A MelanieM Review: The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.

Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.

Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

The fake marriage/rent a spouse theme is a popular trope in romance whether it be het or LGBT, contemporary or historic.  So I’m always interested in how a author can give it their own twist, freshen it up a bit.  The usual path is the the one main character needs to be married in order to collect own their inheritance/title/mega billions. So I was appreciative of the fact that LA Witt took the opposite direction in The Husband Gambit.

Here Jesse Ambrose is using it to foil his toxic father’s political ambitions by forcing his father to reveal his own hatred of his son and the LGBT community by this act.  The ploy sounds simplistic but Witt makes it anything but with the creation of a dynasty so foul, complex, and brutal to it’s young that you bleed for them. You get involved in their lives through the character of Jesse, a decent human being brought up entirely too rich but with wonderful instincts about right and wrong.  The ad he places leads him to the wonderful Hayden Somerset, poor, highly educated actor, on the edge of making a $20 decision between groceries and gas.

Both men are terrific.  The characters come across as real, layered with personal baggage, family problems, and personalities that would  appear different and yet, both endearing in  ways that the reader can connect with.  Witt balances the drama the naturally springs up around them because of the plans to take down Jesse’s father causes increasing amounts of deceptions and the ones they must confront between themselves when each realizes their feelings for each other is real.

Another element I thought was especially well done was the emotional impact of this entire “gambit” upon Jesse.  The cost isn’t frivolous, the loss of family (even this one) not taken lightly, and the increasing punch to the heart pain we see Jesse take throughout the story is something the reader will feel with him as well.  it’s realistic as is the manner in which he finally has to cope with it’s damage done to him.

The relationship and romance between the men is sexy, warm, and, well, everything you want in a romance.  Plus you will love so many of the secondary characters here including Hayden’s  roommates and Alex, Jesse’s younger brother.

In short, I loved this new take on an old trope.  It was refreshing, lovely, romantic, and a terrific read.  One I highly recommend.  Looking for a new contemporary romance ?  Look no further than The Husband Gambit by LA Witt.

Cover art: L.A. Witt.  I liked this cover.  Eye catching, bold, while it doesn’t convey that it’s a romance novel, it gets the feeling just right.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 489 pages
Published November 15th 2018
ASINB07K2ZDZDZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
Other Editions
None found

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Hidden in Darkness (In Darkness #1) by Alice Winters and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Joel, Joel, Joel. The man of a thousand voices. And when he vocalizes a younger, less experienced, or smaller, less aggressive character, he brings such life, such wonderful humanity to the character’s interactions that I may as well be sitting in front of a big screen TV.  I can picture every wonderful minute.  That’s what happened here.

I really enjoyed this story, and I know that was due, in large part, to Joel Leslie’s narration. The characters were engaging and fun with each other. Their snarky and disparaging words may have come across as rude and nasty on paper, but delivered by this talented voice actor, the barbs and insults were just plain funny! I fell in love with Felix. What a gem! Totally enjoyable and not one to live with caution. He barges into situations without much forethought and then somehow manages to get himself out of trouble.

He also takes the straight-laced Lane and makes him unquestionably loveable. Lane was an undercover copy who was tortured and blinded by one of the men he was stalking. When Felix enters his life to “assist” him in his daily life, his life becomes something he never dreamed of. Instead of feeling sorry for the blind guy, Felix pokes and prods and nags and niggles and Lane gives back just as much as he gets.  Through Felix, we see Lane come to a greater acceptance of his blindness and definitely to a greater acceptance for and need for Felix.  Their relationship is solid by the last scene.

I highly recommend this story in audio format. I’ve just learned there’s a sequel narrated by Joel.  I’ll be on that like syrup on a pancake. This is just the perfect sort of action-packed, and humor-packed, adventure I like to listen to on my walks, or in the car, and because I couldn’t get enough of these characters in Joel’s voice, this one may have accompanied me while I was working. Yes. It’s that good.

