A Stella Review: Roxy’s Recovery by Kim Breyon

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

As the newest veterinarian in the small town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Vaughn Winters doesn’t have time for relationships. He is too busy healing injuries and establishing his reputation as a trustworthy vet. But when a strange man waves him down on a stormy night seeking help for his injured dog, Vaughn simply can’t refuse.

Obviously homeless and with no means to pay for Roxy’s medical care, Vaughn throws caution to the wind and strikes a deal with the hesitant stranger that would allow Roxy the time to heal and provide some much needed TLC to his property as well. As the days pass, Vaughn’s curiosity grows. Alex’s dedication to the job is as surprising as the sexy tats hidden beneath his rugged clothes. What could have pushed this kind, hardworking man to the streets, or cast such dark shadows in his otherwise bright blue eyes?

Will six weeks be enough time to earn Alex’s trust? Or will asking questions cause him to tuck tail and run as soon as Roxy is able?
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Roxy’s Recovery is a 61k standalone contemporary romance involving two men, a meddling sister, and a seriously sassy pug.

Roxy’s Recovery is an awesome reading, it called to my heart and I fell soon deep in love with the characters. The romance deals with some important themes, as being homeless, still the story was easy to read, there wasn’t too much angst, on the contrary, through all the novel I got a sense of positiveness, of joy and openness. The way Vaughn is ready to help Roxy and her owner with no hesitation, he goes ahead and decides to host both of them until Roxy will be fine. Alex has been hurt bad, it’s not easy to trust Vaughn but he had to, it can’t risk Roxy health. He has to wait and try to repay the young veterinarian trying to fix his properties. Week after week the two men learn to know each others and strong feelings start to rise between them.

I will definitely have a look at the other titles by Kim Breyon, I very much enjoyed this new release, I found ti well written and with amazing characters, but most of all it lightened my soul, it gave me hope, it’s a story full of love, and especially the love shown for the dogs let me see how a good job the author did.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is lovely and well done, I love this artist style.

SALE LINKS Amazon US | |Amazon UK | Universal Link | Goodreads

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 167 pages

Published November 21st 2019

ASIN B081G8WQ6Z

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!

Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert is exactly the sort of story I love to read during the holidays.  For me, it’s close to a perfect Christmas story.  Little angst, holiday celebrations, fake boyfriend trope, adorable animals (cats in this one), and a great chemistry between the main characters.

Located in Portland, a go to city for so many of Albert’s stories, I immediately took to these characters. Russ, the ex-marine trying to adjust to life without his life within the service and being  gay …outwardly gay for the first time.  And Esteban, the actor who has retreated from Hollywood to Portland and a new life closer to his larger and close family.  Two neighboring condo units, a wandering Siamese cat, and an attraction that jumps off the page.  Albert’s descriptions alone paints such a great picture of these two.

Russ is massive, tall, all marine muscles and haircut, gentle,  with a reserved nature.  Estaban is slimmer, Hollywood star gorgeous, older, and more outgoing in nature, preferring colors and a kitchen to cook in.  Albert’s writing lets us into their shared space of small condos, their introduction, and then growing relationship via the “fake boyfriend” need that springs up and doesn’t quite go away on schedule.  It’s lovely, sexy, and heartwarming.  And just what I want and love to read for the holidays.  Or anytime of the year.

It’s the romance Annabeth Albert writes so well and one of the reasons I would love for her to revisit this couple for their wedding.  I hope she is listening.  Perhaps a Valentine’s Day story?

Looking for your next holiday romance?  I highly recommend Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert.  I’m sure I will be rereading it over the holidays to capture the glow once more.

Cover art is nice but honestly I would have loved something a little more Christmassy,  but it’s ok.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 14th 2019 by Annabeth Albert
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

It wasn’t supposed to be REAL! Bigfoot doesn’t actually exist. Yetis, shifters, creatures of the night … none of those exist. Right? Right?

