A MelanieM Review:Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

Ah, Belsy. The GM of the Spitfires is always looking for a wild way to promote his team.  If its a bit lurid, so much the better.  As fans and readers of this series know, each story builds upon the other. So Empty Net rests firmly on the foundation of the other stories about the Spitfires, their coaches, and their goalie, Isaac Drake.  We were also afforded a small look at the hated Ravens, their despicable Coach, and his son the goalie Laurent St. Savoy.   Enough to get a feeling that perhaps under all those poisonous words and actions of the Ravens goalie, something deeper lay waiting to be revealed.

As is Avon Gale’s way, the author manages to both focus on the individual, the couple, and the team.  All at the same time, knowing that with hockey, you can’t separate the two, or in this case the three.  Somehow, Avon Gale pulls off a Gordie Howe hat trick of a story.  The author manages to take a character so wounded, so in pain and start to bring him a semblance of healing, love, and the ability to move forward.  For another, Isaac Drake?  More character growth and a depth in personality that’s amazing, to be able to rise and be a winner in aspects he might not have conceived of stories ago. And of course, there’s a fight.  Perhaps, not the one you might expect.  But exceedingly satisfying.

Gale’s characterizations are always exceptional, and Scoring Chances really raises the bar.  In Isaac Drake and Laurent St. “Saint” Savoy, you have two young men damaged by their families, each taking a different path under that emotional and physical abuse.  We have learned much about Drake’s in the past stories.  So in this respect, we get a in depth look at what a father’s hatred can do to a son.  I will mention that if you have a trigger for bulimia or eating disorders, that is an element that is part of Saint’s character and is examined closely here as is his past physical abuse.

His treatment of his son, how the self hatred manifests itself…it is all treated realistically as is getting Saint help.  Your heart will ache for this character and all he’s been through.  And the relationship as Saint learns social skills, not only as a boyfriend,but as a teammate and friend to other players?  Golden moments indeed.  I ended up cherishing this couple, the dialogs, all the scenes.  Some tragic, some remarkable, and yes, some very funny.

All the other teammates are well accounted for as are the two coaches (who I loveO Samarin and Ashford.  Gale never forgets the importance of the team, the place of the players within it, and the teams support of them both.  It’s that rock solid foundation that allows them all to soar.  And Gale to deliver this hat trick!

How I adore this story and series.  A comfort read times 5.  Yes I highly recommend them all.  Read them in the order they were written for the best experience you could wish for.  Another story coming up!

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  I love these covers, brands the series perfectly and works for each story.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published September 2nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Empty Net
ISBN 1634775856 (ISBN13: 9781634775854)
Edition Language English

Scoring Chances Series

Breakaway

Save of the Game

Power Play

Overtime

Empty Net

Coach’s Challenge

A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Hitting Black Ice (Heart and Haven #1) by Heloise West

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

For the first nine chapters, the reader is in Hunter’s POV as he navigates his crush on Shawn, a colleague at the hospital he works at. He is beset by guilt over the death of his boyfriend. Hunter’s drinking and PTSD are a source of worry for his friends and family, who are all in medical services and law enforcement. Life changing events happen fast, allowing Hunter and Shawn to break down some barriers and bond more quickly than would otherwise happen. The reader is thrown into this weird drama because Hunter’s emotions, doubts, and fears are like a roller coaster. Add in Shawn’s PTSD and fear, and neither of them are operating on all cylinders; having said that, the beginning could have flowed more smoothly. I found the dialogue and conversations strange. There are characters thrown in who are underutilized. Luckily, it gets better.

When the magnetic FBI agent Truman shows up, I was intrigued. I don’t think the sexual tension works quite as well as I would have liked to better sell this character. Relying on Hunter as a bit of a cop chaser isn’t enough for this to really shine as it could have. Who doesn’t like a bit of will they, won’t they? By chapter ten when the POV switches to Shawn, aka Alex, I was hooked into the story intellectually and wanted to know the why of everything. The flashback helps make sense of how everyone got to where they are. Between the betrayals, criminals, and dangerous ex-lovers, Hunter and Alex make perfect sense together.

