A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Rachel Reid creates memorable characters and there’s no exception in this story. Ryan and Fabian are unlikely to be forgotten in the same way that Ilya and Shane (who put in an appearance in this story) will forever hold a piece of my heart.

Picture Ryan: huge, 6’7” of muscle, a ginger (yes!) who bears an amazing resemblance to comic character Archie, but carries a mean look and uses his fists in his role as his hockey team’s enforcer. Inside, he’s a sweet man who doesn’t really like his job, hates to fight, wants to skate to win games, not rough up opponents, and who suffers from panic disorder—a panic that can strike at any time, not only when he has to fly to an away game. In fact, he left his last team due to a panic attack that ultimately resulted in being traded to the Toronto Guardians. 

Picture Fabian: 5’7”, slender, creative, artistic, a musician, wears makeup, is a fabulous dresser who sometimes wears lace undies, and who hates hockey players. His father and mother are hockey fanatics who took in student players who attended a special camp each year, and they discounted Fabian for his lack of interest in the sport and his focus on music. Needless to say, gangly, awkward teen Fabian feared homophobic jocks and hated hosting them—all except for one guy named Ryan, who he had a crush on that was never revealed.

Fast forward and a chance encounter with a huge ginger in his department at SuperSaver brings it all back. Ryan Price is up close and personal again and Fabian is so speechless he fails to act. This sets the stage for a long, sweet, slow-burn story of love and change and growth in both the characters and their relationship. Ms. Reid takes them through the early stages of reuniting in friendship, stumbling into sex, and finally realizing just how deeply they care for each other.

I loved the characters—their flaws, their foibles, their fun together. I was saddened through the tough times, broken-hearted over Ryan’s insecurities, anxiety, and frustration with his career, and I rejoiced with Fabian as his musical career took off and he came into the spotlight he’d been working years to reach. The two together fit like puzzle pieces long abandoned and now brought together to form their perfect whole. I simply loved this story and I highly recommend it to all lovers of hockey and MM romance. And one more word: get the entire series. This set of stories is outstanding.

Cover art by Carina Press:

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: January 13th 2020 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488068917 (ISBN13: 9781488068911)
Edition Language English

Review Tour and Giveaway for Saving Sean (Seattle Stories #2) by Con Riley

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow With Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Seattle Stories 
 

Book #1 – After Ben – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

 
Blurb
 

No more running from love…


Nearly a year after being rejected for another man, Seattle paramedic Peter Morse is still pining, so when the one that got away asks him for a favor, he agrees. His mission: track down Sean Reid, the runaway brother of a mutual friend. Peter isn’t thrilled about it—until he finds Sean injured by the side of the road.


Everything about Sean stirs Peter’s protective instincts—saving people is what he lives for—but he never anticipated falling for someone so hell-bent on running from him. On top of his physical wounds, Sean struggles with grief and guilt, and the mess his estranged father left when he died threatens to overwhelm him.


Saving Sean means Peter must let go of his pride and turn to friends and family. Asking for help is a bitter pill for Peter to swallow, but if he can’t, how can he expect Sean to accept his help—and his love—in turn?

 

CON RILEY lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean. Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time instead. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that make them live and breathe. When not people-watching or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

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Check Out the Book Blitz for Breaking the Surface (The Outsider Project #2) by Rebecca Langham (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Breaking the Surface

Series: The Outsider Project, Book Two

Author: Rebecca Langham

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 13, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 81300

Genre: Science Fiction LGBT, captivity, interspecies, politics, Sci-fi, teacher, futuristic, lesbian, space

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Synopsis

Alessia is an Outsider—a member of the not-quite-human community that has recently been released from their underground prison. Shortly after their liberation, Alessia is given an ultimatum: obey all the United Earth Alliance’s demands, or her mother will forever remain a hostage—a mother she’d believed dead for fifteen years. Reluctantly, she agrees, though she has no idea what those demands may be or how she will balance her obligations to the UEA with her responsibilities to her people and her family.

As the UEA tightens its grip on humans and Outsiders alike, it becomes clear that meaningful social change will not be possible without a revolution. Alessia and her peers embark on a mission to discover just how far the government is willing to go to maintain their monopoly on power.

What Alessia and her comrades discover, however, goes much deeper than they’d ever anticipated. Who are the Outsiders, really? What secrets of their destiny lay hidden within a top-secret space station? And why are the Outsiders linked to an emerging disease the UEA seems desperate to keep secret? As they delve deeper, it isn’t only Alessia’s identity that will be called into question, but the fate of the entire planet.

Excerpt

Breaking the Surface
Rebecca Langham © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Lydia wanted so badly to pace, to burn away her fear one exaggerated step at a time, but there was nowhere to go, no floor space to haunt. The Camp had been a sanctuary for them all, keeping her friends safe from unwanted attention since they’d taken their first steps as free people, but now it suffocated her. It may have been off-the-grid, but the complex was also small. Too small.

Given the number of people in the control room, she had to settle for crossing her arms over her stomach and gritting her teeth. But even then, she couldn’t silence the dissenting voice in her head. Something wasn’t right. Why would the United Earth Alliance be demanding a meeting so forcefully?

