A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: An Open Window by Rick R. Reed


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

Short, heartbreakingly sweet,  and perfect for the holidays!  All that absolutely describes Rick R. Reed’s Christmas short story An Open Window.  The  author had me blubbering and reaching for the tissue box by the second paragraph and kept me sniffling all through this wonderful, heart tugging holiday romance.

It’s poignant, puts certain things into perspective and yet still leaves the reader enveloped in love and warm feelings and this couple with their HEA.  I definitely recommend you put this on  your  Christmas list of stories to read, but make sure you add a packet or two of tissues to go along with it.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  It’s the  2017 Advent Stocking Stuffer Overall Cover filled with humor and good cheer!

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 21 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781640803503
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Hurricane (Stormy Weather #3) by B.A. Tortuga


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Sequel to Tropical Depression
Stormy Weather: Book Three

Galen and Shane are back in the final installment of the Stormy Weather series, and a tempest of epic proportions is brewing. Once they couldn’t get enough of each other, but now Galen’s long hours are driving a wedge between him and Shane. Lonely and starved for his lover’s attention, bartender Shane falls in with a new crowd that doesn’t have his best interests at heart, and Galen struggles with a workload he can’t manage and an unscrupulous partner who wants to eliminate Shane. He can barely keep his head above water, let alone chart a course home to Shane.

While they’re floundering and trying to hold their relationship together, a hurricane heads for the Florida coast—and they’re directly in the path of the storm. It’s a crisis that will either finally break them apart or remind them how much they stand to lose if they don’t hold on to each other.

Also included is the free novella Bartender Rescue

I’ve loved all three stories about Galen and Shane by B.A. Tortuga but I think that the final one, Hurricane, has to be my favorite.  In Hurricane, B.A. Tortuga achieves a balance in the narrative here that I sometimes found missing in the previous stories.  In  Rain and Whiskey (Stormy Weather, #1) and Tropical Depression (Stormy Weather, #2), each of those novels sometimes felt heavy on the sex and sometimes light on the exposition, no matter how much I loved the hot and heavy between Shane and his man.

In Hurricane, it feels balanced.  We feel the stressed out, pushed to the limit relationship dynamics of Galen and Shane broken up intermittently by hot sex scenes.  Which interestingly enough only highly how badly the men are doing together.  As  misunderstanding and just plain ol’ blindness on Galen’s part is tearing them apart, a Hurricane is bearing down on their home, their sanctuary together.  It’s a great analogy by the author as it’s where the romance and love started.  Their home, bait shack, Goober the basset hound and new friend, even including Vic the alligator…all threatened by outside forces.

We see both sides, Galen’s and Shane’s, and the forces working to pull them apart.  All the wonderful elements that have made these men and the location ring true are now as deep seated in Tortuga’s narrative and an ol’ Cypress tree in the swamp.  The language, the colloquialisms, they are all in place laying Stormy Weather with authenticity.  But it’s the men at the heart of this trilogy (plus new story) that will make you remember them.  It’s their love for each other, and their ability to fight for it, even through a hurricane.

I did think the “vacation” element tarried a little too long…I wanted the boys back where they belonged, in their swamp with their dogs and water.   I thought the free last mini story was interesting.  I was nice to see familiar faces again and see that certain other people too  got a chance at love.  But I could have happily left them at the end of Hurricane, hoping that Galen and Shane had learned their lessons and  settled in for the long run.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  It’s pretty enough but that torso idea is clearly oversued.  I wish the shack and maybe even Vic had made an appearance.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 228 pages
Published November 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published 2007)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator)


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A few things should be addressed before summarizing the review of this audiobook. First, there’s no mention of the need to read other books in this series, however, I believe my enjoyment of this book would have been greatly enhanced if I had done so.  So although this is ostensibly a standalone, it really is the capstone of a three-book series and I’d recommend that people read the others first—and also read the end of this review for information on the multiple epilogues.

The second thing that bugged me and made me crazy—why would the author give the MC (with the real name of Sebastian) the nickname of Tash when one of the MCs from the previous books in this series was Ash?  And Ash was frequently present in this story.  Then to make it worse, this is an audiobook so the frequency of use of Tash and Ash became way too confusing, especially in the beginning of the story when the couples from the earlier stories frequently made an appearance and I had to figure out all the relationships because I wasn’t warned that the other books should be read first.  It seems this story is connected with others in the series by each one featuring one of three boys who grew up as brothers in poverty under the rough hand of a nasty, abusive foster father.

This book is about Brandon, a young man who ran away from home after one fight too many with that abusive foster father. Thinking he killed the old man, Brandon moved to another city and changed his name to Randy. After a year or so on the streets, he was rescued by a man named Gage who was working in a program helping homeless teens.  Brandon turned his life around and is now working as a teacher.  Hearing of a way to help teens like he was, he agrees to meet with Dr. Sebastian (Tash) Weber, a psychiatrist who is starting another program for bullied LGBTQ youth.

