A MelanieM Review: Why I Trust You by Colette Davison


Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Martin is the larger than life funny guy, the one who’s quick to soothe other’s pain, whilst hiding his own. He wants nothing more than to find ‘the one’, but his love life consists of a string of break-ups. He’s close to giving up on love, until he meets Ryan online, the artist whose work speaks to his soul. There are just two problems: Ryan already has a boyfriend and he lives in California, which is one hell of a long way from England.

Working with Martin to develop a game is supposed to be purely business; a way for Ryan to earn the money to leave his abusive boyfriend. Except, he finds himself falling for the enigmatic Englishman. Wondering what kind of spark there might be if they were in the same country is one thing, escaping his boyfriend is another.

Wounded by their past relationships, Martin and Ryan have to learn to trust each other in order to have a chance at building a future together.

I am a real fan of this series by Colette Davison so I’m always excited to see a new one released. Why I Trust You is centered around Martin, friend of Noah and Fin from Why I Need You (a favorite story of mine).   Martin is well off, having managed his money carefully and invested wisely in new projects that pay off handsomely.  However, all his romantic interests can see him as is their money ticket to an easy life.  And this inability to find someone to see himself for himself  has made him lonely and wary.

I liked Martin but I did wonder about his love life. Here, there are agencies and people who vet/screen out some of the potential gold diggers he seems to have dated.  Hell, even Match.com might have done a better job.  So a sort a narrative red flag was raised for me there.  Don’t they have that in the UK?

Anyhow, over in the US ,  Ryan is being severely abused by his boyfriend of 8 years.  Little by little, through mental and emotional manipulations by Zane, Ryan has removed himself from his friends and all his support system, turned over his bank accounts and credit cards,  and is now completely isolated and feeling ashamed.  He’s also being beaten.  Please note if this is one of your triggers.  From Ryan’s perspective, he has that victim’s mentality that comes from being controlled for such a long period of time and the feeling that he let it happen. He knows he needs to escape but where to and how. It’s  gut wrenching to read, especially when you think of all the people out there in the same situation.

All this feels so realistic due to Davison’s fine writing and ability to make us emphasize with her characters.  We believe in them and care greatly what happens to them.

An ad to create and illustrate characters for a new mobile action game is the ticket to meeting Martin and Ryan’s path out of his relationship.  I will leave the details of the  journey to the story.

I really enjoyed this novel and the relationship that built up between the characters.  I think the author “did” all the right things here with Ryan and Martin.  Martin realizing that Ryan needed someone other than him to talk to about the effects of years of domestic violence will leave on a person and suggestion he see a psychologist.  I wish it hadn’t dropped there but at least that suggestion was made.  Martin giving Ryan his space.  All the time spent in London…just lovely.  Some of the best parts of the book actually.

I think my reason for not connecting more with this story or giving it higher ratings is the manner in which the whole domestic violence issue was dealt with.  I’m surprised that there was fully applied BWS or battered woman syndrome which pertains equally to men or women and includes PTSD.  If you  are going to make this a major element in your stories, then I feel you should include a  realistic followup.  That often includes long term PTSD which makes sense for those used to being beaten on a daily basis which Ryan was for years.  The effects of that upon body and mind does not dissipate within months.

That doesn’t happen here  other than a mention or two.  It sort of goes away.  Like his abuser.  Especially one in control of a bank account, credit card, and access to your essential data. Again, that does not add up either.  Look up the statistics.  And I hate loose ends.  So unless the author is planning a sequel to Martin and Ryan’s story, this felt like a huge narrative hole that bumped along all the way to the end.

So while I liked Martin and Ryan and enjoyed their romance, some of the elements included needed a little more expansion and resolution for me to place it up with the other two stories which I totally adored.

