win your choice of two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card!

About Pain Slut

Honestly, I’m ready to take a step back from the Subs Club. Making the kink world a safer place for subs is the sort of bandwagon I’d have boarded as an idealist in my early twenties, but now I’m a pragmatist in my late twenties. I prefer to focus on adopting and raising a child.

But unexpected factors inevitably derail my plans. Like Drix Seger—attractive and the first genuine sadist I’ve encountered. If I were not in the process of renouncing my masochistic ways and becoming the normal, responsible potential father the adoption agency wants to see, Drix and I might do well together. But he has a foolish name and belongs to a cult of vampyres, and I am quitting kink. So why does Drix’s infatuation with blood and biting make me so hot I can’t think straight? And why, when he looks at me, does he seem to see something beyond a basket case with a stick up my ass?

Can I start a new phase in my life without leaving part of myself behind? Please send help.


About the Subs Club series

After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

This title is part of the The Subs Club Collection collection. Check out the collection discount! – See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/pain-slut

About the Author

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.



Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of two backlist titles from J.A. Rock and a $10 Amazon gift card. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 6, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

TheSubsClub_600x900PainSlut_600x900Manties in a Twist24:7 the Sub Clue

The Subs Club (The Subs Club, #1) with a link to our review, a highly rated novel at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Pain Slut (The Subs Club, #2)  our review to follow

Manties in a Twist (The Subs Club, #3) – a delicious title that’s coming soon….

24/7 (The Subs Club, #4) as is this

An Up Close Look at Lane Hayes’ ‘A Kind of Truth’ (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)



A Kind of Truth (A Kind Of #1) by Lane Hayes
Release Date: January 8, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lane Hayes author of A Kind of Truth. Hi Lane, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Thank you so much for having me over to talk about my newest release!

  • Is there a character in your books that you can’t stand? (Antagonist for example) And what makes them someone you don’t like?

In A Kind of Truth, there are a couple of antagonists I don’t like, but the one that stands out for me is Will’s mom. She’s horrible. She stands for every fundamental right-winger with tragic tunnel vision. Readers may get the sense she wasn’t always this way, but now she clings to her “moral” choices in order to preserve her own interests. In a reelection year, that sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

  • Are there misconceptions people have about your genre?

Plenty! I think some people don’t like the romance genre on principle. Serious “intellectual” readers scoff and say romance is trash, but mystery, sci-fi and paranormal are “okay”. LGBT romance may be even considered by some as a fetish read, along the same vein as erotica. It’s not up to me to educate the plethora of idiots out there, but I will say this… there is no shame in wanting to write or read beautiful stories with complex characters who grapple with fear and loneliness to find love and hope. There are gorgeous stories by very talented authors in the MM romance genre. I’d hate for a romance lover to miss out due to misconceptions about the genre.

  • Is there message in your novel that you hope readers grasp?

Be true to yourself! And above all, don’ t be afraid to dream big and go for it!

  • How has your writing evolved since your first book?

A Kind of Truth is my eighth published book. I think I’m a more confident writer now than I was when I wrote my first novel, Better Than Good, in 2012. I hadn’t done any serious writing in years at that point so I know the editors at DSP had their hands full! Lol! Confidence in my craft has made me willing to stretch a bit and tackle subjects I wasn’t always comfortable with. I’m definitely still a work in progress, though!

  • One food you don’t care if you never eat it again.

Brussel sprouts. Sorry, but… ew.



Rand O’Malley dreams of superstardom. He hopes to one day sing the blues like a rock god. Moving to New York City and hiring a new manager are steps to make his dreams a reality. But nothing moves as fast as Rand would like, and everyone has opinions, which include he keep certain pieces of himself quiet if he plans on making it in the Big Apple. Like his bisexuality.

Will Sanders is a gifted musician who dazzles Rand with his ability to coax gorgeous notes from an electric guitar one moment and play the piano like a professional the next. He’s a geek, but Rand isn’t concerned about Will’s pressed exterior clashing with his tattoos. His focus is music. Yet there’s something about Will that makes Rand think there’s much more to the quiet college student than he lets on. As Rand’s dreams begin to materialize, he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and find his own kind of truth. One that might include Will.


Pages or Words: 82,000 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt for A Kind of Truth by Lane Hayes

Watching Will’s face turn pink then red was extraordinarily entertaining. I nudged his elbow playfully and tried to gain control of my smile before it threatened to take over my entire face. When I couldn’t take the building pressure of emotion, I winked at the girls then leaned in and kissed his lips, loving that I took him by surprise. The elevator doors slid open a moment later. Will stepped into the empty corridor and gave me a wide-eyed incredulous stare.

