Like a Little Kink to Spice Up Your Romance? Check out the Blog Tour for Waited So Long by JM Dabney (excerpt and giveaway)

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Waited So Long

J.M. Dabney

Genre: MM Daddy Kink/Light Age Play/Domestic Discipline Romance

Release Date: 06.18.19

Waited So Long Cover

Cover Art by J.M. Dabney

Cover Image – Golden Czermak/Furious Fotog

Cover Model – Caylan Hughes

Blurb

What happens when your best friend’s son comes home and he’s all grown up?

Devon Hoffman has a secret. He’s wanted a Daddy all his own, but when you’re pushing fifty, you’re completely over the hill. Newly divorced and trying to be single again after an almost thirty-year relationship, he’s lost and needs someone to ground him. Except he’s anxious and his depression intensifies until Bern returns after leaving the service and the younger man suddenly takes an interest. Can he let his guard down and risk losing his best friend or should he do whatever is needed to keep his secret safe?

Universal Link: books2read.com/u/49owYw

EXCERPT

I locked myself in my house and went to take care of emails and study my itinerary. I could retire, but what would I do with myself? At least work kept me busy. It distracted me from the loneliness. I worked because I had nothing left.

I took a seat at my drafting table as I worked on the new design for my client. His steel monstrosity would clash with everything around the building. It was a showpiece that had no more value than broadcasting his wealth. Once again, my brain went back to wondering if it was time to retire, maybe working for myself, but I felt I was too old to start over. All I felt was doubt and insecurity.

When I was younger, I’d felt confident and fearless. Every day was ripe with possibility, and now I weighed everything by what was expected of me. I felt as if my life was over with; I wasn’t even fifty and hopelessness weighted me down. When I looked in the mirror, I could only see what I was and not what I could be. That, out of all the recent events, was the hardest reality to accept. I viewed myself through a skewed lens Lawrence had shaped.

My fantasies were still a cause of shame just as they were for the past thirty years. I’d forbidden myself from demanding what I wanted because what would people think when they knew the real me. The person who existed beneath the façade. The respectable architect in a small suburb who was just a shadow of his former self.

I was a middle-aged man with silver-streaked hair and a belly, who dreamed of the impossible. I tossed my pencil aside and got up. My mind wasn’t in it, so a shower and early to bed. Tomorrow was a new day.

JM logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/J.M.DabneyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jmdabney_author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorjmdabney/?hl=en

Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/585182991553194/

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Dabney/e/B006QZIFLE

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Recipe For Romance by Ari McKay

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Blurb


Four couples, four different stories — and one spicy Recipe for Romance from author Ari McKay!


Welcome to Montgomery House, Charleston’s finest restaurant. When you walk in the front doors of the stately former mansion, you’ll be surrounded by true Southern charm. Owner Rhys Montgomery will personally welcome you, while the tantalizing scents of Executive Chef Stephen Pierce’s latest culinary masterpiece linger in the air. Enjoy a walk in the gardens or an elegant meal in the dining room, as you watch the love stories play out around you…


Bay Leaves and Bachelors — Clay Turner’s heart was broken by a wealthy man who said he was boring. When rich, outgoing restaurateur Rhys Montgomery sets his sights on the quiet academic, drawn in by Clay’s intelligence and sex appeal, he finds he has an uphill battle to win Clay’s trust. Can Rhys burrow his way into Clay’s heart, or will Clay’s insecurity become a wall between them that not even true love can break down?


Fennel and Forgiveness — Seven years ago, Max Boyd broke Darius Cooper’s heart. Darius wanted a commitment, and Max wanted to focus on his career in Georgia’s television industry. Their ten year difference in age and experience tore them apart, but fate throws them back together when Max arrives at the Montgomery House, where Darius now works. Will Southern Wedding Belles bring them a second chance for love or is Darius’s trust too shattered for Max to heal?


Ginger and Gentlemen — Ian Pierce has lived in his older brother Stephen’s shadow his entire life, always feeling second best. His best friend, Matt Davis, is the only person he trusts to be on his side. Despite being in dire financial straits, Ian wants to refuse Stephen’s request to film an episode of Mouth of the South at Ian’s restaurant, but the bonus money offered in the contract is too much to resist. He accepts without knowing the hefty bonus comes from Matt, not the production company. Will Ian feel betrayed by the one person he trusts above all others when he finds out, or will Matt’s desire to help Ian succeed even at his own financial risk take them from friends to lovers at last?


