An Alisa Review: Nosy Neighbors by Nina Schluntz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Julian is used to drama, seeing ghosts tends to do that to a person’s life, but when he falls for a man known as the neighborhood murderer–the dead help him uncover secrets no housewife could predict.

 

Moving into a suburban, middle class, stereotypical neighborhood was never on Julian’s to do list. When his identical twin brother inherits their Aunt’s house in such a place, then finds a good job, Julian reluctantly follows. He expected to feel isolated by being the only gay person on the block, okay, more likely the zip code, but a few nosy housewives eagerly inform him the neighbor across the street is gay, and punned, Mr. Creepersen, due to several murders that occurred in his basement five years ago.

 

This story sounded interesting and I couldn’t resist reading this.  Julian has been with his brother since forever but truly lives a lonely life.  Keeping his “gift” a secret and his general shy personality makes it hard for him to open up or get to know people.  Neil has quietly lived his life since his husband’s death but live with reminders all the time with how all those in the neighborhood treat him.

 

Neil lives with the invisible scars from his marriage and the fallout that he lives a quiet life not really allowing anyone in.  He opens up to Julian a bit but quickly makes assumptions of his feelings.  While Julian opens himself up to the ghosts in order to help Neil get some closure he also opens himself up to more pain and is trying to figure out how to navigate through it.

 

While I’m not quite as sympathetic towards Neil as I thought I would be I understood what happened to him and how that affects what he does now.  His insecurities almost push Julian away but Julian isn’t willing to just give up when he finally found the kind of relationship he has been looking for.  While I enjoyed this story I connected with Julian way more than I did with Neil.  They seem to be heading off into the future together which was nice but more of a conclusion for these two would have been nice.

 

The cover art by Melody Pond is nice and gives some good visuals from the story.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages

Published: September 1, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Golden by R L Mosswood

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.

Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever in The Dragon’s harem.

I love long books and I absolutely don’t mind if a book has 500 or more pages. So it’s very rare for me to pick up a book with less than 100 pages, because I often feel like there aren’t enough pages for the story to completely unfold. The blurb of “Golden” sounded too good to simply pass up because of its length, though. I’m glad I picked it up but at the same time I had my usual issues with short stories.

The premise of the book is intriguing. The Dragon, the empress of a secluded island, has a harem full of golden men. Every male person with a certain hair and skin colour is sent to her harems. She has several dozen men at her beck and call. Elin is one of them. But unlike the others, he’s only ever visited The Dragon once. He’s never really understood why everybody makes such a big deal out of sex. I thought that was a really interesting feature for a harem boy. Definitely unusual.

I was a bit disappointed at how he immediately felt sexually attracted to Hathar, I must admit. The whole lust at first sight just didn’t really fit my idea of Elin. First he’s repulsed by anything sexual and then he meets Hathar and just like that, he’s no longer disgusted. Instead, he’s all too happy to have sex with him in no time at all. There was no real time for the of them to form an emotional bond that might have justified Elin’s change of mind. They barely knew each other.

The whole plot felt a bit rushed. It all plays out in the span of a few days. Aside from the insta-lust, the romance was a bit rushed too. Within those few days, Hathar and Elin develop deep feelings and fall hard for each other. There was no real development of feelings. A little too close to insta-love for my tastes. It didn’t help that none of the characters had all that much depth. They were a bit underdeveloped.

The world building was seriously lacking. It was practically non-existent, really, and that’s a huge no-go for me.

Having said all that, I did enjoy reading this book. It’s short and sweet and it’s a fun read. It could have been great, I think, if the author’s ideas had had more room to fully evolve.

The cover by Natasha Snow is pretty cool. Love the dragon scales and the fire, though there’s not much of that in the actual book.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 92 pages
Published September 25th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139916
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Tour and Giveaway: Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2) by C.B. Lee

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Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2) byC.B. Lee

Publisher: Duet, the Young Adult imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Design: CB Messer
Release Date: October 5, 2017

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press | Amazon |Barnes & NobleAppleKoboSmashwords

Book DepositoryIndiebound  

 

 


SUMMARY

Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

SBN (Trade)  978-1-945053-25-2

ISBN (eBook)  978-1-945053-43-6

Pages:  320 (79,500 words)

Price:  $16.99 print/$6.99 multi-format eBook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer based in California. She is a first-generation Asian American and holds a BA in sociology and environmental science, which occasionally comes in handy in her chosen career, but not usually. Lee enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.