The UEA had been quiet in the two weeks since the Outsiders relocated from the colonies, granting an eerie yet welcome period of radio silence. Now they’d not only made contact, but threatened legal action if Alessia and the Green Hats didn’t acquiesce to an immediate communication with one of the government’s top advisers.

Lydia’s stomach churned.

As though reading her thoughts, Alessia slid her hand into Lydia’s and squeezed her fingers. Lydia forced a weak smile as she turned. “I don’t trust them.”

Alessia’s face—which, more than ever, reminded Lydia of a finely carved alabaster statue— softened.

“Of course not,” she replied, her tone sympathetic yet firm. “But it may not be wise to ignore the request. This could be nothing more than an administrative issue and I don’t want to invite trouble, not so soon after the release.”

“I don’t think you can ignore it, Ly-dee.” Helen swivelled gently in an office chair, forearms resting on her thighs as she considered her daughter. After all those years without Helen’s presence, hearing that fruity voice still managed to surprise her from time to time. Lydia had believed her mother to be dead for years. Finding out she hadn’t died, but rather become a kind of political hacker, was unsettling to say the least.

Life had changed so much in the last nine months. Alessia did not remain trapped beneath the ground, and Helen had re-emerged from the void.

No longer living with her politician father, even Lydia had been partially freed from the web of her old insecurities and frustrations. Sometimes though, it seemed like those frustrations had dissolved only to be replaced by a whole slew of new concerns. It had been a lot to process.

Helen sighed, a little too dramatically. She reached for a cup of tea she’d left cooling on a nearby bench and cradled it between her hands. “We knew they’d get their claws back in sooner or later.”

“Two weeks,” Lydia huffed. “They only waited two weeks. Please can’t we refuse?” The frustration in her voice exposed Lydia’s raw emotional state in a way she wasn’t comfortable with. Until recently, she’d worked hard to present a subdued version of her thoughts to the outside world. With such a prominent father, she’d had to if she had any hope of protecting herself from those who sought to exploit her. Whether it be to splash her personal life about the goss-channels, or to pressure her to influence her father regarding some political issue or another, there had been no shortage of people trying to use Lydia. It had been a kind of self-preservation to surround herself in the dark veil she’d become enveloped in, making it harder for people to really see her. But then Alessia had burst into her life, a quiet yet powerful blaze of light.

Alessia and the other Outsiders had reached right into her and reawakened feelings and sensations she’d muted long ago.

“Is refusing a good idea?” Peleus looked up from where he sat cross-legged on the floor a couple of metres away from Helen. Peleus had been one of her earliest and most faithful followers and friends, embracing her efforts to slowly change culture in the colony by sharing positive stories and messages with the children. “They’re providing accommodations and integration assistance to the four thousand Os who’ve had their entire existence uprooted. Not taking their meeting might give the UEA reason to withdraw support.” As Alessia’s confidante, Peleus’s presence always lent a certain sense of thoughtful tranquillity to a situation.

Alessia pulled Lydia closer until their bodies pressed together, banishing the air between them and soothing Lydia’s nerves a little. They’d barely had time to catch their breath since Release Day. When they had finally pushed their way through the obscenely large crowd of onlookers in Thracia after the ceremony, they’d boarded an air-transport and come directly here to the Green Hat headquarters in Quadrant Four.

Affectionately known by its inhabitants as the Camp, the secure underground complex supported a community of approximately a hundred people. Every one of them had dedicated their lives to undermining the UEA’s ever-worsening abuses of its own laws.

The main control room at the Camp was capacious and circular, with curved desks and ergonomic chairs that hugged the wall. Each workstation offered a user access to the G-Hat virtual network, but to connect with the outside world, one had to utilise the cylindrical, glassy tower in the centre of the room. A reflective pillar when inactive, the hub featured a projector that sent holograms into the middle of the tower as required.

The hub worked much the same way as any Hive wall, but with some modifications helping to prevent hacks into the rest of their system. It was also perfect for situations in which more than one person needed to participate in a communication link. Lydia believed the entire setup was nothing short of spectacular. No doubt they’d been able to develop the untraceable consoles only because of whatever financial support the MacNay Corporation had been providing.

Still, Alessia and Lydia had traded one isolated abode for another. At least this one wasn’t full of protectors or tainted by decades of oppression. Greys had been replaced with blues, locked doors with open spaces, and obstacles with possibilities.

The dormitory was unfortunate, though. Each night, the enticing heat of Alessia’s body rejuvenated Lydia, yet they were acutely aware of the other people sleeping nearby, and so Lydia had accepted the fact they’d have no privacy for the foreseeable future.

In truth, she experienced relief and disappointment in equal measure. They’d only spent a few weeks getting to know one another in the Q4C, after a month of silent glances in crowded corridors. The six months of separation following Lydia’s departure had done little to quiet Lydia’s fears her connection to Alessia wasn’t as strong as she’d thought, that perhaps she’d imagined the whole thing given the immediacy of their attraction. Slowing things down, being with one another without expectation, could be the best way for Lydia to validate the tether between the two of them.