The cover features a close-up of a man in a suit jacket and tie, but only the lower half of his face. The tone is dark with a black background. It’s very symbolic of the darkness in which Lane lives.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Tantor Audio (first published February 17th 2018)
ASINB07HJD9RBH
Edition Language English
Series In Darkness #1

An Ali Release Day Review: My Regelence Rake (The Sci-Regency #3) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Second Edition
A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to The Englor Affair
Sebastian Hastings, Viscount Wentworth, is captain of the Royal Guard by day and scandalous rake by night. To protect the royal family of Regelence from the plots of the Intergalactic Navy, Sebastian makes it his priority to personally oversee their safety.Prince Colton Townsend is done pining after the roguish viscount and focuses his attention on his second love—horses. Following his dream of owning a racehorse breeding farm distracts Colton from his heartache… until Sebastian begins shadowing him.

When a good deed at a horse auction sparks public rumors, Colton just might get the man and the marriage he’s longed for. But Sebastian’s duties and secrets keep him walled off from those who would get close.

To reach Sebastian, Colton takes one last risk that might break his heart….

This was another enjoyable installation to this series.  This one focuses on Colton who we haven’t seen a lot of in the previous books.  I found that I really liked his character and I found both he and Sebastian to be entertaining.
This book was a bit different than the first two stories..  There was less of the IN plot and more focus on the couple and the romance.  We also get to see the previous couples and more of the various side characters.  I enjoyed seeing these other glimpses of characters and it seems to be setting up the future books in the series.
I originally read this many years ago so I don’t remember much from my first read.  I know things have been edited because I noticed a big difference in the first two books between the original and these new ones.  This one though, I just don’t remember enough to be able to compare.
Overall I found this to be a really good read.  It could be read as a standalone but you would miss some of the back story and the connections between the characters.  I do hope that these new re-releases mean that the author is finally going to release more books in this series.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design I love these new covers.  I think they look great and are very eye catching.  They are a big improvement over the previous covers in my opinion.
Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Second Edition, 300 pages
Expected publication: November 23rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2012)
Original Title My Regelence Rake
ISBN 139781640806900
Edition Language English
Series Sci-Regency #3
Characters Colton Townsend, Sebastian Hastings setting Regelence

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I almost don’t know where to begin with this. So much happens, it almost feels like different stories cobbled together. Diego and Finn are living in their new house in the Montana forest. Diego has to take a business trip to New York. While he’s gone, Finn saves a drowning women and tries to keep her warm. When Diego comes home and catches them together, his jealousy rips the Veil to the Otherworld open. Here the sidhe and fomorian courts are at odds. There is a wasting disease and the fae are dying because they have been cut off from the earth magic of the world. They need to find a safe place, with unpolluted air and water to cross over. It’s difficult to read stories regarding mythology or folklore, because to some these are their religious beliefs ripped apart by poetic license. I am at a loss as to what to say about the book when the U.S. government comes to deal with the “invaders.” This part feels like she had something left over from Prisoner 374215 (another book by this author), and adapted it and inserted it here. Then, we have the modern ending to the hostilities with a press conferences and good PR.

Instead of grounding this story, Diego and Finn’s relationship is just another agitator. The author uses the plot device of lovers in multiple lives, rather than actually developing their relationship in the here and now. They are each jealous of others and I’m not sure the lack of trust is ever dealt with effectively. They teeter between insecurity and desperation. There is a lot of sex, but why is it always when Finn is injured? They keep swearing their undying love with pet names, but then they hurt each other–Diego with his need to help everyone and not prioritizing Finn, and Finn with his insecurities that send him running away. Then, we have the wedding epilogue. Wow. I got whiplash from reading all that. One would hope now that they are married, all this OTT angst will stop.

It’s strange in a book filled with fae characters, that the people who stand out are the humans: Zach the marine, Miriam the agent, and Tia Carmen the wise woman. I have a feeling Zach and Lugh will be in book three. I also felt that the book kept me running from one emergency to another to cover up any deficiencies. I would say if you would like to see one version of how it might go if fae were real (misunderstood and friendly) and came out to the world, then you might like to read this.

