Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Published November 3rd 2016 (first published April 1st 2012)
Original TitleFor the Living
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When the guys decide to spend Christmas together at the ranch, it’s going to be a time for catching up with each couple. Rush and Brian are hosting, Edward and Jack will be there and Mitchell and Sammi are coming in from Houston.
When Brian and Rush take Phillip, a newly outed gay man, under their wings, they discover he’s got a power. But this power is one that makes all of them uncomfortable, along with the young man himself as issues of trust arise.
Phillip finds himself jobless, homeless and alone for the holiday, and he’s run out of options. Just when he’s ready to move on, he finds new friends who are ready to give him a second chance at his dreams. Along with a second chance at love.
This book gave us the chance to see into the relationships of those in the previous books and to also learn about Phillip and Estaban. Phillip has just been surviving for as long as he can remember, being used by his mom for his powers and then on his own after he ran away and just as he is settling in somewhere it starts fall apart around him. Luckily for him he had met Brian and their motley crew quickly adopt him into the fold.
I loved seeing the flourishing relationships of those from the previous books. Sammi is really started to grow up more though he still needs to be taken care of but that is what Mitchell longs to do. Edward still likes to throw Jack for a loop but he has started to take more in stride. Brian and Rush have continued to be strong partners even as Rush worries.
Phillip is delighted when Rush given him the chance to learn and try to be a cowboy. I could feel his desperation and hopelessness when he was sure that he would have to start out somewhere new. We didn’t really see all that much of Estaban, more from Phillips side, which made it a little harder to connect with him. I didn’t like how he made such quick judgements though and was glad to see Sammi put him in his place a bit.
The cover art by Posh Gosh is a wonderful picture and continues the pattern for the series.
ebook, 209 pages
Publication: December 19, 2017 by Pride Publishing
Edition Language: English
Series: Common Powers #4
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
This is a beautiful love story—a slow burn, awakening of sexuality for Ryan, who has only ever loved one person previously, his former wife Danielle. Now, in the midst of an unexpected attraction to Caleb White, a man who returned to the small town of Last Chance after having been both in prison and a porn star, he’s shocked when he learns that he’s demisexual. No wonder he’s never really felt a sexual urge with any of the other women who have come on to him in the past. And no wonder his feelings for Caleb include a sexual attraction. After he avidly devours every definition of demisexual from the Internet, he feels changed—like it’s okay to inhabit his body and mind. He’s not an oddity after all.
Ryan works as a mechanic for Shane, from Depth of Field (Last Chance #1), and meets Caleb at an all-night diner one sleepless night. Caleb has returned to the town he left when he was sixteen and his family packed up and moved him away quickly after he and Shane were discovered kissing. Later, in his late teens and early twenties he got into trouble and ended up serving a prison term. By the time he got out, he felt Shane wouldn’t understand, so he never contacted him. And then while spending years working in the porn industry, he wasn’t willing to simply call Shane to renew what might have only been a passing teenage crush for the man.
But Caleb never forgot him, and he returned to Last Chance where he was welcomed with open arms by Shane and his new boyfriend, Van, another young man they went to school with. Caleb bought a house but hasn’t secured a job yet. Over coffee at the diner late one night, Ryan discloses that he needs to find a new apartment, so Caleb offers him a roommate situation. Though reluctant to take it, Ryan eventually agrees.
So the setting is there for two men to become friends, and then become attracted, and then act on that attraction, but this story is, as I said, a slow burn and it was beautifully done. Ryan had always wondered why he never felt the sexual appeal of anyone other than his former wife. And then he felt awkward when he found himself drawn to Caleb, but after he learned what it meant to be demisexual, he began to accept himself, and with Caleb’s help, the two started the slow exploration of their mutual attraction.
The love story is, of course, primarily between these two men. But it’s also the story of a young man who lost his wife after their baby died and she pushed him away. There’s grieving and healing and the love of two people who were friends as well as spouses. Now, Danielle is back in his life when Ryan has to rush to his father’s hospital bedside and it’s evident that they still love each other—though as friends now. And Ryan’s father? A man who loves his child but has never expressed it properly. The two have a chance to make amends and verbalize the love they have for one another. So, as I said, there’s love in this story—multiple facets of love in the same way we humans have so many facets to our personalities.
I really enjoyed the way the author allowed Ryan to fall in love with Caleb slowly. And Caleb was a dream man—one who had matured through the School of Hard Knocks and was both kind and understanding. He was also sexy as hell and totally devoted to Ryan, and Caleb knew he had all the time in the world to wait for this man. It’s very difficult to put the emotions of this story into words. Suffice it to say that it’s much more than a GFY or a bi-curious story, and yet it hits on some of the notes from those sorts of stories, which I happen to enjoy.
