A VVivacious Audiobook Review: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton and Matthew Shaw (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Robby Riverton is a rising star of the stage. He is on his way to something big when Robby witnesses a murder committed by a notorious gangster know to be meticulous enough to leave no witnesses alive. Robby’s life changes in a single moment leaving him to flee all he has ever known to live in obscurity.

Trace Crabtree is the Sheriff of Flat Bottom and he finds himself getting bored with his life. On a trip to Santa Fe, he comes across a woman being hassled by two men as he interferes he finds out that the woman is a mail-order bride intended for his little brother. But, as he soon finds out the mail-order bride isn’t who she says she is or more precisely isn’t who he says he is

Firstly, I have to commend Mathew Shaw’s narration. It was so good. The narrator’s voice has a lot of influence on how you perceive an audiobook, it could make an average book good or worse depending on the narration. But, this was definitely one book in which it made a great book greater. Mathew Shaw was amazing. He did different accents for every character which made it even better. I especially loved his accent for Marcy, it was so very unique and the accent became the embodiment of how the character spoke in my mind which is something I have never given much thought to despite how unique and identifying voices can be. There is definitely something to be said about someone whispering a story in your ear though expositions can be particularly torturous in audiobooks.

On the whole, this story is very entertaining. I definitely had some laugh-out moments with this one and this story just kept me amused and feeling all the feels as the story went about its twists and turns.

I really enjoyed the story but there is something that just niggles at the back of my mind with this one which is wholly responsible for the docked half star. Robby plays a woman for the better half of this book. It is only at the very beginning and nearing the end that he is himself. A lot of the times all the characters view Robby as a woman and thus perceive and act accordingly. There is a point in this book where Robby stands up for Emmie and Marcy and points out very tactfully and decisively that they be treated better. At this point, I must confess that the point he brings out also includes the family’s manner and their shoddy attire which is actually for the benefit of everyone. But, still this particular point makes me a bit ill at ease, on the outside, Rowena standing up for the woman is something daring, brave and amazing but we as the readers know it is a man standing up for the women. This scene was one in which the image of the scene as seen by the characters held more significance than as that seen by the readers, because a woman fighting for the rights of other women when a woman’s rights weren’t always guaranteed is different than if a man already assured of his rights fights for the same. It’s just different at least from my perspective so I put it out there. This was the one thing that really made me re-assess my view on the storyline and in a way, I am really glad that Trace knew that Robby was Rowena all throughout, so such situations wouldn’t bias his POV. Also, since the author doesn’t pursue this avenue further and even manages to rectify it to some extent by the end, does help matters.

Also, it’s sometimes weird when you want a 2018 happy ending to a 1860s storyline. So, I had to swallow that down because the author stays true to the era. Not that there isn’t a happy ending, there is, it’s just different to what I would have wanted. This story really has me conflicted at times for some reason I am thrusting my own version of a happy ending on Robby’s happy ending. The author does justice to both her characters but for some stupid reason, I feel disappointed because that is not the ending I personally wanted for me… as these two. It’s complicated. God, this book really messed me up. It’s almost like I was Robby living with the Crabtrees and I just wanted him to continue on like that forever irrespective of the dis-service it would be to his own character. I feel like I put myself in Robby’s place a little too much.

Anyhow those idiosyncrasies aside (that probably anyone who isn’t me wouldn’t have even noticed), this book is truly amazing, hilarious and all around entertaining. I loved how Robby faces so many hurdles as best as he can adapting and trying to make the World a better place. It’s amazing what he is able to do for the Crabtrees and Clovis. That conversation that Rowena has with Clovis about manners is like a warm ray of sunshine, I wanted to snuggle in it. I loved Rowena’s interactions with Pa-pa and especially with Marcy and Emmie. I kind of loved the trio these three made.

I really loved the real Miss Rowena Fairchild, Robby as Rowena, Emmie and Marcy. Emmie, Marcy and Clovis were such amazing people and I whole-heartedly feel in love with these characters.

Trace was someone who I didn’t like when the book began but somehow slowly but steadily without me even realising it I had been won over, as at the end of the book I was shocked to realise that I had started out pretty cold towards Trace.

Trace and Robby were so good. There was so much to overcome when it came to Trace’s view on relationships, particularly those between two men an I liked how the author stayed true to the 19th century in that regard. But, I loved how well Robby and Trace were together and how inevitable.