There’s nothing about perky — some might even say twinky — Oliver Hughes that would make a skeptic like Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think otherwise. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see.

In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

This fun novella has a paranormal twist, a hint of mystery, and a flavorful dollop of romantic comedy. Mix it all together for a satisfying HEA!

At the end of the book all I could think was this was cute.  I liked Wilson’s viewpoint of how to do the story and how he didn’t want to make someone sound bad but also wanted to listen to the facts.  I thought his easy acceptance of Oliver was refreshing and I thought Oliver was adorable too.  This was a great short sweet story and I love how all of Wilson’s possibilities came together in the end.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is cute and I like it.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 28,076 words

Published: October 19, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781646561209

Edition Language: English

Audio Blitz and Giveaway for Prophesy II: The Bringer of Wrath (The King & Alpha Series) by A.E. Via

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Length: 9hrs 23mins
 
Narrated by: Troy Duran
 
The King & Alpha Series
 

Book #1 – Prophesy – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb



Shifter and vampire true mates story.


Alek’s older brother, Justice – the Alpha Zenith – was the first shifter to mate with a vampire in many generations, and it was believed the rare, fated pairing would stop at him. But, it hadn’t. Aleksei “Alek” Volkov was second beta, next in succession to the most powerful shifter in the world. He was proud of his title and he took his duties seriously. It was all he had. Until his true mate literally showed up on his doorstep.


Belleron “Bell” Liatos had come to the states for one reason – his best friend and vampire king, Chadwick Bentley. He certainly didn’t come to be pounced on by a wolf that could act independently of its master. Not only was his destined cherished a complicated and confused man, but he was also unaware of the powerful presence that lurked in the shadows of his soul. Bell didn’t know he’d be the key to unlocking an exceptional triad that would play a critical role in fulfilling the prophesy.

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.


A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.


A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.


Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.


Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

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Join Us for the Blog Tour for Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Unfettered

Kate Hawthorne

M/M Romance

Release Date: 11.21.19

Unfettered-eBook

Blurb

How can Heath find happiness again when he’s terrified of the things he loves?

After a reckless scene gone wrong, Heath is floating alone though life, unable to trust anyone enough give up control. Everything changes when he accepts a dinner invitation from a handsome younger man.

Beau is a twenty-four year old student with a strong personality who he knows exactly what he wants in life. And right now, he wants Heath. It doesn’t matter that Heath has a traumatic past, and it definitely doesn’t matter when they find out Heath is one of his professors.

The reemergence of someone Heath used to know sends their relationship into a tailspin, and leaves Beau questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. To save his relationship with Heath, he has to turn to the support system he’s never had before…his long lost brothers.

Heath has finally rediscovered the liberation in restraint, but now Beau needs to find the freedom promised from being truly unfettered.

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081FZPXX1/

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Excerpt

“Come on.” Heath clapped his hands together twice and pointed toward the door. “Go get your books and come back, then we’ll get started.”

Everyone filed out, leaving him alone with Beau and a heavy and awkward silence.

“You never said you were a student,” Heath whispered, resting his ass against the corner of the desk. Beau didn’t move from his seat near the door.

“You didn’t ask.”

“I didn’t think to.”

In reply, Beau smiled.

“We obviously can’t see each other anymore.” Heath turned his back to Beau and stared at the trails of chalk dust that arced across the blackboard.

“We’re actually going to see each other every Tuesday and Thursday from eight to ten.” A chair screeched across the floor and Heath didn’t dare turn around to look.

“I mean like last night. Tonight.”

“Why not?” Beau’s words were hot against his ear and his fingers gentle against Heath’s waist.

“It’s improper.”

“But I want to see you.” Beau turned his head just so, so that his lips dragged across the shell of Heath’s ear.

“I could lose my job. You could get expelled.”

“We’ll have to be careful,” Beau whispered. He stepped closer to Heath until the fabric of their shirts rubbed together. “Don’t you want to see where this can go?”

