A Stella Review: Beneath the Stars by Lynn Charles

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

On the cusp of launching his fashion line for transmen and butch women, Sid Marneaux receives a life-altering phone call. His father, who raised his family alone, is in failing health. As he returns home, he wonders if he could lose the business he has spent most of his adult life building.

What he could not have anticipated was meeting Eddie Garner, the city’s new fire chief. After a heroic rescue, their romance sparks hot, launching into a swift affair. But Eddie is harboring his own burdens: the painful death of his best friend and the responsibility of raising her young son—their son—Adrian.

Through the wisdom of a child and the connection of mothers-now-gone, Sid, Eddie and Adrian venture and fumble to define family, career, and most importantly, love.

Oh the joy of reading Beneath the Stars! It filled my heart with so many feelings, it was  impossible not to love it. I had already appreciated Lynn Charles in Black Dust, that’s why I was curious about this new release.

I loved everything in this novel. Let’s start with the characters. Eddie and Sid are simply beautiful people and together they are awesome. Both of them are real, their stories are real, messy, sad, like ours are. I soon emphasized with them and their struggle, I wanted to hug them from the start till the ending. Then there is Adrian, a force of nature, a little boy who has just lost his mum, a great woman. He simply took my heart. He is probably too smart for his age but his cuteness was the icing on the cake for reader like me who love books with children in the plot. And all the secondary characters are well done too, all of them positive, all of them well depicted.

The romance part was balanced with all the rest that was happening in Eddie and Sid’s lives when they met and knew something was going to be born between them. In a story like this, the author did a great work with a story believable and a brilliant writing that made the reading fly easily and dialogues engaging. In a way this was not an easy book to read, it’s too close to some themes I particularly care for, events I went through, losses I had. And so I cried a lot. But the tears were neutralized by certain emotions and laughs.

Beneath The Stars is a winner, the story is strong and solid, I want to highly recommend it. The author has quickly became one of my favorites.

The cover art by CB Messer is simply beautiful, this artist is a guarantee of very well done and most of all fitting covers.

Sales Links

Interlude Press

BOOK DETAILS

Published February 16th 2017 by Interlude Press

Kindle Edition, 300 pages

ASIN B01MS46RO7

Edition Language English

Love a Paranormal Romance? Check out ‘The Alpha’s Prey’ by Lou Kelly (author interview, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Title:  The Alpha’s Prey

Author: Lou Kelly

Publisher:  Amazon KDP

Release Date: 03/01/2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75,000 words

Genre: Romance, shifter, paranormal romance

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lou Kelly here today talking writing and sharing thoughts on her characters from her recent release, The Alpha’s Prey. Welcome, Lou!

✒︎

Let’s Talk Characters with Lou Kelly!

Q: Who is your favorite character in The Alpha’s Prey?

A: That’s a hard question to answer! I always fall in love with my main characters as I’m writing. I figure, if I don’t love them, I can’t expect my audience to fall for them. So, maybe this is cheating, but I’m going to name both of the main characters.

I love Devon’s fighting spirit. He never gives up no matter how difficult the obstacle or how much the odds are stacked against him. He’s a character who’s had to fight hard for everything he’s achieved as a skater, starting out cleaning the ice rink to pay for his lessons as he climbed the ranks to international success. Devon’s career has taught him how to get up after a fall, and that’s a skill he desperately needs in this book.

Aaron is a caretaker. As the alpha of his pack, he’s strong but he doesn’t depend on brute force to lead. Rather, he’s incredibly smart and nurturing. In this story Aaron’s patience is challenged again and again as he waits for his mate to be healed in both body and spirit, but every time he rises to the challenge and makes sure that Devon is loved and protected.

Q: If you had to pick from all of your novels, who would you name as your favorite character?

A: Actually, it would be one of my secondary characters from Unguarded. Bart was such a blast to write. I didn’t intend for him to have such a prominent role in the book, but every time he entered the story he ended up stealing the scene. Writing Bart’s lines made me laugh out loud.

Q: What do you think makes a great character?

A:  Personally, I love a character who is conflicted in some way. I like stories where the two characters have to battle their preconceptions in order to be together. And I love it when there’s a tinge of darkness to a character’s personality.

In The Alpha’s Prey, I enjoyed writing the scenes where Aaron struggles with his powerlessness. In the story, another alpha is hunting Aaron’s mate, and he wants to protect Devon – has to protect him — but his hands are tied when their opponent goes into hiding. Aaron is a strong character, but when he is forced to deal with a situation that’s too often out of control, this allows him to show different aspects of his personality to the reader. He gets scared, frustrated, and even desperate, but he never loses his strength.

Q: What are some of your favorite characters from other novels?

A: I loved the character of Tover in Astrid Amara’s Song of the Navigator. He could have so easily come across as shallow, but he never did. What happens to him is horrible, and as a reader I really had to wonder whether he’d have the strength to forgive. This is one of my favorite m/m novels.