All things considered, this book is an amazing read. It was so much fun listening to and I really really, enjoyed this one.

Cover Art by Dar Albert / Wicked Smart Designs. I loved the cover especially when I came across the author’s note on the same.

Sales Links: Amazon US |  Amazon U |  Amazon CA | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
Published August 2nd 2018 by Pinkerton Road (first published April 24th 2018)
Original Title Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride
Edition Language English
setting New Mexico (United States) 

A Lucy Review: Boyfriend Or Bust by Claire Castle

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Fake boyfriend?  A favorite trope of mine and I devour those stories like candy.  There is nothing I like more than having two guys realize the pretense has led to something real.  That is the basis behind Boyfriend or Bust.  Told in alternating first person point of view, we have Carson, a nice guy with a nasty ex, who gets an invite to said ex’s wedding. A wedding to the boss who was banging Hugo while he was with Carson. Rude, right? Carson thinks so too and when he calls Hugo the Horrible to tell him off for the invite he instead makes up a boyfriend, conveniently seeing a bottle of Samuel & Sons hand soap and inventing Samuel who will accompany him as a plus-one.  Hugo doesn’t believe it, but whatever.

When Nate’s best friend, Sloan, finds out about it she is all for shoving it in Hugo’s face.  “Sloan hated him from the beginning, I knew that much.”  So she brings up using her brother, auspiciously named Sam, a man that Nate has crushed on.  Nate has “…admired her brother from afar for years” but was also caught referring to Sam as “…an airhead gym rat…”, as Sam is a personal trainer.  Nate claims it was only a joke, but I didn’t understand how that would be funny at all.  Sam has also crushed on Nate over the years as well.  Sam agrees. 

This is where I started to question the story.  First off, the wedding is in Greece.  Nate is paying for the two weeks there.  That is a lot of money to spend just to show up an ex-boyfriend that you realize is a complete jerk.  Second, while Sam claims to have agreed to this crazy idea because he loves his sister, “How could I say no to my little sister? I would do anything for her.”  Yet later in the book he talks about how he and Sloan aren’t close.  There was some family trauma and it tore everyone apart. “I love her as a sister, but it’ll never be the same, you know?”  So it was surprising then that he would take two weeks from work to accompany Carson, someone he barely knows and heard smack-talking him, to be a fake boyfriend at an ex’s wedding.  Especially when they are supposed to be getting to know each other in the two months before the wedding, yet when Sam tries, Nate blows him off.  It was odd. It makes Sam really think, “We can hang out.  I know you don’t like me much, but if you want me in this with you, I will help you show this jerkwad what he missed out on.”

They do, however, start to get to know each other better and realize that they might just be good for each other.  It actually turns to insta-love fairly quickly, considering it’s two months from the time they first talk to the wedding trip itself.  Here was another thing that got me.  I was already thinking that the two-week trip to Greece was a going pretty far to tick off an ex, but once they are there Hugo is so over the top rude, condescending and nasty that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they would attend the wedding.  Carson already got to let Hugo know he’s put the cheating man behind him, so why not just enjoy the vacation.  Hugo’s reaction, “The fake tone of his voice was hard to miss.  “what’s he paying you then? Do you work for 1-900-MEN-4HIRE?  Even Sam asks, “On second thought, do we really have to attend the wedding?”  Honestly, I felt like it was a manipulation to get some bad behavior (well, more bad behavior) on the part of Hugo into the story.  Bad behavior that honestly didn’t make sense in the context it was placed.  Holding up your wedding for that reason?  “…he’s the type to use it against you, if you don’t show.”  Does Hugo work with Carson? Otherwise, they don’t speak so who cares.

Carson and Sam do have a lot of sex over the course of the months.  There is dialogue that was very off-putting during some of this. Sometimes too sappy, sometimes it was like they were mechanical.  “When you are about to come inside me, pump once, and we’ll come together.”  The writing overall was a little simplistic and sometimes awkward.  Finally, Carson at one point says, “I want you to know, I never judged you for being a personal trainer.”  Why on earth would you even think to judge someone for that?  Sam’s response, “I know, Carson. That’s one of the things I love about you. You’ve always taken me as I am.  You’re genuine and nonjudgmental.”  What? Personal training is a stable, healthy career. 

It is unfortunate that this book didn’t really work for me.  There were too many things that made me question or roll my eyes. It had a lot of potential but I don’t think it lived up to it all.  I would try this author again and see if maybe next time I’d like the story more.

