An Ali Release Day Review: Model Exposure (Haven Investigations #4) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
After being rescued by Ollie, Kade continues to suffer the aftermath of his ordeal, both physically and psychologically. Not knowing how else to clear his head, he pours his energy into Ollie—the love of his life—and Haven Investigations, but neither Ollie nor Kade can continue to ignore what they learned from their last case: Ollie’s brother, Nathan, might have betrayed Kade.

As they dig into Ollie’s past, secrets are revealed. Was Nathan’s death a suicide? Were Ollie’s parents much more than they seemed? Is someone out to kill Ollie, or is it Kade’s past coming back to haunt them again?

Amidst questions and uncertainties, one thing is clear: after everything they have been through together, Kade and Ollie have never been more in love and they want to get married. But first, they’ll have to deal with the continued threat of Kade’s past, the emotional wounds Kade fears are drowning him, and the possibility that everything Ollie believed about his family was a lie. A beautiful happily ever after awaits them—as long as they can survive long enough to make it to the altar.
 
This is the fourth book in the Haven Investigations series.  This is a continuation of the story from the third book and this should not be read as a standalone.  This story is told from Kade’s point of view.  He’s having a very hard time with his depression and anxiety which are fall outs from the incidents that happened previously.  
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I really love these two as a couple.  One of my favorite things about them is they’re not a traditional couple or traditional type people.  I always love when authors branch out and give readers something outside the norm.  I also like the fact that they’re pretty co-dependent and make no apologies about it.  Now I personally would never want to be as enmeshed as these two are, but again, I like that it’s different.  It’s actually something that the characters take note of and discuss.  I like when people are bold and unapologetic in their life choices (both is real life and in books).
On the flip side, I’ve not really enjoyed the overall plot in both this book or the last one.  They’ve been really over the top in my opinion and I feel like I have to suspend too much reality to follow along.  I prefer books that are a little more gritty and realistic.
If you’re a fan of the series you will probably enjoy this installment.  A few big relationship things happen between Ollie and Kade and the mystery of  Nathan is finally all wrapped up.  Despite my average feeling about the book as a whole I have to say there were some really touching scenes between these two men.  The date at the beginning was just fantastic.  
These covers are done by Garrett Leigh and I just love them.  They are some of my favorite covers in this genre.  I think they are very attractive and eye catching.  I love the artistry of them.  All the books in the series are complimentary of each other and they stand out.  As soon as you seen one of them you know they are all in the same series.
Book Details:
ebook, 256 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339789
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHaven Investigations #4

Loved Rainbow Cove? Check out ‘Tender with a Twist’ by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Tender with a Twist

Series: Rainbow Cove #2, but stands alone well

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 79,000 words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, May-December, BDSM (light), Small Town

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Synopsis

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Excerpt

Logan

The crazy woodcarver was shirtless. Again. It was a sleepy Thursday in January on the Oregon Coast which meant most sane people were in flannel and jackets and bundled for the sharp bite of the wind. I was wearing fleece-lined bike pants and a long-sleeved cycling jacket myself as I celebrated the first good ride of the year, and I was still chilly when I stopped my ride near the jewelry store on 101—the main highway running through Rainbow Cove. I told myself that I’d stopped for some water from my bottle, but I knew it was a weak excuse. Really, I’d been transfixed by the sight of Curtis Hunt carving up a giant tree trunk with his chainsaw.

For all that rumors flew about his eccentricity, the man was an unparalleled artist, and watching him do his thing was a true pleasure. Sweat dripped from his head and back despite the cool temperature, and he worked like a man possessed, moving this way and that around the piece, dancing almost as his chainsaw flitted about with the sort of grace I’d expect from the jeweler, not this buff lumberjack with heavy machinery.

He wore sawdust splattered jeans, heavy boots, safety goggles and ear protectors, but his red flannel shirt lay discarded on a nearby sculpture of a falcon, showing off his shimmering muscles and tats that even from a distance were impressive. For all that the guy had probably fifteen years on me, he was in amazing shape. Hell, if I had ink and muscles like that, I wouldn’t keep my shirt on, either. All the muscles made something warm unfurl in my gut, but I dismissed the low thrum of arousal as a never-happening-in-this-lifetime thing. Chances were very high that he’d laugh at any of my fantasies, especially the ones involving him, some rope, and his usual intense stare replaced with something closer to supplication.