Beau’s hands slipped around to Heath’s stomach and up toward his chest. His fingers were splayed wide and he brushed the tips of his fingers against Heath’s bottom lip.

“We can’t,” Heath pleaded.

This was awful. What had he done to deserve such a cruel twist of fate? Finally finding someone capable of pulling him out of his post-Mac funk and it was a student? He groaned, and Beau’s finger slipped through the part of his lips.

“I can do whatever I please,” Beau promised. “And I’ll be by at seven to pick you up. I hope that you’ll be ready.”

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Born and raised in Southern California, Kate Hawthorne woke up one day and realized she had stories worth sharing. Now existing on a steady diet of wine and coffee, Kate writes stories about complicated men in love that are sometimes dirty, but always sweet. She enjoys crafting hard-fought and well deserved happy endings with just the right amount of angst and kink.

From estate sale shopping to shoe worship, there’s something in at least one of her books that’ll tickle your fancy. Visit her website at http://www.katehawthornebooks.com

Website – http://www.katehawthornebooks.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/authorkatehawthorne

Instagram – http://instagram.com/kate.hawthorne

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kate-hawthorne

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Love Holiday Romances? Check Out the Blog Tour for Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Mr. Right Now

Annabeth Albert

M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 11.14.19

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Blurb

He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!

Tags: neighbors-to-lovers, fake boyfriend, holiday romance, friends-to-lovers

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48481844-mr-right-now

https://amzn.to/2JTW01L

Mr Right Now Problem Answer TeaserMr Right Now Kiss TeaserMr. Right Now Cat Teaser

Excerpt

“Russ!” A very tall, very pregnant woman engulfed the big guy in a hug. But right as Esteban was about to slip away, she locked her gaze on him. “Oh! And this must be the new guy! We’re so delighted to meet you.”

“Yes, we’re so happy for Russ,” an older, elegant woman with cropped hair added.

Russ looked utterly miserable standing behind the women, expression stricken, like Esteban’s nephews after hearing one too many siguanaba monster stories.

Hell. Russ apparently hadn’t told them about the breakup. And now he had to come clean, which would undoubtedly cast a shadow over the gathering and make Russ’s predicament the center of attention. That had to be the last thing Russ wanted.

Esteban’s stomach churned unhappily in sympathy. If Esteban had figured out one thing about Russ in their time in the kitchen, it was that he was way more comfortable talking about others than himself. He wished there was some way to spare Russ the humiliation.

Wait. They don’t even know his name. Wasn’t that what Russ had said about his ex?

Esteban tried to catch Russ’s eyes. Should I pretend? Want me to?

He’d never had a blockbuster role, but Esteban wasn’t some scenery chewer either. He could still act, spare a nice guy a little awkwardness, and maybe ease his holiday burden. That earlier moment when Russ had talked about leaving the marines still lingered in Esteban’s brain. He understood all too well that change was hard. And Russ had surely been through enough of it.

Esteban’s unspoken question seemed to hang between them for an eternity. Russ’s nose wrinkled as his mouth twisted. Then he gave an almost imperceptible nod.

“Russ, aren’t you going to introduce us to your boyfriend?” the tall woman, who had to be Judy, prompted while her husband juggled both a pie and the toddler.

“This is…uh…” Russ looked like he’d rather be auditioning for a hemorrhoid cream ad rather than deal with his family. He was back to the dejected guy he’d been when Esteban had met up with him at the dumpster. And that just wouldn’t do.

“Esteban. Or you can just call me the boyfriend. I’m easy.” With a wink, he stuck out a hand for Judy. He could do this, could act the part, and remove that air of failure from Russ’s otherwise impressive self.

Russ’s jaw had fallen open wide enough to land a 747. “Yeah…”

Roll with it, Esteban tried to tell him with a quick smile his direction.

“And you’re charming. Rusty, you didn’t tell me he was charming.”