The cover art, a handsome man set against a background of the sea, is pretty and fits in well with the theme of the book.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 231 pages
Published August 11th 2018
ASINB07GCVQQH5
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Meik & Sebastian (Obsessed #2) by Quin Perin

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Ever since the first sexual encounter with Sebastian, Meik has felt off-kilter.

He can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t work without thinking about the musician and so, Meik decides to settle into an arrangement with him. There is no love. There is no romance. Sebastian gets a warm place to sleep, and Meik gets to keep his boy toy.

The perfect bargain.

But when Sebastian’s presence triggers memories of his first and only love, Meik unravels under the reminiscences that carved him into the man he is today. Will Meik be able to hold himself together or will his carefully crafted badass image fall apart?

This is the second book of the Gay Erotic Romance “Obsessed” which features explicit adult m/m content as well as romantic elements. The book ends on a cliffhanger.

This story delves deeper into Meik’s subconscious and gives us a little background on him.  I am enjoying the way the authors are presenting the stories and it’s written in a way that I don’t necessarily have to like the characters to like the book.  I’m not usually good with cliffhangers but I’m trusting they will get the next segment out quickly.

Meik is still an ass in this story but we get the chance to see he wasn’t always that way and we see a slight crack in his walls when Sebastian is sick.  I find myself being impatient for the next story so that I can see what happened to make him the way he is now.  We see Sebastian but other than fighting back with Meik on being tested he is just there for Meik’s enjoyment.

The cover art by Vanessa Rödiger is nice and typical of serials matches the other stories.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Expected Publication: September 1, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Obsessed #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Something About Us (Saint and Lucky #2) by Riley Hart

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I had the pleasure of reading this immediately after completing Something About You, book one in the series. Both books were terrific, and this one seamlessly built on the foundation Lucky and Saint began in book one.

Lucky leaves his family and small hometown for the first time in his life as he accompanies Saint back to his world in LA. Fascinated, frightened, and frustrated all come to mind when I think of Lucky’s first weeks with Saint. The traffic is overwhelming and dangerous, and he’s unemployed and feeling down because not only is he not contributing financially, he knows he’ll never earn enough to be Saint’s equal. Speaking of that—Saint has friends and acquaintances, a job, and an important role in society as a supporter of AIDS research and other charitable organizations in the LA area, and the few times Lucky is included, he’s most definitely an outsider.

Though he finally obtains a job in construction, he continues to feel “less than” and Saint inadvertently feeds into that by not including Lucky in his after-work get-togethers and by avoiding taking Lucky to his usual West Hollywood haunts. And on Lucky’s end, he commits a relationship no-no by not telling his boss and coworkers that he’s bisexual and living with a man.

But in the house? In their little love bubble? The two are solid. Or so it seems. Each is holding back a bit, Saint out of habit, Lucky out of fear of the unknown. It takes a crisis for them to finally take a break and work on themselves so they can be healthier together.

I loved the way the author worked to build this relationship from the ground up, knocking down the bad bricks, so to speak, and starting again each time to cement a solid relationship. Yes, I know that’s a terrible pun, but it fits. But most of all, I loved the way Lucky allowed his softer, more feminine side to not only come out but to come out with no fear. Starting with a discussion of wearing feminine underwear in book one, Lucky owns it in book two, and ultimately is solidly okay with his desire to be feminine in some ways on some days.

After a lot of work individually and together, the two eventually manage to merge their lives completely, and the story ends on a solid HEA. I highly recommend this series to all who love an MM romance, interracial couples, genderfluid characters, and a crossover visit from other characters. I nearly forgot to mention Lucky stopped at a restaurant in Virginia to see Nick (Crossroads). He and Saint first stopped there in book one when they discovered the restaurant on their way to DC and met the owner, Nick, and his partner, Bryce. I loved both vignettes as they were seamlessly woven into this series. This is a story I can most highly recommend but if you can pick up book one first? All the better. Though this can be a standalone, it really needs book one to complete your enjoyment of the characters.

And the cover? Designed by X-Potion Designs, it’s a black-and-white shot of two hot men in an obviously sexual position.Perfect for this story, and most definitely attention-grabbing.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 198 pages
Published August 12th 2018 by Riley Hart
ASINB07GDQ3K11
Series Saint and Lucky :

Something About You

Something About Us

Don Travis on his characters, the series and new release ‘The Lovely Pines (A BJ Vinson Mystery #4)’ (author guest blog)

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The Lovely Pines (A BJ Vinson Mystery #4) by Don Travis

DSP Publications
Cover Art: Maria Fanning

Sales LInks:  DSP Publications | Amazon

More links below

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Travis here today, talking about characters, the evolution of his  BJ Vinson Mystery Series and the latest story, The Lovely Pines.  Welcome, Don.

