A MelanieM Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Bonfires is one of those Amy Lane books that’s bigger than any review any reader could possibly write about it.  It encompasses so many huge elements and hits so many big emotional targets that when it comes to pulling it all together in one review I find it escapes me.  It doesn’t help that you go willingly into this story knowing there’s an aspect of it that’s going to tear you apart in Amy Lane’s “shred your heart” way.  You do it knowing something worthwhile will come out of it, as it does here.

Bonfires is not simply a romance any more than starting a fire is about putting two twigs together and expecting a spark. No, Bonfires is about how families are built, how foundations are laid for people to come together to become a strong cohesive unit, powerful enough to withstand some of life’s worst blows, public condemnation and more.  First you get these two men who have already had long relationships that led to having families and children. The men are real, grounded in their lives and ages.  You get them and understand them immediately.

Then you get the amazing, believable, (and not so amazing) kids on both sides.  Yes, just as in life, not all the offspring are sweetness and light.  That’s always a relief to see that bit of reality hit the pages even if its not so welcome for the couple. There’s no instant meshing of families.  Things take time, talking, and work.  There’s actual adulting here.  There’s two houses, schedules, and how and if to come out to your various working environments and staff.  Complicated? You bet and  absolutely absorbing.  Why?  Because we care about these men and children.   We gotten to know them intimately.  At school and at their workplaces.  So when deeply concerning things are happening at the school to people, adult and teens we are intensely concerned about, we care about that too.

Along with Aaron and Larx trying to figure things out for themselves and their kids, there’s another storyline unfolding that’s of equal importance and intertwined with Aaron and Larx.  Its the element with the tragic repercussions that reverberate throughout the community and the two men’s burgeoning relationship.  All things elements, all these pieces of tinder that add up to Amy Lane’s powerful Bonfire….and there’s more.  Of course, there’s always more…

When I  said its about families.  I mean families of all types. Its also the flip side of families…those that do irreparable damage to their young and their community.  And its about the larger families found within the various social communities.  Here Amy Lane’s knowledge of the school system comes in handy with the interplay with the Board of Directors, the various school teachers and factions within the education system.  It all rings very true.

At the end of Bonfires, when you finish the last sentence and reflect back on all those lives and people that Amy Lane created and you spent time with, the tears shed,  the hearts that broke and got pieced back together again, the families made into one…I still think back over this incredible story and realize there’s so much more that I never addressed or could even begin to.   Its as though she crammed a series into one book and no one noticed.  What I do think you should do is read this book.  Its one for thinking about, thinking about families and love and all the astonishing things it takes to get that right.  If we’re lucky and work hard.   When making my Best of 2017 List, Bonfires will be on it.  That’s my recommendation.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain.  Works for the story, although I’m not sure I’m that crazy about it.  Don’t exactly know why.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
Original TitleBonfires
ISBN 1635333415 (ISBN13: 9781635333411)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Here for Us (Us #1) by A.M. Arthur

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Cris Sable doesn’t walk into popular gay bar Big Dick’s expecting to find more than a casual hookup, so he’s surprised by his instant attraction and intense chemistry with go-go dancer Jake. Jake’s sexy as hell and a firecracker in bed. The sparks between them are undeniable, and what starts as a hookup evolves into something deeper, possibly permanent—until Jake dumps Cris flat on his ass for no good reason. 

Angry and confused, Cris finds comfort with his longtime friend and employer Charles “Chet” Greenwood. Cris’s emotional state stirs up Charles’s long-buried feelings for Cris. Feelings he’s denied for eight years, because Cris is his employee and therefore off limits—not to mention two decades younger than Charles. Cris admits he has feelings for Charles, too, but he’s still getting over Jake and both men agree nothing can happen between them while Charles is still Cris’s boss.

Jake Bowden knows he doesn’t have anything to offer a guy. He’s a go-go dancer with no degree and no real career aspirations. He’s also used to everyone who loves him leaving, so it makes sense to cut Cris loose before things get too serious. Cris is kind, passionate and totally deserves a guy like Charles—wealthy, owns a home, successful businessman. Jake can’t compete so why bother? They’re better off together. But when Jake has a serious personal crisis, Cris and Charles unite to pull him back together, and the three men discover it’s possible—maybe even inevitable—to fall in love with more than one person at a time.
 