Tash is about fifteen years Brandon’s senior, but he’s hot and Brandon is immediately attracted. Tash isn’t interested in a relationship, however, since his former lover died a few years before and he doesn’t think he can ever love again. 

The two do eventually come together, despite objections from some friends and family members who feel the age gap is too steep and/or Brandon isn’t the right person for Tash and vice versa. Add to that the guilt Brandon carries about his past and this makes for a long story.  It’s nearly ten hours of audio and a great deal of the story is interrelated to characters from the first two books.  Ultimately, it’s discovered that the lost brothers Brandon has never been able to find are the best friends of Gage and Tash and so their lives intertwine even more. 

After a misunderstanding, Brandon travels home to face his ghosts and to make peace with his foster mother, if at all possible.  Tash and the brothers follow and eventually all is resolved.  To be honest, I felt lost so often (and was frankly sick of hearing Tash and Ash in the same sentences!) I was happy to see it end, even though I liked the author’s writing and I liked the core relationship between Brandon and Tash.  I definitely enjoyed the narration by Kale Williams, who I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before.  Even with all of those confusing character names, he managed to juggle multiple voices so I was able to pick out the MCs.  That alone is well worth mentioning. 

I must say, however, I was surprised at the end when the Epilogue chapter was announced and suddenly it’s about people named Mike and Rachel, and I had no idea who they were.  The short scene is at their wedding and all the characters are present. And then suddenly, we had a second epilogue that takes place a month later about Jordan and Luke – MCs from After the Fire — in a little vacation and engagement vignette.    A month later a third epilogue about Drew and Ash takes place — MCs from the first book, A Walk Through Fire, so it’s a little odd to me that the author put the epilogues from these other couples into this book.  But finally, taking place a week after that last one, we get the epilogue for Brandon and Tash and their very satisfying HEA. 

Do I recommend this? Yes, to those who enjoy a contemporary romance with an age gap. However, I highly recommend the first two books be read before this one, or readers will likely suffer from the same confusion I went through.  It really is a three-book series, all of which are linked closely together.


Cover art by Reese Dante in the newest edition features a headshot of two young men in an almost-kiss, hands on each other’s face.  Very attractive, and in keeping with the theme of the others in the series, the word fire in the title is bright red. 


Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2yu0NiV

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2mem4vf

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: felice stevens
Audible.com Release Date: October 31, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Read

Andrew Grey, Writing Stories with Children and his release Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) (guest post and except)


Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 8 2017

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press




I get asked quite a bit why I write stories with children in them and that used to be a difficult question to answer because that question goes to the heart of something deeply important to me.  First, I believe that gay couples should have the same rights and opportunities as other couples and that means raising children.  For gay couples there are more steps involved because they cannot have children on their own, adoption, surrogacy, etc.  But I believe it important to show that anything is possible and that a couple, or individual who wishes to have children, can do so and that they can build a family of their own.  Secondly, Dominic and I elected early on in our relationship not to have children.  Dominic was the youngest in his family and was never around children younger than him.  Even today, small babies make him nervous.  We once had a party where three couples brought young babies and the only person at the party who didn’t take a turn holding any of the babies was Dominic.  I swear he’d have hidden in the basement of he could.  So Dominic and I chose not to have children.  I’m not saying that I regret that decision or that I resent Dominic for it, but having children is one thing I think I missed out on in my life.    I don’t regret it because I have Dominic and he takes care of me and loves me the way no one else ever has.  But sometimes I think what life would be like if he and I had raised children.  When that happens, I usually end up writing a story with children.


Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims—least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge receiving the threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.

When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally… and maybe more. Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself….

Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?



Terry stood and walked to his end of the table. “I hear you got assigned to one of the judges at the courthouse.” He slipped into the empty seat near Pierre.

“Man, word travels fast,” he said a little loudly. He wasn’t angry, but his law enforcement colleagues gossiped like old biddies.

“Tell me about it,” Terry agreed. “It’s a good thing these guys don’t work for national security.” He grinned and looked up for a second, waving to someone who passed.

Pierre followed his gaze and smiled at the familiar face. “Do you know him?”

“Sure. That’s Jordan. He works at the courthouse. He’s a member at the Y, and I see him and his son coming in a few times a week. Jeremiah is four and he loves the water. I’ve given him a few swimming lessons, and Jordan says he’s signing him up for regular swim class.” Terry waved again, and Jordan came over.

“Hey,” Jordan said with a touch of surprise in his voice.

“You know each other?” Terry asked.

“I work for Judge Crawford now,” Jordan said, “and I’m working with Pierre because of the threats the judge has received.” He turned to Pierre. “You should have said you were coming here.”

