A MelanieM Review: Deceived by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Five stories of men and the secrets and lies that shape their lives…

Deceived—The hatred between Prince Benedict and his secretary Rae is well-known, and the source of much gossip at court. Each one too stubborn to walk away, determined to make the other one the first to break, they spend their days fighting or ruthlessly ignoring one another. Determined to put an end to the matter once and for all, and to give the notoriously rakish Benedict a taste of his own medicine, Rae sets upon a deception only to realize that there is more than one deception afoot…

Scandalous—Gideon has led a very strict life since the death of his parents, determined not to live the scandalous life that led to their untimely demise and to bring up his little brother in a more stable home. Journeying home to settle the matter of a new tutor for his brother, Gideon is waylaid overnight by foul weather at an inn. He encounters a beautiful young man who is more temptation than he is able to resist, and Gideon impulsively decides that one night, with a complete stranger, cannot possibly come to any harm…

From Afar—Pierce has all that anyone could want in life—an adoring brother who raised him when their parents died, the fame and adoration from being an accomplished fencer, and the best friend a man could have. What he wants, however, is to know the identity of the person who leaves him ardent love letters and why his admirer will not step forward…

Lessons—There is very little that Jude has not tried or seen, and his shameless behavior has earned him the reputation as the most notorious rake in the city. The one thing he does not do, however, is innocents. Then he chances upon a young man late at night in the park, amused to learn the man is attempting to write a love letter of all things. When he learns that Crispin despairs of ever catching the eye of his love because he is too innocent to be appealing, Jude impulsively offers to teach him all that he needs to know…

The Highwayman—When he receives word that his home is being plagued by a highwayman, Bartholomew immediately sets off for the family estate to see to the matter. When he arrives home, however, he learns that very little is as he remembers it. Instead of one problem to solve, Bartholomew finds himself contending with a highwayman, a murderer, strangers, and an old friend who is nothing like the boy he grew up with…

I love this collection of stories each linked together by location and primarily characters, flowing easily from one to the other.  Arranged in perfect order, they build like a 3-star Michelin food experience with Megan Derr, the chef with all the prime ingredients and exquisite recipes.

Here are my thoughts on each.

Deceived – This is a enemies to lovers story between Prince Benedict and his secretary Rae. Each day is spend trying to force the other to quit/fire him based on the false assumptions each has allowed to accumulate over the years about the other.  Until an upcoming masked ball changes everything.  With the ability to hide behind gorgeous masks, their true personalities draw the men together. That and their shared love of fragrances.  This is a wonderful story and a sensual one as well.  I love the element of perfumes woven throughout.  5 stars.

Scandalous – Gideon is on his way home to his estate and his young brother when he’s waylaid by a storm and a night of hot sex with a delightful stranger. So many things to love about this story.  There’s a fencing scene with where a lonely Gideon is caught ‘dancing’ with his shadow, the younger brother yearning for his older brother’s love and approval, and of course, a love story as well.  So charming.  And from this story we get to see the younger brother grown and looking for love in From Afar.  5 stars

From Afar – Pierce has all that anyone could want in life—an adoring brother who raised him when their parents died, the fame and adoration from being an accomplished fencer, and the best friend a man could have. What he wants, however, is to know the identity of the person who leaves him ardent love letters and why his admirer will not step forward.  I liked seeing Pierce all grown up as well as Gideon and Tem too.  This is probably the the story with the least depth.  The admirer is easily identified,  although I liked the poem aspect.  4 stars.

Lessons – This is  absolutely perfect.  A Rake who takes on an innocent who needs lessons in love because he wants to snare the attention of the man he loves.  The story builds just the way you want it too, as does the love Jude starts to feel toward Crispin, something he’s totally unprepared to feel.  Just a terrific story, one to give you butterflies, along with that great ending.  5 stars.