I generally enjoy this author’s stories but this one didn’t really work for me.  I had a very difficult time connecting to any of the three main characters.  I especially struggled with Cris.  Nothing he did or felt made any sense to me.  He had been in love with Charles for years but then when there’s a chance for their relationship he hesitates over a guy he had a one night stand with. I had a hard time buying his reasoning for this and it made the entire Cris/Jake thing seem like unrealistic insta-love to me.
This is a spin off series in a way of the author’s Perspective’s series and while you don’t need to read that to read this, you will see all of those couples in this book.  That dynamic was overwhelming.  There were six of them and a bunch of them had two names each because one was there porn name and one their real name.  They’re referred to as both depending on who’s talking to them and Cris has two names and Chet has two names and gah……..it felt like there were 100 side characters.  
These guys as a group had a ridiculous amount of problems.  It was never ending and it just felt over the top to me.  It took away any emotional impact I might have felt.  Instead of being concerned about them I found myself rolling my eyes.  Another thing that continuously made me roll my eyes was the fact that they non-stop referred to Chet as “grandpa” or the “old man”.  Mind you he was 48 years old not 84.  I know it’s a petty complaint but it really annoyed me.
The note at the back indicates that the next book in the series will continue to be about these three men so maybe their relationship dynamics will be more deeply looked at in that.  For now though this just felt too hard for me to believe or buy into.
Cover:  I think the cover is average.  There is nothing wrong with it but it does not stand out in any way.

Sales Links

Amazon

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 332 pages
Published March 17th 2017 by Briggs-King Books
ASIN B06X156VN3
Edition Language English
Series Us #1

In Our Contemporary Spotlight: Don Travis on The Bisti Business (guest excerpt)

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The Bisti Business (A BJ Vinson Mystery #2) by Don Travis
D
SP Publications
Release Date: March 21, 2017

Available for Purchase at

amazon square borderB&N borderApple border

Also available for purchase in paperback at DSP Publications

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Travis today.  He’s brought an excerpt from his latest BJ Vinson mystery, The Bisti Business. Welcome, Don.

Excerpt from The Bisti Business

BJ Vinson Hosts Lt. Eugene Enriquez for Brunch at Eulelia’s in Historic La Posada Hotel

BJ’s not above asking his old partner at the Albuquerque Police Department for help when he needs it.

BJ knows his new client is trouble right off the bat. In Don Travis’s The Bisti Business, the confidential investigator accepts the assignment to locate the missing gay son of a homophobic multi-millionaire Napa Valley Wine mogul because as a gay detective, he has sympathy for the college kid and his traveling companion. So he sets off to find two young men traveling New Mexico in a bright orange Porsche Boxter. The first thing he does is turn to his old partner at APD for some help. How? By feeding him brunch, that’s how. The following scene comes toward the end of Chapter 2 of the book:

Gene Enriquez, my old partner at APD, had recently made lieutenant, and he sometimes chaffed at the rein the promotion put on his fieldwork. When I called he indulged in some bellyaching about being swamped but agreed to meet for a cup of coffee at Eulalia’s in the La Posada on Second and Copper, a short walk for each of us.

The central core of my building opened onto an atrium soaring through all five levels. As the elevator doors parted on the ground floor, my eyes automatically swept the waxed tiles. A year ago, a man had died on those hard clay squares when he went over the railing after attacking me on the landing outside of my office on the third floor. Sometimes I still saw smears of blood on the floor, but it was an illusion. The blue-black terra-cotta was scrubbed spotless and polished to a high shine.

I exited the building and headed east on Copper, pausing to say hello to the Sidewalk Society, nine life-sized bronzes by the Santa Fe based sculptor, Glenna Goodacre, that were grouped on the corner sidewalk outside the Hyatt Regency. After greeting the cast figures almost daily for the past few years, I had reached a few conclusions about them. The young woman with a briefcase was said to be an up-and-coming CEO, but I’m convinced she was a 1950s lawyer. The construction worker and his foreman, who sported a battered, old-style broad-brimmed hat, represented the thirties or forties. It had taken me some time to tumble to the fact the statues reflected different time periods in Albuquerque’s more recent history.