Cover art is nice but again not a fan.  Both Martin and Ryan wanted to see each other on equal standing together finally. .  It would have been nice to see that reflected on the cover.Instead you have Martin over top Ryan.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK



Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 363 pages
Published April 23rd 2018 by Smudged Ink Press
Edition Language English


Why I Left You 

Why I Need You

Why I Trust You

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: High Test by Elizabeth Noble and Colin Darcy (Narrator)


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

At times elementary, this story is loaded with trope—though in a way that’s to be expected with these Dreamspun Desires stories. Some of the writing was too unpolished and not what I expected. It’s possible though, that some of my impression of the simplistic prose is from the narrator, who told the story in a somewhat singsong voice, although thankfully, he used a different voice for each MC. The non-dialogue portions of the book sounded as if a high school kid were standing in front of the class trying to read in a way sure to please the teacher.

I liked the overall plot concept and I especially love May-December romances, though this one was a bit much—one MC was twice as old as the other. Neal Kirchner, wealthy and well-known architect meets Hayden Owens at the Owens Coffee Company shop one morning when he stops by to try a cup of their brew. He strikes up a conversation with the cute barista and from then on, coffee becomes a part of his morning, and sometimes evening, routine—especially when Hayden is working the closing shift.

He and Hayden go out together, though Hayden never lets him see his apartment and soon becomes convinced that Neal thinks his family owns the Owens coffee shops. Hayden is finishing graduate school, majoring in auto design and engineering, and he and Neal find they have a lot in common due to their technical interests. Though he tries several times to tell Neal that he’s not wealthy and is in fact a poor, struggling student, something, or someone, always interferes just when he’s ready to spill the beans.

Naturally, this causes an issue when the truth comes out, but it’s not what Hayden thinks it’s going to be and it was entertaining and interesting, even though it was a tried-and-true romance trope. I did want to smack Hayden upside the head a few times and I wanted to fast forward my audiobook each time he fell into his self-inflicted angst, but on the whole, I liked the story and the characters, and I think much of my negatives simply came from the narrator’s performance.

If you are interested in May-December romance and like the old romance tropes many of us grew up with, this one should fill the slot.

Cover art by Bree Archer depicts an older dark-skinned man in a business suit against the backdrop of a coffee shop—the perfect depiction of Neal Kirchner, the older architect who falls for the young barista.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio. Length 5:12
Published March 22nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Alaska (Sawyer’s Ferry #1) by Cate Ashwood


RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Nobody says no to a Prescott.

Not even one of their own.

Living up to expectations had never been easy, but when I went after something, I got it. Success. Money. Victory. I was standing on the doorstep to having it all. There was only one thing standing in my way.

Power and prosperity are overrated. Especially when they come at a price. When enough became enough, I walked away. Nothing had ever tempted me to look back, until one day the past showed up in my backyard.

I’m not so sure I can walk away a second time.

Finally a book that truly satisfied me and left my heart full. I’m so happy Cate Ashwood wrote Alaska, she did an amazing work and missed nothing. A perfectly written book, with well defined characters, a good plot, clear and real chemistry and love between the MCs, hot sex scenes, a dreamy ending. And so much more. What else could I request?

Gage and Holden conquered my heart from the beginning, I was caught into their minds and was so curious to know how they were going to get their HEA, I couldn’t put my Kindle down. Maybe for the first time I’m glad the blurb told me pretty much nothing, that’s why I’m not going to reveal nothing in this review. Just know it will be almost impossible to be disappointed by the story, it’s funny, sweet and sexy, an easy read, with just a tiny bit of drama. I loved Alaska, every words and every characters. I can’t wait for the next book and the next couple to love.

With this first installment in the new Sawyer’s Ferry series, the author gave me everything I want to find in a story. It was a huge success and I can’t stop myself from recommending it to all of you. I think I’m going to reread it right this second.

The cover art by the same author is lovely, I can see Gage in the model even if his face is eyes are cut off.



Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 183 pages

Published April 22nd 2018 by Cate Ashwood


Edition Language English

Ari McKay on Mates and the new release Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay (author guest blog)


Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:     Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ari of Ari McKay here today, back talking about the second story in the Asheville Arcana series, Forged in Fire.  Welcome, Ari.


Hello everyone! I’m Ari, of Ari McKay, and I’m really excited that Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is hosting us for the very first blog post for the upcoming release of Forged in Fire, book two of the Asheville Arcana series from Dreamspinner Press!