The Highwayman –  Bartholomew, older brother to Crispin and all around family meddler, decides  that he has to take charge of the situation when he hears that a Highwayman is working the area around the family estate.  Once at the estate, after years away, Bart realizes that nothing is as he remembered it and perhaps there are more problems than he anticipated.  He’s got a highwayman, a murderer, strangers, and an old friend who is nothing like the boy he grew up with.  This is the longest story of them all and easily the most complicated in every way.  The relationship dynamics, the convoluted plots,  and the tricky resolution.  It is also the most satisfying.  A great way to end the collection.  5 stars plus.

 

Cover art by Aisha Akeju is dark and hard to see.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 225 pages
Published October 26th 2011 by Less Than Three Press (first published May 21st 2008)
Original TitleRegency
ISBN139781936202324
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Deceived #1

A MelanieM Review: A Reason To Stay (Heroes #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A Reason To Stay coverViktor Zavodny’s first love growing up was always the Navy.  Nothing and no one was going to distract him from that goal, not even a gorgeous 16 year old with a crush on him, Aiden Coleman.  For  Aiden, 18 year old Viktor was his first and only love, but Viktor determination to become a SEAL made him callously disregard Aiden, something Aiden has never forgotten.  Then Viktor Zavodny left his family and home town of Steepleshend to join the SEALS, and  a broken hearted young Aiden Coleman joined the police force.

It would be years before the men met again. Viktor returned home on leave to recuperate from severe injuries acquired on his last mission. The last  thing he expected or wanted to do was run into Aiden. But again sparks fly between them only for Aiden to watch Viktor leave once more on a mission with his SEAL outfit.  Now Aiden swore never again would he let Viktor back into his heart but neither man expected the danger that existed on the mountains  above town.

When Viktor’s nephew is found  wounded and unconscious in the snow, lying along side a dead man. Well the traumatic events bring Viktor back to town to look after his family and look into the events that put his nephew in the hospital.  Handling the investigation is none other than Deputy Sheriff Aiden Coleman. Aiden isn’t pleased to find an angry SEAL in his office demanding to be included in the investigation, especially since its Viktor.  In order to bring down the people behind his nephew’s injuries and the dead body discovered beside him, Aiden and Viktor will have to put aside their personal issues and work  together to find the truth and maybe finally the path to each other.

In Worlds Collide (Sanctuary #7)  main character Dale needs a bomb defused aboard a plane so he calls on his lover Joseph and Joseph’s SEAL team to help him out.  The team bomb expert just happened to be a hot headed smartass by the name of Viktor Zavodny, caught in the middle of a threesome when summoned to the phone.  That fascinating first look at Viktor Zavodny, the filling in the middle of a husband and wife sexual sandwich, was enough for people to clamor to have his story.  That short glimpse into the sexy,confounding puzzle that was Viktor Zavodny made us want to know more about him and now Scott has given it to us.  A Reason To Stay, the first book in RJ Scott’s new Heroes series, delves into Viktor’s background and status in the SEAL Team we got to know through Joseph and Dale in their Sanctuary stories.

I have to admit a real fondness for those “tough as nails” inscrutable men that RJ Scott writes so well. Having Viktor comes out of the same team that gave us Joseph gives us an instant understanding of the type of man he is and the skill set he has had to acquire to  become a member of such a covert unit.  We also know what a tight knit band of brothers this group of men have become to one another.  And it’s become apparent (in the Sanctuary novels and here) that  it is a unit in flux, members deciding to op out for a family and a life less defined by a mission and danger.

Viktor’s first appearance in this story happens when he is home to recuperate from injuries received while on a mission.  He is tired, wounded, and able to see what he has been missing out on with his sister and his beloved nephew,  Then he hooks up with Aiden and things start to get emotionally scary for someone with a designated life ahead of him.  Does he come across as insensitive or a bit of a jerk? Possibly but he has never  made any effort to cover up his priorities, no matter how much others may wish differently.  I liked that about Viktor, he is not an easy person to like nor is that a requisite for his profession.  Scott paints a portrait of a man on the verge of a change even if he is not aware of it himself and it works beautifully here in context.

