A MelanieM Review:Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

10 siblings, 7 fish courses, 6 hockey players, 5 cousins, 4 calling birds, 3 spouses, 2 houses & 1 night that changes everything.

Betrayed by first his body and then his girlfriend, Liam O’Reilly, assistant coach of the Seattle Thunder, is not having a very merry Christmas. So when a smoking hot hockey player in a Santa suit offers himself up like a present begging to be opened? Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle.

If only the man in question wasn’t hockey’s own bad boy, Joey ‘the Looch’ Luciano, his best friend’s little brother and the same kid who used to trail behind Liam like a loud, mouthy shadow.

Whatever. Wrong as it might seem, a one-time hookup with Joey is exactly what he needs to make the yuletide gay. By tomorrow, he’ll be back in Seattle, Joey will be in New York, and his troubles will be miles away.

But as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day, Joey weaves his way past all Liam’s defenses, and Liam starts to see the sensitive, caring man behind the cocky smirk.

When the last present is opened and the Christmas lights go dark, will Joey and Liam’s night together be just another Christmas memory or can the holiday magic they made survive the pressures of the real world?

Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp is a Christmas short featuring Liam O’Reilly, assistant coach of the Seattle Thunder, and hockey player Joey ‘the Looch’ Luciano,  They have lived next door to each other all their lives, their families intertwined, often feeling more like one huge combined family than one.  It’s no spoiler to say that these characters will receive more stories further down the series but Boy Toys is the spark that sets the ripples flowing….

It’s an introductory story in many ways.  We get to meet so many of people of both families, the O’Reilly’s and the Luciano’s that pop up over the course of the series and the Thunder team, we see the dynamics that brought forth both personalities and how it contributes to the relationship, such as it is, going forward.

Here A.E Wasp is setting the stage for more to come.  IT’s a Christmas tale, full of family, warmth, sexy encounters, some of the very surprising time, and some revelations.  I loved it.

And recommend it.  Add this title to all the rest in the Hot Off The Ice series.  Hot men, great romances, and hockey.  Love it all.   Don’t miss out on a book.

Cover art is perfect for the characters and holiday.  Eye catching and bright.  I love it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 118 pages
Published November 14th 2017

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Honour by A.F. Henley

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This is an historical romance set in a fictionalized England circa the late 17th century (at my best guess, owing to the clothing), but the speech is fairly modern with reference to the subconscious mind. If the author had called the country anything but England, I would have called it fantasy. There isn’t too much world-building, just enough to get a sense of place. First, the reader is thrown into the pivotal action sequence of the book without knowing what is happening. It then flashes back to four months earlier and the story unfolds to explain how things got to that point. Emmett is a merchant’s son who cares for people, yet he also seems to have been indulged and not learned the hard lessons of life. He is said to have a head for numbers in business, but obviously not the skill for diplomacy and trade negotiations that his father has. When his father’s ship lands in order to trade, he has a disastrous meeting with Prince Andrewe. This sets up an enemies to lovers scenario for most of the rest of the book. While Emmett’s duty to protecting Aleyn’s virtue and trying to help him establish a living is admirable, possibly honorable, Emmett’s honor comes into question soon enough when everything doesn’t go his way.

The misunderstanding…where Emmett thinks his father has sold him to be a companion to the Prince is rather interesting to me. Did Emmett’s father want to get rid of him because he doesn’t think his son is right to take over the business one day? Did he think this experience would teach Emmett a lesson? Yet Emmett is as enamored with the Prince, as Andrewe seems to be with him, thus he becomes First Gentleman. This is not necessarily dubious consent…but the power imbalance is inescapable and used to salacious effect. Since this is Emmett’s point of view, it’s unclear whether he is an unreliable narrator because: he doesn’t understand interpersonal communications well enough, he is naive in the ways of court politics and intrigue, he lacks the life experience to deal with a real intimate relationship, or he is too swayed by his emotions rather than logic. Emmett willingly made himself a servant to the Crown, not understanding he was essentially making himself a slave, and then chafes at his lack of freedom.

Andrewe is completely uneven throughout the book, at times sweet and loving, only to turn vicious, cold, or distant. Lust can only allow Emmett to overlook the Prince’s behavior for so long, but the Prince isn’t the only problem and Emmett never takes any responsibility for their discord. At one point I did wonder if Andrew was mentally ill. Is he just unsure about how to behave in this relationship? Is he taking it out on Emmett, so that his parents will make him marry and produce an heir? Is he being mean and cruel on purpose to create distance to protect himself? Andrewe’s use of Aleyn against Emmett to keep him in line is repulsive. It’s also when Emmett finally loses his way and the lack of real communication and respect between them, causes dangerous circumstances to arise. This is where the book starts to go off the rails for me with the introduction of Thomas.

