Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design. Love the cover design and the model is striking.
Published September 7th 2017 by Figment Ink
Original TitleBe My Best Man
Edition Language English
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design. Love the cover design and the model is striking.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What happens when the fairytale ends but the journey continues? Book II of the Heart of All Worlds series finds Sehrys and Brieden living peacefully in Khryslee. But when King Firae breaches an ancient, spellbound pact by crossing The Border into Villalu in pursuit of a convicted criminal and is trapped there, Sehrys is forced to ascend the throne in his absence, a role he was once groomed for, but Brieden fears and dreads. Meanwhile, Firae must rely on the very criminal he was after to help him reach home alive—a man his own mother exiled long ago but who awakens something in his heart more potent than his sworn duties as king.
As each man struggles to understand his own destiny, devotion, and legacy, a deeper and more urgent truth confronts them all: Their world is in far greater danger than they realized, and each of them plays an integral part in its fate.
The King and the Criminal by Charlotte Ashe is the second novel in the author’s “The Heart of All Worlds” series. I had previously reviewed the first entry “The Sidhe”, which was a favourite of mine, and I’m happy to say that this one is a more than worthy successor.
While Brieden and Sehrys still play a pivotal role and there is quite a bit of character development for them, we now get to follow the journey of another pair of characters who both have already been introduced in the first book: ruler of one of the Sidhe nations and Sehrys’ former fiancée Firae and Tash, a Sidhe who has been exiled to the human lands for his crimes. But even more so than in the first book the romance part of the story is intricately intertwined with greater narrative of political upheaval and a more imminent threat to the whole of Villalu. The author did a fantastic job in balancing out the change of focus. Not one scene feels superfluous or out of place here.
Tash and Firae are both really interesting and engaging characters and I have greatly enjoyed following the progression of their relationship. I’m especially fond of Tash because unlike Sehrys or Firae he was not naturally gifted with powerful magical abilities or influence but relies mostly on his wits and aptitude for learning to work through a tricky situation. Firae on the other hand is rather impulsive and temperamental. You can see how there is much for them to learn from one another. While theirs is definitely not a love-hate type of relationship, there is quite a bit of wariness (but also mutual sexual attraction) between them at the beginning of their journey. The pacing is really well done and I found it quite believable that these two would eventually develop stronger feelings for each other.
Much to my delight the human twin sisters Cliope and Brissa are getting more attention this time as well as they keep on working towards uniting Villalu under the rule of the latter. And though they seem to be making good progress in that regard, things aren’t as simple as an ancient magic threatens to destroy all of humanity and it is up to a select few to prevent it from happening. The world building is quite detailed and this time we get to see more of what’s going on behind the barrier and learn in greater detail about the culture, society and magic of the Sidhe.
If you’re a fan of Fantasy and are looking for a well-written story with detailed world building and engaging characters, I can only recommend this series and you can be certain that I’ll be eagerly awaiting its continuation.
I simply adore the cover and interior illustrations by Sarah Sanderson. They are so unique and beautiful. I especially like that if you compare the covers of the two books, you can clearly see the difference in the dynamics between the two couples based on their gestures and facial expressions alone.
ebook, 325 pages
Published December 8, 2016
by Interlude Press
Edition Language: English
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Aloysius, the magical black cat and powerful witch’s familiar, isn’t afraid to go into battle to protect his master, but the outcome of the fight turns his feline world upside down. A direct hit of magic steals not only his memories and power, but even the body he’s lived in for several centuries. When he wakes up naked on the floor of a veterinarian’s office, it isn’t as the cat Aloysius, but as the sixteenth-century French gentleman Alain Bellarose. And when Alain sees sexy and enigmatic veterinarian Luke Elliott, he decides he’ll make the best of his time as a human.
Luke is a man with secrets who generally prefers the company of animals—though the flamboyant boy who washes his face with the side of his hand and tries to lick his own privates might prove an exception.
Meanwhile, Witch Master Killian Barth and his secret weapon, Sammy, struggle without Aloysius’s power to draw on. Two evil females are circling, and seeing the coven’s weakness, they’re about to move in for the kill. When Alain’s memories return, he’s faced with the ultimate dilemma: protect his community or stay with the man he loves.
I had no idea what to expect with this story in the series, I was even a bit wary for some reason, but I am so glad I was wrong and I really enjoyed this book. Luke has been hiding in plain sight for years not really letting anyone get close until the innocent and captivating Alain appears. Alain can’t remember anything other than his name but has a strong sense to protect Luke along with some of his friends but doesn’t understand it.