I also loved Lord Crane and Stephen Day in The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles. I adored both of the main characters (Gray and John) in Jordan Hawk’s SPECTR series. And I always love Keira Andrews’ characters as well. Every book she writes ends up on my re-read list!

Synopsis

If there’s one thing Devon O’Leary hates, it’s wolves. Everyone thinks the wolfman he remembers as his abductor is a figment of his imagination, but Devon knows the truth and he has the scars to prove it. Wolf shifters are real; they have sharp claws, horrible fangs, and show no mercy to their victims. And one of their Alphas has claimed him as its prey.

Can two men overcome impossible odds to claim the love that was meant to be theirs? Or will Devon’s past cause him to reject the mate who would do anything to keep him safe?

Excerpt

Aaron Lowell had a splitting headache. Again.
Actually, this was a migraine. Even the gentle lamplight in his log home made his forehead crease with pain and his fists clench. If he were fully human, the fact that he’d been getting migraines would suck, but he’d take some medication and visit his doctor. Maybe get an MRI. The problem was, Aaron was a wolf shifter, and shifters did not get migraines. Alphas in peak condition did not salivate for Percaset on the day of the full moon.
And yet, jesus, mary, and joseph, Aaron’s head fucking hurt.
The television was blaring in the living room and Aaron forced himself to walk the few feet to shut it off, but a national news promo was on, interrupting the hockey game to inform viewers that there’d been a break in the Devon O’Leary case.
Headache or no headache, there was zero chance he was shutting off the television now.
Devon O’Leary was a figure skater, dubbed America’s prince after his gold medal win at the World Championships. He’d been abducted almost four weeks ago, and ever since, Aaron hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the guy. Any abduction was horrific, but there was something about this one that tore at Aaron’s guts and wouldn’t let go.
Maybe he was obsessed with the story because he’d always nursed a secret crush on Devon. Who wouldn’t? Devon was a breathtakingly beautiful Irish twenty-two year old with chestnut curls, striking blue eyes, a perfect ass, and a smile that brought dimples to both cheeks. He had an amazing build, masculine, and yet completely graceful on the ice. As far as Aaron could tell, the kid was perfect: gorgeous, bashful, and talented.
Around here, in the mountains of Holland, North Dakota, Devon was also a hometown hero because he’d grown up in the area and trained at the local Ice Hut, making his way up the ranks by scrubbing floors to pay for rink time until he won his first national competition. Like everyone else in Holland, Aaron had loved watching Devon skate, even though his pack teased him mercilessly. Not that Aaron cared about a little teasing. He was an Alpha, and he could watch figure skating if he damn well wanted to.
Except, now Devon might be dead.
Please don’t say they found his body.
Aaron couldn’t tell whether his nausea was due to the migraine or the news report. Ever since the abduction his wolf had been howling to get loose and rip someone’s throat out. He guessed most people felt that way, minus the wolf part, of course. Something precious had been stolen from them.
Someone precious.
Aaron took a deep breath, trying to steady himself. Honestly, if this was the report where they announced they’d found Devon’s mutilated corpse, Aaron thought his wolf might go crazy.
Finally, the breaking news promo ended and a blonde reporter came on screen, standing in front of a tiny, nondescript hunting shack blocked off with yellow tape. She was obviously deep in the woods, bundled in a hooded fur coat, trying not to shiver in the snow.
The blood in Aaron’s ears pounded so loud he could hardly make out a word the reporter was saying, but he got the gist of the recap as she filled the audience in on Devon’s abduction from the ice rink after one of his training sessions. A photograph of Devon flashed onto the screen, followed by a three second cut of him spinning on ice, a flash of him receiving a gold medal at January’s National Skating Competition, and then a fragment of an interview in which Devon laughed, blushed a gorgeous pink, and shook his reddish brown curls in an unconscious gesture that was so endearing Aaron nearly wept.
Fuck. He was really losing control.
“At long last, there’s a lead regarding the abduction of Devon O’Leary,” the reporter said. “Police have located a remote hunting shack where they believe Devon was being held, maybe even as recently as this morning. The break came after a hunter reported seeing a bound figure being carried to a flatbed truck, and police have been scouring the area since the report came in. What they’ve turned up has been, to say the least, disturbing.
“Although police aren’t commenting on the specifics of what was found inside this shack, they have confirmed that blood and other sources of DNA have been brought to a lab where technicians will determine if they belong to Devon O’Leary. As to whether the bound figure was dead or alive, the witness couldn’t be sure.
“Devon’s only surviving relative, his grandmother, Layla O’Leary, and his coach, Ivan Jacobowitz, have both been in constant contact with authorities and have said that this news gives them hope that Devon will be found. They’re pleading with the public to be on alert for anything that might bring Devon home.”
The reporter looked forlorn, and Aaron wondered if that was due to the news about Devon or the freezing temperatures on the mountain.
“According to the witness,” she continued, “the truck was a rusted, blue Chevrolet without plates and the man carrying the bound figure was described as Caucasian, approximately six foot four, abnormally large and muscular with red hair, a full beard, and a scar across one cheek. Police are asking the public to be on alert for signs of this man or his vehicle.”
Police sketches covered the screen and Aaron drew in a sharp breath at the sight.
No. No, no, no.