If you read Out of the Ashes, book one in the series, you’re already familiar with one of our boys, Whimsy Hickes. Whimsy is a mage specializing in transformation magic, and he has been “friends with benefits” for a few years with Arden Gilmarin and Julian Schaden. But Arden found his mate, Eli Hammond, in Out of the Ashes, and Julian… well, Julian isn’t exactly the romantic sort. For the first time in a while Whimsy finds himself without the comfort and support of a lover, but he’s not really interested in hook ups. Seeing what Arden and Eli found together, he wants to find someone to love.

Enter Harlan Edgewood. Harlan is a “true” werewolf, rather than being a shapeshifter like Eli and the others. Eli was born a human, and he has bitten by a possessed wolf shifter, which turn him into a cursed creature who painfully transforms every full moon, rather than at will like the others. He’s a man who survives on the border of two worlds, the human and the shifter, without really belonging fully to either.

Harlan meets Whimsy, and Harlan feels himself drawn to the mage, his lupine half taking notice of Whimsy in a way that is both overwhelming and frightening. But it’s not until Julian angers Harlan enough to goad him into an unexpected transformation that Harlan learns the truth — his wolf wants Whimsy as its mate.

Being human, Whimsy doesn’t feel the same pull Harlan does, but he is sympathetic to what Harlan is going through. Plus, he does find Harlan attractive, and he wants to use his magic to make Harlan’s transformations easier. But while the two of them are trying to get to know one another, the danger surrounding Asheville grows stronger. The possessed shifters who attacked the Eli’s pack are back, and this time they’ve managed to possess several bear shifters. At the same time, Whimsy and the others begin to suspect that something is Not Quite Right about the Asheville Paranormal Council, most of whom seem pretty unconcerned that demons are popping up with increasing frequency.

Things quickly and frighteningly spiral out of control when Harlan is hit with a compulsion spell that puts him in mortal peril. Now Whimsy must go up against the most powerful mage in the area, in a life or death battle where not only the fate of the city hangs in the balance, but the soul of the man he’s come to love.

Whew! Lots of action and plenty of UST in this one! We hope you’ll give Forged in Fire a chance — you don’t have to have read Out of the Ashes first, though there are a few in-jokes that are funnier if you have. But if you were hoping and waiting for Whimsy to find his man, this is the story for you! ❤



The magic touch.


Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.


Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.


When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.


As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

About the Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

K.C. Burn on her Favorite Firefighter stories and her new release ‘Set Ablaze’ (author guest blog and giveaway)


Set Ablaze by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have KC Burn here today sharing her top 5 firefighter romances and talking about her new release Set Ablaze.  Welcome, KC.



Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m thrilled to be at Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words today to celebrate the release of my newest book, Set Ablaze.

There aren’t many hero types I won’t read about. And I’m pretty equal opportunity about the ones I do love (although blind heroes and nerd/geek heroes are probably my absolute favourites). But firefighters are pretty damned… well… hot! I’m not sure how I’d feel about having a firefighter significant other in real life, what with all the danger and shift work, but to read about ‘em? Yes, please!

Set Ablaze features a firefighter hero – Hayden Hurst, and because of that, I thought I’d share a list of my top 5 firefighter romances. I bet one of the books on my list is on EVERYONE’S list! And I know there are a lot more good ones out there than what I’ve listed.

In no particular order…

  • Hot Head by Damon Suede
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate by R. Cooper
  • Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott
  • By The Numbers by Chris Owen & Tory Temple
  • Fire Balls by Tara Lain

Let’s hear about your favourite firefighters! I could use some reading recommendations!


California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

Set Ablaze is available at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

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Release Blitz for Why I Trust You by Colette Davison (excerpt and giveaway)



Book Title: Why I Trust You

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher:  Smudged Ink Press

Genre/s: Gay contemporary romance

Length: 76,000 words/363 pages

Release Date: April 23, 2018

It’s a standalone story but part of a loosely linked series (Why I Left You and Why I Need You)


Martin is the larger than life funny guy, the one who’s quick to soothe other’s pain, whilst hiding his own. He wants nothing more than to find ‘the one’, but his love life consists of a string of break-ups. He’s close to giving up on love, until he meets Ryan online, the artist whose work speaks to his soul. There are just two problems: Ryan already has a boyfriend and he lives in California, which is one hell of a long way from England.