“I didn’t know until a little while ago.” Pierre caught the attention of the server and ordered a beer. He turned back to Jordan but didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t interested in talking about work, and they didn’t know each other well enough to talk about other things. Pierre also figured it didn’t help that he found himself staring into Jordan’s eyes, forgetting about most everything else. He blinked a few times to pull himself back to the present. Damn, distraction and near blubbering idiot were quickly becoming the norm for him when he was around Jordan. That was going to make his job even harder. He needed to get over this fast.

“Where’s Jeremiah?” Terry asked, to Pierre’s eternal gratitude.

“He’s with my mom and dad. They asked to take him for a few hours, and I needed a night out that didn’t involve chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and spilled milk.” Jordan grinned. “I’m here with Brad and Ricky. They go to the club too. We’ve been meaning to go out for a while, but with Jeremiah, it hasn’t been possible.” Jordan glanced toward the other table, then turned back to them. “I should get back. But I’ll see you at the club. And Pierre, I’ll see you in the morning.” He flashed a smile that showed a touch of perfect teeth and once again short-circuited Pierre’s brain.

“Earth to Pierre,” Terry said, standing up. “Geez, you are really gone.”

“Sorry.” Pierre blinked and shook his head as Jordan sat down. “So, a kid, huh? Is he married?” Just his luck he’d be perving on a straight guy.

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 Group All the Way with Andrew Grey


Twitter @andrewgreybooks


For Other Works by Andrew Grey

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

Julia Fangs and her latest release ‘Catnip (Dead and Breakfast #1)’ (guest post)


Fangs and Catnip (Dead and Breakfast #1) by Julia Talbot
Dreamspinner Press

A Dreamspun Beyond Title
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Julia Talbot here today on her tour for Fants and Catnip.  Welcome, Julia!


 I’m here to give you a little info about Fangs and Catnip, my very first Dreamspun Beyond from Dreamspinner Press.

Carter is the new manager at the Dead and Breakfast Inn, and he falls for vampire silent partner Fallon, who is sure they don’t need a were-cougar as a manager…

The folks here were kind enough to give me some questions to answer, so here they go!

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Oh, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado at the Hot Springs Lodge. I would write, then get a massage, then go to the hot springs pool. Fallon, the vampire character in Fangs and Catnip is a writer, and he’s in a B&B in Colorado near where my spot is.


With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because there has to be good, and fiction makes me happy. Paranormal makes me smile. Sex makes me hot. It’s escapism for sure. Romance is love, and with love I can believe the world will right itself.


What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m working on another paranormal for the Dreamspun Beyond line for Dreamspinner. None of them are shifters! Gasp.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

Humor. I love someone who can laugh with me, or laugh at themselves. Wicked smart people fascinate me. Half of my best friends over the years have been Mensa members. I love crafty and arty people. Making things makes me bounce, and I love folks who want to do it. I try hard to write them into my books in some way, like the humor in Fangs and Catnip.


Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

OMG all the time. I’m he queen of starting projects I never finish, or that I pick up later because it’s too good or too long to waste. My next story to come out with Changeling Press (hopefully this month) is one of those stories that languished for a year, but I picked it up and dusted it off.

Thanks so much for having me, y’all!


Julia Talbot


A Dead and Breakfast Novel

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels, and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.

About the Author

Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at http://www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

Contact Julia through the following:




Release Blitz for On Your Knees, Prospect (Kings of Hell MC #3) by KA Merikan (excerpt and giveaway)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 130,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Kings of Hell MC Series
Book #1 – Laurent & The Beast – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – My Dark Knight – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Gray’s Shadow (Coming 2018)

— There is freedom in blacking boots for the right man. —

Jake. Kings of Hell MC Prospect. Obedient. Desperate for approval.

Vars. Dominant. Stern. Undead.

Jake is itching to become a patched member of the Kings of Hell MC.

For two years he’s toiled as the only prospect. So when a new guy swans in and thinks he’ll get a patch in no time just because he’s got friends in high places, Jake is there to stand in his way.

Only that the guy is older, more experienced, drives a Harley, and has the kind of boots Jake craves to lick.

But he won’t.

Because he only fucks patches.

Vars is ready to find a new home in the Kings of Hell MC after a messy relationship led him straight to hell. In comparison, the pretty, blue-eyed prospect could be just the pleasant rebound he needs.

The boy is a brat, but that could be amended with a firm hand and a gag.

If only Jake was ready to admit to his submissive needs, Vars would gladly take him under his wing.

That is, until he finds out something inhuman resides inside of Jake.

Vars didn’t cheat death only to call out to it again.

But stuck together in one room, keeping each other’s secrets, they might just have to become allies, no matter how unwilling. Because if there is something Vars can’t resist, it’s a boy with pleading eyes.

