A MelanieM Review: Haka Ever After (The Sin Bin #7) by Dahlia Donovan

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

You are cordially invited to the Sin Bin wedding of the year—kilts required, undergarments optional.

Taine Afoa has faced opponents on the rugby pitch without an ounce of fear. He hopes to find the same courage when asking the love of his life to marry him. First, though, he has to ask Freddie’s fathers for their blessing.

If Taine survives, popping the question should be a breeze.

Freddie Whittle knows Taine has something up his sleeve. A yes forms on his lips before the question is even asked. But can they survive the madness of friends and family, all wanting to help plan their wedding?

As their May-December romance tumbles into happily ever after, one surprise after the other brings them more joy than they ever imagined possible.

The short story Haka Ever After is the seventh (and last) book in Dahlia Donovan’s international bestselling gay romance series, The Sin Bin. Each one features hot rugby players and the men who steal their hearts.

Haka Ever After (The Sin Bin #7) by Dahlia Donovan is, as a certain someone would say, practically perfect in every way.  It’s one flaw?  It’s just too short.  I love this series and it’s flawed, amazing, and totally endearing couples.  The synopsis indicates that this is to be the last in the series although from the author’s site list she had planned for just one more so I’m not sure what’s to become of Zeb & Silius.

Still, if no further stories appear, I will be thrilled that Donovan ended it here with Haka Ever After.  It’s certainly a most suitable way for the series to go out, on the wedding of Taine and Freddie with the involvement of all the rugby brotherhood and their partners and  amazing circle of family and friends.  Everyone we have gotten to know and love over the course of six stories, their troubles and their journey forward to love and HEA, they are here, enthusing this tale with warmth and laughter.  And joy.

Our connection to them all has remained strong and snaps smartly back into place as each couple makes their appearance here helping Taine and Freddie get married.  Such an special celebration warrants special heartwarming events…I won’t spoil them but get your tissues handy.   Maybe even a box.

This story was just too short.  Those wedding presents to each other needed several chapters more per present.  I needed to know more about those travels in depth.  It was special, and moving, and I could see it all so clearly.  Yes, I may start sniffling again.

From kilts to an amazing send off, it’s so hard to let these men go.  I may have to start re-reading this series all over again.  If you are new to the series, treat yourself and head immediately to The Wanderer and begin your journey with The Sin Bin series there.  I highly recommend them all, including this amazing farewell story.

Cover art: Claire Smith.  This is probably my favorite cover of the entire series.  Beautifully done while still continuing to brand the series in style and color.

Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing  | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition
Published July 28th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
ASINB07DL6LB7X
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Sin Bin #7

The Sin Bin Series:

1. The Wanderer – BC & Graham

2. The Caretaker – Tens & Freddie

3. The Botanist (short story) – Aled & Wyatt

4. The Royal Marine – Hamish & Akash

5 The Unexpected Santa (short story) – Gray & Scottie

6. The Lion Tamer – Gray & Scottie

7. The Haka Ever After (short story) – Tens & Freddie

8. TBD – Zeb & Silus

 

A Lucy Review: Begging Ben (Love Letters #2) by Anyta Sunday

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the second in the Love Letters series and picks up with Landon, the twin of River from book one.   In the first book we get a glimpse of Landon and his incredible unrequited pining for Chance, a basketball player he had a weeklong affair with and who then tossed Landon away.  Landon has spent his time moping, mourning, watching and attending Chance’s basketball games in an effort to win him back.  This has left his best friend and YouTube partner, Ben, out in the cold and unable to help him.  The book begins at a party in Las Vegas where we find out these two are no longer best friends.  Landon had messed up, big time, and Ben walked away.  Landon knows he is the cause.  “Ben had been right to distance himself from Landon.  Who wanted a best friend so infatuated with someone that they forgot who mattered?”   He wants his best friend back, though, the man who is nearly as close as his twin.  The problem is, Ben loves Landon and it’s putting him hell being near someone who doesn’t seem to care at all.

