A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

 

Sequel to Blood and Ghosts and the final installment in the Blood Trilogy

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.

The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.

In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.

When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.

But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

I always find it so hard to return to a series when it’s been a while since the last story.  In this  case, Blood and Ghosts, was released in 2015, and I’ve read a ton of books since then, including many by this author.  Another factor here?  Shira Anthony’s overall arc for her characters and plot for the trilogy.  Labyrinthine barely covers it.  It involves multiple time times, different eras, alternate universes even for these characters lives, yes time travel that continually changes both the people, the relationships, warping both past, future and present around all involved.  It ended on a cliffhanger of sorts.

Yes, the mind boggled even as the author kept us heavily invested in the outcome for not only the main characters but many of those also in close support.

Now three years later, the last novel is released and I need to remember everything?  Yikes!

Luckily for all, Shira Anthony has us covered.  She included a cast of characters, their relationships to each other as well as a series recap at the beginning of the story.  Neither of which weighs down the story  but acts more like a springboard, providing the narrative energy for us to jump into the action once more.  It’s a quick refresher course that brought everything immediately back to mind.  These are marvelous characters and I didn’t need much to bring them and their situations vividly back to memory.

Having left Adrien waking to Nico/Nicholas in a future that came with a warning from their despicable enemy and a dire choice to be made, I couldn’t wait to see how Anthony now resolved all the time lines and this amazing complicated romance.  I can now say I have never been happier with the finale novel of a trilogy.

Without giving away any spoilers, and they are so many ways to do that here, Anthony managed to tie all up the couples, all the convoluted timelines, bring them all full circle, and yet still, logically, bring her trilogy to an outstanding, heartwarming, sniffle- inducing conclusion.

Yes, the villains get theirs too!  That’s a must with me.

But what’s more, Anthony does it by keeping the integrity of her characters, their timelines she has created for them, their various histories and relationships intact.  That’s no small feat considering the various Councils and politics also involved.  Did I say complicated?

I don’t know how the author manages to keep all these threads organized and flowing as she does but the story remains compelling at all times,  The various Nicholas, no matter where they are in history or time, pull at your heart.  The consequences of time and their actions heartbreaking.  I think that’s another reason why that ending resonated with me so greatly.  Because I connected so deeply with these characters through all three stories.  The villains had to have their comeuppance and the heroes (all of them) had to have their forever loves.

The author gave me that.  How I love this story and this trilogy.

Shira Anthony’s writing is fluid and so well done it keeps you glued to the text! Her story and series complicated, compelling and exciting and her characters memorable and ones to keep close to your heart.  If you haven’t found this series yet, now is the time to start.  Begin with book one, Blood and Rain, and read through until you get here.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art: Reese Dante.  That’s Adrien, a perfect portrait of the man in my brain.  I love it.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807426
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Blood :

Blood and Rain

Blood and Ghosts

Blood and Eternity

An Ali Release Day Review: Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by T.J. Klune

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

I was really excited about this book because Gordo was one of my favorite characters from book one and I’m a huge fan of second chance romances. This had the same unique storytelling style of book one but it was a bit darker. Gordo and Mark are very different people than Ox and Joe and there’s no sweetness, no innocence left in either of them.

This book is told entirely from Gordo’s pov. The story overlaps with the events of the end of Wolfsong. We see the guys leaving and we learn what happened while they were gone. It jumps around from these events to events from Gordo’s childhood. We learn how he became the pack witch, now he learned his magic and we see the horrible things that shaped his childhood. We also see how he and Mark became friends and then fell in love. The constant time jumps at the beginning should have been a mess and for any other author they probably would have been. For this story and the vibe of it (& of Wolfsong) it totally worked. I was never confused and it all felt cohesive.

The story then proceeds to current day and the events that happen in this book. There is a lot of story. A lot. It’s pretty fast paced and action filled. I think the overall plot line takes up the majority of the story. The thing that kept this from being a 5 star for me was that the romance is not as much a part of the story as I would have liked. Really though, this book is about Gordo’s development. It’s about him finally finding a measure of peace in his life. Gordo has been hurt repeatedly by both his family and the pack and my heart broke for him in more than one place. The road for him and Mark is hard. Harder than it needs to be in places because Gordo can’t get out of his own way. I never felt that he should just get it over it though. I think I would have held on to my anger as long as he did if I’d been through so much. Their story is not so much a romance as a love story but by the end they find their way back to each other.

