A MelanieM Review: The Rescuer by Eric Huffbind

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Christopher’s striking green eyes and handsome good looks didn’t buy him happiness, but he learned to survive off of them to maintain his expensive lifestyle. Now, after he has nearly destroyed himself, he’s in the fight for his life…

When Christopher Parker checks himself into the Watermeadow Rehabilitation Center, he was frightened for his future and what was to become of him. Haunted from his past, he knows that he has to take this step in his recovery or face his likely death as the alternative. He never expected to find his social worker, Jason Calhoun, incredibly attractive. Christopher dreams of finding a man to love and who will treat him with decency. Although Jason does fit the bill, he knows that this relationship is strictly professional. Completely out of reach for a failure like himself.

Jason, who is a hopeless romantic, is in the endless pursuit of Prince Charming. Always unlucky in love, but finds solace in the care of his patients. He loves being needed and having patients that depend on him. Jason comes to realize that the guys he dates always need to be rescued, much like his patients. A strategy that he’s learning is a poor choice.

Jason discovers that Christopher has become tangled up with a famed billionaire. As a billionaire, he can afford anything he wants, which seems to include even the ability to buy true love. Suddenly, he fears that everything he has worked so hard for, both romance and career, is being threatened by his new nemesis.

I thought this story was sweet and showed promise but I had a hard time getting into the characters and story.  I think  that while you could understand the character’s  problems and history, the manner in which it was “told” and the way in which his alcoholism and subsequent rehab were handled kept me at an emotional length.

Let me give just a few examples. Christopher Parker has led a charmed existence excerpt for the fact that he felt he couldn’t come out to his family and there was a traumatic event in his past that drastically changed him…inwardly at least.  It affected his relations with his family and led him down the path of self destruction.  However, in a matter of pages, it gets cleared up over tears and a few hugs!  Years worth of drinking, little to no self worth, blame…gone.  And no, I really didn’t believe that as you can tell.

If you want a reader to get behind a character’s angst driven behavior, build a solid foundation,  Give it gravity and don’t tear it down by making it all better with a Snoopy band aid.  The sort of past Christopher describes, the emotional darkness that leads to blackouts and rehab isn’t solved that quickly.  That certainly takes a more gritty approach than is offered here.

I think that’s what bothers me.  A lack of grittiness and reality.  We keep getting told things.  Christopher yells at people.  But its the bark of a puppy.  Hard to take it seriously.  Same with Jason.  I would have put him on report for his inability to remain objective with his patients and be a professional.  You need a boyfriend?  Don’t go searching for one among your patient lists. Smh!  I can’t tell you how wrong his behavior is and on how many levels.  Power imbalance, trust, vulnerability…etc.  Uh no. True things really heat up after rehab but still it starts there.

There’s more coming about Christopher’s past and that pesky billionaire…not that it made much sense.

More romance after rehab, more attempts for Christopher to get his life straightened out.  I just couldn’t get invested in this couple and just checked out of the story emotionally.  But others will find this just a sweet romance and that’s all that will be required.  For them, this might be the perfect way to spend an afternoon.  I’ll leave it up to you.

 

Cover art: Jennifer Craig,  nice but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Book Details:\A Contemporary Gay Male Romance – Newly Released 2nd Edition

Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published February 16th 2017
ASINB06W57VWD6

An Alisa Review: Unexpected Bliss (Unexpected Changes #5) by Cameron Allie

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Not quite ready to let go of his last relationship, Liam hesitates when Grayson comes striding into his life. Knowing he needs to move on, Liam decides to give a new relationship a try. He’s attracted to Grayson’s hard body and kind but persistent personality. It all seems to be going well until his ex-boyfriend shows up, ruining everything Liam has built with Grayson.

Grayson was looking for something uncomplicated when he first met Liam. Despite Liam’s hesitation, Grayson was eager to make it work. But when the sex leaves Liam cold and distant, Grayson isn’t sure what to think. A relationship with the sexy sales clerk is anything but simple, and when Liam’s ex shows up uncomplicated is left writhing in the dust.

Can they move past the secrets Liam’s been keeping? Can Grayson find a way to unlock Liam’s sexuality, and more importantly, his heart?

This was a good story.  Liam needs to break free of his ex-boyfriend but isn’t sure he will find the strength or resolve to once and for all push him away.  Grayson is drawn to the beautiful man and persistently pursues Liam until they are spending multiple evenings together each week.