Not Your Sidekick (2016) was named a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards. Lee’s first novel, Seven Tears at High Tide (2015), was also a Bisexual Book Awards finalist. She is a Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow.

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Not Your Villain // Five winners receive the multi-format eBook
Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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An Alisa Review: Deeds & Confetti (Mary’s Boys #4) by Brandon Witt

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Steven Conley loves the excitement of owning his own Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Denver, Colorado, and his chosen family of coworkers makes life even better. Steven never regretted leaving the corporate grind behind until his father’s harsh deathbed words leaves him doubting himself.

 

Ryan Fuller abandoned a lucrative career to start his own party-planning business, but he keeps afloat by coordinating funerals for the local mortuary. When Ryan bumps into Steven—his best friend’s uncle and the man Ryan has secretly crushed on forever—the attraction explodes into a night of passionate abandon for both men.

 

Steven is blown away by the care and deep connection he feels for the hot young mortician—until Ryan admits who he really is. Reeling from the recent upheaval in his life, Steven must decide whether to give Ryan a chance. To find love, they must risk it all….

 

This was a wonderfully sweet story.  Steven has been living the last few years for himself despite his father’s criticism, but his father’s death and his harsh words cause Steven to doubt the life he has built.  Ryan has recently begun to live his life for himself and isn’t going to let Steven’s doubt stop them.

 

Steven has a wonderful support system in his friends and family (excluding his judgmental father).  I loved the internal strength that Ryan had and how he wouldn’t let the little things keep him down.  I chose this story for the short and sweet aspect it seemed to have which it really did but I loved seeing small glimpses of how Steven greatly affected the lives of those around him.  It makes me really want to go back and read the other stories in this series however I didn’t need them to know what was going on.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is wonderful, I love the visual of these two characters.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Published: September 27, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-749-5

Edition Language: English

Series: A Mary’s Boys Novella

An Alisa Review: 14 Days by Patrick Mangan

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

That’s how long Tyler Swann and his family will visit the Riverlands Land and Cattle Ranch, a guest ranch in western Montana. Too bad Tyler is a jerk and a hot-head, pushing Logan, the ranch owner, down to the ground on day one. It’ll be a long stay for the family with their belligerent son.

 

But as Tyler and Logan patch up the hurt, they find an attraction to one another that can only be matched by the stubbornness that Tyler, a recently discharged Marine, brings to the table daily.

 

From getting his ass kicked, to a helping hand getting the fence fixed, Logan has his hands full with a willing and able Tyler. When Tyler isn’t busy stealing the keys to a truck or motorcycle, he can be quite charming. If they can only survive the explosive emotions flowing from Tyler, they just might build some kind of relationship. For 14 days.

 

It’s going to be a long 14 days.

 

Logan and Tyler don’t start off on the best footing but seem to start a tentative friendship.  Logan gives Tyler the opportunity to have a break from his father but Tyler continues to push when he gets angry.    Both of them have cracks deep down that they need someone to help patch together.

 

Logan is quite understanding and it doesn’t seem to take much for him to be willing to put things behind him.  Tyler flies off the handle quite quickly without thinking and apologizes when he’s wrong but doesn’t seem to really change much over the 14 days.  I had a hard time connecting to both of these characters.  We get much more background on Logan than Tyler but it just didn’t seem too genuine to me.  I did like to see them together a few months down the line.

 

The cover art by E Keith is nice and gives nice background for the story.

 

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 135 pages

Published: August 30, 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

Andrew Grey on the Definition of HEA and his latest release ‘Taming the Beast’ (guest blog)

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Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Paul Richmond

Release Date: October 13, 2017

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey here today on his Taming the Beast tour.  Welcome, Andrew.

✒︎
I’m very much a Happily Ever After kind of guy.  I like my characters to feel as though they are going to be together in the story as well as my heart.  But I seem to have a problem because I’m not sure what a HEA really means any more.  In traditional romance that path leads to the altar or at least to a proposal.  But in MM romance marriage wasn’t possible for so many years, so a HEA usual consisted of some sort of gesture of permanence.  They moved in together, bought a house, or asked each other to be their life partner, even exchanged rings with only the two of them.  Something to signify that they planned to stay together.  Now in this age of marriage equality, I’m having trouble because I’m not sure if we’ve reverted to the traditional version of an HEA or not.  In my stories I tend to use the older definition of an HEA, probably because I’m an old fart and getting older by the day.  (Rolls eyes)     But I’d like to hear what you think.  Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.