But, a guy could still look. And want. So I took my time drinking my water, watching as the outline of a bird slowly emerged from the raw tree trunk.

In a town as tiny as Rainbow Cove, the rumor mill worked overtime, and I knew all the rumors about Curtis. Knew he’d lost his longtime lover a year or two ago and that the two of them had been mythic fixtures in the area. Curtis had apparently gotten more eccentric since the other guy had passed, moving into the old gas station he used as a gallery for his carvings, growing his own food, and going notoriously cranky about change.

And change was what had driven me to Rainbow Cove. Change was what my restaurant represented—hope that the area economy could find a new foothold in tourism. So it wasn’t surprising that Curtis didn’t seem to like my friends and me any. Probably wouldn’t appreciate me looking at him like he was a lumbersexual Tumblr all queued up for my viewing pleasure.  But damn, those muscles…

I gave myself last look before I pedaled away, heading away from the center of town, taking the turnoff that would lead me to the narrow residential road that skirted the beach to the south. I was alone on the road, glorious, vast gray skies and sprawling blue ocean my only companions. This was what I’d come to Rainbow Cove for, the space to be alone, the quietness that I’d only ever found before in a dojo. Portland was crowded, and not just with people. My parents’ expectations always loomed large, as did past mistakes and hurts, and the general hustle of the area made it hard to catch my breath, hard to think and breathe and simply be. The traffic. The noise. The demands. All of it had gotten to be too much for me, and when my friend Mason had proposed the idea of the bar and grille here on the coast, I’d leapt at the chance to start fresh, especially since I’d loved the coast from some of my earliest memories of family weekends away.

Eventually, my ride returned me to the tavern where Mason was signing off on a meat delivery from a local farm.

“Chef!” The driver greeted me with a wave as I locked up the bike. “We’ve got some new fillets in. Think you might want some for a special this week?”

My mind immediately flitted away the shirtless woodcarver and back to my real passion—cooking. I loved being the chef here, the guy who made the decisions and the specials. I’d had years of sous chef positions in Portland, growing ever more eager for my own menu, one where I could play with sauces and presentation and choose my own local ingredients.

“I’m picturing a peppercorn crusted fillet with red wine reduction.” I inspected packages Mason was loading into the freezer and fridge. We’d do most of our business with the endless stacks of burger patties, but I loved changing things up with my daily specials, too.

“Don’t know if anyone will pay fillet prices.” Mason shook his head. The slow winter season was starting to wear on my friend, who also served as our business manager. “You can try it as a special, but let’s not over-order.”

I reluctantly took a small order of fillets, ceding to Mason’s wishes, and rounded out my weekly specials plan with cheaper options like shepherd’s pie.

“How was your ride?” Mason asked after the delivery guy was on his way.

“Fine.” I didn’t feel the need to report on my perving of the woodcarver. It had been a little personal indulgence. Not to mention the fact that Mason’s police chief boyfriend, Nash Flint, was close friends with Curtis, which meant I’d be in for double the teasing if I let on that I’d let my eyes wander in that direction.

“You’re not too lonely, are you?” Mason pressed. “It’s your first winter on the coast, and I know that can be hard.”

“Not lonely,” I said, truthfully. I was so happy to be free of all the voices of Portland—my well-meaning parents, my ex, my aikido master, my many opinionated friends, the executive chefs and restaurant managers who hadn’t seen fit to promote me. The silence of the off season meant that for the first time in my life I was finally free to figure out my own direction, and I intended to seize that. I wasn’t telling Mason, but that was my New Year’s resolution—be the person I’d been reluctant to embrace in Portland. It was high time I took a chance on myself.

Purchase at AmazonMeet the Author

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

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Annabeth’s Angels Facebook Group | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 Star Review Here

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An Alisa Review: Soul Bonds (Common Powers 1) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

It’s not how big the power, it’s how you use it.