Grayson is a bit confused by Liam’s reactions to him, he goes from hot to cold and Grayson can feel the dismissal.  Liam still feels shame for his desires and doesn’t think he can tell Grayson without judgement and just as they are starting to get comfortable his ex tries walking back in.  I could see Liam’s fear when he was scared that he was going to lose Grayson but had trouble connecting with him as it felt he was guarded.  I know most of the conflict in the story focused on Liam but felt we didn’t really get to know Grayson’s background.

The cover art by Angela Waters is really nice and I love the partial visuals of the characters.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 72 pages

Published: February 16, 2018 by eXtasy Books

Edition Language: English

Series: Unexpected Changes #5

A Lila Review: Bad Seed by Gareth Vaughn

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Dane’s a Decrypter down on his luck — after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he’s sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he’s stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much.

But Sean isn’t about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren’t careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed.

Bad Seed is a hard book to get into. It has an interesting premise, diverse characters, and an uncommon plot. Perhaps there were too many items in the mix to follow a coherent story. At some points, it felt like a vignette of events happening to the characters without much else. You must pay attention to be sure you don’t lose track of the days or the events.

I wanted to like Sean and Dane but their prickly exterior kept each other and the readers away. The book has a dual point of view but it changes for a sentence or two before returning to the other MC. I don’t know what they saw in each other in addition to a quick lay. It was easy to feel how uncomfortable Dane and Sean felt with each other, and it didn’t get better with time.

The author did an excellent job with the descriptions, creating secondary characters, and providing the settings and locations. If you have the patience to slow down your reading and don’t get put off by strong-headed characters, this might be your story.

The cover by Written Ink Designs goes perfectly with the story and the main characters’ descriptions.

Sale Links: JMS BooksAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 211 pages
Published: March 3, 2018, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634865890
Edition Language: English

Blog Tour for Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories #6) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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LEANING INTO THE LOOK

LEANING INTO STORIES BOOK 6

LANE HAYES

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 03.23.18

 

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COVER ARTIST: REESE DANTE

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2DSuOKZ

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2G32N9x

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Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

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EXCERPT

“You and I are opposites. You like quiet and order, and I thrive on chaos. I want everything you have and more. The boisterous family with the ancient traditions and food for days. I can’t even watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding without getting jealous. And that’s your real life.”

“Times ten,” I agreed with a half laugh.

Miles chuckled. “Humans are a mystery. Why are we never happy with what we have?”

I lowered my hand to his waist and hooked my fingers through his belt loop. “We don’t see well. We don’t know when to speak and when to listen. We don’t understand the nuances in taste and touch. Take your pick.”

“Mmm. Personally, I think we rely too heavily on looks. Physical appearances and perceived appearances. It takes patience and effort to really see the person under skin and bones. The scars and insecurities. To sift through their baggage while they do the same to you and cross your fingers, hoping like mad that you pass the test. It’s so…hard.”

“I’ve heard if you find the right partner it’s worth it,” I said softly.

Miles sighed and leaned heavily against my side. We fell silent for a moment, letting the squawk of seagulls and the medley of tourists’ voices mix with the occasional bark of a sea lion. We were part of a crowd and yet separate enough to hear our own thoughts.

“Thank you for today,” he said after awhile.

“I didn’t do anything special.”

“Sure you did. You took me on a date.”

“It wasn’t a real date. I can do better,” I assured him with a wry grin.

“No complaints here. Oh, except you made me walk three miles and—”

“Hey, at least I avoided the steeper streets.”

Miles snickered. “You were probably afraid I’d get tired and demand a piggyback ride.”

“Yeah, that did cross my mind,” I agreed sarcastically. “How about if I buy you a coffee for the walk back to the car?”

“Make it a hot chocolate and promise to hold my hand the whole way, and you’ve got yourself a deal,” he countered with a straight face.

My smile was so big it hurt. I enveloped him in a giant bear hug and pulled back to kiss his forehead. “Deal.”

I laced my fingers with his and pulled him through the crowd to the boardwalk. And I didn’t let go. Block after block through familiar city streets and eclectic neighborhoods, I kept him close, marveling at how right it felt just being with him. I noted his shy, pleased smile and cautioned myself not to read too much into the look. I didn’t want to ruin the mood by saying too much. But I knew it was a matter of time before I lost myself to Miles completely.

