A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

How to describe this story?  Hmm.  I feel wrapped up in warmth and goodness. Like I received an unexpected gift.  Annabeth Albert paints a clear picture of her characters early in the story so readers, like me, can shadow them and experience their joy, their sorrow, their emotional growth, and yes, their love.

Canaan Finley is working the register when his favorite Navy SEAL, the guy his team calls Rooster, comes into his family’s cafe for a smoothie. The hot guy has caught Canaan’s attention each time he comes in but this time, Canaan isn’t going to let the moment pass without making…a pass.  He manages to surprise Rooster who is equally attracted to the cute guy making his smoothie just the way he likes it.  A cute intro, I like the way the author set the two up so that it’s natural to ask Rooster when Canaan needs a fake boyfriend.  He used to be in a rock band that’s just finished a European tour and would like to attend their “reunion” camping trip but won’t go alone. Why? Because his ex and the guy he cheated on Canaan with are both going to be there and Canaan doesn’t want to seem a loser. 

Over the course of the trip, which is no simple excursion to the woods, Canaan and Rooster are caught in a canyon during a flash flood.  Rooster’s quick thinking and rock-climbing skills save them both and over the course of time, as the two are stranded on a ledge above the canyon, attraction blooms into a solid foundation for a relationship.

The author’s skills in creating two very different characters who complement one another in unusual ways, getting those characters to be important to readers, and then making the characters important to each other is what I love best about her work.  These men are flawed, and they have backstories that include good judgment and bad mistakes, but I got so attached to them after a few chapters that I couldn’t go on with my daily routine until I knew more, more, more! Each scene was better than the previous and I simply had to know what came next and whether or not these two could find their way to their HEA.  And if a certain couple named Ben and Maddox (On Point) happened to run into them while they were out on a date, and if that run-in led to Rooster finding out about Canaan’s past adventure with the couple, well, all I can say is that was icing on the cake of my happiness.

I very highly recommend this story. In fact, I very highly recommend the entire Out of Uniform series to all MM romance lovers. And if you love SEALs or military men in your romance, this one is super perfect.   

The cover features two bare-chested men, one hugging the other from behind. The one in front, wearing camo pants, is Rooster. Canaan, of course, is behind and the models chosen look like those described in the story.  The coloring and theme of the cover matches the other Out of Uniform books in the series.

Sales Links:   Carina Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Rough Terrain
ASINB07GB8B4XR
Edition Language English
Series Out of Uniform #7

Series Out of Uniform /add to Goodreads here:

Off Base

Homecoming (1.5)

Off Leash (1.6)

At Attention (2)

I Do (2.5)

On Point (5)

Wheels Up (4)

Homebodies (4.5)

Squared Away (5)

Tight Quarters (6)

Rough Terrain (7)

 

A VVivacious Review: Stay (Working Out the Kinks #1) by K.M. Neuhold

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Jonah and Lars were best friends before they realised that they were actually more. With a decade full of blissful years between them they love each other more than ever.

But, when Jonah discovers his love for puppy play he immediately starts wondering what this means and how well Lars will take it. As Jonah’s secrecy starts creating a rift between the two will the truth be the straw that broke the camel’s back or can they get through this to be stronger than ever?

I loved this book. It was so good. I have never read a book by this author before but that blurb was so good that I just couldn’t resist.

This book was definitively ticking off all my boxes. The fact that it was an established couple romance was enticing enough for me because I love that trope but with puppy play being the cherry on the top, I couldn’t resist. I was really looking forward to this book and it delivered on all fronts.

I love reading an established couple romance. One because there is something so warm and cuddly about a couple secure in their relationship and secondly because I love the fact that people can fight for their love every day and loving a person is very much an ongoing process that begins with a relationship instead of ending there.

This book dealt with such an amazing plot point because it is something that a lot of people can relate to. I found myself wondering about what I would do in such a situation and really looked forward to how Lars and Jonah would work it out.

They work it out quite fabulously I might say and I really hope that if I ever find myself in such a situation I get a partner like Lars who was so open and understanding and so not judgemental. I truly respect Lars for how he handled himself and the situation.

I really think this might be a good first book if you want to delve into puppy play as this book deals with a much tamer side of puppy play and this would be a good book to test out if you might enjoy this particular kink. This book discusses something very fundamental to kink that is that you participate in a kink because first and foremost it gives you enjoyment. So, I feel like this book might serve as a good introduction to kink in general.

Lars and Jonah are such a warm and fuzzy couple that I almost instantly found myself enraptured with their cuteness and unconventional relationship. But, these two make it work.

Cover Design by K. M. Neuhold. I really like the cover because it truly gives you a sense of trepidation about the Puppy Play which is pretty on the nose with Jonah’s initial inhibitions about embracing the kink.

Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook
Expected publication: February 11th 2019
Edition Language English
Series Working Out the Kinks #1

Tia Fielding on Major Influences in Writing, Characters, and her new release and series Ten (Love by Numbers #1) (author guest blog)

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Ten (Love by Numbers #1) by Tia Fielding

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Buy link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon  

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tia Fielding

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

You could definitely say so. I’m Finnish, so I haven’t read a lot of the classics people read in high school in the States, for example. I had the freedom to read whatever I wanted, because my parents were and are readers.

I read a lot of fantasy, which hasn’t really carried to my own writing for some reason. I guess I’m still waiting for the inspiration for that? Creating a fantasy world of your own is tricky, and the closest I’ve really gotten are my vampire novel Technically Dead and my shifter series, Finnshifters.

I did, however, read a lot of young adult novels, horse-related stories, and definitely a lot of straight romance when I got to my teens. There’s a women’s magazine in Finland that still has a reader-submission based part where people could send their sexual fantasies. Really explicit stuff. I started to read that in secret when I was around… 12, maybe.

I wonder if that over-exposition to erotica led to my not being too keen on erotica now? Or not really writing sex for the sake of sex?

In any case, I read a lot of romance especially in my teen years. Carolyn Cookson was my hero for some reason, back then. I don’t write historicals, it’s not my genre even as a reader these days, but the romance stuck, at least!

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

My favorite book of all time is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. That book has no extra words. The language is very exact and measured, and yes she might’ve written it in something like a decade, so definitely not something I could do, but it still left a mark.

Now, you have to remember I’m not a native English speaker, so my writing will always be different because of that. I did start to read in English more in my twenties, which has helped, but until that, my influences would’ve been different, less language based.

I was first published when I’d just turned thirty, and I have to say that the influence that got me to that point were all the awesome fan fiction writers around me in fandom spaces on the internet. I got some courage to write fan fiction and then to try being published, and somehow here I am soon eight years later, still going strong!

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Is it cliché or fake sounding if I say the new series? Love by Numbers, of which Ten is the first book, is turning into a labor of love for me. The characters and the town I’ve  created for them has wrapped me around their little fingers extremely tightly.

The next book in the series, called Four, is going to be out sometime during the summer this year, by the way. So if you like the people of Acker, Wisconsin, as much as I do, don’t worry, there’ll be more to come soon!

Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I chuckled when I saw this question, to be honest. I’ve literally started to write book number three today, and one of the main characters from that one is tricky to redeem, let’s put it like that. I love him to bits, he’s so complex, but it’s breaking my heart a little, writing him. Redeeming him to the reader, let alone the characters in the series, is going to be… interesting.

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

 I write to show a different-from-the-norm kind of life. That people can be different and still become happy and safe and loved. They can overcome obstacles of many kinds and still find a family to belong in, people to surround themselves with, and that forever kind of love most people dream of.

Hopefully my stories give the reader a way to escape their daily life for a little bit, and if I manage to give them something to think about, then I’ve definitely done my job well!

Blurb:

Can two broken men build one life?

Ten years.

That’s what Makai lost for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s been exonerated, but the abuse he suffered in prison isn’t so easy to leave behind. He heads to the one place he remembers being happy: Acker, Wisconsin, where he spent summers with his grandpa. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Makai there.

Ten days.

That’s how long Emil, now twenty-one, was held prisoner as a teenager. The mental and physical injuries he suffered at the hands of a drug trafficking ring still haunt him.

Nightmares, anxiety, and PTSD challenge the connection forming between Makai and Emil, though together, they might find a way to move beyond their pain and into a future—and a relationship—that both had thought impossible.

Now they just have to convince Emil’s father, the town sheriff. It won’t be easy with danger closer than they know….

 

About the Author 

Tia Fielding is a Finnish LGBTQ+ romance author. She lives in a small middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and silence, just like she prefers. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t fussy about pronouns, because her native language doesn’t have gender-specific ones. She’s a lover of caffeine, sarcasm, peppermint, cats and dogs, sleeping and witty people.

 

Social Media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authortiafielding/

Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/tiafielding

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tiafielding

Release Day Blitz for Valor (Until You #4) by Karrie Roman (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Valor

Series: Until You, Book 4

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 14, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85800

Genre: Contemporary, law enforcement, shark photographer, kidnapping, attempted murder, older MC

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Synopsis

Years ago Asher Winsome almost lost his life in the jaws of a great white shark. It was the scariest moment of his life—until his four-year-old nephew is kidnapped. Called home to be with his family, who see him as the black sheep, Asher must rely on every bit of his courage if he’s going to help get his nephew back. But this is not an ordinary kidnapping. And the outcome will leave Asher running for his life.