 

Mitchell’s tired of one night stands and casual encounters.

 

Sammi is a runaway sex slave who’ll do anything to stay free.

 

When they meet in a bar, Mitchell can’t believe his luck. Sammi is sex on two legs and seems to know just what Mitchell wants from a lover. But Sammi’s owner Donovan isn’t going to let him go so easily. He’s prepared to destroy anyone who stands in his way to get back his prized slave.

 

Is the bond between Mitchell and Sammi strong enough to stand up against the damage Donovan inflicts on their lives, or will it shatter?

 

This was such a sweet story.  Sammi and Mitchell’s connection is instant and it kind of scares Mitchell a bit but even with that he refuses to think of not having Sammi in his life.  Sammi has been abused and used his whole life and can’t wait to live his life for himself but he has to face his past first.

 

I loved Mitchell’s determination to keep Sammi even when Donovan does his best to ruin his life.  I loved the relationship he has with his best friend Brian and how he is fully supportive and willing to help both of them.

 

Even with the support of Brian and Mitchell it’s heartbreaking to see Sammi determine that he just needs to leave in order to keep Mitchell safe.  I loved Sammi’s openness and how willing he is to put others first and help someone.  I am looking forward to seeing Brian’s story in the next book.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and give good visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages

Publication: 2nd edition, December 20, 2016 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-512-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #1

A MelanieM Review: Earthly Concerns by Xavier Axelson

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

It was a peaceful night when Barrett and his daughter were driving home … then something happened. Something sinister.

Something took Barrett’s daughter from him.

Now the only person Barrett can turn to for help is Anson, a man gifted with psychic abilities beyond reason. But Anson is also his ex-boyfriend, a man whose heart he’d already broken.

As Anson delves deeper into the circumstances surrounding Barrett’s accident, he begins to realize he’s in a race against time. Whatever has taken Barrett’s daughter is a force of evil beyond anything either man has ever encountered.

Can both men put aside their heartaches and past to save Barrett’s daughter from an entity that has the power to destroy them all?

It was supposed to be a simple drive home for Barrett and his young daughter, Hilary.  But she was restless.  Kept saying there was something, a large black bird, on the roof of the car.  Then they crashed and when he came to his daughter was missing.  Not dead, not run away, gone.  In desperation and half out of his mind, Barrett turns to the man he rejected, whose heart he had broken because he could not accept his own sexuality, Anson.

Anson hears and sees things not of this earth.  Like his Aunt Cyn, those that dwell in the in between or beyond are visible, are tangible, and oh so very real.  When he answers Barrett’s call for help, he is plunged into emotional turmoil.  Anson is still reeling from Barrett’s rejection.  A Barrett that scoffed when Anson told him of his special abilities. Now Barrett wants him to use that very same gift to help him find his daughter and bring her back.  Anson wants to hang up on Barrett.  But the heart wants what the heart wants and he wants Barrett.  Beyond all logic, beyond all reason and in face of known heartache and despair, he still wants and desires him.  So Anson agrees because as his Aunt Cyn says “If you can see, then you must help…”   Even if the cost is beyond all earthly concerns.

Earthly Concerns has so many levels at which to appreciate it.  I love how Xavier Axelson builds our knowledge of Anson without resorting to physical descriptions of his person.    Anson uses ice trays and sleeps with his windows open, letting the night air and sounds reach him.  Bookshelves sit next to his bed along with crystal from his Aunt Cyn.  With each descriptive paintstroke, slowly a picture of Anson appears, that of a man living simply and in tune with his surroundings with all their layers.  For Anson, those layers go beyond our realities and into the darkness beyond.

Insects play a major role here, from the mundane to harbingers of the supernatural.  It is to the sound of a beetle banging against the screen that first awakens Anson, and then the featherly brushing of antennae, real or imagined, against his shin.  You know the feeling.  We have all had them.  We feel the hair on our skin move ever so slightly.  And we react violently running our hands over the offending section of skin, to no avail, not sure if anything was there to begin with.  The pages are full of such imagery.  Broken carapaces and the fluttering of moths wings, all portend the darkness that is coming.