“I didn’t know.” The grateful wonder in Russ’s tone was enough to convince Esteban that this was worth a few hours of pro-bono acting.

“What do you mean you didn’t know? You big goof.” Judy lightly docked her brother’s shoulder. She then shook Esteban’s hand, and introduced, her husband, Bob, and his mother, Connie, and the toddler, Benny.

“Here, let me take the pie,” Esteban offered. “Russ, you can help with their coats?”

“Yeah.” Russ continued to sound delightfully befuddled. As Esteban passed with the pie, Russ lowered his voice and asked, “What did you get yourself into?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.” And as he took the pie to the kitchen, he could only hope he wasn’t lying.

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Mr. Right Now joins her many other critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series and stand-alone titles.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and particularly loves uncovering unique main characters. In her personal life, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

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A Lucy Review But by the Grace of Dog by AF Henley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Thom Baron has been struggling with social anxiety his entire life. He’s taken the medications, gone to the therapists, followed the programs, and concluded his best life is a solitary one. When he comes across a dog in obvious need at his local market, it rekindles the desire to have some company around. It may come with a dishevelled coat, a notched ear, and a refusal to respond to anything but its given name “Ugly,” but it could still be a friend.

However, Thom’s new fur buddy has no such need to keep to itself and immediately befriends the man Thom has secretly coveted since he moved in — Justin, Thom’s gorgeous, bright-eyed neighbour. No matter how Thom tries to evade the man, the dog keeps drawing them back into each other’s lives, and it doesn’t take Thom long to recognize it’s simply pursuing the demands of Thom’s own heart. With the dog giving him the courage to try, Thom reaches out to return the love being offered.

Until a stranger shows up insisting the dog is his and demanding its immediate return … a loss Thom knows will take all of his efforts and newfound confidence with it.

Thom has serious social anxiety.  The man is incapable of even answering a question.  “Poorly developed social skills” was common.  “An Inability to interact” and “anxious” were high on the list.  “Arrogant” had been the one that bothered him the most and “socially disturbed” he considered one of the cleverest.”  He gets heart palpitations, hyperventilates, thinks of ways of being maimed or killed to avoid a situation, the works.  He has certain times he can go places, such as the Market,

It is here at the Market, in a search for strawberries, that he finds the dog named Ugly, smelly, dirty and locked in a cage under a table.  He can’t resist a kindred spirit and so ends up buying the dog. “The dog looked at Thom with the sad disinterest of something that knew it had absolutely no value and deserved no pity.”  He can’t bear to call it Ugly so calls it, Dog. This leads to him meeting up with his new neighbor, Justin.  I admit, I couldn’t figure out Justin’s patience with Thom.  Thom is rude to him, runs away, hides and avoids.  “That had gone absolutely horrible, not that he had ever expected the first forced conversation to go any other way.”  The anxiety is just crippling. 

But Justin is patient and persistent. “You don’t really like me too much.”   He says that to Thom and I felt badly for him.  Justin is aided by Dog, who often brings Thom into contact with Justin.  Thom gives a lot of credit to Dog for helping with the anxiety.  He can’t stay and hide, Dog needs food.  Dog needs the vet.  Dog needs to go out. 

Thom has had one relationship in his life and he hurt the person badly by being unable to be a good partner, unable to care enough.  So that has colored his actions and he can’t be with Justin or be close to Justin because it will end badly and Justin will be hurt.  “He was a vergin in almost every aspect of the word that one could imagine.”  He wants and he longs but he can’t do anything about it.

I will admit there was a point when I was SO disappointed with Justin.  I was rather like Thom at that moment.  “Don’t. I can’t believe you pretend like you understand, yet you stand her and talk like this.”  It wasn’t so much what Justin did but what he was saying. Justin’s “Then you’d keep going on and getting better without him, Thom” actually made me cringe because it showed Justin didn’t realize Thom had spent years hiding away, suffering and struggling with anxiety so strong it often left him physically ill.   “You’re supposed to be on my side, but no, you have to be Mister Nice Guy.”   Like Thom, I had to think about it and realize there really was no option.  But in the moment, I was so ticked at him.

