A Stella Review: If Ever I Cease to Love You by Shawn Bailey

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RATING 2 out of 5 stars

Winston James falls instantly in love with bartender Jacobi Griffin one night when he is in the French Quarter club entertaining some clients. To get to know Jacobi he asks Jacobi’s boss to recommend a good bartender for Winston’s upcoming party. Of course the man recommends Jacobi after giving Winston the four-one-one on him. Winston has never been one to beat around the bush. Not only does he ask Jacobi to work for his party but also tells him to bring an overnight bag because the two of them would be spending the night together.

Bartender Jacobi Griffin didn’t fall for cheesy come-ons or sleep around. Although the city of New Orleans is teeming with tourists for the Mardi Gras season Winton and Jacobi find the time to spend together getting to know each other by blocking out everything around them and falling in love.

I’m a huge fan of insta-love stories and reading the blurb, If I Ever Cease To Love You sounded really good, that’s why I jumped at the chance of reading it and I was really curious about it.

From the beginning I understood this review would’t be a positive one, at the end I settled on 2 stars (and not a lower rating) because I found the writing good and the characters well defined, two basic elements I need in my reads.

I repeat, I love insta-love/lust plots, but they have to be supported by a reality and a credibility that were so missing here. I read romance because I want to dream about love, I want to believe that love stories can happen to everyone in RL. I want to connect with a character and I can’t do all these things if the plot is so unbelievable it makes the reading  truly a pain.

This was the first book by Shawn Bailey, although there’s a bad review, I won’t give up on her and will surely read more of her works in the future.

The cover art is lovely, clean and fitting. I like it.

SALE LINKS: Smashwords | MLR Books | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 67 pages

Published February 8th 2018 by MLR Press

ASIN B079Q3XQWG

Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Finding Sanctuary (The Hampton Road Club #6) by Morticia Knight

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Francesco might not know a thing about being a submissive, but for Master Theo—he’d be willing to learn anything.

Living on the streets of 1920s Los Angeles and pleasuring men in dark alleys for his survival is not how Francesco had thought his life would turn out. But he’s filled with hope that someday—if he learns how to be a respectable fellow—he can make a home for himself and maybe even find a man he really cares for who also cares for him. In the meantime, he hustles to get by and looks for the good where he can find it.

Theo’s existence is safe and predictable. He indulges in his perverse nature at his friend Saul’s sadomasochism club on Hampton Road and negotiates contracts for the Hollywood players and studios. When an enticing little grifter crosses his path one day, the encounter unnerves him. Not because he gets conned, but because the refreshingly open and unaffected young man holds a mirror up to Theo’s own dreary existence. Theo might have plenty of material wealth, but his wealth of spirit can’t compare to the delightful Francesco’s.

Theo rescues Francesco from a dire situation and brings him home. If nothing else, he can at least find the desperate young man some decent employment. Instead, they both find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. But until Theo introduces Francesco to what being a submissive means, he doesn’t dare give his heart away. Francesco has yet to discover the secrets that are hidden behind the walls of the Hampton Road Club.

Publisher’s Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of the Hampton Road Club series. This instalment is a prequel to book one and can be read first.

Review: “Finding Sanctuary” ticked a lot of boxes for me: It’s set during the prohibition, it has BDSM and a homeless character. So I expected great things, which the book couldn’t quite deliver.

First of all, this is the first book of the series I’ve read and it definitely works without the other parts, as this is some sort of prequel to book one. So you can definitely start your journey with “Finding Sanctuary”.

My biggest issue with this book was Francesco. He was just way too sweet and innocent. He’s been living on the streets for several years and has been through a lot even before then. It just seemed extremely unrealistic for him to be so very nice after all that’s happened to him. He was extremely trusting and naive and it got a bit annoying after a while. I didn’t particularly like him.

Other than that, the story was nice. There was no huge conflict and the few troubles that did pop up got resolved without much fanfare. I’d hoped for a more historical feeling to the overall setting, but I didn’t get much of that. The love story wasn’t very spectacular either. It was pretty much love at first sight and a relatively smooth road from then on.

Overall, “Finding Sanctuary” was just too fluffy and cute for me. There wasn’t much depth to the whole plot and I didn’t particularly like Francesco. It just wasn’t what I expected and felt kind of toothless. I’ve had similar issues with other books by the author, so I guess we just don’t click. Her books aren’t bad by any means, they’re just not for me.

If you’re looking for a sweet, light read, then you’ll probably enjoy this book. The BDSM elements weren’t too intense, so you don’t need to worry about that either.