Former FBI agent Alec Banner buries himself in his work to forget everything that’s missing in his life. His job, at a private company run by an old friend, locating missing children can be tough and brutal, but Alec is no stranger to working with the worst of humanity. From the minute he’s called to help on the Winsome kidnapping he knows something is different.

Thrown together under such difficult circumstances Asher and Alec are drawn to each other’s unrelenting courage even in the face of their fears. But a relationship begun under such impossible stress can’t survive. When his job is finished Alec runs from Asher and his growing feelings, but the danger hasn’t passed, in fact it has only just begun. And both men will need to be brave if they are to survive.

Excerpt

Valor
Karrie Roman © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Jesus Christ, he couldn’t get out of that happy, fucking home quick enough. The fact he’d put a bullet between the eyes of an abusive monster less than twenty-four hours ago wasn’t what had Alec Banner’s heart aching, his breath stuttering, and his legs itching to run. No, he’d had little trouble doing that.

What had him fleeing from the company of a man he considered his best friend, and three other men who’d become very important to him, had been all the fucking love wafting around the room—infecting everyone but him.

Alec had been friends with Ben Cronin for well over a decade. Though they’d lost contact for a few years, they’d reconnected close to a year ago. These days, he spent plenty of time with Ben. They’d been working together for several months now, locating missing and abducted children. Working at Chasing Hope was grueling, but very rewarding. Alec didn’t regret leaving the FBI to join Ben’s company at all.

It wasn’t Ben he was fleeing, though. Nor was it Ben’s partner. Ethan was a fucking dreamboat, but Ben was the lucky asshole who’d snagged his heart. Alec had no problem admitting he had a tiny crush on Ethan. Would it ever cause trouble between him and Ben? Fuck no, because no matter what, there was no way Alec would ever do anything about it. Alec Banner had a lot of faults, but disloyalty wasn’t one of them. He’d pine away for Ethan like a miserable bastard until he—hopefully—found a dreamboat of his own to love.

No, despite his messy feelings, the reason Alec was fleeing Ben’s brother’s house before he completely fucking lost it was because he couldn’t stand to see how happy the two couples there were. He’d witnessed the love between Ben and Ethan for months, and despite them going through a really rough time, they’d been going through it together. Alec had seen firsthand what it should be like to have a real partner. Someone to love, to care about. Someone who’d have your back no matter what.

Instead, he was expected to fucking sit back and watch how happy Ben’s brother, Cameron, and his lover, Zach, were? He couldn’t do it. Selfish maybe, but he was nearly forty years old and he’d had one boyfriend who’d lasted six months and a nine-month relationship with a woman, which had been explosive but ultimately fizzled out because she wouldn’t walk down the aisle with him. Her refusal had hurt like hell at the time, but looking back on it, years later, he was so glad Heather had rejected him. He was pretty sure he’d be a divorced father of three by now if she hadn’t.

Here was Zach, who was twenty-fucking-two and had found the love of his life in Cameron, and try as he might, Alec couldn’t shake the jealousy. He wanted that; he wanted what those men had.

There was only one thing Alec knew of to help when life went to shit, and that was work. He never turned to the bottle or eating his feelings when he was miserable, like some people did. Alec’s choice of pick-me-up was to tuck his head down and his ass up and get stuck into as much work as possible.

He pulled out his phone and thumbed through his contacts. Ryan Lowe was near the top of his list. Ryan was the brains and bank behind Chasing Hope, the company Alec worked for locating missing kids. Ryan had told Alec earlier he may have a job for him, and as he hit the call button he hoped to god Ryan did. Alec desperately needed something to keep him busy.

“Alec, how’d it go?” Ryan answered without preamble.

Alec knew Ryan would have heard from Ben or Ethan that they’d rescued Zach from Cameron’s crazy ex, but he wasn’t exactly sure if they’d have told him how far they’d gone, so he offered only a concise answer. “Good. All done. What else have you got for me?”

“Well, I’m sure we’ve got a case, but I’m waiting to hear back. I’ve already got Jacey putting a file together for you. Little boy, four, was taken this morning from his local park. The family is affluent and well-known in their community. The mother is certain there’ll be a ransom demand. She wants the cops called, but she’s getting pushback from her husband and the in-laws. I think you should head out to them ASAP, see what you think and be ready to act.”

His phone beeped as Ryan spoke, likely to signal the arrival of the file from Jacey. She was an absolute genius with technology, and he expected she’d have provided him with information, not only about the immediate family but the extended one, including friends, staff, and coworkers. Knowing Jacey, he’d even get information on the people the parents went to kindergarten with. She’d have dug up whatever dirt there was to find in a short amount of time, and no doubt she’d already be digging through old data to find even more.

“Got it. Where am I headed?”

“Del Mar. Get a flight to San Diego. I’ll get a hotel booked for you in Del Mar and text the details.”