Cinnamon and Seduction — Chef Stephen Pierce has talent and a determination to succeed that is matched only by his fierce temper and prickly personality. Yet his long-suffering personal assistant, Robert Logan, has carried a torch for Stephen since the day they met. Everyone around Montgomery House knows Robert is in love with Stephen — everyone, that is, except Stephen himself. Can Rhys, Clay, Darius, Max, Ian, and Matt find a way to make Stephen see that Robert is the perfect man for him, or will even Robert’s legendary talent for matchmaking fail to win him the man he loves?

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.


Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.


McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


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A MelanieM Review: Another Dance by LA Ashton

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Kaito Watanabe has finally nabbed an interview with his idol, Cristian Alvarez. Kaito is a journalist who’s spent his entire life looking up to the figure-skating champion. Cristian’s passion on the ice unearthed a love of dance in Kaito and made him believe in the power of artistic expression.

Now Kaito is face-to-face with the man he’s always admired. He believes himself insignificant and ordinary, a moth drawn to the light Alvarez casts. He can’t allow himself to believe Cristian’s flirtations are anything but natural charm—but Cristian has other plans. The tension pitches higher, legs and fingers intertwine, and Kaito begins to wonder if his fantasies have a shot at becoming reality.

Another Dance by L.A. Ashton is a sweet contemporary romance that charts the beginning of a love story between journalist Kaito Watanabe and his long held crush, champion ice skater Cristian Alvarez.  The characters are very well drawn here.  Kaito is downright adorable.  Awkward in his crush, hiding behind his bangs, humble and yet surprising in so many other ways.  I wish Ashton had explored his love of ballroom dancing more.  This element , along with it’s intersection with Cristian’s backhistory could have propelled this story further.  It’s already swoonworthy, this could have taken it to another level had it been explored past one scene.

Cristian on ice.  Cristian the professional skater is well represented here.  From the interview to the pitfalls and the highs of being a pro skater.  I regret we get to see Cristian “dance” across the ice in the story only once because Ashton’s descriptions are so vivid that the author makes us see why Kaito and everyone else loves him so. The person is also present and layered, from his love of Luna his elderly cat to his appreciation of Kaito’s writing in all its styles and what it reveals, this is a character who you can love and relate to.

Ashton also brings in interesting details about the world of the professional skater, such as most have poor eyesight due to continued exposure to the harsh glare of the ice and the use of composers for the music the skaters use and train too (the composers too have their own followers).  And the international politics of voting.  Fascinating!

All this mixed up in a short path to a new love and romance.  For me I wish there was so much more.  This could really be just the first quarter of a lovely novel instead of a novelette. That’s the frustrating part.  You are just loving them as a couple and the story is over.

The story ends with the acknowledgement that, even with all the difficulties of their professions and locations,  they want to get to know each other and go forward.  So it’s definitely a HFN.  Hey, we all knew they would end up together so that’s not exactly a spoiler.

Ah well.  Perhaps, another story will follow and we will get to see this couple at another stage in their relationship.  I can always hope for this is an interesting world and I’d love to see Ashton return to it and them.  If you love contemporary romance, check out Another Dance by L.A. Ashton and see what I mean.  I think you will be captivated by this couple.  I certainly was.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  Just lovely with the entwined legs.  Perfect.

 

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: July 8th 2019 by Ninestar Press
Edition Language English

A Lucy Review: Who We Used to Be (Do-Over #1) by Dara J. Nelson

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RATING: 2.5 stars out of 5

Ten years is a long time to live with a broken heart

Ten years ago Zeke Malloy had everything:
A happy childhood, a shot at a state championship wrestling title, a best friend, a boyfriend (albeit a secret one but that was okay because, once they graduated, that would change).
He had love, happiness……a heart.
All of that changed in the blink of an eye.
One moment he was deliriously happy, looking forward to a future with Digger Brandt, building a life, a home, a forever, with him.
And then it was gone, disappearing like the tears that flowed down Zeke’s cheeks as he watched from the back of the church as Digger married Lisa – with his father sitting proudly in the front pew. Those tears were still flowing when he walked out of that church and went directly to the nearest recruiting office. Because he didn’t just lose the love of his life that day, he lost his hopes, his dreams, he lost…..himself.
For the next ten years he was a machine – the best Marine, the best friend, but like a machine, he did it all without a beating heart.
His was dead…..or was it?
Was ten years too long?
Was a broken heart too much?
Zeke didn’t know. Hell, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to know.
From the moment Digger walked up behind him and said Hello in that smooth, sexy voice that used to light him up six ways from Sunday, Zeke was screwed
The only thing he really knew now……..was that he was about to find out .