Those who enjoyed Crossroads should definitely enjoy this one and if that one was a bit too far out of the realm of believability with two formerly straight men being attracted to one another, this one should hit the spot as an out-and-proud gay man helps a previously thought-to-be-straight man navigate the waters of man-on-man loving. That love and the love Ryan holds for his family make this a must read for 2018. Highly recommended.
COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs
COVER IMAGE: Stone Creek City
Cover art is a photo depicting two apparently naked men, one embracing the other from behind. It’s the perfect depiction of the MCs in this story, with Caleb simply holding Ryan close.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published January 28th 2018 by Riley Hart
Original TitleColor Me In
SeriesLast Chance #2
For the last year, Jay Warren has struggled to find the nerve to tell his wife he’s gay. Every time he gets the chance, though, he freezes up. He’s ashamed of hiding it all this time, he doesn’t want to hurt her, and the guilt has been almost unbearable.
When his wife dies suddenly, Jay’s conscience threatens to eat him alive.
Funeral director Scott Lawson deals with the bereaved every day, and he’s all too familiar with the inside of the closet. He offers Jay some much-needed compassion and understanding, and from that connection comes a friendship that quickly – perhaps too quickly – turns into something more.
But are grief, guilt, and loneliness the only things tying them together? Or, will Scott get fed up with being used as an emotional crutch before Jay realizes what he has?
January 29 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Mirrigold: Mutterings and Musings, Making It Happen
January 30 – Gay Media Reviews, Lelyana’s Book Blog, Booklove
January 31 – Diverse Reader, Mainely Stories, MM Good Book Reviews
February 1 – BFD Book Blog, My Book Filled Life, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Maari Loves Her Indies
February 2 – Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Bayou Book Junkie, Xtreme Delusions, The Blogger Girls, A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog, Drops Of Ink, BooksLaidBareBoys
Tonight, I’m going to tell her.
Yeah right. Just like I was going to tell her every night for the past several months. Probably creeping up on a year at this point. A year of long evenings of pacing back and forth across the living room or the kitchen, gesturing with my drink and talking to myself as I rehearsed the words that I had, to date, never been able to say in her presence. A year of psyching myself up and telling myself tonight was the night, only to lose my nerve the second she came through the front door.
Pacing back and forth across the living room, I sipped the double Seagram’s in my sweaty hand.
I can do this. I can do this. God, I have to do this.
It didn’t help that she was late. Sure, it was more time for me to drink a little liquid courage and convince myself I could do this, but it was also more time for those ever-present doubts to get up on their respective soapboxes and tell me why I shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t.
“Do you really want to hurt her like that?”
“After this long, you’re an asshole for telling her now.”
“You’re a jerk, you know that?”
I stopped pacing and rubbed my eyes with my thumb and forefinger.
Come on, Jay. She deserves the truth.
She deserved the truth a long time ago. And every time I passed up an opportunity to tell her, the guilt just burned deeper. One more day of leading her on. One more day of pretending the problems plaguing our marriage could be resolved with just a little more time and patience.
I cursed under my breath, then took another long drink. I put the glass on a coaster on the coffee table—Misty hated rings on the table—and kept pacing along that path I’d worn into the carpet in front of the fireplace.
I glanced at my watch. It was well after nine, and she was always home by eight-thirty.
Maybe her class had run late. Her professor’s lectures were always precisely two hours long, so if class started late, it ended late. There’d been a massive car accident on the freeway earlier this evening—a multiple fatality, from what the traffic reporter said—so maybe that had held things up. But an hour or more late? Even that prof wouldn’t hold his class that long.
Her study group wasn’t meeting tonight, was it? They always got together after class and sometimes didn’t finish up until ten or eleven. I picked up my drink again and closed my eyes as I held the ice-cold glass to my forehead, wracking my brain as I tried to remember if they were meeting on Wednesdays or Thursdays this quarter. She’d probably told me earlier. Might have even e-mailed me at work to remind me. I was just too far into this bottle and a night of undoubtedly futile self pep talks to remember.
Better check with her, then, since I wasn’t going to find the answer in my own nervous, slightly intoxicated mind, so I speed-dialed her cell. It rang several times, then kicked over to voice mail.
“Hey, this is Misty. I’m probably at work, in class, or just plain not answering, so leave a message and I’ll call you back.”
I cleared my throat. “Hey, it’s me. I can’t remember if you’ve got study group tonight or not, so I wasn’t sure when you’d be home, but give me a call when you’re on your way. Talk to you soon. Love you.”