While Ben tries to avoid Landon at the party, Landon catches up with him and after much drinking they end up in that Las Vegas destination many have come to regret, the wedding chapel.  Where yes, they get married.  A little thing that Ben doesn’t remember but Landon does.  It was Landon’s idea and his whole reasoning about it was so honestly so stupid I wanted to smack him. “At the time it made brilliant sense; Ben could be actual family.  Marriage had been his drunken attempt to keep Ben from leaving his life again.”  Except Ben doesn’t know they are married and Landon wants him to stay as his friend, his brother; not as a husband.  Ben’s cousin, Chris, was a witness to the wedding but he gets some mind altering news while there and so he doesn’t mention it.

Ben says he is “Not in the right place to be friends yet” but Landon really doesn’t respect his wish for space.  Despite the fact that he wants his best friend back, he interferes with someone Ben is interested in and never tells Ben they got married.  Ben finds out from his mom, who accidentally saw a picture on Chris’ phone.  It’s a mess.  Ben’s mom loves Landon nearly as much as her son and they don’t want to disappoint her with a lie, so they agree to spend the week with her pretending to be real husbands and then fight and break up. Except Landon doesn’t follow the script.

They have a science YouTube channel with two million followers, Ben works at Silver Pines bookstore and they both have money to spare, but not having Ben in his life is killing Landon.  There were times I was so aggravated with Landon because of his actions.  He is so oblivious to what is right there.  And Ben is sometimes heartbreaking.  When Landon asks him what he really wants in a marriage, “I want to be his first choice.  Not a backup when the guy he really wants doesn’t want him back.”

There is back and forth with Landon trying to get his head out of his butt and figure things out while Ben tries to keep his heart safe. 

Secondary characters include Ash and River from book one and we also get Chris, now a new father and trying to cope with everything with the help of Ben’s mom and the guys. I loved Chris a lot.  There is Gabe, the barista Ben thought he might want to date, who is laid back and cool and hopefully gets a story as well.

Cover art follows the lines of Admiring Ash and is a single man set against a simple colored background.  I’m not sure if it is supposed to be Ben or Landon.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 177 pages
Published July 29th 2018 by Anyta Sunday
ASINB07G15B723
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLove Letters :- add to your GR here

An Alisa Review: Finding My Way Home (Doyle Global Securities #2 ) by Kendel Duncan

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Have you ever been so lost that you couldn’t remember what home looked like, what it felt like?

So lost that home was a distant memory – a place that you never had hope of finding it again?

That’s how I felt, how I’d felt for years, for longer than I could remember.

Until I found you, Bas.

I just wish I could tell you that….

I’m coming. I’m coming for you, Bas. And I’m going to do my best to try….for you.”

~Ten

For longer than he could remember Tenley ‘Ten’ Pinkerton had been lost. Wandering this earth with no hope, no soul, no heart, no purpose. The day the love of his life, Sawyer, had been brutally murdered was the day that everything beyond the basic elements of survival – like breathing and a beating heart – had been shut down.

Until him.

Sebastian ‘Bas’ Monroe

Fucking Bas Monroe

Somehow the man had wormed his way past Ten’s defenses, past the armor plates surrounding his heart, past the pain. Somehow he’d gotten inside.

Ten wasn’t really sure how he felt about that.

But the day that Bas went missing?

Ten knew that he would die if he that’s what it came to in order to find Bas, in order to save him.

The question that remained:

Was he going to be saving Bas Monroe? Or was he going to be saving himself?

This was another great story to continue this series.  The tension from Ten and Bas from the previous book in worked out while we get to meet another group of men, Liam, Trent and Aleksy, and get to see them maneuver a new relationship.  I also loved more of a look into Morgan’s background and can’t wait to read the next book when it comes out.