Aiden is a much more accessible character because so many of us can relate to him and his history.  Aiden fell early and hard for Viktor when he was sixteen and never recovered from his heartbreaking first love.  No matter what Aiden tells himself intellectually, emotionally he is still open and very vulnerable when it comes to Viktor and their past dealings.  So when Viktor returns, we absolutely get that Aiden is conflicted about his feelings for Viktor.  Scott actually builds upon those complications and complexities between the men throughout the story and it makes for a more interesting and less idealized relationship between them.  Trust me when I say this is not your heart and flowers sort of romance.  That wouldn’t be realistic for these men or their herky jerky type of romance.

Another element of RJ Scott’s stories is how well she writes adolescents.  Viktor’s nephew Ben has a rather large part to play in the events that unfold here.  Ben idolizes his uncle and wants to be exactly like him,  Ben is a wonderful character, fully realized and totally believable.  And because he is so real to us, his safety becomes as important a factor for us as it does for Viktor.

For Viktor, Ben is a mile marker is his life. On the rare occassions Viktor returns home, he notices of all the changes in Ben in his absence. And those changes highlight what Viktor has missed out on as well as the personal sacrifices he has made in order to be a SEAL.  Perspective is something that has been lacking in Viktor’s life and Ben is the one area where it snaps into place in a manner Viktor is able to accept.  Again, another very realistic element among many in this story.

I loved the setting in the Green Mountains and RJ Scott has certainly done her homework as to the level of fitness and preparation required to take on a winter hike into that terrain. Not just there either.  Scott makes mention of the fact that a sugar shack is where the maple sap is boiled into syrup.  Again, another indication that this author has done her homework even to the smallest detail.  Or the larger ones like the guns, explosions and gear needed for those wild assignments and escapades that happen in A Reason To Stay.  There is certainly a lot of flash bang excitement for the buck (or should I say pound) here in her narrative.  Several of the Sanctuary operatives make momentary appearances from Joseph (still a SEAL), Manny, and Kayden Summers.  Its great to see them however briefly as I love that series and its characters and it made sense for them to do so.

What I loved about this book?  The sheer physicality of these men and the sometimes abrasive aspect of their relationship.  It’s hard to call this a typical romance because its not.  Nor should it be.  There is plenty of action, fights, nefarious goings on to along with  the arrogance, stubbornness, and a determination that is almost cellular from Viktor as well as Aiden.  Sometimes the testosterone is only tempered by the sweetness of the scenes between Viktor and his sister, or Aiden and his friend Sam.

The writing here is as smooth as a new fallen snow and the plot has plenty of layers for everyone to enjoy.  What will some people have issues with?  Probably the lack of a romance or romantic scenes between  Viktor and Aiden.  If you are looking for that sort of romantic story, than this is probably not the story for you.  But if you are looking for an action adventure story with believable main characters with a turbulent history behind them and an attraction that just won’t go away, then you will love this story and Viktor and Aiden.

RJ Scott already has the second story, Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2), written.  It will be released in June 2014 and features Sam Larsen from A Reason To Stay.  I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for him.  In the meantime, pick this up and get acquainted with some wonderful characters sure to pop up in the next story in the series.  Consider this another highly recommended story from this wonderful author.

Cover art by Meredith Russell who does a great job in depicting the characters and flavor of the story.

Buy Links: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 Book Details:

ebook, 267 pages
Published April 11th 2014 by Love Lane Books (first published April 9th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/AReasonToStayHeroes.html
seriesHeroes #1

Books in the Heroes series to date:

A Reason To Stay (Heroes #1)
Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2)
Deacon’s Law (Heroes, #3)  coming October 9

 

 

 

