A MelanieM Review: Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Faith, Love, & Devotion Anthology

What happens after the story ends?

Join Matt, Evan, Jim, Griffin, and their friends and families for a glimpse of what happens after happily ever after. Between growing up and growing pains, weddings and retirement, changing careers and changing diapers, life is never boring. Changes, decisions, tears, and joy await as the years march on.

For most readers, we have favorites series we can name at the  drop of a hat.  Characters so beloved, so familiar that they have become a part of us over time, our affection and love growing with each story that rolled out, our connection deepening as we fell into their lives, riding out their romance rollercoasters and some very heavy drama.  And also for all the highs and rewarding moments that kept carrying all of us forward through the series and their relationship(s).

And with all series, there must come an end.  Not that we want to admit it.  But reasonably for every start, a finale must follow.

And for many reasons, that’s the one bit I always approach with apprehension and trepidation.  Series can get off on shaky steps but soon they are off and running, having found their foundation.  And they just get better and better in every way.  Faith, Love, and Devotion was great from the start.  Tere Michaels had characters that were messy, stubborn, closeted, hounded by demons, one had a deceased wife, kids that came with their own issues, police departments and cases that followed them with ghastly consequences, and so much more.  Complex doesn’t even begin to describe these men and their dynamics.

Nor how deeply I and so many others fell in love with them and their painful, often labyrinthine road to a relationship and HEA.  I’m surprised it was only seven books to be honest.

The author wrote skillfully of how mired down any current decision making is in the past histories, how choices for the future are often decided by others and elements flying under the radar.  In other words, these novels were real, believable, sometimes painful and frustrating to read when the characters behaved all too authentically. We could all shake our heads as Evan overthought something yet again, and we wondered how Matt was going to handle it. Don’t get me started on Jim and Griffin’s rocky path.  That had me glued to my Kindle through many a night. Oh, Jim and Griffin, who teetered precariously on becoming my favorites here. We lived with these people…over and over again We  watched the children grow up, the relationships change and mature as they do…and I started to wonder about the end of the series.

Luckily, Michaels decided to give all her readers a love letter. Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels is exactly that.  A collection of short stories that flow one to the other a year of several after that last book.  It shows the natural progression in the lives of these characters.  Mostly hilarious, some warmhearted and loving, it continues to tighten the bonds between all the people you’ve grown to over over all six novels and pulls it together in one last story to gladden your heart.

It’s a series finale you will be happy with.  Not something I have said every time.  No I can go back and read this one again and again as I do many of the books here and be delighted.  I think all lovers of this series and these couples will be too.

So yes I’m highly recommended this collection and this series.  New to Faith, Love, and Devotion?  I’ve listed the entire series for you below. Read them in the order they were written, What a wonderful journey awaits you!  It’s one I intend on taking again and again.

 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published December 25th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07L7HLQWY
Edition Language English
Series Faith, Love & Devotion (add to your Goodreads here) :

Faith & Fidelity

Love & Loyalty (the start of Jim Shea and Griffin Drake)

Duty & Devotion

Cherish

Cherish & Blessed

Truth & Tenderness

Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories

An Alisa Review: Best Christmas Ever by Terry O’Reilly

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bowing to his parents’ homophobic demands, Professor Henry Rodimacher always chose Christmas with his family over spending it with his partner. However, when Jeremy became terminally ill, Henry defied his family and stayed home for Jeremy’s final Christmas.

After Jeremy passes, Henry decides it’s time to mend fences, so despite a raging snowstorm, he starts the long drive home. Before he gets very far, though, he’s alarmed to see a hitchhiker out in the weather, Henry offers the man a ride, and is surprised the hitchhiker is Jimmy Wilks, a former student of his.

The heavy snow eventually forces Henry and Jimmy to leave the highway and take refuge in an abandoned log cabin. As the two hunker down to wait out the storm, they give into their mutual attraction and celebrate a wonderful Christmas together.

Can their newfound love survive once the snow thaws? Will history repeat itself with Henry going back home alone, or will the magic of their best Christmas ever live on into the New Year and beyond?

I really liked the bulk of this story.  It starts with Henry being very shy and uncertain of himself because of his past relationship and family.  Jeremy seems to know what he wants but isn’t quite ready to say it out loud.

I liked how they interacted once they were on the same page and really did have a great little Christmas together, though everything just worked out great from their feelings to the owner of the cabin being fine with everything, not very realistic.  Most of this is told from Henry’s point of view so I feel a little more connected to him and was very glad for him to realize his parents’ restrictions are too much for them to ask.  There was a big flash of doubt for Terry near the end which didn’t seem like him but it was quickly resolved.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a nice picture for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Published: December 15, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634868334

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review : Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather #9) by Morticia Knight

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Cruella can’t wait to show Ray the ropes…

Working at Rogue Ink is a dream job for Cruella, especially being around the hunky co-owner, Ray. Even though the money isn’t great, the eye candy and Ray’s caring heart make it all worthwhile. When Cruella risks rejection by inviting Ray to be their partner for a shibari class at Kiss of Leather, they’re thrilled when Ray accepts.