I don’t want to say much about the overall plot because there is little that can be said without spoilers. Things develop with the Omegas and with the overall politics of the werewolf world. A lot of people are not happy with the power that Joe and Ox have with their rag tag pack. The gang’s all here and they were some of the best scenes. The overall feel of this book was dark and sad and I needed the laugh out loud moments that Chris, Tanner and Rico provided. We see a lot of everyone from book one. Even Thomas was a big part through Gordo’s memories.

This one ends much like the first book did. The main events come to a resolution and the group are happy for the moment. They know though that they have another hurdle coming. The set up for the next book is fantastic. I can’t wait. Like seriously, it can’t come soon enough.

This book can not be read as a standalone. I’m not generally a re-reader but I almost wish I had re-read Wolfsong. Or at least the last few chapters. It would have helped with the beginning of this book. It’s not mandatory though. After the first few pages you realize what’s going on time wise (well, if you’ve read my review you will know before you start and you’ll be all good)

Anyways……a really, really good read. Not quite as magical as book one was for me but still very enjoyable.

Cover:  This cover was done by Reese Dante and I love it.  It’s perfect for the story and it compliments book one in the series perfectly.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 400 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRavensong
ISBN139781640802063
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Green Creek : add to Goodreads
Heartsong – coming soon

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean (The Middlemark Mysteries #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford—who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.

It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.

Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case—or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.

When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise….

This was a fascinating story.  Llewellyn is adorably shy and when he is himself he prefers to hide away in his office behind books and research.  Blaise easily draws everyone in and wants nothing more than to catch Llew.

Llew if trying to decide what to do with pressure from all sides and no one really caring how he feels about it.  But Blaise stands by him and throws everything he ever thought about himself out the window.  But the truth about why Blaise is at MIddlemark may keep them apart.

I loved Llewellyn, even though he is crazy shy he can stand up for himself too and it was easy to understand him as most of the story is through his eyes.  It was great to see him find someone who wants to care for him and doesn’t see him as a burden.  Only a small portion is seen through Blaise’s eyes and when we do see his thoughts it’s easy to see how conflicted he is about what he is doing but his actions really show how he feels.  I can’t wait to see what else happens around Middlemark.

I love the cover art by Kanaxa is give so man little visuals from the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages

Published: July 31, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-486-9

Edition Language: English

Series: Middlemark Mysteries #1

Release Day Blitz: Love Letters by Anyta Sunday

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Admiring Ash

Series (name + # in series):  Love Letters #1

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41600 words / 222 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/admiring-ash

(Link will be live July 31st)

Book blurb:

A is for Ash Heartford.

Adorable, strong, and independent.

Abandoned by his parents and attached to only person—his little sister.

Attracted to River, the sultry man who saunters onto his doorstep with startling news.

Always yearning for more River, yet afraid to let him in.

Should he play it safe, or claim his legacy and risk losing his heart?

A is for Admiring Ash.

Tropes: Slow burn, virgin, one true love, happily ever after, related but not, hurt/comfort, forbidden love

Themes: Sudden inheritance, broken family, insta-dad 

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Begging Ben

(Please do not publish title or cover before July 31st!)

Series (name + # in series): Love Letters #2

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41000 words / 220 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link:

https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/begging-ben

(Link will be live July 31st)

Book blurb:

B is for Ben Spengler.

Brilliant. Bashful. Burned.

Brimming with desire for his BFF Landon, who is beyond compare.

But they aren’t the same Ben and Landon anymore. Not after what Landon did. And didn’t do.

Bitter about his unrequited love.

Bound by a night of drunken promises.

Will the chemistry between them change, or will Ben break first?

B is for Begging Ben.

Challenging Chance

Series (name + # in series): Love Letters #3

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 32000 words / 182 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/challenging-chance

(Link will come live July 31st)

Book blurb:

C is for Chance Roosevelt-Sutton.

Chiseled jaw. Smug attitude. Wild ways.

Chained to his ego—or so everyone thinks. Except his personal assistant, Brook. He knows better.

Chance is challenged to make his father happy for once, but he needs Brook’s help.

Choosing honesty is too risky, so instead they choose secrecy.

Choked by their pasts, they dream of a better life . . . and

Charm each other into submission.

Will their pasts ruin what they have, or will they grow together?

C is for Challenging Chance.

Tropes: Alpha male, millionaire bad boy, athlete, help/comfort

Themes: Basketball, coming out

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Series blurb:

Feisty. Nerdy. Sexy. Secretive.