Gene yelled for me to wait for him as he strode briskly across Civic Plaza. “You always talk to statues?” He was a little breathless after running to beat the light change at the intersection. A stocky Hispanic with regular, pleasant features that seem vaguely Polynesian, Gene always appeared slightly frazzled; a consequence of dealing with the Albuquerque Police Department, a wife, and five kids on a daily basis.

I accepted both his hand and his ribbing. “Every time. Get some of my best answers from them.”

“I keep expecting one of the rookies to arrest the kid.” He motioned to the bronze of a teenager with a skateboard.

We entered the La Posada by the north entrance and stepped into another world. The interior was done in Spanish Territorial with aged wood copings, corbels highlighted in scarlet and turquoise, and heavily carved lintels. Nichos, small shelves in the white plastered walls, held carved wooden santos and ornate Mexican tinwork. This hotel had once been part of the Hilton chain—Conrad’s first in New Mexico, as a matter of fact—but had been recently sold, yet again, and was scheduled for a makeover in the near future.

Gene and I selected a heavy oak table stained ebony by the passage of time, and claimed a pair of sturdy straight-backed chairs padded in green and gold. We spent a few minutes bringing one another up to date on our lives.

After making a brunch of the restaurant’s éclairs and a wedge of superb lemon meringue pie dribbled with chocolate, Gene was through chitchatting. “Okay, so what do you want?”

“What makes you think I want something? Can’t I call a pal without having an ulterior motive?”

“No.”

I pretended to think for a moment. “Okay then, I’ve got a client looking for his missing son and the kid’s traveling companion.” In less than two minutes, I’d briefed him on the situation.

“So they’re like that, huh?” He wiggled his hand back and forth, a gesture that was supposed to convey something. Gene knew me too well to be sensitive about my sexual orientation.

“You mean are they gay? Yeah, I’d say so.”

“And you want to get in their hotel room.”

“Seems a logical place to start since one of their fathers hired me to represent the family.”

“These two, they’re emancipated, right? Adults.”

“Both are twenty-one, according to Alfano.”

“Hmm. Alfano gonna file a missing person’s report?”

“He will if you think it’ll help.”

“Naw. We’ve got enough to do without looking for a couple of kids who’ve run off to play hanky-panky. But if they strayed across the border into Arizona, they might be cooling their heels in some county sheriff’s jail as we speak. They take that shit seriously over there.”

“Possible, but not likely. They could be in real trouble, Gene. Alfano keeps a tight rein on his boy, and the fact he’s looking for him is troubling.”

“Maybe the colt got out of the family pasture and is feeling his oats. But okay, have the old man file a report, and I’ll see if I can get us inside the hotel room. Unofficially.”

I picked up the tab to see what kind of damage Gene had done to my pocketbook. Anthony P. Alfano’s pocketbook, actually.

Gene caught me peeking at the check. “Come on, you can afford it.”

“Maybe so, but it’s not my expense, it’s my client’s, and I don’t know how picky he is.”

Gene Enriquez is a good detective and a smooth talker, at least smooth enough to get us access to the room occupied by—or held in the names of—Orlando Alfano and Dana Norville. There was little to see. The pair had taken their traveling bags with them, leaving behind nothing personal except for two bundles of clothing destined for the laundry, the only sign they intended to return. One set of duds was expensive Abercrombie & Fitch, the other bundle was GAP. It wasn’t hard to figure which clothes belonged to what dude.

The breast pocket of one shirt held a carefully folded Chamber of Commerce brochure extolling the virtues of El Moro’s Inscription Rock and the Ice Caves near Grants. A rumpled pair of trousers—the expensive ones—gave up a not-so-neatly folded tourist road map of the state.

The bell captain remembered the two men asking his advice about the Enchanted Circle in the Taos area. They had specifically asked about white water rafting along the Taos Box.

The clerk in the gift shop remembered the pair because, she blushingly admitted, they were both so handsome. Shortly after checking in, they had picked up several pamphlets from her, expressing interest in the Turquoise Trail, a fifty-mile National Scenic Byway up Route 14 to Santa Fe studded with quaint, historic villages. Orlando and Dana had been especially curious about Valles Caldera, the thirteen-mile wide crater of an extinct volcano south of Los Alamos, the Atomic City. Unfortunately, they also asked about Lincoln County and Carlsbad Caverns to the south and east, as well as Mesa Verde and the Bisti Badlands in the northwest corner of the state.