 

 

 

 

Winery Worker Gunned Down in Middle of the Night

Police Investigating Whether Murder is Connected to a Prior Break-in

This was likely the Albuquerque Journal headline in my fourth novel in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines. The killing follows what seemed a harmless act of simple vandalism, a break-in at the Lovely Pines Winery and Vineyard. With this, the story is off and running. Readers meet old friends and are introduced to new ones. BJ’s there with his significant other, Paul Barton, his business partners in Vinson and Weeks Confidential Investigations, Hazel and Charlie Weeks, old Mrs. Wardlaw, the across-the-street widow who’s a retired DEA hand. And, of course, there’s Lieutenant Gene Enriquez, BJ’s old riding partner from his days as an Albuquerque Police Department detective.

As an author, it’s amazing to me how new stories play off old ones. BJ’s involvement in The Bisti Business is what sent the winery’s new owner, Ariel Gonda, to him for help. I’ll swear, I had no inkling that Ariel would reappear down the line when I named him the Swiss national treasurer of Alfano Vineyards in Napa Valley. In fact, we never met Ariel in Bisti. He was just a name. But he stuck with me and muscled his way into my book. And most people figure authors create characters. Often, the truth is that characters in our heads create authors.

The book’s blurb gives you the flavor of the novel:

 

When Ariel Gonda’s winery, the Lovely Pines, suffers a break-in, the police write the incident off as a prank since nothing was taken. But Ariel knows something is wrong—small clues are beginning to add up—and he turns to private investigator BJ Vinson for help.

BJ soon discovers the incident is anything but harmless. When a vineyard worker—who is also more than he seems—is killed, there are plenty of suspects to go around. But are the two crimes even related? As BJ and his significant other, Paul Barton, follow the trail from the central New Mexico wine country south to Las Cruces and Carlsbad, they discover a tangled web involving members of the US military, a mistaken identity, a family fortune in dispute, and even a secret baby. The body count is rising, and a child may be in danger. BJ will need all his skills to survive because, between a deadly sniper and sabotage, someone is determined to make sure this case goes unsolved.

Now let me give you a short scene that comes at the beginning of the fifth chapter of the book, which will explain the imagined headlines above:

*****

The phone rang at five thirty the next morning. Paul groaned and turned over. I swore for the thousandth time to delist my home number from the directory.

“Vinson,” I mumbled into the pesky instrument.

“BJ, this is Ray Yardley.”

I sat up, suddenly wide-awake. “Why is the state police calling me at this ungodly hour?”

Ray and I met back when we were both APD cops. We’d worked together on a couple of cases before I got shot and he went over to the state boys. He was a good man. Must be. He was a lieutenant now.

“Your client insisted I call you.”

“Bless my client. Which one should I thank?”

“Fellow by the name of Gonda out at the Lovely Pines Winery. There’s been a homicide involving one of his employees, and he said you were working on something that could tie in.”

“Who got killed?”

“A fellow by the name of Zuniga. Bascomb Zuniga. Know him?”

“Talked to him yesterday for the first time. He seemed like a decent kid. When did it happen?”

“Sometime last night. Fill me in on your involvement, will you?”

I took Ray through the situation and asked if I could walk the scene of the crime.

“Not right now. The crime scene boys still have it. Hell, I don’t even have access yet.”

“Who has jurisdiction?”

“When the call came to central dispatch, it was routed to us. We’ll probably retain control, but Sandoval County has a deputy out here. An officer named Roma Muñoz. Know her?”

“No. She have any experience?”

“Been a member of the department for ten years now. I’ve worked with her before. Prickly but competent. I’ll put in a good word for you. Why don’t you drive on up and wait for us at the house? Your client’s pretty broken up. We had to physically remove him from the crime scene and forbid him to return. And we could use some help making sense of things. His English deserts him, and he shifts into a foreign language now and then. Sometimes it sounds like French and sometimes it sounds like German.”

“He’s a naturalized citizen from Switzerland, so it’s probably a little of both. It’ll take me better than an hour to clean up and get up there. Will you still be around?”