Greenville has them all.

A small town with big hearts, Greenville awakens at the mercy of Millionaire Row, the wealthy neighborhood across the tracks from Poplar Low.

Bad-tempered boys meet cheeky lovers.

Colliding worlds spark a fire of emotion. Heat rages. Hearts mend. Love is lost. And found.

Love Letters are playful, sexy, contemporary M/M stories that can be read as standalones.

Welcome to Greenville. Come for the sexy boys. Stay for the HEA.

Excerpts:

Admiring Ash Teaser #1:

Who was this River? What was he doing here, unless . . .

Ash narrowed his eyes. Attractive and charming. Hadn’t his sister mentioned she was crushing on a local college guy? “Oh, fuck me. You’ve knocked up my sister, haven’t you?”

All playfulness evaporated as Ash catalogued River from head to toe. Would Ash be spending the next twenty years raising a kid that resembled this man? Would that kid grow up—like all the Heartfords—addicted to love? Raising fatherless children? Obsessed with falling for men, believing, every time that this one was the one?

He’d hoped he and Danielle would kick the tradition. 

He almost punched the stunningly sculpted man in the mouth. 

Admiring Ash Teaser #2:

“You have deft fingers.”

Ash’s voice vibrated through him, urging River to make a move. The playful twitch of those lips begged to be kissed as much as River’s lips begged to do the kissing. 

He wanted to slide his hands into Ash’s tangled hair and let their lips collide.

He wanted Ash under him, mapping every inch of his skin with his mouth. 

He wanted Ash not to be off-limits . . .

But he was.

Begging Ben Teaser #1:

Waking up after a night of drinking? Fun times.

Ben’s pulse rang in his ear. He shifted slightly, foot moving the sheets and funneling air over his body—

An arm tightened around him, and Ben froze.

What. The. Hell.

With a shaky breath, he absorbed the details. The arm strapped across his chest; the boner pressing against the small of his back; the steady breathing drifting through the back of his hair. The heady scent of Landon cloaked around him, musky, traced with citrus.

He screwed his eyes shut tightly, pulling the pieces of last night together. There’d been puns and drinking games, and a wedding ceremony in the twenty-four-hour chapel.

No, wait. That last part was a bizarre dream.

Begging Ben Teaser #2:

“What do you want from a real marriage?”

Ben paused, clawing back the “you” desperately trying to escape him. Not Landon. He was over that. “I want to have someone who supports me, and vice versa. I want conversations and shared interests. I want common goals, my husband and I, a team. Us against the world. I want to be so close to him that I can guess what he is thinking. I want a man who sees I have failures and flaws but loves me anyway. Who has a fantastic sense of humor and finds joy laughing at the silly things. And . . . .”

“And?”

Ben couldn’t hold Landon’s deeply curious gaze. “I want to be his first choice. Not a backup when the guy he really wants doesn’t want him back.”

The silence that followed felt thick and taut, and Ben struggled to breathe.

Landon sat back with a determined stare toward the road. He licked his bottom lip and his hand rested on the wheel, thumb tapping. “You deserve all that, Ben. That and more.”

Challenging Chance Teaser #1:

Clenching the folder tightly against his chest, Brook kicked up a half smile. “I know you are a playboy, and charmingly faulted,” he said. “Didn’t think you’d be sexist too.”

Chance slung the towel around his neck, stretching it taut by pulling the ends. “There you have it,” he said. “I’m all those things.”

He sounded cocky, but the follow-up swallow and downward glance had Brook pausing. The glimpse of vulnerability quickly vanished as Chance strode off the court.

Brook hustled after him, matching his long stride easily since Chance was only a hair taller.

“I can do the job as good as anyone,” he said. “I’ll be at your beck and call, whenever you need me. Most importantly, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

Chance abruptly stopped and whisked around. “What do you mean you’ll keep your mouth shut?”

“Public intoxication, public indecency, driver’s license revoked two years ago for accumulating too many fines. None of it is my business. I’ll help you navigate whatever paperwork comes with it, of course. But outside you and me? My lips are sealed.”

He would never blurt Chance’s mistakes in a crowded café. Though he’d been grateful to overhear the ex-PA, he didn’t condone being unprofessional and blabbing about an employer’s affairs.

Everyone made mistakes. They didn’t need those mistakes defining them.