“I cannot believe you just did that.”

“What? Kissed you on an elevator? It’s not like farting, ya know.”

Will huffed a sigh that clearly said he thought I was hopeless before turning to walk down the hall. “I was talking about the underwear comment but yeah, the kissing part was awkward too. No one wants to watch two people going at in a confined space. And besides, we’re supposed to be playing this strictly straight while we’re in public.”

He stopped to unlock the door to the classroom then pushed it open, pausing to give me a perturbed look before he moved inside ahead of me. I barked a quick laugh as I set my guitar on the back table and shrugged my jacket off.

“First of all, that was hardly going at it. It was a peck. You were the one advertising I left my clothes at your place in front of a couple cute girls. And who said anything about playing straight?”

“Were we not in the same room two mornings ago talking about this?”

“We were. In fact, we were naked in your bed. Decidedly un-straight. But the way I remember it, I was one who was holding back the gay while you were the one going for it. But let’s go back to the elevator. I think you purposefully blew my cover back there with those girls. Were you jealous?”

He snorted and rolled his eyes. “You’re unbelievable.”


“It wasn’t a compliment,” he quipped as he made his way to the piano.

“Well, the next time you announce you’re holding my underwear hostage in a crowd, all bets are off, baby.” I gave him a lascivious once-over and waggled my eyebrows before tightening the strap on my guitar.

Will chuckled. “I’ll keep that in mind. But I’m pretty sure your tighty-whities never came up. My comment was perfectly innocent. There’s a big difference between hats and underwear.”

“I’m on to you, Will. You wanted those girls to know something’s going on between us. They’re probably talking right now. Bet they’re wondering if we’re in here having sex. Hell, they could be outside that door listening. Maybe we should give ‘em something to talk about.” I made a show of unbuckling my belt and the top button on my 501s. “Is there a camera in this room?”

“Keep your pants on. I’ve got two months left till graduation and I’d prefer not to get kicked out of school, please,” Will said primly, smacking my hand away.

“You won’t get kicked out. I doubt we’d be the first anyway.”

I rezipped my jeans and started to back up, but at the last second, I reached out to cup his chin between my thumb and forefinger. I traced his jaw and let my thumb roam higher to caress his cheekbone just under his glasses. His eyes fluttered shut. I loved the contrast of his fair skin and darker lashes and eyebrows. He was so damn pretty. And those lips. They were sensuous. That was the word. I leaned in and brushed my nose against his. I could feel his breath on my lips. The urge to plunge my tongue inside and take what I was very sure we both wanted was strong, but I waited for his permission.

When he didn’t respond, I let my hand fall to my side and started to pull back. Maybe he really was serious about propriety in the classroom. I wasn’t used to curbing my impulses to suit someone’s else’s sensibilities. I’d spent twenty-five years doing only what I wanted. Screw anyone else. Now here I was, attempting to hide my gay side publicly while trying to follow Will’s lead in private. It felt strange, I thought, just as Will launched himself at me.

I grunted in surprise when he wrapped his arms around my neck and crashed his mouth over mine. He softened the connection and tilted his head as he raked his fingers through my hair. I responded but let him control the tempo. Until he tentatively licked my lips. Fuck, he tasted sweeter than I remembered. Like peppermint candy or hot chocolate. I pulled him flush against my chest and slid my tongue alongside his, twisting and colliding in a passionate fusion. When he gasped for air I pulled back only to have him grind his hips into mine and lick my jaw. He swayed into me with a moan and lost his footing.

“Steady there.”

Will was sexier than he knew, which spelled potential danger for me. It was better to let the music take over for now.

Buy the book: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback 


Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab ever in an almost empty nest.

Where to find the author:


BannerTemplateTour Dates & Stops:


Prism Book Alliance, KathyMac Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, Hearts on Fire


Happily Ever Chapter, Nic Starr, Joyfully Jay, The Novel Approach


Havan Fellows, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Love Bytes


Unquietly Me, Gay Book Reviews,


Bayou Book Junkie, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Gay Media Reviews, Open Skye Book Reviews


Book Lovers 4Ever, Molly Lolly, Alpha Book Club, Full Moon Dreaming


BFD Book Blog, MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words


Divine Magazine, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads



Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 gift card from retailer of choice and choice of book from Lane’s backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.


a Rafflecopter giveaway