And come it does, riding on vague shadows, crawling under the loose skin of wallpaper, flying on the wings of black crows, crawling from the broken cavity of a tree.  Xavier leaves you to fill in the dark spaces with your own imagination as Anson and Barrett seek to uncover the truth behind the accident and Hilary’s fate.

I love the way Xavier plays with words as he builds his story.  With lyrical sentences and imagery both beautiful and foreboding, we are alternately filled with anticipation and dread as the end draws near.  I find the sexual interludes, past and present, less successful as they break up the mood he has so carefully built.  They seem jarring, and out of character but perhaps that is his point.  I also found Barrett something of an enigma.  I could not get a handle on him, other than as a bereft father and emotionally unavailable man.  That inability made it hard for me to care what happens to him even as his daughter, Hilary, commands our empathy.  By the end of the story, that impression had not changed for me. He still came across as more of a user, someone less than trustworthy.

I think it is the ending that most readers will have issues with, especially given what I said above.  Xavier Axelson leaves us with a glimpse into second chances without telling us exactly how all the characters arrived at that path and what their final destination is. I find that it is in keeping with the story.  Fulfilling or terribly frustrating?  That will depend upon the reader.  If you must actually see a bird to know it there, then you will go away dissatisfied.  But if you can accept the existence of a bird by seeing a shadow or hearing its wings beat against the air, then you will love this. I think I hear the cawing of a crow and the skittering of a beetle nearby.  A perfect story for a October night.

Cover art is a nice update.  Dark, haunting and I liked the model chosen for Anson.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published September 2nd 2017 by JMS Books LLC (first published January 1st 2012)
ASINB074RLNSCM

Tara Lain on Ten Things About ‘High Balls (Balls To The Wall Series #6 )’ (Excerpt and giveaway)

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Ten Things About High Balls

Hi! I’m so happy to be here to tell you about my new book, High Balls. Here are ten things you might or might not know about my new Balls to the Wall romance.

  1. High Balls is the first entirely new book in the Balls to the Wall series since 2013. Volley Balls was largely rewritten before it was rereleased last January, but it was based on the original story I wrote in 2011. High Balls is a whole new story.
  2. I’m a passionate proponent of the significance of romance novels in literary history – and I get to espouse that position in this book.
  3. My hero, Snake, in High Balls is my first totally tattooed hero—who is human. For a non-human hero with some lovely tattoos, check out Brush with Catastrophe. BTW, I do have several heroes with a few tats, but Snake is my first art project.
  4. Like all the books in the Balls to the Wall series, High Balls takes place in Laguna Beach, CA. This was my first Laguna love series.
  5. High Balls is book 6 in Balls to the Wall. That makes this my longest series so far. Love in Laguna series has 5 books so far, making it my second longest series. Readers do love Laguna!
  6. In January 2018, a seventh book in the Balls to the Wall series will release. It’s called Bleu Balls and it’s a full-length novel.
  7. High Balls appears to be an opposites attract story – one of my favorite tropes – but it has some surprises up its sleeve.
  8. My hero, Theodore, in High Balls is in academia. He’s a teaching assistant working on his PhD. College teaching is one of my favorite professions for my heroes. Maybe it’s not an obvious romance hero job, but I love those sexy geeks!
  9. I’m sure you know, Laguna Beach is a real place on the coast of Southern California. It has beautiful, cove-like beaches, horrific traffic, fun art festivals in the summer, and it’s a great place to set a romance series.
  10. A number of my books have included issues of child custody over the last couple years (Cowboys Don’t Come Out, Lord of a Thousand Steps) and so does this one. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the law in different states.

I hope you enjoy High Balls. Like all the Balls to the Wall books, it’s quite standalone. Feel free to start with it and, if inspired, try some of the other books.

Sometimes only the wrong guy can bring the 
right happy ever after.