Cruella’s invitation both excites and terrifies Ray. He wants Cruella, but does he also want to become more kink aware? Still, he could kick himself for not already making a move on the sweet and beautiful Cruella, so maybe this is his chance. His protective instincts have gotten him into serious trouble before, so he’ll be sure not to make the same mistake with Cruella. They’ve made it clear they can take care of themself.

Cruella fears that Ray won’t accept their genderqueer identity and Ray aches to be the strong man Cruella needs. However, when Cruella’s dark past intrudes on their blissful present, Ray’s definition of strength might turn out to be harsher than Cruella is willing to accept.

 

Ugh, I feel frustrated because I am not sure what to say.  I have loved the series so far but this one fell pretty flat for me.  Cruella would act shy and maybe a little unsure but it seemed like more of an act to me than their true feelings.  Ray seems pretty genuine but I feel he gets in trouble for Cruella’s inexperience as a dominant.

 

The story was as well written as all the others but I just didn’t feel like this couple was actually ready for a D/s relationship and didn’t feel much connection to the characters.  I love how Ray was trying to take care of Cruella in regards eating but that seemed to just disappear part of the way through the book and the suddenly Cruella was in charge all the time but never actually placed any rules or restrictions with it.  I don’t want to feel like all I am doing is dissing the book but my frustration with their relationship overrode much of my enjoyment. I am hoping future stories in the series work better for me.

The like cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill and the visuals of the characters and that it follows the pattern for the series.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: December 18, 2018 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-710-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #9

New Release Blitz for Whiteout Conditions (Black Ops Heroes #10) by  Dara Nelson (writing as Kendel Duncan) (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Whiteout Conditions – Black Ops Heroes #10

Author:  Dara Nelson (writing as Kendel Duncan)

Publisher: Dare Press

Cover Artist: Dara Nelson / Dan Skinner

Genre/s: Contemporary gay romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 58 060 words/ 361 pages

It is a standalone story but is part of a series.

Release Date: December 30, 2018

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Tagline

Sometimes all it takes is a glance

Blurb

Sometimes all it takes is a glance

One brief moment in time, seemingly insignificant but ultimately life changing

That glimpse through the storm, that shadow, that silhouette, of something you can’t help but feel is something… more, something bigger than just you.

For Deputy US Marshal Vaughn Kepler – a man beaten down by both time and his own demons – it’s a smirk in the mirror, eyes that dance and a mouth that both infuriates and turns him the f*&k on.  A mouth belonging to one Caysun Rourke.

The problem?  Caysun is supposed to be his witness, the person who will lead Vaughn to his missing brother.

He’s not supposed to be the man that Vaughn desperately wants warming his bed.

But he is.  

What the hell is Vaughn supposed to do with that?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Sylas Thorne, that one glance was in the rearview mirror of his car.  

When he caught sight of the sexiest man he’d ever seen.

A man who gave ‘objects in the mirror are larger than they appear’ an entirely new meaning.

But Sylas didn’t do… people.

His severe anxiety had kept him hidden away from the world for as long as he could remember.

He was the man, the voice, behind the computer screen.  Anonymous.

Just the way he liked it.  

Or he did, anyways.

How could he ever hope to gain the love of anyone, let alone the handsome man staring at him with the gorgeous light green eyes?

Yet with just a glance, this man made Sylas want to be a man worthy of one Grainger Peele.

He wanted to face his fears and say ‘eff you’ to them.

But it wasn’t like he could snap his fingers and make his crippling anxiety disappear.  If he could, he would’ve done that years ago.

Now the only question that remained was: Could a man like Grainger ever love such mess like him?

When conditions are fierce, when you can barely see your hand in front of your face – is that one glimpse, that fleeting glance, enough to carry you through the storm to the end?

This is the 10th installment in the world of the Black Ops Heroes – strong yet vulnerable men who are stubborn and loyal, caring and fierce, and who, when they love, they love with their whole damn hearts.

While this book is a standalone, it is recommended that you read the other books in the series to meet and fall in love with all of the men in this amazing world.

Excerpt

Sylas’s fingers shook as he brought his hands up to grip the top of his steering wheel.  He was trying to stop himself from restarting his car, backing out of the parking space and going home.

Home was safe.

Home was dark.

Home was… lonely.

That’s why he was here, right?