Bas being kidnapped helps to have Ten push away his doubts and fears.  They both had to get over their past hurt, Bas from Ten’s actions and Ten from Sawyer’s death, but come out on top.  I got to see their fears but also their hopes as they navigated a new relationship.  I am not a huge fan of jumping between couples but these two were the main focus so it was easier to connect with them especially with them being in the last book.

When Trent is helping to rescue Bas he feels an inexplicable pull towards Liam and Aleksy.  I loved seeing the connections these guys had and how much they cared for Liam’s daughter, but I’ve got to say for a 9 year old she acted and sounded much younger than I would expect.  We don’t see as much of these guys actually building their relationship, mostly just some points in between but I really loved seeing Liam get a second chance after everything that happened and for Liam and Trent to find the happiness they have wanted.

The cover art by Dara Nelson is nice and gives a small picture of Ten and Bas but follows the style of the last book too.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages

Published: July 25, 2018 by Dare Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Doyle Global Securities #2

An Alisa Review: Blackbird Fly Home (Doyle Global Securities #1) by Kendel Duncan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Sometimes life will surprise you

Sometimes it will disappoint you

Sometimes it will kick you in the balls

Sometimes it will make you so happy you feel like you can fly

And sometimes, just sometimes, it will do all of those things.

The kick in the balls, both literally and figuratively, happened to Noah Pierce a long time ago. Ten years to be exact, when, to cap off a brutal and horrendous four-year relationship with the man who claimed to love him, that man buried a butcher knife in his side. It was the final wound in a seemingly endless cycle of bruises, cuts, breaks, sprains and other things that sent him to the hospital. He thought he was going to die. But when he opened his eyes in that ER room and saw a stranger with kind yet determined eyes looking back at him and with his boyfriend nowhere in sight, Noah knew that life was going to change for him. And it did.

For ten years he was stronger, he was better, he was……hollow.

He didn’t realize that last part until he saw one man. One pair of haunting blue eyes beside the very man who had ruined Noah all those years ago. One pair of frightened eyes. One pair of hollow, hopeless eyes that Noah couldn’t have walked away from if he tried…..because someone else hadn’t walked away from him all those years ago.

Noah didn’t realize it at the time, but by saving Jesse Miller from the clutches of his ex, he was going to learn to fly…..

Trigger warning: This book contains mentions of past sexual abuse.

This was a story with two men who help save each other.  Noah has basically been surviving since escaping his abusive ex ten years ago but helping Jesse escape the same man gives him a chance to really start living.  Jesse has a different but still abusive experience with the man but he clings to the man he knows will understand and help him heal.

Morgan helped Noah escape and also gave him a job and something to focus his life.  He stands beside Jesse and Noah to stand up to their abuser but also to not allow them to push either away. Jesse is finally able to grow into the man he was meant to be.

I liked both of these characters and while they were both damaged in different ways they find way to help each other.  I could feel Noah’s fear that he couldn’t be the good man that Jesse needed but I loved watching Jesse and their friends help him through his doubt.  Jesse is so much stronger than he thinks and many of his action prove that but with the support of Noah he feels that he can succeed and get over what he has gone through.  I loved all the characters in the book and look forward to reading more about them.  I may even go and read some of Kendel’s other series too.

The cover art by Dara Nelson is nice and has a nice picture of the characters together and I love the connection to Noah’s tattoo.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 347 pages

Published: September 18, 2017 by Dare Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Doyle Global Securities #1

Chris T. Kat on Reading Influences, Writing, and her new release ‘Alpha Unit One, New York’ (excerpt)

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Alpha Unit One, New York by Chris T. Kat

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Cate Ashwood

Sales Links:      Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris T. Kat here today talking about her reading influences and writing. Welcome, Chris.

♦︎

 

How my choice of teenage reading carried into my own writing

Thanks so much to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me on their blog. Dreamspinner Press published my new shapeshifter novella, Alpha Unit One, New York, on July 27th.