Challenging Chance Teaser #2:

Brook pulled him tighter by the lapels of his suit, returning the kiss. He pulled back, breath drizzling over Chance’s wet lips. Brook’s eyes held a ray of earnestness. Something soft and unspoken drifted between them but Chance couldn’t quite grasp it. He frowned and stepped back. Ran a hand through his hair and glanced at himself in the mirror. Lips red, cheeks flushed—and he was grinning.

“Never stop smiling like that,” Brook whispered, sliding behind him, arms circling his waist to undo the jacket button. “You look amazing. I’d like to see that last jacket on you though. To make an informed decision.”

Informed decision, his tight ass.

He smirked at Brook in the reflection of the mirror. The sales assistant knocked on the door. Chance called out, “Just trying on the last jacket.”

“If you need any help . . .”

Brook drew off the jacket, palms sweeping over his shoulders down to his forearms.

“I’m fine, thanks.” Chance hoped he hadn’t croaked on that last sentence. Heels tapped across marble floor, growing fainter.

 

About Anyta Sunday:

HEART-STOPPING SLOW BURN

A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

Author website: http://www.anytasunday.com/

Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anytasundaybooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anytasunday

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anytasunday

Release Blitz for Won’t Feel A Thing (St. Cross #1) by CF White (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Pride
 
Length: 64,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: Pride Publishing
 
Blurb



It takes more than a doctor to mend a broken heart.


Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St. Cross Children’s Hospital. Wanting to start the year fresh from personal heartache and his track record of falling for the wrong man, Ollie’s New Year’s resolution is to rid himself of emotional baggage and live a life of carefree liaisons.


But before the resolution can even begin, Ollie is called to care for eight-year-old Daisy Monroe, who’s struggling after heart surgery. Her father, Jacob Monroe, never leaves her side, apart from the times her mother comes to visit.


The tempestuous and somewhat estranged relationship of her parents is cause for concern enough, but the father’s brooding nature has Ollie investing far more time than usual in his Room One patient. Striking up a friendship of sneaking takeaways into the ward, card playing until dawn and the occasional breaking up of domestic fights, Ollie finds himself drawn to Jacob and becomes a friendly ear for the man who’s harboring more guilt and past demons than even Ollie, which is saying something.


The growing attraction makes it hard for Ollie to keep his distance, though he has to—not only do the ethics of his profession demand it, but Ollie is still somewhat involved with another man. One who has a huge stake in Ollie’s life, both personal and professional.


Ollie is risking more than just his job by getting involved with a patient’s father—much more even than the success of his New Year’s resolution, something that was supposed to ensure that, this time, he won’t feel a thing.

 
Excerpt

Chapter OneNew Year’s Resolutions

“You want my opinion?”

“Yes.”

“My honest opinion?”

“Yes,” Ollie repeated. “Please.”

“Brutal honest opinion?”

“Yes.”

“Even if you don’t like it?”

“Even if I never want to talk to you again.” Ollie took a sharp slurp through the straw of his smoothie and winced, his glasses tipping to the end of his nose. “Until tonight, anyway.”

“Then leave well alone.”

Ollie sighed. He sucked up another mouthful of his daily fruit and veg intake, flicked back his blond hair that had lost its vigor after a twelve-hour night shift and glanced away from Taya’s wide brown eyes. The eyes that signified she meant every damn word. Bitch.

“Told you.”

Taya freed her dark, waist-length hair from its curled bun and stroked it over one shoulder. She wrapped the band around her slender dark-skinned wrist then sipped her dainty cup of pink hot chocolate. The blue edges of her lips, caused by the freezing weather, were subsiding back to their usual reddish tinge with each guzzle of the pink cream and rainbow of chocolate candies scattered over her ridiculous sickly concoction. She hadn’t even offered a spoonful to him. Twelve hours straight on night shift clearly meant she needed the sugar all to herself.

“He’s not worth your time, your worry or your respect.” She clanged the cup down onto the glass surface of the table, pulled her winter trench coat over the scrubs she hadn’t bothered to change out of and reached for her packet of menthol slims.

“Neither are they.” Ollie pointed to the cigarettes.

Taya glared across the table. She unhooked the top of the packet, took one of the white sticks between her teeth and lit it with her pink lighter. Blowing the smoke into the freezing cold air, she waved her hand.

“We all have our vices, Oliver.”