“Oh yeah. I’ll meet you at the Lovely Pines. That’s a hell of a name, isn’t it?”

“But appropriate. It’s a pretty place.”

I hung up and found Paul staring at me through sleep-filled brown eyes. “What’s up?”

“I am, I guess. One of Ariel Gonda’s people got himself killed last night. You catch some more z’s. I’ll try to be quiet.”

“Naw, I’ve got to get moving anyway. I’ll fix breakfast while you shower.”

*****

Now they say I have to tell you something about myself. Sometimes I think that I write stories because my own life is so boring. There’s not really much to tell. I grew up in southeastern Oklahoma as a tubercular child, a mama’s boy who lived in libraries. Believing I could not physically participate in sports, I developed absolutely no interest in them, thereby putting miles between me and my peers. College sent me to Texas; the US Army, to Germany. That is when I found out I could do anything anyone else could do… sort of late in life to learn that. I painted still-lifes for a while but gave up painting to return to writing. I wrote and sold sixty or so short stories under a pseudonym, published seven novels under that same name, but wanted to write mysteries under Don Travis. So I did. And here we are. Hey, I warned you it was boring.

What am I up to now? Abaddon’s Locusts, my fifth BJ Vinson book has been put to bed by DSP Publications and scheduled for release January 22, 2019. Once again, I reached back to Bisti for some of the characters and set a lot of the action on the Navajo Nation reservations in New Mexico. The sixth, The Voxlightner Scandal, is abirthing in my computer as we speak.

Many thanks to Stella and Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for allowing me to guest post this blog. This is not the first time they’ve been so kind, and it’s sort of hard to let them know how much I appreciate it.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

I encourage personal contact by readers. They don’t know it, but I draw on them like some old vampire for literary sustaining energy. My personal links follow:

Blog: dontravis.com

Email: dontravis21@gmail.com

Facebook: dontravis

Twitter: @dontravis3

And some buy links for The Lovely Pines:

DSPP ebook: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-lovely-pines-by-don-travis-457-b

DSPP paperback: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-lovely-pines-by-don-travis-468-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lovely-Pines-BJ-Vinson-Mystery/dp/1640805052

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lovely-pines-don-travis/1127915422

Again, thanks to Stella and Melanie, and a shout-out to DSP Publications—without which there would be nothing to read.

Amy Lane on Deals with God, and her latest release ‘A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3)’ (author guest post)

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A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3) by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Reese Dante

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Lane on tour for her newest release, A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3).  Welcome back, Amy!

 

Deals with God

By Amy Lane

We do this all the time.

“Oh please oh please oh please, let me make this flight and I shall never, ever, ever, stop for coffee on the way to the airport again!”

“Oh please oh please oh please, let me find that one shirt, the perfect shirt, for this occasion before it’s time to leave and I’ll do laundry all the time and fold it as soon as it’s out of the drier forever and ever amen!”

Or, more seriously,

“OH please. Please. Please, let this person be okay. I’ll do anything. Anything at all, please, just let them be okay.”

In book two, Red Fish, Dead Fish, Ellery made a deal with God. If Jackson came home alive after a harrowing night and a terrible day, Ellery would go to temple for a year.

Now, some people would take a look at their beloved and say, “Oh, thank you God, I know you know I didn’t really mean it and you gave him back anyway!”

But some people would follow through.

The only reason Ellery won Jackson in the first place is that he’s made of follow through.

The book opens up with Ellery trying to get to temple (and Jackson trying to convince him that nobody’s that excited about Jackson’s survival and worship is a terrible waste of a Saturday morning) and the question is brought up again.

“How much does God really care about the deals we make when we’re desperate and sad? Is he really going to hold us to that, or can we sort of shimmy out of it?”

Ellery shimmies out of nothing. 

Jackson whines and bitches and complains—but he always keeps his word.

So Jackson is forced to look at himself—hard—to see if he’s worth all this trouble. He’s never been worth trouble before—he’s mostly just been trouble. As far as he sees it, he’s cannon fodder, and that’s flesh and bone well spent.

But Ellery doesn’t see him that way.

The thought leaves him twitchy. Oh my God, he is made of hangups! He’s had to work his ass off to get over the injuries from the last book and he’s still not whole! He’s not eating, he’s not sleeping, and he can’t close his eyes without waking up in a sweat-wringing nightmare.

He can’t go out on the most basic run without risking his life.