The cover by Posh Gosh looks nice, though the naked cover model definitely doesn’t fit the description of Francesco. He’s way too muscular for that.

Buy Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 135 pages

Published October 10th 2017 by Pride Publishing

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Cowboy in the Crosshairs (Turquoise, New Mexico #1) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

A Turquoise, New Mexico, Story

Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.

Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.

When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.

The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.

But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?

Cowboy in the Crosshairs is the start of a new series,Turquoise, New Mexico, by BA Tortuga.  That’s something I always look forward to.  I love me some Tortuga  cowboys and a whole new series is something to celebrate.  Cowboy in the Crosshairs is a lovers reunited story that I really enjoyed as the author’s telltale charm rolled off the characters, location, humor, and relationships I found within the storylines.

TJ, small-town sheriff, divorced with kids, has a hot and heavy history with Wacey Bene the rodeo cowboy, home nursing his latest injury.  Wacy, one of the many Benes from the local rodeo family who is legend, has been having a series of “troubles” that just might be something more.  Tortuga weaves the mystery behind Wacy’s injuries into the men’s rediscovering their passion for one another.

The story comes chock full of kids, a wonderful ex wife, Wacy’s rodeo family, a true sense of small town dynamics that captures the flavor of the people and sense of community of Turquoise, New Mexico, and of course, the romance.  What I did think suffered a bit was the villainy here.  The who behind it all felt a bit “slim” in that I didn’t get a real “feel” for him and his actions.  I think he needed to be a bit more of the story than he was.  However, as Cowboy in the Crosshairs is the first in the series, I think that BA Tortuga was laying the groundwork for the series, letting us “walk” through the town, and see how it works before bringing the next story on.

She accomplished that because Turquoise feels real to me.  Wouldn’t be a bad place to live at all.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Cover art: Bree Archer does a lovely job with the cover. Bright and inviting.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 232 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640800366
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Turquoise, New Mexico #1

A Caryn Release Day Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wow.  Just Wow.  This book is everything I love to read in a coming of age story, and I guess the only thing that surprised me is that it was not marketed as YA.  I would absolutely recommend this book to the YA crowd as well as to adults

Our protagonists are Theo and Chris, two boys who are entering their junior year in high school, who have been best friends and next door neighbors for years.  The story is told primarily from Theo’s point of view.  He’s suspected that he is gay for a few years, and thought maybe he was falling in love with Chris, but when Chris returns from his summer long visit with his Dad in California, it hits Theo like a ton of bricks.  Yes, he is definitely gay, and yes, he is definitely in love with Chris, and he has absolutely no idea what to do with that.

The characterization is phenomenal in this book.  Theo is a  skater boy, a geek, a good student, and a good son to his mother.  He’s just a great kid, a little messed up, and a little thrown by all the events that befall him as he comes to terms with who he is, but he maintains a surprisingly calm and mature attitude about everything.  Chris is almost too good to be true – one of those popular kids who is nevertheless a genuine friend, the type of boy that everyone wants to be;  as Theo says “people gravitate to Chris like sugar ants on a soda can”.  And as the story unfolds, he shows his uncertainties, his mistakes, and Theo is able to appreciate him as still the true-blue and staunch friend, even as he steps down from the pedestal Theo put him on for all those years.  There were so many moments when I thought these two boys would separate, let circumstances or bad choices come between them, but it never happens.  And I think that loyalty they have for each other is my favorite aspect of the book.

There are amazing secondary characters as well – Theo’s twin sister Tabitha, who is obsessed with being popular, with social media, but is nevertheless protective and supportive of Theo.  Theo’s father, who is on his third family and focussed only on how Theo can make him look good.  Theo’s demented great-uncle, who is difficult and disrupting and calls everyone “cocksucker”, but who has a secret past that makes a lot of things clear to Theo when he discovers it.  David, the new kid in school, gay and experienced and kicked out of his parent’s house, who introduces Theo to gay sex.

The process of coming out is certainly changing as our society changes, easier in some ways, harder in others.  Social media is a great platform for anonymous bullying, and the incident that affects Theo and those around him was frighteningly believable.  The way Theo and Chris handle it just showed the depth of their maturity, and their devotion to each other as friends.

The writing was engaging, funny, the dialogue realistic, and the plot unfolded naturally and easily.  This is definitely a book I will go back and read again!