His dalliance with Thomas is not lust, more the rush of being able to be himself again–someone’s equal where he can say what he wants and do as he pleases. However, Thomas is not three dimensional enough to pull this plot off and it all falls flat. I was really enjoying this, even with all the questions I have about the other characters’ motivations, until I felt the author wrote Emmett into a box he couldn’t get out of. The whole last 20 percent of the book was completely unbelievable to me, and that was mainly down to not having the characters be more present and rounded out. All that sex and time spent with just Emmett and Andrewe made the plot suffer. The reader only sees the royal couple a handful of times and what is there in the characterizations doesn’t match from scene to scene. Did the King and Queen think Emmett would somehow tame Andrewe or make him easier to control? At one point the Queen threatens to get rid of Emmett, yet when the perfect time comes to do so, she shows mercy that is not warranted. In the end, even Emmett is contrary: the overindulgence and opulence he previously found so distasteful is in full force at the end, yet Emmett no longer minds. Even though Emmett is the central figure, the only consistent character is Aleyn, who on the cusp between boyhood and manhood, has a good reason to be inconsistent, yet seems to be the only one to actually understand what is happening and why. I’m left feeling really torn because so much of this was well done, but I had too many issues with the way the author chose to resolve the plot.

The cover design is by Written Ink Designs (written-ink.com). I admit to having no clue what the cover is about, maybe I missed a pertinent passage.

Sales Links:  AmazonJMS Books LLC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Second Edition
Published October 23rd 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published February 6th 2013)
Original TitleHonour
ASINB07Z7F3YHL
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.

One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.

Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?

Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol is pretty true to the original story. Which put me off when I started reading it. Perhaps because I like to believe that characters live in a constant happily ever after since the end of their books. In this case, we can see a grimmer future for Peter and his perception of the events surrounding him and his family.

Even so, the author got my interest back as soon as the ghosts started visiting Peter. The moments shown were evocative and interesting. They included laughter and tears. Tears due to Peter’s grief. I wish the ghosts’ visits could have changed some of the outcomes.

The ending felt a bit rushed but it still fit the timeline and the fantastic storytelling elements. Definitely, a holiday must read.

The cover by Natasha Snow fits the spirit of the holidays and the book’s era.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:
ebook, 119 pages
ISBN: 978-1-951057-81-7
Published: November 18, 2019, by NineStar Press
Edition Language: English

Join Us for the Release Blitz for Awakening (Wild Oak #1) by JJ Harper (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Awakening (Wild Oak, Book 1)

Author: JJ Harper

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Tammy Clarke

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, MM shifter romance

Trope/s: Wolf shifter, mild fantasy,  mention of Mpreg

Themes: Coming of age

Heat Rating: 3.5 flames

Length: 60 000 words/ 240 approx. pages

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Blurb 

A prophecy, a True Alpha, and fates mates. Can accept Ascha that his life has changed forever?

At twenty-one, Ascha Stanton has it all: a wonderful family, great friends, a long-term girlfriend, and a promising career as an NFL star. 

The appearance of three unknown men in his small town changes everything. Not only his life and future but also what he always thought himself to be: straight. Why then is he attracted to the handsome auburn-haired Thaddeus? How can Ascha hear his thoughts? And even more intriguing, what does the mark on both their chests mean?

Thaddeus explains a new path has been paved for him, one with the Wild Oak pack, who has been waiting for seventy years for the True Alpha to show himself and fulfill the prophecy. 

Will Ascha accept that Thaddeus is the man he’s destined to be with, and will the rival pack accept him as their new leader?

Awakening is an MM wolf shifter book with elements of fantasy and mention of Mpreg. It includes some sexual content and is suitable for adult readers.

 

Excerpt 

I stomp through the house, dodging my friends, and out to my truck. I slow down as I get closer. The dark-haired guy with the cold eyes I saw earlier is here, leaning against the side of the flatbed.

“Nice truck,” he says and rights himself. He’s taller than my six foot, but not by too much.

“Thanks. Do you mind moving away? I like to get going.” The guy gives me the creeps, and I remember Jared’s words. In my head, I try to reach out to Thaddeus, although I don’t why. Why would I trust him? I don’t even know if I can. “He’s here,” I tell him. I feel dumb, but it’s done. I reach for the handle of the cab.