Second chance stories are my thing so I was excited for this one.  Zeke and Digger were in love ten years ago, everything was going great and then one day Digger just ghosted Zeke, the next thing being an invitation to 19-year-old Digger’s wedding to Lisa.  Lisa, a woman Digger had claimed to barely know.  Zeke was a secret guest at that wedding, walked out and joined the military.  Good things did come out of that because he got himself some amazing, loyal and supportive friends who remained with him all through.  They know the story of Digger the Douche. 

There is a lot of emphasis in the beginning of how dead inside Zeke is because of Digger’s betrayal.  The anger, the hurt is so powerful when the book starts, even more than when Zeke finds current boyfriend getting laid in their bed.  He is sort of “whatever” about it, because his heart is frozen.  Enter the return of Digger.

So far, so good.  I loved the interaction with Zeke’s crew in particular.  My issue is I felt as if I had been tossed into a story with the middle missing.  We get the anger and angst in the beginning.  “He was tired of trying to love anyone…other than him.  Tired of pretending that his heart wasn’t forever broken. Most of all, he was tired of being angry.”  Digger was a massive coward and unbelievably cruel (you can’t even tell Zeke to his face, you stick an invitation to your WEDDING under the doormat and run?) and ruined Zeke.

Except now that he’s back, he acts like it really wasn’t so bad. I say this because there is so little apology and even less groveling that I actually went back and reread parts because I was sure somehow I missed it.  There is one little mention of daddy dearest threatening to withhold college money if Digger didn’t do what daddy wanted (marry Lisa) and that’s it.  “….gone was the college money, unless he gave in to daddy’s demands…”  Then he tries to justify but saying that he couldn’t ask Zeke to be his secret.  “It would’ve killed the light on the inside that made him so f**king beautiful.”   As if being treated as disposable was better?  Not worthy of a note or a phone call?

So that all was horrible  – we get the story through flashbacks mostly – but then Digger is now out and for some weird reason Zeke and his crew all now live in the same town as Digger and Lisa.  We get a very, very short moment of Zeke having some self respect and then bam! Everything is forgiven and we move on.  Just a no for me. I needed way more justification as to why you would do this to someone you supposedly love, why Zeke would lay down and be a doormat without even an explanation of why.  I needed to know why Digger still, ten years later, works for daddy at a homophobic charity and remains under daddy’s control.  He just seems so selfish, even his reasons for returning to Zeke.  “Because I’m broken too. And fixing him is the only way to fix me.”

The book spends a lot of time setting up the next books in the series, Dallas and Bulldog will be up next, followed by Linc.  The partners for both are clear in this book.   There is also an odd flashback of a conversation that just happened hours before. Instead of showing us the interaction, we are told it in a flashback.  Another oddity is Zeke, who has been burned badly, meeting Slade in a coffee shop, offering him a place to stay and then giving him a key, garage door opener and alarm codes.  Same day!  Doesn’t know the man!

I struggled to finish the book because I was so frustrated by the erasure of ten years of pain. “Look, you didn’t just break his heart, Digger, you broke him. When I first met him, the pain in him, god, it was wrapped around him like a damn bullet-proof blanket.”  It’s why I felt the whole middle was missing.

There is also the random reappearance of Zeke’s cheating ex, who shows up after cheating and ruining Zeke’s house, and there was really no reason for it, so took yet more time away from the main plot. 

The only thing I remotely liked about Digger was his worry about “And then the anxiety creeped in.  The thoughts of: I haven’t showered or douched. What if he doesn’t like it? Oh god, what if I fart?”  Random of me, I know, but he at least was concerned about Zeke here. 

I was just disappointed in this story because the potential was there and it could have been something amazing. 