And every day, every morning, when he and Ellery walk out the door, Ellery has to face the fact that Jackson might not come back.

So in the course of book three, Jackson has to make his own deals with God. 

Not the kind Ellery made—not the straight up trade. It’s more of the, “What do I have to do to make myself worth all this trouble,” variety or bargain.

And while we all know Ellery has essentially accepted him with all his glitches, what Jackson eventually decides to do is fix what he can, so he’s not such a burden to love.

Now we know where this is heading—eventually. In order for Jackson to truly fix himself, he needs to realize he’s worthy of love while still broken. But Jackson and Ellery have many more adventures to go, and nobody said Jackson was great at the emotional learning thing.

So we have the promise of that in future books—and boy is it a big job.

As Ellery has thought at the end of book one and book two and now book three—they have so much more to do.

Blurb

Fish Out of Water: Book Three

A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact?

PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit.

But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den.

Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows.

It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

 

Excerpt

“Sh….” Ellery slicked his hair back from his face and whispered to him as he collapsed limply, Ellery’s long limbs sheltering him from the cold outside their little bed.

“Sorry,” Jackson said, blinking hard, irritated at himself for losing sight of his plan. He was supposed to keep control, dammit. He was supposed to blow Ellery’s mind, not get swept away in the sexual tide himself!

“For what?” Ellery asked tenderly.

“Was trying to make it holy,” Jackson told him, lost enough to tell the truth.

Ellery struggled out from under him, pushing Jackson to his side while Ellery rolled over to face him. “Tell me this wasn’t!” he demanded.

Jackson grimaced. “Do you have to?” he asked. “I mean, if our sex is holy and shit, doesn’t that mean you don’t have to go?”

“Nobody is holding a gun to my head! Goddammit, Jackson, do you not get why I have to do this?”

“Aren’t you too late to go this week?” Jackson asked hopefully.

Ellery laughed, grim satisfaction in every syllable. “I set the alarm early so we could have breakfast.” He glanced over his shoulder. “And you know what? We still can.”

Jackson grimaced. Dammit. “But….”

Ellery’s expression softened, and he reached out to brush Jackson’s cheekbone with his fingertips. “Baby, why does this bother you so much?”

Jackson scowled. “Because if you’re thanking God for me, God’s going to show you what a mistake that is, and I like it here.”

With a groan and a heave, Ellery rolled off the bed. “There is no talking to you about this! Now get in the shower, and I’ll make pancakes. And no! You can’t wear jeans!”

“But you said I didn’t have to get out of the car!” Jackson hollered, finding a clean set of boxers in the dresser Ellery had set aside for him.

“I lied! You at least have to visit the outside, dammit!” Ellery grabbed his sleep pants and his sweatshirt from the folds of the covers and started dragging them on.

“But won’t I burst into fire?” Jackson asked, only partially kidding. His past… oh God. His past wasn’t checkered, it was chicken-pocked! “I mean, won’t you get kicked out and excommunicated if you show up with me next to you?”

“No, Jackson, they’ve got a big ol’ reformed-slut alarm that sounds as soon as you step foot on the ground, and then a force field shoots up, separating us and catapulting you to purgatory for the length of the service. After your first six visits, they give you the option of walking there on your own while a sorcerer whispers arcane words and tries to set me up with a doctor, because that’s just how Jews roll.”

Jackson stared at him, cheeks flushed with color, fine brown eyes sparkling with righteous anger, and like it usually did, the thing in his chest melted into a gooey little puddle.

“I can see your sarcasm is functioning well this morning. Isn’t that going to taint the pancakes?”

Ellery struggled to keep his mouth firm. “I can make my pancakes both strawberry and sarcastic. But if you want whipped cream, you’re going to have to shut up, get dressed, and let me have this. Understand?”

Jackson let out a sigh. “If I see anybody there in jeans, I’m not wearing slacks next time.”

“That, too, is understood.”

“And if anybody gives you shit about the gay—”

“We shall find a temple that has no shits to give. Also understood.”

“If you find someone there who’s better than me….” He scowled and stared at the picture of them Ellery had put up on the end table, Jackson looking uncomfortable in his best dinnerwear and Ellery smiling charmingly for his father, who was perhaps the dearest man Jackson had ever met. The picture had been taken outside Ellery’s parents’ house in Boston over Thanksgiving, and while Jackson could say for certain it had been a good time, every single memory he had seemed to be tempered with the stomach-churning anxiety he was dealing with now.