Ollie stuck his middle finger up. He slapped it back down and shoved it into his jacket pocket. It was freezing, and Taya had to bloody sit outside the corner coffee shop in order to smoke her way out of the trying night shift. She was right. Everyone needed their vices, especially with what he and Taya did for a living. He sighed.

“I think he needs patience.”

“He’s got plenty of those.” Taya pointed her two fingers clutching the death stick at Ollie.

“Har fricking har. Patience with a c.”

“He’s a c all right.” Taya took another drag. At Ollie’s glare, she sighed and rested her elbow on the tabletop. “What? He is.”

“I think you may be the only female in the entire hospital who doesn’t like him.” Ollie slurped the dregs of his raspberry-ripple smoothie and shivered. He should have gone for a hot drink, but it was hard enough to sleep during the day as it was. Caffeine would only make it infinitely more difficult.

“That’s because I know him,” Taya replied.

“Urgh. Not you, too?”

“Ew.” Taya grimaced around her cigarette. “No, thank you.”

Ollie leaned back in the chair. He waved a hand to waft away the smoke drifting into his face. To give her some credit, Taya was trying to blow it out of the side of her mouth to avoid him, but the icy-cold January breeze from the earlier sleet downpour blew it straight back. Ollie zipped up his puffer jacket, folded his arms and jiggled on the cold metal chair.

“You nearly done?” He nodded to the half-full cup of violently pink chocolate.

Taya blew another puff of smoke into the air, stubbed out the remains of her cigarette and downed the rest of her drink, leaving a foam mustache on her top lip. She licked it away. “Yeah. Home to bed, miss the snowfall, back at eight. You?”

They scraped back their chairs and Ollie tucked a five-pound note under the ashtray for the servers. Anyone willing to come outside and serve drinks in this weather should most definitely get tips, even if his measly nurse’s wages would no doubt be far less than those of the coffee baristas working this part of London.

“I should go see my dad,” he replied.

Taya linked her arm in with his, curling her slender fingers around his quilted sleeve. Checking both ways along the crossroads lined by independent boutiques, high-class restaurants, unconventional cafés and health-food shops, she steered him across, narrowly missing a black cab speeding over the mini-roundabout. The glass-enclosed bus stop’s bench overflowed with waiting passengers, so he stood, waiting, his freezing toes within his inappropriate-for-the-weather slip-on loafers numbing with each passing second, and checked the time on the electric board for when the next bus was due.

“How’s he doing?” Taya asked.

“Good days and bad days.” Ollie sighed. “Keeps calling me Tilly.”

Taya tried to hold in the chuckle but failed miserably. Ollie didn’t mind so much. A good sense of humor was always best in these situations, not to mention their line of work. He pulled Taya in closer. It was fricking freezing and snowflakes fell from the overcast sky. How would he get back to work later that night? London came to a standstill if even one flake hit any mode of public transport. Him living in the other end of the city—the cheap end—would make it all the more difficult to travel across town. On occasions when there wasn’t a downfall, he would have cycled in. But that was out of the question with the ice on the roads. And the fact that he hadn’t woken up in his own bed last night. Ollie shuddered at the memory.

“Right.” Ollie bounced to keep warm while awaiting the number 252. “It’s January. So that means New Year’s resolutions. What’s yours?”

“Quit smoking.”

“Good luck.” Ollie meant it.

Taya stuck out her tongue.

“Well, we both know mine—”

“Which you broke last night.” Taya was a bitch like that.

“I don’t believe New Year’s resolutions should start until the second week of January.” Ollie rubbed his hands together, digging Taya’s arm into his side, and wondered why he hadn’t thought to bring gloves. Ah, yes, he hadn’t had any where he’d been before his shift started. He wasn’t allowed to leave any trace of his existence there.

“Riiight,” Taya said. “So that means from today, you’ll be steering clear of arsehole men?”

“Sadly, no. Unfortunately, I will no doubt encounter many of them in my time without realizing until it’s too late.”

“Amen.” Taya saluted.

Ollie wasn’t sure what the salute was about. But he wasn’t particularly religious, so maybe that was how it was done in church these days? Or temples, considering Taya’s family were Hindu.

“So, what is your resolution, then?”

“No baggage,” Ollie replied.

“Baggage?”

“Yep,” Ollie confirmed.

The gleaming new red Routemaster bus edged along the narrow High Street, bumping over the speed mounds meant to slow the traffic down, which Ollie thought ridiculous as the morning rush-hour pileup tended to last all day in central London. The streets were filled with scuttling people carrying takeout coffee cups, cyclists braving the ice, and the occasional honking of a taxi horn. This time of the morning, most people were trying to get to work and not home from it like Ollie and Taya. He was never quite sure who was keener to reach their destinations.