Cover art, showing Zeke and Digger embracing with their younger selves wrestling, fit the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 291 pages
Published June 15th 2019 by Dare Press
ASINB07S874XX2
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDo-Over #

A VVivacious Review: Change of Heart by KM Neuhold

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

When Easton’s husband dies, he is absolutely devastated. How is he supposed to go on without the love of his life?

Five years later, Easton, still struggling in a world without Paul, comes across a letter written by the recipient of Paul’s heart. For the first time in five years, Easton wonders if River, the guy who got Paul’s heart, is worthy of it.

When Easton and River meet sparks fly. They can’t deny their chemistry which makes Easton come out of his shell and makes River take a chance but can their relationship survive the truth about Paul’s heart?

This review contains minor spoilers.

I was happiest when I finished the book and as everyone knows it’s not a good sign if you are happy a book is over. This book was hard for me. I think I would have most probably DNF’ed it if I wasn’t reviewing it. Having said that I still think having read this entire book made me realise that it was better than I thought it was. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t terribly horrible either. The ending assuaged some of my disappointment with this book. I think my final rating of two stars really encompasses my entire reading experience and not just parts of it.

So, let’s get to the meat of the review. This book see-sawed a lot for me in the beginning. Initially, I couldn’t quite realise why I was liking some parts of the book and hating others.
 
This book is written from the dual perspectives of both our main characters Easton and River with the POVs switching up quite frequently between these two. I soon realised that all the parts I didn’t like coincided with Easton’s POV. So, it was very clear for me from the beginning that I didn’t quite like Easton. I personally can’t quite put a finger on what exactly I didn’t like about him but I feel the fact that he is keeping a secret from River one he should probably reveal sooner rather than later coloured my opinion of him. On top of that, it isn’t quite obvious why Easton who has grieved for five years over his husband, who apparently never tried to move on does so now with River and manages it so successfully. Something about this experience rang false to me. Easton has already grieved for longer than he should which would suggest an unhealthy mindset but it doesn’t take anything more than meeting River to have him completely forgetting Paul. It was weird that Easton didn’t even think of Paul all that much throughout this book which made me wonder what he did all those five years. Also, I would have liked a few misfires where things went wrong while Easton was trying to move on. This could have happened during previous attempts to move on or while River and Easton were getting their feet under them in their new relationship. These moments could have served as a catalyst to figure out where Easton’s headspace was at. It felt like a lost opportunity. Instead, the story makes it very apparent that all Easton really needed to move on is River.

I liked River. He is a really sweet guy and I liked how he puts himself out there for Easton. I love how much he loves Easton. That comic he makes for Easton really made my heart clench, it was beautiful. The only problem with River is that he brings nothing to the plot. Side Note: Also, the medical science behind River requiring a heart transplant is mostly fictional (unfortunately, the parts that do hold up to scrutiny wouldn’t have lead to the need for a heart transplant).

The plot focuses on the fact that Easton is keeping a secret and the secret has the potential to wreck Easton and River’s budding romance. In all this River is a little better than a bystander as he has no idea what is going to happen to him and that had me a little frustrated because there was nothing that River could contribute to where the story was eventually going to have to go.

By the time the big reveal happens, the author has exhausted 23 of the 28 chapters in this book. The book has already stretched a single plot point too far and the book becomes a chore. How long can you wait for something to happen when it has already been established that it needs to happen? Apparently, if you are K. M. Neuhold you can wait a very long time. I would have preferred a quiet reveal but the author does it the dramatic way. After the reveal the story does become a little bearable and I enjoyed the last few chapters even though I do think it’s too soon but whatever. It was charming and nice and I can give that a pass.

Fox is an amazing character who I loved. Easton so didn’t deserve this guy who was just so amazing and so supportive. Fox made my day. The late night calls with Easton were just amazing. His willingness to bail Easton out no matter where he is was downright inspirational. He was amazing. He was the unexpected gem in this story and I loved him whole-heartedly.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I really love the art of that heart intertwined with a plant in the background. It is subtle but so gorgeous.