An Ellery Cramer and a Jackson Rivers did not make sense in any way, shape, or form. The longer they were together, the more Jackson looked for the chapped, palsied hand of fate to try to rip them apart. And every time Ellery said he was being ridiculous, Jackson had to walk away, because the fact was, he had almost died—twice—since the two of them had gotten together in the summer.

If that wasn’t God trying to tell Jackson the facts of life, Jackson didn’t know what was.

So Ellery going to temple out of some sort of weird deal he’d made with the big guy—on the one hand, it never hurt to suck up to the person in charge.

On the other hand, Jackson was a fan of the old Irish saying “May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”

In this case, he would just as soon nobody, God or devil, even knew he was on the planet. He’d had forces bigger than he was meddle in his life, and he had the layers of scar tissue to show he’d barely survived.

“If I find somebody who’s better than you,” Ellery snapped, bringing him to the present, “I’m not the one he’ll be hitting on.”

Jackson scowled at him. “You’re being stupid.”

Ellery’s thin lips curled up into a smile. “So are you.”

“Fine. Fine, I’ll go. I’ll even be a grown-up. But Ellery, those had better be some damned good pancakes.”

Ellery rolled his eyes and grabbed his robe, swanning out for his exit, singing “My pancakes bring all the boys to the yard…” as he went.

After he left the room, Jackson allowed himself a fond smile. God, he really was being ridiculous. Who over the age of twelve pitched this big a fit over church, or temple, or whatever?

But as he jumped in the shower and started to wash, he just couldn’t shake the unease that knotted in his stomach.

For much of his life, things like food, shelter, basic safety—things Ellery had taken for granted every day of his life—had been dreams to Jackson Rivers. Now, living with Ellery in his posh American River Drive house with cavernous rooms and real wood floors, Jackson had food and shelter and, God help him, emotional safety on a daily basis.

He was just waiting for God to stop helping him and rip it all away.

About the Author

Mother, knitter, author, wife, fur-baby wrangler, dreamer–Award winning writer Amy Lane writes romance because the voices in her head are real and she wants them to be happy at the end.

Release Blitz – Second Chance Ranch (Montana #5) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 55,300 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Montana Series
 
Book #1 – Crooked Tree Ranch – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book #2 – The Rancher’s Son – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – A Cowboy’s Home – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Snow In Montana – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Rob runs to Crooked Tree determined to find a safe place for his nephews. A family for them is the final thing on his list, and then he can vanish completely. Falling for a local paramedic along the way is a disaster in Rob’s otherwise perfect plans.


Paramedic Aaron, the middle of five brothers, would like someone to love. A great believer in fate he is convinced though, that one day he’ll find someone. He just never thought it would be a man in so much pain, or that children would be part of the package.


Rob is ready to leave. Aaron wants him to stay. Their love has an expiry date, and it’s tearing them apart. Can they find a way to save what they have?


The Final book in the Montana Series

 
Excerpt
 
Chapter 1


Rob Brady knew three things. His sister was dead, he was the guardian to her two boys, and he was stuck in Hell.


And why am I fixating on Hell?


Oh yeah, the room, the kids, the crushing grief of absolutely fucking everything.


If Hell was a small, airless room with no windows, a flickering light, and two utterly silent children staring at him as if he’d personally murdered their mother.


Oh, and a thin-lipped woman from Child Protection Services looking at him the same way.


Of course, he hadn’t killed his sister because he only ever took out the bad guys. With ruthless efficiency, he’d carved out the poison in the US and kept its citizens safe. Most people would’ve described him as an assassin, but he was more than that; the last resort when normal lines of defense failed.


At least, he used to be until he caught a bullet things went pear-shaped.


“How long have they been on their own?” Rob Brady didn’t know what else to ask. He wanted to be angry with the DCFS but how could he be? Instead, he wavered between anger and guilt, and it was guilt that was winning.


“Mr. Brady, they were never on their own.”


“My sister—” He stopped talking when he realized he was just about to state how long ago his sister died when her children were sitting right there in the room. Lowering his tone, he then turned to Sylvia from the DCFS, efficient and steady, and just ever so slightly pissed at him. “A year. They’ve been on their own a year.”


Sylvia inhaled sharply and clutched her folders to her chest.


“And for a little less than that, we have tried to track down their uncle and been unable to find anything.”