I’ve always preferred to read suspense books. During my childhood, these books were classified as adventure books, like The Famous Five. During my teenage years, I discovered the horror / supernatural genre, which was en vogue at that time. So I started reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc. To this day, I still read pretty much every book written by Dean Koontz because I simply adore his writing.

For a while, I read a lot of thrillers—either “normal” thrillers, medical thrillers or supernatural thrillers. It didn’t really matter as long as the book was suspenseful. I’m the same with movies—I love action movies the most. 😉

Then there came the time when I became a mother. Suddenly my choice of books started to change. The suspense books became too much, especially when something bad happened to the children characters in the book. After some searching and finally discovering the m/m genre, I found my new perfect reading experience. While I still prefer suspense books, I also want to have the romance.

As for my own writing, I started as a fan fiction writer in the House MD fandom and believed that only romance stories would do. Soon enough I realized that yes, writing romance is fine, but something was missing. So I dipped into the supernatural and suspense world and that was it. I prefer writing stories with a romantic part but I love writing action scenes. When, for example, I wrote Breeding Stations, which is a science fiction story, I had the most fun to that day in my writing career. In Alpha Unit One, New York, I was able to merge romance, suspense, and cuteness into one single story and had a blast writing. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Blurb:

The cat’s out of the bag….

In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.

Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.

Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Annoyed at my jumbled thoughts and ramblings, I tried to push everything aside and knocked at the door. A deep rumble called out, “Come in!”

For a second, my bravado faltered. What if they found out who I really was? All my hard work would be for nothing, then. No matter how good I was at my job, they’d kick me out before I could utter a single word. Guys like me weren’t supposed to become cops.

I pushed the door handle and walked inside, catching glimpses of a handful of people—mostly large people. That’s how it always was. Everyone had to be taller, bigger, meaner than me. It was like a law or something.

Oh boy, and there I went again with the rambling.

Seven pairs of eyes stared at me, waiting, assessing. After clearing my throat, I gave a small wave with the hand that still clutched the envelope.

“Hi,” I said. My voice came out soft and tentative. Screw that!

Putting more strength into my tone, I tried again. “I’m Nicholas Reed, your new colleague. I’m looking for Sam Black.”

A guy with short black hair, tinged with a few silver strands at his temples, unfolded from a chair. My nose informed me this was the guy who’d jostled me only a minute or so earlier.

Fuck, fuck, fuck! My boss was a lion shifter.

Okay, I could still do this. No stepping back, even though my inner voice screamed at me to leg it. How could I be so stupid as to want to associate with one of his kind?

Black strode toward me—or maybe I should say he swaggered—oozing self-confidence and… intoxicating pheromones. He smiled as he stretched out his hand. For a second, I got lost in his hazel eyes. All my defenses lowered at once. I wanted to rub my cheek against his in the worst way while my inner voice shrieked, filled with too many emotions for me to accurately compute.

I blinked, which effectively cleared my head. Bastard!

I knew what he was doing. He was checking to see if I’d fall for his pheromones and react so he could determine whether I was a shifter instead of a human. I ignored his hand, still held out there waiting for the obligatory shake, and sneered. “What? No conviction in the system?”

He dropped his hand and scowled. “Last guy who reeked of cologne as much as you do was no human. He fooled everyone, and he put the team in jeopardy.”

“So the guy was a shifter. What’s your problem with that?”

“Guy was a goddamn sheep, that’s my problem. First sign of trouble, he ran.” My new boss frowned suddenly. “How’d you pick up on what I was doing?”

Shit. That tiny inner voice yelled something unintelligible at me, but I’ve had years of practice ignoring it. “You sniffed the air, and let me tell you, it wasn’t subtle.”

A lanky man on my right threw a ballpoint pen onto his desk, laughing. “He’s got you there, Sam. Regarding your question about the shifter—that’s just how we roll here, kid. We don’t work with sheep or small shifters. They’re not dependable.”

“Then it’s your lucky day, since I’m simply human,” I stated, wishing I’d stop sweating so much.