Killian looks out for Alain but continues to miss Aloysius and when they are attacked again needs his amped up powers. Alain is hit with magic again they all need to look at what is more important: power or love.
We see the story from both characters so it allows us to see their feelings and emotions better. Alain grows on Luke quickly even as he tries to tell himself it is all temporary. I connected with Luke a little better because I could feel his fear of having his past coming back to haunt him and his heart break when he thought he would lose Alain forever. I loved when Alain “accidentally” learned how to become Aloysius and he was able to keep his duty to his community and also build a life with Luke. This was a very nice way to wrap up this series.
Cover art by Reese Dante is beautiful and gives a great visual of Alain’s beauty.
ebook, 200 pages
Published: 2nd Edition, September 13, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English
Series: The Aloysius Tales #3
Rating 4 stars out of 5
This was a delightful story! As thirty-year-old Ryan is moving into his new apartment building on his birthday, he’s very pleased to see the tall, gorgeous silver-haired man who comes jogging up the road and heads into his building. Though he at first thought he was an older guy in great shape, when he gets a closer look, it’s easy to see the man is not much older than he is, even though prematurely gray.
Matt Thomas doesn’t stop to acknowledge his hot new neighbor but he gets a good look, nonetheless. At thirty-eight, he keeps in top physical condition so it’s easy to pull new guys into his bed whenever he’s horny. Never one to spend more than one night with a guy, his best friend and hair stylist, Sam, will testify that Matt is firmly committed to two things: leaving his hair silver and never having a relationship. Never more than one night—that’s Matt’s motto.
So when he finds himself lusting after Ryan one night, he justifies his thoughts about having a one-nighter with a neighbor by thinking that maybe they can be friends. Ryan agrees and then next thing he knows, Matt wants to be friends with benefits because one night is not enough, after all. Okay, Ryan can do that, although as his best friend, Josh, reminds him he hasn’t been successful at this in the past.
The two go along as friends with benefits, while jogging together, eating meals afterward, and becoming friends, until one day when Matt’s dad is hurt and Ryan goes with him to the hospital. He realizes afterward that Ryan means more to him than simple friendship but now he’s afraid to admit it and is afraid that maybe this time he’s willing but Ryan might not be.
There’s more to the story than this surface summary of the romance, but on the whole, it’s a basically a sweet and simple love story, filled with some very heated moments as well as some tender times between the two engaging MCs.
If you’re looking for a light read that will make you feel good, by all means, consider this one.
The cover by Natasha Snow features a photo of a very handsome and smiling thirtysomething man wearing jeans and a T-shirt and running his fingers through his hair. It’s very attractive but I would have liked it much better if the man had lighter, more silver-toned hair, as it was one of Matt’s strongest features and frequently mentioned in the story.
Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published August 30th 2017
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Sean Michael here today on his Perfect 10 (Going for the Gold) tour. Welcome, Sean.
Thank you, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, for hosting me today.
I do have to admit that while I love writing characters who excel in sports, it is not a place where I do that well. Part of it is that I am not in the least graceful, so I am quite likely to trip over my own feet while attempting something sporty.
I guess that’s part of the fascination with athletes because they can do something that I can’t. Yes, it takes hard work and dedication, but it also takes the ability to perform the moves, and the more innate talent you have, the better off you’re going to be.
I’m not bitter about not being athletic – I love my job. Being a writer is who I am, down to the bone. But I wouldn’t mind a little more grace 😉
In Perfect 10, Chris has talent out the wazzoo, along with a determination to make it to the top of the gymnastic world. Brian is determined to help him get there. I hope you enjoy the exclusive excerpt below wherein Chris and Brian are just starting that journey together.
smut fixes everything
Despite a life-threatening injury sustained in a vaulting accident, top gymnast Christopher Allen is determined to get back to his former perfect condition and compete again. Brian Rainings is a coach in need of someone to believe in, and he takes Chris on, admiring the spirit and determination that drives Chris to succeed. And admiring the sturdy, muscled body Chris maintains.
Admiration soon leads to something much hotter as they train together. From their scorching first kiss, Brian and Chris’s chemistry is obvious, but they have a long road ahead to get Chris back into shape. Months of hard work lead to success, with Chris gaining strength every day and finally finding the elusive sponsor he needs for financial support. Secrets, hidden dangers, and family troubles plague them, though, and they have to face the fact that Chris might never compete again and score that perfect ten.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2006.
“So if I remember correctly from my last year of competition, the rings were your best event.”
“Yeah. I took a silver at Nationals once.” Rings and parallel bars. He hated the fucking vault.