As we drove back downtown, Gene agreed to put out a bulletin on Orlando Alfano’s Porsche, an orange 2008 model Boxter S, California vanity plate LANDO 06. The kid probably got his undergraduate degree that year.

“A buggy like that’s bound to have a navigational system with a GPS satellite signal,” Gene said.

“A 750 Plus Magellan. The old man has his attorney contacting the company to get the present coordinates. They’re touchy about giving out such information, and Alfano is bound to have more clout than I do. The way I read this guy, he’ll have everyone from the governor on up calling the company if he can’t buy the data from them.”

“You do attract a certain type of client, don’t you?”

*****

About The Bisti Business

Although repulsed by his client, an overbearing, homophobic California wine mogul, confidential investigator B. J. Vinson agrees to search for Anthony Alfano’s missing son, Lando, and his traveling companion—strictly for the benefit of the young men. As BJ chases an orange Porsche Boxster all over New Mexico, he soon becomes aware he is not the only one looking for the distinctive car. Every time BJ finds a clue, someone has been there before him. He arrives in Taos just in time to see the car plunge into the 650-foot-deep Rio Grande Gorge. Has he failed in his mission?

Lando’s brother, Aggie, arrives to help with BJ’s investigation, but BJ isn’t sure he trusts Aggie’s motives. He seems to hold power in his father’s business and has a personal stake in his brother’s fate that goes beyond familial bonds. Together they follow the clues scattered across the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness area and learn the bloodshed didn’t end with the car crash. As they get closer to solving the mystery, BJ must decide whether finding Lando will rescue the young man or place him directly in the path of those who want to harm him.

About the Author

According to custom, I’m supposed to tell you something about me. That won’t take long. Born an Okie, I took a roundabout journey to my adopted home in New Mexico… which shows up in all her glory in all my stories. Texas Christian University gave me my education, the US Army contributed foreign travel (Germany) to my experience, Colorado gave me my first permanent job before transferring me to Albuquerque. When earning a living monopolized my time, I turned to painting to satisfy a creative urge. Did okay at it, but that craft didn’t scratch the itch I was feeling. Penning short stories seemed to do that. After selling around sixty of them under a pseudonym, I turned to writing novels. Zozobra is the first to see the light of publication, and Bisti is the second. A third BJ Vinson novel, The City of Rocks, is scheduled for release on July 18, 2017. The first draft of a fourth in the series, The Lovely Pines, now rests on my OneDrive.

I do a weekly blog about my writing and recounting some of my personal peccadillos on dontravis.com. I am a member of SouthWest Writers and give back to the community by teaching a free writing class at Albuquerque’s North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center.

Here are some links to me and my writing:

Blog: dontravis.com

Email: dontravis21gmail.com

Facebook: dontravis

Twitter: @dontravis3

Many thanks to Stella and Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for permitting this guest post. And a tip of the hat to DSP Publications for bringing out the book.

In the Contemporary Spotlight: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell & Back #3) by Felice Stevens

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2nJFEj1

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ndvTba



Cover Design: Reece Dante 


Photography: Varion Krylov of Strangeland Photography


Length: 90,000 words


Through Hell & Back Series


A Walk Through Fire (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
After The Fire (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Brandon Gilbert has spent years in hiding, but he’s finally accomplished his dream of working as a public school teacher. When offered the chance to help bullied children, there was no way he could say no. Not to mention that meeting Dr. Tash Weber, the psychiatrist who helps them, a sad yet sexy older man, ignited a spark inside Brandon he’d never had before.

Though five years have passed since the death of his lover, Dr. Sebastian “Tash” Weber has no interest in relationships or love. But young, enigmatic Brandon awakens his heart and his desire. Despite Tash’s best efforts to push him away, Brandon unlocks the passion for life Tash thought he’d lost forever.

Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan for either Brandon or Tash, but neither family disapproval nor self-doubts can stop them from embracing the fire that burns between them. And when Brandon returns home to fight for a future he never imagined possible, he and Tash discover that the one thing worth fighting for has been with them all along.

NB This is a re-release and has been extensively re-edited and revised with almost 10k words of additional content added.

About Felice
 

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.