“I don’t mind a complete arsehole—”

“Obviously.” Taya cut Ollie off with a raise of her smoothed-out eyebrows. That new rainbow hot chocolate had clearly contained one too many e-numbers and sent her loopy. That and the long night shift. Not that she hadn’t been a little bit loopy to begin with.

“Ha ha.” Ollie pushed her forehead. “Like, I can handle a dickhead—”

“We all know.”

“Jesus Christ,” Ollie muttered. “No more white hot chocolate with pink dye for you, okay?”

“Sorry.” Taya pressed her lips together. She rose up on her tiptoes to check on the bus’s progress but needn’t have worried, as it had traveled all of a millimeter since the start of their conversation. At this rate, Ollie might get home in time to have a shower and come straight back.

“What I mean is—”

“You don’t want a man who can’t commit because of circumstance,” Taya finished for him.

Ollie was capable of finishing his own sentences, but Taya was getting warm from flapping her lips, so he allowed it. “Exactly. I’m married to my job. I love my job. Therefore, I should have the occasional fling and become the arsehole myself.” He pointed a finger at Taya. “Don’t fricking say it.”

Taya shrugged and mimed zipping her lips up.

“What do we nurses say daily?”

“‘No, you can’t have McDonald’s’?”

“Not that one.”

“‘You’re going to feel a little prick’?”

Ollie sniggered. “Not that one either.”

“Oh, I know. It’s ‘Of course I’ll change your TV channel for you—it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time.’”

“No! I mean the big one—‘You won’t feel a thing.’”

Taya nodded. “So?”

“So, my resolution is to no longer feel a thing.”

“Good luck.” Taya smiled. Bitch.

The bus pulled up and Ollie jogged on the spot, waiting for the doors to open. They hissed to the side, and even though he and Taya were standing correctly at the hop-on part of the Routemaster with the exit farther along the double decker, a tall man with floppy dark hair jumped straight off and bashed Ollie’s arm as he rushed up the High Street, heading toward the gleaming glass frontage of St. Cross Children’s Hospital.

“Ouch.” Ollie pouted and rubbed his arm.

“Ha!” Taya jumped the step onto the bus.

“What?”

Amusement shimmered across Taya’s face as she bleeped her Oyster card onto the yellow reader. “You just felt something.”

“Oh, bog off.”

* * * *

Ollie jangled the keys in the lock of his third-floor flat and burst in out of the freezing cold. He slammed the door, wriggled free of his coat and slipped out of his comfortable loafers. Rubbing his numbed hands together, he hurried up the corridor and decided to forgo the shower in favor of sinking under his fluffy down duvet instead.

He stripped out of his jumper and jeans, threw his glasses onto the bedside table and collapsed onto the bed. Grabbing the side of the duvet, he wrapped it around his shivering body, rolled onto his front and made a human sausage roll out of himself. He shut his eyes. Of course, that would be when his house phone decided to ring. He wasn’t going to answer it. That time of the morning, it’d only be personal-injury-claim chasers or some double-glazing salesman. The answer phone clicked on and Ollie’s recorded voice wafted down the hallway into his bedroom.

“Hey, you’ve reached Ollie,” it sang out. “I’m way too busy and important to come to the phone right now, and if you’re not with me then you’re missing out! So leave a message, and I’ll decide whether to call you back. Oh, and if it’s PPI, I’ve claimed four times and turns out I’m still not owed anything. Oh, and I haven’t had an accident in the last three years. Oh, and I’d simply luuurrvve to take your survey on local facilities I use in my leisure time, if I had any. Much love—bleeeeep.”

Ollie chuckled. Until the caller’s voice boomed down the phone.

“Oliver?”

It seemed like a question, especially with the pause. Ollie held his breath.

“Oliver?”

Ollie hoped he’d either hang up or get to the point before Ollie passed out from asphyxiation. And considering he was naked, wrapped in a duvet, he could just see the local paper headlines misconstruing his accidental death as some sort of sex game gone wrong.

“Right. You’re not there. Or ignoring me.”

Bright man, this one.

“You left your watch here.”

Ollie scrambled to get his arm out from under the duvet and checked his wrist. Bollocks. He shut his eyes.

“I’ve had to throw it out.”