ABOUT 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 were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Website: https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008562883399

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaneHayes3

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7125719.Lane_Hayes

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/LaneHayesauthor

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Release Day Blitz for His Truth by Riley Hart (excerpt and giveaway)

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HIS TRUTH

RILEY HART

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 03.29.18

 His Truth Cover

COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs

  

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They were only kids when they met for the first time. Leo Mancini was the son of a judge. Roman Cipriani the son of a criminal. So different, yet as they shared stolen kisses and secret moments, they fell in love. One day they would run away together, have the future they deserved, because no one loved Leo like Roman did, or Roman like Leo did. But before they could make their dreams come true, their future was viciously stolen and their lives changed forever.

Roman has spent the last twelve years repressing the trauma in his past, trying to pretend it didn’t exist, until even he believed his own lies.

Leo won’t let himself forget what happened because he doesn’t ever want to be that person again. He won’t become the man his father wanted him to be or the guy who gets hurt when he lets someone in.

But in that split second when their eyes meet again, everything changes. Despite Leo’s anger and Roman’s denial, the connection they shared as teens is still there, too powerful to deny. Now, when their moments don’t have to be stolen, they cling to what they’ve always craved—each other.

Roman and Leo aren’t kids anymore, though—they can’t lock themselves away from the world and pretend nothing exists but each other. A trauma like Roman suffered doesn’t just go away, but now that Roman accepts his truth, can the two of them escape their demons before they destroy Roman and Leo a second time?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39002436-his-truth

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EXCERPT

It was close to ten when Roman’s phone rang. His pulse kicked up, and when he saw Leo’s name on the screen, he fumbled ridiculously picking it up. It was Friday night, so he’d assumed Leo would be at work. He hadn’t expected to hear from him. “Hello?”

“Hey, Tough Guy. What are you doing?” Roman wasn’t sure why, but his pulse sped again at the old nickname. He listened but didn’t hear music or anything in the background. “You didn’t have to work tonight?” he asked.

“I’m on break. I borrowed the keys to someone’s car, so I’m sitting in it. Needed some quiet. How was work?”

“Work was work. I had too many meetings and a few unhappy clients.”

“Sounds like your day was about as good as mine.”

They were quiet for a few moments. Roman wasn’t sure what to say. There was something different about Leo right now, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was. “What did you do today?” he finally asked.

“Nothing important.”

Leo’s words sounded like a lie. No, he knew they were a lie. He’d always been able to tell when Leo was having a bad day or wasn’t being truthful with him. “I don’t believe you.”

There was a soft chuckle on the other end of the line. “I never could lie to you. I went to see my parents. It was a shitty day. I don’t want to talk about it. Where are you?”

Curiosity almost made him refuse to answer Leo’s question, but somehow he knew now wasn’t the time to talk about it. That wasn’t what Leo needed. “Lying in my bed.” At ten on a Friday night. He really needed to get a life. What would Leo do after work tonight? Would he bring someone home with him? The thought made Roman’s gut churn, but it wasn’t as if he had any claim on Leo. They hadn’t discussed anything.

“Have you done what I told you to do?” Leo asked, confusing him.

“What was that?”

“Finger yourself. Get to know your body.”

Roman immediately tensed up and hated himself for it. There was nothing wrong with masturbating. He’d jerked off too many times to count. Most people did, but this was different.

“Do it for me now, Ro,” Leo said, obviously not needing Roman to answer him.

“What? No.”There was a voice in his head telling him it wasn’t a big deal. Phone sex. People did it all the time. He felt like a novice when it came to being sexual. He’d worked hard to please Amy or other women he’d been with, but he wasn’t the kind of man who had phone sex or anything like that.

“Yes. You can do it. I don’t have much time, though. Let’s see…If I can make you come before I get back to work, what do I get?”

Roman didn’t answer. The truth was, he couldn’t imagine putting a finger up his own ass while he was on the phone with Leo.

“The only way to move forward is to let go of the past.”Leo’s words burst through his thoughts. They were true, another truth Roman needed to accept.

“Are you wearing anything?” Leo asked.

“Just my underwear.”

“Take them off for me. You have such a beautiful body. I couldn’t stop looking at it the other night.”

It was clearly a distraction, but…fuck, Roman thought maybe he wanted this too. Wanted to let loose and just do the kinds of things people dating did. He didn’t want to think about things that hurt or things that were hard, and he knew Leo didn’t either.

Roman did his best to turn his brain off, took a deep breath, and pulled his underwear down his legs. He kicked out of them and then pushed the blanket down so he was completely bare in the middle of his bed. “Okay, they’re off,” Roman told him, realizing he really wanted to do this. “How should I lie?”