The sketch of the abductor had the classic profile of a wolf shifter. Large and muscular were the same two words people used to describe Aaron when they first met him, but there was more: a certain sharp cut of the features that spoke of an Alpha wolf. The shoulders were too broad, the facial features more chiseled, and the eyes … even in a black-and-white sketch, the eyes seemed to glow.
“No.” Aaron repeated the only word his aching brain could conjure. “Please, no.” He ran his fingertips down the length of the television screen as if he could reach inside and pull Devon out. Rescue him from his tormentor.
The sound of his front door slamming shut pulled Aaron’s attention back to reality. His Beta and best friend, Georgia, stepped inside, shaking snow out of her waist length, curly brown hair and removing her pale pink parka. She glanced at Aaron, and then at the television.
“I came as soon as I could,” she said. “Heard the news report on the radio and I had a feeling you’d be melting down.”
Aaron grunted. “Why would you think that?”
Georgia’s eyes strayed to Aaron’s living room wall. Newspaper articles and photographs of Devon were pinned to every wooden beam, even taped to the window pane. Each lead the police had produced thus far – not that any of them had panned out – were pinpointed on a large map tacked between Aaron’s framed college diploma and his UND Hockey poster. A glossy, color cut-out from Skating magazine showed Devon’s smiling face.
“Okay. Maybe I’ve been a bit obsessive,” he admitted, “but the guy’s a local. I know his grandmother, for god’s sake.”
“You know his grandmother because you started visiting her at the assisted living facility after Devon’s abduction,” Georgia reminded him. Gently. For someone whose wolf form was as big as her Alpha’s, Georgia was surprisingly gentle. Even in human form she stood only slightly smaller than Aaron’s broad, six foot four frame, yet she still came across as delicate.
Aaron shook his head. “Yeah. I guess that’s true. I feel like I’ve known her forever.” Over the past month he’d found this sort of thing happening a lot. His head felt muddled, as if every thought had to travel through a thick layer of fog before an idea could emerge. “She’s an amazing woman. She’s already lost a husband, a son, and a daughter-in-law. I can’t imagine how she’s surviving. Maybe I’ll stop by tonight and –”
Georgia cleared her throat, reaching over to shut off the television. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what night this is.”
“What? Oh. Right. Of course not.” But for a moment, Aaron had forgotten. How the hell had he forgotten about the full moon? For shifters, the full moon beat in their veins, literally speeding up the flow of blood so their whole body felt vibrant and alive, ready to split open at any moment. Not a feeling one could easily forget.
“The pack is looking forward to running. You know your mood has been affecting them over the past few weeks. They need this release, Aaron.”
“Yeah. I know.”
He did know. He’d had his first nightmare after the previous full moon waned, quickly followed by his first migraine the next day, and in the weeks since he’d been sluggish, irritable, and nearly incapable of making a decision. Basically, the opposite of everything his pack deserved from their leader.
“Relax,” Georgia said, as if she could read his mind. “No one expects you to be perfect. You’re a damn good Alpha and five years of doing everything right isn’t going to be erased by one bad month. Especially not when there’s clearly something wrong with you.” She paused. “Uh, medically, I mean. The pack is worried, that’s all. We want to see you healthy and it’s scary that Doc doesn’t know how to treat you. Everyone’s hoping that shifting on the full moon will help.”
Aaron couldn’t deny that he’d been hoping for the same thing. Shifters were supposed to heal quickly. Long term illnesses weren’t a part of shifter life until they grew old, but for him, there was even more resting on the full moon shift because the truth was, Doc not only couldn’t cure him, he couldn’t find anything wrong with Aaron in the first place, which meant that whatever was going on was probably in his head.
Even now he could hear Doc’s patient voice. “You took over this pack real young, Aaron. I understand your father wanted to take the position with the council up in Canada, but you’re not mated and you were just out of grad school. Running a pack and a business is a lot of stress for someone your age.”
According to Doc, Aaron had latched onto Devon’s case in an attempt to channel his own latent anxiety into something concrete. Maybe that was true, but Aaron hadn’t been conscious of any out-of-the-ordinary stress before everything fell apart. The pack ran a business building custom log homes, and sales were booming. He’d been able to use his MBA to bring in new customers and nearly double their clientele. Sure, he missed his father, but he loved being Alpha. Leadership was in his blood. Literally.
“Have you eaten anything today?” Georgia asked, walking into his kitchen. She didn’t wait for an answer, rummaging through his refrigerator and stacking mounds of leftover bacon, baked beans, and a pile of carrots onto a paper plate. “You need fuel for tonight.”
She walked back out and set the plate on his coffee table, but Aaron ignored her. He took a red pushpin and stuck it onto the map at the location where the hunting shack had been found. Aaron stared at the pin. The spot was about three hours north in rugged terrain, but it would be possible to get there by nightfall.
“What are you thinking?” Georgia asked, reaching over to massage his shoulders. Aaron was suddenly aware that he’d been wearing the same shirt for three days straight, and he hadn’t shaved, so dark stubble was turning into a full beard. He kept his black hair cut short most of the time, but it had grown out into a ragged, unkempt look, made worse by the circles under his eyes.
“I, uh … we’re going to run here tonight.” He reached out and placed a finger on an area just north of the pushpin where a single dotted line indicated a logging road. Georgia stopped massaging.
“Aaron, I know you want to find this guy, but …”