Black circled me before his meaty hand landed on my neck. I stood stock-still as he swept my hair aside and whispered, “Then you won’t have a problem with me taking a whiff, right? You know, just to make sure you’re not another one of those lying idiots who could cost my team their lives.”

“Does that mean you’ve had trouble with imposters regularly?” I asked, curious even as a shiver crept down my spine. A huge beast sniffing at me tended to put the fear of God into me.

“Everyone wants to get on this team, but only a few are a good fit,” Black purred. “You’re sweating. Are you scared of what I’m going to find out, and what I’m going to do with you then?”

I had a pretty good idea what he’d do with me if he found out. “You’re sniffing at my neck, dude. Either you want to fuck me or bite me. Neither option sounds incredibly appealing.”

Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between teaching, taking care of her family, reading, and sometimes writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as romance, paranormal, and suspense. She also buys way too many fabrics and spends a ridiculous amount of time behind her sewing machine.

Links:

blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com

e-mail: christi_kat25@yahoo.com

Blog Tour – Finding My Way Home (Doyle Global Securities #2) by Kendel Duncan (excerpt)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Finding My Way Home – Doyle Global Securities #2

Author:  Kendel Duncan 

Publisher: Dare Publishing & Design

Cover Artist:  Dara Nelson & Dan Skinner

Release Date: July 25, 2018

Genre/s:  Gay Romance, MM

Length: 53 000 words/230 pages

It is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads    

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   

Amazon UK 

Blurb

“Have you ever been so lost that you couldn’t remember what home looked like, what it felt like?

So lost that home was a distant memory – a place that you never had hope of finding it again?

That’s how I felt, how I’d felt for years, for longer than I could remember.

Until I found you, Bas.

I just wish I could tell you that….

I’m coming.  I’m coming for you, Bas.  And I’m going to do my best to try….for you.”

~Ten

                                                                                                                                                

For longer than he could remember Tenley ‘Ten’ Pinkerton had been lost.  Wandering this earth with no hope, no soul, no heart, no purpose.  The day the love of his life, Sawyer, had been brutally murdered was the day that everything beyond the basic elements of survival – like breathing and a beating heart – had been shut down.

Until him.

Sebastian ‘Bas’ Monroe.

Fucking Bas Monroe.

Somehow the man had wormed his way past Ten’s defenses, past the armor plates surrounding his heart, past the pain.  Somehow he’d gotten inside.

Ten wasn’t really sure how he felt about that.

But the day that Bas went missing?

Ten knew that he would die if he that’s what it came to in order to find Bas, in order to save him.

The question that remained:

Was he going to be saving Bas Monroe?  Or was he going to be saving himself?

Excerpt

Ten followed Morgan back out to his car.  They were both completely silent for the twenty-minute drive to what looked to Ten like an abandoned warehouse complex.  But when they got closer Ten could see the tell-tale signs that this was a secret government facility: the electronic laser fencing, the high-tech motion sensors.

“I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy,” Ten said quietly.

He looked over to find Morgan smiling slightly even though every other part of his body was tense, “You would be correct scarecrow.”

As he turned into a weed covered parking lot, he slowed by what looked like a large rhododendron. As he rolled his window down, Ten mumbled, “Tin man.”

“What?” Morgan said as he looked back at Ten.

“I would be the Tin man in that scenario.  No heart, remember?”

“Oh,” Morgan said as he leaned out to move a large branch to the side revealing an electronic keypad with a fingerprint scanner below it, “You’re full of shit,” he mumbled as he punched in a code and pressed his thumb to the scanner.  There was a barely imperceptible beep, the circle around the fingerprint turned green and then Morgan let his foot off the brake.

“That’s it?” Ten said as he looked out the windows, “All it does is beep? How do you know you’ve been given clearance?”

“Because nobody is shooting at us.  And you’re still full of shit.”

“What do you mean?”

“About the shooting or the shit?” Morgan said with a smirk.

Ten rolled his eyes, “The shit, smartass.”