“I know. I get that.” Anyone trying to find him would reach several dead-ends whichever way they went. First of all the navy and his time in the SEALs, then when he joined the team combatting mainland terrorism. At every turn, his existence was classified, and in the end, he’d become nothing more than a ghost. “That isn’t my point.”


Sylvia tapped a finger on the files in a steady rhythm. “Then please, can you enlighten me as to what exactly is your point?”


He opened the door and gestured for her to go into the hallway, following her out and shutting it behind them. He had questions and didn’t want to ask them in front of his nephews.


“Why has no one adopted them? Why don’t they have a forever home with a new family?”


“Because your sister’s intention was that you would take the boys. It’s explicitly stated in every legal form we have, and it was her dying wish.”


“But she couldn’t have known I would ever come back. Or that I was even alive…” He floundered for something to say. He’d come back to town on the off chance he’d see what was left of his extended family from a distance, and instead, he’d learned his sister was dead, after losing a battle with cancer, that there was no father in the picture, and that his nephews were in the system.


“Nonetheless, they are legally your responsibility. Given you worked so hard to get authorization from Governor Chilton, something I’ve never seen before, along with psych evals that no normal person would have access to, you are now in a position to leave with your nephews.”


The minute he’d heard about the boys, he’d realized he needed to get things done. He’d called in favors, had people who owed him create a backstory so tight he seemed like Mother fucking Teresa, and now he was here. His nephews needed a home, and he thought on his feet because he only had another three good months to put anything in place for them. He wanted them looked after, safe, and so he had one more mission before leaving. He’d have to delay spending his last weeks on a beach in Aruba, sipping cocktails and sleeping with anything that moved.


“I can take them today?” he asked. A small, hesitant part of him wanted her to say no, that there were more details to be ironed out.


“Yes.”


“Now?”


“Yes.” She pursed her lips as if it were against her better judgment. But he’d passed all the checks, and the references were sound, he had the governor’s endorsement. It was done.


“Okay then.”


He pushed back into the room. Bran, the older of his two nephews, stared at him steadily. Toby, the youngest, sniffled and gripped his brother hard. Any ordinary uncle would’ve hugged them close and told them everything was going to be okay. But he wasn’t a regular uncle, and he swore Bran knew that because there was accusation in his eyes.


You don’t even know us; he seemed to be saying.


Was it right for Rob to be taking them from their new foster home? They’d been placed with a family currently fostering six kids, and on the surface, everything seemed okay. He’d done his due diligence, and the parents checked out, but there was a weird vibe in the house, a rule of fear, and he didn’t like it.


He’d stayed alive this long by listening to his instinct, and his gut told him he should take Bran and Toby, that he was the boys’ kin. He also knew where he could find them a better home. In the mountains, with rivers and horses, and a whole group of people who would look out for them.


“Everything will be okay.” Was he reassuring himself or the boys?


If anyone who knew him had seen he was being handed two children to take care of, they’d call the cops.


Of course, he could handle the cops. He’d done it before, but the kids would slow him down. Unless he strapped them to his back and—


“Mr. Brady?”


Sylvia talked to him, or at him, and from her expression, she wasn’t impressed he’d stopped listening.


“Sorry, say again?” He glanced at Toby who was sniffling harder and snuggling deeper into his brother. I should go to Toby and…


And what?


Do what? Say what? Scare the kid rigid by being all up in his face?


“We need an address for our records. Unless you reside with Governor Chilton?” The last she added sarcastically.


Oh yeah, a house, an address, he probably needed those. He’d managed to fool them with his credentials so far, and the recommendation he’d gotten from the governor for a favor owed had cut through the red tape. The address was easy; it was the only place he had on his to-do list, the one where the kids could maybe have a home. He just needed to hire a lawyer, update his will, get Justin to agree to his proposal, and he’d be able to leave without any worries.


“Crooked Tree Ranch, outside of Helena, Montana.”

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)

 

 

 

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Audio Review Tour and Giveaway for Eli Easton’s Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride and Matthew Shaw (Narrator)

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Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 7hrs 34 mins


Narrated by: Matthew Shaw


Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design


Blurb


Being a fugitive in the Old West shouldn’t be this much fun. The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run – all the way to Santa Fe.

When he still can’t seem to ditch his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail-order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters who want to kill him and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is – and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up disguised as a woman and betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Trace finds the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed.

But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.


About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.

Her website is www.elieaston.com
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com



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Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here!  We highly recommend it, both in eBook and the wonderful audio format!.