I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

 

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into #2) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Lane Hayes is one of my favorite authors, and this story proves why. Faced with a secondary character in a short story who was really the anti-hero—a bisexual guy who jilted his (female) fiancé and disappointed his best friend and business partner—Ms. Hayes decided to give him his own story, in which he demonstrates why he was such a letdown in book one, and then falls into deep and everlasting love with a handsome and sweet older man.

I was skeptical when we first saw Nick in this story—buried nose-deep in code in his and Eric’s IT security business—and seemingly clueless to what’s going on in the rest of the world. He keeps bugging his BFF friend Eric, who’s on a well-deserved honeymoon vacation in Bora Bora, so faced with penalty of death from Eric’s new husband, Zane, (Leaning Into Love) Nick decides to take a break from work and return the wine he purchased as a wedding favor for his own cancelled wedding months ago.

There he runs headlong into Wes Conrad, winery owner, who refuses to allow Nick to return the wine that was labelled with the personal information for Nick’s wedding. It’s company policy not to take it back, and Wes digs in his heels and outright refuses. And so begins the crappiest day of Nick’s life, but also one that turns out to be the day he went head-on with the man who would ultimately become the most important person in his life.

I love the way the author took the time to explain and explore Nick’s issues—issues with antisocial behavior, a constant side focus on the numbers in his head—mathematical equations—that needed to be addressed. She also gave Nick an older, more mature man—one who has lived through multiple life experiences, including the tragic loss of his business, his former lover, and a good friend. Wes has the maturity and the patience to handle Nick, and though wildly attracted to one another from early in the story, there’s no rush into deep and everlasting love. It evolves over time, and every moment and every step of the way is absolutely necessary for this couple. Business deals, takeover possibilities, poor decisions, partnership problems—this story has it all. But most of all? It has a young man who seemed to be irredeemable learn to face his issues and take responsibility for his own actions and then take the leap into falling head over heels with the man he most needs in this world.