Working with Martin to develop a game is supposed to be purely business; a way for Ryan to earn the money to leave his abusive boyfriend. Except, he finds himself falling for the enigmatic Englishman. Wondering what kind of spark there might be if they were in the same country is one thing, escaping his boyfriend is another.

Wounded by their past relationships, Martin and Ryan have to learn to trust each other in order to have a chance at building a future together.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK


Excerpt 1

“So, I’ve been meaning to ask, do you surf?”

Ryan blinked at Martin’s question, which had seemingly come out of the blue just as they were wrapping up their latest call.

He adjusted his position; the laundry room floor wasn’t exactly comfortable. “Uh, no, I can’t surf.”

Martin chuckled softly down the phone. “Isn’t that what all you guys do in California? You surf, have bleached-blond hair and golden skin, and say, ‘Totally rad, dude’ a lot.”

Ryan couldn’t stop himself laughing, which actually felt really good, though he did smother the sound with his hand. Not that anyone in the apartment block was likely to be awake at three in the morning, let alone wanting to do laundry.

“You don’t?” Martin’s voice was full of fake shock.

Ryan laughed even harder. He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed a hand against his ribs, taking deep breaths to try to calm himself. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed like that.

“No,” he gasped.

“Really? Because I keep expecting you to say, ‘Cowabunga, dude.’ So, I guess pizza isn’t your favourite food, either?”

“Umm… I think you’re confusing the ‘surfer dude’ stereotype with the Ninja Turtles.” Ryan wiped his eyes. He leaned back against the washing machine he was sat in front of, careful to keep his bruised lower back from making contact with the unforgiving metal. “If that’s what you think I’m like, does that mean you wear a three-piece suit, carry an umbrella and drink tea constantly?”

“Oh, yeah,” Martin said. “That’s an absolutely spot-on description of everyone in Britain. Even the women wear tweed suits all the time.”

Ryan tried to hold the fresh burst of laughter inside him, but his ribs hurt too much to manage it. “And you’re all soccer mad.”

“Football,” Martin corrected. “And we all dunk biscuits in our tea.”

“What? Yuck. Seriously?”

“Yes,” Martin said in a very serious tone. “Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve dunked a chocolate digestive in your tea.”

Ryan grimaced. He wasn’t sure what a chocolate digestive was, but the thought of dunking a biscuit in a hot drink turned his stomach. Surely, it would just make a horrible mess? When he was a kid, his mom had given him milk and cookies, which he’d happily dunked, but cookies were way more solid than biscuits.

“I’ll take your word for it,” he said, not eager to ever try it out.

“You don’t have to. I’ll make you tea and biscuits if you come visit.”

About the Author  

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Ice On Fire (Treble and the Lost Boys #1) by GR Lyons



Cover Design: Designs By Dana

Zac Cinder is on the verge of making his dream come true. His punk rock band, Inferno, might have a shot at an audition for a record deal. Fame and fortune would mean he could finally help his parents. They’d raised eight kids in a loving household while barely scraping by, so Zac is determined to give back in any way he can.

Keeping Inferno together, though, means keeping his biggest secret. His bigoted bandmates would drop him in an instant if they found out Zac was gay.

Then he meets Adrian Frost, and Zac can’t resist the shy man. Adrian gives up everything to be with Zac, but Zac can’t bring himself to do the same. He doesn’t want to lose Adrian, but he can’t give up Inferno, either. Not when he’s so close to realizing his dream.

When one cruel decision rips Adrian from his life, Zac will have to decide if ambition is worth the price of the greatest happiness he’s ever known.

(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)

WARNING: Contains scenes of self-harm that may be disturbing for some readers.


Author Bio

While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.

Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.

Email: grlyons@grlyonsauthor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/grlyonsauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/grlyonsauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/grlyonsauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/doumteksonata/
Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/author/grlyons