The rest of the refugees had been relocated to government-sponsored accommodations in the major cities of Thracia and New Sydney. Only Peleus and Fermi knew exactly where to find Alessia, and Lydia wanted it to stay that way for the moment, regardless of Alessia’s initial protestations.

The entire world knew Alessia’s face now, and there was no way to predict how she’d be received by the mainstream population or what her own people might expect from her as their de facto leader. Leader.

Lydia rested the side of her face against Alessia’s bicep. Her stomach clenched as she capitulated. “Peleus is right, isn’t he? We should hear them out.”

Alessia kissed the top of Lydia’s head, then nodded. “Yes.” She looked at Lydia’s mother. “Helen, I’m ready.”

Purchase

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

Don’t miss Book #1 in the The Outsider Project series, Beneath the Surface, available from NineStar Press

Meet the Author

Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia) with her partner, three children, and menagerie of pets. A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, she’s a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine. When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Blog Tour with Excerpt for Rules to Obey (Davey’s Rules #5) by Susan Hawke

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Rules to Obey

Davey’s Rules Series Book 5

Susan Hawke

M/M Romance, Daddy/boy

Release Date: 12.12.19

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Blurb

Davey’s Rule #83: Daddy will encourage his boy to be the best he can be and be supportive of his boy’s career choices.

Marcus Alves has waited most of his adult life to find the perfect match. A sweetheart who will love cuddles, need a Daddy to help him thrive, and most importantly… be the type of boy that might want to use the binky that Marcus keeps hidden in his pocket. Now in his forties, he’s refusing to give up on his dream—or the unused playroom that’s waiting for someone to enjoy.

Jeff Robustelli has had a rough life. Growing up in a commune with absent parents was hard for a rule-following straitlaced guy with a genius IQ. When the uncle who saved him died, Jeff did what he does best—buried his head in the sand and pretended life wasn’t changing. Working in a Daddy club has shown him what he really wants, but Jeff is too afraid to take a chance on something new.

When Jeff has a sudden need for a fake fiancé, he strikes a deal with the older man who always seems to be there when his world is crumbling and makes him feel safe. In exchange, he agrees to a fake Daddy/boy experiment designed to let him try out being little without any pressure.

While Marcus and Jeff navigate their “deal” and the unexpected new feelings that begin to emerge, Marcus also must help the younger man through a series of life changes that put him on the road to being the adult he’s been too afraid to be. When everything in Jeff’s life is in turmoil, Marcus is his one stability. But can Jeff trust his own heart when nothing else in his life is making sense anymore?

This is the fifth book in a series about not-so-perfect Daddies, adorable “boys,” and one sassy brat with an insane list of rules. Grab your fan and tissues because this series comes with both a high heat advisory and all the squishy feels you’d want from a Susan Hawke book.

getbook.at/RulesToObey

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Excerpt

My heart raced with excitement as I thought about the surprise I’d left for him among the coloring books. “How about we start easy? First off, I would like to call you Jeffy when we’re together like this. Is that okay?”

He seemed to consider that for a moment, his lips silently forming the little name a few times before finally nodding. “Jeffy. I like that because it’s not too different from normal but sets me apart when I’m being…” He paused, lowering his voice to a whisper as he finished his sentence. “Little. It sets me apart when I’m little.” He was so earnest and sweet that I wanted to eat him up.

“Good boy. Thank you. The name suits you, Jeffy. Now, why don’t you look down on the bottom shelf and choose a coloring book? There is also a plastic box filled with crayons that you’ll want to use.”

Jeffy licked his lips and hesitated for half a second before crouching and carefully examining the stack of coloring books. I held my breath as I waited for him to get to the bottom. Somehow, I thought I was safe ignoring Davey’s advice about not having Jeff make choices when I’d hidden the perfect surprise for him. It only took a few moments as he neatly slid each book from the top of the stack and moved it to the bottom while he carefully examined each one. I knew when he found it because he blew out his breath so fast that it whistled through his front teeth.

He looked up at me with shining eyes and held the coloring book high like a trophy. “Transformers? You have a Transformers coloring book? And I can use it?”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Not only can you use it, but I got it especially for you. Why don’t you look at the plastic box beside them now? That was also chosen just for you.”

He picked up the blue box with the metallic logo, and the smile I got was worth the time I’d spent searching online for the Transformers pencil box. After he put the other coloring books back on the shelf—taking a moment to meticulously straighten them first—Jeffy stood, hugging his prizes to his chest. He still looked like he had half a mind to take off at the slightest provocation, but he wasn’t looking quite as overwhelmed as he had a few minutes ago.

Susan Hawke Logo

As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

Amazon Author: https://amzn.to/2Hdgwvl

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

Catch up with the series here:

Rules to Follow: getbook.at/RulesToFollow

Rules to Break: getbook.at/RulesToBreak

Rules for Santa: getbook.at/RulesForSanta

Rules for Growing: getbook.at/RulesForGrowing