The cover art for this edition is by Emmy @ studioenp. It matches the first book in style and shows when Diego opens the veil in New York to get Tia Carmen’s help.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published September 16th 2010)
Original Title Diego
ASINB07FCT4SVR
Edition Language English
SeriesEndangered Fae #2
Characters Danu, Finn Shannon, Diego Sandoval, Lugh, Balor…more settingMontana (United States)
Otherworld
Tearman Island

Review Tour and Giveaway for The Husband Gambit by LA Witt

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 95,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: L.A. Witt
 
Blurb
 

Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.


Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.


The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.


Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.


Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

November 15Cdawgz Reads, On Top Down Under, Two Chicks Obsessed, Gay Book Reviews, Xtreme Delusions, OMG Reads, November 17Henna Loves Books, Open Mind For A Different View, Urban Smoothie Read, Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, November 19Cupcakes & Bookshelves, November 21Love Unchained, V’s Reads, Mainely Stories, November 23 Momma Says: to Read or Not To Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bonkers About Books, Engaging Secrets, MM Good Book Reviews, November 26Jim’s Reading Room, Making It Happen, November 28Megan’s Media Melange, November 30Mirrigold – Mutterings & Musings, Lillian Francis, Valerie Ullmer, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Southern Babes Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Wicked Reads

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here.  We highly recommend it.

Author Bio

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com
E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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Release Blitz Tour – Stuck With You by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2R8QXwe

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2AewoqS

 – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited

 

Length: 53,000 words approx.

 

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

 

Blurb

 

Two clashing colleagues stuck together for Christmas—will opposites eventually attract?

 

Patrick has been single since he broke up with his cheating ex almost a year ago. With Christmas looming, he’s resigned to spending it alone with only memories of happier times for company. When a business trip with a co-worker leaves them stranded in the Lake District due to heavy snow, it seems Patrick will have company for Christmas after all. It’s a shame his companion is Kyle, who’s undeniably attractive, but annoying as hell.

 

Aware of Patrick’s reluctant admiration, Kyle basks in the attention even though Patrick isn’t the type of man he normally goes for. Averse to relationships after being hurt in the past, Kyle enjoys the occasional hook up, but has given up on seeking anything more meaningful.

 

Stuck together, their antagonism escalates along with a heavy dose of sexual tension until it finally ignites. What starts as a Christmas fling soon feels like something special; but will their tentative connection melt away as the snow thaws? If they’re going to take a chance on finding happiness together, they’ll have to put their differences aside and learn to trust one another.

 

Contains: enemies-to-lovers, snowball fights, bickering, spanking, a cute dog, a wise old lady, mistletoe, and a happy ending (of course).

 

 

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

 

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

 

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has been published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are also available as audiobooks.

 

Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote

Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotewriter

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction

Facebook author group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaysplayground

Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers

 

 

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New Book Release Blitz for Blackwood (Perth Shifters #1) by Pia Foxhall

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 93,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Tiferet Design
 
Blurb
 

In a world that is still getting used to shifters, where everyone thinks omegas are second class citizens, nature photographer and omega Braden Payne lets everyone think he’s a beta. That way no one gives him a hard time and he doesn’t have to live a repeat of his failed relationship. But when his car breaks down in the remote Blackwood forest in Western Australia, without the medication that lets him hide who he is, he’s faced with what he fears most: an unmated alpha.


Government forest guardian and alpha Coll MacDubhar is tired of illegal loggers, foolish tourists and people who underestimate the wilds of Western Australia. He discovers Braden lost and in need of medical assistance in the forest he protects and knows something’s not right.


But there’s hidden depths to Braden that capture his interest, and no decent alpha would walk away when Braden’s unwelcome past comes to visit.

 
Author Bio



Pia Foxhall is a queer, nonbinary and disabled Australian author who lives in the most isolated major city in the world – Perth, Western Australia – with two rescue cats. Much of their time writing is spent working on the Patreon-supported Fae Tales serial, a dark fantasy BDSM erotica epic that has been in production for many years. They’ve always been fascinated with all types of trauma recovery stories, and they like their character’s comfort to be earned, and the growth to feel real, and need a happy ending after that trauma recovery!

 
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