Ollie shoved a hand over his mouth, adding to his suffocating possibilities, and ignored the sinking feeling in his gut.

“I’ll get you a new one.”

Ollie shook his head and sank farther into the duvet to cover his face.

“Don’t call me back. I’ll see you later.”

The answer phone bleeped, indicating the end of the message and signifying the beginning of Ollie’s New Year’s resolution.

The one where he wouldn’t feel a thing.

 

About The Author



Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.


Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.


She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.


Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…


You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.

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Release Day Blitz: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean by Tara Lain (excerpt and giveaway)

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A cozy mystery with a tongue-tied nerd of a history professor tempted by a gorgeous graduate student and millions of dollars if he can solve one of history’s greatest mysteries — who was Shakespeare really?
 
The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford-who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.
It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.
Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case-or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.
When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise…
Available for purchase at
Excerpt
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance,  Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels,  Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.

A MelanieM Review: Hammer of the Witch (Repeating History #2) by Dakota Chase

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Rating: 5 stars ot of 5

Repeating History: Book Two

History isn’t dead when you’re living it.

Ash and Grant are about to learn why it was called the Dark Ages, when Merlin, in the guise of their teacher, once again sends them time traveling to reclaim one of the antiquities their prank destroyed: a book called the Malleus Maleficarum, or Hammer of the Witches, which was used to persecute and kill innocent people throughout medieval Europe.

They’ll need to keep their heads down and their wits about them in a Germany ruled by the iron fist of the Inquisition, where anyone who is different is dragged off to horrifying prisons, tortured to confession, and ultimately killed in the worst way imaginable. But it won’t be easy to navigate a frightening and brutal time, secure Merlin’s book, and make it home without attracting attention.

After having successfully procured the Eye of Ra from its source, the boy Pharaoh Tut, in ancient Egypt, it now time for their next retrieval.  Something far more malevolent.  And their experiences will be far different from the luxury and ease into society they had with Tut.

No, with  Hammer of the Witch, Dakota Chase has Merlin sends our rambunctious duo back to medieval times and witch hunts.  The item they seek for Merlin?  The book a means for identifying and punishing witches.  Instead of perfumed and painted people on the Nile, Chase gives us the harsh reality of the times in medieval Germany.  The plague, the unsanitary conditions, the indentured poor whose servitude gets longer due to the dubious circumstances under which they work…its all there.  Add to that the greed of the landowners combined with the religious fervor of Inquisition…and no one is safe from the cry of “witch”.

This is what Ash and Grant face as they travel back to Germany to search out and steal the Malleus Maleficarum, or Hammer of the Witches.  Chase once again unforgettably brings these times alive for the boys and us.  The reality  of the clothes (a shock to them both) and the fear the strangers are met with.  Worse yet, the burning bodies that greet them in the square once they get to the city.  Yes, this a grittier story, the harsh reality of the witch hunts hits an emotional punch right to the heart with each victim (young and old) declared guilty of witchcraft.

Again the question arises, how much of history, if any, can they change?

The writing is so well done, the era so well researched, that I was one hundred percent emotionally invested in that question along with Ash and Grant.  I felt for these people living under these heinous conditions, waiting for their loved ones to be hauled away  at any moment to be burned alive at the stake.

Hammer of the Witch is an emotional, intelligent adventure.  Thrilling, somber, and one hell of a story for Ash, Grant, and the reader.  And it ends as it should with not all of our questions answered, just the big ones.

I love this series and can’t wait for Mammouth.  What are the boys going to do with the I wonder?  And yes, I highly recommend this and the first story as well.  Read them in the order they are written.

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  I love these covers for this story and the series.  They have an old time design feel about them that you might have seen on the old boy adventure novels.  Yet there’s movement in the art work, along with a chilling feel with the color tone.  Marvelous.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
Original TitleHammer of the Witch
ISBN139781640800953
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRepeating History:

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This series requires focus, focus, focus. And a recap of the first two books. Fortunately, the author not only provides a cast of characters, she also provides the recap. Thank you, Ms. Anthony!

A sweeping, epic saga, worthy of the big screen, this is the story of Adrien Gilbert, a Hunter, and the love of his life—all of his lives!—Nicholas/Nico Lambert.

The villainous cast of characters is headed by Verel Pelletier, Adrien and Nicholas’s archenemy, the man behind all the complexity, intrigue, murder and mayhem spanning centuries. Adrien’s “demon,” the alter-ego voice in his head, is present throughout the story. And we finally see Adrien come to terms with the demon, master it, and use it to help him and Nico alter the course of multiple lives by going back in time to prevent the original disaster from happening.

