A Stella Review: Hero Worship by Kris T. Bethke

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Paramedic Alex Sullivan has always thought Matthew Carter was attractive. But there are reasons why Alex knows he shouldn’t get involved with the younger man. Taking Matt in as a housemate seems like a recipe for disaster.

To Alex’s surprise, Matt not only proves to be the perfect roommate, he also makes no effort to hide his attraction to Alex. Matt knows what he wants. Can Alex be the hero Matt already thinks he is?

I was deeply surprised by this short story, it’s the first I read by the author and I’m definitely going to check out her other works.

Although I picked Hero Worship because I thought the blurb was interesting (I love these kind of stories, where the characters already know and are attracted from each other, but they wait for their right time or think their right time won’t come), what truly conquered me was the writing. In my opinion the author delivered an amazing story, the writing is very well done and engaging, it made the reading flow easily, it caught my attention and I read the story in one breath.

Sure the short can’t give enough space to develop and discover more about the characters’ pasts or know more about their HEA, still it deeply satisfied me and it warmed my heart how well Alex and Matt fit together.

If you’re looking for a quick reading, try Hero Worship by Kris T. Bethke, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

The cover designed by Written Ink Designs is simple and clean but I’m not crazy about it.

SALE LINKS: JMS BOOKS |  AMAZON

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle edition, 36 pages

ASIN B078L73KHY

Published January 13th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Spun! by JL Merrow won the Rainbow Award for Best Romantic Comedy in 2017 and with this outstanding audiobook, should have won that category as well.  Mark Steadman has zoomed up my list of narrators I just love to listen too and this audiobook and series is a prime example why.

Mark Steadman’s lively and articulate narration makes JL Merrow’s comedy romance all bright and heartwarmingly alive!  It’s in his many voices that easily separate the characters for you and for all the sweeping inflections and yes, ear for regional “dialects” that brings this story into the 5 star status as a audiobook as well as a novel.

Oh this story!  I loved David back when he made his appearance in Out! along with his bear Gregory.  He’s such a kind and sympathetic soul and you wanted him to find someone who wanted him back for his wonderful, flamboyant, empathetic, self. Who knew he would find it in a postman?

That would be postman Rory Deamer, father to two, and soon to be having the surprise lodger of his life.  Spun! is a lovely slow burn of a romance which works because we get to watch these two men connect over their shared love of Dr. Who and the fact they both can’t cook, bonding, talking….I just loved it.

And David?  Well, we enjoyed his friendship with Mark’s daughter so it’s no surprise to see his interactions and relationships build with Rory’s kids here.  It’s as much a part of the story as their romance and it should be because they are forming a family.

There’s miscommunications and misunderstandings abounding everywhere towards the end.  Enough to  make you  want to crack some heads together.  But the sheer joy of this romance, the absolute “rightness” of Rory and David finding love with each other?  It’s perfect.  And just  one more  reason I love visiting Shamwell so.

I love this audiobook.  What a great way to  spend the hours!  Read it, listen to it!  In fact, grab up the whole audiobook collection!  I recommend them all.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  These simple but eye catching covers work for the characters and series.

Audiobook Details:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon, Audible, iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, Listening Time: 7 hrs. 44 min

Published November 29th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 1st 2017)
Original TitleSpun!
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Shamwell Tales #4
Literary AwardsRainbow Award for Best Bisexual – Romantic Comedy & Suspence & Nominee for Best Bisexual Book (2017)

Amy Spector on Writing, Books, and her release ‘That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love) by Amy Spector (guest blog)

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That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love) by Amy Spector
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Buy Links:Dreamspinner Press || Amazon US || Amazon UK || B&N

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Spector here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest story That Rat, Carter Janson.  Welcome, Amy.

 

Hello, everyone. This is Amy Spector and I’m excited to be here today on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to answer a few questions—I’ll undoubtedly humiliate myself epically—share my new release from Dreamspinner Press, and offer up a chance to win a copy of That Rat, Carter Janson.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amy Spector

How much of yourself goes into a character? 