There isn’t a lot of angst here and I did have the fleeting thought that Thom’s anxiety was a little too easily resolved but I definitely saw the benefits Dog had made for Thom.  I liked this cute story and I hope things continue to just get better and better for Thom and Justin.

Cover art, showing Thom and Justin holding hands with Dog front and center, was perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details

book, 126 pages
Published 2019 by JMS Books
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review : Hometown Christmas by Garrett Leigh

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Yani Nicolaou is sworn off love for good. After fleeing a bad break-up in London, the only blood, sweat, and tears he has left are for his gyro stall at the Christmas market. Rebound fling? No thanks. He’s sticking to one-night-stands.

 

Ex-army vet Gavin Richie has even less capacity for romance. Managing a homeless shelter while recovering from injury keeps him far too busy. So what if he’s often alone? He’s content being single, or so he thinks until a chance meeting lights a spark he can’t ignore.

 

Yani is the warmth and affection Gavin hadn’t known he was missing. As Christmas lights up the city, their lives entwine in more ways than one. Falling for each other is easy. Holding on is harder, unless a hometown Christmas proves their love can last longer than the festive season.

 

Unfortunately, I had some trouble getting through this book.  I will admit that I hadn’t read the books referenced at the end of the book where these two were first introduced but I’m not sure that really had anything to do with me struggling with this book except if the writing style was similar.

 

The last few books I have read by this author I loved but this one started out with the characters dancing around each other so much and just felt like it dragged.  I was glad that Gavin was able to figure out how to handle Yani and how Yani wanted to take care of Gavin the only way he knew how, by feeding him.

 

I had trouble connecting with these characters and I hate to say the strong english slang that was used made it hard for me to get into the book, I think that’s just due to my own preferences.  I liked that these two had people to support them but found the greatest support with each other.

 

I really like the cover art by Garrett Leigh and the simplicity of it.

 

Sales Links: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages

Published: November 21, 2019

Edition Language: English

A.F. Henley Blogging on Life as A Writer and the new release ‘But By the Grace of Dog by A.F. Henley’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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But By the Grace of Dog by A.F. Henley

ebook, 126 pages
Published 2019 by JMS Book
Sales Links:   JMS Books LLC | Amazon
GENRE: Gay Romance, Canadian novel, Contemporary
LENGTH: 49,400 words
RATING: flame rating 4 (contains some explicit sex scenes)

 

 

 

Hello all! Thank you very much for taking part in my blog tour for But by the Grace of Dog. I have to tell you, I’m excited beyond words to present this novel to you. It’s been a bit of a process for me. There was a point about a year and half ago where I had more of less convinced myself that I was done with writing. (Those other writers out there who are reading this are smiling at that, I know – as if a writer can somehow just turn off the words and choose to ignore them.) Then, as they tend to, this story showed up in my mind. When the words to that story started to come seemingly all on their own, I figured who was I to tell them no. Before I was even half done that novel, I knew it wasn’t just one story, but an entire series of them.

So, with a renewed, reinvigorated, and refreshed outlook, I completed the novel, started the second one in the series, submitted it, got an acceptance… and a couple of months after accepting the story, the publisher decided it was time to hang up their hats. I was devastated. Not just for this novel, or this series, but for my career in writing as a whole. This was, obviously, a sign, and I should have just given up when I said I was going to, it wasn’t meant to be, nobody really wanted me, and blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. I tirelessly bemoaned these thoughts to close friends, and honestly, they are champs to have put up with me.

Unfortunately, or I guess that I should probably be saying fortunately, that second story refused to let me stop writing it. So, what was I to do? If the stories were going to keep insisting on their right to exist, and I wasn’t able to find a way to ignore them, I was going to have to grow a backbone and take some ownership of my writing career.