“On my way.”

“Hey…you okay, Alec?”

Ryan was a sweetheart, tender and caring and far too innocent for this line of work. And yet he’d dragged himself into the misery of missing kids because he wanted to help—and found himself in a position where he could. He was one of the good guys, but Alec worried how it would all affect him. Alec had been dealing with scum for years; he knew the horror stories, and he’d hardened his heart to them, but Ryan? Alec worried about him.

“Tired, that’s all. I’m fine, Ryan, but thanks for caring.”

They exchanged a few niceties regarding Ryan and his partner, Lucas. Alec repeated several more times that he was, in fact, all right, despite the events of the past twenty-four hours, when Ryan asked before hanging up.

Alec made his way to the airport and settled in to wait for his flight. Getting in and out of Cody, Wyoming, wasn’t always easy. He didn’t mind curling up on one of the uncomfortable chairs common to most airports while he waited, though. He pulled out his tablet and opened the file Jacey had sent him.

The Winsome family of Del Mar wasn’t simply affluent, they were filthy fucking rich. The patriarch was one Edmund Winsome, who was a founding partner of one of the biggest law firms in Southern California. Matriarch Phyllis Winsome had brought her family’s considerable wealth to the marriage and together they had built a formidable empire for their two sons. From the images Jacey sent, they were an austere-looking couple who screamed wealth from every perfectly coiffed hair on their heads.

Oldest son—and father of the missing boy—Kane Winsome worked for his father’s firm. He hadn’t quite made partner yet, but from what Alec read, he was well on his way. Alec found the photo Jacey had sent and studied the image of Kane Winsome. He was a younger version of his father. Light-brown hair was cut to within an inch of its life and was gelled into what was probably the latest style, steel-gray eyes glared at the lens, and thin lips pursed to show their impatience with whomever had taken the photo. Alec tried not to judge a book by its cover, but if he had to, then the title would be Pride and Prejudice. A more modern day Fitzwilliam Darcy he couldn’t imagine finding.

Kane’s wife, Madeline, came from a wealthy family herself, though not on the scale of the Winsome’s wealth. She worked as a florist and could not look more opposite to her husband if she tried. She had a mane of flowing, dark, almost black hair that perfectly matched her dark skin. Her eyes were a deep brown but were lit by what Alec suspected was her natural joie de vivre. It was hard to tell from a photo, but she looked petite. Alec had no doubt she would be a lioness, though, when it came to her loved ones. While her husband glared and pouted at the camera, Madeline Winsome laughed and flirted with it.

He scrolled to another image—this one of Kane and Madeline together each holding hands with a toddling child he assumed to be the missing Jack. The photo must be at least a year old given that Jack was now four. The family looked—happy. Gone was Kane’s stern face, replaced with a beaming smile, his gaze fixed on his son. Madeline looked the same as in the solo photo as she, too, stared at her son. The little boy was adorable. His smile matched his parents’ as he seemed to be frozen in an attempt to take an ungainly step. The photo captured more than a simple image of family—it portrayed love, purely and simply.

Alec would read the file more thoroughly on the plane and over the days to come, but for now, he only wanted to get a feel for this family. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the hell they must be going through.

Movement around him alerted him to the fact that his flight was boarding. Alec took his place in line, greeting the staff politely as always. He was a firm believer in catching more flies with honey than vinegar, and a pleasant exchange with airline staff had him either sitting in an exit row or with an extra beverage more times than he cared to remember.

He made his way to his seat, delighted to see an almost empty flight. With luck, the two seats beside him would remain vacant so he might be able to get a couple of hours sleep. He settled in and took another look at the files while he waited for takeoff.

Next in the file was the second son, Kane’s brother. As Alec skimmed his bio, he realized instantly that Asher Winsome was the black sheep of the family. He too had studied law, as his father and brother had, but Asher’s most recent job was listed as marine photographer, location—varied. Interesting.

Alec scrolled to the attached photograph, his eyes popping like some kind of cartoon character. Jesus Christ, he’d never seen anyone more gorgeous. Asher Winsome was drop-dead stunning. The photo wasn’t even a good one, so he could only imagine how devastating the man would be in real life. His hair was a few shades darker than his brother’s, and he wore it long, just scraping his shoulders. His gray eyes were lighter than Kane’s. Alec couldn’t wait to see them in person to find out if they were as silver as they appeared in the photo. His smile was crooked and shy; his entire demeanor coy. Alec was insanely jealous of whoever had taken the photo and coaxed that look out of the man.

He knew he’d sat there staring too long when the flight attendant had to actually tap his arm to get him to prepare for takeoff. He shut down his tablet and fastened his seat belt. He leaned his head against the fuselage, letting his eyes drift shut. Glimmering gray eyes and a crooked smile followed him into sleep.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

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