Aaron whirled on her. “It’s not that I want to find Devon. I need to find him. And he needs to be found. This area isn’t claimed by any pack, so there’s no reason we can’t run here.”
“No reason except that the whole mountain is probably crawling with police.”
“You know humans, they’ll stop searching at nightfall, especially with the temperature dropping.”
Georgia pursed her lips. “Then there’s the three hour drive there and back. Parents with pups will have to get childcare at the last minute, or else we’ll have to leave someone behind to watch the little ones.”
“Ask a few of the elders to stay. Tell them it’s a personal favor for their Alpha.”
“You should also consider the pack’s feelings. They’re already confused about why you’re so obsessed with Devon’s disappearance, and this sudden change in plans won’t help matters.”
“Enough!” The word came out in a stifled roar and ended on a growl. “I’m still the Alpha, and if I say we run here tonight, then that’s where we run. Unless anyone wants to challenge me for my position, in which case they can try their best.”
Georgia made a startled yelp and lowered her eyes to the floor, tilting her head to show her submission. “Of course not, Aaron. No one is challenging your leadership. We love you and support you. I’m just saying it will be difficult to pull everything together at such late notice.”
“I don’t care,” Aaron said. “Do whatever it takes. Anyone who has a valid reason to stay home can run here with a smaller pack or stay with the kids, but I expect everyone else to be ready to leave by four o’clock. We’ll fan out around the base of the mountain and work our way up. This isn’t a request; it’s an order.”
Georgia nodded, but they both knew she wouldn’t have to repeat the last part. Even now the pack could probably sense Aaron’s intensity. They’d feel it in rippling waves of emotion, capped off with the need to obey.
“I better get started then,” she said, reaching for the parka she’d just discarded. She paused, looking back up. “Aaron, is there something you’re not telling me? Something else driving your desire to run in that territory? I mean, besides the obvious.”
Georgia could always tell when he was holding back. That was part of what made her an ideal Beta.
Aaron sighed. “I didn’t like the sketch of the possible abductor that the police released.” He shrugged. “I know it’s just a composite and the witness could be wrong about what he saw, but …”
“But what?”
“The guy looks like a wolf shifter. An Alpha.”
Georgia’s eyebrows climbed up her forehead.
“I realize this probably sounds insane considering I’ve only seen one pencil sketch,” Aaron said, “but if you think about it, the whole scenario points to a shifter. Devon was abducted on the morning after the full moon ended. If he’s been alive this whole time, that means someone has kept him hidden, and now he’s been moved right before the next full moon ascends. I know it’s not much, but I think we have to check things out.”
Georgia set her hand on his arm. “Actually,” she said, “it’s a lot. If there’s even a chance that you’re right, we need to take that shifter down.”
Aaron let out a breath. “Thank you.” There were so many reasons to love Georgia he couldn’t count them all. Her unconditional support was in the top ten.
“I’ll rally the troops,” she said. “Worst thing that happens, we rule out the idea that Devon’s being kept in that area. Best thing? We save that kid’s life, take down a rogue Alpha, and become the heroes of Holland, North Dakota.” She grinned, flashing the wide smile that could rival any Hollywood actress.
Aaron reached over and pulled her close, planting a kiss on her cheek. “Tell me again why we’re not mated?”
She winked, bumping him with her hip. “Could be because Walt would complain. I swear, he gets the Mate-of-the-Year award for coming in second place all the time and not leaving me. If you didn’t prefer men, he’d have dragged me off to another pack ages ago.” She paused, giving Aaron a look. “You know, Walt has this theory that Devon is really your mate and that’s why you’re so drawn to his case. He says your wolf is in pain because it has a psychic link with its soul mate. Might explain the migraines.”
Aaron laughed. “Nice theory, except for the minor detail about the guy being fully human. Trust me, I sniffed around his old apartment and didn’t find even a trace of wolf scent.”
“I don’t know,” Georgia said. “I’ve heard of other wolves being mated to humans. It’s pretty rare, but it happens.”
“Not to Alphas,” Aaron said, shaking his head. “Doc says we’re genetically designed to be mated with female wolves so we can continue the pack. He’s sworn up and down that when the time comes and I meet my mate I’ll feel attracted to her. I told him that if I was going to be attracted to any woman it would be you.”
Georgia laughed. “You put too much stock in Doc’s opinions. He’s a sweet old man, Aaron, but he’s been the only wolf doctor in this tiny, backwater town since before we were born. I don’t even know if he got a medical degree or if he just learned the art from his grandfather.”
“So what are you saying?”
“Nothing. Just that Doc’s been wrong before and crazier things have happened.” She pulled on her coat and headed to the door. “I’ll see you later,” she said. “If Devon’s out there, we’ll find him.”
Long after the door shut, Aaron stood in the same exact spot, staring at the wall. He tried to hold the idea of Devon being his mate in his mind, but the thought brought his migraine back full-force. If he were to believe that was true, it would mean that someone had taken away the man meant to be his soul mate and held that man captive in a hunting shack for a month, while he did god only knew what to him.
Aaron’s head spun. No. Better not to go there. The idea was crazy to begin with, and there was nothing to be gained from entertaining the thought. He needed to sleep for an hour or two before the pack headed out. Give in to his body’s demands before he exerted himself.
Slowly, Aaron crawled up the stairs and flung his tired form onto his bed. He closed his eyes, knowing he’d dream about dimples and chestnut curls, arms reaching out to him, desperate and in pain, pleading for his help.
Begging to be found.