Sales Links: Universal Link: mybook.to/ChangeofHeart
Book Details:
ebook, 345 pages
Published June 17th 2019
Edition Language English

New Release Tour and Giveaway: Breaking Ground (Rocking Racers #8) by Megan Lowe (excerpt)

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Author: Megan Lowe
Title: Breaking Ground
Series: Rocking Racers, book 8
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Release Date: June 8, 2019
 Available now! 
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2VJQMgt
All other links: books2read.com/breaking-ground

Mason Thompson hates motorbike racing. It’s stupid, pointless, and dangerous. The glorified man-children who partake in this idiocy are even worse. None more so than Liam Ryan.

Liam Ryan is cocky, and he has every reason to be. There’s not a person on the track—or off it—who can get the better of him. He’ll be damned if drop-dead gorgeous paramedic Mason Thompson is the first.

But when events and overzealous bloggers seek to force them even further apart, will they risk everything to be together?

Will they break ground and realise sometimes the greatest risk results in the ultimate reward?

Breaking Ground is a M/M romance prequel to Megan Lowe’s Australian sports romance series. This book can be read as a stand-alone novella.

 Available now! 
As I double-check the supplies in the medical centre, I tell myself for what has to be at least the ninety-seventh time in the past two hours that this will be good experience and look impressive on my résumé. At twenty-one, I’m in my last year as a paramedical science student; then there’s just two years on-the-job training. If I will indeed be a paramedic, I need to get used to thinking on my feet, working in unfamiliar places and in situations I may not know a lot about. Volunteering at the National Racing Series ticks all of those boxes, even if I think the event is nothing more than an excuse for man-children to strut around and try to figure out who has the biggest… engine.
Motorbike racing is dangerous and frankly unnecessary. All racing is. What does it prove? That the winner can go round a track the fastest? Whoop de doo.
It’s good experience, Mase, I remind myself.
It might be, I reply, but it’s still idiotic.
Great, now I’m talking to myself.
“I told you, Pop, I’m fine,” someone says just outside the doors.
“And Reed is fine trying to take on that nutcase Hunter David,” someone—Pop, I presume—replies. “Just get your arse in there.”
A second later, a guy—he can’t be over eighteen—struts through the door. I say strut because that’s what he does. He has the build all the riders do. Not tall, I’m going for about five nine-ish, slim but strong, solid but not overly so, slightly bow-legged, with longish dark brown hair, deep brown eyes, and a smirk on his face. If I’d seen him on the street, he’s definitely someone I’d give a second glance to. That face…. But meeting him here, knowing what he does? No, thank you.
“Can I help you?” I ask.
“Yeah, my pop wants me to get checked out even though I told him I’m fine,” he says. He’s cradling his right hand, and although he clearly doesn’t want to show it, the edges of his smirk pull slightly.
“Are you in pain?” I ask, stepping forward and grabbing his gloved hand.
“Nah.”
I give him my best no-nonsense look. “If you’re in pain, I need you to tell me. Check all that macho he-man shit at the door, all right? Pain is the body’s way of letting us know something isn’t right.”
He hisses as I gently pull off his glove.
“Yeah, not so tough now, are we?” I know I shouldn’t have said that, but I can’t help myself. These guys, they act like they’re doing the world a favour, going round on their bikes at frankly ridiculous speeds.
“Screw you, man,” he says, pulling his hand out of mine. “I came here for help, even though I didn’t want it and I certainly don’t need it.”
“Is that right?”
“Yeah, it is.” He hitches his chin.
“Bend that finger, then.” I motion to his clearly broken index finger. “You can’t, can you?” I ask as he struggles to do it. “That’s because it’s broken. It’s going to need surgery and a pin inserted to stabilise it.”
“Look, buttercup,” he says, “I don’t have time for this. Give me a jab for the pain and strap my fingers together. I’ve got a bike to ride.”
I shake my head and cross my arms. “I don’t think so. There’s no way I’m declaring you fit to race, not with an injury like that.”
I glare at him, and he at me, neither of us willing to back down.
“Ah, excuse me?”
Although it kills me to, I break the staring competition and turn my attention to the guy who came in with arseface here.

 

***

Rocking Racers Series!
 
Book 1
 All buy links HERE
 
Book 2
All buy links HERE
Book 3
All buy links HERE

Book 4

All buy links HERE

Book 5

All buy links HERE

Book 6

All buy links HERE

Book 7

All buy links HERE

Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to her and decided to write them down.  She writes primarily New Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City. When she’s not writing she’s either curled up with a good book, travelling or screaming at the TV willing her sporting teams to pull out the win.