Riley Hart Logo 2

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.

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Release Day Blitz for Hug It Out by Davidson King (excerpt and giveaway)

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HUG IT OUT

DAVIDSON KING

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 03.29.18

Hug It Out Cover 

 COVER DESIGN: MORNINGSTAR ASHLEY @ Five Star Graphic Designs 

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Riordan Darcy has spent the last fourteen years building a name for himself as a notorious assassin. He travels the world taking the lives of some of the worst humanity has to offer, leaving his signature on every victim.

Riordan becomes unhappy and withdrawn from the world after a job goes horribly wrong and he makes the decision to get out of the life he was forced into, so long ago. When his meddling, older sister gives him a birthday gift that’s impossible to refuse, his plans to leave his life of crime take a backseat when he’s forced to protect the life of a veritable stranger.

When professional hugger and TLC provider, Teddy Harris, is offered a month-long companionship contract, he’s hard pressed to turn it down. Cuddler by day and a video game reviewer by night, Teddy’s need to make people feel loved and cared for is what drives him. When he meets Riordan Darcy, professional challenge and personal temptation collide, making it nearly impossible for him to endure a whole month with the gorgeous, enigmatic man without falling head over heels in love.

When a mole is discovered within Riordan’s organization, relationships are compromised, and people’s lives are in danger. Time isn’t on their side, and they discover answers can’t always be found by hugging it out when someone is hell-bent on eliminating each and every one of them. Can Riordan and Teddy survive long enough to fall in love, or will they die trying?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38531997-hug-it-out

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EXCERPT

“Cupcakes?” Riordan asked. I’d been unable to sleep the night before and found myself in the kitchen at 3:00 A.M. baking.

“Yep. Chocolate vanilla swirl. The frosting is blue because it’s what I had left over after Delly’s birthday cake.” I placed them on the kitchen table and searched for plates.

“I see. But why cupcakes?” He sat at the table and I laughed when he poked at the cupcakes like they were foreign objects.

“It’s a birthday present. Birthdays are best when there’s cake of some sort. I like cupcakes better than cake because they portion my intake.”

Riordan chuckled. “I imagine sugar would have you climbing the walls.”

“I don’t eat a lot of sugar for many reasons, but I always make exceptions for birthdays.” Riordan watched with interest as I plated the cupcakes.

When his was in front of him, he dipped his finger in the frosting and sucked. Sweet mama mia.

“You okay, Teddy? You froze there for a minute. You also didn’t answer my question.”

Question? Oh. “I’m good. Just tired. What’s your question?” Sitting down, I began nibbling my cupcake, desperate for something to occupy my thoughts other than Riordan’s lips, tongue, and sucking.

“I said it’s not my birthday today so whose are we celebrating?” Riordan devoured half the cupcake in one bite.

“Yours. I realized I didn’t know exactly what day your birthday was on, so I thought I’d celebrate it today.”

He nodded as he ate the rest of the cupcake. “You could have just asked me.”

The blue frosting on Riordan’s lips taunted me. I wanted to kiss them clean. I had to stop. “I could have, but where’s the fun in that?”

His smile was mischievous. “So, you don’t want to know?”

I wasn’t sure what he was up to. I had quickly come to realize he could be sneaky at times. “I like mystery. I think it’s…”

“August tenth,” he interrupted.

“God dammit!” I slapped the table in mock frustration. “Now I’ll have to make more cupcakes on your birthday.”

Seeing Riordan laugh made me happy. I could tell he didn’t do it a lot. Or he hadn’t done it in a while.

“You’re off the hook, Teddy. Thank you for the cupcakes.” He gestured toward the door where I knew the box I had brought was sitting. “Are those your consoles?”

“Yeah. Let me take them up to the guest room. It won’t take long to set them up. I had a great idea for after.”

Riordan didn’t look like this was exciting news, but I imagined most of his life was balanced between being paranoid and being cautious. “What sort of idea?”

“A surprise, of course.”

“You and your surprises,” he grumbled, but I didn’t think he minded.

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Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.

When she’s not writing you can find her blogging away on Diverse Reader, her review and promotional site. She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.

If you were to ask her what gave her the courage to finally publish, she’d tell you it was her amazing family and friends. Support is vital in all things and when you’re afraid of your dreams, it will be your cheering section that will lift you up.

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidsonKingAuthor/

Author Group: King’s Court: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DavidsonKingsCourt/

Twitter: @DavidsonKing11

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