High Balls
(Balls To The Wall Series #6 )
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.
Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

Available for purchase at
Excerpt

He flipped on some Chopin and let it seep into his bloodstream like antistress pills. Such a weird feeling he got each month when Andy visited his grandparents. Kind of lost. Aimless. Sure, he had hella studying to do, but he did that every night, curled in his chair, sometimes with Andy sitting on his lap figuring out his homework. When he sat for his orals, he’d probably start quoting second-grade spelling instead of defending his dissertation on the modern romance novel as the inheritor of the tradition of Jane Austen. But that was how life was supposed to be. His life, anyway—all based on one decision made almost on the spur of the moment when he was eighteen years old. A decision made possible by an asshole named JP Rellico.

He stopped at the light at Pacific Coast Highway. The traffic going north wasn’t too bad yet, but the south lane toward Laguna already backed up to Ruby Ridge. The drivers had that Friday afternoon look of combined relief and weariness.

A rumbling roar sounded and Theodore jumped. Threading through traffic came a shiny Harley, moving with more assurance than such a big machine should muster. But the motorcycle definitely took second place to the rider. The guy stopped and put his foot down just yards from where Theodore waited, the booted foot attached to long, long legs with thigh muscles that challenged the black denim covering them. Unlike a lot of Harley drivers, this man had no fat of any kind; his long-sleeved T-shirt hugged a narrow waist and broad shoulders. Theodore strained to see his face, but a dark-visored helmet hid it, although strands of shaggy dark hair escaped the bottom. Most of all, Theodore noticed the tattoos that crawled in beautiful winding patterns up the guy’s forearms where they showed below his pushed-up sleeves. Whoa. Just the energy of the rider screamed free. One of those tats had to say, I don’t give a shit,

It was like Theodore could feel the vibration of the bike all the way across the street and deep in his balls. What would it be like to live so unrestrained? Go and do what you want and not worry about anyone else? His cock rose like sunrise on a summer day.

A beep behind him woke him up. Shit. Quit dreaming, idiot. He stepped on the accelerator and pulled out into the northbound lane just as the rider turned his head toward Theodore. Theodore’s foot faltered, he craned his neck to see the guy’s face—just a glimpse—and got the squeal of tires and another, more pissed-off beep for his trouble.

Hell! He stepped on it and sprang—to the extent the Toyota had any spring left—toward the college.

The Balls to the Wall Series
Volley Balls
Bk #1
Available to purchase at 
 
 
Fire Balls 
Bk #2
Available to purchase at
Beach Balls
Bk #3
Available to purchase at

 

FAST Balls
Bk #5
Available to purchase at
Prefer paperback?
The first and second book are now 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 LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

Julie Aitcheson on historical romance, young adult literature and her release Being Roy (guest blog)

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Being Roy by Julie Aitcheson
Harmony Ink Press
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Sales

AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-MillionHarmony Ink Press |

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Julie Aitcheson on her Being Roy tour. Welcome, Julie.

✒︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with  Julie Aitcheson, author of Being Roy ~

What did you read as a young adult?

Honestly, I don’t remember “young adult literature” from my time spent inhabiting that demographic. It was the early nineties, before the genre was even properly defined. I was too busy reading The Great Gatsby to death in English class and writing papers about the significance of the green light at the end of the dock.  Then there was the copious required summer reading, which included Death Be Not Proud— the devastating memoir of a dad losing his beloved son to cancer. That book was beautiful. I can see that now, from the remove of many years and personal losses later. But at the time, it shattered me. It ruined every single day that it took me to read it, the pall of death dimming the summer sun. Every page was a heartbreak, and by the end I was seething with rage that I was forced to witness such horrendous pain as a tender, self-absorbed fifteen year-old.

This is not to say that I wasn’t reading beyond my academic requirements, but only that when moments of literary leisure presented themselves (usually around eleven p.m., after I was finished with homework, but before I’d found a way to manage my insomnia), I reached for something very different. You see, I come by my bookworm genes honestly. My mother was an English major in college, then an editor, and remains one of the most voracious readers I have ever known. She endured many more years of enforced reading lists than I, analyzing her way through most of the classics. She has had hundreds of Gatsbys and green lights in her past, and this is her justification for the contents of her personal library.  These days, it consists almost entirely of true crime novels and murder mysteries, but when I was in high school, her book stash was one hundred percent bodice-rippers.