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A MelanieM Review: A Step too Far (Too Far #2) by H.L. Day

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Two men. Three identities. An unstoppable attraction.

Desperate for his luck to change, Jake Spencer manages to land a dance contract with Dmitry Gruzdev. The job has plenty of perks, including a simmering lust between him and Dmitry’s hulking brute of a bodyguard, Mikhail. Life is finally looking up. Except as the shine wears off, it becomes clear that Jake’s stepped into a world of darkness and depravity where Bratva answers to no one and allies are not what they seem.

Mikhail’s hiding a secret: there is no Mikhail. He’s simply a front for undercover operative, Ryan Harris. A means to gain access to Dmitry. Ryan’s not stupid. There’s no way he’s going to get distracted by a pretty face, no matter how attractive Jake might be. That would be far too dangerous for all concerned. Only it’s not that simple and before Ryan knows it, the line between personal and professional begins to blur spectacularly.

Lust develops into more. Secrets start to unravel. Ryan’s got an impossible choice to make: keep Jake safe or maintain his cover. But how much does Dmitry know? The hunted may be about to become the hunter, blowing both men’s worlds to pieces and leaving them with nothing.

Can a relationship built on lies ever lead to love?

Warning: This book contains a seductive dancer prone to getting into trouble, a gruff man who’s anything but, and a villain who just won’t go away.

A Step too Far (Too Far #2) by H.L. Day picks up after the events of A Dance Too Far where Dmitry’s loses his star dancer (and much more), Valentin.  Valentin’s escape has left a hole in Dmitry’s organization as a cover, the lack of a dancer a continuing blow to the mobster’s pride and other self interests and something needs to be done about it.  Immediately.

Questions that Valentin asked himself in the last story were what had happened to Mikhail, the stoic Russian bodyguard who had finally risked everything to help Valentin.  And why?  A Step too Far gives us those answers and so much more. Including the startling information that Mikhail is actually undercover agent Ryan Harris trying to gather intel and take down a Russian gang. The toll of being Mikhail is becoming too much, he’s seen and been a part of to too much. And now Dimitry has tasked him with finding Valentin’s replacement.

Day actually splits this character into Mikail/Ryan, that’s how it reads for most of the story because he’s two completely different personalities.  One cold, ruthless, and trying to being sexless.  The other warm,torn, intelligent, with a conscious that’s telling him he can’t keep doing this no matter the end result.   We see them both.  First it’s mostly Mikhail staying in character, then a mixture, and then finally mostly Ryan as that personality becomes dominant, dangerous while undercover.

The reason why?  A young dancer name Jake who to his peril falls naively into the space vacated by Valentin because he wants to dance and needs an apartment to live, while having little outside ties.  The perfect victim.  Unlike Valentin who had been with Dimitry for a decade when we met him (and endured the abuse and control), Jake is fresh, happy, bouncy even, full of optimism and, trust me, the reader just starts to cringe from the moment Dimitry ushers him into his office and shuts the door.

Because this is a darker story than the first.  Valentin had figured things out in a decades time, had methods to deal with Dimitry’s twisted love and abuse.  But here Dimitry feels no love for Jake, he’s just a commodity.  And what happens between Jake and Mikhail/Ryan is one that develops more than once because its with different men, a neat trick, narratively speaking.

Mixed in with all this is a deep espionage storyline, a high suspense thread that will have you on your seat,  and a long, drawn out climax and resolution  that includes timely and perfect appearances by Max and Valentin to give Ryan and Jake the ending their deserve.

The one thing that did bother me, the lack of therapy for Jake, was finally given a brief mention, a rationale as to why it didn’t work, and what was helping.  I’m not sure I ever bought it , and yes, that was one of my issues in the first story as well.  But at least it was mentioned here.  That was a step up.

I tried to think about how I compared the two stories and decided I couldn’t.  That was like comparing the two men as dancers.  Totally different in so many ways.  I liked some things about this story better but really not the characters.  The characters in both stories are amazing.  And this one leaves me wondering if there is anywhere to go from here.  Just not sure.