Purchase

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

 

Meet the Author

Lou Kelly loves a great romance. Having honed her skills as an author through a decade of writing and publishing, she discovered m/m fiction and fell in love. What does she like best? The slow burn.

“No insta-love for me. I adore a well-developed full-length novel with characters who are believable and sympathetic. My favorite relationships are the kind where suppressed desire sizzles with sexual tension struggling for release. Give me a strong Alpha male who has to fight for his mate, or enemies who are shocked when hate turns into love, or a mysterious stranger who doesn’t want his secrets revealed … I crave books that keep me up past my bedtime.”

When she isn’t writing, Lou Kelly loves to travel. Sadly, most of her traveling these days happens between the pages of books, but top on her wish list is a trip to Greece. Followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, and Iceland. *sigh* Someday she hopes to explore them all. Until then, you can find her reading! – Lou Kelly is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), and a proud member of RRW (Rainbow Romance Writers).

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A Stella Review: Momo, My Everything by Posy Roberts

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RATING 3 out of 5 stars

Brave the spotlight for the man he loves, or stay alone in the shadows…

William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?

*Extensively reworked from the short story, The Measure of a Man.

Momo, My Everything was already released in the 2014 with the title The Measure of a Man, it was really short and I’ll be honest and say it didn’t satisfy me, I read it and it was just meh. It was very rushed and unfinished. I was so happy to know the author rework on it turning it into a novella.

Posy Roberts is one of my favorite authors, I loved all the books she wrote, I like her writing style and adore the characters she depicts. But this re-release was not a huge winner to me. While I enjoyed it and appreciated the plot, there were some snippets I wasn’t fond of. First of all I adored Nate, he’s sure and pround of himself and what he works as, I liked him so much as I despised William, he didn’t convince me at all, he annoyed me cause he often seemed to me unsure and some of his words/thoughts were unexpected.

I felt the story was dragging, there were too many things unsaid, too many scenes with secondary characters and very few scenes just between Nate and William, often what happened was just told to the reader and not actually showed. Did they really love each other? I actually don’t have an answer. And having only William POV didn’t help at all. I missed a connection between the MCs, the attraction was not totally understandable. Knowing how good the author is, I think she could have easily handled this story so much better. It’s probably I missed something or simply it wasn’t for me, I don’t know.

That said I still feel to recommend Momo, My Everything to all the fans of Posy Roberts. I gave it three stars because I liked it. If Posy is a new to you author, then I would recommend to start somewhere else, this one could maybe disappoint you.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is definitely better than the cover of the first edition, more eye catching. I like it.

Sales Links  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 95 pages

Published February 28th 2017 by Labyrinth Bound Press (first published October 10th 2014)

Original Title The Measure of a Man

ASIN B06X9B9B1V

Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love by Dale Cameron Lowry

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book.

Part 1: Falling Fast
Warm up with whirlwind romances that last.

Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?
Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.

Part 2: Falling Fantastically
Because reality is overrated, these stories have elements of the fantastical.

Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process.
Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite.
Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.

Part 3: Falling Deep
The deeper the love, the hotter the intimacy.

Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?

 

This is a great collection of stories.  The men are all looking for love or are enjoying the love they already have which was a nice variety.  They all ended great but took a bunch of different ways to get there, just like in real life.  Most of the stories are only told from one character’s point of view, but the author does a wonderful job of showing the other characters emotions and feelings through their eyes.

 

In Mi Alma Damian and Alma aren’t quite sure how to approach the other with their growing feelings but their tension works wonderfully in building their friendship, I thought both of these characters played well off each other.  In Loggerhead Jake and Eric show that it is easy to put yourselves and your relationship on the back burner a bit, but I loved seeing them make their relationship even stronger during their trip.  Theo and Alfonso begin a wonderful friendship at the beginning of Reading the Signs and keep it going via skype when their course is over for the summer and seeing Theo learn what love really is, even at a distance, is great.

 

Born of Fire was an interesting concept; Aodhán becomes abducted by fairies and realizes this and how much Cainnech could mean to him if they were free, but they have to support each other once they are free from the fairies.  Ghost of a Chance was one of the sweetest stories in this collection; Jeremy and Frank build a great friendship that turns into a strong relationship even though they are somewhat separated on the physical plane, but their love is what can keep Frank solidly in Jeremy’s life.  Rajiv and Mateo miss each other so much in Far From Home, but have figured out the next best thing to having the other with them.  In Sweeter than Blood Keith has not been very welcoming to the vampire lifestyle and when he finally takes a chance on Andres he realizes that maybe John is the one he needs.

 

In Rough Love Blake and Michael are trying to start their relationship off well, but don’t know how to talk to each other.  When they finally do we can see what they have been holding back and how much more perfect they are for each other.  Pacific Rimming show how there is always room in people hearts for more people to love if they want and Ken and Mike know that if they give it a chance Jason could easily fit into their lives.  Seeing Jason realize that he can have the love he has wanted is wonderful.

 

Cover art by Dale Cameron Lowry is great and eye catching.

 

Sales Links: Terrestrial Press | Amazon | Books2Read

 

Book Details:

ebook, 233 pages

Published: February 20, 2017 by Terrestrial Press

ISBN: 9781508058670

Edition Language: English

A Jeri Review: Danced Close (Portland Heat #6) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Another addition to the Portland Heat series, Danced Close has a character tie to previous books but can be read as a stand alone.

Kendall is a genderqueer wedding planner. Who doesn’t believe in true love. At least not for him. Todd is a newly sober guy working at the bakery where Kendall brings a lot of his clients. He doesn’t believe he deserves love. But he can flirt. When Kendall is desperate for a dance partner for a class he is taking, he practically begs Todd. And discovers the first of many secrets.

I really loved both of these characters from the start. Todd is shy, has little confidence, but he isn’t afraid to ask questions so as to not offend someone else. Because he would rather be a little embarrassed than hurt someone else.  Kendall is unabashedly himself- refusing to change or “tone down” for anyone.  This shy recovering hipster and no holds barred Kendall shouldn’t work- but they totally do.

There were so many things I loved about this book. Todd and the relationship he has with his grandmother. A genderqueer character who is not a caricature of himself. Even showing how genderqueer are looked down upon from people in their own community.

This was a slow build, super sweet romance. It could have gone super angsty but didn’t. Yet it still touched on issues and gave them respect. More than “it is what it is” and “oh my god my life is ruined”. I don’t want to spoil the book at all because you really should read it.

Sales Links

Add to Goodreads Buy on Amazon     itunes-button

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: March 14th 2017 by Lyrical Shine
ASINB01HA426NM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPortland Heat #6

In the Paranormal Spotlight: Insight (The Community #1) by Santino Hassell (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Insight (The Community #1) by Santino Hassell
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Kanaxa

Available for Purchase at Riptide Publishing/Read An Excerpt here

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Santino Hassell here today talking about the inspiration behind Insight and the way in which the author sees the cast of characters.  Welcome, Santino!

✒︎

 

The idea for INSIGHT first came to me along with a vision of Nate’s family. A haunting, dysfunctional, psychic family full of people who share strong physical

Nathaniel “Nate” Black played by Blue Equis

straits. Willowy, pale, ash blond hair, and gray eyes. People who look spectral, have dark secrets, and who push each other away despite sharing this strong bond.

However, as I began writing, I had strong mental images for the entire cast of characters—from the skeptical wise guy, Trent, whom Nate

Trent played by Anthony Gastelier

meets on his road trip across the country to investigate his brother’s death, to the psychics Nate meets after stumbling upon the Community-run queer nightclub his brother worked at. I’d collected inspiration pics very early on so, here is my INSIGHT dream cast.