I think there’s always something of myself that goes into my characters. Sometimes a little, sometimes an embarrassing amount.

I think when I was first starting out, just learning my skill really, those pieces of me in my characters were more blatant. I’m still learning, still growing as a writer, but I believe they have become more subtle. More subtle and somehow more true to who I actually am.

I think with my newest book, my main characters Felix and Carter are both like me but in very different ways.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

While I always write HEA, I like reading both. The truth is, I am such a sappy romantic at heart—something I didn’t really discover until I started writing—that I’m always convinced that an HFN is going to end up a happily ever after.

For me, Rhett Butler was always going to come back. LOL

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

I read very little romance when I was younger. I mainly read classics and mystery. Then I moved on to horror. I would occasionally pick up a romance novel, but rarely.

It wasn’t until about seven years ago when a friend insisted that I go with her to a romance writers’ convention that it all changed. She dragged me from booth to booth, told me what books to buy, made me stand in line to meet and get autographs from all these people I had never heard of—like J.R. Ward and Charlaine Harris and a dozen others. And even then, those books sat on my bookshelf for more than a year before I finally pulled the first Black Dagger Brotherhood book off my shelf.

After that I was pretty much on a quest to read every paranormal romance I could get my hands on. LOL

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Truthfully, I wasn’t instantly on board with ebooks when they first showed up on the scene. I liked physical books—the weight of them, the smell of the ink and paper—for a lot of different reasons. Part of it, I think, is that when I was young, we were quite poor and owning a book was a huge thing. I remember being about eight and buying these three old, jacketless Nancy Drew books for a few quarters at a flea market and they were like treasure to me. So I think I still like the ownership part of it, and digital books didn’t give me that same thrill.

Later I fell in love with them. It was the ease of getting books, that I could carry hundreds of books with me all the time. And there was that whole quest to read all things paranormal romance.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I’d have to say, it’s a tie between my paranormal romance Cold Fingers and That Rat, Carter Janson.

Cold Fingers was the first book I wrote that was wholly my idea. It was a love letter to the movies that my grandfather showed my mother and my mother, in turn, showed me. And it was the first time I wasn’t writing specifically for an anthology that dictated my story in some way. That Rat, Carter Janson was easily the most work but it also was the most satisfying to write. And it’s all about things that I love, like art, and history, museums and crime.

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

People aren’t perfect, and I like to write about that.

I think flawed personalities and bad first impressions are wonderful to play with and explore. I like to present a character and have their true nature slowly revealed because we all put up fronts and show the world a facade. I like to have a reader say … Oh, I didn’t like him at first, but now I think he’s wonderful.

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?

I’ve never done that with an entire story. I have certainly done it with scenes many, many times.

The very first scene in That Rat, Carter Janson was the first thing I wrote. I removed it shortly after, convinced it didn’t work.

Months later, when I was almost finished with the book, I put the scene back in, added the last line, and realized it was exactly what the story needed.

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I haven’t but I want to! I’m pretty much convinced it’s the answer to all those scenes I find myself struggling with. But I have young children, and a husband who could sleep through the apocalypse. And, since I do most of my writing at night, I figure one of us needs to be able to get everyone out of the house if there’s a fire. LOL

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

I would love to write from a deck over looking the ocean. I already love writing outside—the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze—and I can think of no better soundtrack or better view, then the waves of the ocean.

It would need to be a miraculously deserted beach. Half-naked beach goers could be distracting. Or maybe they’d be just the inspiration I need!

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?

Honestly? It sometimes makes it hard to write at all.

I’ll be stressing over some scene or other, or worrying that a story subplot isn’t working and I’ll see the news—and the newest nightmare unfolding—and I’ll think… Who cares about a damn book? The world is falling apart. Then I’ll think about how often I have allowed myself to escape into a story, had the way I thought about something irreversibly changed by a simple piece of fiction, or found happiness for just a little while in the pages of a book. Then I’ll keep going.

What’s next for you as a writer?

There’s the question, isn’t it?