I winced at the last two words. Sighing, I hung up the phone and set it beside the coaster on the coffee table. It wasn’t a lie. I did love her. I would love her until the day I died, and never questioned that for a second.
But was I in love with her?
No. No, I wasn’t.
And the longer I dragged this out, the more she’d hate me when she finally learned the truth that I had owed her for a long, long time.
I brought the glass up to my lips, but hesitated. I’d had enough for one night. No sense being legitimately drunk when she got home. For one thing, we’d end up fighting. Misty didn’t mind me drinking, but the second the alcohol showed itself in my speech or gait, she got pissed. I couldn’t even count the number of times a fight about my drinking had been the convenient excuse not to discuss the reason I’d been drinking in the first place.
Not tonight. No.
Come on, Jay. You can do this.
I also needed a clear head. Well, as close to a clear head as I could get. If I stopped drinking now, I might even be completely sober by the time she came home from study group.
I stood, leaving my glass on the coaster beside my phone, and resumed pacing between the coffee table and fireplace.
“Listen, Misty,” I said to the empty room. “I’m not quite sure how to say this, and I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner.” I tried not to choke on the words. “But, honey, I’m gay.”
A million images of my wife flickered through my mind, each reacting a different way. One cussing me out. One collapsing into tears. One getting herself a very, very strong drink.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked in my mind. Sometimes she screamed it. Sometimes she asked through her tears. Sometimes she just asked matter-of-factly, “Jay, why? Why didn’t you tell me?”
And why didn’t you tell her, Jay?
Scared. Ashamed. Uncertain. Embarrassed. In denial. Didn’t want to hurt her. Didn’t want to lose her.
Same answers, different night. And when she came home, I’d choke just like I always did. God, how long was this going to go on?
The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to get.
I sank onto the sofa and rested my elbows on my knees. Rubbing the back of my neck, I sighed, wondering how long I could resist the siren’s call of that mostly empty glass on the table. My willpower was melting faster than the neglected ice cubes. I wanted to say to hell with it and chalk up tonight as another failed attempt to work up the courage to tell her, and I wanted to celebrate that failure with this glass and at least two or three more afterward. So what if we fought? Maybe if we did enough fighting, we could divorce over that instead of this.
My shoulders slumped, and I pressed my fingers into my temples. Who was I kidding? I didn’t want to hurt her. I had to, I knew that, but not by picking fights and giving us a reason to scream at each other until we could tick the “irreconcilable differences” box and move on. She deserved better than that.
She deserves better than me.
Fuck it. I picked up the glass and threw it back, swallowing the whisky in one go, barely tasting how much the melted ice had watered it down. The remaining ice clinked halfheartedly as I put the glass back on the table.
The doorbell rang.
I shot the front door a suspicious glance, then looked at my watch. Who the hell showed up at
Jesus, how the hell was it already nine fifty-seven at night?
Something tightened in my gut. I glanced at my cell phone, which remained still and silent on the coffee table beside my glass. Heart pounding, I started toward the door, and with every step, that something tightened. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. The deadbolt had never clicked quite as loudly as it did when I turned it.
I opened the door, and when I saw the pair of somber-faced cops on the porch with their hats in their hands, I knew.
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…
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Eli Lang today on tour for Scratch Track. Welcome, Eli!
Hello, I’m Eli Lang. Welcome to the blog tour for my contemporary m/m romance with rock stars, Scratch Track. Join in on the discussion in the comments and have fun! Thanks for stopping by!
About Scratch Track
Being a roadie isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream job, but it’s all Quinn wants. He loves touring, loves getting to hear amazing music every night and, more than anything, loves being someone the band members of Escaping Indigo can lean on.
When Quinn joins the band in the recording studio, it’s supposed to be fun, but it only seems to remind him of doubts he thought he’d left behind—doubts about his brother’s death, his place with the band, and his ability to care for and support his friends. So when his ex, Nicky, tumbles back into his life, Quinn’s completely unprepared.
The failure of his past romance with Nicky is yet another strike against Quinn’s confidence. But Nicky’s unassuming kindness makes it hard for Quinn to resist a new entanglement. Quinn isn’t sure they won’t make the same mistakes again, but he wants a second chance, even if that means facing the past, learning to let his friends support him, and proving to Nicky that, this time, he’ll be someone Nicky can rely on.
About the Escaping Indigo Series
Escaping Indigo is a busy band, whether they’re playing edgy rock music in a darkened theater, touring the country together, or meeting up with other musicians at a summer festival. And they’re always writing new melodies, new riffs, and new lyrics to tell their stories.
