A MelanieM Review: Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

What words do I use?  Highly entertaining! Incredibly suspenseful and thrilling!  Full of unforeseeable twists and turns with characters to die for! Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward is all that and more I can’t remember reading anything by this author before but in one story Hayward became a must read author.  In a story so smooth, so compelling that I stayed up until the wee hours, caught up in the gripping tale of Jack Reardon and Ethan Blade.  And then that ending!  Swoon!

The format Hayward chooses to help tell this tale definitely pulls you further into the intrigue and drama.  The story switches effortlessly back and forth  between the first time Jack encounters Ethan Blade in the torture shack to the present. You are caught up  reading, then you are flipping at just the right time in the narrative to emphasize the power of the moment. Brilliant.  You get to see the differing mindsets, the history between the men, the change perhaps in dynamics…I don’t think I’ve ever seen this format work so well or contribute  so much to the overall energy of the narrative.  It’s perfect.

So too are the characters.  I can’t say too much except that you will believe in these men, their flaws as well as their strengths.  They have true chemistry and given their tough conditions and situations, you will believe in that and them over and over again.  I’ll say no more.

Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward has a camel named Sophia, more plots twists than can fill a pool in an oasis,  and a ending I absolutely adored.  It also sent me running to the publisher begging for information about any news about sequels.  Yes, my readers, apparently there’s one in the works. Be still my heart.    So now I’m off to read this story again.  Yes, I loved it that much. You will too.  Put Where Death Meets the Devil on your TBR list and the author LJ Hayward on your must read list as well. You won’t be sorry.  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I like the cover.  It works for the story.  Very jazzy.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 395 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleWhere Death Meets the Devil
ISBN 1626497168 (ISBN13: 9781626497160)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Pretty in Pink (Housemates #6) by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I totally enjoy this Housemates series—each book has had the underlying theme of college-age guys living together under one roof—but each book is totally unique.  In this case, the characters are new to the house so it can easily be read as a standalone. 

Johnny is effeminate—or at least he prefers to dress that way.  His long blond hair and the eyeliner he wears around his beautiful gray eyes are the first things Ryan notices when he spots him at the birthday party for one of his mates.  But Ryan is straight, or at least he had been, but maybe not so much, considering he finds Johnny so attractive.  And he especially loves Johnny’s rear view. 

After a quick encounter back at Johnny’s place, Ryan can’t wait to leave.  Embarrassed by his desire for this man, he’s left in a quandary—a quandary that gets worse when he runs into Johnny again on the street one day.  Yes, he looks away, and yes, he’s ashamed of himself.  But no fear, Jay Northcote brings them back together when Johnny moves into the house with Jez and Mac—the house next door to Ryan’s.  Admitting he’s enjoyed their time together and apologizing for his past snobby behavior, Ryan agrees to being friends with benefits—especially now that they are neighbors. 

But of course, it’s never that easy in a romance novel, and before either man knows it, their encounters are getting more frequent and they are growing closer.  Yet neither one verbalizes their changed feelings, so when Ryan misinterprets a message he sees on Johnny’s phone late one night, their relationship is off.   

None of the stories in this series brings earthshattering emotional drama, and yet each does have its emotional tug of war, angst, misunderstandings, and most of all happy and sexy reunions.  This one was similar, plus it had two of my favorite tropes—the guy who really isn’t straight and the guy who wears pretty underwear—manties.  Love them!  And Jay Northcote did an excellent job in bringing the characters to life.  Plus, for those of us who’ve read the series, we get the bonus of a revisit with the other guys in the house so we can see how far their new relationships have come. 