Holden played by Devin Paisley

Chase played by Josh Beech

Holden played by Devin Paisley

Elijah played by Marlon Teixeira

  

 

About Insight

Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate. 

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

Now available at Riptide. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/insight

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Insight, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Blitz and Giveaway – Rick R Reed’s Dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner


Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


Length: 67,000 words


Cover: Aaron Anderson


Blurb

Blurb


A monster moves through the night, hidden by the darkness, taking men, one by one, from Seattle’s gay gathering areas.

Amid an atmosphere of crippling fear, Thad Matthews finds his first true love working in an Italian restaurant called the Blue Moon Café. Sam Lupino is everything Thad has ever hoped for in a man: virile, sexy as hell, kind, and… he can cook!

As their romance heats up, the questions pile up. Who is the killer preying on Seattle’s gay men? What secrets is Sam’s Sicilian family hiding? And more importantly, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?

The strength of Thad and Sam’s love will face the ultimate test when horrific revelations come to light beneath the full moon.

Excerpt

From the moment Thad stepped through the front door of the Blue Moon Café, the décor cleared up any mystery about what kind of food they served. The little café, with its mahogany bar along one wall, its grouping of maybe a dozen tables, and its faux-tin ceiling, could have been straight out of central casting for “Italian joint.” Thad saw the requisite checkered tablecloths, the oil paintings of Italian landmarks like the canals of Venice, the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and St. Peter’s Square. And yes, each table sported a candle plugged into the opening of an empty green-glass Chianti bottle. A TV sat above the bar, thankfully turned off.

“Buona Sera” by Louis Prima played from the overhead speaker system. Thad was certain the rest of the evening would be peppered with the likes of Dean Martin, Jerry Vale, Rosemary Clooney, and of course, Sinatra. Underneath the music was the usual restaurant orchestra: conversation, laughter, the clink of glassware and the tinkle of silverware.

The scents of garlic, oregano, basil, and tomatoes perfumed the air. Over a counter at the rear of the restaurant, Thad could see into the kitchen: a wood-burning oven, chefs busy at their stations, the occasional upsurge of flame as one of them poured alcohol into a pan and ignited it by tipping the pan. Thad’s mouth began to water.

He already liked this place.

And he liked it even more when he saw the bartender, who was busy drying wineglasses and reaching up to hang them upside down on a rack above the bar. He was a compact little guy, olive skin and shaved head. His muscles tested the endurance of the black T-shirt he wore, and even from his vantage near the hostess stand, Thad could make out the thick black five o’clock shadow that covered his jaw. He was just the kind of guy Thad fantasized about. One who would take him roughly and be in charge.

Stop it, now! I’m in Green Lake, not Capitol Hill. This guy probably has a wife and two kids at home and would not appreciate how I’m imagining how he would look should the seams of that tight T-shirt burst and reveal a defined and hairy chest. He wouldn’t cotton at all to my thoughts of wondering how his asshole would taste, for cryin’ out loud.

Or maybe he would….

Thad grinned and bounced up and down a couple of times on his heels, feeling strangely energized and definitely a little smitten.

Shut up, horndog. Behave yourself.

 

 

Author Bio 

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Stalk Rick

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

 Giveaway

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Andrew Grey on Inspiration and his new release ‘Cleansing Flame (Rekindled Flame #2)’ by Andrew Grey (special excerpt)

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Cleansing Flame (Rekindled Flame #2) by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Release Date: Mar 10 2017

Available for Purchase at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today to talk a little about the inspiration behind his latest story, Cleansing Flame, the second novel in the Rekindled Flame series.  Welcome, Andrew.

♥︎

The idea for this story came from an old diary that I found in some things in the house.  It wasn’t important and didn’t contain anything all that interesting.  However it did get my mind running and I thought about what would happen if the diary had been something special. As I was mulling those thoughts a reader asked me to write a story about the Carlisle Indian School.  As I was finishing up my previous story, my mind churned the two things together and I ended up with the basis for Cleansing Flame.  I’ve never written a story with this kind of element before and I don’t know if I will again.  But I did fall in love with both sets of characters.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research.

It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remember that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through.

Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Excerpt

Dayne pulled his car into the drugstore parking lot across the street, got out, and walked up to where a group of neighbors had gathered. He turned to where they were all looking and gasped as flames shot out of the windows of his little house.

“Oh God,” Dayne mumbled as he hurried forward. Everything he owned was in that house. It was all he had left of his mom. As flames shot out of front door and the roof collapsed, Dayne’s legs gave out and the grass rose up to meet him.

“Hey,” a deep voice said from close to him. Dayne felt like a fool and struggled to get up. He was helped to his feet, and the fireman took off his helmet. “It’s you.”

“That’s my house…,” Dayne said weakly as water sprayed all over what was left of the only home he’d known. “Everything I have….” He gasped and tried not to come apart at the seams.