Micah, a drummer, is hoping to leave the memories of his old band behind by going on tour with Escaping Indigo as a stagehand. But there he meets Bellamy, the lead singer, and he finds himself tangled in a romance that makes him face everything he’s lost.
Ava, drummer for Escaping Indigo, is hoping that time away from the band will give her a chance to sort through her complicated feelings for her best friend, who’s in love with someone else. But a chance meeting with a beautiful woman leads to an unexpected romance that makes Ava rethink her plans for her future.
From unrequited love to finding your way, old friendships to lost dreams, surprising secrets to unexpected encounters, Escaping Indigo has a song to suit.
About Eli Lang
Eli Lang is a writer and drummer. She has played in rock bands, worked on horse farms, and has had jobs in libraries, where she spent most of her time reading every book she could get her hands on. She can fold a nearly perfect paper crane and knows how to tune a snare drum. She still buys stuffed animals because she feels bad if they’re left alone in the store, believes cinnamon buns should always be eaten warm, can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the tardigrade, and has a book collection that’s reaching frightening proportions. She lives in Arizona with far too many pets.
Connect with Eli:
● Website: www.leftoversushi.com
● Blog: www.leftoversushi.com/blog/
● Facebook: facebook.com/EliLangAuthor
● Twitter: @eli__lang
● Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eli_lang
COLOR ME IN
LAST CHANCE, BOOK 2
RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 30, 2018
COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs
COVER IMAGE: Stone Creek City
Caleb White has been a lot of places and made a lot of decisions he isn’t proud of. He’s ready to settle down and figure out who he really is. Where better to do that than Last Chance, the home he was ripped away from at sixteen? A fresh start is in order, but he has no idea how the hell to do that when he’s not even sure what he wants in the first place.
Ryan Daily is a pro at hiding his insecurities. He’s never fit in and has spent most of his life knowing there’s something missing. Just when he thought he’d found it, his whole world fell apart and he lost everything.
Then comes a sleepless night in a twenty-four-hour café, where Caleb and Ryan forge a connection full of laughs, junk food, and whispered secrets. In the middle of a budding friendship, they see the blossoming of desire neither of them expected. Ryan has kept his heart protected after having it shattered, and Caleb—no stranger to attraction—finds what he has with Ryan is on a whole new level from anything he’s experienced before. In a world of black and white, they bring each other color.
But life is never simple. When the past comes knocking, Ryan and Caleb will have to reach through the darkness to find the light they see in each other or risk slipping into the shadows for good.
At eleven forty-five, he made his way downstairs to see that Ryan was already there waiting for him. They were supposed to be at Shane’s around noon. “We taking my car? I’m not sure I can be seen in yours. I have a reputation to uphold.” Caleb watched, waiting for Ryan to react to his ribbing.
He did, looking up at Caleb through a fan of his dark lashes as Caleb stood on the stairs. Jesus, he was sexy as hell. His hair was messy, which Caleb fucking loved. He wore jeans—not the ones Caleb said he liked—and a button-up black shirt with long sleeves.
He looked so damn innocent, unsure, as he gave Caleb a playful grin and rolled his eyes. “Not flashy enough for ya, huh? The car doesn’t make the man, Salt Fiend.”
The silly nickname sat warm in his chest. “Oh, fuck you.” Caleb reached the bottom step. “I know what kind of man I am, thank you very much. Grab your keys. You can drive. I didn’t want to anyway. Might even take a short nap on the way home—my belly will be so full and all.”
“Well, shit.” Ryan followed behind him. “I didn’t think this through. Do I get a take-back?”
“Nope.” Caleb grabbed his jacket from the chair, then reached for Ryan’s, handing it over.
“Thanks.” His eyes darted away, looking almost bashful. “We need a coatrack.”
They’d managed to break through the first layer of tension; Caleb could feel it. Unfortunately, the bastard seemed fucking thick, and he thought they still had a way to go. “We do.”
Ryan felt his pockets, Caleb assumed, for his keys. His guess was confirmed when he pulled them out and said, “We should be on our way.”
They made it almost to the door before his stupid fucking mouth got in the way. “You look good, by the way.”
Ryan stumbled. Caleb reached out and wrapped his hand around Ryan’s bicep. “No need to get all flustered, Sweet Tooth.”
“I’m not flustered.”
“Not even a little?” Caleb asked.
“Maybe a little.”
He had a feeling that was the case. “I’ll give you space. We’re good, though? You and me? I didn’t fuck up?”
“No.” Ryan reached out then and fixed Caleb’s hood, which had accidentally gotten tucked into the back of his jacket. “You didn’t fuck up. We’re good.”
Caleb nodded. That was exactly what he needed to hear.
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.
She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.
Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.