Of course, it hated him too.
“Have you been back on the vault yet?” It was almost as if Brian had read his mind.
“No. They won’t let me on it.” Not after the fall. Not after slipping and landing and hearing that dull crack and someone screaming and…. Chris forced himself to breathe, to ease up on the gas. “We’re almost there.”
“Hmm….” Brian was quiet a moment and then asked, “Do you want to get back on it?”
“Yes.” No. No, he didn’t, but he wanted to compete more than the fucking thing scared him.
“Good. You need to get back to it soon too. The longer you stay away from it, the harder it’s going to be.” Brian watched Chris as he pulled up at the gym parking lot and stopped the car. “I mean, all you have to do to start off with is sit on it. But the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be.”
“Yeah. I know.” Chris killed the engine, grabbed his bag. Steve was standing at the door, the big man frowning and looking at his watch. Must have a date with Irena. “There’s Steven Jackson. He’ll let us in.”
“Cool.” Brian got out and followed him. “He looks familiar. He do coaching at the junior level?”
“He used to. He’s building the university team now. He’s a bit of a bear, but the kids like him. Steve? This is Brian. Brian, Steve.”
Brian held out his hand and they shook, Steve tilting his head.
“Brian Rainings? Where have you been hiding yourself the last few years?”
Brian grinned. “Coaching. I just couldn’t leave the life entirely when I retired.”
Steve laughed. “I hear that.” The man was shooting speculative looks between Chris and Brian, working out what they were doing here together.
“I’ll lock up, Steve.”
Oh, for Chrissake. “I promise not to break anything, and I promise not to get hurt.”
“He’s got someone spotting him, Steve. We’ll be fine. It was nice to see you again.” Brian nodded once at Steve and then went in. “Come on, Chris.”
Chris sort of blinked. Well. Okay.
That was… unexpected.
“I’ll lock up,” Chris repeated.
Steve looked rather surprised, but he shrugged. “Okay. Make sure you do. And if you get hurt, it’s on your coach.” Checking his watch, Steve shouldered his bag. “I’ve got to be somewhere.”
“Tell Irena I said hi.”
His coach. The words didn’t hurt as bad as he’d thought they might.
Chris locked the door behind Steve and headed down the hall to get changed.
Brian was waiting in the locker room, looking at home on one of the benches. “That the kind of reception you’ve been getting since the injury?”
“Yeah.” Chris stripped off his shirt, pulled out an old singlet. It didn’t fit as well as it used to, but with the shorts, the bagginess didn’t show. Of course, Brian’d be able to see that his jeans weren’t skintight. Hell, they sort of… collapsed off him as he undid the fly.
“I can see why you’ve been frustrated, if they’re barely even letting you in the door.” Brian looked around and grinned wryly. “Man, I didn’t think it would be weird being here as a coach instead of a gymnast, but it is. It feels like I should be changing with you and going out there, chalking up, doing some routines….”
“I’d offer you something to wear, but I only brought one.” Chris got everything straightened and put where it belonged and all, then pulled his shorts on.
“Nah, I’m good. Besides, this is your show, right?”
About the Author
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
Sean Michael on the web:
Moving into a new home starts with a bang when Ryan Blackwell celebrates turning thirty. Being hungover means he’s bleary-eyed and clumsy the next day, but even in that state, he can appreciate how sexy and fit his neighbour is.
Matt Thomas isn’t looking for anything long-term—one and done is usually his life rule. Why settle down early, like his sister, when casual relationships are so easy? With Ryan living in the same building, chance encounters are inevitable. When one night together becomes two, a friends-with-benefits deal seems a natural progression.
There’s only one problem: sex with no strings relies on matching expectations, so Ryan can’t help worrying. His huge heart always wants more, but Matt’s been clear about his limits. As passion leads to caring, they’ll have to make some tough decisions—maybe this time, breaking some rules will be worth it if that means they’ll get to share a future.
Look for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Review here!
August 30 – Au Boudoir Ecarlate
September 1 – Zipper Rippers, MJ’s Book Blog & Reviews, The Geekery Book Review
September 4 – Gay Media Reviews
September 6 – Jessie G Books
September 8 – Sexy Erotic Xciting, Southern Babes Book Blog, My Fiction Nook, Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews
September 11 – BFD Book Blog, Diverse Reader
September 13 – RAM PA Group, Padme’s Library, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sarandipity Book Reviews, Jim’s Reading Room
September 15 – Bayou Book Junkie, V’s Reads, Wicked Reads
Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?
After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.
According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.
Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.
Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star review here.
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.
Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.
When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.
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