But if you love your contemporary romance with raw sex, open emotion, some darkness and wild suspense.  This story and the one prior to it, which you much read before this one, are just the thing!  Pick up Valentin’s story and then head straight for Jake’s. Be prepared to  be totally connected and unable to put them down.  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art: H.L. Day.  That’s post Dimitry Jake alright.  I like the cover but truthfully nothing can match that impact of the first one.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 275 pages
Published June 3rd 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
ASIN B07SNCMDNW
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review : Will & Patrick Wake Up Married Series (Episodes 1-3) by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths /John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

OMG! I was hooked within the first ten minutes of this 11 1/2 hour audiobook. John Solo did a spectacular job interpreting the humor the authors infused throughout every page. His vocalizations and sound effects were spot-on. And the voice he gave each of the MCs was perfect for their characters.

I already hit one-click to purchase the second volume: books 4-6 in e-book format because I cannot wait one moment to pick up where this one left off. Will I listen to the audio when it comes out? If John Solo narrates it, you bet I will. And I very highly recommend everyone hurry to pick up this audiobook. This will most definitely make your day.

Quick summary – Will Patterson is a sweetheart—a young man who suffers from type I diabetes and is attempting to recover from alcoholism.  He slips spectacularly at a medical conference in Las Vegas and finds himself married to neurosurgeon Dr Patrick McCloud. For financial reasons, they can’t divorce or have the marriage annulled. Will’s connected to organized crime and the funds he inherited through the mob side of the family, with which he’s doing altruistic work to help the people in his town, will disappear if he doesn’t marry for love and/or if he ever divorces or annuls his marriage.

Patrick can’t believe his luck. Bad luck, that is. Well, maybe not. Will is hot and as time goes by Patrick finds more to love than not love about Will. Patrick is full of snark and vinegar though, and God forbid anyone find out he’s really a nice guy. No way. 

The major problem they have, other than the fact they got drunk married, is that Will is not over his ex. Ryan is annoying and very passive-aggressive and quite full of himself. I am hoping he gets his comeuppance by the end of the series. In the meantime, this volume ends on a high note. The guys have decided to stay together for now, enjoying a friends-with-benefits sort of relationship, with all the sex Will wants, and that’s something the never had with Ryan. Patrick’s heart seems to be getting engaged, so I have no doubt the next volume is going to be a treat. And I’m starting that the minute I finish this review.

Most highly recommended! In audio, for sure.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Audible Audio, 1st edition, 12 pages
Published May 24th 2019 by Leta Blake Books (first published May 2nd 2016)
ASINB07S98HFY4
Edition Language English
Series Wake Up Married #1-3

BOOK 4-6 Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 4 – 6: Fight Their Feelings, Meet the Mob, Happy Ending

An Alisa Review: Surviving the Shadows (The Bearer of Truth #2) by Miranda Turner

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Gabriel has been gone longer than predicted, and Evander is growing increasingly worried each day that passes without his return. Confounded by their leaders’ lack of answers, Evander and the team begin to fear the worst.

 

In the midst of fruitlessly searching Miami for clues to the Daemon Abaddon’s whereabouts, Evander begins to have disturbingly vivid dreams. With a little help from a newly returned and empty-handed Michael and Barabbas, Evander discovers Gabriel has been calling out for help across their nascent bond, and they set off to rescue Gabriel from the depths of the Underworld.

 

Gabriel is old friends with torture, and his captors haven’t been gentle. Despite growing weaker every day, Gabriel resolves to survive long enough for rescue, or to die fighting, until a Dark Seer begins to dredge up the terror of Gabriel’s horrific childhood, threatening to destroy his mind and soul. Nearing the end, Gabriel manages a last-ditch effort to contact help, reaching out to Evander in his dreams.

 

Against all odds, Evander and the team fight through the Underworld to reach Gabriel and come face to face with mortality. Sacrifices made for the bonds of brotherhood nearly break them, and Gabriel learns the hard way that embracing the darkness while fighting for the light may be the only way to survive.

 

From the underbelly of Reno to the glitz and glam of Vegas, Gabriel, Evander, and the men they call family will be tested, and the final confrontation with Gabriel’s maker may be the end of everything they hold dear.

 

Another well written story and I still love to see how in depth the world these characters have to navigate is.  When we last saw Gabriel he was telling Evander that he would be back soon but as weeks go by with no word the team begins to worry.  Thankfully Evander and Gabriel’s connection help them to find him.