“Hey, Ascha, you forgot your coat,” a voice behind me calls out. I look over my shoulder. Thaddeus is running toward me, holding a leather jacket I’ve never seen before. The dark-haired guy lets out a hiss and curses under his breath.

“Thanks, man.” As I take it from him, my fingers graze over his, and fireworks shoot up my arm. “Get out of here. I’ll get rid of him.”

“Sure, no problem. See you around,” Thaddeus says.

I drive straight home and park in my usual spot next to Dad’s BMW. Mom’s Prius is parked closer to the house. I climb out, but instead of hurrying inside, I stand still for a minute. I’m not alone. Someone is watching me. I can’t see anything in the pitch black surrounding me, but I know it, sense it. Tiny pinpricks are piercing my skin. The clammy feeling is all over me again. I’m burning up. I stagger inside and stumble through the kitchen. I need to get to my bedroom and my bed. If I lie down, I’ll feel better.

“Ascha? Are you okay?” It’s my dad, but I can’t see him properly. My vision is cloudy.

“No, it hurts. Every-fucking-thing hurts. I’m so hot.” I pant.

My mom lays her hand on me. I pull my arm away. Her touch is soft but still painful on my burning skin. “It’s happening, Tom. Dear lord, it’s happening to Ascha. I thought it was too late, that it had passed him by. What should we do?” Her voice is laced with worry, and tears fill her eyes. I wobble past them and make it to my bedroom, where I tear my clothes off. My T-shirt weighs too much on my skin, and I rip it from my chest. My jeans are next. They are too thick, too coarse, hurting me. Then another wave of pain overwhelms me. The pressure on my chest is like a branding iron, stamping marks on my skin, so hot, so deep, but it’s coming from inside me.

What’s happening? What the fuck is happening? I cry out, but it sounds more like a howl. My throat tightens. Too much pain, too much… my legs buckle, and I collapse, landing on my hands and knees. I cry out again. “Thaddeus.”

 

 

About the Author 

You will normally find her in the living room—typing away—with her dogs, Maud and Siddiqi. As a hopeless romantic, JJ dives into her stories, always falling in love with her men, making sure they get the happy ever after they deserve, even if they do have to work hard for it.

As a bona fide bookaholic, coffee-addicted, wine-drinking and swear-like-a-sailor type of girl, she has yet to work out how to act her age!! LOL. And she has no intentions of growing up or growing old gracefully.

JJ lives in a small, very quiet, village in Lincolnshire, UK, with her husband and dogs, and spends all day dreaming up stories full of really hot men.

 

 

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Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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Check Out the Release Blitz for Waxing Poetic for Christmas by Mara Townsend (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Waxing Poetic for Christmas

Author: Mara Townsend

Publisher: Self-published 

Cover Artist: Mara Townsend

Release Date: November 29, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary New Adult Holiday MM Romance

Trope/s: Established relationship, first time kink exploration/BDSM, holiday romance

Themes: Trust, love, balance, excitement, holiday, sexy

Heat Rating:  4.5 – 5 flames (BDSM play and multiple sex scenes)

Length: 10 – 12k words/ 60-70 pages 

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Universal Amazon Link

Blurb

Casey loves sitting in Santa’s lap.

That is, his holiday-obsessed boyfriend Nick is wearing nothing but a Santa hat and wants to know what Casey wants for Christmas. There is one thing, but it’s something Casey’s been holding back on. Melting candle wax stirs a burning desire in him. All he wants for Christmas is to experience the hot drip on his body…if he can find the courage to finally ask for it. All the sugar cookie-scented candles are making it hard to resist adding a kinky request to his wish list of gifts from his sexy St. Nick.

With the holiday spirit driving him on, Casey asks Nick to give him a hot present he’ll never forget. It’s the season of giving, after all, and this will be a gift they can share. Will Nick become Casey’s personal naughty Santa and fulfill his secret fantasy? 

Waxing Poetic for Christmas is a steamy holiday MM romance featuring kink discovery, wax play, holiday sweaters, and a sugary fireside HEA perfect for the holiday season.

Excerpt 

Nick breaks out in laughter, pressing it to Casey’s temple in hot puffs that brush over his ear. Nick gives him a squeeze. He backs away from Casey and waves around a lone tube sock.

Casey raises an eyebrow. “Really, Nick?”

“What? The tube sock method is a tried and true classic.” Nick winks and flips the sock in the air once, catching it with a flourish. He’s so dramatic, but Casey loves it. “We don’t have to live on campus to utilize it.”