When I started That Rat, Carter Janson, I didn’t really see it as more than a standalone story. But, by the time I was ready to write the end I had fallen in love with too many of the characters—had played matchmaker in my head—and I knew I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye forever. And, being the HEA sucker I am, I knew I’d have to revisit them.

I currently have a novel length story in the works starring two of the secondary characters from the story.

***

That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love 35)

Blurb:

Every man has secrets, but some are bigger than others….

Felix Peake escaped a shady past to carve out a successful career as an expert in Mesopotamian art and gain the respect of the Chicago art community. But when an assistant curator—a man Felix could easily see himself falling for—asks him to reauthenticate a cuneiform tablet to avoid a looming scandal, Felix’s carefully constructed life could crumble.

The tablet is a fake, and Felix is intimately familiar with the artist. Master forger Carter Janson—Felix’s ex and first love—disappeared from his life six years before without a word of explanation. Now, to hold his world together, Felix must find the original tablet, steal it back, and replace the forgery—all before the museum exhibit debuts. It’ll mean slipping back into a role Felix wanted to leave behind and risking his promising future. But even then, he can’t do it alone. He’ll have to confront that rat, Carter Janson.

States of Love: Stories of love that span every corner of the United States.

***

About Amy Spector

Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns, and mystery novels.

After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.

She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British Drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.

Amy lives in the Midwest with her husband, children, and her cats Bowie and Poe.

Connect with Amy online: Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads || Website/Blog

Release Day Blitz A Way with You by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Way with You

Series: A Way With, Book 2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Amazon

Release Date: January 18, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30K

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Office Romance, New York City

Amazon

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Reeve Nelson is determined to make it in Manhattan. He’s hardworking, dedicated and willing to put in the extra hours required to be successful at his new job at a prestigious real estate firm in the city. There’s no way he’s going back to small-town living and an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go. But his boss isn’t making it easy. 
Leo Rodriguez enjoys his reputation as a ruthless businessman. He’s a lone wolf who’s scraped his way from the gutter to rebuild his life and launch a distinguished career on his terms. When an opportunity to expand in the market comes up, Leo wants the eager new agent with a sense of wonder on the project. But nothing goes quite as planned. Reeve expected to be intimidated and overwhelmed by Leo, however, the explosive mutual attraction and fierce desire between them is a big surprise. Neither man is looking for love and yet, something special just might happen if they can find their way…together.

Excerpt

Yeah, this was my idea but I wasn’t prepared to be this close to Leo again. His mere presence overwhelmed me. He smelled so good. I wanted to bury my nose in the collar of his button-down shirt and just…breathe. I told myself Leo was a regular guy like every other guy here, but truthfully, he wasn’t the least bit ordinary. Even in executive chic, Leo turned more heads than the shirtless bartenders. And when he smiled at the young man next to me who offered him his stool, he added another admirer to his list.

I’d never been around anyone who changed the temperature in a room simply by entering it the way he did. It wasn’t his appearance either. His height and sharp sense of style might garner a second glance, but his true appeal was innate. It was in the way he spoke and moved. He didn’t mince words or waste time. He was concise and direct and acted with purpose. I got the impression Leo Rodriguez had a reason for everything he did, including wanting to meet with me.

Leo perched on the vacated stool and then hooked his thumb at me when I didn’t reply. “He’ll have a martini too.”

“No. I mean, yes. But with olives, please. No onions.” I thanked the bartender then swiveled to face Leo, accidentally bumping his knee.

I muttered a quick apology and cautioned myself to pull it together. Leo wasn’t my boss anymore, for fuck’s sake. I just wished he didn’t make me so anxious.

Commence the nervous chatter.

“Onions? No one orders onions,” I snorted. “And vodka-soaked onions are especially gross.”

Leo’s lip curled on one side like a pirate. “When was the last time you had a vodka-soaked onion?”

“Uh…well, never,” I admitted with a frown. “But it sounds gross.”

“Chocolate covered scorpions and braised frog legs are gross. Onions aren’t in the same zip code.”