Blurb/Synopsis

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life helps him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Excerpt

Dante turned back to Bobby. “Do you know what we’re going to have for dinner?”

“Roast beef and potatoes and beans.” Bobby made a face. “I don’t like beans.”

“Bobby,” Beau said gently.

“Why not? They’re good, and they make you grow up big and strong. My mom always made me eat my green beans, and look at me.” He sat up straight, and Bobby’s eyes widened.

“These are green and yellow beans together,” Beau clarified.

“Even better. The yellow ones make you smarter. I really like those. And it’s good to be smart.” Dante nudged Bobby. “I’ll make a deal with you. If you eat all your beans, then after dinner, I’ll see if they have any ice cream for dessert.”

Bobby shook his head. “There’s cake.” He pushed out his lower lip. “I can’t have cake. It has gluten in it.” He turned away, his little shoulders drooping.

“I see.” Dante pulled out his phone and made a very quick call to Harriet at the house, then began to eat. When he was done with his starter, his salad was placed in front of him, and he ate it slowly. As he finished, the lady from the other couple, who had been quiet so far, asked him about what the Foundation did. “It’s to better the people and community of St. Giles and Maryland in general, though we localize our work to the Eastern Shore. We take proposals from anyone and evaluate them for community impact and need.”

“Do you get anything out of it?” she asked.

“I own the porcelain works, and half the profits go into the Foundation. We invest the money and then arrange to distribute the earnings through our projects. The principal is never touched, and so far it has grown each year through contributions.” Dante finished his salad and glanced at Bobby, who was carefully eating one piece of lettuce at a time.

“I’m Clyde Harrison, and this is my wife, Jean. I’m a second-shift foreman at the porcelain works.” He reached across the table to shake hands, and Jean did the same. They both seemed nervous, like if they said one wrong thing, Dante would fire him.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jean.” He turned to Clyde. “I’ve seen you at the plant.” He thought for a second. “You were the one who came up with the idea to reroute the laboratory-ware line last year. That was a great idea, and it’ll be done next month. We figure it will save us quite a bit.” Dante had already arranged a bonus for him, but he’d let that work through the channels.

The conversation died, and Dante turned to Bobby, who had eaten about half his salad and seemed to be finished. “Are you done?” Dante asked him, and Bobby nodded. The servers collected their plates and brought the dinners.

“Do I have to eat all this?” Bobby whispered. “Mama says I have to clean my plate and not waste food.” He looked at him and then at Beau.

“Just eat what you want and have some of the beans.” Dante winked, and Bobby took a bite of the beans and ate a few before starting on the rest. Beau helped Bobby cut his meat, and then the kid ate like a trooper. “Is it good?” Dante asked.

Bobby grinned, nodded, and went back to eating. Dante took a few bites and ate a little of the roast beef. It was okay. The potatoes weren’t exceptional. He ate the vegetables and enough of the rest to make his hunger abate and then waited for his plate to be cleared.

As the conversation in the room increased while the courses were changed, Dante excused himself and left the room. Roberts stood waiting for him. “Harriet added some ice to make sure this stayed cold.”

“Thank you.” Dante took the small cooler bag and carried it back into the banquet room. Pieces of cake had been distributed, with one sitting in front of each place, including Bobby’s, taunting the poor kid. Dante moved the cake aside and opened the bag. Dante took out a bowl of Harriet’s homemade chocolate ice cream and set it at Bobby’s place. “Guaranteed gluten-free.”

“Thank you!” Bobby said and began to eat like he hadn’t just had dinner.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

In Our Historical Spotlight: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane (RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway)

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Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it here at Riptide Publishing

 

Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

About Count the Shells

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

Available now from Riptide Publishing

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Website:charliecochrane.co.uk/

Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @charliecochrane

Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Caryn Release Day Review: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2) by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I really, really expected to like this book, having enjoyed the first in the series, All the Way to Shore, and because I like this author.  Ugh, I hate to be disappointed.

I feel like this book had most of the tropes that are totally overdone, ineffective, and ultimately turn me off.  It was evident from the very beginning, and never got any better.