He’d been seeing Cece for eight months now.  At first, she’d come to his place, then they started doing Skype sessions as she tried to convince him to venture to her office for their chats, as she called them.

Today was the first time in almost a year that he’d actually left the house.

Panic had his forehead sweating, his pulse pounding.  His head started to shake side to side, “Nope. Can’t do it,” he mumbled.

He shifted in his seat to turn the key in the ignition when something in his rearview mirror caught his eye.  Something big, like fucking huge. He had no clue what the face looked like that was attached to the body walking towards his car but, at the moment he really didn’t care.

“Damn,” he mumbled as he watched that deep blue pinstripe suit sauntering closer.  The suit jacket was unbuttoned, giving Sylas teasing glimpses of the firm torso barely hidden beneath the white button-up shirt.  The thighs bulged with every step the man took. Those thick legs were spread slightly and as Sylas’ eyes dropped a bit, he could see why.

“Holy fuck,” he whispered as he saw the outline of a thick, long cock bouncing from side to side on the man’s left thigh, like the arm of a metronome.  No wonder the guy had to spread his legs. And he was commando. Damn. If his cock was that big it probably meant he had some big, ripe juicy balls that he was forced to make room for too.

Suddenly being out in public didn’t seem so bad.

The man stopped next to Sylas’ car, with that bulge perfectly framed in Sylas’ mirror.

As Sylas touched the button to lower his window, his brain to mouth filter disappeared.  “I know it says objects in mirror are larger than they appear but damn, dude,” he said.

The man chuckled, a deep, sexy sound that flowed over Sylas like liquid chocolate.  “You here to see Dr. Peele?”

“I think so?” he mumbled, his nerves re-appearing despite the hunk of man standing next to him.

The man pulled a phone out of his pocket and brought it to his ear, “Hey, Brenda.  Are there any patients in the waiting room? No? Good. Tell Cece her next appointment will be up shortly.”

The man returned his phone to his pocket.

“The only thing standing between you and her is that door and a receptionist,” the man said.

Sylas stared at the office door.  

Could he do this?

“I promise things will feel better, Quattro.”

Sylas frowned, “Quattro?”

“Don’t know your name so I went with the car you’re in.”

Sylas smirked as he glanced into his rearview mirror again to see the sleek, black, powerful car parked behind him that blue suit had emerged from.  “Well, to be honest, there are three things standing in my way.”

“Three?”

“Yep.  That door, a receptionist,” he said as he pointed his finger over his steering wheel, “And your ginormous package, Mustang.”

The guy snorted a laugh that Sylas found completely adorable…and hot as fuck.  Mustang took a step back so Sylas could open his door – which he did, surprising even himself.

He stood to his feet turned around and dragged his eyes slowly up blue suit guy’s body until, yep, that was a gasp, because staring back at him with a grin on his face, with perfect white teeth, and dark, sexy stubble covering his chin and perfect jaw, high cheekbones with lickable dimples, strong eyebrows and light green eyes that were full of mischief and… understanding – was easily the most beautiful man that Sylas Thorne had ever seen.  

About the Author

I did not choose to write… writing chose me

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 reading – mostly 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 my pen name (Kendel Duncan), with total transparency and honesty.

Dara Nelson is the author of:

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!!”

Author Links

Blog/Website

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Twitter: @daranel 

Instagram @daranel1  

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five copies of any ebook from Dara’s backlist.

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Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire, Book 10)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019

Tagline

Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.

Blurb

Grand Summoner Dre’Kariston D’Vaire understands firsthand the brutal reality of war. Barely surviving a gruesome battle, he is one of the few remaining warlocks. After recovering from his wounds, he returns to the castle of his birth only to find his entire race annihilated. For centuries he disguises his power and appearance, refusing to be another victim. When he reunites with his twin, his life changes from barren to beautiful. For years he follows his brother’s example of scrying for his mate, but it is not until they join their power that Fate answers, leading him to Court Ethelin.

Prince Somerly Ethelindraconis is stunned as he races to an appointment and runs into a crowned sorcerer standing on his father’s land. His only parent hates magickind and keeps them far from home, but Somerly cannot deny the attractive man his name and number. King Ethelin has his son’s life planned out for him, and Somerly is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his court—until he falls for Dre’Kariston. He is soon caught between the promises he’s made and what his heart desires. There’s no way to please everyone, and Somerly finds himself teetering on a precipice that forces him to decide where his future lies.

With infinite paths twisting ahead, Dre’Kariston and Somerly must follow the truth in their hearts to make the right choices if they wish to forge an enduring love. Fate brought them together, but will they run out of chances before it’s too late to save their matebond?

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website at: www.jessamynkingley.com

Follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/jessamynkingley. She loves to engage with readers there.

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