There could be a debate about cheating in this book. It’s something I know some people can’t stand, so I’m warning you. In my opinion, it is all completely understandable: they weren’t really together yet (maybe), and they were on a break (sort of). It made sense for the character as written because that’s one of his coping mechanisms. One of the best things about this book is that the three major characters are complex. They make good and bad decisions; they do good and bad things.

Even with the unexpected turns, this whole book is careening towards a final confrontation. Here is where everything would have been more intense if Hunter’s family had been completely fleshed out beforehand. Also, the feeble attempt at any sort of redemption for the bad guy (he did this awful thing, but he had a really good reason) didn’t work for me. I am happy it was just a sentence thrown in and not given legs. This is still where I became more emotionally hooked into the story for Hunter and Alex. I would call this a HFN. Everyone is changed by the events and I would like to see what happens next with these characters.

The cover art by Natasha Snow fits the story well. I am going to assume this is Truman.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 19th 2019 by NineStar Press (first published December 1st 2014)
ISBN 139781951057145
Edition Language English
Series Heart and Haven #1

A Caryn Review: An Uncommon Whore (An Uncommon Whore #1) by Belinda McBride

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Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

A bit sci-fi, a bit fantasy, a romance rekindled after tragedy, and just a little challenge to the psychology of traditional male gender roles…  This book ended up being a little more wide-ranging than I expected, but I truly enjoyed it.

The novel opens on the planet Warlan – mined out, ugly, and full of dangerous and desperate beings from all over the galaxy who seemingly have nowhere lower to go.  Pasha was a slave, a whore, controlled by a chip in his brain that not only suppressed his memories of who he was, but also guaranteed obedience to his owner.  Pasha was always looking for escape, but his many attempts over the years were unsuccessful, until his pimp lost him to a pirate over a game of cards.

That pirate was Captain Griffin Hawke, and he had been searching for years for his king, Helios Dayspring.  He’d heard rumors that Helios might be on Warlan, and was thrilled to find him, but horrified by what Helios had become.  He was equally horrified to learn that Helios had no memory of who he was, what had happened to their people, or how the two of them had been lovers before they became guerrilla warriors for their people.

This is the beginning of a series, so the entire restoration of the kingdom of Astrum will take a few more books.  An Uncommon Whore is all about the restoration of Helios Dayspring, as Griffin takes him off Warlan, through a series of adventures to recover his memories and return to their new homeland.  Along the way, they reunite with unexpected allies, confront traitors, and most importantly, learn more about themselves and their relationship with each other.  Helios found ways to use his experience as a slave to become a better man, and convince Griffin they could be partners despite their difference in rank.  There was a lot of discussion between the two of them about the role of dominance and submission – not in a BDSM type of way, but in regards to all the roles and positions in a sexual relationship.  Is the man on his knees submissive?  Is the top in anal sex the dominant?  Is it possible to switch roles?  What does that mean when they have political and leadership positions to maintain as well?  I think I liked that part of the narrative best, even though it was overdone at times.  This quote, Helios talking to Griffin, kind of sums it up best:

I’ve discovered that humility is not such a bad thing and that strength can be found through submission.  I’ve learned that I am not always right, and being wrong is not a bad thing, nor is it a weakness.

Some things I didn’t like were how the dialogue sometimes seemed less like Astrum and fantasy world, and more like 21st century America.  There was also a definite feeling of insta-love between Helios and Griffin – and I didn’t really buy that a man who had been an abused sex slave would be so instantly attracted to anyone.  But that aside, it was an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson captures Helios well, and the background clearly shows the sci-fi aspect of the story.