A Jeri Release Day Review: Gummy Bears & Grenades (THIRDS #10) by Charlie Cochet

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I absolutely adore the THIRDS series. I eagerly await them and will put down whatever I am reading to pick the newest up. They are just straight up entertaining.
This installment was a novella. Which means I devoured it in an hour (I’m a fast reader). Set the night of Dex’s bachelor party, we watch the guys- and a few girls- drink, dance, party….and get into sticky situations. Because it is Dex and that is what happens.
I am fairly certain that every single character has at least a cameo in this novella. And there are a lot. So honestly, the reason it is not getting more than 4 stars is the amount of stuff crammed in this book. It was a bit too much and took a bit away from the story.
Did I totally laugh? Yep. Swoon? Yep. Giggle? Yep.
And she has left me panting for more.
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase.  The cover is absolutely perfect.  Wouldn’t change a thing.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 102 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Gummy Bears & Grenades
ISBN13 9781635339963
Edition Language English
Series THIRDS #9.5

A Jeri Release Day Review: High Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
This has, by far, been my favorite of the series Balls to the Wall. The story, characters and writing were so much more in depth than the previous installments. Each book has gotten better, from book 1 which was kind of meh, to this one which I really enjoyed.
Single gay dads are not new to the genre. But I think this is the first one I have read that he is not the biological father, but married the mother (his best friend) and is on the birth certificate. So while he is trying to be the perfect dad, while working and pursuing his PHD, he immediately drawn to a bartender covered in tattoos, who rides a Harley and is known as Snake.
But looks can be deceiving.
Theodore’s son was really funny and a great additional character who held his own. Which he should, being that Theodore wanted to make the best life for him. He also showed that with his simple acceptance of Snake, that kids really can be great judges of character. They see what is on the inside first, not the outside.
There was a lot that happened in the book- in laws, PhD, new relationships, friends, school politics, bullying…. but it never seemed over loaded. There was a nice twist toward the end that I didn’t necessarily expect and lots of visits by some previous characters.
This can definitely be read as a stand alone, but like I said, they start out as meh and work their way up from there.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  The cover is great, has all the right elements and captures the reader’s attention.
Sales Links:  Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press
Book Details:
ebook, 163 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635334753
Edition Language English
setting Laguna Beach, California (United States)

BA Tortuga on Writing, Characters and her story ‘Living in Fast Forward (Radio and the Road)’ (guest blog)

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Living in Fast Forward (Radio and the Road) by B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available August 6 from Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have B.A. Tortuga here today talking about her writing, her ties to her characters and her latest release Living in Fast Forward.  Welcome, B.A.!

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with B.A. Tortuga ~

 

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Oh, lord. Say Something damn near killed me. I had to stop and breathe about a thousand times. My son was going through cancer at the time, and I felt so lost that I let myself sink into Mike and Jensen so deep that I damn near got lost.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a totally HEA girl. 100%. Why? points you to my wife This, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that happily ever after is a real, true thing worth believing in.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Lord yes. I’m a voracious reader – romances, suspense, horror, literary fiction, non-fiction. I’m a huge fan of words and how they’re put together.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Stephen King is absolutely, without a doubt my huge influence. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been given was “listening to Stephen King speak was like listening to you talk.” squee

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m finishing up the first in a new rodeo series about a gay-friendly rodeo company. Then I’ll be onto my next Dreamspun Desire, Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House.

Much love, y’all.

BA

Living in Fast Forward blurb

Acclaimed musician Hollis Lee is a little bit rock, a little bit country, and a lot in need of some TLC to mend the years of hardcore partying that threatens to ruin his career. Hollis’s manager, Charlie, has the perfect solution in mind.

Personal trainer Jeremy is even-keeled and nothing if not professional—which means doing his job, getting Hollis back to his fighting weight, and ignoring his fierce attraction to the rock star.

Turns out Hollis has a harder time resisting Jeremy than giving up sausage biscuits and cheeseburgers, but succumbing to temptation could end both of their careers. While Hollis is on tour, no one questions Jeremy’s presence, and that means plenty of time to sneak away for some steamy fun on the tour bus. But when an accident separates them, how will they sustain the relationship that’s starting to mean so much?

Second Edition

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

Cover Reveal for Lawless Anthology (giveaway)

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LAWLESS Anthology: Manlove Edition

Published by Evernight Publishing

Coming November 2017

Add to Goodreads TBR: https://goo.gl/AWdshj

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