That might sound a bit mushy and romantic, but that’s how I saw it. And I have a particular soft spot in my heart for older men who find romance in the MM genre. This one is terrific, and I highly recommend it. Why not a full 5 stars? I couldn’t shake all of the prejudice I had against Nick from the first book. Let’s just say he’s darn lucky he had such a great author to tell his story. And I can’t wait to see if Ms. Hayes has more in store for us in this series. I suspect maybe Nick and Eric’s friend Josh will be next. Can’t wait!

~~~~
Cover by Reese Dante is similar to the first cover in that it features a faceless male torso, with opened shirt, against a background of the San Francisco skyline and bay.

Sales Links

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Published March 15th 2017 by Self Pub
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLeaning Into #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: An Invitation by Jay Northcote

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Rating- 3.25 stars out of 5

Originally part of an anthology, this little story is packed with sexual tension that finally gets a bit of a release at the end. Unfortunately, it’s so short that it’s difficult to rate it much higher than enjoyable.

Jake is a two-week temp employee at a firm owned by a Scot named Cal Mackenzie. Cal is hot, but his brogue is hotter, and Jake can’t wait to get in his pants—or vice versa.

Cal refuses to be tempted however—no matter how much Jake makes his desires and availability known. Cal draws the line—no sex with employees. Good thing Jake is only going to be there two weeks. On the last night, disappointed that he’d never get a chance to be with Cal, Jake is surprised when Cal gives his employees the funds to go enjoy themselves, and Cal finally taps in to all Jake has to offer.

As I said, the story was too short to go too far, but given the number of words, Jay Northcote did a great job with character descriptions and with building sexual tension. I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys in the future, especially if the little spanking Cal administers in this story is developed into so much more. And maybe a kilt? A man in a kilt with a Scottish accent? Who could want more?

If you’re looking for a tidbit that will whet your whistle for more, this little appetizer should do the job.

Cover by Jay Northcote is a simple partial torso shot of a man in a suit, quite appropriate to the story.

Sales Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK| myBook | Goodreads

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 35 pages
Published March 6th 2017 by Jaybird Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersJake Wilson, Callum Mackenzie settingLondon, England (United Kingdom)

A Lila Release Day Review: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns (Cowboys Don’t #2) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch house on and enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.

Danny also hides a preference for beautiful femmes who like to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn. Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker.

Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend.

But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.

Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns has a nice combination of romance and rodeo. One didn’t take from the other, and the scenes about Danny’s rides were well-written and interesting. As well as Laurie’s reactions to the events.

I like Danny and Laurie, but I think I like them more separately than as a couple. Their characterization was spot-on and we learned a lot about their pasts and present. They are complexed men, shaped by their families’ dynamics. But in the end, opened to love and companionship.

They had to overcome their share of hurt and family issues to get comfortable with who they are and what they wanted from a partner. They had to sacrifice a little of themselves to let the other into their lives. I really liked that Danny knew what he wanted in a relationship and didn’t shy away from it.

The story includes a great group of secondary characters, and we get to see Kai, Rand, and the kids again. I’m normally not a fan of an MC leaving his boyfriend/partner to be with the other MC and this story is no exception. It goes with the story, but I think Grove became a scapegoat. I hope he gets his own HEA.

The only thing missing on the cover by Reese Dante is some glitter to give it a bit flavor. It goes with the story but is a little bland with only Danny in it. It needed some Laurie too.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 226 pages
Published: March 22, 2017, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1635335078 (ISBN13: 9781635335071)
Edition Language: English

Series: Cowboys Don’t
Book #1: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Book #2: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns

 

An Alisa Review: The Cookie Said Red by J.D. Walker

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Cisco Boyd believes in fortune cookies and horoscopes. Despite his lack of success in finding a steady boyfriend — or at least, a date who doesn’t think Denny’s is the epitome of haute cuisine — Cisco never doubts that eventually, the stars will lead him to the man of his dreams.

 

One day after a meal, Cisco reads the little piece of paper inside his cookie which says “red is the color of your heart’s desire.” So, when Cisco’s date turns up wearing a red shirt, he’s ecstatic. But then, things turn ugly in his apartment, and Cisco has to call the front desk for assistance from his bathroom, where he’s locked himself in.

 

Benjy McCrae, head of security, comes to his rescue and Cisco is very grateful. And then he notices Benjy’s red tie. Cisco’s “heart’s desire” has been under his nose all along. The stars are finally in his favor.

 

This was a cute story, but not much to it.  Cisco thinks he should always give love a chance, but doesn’t seem to end up with the right guys.  He continues to trust in his horoscopes and such that he will find the right man.

 

In this story we see Cisco’s glass half full view point of the world.  I love that he is always so positive, but he never seems to notice the bad until it’s too late. Benjy and Cisco bond over their shared love of horoscopes and destinies when Benjy rescues Cisco.  I liked this story, but the characters seemed kind of flat to me and I had trouble connecting with them.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is great and catches your eye.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 37 pages

Published: February 25, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634860871

Edition Language: English

A Story Full of the Rainbow of Emotions~No Regrets by Nicky James (blog tour, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: No Regrets
Author: Nicky James