“I thought you just said we didn’t have to worry about your roommates,” Casey points out.

“I know. I did tell them we wanted some space for the night, but this is just a little extra precaution. Just in case they do end up coming up for air from their science project.”

Casey watches Nick dance down the hallway swinging the sock around.

“Grab the ice and the bowl of cold water, will you?” Nick calls.

Retrieving the last of their safety supplies, Casey trails after Nick into his bedroom. Nick admires his sock-hanging handy work like it’s a Michelangelo in a museum.

“Ohh, ahh,” Casey deadpans. He hoists the bowl of water. “Here.”

Nick takes it from him and sets it on the nightstand by a small fire extinguisher and pile of washcloths.

“Do you really think we’ll need that?” Casey gestures to the extinguisher.

Nick throws him a boyish grin. “Fire safety first. Boy Scouts, dude.”

The snowman monstrosity of a shower curtain is open and spread across the floor, the cheerful pattern winking up at Casey. He sets the bag of ice down.

“Okay, last checks,” Nick announces. He ticks off his fingers one by one. “Bathroom, protein bar, shaved?”

Casey nods along with each one. His stomach somersaults, but he’s ready.

“Did you pick a safeword?” Nick raises his eyebrows seriously.

“Just use stop lights.”

Nick nods in agreement. “Alright. We won’t make this too long, either. I want to feel out what your tolerance is slowly without tiring you out too much.”

“What about what I said? I want to take it.” Casey’s cheeks burn with the truth of that statement. “Whatever you want to give me.”

“And slow and steady is what I want to give you.” Nick reaches out and threads his fingers through Casey’s hair. “Got it?”

“Yeah,” Casey breathes.

“Get undressed. Leave your underwear on.”

It’s a command, not a request. Nick’s gaze heats with it, pupils going dark with desire. Casey’s stomach bottoms out and he exhales a shaking breath before yanking his t-shirt over his head and flinging it at the bed. His flannel pants follow. Nick picks up and toys with a bottle of oil.

As Casey strips, Nick grabs his fluffy Santa hat and sets it on his head so it sits askew. It pushes some of his wavy fringe into his eyes and he watches Casey as he waits for Nick’s command.

Nick waves to the shower curtain. “Kneel down in the middle. Hand on your thighs.”

Casey’s quick to follow directions, dropping to his knees. The plastic curtain crinkles and it sounds as loud in Casey’s ears as his breathing. A shiver ripples through his body. His nipples harden. It’s cold in the room, even with the building’s heat on.

While he waits, Nick lines up a few candles and a lighter.

“First things first,” Nick murmurs. “I want you to watch me.”

Nick doesn’t even have to ask for that. Casey’s gaze is already glued to him as he lights one candle and lets the wax pool once it begins to melt.

He holds the candle so it hovers over his exposed wrist. His gaze flickers to Casey.

“Are you watching, Case?”

“Yes,” Casey whispers, eyes wide.

“Good.”

Nick waits a beat, moving the candle just enough so the flame dances. Then he allows a drop of melted wax to fall onto his wrist. Nick inhales through his nose and hums. The wax skips down, hardening into a pearly line across Nick’s tan skin.

“Nice,” Nick murmurs. “Want me to do another test drop?”

In his head, Casey says yes.

What happens aloud is a sound that’s some approximation of an affirmative that half-lodges in Casey’s throat. He sucks his lips between his teeth, eyes trained on Nick’s wrist. They’ve barely started and already his chest is expanding, pulse thrumming beneath his skin in anticipation. Casey swallows thickly and resists the urge to shift on his knees, keeping still under Nick’s gaze.

About the Author 

Mara Townsend is a bisexual indie author of LGBTQ+ romances. She loves to explore intimate relationship development of the feels-inducing variety to invoke the eternal just kiss plea from the reader, as well as crafting strong platonic friendships with heaps of heart and soul. Her stories showcase diverse representation, love stories with realistic emotions—never mindless fluff, a healthy dose of humor, and a side helping of her favorite tropes.

She hangs out in fan communities online and learned how to write the kind of stories that she’s passionate about through experimental character-driven fiction based in her favorite worlds. When not writing, she can be found soaking up sunshine at the beach, traveling the world to fill in her passport, perpetually collecting plants, and reading as many fake-dating romance books as she can find.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook |  Twitter

Instagram  |  Newsletter Sign-up  |  Pinterest

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies Waxing Poetic for Christmas

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

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