 

I liked how much different Evander was in this story since he has realized that he is not as perfect as he had always been told.  And while he resolves to work harder on his and Gabriel’s relationship, which he does, it’s hard to do when they aren’t sure if there are on the same page.  Gabriel’s experience in the underworld makes him have so much more to work through but he is so much stronger than he gives himself credit for.

 

This story goes more back and forth between the characters, which I liked as it gave me more of an insight into Evander.  I hope that as time goes on Gabriel can see that it isn’t as necessary to sacrifice himself but that he can use more help from the others and I couldn’t help but feel that these two could support each other more if they would just let the other in.  Finally at the end of the book it seems Gabriel and Evander are starting to be united as one and on the same page but I can’t wait to see what happens with them in the next book.

 

The cover art by Lou Harper is great and I continue to like the visuals of Gabriel.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 293 pages

Published: June 14, 2019 by Miranda Turner

Edition Language: English

Series: Bearer of Truth #2

A Lucy Prerelease Review : Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock Series #1) by C.F. White

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fate can be written in a tea bag too. 

Mark Johnson is hitting his forties and is stuck in a rut. 

He’s had the same boring office job for ten years, with no motivation or inclination to change it. The same crumbling house for ten years, with no cash or know-how to fix it. And the same Facebook status for five years—it’s complicated. It isn’t. He’s single. He just doesn’t want to correct it. That would be admitting defeat. 

The day a tea bag splats onto his face whilst he’s emptying the dregs of his morning cuppa at Macy’s Tea Shoppe is the one that makes him question each of his current life choices…the tea bag and that the shop is currently being run by one rather friendly, rather hunky, but rather young Australian named Bradley Summers. 

Tea has never tasted so good. The very best part of this book Mark’s inner musings.  He is pretty much a mess – stuck in a job that is going nowhere, in a house that is falling apart around his ears, listening to a mother who is just vile, and really only having one really good thing he can depend on.  Tea.  “Tea.  There was the answer to everything.  Everything.”  It is this good thing that leads him to Macy’s Tea Shoppe, owned by his one real friend in the world, Macy. 
“Macy was possibly the only one in Mark’s life who seemed to accept him for who he was.” He is 39 and sometimes talks like he is 79.  “…services we have to offer such a young whippersnapper like yourself.”

When he finds out his roof has to be fixed and he doesn’t have the money to do so, he sets off for Macy’s to drown his sorrows in tea.  After basically venting his spleen to Macy in the back of the shop, it turns out the one listening isn’t Macy, but her young cousin, Bradley.  Bradley, the Australian Adonis who is covering for Macy while she is with her parents and who happens to be a stripper.  A 21-year-old free spirit stripper.  The Adonis who forgets to take the tea bag out of the cup he serves Mark, which splats onto Mark’s face.  And so they meet.

Most of the story is Mark trying to find reasons why he can’t be with Bradley, why Bradley doesn’t really want to be with him, why friends only is the way to go and how he can ignore the longings of his own heart.  Someone has done a real number on Mark and he has lost all self confidence and sense of self worth. 

Bradley is sunny, sweet and YouTube famous as a stripper.  He believes in reading tea leaves, of all things and he is all about adventure and living life to the fullest. He is also in England short term.  Mark doesn’t want to have anything with Bradley.  Especially when he remembers Bradley is Macy’s cousin.  It’s complicated.

Some times Mark just made me laugh.  His fear sent him to the attic of his house to confront some old ghosts, after having sex with Bradley.  “It seemed for the second time that evening he was going to enter into a hole that scared the utter crap out of him.”

As secondary characters, Macy is really supportive and likeable but Damian steals the show. He and Mark have a physical history but now are just friends and Damian is a good one.  He styles Mark to get him out of the frump and pushes him to understand how good he is.  I really hope Damian gets a story, he deserves one. 

Mark’s parents are complicated beings, Dad lost all their money gambling in a mid-life crisis and Mom does whatever necessary to maintain appearances.  One of the most poignant scenes I’ve read in recent times is Mark’s conversation with his dad about dad’s regrets.  It was so heart breaking.

The ending is very rom-com and was very sweet and funny, if over the top.

Cover art is really pretty spot on with the blond Adonis and the tea loving Mark.

Sales Links Pre Order:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 307 pages
Expected publication: July 16th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN13 9781786517951
Edition Language English