I very definitely recommend this one to all who like a nice MM romance with a bit of the culture of uni life in Great Britain thrown in. 

~~~

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is a photo of the nude upper body of a young man as he’s lying back in bed with his head thrown back.  Mostly black-and-white with pink tones surrounding the title, it’s okay, but I don’t think it fits the MC in this story and certainly doesn’t indicate any hint of pink, lacy underwear. 

Sales Links:     Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 211 pages
Published February 21st 2018 by Jaybird Press
Original TitlePretty in Pink
ASINB079TS27XS
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHousemates #6

An Alisa Release Day Review: Touch by Remmy Duchene

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

One can’t walk the path of darkness and expect to escape unscathed.

At eighteen, Foster Erickson stepped out of the closet into a world of homelessness, prostitution, and drugs. Years later, he’s pulled it together and is ready to rebuild.

Determined not to let the demons win, Foster starts university with a plan to keep others from making the same mistakes he did. The last thing he expects is Sylvester Roberts.

After years of working with his father, Sylvester decides to step out on his own. University at his age is strange, but for him, failure isn’t an option. After flunking a few tests, Sylvester’s professor assigns him a tutor—Foster Erickson. The moment they meet, Sylvester knows Foster isn’t like other guys.

As the darkness hovers and Sylvester begins falling, he will have to decide if helping Foster fight his demons will be worth it in the end.

This was a story that showed that when you really care and love someone that it will all work out in the end.  Foster hasn’t had many good experiences since he was kicked out of his home at eighteen and is averse to being touched.  Sylvester is finally doing what he wants and he can be very patient in that regard.

While I enjoyed this story and felt for the characters I didn’t feel any real connection to them, this story was more along the lines of being told what happened not shown.  I couldn’t help but think that Foster was able to get over his fear quite quickly, he has been in therapy for this for years and suddenly he finds a guy he wants to sleep with and he can now work it all out, it didn’t connect for me. There were also many time jumps that we were told about what happened or that I felt didn’t line up with the timing for the fall semester at school.

I like the cover art by Kanaxa and the visual of Foster.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 137 pages

Published: March 2, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-267-4

Review Tour and Giveaway– Pretty In Pink (Housemates #6) by Jay Northcote

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Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 58,000 words approx
 
Housemates Series
 
Book #1 – Helping Hand
Book #2 – Like A Lover 
 
Blurb
 

Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.

Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.


Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short storyójust to see if he couldóand found it rather addictive. He hasnít stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

www.jaynorthcote.com
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In the Spotlight: Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Simoné

Read an excerpt/Buy It here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Allmon here today on tour for his latest novel, Apocalypse Alley.  Welcome, Don. 

 

 

Hello, all! I’m Don Allmon and this week I’ll be touring the web to promote my new book, APOCALYPSE ALLEY, the second in the Blue Unicorn series.

 

If you’re looking for fast-paced cyberpunk/fantasy romance – Terminator 2 meets Fury Road with two sexy guys and a dragon – this is your jam.

 

Join in the fun by leaving a comment which enters you to win a Riptide gift card!

 

About Apocalypse Alley

 

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zone, and his friend has gone missing.

 

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

 

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a killer Buick, and rampaging cannibals. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Blue Unicorn

 

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

 

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

 

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

 

Check out the Blue Unicorn universe!

 

About Don Allmon

 

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.

 

Connect with Don:

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Apocalypse Alley, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Hurri Cosmo’s Ghost Wolf – Virtual Book Tour (excerpt and giveaway)

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M/M Romance
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Publisher: Painted Hearts
 
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Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter. I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was about eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.
I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work. I honestly don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver I guess. Metallic. I thought it looked cool in the full moon. “An Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street. But he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly shit either but a guy can’t be too careful.
So romance? Way off the radar.