“It will be all right.” He took Dayne’s arm and gently helped steady him.

“I don’t see how.” One of the walls fell in, and Dayne turned away. Everything was gone. The last of what he’d had from his mother had been in that house, and the flames had taken it all. A cloud of steam went up as the last of the fire died away, leaving only a smoking ruin of what had been his life.

“I’m sorry this happened to you.” The firefighter gently put an arm around Dayne’s shoulder, and the last of Dayne’s control broke.

He buried his face in the man’s chest and cried like the stupid baby he was. Damn it, he tried not to, but this was too much. For a year, he’d been doing his best to hold it together, to get through each day as it came, hoping the pain would lessen. But every damn time he thought things might be getting better, something happened, and this was the worst.

“It’s all right. Just let it out.”

Dayne heard people around him, but he kept his face where it was for a bit, afraid to look for fear of dying of embarrassment. Dayne breathed deeply and backed away, swallowing and getting himself together. “I’m sorry.” He wiped his eyes and tried not to get snot all over himself.

“Don’t be.” The man didn’t move, and Dayne lifted his gaze.

“I guess after I slobbered all over you, I should tell you my name. I’m Dayne.” He wiped his hands on his pants because they were covered with things he shouldn’t have on them.

“I’m Lawson Martin.” He took Dayne’s hand and held it.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

“Brush with Catastrophe” By Tara Lain Cover Reveal Blitz (excerpt)

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At night, he paints. In a world where the supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. What happens when a witch’s “prophetic” paintings always come true and his latest painting is of the human he has a crush on? The answer? Magic!Check out the brand new cover for the 2nd Edition of BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE!!

Brush With Catastrophe 
(The Aloysius Tales Series, #2) 
By Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.
One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?
Available for pre-order at

 

Also available in paperback
 
Release Date: 
April 14th 2017
Excerpt

 

Ryder cocked his head. “You’re so talented.”

Gods, Sammy’s heart had to slow down, or he’d pass out. “Thanks. That means a lot.”

Ryder looked up with a soft expression. “You mean coming from a dumb historian who doesn’t know a palette knife from a fork?”

“No, I mean coming from you. My friend.”

“Don’t go out with Lucien, Sammy.”

What the fuck? “Why? Come on, Ryder. Sure, I don’t have a background check on him, but I probably know as much about him as I do you.”

Ryder looked at his feet. “Point taken.” The green eyes flashed up. “But I think he’s cheating on you.”

“What?”

Ryder walked over to the kitchen counter, picked up a glass, filled it from the faucet, and drank.

Sammy wanted to beat him over the head. “Come on. Tell me what you mean. Stop stalling.”

“I can’t prove it, but I’ve talked to a couple of people who seem to have a relationship with him and seem to think they are somehow special to him.”

Sammy couldn’t catch his breath. “Well, we’re not exclusive or anything. I don’t have any claims on him.”

Ryder scratched Al, who was purring so loudly that Sammy could hear it clearly. “Is that true? Or has he implied that you’re his boyfriend?”

“Not exactly.”

“I think you deserve better, Sams. I think you can do better.”

Well, shit! Sammy threw up his hands. “That’s real easy to say when you have an unlimited supply of tits to drool over.” Sammy crossed his arms. Maybe they’d protect his heart. “I haven’t had a real boyfriend in over a year, and even that one wasn’t serious. I’m lonely, damn it. I want to be with someone, and Lucien is smart and funny and charming, and he seems to like me a lot.” He spread his arms wide. “Is that so unbelievable? That a gorgeous guy like that could actually go for a skinny scarecrow like me?” He could feel his ears getting hot, and hurt stored over years poured out of him. “Maybe that’s why you think he’s cheating. You can’t believe he could want me!”

Ryder stared at him, his eyes shiny. “That’s not true. I’d never feel that way. I think anyone with a brain would want you.”

“Then there must be a lot of dumb people!” Sammy’s breath came hard. Shit, he was attacking his best friend. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I know you don’t think that.” He ran a hand through his hair. He probably really looked like that scarecrow now. “Look, he’s going to be here soon. I promise I’ll ask him. I will. Okay?”

Ryder frowned. “I’m worried about you.”

“I know. I don’t understand why, but I know you are. I’ll talk to him.”

“Okay.”

“You better go unless you want to ask him yourself.”

“No, I’ll go.” Ryder walked to the door and turned. He extricated Al from his neck and handed him to Sammy. “I care what happens to you. I care…. I wish…. Hell, be careful.” He opened the door and walked out, then closed the door behind him.

Sammy collapsed onto the couch, still holding Al against his chest, and threw his head back. “Why the fuck does this have to be so hard? Why can’t I just have a boyfriend?”

The Aloysius Tales Series

 

 
Book #1
Spell Cat
Available for purchase at
            

 

Also available in paperback
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain

               

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