Cover art by AngstyG is absolutely beautiful, the top portion setting the scene, and the bottom and really capturing the tender friendship between Theo and Chris

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleWhen Everything Is Blue
ISBN139781640801448
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blog Tour for The Time of My Life by Nora Phoenix (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Time of My Life Tour Banner 

THE TIME OF MY LIFE

NORA PHOENIX

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.08.18

The-Time-Of-My-Life-Cover  

COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

BUY LINK: https://mybook.to/time-life 

BLURB

Denver is determined to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a singer. That’s why entering in The Right Note TV contest is the biggest opportunity he’ll ever get. After everything he’s been through with the boyfriend (now ex) from hell, he will not risk losing himself ever again, especially over a guy.

Judah has almost hit rock bottom. His dream to make it as a singer and musician is all but dead. Added to that, he’s broke and he’s about to outwear his welcome with his friends. Taking part in The Right Note is his last chance, but he cannot afford to show who he really is at the risk of permanently alienating his conservative family.

Denver doesn’t want to be drawn to Judah, ‘cause the guy spells trouble in every way. But the heart wants what it wants, and Denver seems unable to say no, even when Judah keeps switching from hot to cold on him.

When Judah meets Denver, he knows he’s in deep, deep trouble. He fights the attraction with everything he’s got, but Denver draws him in like the sun. Being with him comes at a price, however, and it’s not just jeopardizing winning the contest. When Denver’s ex stirs up trouble, Judah has to make a decision. Is Denver worth putting everything on the line for?

The Time of My Life is a steamy stand-alone MM romance with a sweet HEA. Please note trigger warnings for domestic abuse and rape. 97k words.

The Time of My Life Teaser 2

 

EXCERPT

“Are you about done pretending to ignore me?” Judah asked.

Busted. Denver looked up, caught Judah smirking at him. “I was trying to be polite,” he said in a weak attempt to defend himself.

“The polite thing would be to offer me some underwear, since I didn’t have time to bring any.”

“Underwear,” Denver repeated. His brain seemed to have stopped working at the mere thought of Judah being naked under that towel. Of Judah wearing Denver’s tight boxers, which would be even tighter on him since he was bigger.

“Yes, underwear,” Judah said, that smirk broadening into an irresistible grin. “You know, those boxer or brief type of fabric men tend to wear under their pants. Unless you want me to go commando?”

Naked. Naked under that towel. Naked wearing only sweat pants. It was hard to think when images were assaulting his mind. Very visual images. Denver swallowed.

“Think you could get to it anytime soon?”

Denver finally managed to get up from the bed and walked to the closet as if in a daze. He took the first pair he could find, the same dark blue he was wearing.

He didn’t trust himself to get too close to Judah, wasn’t sure if he could keep himself from reaching out and touching. Touching that chest dusted with dark hairs, or the happy trail leading to… Yeah, he needed to stay away. He threw the boxers to Judah, who caught them with his left hand.

“I’m gonna… I’m gonna step out for a second,” Denver mumbled. He didn’t look at Judah as he quickly stepped into the hallway, softly closing the door behind him. Judah’s soft laughter followed him, tickling his belly.

Nora Logo Gold

When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.

Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.

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Website: http://www.noraphoenix.com

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BLOG TOUR Unraveled (A Heathens Ink Spin Off) by K.M. Neuhold (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Unraveled Tour Banner

UNRAVELED

A HEATHENS INK SPIN OFF

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.08.18

 

Unraveled Cover 

 

COVER DESIGN:  K.M. Neuhold

COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto

BUY LINK:  myBook.to/unraveled-KM

 

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Clay:

My mind and body are full of chaos; the only time I can truly feel free is when my hands, arms, and legs are secured. Just because I want to be bound, able to give over my pleasure entirely to another person, doesn’t mean I want to be controlled, humiliated, or made to endure pain. I’m a successful, happy, confident adult man who wants a lover to tie him up. Why is that so scandalous? And why is it so difficult to find? It doesn’t help that I’ve developed a hopeless crush on my straight roommate. Maybe a fulfilling relationship isn’t in the cards for me.

Max:

I’m completely out of control of my life. My ex is trying to take my daughter away from me… again, my dream of owning my own motorcycle repair shop seems out of reach, and somehow, I find myself a thirty-two-year-old man who can’t afford to have a place without a roommate. So, it’s no huge surprise that the idea of being given complete control over someone’s body and pleasure is a major turn-on. I never had any inkling I might be into guys, until my best friend told me he likes to be tied up. Now I’m losing sleep, imagining him bound and begging for me. I can’t figure out if it’s just the kink or if it’s possible I’m falling for him.

Unraveled Teaser 2

Unraveled live banner

EXCERPT

Every dish in the kitchen is piled on the table, while I stand on a chair to scrub the insides of the cabinets.