The author follows the threads of the time streams introduced in the previous books to entice us with possibilities of what would happen if… But the reality becomes something different as the men land in 2018 and both are experiencing partial memories of the times before—despite the seeming impossibility of that happening.

It’s a definite brain-teaser, for sure. I must admit I struggled to stay on track for the early part of the story, especially since it’s been three years since the last book was released. With the author’s help by throwing out key tidbits to jog our memory and by having the explanations in the forward of the book, I slowly started to get re-involved with these men. I must say, of all the timelines and characters covered, I was most intrigued by the 2018 versions of Nico and Adrien and by their selfless devotion to risk all they had to right the wrongs set in motion by Pelletier, even if it meant they might not be together by the time their previous souls reached 2018.

As I said early in the review, focus is the key. By the end of the book, that’s not as much of an issue because at that point I was so focused on the action that I let all else in my life fall by the wayside—the hallmark of an outstanding book, in my opinion.

Those who love an epic romance, vampires, immortals, and more will likely fall as much in love with this series as I have. I very highly recommend this book and the whole series to all lovers of MM romance. And now that all three books are out, I definitely recommend sticking to short timeframes between each story. That will most definitely be a huge aid to following this saga.

~~~

The cover by Reese Dante is a close-up shot of Adrian, a beautiful man with fascinating pale blue eyes. In a way, it’s good that Nicholas is not featured on this cover as he is on the others since book three gives Adrien, and his demon, the principal role.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807426
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlood #3

An Ali Audiobook Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z. with Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

I enjoyed this one. In this installment we find Darren and Andreas a few months down the road. Darren is still recovering from his injuries from book one so the guys are working on cold cases. They come across some cases that they realize show the pattern of a serial killer.

This had an interesting case and I thought that aspect was entertaining and well done.  I like how they took the cold case and turned it into an exciting and action packed case.

My favorite part of this book though was the development between the two MC’s. Their relationship was still tentative by the end of the first book but I really started feeling their connection in this one. They have some great scenes together. They’re both complex characters with some pretty serious family issues.  The scenes between Darren and his brother Archer are just heartbreaking.
This audiobook was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and I thought he did a really good job.  His performance really added to the vibe and feeling of the story.  It made the emotional scenes between the two main characters even more impacting.  I enjoyed both of the main character’s voices as well as all of the side characters.
Overall this was a really good read/listen.  This is the second book in the series and I do not recommend it as a standalone.  If you’ve read book one I think you will enjoy this.  If you haven’t and you’re looking for a new series to start this would be a good one
Cover Artist: will be updated once the  RT site is back up.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing’s link is unavailable atm | Amazon | Audible
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published July 2nd 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published August 19th 2017)
Original TitleSuspicious Behavior
ASINB07F2MDKXT
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBad Behavior #2

Blog Tour for Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne (teaser and giveaway)

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Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne

Series: Trouble Brewing #1

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): Ebook/Audio – July 23, 2018; Print – July 31, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): 272 pages

Subgenre: M/M Romantic Suspense

To order:

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2qBqID7

UBL: http://books2read.com/u/mBMWMZ

Carina: http://bit.ly/2JQWIOF

Book blurb:

Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout, the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

Teaser Excerpt :

Nic was silent a long minute, the building tension heavy in the small space. “This is why you’re not supposed to get involved with colleagues.”

Finally, an opening. Cam closed the distance between them, winding his arms around Nic and hugging him from behind. Body warm, despite the cool night, Cam wanted to get even closer to it. They might both get burned, but he was done watching the fire from a distance, holding himself back from the heat.

“Technically, we’re not,” he said.

“You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”

“If it wins the argument with you, yes.”

Nic chuckled, hanging his head, and Cam skirted his nose and lips along the nape of his neck. Nic’s quiet laughter died on a breathy gasp.

About Layla Reyne:

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

Connect with Layla:

Connect with Layla Reyne: Twitter | Instagram | FB Page | FB Group | Newsletter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon | BookBub

Giveaway:

Win a signed set of paperbacks from Layla Reyne: Imperial Stout and Blended Whiskey!

Winners in the USA will receive paperback copies of the prizes; winners from outside the contiguous USA, will receive Amazon gift card of equivalent value. Enter here:

 

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