I made a face and shivered. “Have you actually eaten those things?”

“Yeah, and actually, they’re not so bad. Chocolate hides the taste of anything, even insects, and frog legs taste like chicken. But you never know unless you try.”

“No thanks.”

Leo tsked playfully. “You have big opinions, a big mouth, and a hot temper, Nelson. No wonder I like you.” He nodded his thanks when the bartender delivered our cocktails then raised his glass in a mock toast. “To onions.”

“Onions?”

“We sure as fuck ain’t drinkin’ to olives,” he quipped.

I chuckled at his comedic expression then sipped my martini while I wracked my brain for a non-confrontational topic of conversation to stall the inevitable one.

“What do you have against olives?” Weak. But it was better than nothing, and Leo seemed willing to play along.

“Nothing. It’s a texture thing. I don’t eat them if I can help it but I love olive oil. And tapenade is cool as long as those little suckers are chopped really fine. Otherwise, olives are a hard pass for me. Everyone has a food like that. What’s yours?”

“Kidney beans,” I replied quickly. “I like them in chili but not in salad. I have a great recipe for spicy chili that requires multiple glasses of water on standby. My grandmother made it when we were kids and”—I stopped to take a gulp of my drink before braving a look his way—“I’m sorry. You make me nervous.”

“Why, Reeve?” he purred, leaning into his elbow on the bar next to mine. “Is it because of last night?”

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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L.A. Witt and Cari Z On Andreas’ Honeymoon Site and ‘Romantic Behavior’ (Guest Blog for Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Romantic Behavior (Bad Behavior #4) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z.
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Garrett Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host L.A. Witt and Cari Z today on their tour for Romantic Behavior. Welcome!

 

Where would Andreas want to go for the honeymoon?

By L.A. Witt and Cari Z

So if money and time off work weren’t issues, where would Andreas want to take Darren for their honeymoon? I picked five places that I think would top his list, though you’d have to ask Cari if Darren’s list would look even remotely the same…

  1. Amsterdam. For many reasons, but mostly because even if he won’t admit it out loud, Andreas thinks it would be hilarious to watch Darren get stoned.
  2. A cabin in the woods a million miles from everything in like Canada or Alaska or something. Basically, anywhere he can escape from all of humanity except Darren, who’s one of the few people he actually likes being around for any length of time. But with a phone in case his kids need to reach him.
  3. Disneyland or Disney World. Hey, Andreas has a perpetual kid side just like everyone else, and he’s never gotten to go without his own kids in tow. He thinks it would be fun to go with Darren, and he’ll even considering putting on a pair of mouse ears if his man deploys the puppy dog eyes. Just don’t ask him to get on It’s a Small World or he might tase you.
  4. Anything that doesn’t tax his ankle. Andreas pretty much won’t say no to anything that makes Darren happy, so as long as it’s not cross country skiing, snowboarding, or like the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage or anything else that might make his ankle tender, he’s game.
  5. Tell everyone they’ve gone on a big cruise or whatever, but just stay home. At the end of the day, all Andreas really wants is to be with Darren. The less traveling they do, the less opportunity there is for disaster to strike, and besides, he’s more than happy to have a staycation. As long as he’s got Darren, he can’t ask for much more, especially if no one knows where they really are. Except the kids, of course.

About Romantic Behavior

Detective Andreas Ruffner is no fool—he’s found a man who loves him, puts up with him, and has stuck with him through hell and back, and it’s time to put a ring on it. Darren Corliss is the love of his life, and he wants the whole world to know it.

Now the fun part—the wedding!

Well, after the not-so-fun part of planning the wedding in between dealing with overbearing and impossible-to-please family members. With future mothers-in-law driving them both up a wall, the guest list growing out of control, and the wedding getting ever more complicated, Darren and Andreas have to wonder if they’re in over their heads.

But they’re going to make it to the altar if it kills them . . . and at this rate, it just might.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Bad Behavior Series

It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.

It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.

They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.

Check out Bad Behavior!

About Cari Z.

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Romantic Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!