But then someone started killing wolves. Started leaving lined up broken bodies all in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, does he/she stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me?
I had to see what I could do. Kind of like a super hero. Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this. I can turn invisible.
Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue.

Excerpt 

So that was where I was at the moment. The pack was going to track me down and kill me because I didn’t have a pack and I peed in their territory and I was also pretty sure I brought the smell of their Alpha into my bedroom. Not sure what that would do, but “help” was not one of the verbs that came to mind.

Well, Grandpa, at least I got out of my teens.

The knock on my door startled me not only because of the direction of my thoughts but because it was loud and hard enough to rattle the dishes in my cupboard.

But it wasn’t the pack out to fuck and kill me.

It was the landlord. However, it might just as well have been the damn pack because I didn’t have the money for the rent which was now officially a week late. I had tiptoed to the door and looked out that little peep hole thing but the asshole knew I was there. He banged again and shouted out my name.

“Taland, you fucker! I know you’re eyeballing me right now! You’re late with the damn rent and I’ll have you out on your sorry little white ass if I don’t have it by tomorrow! You fucking see if I don’t!” He wandered on down the hall then, pounding on a few more doors saying pretty much the same thing. I don’t think any one of us came to the door. Luckily, the man would drink himself into a stupor when he got back to his apartment which, of course, was why he had said “tomorrow” rather than later. He wouldn’t be able to even climb the stairs much less find my door after he opened a bottle.

The hell of it was, he would be back tomorrow and my part time job just did not do the trick. I had been able to get into college with a scholarship and some money from a “friend” of my mom’s but that unfortunately did not last long. And now with having to find all the rent money myself, things were more than just tight. I knew I was looking at having to drop out or at the very least, cut way back on the college credits and put in far more hours at work. But I had this delusion I would have been able to at least finish out the school year. Looked like that was not going to happen.

Fuck, I needed to run again. It had only been a handful of hours and it was already driving me nuts.

First thing on my day off, I was going to find somewhere safe to shift and run.

The next day my Strategic Management and Planning class went long and, the only other class I had that day, Business Law, the professor was a half hour late. I had to leave half way through his lecture in order to get to work on time. Then the supervisor, Mitch, dumped all the stand-bys on me and still expected me to answer calls. By time I got home I was already exhausted and the need to run was stronger than ever.

Buses, my main mode of transportation, went just about everywhere. I had studied the schedule along with a map before going to bed and thought I found a fairly good place to try. It was north of the city in a suburb called North Valley which had an expanse of forest that belonged to the state. It didn’t mean there were no wolves but at least there might be an argument the place didn’t belong to anyone in particular. Yeah, a weak argument, I know, but I really just needed to let my small pathetic little wolf out for a while without concern of discovery. The only thing was, this time I wouldn’t go peeing up the place. Plus, the fact I would be taking a bus to and from the woods, there would be no way to track me.

Totally wrong.

Why I thought I was safe was beyond me. All I thought about was getting free again, on all fours, running like the wind. I didn’t see him. I didn’t even smell him, not at first, not until it was too late. I felt the wind rushing at me before the jolt to my flank knocked me off balance. Suddenly I was rolling being tangled up in legs that were not my own. When the world stopped spinning I found myself pinned under a heavy body, a muzzle with sharp teeth drawn tight on my exposed neck. I had crazy visions of the animal weighing me down simply ripping out my throat but precious long seconds ticked by as I felt hot breath wash over my turned muzzle and neither one of us moved. We merely breathed.

I shifted. It wasn’t a conscious action. I think I did it out of self-defense. I would be bigger than the animal, maybe be able to scare it away. But now I was just a naked skinny man underneath a heaving dark gray wolf who was drawing blood from his hold on my neck. Suddenly the teeth were gone. I felt a rough lick and the animal forcing me into the forest floor shifted too.

Well, fuck me silly. Another shifter.

Who would now probably kill me.

About the Author

Hurri Cosmo lives in Minnesota where she holds tight to the idea that there, where it’s cold a good part of the year, she won’t age as fast. Yep, she avoids the truth as much as she avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons she loves writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, she doesn’t mind “real life” and she does try to at least keep it in mind when she writes her stories, but she truly loves creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason she loves reading this genre, too. Give her a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and her computer, whether she is reading or writing, and she will entertain herself for hours. The fact she actually gets paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.
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