Mom kept her historical romances stacked at her chairside, bedside, in the cabinets in the study, and in boxes down in the basement. I was given unfettered access, and the supply was endless. Authors like Johanna Lindsay and Catherine Coulter were my favorites. Their heroines were smart, feisty, and adventurous, and always in possession of some notable skill, like healing people with herbs or spear-throwing (despite the uniformly enormous size of their breasts). The heroes would usually start out as icy aristocrats or swashbuckling pirates. Rogues all, until a good woman’s love made them as docile as newborn kittens. 

I would stay up until three a.m. to finish “just one more chapter”, willing to suffer the gritty eyes and foggy brain of a sleepless night to find out how each story would end. It didn’t matter that they all ended the same. I needed to be there. I blew through three or four of these novels a week– more during vacations. I would bring the well-thumbed volumes to school once I’d finished and pass them on to my friends, going from one book to the next like a hamster pushing a lever for pellets. The only cure for the despond that came with watching my beloved characters ride off into the sunset without me was another book. And then another and another.

As I write this, the sheer mass of historical romance that I consumed during high school strikes me anew. These were formative years. Years during which I was indoctrinated by books with covers featuring Fabio in various guises. Given that I attended an all-girls high school, there were certain assumptions about the nature of male-female relations that went unchecked for an astounding length of time. For example, it was a while before I realized that sex did not have to happen under the cover of night in the stable behind a grand English manor house or down in the cramped hold of a storm-tossed ship. Clothes could simply be removed and placed neatly to the side rather than torn off in the throes of passion. My mouth could be gently kissed rather than “ravaged hungrily”, and love could bloom without having been first threatened by international intrigue, feuding families, or a murderous marquis.

I have since learned to love the books that break my heart, like Death Be Not Proud, and others that win prizes for the beauty of their prose or the insight of their commentary. But historical romances still hold a special place in my heart. They kept me company on the island of my angsty teenhood, and prevented me from kissing too many frogs on my way to becoming a woman. (What adolescent boy could compare to Fabio dressed like an aristocrat disguising himself as a pirate?)  They taught me how to lose myself in a book until everything around me disappeared, and planted the seed of a thought that maybe someday writing could feel the same way.

Being Roy (Fall 2017)- blurb

The greatest trial Roy Watkins faces isn’t deciding whether she’s gay or straight, male or female, West Virginia country mouse or prep school artistic prodigy. It isn’t even leaving behind her childhood sweetheart Oscar to attend uppity Winchester Academy in the hunt country of Virginia, or acclimating to a circle of friends that now includes privileged Imogen, her sharp but self-conscious sidekick Bugsy, and the tortured Hadley. No, the hardest thing for Roy to face is the world’s expectations about who and what she should be. 

As Roy’s journey of self-discovery forces her to cross one hurdle after another, her identity closes in fast. Sooner than she could have ever predicted, she’ll have to decide what that means for her, the people she’s coming to care about, and the life that lies ahead.

About the Author

Julie Aitcheson began her pursuit of writing as a screenwriter, then realized that a little exposition never hurt anyone and switched to books. She has had articles published in Echo QuarterlyCommunities Magazine (formerly Talking Leaves Magazine), Isabella, and All Things Girl.  Most recently, she received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers’ Conference nonfiction writing competition.

Julie lives wherever her bohemian heart takes her, and wherever she can hit the hiking trails when her muse decides to take a personal day. She has worked extensively with young adults as an experiential educator, both across the United States and in India. After spearheading an initiative to assist at-risk youth in becoming trained for green jobs, Julie threw herself into writing stories for young adults that do justice to their intelligence and complex emotional lives. Her childhood growing up in West Virginia, subsequent matriculation at an exclusive all-girls boarding school in Virginia, and former incarnation as a truck driver inspired her to write Being Roy. Her next YA novel, First Girl, is a dystopian piece due out from Harmony Ink in Spring 2018.

Julie continues to seek out unique life experiences to provide grist for the mill of her imagination, including her work as a medical actress at a simulation laboratory. There, she indulged her love of the dramatic arts and her passion for health education while amassing enough writing material to sink a barge.

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