“You are mine now, boy. This room is soundproof. No one will hear you scream.”
“Yes, sir. My body is yours.”

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters. 


Jake wouldn’t be subjected to this indignity. He hit right back at Vars, even if the man was solid as a rock. “I’m no slave! I do what I’m asked, and yes, if that means sucking dick, so be it. It’s called dedication. I bet you’ve never heard of it!”

Something flashed in Vars’s eyes, and he descended on Jake, twisting back his arms and pushing him forward as if Jake barely weighed anything. With a yelp, Jake clenched his eyes shut, unable to breathe as he braced himself for impact with the floor, but his body met hard steel instead.

Dampness started soaking into his clothes, and his chin slid over Knight’s newly-cleaned car. It smelled of detergent, sharp and unpleasant, but the large body pressing him down overpowered all his senses.

He struggled against the firm hold but knew he could put more strength into it. His mind drifted off to the leather flogger and cuffs that have occupied it from the moment Jake had made the mistake of touching Vars’s toy bag.

The cool touch of the car’s hood was a relief to his burning cheek. It was increasingly difficult to remind himself every day that Vars was a prospect like him when the man carried himself with so much authority.

“You sure of that?” Vars whispered, leaning over Jake until his lips were inches away from Jake’s ear. The movement pressed his hips tighter to Jake’s ass, and even though there was no trace of arousal in those leather pants, sensing the heat of Vars’s groin had Jake’s flesh feel like molten fire. Were Vars’s pubes salt-and-pepper as well, or had that been his imagination?

“Of what?” Jake’s voice came out trembling so heavily he didn’t recognize it at first. What was he doing? He couldn’t possibly give into this weird thing Vars was pulling him into. Vars had no right to him. No patch. And yet everything about the energy Vars exuded spoke to Jake on a level he didn’t understand.

So he stayed put and stopped the pretense of struggle.

Vars breathed fire down the back of Jake’s neck, and while his body still pressed down hard, and his powerful hands still kept Jake’s arms in a twist, something about the hold changed. Vars hesitated with his answer, his hips swaying gently against Jake’s buttocks as he inhaled and exhaled so close to Jake’s ear it was almost like shouting.

“That you want to serve. That polishing all those shoes on your knees gets your dick hard.”

Yes? No? Maybe? No. Yes.

So he might actually enjoy doing things for the members. Big deal. It was a lucky thing, since he’d been stuck as a prospect for years.

Jake couldn’t understand why he was so nervous. Why his body reacted so violently to this inquisition. Vars’s bulk pressing against him wasn’t helping with focus, but it was the hold on his arms that was making Jake’s senses spiral out of control. He’d gotten a glimmer of that when wrestling with Gray before, but there was something different about Vars holding him down. He just didn’t know what.

“I just want to please,” Jake whispered so quietly he wasn’t sure he’d be heard.


Author Bio

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.



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Release Blitz for Jesus Kid by Kayleigh Sky (giveaway)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 114,000 words

Thirty years ago, an asteroid stuck the Earth. Now killer plants hunt the last surviving humans.

Ori Scott is a young junkie running from his mother’s prophecy that he’d one day save the world from the killer plants. Her preaching made him a laughingstock and now he hides in his drugs. But he can’t hide the change in his veins. They are turning green, and the prophecy is dragging him into a dark struggle between invisible forces. Set up on bogus drug charges, Ori is taken to a secret facility where he becomes a test subject in experiments to discover an antidote to the alien plant’s sting.

Jack Doll is a cop with a vendetta against the plants that killed his best friend. All he has in the world now is his old friend’s lover, Rive. Together they form an unbreakable bond—or so he thought. Jack has never liked Rive’s friend, Ori, but he believes in Ori’s innocence and doesn’t understand Rive’s strange indifference to Ori’s conviction. Struggling with his suspicions, Jack can’t help digging into a mystery that draws him closer to Ori than ever before—and closer to somebody who has secrets to hide.

Alone and scared, Ori is grateful for Jack Doll’s friendship, and his longtime crush soon blossoms into love. But Ori has no plans to accept his fate. He wants to escape, and he doesn’t care if he takes the cure with him.

Author Bio

Kayleigh Sky is a m/m erotic romance writer.

Kayleigh’s stories are tales of struggle and pain, loss and despair. Love is won in the battle to rise out of the depths of darkness. Victory is in the sweet bliss of happily ever after.

Once upon a time Kayleigh hid out in a cold dark garage reading a book her parents forbid her to read. She was nine years old. The book? Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, a story of love between two men–well, actually the story was a little more complicated than that, but hey, she was nine.

In the dark of the garage, a light, a passion, a sheer joy for love in all its manifestations awoke.

And love between two men–Hot!

Kayleigh’s men are often broken, always brave, and always memorable.



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