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon |  Barnes and Noble:

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition
Published August 27th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 25th 2010)
Original Title An Uncommon Whore
ASINB07TZ2FRZS
Series An Uncommon Whore #1
Characters Helios Dayspring, Griffin Hawke
setting Warlan
Neo Domus

Check Out the Audio Blitz and Giveaway for Dirty Mind by Roe Horvat and Vance Bastian (Narrator)

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Narrated By: Vance Bastian
 
Length: 5hrs 10mins
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Blurb
 

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career, and travels alone – his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex – the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.


When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.


However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of 21, clever, and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.

 

About the Author


Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. He came out as transgender in 2017 and has been fabulous since. He loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, bad action movies, stand-up comedy, pale ale, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, he can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.


More about the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
Twitter: @roehorvat
Website: roehorvat.com
Publisher: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=authors&id=107

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Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz Dominated but not Subdued by JP Sayle (excerpt)

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Dominated but not Subdued RDB Banner

Dominated But Not Subdued

La Trattoria Di Amore series

JP Sayle

Genre: M/M Romance/BDSM/Daddy Kink/Age Gap

Release Date: 08.30.19

ebook cover

Blurb

Why does he want to be a “boy” to a man twenty years his senior? A man who is so much more than big and burly. Is he a Daddy or a Dom?

Adam Grainger learnt the hard way that coming from an affluent family does not guarantee love or affection. It makes him doubt anyone could ever love him.

That is until Carl.

Carl showing him the darker pleasures in life leaves Adam revelling in the true meaning of letting go.

Carl standing up for him allows Adam’s need for a “Daddy” to surface.

But too many secrets and a driving force to not submit might prevent Adam from gaining what he never knew he craved: a Dom Daddy.

Dominated but not Subdued is the second book in the La Trattoria Di Amore series and can be read as a standalone. It is M/M romance with Daddy kink, aspects of BDSM play, an age gap, and a Dom Daddy who needs a strong boy to keep him on his toes.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07W6Z8Q7R

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W6Z8Q7R

t3

t5

t4

Excerpt

Carl fiddled with the papers in front of him, though his brooding gaze never left Adam.

An hour later, Carl was desperate for a moment alone. Adam’s herby-scented aftershave was doing a number on him, and he was finding it harder and harder to concentrate as the minutes ticked by. He willed Seb to wrap things up.

“I think that answers all our questions,” Seb stated, flicking a glance at Carl for confirmation.

Carl nodded.

Seb carried on, “Once we’ve reviewed all the applicants, we’ll give you a ring. It should be later today, and if not, it will be tomorrow. Unless you have anything else you want to add, you’re free to go.”

Adam shook his head. “No, I think you answered all my questions.” He stood, giving a toothy smile. “Thank you for your time and your consideration for this post.”

Carl felt the weight of his sea-green eyes.

“I’d just like to say I know I’m young, but you won’t find anyone more dedicated or committed. When I put my mind to something, I always make it work.” He paused, looking at both men. “I’d work my backside off to make sure your business runs smoothly and efficiently.”

Carl imagined said backside doing more than running the restaurant. Instead he’d be bent over Carl’s spanking bench, which would be a more apt place for the gorgeous man. The vivid thoughts ran wild in Carl’s head, and he was reluctant to touch the offered hand as Adam leant over the table towards him and Seb.

He let out a relieved breath when Adam thanked them again for their time. He felt Adam’s final flirty grin all the way down to his toes. Adam spun around, hips swaying, as he walked with confidence across the room and out of sight, not once looking back.

The moment his pert backside disappeared around the partition wall, Carl slumped against the booth and rubbed his sweaty palms down his baggy black chef’s trousers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My name is Jayne and I recently decided that writing was going to be my new career. I have spent most st of my life in the caring profession and I currently work as a nurse manager out of hours, managing a hospital site at night. I have always wanted to write and as I got more disheartened by my role at the time it gave me the impetus to change and live my dream. I am happily married and have been for 25 years. I have a beautiful daughter and currently one grandchild. I’m an identical twin, so if you see me, check first it’s me. I live on a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea and I’m what is known as a amand person. I love reading as much as writing and am an avid yoga fan

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