Anthony Vallen is the fabulous, campy cousin who was introduced in book one.  He’s been all about casual hookups, and though he believes in fairy tale endings for others, he has been avoiding getting emotionally involved since his first love – in highschool at age 17!!! – broke his heart.  OK, that’s annoying trope number one.  He’s now on the cusp of 30, and is going on a vacation in Key West with Marco and Jonathan and Sophia from the first book.  Marco and Jonathan are disgustingly sweet together – which was not how they are portrayed in the other book – and Anthony is feeling jealous of a relationship for the first time in his life.

The first night in Key West they go to a bar, and lo and behold, there is Walter Elkins, the boy who ran away from Anthony just after high school graduation and ruined him for any other man.  And not only does he own the bar, he is also the owner of the scuba diving business where they’ve booked their trips.  So there is no way they can really avoid each other.

The background is that Anthony almost drowned while swimming with Walter the summer after graduation, and that’s when Walter left him, with the words “I’m not good for you…I don’t want to hurt you anymore.”  And that would be annoying trope number two, especially when the excuse was so flimsy.  Yeah, yeah, turns out there was a traumatic event in Walter’s past (of course), but I was not convinced.  And when he goes on to continue to use that same excuse (with other misplaced responsibility issues) to avoid Anthony in Key West,  it just irritated me more.  Walter is supposedly a very successful businessman, who reinvented himself after he abandoned an equally successful career as a chemist, who used to be pathologically shy but is now friendly with and supported by all of the locals, and I just couldn’t reconcile that with a man who was so deeply insecure about Anthony.  To give her credit, the author tried to sell it, but I just wasn’t buying.  Anthony was only marginally better at communicating.

To top it all off, both men then go into TSTL (too stupid to live) mode when a hurricane strikes.  I may be a little more picky than average about that, since I live in Florida we know hurricanes, but going outside when winds are at peak is ridiculous.  If someone needed to be injured to move the plot along, that was not the way to do it – and to make it worse, several of the locals were happy to brave the winds along with them.  Just, no.  Annoying trope number three.

So this book was almost a total fail for me.  Anthony was childish and annoying, Walter was pathetic, and I didn’t like either one of them.  I didn’t really care if they got together or not.  I was happy to revisit Marco, Jonathan, and Sophia, and I did enjoy the new character introduced – Miles, pansexual, genderfluid, and likely to be the main character of the next book in the series.  So I will look forward to reading it when it comes out, and that is the only reason I gave this book 2 stars.

Cover art by L. C. Chase is again lovely, the underwater scene is appropriate, but the models – both in expression and looks – didn’t fit the characters as much as I would have liked.

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 192 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339819
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStories from the Shore #2

A Lila Review: Faeted by Shiloh Saddler

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Love is never easy and Blaze is faced with a difficult choice: Turn his back on his lover or the fairy realm.

John Butler is a lonely chandler’s apprentice in colonial Williamsburg. He doesn’t think that he’ll ever be respected let alone be loved. Trying to forget his troubles, he buries himself in his work and focuses on making candles.

Blaze Greymedow is a fire fairy. At first he was drawn to John’s candles, but is quickly smitten with the tall, muscular apprentice. He watches John from afar all the time wishing they could form a more intimate connection. It is unsafe for fairies to get too close to humans. If he breaks that rule, he knows there will be dire consequences.

Faeted is an interesting short set in a time when few stories take place. I’m familiar with colonial Williamsburg, and it was easy to see the references the author used to bring the reader into the story setting–from small details like their clothing to the differences between classes.

The characters are simple and the backstory doesn’t go as far as it could be, but it works in this case. We get to know the MCs well and we see why they were pulled to each other. They were both lonely and misunderstood, but small acts of kindness created a connection between them.

The consequences of John and Blaze getting together might seem dire to those in the fairy realm but it was the perfect ending for them. It allowed them to be together, filling that empty space in their lives.

A good story to read between longer books; with the right about of spice and love to make the reader smile at their HEA.

The cover by Melody Pond shows John and one of his candles. It goes nicely with the book description and the book’s feel.

Sale Links: MLR | Amazon | NOOK

ebook, 53 pages
Published: August 4, 2017, by MLR Press
ISBN: 9781370904563
Edition Language: English

Blitz Tour for ‘In Over Our Heads’ by CJane Elliott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

 

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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