Spoiler alert: I did not do that.

In fact, I waited until another publisher reached out to me. And, of course, when that happened, I was pretty dumbstruck. After all, what an honour, right? How could I not follow up with that? Now this, I told myself, was truly the sign! This was what I was waiting for. Even if it was a sign that was completely opposing to what I had thought was the sign prior to that. Forward, on. Here we go. This is going to be the moment where everything turns around.

Well, not exactly. And by not exactly, I mean that didn’t work out at all.

At that point I was back to my two choices: give up or buck up. Honestly, I considered both. (Mostly because I can be a bit of a drama queen when things don’t go my way. Yes. A bit of one.) Then, I had a mutual tell me about JMS Books. I did a bit of poking around—some research that was mostly just me trying to peer undetected over top of walls and around corners—and was instantly intrigued by their covers, policies, and the owner’s seemingly unending energy and devotion. I mean, seriously. Un. Ending. Energy.

They welcomed But by the Grace of Dog with open arms, welcomed all my other little orphans in as well, and the rest, as the say, is history.

All this narrative is my way of leading into this – my journey with the novel isn’t all that different from the one my main character, Thom, faces in the novel. He too has to find a way to reach outside his comfort zone, not just for his own betterment, but for the sake of the things in his life that he holds dear. It can be tough. Especially when we’re dealing with all those little tricks our minds play on us in its attempt to keep us safe and comfy. They call it a comfort zone for a reason and the mind, consciously and subconsciously, is a master at keeping us in a known state.

Luckily, just as I did, Thom finds himself some friends that listen to him complain, who show him an alternative way when he insists that he can’t get over things, and holds his hand (or licks his face) when he’s convinced it’s time to quit. And that kind of love always helps.

Man + Dog + Neighbour = True Love (but does it equal a HEA?)

A huge thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for me having me today, and just as big a thanks to you, again, for joining me. Please be sure to keep reading for a short exclusive excerpt and all the details for not just one, but two giveaways! All it takes is a comment here for a chance at one of the adorable keychains pictured below and a promo pack. Then, if you click through to the Rafflecopter, you’ll get yourself a second chance at a freebee, this one for a $25 credit to JMS Books!

All my love!

AF Henley ❤

Blurb

GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance, Canadian English

LENGTH: 49,400 words

RATING: contains some explicit sex scenes

NOTE: contains brief character thoughts about suicide

Thom Baron has been struggling with social anxiety his entire life. He’s taken the medications, gone to the therapists, followed the programs, and concluded his best life is a solitary one. When he comes across a dog in obvious need at his local market, it rekindles the desire to have some company around. It may come with a dishevelled coat, a notched ear, and a refusal to respond to anything but its given name “Ugly,” but it could still be a friend.

However, Thom’s new fur buddy has no such need to keep to itself and immediately befriends the man Thom has secretly coveted since he moved in — Justin, Thom’s gorgeous, bright-eyed neighbour. No matter how Thom tries to evade the man, the dog keeps drawing them back into each other’s lives, and it doesn’t take Thom long to recognize it’s simply pursuing the demands of Thom’s own heart. With the dog giving him the courage to try, Thom reaches out to return the love being offered.

Until a stranger shows up insisting the dog is his and demanding its immediate return … a loss Thom knows will take all of his efforts and newfound confidence with it.

Exclusive Excerpt

“Stop.” Thom’s voice caught and he had to try again. “Please stop. I can’t.”

Justin straightened, drying his hands on his shorts. “Or, we could not stop. Not yet, anyway. Let’s stop in half an hour if it doesn’t work out, okay? That’s fair, right? Besides, can’t isn’t won’t. Maybe if you want to, you might surprise yourself. Then, if you still can’t, at least we gave it a shot. Maybe next time you’ll be able to. Or the time after that. Or the time after that one again. Eventually I won’t be a stranger, and you won’t be anxious.”