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Word Length: 91k
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance 18+
Release: March 15, 2017




“This. Book. Broke my heart. Healed my soul. Made me cry. Laugh. Made me Hug my daughter and kiss my husband. No regrets.” – Alpha Book Club

“My heart hurts, my eyes are red and puffy and I am in the biggest slump I have been in for awhile. This book destroyed me, it’s a story that will forever have a place in my heart, I have No Regrets <3” – Saucy Reviews on Kinky Korner

“No Regrets is a heart wrenchingly, ugly cry worthy ( and oh boy I cried) wonderful love story.I loved the characters. I loved the words. I could feel the characters emotions in every single one.” – Goodreads Review

Life makes no promises, and sometimes, you draw the short straw.

Landon Johnston’s life came to a grinding halt seven months ago, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

With the encouragement of his grandmother, Landon works his way out of his slump and tries to live life while he still can.

Deciding he doesn’t want to drag anyone else down his morbid path, Landon gives up all friendships and denies himself love. It’s better this way, because all he has to offer is eventual heartache and sadness.

While traveling the world, Landon meets Abel Matheson, a free-spirited, unedited, and nerve-grating man who was supposed to only be a one-night-stand.

Despite Landon’s insistence that he can’t form a relationship with his current diagnoses, Abel is persistent and will not be ignored.

Fighting against all his ingrained urges to run, Landon finds himself drawn down the road he swore he’d never take.

Intimacy grows and bonds form…

Only… Abel doesn’t know Landon is sick.

How can anyone love a man with no future?

Telling him might cause him to run, but staying silent means living a lie. A lie which will only reveal itself in time.

The silence returned as we continued with our drinks. Abel was the one to break first when he slid his empty cup aside and leaned in, talking in a hushed voice. “So, Landon from Canada, computer nerd and Spiderman wannabe. I’m gonna cut the shit and be blunt.”

“You mean, more blunt?”

“Yeah, more blunt, so brace yourself. You’re incredibly hot and I wanna find a room somewhere and fuck you senseless.”

“Oh. Umm…”

Who the hell says shit like that?

“There is a pub a block down. Let me buy you a couple of drinks and help you relax, because you’re all stiff and uptight. Then, what do you say we find somewhere private after that?”

I had to search for my words because they’d fallen into a gaping chasm of disbelief. “You’re awfully presumptuous.”

“I can be. But, you haven’t told me to fuck off yet, so I’m guessing you’ve been considering it too.”

Yeah, I’d been considering it since he stood in line for drinks twenty minutes ago. Is that how these things worked? Hey, wanna fuck? Sure, let’s go.

Swallowing the dry lump from my throat, I pinned him with a glare, doing my best to show confidence even though I trembled on the inside. “Maybe I am. Only, I don’t drink.”

More like I couldn’t drink, at least not with the massive array of medications I took. It was something I had to give up long ago. What I wouldn’t have given for a beer to calm me down. He was right, I was wound tighter than a spring.

“A twenty-six-year-old, non-drinker. You just get more and more interesting. I’ll have to find other ways to get you to relax then. I can be creative. Are you here with anyone?”

“No. I umm… I came alone.”

“Do you have a room nearby?”

“What about your friends? Won’t they be looking for you?”

He chuckled. “Nah, they’ll be drinking themselves stupid half the night and won’t even know I’m not there.”

“Oh… umm…”

“A room?”

My gaze dropped to the table once again. My blood pressure rose with each slam of my heart against my ribcage. Why the hell was I so nervous? It wasn’t like I was some virgin or anything. I took a deep breath and tried to rein in the suffocating emotion before it got out of hand.

Shifting my gaze to my notebook, I saw my list in my head again and heard my grandmother’s words.

If I died tomorrow, I’d have no regrets. Can you say the same thing? 

I was sure this wasn’t what she meant. Sorry, grandma.

Time to tick off another one.

“Fuck it. Yes, I have a room a block down the road.” With another shaky breath, I pushed my half-empty mug aside and grabbed my notebook. “What happens in China stays in China, right?” Standing, I glanced back at him.

His grin was facetious as he sucked the corner of his bottom lip into his teeth. “It’s not Vegas, but I think it applies.”
Nicky James lives in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. She is mother to a wonderful teenage boy and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband who, thankfully, doesn’t think her crazy.
Nicky has always had two profound dreams in life; to fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world and to write novels. Since only one of those dreams was a possibility, she decided to make the other come alive on paper.
Nicky writes MM romance books in a variety of styles including contemporary, medieval, fantasy, and historical.

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An Alisa Review: My Best Man by Linn Edwards

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

After a painful outing experience that was a defining moment for Ian, he left school early, earned his GED, and eventually moved on. But he never really lives in the open, as an out-and-proud gay man.

 

The morning after his sister’s wedding, Ian wakes up next to the best man at his sister’s wedding — Andrew. Though his new in-laws are “slightly homophobic,” Andrew is able and more than willing to keep Ian company … and more.

 

What surprises Ian even more is that Andrew is interested in more than just a one-night stand. Much more. Can a wedding night romance end up in a wedding of its own?

 

This was an adorable story.  Ian always puts others before his happiness and has spent years caring for others as a nurse practitioner.  Neither Ian nor Andrew have ever found someone that would be worth more than one night, but hope this could be their chance.

 

This story is told from both character’s points of view, so we can see the struggles they go through and how they are processing everything.  Andrew doesn’t want to push his sexuality on his best friend and his friend’s father, but doesn’t want to give up this chance at something more.  Ian struggles with the views and attitude he has received from his in-laws, but will do anything to help someone and make his sister happy.  These characters feel and instant connection, but are willing to put in the work to see if they can work in the long run.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and follows the story theme.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 80 pages

Published: March 4, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634863353

Edition Language: English