“You have the biggest heart of anyone I know.  You just choose to have it locked down tight.”

Morgan could pretty much hear the silent huff that Ten made as he glared at him.  “Stop trying to fix me, Morg.  It’s not possible.”

“And yet here you are ready to do anything and everything to save Bas.”

“Because you asked me to!”

“Bullshit.  That’s bullshit, and you know it.”

Ten opened his mouth to say something else but Morgan interrupted him.  “Tamp it down, Pinkerton.  We’re here,” he said as he put his car in park and shut it off.  He turned in his seat and pinned Ten with a look that said listen very carefully, so Ten did.

“Don’t do or say anything in there unless I tell you to.  Stay with me.  Don’t touch anything, don’t, just don’t….”

“Don’t what?”

“Just fucking behave, okay?”

Ten smirked, “Yes, Dad.  Can we go into the secret clubhouse now?”

“This is not a fucking joke, Ten.  Anyone in this building could kill you between heartbeats and there wouldn’t be a damn thing that I could do to stop it.  Do you hear me?”

Ten dipped his chin, the smirk long-gone from his face, “Yeah, Morg, I get it.”

“Okay, good.”

They both climbed out of the car and Ten frowned when Morgan didn’t lock it, “You’re not locking it?”

“They’re going to search it while we’re inside and when we leave so there’s really no point.”

“They can break into your car that easily?”

Morgan shook his head, “These people can do anything they fucking want to, Ten.  How can I convince you of that?”

“Okay, Morg, okay. I get it.  I promise, I get it,” Ten said as he walked over to Morgan and touched his tense shoulder.

Morgan took a deep breath and sighed it out, “I hope so, Ten.  I really hope so,” he said and then together they began walking to the front door.

About the Author

I was born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California but have made my home in the Pacific Northwest for the last two decades.  My husband & I live on a small farm surrounded by chickens, goats, rabbits, a turkey, 5 dogs and a cat, in the shadow of stunning Mt Rainier.

With my grown children and grandchildren nearby, my life is always busy, happy and full of laughter.

I am an active Blogger, having created Love Unchained Book Reviews out of my love for all things MM books.

Owner of Dare Press – Offering quality, affordable services for indie authors, including:

Editing, Publishing, Book Cover Design

NY Literary Magazine Best Story Award 2017 Nominee

When I’m not on the phone with my best friend (which is at least once every day) – I am an avid, addicted reader.  It is my passion, my escape, my joy.
And I am most definitely a writer. The characters in my head are constantly demanding that their story be told.
But above all that – I am a human being. My passion for people is unparalleled, my firm belief in Love is Love unwavering, my hope that all can be accepted, undying. I do not write because I want to, I do it because I have to.  I write because these voices, these beautiful men, have chosen me to tell their stories – and how damn lucky am I for that?

As an author, I write under both my name and a pen name, with total transparency and honesty:


Dara Nelson 

Author of the wildly popular ‘Healing Hearts’ series (Love in the Aftermath, Love After Chaos, Love Worth Fighting For – and more to come soon)

“5 stars 5 stars  Amazing!!”

“Highly recommended”

“This is not your average romance story. It is so much more. A book that touched my heart.”

“OMG!!! This was probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.”

“This is the first time I’ve read anything from Dara Nelson, but it won’t be the last. I need more of her writing!”

Under the pen name Kendel Duncan:                                                                                         

Author of the popular & critically acclaimed ‘Black Ops Heroes’ series and the new top-selling ‘Doyle Global Securities’ series

“I can’t recommend Kendel Duncan or Black Ops Heroes ENOUGH!!!! OMG, everyone who likes strong vulnerable men will love these stories!!!”

“I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND THIS AMAZING SERIES!!!!!”

“I love how you keep the story going and keep all the characters interesting. Can’t wait for the next book!”

“The emotions are so raw and just I don’t have the right words to express how amazing the books are. You have to read them to understand. I can’t wait for the next installment!!”

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