Maybe I can strip and re-stain the wood; that would look nice. Although, I doubt there’s any stripper or stain in the house, so I’d have to go to the hardware store. I glance at the clock on the stove. There probably aren’t any hardware stores open at three in the morning.

Something soft bounces off the back of my head, pulling me from my thoughts. I glance down to see what hit me, and I frown in confusion. I must be more tired than I thought because I can’t for the life of me figure out what a random sock is doing lying at my feet.

“What the hell?” I mutter, trying to suppress a yawn.

“I figured you must be a house elf on crack, so I was trying to set you free.”

I snort a laugh and glance over my shoulder to see Max standing behind me in nothing but a pair of pajama pants. I force myself not to let my gaze linger on his toned chest or his adorable, sleep rumpled hair.

“Very funny.” I roll my eyes and yawn before turning back to continue my task.

Strong hands grasp my waist and, before I know it, I’m being scooped up into Max’s arms and carried to my bedroom. I’m more excited than I have any right to be when Max lowers me onto my bed without so much as jostling me.

“Sleep,” he says with authority. I roll my eyes at him.

“I can’t sleep; that’s why I was cleaning.”

He sighs and looks down at me with a conflicted expression.

“What would help?”

A release— something to calm my mind for a few minutes.

“Nothing you can help me with,” I toss back with agitation. “What if I climb into bed with you—”

“Keep talking,” I encourage with a salacious grin.

“Dirty mind,” Max accuses with a chuckle. “What I was saying was, why don’t I climb into bed, and we can pull up something boring on your laptop. I bet that’ll help you fall asleep.”

He’s not wrong. It’s the only thing that helps some nights. And, truth be told, it’s more about the feeling of Max’s warmth beside me and the steady rhythm of his breath as he sleeps.

“Thank you.”

“Anytime,” Max assures me before grabbing my laptop off my desk and climbing into bed beside me.

KM Neuhold Logo

I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney Release Day Blog Tour (excerpt)

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Livingston Teaser

LIVINGSTON

TRENTON SECURITY BOOK 1

J.M. DABNEY

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 03.06.18

Livingston-200x300 

Cover Design:   RESSE DANTE

AMAZON

B&N

KOBO 

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He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.

Livingston_BlurbTeaser

Livingston_CruelToBeKind_Teaser

 

EXCERPT

He must have dozed off because the next thing he knew the bounce of the SUV knocked his head against the window. He straightened and rubbed at his eyes, but he didn’t see anything other than trees in the headlights. There wasn’t anything else.

“Where are we?”

Nervousness twisted his stomach as Livingston simply grunted. He wrung his hands on his lap and started to fidget on the seat. Suddenly the trees broke into a clearing, and a small cabin stood in the center. As Livingston pulled up, security lights illuminated the yard. Spotlights shined from trees around the perimeter. The vehicle came to a stop.

The man said nothing to him as Livingston opened the door and got out. He followed the man’s lead and exited. By the time his feet touched the ground, Livingston already had his bag and was headed toward the house.

He practically jogged to catch up. Lights came on inside.

“Go inside. I have to grab the groceries.”

Before he could get a look at the huge man, he was gone again. He left his bag where Livingston had dropped it beside the door. The interior was one big room. A king-sized bed sat angled in the far corner with simple nightstands on either side. A living room area was on the opposite side. The place was masculine, not many personal touches. There wasn’t any clutter to be seen. He wondered if the man was just obsessively neat.

He jumped when the door slammed behind him. Livingston passed him and headed toward the small kitchen area. Black cotton stretched across broad shoulders and back. He backed up until the door stopped him, he’d seen big men before. Studios had security guys, but he’d never seen a man this…massive. One of Livingston’s thighs was probably as big around as him. This wasn’t a good idea. He wanted to go home.

That’s when the worst mistake of his life happened, Livingston turned toward him, and he gasped. The exposed skin on Livingston’s right side was mottled with discolored scar tissue, and the damage was less severe on his face. Faded somewhat but still noticeable, the worst of them covered his neck and the skin exposed by the short sleeve of the man’s t-shirt. The man’s eyes filled with rage and Livingston’s strong jaw, even covered with a thick beard, he could see it clench in an agitated rhythm. He was caught between horror and pity, the man was…

“Better get used to it now, boy, you’re looking at it for the next four months.”

JM Dabney Logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. She lives with a constant diverse cast of characters in her head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. she lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure she does them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and she makes sure her characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more she wants from telling her stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

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