There was a long pause while Thom processed, and Justin waited without saying another word. But one second before Thom was about to turn him down yet again, Justin added, “I’ll even help you finish washing your dog.”

Thom widened his eyes. “Oh, God, no, that would be even worse than a drink.”

Justin slapped both hands on his thighs. “Then it’s settled! A drink it is.”

“Okay, but even if I agreed, it’s like…” Thom motioned around, running out of steam and already sure he was going to have to give in, “mid-day!”

“But it’s a weekend,” Justin assured him. “The five o’clock rule doesn’t count on the weekend.” When Thom didn’t respond, Justin nodded. “All right then,” he said, tone gleeful. “So, do we do this at my place or yours?”

Thom sighed. “Better make it yours, I guess. Because I can assure you that if I get to my own door before you do, there is not only zero chance of you getting in, but also of me ever coming back out. Like, for the rest of my life.”

Justin’s eyes softened along with his smile. “It’s just a drink, Thom. I’m not going to judge you and I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want.”

“Except actually come for the drink in the first place.”

“Well,” Justin drew out the word, shrugging comically. “Yes, except that.”

“I’m soaking wet,” Thom said, waving at his clothes. “And muddy.”

“Patio furniture can be hosed off,” Justin countered.

Thom held his breath. He silently counted to five before letting it go. Surprisingly, his chest didn’t seem to be quite as tight when he ran out of air to exhale. “Well, I guess I don’t have a choice then, do I?”

“Always,” Justin said with another grin. “You can have your choice of red wine, white wine, or beer.” He looked positively delighted when the comment won him a smile. He pointed at the fence, Vanna White style. “After you.”

Thom sighed dramatically, reaching for Dog’s leash. “Fine. But we’re going the long way around.”

Giveaway

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Check Out the Book Blast with Excerpt for Body Parts And Mind Games by Jude Tresswell

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Body Parts and Mind Games (County Durham Quad Book 4)

Publisher: Self published 

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Genre/s: Crime, LGBTQ

Trope/s: Sexual/asexual relationship; polyamorous relationship

Themes: Navigating ace/non-ace relationship; loyalty

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 60 000 words/ 228 pages

It can be read alone, although it is 4th in the County Durham Quad series. Background information is provided for new readers.

Add on Goodreads

 

A crime to solve, a lover to save, and an ace-happy ending?

Blurb 

Organ trafficking, types of attraction and far-right nationalism are ingredients in this tale about Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, a gay polyamorous quad who live in North-East England.

Phil is a surgeon in Warbridge Hospital. A patient’s organs are harvested illegally. Are Phil’s colleagues involved?

Detective Nick Seabrooke returns to Warbridge to ask Phil to aid the investigation. Agreeing endangers the quad in more ways than one. How will Nick, who is asexual, react to meeting the quad again? How will they react to him?

This is the fourth story in the County Durham Quad series. Background information is included for new readers. 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

From Chapter 2

“I hoped I’d never see him again.” Words that were being echoed three hundred miles away in London. Nick Seabrooke stood at the window of his flat and stared across rooftops to the dome of St Paul’s. He re-read Phil’s message. It was terse and to the point: Considered what you said. Will do it. Feel free to set a meeting up. Was it the answer he’d wanted? Yes, from one point of view. No, definitely not, from another. 

He’d hardly believed what he’d heard the previous Monday. Nick was a detective with the NCA, the agency responsible for criminal investigations that went beyond national borders. Money-laundering involving forgery was his normal remit. He’d met the quad when Raith had been chief suspect in a case and he had been a sergeant. Now he was an inspector. So, he’d answered the chief superintendent’s call, expecting to be briefed about a fraud or a forgery. Instead, he was told about organ trafficking. But although trade in body parts was a crime that cut across borders, it seemed well outside his area of expertise. He’d tried to tell the chief so. Yes, the chief knew that, but whoever had requested Nick’s involvement knew that he had liaised, successfully, with Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary the year before and, more importantly, knew that he’d worked closely with a surgeon at the hospital at the centre of the enquiry.

“This doctor, Philip Roberts,” the chief had said, “would he be involved in something like this?”

“I very much doubt it, sir,” Nick had answered promptly. “I think he’d feel that it was beneath his ability and beneath his dignity. He’s totally focused on his own niche. He developed this graphene-based colorectal repair procedure almost single-handedly. He pioneered the research. He carries out most of the ops. I can’t see him whipping out a kidney or cornea when no one’s looking. And he’s conscientious. The ethics would bother him.”

“Money?”

“More than he needs and, I’d say, not particularly materialistic.”

“Then contact him,” he’d been told. “See if he’ll work with you on this. We need a medic inside that hospital. Eyes and ears and a way for you to get in and use yours. You stayed at his house, didn’t you, when you were up there last year?”

“No, sir. I stayed with one of the artisans. In Tunhead though. All the houses are owned by Roberts and the men he lives with. They rent them out to arts and crafts personnel. They call the venture BOTWAC—the Beck on the Wear Arts Centre.”

“BOTWAC?”

“Yes.”

“Interesting sense of humour. Well, see if you can stay there again. It’ll give you some safe opportunities to talk with this doctor without being overheard, and he can teach you all you need to know about proctology.”

Nick knew the meaning of ‘proctology’, but he was focusing on ‘safe’. Safe for whom? The chief misinterpreted his concerned look and his silence, and began to explain proctology.

“Yes, I know, sir,” he said, interrupting, and then he’d been politely dismissed, and tomorrow he’d have to phone Phil. Shit! 

So that was what he’d done—phoned Phil, and now he had Phil’s answer. 

He closed Messages and, almost reluctantly, opened Gallery. Should he scroll to it—the photo that he’d taken in Raith’s studio that last time he had met the quad? The photo of a portrait of Mike. He hadn’t looked at it for months. …………

…………..  Mike had fascinated him, but he realised that he’d rarely even thought of County Durham, or Tunhead—or Mike—for weeks. He was over his crush or whatever it was. So it hadn’t been love. Couldn’t have been love. So, really, he should be able to bin the photo. It shouldn’t be a problem, should it? There was no good reason to keep it, was there? But, although he could resist opening the file, he couldn’t bring himself to press Delete. Couldn’t bring himself to execute that oh-so-final break-with-everything action. So, what did his reluctance, his cowardice, mean? Well, soon he’d have more than a photo in front of him. He’d have flesh and blood. It wouldn’t be so easy to avoid looking at the real thing. He wouldn’t be able to press a key and—abracadabra—delete Mike.

He was probably needlessly worrying. Professional concerns would dominate and there wouldn’t be time to give ex-inspector Michael Angells more than a quick hello and a passing thought. And, being the sensible man that he was, Nick picked up the folder marked Warbridge and re-read the chief’s background information.

 

About the Author 

I’m married, I’ve grown-up children, I’m asexual (although a different sort of ace from Nick) and I do enjoy writing stories that aren’t constrained by hetero-norms.

The plots are always stimulated by something on the news – in this instance, reading that, in 2020, organ donation will become the default position where I live and, also, reading that enforced organ harvesting is carried out in some countries. I enjoy writing funny dialogue as well as dealing with serious issues, though, and I hope that some of the quad’s interchanges will make readers smile. And regarding the extract, I didn’t know the meaning of ‘proctology’ when I saw the word in a review of Book 3! (The term ‘colorectal’ is more common in the UK.) I couldn’t resist including a reference to it.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |   Amazon Author Page for all works

YouTube link to audio version of the short asexual/ sexual story Scar Ghyll Levels – available on Amazon Kindle.

(Audio version contains 200 photos of scenery)

https://youtu.be/M6xSuQ9utWg

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

 

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